Title: Distant Connections

Chapter: 9/9

Author: ibshafer

Rating: PG
Summary: Lois Lane's Question for the Day: Who is this young man, Max Evans, and why does Clark feel such a connection to him?

Disclaimer: I own nothing and am merely borrowing these fine characters for fun
Category: Crossover Roswell/Lois and Clark

Author's Note: This story was written before the series had ended, after Nasedo had died, after the "end of the world," but before any late season 2 developments; guess that makes it AU…

Distant Connections – Pt 9

ibshafer

"Well," thought Lois, giddily. "So much for the boring alien story in Roswell, New Mexico..."

Clark must have caught the sudden look of amused disbelief on her face because he glanced over from his deep convo with Max and winked at her across the terminal waiting area. She gave him a quick, slight smile, then turned her attention back to her pretty young cousin.

"...so,...um, I-I don't know if I should ask you this, Lois, but...but you're, like, the only person on Earth...that I know of, I mean, that I can ask..." Liz's blush flew up a few notches and Lois bit her tongue to keep from saying anything that would make the girl even more uncomfortable. "It's just that I...I mean, we... well, we don't know exactly what could…you know, happen and all... And I guess I'm a little scared…" Obviously, Lois had been wrong in her earlier assumption; the one she'd made before she'd known Liz and Max..

It was clear that they had not had been intimate yet. At least, not completely, anyway.

Lois was relieved, but also slightly surprised.

She'd seen the intense way Max and Liz had with each other and in them she'd felt the echoes of her own long-ago, first blush of passion for Clark; a deep and abiding love, colored by need and a tiny, ever-moving thread of fear.

Yes, very familiar, indeed...

Clark wasn't like other men. Even if he had been human, he wouldn't have been like other men. Clark was deeply beautiful, open, serene and always, always focused on her. He'd carried his heart around on his sleeve for so long before she'd finally acknowledged it, that alone proved the depth of his love for her. She had never doubted him for moment, nor had she ever had a second of indecision, in those tortuous months before they were finally wed, regarding her decision to marry him.

What she did have, though, was fear.

This was a man who could punch a hole in the Earth's surface and tunnel through to the other side if need be. What could he do to her? And at a time when control would be the very last thing on his mind...

She was almost embarrassed to remember her unease before their wedding night. She hadn't had the nerve or the heart to ask Clark about 'it', but somehow he'd sensed her concern, and in true Clark fashion, (she knew he wasn't psychic, but sometimes...it seemed otherwise), he'd broached the subject himself.

He'd said that while he hadn't the...personal experience himself to say for sure if he could hurt her, he made a solemn vow to see to her safety, and her pleasure, above all else. And the look of love, devotion, and belief on his face melted her concerns into so much nothingness. Seeing that sweet face, seeing the devotion and passion burning in his depthless eyes, she could do nothing but trust him.

Their wedding night had been beautiful beyond words, sublime in both heart and flesh, and much, much more than she could ever have imagined, which was saying a lot. She could imagine quite a bit... Lois never knew how Clark kept her safe while losing himself in their love, but somehow he did; every night (and some days) after. If it cost him anything, he had never and would never say.

That's what it was to love.

And while she'd only just met them, she knew in her heart that these two, similarly-fated young souls, had such a love as this, too.

There was so much she could tell Liz, perhaps more than the girl was ready to hear, but rather than embarrass her further, she chose instead to simply reassure her.

"Liz," Lois said with great warmth and not a little envy—she often longed for those first, giddily uncertain days of love. "I can only tell you to trust your feelings for Max, and trust his for you, and that everything will be all right."

Max heard what Clark was saying, but somehow had to be surer than sure. As difficult as it was to ask, this was just too important. He needed to have it spelled out.

"S-so then you're saying that I...I couldn't hurt her?"

The man shook his head. "Not as long as your remember how you feel about her, not as long as you put her first. Always." Max saw the blush he'd become accustomed to seeing on his brother's face deepen. "I'm not going to tell you I don't still get sacred...you know, that I'm going to lose control and...lose control. But when I think about Lois, I get this..." He paused here, suddenly looking far away, or perhaps deep within. "…I get this feeling of utter calm and it keeps me centered. She makes it...ah, I don't know if this is going to make any sense to you, Max, but Lois somehow makes it...she makes it okay to be who I am..."

Max felt the tears start to slide into place beneath his lids and wiped at them quickly. He wondered briefly if during one of their connected sessions, Clark had seen certain passages from Max's innermost self-analysis files. It was like listening to himself talk.

"It does make sense to me, Clark." Max fell silent as a pair of weary-looking travelers struggled by, wheeling suitcases and dragging a pair of unruly young children. He continued, his voice lower. "I've always been scared what people would think if...if they knew the truth about what I was. Back then, Isabel and I didn't remember anything from our home world, just like you, but we knew we were different. We always knew...what we were and that it was a thing that people feared. I didn't feel like something you should be afraid of, but what if I was?"

A monster.

Max saw something flit across Clark's wide brown eyes. Concern? Compassion? Max couldn't tell. "W-what if it was in me, something, just waiting to burst out and prove them all right. What if I was bad?" He took a deep breath. "What if I wasn't and people didn't like me anyway?"

"Max," Clark said, softly. "I've felt all of this. I knew I could do good things, but what if no one cared? What if they just hated me?"

"Exactly." Max glanced across the terminal to where Liz sat with Lois. The two were huddled close together, talking. Liz's face was flushed a bright pink, the way she looked when she was struggling with something embarrassing and Max felt the color rise in his own cheeks, realizing they'd both been asking about the same thing. But then how could he be embarrassed when Liz was the reason his life worked? If it weren't for her, for who she was, he might still be behind that stupid tree, watching the world around him but never being a part of it. "Liz showed me I was wrong. She showed me that there were people who were willing to accept me. And...and love me. I owe her everything."

Clark nodded in agreement, his eyes on his wife. "I feel the same way, but even before there was Lois, there were my parents, the Kents."

As the man fell silent, Max knew he'd seen from his expression that Max didn't really want to talk about his parents. He'd made the decision not to tell them a long time ago, and though it had torn him up inside, and Isabel had never gotten over it, he had to believe it was better this way. For everyone.

Clark looked like he was considering his next words very carefully. ". . .Listen, Max. I can't imagine your family loving you any less knowing the truth. And I know it can't be because you don't trust them?"

"Of course not!"

"Well, then, why not tell them? Can't it only make your life easier to have them behind you, supporting you, loving you?"

Max shook his head. These were all arguments he'd had with himself over the years. He knew what amazing people his parents were, knew in his heart, they'd still love him and Isabel. But there was so much more to it.

"How do I know that who I am, who we are, won't put my parents in danger? I-I couldn't bear it if anything happened to them."

"Of course you don't want anything to happen to them," Clark said, gently. "But knowing the truth doesn't put them in any more danger than they're already in. Besides," Clark leaned in, his lips curved in a conspiratorial grin. "I think you're better prepared to protect them now, don't you?"

Max laughed softly, but he still had his fears. Maybe, just maybe, Clark was right, but he was still scared for them. He remembered his mother's anguish, that time she'd almost gotten it figured out, what he was, and how much he'd hated to lie to her. She was so desperate to understand what was happening, had known something was happening, and it had clearly killed her that she couldn't be a part of it; she wanted to help him. She wanted to be there for him. She wanted to be his mother.

Was denying her the truth like denying her that right? Was it honestly fair to hold back this last bit of information from the people who had rescued he and Isabel from the desert that first night and in the years that followed, given them life and love and undying support?

He glanced up at his brother, caught Clark smiling, felt himself grin back.

"Reading my mind again?" Max said, eyes dancing.

"Something like that." Clark laughed. "Just say you'll think about it, OK?"

"I'll think about it. OK?"

Max was enjoying this; the warmth, the connection, the understanding. It was nice having an older brother. Very nice.

Clark checked his watch and Max glanced at his own. They only had a few minutes before the flight to Metropolis boarded. It was too soon. The couple days they'd had just hadn't been enough. But Lois and Clark had jobs and lives to get back to, momentous revelations or not...

"So..." Clark began, clearly mindful of the time and suddenly awkward for the leaving.

"Have...have any more questions?"

"When I can think straight again, I'm sure I'll have a million of them."

Clark's eyes crinkled as he smiled. "You sure you've got my number, cell and home?"

Max nodded. "And your email address. And your number at the paper. And your parent's number in Smallville."

"I'm serious, Max. You should call them. They would just love you."

"Think your mom would make me a costume?" He grinned openly. "Without the tights, though. I don't do tights..."

"Oh, man—the tights make the outfit!"

"Southwestern, Flight 247, to Metropolis, is now boarding at Gate 23."

Now it was Max's turn to be awkward. He wasn't ready for Clark to leave. He had a brother...

They regarded each other for only a moment, before Clark threw his arms around Max and pulled him in. "Take care of yourself, Max. And take care of that girl of yours. Remember everything I told you, be careful where you pick to practice, and if you need anything before I come out again next month, don't hesitate to call me. You promise?"

Max had never felt so...so protected before. It was a new feeling. He liked it very much.

He nodded and assured his brother he'd send him email daily.

Clark pulled back and looked Max dead in the eye. "If you need to just talk, about this...or about anything—I'm here. You got that?"

Man, were his eyes wet again? Here he was, The Boy of Steel (Youth of Aluminum?), and he teared up at the drop of a hat. Still. Some things never change...

"Thanks...thanks, man," he said softly.

"I'll have the scientists at Star Labs put together a beacon like my mom and dad have, and bring it out with me in June."

Max smiled. "Cool. Kind of like the Bat Signal, huh? Michael will be thrilled..."

Clark just shook his head and laughed softly.

Just then, Liz slid an arm around his waist, giving him a knowing squeeze.

"Hey," she said, studying him intently.

"Hey," he said back, feeling his neck flush. He knew what she was thinking, could feel it through their connection. Clenching his jaw, he tried to keep the images from taking over his head, shivering once or twice under Liz's suddenly unabashed scrutiny.

Was that how life was sometimes? All the good stuff at once...

At the gate, they exchanged hugs again, he and Lois, Liz and Clark, then with a last, weighted look between them all, Clark and Lois disappeared up the ramp and onto the plane.

Arms around him completely now, Liz drew him close, breathing into his neck.

"How does it feel?" she asked.

He circled his arms around her waist and nestled his chin in her soft hair. "Very good," he said, knowing full well what she was really talking about.

"That's not what I meant, Max," she giggled and then pinched him, to which he jumped, feet almost leaving the floor. "Yikes! Gonna have to watch that stuff from now on, huh?"

Leaning in close, Max kissed her softly, but soundly, letting his lips do the talking, so to speak. Nuzzling at her neck, he whispered, "Only when we're in public, Liz. Only when we're in public..."

And with that said, they beat a hasty retreat for the door, all thoughts of distant connections replaced, for this moment anyway, by those much, much nearer...

fini