(Sunday, November 19th)
Liz lay between Max and Zan, their warmth surrounding her, their arms wrapped around her. She should have been happy and content but she was worried. She hadn’t gotten much sleep because she’d been thinking about what Max and Zan had told her about their memories.
Despite what she had told them, she was a bit worried about what would happen when they remembered their other life.
Zan had reassured her that he never had feelings for Ava and that convinced him that the original Zan never loved his Ava. And it did make sense, but Liz knew there was nothing sensible about love.
If sense ruled love, she would never have been in love with two men.
She could tell that Max and Zan were restless too. They had tossed and turned all night and she wondered how much sleep they had gotten.
From behind, Max’s hand stroked down her arm, his fingers entwining with hers as he kissed her neck. “Are you okay?” he asked in her mind. “I can tell you’re worried.”
She nodded, trying not to wake Zan, and squeezed Max’s hand, answering him the same way. “I’m , I just…”
Zan interrupted her, “You guys know I can hear you,” he said aloud, opening his eyes, “even if you are talking in your heads.”
Liz smiled. “I was trying to let you sleep.”
He stroked her cheek. “I wasn’t really sleeping, just thinking.”
Liz nodded. “About what we should do.” She brought Max’s hand to her lips. “I just wish we knew what to do. It is so frustrating that there is no one to ask, no one to get advice from.”
Max listened to Liz and her words echoed what he had been thinking about practically all night. They had been struggling in the dark for so long and now were in a fight for their lives.
All they really knew was what they had guessed from Future Max’s actions, and just hoped they were right. They were hoping that somehow they were strong enough together to get through this.
His mind turned to his other self. Future Max had sacrificed everything to try and make the world better. He had even given up his Liz.
Suddenly he made a decision.
“I know what we have to do,” Max said. “What I have to do.”
Liz turned so she could see his face. “Tell us, Max,” she encouraged.
“I’ve been hiding all this time,” he said, shaking his head, “hiding from who I am, hiding from my destiny, and it’s time to put my fear aside and face it.”
Liz’s brow creased in concern. “What do you mean?”
“I think Michael’s right,” Max said. “It’s time to do something, and I’m the leader, the King, and it comes down to me, doesn’t it? Tess knows something about the past and I have to find out if it is anything useful, or if she doesn’t really know anything then at least she may be able to help me get some useful memories.”
He shook his head as he continued, “I just have to put aside my dislike of her and see what I can find out.”
“But Max, you don’t have to…” Liz started, only to have him cut her off.
“I know,” he said with a sad smile, “she will probably try to turn it to her advantage, but I’ll have to take the chance. If fighting off Tess is the worst thing that happens to us then we are all really lucky.”
“Are you sure?” Liz asked. “You told me you were worried about controlling when the memories happened. What if trying to remember more makes them happen more often?”
“I’m worried about that,” Max admitted. “But I think we have to take the chance. We need to know all we can.” He took a deep breath. “Maybe if I try to get the memories I’ll be able to control them better. At least if it gets worse I can stop.”
Max looked to Zan, “What do you think?”
Zan rubbed his chin. He knew what Max was worried about losing himself to the memories but he felt he had to do it. He would do anything to protect Liz and the others. “I think you don’t have to take on everything even if you are the leader. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself.”
“Yes I do,” Max said. “I have to do anything I can to keep us alive and safe.”
Liz shook her head. “No one is sacrificing themselves,” she said, looking from Max to Zan. “Future Max knew we could do this if we were together, that’s why he set it up for the three of us to be together.”
Max smiled softly, touching her face. “What if this is exactly what he had in mind?” he said.
“No,” Liz said, clutching his hand, “he wouldn’t put us together just to rip us apart.”
Zan wrapped his arm around her. “No one is going anywhere, baby,” he assured her. “We won’t let anything happen to him.”
Max brought her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to her fingers. “I’ll just try it once,” he promised, “and see what happens. Okay?”
Liz searched his face for long moments and finally nodded. “Once,” she agreed.
“You don’t have to do this alone,” Zan said.
Max nodded. “I’m counting on it. I think you two will have to help. Tess expects you to try to win Liz,” he said to Zan, “so maybe if she sees you two together she’ll be more open to helping me without trying to seduce me if she thinks she has more of a chance. But I want you both there in my head, in case her power is too much for me. I don’t want to be forced to kiss her or anything else,” he said with a grimace. “I’m not willing to give Tess my mind or body for the cause.”
Liz touched his face. “That is not an option.”
Max looked at Zan, trying to communicate silently what he was really worried about was changing into someone else, and begging for Zan to help him hold on to himself if it came to that.
Zan nodded slowly, holding Max’s gaze to show he understood. “We won’t let you down.”
Isabel turned over in bed, coming awake suddenly. She’d gotten a bit more sleep, but she’d tried several more times during the night to get into Lonnie’s head. Unfortunately she hadn’t learned anything more.
She was feeling desperate to find out where Lonnie and Rath were staying because they were running out of time. The Skins could already be in town and they could be planning their next move or even waiting outside right now to attack.
With a sigh, she closed her eyes, concentrating on Lonnie again. She felt her mind slipping across space, finding an anchor in her double, and then she was in. It was getting easier, maybe she would finally see something useful.
A rush of strong emotions from Lonnie filled Isabel’s mind; sorrow, confusion, anger, disbelief. At first Isabel couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, but then she saw what Lonnie was seeing.
Lonnie hovered over Rath on the makeshift bed where he was shivering and sweating like he had a terrible fever, and she dabbed uselessly at his forehead with a washcloth.
Isabel couldn’t help thinking about when Michael had been so sick, but she could see that Rath was in even worse shape. His breathing was ragged and he was in obvious pain. He was so pale and his eyes were surrounded by dark circles and appeared sunken in his head.
Rath was dying.
Isabel knew it with the same certainty that Lonnie did, but surprisingly Isabel felt sorry for Rath and Lonnie. They had tried to kill Zan and Liz, and almost killed Ava. They might kill all of them if they got the chance. Isabel knew all that, but she still felt sympathy for them. No one deserved to die slowly and in so much pain.
She’d been so scared when Michael was sick, and she couldn’t imagine how she would feel if she knew Max or Michael were actually dying.
Isabel couldn’t help wondering why Nicholas’ people hadn’t healed Rath, but then the answer came to her as it replayed in Lonnie’s mind.
Desperate to get help for Rath, Lonnie had called Nicholas again.
“Where the fuck are you?” she growled.
“Lonnie,” Nicholas drawled, “how nice to hear your dulcet tones.”
“You’re supposed to be here,” she continued, “you said-”
Nicholas cut her off. “I said we’d be there when Khivar ordered it,” he reminded her.
“You’d better be on your way,” Lonnie demanded. “Rath won’t make it through the night.”
“I follow Khivar’s orders,” Nicholas scoffed. “If you had done the same, Rath would still be alive.”
Lonnie was shocked and horrified, and for one of the first times in her life she felt out of control. A shiver of fear shot down her spine. “When are you coming?” she breathed.
“It will be about a week…”
“A week?” Lonnie cut him off. “He’ll be dead way before then. You have to come now.”
“Take him to the hospital,” Nicholas suggested, “or heal him yourself, but stop bothering me with this. I have things to do.”
He hung up and Lonnie was left staring incredulously at the phone in her hand. Nicholas wasn’t going to help. He didn’t care what happened to Rath, and it surprised Lonnie that she did care. Sure, she was going to betray Rath and leave him on Earth, but she didn’t want him dead.
Nicholas was going to pay for doing this to her, but for now she still needed him to get home.
Quickly she considered her options. She couldn’t take him to the hospital, even though it was only minutes away. They might save Rath, but he would be exposed, and she had no illusions that death would be better than a brief lifetime of being ‘studied’ by the government.
She weighed the possibility of kidnapping a doctor to treat Rath. But could he really save her injured lover without the equipment and technology of a hospital?
Lonnie had a momentary thought of asking Zan for help. She could just call him and she was sure he’d do anything in his power to make sure Rath lived. Even after they’d tried to kill him, he’d help. He was a sentimental fool.
But she wouldn’t ask Zan for help. She would rather Rath died.
Laying her hands on his chest, she concentrated on all of her power on him, trying to ease his breathing. It was just like using her powers to do anything else, she told herself. All she had to do was find the problem and fix it.
The problem was, she didn’t know what was wrong inside him.
Focusing on his lungs, she discovered they were filling with some kind of fluid. Using her powers to dissolve it, she was relieved to hear Rath instantly breathing better. But the main problem still remained and she knew he wouldn’t get well until it was fixed.
With a gasp, Isabel came out of Lonnie’s thoughts and back into her own body.
She hadn’t gotten much more information, but it narrowed the area considerably of which part of town Lonnie and Rath were hiding in. They were near a hospital, and there were only two in Roswell.
Isabel also knew that now was a perfect time to attack. Rath wasn’t up to fighting, and Lonnie was exhausting herself healing him. Not to mention, they were all alone without Nicholas and the Skins to back them up.
She practically leapt out of bed. She had to tell the others.
After Isabel gathered the others and told them what she saw in Lonnie’s head, they all sat around the kitchen trying to figure out what to do, but they were stuck in the same argument as they’d had before.
“We have to go start looking for them,” Michael demanded.
“It’s too large an area,” Max argued. “There have got to be a hundred or more buildings to search. We need more information.”
Michael shook his head, “You have to listen to me for once. This is the time to attack, when they are weak and alone. We can’t just sit around any more and do nothing.”
“I agree this is the perfect time,” Max said, “but we have no idea where to find them.”
“We just gotta start looking,” Michael insisted. “We’ll find them.”
“You’re both right,” Zan said, “but we have to be careful. If they see us coming, they could disappear. We have to figure out how to keep the advantage.”
Liz touched Max’s hand as she spoke in his head. “Let me try to help,” she said. “I don’t even know if I can do anything, but I just have this instinct to connect with Isabel when she’s trying to contact Lonnie. I’ve hardly been able to stop myself from doing it. I want to try at least.”
Max swallowed hard. He hated having to use Liz or Isabel to get information. He hated putting them in danger, but he wasn’t sure what other choice they had.
Liz followed his thoughts without him having to tell her. “I’m not in danger,” she told him silently. “You’re here to protect me.” She squeezed his hand.
“I hate this,” he told her. “I should be protecting you not using you.”
“We’re not using her,” Zan assured Max. “You would never do that to Liz, and she wants to help.”
Liz kissed his cheek. “I could just go to Isabel and do it, but I want you to be okay with it, Max.”
He nodded. “That’s one of the many reasons I love you,” he told her silently. He took her hand, clasping it to his chest, “I’m scared for you, but I know you want to help. Isabel is getting a little info and she might be able to do it, eventually.”
Raising her hand to his lips, he kissed it. “You’re sure you want to do this? I don’t want you to feel like you have to.”
Liz smiled. “That’s one of the reasons I love you so much,” she said in Max’s head. “You always want to protect me. But Max, I want to do it. We are in all this danger and I’ve been feeling so useless. Everyone has to watch out for me, and protect me. I have these powers now and I want to do something to help.”
“Are we interrupting you lovebirds,” Michael said in a loud voice. “Don’t mind us while you are making out over there. We’re just trying to save our lives.”
Max scowled at the rude comments and Michael’s attitude, but ignored him, looking to Isabel. “Liz wants to try connecting with you when you dreamwalk Lonnie.”
Isabel looked at Liz curiously, and Liz tried to explain. “I don’t know what it means,” she said, “but when we’ve been in the same room when you tried to connect with Lonnie, I just have this itch to connect with you. I’ve found myself reaching out to touch you without even knowing it.”
Maria nodded. “Well your power is connections,” she pointed out. “Maybe it’s part of your instincts to help with the connection.”
Michael raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Right,” he said sarcastically, “like she is going to be able to do anything.” He looked to Max and Zan, “You guys are buying this?”
Zan shrugged. “It can’t hurt to try.”
Maria slapped Michael on the shoulder. “You don’t even know what Liz can do.”
“And you do?” he huffed.
Maria rolled her eyes and looked at Liz. “I think you should give it a try. Follow your instincts, that’s what I always say.”
Michael snorted. “I’ve never heard you say that,” he said sarcastically.
Maria punched him harder on the arm.
Liz looked at Isabel. “What do you think?”
With a small smile, Isabel held out her hand. “I think I need any help I can get.”
They all debated for a few minutes about where Liz and Isabel should try the connection, and who should be in the room with them. Liz wondered if it would be better for them to try alone, but Max, Alex and Zan didn’t want to leave them, and Michael insisted on being there, so in the end, they stayed in the kitchen.
Liz and Isabel sat next to each other at the table as the others gathered around them.
“We’re right here,” Zan assured them, touching Liz’s shoulder, “just in case.”
“Yeah,” Alex echoed from where he sat next to Isabel.
Isabel wasn’t sure what they could do if something went wrong, but didn’t say so. Instead she concentrated on Liz. “I don’t know how this will work,” she admitted. “I’ve never tried to do anything like it before.”
Liz nodded. “Me either.”
“Let’s try connecting first,” Isabel said, holding out her hand. “Then I’ll see if I can bring you with me into Lonnie’s head.”
Liz grasped her hand and closed her eyes, and almost instantly the connection slid into place as the feeling of Isabel filled her, followed by a rush of images of Isabel’s life. Liz was always surprised when it happened at all, but she realized it was getting easier to control her powers.
“It was pretty easy,” Isabel agreed.
Liz opened her mouth to answer, but her eyes flew open to meet Isabel’s surprised eyes. “Wait,” she said silently, “did I just hear you …”
Isabel nodded, shocked. “So this is what’s it’s like for you and Max and Zan,” she said through the connection. She studied Liz. “I can feel you,” she said surprised. “I mean, I can feel what you feel. So Max and Zan can feel it too.
The doubt inside Isabel filled Liz, and she knew Isabel was worried about how her brother was doing with the unconventional relationship. Putting her other hand on top of Isabel’s she nodded. “I know you don’t understand, but I love Max more than ever, even though I love Zan too. I would never do anything to hurt Max. He truly wants this too. He’s happy. I could never be happy if he wasn’t.”
Holding their gaze, Isabel could feel the truth of what Liz was saying. “I believe you,” she said solemnly.
“Thank you,” Liz said, smiling.
Isabel smiled back, feeling better about Max. “Well, let’s try connecting with Lonnie.”
Liz nodded and closed her eyes again and let Isabel take over. She could feel Isabel’s mind reaching out, looking for Lonnie, and it was a little different experience than when she connected with Max or Zan over a distance. She tried to analyze the process. She didn’t know if she could pinpoint exactly how it was different, maybe it was just because Isabel was there with her.
And suddenly they were in Lonnie’s mind. Liz could feel it immediately. Lonnie’s emotions filled her and she was shocked with the amount of hate that was in Isabel’s double.
“Wow,” Isabel said in Liz’s mind, “I never felt her like this before. Usually I’m just digging around in her brain, looking for stray thoughts.”
Liz was amazed too as Isabel focused on what Lonnie was thinking and what Lonnie was experiencing came into her mind. She literally could see what Lonnie was doing.
Rath lay on a bed before them, pale and breathing shallowly. He shivered and sweated and Liz felt a slash of sorrow and regret. The knowledge that he was dying filled her along with Lonnie’s feelings of uselessness and anger.
Through Lonnie’s eyes, Liz looked around the room, noting the graffiti Isabel had described on the wall, and a few places where the ceiling was coming apart. Wires hung from broken light fixtures and the carpet had been pulled up, leaving bare concrete below. It was just a generic looking empty building.
She tried to turn and look a different direction but felt Isabel’s soft laugh. “You can’t see anything she isn’t seeing.”
It made sense, but still frustrated Liz.
Lonnie moved into another room, and she seemed to be skipping through time as parts of the memory were completely gone.
She was worried about Rath, and then she was furious. She was making a sandwich, and then she was watching TV. There seemed to be no consistency at all. They watched for several more minutes but didn’t see anything of substance.
It was the strangest thing but Liz started to feel tired. It wasn’t like she was doing anything physical, so maybe it was because she wasn’t used to using her powers so much. But everyone was depending on them so she kept silent and continued to push.
They watched as Lonnie went to a window, and Liz thought they would finally see where she was, but everything suddenly slowed down and started to go black. It was like watching a movie when the film broke.
The memories appeared to be disintegrating around them.
“That’s weird,” Isabel said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
They kept trying for long minutes, but it was obvious the connection was falling apart.
“I think it’s me,” Liz admitted. “I’m not used to using my powers so long.”
For the first time Isabel noticed Liz’s exhaustion through the connection and immediately she withdrew from Lonnie’s mind and brought them back to their bodies.
As soon as they opened their eyes, everyone gathered around the room advanced on them.
“Are you okay?” asked Max, Zan, Alex and Maria. And at the same time Michael barked. “What did you see?”
Isabel shook her head. “We didn’t see where they are, but with Liz helping, I did get in more quickly and it was more clear.” She looked at Max and Zan and then to Liz, and back again, hoping they would get her silent message. “We’ll just have to try again later.”
“Try again now,” Michael demanded.
Max immediately saw that Isabel was trying to tell him something about Liz and went to her, with Zan following close behind.
“You’re not okay, are you?” Max asked softly, putting his arm around her.
Liz smiled. “I’m fine, really. Just a bit tired.”
Zan nodded, stroking her arm. “You’re not used to using your powers like that.”
Max’s brow creased with concern. “Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for you to help.”
“No,” Liz said stubbornly. “Isabel said I was helping. I just have to rest a little and then I can try again.”
“Liz,” Max started, but she cut him off.
“Max, I’m fine, and I want to help.” She looked from one to the other. “I’m going to help.”
Max and Zan smiled, loving how determined she was.
Zan leaned in, kissing the side of her head. “I love it when you get feisty, baby.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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