Title: Intertwined 2?
Disclaimer: No, I don't own any of the Roswell characters. Sigh.
Rating: PG, YTEEN,YT. I think that covers every board's policies. So hard to keep all the rating systems straight now.
Summary: It started out as a drabble for roswell100 (prompt #86) then got a bit…wordy. I couldn't bear to cut any of it out though. It looks at the events of the shooting and wonders…what if?
Sheriff Valenti stood outside the Crashdown with a reluctance he didn't show. The dispatcher had informed him that there had been a shooting at the Crashdown with one waitress dead. The victim was Liz Parker and Jim was dreading the moment when he would have to sit down with his son and tell him his girlfriend was dead.
Liz had been over at their house a few times that summer, hanging out with Kyle. He had thought her to be a sweet girl and a good match for Kyle. She had a beautiful smile when Kyle made her laugh. He didn't want to go in there and see the changes a violent death had made to that sweet girl.
But, it was his job. Jim was the sheriff of this town and he had a duty to go in there and stand bravely for Liz, for her parents, and for his son while he did his job. Jim Valenti squared his shoulders and pulled open the door of the Crashdown.
His deputy was already interviewing the customers in the Crashdown. Jim left him to it, and headed back. EMT's were beyond the counter. On the floor in front of them on a stretcher low to the ground, lay a body covered completely by a sheet except for the head, that Jim already knew hid the slender form of Liz Parker.
Jeff Parker sat on the floor next to her, weeping and running his hands through the strands of his daughter's hair. Nancy leaned against him, arms around her husband and face buried in his shoulder while her own shoulders shook with the force of her sobs.
Nearby, the other waitress that Jim knew to be Maria, one of Liz Parker's best friends was sobbing loudly in the arms of a dark haired teenage boy he didn't recognize. His face was drawn and he was firmly not staring at the body while he tried to comfort the girl. The boy was probably in shock and unaware that the hands he used to stroke Maria's back were smearing blood on her uniform. Another teenage boy with spiky hair and an uncomfortable look on his face as his gaze shifted back and forth between Liz and the dark haired boy was sitting in a chair set a few feet away. He was probably the dark haired teenager's friend, but it looked like he had set his chair as far away as he could without leaving and abandoning his friend.
He didn't want to disturb the Parkers, they looked to be in no state for questioning, and he doubted he'd get any coherent answers out of Maria. It looked like the boy holding her and his friend was his best bet right now.
"Hey son," he said gently to the boy holding Maria, not wanting to startle the teenagers. "I'm Sheriff Valenti," he introduced himself.
The teenager raised pained amber eyes to meet his. "Max," he answered quietly. "I'm…Max."
"Okay Max, do you think you can answer some questions for me?"
Max nodded his head slightly before staring at the floor again.
"What happened, Max?"
"They shot Liz," he said in a hoarse voice.
"Who shot Liz?" Jim asked.
"I-I don't know," Max answered uncomfortably.
Jim's eyes narrowed. Paired with his reluctance to speak that was an unusual answer. "Can you explain that for me, Max?"
This caught the other teenager's attention and the young man abandoned his chair to rush to the defense of his friend. "Hey! He didn't shoot her. Maybe you should be looking for the real suspects instead of questioning Max."
"Michael, stop," Max said to his friend. "It's okay." Michael didn't say anything more but he didn't go back to his chair either. Instead, he folded his arms and glared at the sheriff, ready to leap to Max's defense at a moment's notice.
Max shifted his attention back to the sheriff. "I didn't see because I was," he paused and blushed before continuing in a quieter voice. The sheriff had to lean forward to hear the rest of the mumbled sentence. "I was staring at Liz."
Oh. Kyle wasn't the only one who had been smitten with Liz. "I see." Rather than make the boy uncomfortable he ignored what the boy had just said to ask, "Why don't you tell me what you did see then?"
Max shifted uncomfortably. What do I say? How on earth do I explain what happened?
You don't. Liz's voice drifted through his brain. There's nothing to worry about. No one saw anything unusual, Max.
Right. He hadn't actually used his powers for anything besides opening a connection. It was Liz who had managed to accomplish something he never would have dreamed was possible. Max hadn't healed Liz so there was no lack of wounds to explain away, no visible demonstration of his powers. It was hard to believe that though his life had changed dramatically, the changes were on the inside and unseen by anyone else. It amazed him. How could everyone not see that Liz was still here? If it had happened to anyone else, Max would know. He would always know Liz no matter whose body she was in. If he were blind he would still see her. Even in the darkest of nights without anything to guide him he would always find her. His soul would always seek her out because without her he was incomplete.
Right. Liz could hear his every thought now. Max fought down a blush as he realized Liz would know every time he thought of her. With such easy access to his mind she could probably find every memory, every thought, every fantasy he had ever had about her. Don't think. Don't think. The words echoed in his brain like a mantra. Don't think about-About what? Liz's voice cut in amused.
Sex, his mind answered before he could stop himself. Oh no. I didn't say that.
"Max?" The sheriff's voice cut in on Liz's laughter and brought Max back to his surroundings.
"Sorry," Max apologized. "I was thinking about-" He trailed off uncomfortably. Crap! He almost told the sheriff he was thinking about sex. What was wrong with him? He had to be more careful than that. At the rate he was going he'd spill his alien origins and be in the government's hands before night fell.
Max reluctantly met the sheriff's gaze. To his surprise he found the sheriff was looking at him with sympathy. Right. Because as far as he knows Liz is dead. He doesn't suspect anything. Yet. Unless I get control of myself.
A wave of confidence swept over him. You'll do fine, Max. Stop worrying. I'm here with you.
Max relaxed at Liz's words. He could do this.
"Okay. Well, um, I was, you know," Max's voice fairly radiated embarrassment as he reminded the sheriff that he had been staring at Liz, "when the sound of some guys arguing got louder and I heard a gun go off. I saw her fall." The image replayed in his mind like slow motion filling him with all the horror he had felt when it happened.
His voice was tight as he continued, trying to keep his emotions under control. "There was blood. So much blood. I opened her uniform so I could see the wound, see if there was anything I could do, but-" Tears filled his eyes as relived the moment when he knew Liz as going to die. Involuntarily his gaze drifted to where Liz's body lay. She was dead, she was dead, she was dead. The grief rose up and surrounded him and all Max could see was her body. He forgot Liz's presence inside himself.
Waves of love and reassurance broke him free of grief's grip and Liz's voice whispered comfort inside his mind. Shh. It's okay. I'm still here, Max. I'm still here. Look away, Max. Feel me. You're not alone.
Max closed his eyes in relief at the reminder that she wasn't gone forever. Liz lived on inside him. She was a part of him now and he'd never lose her again. With that knowledge he was able to continue the story for the sheriff.
"There was too much damage and she died."
"Thank you, Max." The sheriff's hand rested reassuringly on his shoulder for a moment and Max was amazed. The one person he had feared above all others was comforting him! This had to be the strangest day of his life.
The sheriff gave his shoulder a squeeze before gently nudging him. "Why don't you and Maria sit down while I talk to your friend?"
Max nodded slowly and looked at the sheriff with new eyes. Maybe he wasn't as frightening as Max always thought he was.
He gently led the still crying Maria to a seat and eased her into the chair. He sat in the chair next to her and opened his arms again without comment. Maria burrowed into his embrace once more, holding onto him as if she would fall apart. He dimly heard Michael telling the sheriff his version of what had happened.
Oh, Maria. Liz gazed with sorrow at her best friend through Max's eyes. She wanted to comfort her, to hold her and to tell her not to cry, that Liz was still here, but could do nothing. She didn't have a body anymore. To Maria she was still dead, and nothing could change that.
It was Max's turn to send comfort singing through their bond. You may not have your body anymore but you have mine.
And with those words Max did an amazing thing for her. He ceded control of his body to Liz. What had been dim feelings of awareness since she had found herself with Max became a full Technicolor surround sound experience. Now it was her arms, or rather still Max's, but she was the one now holding Maria. "Shh, come on Maria, don't cry. I-Liz wouldn't want this, would she? You're going to make yourself sick."
Maria briefly lifted her head from Max/Liz's chest to wail in reply, "But, she's gone. She can't care about what I'm doing now because she's dead!" The body shaking sobs started up again as Maria lowered her head.
Liz felt helpless. She wanted so much to scream out to Maria that she wasn't dead. She was right here! But she couldn't. Maria would think Max had gone round the bend. Not to mention, she and Max were still sitting within hearing range of the Sheriff. The last thing she wanted to do was endanger Max by making such a claim. Tears began making their way down their face. Max. I can't- Maria- Please take it back. Liz ceded control of Max's body back to him and retreated to grieve in silence for what she had lost that day.
That night Max retreated to his room as soon as he could. Liz, I'm so sorry. Max lay down on his bed, toeing his shoes off first to get comfortable.
It's not your fault, Max. I made this decision. I chose to do this, to stay here with you.
Yeah, but, Liz…I know you're not completely happy about this. How could you be? You can't talk or really interact with the people you love. Maybe- Max swallowed hard, his selfish heart screaming at him not to say this while his head said he must. Maybe, you should just let go, go to wherever you were supposed to go. Max didn't believe in God, but he did believe that there had to be something wonderful after this life waiting for a person like Liz. I'm holding you back.
Well, no, I'm not completely happy. It hurts to see my parents, to see Maria and Alex hurting. Liz didn't want to remember the sight of her best friends grieving. Seeing Alex walk in, pleading for the denial in his eyes to be proved right, and how he had just crumbled when he couldn't deny it any longer… It all hurt so much, almost beyond what she could bear.
Sorrow radiated from that indefinably "Liz" corner of Max's mind and his throat tightened in response even as his mind resolved that he was right. He had to let her go. His hands fisted and crumpled the blanket he was lying on.
No, Max. No. I'm not going anywhere. It hurts, I can't deny that, but it would hurt more to leave them behind, to leave you behind.
Max tried to hide the relief he felt. Thank God. He never wanted to let Liz go, but he would have for her sake. He belatedly realized what his hands had been doing and sheepishly smoothed out the blanket.
And that means more to me than you could know, Max.
He blushed, pleased that he had made her happy, even if only for a moment. Maybe he could fix this and lighten her pain a bit more. Maybe… Maybe we can tell them about you. If it were me, I would want to know.
Oh Max, thank you for saying that, but we can't tell them. I don't want to do anything to put you in danger.
Max sighed in frustration and rubbed his hands over his face. I know. But, I hate that you're unhappy and I can't do anything about it.
Max, just caring enough about me to want to do something about it is enough. Just let it go.
I can't, Liz. It's more than just caring. I love you, Liz. I've always loved you. There'll never be another you for me.
Max…Don't say that.
I mean it, Liz.
Oh Max, I don't want you to be alone for the rest of your life. You should get married and have kids-
-But, I'm not alone, Liz.
Liz sighed. No, you're not. And if we're being honest, I think…I think you'd have been the love of my life. No, you are the love of my life, Max. I know it's selfish, but I can't help being glad that you said that.
Don't be, Liz. I meant it. I will always mean it.
Jim stared at the closed door to his son's room and sighed. He had never wanted to talk to son less, but he had to. He raised his hand and knocked on the door. When there was no response he let his hand grip the doorknob and turn, slowly pushing the door open.
Kyle's tear stained face raised to meet his. "Don't, Dad. I already know."
Jim's eyes filled with tears. "Son, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He entered the room to sit next to his son on the bed and opened his arms.
Kyle fell into them, a strangled sob escaping his throat. "Why'd it have to happen to Liz, Dad? Why?"
"I don't know, son," Jim answered helplessly. "I don't know." His arms tightened around his son and he let his tears fall, hurting for Kyle and wishing that he could take the pain away.
End Part 2