FanFic - Other
"Out of the Woods"
Part 19
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I am just borrowing them. Lyrics to songs by Joe Cocker and Amanda Marshall.
Summary: This story is derived from a challenge from Actrez. The gang heads back to Fraser Woods (from Into the Woods) during their junior year. Tess and Michael join the Evans, while Maria goes with the Parkers. This story is post-Destiny. Liz had just returned from a lengthy stay in England. She returns to find a completely different Max and Michael.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
"Okay - enough with the cryptic statements and the secrets." Alex was beginning to sound mad. "I mean it's time to tell us what's going on...especially if Maria is in danger." Isabel took her boyfriend's hand, squeezed. Alex rarely, if ever, got angry. She knew that he must be really worried about Maria to speak that way.

"It's true Max." Isabel told her brother. Max looked bemused, clearly did not want to bring them all into the middle of the situation that existed between he and Michael. Max was stroking Liz's hair still, trying to control his own fear and natural caution. Isabel knew her brother. "We all need to be in this together." Isabel continued. "It's not fair to leave us out. You almost destroyed any trust that existed between the six of us with all that anti-Max had no right to do that Max! Having you five was the only thing that made me feel at all safe... I know we'll never be totally secure, but you cannot leave us might be some great leader in the grand scheme of the universe, but in Roswell you are Max Evans, my brother, Liz's boyfriend, Michael, Alex and Maria's friend...and as Max Evans you have to tell us..."

Isabel knew that she was ranting, but she could not help it. Even though she was relieved that her brother had given up his act, he was still leaving them out. Liz smiled sadly at Isabel from where she stood, still with her head on Max's chest, his arms wrapped around her. Max looked resigned.

"You're right Izzy. I'm sorry. But it's too long and convoluted to tell more than once...we need to tell Tess and Kyle too." He smiled at his sister. "And you're not alone anymore Izzy. You'll never be alone again - I promise." He glanced at Alex. "We need to come up with something to tell the dads...there's no way they're going to let us go traipsing off in the bush by ourselves."

Alex looked pleased that Max had turned to him for advice. Isabel realized that Max had recognized that in a lot of ways Alex had pulled both Maria and Isabel, and even Kyle and Tess through the past few difficult months. Alex's true worth and loyalty to all of them was still only just becoming evident. He was so much more than just their easy access computer hacker. In a lot of ways he was the group's strength: Liz and Maria's confidant and brother, Michael's buddy, Max's conscience....and her, Isabel's, love. "Yeah - I guess Kyle can talk to the Sheriff, tell him what's going on. Maybe he'll have an idea?"

"Sounds like a plan," Max replied. "We'll have dinner and then I'll tell you all what has been going on while we walk."

Liz spoke up with concern. "Can we wait that long Max? If Maria's in danger, shouldn't we do something about it right away?" Alex nodded in agreement.

"I'm almost positive that she'll be fine Liz. Michael just took her to get my attention. He won't hurt her until he knows for sure that I'm not going to take the bait." Max sounded like he knew what he was talking about. "And he knows I'll take it." Isabel felt terrified again.

"Can we help Michael?" She asked.

Max shook his head. "You guys just don't understand. He's not OUR Michael anymore. He's theirs..."

"Whose?" Isabel demanded, her confusion reflected in her voice.

"It's complicated." He sounded frustrated. "I will tell you, but it has to be in order...let's just wait a bit longer." Max was pleading with them to trust him. Isabel knew that he was worried that they wouldn't, because of the way he had been behaving, but this was MAX - their Max.

Liz spoke for them all. "Of course we trust you Max." Max squeezed her tightly. Alex pulled Isabel away, decided they better give Max and Liz a little time to themselves. Max was clearly still wary about telling them anything. He had done so much to keep them safe for so long...even alienating himself from those he loved. It would be hard to suddenly open up and put them all in danger again.

Isabel and Alex found Kyle and Tess laughing when they joined them at the campfire. Tess was stirring a big pot of spaghetti sauce, while Kyle was telling stories about some of the apes on the football team. Isabel and Alex exchanged looks.

"Interesting." Alex murmered to Isabel.

"Hey guys! Is dinner almost ready?" Isabel asked with phony cheer. Tess' head snapped up - she looked momentarily guilty. For a minute, the small blonde's emotions flitted across her face. Isabel had caught her flirting with another guy...she was betraying the destiny that she was the only one who still clung too like a life-line.

Isabel smiled at Tess reassuringly. Now was not the time for all that.

"Kyle I need your help." Alex told the other boy. Kyle frowned, nodded and followed Alex over to a nearby tent. Isabel watched as he began nodding, then walked away towards the Sheriff who was playing poker with Mr. Parker and Mr. Evans.

Izzy noticed that her dad kept glancing at the woods in the direction that Max had disapeared with Pam almost an hour ago. His expression was hopeful. Isabel could not blame him. She was sure that Pam had returned in a fury. She noticed that the Troy tent - not to mention the Troys - had disapeared. Mr. Evans had to notice that Liz was still with Max...which could only be a sign to her father that the old Max was coming back.

She wondered briefly if this was one of the reasons her dad had insisted that Max accompany them. Had he hoped that by having Max hang out with Liz, he could bring his real son back? If this was the case, her dad was a much more perceptive person than Isabel had realized. What else did he know? She wondered briefly, a tiny flickering flame of hope in her chest. Could he suspect the truth about she and Max?

Isabel knew that her mom already knew they were special. She also knew that nothing they could ever tell her would turn her against them....her dad had always been another story though. He was such a square, so conservative...but now Isabel began to wonder...

She pushed the thought aside for later reflection. Alex had returned. "Kyle's going to tell his dad everything." He explained. Tess blinked in surprise. "Max didn't find them Tess." He elaborated. "We're going to have to mount a full-scale rescue mission tonight. We need to get rid of the dads..." Tess nodded her understanding.

"Does Max know why Michael took Maria?" Tess asked.

"Yeah, he just doesn't know where they are..." Isabel's eyes brightened. "Hey! I am such an idiot...why don't I try dreamwalking Maria to find out where she is?" Alex looked wary.

"I don't know Isabel. Remember how upset you got when you did that to Max last might not like what you find...and it might not help anyway." Isabel reached out and squeezed his hand, trying to convince him.

"Besides," Tess inserted, "Doesn't she have to be asleep?" She looked up at the sky, which was dark, but not yet star-pocked. "It's kind of early..."

Isabel shook her head. "I've been practicing guys. I mean I still can't do it all the time, but I can sometimes do it when the person is awake. I did it to Pierce that time."

Alex still looked doubtful. "I hate to watch you do that's dangerous."

Isabel shot him a cold look. "I'm doing it Alex. Now are you going to help me or do I do this alone?" She saw Alex's face harden. She didn't like to go all ice-queen on him, since he usually saw through it anyway, but she NEEDED to do this. For Maria - and Michael.

Their Michael would never forgive himself if he hurt Maria. It was why he had stayed away from her in the first place. He might not be THEIR Michael right now - but if Isabel had anything to say about it, he would be again soon. And he was not going to have anything else to make him unhappy or guilty...not if Isabel could help it.

"Fine." Alex muttered. "Tess, can you make sure that my dad doesn't come into our tent when he gets back? We'll be in there." Tess nodded, grinned slightly.

"You know they're all going to think you've gone in there to make out?" Isabel blushed, tried not to think about what her dad was going to think.

"I guess it's best that way," she replied ruefully. "At least we'll seem like normal kids for once."

Isabel tried to be as inconspicous as possible as she made her way to the Whitmans deluxe tent. She didn't think her dad noticed anything, but Mr. Parker did glance in their direction. He smiled wryly to himself, but didn't say anything.

She crawled through the door and looked around in amazement. Alex was on her heels. "Good Lord's the Taj Mahal of tents." It was huge, with a hook in the middle for a light. There were even weird little benches built into the side of the shelter.

Alex grinned. "My dad never does anything half-way. When he decides he's camping, he's camping." He indicated the sleeping bag in the far corner. "That's mine. Make yourself comfy..." He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket, rummaged through it and finally pulled out a small snapshot, handed it to Isabel. "Here. This will make it easier."

She looked at it closely. It was Maria's school picture from last year. Isabel recognized it from when she had dreamwalked her friend before she trusted her. It had been the photo in the yearbook Isabel had used to access Maria's dream. She flipped it over. Maria had inscribed a short message: "To my best pal Alex, hope your Czechoslovakian dreams come true, but know that I always have your back...Hugs and kisses from your little lady Maria." Isabel smiled sadly.

Isabel sat on Alex's sleeping bag, patted the spot next to her. "Care to join me?" Alex narrowed his eyes when she smiled flirtatiously at him.

"Isabel, this is serious." He said evenly, but she could see his lips twitching.

"I know Alex." Isabel was suddenly serious again. "Please, it's easier for me when you hold me."

Alex nodded, reclined back against his pillow, pulling her into his arms. She breathed deeply, trying to forget that it had been awhile since she had kissed him. Not the time Izzy, she told herself sternly.

She stared intently at the picture of Maria, concentrated on the other girl, on how much she cared about what happened to her...she called to her quietly..."Let me in Maria...let me in..."

Her own mind flickered, cleared, flickered...and then she felt like she was flying through space. She landed with a thud. Her physical self was aware of Alex's arms around her, anchoring her...but she was no longer alone in her mind...

She was in...

It was pitch black...she realized that she was looking out through Maria's eyes. She knew the exact moment when Maria became aware of her presence. Isabel felt the relief course through Maria's body...

"Isabel? Is that you? I've been trying to call to you..."

"Yeah it's me...are you okay?" Isabel asked, searching the black void of Maria's mind for the dream image of her friend. "Where are you?" And she just didn't mean physically...she meant mentally as well. Maria was nowhere to be found - but her voice was as clear as a bell...

"I'm not really sure..." Maria replied, her voice strained. "I was a little out of it when he brought me here..."

"Is Michael still there?" Isabel asked worriedly. "Are you asleep?"

"No, I'm awake. I'm blindfolded. I can't see a thing." Isabel nodded to herself. That explained why she couldn't see anything but black. Suddenly Maria's mind flickered and she was seated in front of Isabel. She was leaning back against a stone wall, her hands and feet bound, a bandana tied around her head to shield her eyes. Isabel felt ill...

Michael! What have you done! She wailed to herself. "Maria, you need to give me we can find you!"

Maria suddenly sat up straight. Her tone was adament when she said, "NO WAY! It's not me he wants...he wants Max...and you and Tess. I'm not going to help him lure you guys into a trap..."

"Maria! Tell me!" Isabel demanded, getting annoyed. "We're going to look for you anyway. This will just make it easier."

"No." Maria said stubbornly. "It's Michael. He won't hurt me, but he's so angry at you guys. I think he WOULD hurt you."

"He has already hurt you Maria." She felt Maria flinch, had a quick image of Michael raising his hand and it beginning to glow. Isabel pushed the image away - it was too distracting. "It's NOT Michael!" Isabel continued, trying to convince Maria. "Max says that our Michael is gone...I still don't know what that thing is that has you, but it's not Michael."

Isabel could feel Maria's shock..."Where is MY Michael?" She finally asked in a small voice.

"That's what we're going to find out Maria, but first you need to tell me where you are..." Isabel could feel Maria's torn emotions. She was terrified, but she did not want to put her friends in jeopardy. Until this moment, Isabel had never realized how truly courageous Maria Deluca really was...

"I'm not completely sure Izzy, but I can hear running water...and I can smell something weird...I think it's cheese."

"What???" Isabel was totally perplexed. The cheese factory was back in Roswell, not in the middle of Fraser Woods..."Are you sure?" She could feel Maria concentrating.

"Yeah...I woke up pretty soon after Michael....well, let's just say I'm pretty sure we're still in the woods. We didn't walk very far."

"Okay...hang in there Maria...we'll find you! I promise..." As Isabel began to leave Maria's mind, she was pulled back suddenly when a shot of terror ran through her - she realized suddenly that Maria's blindfold must be gone...the sudden brightness was blinding...when her eyes finally adjusted, she saw Michael glaring down at her - at Maria...

"What the hell are you doing? Why are you muttering?" He was demanding.

"Nothing! Leave Izzy leave!" Maria was clearly scared witless. She was yelling it at the top of her lungs.

"Izzy? You mean she in there?" Michael grabbed Maria, pulled her towards him. It was then that Maria saw the gun in his hand.

And then she was forcibly ejected from Maria's mind...Maria had gathered the strength to throw her clear, to put her out of danger.

Isabel sat up with a jolt. "Oh my God!" Alex grabbed her, started to rub her back comfortingly. She turned around, stared at him. "We have to find her Alex...Michael - he's crazy..." She stumbled to her feet, out of the tent. "Max! Max, where are you?"

Part 18 | Index | Part 20
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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