FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Fugitive"
Part 2
by Karen
Disclaimer: None of it is mine.
Summary: Max commits a crime, he and Michael go into hiding, the others plot to clear Max.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: R
Authors Note: Feedback is appreciated, just don't flame me for letting Tess do a good deed - she's still creepy and not to be trusted.
Michael looked over at the dark heap in the corner and shook his head. Max had been lying there for a week, barely moving, not saying anything. Michael had tried everything - yelling at him, telling him jokes, saying things he knew would piss him off, anything to get a reaction out of him. Nothing. Max just lay in the corner with his back to the world.

Michael tossed another log onto the little fire he'd built to take off the chill. He'd cooked some hotdogs earlier, hoping the smell would bring Coma Boy out of his daze, but that hadn't worked. Michael was beginning to wonder if this was permanent.

"Max, did I ever tell you I have the hots for your sister?" Michael began, his voice echoing in the cave. "Wow, what I wouldn't give to get some of that."

He glanced at Max again. Nothing.

"I know that theory that we're brother and sister and all, but I don't buy it. I think she was created all for me." Pause. Nothing. "I'll bet she's a screamer, too." Still nothing. Time to change tactics. "But, you know, if she weren't interested, there's always Liz. She's into aliens, I hear." Maybe a slight stirring? Ooo, maybe he'd hit the mark. "She's one of those quiet types. But I'll bet in bed she'll really let it out, won't she? I'll bet she screams like a banshee. Screams like Janis Joplin never could. Screams like - "

The blanket covering Max flew into the air suddenly, and he was on Michael, propelling him off the stump he was sitting on and sending him crashing to the cave floor. They tumbled together, Max on top of Michael, his hands tightly grasping the front of Michael's shirt. Max's eyes reminded Michael of a rabid raccoon he'd once seen -wild, red, black all around.

"Don't you ever speak about Liz like that again, you freaking asshole!" Max spat.

Michael smiled, even though he hurt everywhere from being pounded into the hard rock floor of the cave. "Well, good morning, sunshine."

"Shut up. Just shut up, Michael. I can't stand any more of your babbling."

"Well, I couldn't stand any more of your silence. Now get off me - you smell bad."

Max released his grip and slid off of Michael. He'd spent all of his energy attacking his friend, so he simply slumped into a sitting position. Michael sat up, pleased his constant needling had finally hit the mark - even if he had resorted to a pretty low tactic.

"Now that you've rejoined the living," he began, "are you going to help me think of a way out of this?"

"There is no way out," Max sighed.

"Okay then. We'll just spend our last days wasting away in this cave." He eyed Max. "And from the looks of you, it won't be much longer. You aren't doing anyone any good this way, Max. Eat something. Go down to the river and wash up. Or were you just planning on withering away to nothing in here?"

Max shrugged non-committally.

"Excellent. I might as well go turn you in then. It will get me out of this stinking cave and you'll get your wish."

Max sighed again. Michael wondered what insulting thing he'd have to come up with next to get him to talk again. The Liz thing was about as bad as he could get…but he could always get a little more crude with the Liz thing, he guessed.

He didn't have to. Max spoke. "I didn't mean to do it, Michael."

Michael studied him. "I know you didn't."

"I can't prove it."

"I know. If you prove it, you reveal who you are. That's why we need to think of a way out of this."

Max felt a tugging in his head, almost like ear pressure when ascending in an airplane. He shook his head, forcing the feeling away. He wished Isabel would just stop it.

"Isabel," he said, warning Michael. They'd been lucky so far that Isabel had tried Max then Michael, always in that order. Michael wasn't good at knocking her out of his head. He needed the advance warning from Max. If she tried Michael first just once, she was in for sure.

Michael squeezed his eyes shut and felt Isabel bounce off his mind like a rubber ball. "Why does she always try you first?" he demanded.

"Count our blessings."

"She must be furious."

Max had to agree. And if the roles were reversed, he'd be pretty upset himself. He wasn't sure he'd ever forgive her.

"I wish we could tell her," Max said wistfully. "But she's safer where she is for now. They've gotta be watching the house like hawks."

"She is safe."

Michael and Max both whirled toward the cave entrance, their hearts pounding. Alex was standing there, a backpack slung over one shoulder. "Hi, guys."

"How in the - " Michael began.

"What are you doing here?" Max demanded.

Alex shrugged. "You know. I was in the neighborhood. Decided to drop by." He motioned to a tree stump. "Nice furniture. Very rustic. May I?"

Michael, still shocked, motioned for him to sit. Alex sat, started rummaging in his over-stuffed backpack.

"I have supplies for you guys." He eyed Max's disheveled appearance. "And a change of clothes." He tossed a pair of jeans and a T-shirt at Max, then a flannel shirt and some jeans at Michael. He produced a couple bottles of Tabasco - Michael felt his mouth water, some Snickers bars, a box of crackers, several cans of soup, some bottled water, then a white carry-out bag with a little green alien on the front of it.

Max eyed the white bag, recognizing it as one of the bags the Crashdown used for carry out orders, and felt his stomach clench. Liz.

"Miss Parker tossed together a little doggy bag for the two of you," Alex said nonchalantly. He peered inside of the bag. "Hmm, smells good. Looks like chicken salad, some pickles - oh, and that mud pie you like, Max."

Max felt his eyes start to water. After all she must be going through, she'd done this for him. Well, for Michael also, but the pie was definitely placed in that bag for him.

Michael was still staring at Alex, who seemed unnerved by the whole situation. "How in the - " he began again.

"Better eat," Alex said, avoiding his questions. "I walked a long way with that, and you know you can't keep chicken salad out all day. It would be unfortunate to get food poisoning way out here in the middle of nowhere." Alex stood to stretch, then glanced at Max. "Forget food poisoning. You're going to starve first. When was the last time you ate?"

Max gave his apathetic shrug again.

"Well, you'd better eat that," Alex said, pointing to the carryout bag, "because I certainly don't want to go back and break Liz's heart." With that, he walked out of the cave to get some fresh air and to leave them to their dinner.

Later, the three guys sat around the fire, talking about what had happened and what they could do to get out of it. The food in Max's stomach had made him unbelievably tired. Michael felt energized, like he was ready to take on the world.

"You know," Alex began. "You guys should let Isabel in. She thought you were dead."

Michael and Max exchanged a guilty glance.

"We thought she'd be safer not knowing anything," Michael explained.

"I understand that. She doesn't."

Max cleared his throat, found the courage to ask what he'd been dying to ask since he'd first seen Alex. "How's Liz?"

Alex looked at Max, bit his lip. "She's okay, Max. They held her for a couple of days."

"Oh, God...."

"But she's okay. She's worried for you. Her parents have her on a pretty short leash right now. Just like your parents have Isabel on a short leash. But they are both okay." He turned to Michael. "I haven't seen Maria, but I talked to her on the phone. She's hanging in there."

Michael looked at the cave floor. He didn't want to think about Maria right now. He needed to be strong - he couldn't end up like Coma Boy over there. "Thanks," he mumbled.

Alex rubbed his palms together. "So, what are we going to do?"

"You're not going to do anything," Max told him. "You can't get involved in this, Alex."

"Look, I'm your only link to the real world. Were you planning on just holing up in this cave forever?"

"No," Michael said, then grinned at Max. "At least I wasn't. I'm not so sure about Max."

Michael was delighted to see that disgusted look pass Max's face. It had been a long time since Max had shown any emotion…well, except for a few hours earlier when he'd knocked Michael on his ass.

"Well, I guess before we can figure a way out of this, I need to know what happened." Alex looked from Max to Michael and back again. "Everything."

Max drew in a breath, prepared to protest, but Alex's stern expression made him stop. "You'd better get comfortable - it's a long story."

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