Disclaimer: This is me disclaiming, insert pithy comment here (smile) Because of course I don't claim either the show or the books as my idea... I am making no money from this. No copyright infringement is intended. And any similarity to any other story is coincidence.

Rating: PG for exactly one mild swear.

Timeline: Takes place immediately after Ask Not.

Author's Notes: Ahhh, the pain of being a teenager in love...multiple by a thousand with the fate of planets hanging in the balance. As if being a teenager isn't hard enough?

This is just a little drabble basically about Liz, and therefore by extension about the little love triangle. Poor kids.

In the Shadow of the Queen

He says that he doesn't care about his destiny; about his planet. He says that all he cares about is me. He says that all he wants is me. Any girl would want that right? Any girl would want to hear that the man they love, loves her above anything, right?

So what's stopping me?

One word: Tess.

And if I'm honest, really honest with myself, giving up Max isn't all altruistic. I'm not doing it for his planet. Hell, I'm not even doing it out of some sense of destiny. I'm doing it because of Tess. Because even if Max and I tried to go back to the way it was before, it can never be that way again. Even if he doesn't choose Tess, she's still there, like some shadow between us. She'll always be there; the life, the woman, that he was meant to have…

Liz stopped writing and looked up into the night sky, easily picking out the constellation of Cassiopeia. Suddenly she heard her name being called by a familiar voice below. Slowly, she set her journal down and walked over to the edge of her balcony.

"Max? What are you doing here?"

"Liz. I…Can I come up?"

She wanted to say yes, the response almost coming to her lips before she forced herself to stop it.

"No, Max."

Liz tried to not notice the pain that shadowed Max's face as he heard the denial.

After several moments of aching silence Liz spoke. "Max, unless there's something you need, you should leave," she said, trying to keep her voice even.

"I need you, Liz," Max replied, his voice quietly carrying up to her. And though no more words connected them, still it was anything but silent in the space in between.

Liz felt a moment of despair and hope swirling inside her, because she knew that it would always be that way. But before she could say anything in response, Tess was suddenly there. And Liz realized that she must have been near the whole time, with Max for some reason.

Liz took a deep breath, stilling her racing heart before she spoke quietly.

"Good night, Max."

She stepped away from the edge and gathered her journal up from her chair as she headed inside, alone in the shadow of the stars…