FanFic - Other
Part 31
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. The characters and concept belong to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz. Tarsus of Dernia and all Illyrian characters belong to me. Lyrics by Sarah McLachlan, Phil Collins, Amanda Marshall, Garth Brooks.
Summary: Sequel to "Out of the Woods." I highly recommend reading it before trying this one. It is archived at the Crashdown. Basically, Max is gone, and the others have no idea whether they will ever see him again.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Stop your crying, it will be all right
Just take my hand, hold it tight
I will protect you from all around you
I will be here, don’t you cry.
For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm.
This bond between us can’t be broken,
I will be here, don’t you cry.

You’ll be in my heart,
You’ll be in my heart,
From this day on, now and forever,
You’ll be in my heart,
You’ll be in my heart,
No matter what they say,
You’ll be in my heart…always.

Michael stood across Maria’s bed from Jennetta. It took all of his strength not to reach across the bed and haul the little girl away from Maria’s still form.

They had been connected for too long. And it was clearly painful.

Moments before tears had started to stream from Jennetta’s eyes.

It was different from when Michael had seen Max connect with people to heal them. During those times Max was generally still aware of his surroundings although he often became wrapped up in the pain of whoever he happened to be helping.

Jennetta was NOT with him any longer. It was like her body had emptied out. The only sign of life were the tears.

His gaze returned to Maria’s face.

And suddenly his heart entered his throat.

She was crying too. **************************************************************************** Dreams* Maria

When Maria opened her eyes she encountered blackness.

She sat up blinking, trying to make sure that she really had her eyes open.

She did.

The first thought that penetrated the fog of her mind was that she was blind.

"You’re not blind." A voice told her. "You’re just not seeing me. You don’t know what I look like now."

Maria glanced around in terror. Everywhere she looked was black.

Yet she could feel that she was not alone.

"Who are you?" She asked into the darkness.

"It’s me Mother."

Maria’s heart sped up. "Jennetta! Is that you baby?"

"Yes. I’ve come to help you come back to us."

"But, how can you be talking to me? The last time I saw you, you were a month old. Have I been out of it for that long?" Maria asked in horror.

She could hear Jennetta giggling. "No silly. After Tarsus took me away from you, they podded me. I’m seven now - at least in Earth years."

Maria frowned. "I want to see you." She said.

"Are you sure?" Jennetta sounded a little scared, like she didn’t want her to be disappointed or something.

How could she be disappointed? It was her baby…


Suddenly light filled the place where they spoke. Maria blinked, looked around.

They were in the damn Ring.

And yet they weren’t. There was no tall yellow grass, no yellow sky, no twelve moons overhead…

There were only the stones, standing in their timeless pattern, reaching towards the black, star-studded sky that surrounded them.

Her eyes found Jennetta moments later.

Her daughter was standing about ten feet away from her, watching her warily.

Maria felt tears fill her eyes. She looks exactly like Michael!

Her waist-length was exactly Michael’s shade of light-brown. Her eyes were his too, dark and sad.

As Maria looked closer she could see herself as well though. Jennetta’s lips were her own cupid-bow shape and her nose was small and pert, not at all dominant on her face like Michael’s was on his.

Maria opened her arms. Jennetta rushed into them. "I didn’t know who you were!" She sobbed against Maria’s chest. "When Michael brought me to you, I was just going to heal you for him, but I didn’t know that you were MINE too!"

"My baby." Maria stroked her daughter’s soft hair. "How could I ever have forgotten you? How did you get here?" She looked around the Ring warily. "And where is here anyway?" She asked wryly.

"We’re in your dreams." Jennetta replied. "You had to stay in here until we found each other again."

"But I don’t understand how you got here sweetie. They took you away from me." Maria flinched at the memory of Tarsus ripping her baby out of her arms. "And why couldn’t we remember you?"

"I can answer that."

The air nearby seemed to ripple and suddenly an old man in a long robe was standing almost next to them. Maria blinked at him. "Who are you?"

She felt Jennetta stiffen in her arms. "Lucianus! How did you get here?" She pulled away from Maria, went to throw herself at the old man.

"I’ve been watching you since you left us child." The old man replied. Jennetta grasped him by the hand, led him over to Maria.

"This is Lucianus." She explained. "He lives with my mother…" She paused. "Well, I guess she’s not my mother now. I don’t know who she is, but anyway, he lived with us on Illyria."

"Who did you live with on Illyria?" Maria asked, feeling more and more confused. "Not Tarsus I hope?"

"No." Lucianus smiled at Maria. Maria liked him instantly. The old man had the kindest smile she had ever seen. "Jennetta was saved almost immediately."

"By Max." Maria finished in relief. She should have known that Max would never have let Tarsus keep her child in his evil clutches.

"I’m afraid not." Lucianus replied. Maria blinked. "He would have helped her, but he did not remember her."

"I don’t understand." Maria felt her frustration mounting. Why did aliens always have to talk in circles?

"Go and see for yourself." Lucianus indicated one of the stones. As Maria turned to stare at it, it began to shimmer, transforming into what almost appeared to be a doorway. "All will be explained."

Maria looked at him. For some reason she felt that she could trust him. "Come sweetie." She held out her hand for Jennetta.

They walked into chaos.

Maria realized almost immediately that they were back on Illyria - and yet they weren’t. They were there, but as observers, not as actual participants in the events unfolding around them.

It was the Ring and it seemed to be just moments after she and Michael had been thrown into the portal back to Earth. The red column of light was gone, but all the players who had been there in their last moments on Illyria were still in the Ring.

Max was on the ground, three guards holding him down. "You LIED to me!" He was yelling at Tarsus, who was standing over him, shaking his head. Max was struggling against his captors, the expression of rage on his face almost terrifying. Maria had never seen her gentle friend look like that before. It was not Max.

"You have always been too trusting Jaxon. That is the first thing I’m going to program out of you. Trust is weakness. You will never be the king I need you to be if you trust." He shook his head again, this time in disgust. "Take him back to town. I want the cleansing to take place immediately. It better be done when I return."

Max howled in frustration again, was wrenching away from his guards. Maria could see him frantically trying to get to Jennetta, but it was all in vain. They hauled him away.

Ren was still standing near where he had been when Maria had left. He had Jennetta cradled against his shoulder. The baby was screaming at the top of her lungs. Maria did not blame her at all.

Maria felt the older Jennetta beside her shift uncomfortably as they watched what was happening to her younger self.

"Bring the brat to me Ren." Tarsus ordered.

Maria blinked when Ren did not move. His eyes were wide and he glanced behind him, towards the Illyrian side of the Ring.

Tarsus’ eyes narrowed. "What are you doing? Bring her to me." Ren took a step backwards. Tarsus started to walk towards him. "So, we were wrong to trust you. You are a traitor, just like your father before you."

Ren paused. Maria willed him to keep going, to save her baby. "Keep my father out of this." Ren finally replied evenly. "I just saw the sacrifice that was made here - and I saw what YOU did. If this is what not having emotions does…well, I think I made a mistake by allowing myself to be cleansed."

"Too bad it’s not as simple as that." Tarsus replied in the snotty voice that had always made Maria want to punch him, "You HAVE been cleansed. You are mine to do with as I will."

Ren was still moving. "Not anymore. I denounce you for the unfeeling bastard you are. I have witnessed what love is capable of today and it is worth any pain that comes with it. I will not let you have their child."

"Stop!" Tarsus bellowed back. "I command you!" Maria could see several Illyrian border guards peering into the Ring, trying to see what was happening.

She watched in stupefied amazement as Ren took the final steps over into Illyria.

Her guard - she now knew that he had been her friend - had saved her daughter’s life.

Maria hugged her daughter against her side. "Do you know him?" She asked her quietly.

"No. I wonder what happened to him." Jennetta sounded sad.

As she spoke, the world around them began to shimmer. Moments later they were back in the dark-shrouded Ring. Lucianus was gone.

"What happens now?" Jennetta asked Maria.

"I don’t know." Maria replied. "I guess I try and wake up."

She held onto her daughter tightly, willed herself to wake up.

Nothing happened.

"Okay, so much for that idea." Maria finally said, annoyed. "I guess something’s missing." She glanced down at her daughter, who looked equally irritated. It made Maria want to smile despite herself.

"Maybe if you think of all the reasons you have to wake up?" Jennetta finally suggested.

"Well, that’s easy." Maria smiled down at her. "Needless to say, you’re number one."

Jennetta smiled back. "But I’m here already."

"Okay, well there’s Liz of course." Maria watched in amazement as Liz suddenly appeared in front of her. Liz was smiling at her, beckoning her, visions of all the good and bad times they had shared whirling through Maria’s mind.

She thought of Alex next. And then her mother…and Isabel, Kyle and even Tess. They all appeared to her as though they were with her, but disappeared almost immediately as though trying to whet her appetite to be with them again.

She thought of Max. Her friend, who had sacrificed so much for all of them - and it had all been in vain.

Max materialized in front of her. He held baby Jennetta in his arms.

Maria gasped when seven-year old Jennetta, who had been clinging tightly to her hand, disappeared.

Max stepped forward, smiled at her. "And I would do it again in a minute." He told her quietly. He handed her the baby he was holding. Maria brought her daughter up against her chest and Max was gone.

Maria thought of Michael last.

He was there an instant later, looking annoyed.

"Can we get the show on the road here Maria? I mean, really, aren’t you dragging this out a bit too dramatically?" Michael demanded. He was gone an instant later.

Maria laughed. *************************************************************************************

Michael stared down at Maria in amazement. She was laughing.

Her eyes opened a moment later. Jennetta’s eyes opened at the exact same moment. He watched as his girlfriend’s eyes met Max’s sister’s.

A moment later Maria was sitting up, holding Jennetta tightly against her.

Finally she glanced past Jennetta’s dark head, smiled at Michael in such a way, his heart started to beat a mile a minute.

"What are you doing all the way over there spaceboy?" She asked, her tone light and affectionate.

It was all the encouragement Michael needed.

Part 30 | Index | Part 32
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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