Category: Max/ Liz
Disclaimer: Roswell, Max, Liz etc. don't belong to me. Just borrowing them with thanks.
Summary: What would have happened if Max and Liz had confronted each other at the end of Ch-Ch-Changes. Read on and find out.
Author's Note: This will probably be just one part. It depends on feedback.
How could things have gotten this far?
Where did it all go wrong? Well that's easy. It can all be summed up in a single word; Tess.
I try to see beyond, to see the bigger picture that I know I am supposed to see. I know Tess couldn't help who she is. But that doesn't mean she couldn't have changed. Once you realize there is a problem the next step is to change it. The unfortunate thing is that Tess didn't see the problem. Nasedo had corrupted her so completely that the good person she may have been had little chance to surface.
I could never be with her, will never be with her, what does it gain me to follow a destiny that has been set out before me?
Does it take away the pain of seeing Liz with Kyle? NO!
Does it remove the ache in my soul that was filled when Liz was in my arms? NO!
Does it make me stop loving Liz? NO!
Does it make my life worth living? NO!
A smart man once said <I>To thine own self be true</I>. In the end when the final scores of life are tallied we have only ourselves to hold accountable for our shortcomings.
I will be held accountable for mine. I betrayed myself, which I can live with but I betrayed others and that will be a day by day repentance I will bare for eternity. I lost a part of myself that I can never get back. A part that belonged to someone else and I threw it away like some casual piece of garbage, not worth a second thought.
No matter how much I may want to, I cannot go back. I can't change what happened but I can learn from it. I can move beyond it and try to live my life the way I know I should have in the first place. I can build a life with the one woman who will forever hold my heart and soul, if she can forgive me, if we can clear the air.
I can feel the change coming, like knowing fall is around the corner by the crisp smell in the air. This change will not be denied nor will it be bargained with. I feel it welling up inside of me; I will no longer turn away from this. I've tried, we've all tried but it only brings us pain, divides us against ourselves.
It ends today!
Max did all he could do to heal her. Only to find that there was nothing he could physically heal. Max couldn't heal a broken heart or a wounded soul. Only time and acceptance can cure those injuries.
Max went to Liz's window and waited for her to return home. They had to talk. Max knew they couldn't just pretend that what was said would just go away, to right itself by some wave of a magic wand. The words had been waiting to be released for a long, always just below the surface. That's the funny thing about life, we hurry, trying to get somewhere good only to find that if we haven't taken care of the past we wind up starting all over again.
He crouched down beside her window and waited. The day's events kept flashing through his mind.
The green flashes were getting worse. They would manifest themselves at various times without warning. Liz had losses of hearing at times, she would feel like she had no energy and it was only getting worse.
Liz, Kyle and Max went out to where Michael and Max had buried the healing stones when they found out that Max's father was investigating them. Max thought that if he could use the stones to amplify his powers he could fix what was making Liz sick. He was scared, they all were, that she might be dying.
The soft desert soil gave little resistance to Kyle and Max. In very little time they had uncovered the box that contained all of the evidence that aliens existed on this earth. They pulled the battered box from the earth and dusted its top off. Opening the box, Max removed the stones that he hoped would allow him to finally fix this.
Max carried Liz to the front of the jeep and placed her on the ground. He and Kyle placed the stones around her forming a circle. Max lifted her shirt from her stomach, a gesture that at one time would have sent hi spiraling to another plane of desire and passion, now only brought fear and concern. He could see the green energy shooting through her, tracing random trails across her normally perfect skin.
"Okay, now what do we do again?" Kyle asked, concerned laced through his voice.
Max said, "According to the book, I can use the healing stones to amplify my powers."
"If we do that, it might wipeout whatever is happening inside of her." He finished. There was doubt and fear in his voice. He hated not knowing what was going to happen especially when it came to Liz. But what options did he have left?
A worried Kyle looked on and asked, "What can I do?"
Max just looked at him with trepidation in his eyes and said, "Just stay back."
Max placed his hand on the same spot where he had first healed her all those years ago and began to form the connection. Liz's skin continued to course with the green flickers of power. As Max deepened the connection and added more power, she started to rise off the ground. Max poured more of his energy into her, trying to find what was causing her illness searching in vane for what he didn't know.
Liz's face contorted in pain as the green flashes intensified. In an anguished voice she whimpered, "It hurts."
Max looked at her pain-ridened face and tried to reassure her. "Take a deep breath. It won't be much longer."
"Stop please, I can't." She implored.
Kyle could hear the desperation in Liz's voice. He started to come forward and stop Max from continuing.
"No!" Max exclaimed, nodding to Kyle for him to stay back. He had to keep trying. He just couldn't stop now.
"Stop!" Liz cried out, her voice now full of the pain that was so evident on her normally soft features. The flickers of energy were now almost leaping out from her bronze skin.
Max was desperate at this point. "Hold on, it's working. I can feel it."
"No!" she cried again, face contorting into another grimace. She just wanted him to stop hurting her, <I>why didn't he ever listen</I> she thought. Liz just didn't know how much more of the pain Max always seemed to inflict on her she could take.
Kyle was beside himself. He wanted this to work but he was having doubts that it would. Max seemed too unsure and Liz was not looking any better, if anything the situation was only getting worse, and fast. Above all he did not want Liz to be in pain. Coming to a decision he decided he was going get Max to stop.
"Max!" he yelled. He had to end this before something bad happened. Max just fixed him with a quick look and he froze where he was. He felt rooted to the spot as if held by some force he couldn't see.
With false hope in his voice Max said, "Just a little bit more. Liz, you have to trust me."
Liz couldn't believe her ears. The man that was supposed to be in love with her was causing her nothing but more pain and now he wanted her to trust him? Her mind cried out to her that that's what he always did. Max only ever caused her pain. Lost were all the moments of tenderness and compassion, of sharing quiet conversations or the comfort of being each other's arms. All that was left was pain.
"I can't!" she cried out.
Liz's face was the picture of pain, pure and unadulterated pain. She was close to reaching her breaking point and something had to give. And something did.
Without warning the healing stones exploded in a brilliant flash of white light. Liz's body fell back to the ground and Max was thrown backwards away from her. Kyle was in a state of shock waiting for one of them to move.
Liz slowly started to sit up. Without even realizing it she started to back away from Max.
"Just stop hurting me." She said in a small voice. This all was just too much. She needed to take back her life; to be Liz Parker again. Little did she realize what the cost would be or what she would have to face to do just that.
Max sat up and looked at her with defeat in his eyes and said, "I wasn't trying to." Deep inside he knew that even when he meant to do the right thing where Liz was concerned he always seemed to hurt her. He had been right all those years ago to just stay away from her. Why hadn't he been stronger? But he knew the answer; he loved her. It was selfish, but he loved her and didn't want to live his life without her. She had said none of it mattered as long as they were together. That may have been one of the few times that she was wrong.
Liz just looked at him, lost in her inner pain and turmoil, "No, Max, you do. You always do." She just had to get this out. She had been carrying this with her for a long time and she needed to cleanse herself. "Why did you sleep with her?" she asked through gritted teeth. The remembered pain as bright and devastating as it had been when she had first found out.
Max couldn't reply. Anything he might say right now would only sound hollow and accomplish nothing. He knew she was in pain and confused. She was lashing out at him to try and make her pain go away. She didn't want excuses from him. If he tried to give her an explanation it would only sound like he justified it. Now wasn't the time for him, this was about her, she needed to get this out.
When Max didn't respond she only became more incensed. "Why?!?", she screamed at him. She wanted him to know the pain she went through. The sacrifices she had made, all for him, some because he had asked her to. No matter where she looked it all came back to him.
"Liz..." He started only to be cut off by her.
"Every time you mention your son, I am reminded of what you did to me. How you were unfaithful. How could you not know that?" she cried out incredulously.
Max felt like he had been hit in the stomach. He knew he had hurt her, he knew that he would forever be asking forgiveness for the mistakes he had made. He only hoped that with time they could move on. Why couldn't she see that he had been hurt too?
"Liz please" Max implored as he reached out to her, trying to bring them back from the edge they were nearing.
Liz shrunk back from him and considered him with venomous eyes. The green electricity was intensifying, as he came closer.
"Stay away." She yelled at him, "You're doing this." All she wanted was the pain to stop, for all the pain to stop. She just wanted it all to disappear.
Max was stricken; he couldn't believe that he was causing all this pain to her. He loved her didn't she know that? He would do anything for, had done anything for her. He just couldn't give up; he still had to try.
"No I'm not. Liz please." He said as he reached out to caress her face, trying to provide some sort of comfort to her and himself. "Please."
As he touched her cheek, the green electricity intensified and shot through her face. Liz screamed as though she had been slapped with a great force. The fear in her eyes was visible and cut through Max like a knife. Liz just wanted it to stop. Wanted it all to go away. Wanted him to go away.
Kyle grabbed Max and pulled him away from Liz. "Max, Max, Max, stop!" he yelled at him. "Listen to her, you want to kill her?" Kyle said as he turned wide pleading eyes to Max. Kyle could see the reaction every time Max neared her, why couldn't he see it?
Max felt as though he had lost everything, again. All of the problems and mistakes, the lies and pain paled in comparison to now. This felt as if it was the final moment of their relationship. He felt his soul begin to crumble as he watched Kyle help Liz up and they walked her over to his car. Liz got in and they headed towards Roswell leaving Max alone in the desert.
"What do I do now?" he whispered to himself looking up to the stars. "What do I do now?"
Liz entered her bedroom, tired and worn out. It had been a day that she wished to never repeat. All she wanted was rest; her life was spinning out of control. She had always had a plan, a way to work the problem out; she couldn't seem to find that now. She desperately needed that now; she needed to be Liz Parker, just the smallest of small town girls, again.
She looked up from her spiraling thoughts towards her window. Outside she could see the outline of someone she thought she knew so well. He was someone who had held her heart, who was supposed to have loved her, all his life. Yet he had crushed the most precious thing she had to offer him, time and time again.
She moved over to the window and looked up at him. How times had changed.
"Max what are you doing here? You can't be here." Liz said in a lifeless tone. She looked tired and defeated. This was not the same girl Max had fallen in love with. Time had done damage to her, to them, to all of them. He had done damage to her. In the long run pretending that there wasn't a problem had done the most damage. It had torn them apart.
She just wanted to be alone with her thoughts, to try and sort it all out. But had she really been trying to deal with all of this stuff or just pushing it away. Was she just praying that something would happen to make it all right for them again? Something would take away all the memories that haunted her and would not give her peace? She had turned her back on them for so long now, but they had had enough of that and they finally had demanded attention with a vengeance.
"I've been calling." He said gently, he had been concerned for her when he was unable to reach.
"I was out with Maria." She said tonelessly.
"I thought something happened."
Max had so much he wanted to say, so many things that he wanted to fix. Would they ever be able to? Would she ever be able to really hear him?
"Liz we can't just pretend those things were never said, we have to talk about it." He said in a quiet voice. He looked tired and worn. They both had been through a hell of a lot.
They had both been running so hard trying to escape the enormity of their problems. Neither of them wanted to truly accept the fact that those problems would always be waiting around the next corner. Today was the day that their problems had waited long enough.
Liz just looked at Max with tears that were visible in her eyes, threatening to fall; they were mirrored in Max's as well. She looked so lost and vulnerable. Max just wanted to fold her into his arms and tell it was all going to be all right, even though he knew it wouldn't be. What was one more lie in the long list they already had between them.
"Liz, this is a mess and it just won't go away. There are a lot of things that we haven't faced. We can't just keep doing this."
He took a deep breath and just decided to plunge in.
"I know almost all of our problems have been centered on Tess, it all started to fall apart when she came here. I wish she had never come here, but I can't change the fact that she did." He hated to even talk about her but this was the center of their problems, he was left with no choice.
"We lost faith in each other, we forgot how strong we could be together. I was so scared to bring you into this mess. That's why I pushed you away that first time, I loved you too much. I wanted something better for you than the life of chaos I was forced to live. But I was selfish and couldn't live without you. I was looking for anyway to make it work for us and when you said it wasn't my choice to make, that I couldn't pick whom you had feelings for or whom you wanted to be with I latched onto that." He said, lost in the memories of an easier time.
"So that's my fault?" Liz started, the anger beginning to build all over again, the green flickering beginning to show itself once more.
"No, you were right, I had no say in the choices of who you cared for or who you wanted to be with. It just seemed that the same didn't apply for me." He stated somewhat matter-of-factly.
Liz arched her eyebrow in annoyance, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You pushed me away multiple times. You walked away when we got the message of what my destiny was supposed to be" Max started but Liz interrupted.
"I didn't want to stop you from being who you were supposed to be, from who you are! Do you think that was easy for me? Do you think I wanted to do that?" she asked incredulously, anger still evident in her voice.
"I loved you with all my heart, a part of me died that day when I walked away from you." She recalled, the pain of that event clearly being relived inside her mind.
"Liz, you took the decision away from me. Was that fair? Who were you to decide what path I follow? Who were you to decide who I am to spend my life with, to love, to have a family with?" Max declared, trying to control his emotions.
"I make those choices, not you. Don't you understand that? I chose you but you threw me away, and not just once but twice!" he said as he slammed his fist onto the windowsill. Liz jumped slightly at the sudden outburst. This was not like Max to be so unrestrained. They both knew that the feelings they were exploring were raw and painful and the only way to heal was to look at them, honestly and see where they led.
Max took a couple of deep breaths and tried to steady himself. Letting his emotions run wild was not going to help the situation. He didn't want to frighten Liz but she had to see what this was doing them.
"Liz you are the one who chooses if you want to be with me, have a family with me, spend a life with me. You get to make those decisions, not me. But I get to make the same choices for myself." Max implored.
"You were right that day in Bio. I had been unfair in making the decisions for you instead of with you. It was wrong of me and I wasted a lot of time that we could have spent together. For that I am sorry." He paused needing to gather his thoughts.
"Liz, we have been running from this for along time now and it hasn't worked. I think we both knew that it wouldn't but we have both been cowards here. It wasn't just one of us."
Liz looked at this man, the boy she had loved for so long. She still did love with all her heart if she was honest with herself, but there was so much pain in her heart that she couldn't let go of, the love just didn't seem to be enough anymore. Max was right about one thing; they both had been cowards and had not trusted in each other enough. If they were ever to recover from this they had to learn that they were each other's greatest strength.
"Max you ran to her when things between us got tough, did I mean that little to you?"
Max knew that she had gone through so much pain for him, for all of them. But for her to ever assume that she meant nothing to him was the final straw. If now is the time to really bring out the truth, then he had a list of his own. The fear of doing any further damage was forgotten. The pain had weighed on him long enough and threatened to break him in two. What is that they say, 'and the truth shall set you free.' He wanted to be free.
"How dare you!" he said with anger blazing in his amber eyes. "We've both been hurt here; you're not the only one. If you want to bring up the past then lets go back to where it started. I can't deny that I felt a pull towards Tess. I didn't ask for it, I didn't want it but its there and as much as both of us wanted to pretend that it didn't exist we couldn't. Liz, that's how the bastards that engineered us designed it to be, is that my fault?" He cried in frustration. Max had never really looked at it from that standpoint so it was as much of shock to him as it was to her.
"I was engineered." He repeated somewhat distractedly. "It's surprising I've had any choice in my life at all considering how I was created."
Max thrust a hand agitatedly through his hair and took a breath. "I was encoded to respond to her. I denied that with everything that I had, my love for you never wavered because of it. You can't imagine what its like to have everything inside crying out for one person while your mind forces you to consider another. I would not wish that on anyone. Its hell."
Max's face lost some of its edge and became pained, "Not only did I betray you but I did myself too. You'll never be able to hate me as much as I do myself for what I've done."
Max just held his head in shame as he let his words sink in. Liz was in turmoil; her heart just ached so much. All she wanted was to have someone love her, no, not just someone, Max. He had always had her heart, why did this always have to be so hard.
For the first time she tried to see it from his side. How he had been pushed and pulled, subjected to a will that was not his own. Not only had his creators instilled that in him genetically, but she had been a party to pushing him there as well.
"Max" she began.
"No, Liz let me finish. I've been quiet for far too long, that's ending right now. We've lied to each other, kept secrets from each other. And why? Were we afraid to trust each other that much, scared to love each other that much? We've proven it time and time again; we are much stronger together than we are apart. Well I can't speak for you but I'm not afraid to admit that I need you, that I depend on you. You balance me, you help me to become the man, the king that I'm supposed to be. Not for one second do I regret having you in my life."
A tortured expression clouded Max's face, his eyes mirroring a remembered pain. "Have you ever stopped to think just once what you did to me, to us? You destroyed me that night. It was cold and calculated." Max exclaimed, the bitterness and anger evident in his voice.
"I thought we were on our way back towards each other after you came back from Florida. We were talking, spending time together. We kissed and I know you saw the flashes. I felt what you felt; I know what it meant to you. You smiled when I serenaded you, when I threw the roses up to you." He said wistfully.
Tears were running freely down both of their faces now. The pain of the past, the pain of what should have been and was not, of all the lies and the mistakes, the deceit and the manipulations, seeping out with each drop.
"But you pushed me towards Tess, gave her pointers on how to talk to me, the books I read. Told her how to dress. You went out of your way to make her into something that you thought I would want. You just could not get it through your head that I wanted you, only you. But still those things didn't work."
"I knew you wanted to go to Gomez, you had turned me down but I knew you really wanted to gowith me. I knew I just had to talk to you, make you see that we could make it work. So I went to your house, so full of hope and love for you" He said with bitterness emphasizing his words.
"I will never forget that night, you killed me that night. That's what it felt like. I endured what they did to me in the white room, but it didn't compare to the pain I felt when I saw you with Kyle. I could stand the pain when that bastard Pierce had me because I only wanted to get back to you. But when I saw you in bed with Kyle, in what looked like you had just got done fucking him, I had nothing left to live for. I died inside." The pain was now permeating his entire being. It was suffocating him but getting it out was liberating. Getting it out might let them both breath again.
"Then Alex died, it tore everyone up. Everyone. I didn't want to think that one of us could be responsible, but I should have known, I should have seen it. I didn't. You wouldn't leave it alone, I'm happy you didn't, but at the time I just couldn't deal with it. To have one of your own kind be a traitor was to much to bare. I thought if I threatened our friendship you would back down, you didn't, for that I'm thankful now but then it just sealed my fate, it was the last thing I had left to hold on to."
Max was losing steam fast, reliving all these moments from the past was taking its toll on both of them but this had to be done.
"At that moment I felt like I had lost everyone. I was a big disappointment to not only myself but to everyone else. I failed the people I was supposed to protect. I wasn't looking for Tess that night, but that's not really the point. She was all I felt I had left, she was promising me forever. I was weak and I took it. The only thing that kept flashing in my mind was you. How much I wanted this to be you, but that it never would be. I just accepted what everyone seemed to want me to do. I accepted that I would only ever have you in my fantasies, when I closed my eyes." He said sadly.
"I can't deny that I have a son with her Liz. You don't know how badly I wish it were with you, that he was our child. A child conceived out of love and happiness not from pain and despair. I can't turn my back on him, what would you think of me if I did? He's an innocent victim in this whole mess of a life I have. I want him to be happy, safe, to know he's loved and accepted not thought of as a freak or resented because of who his mother was." He said.
Liz had to understand that his son would forever be a part of his life, even if it were in the smallest of ways, he would always be there and that he would not deny that.
Liz knew that Max's son was innocent in this, he had not asked for it. It was just hard knowing that a reminder of what Tess had taken from her would always be there.
"Liz, I'm not offering excuses, god knows we've all heard enough of those to last a lifetime. All I'm giving you is what was in my head and how I felt. I didn't think anything I did could possibly hurt you or anyone for that matter anymore. You made it clear what you wanted and how you felt, whether it was a lie or not didn't matter, what matters is that I believed what you said to me. Something inside told me that it couldn't be true, that my eyes were lying to me, that we meant more to each other than that but you were adamant so I trusted you, what else could I do?" He finished.
"So this is all my fault that you fucked her?" She asked, her voice beginning to rise, the green electricity flickering across her skin. As they had talked the green flickers had steadily diminished, but now they flared once more, mirroring the emotions swimming under the surface.
"NO! That is not what I'm saying. We were both wrong here. We didn't trust each other enough." He voiced with desperation.
"We both have to accept the fault for the parts we played. I'm just as guilty as you are. We will never get beyond this otherwise." With that Max fell silent for moment and contemplated all that had been said, all that had happened this night.
He raised tear filled eyes to her. All of his feelings were clearly displayed on his face if she was willing to see them.
"Liz, I have only one more thing to say and then I'll go. Through it all, no matter what was going on. I loved you. That never changed. I never questioned how I felt for you." With that said, Max rose to his feet and backed away from the window. He just looked at her with all of his emotions, raw and exposed for her to do with as she pleased.
Liz started to close the window, easing it down with agonizing slowness. Her eyes never left his as the window finally came to a close. The tears that had been threatening to fall began their journey down now familiar trails on both their faces. Liz watched as Max's mouth silently said the words that had always given such happiness, had always made her feel like the most important person in the world. He said <I>I love you.</I>.
Max numbly made his way over to the edge of the balcony and began, what he feared to be the last, long climb down the ladder. Just before he would have disappeared below the ledge he paused and gave one final look to Liz. A look that said I'm yours forever if you'll have me, yours without reservation or question, it said I love you for now and until forever, I forgive you. And with that he was gone.
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