FanFic - Other
Part 59
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
It seemed to take forever to drive out to the transformation chamber.

At the best of times it took close to a half and hour. Now that they wanted to be there immediately, it felt like three hundred years.

Michael thought he was going to lose his mind before Max finally slammed the brakes on the Jeep, screeching the car to a stop near the boulder that hid his and Mariaís entire world. He had long since discarded his jacket and tie, feeling like he was strangling.

Their daughter.

Jennetta was coming back to them. But she was going to be entirely different. She was going to be older than him for Christís sake!

Michael felt the pang of despair that had been a familiar friend over the past eight months, since the day his little girl had left them.

Stop it! He ordered himself sternly. You need to be strong for Maria. And you canít let Jennetta see you like this. She has to know that you still love her, that you still want her.

The ludicrousness of the entire situation was not lost on Michael Guerin, however. Not for the first time he wanted to laugh his head off that his life should have turned out thus. All he had ever wanted was a family - and then when he finally had his chance, it was taken away from him.

And yet he knew that it hadnít been.

He thanked his stars everyday that he had his friends. It had taken losing Jennetta to make him realize that he wasnít alone, that his family was made up of his six closest friends.

The seven of them practically sprinted down the corridor to the transformation chamber after Max had activated the lights. The girls had all removed their heels, although Maria did go careening into a stone wall at one point when she slid on her stockinged feet.

And yet, without a word, of one accord, they all stopped abruptly at the spot where the entrance to the transformation chamber lay.

Maxís eyes met Michaelís seriously. He looked at all of them closely before saying. "Are you all ready for this? Nothing is going to be the same again."

Michael swallowed. Truer words had never been spoken. Well, of course, they HAD been spoken, MANY times before. It was the price of being a teenage alien. But this time - well, it was REALLY true.

Everyone was nodding. Michael saw Liz reach out to take Maxís hand. She looked scared. He reached for Maria.

"Let us go first." He said quietly. The others all nodded again. Michael felt Tess take his other hand, squeezing it reassuringly, then letting it drop.

Michael lifted his hand, swiped it across the wall, swallowed as the familiar silver handprint glowed out at him. He took a deep breath, placed his palm squarely upon it, watched the wall swing away.

But, in the end, of course, as was always his luck, they were too late.

Ren had his back to them as they entered. He was bent over something lying on the cot Max had had brought in for the shapeshifter many months before.

Or someone, rather.

Michael felt Maria squeeze his hand. When he looked down at her, she was indicating the empty, dark pod nearby. The one Jennetta had occupied for so many months.

Michael closed his eyes briefly. He knew what she looked like, had seen her earlier that day, floating peacefully, a little girl no longer.

And yet he was still shocked when he opened his eyes and saw her.

Ren was helping her to her feet, although he did not look pleased to be doing so. "You should be resting Your Highness."

"Nine months seems like long enough to sleep." Her voice was smoky, no trace of the little girl she had been in its tone. Michael realized that she was staring at Maria, felt his own heart stop when her dark eyes shifted to him.

"Jennetta." Maria sounded like she was about to burst into tears. And yet she didnít move. She seemed glued to the floor. Michael understood perfectly, considering he felt exactly the same way.

She was taller than he would have expected, as tall as Isabel for certain. Her floor length white robe only emphasized her height. It made her resemblance to Maria even more shocking, the fact that she was so much taller than her mother. Their faces were practically a matched pair.

But he saw himself in her eyes.

She was not moving, just watching them carefully. Slowly a smile began to appear on her face. "Hello." She paused, laughed quietly. "I donít know what to call you." She admitted finally. "Mother and Father seems slightly absurd now."

At that, Maria began to cry in earnest. Michael saw the expression of distress that crossed Jennettaís face. "Iím sorry!" She exclaimed, hurrying towards them, Ren staying close to her, looking extremely frustrated. And then Jennetta was hugging Maria, as Maria continued to sob. "Mother, please!" She sounded flustered, sounded exactly how Michael felt when he didnít know how to comfort his girlfriend.

And then Maria was speaking, babbling actually. "My baby! Iím so glad that youíre okay!" Michael blinked. It was then that he realized that Maria was LAUGHING.

He closed his eyes again, snorted. "Will the insanity EVER end?" He muttered to himself.

He had not intended anyone to hear him. But Jennetta did. She looked at him over Mariaís shoulder, reached out her hand to bring him closer. "It will end. I promise."

Michael saw his eyes move past him. He could hear the others entering the chamber, although he could tell they were trying to be quiet.

"Jaxon!" Jennetta pulled away from Maria, threw herself into Maxís arms. Michael managed to suppress the twinge of jealousy he felt. He knew that Jenny loved Max. It was all right. There was room for both of them in her heart.

Max pulled back, put his hands on her shoulders, scanning her face closely. "Are you okay?" He asked seriously, in his intense Max way.

Jennetta smiled sadly. "What was meant to be has happened." She replied. She turned to include the whole group. "I know that this has been difficult for all of you." She moved near Maria again, taking her motherís hand. Michael just shook his head. He wondered if he would ever get used to the absurdity of the fact that his daughter was now older than him.

Jennetta was still speaking. "And Iím afraid that its not over yet." She focused on Isabel, who was standing slightly behind Alex, clutching his hand. Michael frowned. Actually, she looked like she was HIDING behind Alex. "Mirana. I know that Mother has contacted you."

Isabel nodded reluctantly. "The Citadel has fallen to the Dernians." She paused. Michael looked back at Jennetta. His daughter was just gazing steadily at Izzy, her expression unreadable, as though she knew that Isabel was holding something back. Isabel licked her lips. "And the Ring has been claimed." She finally said in a great rush.

Michael heard Liz and Tess gasp, almost in unison.

Jennetta lifted her chin. "Which is why it is time to go back." She said without a momentís hesitation. "The prophecy is ready to be fulfilled. Illyria has entered its darkest days."

Michael swallowed, closed his eyes to avoid the tears that he felt collecting there.

So it was over already. She was lost to him. She was going back to Illyria.

"We are all needed." Michaelís eyes snapped open. Jennetta was looking right at him, a slight smirk on her face. He realized that that smile looked VERY familiar. In fact Maria had used it on him only an hour before when he had teased her about the Tabasco sauce. "Did you really think I could do this alone?" She demanded, quirking an eyebrow at him.

Everyone stared at each other for several moments and then Alex spoke, breaking the silence. "What DOES one pack for Illyria in the summertime?" He asked Isabel, stroking his chin pensively.

In spite of the fact that there was absolutely NOTHING funny about this situation, everyone burst out laughing.

In later years Michael would look back on that moment as the last one of their childhoods. For one brief shining moment he had felt the hope that had risen in that chamber. It was something pure, something strong.

Together they could do anything. They would free their planet and live happily ever after.

Of course, it didnít work out that way. ******************************************************* Max groaned, pulled his pillow over his head. He did not want to open his eyes. Maybe if he ignored the phone, it would stop ringing.

He had been dreaming about Liz. It had been their wedding day and their happiness had been almost painful. All of their friends and family had been there, including his mother from Illyria and Jennetta and Ren. And, although all the trappings of the wedding had been traditional, down to Liz looking almost unbelievably beautiful in a long white dress, they had been in the Waylandian Ring, the one known as Lucianus bringing their palms togetherÖ.

"Let this union heal the breach that exists. So it is written in the stars, so shall it beÖ" The old man was intoning when a piercing noise had suddenly interrupted the whole proceeding.

Dream Michael had rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Canít anything go right? Even in your dreams Maximillian?"

Max sighed, opened his eyes. He realized that someone was tapping on his bedroom door. "Max? Are you awake honey?"

"Coming Mom." Max glanced at the clock. He frowned slightly when he saw that it was only five-thirty in the morning. He opened his door, padded down the hallway, rubbing his face tiredly.

It had been close to three a.m. when Max had gotten home from dropping Liz off. They had made it back to the Crashdown by one, but, of course, Max had gone up to Lizís bedroom via his usual route over her balcony. Isabel had taken Jennetta home with her, the Evans being the only ones with any idea of who she was and what had been going on.

Max had felt strangely at peace as he lay on the chaise lounge waiting for Liz as she locked up downstairs. He had been staring up at the "V" constellation, almost excited to be going back there, to be taking care of his responsibilities to his home world once and for all.

After that he would be free. Free to live the life with Liz that was all he really wanted.

Of course, it wasnít going to be easy, but Max had no doubt that it was going to happen. Finally.

Liz had finally joined him, bringing the quilt off her bed. She had changed out of her prom dress and had pulled her hair into a pony-tail on top of her head. Max had known that wouldnít last long though. He had every intention of kissing her with her hair tumbling around his face in the way he loved.

She had curled up next to him, her head on his shoulder. "What are you thinking about?" She had finally asked quietly, after they had laid in companionable silence for quite a while.

"Iíll show you." He had replied, bringing his lips to hers, sending her the flashes of exactly how wonderful their future was going to be togetherÖit had been the perfect ending to an otherwise chaotic evening.

Max was in the front hallway before it dawned on him that it hadnít been the phone ringing that had awoken him at all. It had been the doorbell.

He frowned, felt a shiver of dread run down his spine as his mother turned to look at him, her eyes wide with horror. She was in her dressing gown, clutching it to her chest with tight fists.

The Sheriff was standing in the doorway, his hat in his hands. Max wondered why he was holding it like that - like he wanted to strangle it. The hat had totally lost all shape in the Sheriffís hands.

"Max." Max stared at him. The Sheriff NEVER called him Max. It was always MR. Evans. It was just his way.

"Sheriff?" Max looked at his mother again. He could see that she was starting to move towards him, her hand outstretched. "Mom?"

"HoneyÖ" Diane paused, swallowed. Max heard his father and Isabel descending the stairs behind him.

"Whatís wrong?" Izzy asked, yawning. Max turned to look at his sister. Jennetta was standing on the stairs behind Isabel, her dark eyes wide.

Max turned back to the Sheriff. "Whatís wrong?" He saw Sheriff Valenti look at his mother, as though he didnít know what to say.

And then Max knew.

Something had happened to Liz.

The End (but not really! The third story in the trilogy, entitled "Union," coming soon!)

Part 58 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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