|"What Dreams Reveal OR Home of Emotion"|
Disclaimer: Don`t own it, peeps.
Summary: After the white room incident, Max and Liz both have a dream that reveals through things that couldn`t happen in real life how miserable they`ve felt with the current situation. Liz will come to him and put an end to both their grief.
Authors Note: I know my fics have been stinky lately but I`m hoping this un will get me back on track. I know this title is kinda bad, it was originally gonna be "Scars" but then I saw another fanfic with that same title and thought that would just be wrong.
| Liz felt extremely lonely in biology class as she stared up at
Mr.Aquino, who was pointing at different parts of a projected image of a
heart that he had up on the overhead. The chair next to her was empty.|
Max hadn`t been up for school for two days. It was an acceptable excuse though, considering that two days ago he`d been being tormented under bright lights at a special unit that was lead by Agent Pierce. Agent Pierce was dead now; Sheriff Valenti had managed to shoot him as he and Michael ran out with Max. If Valenti hadn`t killed Pierce, they may not have made it away form there, but because he did it held back Pierce`s men long enough for everyone to get away. It was just a matter of time until he was replaced and someone came after them, but they`d be ready now. They had Nasedo.
The girl in front of Liz raised her hand. "Yes?" asked the teacher.
"If the heart just pumps blood throughout the body, then why does everybody talk about it like it`s got something to do with love and all that?"
"That`s an interesting question, Faith. Yes, for a long, long time people have recognized the heart as the home of all human emotions; joy, sadness, most of all love, and we have made it the very symbol of romance and compassion, when in reality the heart plays no such part. All of our human emotions and feelings are stored in the brain, nowhere else. Why do people think of the heart that way? I don`t have a clue."
Why does he keep saying human emotions? Liz wondered. Are Max`s emotions stored somewhere else in his body than his brain? These kind of thoughts had had Liz baffled for a long time. She didn`t think about this much because it was so easy to forget at times that Max was anything but human. But it was strange that she and Max had these feelings for eachother in the first place. They were so different yet able to interact the way they did: it was as if when they were together they suddenly became the same exact species and melded together. Their differences were the reason Max had been hesitant to be together from the start, but now they were together, and nothing out-of-the-ordinary had happened that had made their relationship different from one between a human and a human.
Only that you`ve seen into each other`s souls and you get images from his past whenever you kiss him, Liz thought.
But those things weren`t bad, were they?
The bell rag.
"Class dismissed," Mr.Aquino said. "And don`t forget your homework."
Liz realized then that she hadn`t caught the homework. Oh well. Her grade was already slipping anyway, and one assignment wasn`t going to help it much.
She was worried about more than her bio grade slipping away. Max hadn`t been the same person ever since he came back from the compound. Liz was starting to wonder if he would ever be the same guy again, or if he would have scars with him forever from the time he spent in that room. Of course a little bit would stay with him, but was he ever going to go back to the fun, happy Max he`d been before? Or would he stay paranoid and afraid forever?
Max getting caught had, of course, changed the way they now looked at things for all of them. Before this Isabel, Max, and Michael been living in fear that someday it would happen...one of them would be discovered and taken away. But now it had actually happened. Their problems were closer and more real than ever. They had so much more to worry about.
But it was different with Max because unlike the others, who could only dread what it would be like if it happened to one of them next time, he knew what it was like. He would never be able to forget. The memories would haunt him for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life. Liz knew that something had been changed about him when they did those things to him in that room. There was something Liz couldn`t name that had been taken away form him there. She saw it in his eyes every single time someone mentioned one of them getting caught again, or said anything that reminded him of that horrible time. Liz had been trying with everything she had to get him back to his normal self, make him realize he was okay now and remember his place in the home he`d returned to. He acted perfectly normal or course. It wasn`t anything that some people at school would notice. But Liz was as close to Max as anyone, and when she was near him and he wrapped his attention around her like he used to all the time, she could see how things should have been the same but were different. When she was touching him, inside his world, she felt something...a disturbance...and she was afraid of it. Afraid for Max.
Liz had kissed him lately and been shocked to get images from him again like she had when she kissed him right after they had escaped from Pierce. They had been, of course, memories from being in the white room. But this time they hadn`t been clear images, pictures of this happening and that happening later on and them doing this and that to him. This time she just got horrid feelings and thoughts: pain, hopelessness, fear, anger, hatred. But mostly fear and pain. Waves and waves of it. And in her mind she saw all of the twisted, terrifying, gross colors of these emotions, and lots and lots of blinding, sickening white white white making her-or Max`s-eyes sting with all the yearning to just get out of there, to be able to breathe. And right before she broke the kiss in complete surprise she saw one last image of Agent Pierce`s face, the face of his imprisoner, his tormentor, and heard his words: "Tell me what I am asking or I will take you apart..." and the worst thing of it was that she felt every single thing he felt in his heart as he experienced all these things, felt the dread he had as Pierce taunted him, felt the panic from when he threatened to kill Liz, felt the pain of them cutting him, and afterwards she`d wished she hadn`t experienced any of it, but she knew she was lucky that she hadn`t really been there. But Max...that had all really happened to Max. For hours and hours...
She hated Pierce. She hated him passionately with every single bone in her body, and the way he had been killed didn`t seem equal to what Max had had done to him at all. Liz had a dream that he was still alive so that she could have Max connect with him and let him feel all those disgusting things that Max had felt all because of him. That way Liz could show him Max`s scars and say, "Look, you did this, and you`re going to pay for it, because Max was mine. He was mine and you took him away and did things to him you had no right to do. You took something away form him and I`ll take it away form you too."
Liz couldn`t stop thinking about how vulgar his reason for torturing Max that way was. He had seen Max as a monster. But Pierce was the closest thing to a monster Liz had ever known.
Liz met up with Isabel, Alex, and Maria at the Crashdown before her and Maria`s shifts just to talk. The whole group had been acting casually happy lately but of course they could all think of times they`d been better. Still, they were glad all the action was over and that they could relax. No one was going to take that for granted.
"So how`s Max?" Maria asked Isabel.
"Well, you know...alive and happy as hell about it," Isabel said. "He`s pretty good."
"He must be doing a lot of convincing to stay home 'sick' so much," Alex said.
"Well you know, the only times we stay home is if something`s up and we don`t feel like it, because after all we can`t get sick. So the few times we say, 'Mom, I feel like crap,' she sends us right back upstairs. But Max did have to raise the temperature on his forehead at one point."
Maria laughed. "You mean you guys have never done that before? You have so much you take for granted."
"I`ve done it couple times," Isabel said. "That`s where he got the idea. But he was too good a boy before to try anything like that. The guy likes school, what can I say?"
"That`s one of many reasons he and Liz go so well together," Maria said. "You guys should have your honeymoon at the Museum of Science and Technology."
Liz felt a blush coming on. "Where`s Michael?"
"You know Michael," Isabel sighed. "Said he had to do his laundry."
Liz smiled laughingly. "Guess he doesn`t crave the feel of socializing much."
"I don`t mind," Isabel said. "If he`s washing his clothes, that`s great. I`ve gone into his apartment a couple times lately and complained more than enough for him to 'do his laundry, damn you!' "
Liz laughed as she looked up at the clock. "Woops. Look about time for Maria and I to get busy."
"Well, I`ve got to get on my homework," Alex said. "I haven`t even started."
"Neither have I," Isabel confessed. She got up from the table along with the other three and stretched her arms over her head. Just as she turned to leave the cafe Liz stopped her.
"Is he really okay?" Liz whispered.
"I`m sure he`s fine, Liz," Isabel assured her. "I`ve never seen him so...relieved."
"Taken a look into his mind lately?" Liz asked quietly.
"What?" Iz asked.
Liz shook her head. "Nothing. Just say hi to him for me, all right?"
"I will. He says he`ll probably be back in school tomorrow."
"Okay. See you tomorrow."
Liz sighed and told herself things were going to be great again. Max would be back in school tomorrow and would feel fine again. Liz wouldn`t have to worry about him anymore.
But of course she knew she would.
That night as Liz laid in her bed she kept thinking back to when she`s kissed Max the other day.
She had known his parents wouldn`t really approve of Max having any visitors when he was supposedly sick, but they didn`t seem to be at home because Max and Isabel`s cars had been the only ones in the garage. Still, she went to his window instead of the door anyway. the window was already open a little and he was on the phone.
"You do that, Michael," he said as he looked up and saw her and signaled for her to come on in. "Gotta go, Michael. Yeah, I`ll be there tomorrow. Later." And he hung up just as Liz climbed in and walked over to him. "Hey, Liz."
"Hi," she said with a smile.
Max moved closer to her. "What are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to find out, you know, how you were doing. If you were okay."
"How could I not be okay?" Max asked. "I got out of there, didn`t I?"
Liz smiled. But then she said, "Then why did you stay out of school today?"
"That was Isabel," Max laughed. "She demanded it. I guess she`s suddenly my mother."
"I`ve never known Isabel to be that...motherly."
"Guess she thought this was a good time to start," Max said. "So you actually came by just to see if I was okay?"
Liz smiled. "I guess I missed you."
Max`s face reflected her smile as he said, "Actually, I kind of missed you too." He pressed up against her so that he could reach behind her to shut the bedroom door. He brushed the back of his fingers against one of her cheeks. Liz put her arms around his neck, and then they were kissing eachother. Liz filled with exhilaration and felt her worries go away.
That was until the visions came.
The hideous, awful feelings went into her in heavy waves of emotion so fast and uninvited that Liz thought she would drown in them. The memories did not come gently like she had known them to come into her from Max before: they pounded into her mind insistently, not stopping, not holding back. Max`s brain was flooded with the images, memories, horrific sensations, and emotions. Full of them.
Liz felt a jolt of pain in her and she pulled back with a gasp. She must have been about to fall, she realized, because Max caught her and was holding her shoulders. "Liz?"
Liz looked up at him with a shock in her eyes that scared him. She said nothing, but she didn`t have to. She could see by the expression on his face that he realized, somehow, exactly what had happened. It was the only thing that possibly could have happened. She knew exactly what he was thinking. He didn`t want her to have seen it.
"I should go," Liz said.
"Wait," Max said, reaching for her as she turned, but she was out the door already.
Liz ran into Isabel in the hall, who said, "Liz?" but she brushed right past her. She had just wanted out of there.
That had been the day before, but it seemed like it had happened ten minutes ago. She remembered everything as if she had really been in the white room with Max. But Liz knew this couldn`t even compare to what he`d really been through. This hadn`t even been real.
I just want him to be able to forget, Liz thought. So that I can forget too.
What had Max ever done to deserve any of this? He`d saved Liz`s life once. That was what started all this. So he had deserved to be thrown into an alien prison and be put in anguish and misery because-?
Wait, Liz realized. None of this would have had to happen to Max if it weren`t for me.
Everything had been fine until that day in the cafe. Then things had started to get scary, suspicions had started to rise. And now it was just a matter of time before someone got into some real trouble again, all because of what had happened almost a year ago when Liz was shot. Their problems were anything but over. When was to going to end? How long until they could all look back on that day Max healed her and not feel regretful? Maybe the day would never come. Maybe the four aliens would be running forever...because of her. Because when Max had healed her, it seemed, he`d hurt himself. When he took away the bullethole he took the bullet instead. And his injury was beyond help, even the help of someone with alien gifts.
If only Liz could go back to that day and do something this time, something to allow herself to die instead of be saved so that Max could live on with the life he deserved, without living in fear with the memories of being captured. Yes, she would stop him from healing her, and tell herself, It`s allright, Liz. Everything will be okay in the end. This is better. Everything will be over soon...
Maybe it was just impossible for Max to live a normal life as long as he was here, on a planet where he didn`t belong. Max was inhuman, and as long as he was living with humans he couldn`t fit in. That obvious truth had been learned a long time ago. But Liz had loved him anyway. If she could love him even though he was different and didn`t fit in, then what did that mean? Liz and Max shared a kind of love she had only dreamed of long before she learned his secret. But of course she hadn`t dreamed the small detail that made it so unthinkable: Max and Liz were different species, but their love lived. And for some reason Liz felt like it couldn`t be anything like this between her and another human being.
Liz thought once again of Agent Pierce and how evil he was, and how he had thought Max was the evil one, the one that was different. But from her experience with Max and with Agent Pierce, she found an alien, or a creature, a freak, whatever you want to call it, to be more understanding and gentle than a man. Could she really love Max because in reality, he was less dangerous and more loving than so many humans she`d known?
And Max had gone through those hours of misery...all for that. All for what he was.
She remembered Mr.Aquino`s speech about the heart not being the place where human emotions are stored. Well, wherever Max`s emotions were stored, he was full of warm, compassionate ones. Maybe somewhere he had a heart where his alien feelings really were stored, and it was five times bigger than a man`s.
Liz tossed and turned for probably another fifteen minutes. She finally gave up and sat up in bed with her lamp on. She usually would read but she knew that probably wouldn`t do any good now. She picked up her phone. She started to dial Maria`s number. No. She started over and punched in a different number.
Isabel was buttoning up her pajamas when her phone rang. "Jesus, it`s past ten," she grumbled as she picked it up and answered with an exhausted voice.
"Hi, Isabel. It`s Liz."
"Liz?" Isabel repeated in surprise. "Well, Max is asleep, of course. And he`s been for..."
"No, I figured he would be in bed, I didn`t call to talk to him."
Isabel sat down on the side of her bed. "What`s wrong?"
"I..." Liz sighed heavily and yawned. How could she be so tired but unable to sleep? "I just can`t get to sleep, you know."
"What do you want me to do?" Isabel asked. She didn`t mean to sound like that, but she wasn`t used to this.
"I don`t know," Liz said, starting to feel stupid. "I just didn`t want to be alone tonight, I guess."
Isabel sighed and thought for a few seconds. "Then you won`t be. Just try to get to sleep. It shouldn`t take me long, but you just have to relax."
"All right," Liz said, nodding. "Goodnight, Isabel."
Liz hung up the phone and turned her lamp back off. She lay back in bed, trying to think about nice things this time, and closed her eyes.
Isabel stared at the picture. It was at the Crashdown and was form a Halloween that they`s hung out at the Crashdown to eat pizza. She remembered everyone`s costumes. Liz and Maria had been cute little flappers, Alex had worn one of those Scream masks and thrown on a dorky cape, Michael had gone as himself, and Isabel and Max had dressed theirselves in black and put fangs in. Iz remembered Michael commenting on how she looked like a blood-sucking hooker in her tight black leather pants. She hadn`t appreciated that much.
Isabel lay back on her bed and concentrated on Liz`s face. It took a while because Liz didn`t seem to be entirely asleep yet, but after a couple minutes she was in.
Isabel found herself in the Crashdown. Liz was taking an order at a table not far away.
Maria went up to Liz as she walked away form the table. "Max Evans is staring at you again."
"I don`t think so," Liz said, but when she looked over at his table his head did turn away quickly. "He`s just looking at the clock, okay?"
"Looking at the clock?" Maria mocked. "What would he be waiting for? Someone to get killed?"
"Maybe," Liz said jokingly, nudging Maria with her elbow.
"Damnit, I want it now!" a guy yelled in a booth in the corner of the cafe.
"Those two have been fighting for five minutes," Maria sighed. "They`re really scaring me."
"Make Courtney wait on `em," Liz joked.
The door opened and in walked...Deputy Fisher. He sat down at a booth in the most casual fashion, and Maria watched as Liz walked over to the table. "Afternoon, Deputy," she said darkly.
"Liz Parker," the deputy marveled. "Just one of many rocks in my shoe."
"You deserve a lot more than a couple rocks in your shoe, Pierce," Liz said.
Then Deputy Fisher was Agent Pierce, undisguised. "You killed me, isn`t that enough?"
"No. Max suffered things worse than death in that room."
"Max is a monster."
"You`re a monster," Liz shot back.
Pierce grabbed the collar of her dress and pulled her forward. "You see this," he said, fingering a bullethole in the center of his shirt. "You did this to me. You and your pathetic little group of teens shot me in the heart."
Liz shook her head. "You have no heart."
He let go of her with a little shove. "Just be careful," he said as he got up and turned toward the door. "I wouldn`t mix up what is my fault...with what is your fault." Liz stared after him angrily as he walked toward the door. Before he went through the door he turned back around. "The clock is ticking, Liz," he said, pointing up at the clock behind her. "Will you undo your faults or let me do all that to Max again?"
Liz stared fearfully up at the clock just as the hour hand ticked-or more like thumped-ahead just a little more toward the 3. Her heart thumped wildly along with the ticking. The moving minute hand was like a needle in her heart.
Isabel watched the two arguing in the booth, frightened. Something was wrong. Something was about to happen. She was the only one who knew. "Oh no."
"He`s looking at you again," Maria whispered to Liz.
"Maria..." Liz sighed. "Find a new hobby. Table eight`s waiting. Why don`t you start there?"
Maria rolled her eyes and walked toward a different booth.
Then one of the men drew out a gun. Liz heard Isabel`s familiar voice scream, "Liz!" out of nowhere when she couldn`t even see her.
"Isabel?" Liz asked, looking around. Then without warning, the bullet was shot. Liz saw a brunette waitress fall to the floor at her feet. "No!"
Isabel was yelling, "Oh my God," and she looked over at Max and Michael`s booth. But they were gone. They`d just disapeared.
Liz dropped to her knees and turned over the girl that was on the floor. It was herself. She had been shot in the stomach and there was blood seeping into the fabric of her alien uniform. Liz leaned over and put an arm under the shoulders of the other Liz and lifted her up to hold her in her arms. Liz hooked her other arm under the shot Liz`s waist as she squeezed her eyes shut in pain. Liz looked over helplessly at the empty booth in the front of the Crashdown. He was supposed to be there, he was supposed to help this girl because he loved this girl. But Max had left the cafe. Left this Liz`s life forever. The Liz holding the hurt one would live on and love him, but the other would die now and never know that.
Liz stroked the girl`s hair with her fingers. "Shhh," she whispered gently and soothingly. "It`s allright, Liz. Everything will be okay in the end. It`s better this way. Everything will be over soon...It`ll all be over." Then Liz held the other Liz`s head against hers and held the girl tight to her until she closed her eyes and her head rolled back, no longer breathing. The clock on the wall slowed down and stopped ticking. But Liz couldn`t let her go. She sobbed into her lifeless body. This wasn`t right. The Max that was supposed to love her would now live the life he was supposed to, but this Liz needed to live on. It couldn`t just be over. She needed to live on and know Max, and be with Max, not die now, here, in this cafe. But she was dead. It was too late.
"Liz?" Liz looked up and saw Isabel standing above her. Isabel kneeled down next to her as she placed the dead Liz down on the floor. Isabel wrapped her arms around Liz and let her cry into her shoulder. She shook her back and forth like rocking a baby and told her it was okay.
Then Isabel was snapped back into reality, staring into the photo of Liz and the others. She was breathing quickly, but she relaxed and then looked back at the photo. She thought for a minute, and then concentrated on Max`s face instead.
Of course, Max was in the dreaded white room. He was seemingly alone, walking back and forth like he was searching frantically for a way out. He brushed past Isabel like she wasn`t even there. "Max, there`s no way..."
"MAX," said a booming voice, coming from no specific place and yet from everywhere at once, echoing against the white tiled walls. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"
Then Max recognized the voice. It was Nasedo. "Me? I didn`t..."
"YOU TRAPPED YOURSELF HERE," Nasedo`s voice thundered. "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"
"I didn`t mean..."
"ON THAT DAY YOU RISKED EVERYTHING. IF YOU HADN`T THIS WOULDN`T HAVE HAPPENED."
"You mean...you mean when Liz...?"
"YOU KNOW THAT`S WHAT I MEAN. DO YOU REALIZE WHEN YOU SAVED HER YOU ENDANGERED YOUR ABILITY TO HELP OUR PLANET? IT RUINED EVERYTHING."
"I didn`t know," Max said. "How was I supposed to know it would ruin anything? I couldn`t just let her die."
"OF COURSE YOU COULD, MAX."
"No." Max got frustrated. "Maybe you have it in you to let that happen, but I don`t. I`m not like you."
"YOU`VE LET YOURSELF BE TOO HUMAN."
"I`m expected to go home to a race of species that`s emotionless?"
"YOU`RE EXPECTED TO GO TO A SPECIES THAT IS STRONGER THAN HUMANS. MAX, WE CAN`T GO ON WITH HUMANS IN OUR LIVES."
Max paused, looking up at the ceiling and around at the walls like Nasedo was inside of them. "You would kill her."
"You would, wouldn`t you? If you had to? You killed all those other people without feeling anything. Would you kill her?"
"SHE`S A HUMAN."
"That`s no excuse!" Max got mad. "I`ll bet you were going to at one point. You bastard."
Isabel caught his eye for the first time. She stared at him sympathetically.
"I`m sorry if you`re too alien to understand this," Max said, "but I can`t let you hurt her."
"SHE WILL ONLY GET IN THE WAY IF SHE LIVES."
"I love her!" Max shouted, furious. "Doesn`t that mean anything to you?"
"YOU DON`T LOVE HER. SHE`S DIFFERENT."
"Why the hell does that make any difference? You wouldn`t know. I wonder if you`ve ever cared about someone in your life. I doubt you even care about us. You barely respect us."
"I RESPECT YOU PLENTY AS A LEADER."
"I`m sure. You knew I was your leader but you turned into me in order to kidnap Liz and carry out a plan you didn`t even care to confirm with us about. You kept the truth from me so that you could be in command. Some respect to your commander."
"MY JOB WASN`T TO TELL YOU WHO YOU WERE."
"No, it`s to protect us. Where were you when they arrested me? You were walking out with Liz."
"YOU BLAME ME FOR THAT WHEN IT`S YOUR FAULT."
"What did I do to be captured?"
"YOU SAVED HER, MAX. THAT`S WHAT LEAD TO THIS. YOU SAVED HER."
Max looked up at Isabel. "Don`t listen to him, Max," Isabel pleaded. "It isn`t true."
"It is," Max said. "I got us all in trouble in the first place, and you know it."
Isabel shook her head. "No."
"COME ON, ISABEL. YOU KNOW YOU SOMETIMES THINK BACK AND KNOW THAT ALL YOUR PROBLEMS TRACE BACK TO WHAT HE DID."
A door opened and in came Pierce. "Ready to begin, Max?"
"YOU CAN STOP IT FROM HAPPENING ALL OVER AGAIN, MAX," Nasedo said. "LET HER DIE."
And then there was a gunshot and a thump as a frail body fell to the floor out of nowhere. It was Liz, with a bullethole in her stomach, her blood spilling out in a red puddle on the bright white floor.
"It`s her or you, Max," Pierce said. "Do you really want to experience what happened in this room all over again?"
Max looked down at Liz. He didn`t hesitate to drop down and press his hand against her stomach.
Pierce shrugged. "Your choice. Bring in the surgeons."
"No!" Isabel yelled.
Then she sprung up in bed.
Max`s window was partially open like it had been a couple days ago. But Liz tried to forget about that day as she climbed into Max`s room. It was dark but she could see Max asleep in his bed, twitching this way and that. Liz quietly crept forward and kneeled by his bed. She could tell he was having a nightmare. Was his as bad as the nightmare she`d just had? She didn`t want to think about it.
Liz slowly slid onto the bed and snuggled in next to him. He was breathing surprisingly quickly for someone who was sleeping, and his mouth was moving a little. Then he started to talk in his sleep. "Leave her alone," he mumbled. "Stop it."
Liz carefully took his hand in hers and raised it to her lips. "Max?" she whispered. "Max, it`s okay. I`m right here." Then she gently rolled closer to him and lay her body on top of him. "Shh. It`s okay," she said as she lay her head over his chest.
After a while Max`s breathing slowed down and he finally seemed to be sleeping serenely, and Liz rolled back over to where she was before next to him. Max rolled toward her, still not seeming to know she was there. But as she closed her eyes and started to drift off to sleep, she suddenly felt him kiss her. And she got a flash. But this one was very different than the last. She saw Max dressed in black swinging her around in a red flapper costume. It was last Halloween. Alex, Michael, and Maria moved in next to them and Max smiled wide, bearing a mouthful of ridiculous-looking fake fangs, and Isabel took a picture.
Liz put her head over Max`s chest and hugged her arms around his chest. "Are you okay?"
Max smiled and kissed her forehead. "Now that you`re here...I`m fine."
"Maybe I should stay a little longer then," Liz whispered.
"Yeah. Maybe you should."
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