FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Return"
Part 6
by Anunaki
Disclaimer: I don't have anything to do with the Roswell books or T.V. series.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: The song is by Otis Redding, seems Max in my universe has some soul. Go figure, surprised me too.
"Max, Come in." Liz stepped to the side and nervously ushered him in. Her hair was pulled up into a pony tail but a few strands hung down, the silkiness just emphasizing the coarseness of the yarn of the sweater and the paleness of the skin that he could see through the loose knit.

Liz blushed under Max's steady gaze. She could feel his eyes as they moved over her almost like a caress.

"Hello, Max." They both started when Scott appeared in the small hallway. Max regained his composure and held out a bottle of wine. "I brought this for you."

"Max, thanks. That's so nice." Liz took the bottle and closed the door, then turned to Scott with her best mannered smile. "Scott, why don't you take Max into the living room and I'll pour this into some glasses for us."

"Um, just water for me, please."

Liz met Max's eyes, and smiled, embarrassed. "Oh, right." She nudged Scott as she headed to the kitchen and he led Max into the living room.

"Well, Max. This is our place. It's small but it's home. Make yourself comfortable." Max settled self-consciously on the edge of the wing-backed chair as Scott took a seat across from him on the couch. They sat in silence for a minute listening to the sound of Liz in the kitchen before Scott spoke.

"Look, Max. I know I acted badly before and I just wanted to apologize."

"You don't have to."

"I know, but Liz was going to kick my ass if I didn't."

"Scott!" Liz's mortified voice sounded from the kitchen.

Scott smiled knowingly at Max. "She's small, but she's wiry."

Max just nodded uncomfortably, not appreciating having to hear from this man how Liz was.

"So, Max. I know this is probably incredibly rude to ask, but how does it happen that your father dies and you don't even know about the funeral?"

There was a crash from the kitchen. "Scott! You don't ask people questions like that!"

Her worried face appeared in the doorway, but Max just smiled softly at her. "It's okay, Liz. I'm going to have to answer questions sooner or later." He hadn't had to think up any excuses for his alien life in a while and it wouldn't hurt to practice his powers of deception. "We weren't on the best of terms. He didn't understand why I had to leave."

Max's statement to Liz seemed a little odd to Scott. He was suddenly a little less interested in intimidating Max then figuring him out. "Yeah, Liz never talks about that much either. It's kind of like you just dropped off the face of the planet. What happened?"

"Let's just say I felt a call to defend my country." Liz walked in the room and handed them both their glasses, then perched on the arm of the couch next to Scott. Scott draped his arm loosely around her, a silent gesture to remind Max of their relationship.

"Military, huh? You must be a real patriot to be able to leave Liz behind."

Max looked Liz in the eye. "It was hard." She looked away and took a sip of wine to wash the lump in her throat down.

"What branch are you in?"

"What? Oh, um...Air Force." Again a look was exchanged between Liz and Max and Scott felt like there was a joke he was missing the punchline of.

"Well then, Flyboy, guess you'll be shipping out again soon?" He patted Liz lightly. "You got to watch out for these guys, babe. They got a girl in every port."

Scott could tell his attempt to raise Liz's suspicion against Max failed as she looked at Max with a look that Scott couldn't quite interpret. Max only smiled cryptically.

"Not me. I've put in my time. I'm ready to settle down. And I think I like it here."

**********

"So, the next week a review of our band comes out in the school paper. And it is just brutal. I mean, totally reams us. Tough guy that I am, I go to their office demanding to talk to the reviewer, some Sam guy, calling him every name in the book. Well, you may have guessed, Sam turned out to be Samantha, and my future bride."

Isabel smiled at Alex's obvious happiness. "It was love at first sight?"

Alex looked at Sam and rolled his eyes. "Not by a long-shot. We spent several months exchanging dirty looks and badmouthing each other to our friends. Then we had some classes together and started talking and finally she had no choice but to succumb to my charms. Although she still has questionable taste in music."

Sam touched his hand. "I did you a favor. You're a much better electrical engineer than you were a musician."

Alex sighed. "Yeah, I guess. But I can still dream."

"Getting your Ph.D., a great job waiting for you in California, a beautiful wife and a baby on the way. I'd say you made the right choice."

"I suppose so." Alex looked away but not before Isabel caught the wistful what-if that was in his eyes. His smile brightened again. "Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I need to go find the little cabelleros room. Please, feel free to talk amongst yourself."

The table suddenly seemed much quieter in his absence. The two women exchanged shy smiles before finally Isabel spoke. "It seems like Alex and I have been dominating the conversation all night, I haven't really gotten a chance to get to know you. So, um, what do you do?"

"Well, I'm a therapist. I work with children, using music to help..." She was fighting to keep the smile on her face but her eyes were filling with tears. "...help them express...I'm sorry."

"Sam, what's wrong?"

"It's just that, I saw the way Alex looked at you. And I can't blame him. I know he probably thinks of you as the one who got away. And now we run into you, and you're gorgeous, and I'm..." She gestured to her swollen belly and brought a Kleenex up to her eyes to catch the fresh group of tears.

"You're carrying his child." Isabel fixed Sam with a stare to convey how serious she was. "What was between me and Alex was over long ago. And it wasn't because I got away. We just weren't right for each other. But I do know Alex and I can see that he loves you very much."

Sam blew her nose and the first signs of a smile began to form on her lips. "Yeah, he does." She wiped away the last of the tears. "I'm sorry. I'm really not usually so emotional. I probably have enough hormones going through me to kill a horse."

"That's okay." Isabel touched Sam lightly on the arm to reassure her but froze as a connection was made with her mind. It was unlike anything she'd experienced before. There were no memories, no thoughts as she knew them. Only warmth and darkness and a pulsating fluid noise like waves breaking on a beach.

"Oh!" Alex returned to the table in time to see his wife's hand reflexively going to her belly. "Is he kicking again? He must be ready, he seem to be trying to kick his way out."

"She." Isabel spoke quietly but by her dazed expression Alex could tell that something not quite earthly was going on.

"What?" Isabel snapped out of it. "Nothing. Just, it could be a she, you know. Now, let's see what kind of desserts they have to offer."

**********

The snow crunched under Liz's boots with a sound that always made her think of walking on Styrofoam packing peanuts. It was the first good snow of the season and the world was washed in white. Everyone else was complaining about the terrible weather, but to her it was beautiful. It was Wednesday, and on Wednesday everything was beautiful.

As she waited to cross the street to the diner a sudden gale kicked up the fresh powder causing the snowflakes to dance in a vortex around her. Each one chilling her anew as they landed on her face and clung to the fir trim of her parka. Her Eskimo suit, as Scott called it. She felt a sudden stab of guilt. She hadn't told Scott about these weekly meetings with Max yet. But she would, she just needed time. Besides, there was nothing to tell him anyway. There were just two friends getting together to talk about old times. Nothing wrong with that. But still she made up her mind to mention it to Scott at the next convenient opportunity. Her mind eased, she hurried across the street into the waiting warmth of the diner.

She didn't have to look for Max long. He was in the same booth he had always sat in ever since that first day. She took off her scarf and gloves and set them next to the newspaper he had spread across the table.

"Hey. Whatcha doing?"

"I'm looking for a job."

"A job?"

"Yeah, I figure I'm going to be here a while. Nasedo made some good investments while he was here, but that money's only going to last so long."

Liz turned the paper so she could see what he'd marked. "So, what are you looking for?"

"I don't know. Something interesting, entry level. There's not much available for someone with my skills or experience."

"Hmmm. Nobody needs help freeing a planet? Did you check under ousted royalty?"

"I must have missed that section. Maybe that explains my problem."

"After you get a job, what then?"

"Well, I was thinking-" He stopped in midsentence, distracted by the people who just entered and paused at the doorway. A man, a woman, and a baby. It looked like a normal family to Liz. Sure, they were dressed a little odd but there were a lot of foreign grad students so it wasn't all that strange. But there was something about them. They came closer and she realized that they were definitely not from around here.

"Michael? Tess?"

"Hey, Liz." Michael was caught off guard as Liz threw arms around him, but he returned her embrace before gently releasing her to her seat on the booth.

"Wow. I can't believe that you're here, too."

"Yeah. Look, we'll have to leave the reunion stuff 'til later. We got important business to discuss."

Max eyed Michael worriedly. "What are you doing here?"

"Bad news, Maxwell. Jorgen's back." Max's mouth thinned into a hard line. "We'll fill you in someplace a little less public."

Max nodded and began to put on his jacket. "Sorry, Liz. Next time?"

"Sure," Liz mumbled. She still couldn't get past the sudden appearance of Michael and Tess, or the pale child Tess held in her arms. "Wow. So you two...?"

Max paused in putting on his gloves and exchanged a look with Michael and Tess. "Liz, Charlie's mine. Mine and Tess's."

"Oh." She was dazed for a minute but quickly recovered. "Oh, that's great. I mean, congratulations." She hastily threw on her coat and fumbled with her gloves a minute before shoving them into her pocket. "Then you have, uh, family business to discuss. I will," she looked at Max and her forced professional tone faltered slightly. "I will just see you later."

Her gaze rested briefly on Michael and Tess then longer on the strange dark eyes of the child before she hurried towards the door.

Max hesitated just long enough to see Tess's silent assent, then followed Liz out into the snow.

"Liz, wait." She turned at the sound of his voice but didn't meet his eyes. "Liz, I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you. I just wanted to give us more time."

"Max, It's okay." Her eyes were clear and dry, any trace of shock or sadness carefully kept in check. "You don't have to explain. It's been a long time, and time didn't freeze for either of us. We both made the choices we had to move on."

"You don't understand. We were brought here for two reasons. First, to defend our planet. And second, to produce an heir. There is a great weapon to defend our planet and the key to it flows through my veins. It's the strange blood you saw when you first learned about me. It has to be protected, and it has to be carried on. Otherwise everything I've done, everything I've lived through, including leaving you, is for nothing. Charlie is the reason I was created, the reason I can come back to you now. It's true, he is a connection between Tess and I. But one neither of us wanted, and the only one there is. I love you, Liz. I always have."

"I don't know what to say. This is all just too much. It was hard enough with you coming back, and now this. I'm sorry Max, I just...I can't." She walked off into the flurry of snow. **********

It had been the toughest week of Liz's life, trying not to think of all that had happened and still retain some semblance of her normal life. And not seeing Max. It had been an effort not to go to the diner on Wednesday and instead she had just come home and feel asleep like she'd just completed a marathon. She'd had to live without Max before and although she thought she'd never live through it, somehow she did. But that time it hadn't been her choice.

She opened the door of her darkened apartment and threw her keys down on the table by the door. She made her way to the kitchen and poured a glass of wine. She hadn't turned any lights on yet and she just stood for a moment, staring at the large flakes falling around the streetlights. But the house was too dark, too quiet. She suddenly felt uncomfortably alone.

Looking for the reassurance of the vapid drone of the television she moved into the living room. She turned on the light to find Scott sitting on the couch. He seemed to be doing the same thing she had been, watching the falling snow and thinking. Then she noticed the packed duffel bag at his feet.

"Scott? What are you doing?"

"I can't live like this."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can't live with a woman who's in love with someone else." He wanted her to deny it, tell him it wasn't true, but she just fell into the chair across from him with a look on her face that confirmed everything he'd feared.

"You know, Liz, I've been in love with you since I met you. I waited for two years for you just to go out with me. Then I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. But you wanted to wait until graduation, so we waited. Then you wanted to wait until we were settled into grad school, so we waited. I'm still waiting."

"I have two sisters. I know how women get about weddings. They start planning them when their five. My friends always gave me a hard time that once I asked you to marry me that I would be spending all my time picking out invitations and flowers. I told them you were different, and I believed you were. But now I realize that you're just the same. You have it all planned in your head, it's just that I'm not there."

She wanted to explain, to say something to ease the hurt they both were feeling. "Scott-" "Don't say you're sorry, that it wasn't me, that you still want to be friends. Because we can't. It'd be best if I didn't see you again. I'll come get the rest of my stuff Monday when you're in lab." He paused in the doorway for one last look back, then walked out the door.

***********

Max got up at a knock at his hotel room door. There in front of him was what he wanted the most but hadn't dared hope for. Liz's eyes were red from crying but shone with a light Max hadn't seen the whole time he'd been back.

"Scott and I had a talk this evening. About our relationship. About you. We both agreed that if there was any hope for our relationship, I have to stay away from you." She lifted her eyes to him, no longer able to control the smile on her face. "So I'm letting him go."

Max pulled her parka away from her shoulders and threw it over to the chair. The snow in her hair was melting, collecting at the tips of her hair until heavy enough to fall, rivulets that slid smoothly over her skin. A drop fell on her shoulder and he followed it with his finger until it disappeared under the neckline of her sweater. She drew in a shaky breath and as he stepped back she pulled the heavy garment over her head and dropped it on the floor.

She shivered at the feeling of the air against her bare skin. Then Maxs hands were on her ribs and she felt a delicious warmth flow through her. One hand moved over the soft skin of her stomach, a trail of light disappearing behind. When it reached the spot pierced by a stray bullet so long ago Maxs hand print burst forth again in silvery brilliance. From out of nowhere soft music began to play with the rhythm of a heartbeat.

Come to me, for Im lonely Come to me, for Im lonely Darling come to me, and be my girl For I love, love, love you so

Maxs hand slid around to find a home at the small of her back, its slight pressure bringing them closer as the other tangled itself in her hair, exposing her neck to his warm, tender kisses. She closed her eyes and melted against him as they swayed slowly to the music.

Come to me, forget the past Think of life we have ahead Come to me, and be my girl For I love, love, love you so

She sighed and breathed in a fragrance, sweet and musky, the springtime enticement of an exotic bloom. She opened her eyes to find that the hotel walls had been replaced with a sea of flowers and above them was a ceiling of the brightest stars she had ever seen. As she watched a star fell in a shower of sparks and a planet of swirling colors began to appear on the horizon.

She pulled back to meet his eyes with a curious smile. Max, what is this?

Days are getting so lonely Nights are getting so blue Time has come for you and I To get together and well make do

I have dreamed about this night for...forever. I want it to be every birthday, every Christmas, every Valentines day Ive missed, all rolled into one. I want sparks to fly, stars to fall. I want it to be special.

She rested her head on his shoulder, her voice a soft tickle in his ear. I had all those things from the day you healed me, Max.

Come to me, for Im begging Come to me, for Im begging Darling come to me, and be my girl For I love, love, love you so

Her hands slid gingerly along the top of the stiff fabric of his jeans, reveling in the feel of the firm flesh beneath her fingertips. He drew a ragged breath as his clothing, and his mind, began to come undone in her hands. He was drowning in her eyes, his only lifeline the feel of her breath on his lips as she spoke. All I need is you.

Part 5 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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