FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Park"
Part 1
by storyteller
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I am merely borrowing the characters, as well as a little of Mr. Katims dialogue and plot, so that I can play with them. I promise to give them back.
Summary: What was it exactly about Max and Tess' meeting in the park that changed the future? This is a speculation about what they were thinking, and why the disappearance of Future Max doesn't necessarily mean that Max and Tess have reached a romantic agreement.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Authors Note: Although I am counting the minutes until Max and Liz are reunited (and please, God, let it be soon),I've always wanted to climb into Tess's head and see what she's thinking. I think she might have an interesting take on the whole story. Many see Tess as a vindictive homewrecker. I tend to see her as another victim of this cruel twist of fate, this strange destiny which all of the characters seem to be suffering under. So, anyways, this is sort of my speculation on what Max and Tess might be thinking after this most recent turn of events.
He couldn't breath. His chest was so tight that it was difficult for him to draw breath. His head was empty and yet mind-numbingly full at the same time. He didn't know how he had gotten there. He supposed that from Liz's patio he had stumbled down the ladder, staggered through the streets, heading nowhere. He couldn't go home. He could not meet the questioning looks of his mother. Nor could he stand to see Michael or Isabel. They would immediately know that something was irreversibly wrong. He couldn't bear to see anyone. He had to collect his thoughts. He had to be alone. The park seemed as good a place as any. The cool smell of wet grass would calm him, help him pull himself together. That is, if he could breathe.

Liz's patio. It had always been such a place of comfort. He couldn't explain the magnetic force that had drawn him back night after night, like a moth to a flame. That place had always seemed like home, more like a home than any other place he'd known. So many times he had stood there on the pavement, looking up, longing to climb the ladder and declare himself to Liz, to make her deal with him, to force her to face what was between them. He knew that she had felt their connection, as he had. Despite all her protestations, he knew that she remembered the moments they'd shared, the memories of which would wake him in the night, or make him shudder during the long days that seemed to fade from one into another. How could she be so unaffected, when the slightest word or look from her completely shattered him, making everything fade away until only the two of them remained? He could not explain this need that had drawn him back to that same spot on the sidewalk night after night, but he had felt it, nonetheless. Now he did not think he could ever set foot there again.

His chest tightened again at the memory, and air struggled to make its way into his lungs. But he could not move, he could barely think with the numbness that consumed him. The images of the evening flashed through his mind, repeating over and over in a filmstrip that he could not forget. Climbing the ladder, composing his words, the words that would reach her this time, the words that would allow them both to feel whole again. Brushing his shirt clean, taking the tickets from his pocket. The fleeting thought that Liz was gone because it was dark inside her room. The whisper of voices, the outline of two people within. Liz, her naked arm exposed and cradling her head, her hair spilling gently across the pillow. Her leg, drifting out from underneath the covers. Kyle, his bare chest gleaming proudly in the moonlight. Liz's sudden turn, the guilty expression transforming her beautiful face. Kyle's ambivalence, his glance towards Liz, referring to what had been shared between them, what Max would never share with Liz, all because of what he was.

"It does feel good..."

Kyle had surely wrapped his arms around her lithe body, caressing Liz in ways that Max had only imagined. Their bodies pressed together, limbs entangled, fingers intertwined. Kyle, his hands in Liz's hair, touching her face, tracing her soft lips. Max groaned, despite himself. If the truth didn't kill him, his imagination would.

But the real nail in his coffin had been her little speech to him in his bedroom. She had forbid him to speak, forbid him to say the words that sprang to his lips at the sight of her. At first he had just listened, grateful for the chance to see her again. He loved the animated way in which she spoke when she thought she had something important to say, her large brown eyes regarding him solemnly. He had missed just being with her, the simple honor of holding her hand, slipping his arm around her, driving her home. He was in love with her, and at this point, any contact, however platonic, was better than nothing.

But as her words began to sink in, Max had felt his stomach turn. "I want to be in love with boys, normal boys. I want to see my twenty first birthday. I want to have a wedding day. I want to have children and...I want my children to be safe." Max closed his eyes at the memory. All the fears of his youth came flooding back to him in an instant...the fear of exposure, the fear of rejection, the fear that no matter how he tried to change his life, he would never, ever be normal. Wasn't this the reason, he admitted to himself now, that he had waited for an excuse to tell Liz Parker the truth about himself? He had loved her for as long as he could remember, and had contemplated telling her a thousand times. Max had rationalized his reluctance, saying he did not know if he could trust her, but he realized now that that was untrue. He had always implicitly trusted Liz, without question, knowing that she would somehow understand him, protect him. Max had been afraid to tell Liz because he knew that, ultimately, it would lead to this. Liz was human, he was not. She wanted a family, happiness, safety, security. Max wanted to be angry with her, but he couldn't. It was natural and just that Liz wanted...well, a life. Liz deserved to have a beautiful wedding. She deserved to have children, and to have those children protected.

An image of Liz carrying a dark-haired baby floated into his mind, and it was all Max could do to maintain his composure. He wished to God that he could be the father of Liz's children, that he could raise a family with her, spend his life with her...Stop. Max had to stop himself right there. It did no good to dwell on it. Max had often reminded himself of this fact, when things became too much to bear. He and Michael and Isabel...they couldn't dwell on the past, or what might have been. They had to look towards the future. Max thought sadly about the strange irony that was his life. To be forced to live on erath in a human body, to learn their way of life, to feel all the human emotions, and yet to never have the priveledge of fully living a human was almost more than he could handle. He'd hit some low points before, but suddenly Max was sure that he'd never felt so alone in his entire life.

Vaguely, he realized that someone was standing several feet away, watching him earnestly. Someone with white-blonde ringlets. Max didn't want to see anyone at this moment, least of all Tess. She was the person who had destroyed all his hopes of happiness, the barrier that stood between him and Liz. If not for Tess, it might have been Max enjoying Liz's kiss, her touch, her smell. Max clenched his teeth. Tess was an ever-present reminder of everything he didn't want, this strange destiny that had been thrust upon him. Destiny...he hated the word itself, this intangible notion that took his life firmly out of his own hands and placed it in the balance of an indistinguishable future. Tess was probably happy with the turn of events, pleased that destiny had reared its ugly head, ready to reunite the two of them once of for all. But when Max allowed himself to look at Tess, he was surprised at how mistaken he had been. She didn't look triumphant, happy, or even hopeful. She just looked afraid.

Index | Part 2
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