FanFic - Other
"Union"
Part 3
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I own the story, the characters Jennetta, Ren, Andrina and Tarsus. I am just borrowing the others with thanks. Lyrics by Patty Griffin, Dido, Garth Brooks
Summary: Third in a trilogy that includes Out of the Woods and Legacy. If you donít read them, you will be seriously lost. If you DO read them, I congratulate you, because even I am horrified by their length. I will also be tickled pink! This story began with Out of the Woods, which was Post-Destiny, so everything that has occurred during Season 2 is not applicable here. All couples are currently together except for Kyle and Tess. Jennetta is Michael and Mariaís daughter. Why she is grown-up is a long story and is told in Legacy. Max and Isabel also consider her to be their sister because she was raised by their alien mother on their home planet of Illyria. Maxís alien name is Jaxon Falconer, Isabelís is Mirana, Tessí is Sabrya and Michaelís is Tristandor. Michael and Tess are siblings.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
I didnít hear you leave
I wonder how am I still here?
I donít want to move a thing
It might change my memory.

I am what I am
Iíll do what I want
But I canít hide
I wonít go
I wonít sleep
I canít breathe
Until youíre resting here with me.
I wonít leave
I canít hide
I cannot be
Until youíre resting here with meÖ

Dido

Max Evans stared down at the freshly turned Earth, swallowed hard.

Even though he knew that it wasnít Liz buried there, just the thought that it COULD have beenÖit was enough to make him physically ill.

The funeral had been horrible. He and Michael had almost been late, arriving just as the security guards had been closing the doors into the sanctuary. They had almost been refused entrance until Deputy Hanson had caught sight of them through the crowd gathered on the sidewalk outside the church.

"Let him in! Thatís Liz Parkerís boyfriend." The Deputy had yelled so loudly, everyone and their neighbour could not help but turn to look.

And so the staring had begun.

Max had felt eyes on him all through the service. He knew that everyone felt horrible about this whole situation, but that they were morbidly fascinated too. After all, just over a year ago it had been HIS funeral they were all attending. And here he was, not dead. That his girlfriend should then perish so horriblyÖwell, it was just TOO tragic. He knew they were all thinking it and he didnít blame them.

That didnít mean that he didnít hate it though.

It was one of the reasons he had not wanted to come. If there was one thing he despised, it was being the centre of attention. But Michael had been right. He had owed it to Liz to attend - to say goodbye to her parents for her. Max would miss them. He had not known the Parkers extremely well but they had given him Liz, and for that he would always be grateful.

Max had spent the service staring at the Cross that hung at the front of the church. He had not wanted to meet anyoneís eyes. The whole experience had been ridiculously surreal. They were all sitting there mourning a girl who was not dead.

He wondered if anyone was ever going to believe him.

He had been seated between Tess and Isabel at the front of the church, Isabel holding his hand tightly, squeezing it every few minutes or so. In the end though, Max had had to comfort Isabel when she started to sob during the short eulogy Alex gave for Liz.

Alex had obviously had difficulty beginning. His eyes had been shining with unshed tears and when Max heard Maria start to cry in earnest, Alex had clearly almost lost it. But he had persevered as was Alex Whitmanís way.

Liz would have been proud.

"Liz Parker was my best friend." Alex had begun. "She was the first person to talk to me when I moved to Roswell in Grade 4 and even though we didnít become great friends until the fifth grade, I knew that she always looked out for me. That was Liz. She was all about friendship. When she became your friend, you knew that you always had someone watching your back."

Max had glanced back worriedly at Maria when she began to weep even harder. Jennetta had her arm around her, was soothing her quietly. Max just sighed. This was killing them all. Tarsus was going to pay for hurting his friends if it was the last thing he did. Max had wished that his friends would believe him that Liz was NOT gone, that they could work together to try and bring her back.

"Liz loved three things," Alex continued. "Science, her friends and Max Evans, not necessarily in that order." A faint ripple of laughter sounded through the large room. "I will mourn forever that we will never find out what Liz could have been to the world of the first. Probably something great because that was our Liz - everything she touched was never the same. It became better - golden. I already know what she was to the worlds of the last two. She was everything and we will never forget her or stop loving her. I know that wherever she is, sheís watching over all of us and that she is still watching our backs."

After Alex finished, a soloist in the choir had stood up and started to sing. Max had just stared at him in disbelief. Had someone planned this funeral to MAKE him lose his mind?

It was an old Garth Brooks song, one Liz had once told him made her cry.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment, all the word was right
How could I have known
That youíd ever say good-bye?

And Iím glad I didnít know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain,
But Iíd have had to miss the dance.

Holding you I held everything
For a moment, wasnít I the king?
But if Iíd only known
How the king would fall
Then whoís to say
No, I might have changed it all.

And Iím glad I didnít know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But Iíd have had to miss the dance.

Alex HAD lost it then. His eyes had met Maxís from the front of the church and he had started shaking. He had begun to wipe his eyes in a way that conveyed the fact that he didnít know what to do next. He had obviously been holding himself together to get through that speech and now that it was over, it was just too much. Max had wondered if he should get up and go help Alex back to his seat, but he realized that that would have seemed weird. Everyone probably already thought it was weird that he wasnít sobbing all over the place. Especially AFTER that song.

The song had conveyed everything Max had always felt about opening himself up to Liz. Every single minute of it had been perfect, but a small part of him had always been secretly worried that what he was - WHO he was - would end up hurting her. And it hadÖshe might not be dead, but she certainly was NOT safe - never would be as long as she loved him.

But he wouldnít give her up. He couldnít. He had tried that too many times - after the healing when he had told her that they were different, that they couldnít be together; after Michael had gotten sick in their sophomore year; when Liz had walked away from him after the destiny message; when he had had to pretend to date Pam Troy on Tarsusí orders to protect Liz and the others. It had never worked.

He couldnít be Max without her. She was his other half. And she felt exactly the same way. He knew that she would kill him before she would let him give up on them.

And so he wouldnít give up on her. He knew that she was out there somewhere and he would never rest until he found her.

In the end, Michael had risen from his seat next to Jennetta and had gone to lead Alex back to his place beside Izzy. Alex had just been standing there, looking around, lost. Isabel had stopped crying and Alex went straight into her embrace when he sat down. Max had felt another flare of anger.

Tarsus. He was going to pay for this. Big time.

The funeral had finally ended. Max had just wanted out of there, wanted this ludicrous farce to end. He had stood, felt Tess stand beside him, take his hand.

"Are you okay?" She had asked quietly. Max knew that Isabel had convinced them all that he had gone crazy with grief, but Tess sounded open. He had wondered if she would help him. He hadnít talked to her since the day of the fire, had no idea what was going on with her. He knew that she had been on the verge of laying all of her cards on the table with Kyle when they had all been called away from the prom to go to the transformation chamber for Jennettaís rebirth. He had wondered where Kyle was, if that had worked out. It didnít bode well that Kyle was not sitting with them.

Max had felt a pang. Liz would not be pleased. She would have exclaimed that Kyle belonged with them, would have gone to find him wherever he was in that church and would have dragged him to sit with them.

They were already falling apart without her.

"Iím okay." Max had replied. "What was with that song?" He had asked Tess, trying to change the subject. "That was really TOO brutal. Were they TRYING to make me lose it?"

Tess had shrugged. "I donít even know who planned the funeral." She peered up at him. "Max, really. Are you okay?"

Max had just sighed. "Iím sad Tess. Lizís parents are dead and some other poor girl is too. I have no idea who she was, but someone, somewhere, is going to be devastated. But I know that Liz isnít gone. Sheís out there somewhere. And because thatís true, Iím really okay."

"MaxÖ" Tess had trailed off suddenly. Max had felt relieved, sure that she was about to start lecturing him ŗ la Isabel. Max had followed her gaze towards the back of the church, met Kyle Valentiís eyes.

The guy looked terrible - like he hadnít slept in days, which he likely had not. Kyle had made a move forward as though he was going to come and talk to him, when his gaze had shifted to Tess.

Max had felt Tess put her arm around him, steer him in the opposite direction.

"What theÖTess, Kyleís over there." Max had said, perplexed.

"I canít deal with him right now Max." Tess had replied.

"Why?" Max had demanded. "I thought you were working things out!"

"We were. Now weíre not." Tess had replied. "I donít want to get into this with you right now." She continued. "Letís just say that I think youíre right. I think Liz is alive and I donít want Kyle involved in this anymore."

Max had just stared down at her in shock. "WHAT?" People had turned to stare at them. Max reddened. He had seen his mother eyeing him with concern. He had quickly looked away.

Tess had clammed up after that. Max had been pulled away by Isabel, who had insisted that he accompany she and Alex to the cemetery where the internment was to take place.

Which was where Max now found himself. The others had left him alone at "Lizís" grave site, sure that he would want to be alone with her.

There was no grave stone yet. Maria had told him briefly that it would be simple though. It was going to read "Elizabeth Anne Parker - September 1983 - May 2002 - Beloved Friend and Daughter - She reached for the Stars." Max had liked it, although he had wanted to yell that this was all unnecessary, that all of this pain was false.

Liz was still alive.

He and Michael were going to find the proof of that today. And if it wasnít today, it would be tomorrow or the day after, or the day after that.

Max would not rest until he brought Liz back.

He turned away from the fresh grave, wondered briefly who was buried there, wondered if they would ever know.

The death of that innocent girl was just one more thing Tarsus would pay for - another crime to add to his long list. When Max reclaimed his planet from that bastard, before he handed it over to Michael and Mariaís daughter - Jennetta, the Chosen One - his last act as King of Illyria would be to order the emotionless monsterís death.

Max was not a vengeful person, but, in this case, vengeance was not even an issue. Justice had to be served. The pain that Tarsus of Dernia had caused would reverberate for generations.

Max set his jaw, went to join his friends. They were standing near the cars, talking quietly.

He was greeted by complete silence as he walked up beside Maria. Max put his arm around her, squeezed lightly. "Are you okay?"

Maria just nodded mechanically, didnít say anything, continued to stare at him worriedly.

Max sighed. The sooner he had proof that Liz still lived, the sooner his friends would stop treating him like he was a maniac on the verge of a complete break-down.

He couldnít wait.

"Ready?" He asked Michael. Michael grimaced, glanced at Isabel. Maxís sister was staring at Michael suspiciously.

"Ready for what?" She demanded.

"I told Max I would search the Crashdown with him." Michael replied, sounding belligerent. As usual, Michael was on the defensive immediately. Max looked between the two of them, felt like rolling his eyes. Clearly Isabel was not happy that Michael was "humouring" him in his quest to find out what had happened to Liz.

"Michael!" Izzy sighed in exasperation. She turned to Max. "Max, this is crazy! Will you please just come home with me?"

Max pressed his lips together. "Isabel, if you wonít believe me, then I have to ask for help from people who do."

"I never said I believed you Maxwell." Michael cut in abruptly.

Max frowned at him. "But you said youíd help, which is more than I can say for the rest of them." Max felt himself getting angry. He looked around at the group. Isabel looked furious, Maria scared, Alex upset, Tess torn, and Jennetta concerned. "Liz is alive. That funeral was brutal and I know youíre all upset, but it wasnít for OUR Liz. She still exists and Iím going to find her if its the last thing I ever do."

"Max!" Isabel exclaimed.

But he ignored her, turned on his heel and stalked away. He was relieved that he could hear Michael telling Maria that he would see her later, to go home and try and get some rest.

Max knew that Liz lived, but he was going to need all the help he could get to prove it. Getting Michaelís help, even if it had been under duress and even if Michael thought he was bonkers, was a giant step forward.

Michael joined him at the Jeep a moment later. Max was surprised to see that Tess was with him.

"What are you doing here?" He asked.

"I told you I believe you." Tess replied. "Now Iím going to help you prove it."

Michael just rolled his eyes. "I canít believe Iím going along with this. I barely escaped with my life back there." He eyed Max for a minute and then said. "Maxwell, give me the keys." He ordered. "Youíre in no condition to drive. Have you even eaten today?"

Max shrugged. "No."

Michael sighed again. "Great. Okay, first stop McDonaldís." He put up his hand when Max looked like he was about to protest. "Not a word out of you your mightiness." His tone was the epitome of Michael sarcasm. "Even though I donít buy any of this for a minute, if Liz IS alive, she is going to be severely pissed off if you die of starvation before she can find her way back to you. Iíve seen that girl pissed and I donít want to see it again." He looked at Tess for confirmation. "Itís scary I tell you."

Max blinked. "Okay." He said quietly.

He could wait half an hour. They were finally DOING something.

It was only a matter of time now. *******************************************************

Tess followed Max and Michael down the back alley that led to Lizís balcony.

She knew that she was going to have a hard time climbing that ladder in her funeral attire, but she had already kicked off her shoes and was willing to rip her dress if she had to. What they were doing was much more important.

Michael and Max were bickering as usual.

"I donít think its a good idea to go up there Maxwell." Michael was saying as Tess joined them beneath the balcony. "The whole place is condemned. Weíre going to fall through that balcony."

"Itís made of stone Michael." Max retorted. He put his hands on the ladder, looked at Tess. "Maybe you should stay down here though."

"No way." Tess snapped. "If youíre going up there, Iím going up there."

They had already been into the restaurant area of the building, had spent a good hour sifting through burned out rubble.

The Crashdown was actually in fairly good shape, the main destruction being from water damage. The fire had not been centered there after all.

Lizís bedroom had borne the brunt of it.

Max had been like a machine, relentless, searching under everything for the smallest clue. She and Michael had exchanged more than one concerned look. He was like a man possessed.

Max had only paused once. He had stopped in a spot near the back of the restaurant, had looked up towards the ceiling.

"Whatís wrong?" Tess had asked him, going forward to take his arm.

"This is where I healed her." He had replied sadly. He had looked around at the shell of their favorite hang-out. "This is going to devastate her Tess. She loved this place."

"Maybe you can rebuild it?" Tess had suggested, reaching for any words to comfort him.

But Max had shaken his head sadly. "Liz can never come back here." He had replied. "My return from the dead was weird enough. There is absolutely no way weíll be able to explain how Liz escaped this fire - especially because there was a body. Our secret would come out. Liz and I are going to have to live somewhere else." He looked towards the counter. "With her parents gone, thereís nothing left in this town for Liz anyway."

Tess had felt like crying. Roswell was their home! "Poor Liz."

Max had turned to look at her. He had frowned slightly. "You DO believe me Tess. You do believe that sheís still alive. Why?"

Tess had swallowed, but she decided to tell him the truth. She needed to tell SOMEONE the truth. "Because I would know if something happened to Kyle." She had replied quietly. "Theyíre BOTH different Max. You did something to both of them when you healed them. I never realized it until Liz was gone, but I feel them both - feel their presence. Itís like when you healed them, you connected ALL of us to them."

Max had blinked. "HmmmmÖ" He had murmured. Finally he had taken her hand, smiling sadly. "I believe that. But then why donít Michael and Isabel believe me?"

Tess had shrugged. "Maybe they havenít allowed themselves to feel it. You opened yourself to it because you love Liz and I did because I love Kyle. Neither Alex or Maria was ever healed and so donít have the same connection to us. Iím not saying we donít love them just as much, just that we donít have that little bit of alien holding us together."

Max had nodded. "You do love Kyle Tess." He had stated the obvious, as though it had finally been confirmed for him. "Then why arenít you together?"

"Because what we are did this to Lizís parents." Tess had replied, waving her hand around the burned out restaurant in which they stood. "Tarsus taking Liz is directly related to what we are. It wasnít until this happened that I really realized how we put them in danger Max. I wonít risk Kyle. I just canít do it."

Max had smiled sadly again, as though he understood completely but didnít quite believe her. "Weíll see." He had said cryptically. "Sometimes we just have to follow our hearts Tess. We donít have a choice."

"I have a choice." Tess told him stubbornly. "Kyle has gone through enough because of us - ME. Heís starting to move on. I have to let him. Itís the only way heíll be safe."

Max had just shaken his head again. "Weíll see." He repeated, going to help Michael move some debris away from the counter.

Tess still didnít know what Max had meant, but she knew that she was right.

Kyle would only be safe if Tess stayed away from him.

But, of course, her staying away from HIM wouldnít be enough. She had to keep HIM away from her too, which was why she had turned her back on him at the funeral. She knew it would take him days to figure that one out.

She hoped that he would get ticked off - he had every right to after all, since she had practically thrown herself at him at the prom. Angry Kyle was the best route to take, because angry Kyle would not confront her, his pride would be too strong.

Tess knew that if he confronted her, she would give in, would tell him how she felt. Maybe thatís what Max had meant, that when you loved someone, sometimes the safest route just wasnít a possibility.

And so she had to stay away from Kyle.

Now, as she climbed the ladder to Lizís bedroom, she swallowed hard, trying not to cry. It was going to be torture, hurting him AGAIN.

She reached up and grabbed Michaelís hand. He hauled her the last couple of feet to the top.

Max was standing near the window into Lizís bedroom, staring in. Tess could see that the room was completely destroyed. The floor didnít even look safe.

"We canít go in there Maxwell." Michael said to his friendís back. "Itís too dangerous."

The balcony was still fairly solid beneath Tessí feet but she could see that Michael was right. One of them was likely to fall through that floor if they tried to walk on it. She gasped when she saw that Max was about to swing himself through the window.

"Max! Get back here!" She shrieked. But it was too late. He was in.

"Jesus!" Michael sounded petrified with fear. Tessí brother rushed to the window, crouched down. "Max! Get the hell back here!"

Max was standing in the centre of the room, looking around. He started rummaging through the debris. "Iíll just be a minute." He told them, sounding completely unconcerned. "You guys stay out there. Youíre right that this floor probably couldnít take all of our weight."

Tess felt her heart pounding a mile a minute as Max moved carefully around the bed. She felt her eyes widen when he suddenly reached behind the shell of the bed and pulled a brick right out of the wall. "I knew it." She heard Max mutter to himself. He pulled a leather bound book out of the wall. "Itís still here. Itís a little singed but it looks okay."

Lizís journal.

"She told me where it was hidden when she got it back last time." Max told them, picking his way cautiously back toward the window. "It was fairly protected from the fire because it was in the stone wall."

Tess could see that the leather was slightly melted, that the pages were browned, but that, for the most part, the journal was in excellent condition.

Max handed the journal to Michael through the window. He paused before climbing out, taking one last look around. "Heís going to pay." Tess heard him mutter. She knew that he meant Tarsus.

Max was back on the balcony a moment later. "You idiot!" Tess screeched at him, smacking him lightly. "You could have been killed in there!"

Max just looked at her steadily. "Nothing is going to happen to me." He told her firmly. "I will not allow it - not until I find Liz."

Michael just sighed in frustration. "Can we go now? Thereís nothing here Maxwell. Iím glad you found Lizís journal, but its not going to prove anything."

Tess saw that Maxís back was stiffening in annoyance, but before he could snap back at her brother, Michael bent over and picked something up. "Hey! Whatís this?"

"Itís a hairbrush." Tess told him. "So? Liz must have left it out here."

But Michael was staring at it in astonishment. The next minute he went flying across the balcony, landing flat on his back.

"Michael!" Tess shrieked. Both Max and Tess flew to his side.

"What happened?" Max demanded.

Michael just stared up at him in complete stupefaction. "You were right Maxwell. Tarsus WAS here."

Part 2 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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