FanFic - Other
Part 8
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.
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
"Lizzie. Wake up honey."

Liz slowly opened her eyes, stared up at her father in confusion. "Dad?" She sat up groggily. "What's going on?"

"You fell asleep on the floor sweetie." Liz could see the concern on her father's face. "You were gone so long I came to check on you."

Liz blinked, stared down at the floor. It had all been a dream...

But she also knew that it had been more than that...She had been with Max.

She had to get away from her father...had to call Isabel, had to try and understand what it had all meant.

"Oh, I guess I was tired." Liz replied lamely. There was really no logical explanation for why she would have fallen asleep on the floor of the restaurant, so she didn't even bother trying to make one up. "I guess I'd better head up to bed."

Mr. Parker was not going to let her off the hook so easily. "Liz, are you okay honey? I know that you're still having a hard time dealing with Max's death..." He trailed off, clearly hoping that she would open up to him.

Liz shut her eyes, took a deep breath. "I'm fine Dad, really. I'm just tired." She just could not get into this with her dad right now. She needed to go think about what had happened in her dream before she forgot any of it. "I'm just going to go to bed." She opened her eyes, tried not to look her father in the eyes.

She heard him sigh sadly. "Okay honey. Sweet dreams."

Liz could not resist. She gave Mr. Parker a quick hug. "I love you Dad."

"I love you too honey."

Liz sprinted up the stairs to her family's apartment and was in her room only a couple of minutes later. She grabbed the phone, misdialed Isabel's number twice before she finally managed to control her shaking hands enough to hit the right numbers.

The phone rang five times before Isabel's answering machine picked up.

"Izzy! Where are you?" Liz muttered to herself.

She tried Alex, Maria and even Michael. No answer at any of their homes. Liz could feel herself getting panicky...she had to tell someone!

Should she try Kyle or Tess? No, it was better to get it all down on paper before she forgot...

Liz leaped off the bed, hurried to her journal's hiding spot. Her heart stopped when she saw the brick sitting on her bureau...

She smacked her hand against her forehead. She had left it sitting on the chaise on her balcony - she had been writing in it when Isabel had called her earlier that day to tell her about her vision.

Liz hurried out her bedroom window, stopped abruptly. She stared at her favorite seat in horror.

Her journal was gone.

Isabel climbed the steep slope to the entrance to the pod chamber, her heart in her throat. Alex was slightly ahead of her, leading the way with a flashlight.

Isabel had not been back to her birthplace since the day she, Max, Michael and Tess had found out the truth about themselves by using the orbs, almost two years ago.

She hated it there.

Isabel had very few memories of the time between her emergence from her pod and being picked up by the side of the road by the Evans. When Max had first found the chamber, she had had a flash of her first moments of life - but since then, nothing more had returned. She knew that Michael and Max both remembered a lot more.

She suspected that it had something to do with the fact that they had both WANTED to remember, while that had been the last thing on Earth she had wanted to do. Isabel had been horrified when first faced with the absolute truth that she was not human...the pods had revolted her more than she expected and she had wanted nothing more than to get away from them. Max had had to chase her halfway back to the car before she would stop that day, Isabel recalled wryly, feeling a pang of affection for her brother, that for once was not mixed with sadness.

When they had returned to the chamber to heal Nasedo and to use the orbs, Isabel had managed to block out the disturbing sight of the pods. She had been eager to hear her mother, which had overshadowed her disgust.

The whole destiny fiasco, followed swiftly by Max and Michael's encounter with Tarsus and consequent jerky behavior had given Isabel excuse enough not to reflect on something that disturbed her.

But there was no avoiding it this time.

She was glad that Alex was with her. He was the only one who truly understood how hard her origins were for her to deal with...the idea that she had been engineered...she despised it. Max and Michael had been too wrapped up in their own issues surrounding their heritage - Max torn between his humanity and his otherness, Michael ready and eager to embrace his alien side - to help Isabel deal with her own.

So she had turned to Alex.

Which had made it doubly difficult when they had broken up last year during the anti-Max, spaced-out Michael era.

Isabel was breathing hard when she finally joined Alex on the ridge. "I really need to hit the gym more often." She joked to mask her nervousness.

Alex was not fooled though. He was staring at the wall, his expression grim. He turned to glance at her worriedly. "Are you sure you want to do this Iz?"

"I have to Alex." He set his jaw, moved aside so that she could activate the entrance.

Isabel waved her hand across the stone wall, watched the silver handprint emerge as if by magic. She placed her palm on the imprint, stepped back as the stone slid away.

Taking a deep breath, Isabel ducked under the overhang and entered the room in which she had been born.

Alex was right behind her. He shone the flashlight across the pods, an interested expression on his face. She remembered that this was the first time he had been there. "They look different from the one Tarsus had Max use to ready himself for the journey to Illyria." He commented.

Isabel nodded. "They served different purposes I guess. These ones were to transform us to humans. The other ones were to turn us back." She shuddered at the thought.

Alex came and put his arm around her. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, thanks. Listen Alex, being here reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately." Alex squeezed her, encouraging her to continue. "Don't you think it was weird that even after Max and Michael were transformed to return to Illyria, they looked like humans?" She turned to stare at the pods again. "Why?"

Alex shook his head. "I don't know Iz."

"Do you think that our people LOOK like humans?" Isabel asked him, voicing her own suspicions. "I mean, the fact that there is life on at least two planets in the universe, makes it likely that there is life on more...maybe we were sent to Earth for the reason that we looked like humans?"

Alex did not look convinced. "But Liz told me that when you and the others healed Nasedo, he shifted slightly into one of those typical alien know, the ones everyone sees in the UFO museum? With the big head and eyes..."

Isabel frowned. "Yeah...well, it was just a thought."

"So what are we looking for?" Alex asked, flashing his light across the pods and stone walls again.

Isabel shrugged, moved away from him as she examined the pods more closely. "I have no idea..."

And suddenly the vision was upon her...She threw her hands up to her head...It felt like someone had her head in a vise and was gradually tightening it...


"Make the sacrifice."


"Mirana - you are the key!"


"Use the gate."


A stone circle, Max's face, Michael's face, Tess' face, her own face....Liz's face, Alex's face, Maria's, Kyle's....they all whipped across her mind like a slide-show....the stone circle, Max's face, the stone circle, Max's face...

"Isabel! IZZY!"

Isabel blinked, stared at Alex. He was grasping her by the shoulders, staring at her in fright. "Izzy! What happened? Did you get another flash?"

Isabel nodded mechanically. She frowned slightly, shook her head to clear it.

"Are you okay?" Alex demanded. He sounded angry. He was clearly upset about the fact that these visions were not consequence free. Her head was still killing her.

"Yeah...Alex, please...I'm okay. It doesn't matter." Isabel tried to remember exactly what she had seen.

"The hell it doesn't!" Alex practically yelled. "What the hell is Max doing- using you as some sort of interstellar post-office? It's clearly hurting you. Why can't any of this ever just be normal?"

Isabel stared at him. "Alex! Calm down." She ran her hands up his arms comfortingly. "I'm fine." She paused. Alex was still muttering to himself. "Alex! I need you here...just stop it! I'm okay." She waited until his attention was completely focused on her again.

"Sorry." He finally said, still upset, but at least he was listening.

She smiled at him. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that you wanted me to stick around." She teased him, trying to cajole a smile out of him.

He was having none of it. "Don't even joke about that Isabel." Alex replied seriously, his eyes dark. He took a deep breath. "Fine. So what did you see?"

Isabel stared at him a moment longer, made sure that he had remerged from his momentary flip-out. "It's not Max who's communicating with me." She eventually told him.

"What do you mean it's not Max?" Alex demanded. He sounded disapointed, but there was a weird edge to his voice as well.

"I mean, it's about Max - about how to get him back - but it's not him sending the messages..." Isabel explained.

Alex scowled. "Well, all I can say is, he's damn lucky it's not. When we got him back, I was planning on asking him how his trip was and then kicking his butt right back there for hurting you."

Isabel rolled her eyes. She wondered if Michael had been giving her boyfriend lessons in protective-guy obnoxiousness. "Alex, could you please stop being ridiculous? You know that Max would never intentionally hurt me - any of us. If last winter taught me anything, its that my brother was willing to do anything to protect us." Isabel felt a moment's sadness at the thought of the lonliness Max had had to endure during his bad-ass act, when he had had to alienate everyone he loved in the world in order to save them. "Anyway," She continued. "It wasn't Max."

"Well, then who was it?" Alex asked, sounding a bit embarassed about his outburst.

Isabel sighed. "I don't know. I didn't really understand any of it. All I saw was everyone's faces mixed in with Max's...and a stone circle." She wrinkled her nose in thought. "And they told me to make the sacrifice again...whatever the heck that means."

"Maybe the others will have some ideas." Alex suggested.

Isabel glanced at her watch, saw that it was well past midnight. Although she had been the one who had insisted that everyone contact everyone else if something happened, she realized now that it was probably best to wait for morning. Liz and Maria were both exhausted and needed their sleep, and she just couldn't face Michael right then...his guilty face was seriously beginning to depress her, forgetting that before that day she had been the most somber of them all. "Maybe. I think you and I should go home to bed and think about it a bit first though. We can tell them tomorrow at school."

Alex understood her reasoning immediately. "Okay. I guess we better head home then." He took her hand, squeezed gently. "We're making progress here Iz. We are going to bring Max home."

Isabel smiled at him, felt tears of hope filling her eyes. She glanced at the pods again, wondered which one had been the progenitor of her wonderful, selfless, much missed brother.

They were going to find him and bring him home.

She swore it would be so - even if it was the last thing she ever did, Isabel would see her brother again.

Liz felt the tears on her cheeks when she awoke the next morning. Sunlight was streaming through her bedroom window. She sighed, curled up under her covers and thought.

She was ecstatically happy and unbearably sad at the same time. But most of all she was disapointed...she had not had another dreamy visit from her boyfriend - or his Illyrian double either.

Her happiness stemmed from the fact that she had found Max. She knew that he was alive and safe - and the sadness came from the fact that he did not remember who he was.

He did not remember her.

And now her journal had disapeared.

Liz had never managed to talk to anyone last night. She had fallen asleep with the phone on her lap after the tenth time she had called Isabel, only to get the machine.

It was annoying, but she would see them all at lunch. It had actually worked out for the best. She had a lot to do before she told them what she had learned.

Liz had already decided that she was skipping classes that morning. She had to go to the library. Something was nagging at the back of her mind about the dream she had had...

For some reason, she thought that she knew exactly where to look for the answer to all their questions.

Because now that she knew that Max was alive, Liz was going to bring him home.

Even if she died trying.

Part 7 | Index | Part 9
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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