Author: Cindy Brewer
Timeline: This is set about two weeks after the episode "Ask Not" but before "Surprise" so the gang doesn't know that much about the Skins yet.
Author's Notes: This my first attempt at a Roswell fic so please keep that in mind. :)
Max Evans jerked upright drenched in sweat from a nightmare he couldn't remember. Just as he rested his head back on the pillow Max heard a pounding on his bedroom window.
For a brief moment the teen froze. The last time he had opened the window Nasedo had tumbled through badly injured....eventually dying in Max's arms.
Michael's shout propelled Max into motion and he leapt off the bed. Cold fear gripped Max as he saw the grim expression on his friend's face.
"What is it?"Max asked anxiously as he opened the window.
Michael swallowed hard not wanting to tell Max what he had to tell him, but knew he was the only one who could. "Liz was attacked."
Having heard voices coming from her brother's room Isabel crept from her own and entered Max's room. She arrived just in time to hear Michael's last statement.
"I'll get dressed."Isabel said quietly as she slipped out of the room.
Max's brown eyes were full of worry and fear. "She hurt?"He asked in a choked whisper.
Michael nodded. "Maria and Alex found her in the alley behind Crashdown."
Max replied as he absently reached for his shoes. "Why was she there at that time of night?"
Michael shook his head. "We don't know. Maria didn't even know she was there until they walked out back."
"Nobody heard anything?"Max asked just as Isabel returned.
"No."Michael replied. "But Maria said it was a busy night."
"Is Liz okay?"Isabel whispered as she joined them by the window.
Max met his sister's gaze. "No."He replied struggling to keep his fear at bay.
"Let's go."Michael urged as he climbed down to the ground with Max and Isabel close at his heels.
"Was it a robbery?"Max asked as they got into Michael's car.
Michael shook his head. "Valenti doesn't think so. She was.....beaten pretty bad but nothing was taken."
Max swallowed hard and he felt Isabel place a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Do they have any leads?"Isabel asked watching Max warily.
Michael hesitated. After Maria had told him what had happened he had went back to the alley. As he stayed out of the Sheriff's way Michael had found something....he couldn't quite explain the emotions that had washed over him....but none of them had been good.
Michael's hesitation gave Max all the answers he needed. "She was hurt because of us."
Michael stopped at a red light his hand gripped tightly to the steering wheel.
"Max we don't know that for sure."Isabel replied gently.
"Roswell isn't exactly a high crime area, Iz."Max stated a little more sharply than he intended.
He was barely keeping the fear under control.
Liz would be okay....she had to be.
She was the only thing keeping him tethered to the normal life he wanted so dearly.
The light changed and Michael hit the accelerator a little harder than necessary. "Max, we...."
"Just drive, Michael."Max replied quietly as he turned to look out the window.
"Okay."Michael replied glancing back at Isabel before he pulled the car into a quick left turn.
At the hospital Max walked past Maria, Alex and Liz's parents. He couldn't deal with them right now.
All that mattered was seeing Liz.
Maria caught up to Max just as he reached the ICU. Michael placed an arm around her waist.
"Max, it looks worse than it is."Maria stated quietly.
"She's in ICU because of me how much worse could it be, Maria?"Max replied in a tortured whisper as he crept up to the glass window and looked at Liz's still form.
Maybe later when there weren't as many people around Max could use his powers to heal Liz. But for now all he could do was wait.
It was nearly four in the morning before the ICU area was empty enough for Max,Isabel and Michael to enter the still room.
Max had known they would need Tess to complete the circle.....all four of them together was the only way to save Liz.
But despite countless phone calls and Michael going over to where Tess was staying she was nowhere to be found.
Something Max would deal with later. Right now they had to concentrate on Liz.
Alex and Maria were outside as lookouts as the three aliens moved toward Liz's bed.
Max on Liz's left his back to the window Isabel and Michael on the other side.
Isabel reached across and took Max's left hand in hers while taking Michael's right hand. Max closed his eyes and held his free hand over Liz's torso. Isabel's free hand lined up next to Max's followed by Michael's.
A soft pink glow started to form just below their hands. Just as Max felt Liz's pain begin to ebb into his body the pink glow turned a harsh crimson.
Michael's eyes snapped open just in time to see Isabel get hit with a shock wave of crimson sending her sailing into the wall.
"Isabel!"Max shouted fearfully as he raced around Liz's bed. Vaguely he heard the ICU door fling inward allowing Alex and Maria entry.
"Iz?"Michael called anxiously as he gently touched her face.
"What happened?"Alex demanded as he and Maria knelt.
"Something blocked us."Max replied quietly as he glanced anxiously back at the door....somebody had to have heard the commotion.
"Blocked you?"Maria asked in a stunned whisper. "I didn't think that could happen."
"We have no idea what we're doing or what could happen."Michael snapped more harshly than he had intended. He winced as he saw the pain flicker across Maria's face....he always seemed to hurt her.
Max looked back at his sister to see she was starting to open her eyes. "She's starting to come around. Let's get her out of here before they start asking questions. We'll figure out what happened later."
"What about Liz?"Alex asked worriedly as he took Isabel's right arm as Michael took the left.
Max glanced back at Liz's still form hating to leave her in such pain. He'd take her place if there was a way."I want to figure out what happened before we try again. I don't want to risk hurting her more."
Alex leaned against the wall of a nearby waiting room. Isabel lay on a gray sofa her left hand resting on her forehead her eyes open.
Alex took a worried step forward but stepped back just as quickly. Michael sat next to Isabel acting as a protective barrier not letting anyone but Max close.
All Alex wanted to do was help Isabel. Seeing her flung against the wall like a rag doll had scared the hell out of him. Especially with Liz hurt. Now it seemed as like Michael, Isabel and Max had closed ranks and Alex felt increasingly like an outsider.
"Here."Max offered as he handed his sister a glass of water. "Try to drink some of this."
Michael shot him a glare. "She was knocked out, Maxwell she doesn't have the flu."
"I know I was just...."Max began but Isabel interrupted them.
"Guys, I have a killer headache and you're not helping."Isabel replied as she started to sit up ignoring the glass of water.
Max sat the water down and helped Isabel into a sitting position. He didn't want to press Isabel for information until she was more recovered but they had to know what happened. Max didn't want to think that Liz was running out of time and he couldn't do anything to save her.
"Did you see anything?"Maria asked as she moved away from the doorway taking the burden from Max.
Isabel met her gaze and nodded. "Yes, but it was just colors and light no images, no feelings."
Michael ducked his head they now had proof that their enemies had attacked Liz.
Max touched his sister's hand. "What kind of colors?"
Isabel frowned. "Dark.....blue, purple, black....it's nothing like we've encountered before Max."
Max jolted awake as someone lightly touched his shoulder. After talking possibilities for an hour or so everyone had fallen asleep.
"Max."Isabel whispered as she knelt next to his chair.
Max swallowed hard as he met her gaze. "Is it Liz?"
Isabel shook her head as she squeezed his hand gently. "No, she's the same."
Relieved Max stood."What time is it?"
Max nodded as he glanced over at the sofa where Maria was sleeping using Michael's chest as a pillow.
"You okay?"Max asked as he turned back to face his sister.
Isabel nodded. "Yeah, just a headache. What about you? Any after affects?"
"No."Her brother replied with a shake of his head. "Why'd you wake me?"
Isabel glanced down at her hands. "I thought I remembered something but its nothing."
Max gently touched her arm."Tell me."
Isabel hated to see the pain, worry and fear in his eyes. She knew he felt helpless not being able to heal Liz like he had before.
"I'm sorry, Max I just don't remember."Isabel replied softly.
Max didn't respond as he walked into the hallway.
"I still love her, Is."Max stated in a tortured whisper once they were a few feet away from the waiting room.
Isabel placed a supportive hand on his shoulder. "She knows."
Max shook his head miserably. "Liz was angry when she left for the summer. I never really got a chance to talk with her when she returned. She thinks I have something with Tess. But she's wrong.....Tess could never touch what Liz and I share."He glanced back at his sister. "What if I never get the chance to tell her?"
Michael jerked awake disoriented for a moment. He felt a weight on his chest and glanced down to see Maria sound asleep.
At the sight of Maria, Michael realized where he was and what had brought them here.
At his movement Maria stirred. "What is it?"She whispered.
Michael absently tightened his hold on her as he shook his head. "Nothing, just a dream. Go back to sleep."
Maria propped herself up on one elbow she didn't buy Michael's explanation. She could always tell when he was trying to pull one over on her. "Michael...."
Michael forced a smile for her benefit. He didn't remember enough of the dream to talk about it, not that he felt like doing that anyway. "It's not worth wasting breath over. Let's get some sleep I have a feeling we'll need it."
Maria studied him a moment longer before reluctantly snuggling back against his chest. Liz's attack was bothering him more than the others....she just wished she knew why. "Whatever you want, Michael."She replied with a hint of sarcasm before sleep overtook her once again.
After their talk Isabel went down to the cafeteria to get some coffee knowing neither of them would be able to go back to sleep.
Max had gone into the ICU to sit with Liz. He didn't want her to think that she was alone. Now he sat there holding her hand tightly in his as if that single gesture could keep Liz with him.
It was killing Max to know that he couldn't ease Liz's pain like he had so many times before. Every moment she was in pain Max kept thinking of ways that he could stop it and nothing was plausible.
Max leaned forward and tenderly brushed a stray hair away from Liz's face as he whispered. "I won't let you go Liz.....you have to fight....fight for us. I still love you, Liz, I never stopped."
For half a second Max almost expected Liz to respond but when only silence answered him Max sank back into the chair.
"How is she?"
Max looked toward the door in surprise he hadn't even heard the Sheriff come in.
"They say....they say she's in a coma...."Max replied but felt his voice break he cleared his throat and continued. "The doctors aren't sure when she'll wake up."
Valenti glanced at Liz's still form with a sad shake of his head.
"How are you doing?"Valenti asked a few minutes later.
Max stood shakily. "I'd give anything to trade places with her. She didn't deserve to be hurt like this."
The sheriff placed a supportive hand on the younger man's shoulder. "Reason I came down here. Thought you'd like to be the first to know.....we arrested Liz's attacker an hour ago."
Max Evans stared at the fortyish red haired homeless man as he sat in a interrogation room. More than anything Max wanted to talk to him. Find out how he could hurt Liz.
Find out how he could leave Liz hurt and bleeding in a dark alley.
But Valenti wouldn't allow Max any farther than the two way mirror of the interrogation room.
If this guy was not of this Earth, Max couldn't tell. If he was a Skin he was real good at blocking. The speaker crackled to life dragging the teen's attention back to Valenti's questioning.
"What's your name?"Valenti asked trying again to break the man's wall of silence.
The suspect ignored him.
Valenti tossed down a pencil. "Okay, we'll let the fingerprints tell us who you are."
"Were you going to rob Ms. Parker?"
The red haired man glowered at the Sheriff but remained silent.
"Did she fight you?"
"Did she try to run?"
Max paled at the thought of Liz, terrified, running for her life.
"She did, didn't she?"Valenti continued. "She fought you every step of the way and that made you mad so you hit her.....over and over until she didn't fight any more."
"The bitch dismissed me."
Valenti moved back surprised that the man spoke and surprised at the hostility in his voice. Jim had known Liz Parker a long time and the sheriff knew that she would never turn away from anyone.
Before Valenti could reply the door slammed open and Max entered physically tossing the man against the wall.
"Max!"Valenti shouted as he raced around the table. But the teen's rage overshadowed his common sense and nothing the Sheriff said could get through to the youth.
Valenti reached Max just as the youth placed a crushing blow to the suspect's throat. The sheriff grabbed Max's left shoulder and broke his hold propelling the teen back into the table.
Max sank onto the table struggling to catch his breath and control his emotions. Pummeling Liz's attacker may not have been the best judgement call but Max did learn one thing from the contact.....Liz's attacker was a Skin.
Valenti glanced back at Max before bolting to the door and yanking it open. "Logan!"He hollered before retreating to the injured prisoner's side.
"Yeah, Sheriff?"Deputy Logan asked as he skidded to a halt outside the interrogation room.
"Call an ambulance."Valenti ordered. "I doubt our friend here is hurt that bad but I don't want him to slip out of this conviction because of a charge of police brutality."
The red haired deputy glanced from Max to the prisoner's slumped form and back again before nodding. "Yes, Sir."
Max was the only one who saw the prisoner's small smirk before his eyes slid closed.
Alex found Isabel staring through the window of ICU. The cup of coffee in her hand had long since grown cold. He followed her gaze to Liz's still form and swallowed hard. He and Liz had been best friends for as long as Alex could remember.....the thought of not having Liz in their lives....
The brown haired teen shook off the dark thought and glanced at Isabel. She hadn't acknowledged his presence. He wanted to touch her, to comfort her, but he didn't want to overstep the boundaries that had some how been laid out between them.
"Any change?"Alex asked quietly hoping against hope that this nightmare would be over soon.
Isabel shook her head and as she finally met his gaze Alex saw the tears in her eyes. "No."
"Where's Max?"Alex asked having noticed that Evans wasn't in the waiting room.
"Valenti was here earlier."Isabel replied worriedly. "He told Max that they had arrested the person who had attacked Liz."
Alex's eye brows shot up. "They did? Well, that's one good thing at least. We know that whoever did this to her will be punished."
Isabel's silence made Alex turn to face her. He had always prided himself that he could read her...and Alex knew that she wasn't telling him everything. "Isabel, that part of it is over, right? We know who's behind it?"
"Whoever did this was one of us, Alex."Isabel replied as she turned away from the window and leaned back against it. "They knew Liz was a way to get to Max."
Alex sighed and slid an arm around her waist pulling Isabel close. He was mildly surprised when Isabel didn't pull back. Not knowing what words of reassurance to use Alex simply held her.
After the paramedics left having diagnosed that the prisoner wasn't in any medical danger Valenti turned to Max as they stood in his office.
"I'm sorry, Sheriff I shouldn't have lost control like that."Max said quietly as he moved toward the window.
Valenti shook his head. "I'm not going to press charges if that's what you're worried about. Level with me, Max, this trouble with Liz....it's not Nasedo related is it?"
Max didn't move from the window. "Nasedo's dead."
"Even dead men have enemies."Valenti replied as he leaned against his desk sensing how absurd this conversation sounded. Six months ago he hadn't been all that sure he trusted Max Evans. Then Jim's worst fear had nearly come true.....scratch that....had come true. Kyle had died from the gunshot wound. If Max hadn't used his powers Jim would've lost his son forever.
"Thanks for telling me about the arrest, Sheriff."Max replied as he started toward the door. "It gives all of us some peace knowing Liz's attacker will be punished."
"You know where I am if any of you need anything."Valenti replied not buying the teen's response for a minute.
Max nodded and left the office.
Tess Harding walked quietly through the hospital hallway. She had gotten back into town around nine and had heard about Liz's attack on the news. After Nasedo had been killed Tess had wanted to run. There had been no reason for her to stay in Roswell. The rest of the Royal Four certainly hadn't wanted her around. Max had asked so Tess had agreed to stay for awhile.
But she had felt the walls starting to close in and hitched the first ride out of town. Tess knew not telling Max she was leaving was a bad idea. Especially with the new threat of the Skins. But Max had made it clear that he wanted his precious Liz and not her.
"Where the hell have you been?"Michael demanded jerking Tess from her thoughts.
"Not that you care....so why ask?"Tes snapped not pausing in her journey to the ICU.
Michael grabbed Tess by her left elbow and yanked her back. "I asked you a question."
Tess glared at him. "Let go, Michael."
Michael didn't budge."Kinda convient how you disappeared the same time Liz winds up in a hospital."
Tess yanked her arm free just as Max walked around the corner. "I just heard about it."
"Leave her alone, Michael."Max ordered wearily."We don't have time for squabbles."
Michael opened his mouth to protest but quickly shut it."Anything you say, Maxwell."
Max ignored the sarcasm."Find Alex and Maria. I need to talk with everyone."
Michael nodded and with a last glare at Tess turned and left.
"You want to do what?"Isabel exclaimed fifteen minutes later as she stared at her brother as if he'd lost his mind.
Michael's expression mirrored hers. "She's right, Maxwell....this is crazy."
"If anybody has a better way to help Liz I'm listening."Max snapped as he pushed himself away from the wall of the waiting room. He was tired of being helpless....tired of watching Liz in pain.....he had to do something.
"Try again!"Maria replied angrily as she stepped away from her spot near the sofa. "Maybe the healing thing will work now that you know what you're up against."
Max shook his head. "I don't want anybody else getting hurt.....and we don't know what affect it'll have on Liz."
"But you going out and getting yourself killed, will help her?"Tess asked still not believing what she had heard.
"I have to find out what he used."Max replied quietly. "There has to be a way to help Liz that we're not seeing."
"This isn't the O.K. Corral, Max."Michael interjected as he exchanged a worried look with Isabel. "Calling this guy out alone won't solve anything."
"I'm not calling him out."Max replied as he moved toward the window. "We're just going to have a nice, civilized conversation."
"Valenti couldn't get anything out of him, Max."Alex stated as he moved toward Isabel. "And you beating him to a pulp didn't help either. What makes you think your plan is going to work?"
"Because it has to."Max said softly