|"The Max Factor"|
Disclaimer: These characters and the storyline are the creation of Melinda
Metz and the producers and writers of the TV show, "Roswell." I think I can
safely take the credit for what's left. : )
Summary: This short story is based on storyline for the "Roswell" episode called "The End of the World." I humbly submit my version of it.
Authors Note: This story is dedicated to Roswell fans. Let me know what you think. I mean, should I bother submitting "Part Two" (which is sitting here waiting!). I'm not sure if "isotopes" go in equations, or if "Mr. Britsky's" question makes sense in this context. If not, please pretend they do. : )
| Liz sat self-consciously in her chemistry class. Max. She could feel
his eyes on her, her left side heating up from behind. She fidgeted with her
pen, trying to ignore the small panic rising inside her chest. It felt like
he was going inside her body and feeling everything she felt. Invasion of
the Alien Lover.|
"Huh?" she looked up at Mr. Britsky.
"I said, do you think another isotope would make a significant difference in this equation?" he repeated with faint reproof.
"Um, I'm not...sure."
He sighed, and Liz caught Maria looking at her quizzically.
"Ms. De Luca, what about you?"
Maria appeared to carefully consider the question.
"A difference? Yes, definitely. But significant? That depends on how we're measuring significance. I'd say any change in a chemical equation is significant because it makes a difference. Now that's significant."
There was a short, uncomfortable silence in the room.
Liz gave Maria a negative look when she saw her about to make matters worse, and then the bell rang.
"Ms. De Luca, please grace us tomorrow with further clarification of your point during the first five minutes of class. Chapter Three tomorrow, people. You will start us off with that too, Ms. De Luca. Ms. Parker, a moment please."
Maria waved, and Liz kept her head down as the class emptied out quickly into the noisy hallway. She didn't even want to catch a glimpse of his legs when he walked by! She just couldn't take the rush it would give her.
At lunchtime Maria was eating a bag of big purple grapes like it was a marathon.
"So what'd he say?"
"Nothing. He thinks I'm acting weird just because I don't raise my hand in class one day."
"Ha! Try two weeks. You're ill and I know the cure."
Something caught her attention behind Liz.
"Is it him?" Liz asked quietly.
"Well, it's somebody."
Maria smiled saucily at her, then became contrite when she saw her friend's expression. "It's not Max, Liz."
Liz fingered the napkin next to her more or less untouched hamburger.
"You are totally wasting food lately." Maria took it. "I still don't know why you won't even talk to him---"
"I don't want to talk about---"
"---and he's walking around staring at you like a mirage in the desert. It's a shame."
Maria shook her head and bit into the sandwich.
"It's just too stupid. You love him. He loves you. No matter what the thing in the cave said, Max and Isabel are not real aliens. They're mostly human. Now, Michael, he's probably a real alien. Look next to me." She opened her hands to the empty chair beside her. "What do you see? Nothing. That's right. 'Nothing' is an alien's version of 'because I love you so much.' And oh, what a great love it is. Mmm, I can feel it now through muscle and bone. Wow."
Maria swallowed back the feeling coming over her.
"As for the so-called 'Tess', I don't know what it is except irrelevant."
Liz smiled a little sadly, putting her hand over hers.
"The bell's about to ring."
Maria stared down at her plate.
"Yeah, well it's too late."
The next two nights Liz cried herself to sleep, and she was determined not to do it a third time. She sat on the roof that evening, her journal waiting patiently next to two lit candles on a little table. It was cool, but not chilly, the warm blanket wrapped around her making her feel secure. She laid her head back to gaze at the stars. They were so beautiful, and they hadn't changed. Beyond the incredible events of the past year, they were her treasure, a constant in her life. Something she could count on. A forbidden memory came to Liz and, after an initial resistance, she reveled in it because...what did it matter? She sank slowly into a midnight blue pillow of dreams...and told destiny to 'suck it' on her way down.
Liz woke up in the darkness, disturbed at being outside. Something was wrong. She became more apprehensive as the seconds passed. When she stood up, she heard a strange voice that sounded like it was coming from a cave.
Afraid, she quickly moved to go inside, when suddenly in front of her was a bright vertical line of white light about a meter long and a humming, the vibration of which undulated acutely through her. She backed away when two hands seemed to extend from the line and pull it apart.
Then all was quiet.
Liz nearly peed on herself as she stared in disbelief. Before her stood a young man looking as if nothing strange had just happened. She forced her voice to work.
"Who are you, and what do you want?"
The man steeped toward her petrified form.
"Liz. Sweetheart, don't you know me?"
Liz looked at each feature of his face, his body, then came back to his eyes filled with a melancholy tenderness.
He gently took her hand in his and smiled. She snatched hers away and paused at the faint look of hurt she saw.
"It can't be!"
She wanted to cry. This was just too much. She wanted her normal life back. Falling on love with an alien had finally brought her to this: altered visions of him stepping out of thin air.
"I know this is bizarre for you, but there's no other way. Liz, it is me -- Max -- eight years from now. I've come back through time to save my planet from destruction."
Liz sat, deciding to see the insanity through. Whoever he was, he did look like Max, only older and, if possible, more handsome. Either she was going insane or this was a Skin or something else up to no good. Tilting her head at his worried expression, she decided to find out all she could.
"The Max you know is going to make a fatal choice, and only you can change his mind."
"How?" she demanded again, her voice brittle.
"You've got to make him stop...loving you."
He turned away. "You've got to kill his heart. And you know exactly how to do it."
When he turned back to her with questioning eyes, Liz thought he could indeed pass for a Max of the future, but he had the hard look of someone who had fought for survival. Was it him? Would whoever this was kill her if he didn't get what he wanted? She had to be careful.
"You know what I know?"
His eyes narrowed.
"You don't believe I'm Max Evans, do you?"
"I believe, Max, that a person or thing appearing the way you did is very strange, to say the least. Besides, you're not really telling me anything."
When he remained silent, she continued, "If you have noth---"
His sudden kiss was brief, but familiar; then he stepped back, shoving his hands in his pockets, his left jaw ticking.
"That's what you have to do," he said roughly, "with another guy. And I have to see it. Then you have to tell me to my face that you don't love me and mean it."
Liz just stared at him.
"Liz, say something! This is serious and it's all true. Eight years ago I chose you over everything, over Isabel and Michael, and my world. Because of me, a whole planet, a whole civilization, perished. Isabel, Michael...Maria and Alex."
"Oh, give me a small break!"
He grabbed her arm when she turned away.
"I know this is hard for you---"
"Look, why don't you just visit yourself with this story. If Max had ever loved me, and you're him, you wouldn't dump something like this on me."
"I don't want to hear any more!"
"---I don't have a choice! I have to do the right thing and you're the key. The Max you know would deny me because he loves you too much -- just as much as I love you. But he hasn't seen what I've seen. Liz, if you don't change destiny, eight billion people will die, including your best friends and, in case you're wondering, there's no happy ending for you and me either."
He suddenly gasped and doubled over in pain. Liz stooped down and grabbed his shoulders.
"I can't stay any longer. The interdimensional rip is closing. Ahh!"
He looked directly into her eyes, smiling a little through his pain. Even while she stared at him the white vertical line appeared behind him and he backed up into it.
"Liz, beloved," he began desperately, still holding her gaze, "this is our only chance. I can't come again."
He reached out and gently pulled her face, streaming with tears, towards his.
"I know this is unfair, and you probably wish you never met me. But I love you, Liz, past, present and future. No matter what the future is or what the past becomes."
He kissed her fervently, then softly. With his lips still against hers, he whispered raggedly, "Break my heart, Liz. Now is the only time it will make a difference. Eight billion lives, Liz! l love you. Goodbye!"
"Don't leave me, Max!"
He tore himself away from her, reaching behind and thrusting himself into the line, while it buzzed and hummed low through her bones again.
Then all was quiet, and Liz stood looking at the heart Max had drawn on her wall what seemed like a long, long time ago. It was glowing again, while the peaceful dawn approached.
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|