FanFic - Other
Part 53
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
Tess and Liz were still staring at each other, both completely shocked by what they had found in the book that was still sat closed in Tess’s hands.

Liz jumped when she heard Max’s voice nearby. He was obviously talking to Kyle but the words were indistinguishable. The size of this library was truly incredible. The fact that she and Tess could hear them at all meant that they were fairly close by.

Which also meant that they had to figure out what they were going to do with this book as soon as possible.

There was no question in Liz’s mind that she was going to tell Max about what they had found - and yet…

She remembered the horror of hearing that message from Max and Isabel’s mother that day in the pod chamber. She remembered how certain Max had been that he wanted to know the truth rather than live in ignorance…and their whole world had fallen apart the minute that message had finished playing.

They had to know what this book meant before she and Tess told anyone about it.

"Liz?" Tess sounded scared. "Should we…?" She trailed off, lifting the book questioningly.

"Open it." Liz replied firmly, taking a deep breath and straightening her back. She looked around carefully. "But hurry…" Tess’ eyes widened. She seemed to understand exactly what Liz was saying.

For the moment this would stay between Tess and Liz.

Tess opened the cover quickly, flipped through the pages and pages of impossible to read text.

And then, there it was…Liz’s face staring up at them from the centre pages of the volume.

And she was not alone. Max’s face was right beside hers.

Liz swallowed. Her heart was beating at about fifty times its usual pace. What on Earth could this mean?

"Liz?" Tess was looking at her worriedly. "Are you okay?"

Other than feeling like her entire world as she knew it was changing, Liz was fine.

She was an alien.

There was no other explanation for it. Not only that, she was somehow connected to Max…connected enough that her face was printed beside his in some alien text.

Her emotions were in complete turmoil….fright, anger, confusion, betrayal…her life was a complete lie.

Why had her parents never told her that she was adopted? What was the point of it? Why had she never had any powers until Max healed her? It wasn’t like she really had any incredible powers NOW either. She could connect with Max intimately, which was definitely special, but not in any way as powerful as Max’s ability to heal or Tess’ mind-warp or Isabel’s gift of entering dreams or Michael’s power to kill with a single blast from his hand…

And yet her overwhelming sentiment was one of great joy.

She had always known that she and Max were meant to be. The proof was finally sitting right there in Tess’ hands.

But there was sadness too - that what they had was not as fateful as they had always believed. Just like Max had not chosen to be mated to Tess, apparently he had not chosen Liz either.

Or at least not without a lot of help.

Liz shook her head, trying to clear it of all the thoughts flooding it. She would have time to think about what this all meant later. For the moment they needed to figure out exactly what this book said.

"What’s that?" Liz asked, her eyes lighting on the other book sitting on the table nearby.

Tess glanced at it. "Oh…" She paused. "That’s the book I found in the library a couple of years ago." She finally said reluctantly.

"The destiny book?" Liz asked. She had never seen it before, had only heard about it. She went and picked it up, flipped through it. She pressed her lips together at the pictures of Max and Tess holding hands, a baby in Tess’ womb, of similar pictures of Michael and Isabel…

"I don’t understand." Tess was saying. "How can THAT be true AND this?" She held up the book in her hands, her expression perplexed. Liz was relieved that she didn’t seem particularly upset that for one book to be accurate, the other had to be hogwash. But then Liz had known for a long time that Tess had never had half the feelings for Max that she, Liz, had. The fact that she was also madly in love with Kyle seemed to be softening the blow that maybe all that destiny talk had been just that…talk.

"I don’t know." Liz replied. "That’s what we need to find out." She glanced over her shoulder. She could feel Max’s presence getting closer. While she felt incredibly guilty that she was going to be keeping something of this magnitude from him, she convinced herself that it was for his own good.

She knew exactly how Max was going to react to this. He was going to be absolutely overjoyed…and while Liz certainly wanted that, she also didn’t want him to get his hopes up until they knew EXACTLY what they were dealing with here.

"There’s only one person who can tell us what that thing says other than Max." Liz went on.

Tess nodded, understanding. "Ren."

"Right." Liz acknowledged. "And the sooner he tells us, the sooner we can tell the others."

"I’ll go take it to him right now." Tess replied. She turned on her heel, hurrying back in the direction of the door to the library.

"Tess!" Liz called after the fleeing blonde. Tess stopped abruptly, whirled. "Thank you." Liz said simply. Tess just smiled. She seemed to know that Liz was thanking her for far more than just going to Ren.

Liz was thanking her for giving up her claim to Max, was thanking her for being a friend.

Because in Liz’s mind there was now no doubt that Tess was a friend. She was among the best.

Liz took a deep breath, went off in search of Max, trying to put the entire matter out of her mind for the moment. She had to act normally around Max. She knew that he was already worried enough about her. If she started to act brittle and flighty - which was how she felt - he was going to get worried…and maybe even suspicious.

If there was one truth about Max Evans, it was that he KNEW Liz Parker. He was going to know she was hiding something.

Liz silently prayed that Ren cleared up the mystery as soon as possible. *******************************************************

Kyle was forcing himself to be civil to Max. It wasn’t Evans’ fault after all that Tess was madly in love with him.

Although from what Kyle had witnessed in the jeep an hour or so ago, and after those hugs he had witnessed in the quad at school yesterday, Kyle was beginning to wonder.

If Max was playing both girls, Tess AND Liz, or if he was giving Tess false hope, Kyle was going to murder him, the fact that Evans was the King of a far-distant planet be damned.

But for the moment, until he had true proof, he had to be cool.

"So, can you read it?" Kyle asked now. Liz had left a few minutes before to find Tess. Max had seemed to understand why although Kyle didn’t. Evans had just nodded, giving her an absent-minded squeeze before she disappeared. He had been engrossed in trying to decipher the alien text in front of him.

"As far as I can tell," Max replied, "It’s an agricultural treatise of some sort…"

Kyle grimaced. "Like how to plant corn or something?" How boring was that?

"Sort of." Max replied, sounding tolerantly amused at Kyle’s tone.

Smug bastard, thought Kyle. Kyle knew damn well that Max was just as uninterested in planting corn as he, Kyle, be it alien corn or not.

"So you remember all this alien language then?" Kyle asked now, knowing he sounded confrontational but certainly not caring one iota.

"I remember the language." Max replied. "I remember BEING the Jaxon I was when I came back here…so I remember Illyria, what its like there and stuff like that. What I don’t remember," He continued, "Is my REAL life as Jaxon. You know, the one that Tarsus DIDN’T invent."

Kyle felt a pang of sympathy despite himself. Max sounded sad. It had to suck to have your mind played like that. It also had to suck to know that you had lived a whole other life that you couldn’t remember… especially one that had apparently ended so badly.

Max had apparently shrugged off whatever sadness he was feeling though and was beginning to rifle through other volumes on the shelves. Kyle sighed, started to do the same, although if all the books here were as boring as that one on farming, well, he wasn’t really sure WHY they were bothering.

Several minutes later Liz appeared from a nearby aisle. "Hi." She said to both of them, her voice sounding a little strange - all squeaky actually. "Find anything interesting?"

Kyle saw Max pause in the middle of sorting some books nearby. He stared at Liz, apparently also hearing in Liz’s voice whatever it was Kyle had heard. "What’s wrong?" He demanded, glancing behind her briefly before returning his eyes to Liz’s face. "Where’s Tess?"

"Nothing’s wrong." Liz replied. Her voice sounded a little stronger. "I guess I’m just a little tired." She turned away, picked up a book from a shelf beside her and began to turn the pages. "Oh and Tess went to talk to Ren about something…" She glanced at Kyle momentarily, then looked away.

What the hell?

Kyle looked at Max, who was still staring at Liz suspiciously.

"I think I’ll go find her." Kyle said suddenly. Liz’s head snapped up. Her eyes widened.

"Kyle, I don’t think that’s a very good idea." She said, much too quickly.

"Why not?" Kyle demanded. Max looked confused too.

"What’s going on Liz?" Max asked, sounding worried.

"Nothing." Liz insisted. "Tess just needs to talk to Ren about something to do with Illyria…and she needs to do it alone." Kyle did not miss the significant look she sent Max. He seemed to relax minutely, as thought he suddenly understood something.

Kyle frowned. This had something to do with him. He just knew it. Apparently no one wanted him to know, but he was damn well going to find out what was going on around here…

But first he had to get away without either Max or Liz stopping him.

"Whatever." He said, trying to make his voice sound as unconcerned as he could. "I’m going to look down here." He indicated another aisle. Max nodded, still looking at Liz.

Kyle hurried down the aisle, paused to look back. He saw Max talking seriously to Liz, saw Liz reaching up to stroke his hair. She took his hand and pulled him off in the opposite direction.

For the first time Kyle felt real gratitude that Liz and Max couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other. It was the distraction he needed. He turned abruptly and made his way back the way he had come.

He was soon back out in the stone corridor and hurrying towards the transformation chamber where Kyle knew Tess would have gone to find Ren. He couldn’t be that far behind her.

What seemed like eons later Kyle had reached the spot where the entrance to the transformation chamber was located. He swiped his hand across the wall, placed his palm squarely on the familiar silver hand print.

The entrance swung open and for one moment Kyle considered what Liz had said - that whatever it was Tess was talking to Ren about was private. But he had to know - if she was talking to the shapeshifter about HIM…he had to know once and for all, had to know if he had any chance with this girl.

Kyle entered the short corridor leading to the chamber proper. He paused behind the overhang that guarded the large room. Tess’ voice floated out to him quite clearly.

"…know what it means?" She was asking, sounding agitated.

"Not really." Ren replied, sounding perplexed, or as perplexed as Mr. poker-face was capable of sounding anyway. "This doesn’t make any sense."

"But it changes things…doesn’t it?" Tess’ voice was a combination of confusion and excitement.

"It doesn’t change what Jaxon was to you, Sabrya." Ren said seriously. "He was your husband. I don’t know how Liz fits into that equation."

Kyle felt his heart stop. What the hell were they talking about? Was Tess asking the shapeshifter if there was a way that Max could be with both Tess AND Liz?

"But she does fit somehow…obviously." Tess continued, sounding like she was trying to work something out in her head. "I mean, it was sitting right there beside the destiny book. So maybe she CAN be with Max and we can STILL follow destiny."

"I don’t know." Ren was saying, although Kyle could barely hear him through the rushing of the blood through his brain.

All he heard over and over was "we can still follow destiny…we can still follow destiny…"

It had never been more clear that Tess Harding had not given up her hope that she and Max were going to be together someday. Apparently she wanted it so badly, she was even willing to share him with Liz.

His first reaction was complete and utter amusement at the absurdity of the idea. He almost broke down laughing hysterically at the strange idea of Liz as an alien king’s concubine. That was SO NOT happening…not if he had anything to say about.

And then the pain hit.

Kyle wondered why it hurt so much to hear those words coming out of Tess’ mouth. He had KNOWN it all along, had known that she was pining for Max, that she was never going to get over him, but yet it still felt like she had used her small hands to reach into Kyle’s chest to rip his heart out.

His knees felt weak. He collapsed against the stone overhang, smashing his head against the rock accidentally. "Dammit!" He groaned without meaning to.

He wasn’t sure if the daze in which he found himself was from the pain in his head or the pain in his heart.

All conversation within the transformation chamber stopped abruptly.

A moment later both Ren and Tess were staring at him, Ren frowning, Tess looking scared.

"Kyle!" She exclaimed. "What are you doing here? How much did you hear?"

Kyle did not look at her face. He had to get out of there before he was physically ill. "I was just leaving." He hoisted himself off the ground where he had found himself after hitting his head.

"Kyle…" Tess took a step towards him as though she wanted to help him.

"Stay away from me." Kyle bit out. "I’m leaving. I can’t deal with YOU right now."

He was half-way out the entrance when Tess called after him. "You can’t leave Kyle! You don’t have a car here!"


"I’ll call my dad." He replied. "Just stay away from me."

"Kyle!" Tess pleaded. He could feel her close behind him. "It’s not what you think! Liz and I…"

"Don’t even say it." Kyle ground out. "I KNOW that Liz has nothing to do with this. I know Liz. And apparently I was right about YOU all along too."

He stalked off. He knew that Tess was not following him. He heard her gasp, took it for outrage, since he had basically just called her a slut. Not that he had EVER thought of her that way - in fact still didn’t.

She was just a girl in love with another guy. She had never lied to him. She had never tried to hide it.

She had never been his.

Kyle wondered why he was having such a hard time seeing in front of him. All the lights were still on in the underground complex.

And then he understood. He was crying.

Part 52 | Index | Part 54
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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