FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Road Not Taken"
Part 1
by MJ_1071
Disclaimer: As if I own these characters! I’m just borrowing Max, Liz, Isabel, Alex, Maria, Michael et al and I’ll try to leave them the way I found them.
Summary: Takes place after ‘Destiny’ - Liz steps back from Max – or does she?
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Feedback would be greatly appreciated. This is my first Roswell Fan Fic. Please be kind! This story is my own little homage to Sliding Doors (which I adored) and I have a feeling it’s gonna be long.
~ The Past ~

Liz felt so many conflicting emotions wash over her, she literally staggered. She had listened in astonishment as Max’s mother – his real mother - shimmered not 3 feet away from them, the power of the orbs having summoned her, telling Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess who they were and what their future held for them.

It was too much, Liz couldn’t think, everything she was feeling seemed to swirl inside her. Was this really happening? Max was a leader of his people. A warrior somehow re-born and sent to earth to try and end the war for his people. Tess…his bride. Michael and Isabel engaged. Liz felt like all the air had suddenly been sucked out of her lungs. Looking at Max, she could almost feel the struggle going on in his mind as he endeavoured to take in all he was being told. And she knew he was worrying about how she would feel about all this. Liz felt a stab of fierce love for Max and her mind suddenly cleared.

She loved him with all her heart, didn’t know if she could exist without him, but Liz couldn’t regret that finally he had the answers he’d been searching for, that all three of them finally knew why they were here. Tears welled in Liz’s eyes as she realised what she had to do. Max’s people needed him – they loved him and were waiting for him…to come…home.

“Things will never be the same. But whatever happens, we have to stay together. It’s just the four of us now”. Max looked at Isabel who was struggling to keep her emotions under control, at Michael who just stared at him with a dazed expression on his face, then turned to include Tess in his statement.

Liz held herself very still as she watched Tess reach out for Max. Pushing herself into his arms she purred ‘I knew this was meant to be!”

Liz turned away, unable to watch a second longer.

Max stared at Tess for a moment, then firmly removed her hands from around his waist. “No!”

Crossing the 10 feet from Tess in a few strides he grabbed Liz by the elbow, forcing her to turn and look at him. “Liz, everything I told you before is still true.”

Just hearing Max say her name gave her comfort. She felt warmness spread through her body as his words gave her the reassurance of his commitment, his love. Then Liz remembered the message and her heart sank.

‘Max you do have a destiny – you just heard it. I can’t stand in the way of it.’

Liz looked up into Max’s eyes and flinched as she saw the pain her words were causing him.

“You mean everything to me.” Max’s voice shook as all the emotion he was feeling forced its way into his voice.

Staring into his eyes, Liz drew in her breath. Could he really doubt her love for him? Liz knew she should just turn away and leave, but she felt herself being drawn in by the intense look in his eyes.

Slowly Liz reached up and pressed her lips softly to his waiting ones. The connection between them sparked like electricity and Liz was flooded with a tidal wave of love from Max. She felt her own love reach out and sheath him. For a second no one and nothing else existed. There was only Max, giving her his heart and soul, reverently accepting what Liz offered to him. At that moment Liz was at peace. She knew she would never love anyone like she loved Max. Then, too soon, the moment passed. The reality of the situation came crashing down on her and Liz felt herself stiffen. Drawing away from Max’s face, she gently placed her hand on Max’s chest, over his heart before stepping away from him.

Liz saw the hurt and confusion in Max’s eyes and didn’t think she could let him go. A picture of Max leaning over her, relief shining on his exhausted face after he’d healed her all those months ago, suddenly flashed into her mind and she found the strength. Max had almost died trying to protect her from Nasedo. Liz knew she had to do this – for him. She had to leave him now, so he could be free to follow his destiny, where ever and to whom ever it led him. Taking a deep breath, she took another step away from him and for a long moment looked into his beautiful eyes.

“Goodbye Max.” Liz struggled to get the words out. The way Max was looking at her was destroying her. She needed to get away. Turning away from him, she made her way out of the cave. Reaching out she grasped the doorway, she felt unsteady on her feet, like nothing around her was solid.

Outside the cave, Liz drew in a shuddering breaths and prayed she could make it down the embankment before her emotions totally overwhelmed her.

“Liz!” She heard Max call her name – could hear the tears in his voice, feel his raw pain. “Liz…wait!”

‘Keep going’ Liz told herself, even as she stopped and slowly turned around to face him.

Max’s eyes burned into her soul as they begged her not to leave him. Liz felt her throat close up and tears sting behind her eyes. Wordlessly she pleaded with Max to let her go - that this was for the best. She knew he had understood her when she saw him slightly shake his head – he would not let her go. That small action unlocked the dam that was holding back her tears and she felt them flow freely down her face. God how was she going to do this? She had to get away – if Max so much as touched her she would never be able to leave him. With a sob Liz turned and continued walking down the embankment.

She heard him start to follow her and she started to run. Her heart breaking, Liz didn’t look back as she heard Michael remonstrate with Max, his own voice breaking with emotion. Liz ran, as fast as her legs would carry her, away from the one person in the world she wanted to be with. Away from her soul mate.

~ The Past ~

“Goodbye Max.” Max heard the tremor in Liz’s voice. Dismay filled his heart when he realised what she was telling him. Before he could react, Liz turned and walked out of the cave.

As Max watched Liz turn and walk away from him, he felt as though everything around him had stopped moving, he was frozen where he stood, he couldn’t breathe. ‘I can’t lose her’ was the only coherent thought he could form.

“Liz!” he cried. Her name seemed to come from deep inside of himself. Suddenly, as if of their own will, his feet moved and he dashed outside after her.

Once outside the cave, Max could see Liz walking unsteadily down the embankment. He knew she had heard him, but she continued to move away from him. This couldn’t be happening.

“Liz…Liz wait!” All the raw pain Max was feeling could be heard in his voice as he willed her to stop and look at him.

Stopping abruptly, she slowly turned her head and met his eyes. Her eyes pleaded with him to let her go. At this moment, he was incapable of speech, but Max knew he would not let her go this way. He watched her eyes fill with tears as she understood that he could not do what she asked of him. Before he could take another step towards her, she turned and dashed headlong down the embankment.

Michael watched, his own eye’s bright with unshed tears, as Liz turned away from Max. Then he slowly made his way to Max’s side. Max was staring at Liz’s retreating figure, his face blank, but with eyes so full of pain, Michael had to look away. Finally Max seemed to shake out of his daze and started to follow Liz. Michael reached out and grabbed Max’s arm.

“You’ve gotta let her go.” Michael’s own pain made it hard for him to finish the sentence.

Max was so focused on Liz he hadn’t even heard Michael come up beside him. He jumped a little as he felt the pressure of Michael’s hand on his arm. NO! Max’s mind screamed at him, he wouldn’t accept that. With a determined look, Max shrugged off Michael’s hand and took off down the slope after Liz.

He didn’t care what his destiny was supposed to be, his destiny would be how he made it and he would not be without Liz. Michael didn’t understand that Liz was his comfort and his strength. When he’d been tortured by the FBI and the pain got so bad he’d wanted to close his eyes and never wake up, Liz was the only thing that kept him going. And when he thought he’d lost Liz, he knew, without a doubt, that he had no desire to even have life without her.

Max reached Liz just as she stumbled over a rock and darted forward to catch her before she hit the ground. She was shaking and hysterical. The connection between them started the moment he touched her. Max could feel Liz’s agony over her decision, knew what it had cost her to put his needs first and he had never loved her more. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and continued to hold her until she stopped struggling. He tried to show her what he was feeling.

Perhaps in a past life on another planet, he had been married to Tess, but here – now – Max knew with every fibre of his being he belonged with Liz. And she belonged with him. Max was still reeling from all that had happened in the past 15 minutes, but somehow he felt as though he’d crossed the universe, time and even death to be with her. She was his other half, his soul mate. He would not…could not lose her now.

As Max continued to hold Liz, gradually her shaking stopped and she grew calm. Across their connection Max felt an indescribable joy and realised Liz understood how he felt. Yet Max recognised a deep need within himself to try and put into words his commitment to Liz. Pulling away from her slightly, he gently took her face in his hands and tilted her head until she was looking into his eyes. For a long moment they stared at each other. Max could feel the tears start to run down his cheeks, but didn’t care.

“Liz,” he whispered reverently “I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I can’t promise you things will go back to normal, but I can tell you that whatever happens…you have my heart. I love you. I need you…so much. I can face anything, knowing that we’re together.”

Taking one hand away from her face he placed it over his heart. “I feel it here…the truth. We belong together…you – you are my destiny Liz.”

He held his breath as he looked into her face. He was utterly mesmerised as he watched her eyes fill with tears and her face crumple as the meaning of his words seeped into her heart. With a sob Liz threw herself into his arms and Max released a shuddery sigh. He tightened his arms around her and revelled as a sense of wholeness, unlike anything he’d experienced, filled and warmed him to his very soul.

~ The Past ~

It seemed to Liz that one moment she was running through the desert and the next she was standing outside the Crashdown. She didn’t remember how she had gotten there, but it was dark by the time she stumbled, exhausted mentally as well as physically, into the Crashdown to face her frantic parents and a terrified Maria.

It took everything she had to calmly answer her parent’s question. Somehow she managed to talk them down from near hysteria to disappointment that she hadn’t let them know where she was. Liz felt as though she was outside herself watching as she glibly replied to her parents anxious questions.

“She was sorry that she hadn’t let them know where she was.”

“She just lost track of the time.”

“She’d been with Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess.”

“She knew now it was really wrong of her not to call.”

“She’d never do it again.”

On and on it went.

Her parents were a breeze compared to Maria though. Liz just wanted to be left alone. To try and work out how she was going to deal with everything. But Maria had taken one look at Liz’s face as she entered the Crashdown and knew something beyond terrible had happened. She refused to leave Liz, insisting on accompanying her to her room after the lecture was over and once there, with the door safely closed, demanded to know what had happened.

Liz tried to explain to Maria about the message from Max and Isabel’s mother, but when it came to the part about their destiny, words failed her. Deeply distressed now for Maria, she somehow managed to tell her everything and it wasn’t long before both of them were crying as though they’re hearts would break. In the end Liz was grateful for Maria’s insistence, because she didn’t know how she would have gotten through that first night without her.

Liz’s parents watched her with growing concern over the next week. As the days continued to pass and Max and the others avoided the Crashdown, Liz became more withdrawn. She went through her daily routine like she was on autopilot. Liz knew she should be making an effort to appear normal – if only to back up her lies. The problem was that she didn’t care anymore. She wasn’t with Max so who cared if her parents found out she’d been lying to them?.

Maria was terrified for her best friend. In all the years they’d been friends, Maria had never seen Liz like this. Cynic that she was, the idea of dying from a broken heart had always seemed so lame, but seeing Liz like this…Maria was afraid she was making herself really sick. And she didn’t think she could cope if she lost Liz on top of everything else.

Alex too, was beside himself with worry. He hadn’t seen or spoken to Isabel in over a week. He knew she had to follow this path on her own, but he was so afraid that he was never going to see her again. Every night he dreamed that she had been caught by the FBI, that she was being hurt, like they hurt Max.

He felt it his responsibility to watch over Maria and Liz, but was at a loss to know how to help. Liz looked like a zombie and Maria was so on edge that he was actually afraid to mention Michael’s name out loud. He didn’t know how much more he could take.

In the end, it was Maria who brought Liz back to reality. In no uncertain terms, she pointed out to Liz the recklessness of her behaviour. The only chance Max, Isabel, Tess and Michael had was for them to act normal. Liz, stunned by Maria’s vehemence, realised how selfish she had been. Of course Maria’s heart was broken too, but unlike her, she was still doing what she could to ensure the safety of her friends.

Liz also realised, that Alex and Maria were hurting just as she was and they too needed her support. After her shift that day, Alex, Maria and herself spent the evening together. Through their tears, they talked about all that had happened, their fears for their friends and their hopes for the future. It felt good to have the air cleared between them, to know that they would always be there for each other – no matter what.

Lying in her bed later that night, Liz suddenly knew, for Max’s sake as much as her own, she had to get out of Roswell for a while. The next morning Liz asked if it were possible for her to spend the summer with her Aunt in California and her parents were only too happy to comply. When Alex accepted his parents offer to accompany them to Europe, it didn’t take a lot of effort to convince Maria to come with her.

During the long hot summer, both girls tried to come to terms with what had happened. Slowly Liz began to feel like her old self. Or as close to it as she felt she would get. She spent many nights outdoors, staring up at the stars. Her dreams were filled with Max and somehow she felt his love for her. These dreams comforted Liz, but that strange, almost chemical, longing she felt for him was never far from her mind. She wondered where he was and what he was doing. If he was with Tess now. And she wondered how she was going to keep her resolve when she finally saw him in the fall.

Liz may as well have saved herself the anguish, because the first piece of news her parents relayed to her on arriving home was that the town was in an uproar over the disappearance of Max and Isabel Evans, Michael Guerin and Tess Harding.

~ The Present ~

Liz sighed as she pulled her eyes away from the stars above her and stared at the journal sitting in her lap. It was only September, but already the chill in the Boston night air made her shiver a little. At least that’s what Liz chose to tell herself as she pulled her sweater higher up her neck.. Candles flickered on the little table beside her chair and filled the air with the soothing scent of vanilla. Picking up the pen that held open the journal, she grabbed a loose sheet of paper from the table beside her. Using the journal to lean on, she began to write:

September 8, 2006 – I’m Liz Parker and the most incredible thing happened this morning – I felt Max Evans.

After I came back home that summer to find Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess had left Roswell, I tried to let them go and get on with living my life. On the outside it seems as though I coped pretty well. I’ve fulfilled most of the dreams I had before I found out the truth about them - I was class valedictorian, I’ve just graduated from Harvard and I’m now a molecular biologist, but on the inside, I know I’ve never gotten over the loss of Max.

At first, not seeing Max everyday seemed bearable because it was like I could still feel him. I would be living my life and somehow Max would be with me, almost as though he was touching my soul. I’d get a flash and for a second I could feel his love for me. And it would be so intense that I sometimes felt he was right behind me and all I had to do was turn around and walk into his waiting arms.

Then, suddenly about a year after they had gone, the flashes stopped. Since then, all I’ve felt is this dull ache in my heart. Losing my special connection to Max was almost more devastating than him leaving Roswell. I guess because I knew I’d really lost him. Some days, I almost convince myself the flashes stopped because Max knew the agony I always felt at losing the connection with him and was trying to give me some peace. But on other days, the doubts set in. Maybe I can’t connect with Max anymore because he’s with Tess. Maybe it’s because he’s gone…home. Or maybe it’s because he’s no longer alive. Sometimes I get so anxious, so overwhelmed that I can hardly breathe.

But this morning, after almost 5 years, I again felt that connection to Max Evans. It was unmistakable. I could feel his love for me, just like I used to. I could hardly get through today; my emotions are so completely out of control. I don’t know why now, after such a long time, I feel his presence and I don’t know how to feel about this. On the one hand I’m so relieved to know he is alive, on the other I’m completely terrified of the reality of it. What if he’s accepted Tess as his destiny? I’ve tried to live my life ‘following my heart’, but it’s been hard to do without Max to share it with. Or, what if he was saying goodbye to me before leaving earth? My emotions are running riot. All I know with certainty is that Max Evans is the only man I’ll ever truly love.

With another sigh Liz placed her pen on the table beside her. Writing in her journal usually helped her to sort out what she was feeling, but right now she couldn’t focus on anything specific. And as she read back over what she’ d written, Liz didn’t feel as though she was any closer to understanding either.

Liz carefully placed the piece of paper containing her entry in the back of the journal and closed it, snapping the rubber band round it. She stared at the journal in her hands. For so long it had been her connection to Max. The journal’s own pages had been used up years ago, but somehow Liz couldn’t stand the thought of replacing it. Instead, it had grown fatter and more dilapidated as Liz continued to add her journal entries written on single sheets of notepaper, with the fat rubber band, faded and perishing, holding the book closed so nothing would be lost. Liz suddenly brought the old book to her chest and hugged it tightly, tears glistening in her eyes. Her gaze was once again drawn to the stars. Where are you? she silently wondered.

Some time later, Liz roused herself with an effort and rose from her chair. There were no sounds from her room-mate as she walked softly into the apartment. Realising how late it was she crept into her room and closed the door. Walking over to her closet, Liz opened the door and placed her journal snugly into a hidden crevice. It only took a few minutes for her to change into her pyjamas and crawl into bed. The events of the day finally caught up with her and Liz felt a wave of tiredness sweep through her. Her last thought before she drifted off to sleep was of Max.

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