FanFic - Max/Liz
"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"
Part 31
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.
Liz threw herself into Max's arms. "Oh, Max! We've done it! We've found another concrete clue. We needed this piece to make the Criston work. The handprint wasn't hidden because no one could get into this vault without having the Criston." Her eyes sparkled as more pieces fell into place. "I don't think it's just about having the Criston," Paul said quietly. Liz had almost forgotten he was there. "I think it's about being the leader."

Max had been watching Liz, enjoying her enthusiasm and the small victory they had shared. At Paul's words, he turned, his expression serious. "What are you saying? That only the leader could open this?"

"It makes sense, doesn't it?" Paul asked. "This has been hidden for centuries. Possession of it seems to be critical to holding power on Voya--so critical that your enemies came to Earth looking for it. Your ancestors buried part of it in a tunnel at the Cliff Palace and hid the other part here at Penasco Blanco. This was the largest non-community structure in the settlement; most probably this is where the leader lived. I'm betting only the leader knew where both pieces were and only the leader could open this vault to get the piece that activates the Criston." He paused, afraid of overwhelming his young, reluctant leader. "That's you, Max."

Max stood rigid, trying to process these newest implications of their quest. The pressure was starting to get to him. What if somehow finding the Criston and activating it was going to take him away from Earth, from Liz? "Then why did I need Liz?"

"I'm not sure. But you both said you've been feeling a strong pull to be together. And Claudia certainly sets great store by the energy you create as a couple. There has to be a key in there somewhere."

Liz turned her face up toward Max. "Guess you'll have to keep me around now, huh?"

He knew she was trying to lighten this burden of leadership that was constantly being thrust upon him, but he wasn't feeling lighthearted. He was feeling as if his whole future was out of his control.

"Let's take a break and have some lunch," suggested Paul. They sat in the shade of one of the partial walls of the ruins and ate their sandwiches. The initial rush of adrenaline from their discovery had diminished, and they were all wondering what should happen next.

"I would suggest we get back to the inn and freshen up, maybe get a little rest before we decide on our next move," advised Paul.

"We still want to see the convergence of the Anasazi roads," Liz insisted. "I just know that's part of it, somehow."

"I agree," Max chimed in. "Liz and I both felt it."

After a brief rest, they packed and trudged back down the long trail to the car. They were physically and emotionally drained. They threw their backpacks into the car and climbed in. It was the hottest part of the day now, and Paul insisted everyone get a little air-conditioned down time. They drove back to the inn in silence. Liz nestled close to Max, trying to relieve some of his tension.

When they reached the lobby, Paul left them. "Just relax a bit, you two. I'll come get you a little later and we'll talk about what comes next."

When they got back to the room, the weary hikers breathed the cool air in deeply and fell in a heap on the bed. Liz reached over and turned the radio on softly. Sarah McLachlan's "I Love You" wafted through the room.

"Hmm. I love that song," Liz murmured as she rested her head on Max's shoulder. Max caressed her cheek, evoking a little smile from the girl he adored. She was obviously more than willing to doze off, but Max had too much running through his mind. He wasn't sure they were going to be happy with the outcome of all this. Didn't he have any say in his own life? Didn't he have the right to make Liz a part of it if she were willing?

Watching Liz sleep, he listened to Ricky Martin sing his latest release, and for the first time, he really heard the words. They were him; they were how he felt about Liz.

"She's all, she's all I ever had.
It's the way she makes me feel.
It's the only thing that's real.
It's the way she understands,
She's my lover, she's my friend.

When I look into her eyes
It's the way I feel inside--
Like the man I want to be.
She's all I'll ever need."

A strong sense of determination started to grow in Max's mind. This was his life, his future at stake. He couldn't imagine it without Liz. He couldn't even imagine returning to Roswell and going back to separate homes, separate lives . . . separate nights. He gazed down at the beautiful girl in his arms and wished they could begin their lives together somewhere, anywhere. But he knew his ties to Isabel, Michael, even his parents were too strong to abandon. They had to make this work within the world of Roswell. He had to make them understand what he and Liz needed. He would do it. There just weren't options.

Eventually, Max, too, dozed off, so when the phone rang, he awoke with a start. It was Paul, suggesting they meet for dinner and talk about the next step. By the time Max hung up, Liz had opened her eyes and was smiling lovingly at her favorite face. He obviously felt a little better, but she could still see the strain and uncertainty in his eyes. Nothing should make those gorgeous eyes look like that.

"Was that Mr. Hernandez?" she asked.

"Yeah, he wants us to meet him for dinner in half an hour and talk about our next move."

"I had an idea, Max." There was a glint in her eye that caught Max's attention immediately. Liz rose from the bed and walked toward him, looking sexy and impish at the same time.

"If your idea is what I think it is, we've been over this already," Max warned, afraid he would buckle too easily in his current state of mind. "You're killing me."

"Relax, Max, I'm willing to wait on the making love . . . for a little while. No, what I was thinking is, we've become way too good at blocking those flashes. We've gotten so used to doing it that it comes naturally now. But maybe, if we let them flow, we can learn something, get a clue about the next step. What do you think?"

Max's eyes widened. She was right. They just blocked those automatically now. They knew how much trouble they could get in by going with that flow! But that was how they found the orb, and Liz had seen the crash through the flashes. It might help. He began to smile and turned to her with an impish expression of his own. "The problem with that idea is, I'd have to kiss you." He frowned, pretending to ponder the unpleasantness of that proposal.

"It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it," Liz quipped back. Their verbal game was quickly forgotten, though, as Liz slid her arms up his broad chest and over his powerful shoulders to curl her fingers through his hair. He was instantly drawn into her huge dark eyes and felt himself falling headlong into them. That's where he wanted to be, inside those eyes where he would feel safe and loved. Max tightened his grip around Liz, holding her eyes with his own until he couldn't resist looking at her lips, full and open and ready to accept the love he was so eager to share.

Abandoning the mental controls that had become a part of their lives was not so easy. They had trained themselves not to let the flashes come, knowing how it removed them from any sense of reality and fired up the passion between them. But this time, they had given each other permission, trusting fully that no matter what happened, they were facing it together. As they kissed, they had to consciously drop that guard and let their feelings flow.

All of the pressure, the responsibility, the pent-up emotions found release in those first few moments. They kissed hungrily, offering each other all of the comfort, love, and healing that they kept in their hearts. Max felt awash in Liz's feelings for him, experiencing her total commitment to their love, her complete acceptance of who and what he was, what they were. Max hadn't had any doubts about them for a long time, but if he had, they would have been swept away with a single moment inside her mind.

Max's emotions were threatening to overwhelm Liz. She felt his urgent need for her, both physically and emotionally. She was painfully aware of the heavy responsibility he felt and the frustration of trying to satisfy everyone's needs at the expense of his own. She could feel him reaching out for her, wanting nothing more than to climb inside her soul and share a place where they could be themselves, away from threats, rules, reality.

Max felt the danger as Liz's hands crept under his shirt, leaving a heated trail on his back and sides. His own hands followed suit, sliding over her soft back. The sensations ran rampant and he tore his mouth from hers, breathing hard. His face was in her hair, the silky strands slipping over his lips. He reached down and effortlessly pulled her up around him. As her lips sought his, she moved her hips forward to meet him, and she cried out as the images bombarded her.

She saw them in a field, standing on a large version of the spiral symbol etched in the ground. There was a bright light and people and the impression of something large looming over them. She and Max were holding tight to each other, but there was no fear.

Liz gasped and pulled back from Max, her face frozen in an awestruck expression. They were both still breathing hard, holding on to each other while they regained their equilibrium.

"You had a flash?" panted Max.

Liz nodded and pulled him with her to sit on the bed. She described everything she could remember about the scene. "I think it was good, Max. I didn't feel fear. But I don't understand it."

Max put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him, kissing her softly on the head. "That's good. Maybe it will be okay. I wonder where that was, though."

"Did you see anything?" asked Liz.

Max grinned at her. "I'm afraid all I saw was another of your fantasies. You are a wicked one, aren't you?"

Liz's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. "Max! Now I remember why we started blocking those out!"

"Too bad we have to go meet Paul. That might have been interesting," he baited her.

Liz decided to fight fire with fire. "Paul can wait." She pushed Max back on the bed and straddled him, reaching for his belt. She couldn't suppress a laugh when she saw his completely frantic expression. He grabbed her roughly, set her up on her feet, and announced, a little too loudly, "I'm hungry."

Liz laughed all the way to the restaurant.

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