FanFic - Other
Part 34
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
Isabel paused in the entrance to the hospital cafeteria. She could see Max sitting at a table in the corner, by himself, his head in his hands.

Not for the first time since he had returned, her heart went out to her brother.

She missed him so much…and she was so worried about him. Max’s constant state of confusion and suspicion seemed to be draining him bit by bit. The only time he seemed even remotely secure was when he was with Liz or Jennetta.

The emotional roller-coaster on which he was trapped had to be stopped. Isabel had to make him trust her again.

She had no choice. She could not bear to see him suffering and she could not bear to have him hate her.

He was her brother.

She braced herself for rejection, thought about the pep talk Alex had given her earlier. He had reminded her that Max loved her…she just had to make him remember.

Isabel marched resolutely across the room, plunked herself across the table from him. "Hi."

Max’s head snapped up. His brows came together briefly but his tone was not angry as he replied, "Hello."

"Are you okay?" Isabel demanded, deciding that abrasive was the best way to go at the moment. He was likely to just throw "gentle" back in her face.

"Yes." He replied, looking past her, his expression suddenly distant.

"I don’t believe you." She told him sharply. Max’s gaze came back to her face. He frowned more openly.

"I don’t particularly care what you believe Mirana." He snapped.

"Don’t call me that. My name is Isabel - or Izzy as you usually call me." Isabel’s voice was shaking, but she would NOT let him get to her.

Max continued to scowl at her. "I don’t know Isabel." He finally replied.

"And I don’t know Jaxon Falconer." She insisted. "I want MY brother back."

His expression softened. "I do too." He muttered. For the first time Isabel felt a stab of hope.

"So what are we going to do to make it happen?" Isabel asked him. Max did not reply, just shook his head in frustration.

"I have an idea…why don’t you tell me what you DO remember about Michael and I and Liz and anything…" Isabel had no idea if there was any point to this, but she wanted to keep him talking. He seemed open to it at the moment and she wasn’t going to waste the opportunity.

"I don’t remember anything." Max told her shortly. "At least anything about my life here…well, there was ONE thing."

"What?" Isabel leaned forward eagerly.

"Something to do with Liz." He replied. "It’s private."

"But you had a memory?" When he nodded she continued. "That’s a good sign. It means that your Max memories are still there. We just need to sort through your fake Jaxon ones and deal with them."

Max grimaced. "Real memories, fake ones…how am I supposed to tell the difference?"

"Well, I know for a fact that there is NO way that I ever betrayed you - in this life or the last." Isabel told him. "So you can just get rid of all those memories right now."

Max tilted his head. The shadow of a smile appeared on his face.

"Why are you smiling like that?" Isabel demanded. He looked amused. She had no idea what that meant.

"You’re exactly the same as you were before you betrayed me." He replied. "Mirana was so determined all the time…determined that we were going to triumph over the Dernians, determined to marry Tristandor, determined that I was going to be the best ruler Illyria had ever seen…She ordered me around all the time. At least that’s what I remember." He had sobered, sounded sad.

Isabel stared at him dumb-founded. "Tell me what happened."

Max eyed her a moment longer, finally nodded. "Very well - but it’s not pleasant. I’ve realized that these memories are probably not real, but I have them…they FEEL real…"

"I understand."

"Tristandor came to the Citadel in the spring." Max told her. "You had met him in the Waylandian Ring the summer before. You loved him immediately, but he only felt the urge to leave his people when they began to insist that he be cleansed…"

"You mean podded to lose his emotions?" Isabel asked.

"Yes. He and I were close almost immediately. You were married soon after his arrival. The three of us were inseparable."

"What happened?" Isabel whispered. So far it sounded how she expected it would. She, Michael and Max had always been a unit - a close threesome…it made sense that it had always been thus.

"He brought Sabrya to Illyria." Max had a far-away look on his face. "He told me that if I married her, the four-square we would create would be powerful enough to defeat Danala and the Dernians. Our gifts were complementary he told me…together we would be unbeatable. And then you both betrayed me…"

"How?" Isabel swallowed. Even though she knew none of this had really happened, the devastation on Max’s face made her want to cry. To him it HAD been real…

"On the day Sabrya and I wed, Tristandor’s army took the Citadel. Sabrya and I had already retired to our chamber…She tried to murder me in my bed that night. Before it could happen Tarsus came and took me away. He told me that the whole marriage had been a plot to do away with me so that you and Tristandor could take the throne. His leader, Danala, had tried to stop it…wanted to save me. She knew that the only way to reconcile the planet was to come to an agreement with me…but by the time I went to meet her, she was gone."

Isabel frowned. "Gone where?"

"I never knew…Tarsus and I went to war against you the next year…I never knew that you weren’t even on Illyria any more." He told her, shaking his head in disbelief.

"But Max, YOU weren’t on the planet either!" Isabel told him. "You were here. We were killed and somehow brought here…I don’t know how, but it’s the truth. We were NEVER separated."

Max scraped a hand through his hair. "I KNOW it…but I don’t REMEMBER…" he replied in frustration. "What are we going to do?" He swallowed, closed his eyes.

When he opened them, Isabel’s eyes locked with his. "The question is Max…if you’re never able to recover your real memories…are you going to be able to get past the fake ones? Are we going to be able to start over?"

He stared at her, his expression unreadable. But he never had a chance to answer.

Michael came careening into the cafeteria, Alex hot on his heels.

"Jennetta! She’s gone!"

Max jumped to his feet. "What do you mean she’s gone?" He demanded.

"I mean she’s gone. Alex and I were playing with her." Michael sounded very upset. Isabel stared at him. She knew that he had bonded with her little sister, but he almost sounded hysterical. She had NEVER heard him sound that way before…

It freaked her out.

"She decided to go see Maria." Alex continued. "When we went in there a few minutes ago, Maria said she had never been there."

"Where IS Maria?" Max snapped, already striding out of the cafeteria.

"I’m here. Max! We need to find her."

Isabel blinked. Maria was coming towards them down the hallway fully dressed and looking almost as hysterical as Michael had sounded.

"Liz is gone too." Kyle told them as he came around the corner.

Relief suddenly seemed to hit them all at once. "She must be with Liz." Isabel voiced what they were all thinking.

"Why would Liz take off with Jennetta without telling anyone?" Max asked suspiciously. The group all exchanged looks.

"Er…I don’t know." Isabel saw Maria swallow convulsively.

"I have a bad feeling about this." Max told them. "We need to find them immediately."

"But where do we start looking?" Kyle asked, sounding perplexed.

"We split up." Max decided.

"Hey!" Kyle suddenly exclaimed. "Where’s Tess?" ***********************************************************************************

Jennetta was crouched in the back seat of Tess’ SUV. She had her eyes closed, was concentrating on making sure that neither Tess or Liz noticed her there. It didn’t take that much power really. She could still listen to the conversation that was taking place between the two older girls in the front seat.

Mind-warps had been one of the first things she had learned to do after she had emerged from her pod.

She had been playing with Michael and Alex on the front lawn of the hospital when a shiver had gone down her spine. She had turned around to see Tess and Liz exiting the hospital and walking towards the parking lot.

For some reason, Jennetta had known that something was wrong. Liz should not be alone with Sabrya…

As Jennetta hid now, she asked herself why she hadn’t told Michael or gone to Jaxon…what had possessed her to get in this car? She was a child - what could she do to help Liz? She had been stupid and reckless, lying to her father about where she was going…

Nothing had happened so far, but Jennetta had entered Tess’ mind, had seen that her thoughts were in disordered confusion…she could not get anything else from her. All Jennetta knew was that Tess was about to do something she didn’t want to…

"So, Isabel didn’t say anything else?" Liz was asking, sounding worried.

"She just said that he had jumped out of the car and that they were close to the Reservation." Tess replied, sounding distracted. "We’re almost there. Don’t worry Liz. We’ll find him."

The car pulled to a stop suddenly. "Why are we stopping? We’re in the middle of nowhere." Liz asked, sounding confused.

"I can feel him Liz. Can’t you?"

"No." Liz sounded even more confused and a bit suspicious. "What do you mean you can feel him?"

"He’s out there somewhere. C’mon. We have to go on foot from here."

"I’m coming with you." Jennetta let her mind-warp go.

Tess and Liz both whirled in their seats. Liz looked horrified, Tess shocked.

"Jennetta! What are you doing here?" Liz demanded. "Does Maria know where you are? I can see by the look on your face that she doesn’t…what were you thinking?"

Jennetta thought quickly. Tess was beginning to eye her suspiciously. "Jaxon disappeared. I saw you leaving, thought that you were going to look for him." She replied. She had figured out that this was why Liz had gone with Tess - to find Jaxon, who she thought was missing. Jennetta wasn’t sure if he was missing or not… but she did know better than to tell Liz, in front of Tess, that she should not be trusting the curly-haired blonde.

Liz’s face softened. "Oh. Well, I think we should call Maria right now. She’s probably freaking out."

"NO!" Tess exclaimed. Liz turned to stare at her. .

"Why not?"

"Because that would spoil the surprise…" A new voice interjected. "Good work Tessie - not only did you bring me the witch that has Jaxon in her thrall, you brought me the brat that everyone on Illyria is proclaiming as the chosen one…The false one, might I add."

Jennetta turned to stare out the window at the girl standing there, peering in at them.

She heard Liz gasp. "Tess, what’s going on? Pam, what are you doing here? Ohmygod…Jennetta! Run!"

But it was too late. The girl standing outside of the car, the one Liz had called Pam, lifted her hand…

Jennetta could hear Liz screaming as she fell into unconsciousness.

Part 33 | Index | Part 35
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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