FanFic - Max/Liz
"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"
Part 38
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. ARCHIVIST'S NOTE: Part 39 can be found in the Afterhours section.
"Mom? Are you there?" asked Jeff, feeling foolish and excited all at once.

Smiles lit the faces of each member of the circle as the form of Claudia Parker materialized in the center. The humans were astonished, not daring to move a muscle.

"Grandma!" Liz greeted her happily. "Grandma, we did it! Thank you for everything you've done for us."

"That goes for me, too," added Max, feeling now as if they, too, shared a connection.

Claudia's face radiated happiness at the gathering of her dearest friends and family. "Liz, Jeffrey, Max, Paul . . . this is my dream, right here in this room. Seeing all of you, gathered together in love, with no secrets." She turned to face Nancy. "Nancy, Jeffrey is still Jeffrey. He loves you. Prove to him that his fear of telling you the truth was unfounded." A stunned Nancy nodded mutely.

"Paul, my dearest friend, you have always had my heart. Now you have my sincerest gratitude as well. Thank you for helping me, for helping them. Look around you at the lives you've helped change for the better. These people are your family now." Paul looked embarrassed but immensely pleased at her short speech. He opened his mouth to speak, but seemed to change his mind. All he did was wink at her and she chuckled.

"Isabel, Michael, Tess, I have never really known you, but I have known of you for quite some time. I feel sure that you possess the same depth of character, the same high intelligence, and the same moral stamina that Max has exhibited these last two weeks. You are a team, and I'm proud of all of you. Be good to each other, and take my advice. Follow your hearts, wherever they may lead you. Right, Liz?" Liz bit her lip, remembering those words from her grandmother just before her death. She nodded vigorously.

"And you two," she sighed, turning her fond gaze to the two young Voyans who had gone through so much. "You take my breath away. The night I died and we said our goodbyes, Liz, I felt so strongly that the young man sitting in that room with us was your lifemate. There is something so special about your bond. It is strong and vital. Cherish it. Nurture it. Never let go of it, because your strength is each other."

Claudia looked around the room, slowly studying each face in turn. When she had completed the circle, she spoke one last time. "My time as an after-spirit is almost done, but don't grieve. Now you know there is so much more beyond this life. I have no doubt we will see each other again."

Liz almost leapt to her feet, but Max's tug on her hand reminded her she had better not break the linked hands of the circle. "Grandma, aren't you coming back?"

"My time on Earth was done last year. My time in this plane is almost over. I'm just moving on to my next adventure, little one. You still have plenty left to experience here, so don't disappoint me!" She blew Liz a kiss and her image faded.

The group sat in stunned silence for several moments. Then Liz burst into tears and threw herself into Max's arms. "Max, she's gone! How will I get along without her?" She wept into his shoulder. Jeff rose and pulled Liz up, wrapping her in his arms.

"Liz, we thought we'd lost her once before, and look what happened. I believe her. I think we'll see her again. Meanwhile, can you imagine anyone who would be more insistent that you go on living as fully as possible?"

She pulled her head back and looked into her father's face, shaking her head. "No. No, I can't." She smiled up at him and then turned to Max, extending her hand to help him up. He glanced briefly at Tess, who just nodded her head slightly. She was letting him go, giving up her empty claim to him. Although he knew he didn't need her permission, it lightened his load to know that she had come to terms with the life he had chosen. He rose to join Liz, putting his arm around her and kissing her on the forehead. They all turned in surprise as Nancy joined them. "Can an ordinary human get in on this?" she smiled through a fresh stream of tears.

Max turned to see the rest of his family and friends watching the scene, obviously moved by the love that held this unlikely group together. Each had gravitated to someone they loved in instinctive reaction to the strong emotions that hung in the air. Michael had moved behind Maria and encircled her in his arms. Isabel had scooted back on the floor to sit between Alex's knees, reaching up for his hand, which slid willingly over her shoulder. Philip Evans had his arm around his wife, taking in yet another unbelievable experience. Something told him he didn't have to worry about life getting dull! Jim Valenti grasped his son's shoulder and patted it strongly, fighting the tears springing up in his eyes, and noting Kyle's eyes on a quiet Tess.

Paul enjoyed the moment, but he felt like he'd lost his best friend, again. Believing they would see each other again . . . someday . . . was small consolation for the immediate future. Not wishing to intrude further on this intimate scene, he began to edge quietly out of the room. Jeff noticed the movement and called to him.

"Paul, please don't go. You are a part of this family now, and I hope you'll stay with us a while longer."

Paul hesitated and then let a small smile brighten his face. "I'd be honored," he said.

"Who's hungry?" asked Philip in a we-need-something-normal-to-do voice. "How about pizza!" There were shouts of approval from the general crowd and they began to negotiate with each other about quantity and toppings.

Max squeezed Liz's hand and she looked up at him. He nodded his head in the direction of the back of the house and they headed toward the kitchen.

"Where are you two going?" asked Michael. "You're not ditchin' us."

Max laughed. "We'll be back by the time the pizza comes," he assured the roomful of people who were now watching them. "Promise."

He and Liz made a quick escape into the cool night. Max pulled her into the back corner of the yard where a wide hammock was barely swinging in the slight breeze.

"Feel like a little stargazing?" he asked her, a gleam in his eye.

"I could be persuaded," she smiled back at him.

They began to lie down in the hammock, collapsing into laughter as they came perilously close to flipping entirely over and falling on their faces. "I don't usually have company out here," Max teased her.

"I should hope not!" Liz responded indignantly.

Once they were settled in the hammock, Max gave in to the impulse he'd been fighting all night. Liz could feel his intent and turned her face to him. Immediately, his mouth was over hers, an edge of urgency in the long-awaited contact. But gradually, the long kiss evolved into an act of pure love and an exchange of unspoken promises for the future. When they finally parted, Max gazed deeply into Liz's eyes. He could see the stars above them reflected there, and he smiled at how fitting it was that he would see stars in Liz's eyes.

"Liz, we should talk about what happens now. With us, I mean."

Liz could hear a certain nervousness in his voice. She found it completely adorable and couldn't resist having a little fun with him. "What do you mean, Max? What do you think should happen?"

Max squirmed uncomfortably. "Well, I mean, we've been driving each other crazy, you know, getting into all those situations where . . . you know, we have to stop . . . and well, now, we know it's okay . . . you know . . . ."

"But Max. You're the one who reminded me we're just 17 and we can't have a family and we have to act like normal teenagers, and . . . ."

"Liz!" Max erupted.

"Hmmmm?" Liz smiled coyly, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

"You're doing this to me on purpose!" he cried, finally catching on to her game. "What a mean streak!" He began to tickle her and she laughed uncontrollably.

"Stop!" she squealed, helpless in his grasp.

"Make me," he challenged.

Liz reached her hand up to cradle Max's head and pulled him toward her. The game was instantly forgotten as Max melted into her mouth, her body, her heart, her soul. Their kisses heated up as they began to explore each other, a sense of freedom and abandon destroying any rational thought.

"Liz, I want you," Max breathed between the fiery kisses he was planting on every inch of exposed skin.

"Then take me," Liz whispered breathlessly.

Max pulled his head back and studied Liz's face. "Are you sure?" he asked. He never wanted Liz to regret this decision, but his body was screaming to make love to hers.

"It's what I've wanted for a long time, Max. You're the one . . . for always."

Suddenly they found themselves swinging high in the hammock, almost overturning once again. Liz screamed.

"I think you said something about coming back in the house for pizza?" Michael stated sarcastically.

"Michael!" Max steadied the hammock and glared at Michael and Maria, who were hovering over them with sanctimonious expressions on their faces. Within seconds, they all burst out laughing.

"I believe your presence is expected in the house," Maria giggled. "You'd better save this for later." Michael and Maria turned to walk back in the house.

"Soon, Liz. Very soon."

He swung out of the hammock and helped Liz to her feet, unable to resist one last kiss. As they turned to walk toward the house again, they could see Jeff Parker and Diane Evans framed in the doorway. The young lovers approached the door, a hint of worry on their minds about their parents' reaction to what they had just seen. As they met in the doorway, there was a long, silent exchange. No words were spoken, but Liz and Max sensed a resigned acceptance of their relationship. Liz gave her dad a hug. Max kissed his mother's cheek.

"Let's eat," said Diane, and they joined the crowd in the kitchen, a crowd that shared more honesty, more happiness, and more hope than any of them had experienced in quite some time. Max hung back, almost overwhelmed by the changes the last year had brought. He'd gone from isolation to family, from loneliness to friendship, from hopelessness to love. His gaze fell on Liz, arm in arm with Alex, laughing happily. Miracles really did come in small packages, didn't they?

It wouldn't be easy. Their lives just weren't meant to be easy, he supposed. But all in all, he felt lucky, blessed. Liz turned to him and he met her eyes. That was it, he decided. He felt loved. He crossed the room and wrapped her in his arms. Yes, indeed, thought Max, life is good.

Part 37 | Index
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.