FanFic - Other
Part 52
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, Frozen Ghost.
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
Liz woke up to sunlight streaming through her bedroom window. She rolled over and stretched, sighing. In that moment before she was truly awake she smiled softly to herself, wondered when Max had gone home. She knew that he had still been lying beside her on the bed when she had gone to sleep. He had been stroking her hair, his heartbeat strong and steady under her ear…

And then a shiver descended her spine and she was drawn back into the paralyzing feeling of terror that had immobilized her the night before, when Max had started talking about his role as leader, of the possibility of a return to Illyria…

She was completely awake now.

Max had been worried about her after her little outburst the night before. She knew that he had never seen her like that before. The only time she had ever let her fear control her as it had the night before had been when Max had been taken by Pierce almost two years before.

The terror she had felt that night…she barely remembered anything from the moment she had realized that it was Nasedo in that bus with her until she had stumbled into Michael’s embrace several minutes later…complete and utter fear had practically rendered her incoherent.

She had hated that feeling more than anything, had fought it ever since. When Max had been gone the last time, she had managed to control it, using the promise she had made him to be strong for the others to solidify her resolve.

But now that he was back - that he was TRULY hers - she knew that if they were separated again…only horrible things would come of it. And not just for them…

Somehow she knew that if they lost each other again, every single person they cared about would be affected.

And so she had forced him to acknowledge his promise that he would never leave her again.

It was not that she had not trusted him…Liz knew that when Max made a promise, especially to her, it was kept. She had just needed to hear it, to try and convince herself that it was enough.

But all the wonderful things he had said to her and not managed to do anything about the cold feeling that had her heart in its thrall.

Something was coming…

It had upset Max, Liz knew, that she had been so irrationally terrified, but she had been unable to stop herself from clutching at him desperately after he had accompanied her up to her room, ordered her into her pyjamas and had tucked her into bed.

"Don’t leave me Max!" Liz had insisted when it was clear that he meant to go home. His dark eyes had gazed at her for moment, concerned, but he had taken off his shoes and had climbed onto the bed beside her, pulling her into his arms and had let her fall asleep in his arms.

Liz sat up now, clutched her pillow to her chest. She rubbed her eyes wearily, realized that she heard her parent’s phone ringing elsewhere in the apartment. Liz knew that both of her parents were likely dealing with the Saturday rush in the Crashdown, that she should probably answer that, but she was just too tired to deal with it at the moment.

Her eyes lit on her journal, which was sitting on her bedside table. Her heart lightened marginally. At least they could stop worrying about THAT…although now there were even more questions…

They knew from Tess that Danala was the one who had taken it - it still freaked Liz out that Michael and Tess’ emotionless and dangerous sister had been anywhere near her home, near her parents, which she had to have been to get her hands on the book - but how had it ended up in this mysterious subterranean library that only Kyle Valenti of all people could see OR access?

Liz stood up, dropped her pillow and picked up her journal, flipping through it. She paused at the last written page, at the entry she had been in the middle of writing when Isabel had called her with the first news that Max was on his way back to them…

"I'm Liz Parker and nine months ago I died. Or at least that's what it feels like. When you left Max - my life just ended. Oh, I go through the motions. I have kept my promise to you. I am strong. I am a rock. I am everyone else's shoulder to cry on. I refuse to cry. Max! Where are you??? I am trying so hard to be strong but it just gets harder and harder every day... I feel so alone. I miss you so much. Everyone misses you. It's like we've all gone to sleep waiting for you to come back..."

Liz slammed her journal shut, resolutely removed the brick from the spot in the wall where she kept it. She placed her journal back in its rightful place, put the brick back.

NO MORE! Liz told herself sternly. This is NOT you. You are not a scared little girl…you are going to make sure that NOTHING happens to Max or ANY of your friends. You are in control of your destiny Liz Parker and you are going to stay in control.

And the way to stay in control was to get as much information as possible.

Liz picked up her phone, dialed Kyle’s number. When she rung off several minutes later, she breathed a sigh of semi-contentment.

Step one.

Liz was about to call Max to tell him what she was planning to do when a knock sounded on her bedroom door, distracting her.

"Lizzie, honey…can I come it?" It was her dad. Liz frowned slightly.

"Sure Dad." Mr. Parker cautiously opened the door, poked his head around it.

"I wasn’t sure if you were up sweetie." He pushed the door open entirely. "You were home awfully late last night Liz."

Liz grimaced. "I’m sorry Dad. Alex was sick…"

Mr. Parker frowned. "That was Amy Deluca on the phone." He interrupted her. Liz blinked.

"Oh really?"

"She was wondering if Maria had stayed over here last night…she never came home. Amy tried Michael’s but he’s not home either. He didn’t come into work this morning either."

Liz sighed. "I think Michael stayed with Maria at Alex’s." Liz explained, feeling guilty as always that she had to lie to her father.

Mr. Parker just raised an eyebrow. "Lizzie…." He sounded like he wanted to say something else.

"Yeah Dad?" Liz was becoming distracted. She could feel her fingers tracing the digits to Max’s phone number on her phone. She stopped abruptly when she saw that her dad had noticed.

"Nothing." He sighed heavily. "What are your plans for today sweetie?"

"Oh, Kyle and I have a project." Liz explained, pleased that she didn’t have to stretch the truth this time. They DID have a project - just NOT for school.

"Okay." Mr. Parker moved forward, kissed her on the forehead. "Be home for dinner. Your mom is cooking."

Liz nodded, watched him go, her heart heavy. She knew that her parents were doing their best to trust her, but it had to be hard. She had managed to cover her many overnight Jennetta baby-sitting sessions with various sleepover excuses, aided by the Evans and the Sheriff who could be counted on to cover for them, even though it upset them to do so.

The Sheriff had even told Max a few weeks ago that he thought that all the parents should be brought in on the secret, that the support that they could provide would ease their burden somewhat. Max had said that he would think about it, but Liz knew that he wasn’t seriously considering it…it had practically taken complete disaster for him to let Isabel tell THEIR parents. Liz knew that he worried most about HER parents’ reaction, that they would hate him, ban them from seeing each other.

Liz feared it too. Not her dad - he was reasonable…but her mom, she had the tendency to majorly over-react. She would not hate Max because of who he was but she would be supremely uncomfortable by the information of how often Liz had been in danger BECAUSE of who Max was.

Of course, the Sheriff still did not know the whole truth either. While he knew that Jennetta was important on their home planet and that she was in incubation and that they were all protecting her, he didn’t know that she was Michael and Maria’s daughter. He believed, as did the Evans, that she was Max and Isabel’s sister and that was how they intended to keep it.

Liz shook herself. She didn’t have time to worry about her parents at the moment. There were answers to be uncovered and they were waiting for them at the transformation chamber. She dialed Max’s number quickly.


Kyle sighed when Max’s Jeep pulled to a stop outside his house. Liz hadn’t mentioned that she was bringing King Max with her. He pressed his lips together even more tightly when he climbed into the Jeep and saw Tess staring back at him.

Liz turned around in her seat, smiling warmly. "Hi Kyle!" He just stared back at her with a raised eyebrow. "Tess and Max wanted to come help. It’s probably best anyway - you know, so we can see if Max can open the library?" Her voice was heavy with forced cheer, pleading with him to not get upset.

When Liz had called Kyle that morning, she had told him that she had been thinking about the library and about why Tess couldn’t see it but he could.

"Do you think it might be because of how Max changed us? That maybe I can open it too?" Liz had asked him.

Kyle had gotten a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t like to be reminded that he had been changed. "Er…I don’t know. I mean, it might explain why I CAN open it, but it doesn’t explain why Tess CAN’T."

"Well, I guess we’ll find out." Liz had replied.

Now as they drove through the desert, towards the place Kyle had VOWED to himself yesterday he would never be visiting again, he found that he was scared to find out what this all meant.

Because every single time he found out anything else about the Czechs or about how they affected HIM, he was a little more tied to them. At the rate he was going he might as well just start outfitting his spaceship for the return voyage to Illyria, because there was no way he was going to escape.

Kyle glanced at Tess out of the corner of his eye. She had been quiet since he had gotten into the car, was staring out across the desert, her back tense. For the millionth time in his life he wondered what she was thinking.

Seeing movement in the front seat, Kyle turned back in time to see Max reach out and stroke Liz’s hair gently. He only did it a few times before returning his hand to the steering wheel, but Kyle grimaced, glanced at Tess again. He hoped she hadn’t seen that. He might resent the hell out of the fact that Evans had Tess’ heart, that she didn’t care about him as anything more than a friend, but it didn’t diminish the fact that he didn’t want to see her hurt.

Tess had not moved, just continued to gaze off into the distance, her blue eyes clouded.

"Tess?" Kyle nudged her lightly. "Are you okay?"

She turned abruptly, stared at him. "What?"

"You seem kind of distant." Kyle told her awkwardly. He wondered why he was even asking her. It wasn’t like she was going to open up in the same car as Max and Liz…

He realized that he REALLY wanted her to say she was okay. Maybe, if she said it… He realized that he was being a complete tool. Saying that she was okay in front of Max and Liz did not mean that she was okay…did not mean that she was NOT in love with Saint Max.

He did NOT want to see her glance uncomfortably towards the front seat, did not want to see her eyes meet Max’s in the rear-view mirror…Kyle watched in astonishment as Max raised an eyebrow at her. Kyle looked back at Tess, saw her swallow and shake her head slightly.

What the hell? Were they having some sort of voodoo alien head talk? Kyle looked at Liz, who seemed oblivious. He saw Max reach out and take Liz’s hand.

He started when Tess touched his arm. "Kyle?"

"Huh?" He blinked at her. What the hell was going on here?

"I need to talk to you about something later okay? I…"

Kyle could not process what she was saying. He was still trying to understand what he had just witnessed transpire between Max and Tess - and right in front of Liz…

"Okay?" He realized that it sounded more like a question than a definitive answer. He realized that he had absolutely NO desire to talk to her alone, to have her ask his advice about Max, about how to let Liz down easily…

And Liz had no idea.

Anger - red hot and sudden - shot through him. Damn them both! They could stomp all over his feelings, but if Liz got hurt in their damn alien head games with each other…

He would kill them both. Gladly.


Tess trailed Max, Liz and Kyle down the long stone corridor. She was running her hand along the cool wall, feeling the pocks and ridges that marked where various symbols had been carved into the wall.

She frowned at Kyle’s back. He looked like he had a broomstick stuck in his shirt he was so stiff. He was being really weird again. The tension between them had seemed to break slightly last night, but they were clearly back to square one for some reason that she didn’t understand.

She knew that she had been ridiculously uncomfortable in the car, sitting beside Kyle in the back-seat and refusing to speak to him. But she had been scared. Scared that is she opened her mouth, every hope and fear she had for the two of them would come tumbling out, embarrassing both of them in front of Max and Liz.

No matter how much Tess liked Max and Liz, and she did, she did NOT want them witnessing her attempt to work things out with Kyle. It was private.

Not to mention she was new at putting her heart on her sleeve. She certainly wasn’t new at throwing herself at someone - she grimaced wryly at Max’s leather jacket clad back ahead of her - but she was new to the feelings that the person she wanted to throw herself at engendered.

She had never felt even half of these feelings when she had wanted Max. With him, it had been all about desperation, all about what she had been told was her destiny for her entire life. It had been about making Nasedo proud of her, about finally finding her place in the world.

With Kyle, she was pretty sure she had found it. Without even trying…and it scared her to death.

But she was NOT going to hurt him again. She still remembered the stricken expression on his face when she had rejected him in Senor Chow’s all those months ago. How she could have been so callous…it sickened her. But she knew why.

She had been scared to death then too.

Tess sped up slightly when she realized that the trio ahead of her had stopped, were staring at something on the wall.

They had arrived at the complex, had quickly checked on Ren and Jennetta, but had almost immediately made their way down to where Kyle had found the library. Liz and Max had been hand in hand as usual, but Kyle had stiffly stalked away from Tess, apparently not even wanting to walk beside her for some reason that was beyond her. And so she had trailed behind, feeling sad and confused and trying to regain the courage to confront him.

Now the three of them were staring back at her impatiently. She hurried to join them. "Let’s get this show on the road - and maybe finally get some answers." She told them, her voice much too cheerful, trying to hide where her thoughts had been.

Kyle was staring at her with hooded eyes. He frowned slightly, turned to Liz. "Can you see it?"

Liz nodded. "A window right?" Tess could see that Max was peering at the wall in much the same way she had yesterday. She was almost positive that he couldn’t see this so-called window either.

He confirmed it when he spoke. "I don’t see anything. Can you open it again Kyle?" Tess saw Liz glance at Max, looking perplexed. Tess didn’t blame her. This whole situation was indeed strange.

Why on Earth could two humans see an alien library while two aliens could not?

Kyle nodded, waved his hand over the spot where they had found the hand print. It shone out brightly moments later. He gestured to Max. "We already know Tess can’t open it. You should try and then Liz."

Max nodded, stepped forward, placed his hand squarely on the familiar symbol.

Tess realized that she was holding her breath. She let it out in a great gasp when nothing happened.

Kyle was still frowning. Tess saw his eyes meet Liz’s significantly. Liz stepped forward, placed her much smaller hand on the hand print.

Almost immediately the wall slid away.

Tess saw Liz and Max exchange a glance. Max looked completely stupefied. "Well, I guess we should go in." He finally decided, sounding weary. Tess didn’t blame him. All of this was just unleashing even more questions that they were unlikely ever to get answers for. Why did everything always have to be so weird?

She took a deep breath, stepped through the opening after Kyle - and gasped.

She had been sure that Kyle had been exaggerating about the size of this place, but apparently not. Metal shelves stretched out in both directions, to the point that she couldn’t even see the end. Articles and books of every size and description filled the shelves to over-flowing.

"Max! What is this place?" She asked, knowing that he too wouldn’t know, but needing to speak.

"I have no idea." Max replied, picking up a tome from the nearest shelf. "How could all this stuff be here? We couldn’t have brought it ALL with us on the ship…"

"Can you read it Max?" Liz asked, peering over his arm as he flipped through the metal book in his hand. Max nodded.

"I think so. Just give me a moment…" Liz squeezed his arm, began to rummage through some other stuff nearby.

Tess stared at the book in Max’s hands. It looked very similar to the one Tess had found in the Roswell Public Library on her very first outing with Kyle all those years ago. Nasedo had told her where to find it, had told her that if Max saw it, he would remember her…

Tess shuddered at the memory of how desperate she had been for Max and Michael and Isabel to remember her…she had been so lonely. She had felt bad about using Kyle then, but she had seen the tension that existed between he and Liz, between he and Max. She had known that if Max and Liz thought that she was interested in Kyle, they would follow them.

Of course, she hadn’t realized at the time that they all thought she was a murdering maniac.

Tess felt a hysterical giggle about to erupt. Liz whipped her head around to stare at her, her eyes flashing with concern. Tess pinched her arm, forcing herself to calm down. She smiled wanly at Liz, began to wander down one of the aisles, trailing her hand along the shelf.

She needed to be alone for a few minutes. Being around all these things - most of them likely from their home planet - it was hitting her over the head again. Earth was NOT her home…

Tess finally picked up a book off the nearest shelf and began to flip through it. It was written in the same strange series of dashes and dots as the destiny book too…the language was so familiar, and yet not…it was supremely frustrating.

She threw the volume back on the shelf, strolled down the aisle for a few more minutes.

It was incredibly quiet in this place. The lights came on as she touched hand prints on the shelves, which only reinforced how dusty it was in the room.

And that was when she saw it.

In a small alcove at the end of the aisle there was a small table, two books sitting on top of it, both silver and metallic like the one Max was looking at way behind her.

A single light was shining down on the table. Tess frowned, moved forward. She glanced up at the rock ceiling above the table. She saw absolutely no source for the light.


Tess picked up the nearest volume, flipped through it, felt her eyes widen.

Her own face stared back at her from the page. Max, Isabel and Michael were also on the page.

Tess flipped the book shut, looked at the cover, realized that it was another copy of the destiny book.

She carefully placed it back on the table. She did NOT want to look at THAT at the moment.

She picked up the other book, expected it to be the same.

Tess carelessly flipped through it. She paused briefly, when a page flashed past…

Something had caught her eye. She flipped back to the page…

Her heart stopped.

This book was NOT the same. She heard a gasp behind her.

Tess whirled, slamming the book shut, saw a white-faced Liz standing not two feet from her. She had obviously looked over Tess’ shoulder to see what she was looking at…the two girls stared at each other in shock.

"Liz?" Tess did not like the look on the other girl’s face. Liz looked like she was about to pass out.

"Tess…" Liz managed to say in a strangled voice. "What…"

Tess just stared at her.

Liz tried again. "Did you see what I saw?"

Tess took a deep breath, finally nodded. "If you’re wondering if I saw YOUR picture in this book…well, yes I did."

The silence following this pronouncement was deafening.

Part 51 | Index | Part 53
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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