Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing characters
from Melinda Metz and Roswell on WB because I'm so
lame that I can't do it on my own. It's all them.
Summary: Dark, dark alter-reality for M2tM; serious R rating, folks
|"I'm all out of faith,|
This is how I feel.
I'm cold and I am shamed,
Lying naked on the floor.
Illusion never changed,
Into something real.
I'm wide awake
And I can see the perfect sky is torn.
You're a little late,
Liz had no idea what would happen next. Valenti had called her in, and now sat watching her quietly.
She knew what she hoped would happen. She hoped he would tell her that he had figured it all out even though she had refused to tell him anything.
Emotions were churning inside of her but she managed to keep silent.
She certainly didn't expect the next words out of his mouth.
"Liz, I hate to ask you this, but it's vitally important to this investigation... what happened in that hotel room?"
She froze like a deer in headlights.
A flood of images assaulted her: the gentle kissing at first, the heated groping that got out of control, then the arms grabbing her and his face... his face above her-
"Liz," Sheriff Valenti broke into her thoughts as she looked away. "What did he do to you?"
She swallowed convulsively as she fought to bring her emotions under control.
Then a new horror dawned on her slowly. What could she say that wouldn't implicate Max in any way?
The Sheriff pulled out some photos and placed them in front of her. It was the manager of the hotel, dead with a panicked expression on his face. The shot was fairly close up, showing the glowing handprint on his chest.
Tears sprang into her eyes as she stared at the man.
"Liz, did Max do this?"
She couldn't even look at the Sheriff.
"The cameras in the hotel have him on tape getting a room. Room number 26. About twenty minutes later, the manager's wife answered the phone and got her husband to respond to a complaint in room 26. He was found dead about an hour later in a wrecked room, with a silver handprint on his chest. Now the Feds were all over this before I even knew about it. I had to threaten every state employee and their mothers to get these pictures. I know you were there. I know Max was there. And," Valenti paused, coming to sit beside Liz slowly. "I know what they found in the bathroom, Liz."
Liz felt his eyes boring into her, but she stared straight ahead. If she just didnšt acknowledge it... if she didn't break down...
"You're going to make me say this, aren't you," he said with a sigh. "They found blood on a towel... along with semen."
Liz's face grew pinched as she closed her eyes in acknowledgement of his words. Her face blushed furiously from shame. She closed her eyes again, trying to force herself to speak.
"Was it rape, Liz?"
"It wasn't Max," she whispered in a choked voice, finally meeting the Sheriff's eyes.
The Sheriff looked down at his hands and took a deep breath.
"Liz, I want to believe that. Tell me how to believe that, even though that video tape says that I should be charging Max Evans with murder and rape."
Her chin started quivering and the tears came again.
"It wasn't Max. I thought it was, but it wasn't. And by the time I knew it wasn't..." she trailed off.
Valenti leaned forward slightly.
"Liz, the shapeshifter. It was the shapeshifter, wasn't it? He took you there, then to the carnival. That's why Max showed up there later, to rescue you. There were two Maxes. And Pierce grabbed the wrong one," his blue were alight with excitement. "I'm right, aren't I? Pierce has Max. Our Max. And the shapeshifter killed the manager and the agent. Tell me I'm right, Liz. Dammit, tell me the truth."
Liz was so tired of being helpless, of just waiting for everyone else to do something. Max trusted Valenti. And her gut instinct agreed.
She turned her tear-streaked face to him and looked him dead in the eyes.
"You're right. They've got him and we need your help," she said. "Please help us."
Later, when she thought about those last agonizing minutes before his face appeared in the doorway, all she could remember was the quiet.
The whole world was quiet, waiting with her. There was no wind, no distant hum of electricity from the big building, no voices, not even an insect would dare buzz.
Liz's own heart had stopped beating.
She had even stopped breathing.
Somehow, tears flowed out of her eyes, but she had absolutely no control over that.
All she knew was that if they didn't bring him out, she would die. And if she didn't die out here, then she would simply go in and die in there with him.
There was no home without him, no life to return to.
This was it.
Her whole life, all sixteen plus years distilled down into a few precious minutes...
agonizingly slow and silent minutes.
The door banged open, jumpstarting Liz's heart again.
Now it was beating painfully hard, sending adrenaline rushing through her as she watched the figures coming out of the door, one in the middle leaning heavily on the other two.
All breath left her body.
She hadn't even allowed herself to think of him like that... weak, almost helpless-
Max was being half dragged, half carried by Sheriff Valenti and Michael.
Then she was out of the car, running, heedless of Michael's shouts to get back in the car.
She ran to them and stopped short as Max's eyes finally met her own.
She felt a burning in her gut as she took in his ravaged face, the blood on his chest and the weakness in his body.
"Liz," Max said slowly. "The car..."
Michael pushed Liz out of the way, leaving her frozen in place.
Anger was spreading hotly through her veins as she shook her head slowly.
He had been hurt, hurt badly... and for what? Why would anyone...? *How* could anyone hurt Max? What kind of a son-of-a-bitch would do that to him?
"I'm going to kill them," she began, her voice deadly.
Fury gathered quickly in the empty shell that was left of her, until all she felt was blood-pumping adrenaline.
"Liz, get your ass in the car- NOW," Michael turned to yell over his shoulder.
She heard him faintly, but Liz didn't exist anymore. She was no one, nothing... except vengeance.
"I'm going to kill them," her voice raised to a shriek.
She raced toward them and stopped only long enough to grab Valenti's gun before turning back.
"Liz," she heard voices shout.
But all the pain, all the terror, all the hatred was spewing out of her in blind, all-consuming rage.
She was screaming something, she knew, and running to the door. But nothing else registered. Not the fact that Max was safe now, or the fact that she would be captured in a matter of seconds. She shrugged that information off and hit the door with a force that knocked the breath out of her.
They were going to die for hurting Max. They were going to DIE.
She was grabbed and turned around before she knew what hit her.
Panic set in as soon as she felt his arms around her. Strong arms, holding her helpless and pulling her away from the building.
"NO," she screamed, instantly back in *his* arms in her mind. She clawed at him, she bit into his arm, expecting either freedom or more pain. She got neither, and her confused mind was whirling as she eventually exhausted herself and just cried as her body was carried somewhere she did not want to go.
Before she passed out, she finally registered the fact that it was Michael's voice she heard cursing her loudly...
A soothing voice washed over her, a voice she had loved all her life.
"It's okay, Liz," he whispered. "I'm okay. Please come back to me. It's alright now."
In the darkness, Liz smiled to herself. Everything was okay now.
She could trust the voice, she knew somehow.
And she pushed herself to wake up, willed her eyes to open...
His face was over her... she was lying down-
Panic hit her hard, and she was scrambling away from him before she could even scream.
Her breathing was ragged and a few broken sobs came out with her words.
"Don't touch me."
She was forced to stop as her back met the headboard, waiting for him to come after her.
But he was sitting still, pale face etched with pain and shock.
"Liz," he choked out. "What- what is it? You're afraid of me?"
Her eyes grew wide.
"Max? Oh my god," her voice quavered. "I can't believe I just did that to you. I am so sorry. It just- I was- I didn't know it was you."
The pain in his eyes almost made her gasp. He had forgotten about Nasedo, after all he'd been through.
Liz rushed forward and threw her arms around him, desperately wanting to take that look off of his face.
"Max, oh Max," she breathed in his ear. "You're alive. You're here. Believe me, I will never ask for anything else in my entire life except this moment."
She pulled back and looked deeply into his eyes.
He put his hands on either side of her face and shuddered, emotion clouding the beautiful eyes.
"No," she whispered. "Don't- this is a happy time. Don't think about it. I'm right here. And I love you."
His eyes closed at her words and he moved slowly closer until his lips hovered over her own.
She could feel his breath on her cheek and flinched at the painful memory that accompanied it. She forced her body to relax again.
"I love you, too," he whispered, his voice husky in her ear.
As his lips touched hers, the gentleness brought tears to her eyes. She sobbed once, then gave in to the kiss. He caressed her jaw, her neck and her hair as she ran her fingers up and down his strong, bare arms.
Finally, he pulled her into an embrace and let her sob against him.
The warmth of his skin, the smell of him was so familiar and she drank it in. It was him.
He gingerly sat back against the pillows and she crawled up beside him, tangling her legs up with his own. She felt him shudder and one sob escaped his lips before he buried his face in his hands.
With a face full of sorrow, she pulled him over until his head rested on her chest. He threw his arms around her waist and sobbed against her. Liz let the tears run down her face unchecked as she held him and caressed him softly.
The door opened and Liz suddenly realized where they were- Jim Valenti's house.
Isabel peeked in the door, tears running down her face.
She put her hand to her mouth and smiled at Liz with great effort.
Liz managed a smile in return.
Isabel watched for another moment, then turned and softly closed the door.
Liz sighed and looked down at the man she loved. She didnšt care what happened now. They were together. And that was enough.
|Part 2 | Index | Part 4|
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