Fanfic - Max/Liz
"The Seed"
Part 11
by Lady Victoria
Disclaimer: All of these characters except for Nell, Conroy, and the Bishop, belong to WB.
Summary: Max and Liz uncover a secret about her past.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: This may not be consistent with the show, but it can't be more confusing than Roswell's second season.
By the time Max pulled into the parking lot, they could all smell the smoke. Firemen were trying to put out the fire while people from other apartments were running amok. Liz glanced up towards the second floor where Nell's apartment was located. Just as she thought, the fire seemed the worst there. Max approached one of the firemen who sharply told him to move back.

"Please, we have a friend up there on the second floor, Nell Troyer." Max said.

"Apartment 212." Liz added. The fireman shook his head.

"I'm afraid you kids are out of luck. Move back!" He moved away from them, and Max drew Liz aside.

"We can't go up there. You see how bad it is."

"What if she's dead?" asked Maria. Both Max and Michael gave her a "back off" kind of expression, but Liz shook her head.

"I've got a funny feeling she isn't." she said.

"Well, if she isn't, she's lucky." commented a woman standing near them. "The blaze started right in the apartment. The furniture and everything just burned like tinder. I was there."

"You were?" asked Max.

"Yes, sir. I came in to talk to her about her lease. It expires in a few months, and she's always renewed it early. She's late with it this time . . ."

"Did you see how the fire started, ma'am?" Liz interrupted.

"No, that's the funny part. I knocked on the door, and I found that it was already open. I went in, and she ran out of the kitchen, screaming for me to go, that there was trouble. The next thing I knew, the whole place was ablaze."

"She was still there when you left?"

"I guess so. I know I should've made sure she was with me, but I was scared. The fire and that look on her face told me to run for my life."

"I'll bet you that man had something to do with it." a young boy commented.

Max faced him. "What man?"

"There was a man hanging about her floor a little while before the fire started."

"What sort of man was he?" Max asked. "Did you get a good look at him?"

The boy shrugged. "He was all in black with a funny kind of a hat, like they wore in that Harrison Ford movie with all the horses and buggies."

"Witness?" Liz asked. The boy nodded.

"Great." Michael said. "Now we're looking for an Amish arsonist."

"Or someone who seems Amish." Liz told him. "After all, why would an Amish guy start a fire?"

"To kill Nell?" Maria suggested. "But Amish are supposed to be non-violent."

"I know." said Liz. "That's what doesn't make sense. Amish may shun you, but they don't try to kill you."

"Wait. Is Nell Amish?" Max asked.

"She's supposed to be. Troyer is an Amish name, and my father's first girlfriend, Nell's sister, came over here from Indiana."

"Without Nell?" Max was doubtful.

"Anna stayed with an aunt and uncle. I don't know too much more about her, just that . . .Dad loved her, and she died when . . ." Liz couldn't complete the sentence, and Max put an arm about her shoulders.

"I'm sorry, Liz. I know I shouldn't press it. I just think the more we knew about Anna, the more we'd know about Nell. I think she's the key to all of this."

"You're right." Liz answered. "And I'll find out."

"You will?" Maria asked. "How?"

"By asking the person who first told me about Anna. Nancy Parker, previously known as Mom."

"Liz, try not to be too hard on her." Isabel spoke for the first time since they arrived. "She probably didn't want you to feel differently about her, to feel that she wasn't your mother."

Liz sighed. "I wonder. I always seemed to have more to say to Dad than to her. If what we all think is true, then maybe I have the reason why."

"Come on. Let's get out of here and back home." Max led the way to the car, then suddenly turned. "Wait, where's Michael?" The others turned also and glanced about. Then Maria pointed.

"There! There he is!" They all watched as Michael came running down the fire escape from the second floor. "Michael!" Maria threw both arms around him. "What in the world were you doing?"

"Lending a hand." Michael answered, but he didn't meet her eyes.

"Lending a hand or helping yourself?" Max sounded suspicious.

"I don't know what you mean by that." said Michael, but he didn't sound very convincing.

"No?" Max held out a hand. "Hand it over."

"Hand what over?"

"That book that's making your jeans pocket all lumpy." Before Michael could say another word, Max's hand had shot out and pulled a blank journal from Michael's pocket. The upper right hand corner was slightly burnt, but, otherwise, it was undamaged. Max held it out to Liz. "This Nell's? You recognize her writing?"

Liz looked at the journal and opened the front cover. "I haven't seen it in a while, her writing , I mean, but it looks like hers. I'd have to look at some of the letters she wrote me." She gazed toward Michael. "But I'd rather not read it, not yet, anyway. I'd like to talk to her first."

"But if she is one of us . . ." Michael began.

"If she's one of us, Liz will tell us." Max cut him off abruptly. "Trust her, Michael. You said you could."

Michael's eyes widened. He knew there was more to Max's statement than there seemed to be. "I said? When did I say . . ."

"Do I have to remind you? The day you gave Liz's journal back to her, after you swiped it." Michael's mouth dropped wide open. He turned to Liz. "I thought you said you wouldn't tell him."

Liz was shaking her head. She started to speak, but Max beat her to it. "She didn't tell me, Michael, but I'm not a fool. I figured it out. Now you'll respect her wishes. This is probably more her business than it is ours. OK?" He stared hard at Michael until the other boy's eyes lowered. Then he took an amazed Liz by the arm and led her toward the car. Isabel flashed a knowing smile.

"I think you've just been told off." She seemed amused, but Maria's reaction was quite different.

"It was you? Oh, Michael, how could you? You scared Liz to death and me too! How could you?" Before he could answer, she whirled around and headed for the car.

"Maria, I . . ." he began, but Isabel took his arm.

"Let's go, journal snatcher. Maybe she'll forgive you by the time we get home."

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