FanFic - Other
"Out of the Woods"
Part 22
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
I stared at River Dog in shock. Needless to say, Michael started shooting his mouth off immediately. "Why the hell did you lie to me?" He demanded. "I knew you were one of us...why didn't you tell me?"

"You were not ready." River Dog replied calmly. He was still sitting motionless, cross-legged in the middle of the healing circle. His gaze rested solely on Michael.

"But I'm ready now?" Michael asked, his tone belligerent - he always behaved this way when he was hurt...I knew that he felt betrayed that River Dog had not trusted him in the same way he, Michael, had trusted the native elder...or should I make that alien, I amended wryly to myself. "What about my mother? What about the crash...tell me about our home...Why did you desert me?" The words were still tumbling out of Michael's mouth. I didn't think I had ever heard him talk so much at one time.

River Dog did not answer any of his questions, just gazed at him with meaningful eyes.

I was suspicious. "Michael we need to talk about this alone." I told my best friend quietly. "We need to tell Isabel and Tess."

"It is not your place to tell anyone my lord." I blinked at the title the old man bestowed on me. Michael grimaced.

"I don't understand." I told him. "They're part of the four-square. They need to know." River Dog ignored me again.

"Are you ready to learn about your true destiny my son?" He asked Michael. I saw Michael glance at me, confused. I shrugged - I was just as lost as he was.

And I realized suddenly that I was afraid. Once again, nothing had been what it seemed to be.

"Are you saying that what those things told us..."Michael pointed at the orbs on the ground, "Isn't true?" My heart leapt. Maybe Tess wasn't my destiny after all! Could I be with Liz without either of us feeling guilty?

River Dog eyed us both. "It was a way... You heard the correct message, but misinterpreted its meaning." He told us.

Michael ran his hand through his hair in annoyance. "What?"

"The four-square is incomplete." He told us. "The message was misinterpreted."

"Me, Max, Isabel, Tess..." Michael counted off impatiently on his fingers. "Four!"

River Dog just smiled cryptically. Michael glanced at me again, rolled his eyes. "I feel like I'm in the bloody X-Files here..." he muttered to me. "Why can't aliens ever speak straight?" I felt myself wanting to laugh...this whole situation was ludicrous.

"Fine." I said finally as River Dog continued to stare at Michael in silence. "We're leaving." I grabbed my friend by the arm. He didn't budge.

"Do not leave yet my lord." River Dog still wasn't looking at me. "You must learn Michael's true destiny." He indicated the orbs on the ground. "Use them again."

Michael and I stared at him. "But we're missing Tess and Isabel...and what about the evil race..." I trailed off. Michael had stepped up to the nearest communicator, picked it up and then handed me the other one.

"Let's do it Maxwell." I had never seen my friend so determined.

"Michael, I want to talk to you first - alone." I said, equally as determined.

Michael shook his head. "It's now or never Max. You know that you want to know just as badly as I do...I know you." I swallowed, nodded.

What the orb told us might make things better...maybe I could be with Liz and still save my people...

But then it could be worse...of course, not much in life could be worse then the lonely one I was currently living. "Okay."

Michael and I both held our communicators between our hands. I closed my eyes, concentrated....waited for it to heat up as it had when Tess and I had activated it a few weeks before....

Nothing happened. My eyes snapped open at River Dog's snort.

"It it you my lord. You are willfully stopping the communication." I stared at Michael's orb. It was glowing, while mine remained perfectly the same.

"I didn't do anything." I protested.

Michael opened his eyes. The orb in his hand gradually began to fade...until it was exactly like mine again.

"Great Maxwell!" He glared at me, grabbed the orb out of my hand and stalked out of the cave.

River Dog truly looked at me for the first time since this whole conversation had begun. "You cannot stop his destiny my don't try. It will only be worse for you and those you love." His tone was even, but the underlying menace made me shudder.

He stalked past me, brushed my arm. Images began to assail my head...


Liz lying motionless in a pool of blood.


Isabel curled up in a ball in the middle of the White Room, Pierce standing menacingly over her.


My parents pointing at me, staring in horror..."Get that thing out of my house!" My dad yelled as my my mom just cried, terror on her face.


Maria and Alex and the Sheriff, and even Kyle and Tess...all dying in horrible ways...


Michael and I in the desert, him glaring at me, saying "I was always the one."

I stumbled against the wall of the cave...threw my hands up to my head, trying to push the flashes away.

They stopped as abruptly as they had come...

I was alone.

Things sort of went back to a routine after that. I had tried to talk to Michael about what had happened, about the images that River Dog had sent me, but he generally ignored me, which I was not unused to...

But somehow, this time it was different. I knew he was still furious that the communicators had not worked and that he blamed me...but the coldness that he started to was not Michael. The Michael I knew should have been flying off the handle, demanding that I figure out a way to make them was weird...

Michael and I continued to train together despite the sudden distance between us ...I was trying to develop the power to scan things into my mind that Nasedo had told Michael about when I had been rescued from Pierce...Tess had instructed us on the basics, but it was damn hard...I wasn't getting very far.

Michael was still working at fine-tuning his blast, as we had begun to refer to it...we didn't know what else to call it...and he was succeeding, where I was failing. He had improved to the point that he could actually aim, and he didn't kill or destroy things right away anymore. I was disturbed that he had started to practice on live creatures...I came across him blasting a rattler one day, and it was over before I could stop him. It was only stunned though, which showed how much he had improved...but the lack of emotion that was involved...I didn't know what to think about what was happening to my friend.

He was changing...

Although I never saw them together, I knew that Michael and River Dog were going off together...that River Dog was training him...was telling him things that Michael was not passing on to me.

And everyday he spoke less to me and froze over a little more. It no longer seemed like he was mad at me...rather, that he just didn't care.

I wondered if I should call Isabel, ask her to come out and try and help me get through to Michael...but then I didn't like the idea of getting her involved. The threatening image of her in the White Room that River Dog had sent, it was best to keep Izzy and the rest of them as far away as possible.

Finally, one day I followed them. And I learned the truth about what River Dog really wanted with my friend...

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