FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Road Not Taken"
Part 2
by Katy
Disclaimer: Don't own them, wish I did. If I owned Roswell, I'd be a happy camper. So the day it goes up for auction, I'm there.
Summary: Set in the future. Liz is put in a difficult position when Max Evans walks back into her life after 12 years. Liz's POV.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Have you ever felt like someone was your other half? It's a silly notion really. We're born alone and we die alone. Growing up, you are shaped by people you meet, but ultimately, you are the one who is in control of your destiny. I was a whole person before Max. Meeting him didn't mean I suddenly lost half of myself, replacing that half with him. So it wouldn't be accurate to say he was my "other half."

Still, he's a part of me, and I don't completely understand that. Our romance was brief and complex. It was over as soon as it began. If he had been anyone else, I'd have moved on. But I haven't.

I don't know if there's such a thing as "soul mates." I'd like to think there is. I'd like to think that everyone has that one person they're destined to be with. Sometimes, when I'm not hating him, I like to think that Max is, or rather was, my soul mate.

It figures the one man on Earth I'm destined for isn't even from my solar system.


Army mattresses may be the most uncomfortable mattresses created. I drifted in and out of sleep all night. Then again, maybe it wasn't the mattress that kept me up.

Seeing Michael had shaken me up for some reason. I can't explain why. He had never really mattered before. He had made it pretty obvious that in Michael world, little Liz Parker was barely a blip on the radar. So it surprised me that he would even look twice at seeing me again.

A thought struck me. What if he knew I was working with the government? I mean, I hadn't seen Michael in years. His powers could have grown. Maybe he knew. Then again, I didn't even know what the government wanted me for. All I knew is I was supposed to analyze some biological data. So much for some exciting government project.

Then again, if it was just some data analysis, why would the government be so interested in it? CIA, FBI, what did they have to do with this? Maybe Area 51 did have some glamorous secret. After everything I had seen in my life, I didn't doubt it.

I finally pulled myself out of bed at 6. So much for sleep. I had a meeting with some government official at 8. Too early for a meeting, if you ask me.

My thoughts turned back to Michael. What if he told Max that I was back? What if Max came looking for me? What if he didn't? What if Max was with someone else?

I shook my head. So what if he was? I couldn't really expect him to wait all these years. I didn't want him too. Why on earth (pardon the expression) would I want Max Evans to pine for me for 12 years?

Maybe because I hoped he still wanted me as much as I wanted him.


I shifted in my seat uncomfortably. Army seats weren't any more comfortable than army mattresses.

A bored looking secretary opened the door to an office. "Please come in now," she said.

I walked into the room, immediately regretting my decision to opt for a sleeveless blouse. The room was freezing.

"Miss Parker." I froze. I knew that voice. It was frozen in my mind. I barely remembered it, but I knew that voice.

"Miss Topolsky." I looked at her. She had aged, but I recognized her face.

"I wasn't sure you would recognize me." She smiled. "You have a good memory. That can come in handy."

"More than you would know," I replied, "It helps to remember your friends and your enemies." She raised her eyebrow, but didn't accept the challenge.

"I requested you specifically for this assignment," she said, opening a file on her desk. Her wire rimmed glasses slipped down her nose a bit.

"You requested me?" I was a bit curious about this sudden development. Still, I wasn't completely shocked.

"You've made quite a name for yourself," she said, "Especially for someone so young. I'm looking at your file here." She gestured to the file. "Excellent college grades I should add."

"You have a file on me?"

"I find it useful to know who I'm dealing with." She met my eyes, but I didn't accept her challenge. "Besides, I wouldn't ask just anyone for this. I thought you were one of the better choices."

"And why is that?"

She ignored my question. "So tell me, Miss Parker." She removed her glasses. "You've been successful in your career. How about in your social life?"

"Excuse me?"

She smiled, as if we were two friends, gossiping over lunch. "How's your personal life? Have anyone special? You aren't wearing a ring, so I assume you aren't married."

"I don't see what my private life has to do with my work here."

"You'd be surprised, Miss Parker, how often our personal life carries over into work. I simply want to make sure that you won't be bringing any emotional baggage in here. This work is too important."

I was somewhat insulted. "I assure you, I never entangle my personal life with my professional work."

She smiled. "Glad to hear it." She shut the file and stood up. "I think you're ready for your assignment."


Growing up, I used to watch a lot of sci-fi movies. In the movies, men and women in lab coats wandered around whitewashed walls, intent on completing some important mission. I was reminded of those movies as I followed Topolsky. Drones in white coats, ambling about like little lab rats.

Topolsky pulled two key cards out of her pocket and handed one to me. "You'll need this to gain entrance. This card allows you in all research rooms and supply closets. It also opens a private lab that will be used by only you. I want you to understand that we try to keep our projects as small as possible. Every researcher here has their own project. It is against the rules to discuss your work with anyone not involved. If you are asked about it, you are to provide as little information as possible. Security reasons."

"Afraid something will get out?"

"Let's just say that you shouldn't completely trust anyone in Area 51."

"Does that include you?" She gave me a look that told me clearly and firmly to watch my tongue. "I just like to know who I'm dealing with," I said.

Topolsky slid her key card in the slot. A light above the door turned green and the door slid into the wall. We walked into what looked like an observation room. Two large glass windows looked down into a lab. Three or four computers sat against the wall. Down in the lab, a door led off to one side. The door had a sign on it that read "Containment 1-B."

Topolsky pulled out two chairs from a table and sat in one. Reaching over to the table, she picked up a folder and handed it to me. I sat down and opened the folder. "Inside that folder," she said, "you will find a detailed synopsis of every experiment and calculation you are to take. Your duties will consist primarily of basic physiological tests and creating a model of the molecular make-up of your subject. You will meet your subject shortly. Should you require any assistance, press one of the call buttons and security will arrive promptly. I doubt you will need it. The subject in question is not a dangerous creature."

Topolsky stood up. "You'll want to get to your research immediately, I presume. Begin by sketching out a basic physical model, noting any peculiarities. I am giving you a six month time frame in which to complete your work. At the end of that time, I expect a full report to be presented. If you will wait here, I'll have your subject sent in. I will be in my office until five should you have any questions."

Before she left, Topolsky turned to me. "Good luck Miss Parker. I hope this assignment isn't too over your head. You will find your specimen in the containment room."

I fumed as she left the room. She was trying to see me get upset. Why on earth would she have requested me? I had my guess. I had figured her out all those years ago. Maybe she was trying to make me fail. It made sense, and yet it didn't. If Topolsky had really wanted to get revenge, she wouldn't do it like this. Sure, I hated to fail in an assignment, but making me fail was hardly a form of revenge. She would have done something much more heinous.

Well, whatever she had planned for me, I was ready. I was no shrinking violet. Whatever experiment she had ready for me, I could handle it. The sooner I completed the work, the sooner I was out of here.

I walked down into the lab and over to the containment room. Basic physical tests first. Easy enough. I studied the ominous gray door and wondered what waited behind it. I shrugged. Wondering wouldn't get the test done. Enough delaying. Time to get to business.

I slid my key card in the slot by the door. A buzzing sound reverberated and I heard the locks slide back. I placed my hand on the door handle, but hesitated before opening it. Something felt strange.

I shook my head. Don't be silly, Liz, I thought. I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen?

I pulled the door open and looked in. The folder slipped from my hands and fell to the floor. The papers went everywhere. It me a moment to do anything. Finally, I swallowed. "Max?"

***** When I was seven, I went to the animal shelter with Alex and his parents. It was Alex's eighth birthday, and his parents had agreed to get him a dog. He was so excited. He asked me to come along and help him pick the animal he wanted.

We must have looked at dozens of dogs. There was one in particular that stood out. It was a small dog, somewhat resembling a terrier. The dog walked with a limp and had a ratty coat. It paced around its cage nervously.

I felt bad for the dog, because I knew that no family would adopt it. The people who went to the shelter were looking for a cute, friendly dog that would play catch and let you scratch its ears. This dog looked like it suffered from an anxiety disorder.

There was something about the dog that drew Alex to it though. I didn't understand what it was at the time. I thought he was crazy when he pointed to the dog and said "I want this one."

His parents eyed the dog warily. "Are you sure, honey?" his mom asked. "Why don't you come look at this cute little."

"I want this one," Alex repeated firmly.

On the ride back, Alex held the dog in his lap and ran his fingers through it's wiry fur. I edged as far away from the dog as possible. I didn't want to catch anything from that dog.

Alex loved that dog though. He was probably the only person who ever played with it. The dog grew to love him too. Whenever people came over to Alex's house, the dog perched itself by Alex's feet, as if protecting him.

When Alex was twelve, the dog disappeared. Alex hid it will, but I knew he was heartbroken. A few days later, Alex's father found the dead dog under the porch.

Alex didn't speak about his dog much after that. But a few years after it died, he looked at me and said "You never did understand why I wanted that dog, did you?" I was a little taken aback. His question had come from nowhere. I had almost forgotten about the dog.

"I just wondered why, of all the dogs there, you picked that one."

Alex looked ahead. "There was something in the dog's eyes that reached me. I looked at those eyes and I saw something. Pain, desperation, a desire to be loved. I recognized the emotions in that dog's eyes, because I had felt them too. So I gave the dog the one thing I could give him. I gave him my love."


Max looked like hell. His once immaculately groomed hair was matted and plastered to the top of his head. He was pale with a greenish tint to his skin, as if he were about to vomit. His once strong arms hung limply by his side. The muscles that once fascinated me appeared atrophied and weak. It was like looking at the ghost of Max Evans.

He met my eyes. I took a step back. There was such rage and pain in his eyes. Everything I used to see in him was gone, or at least hidden.

He sat in the corner. "Hi Liz," he said. He continued to watch me, but he didn't move. "I never expected to see you here."

I could hear the betrayal in his voice. *How could you be the one doing this to me, Liz?* I could almost hear him saying it. *I never thought you would be the one.*

I felt myself stiffen. "And I expected to see you?" I picked my papers up off the floor. "I'm here to do a job, nothing more."

His eyes looked at me accusingly. "This is more than a job and you know it. This is about my life. I knew that one day they would find me and strap me to a table. I knew they would poke me and prod me. But I didn't know that 'they' would be you, Liz."

I glared at him. "You seem to be under the impression that I owe you something. Well, let me tell you something, Max. I owe you nothing."

The anger disappeared from his eyes. His shoulder slumped. The Max I knew appeared to return. "It's just strange seeing you, that's all."

I stood there for a moment, finally looking down at my papers. "Yeah, it's strange seeing you too," I said.

Max stood up, grimacing slightly. "I suppose you have tests to do. What's first, blood or peeing in a cup?"

I looked at him. "I'll be back in a moment," I said. Then I shut the door and locked it.


Well, Topolsky, you sure got your revenge. It seemed particularly cruel to have Max as my experiment. And I intended to let her know that.

I stormed to her office and walked right in, past the shocked secretary who begged me to sit and wait. "Who the hell do you think you are?" I said.

Topolsky looked at me. "Work getting to you?" she asked.

"Nice move," I said, "I had expected a rabid wolf or maybe a hungry lion behind the door. But Max? Oh that's ingenious."

"Is it too much for you to handle, Miss Parker?"

"I just fail to see why you would want experiments done on Max."

She stood up. "You know exactly why. And don't try to tell me that he's a normal male. We've already conducted a few tests. It's quite apparent that Max Evans is anything but normal."

I agreed with that point, but for a different reason. "I'm not doing this," I said.

"I thought you didn't entangle your private and professional lives."

"I don't but."

"Then there should be no problem. This is not Max Evans you are dealing with. This is Specimen 32-RNM. If you view him as an insect or an animal, you will find the work will be simple."

I almost said something. Max was no bug or lab rat. He may not be human, but he was a living creature and didn't deserve to be hurt.

I stopped. But wasn't I the one who had wished pain on him? Well, Liz Parker, you certainly got your wish.

Topolsky's voice snapped me out of thought. "I expected more of you, Miss Parker. I never expected incompetence from you."

I should have left. I should have taken Max with me. I should have resisted her challenge and gotten the hell out of New Mexico. "Fine, Miss Topolsky, I'll do your little experiment."

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