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,
It was almost showtime, Liz thought wryly. Time to lie again, to cover up one more dangerous secret.
I've almost lost count now. When was the last time I told anyone the whole truth about anything?
The doorbell rang and Valenti went to go answer it.
Liz looked over at Tess and Michael, who were quietly arguing about Nasedo's whereabouts.
"I don't think he made it out, Michael," Tess said in tears, her emotions finally surfacing after the long ordeal. "He wouldn't leave us alone after something like that. He would want to make sure that we were okay."
Liz had to fight back a laugh at that one.
"It's too soon to know, okay? That's all I'm saying," Michael crossed to sit beside Isabel, who had drawn her knees up on the couch and sat in a tight ball. He put his arm around her.
Personally, Liz had never been more relieved than when Michael had said that he had heard yelling and gunshots from where Nasedo had been. Everyone else may have counted it as a sacrifice for Max, but Liz could only envision the dead humans Nasedo had killed during the rescue.
Oh yeah, and the arrogance in his eyes when he raped her. She couldn't stop envisioning that.
Liz buried her face in her hands, surprised that seeing the real Max hadn't pushed those feelings away.
Then Maria and Alex were rushing in the room and Liz stood to greet them in relief.
She watched them in surprise as Maria ran first to Michael and Alex to Isabel. She blinked a few times, reminding herself that noone knew about her pain because *she* had lied and said that Nasedo didn't hurt her.
She stood alone for a moment, then sat back down, trying to stem the tears that threatened. Then Maria's arms were around her and Alex's arms around both of them.
Liz smiled through her tears as she smelled the familiar scent of Alex's aftershave and Maria's homemade perfume. She heard a loud sigh from Alex and a short sob from Maria and they hugged each other tighter.
Liz drew strength from their presence and began to pull away, feeling the eyes of the others on their reunion.
"Where's Max," Maria asked. "Is he doing okay?"
Liz nodded and looked at both of them.
"Yeah, he's sleeping. I don't think he got much sleep last night. And he's... exhausted."
She suddenly felt washed out and she sat back down on the couch, dimly aware of the other couples taking comfort together again. She brushed back several strands of hair and finally loosened and pulled the barette out of her hair. She felt a headache coming on and she ran her fingers through her hair, lightly massaging her scalp to ease the tension.
As she looked up, she saw Isabel's worried eyes fixed on her.
With a start, Liz remembered that she knew, that Isabel had seen in a flash what Nasedo had done to her.
"How are you, Liz," Isabel whispered in a careful voice.
Liz dropped her hands as everyone fixed their eyes on her.
"Fine," she blurted out. "I'm fine. Max is safe, so I'm fine." She looked around nervously, then fixed her eyes on the Sheriff.
"So, what's next, Sheriff Valenti?"
But he was watching her with the same mixture of concern and thoughtfulness that showed on Isabel's face.
Liz's throat constricted as she sent him a mute plea to wait, to let her be the one to tell them, when the time was right.
"You can't have a meeting without me, can you," Max's weak voice brought gasps and exclamations from everyone as he slowly entered the room.
"Max," Isabel exclaimed as she ran to him. "Oh god, Max, are you okay?"
She almost knocked him over with her fierce hug. Then she pulled back just as quickly and looked him dead in the eyes, her hands on either side of his face.
"I love you and I'll kill you if you put me through this again."
Liz knew that she was trying to joke, but tears welled up in Isabel's eyes, mirroring Max's until neither could pretend it was anything less than miraculous to see each other again.
"I love you, too," Max whispered as he pulled her close.
Liz smiled to see them reunited. Isabel had almost literally come undone when she went into Max's head that first time and it was so wonderful to see her happy again.
From the look on Alex's face as he welcomed Isabel back into his arms again, Liz could tell that he thought the same thing.
Liz looked over at Max when she heard Michael's choked voice whisper his name.
They were embracing one another with more emotion than she had ever seen from them. Tears came into her eyes as she felt that maybe this would help them past all of the arguments and distrust of the past months. It was clear to her, if not to them, that they needed each other.
Finally, Michael pulled away, avoiding everyone's eyes and crossed back over to Maria.
Liz smiled up at Max as he slowly made his way over to her. He was unsteady, but she knew better than to offer help. He was stronger than anyone she knew, and she revelled in that fact as he smiled and sat down beside her with a quiet groan.
She slid up under his arm and snuggled into his chest as he laid back against the cushions. A smile slid across her face as she remembered that this was Kyle Valenti's couch that she was snuggling with Max on.
"Sheriff," she called out once Max was settled. "Where is Kyle?"
Sheriff Valenti still had that look on his face and Liz had a moment of panic as he shifted his weight and thought a moment before answering. Then he seemed to reach a decision.
"Kyle is out right now and I don't expect him back until late. But let's get on with this for now."
A heavy silence fell upon the room and Liz could almost feel everyone remembering the seriousness of the situation.
Sure, Max was back, but the FBI had the orbs and documented proof of Max's alienness. Things couldn't get much bleaker.
Liz looked over at Max.
Unless... unless I told them about Nasedo, about what he did to me. Then things would get worse for everyone. Especially Max.
Her eyes slid shut and she prayed for Isabel and Sheriff Valenti to keep her secret for a while longer.
Leaving Max was hard, harder than she'd ever imagined it would be. Just being in his arms again was as close to whole as she'd been in a long time.
And as she watched Isabel and Valenti help Max up to his front door, she brushed away a tear. She didn't know how long she could keep the secret from him, but she was going to try give him some time to heal.
It was obvious to her that his scars went beyond the physical pain and torture he had experienced. There was a whole new awareness in him, in all of them, of the darkness of life. The amazing way that joy could give way to fear and horror and pain without so much as a warning.
Max had turned back to look at her before going inside. She waved a little wave.
He just stared at her and managed a small smile.
I hope his parents buy the story Valentišs got planned, she thought. In spite of the fact that it felt more like an eternity, Max had only been officially missing a day and a half. Since Isabel had told her parents that he was off spending the night at Michael's place, only the missing school day had to be explained.
And Valenti was more than willing to cover for him. Offically, Max had spent the day helping the department track down the whereabouts of some locals who had been vandalizing county property, one of whom Max had encountered on his way to school that morning.
A little lame, Liz admitted, but anything more dangerous would have the Evans on the Sheriff's case.
So far, the FBI had acted as they had expected, staying away from them as long as they were among the normal people of Roswell. Grabbing them from their homes seemed to be a scandal they weren't willing to risk.
If everything went well, Max could just enjoy being home and safe, at least for a while. After that, they would deal with Pierce.
Liz took a deep breath and immediately started choking on the dust in the air.
Ridiculous, she thought as she headed out to the hallway for some relief. She brushed at her shirt and jeans, disgusted at the amount of dust clinging to them.
"Liz," came a smug voice. "Grunge is a nice look for you."
Liz looked up to see Isabel's questioning face.
"Totally necessary, I assure you," Liz said as she walked by her to the kitchen at the Crashdown.
"Jose," she called to the sweaty cook, "I need you to lift some boxes for me whenever you get the time."
"Anything for you, Lizzie," the man's teeth were gleaming white against his dark skin.
Liz smiled hollowly in return and turned back around to Isabel. She swept her hair up off of her neck, trying desperately to get away from the heat.
"Isabel, so you're back. Uh... how was your vacation? How's Max," she asked in a low voice.
"He's good," Isabelšs face immediately dropped its pleasant expression and took on a worried look. "My parents were smart to take us away for a few days. It definitely helped him get that look out of his eyes."
Liz knew what she meant. That haunted, been-through-hell look that prevailed on his face most of the time.
Isabel shivered and went on, "So, he's better. How are you?"
Liz ignored the emphasis on the word "you" and crossed to sit on the couch.
"I'm good. I just didn't feel like waitressing today," she admitted guardedly. "So Dad let me do inventory. Is Max strong enough to handle school tomorrow?"
"I don't think we'll be able to keep him home. He's about to go stir crazy. And I think he's ready to see you. He's beginning to wonder why you're staying away, Liz."
Liz jerked her eyes over to see Isabel watching her.
"Yeah... yeah, I know. I'm sorry," she finally looked away. "I'm... working on it. It's just a little bit h-harder than I thought, that's all."
She stared at nothing and felt, rather than saw Isabel sit beside her on the couch. A long, graceful hand touched her arm.
"Liz," Isabelšs voice sounded tense. "I don't know how much longer I can go on not telling him."
Liz blinked, the words bringing an assault of emotions.
Tears gathered in her eyes. Isabel's kindness was so unexpected...
"Liz, please, you have to talk to him. He needs to see you, and he needs to know."
She closed her eyes against the truth of the words. Isabel was right. But how could she see him, allow him to touch her? He would know, with just one flash, what secret she was hiding.
But this was unfair to Isabel, forcing her to carry the weight of this secret. She was scared, too.
Liz nodded, finally opening her eyes.
"You're right. I'll tell him... tomorrow."
Isabel frowned, obviously feeling put off. But that was the best she could do.
Liz ran the loofah over her hot skin, determined to scrub herself clean of all of the grime of the day. She was letting her mind stay idle, enjoying the fact that her thoughts were light for once.
There was a long list of things she could flip through and worry over accordingly, including talking to Max tomorrow, but she just simply chose to ignore them. Atleast long enough to get clean.
She finished cleansing her skin and turned toward the hot stream of water above her. The spray hit her just below her chin as she leaned her head back.
A soft thump made her jerk her head toward the door.
She listened intently, slowly turning around.
She sucked in a breath.
Someone was in the bathroom with her.
"Mom," she said quietly, fighting back panic.
Silence... then a slow rustling...
Liz exhaled shallowly.
The shower curtain jerked back.
It was Max standing there, staring at her.
"Max, you- you scared me. What is it," Liz whispered, wondering if she should even try to cover herself at this point.
"I've been thinking about you," he whispered.
A tremor of fear began in her chest, as his eyes roved slowly over her naked body.
She tried to breathe.
"Max," she asked desperately, her mind reeling.
Then he looked her in her eyes and she knew, even before he reached out a strong hand to grasp her throat.
He was not Max.
Her hands grasped at his and the scream that erupted from her was cut off- silenced again.
A nightmare- it had to be a nightmare...
Nasedo smiled at her carelessly as he dropped his hand, his eyes full of roguish delight at her distress.
Liz whimpered silently and cast her eyes around the shower for a weapon.
Her heart beating loudly in her chest, she grabbed a razor and held it out toward him, heedless of the hot water still pounding against her back.
Amused by her anger, Nasedo reached out and grabbed her.
Liz immediately sliced at him, bringing blood quickly to the surface on his arm.
He grabbed the razor with a curse, tossing it to the ground before grabbing both her hands in his own.
They both watched as the blood ran down his arm.
Then, slowly the cut began to heal itself before Liz's amazed eyes.
He jerked her over the side of the tub, holding her up when her legs refused to cooperate.
Breathing hard, Liz was past the point of panic now.
And terror forced her to lash out.
She jerked in his grasp helplessly, then jerked her knee up when he pulled her in to him. He bent over and groaned in pain.
Liz jerked at her arms again, finally managing to pull one free. But he held onto the other wrist tightly and there were only seconds left...
Calming herself, she changed tactics and pushed against him. Caught off guard, he fell back against the sink, hard.
As he righted himself, she threw the cabinet door open, grabbing desperately at the contents. As containers and bottles scattered, her hand came away with a spray can.
Hair spray. That could hurt.
Without hesitation, she leaned over and sprayed it into his face.
He cursed and covered his eyes, finally dropping her wrist.
She threw the can and bolted for the door, hope bursting from her chest.
The knob wouldn't turn.
She glanced back at him, still wiping at his eyes, and pulled again on the knob.
It was somehow locked from the outside. He did it...
Tears jumped into her eyes.
No windows, no voice... no escape.
She beat on the door, knowing well that both of her parents were still downstairs.
Finally turning back around, she saw something that made her blood run cold.
Nasedo stood there and waved his hand over his face. He blinked once, then twice. He smiled at her, his eyes clear.
Damn, damn powers.
She slid along the wall away from him, shaking her head. The terror made it so hard to breathe.
Nasedo pulled his shirt off as he followed, taunting her with his slow movements.
And she hated him.
He unbuttoned his jeans and slid them off, reaching for his boxers.
Why the hell didn't he just get it over with?
If she could, she would scream it at him: Just do it, you bastard! Go ahead!
But she couldn't.
So she stood up straight, gathering everything left inside her. With her back to the wall, completely naked, Liz Parker raised her middle finger defiantly.
F*** you, she mouthed silently.
He looked angry, and she couldn't resist a smirk.
His palm whipped across her face, forcing her cheek into the cold tile with a loud crack.
He held her as her knees buckled, pulling her in close.
Her head fell to the side dizzily and he whispered in her ear something that chilled her to the bone.
"No, f*** you."
Then the cold tile was against her back... and everything was so... dark
But she could handle that, she decided, darkness... darkness was good.
|Part 3 | Index | Part 5|
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