FanFic - Max/Liz
"Wondrous Strange"
Part 3
by Red the Mighty
Disclaimer: Roswell and its characters do not belong to me. No infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Nor do I own Bob Dylan or any of his songs. I just really, really like them.
Summary: Okay, now what? The third and final part of Wondrous Strange. Max and Liz discuss the nature of their destinies.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: As this is the third part of a three-part story you might want to read the other two parts, as well. If you can't find them here you can find my stuff on my website, I live for feedback.
"Little red wagon, little red bike,
I ain't no monkey but I know what I like.
I like the way you love me strong and slow.
I'm taking you with me,
Honey, baby, when I go."
- Bob Dylan, 'Buckets of Rain'


"Hi Liz."

"Hey Max."

They stared at each other for several long seconds, each thinking the same thought, "Okay, now what?" They'd tackled the easy part of the night's conversation and were now at a loss as to how to continue into the hard part. Liz decided to stall.

"Um, mind if I light the candles?"

"No, of course not. Here, want me to plug in the lights?"


Liz watched Max jump down from the wall out of the corner of her eye. There was so much she needed to say to him. She lit the handful of candles and then curled up on her deck chair to think a bit more. She had remained confident for all of 30 seconds when she saw him sitting out here, then her brain started kicking up any number of doubts and fears, making such a general ruckus she almost couldn't breath. The urge to dive back through her window had been a strong one. She realized immediately how absurd that was. She wasn't a coward and she wasn't afraid of Max. She just didn't want to hurt him anymore and it was her very great fear that somehow she would.

She looked up when Max settled himself at her feet on the chair. He rested his elbows on his knees and regarded her intently. The candlelight flickered and sparked a passion in his eyes that shook her to the core. Liz took a deep breath and twisted her hands in the blanket to keep him from seeing them tremble. God, he was looking right into her. She was under siege and he had finally managed to rip down every one of her defenses. She closed her eyes and pushed herself back further in her chair.

He wasn't blind to her discomfort but he couldn't force himself to look away. The warm glow of the candles trailed kisses of burnished gold across her cold cheeks. Small muscles on the backs of his fingers twitched in rebellion at the tyrannical control that refused to allow them to reach out and stroke her soft skin. With the sudden and brutal force of an avalanche the weight of his life slammed down on his shoulders, stealing his breath and bursting his heart beneath it. He balled his hands into fists and leaned forward on his knees more heavily.

"You lied to me." Though he spoke softly, his voice caught on the last word and seemed to shatter the still, cold air.

Liz finally opened her eyes to look at him but his gaze had fallen to his clinched fists. She couldn't think of anything to say. She opened her mouth to say something, to acknowledge that she had heard him, but she couldn't find her voice. She regarded him silently while her mind waged a silent battle with her heart. The scientist part of her just wanted to lay out the story for him in a logical, just-the-facts manner while the part of her that loved him wanted to try and reassure him first. Which would hurt less?

While Liz debated with herself over what to say, Max turned his eyes back to her. He didn't know what he expected her to say but he was surprised by her silence. He wasn't sure how to take her hesitation. Clearly she realized she'd been found out but she couldn't be thinking of a way to maintain the deception, could she?

"I know you and Kyle didn't. . ." He cleared his throat and waved one hand in an unconscious gesture of discomfort. "I. . . why, Liz?" His voice broke again into a soft whisper, heavy with grief.

His quiet anguish made her mind up for her. "Because you asked me to, Max." She replied gently.

He pinned her with a piercing stare but didn't say anything. Liz drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped the blanket more firmly around herself before meeting his gaze again.

"You have to listen to me, Max. Just listen and not say anything until I'm done. Okay?"

He swallowed curiosity and dread and simply nodded his assent. Liz looked away then and scanned her balcony for anything that might help her to continue. A sign from God, maybe?

"Geez, this is really hard."

Max coughed and looked up at the stars, "No kidding."

Liz licked her lips and decided that this wasnt going to get any easier no matter how long she stalled.

"You showed up on my balcony one night, only it wasn't you, or I mean, it was you but a you fourteen years older. You came back from the end of the world."


"Max, you really can't interrupt 'cause this is hard enough as it is. Just let me get through this once and then you can freak out." Liz noticed the skeptical look on his face and tried to keep a tight hold on her own exasperation. "Look, you can believe me or not, that's up to you, but I am going to tell you the truth here and all I want is for you to just listen to me."

She was stressed, no doubt about it. Weeks of keeping this inside were wearing her down and as much as she loved Max if he couldn't keep his mouth shut while she got all this out she was going to toss him off her balcony. Great, she was channeling Maria now. This just wasn't going to get any better was it?

"Okay. This future you came back to the present to get me to help you, him, umm, well, save the world. Fourteen years from now your enemies had taken over the Earth and everybody was dead."

Liz stopped and shifted uncomfortably. Was she even making any sense? God, did any of this make sense? Here she was average, everyday Liz Parker, trying to tell the extraterrestrial love of her life why she had to help his future-self save the world by making his present-self fall out of love with her. Not only was her life bizarre but she needed some linguist somewhere to come up with a whole new tense for the English language just so she could explain what was going on in it. She glanced at Max to see if he was following her. His face was a mask of non-expression giving her no hint of what his thoughts might be.

"You told me that the reason everything fell apart was because Tess left. You, Michael, Isabel, and Tess are a unit, with each of you having special powers, but with Tess gone you weren't as strong and your enemies were finally able to take over. She left because of the way you treated her. The, uh, closer you and I became the more you pushed Tess away, until finally she just . . . took off.

"You told me that the way to keep all that from happening was to make you fall out of love with me." She said softly.

"No, Max, let me finish." Liz tried to cut him off but the fear that had been burning in his chest had exploded into a rage. Max shot up off the chair and marched to the other side of the patio.

"Make me fall out of love with you? Make me? You couldn't come to me with something like this? We could have worked it out. Together. We could have done something to make sure Tess stayed here. You decided instead, that the best thing to do would be to lie to me and manipulate my feelings? You thought that it was okay to do that to me?" He yelled back at her.

"You told me not to tell you. You said that the best way to do this was to be surgical and precise."

"I DID NOT. Some. . . some future version of me? How do you know he wasn't a shape-shifter, or a . . . a . . . a skin trying to tear us apart, to make us weak?"

"Because he knew things Max, he could tell the future, what was going to happen. He told me that you were going to show up with the Mariachi band, like ten seconds before you actually did."

"He was up here with you then? Jesus, Liz, he could have been anything, he could have. . ."

"Stop. Right. There. You can't possibly think that that was something I was naove enough to believe without proof? That some person, being, whatever, can show up at my window looking like an older version of you and I am just going to buy it immediately? Or that I am going to willingly jump at the chance to do everything I can to break your heart?

"God, Max. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to do that? To tell you that I didn't want to be with you, that I wouldn't die for you? To see the look on your face when you saw Kyle and I in bed together? I've died about a hundred times a day, every day, since then."

Max slouched back against the wall. His anger was draining from him rapidly, leaving him sick and shaky. He couldn't seem to string two thoughts together and the deafening rush of blood in his ears was making it even harder to think. With a frustrated growl he ground the heels of his hands into his eyes and then roughly ran his fingers through his hair. He locked his hands at the back of his head and stared back at Liz. She was standing now, facing him, her dark eyes glittering fiercely.

"Is that it?"

"What?" Liz was startled by the coolness in his voice.

"Is that it? I mean is there any more to this story? Did you save the world?"

"Uh, well, yeah, I suppose. You, he, the older Max disappeared a little bit after you saw me with Kyle. So I guess that means the future that he came from changed so that he never existed to come back to the present."

Liz stopped speaking and her eyes widened in something akin to panic when Max crossed the roof suddenly. She didn't know he could move that fast. Her heart started beating again when he bent down and picked up the blanket that had fallen unnoticed to her feet.

"It's cold." He said simply. He handed her the blanket but didn't step back. He was so close to her she could feel the heat of his body and smell the scent that in her mind meant only 'Max'. She pulled the blanket around her shoulders and took the step back he wouldn't.


"No problem. Do you want to go inside?"

"Um, no, I'm fine. Do you?"



"It didn't work completely, though, did it?" He was pleased to hear that his voice was calm and steady. He had collected himself somewhat but the shaky feeling had not left him yet.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I can't believe that I would ever be stupid enough, end of the world or not, to think that anything you could do would ever make me fall out of love with you."

Liz stared at him but couldn't think of a reply to that beyond a rather bewildered, "Oh."

"My turn, Liz."

Max took one of her small, cold hands and drew her back to the chair. He sat and tugged her down next to him. She shrugged against the thick fabric of the blanket and jumped slightly when Max reached around her to wrap it more tightly around her. She was disappointed when he took his arm from around her once he'd accomplished this task.

"You were right, this is hard." He said with a wry smile.

"Will I want to freak out at any point during this?" Liz said, a small smile on her lips.

"Uh, well, I hope not."

He acknowledged her attempt to lighten the mood by gently nudging her shoulder with his own. Her smile grew a little broader as she pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear and waited for him to continue.

"The thing is, Liz, I need you. I mean, my whole life has been defined by this huge secret that only Isabel and Michael knew about and then only because they were part of it. I may be 'not-of-this-world' but my world used to be a pretty small place. Except somehow, in some way I still don't understand, you were always part of that world, too."

"Max, I don't . . ."

"Please, Liz, let me finish." He chastened softly.


"Well I guess, I did interrupt you, so maybe I don't have any place to ask you to be patient with me when I didn't give you the same attention. Geez, Liz, how do you put up with me? God, I trust you more then anyone and I can't even trust that you can use your own head and take care of yourself. Why didn't you just toss me off your roof?"

"Max, you're kind of, well, in danger of babbling. You never babble. I think you've been talking to Maria too much lately."

"I haven't talked to Maria in at least three days and I'm just nervous. But, I did have dinner with Kyle, tonight."

"Kyle? Max you didn't talk to Kyle about this, did you?"

"Yeah, a bit. He wouldn't say anything about that night, though. He's not too bad a guy. You know, he's pretty okay."

"Are you going to start quoting Buddha?"

"No, I don't think so. I could tell you a little story about Buddha. Want me to?"

"Umm, no, that's okay. I'll get it from Kyle at some point, I'm sure."

This time he didn't stop himself when the golden glow of her skin became too tempting not to touch. The caress was as tender as it was brief. "Because I asked you to?" He said simply, repeating her earlier words and shaking his head in wonder. He dropped his hand back down to his lap when she turned to meet his gaze. "You are an amazing woman, Liz Parker."

She could feel her cheeks burn both from his touch and the intensity of his admiration. She wanted to tell him that she wasn't so amazing but once again she found herself at a loss for words.

"I never wanted to hurt you. Or burden you with the insanity of my life. But since that day at the Crashdown you've been my life. I'm so sorry, Liz. I can't imagine what it was like for you to feel you had to push me away like that. I'm sorry I asked you to do that, future self or not."

"It was my choice, Max."

"I know. I don't know what I ever did to be worthy of your love. I may have saved your life that day but you saved my life by not turning away from me when you found out about me. You saved my life by listening instead of running, by being the most honorable friend and straightforward adviser I could ever hope for. By never giving up on me, and, when it got bad you were still standing right by me. You gave up so much, risked even more. I am constantly in awe of your strength.

"That's what I need, Liz. I need your strength. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by everything. Being this king and leader. I know that Michael and Isabel and even Tess are, you know, there for me but they have their own stuff that they have to deal with, too. I think that's at least a little part of why I don't share this stuff with them. But you, you are like this whole other half of me. I know you understand, and you listen and I . . . I really need that. I need that you stand by me because it is your choice.

"I wonder sometimes, though, if it is your choice. I mean, I really have felt that you were part of this since I first saw you all those years ago. A part of me. Maybe this is destiny, too. My saving you in the Crashdown is what jump started all of this. We would never have found the orbs, never have met Tess and Nasedo, never found the pod chamber or the Granilith. The skins could have come and wiped us out and we never would have had a clue.

"I know it, Liz, I know it without even the smallest doubt that you are my destiny. I don't care what some fifty year-old recording tells me about my destiny."

"That's not true, Max. You do care. You care about Isabel and Michael and you care about who you are to them. Being the king, it's part of you."

"You are part of me too, Liz." He replied vehemently, refusing to give in to this. He was not going to lose this argument to her again. She was going to see this his way, damn all else.

"You and Tess . . ."

"Tess and I are not meant to be. If we were, wouldn't I feel something? Like I feel Isabel, and Michael, and you? I feel you Liz. Not quite like I feel Izzy and Michael, but it is real. As real as my bond with them. I've watched you for years, Liz. I've only ever loved you. I've only ever trusted you with this part of myself. Nobody else. There can't be anybody else. It just isn't possible. I do not care what some recording says. That was my last life, Liz, not the one I have now. I have to do what I think is best; I have to follow my own heart. And that doesn't include accepting some arranged marriage. Please, Liz, you have to see that? Can't you feel it?"

"I . . . I don't know what I feel sometimes, Max. I know you've always watched me. I mean it wasn't something I was totally aware of. You have always done such a good job of fading into the background. You've always been just sort of . . . there. I kind of accepted it as one of those things and didn't think too much about it. You never did anything really creepy, stalker-like. I don't know, maybe it was even comforting, in a way. And maybe it was because I could feel you, too.

"But, Max, Tess is part of you, too. She is one of the Royal Four. You can't ignore that."

"No, you're right, she is. And, yeah, she was my wife in our last life but things are different now. I do need her. I need her as part of our group and I'll do what I can to keep her here. But, I've thought about it, Liz. What if the reason we failed in our last lives was because it was just the four of us?"

"Because you didn't have me?"

"No, because we didn't have any of you. You, Maria, Sheriff Valenti, Kyle, Alex. We didn't have anybody else who could step back and see what was really going on. No support group of people we could trust. Maybe we were too closed off last time. We just weren't enough to save our world. I wasn't enough."

"Max . . ."

"No! I mean it, Liz. You are the other half of my soul. I'm not complete. I'm not strong enough without you."

Liz pulled her feet up under her and sat back on the chair again to get a better look at Max. She hadn't seen him this animated in a long time. That, at least, was good to see, she decided. She worried about him. He tried to carry too much alone and kept too much inside. She knew what he was asking now, though. No, she realized, he wasn't asking for anything, he was offering himself to her. If she accepted his offer, if she took him and gave herself to him in return, that would be it. She would never be able to turn away from this handsome, sexy, intense, and deeply sensitive man again. She was scared and exhilarated at the same time. She was only seventeen and this was one hell of a decision to make but, on the other hand, she had never felt anything in her life that was as right and genuine as her desire to be with Max.

"I know what I am asking is a lot, Liz, maybe it's too much. But I need . . . I needed you to know how I felt. I know that our enemies are still out there, I know that things are going to get more . . . difficult and, and maybe it's not fair of me to ask you to face these risks, but I want you with me, Liz. I can do this if you're with me."

"God, Max. I . . ."

"Look, Liz . . ."

Liz placed her fingers on Max's lips, silencing him. "My turn, Max."

"Oh, okay, sorry."

She took a deep breath and let her hand linger on his jaw.

"I love you, Max. I just want to be sure that this is the right thing. I know you have this whole destiny thing, deny it all you like, and I can't forget the stuff the future Max told me. If we are going to do this we have to make sure that the four of you stay together. You may think I am your strength, Max, but I've had a glimpse of what happens if you choose me over the Royal Four. Our combined strength isn't enough, either, if the four of you split up."

"We'll make sure that doesn't happen."

"It has to be a priority, Max. You know, this is my world at stake now, too." She hated playing the guilt card with him; he carried around more then enough as it was, but she had to make sure he was listening to her.

"We'll do what we can, Liz, but don't ask me to give you up or leave you, because I can't anymore. I won't." He set his jaw stubbornly.

"The Royal Five, huh? What do you think?" He said, trying to judge just how far she was willing to go with this. What her mood was. She was as enigmatic as a Sphinx right now.

"Well it doesn't have the same ring to it that the Royal Four does." She teased gently.

"Tough. New rules, Liz. The old ones didn't work. They got us all killed.

"You know, one of the representatives at the meeting in New York, the one who wore Brody's body, said something to me I haven't been able to shake. He told me that it was really sad to see history repeating itself. I won't be dictated to by the past, Liz. I don't want all of us to make the same mistakes because we are trying too hard to see what we were."

"We make our own destinies?"

"Yes. The future is open now, Liz, undetermined. No matter what some future version of me might say."

"Actually he said pretty much the same thing, right before he vanished."

"Well then, I guess I wasn't totally out of character."

"No, not at all. That's what was scary, Max."

She reached up again and stroked her fingers along his jaw and down the side of his neck. He shivered and grabbed her hand. He pulled her fingers to his lips and kissed them one at a time. She was the one shivering now as she sighed and leaned against him. Here he was, real and alive and hers. He put his arm around her and pulled her even closer. When their lips finally met neither was certain who had moved first, but it didn't really matter. Within a heartbeat the gentle, tentative brush of lips turned into a breathtaking kiss of the kind that only two long starved lovers could manage.

When they were at length forced to break apart due to lack of oxygen they stared at each other, afraid to look away in the fear that it had been a dream. They had gone through so much to get back to this point. Now they were trying to catch their breath while they sorted through the almost overwhelming rush of feelings and flashes that pounded through them.

Max saw himself, years older, his face lined and tired. He saw that last dance with Liz and wanted to weep for all that she had been forced to endure for him and all that she was willing to give up for him.

Liz saw herself in bed with Kyle and felt her heart break again at the anguish and betrayal that ripped through Max. She also felt, through that pain, his stubborn refusal to let her go and the passion and depth of his love for her.

"I love you, Liz." He whispered; his forehead pressed against hers.

"I love you, too."

He pulled back then and placed his chilled hands on either side of her face. He scanned her beautiful face and leaned back in to take her bottom lip gently in his teeth. She drew back slightly and then captured his mouth fully with her own. Another long and hungry kiss later they moved away from each other.

"It's late, I should go." Max groaned.

"Actually, I think it might be really early now." Liz laughed.

Max tugged the sleeve of his jacket up to check his watch. "Whoa. No kidding. It's almost 4:30. I can't believe we've been out here that long. I should let you go to bed."

"Hm, I'm not really tired, Max. I seem to be a little wound up for some reason." She said innocently, batting her eyelashes for effect.

Max laughed and kissed her quickly again. "I can't imagine what it could be, Liz. Hey, where are your parents?"

"Asleep, I hope. Why?"

"I was going to go out to the Mescalero Sands tonight. Come with me. We'll watch the sunrise. Will they miss you?"

"Umm, Maria will probably cover for me if I need her to. What about you?"

"I can get Michael and Isabel to do the same. If they haven't already done it."

"Okay. Sounds great. Let me go get a coat." She kissed him again and stood up to go back inside.

Max watched her go and then lay back on the chair to wait.

When Liz climbed back out onto the roof she thought for a second that he had fallen asleep but then she saw that his eyes were open and he was staring at the stars. She grinned at the relaxed open look on his face. He looked like a little boy. He turned around to look for her when he heard her laughter.


"Nothing. I just don't think I've ever seen you actually relaxed before. It's a new experience."

"A good experience?"

"Oh yeah."

"I'll try and make it a habit, then." He grinned.

"Don't change on my account."

"No other reason to change."

Liz looked at him suspiciously. "You're not gonna turn all sappy on me, are you?"

"Maybe." He replied soberly.

Liz laughed and punched him lightly in the arm. "Let's go, Max."


Forty-five chilly minutes later Max stopped his jeep at the base of a small rise in the desert. The moon had set, leaving the night black as pitch. Max left the jeep's headlights on until Liz was settled at the top of the hill on a blanket he'd pulled from the back. When he joined her he could sense rather then see her look over at him. He reached out a hand and pulled her onto his lap and then he wrapped the blanket around them both.

"The sun won't be up for another hour and a half or so. Are you sure you're not tired?"

"So what if I am? I can't think of a better place to fall asleep, Max."

"Can't argue with that." He smiled.

"Liz, things aren't always going to be like this. We still have enemies and probably some pretty nasty fights ahead of us."

"I'm not afraid, Max."

"I just want to make sure you don't have any doubts."

"No doubts, not any more, not about this, never." She murmured into his chest.

"Don't leave me, Liz." He whispered into her hair.

"Never." She whispered back.


Part 2 | Index
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