Max awoke early in the morning with pain surrounding him. The phone was ringing and he couldn't think to even move to reach it. But he had to answer it. If he didn't, he was going to be in even worse pain than he was now. Max moved his head and tried to pry open his eyes with all of the will power that he had. It didn't work. The phone continued to ring, and Max was unable to get to the phone before it ceased its incessant sound.

Max stifled all movement and tried to get his body to relax. That wasn't working either. He wished that he could fall back into the bliss of darkness, that he was continually getting used to, so he didn't have to feel all of the pain and despair that he was experiencing right now. However, he really needed to get to the phone and call his 'master' but he was just so tired. There was no way he was going to be able to do it. He didn't have the strength. Max tried for an hour to lose consciousness, but he wasn't able to. In his quiet, undisturbed room Max heard the shift in the air. The window was open, and then Max finally got what he had been hoping for. He lost consciousness.

--

Sunday afternoon, Liz wandered up to her room after working at the CrashDown for the most part of the day. At least, it was closed now. She thought it was kind of stupid that they had even been open today because most people were at church, and it just happened to be raining. Not the nice drizzle that everyone loves to sleep to, but the hail, cold, and pounding rain that scares you all through the night. The CrashDown only had had two customers today: Alex, and Valenti.

Liz got to her room and sat on her bed, and thought for a moment. Something had been nagging her all day. It finally hit her! She had left her diary on her chair, on the balcony, last night. She ran outside to the balcony, and came face to face with a shivering Max Evans, covered in her soaking blanket, on her chair.

Liz ran to Max, and grabbed the blanket off of him. "Max, wake up." She smoothed his bangs away from his eyes. "Max… baby. You need to wake up." Liz begged the unconscious Max. He still didn't wake up. "Okay, come on." She bent down and put her arms under his arms and tried to lift him up. But he was too big, and she was too small. Gravity didn't help. Liz started to freak out. Max was freezing, it was raining, and she couldn't find the strength to get him into her room. Liz told herself that she would do this for Max. She could. Liz put all of her will power into it, and after 15 minutes of moving, and maneuvering, she finally got him on her bed.

Liz eyed his complexion. He had cuts and bruises all over his face. Liz's heart broke a little. Who would want to do this to him? Liz lifted his shirt, and found even more bruises and cuts. She ran her hand over his abs, and figured that he probably had a few broken ribs. But she couldn't be sure. She began to kiss all of the areas that were hurt, and then pulled off his shirt, so that she could dry him off. She went down the hall to grab one of her dad's old polo sweaters.

After getting the shirt on Max, Liz contemplated on what to do with his jeans. She didn't want to invade his privacy! She decided on just to pull of his socks and shoes. A small murmur escaped Max's mouth.

"Max?" Liz hoped.

"Liz…?" Max coughed. Liz caressed his face softy so that she wouldn't cause him too much pain. "Are you okay?"

"I… am now." Liz helped Max sit up. "What happened to you?" She ventured, even though she knew what happened.

"I don't want to talk about it." Max whispered.

"I have a confession." Liz said quietly. "I saw some guys beating you up last night, and I didn't do anything to help. I should have gone down there to stop it."

"Liz, it's okay." Max assured her. "If you had gone down there, you could have gotten hurt too. And I could never forgive myself if something happened to you." Liz looked away so he wouldn't see the tears present in her eyes.

"Do you want me to get some of my dad's sweats, so we can get you out of those wet jeans?" Max was a little caught of guard, but smiled at Liz's caring nature. "Sure, but will your dad say?"

"Well, he and my mother are on a business trip, so it should be fine. You should probably stay here tonight." Liz said as get got up, and motioned for Max to as well. He did, but at a slower pace.

They walked, slowly, into her parent's bedroom, and Liz opened the closet door. She pulled out some sweats and a hoodie for Max to wear. She handed the items to him, and then turned around so that he would have some privacy.

When he was done, she turned back to him. "Max?"

"Yeah?" He asked.

"Maybe you should heal your injuries." She suggested. "Liz, you know that I can't. If the people that beat me up saw me with no juries, they would get suspicious."

"Then just heal the damage that isn't noticeable. Like your ribs. I know that they are either bruised or broken. You haven't been hiding the injury that well. Please, Max, do it for me?" Liz hated that she had to play his weakness, her, but she didn't want him to be in any unnecessary pain.

"Alright, I will." Max said with a small smile.

"While you do that, I will go downstairs and fix you something to eat. You need some nourishment." She said. "Come down when you are done with healing yourself." She said as she left.

After healing his ribs, Max took a counter seat, and waited for Liz while she finished up making some coffee, and soup. He sat and watched her every move in awe. She was so beautiful, so strong. If it wasn't for Liz in his life, he'd literally die. With all of the complications in his life, at the current moment, he always had Liz as a home, as a family; although he did have his adoptive parents, his sister, Isabel, and Michael, pretty much his brother. Liz was a different kind of family.

"What?" Liz smiled big and blushed a little at him. Max realized that he must have been staring at her. "Sorry." Max said.

"What are you thinking about?" Liz asked as get got herself a cup of joe.

"Just stuff."

"What kind of stuff?" Liz raised her eyebrows.

"Well, about this sweet and romantic girl who is always there for me." Max leaned in for a kiss, when they heard the front door jingle as it opened. Both of them looked directly at the door, to see Michael and Isabel walk in.

"Thank god! There you are. We had no idea where you have been all day." Isabel ran up to her brother, and gave him a huge bear hug.

"Why did you have to scare us shitless Maxwell?" Michael demanded. Max shrugged,

"Sorry I was hanging out with Liz all day." He lied.

"It's getting kind of late. I have the jeep outside, so let's go." Isabel said. Max shook his head. "No, I'm going to stay with Liz. She is who I want to be with right now." Isabel nodded. Usually, she would have been spoken up that he needed to be her and Michael, but she sensed that Max needed Liz at this moment in time. Of course, this wouldn't be settled without some lip from Michael, "Why?" He asked to no one in particular.

"I just want to." Max answered. Michael didn't want to start an argument, with his brother, so he let it go just this once. He and Isabel walked out.

--

The next ten minutes were spent in silence. Liz was in disbelief that Max chose her over Michael and Isabel. As crazy as it sounded, she was happy. For once, Max did something that he wanted on his own.

"What are you thinking about?" Max asked softly.

Liz looked up, "Oh, nothing. Is there something you want to talk about?" She asked.

"No, not that I can think of. Should there be?" Max asked, before taking a sip of his coffee.

"Hmm. Maybe the fact that you showed up her unconscious, had bruises all over, possible broken ribs, and you were pretty shaken up?" Liz searched his eyes, "Isabel and Michael didn't notice because they were so worried about not being able to find you, but you look like crap."

"I have been feeling alone lately and distant from you. I regret that." Max said as he took her hands in his.

"Regretting? Max, there was nothing that you could have done. I understand why you kept away for a while." Liz reassured Max by squeezing his hand.

"No, you don't understand. Liz, I am so scared, scared of losing you, scared of losing everything." Max lowered his head.

Liz let go of his hands, and walked around the counter to his side, "I am right here. I am not going anywhere. You will never lose me because I will simply never let you." This time she took his hands in hers, and kissed the palm of it. Max stood, and took his little Liz into his arms and held her tight. "Come on, let's go upstairs." Liz said.

--

Once they were up in her room, Liz started a bath for Max. "You probably need one, it will sooth everything that you didn't heal." Liz said sweetly.

Max was amazed at how Liz was so worried and caring for him. He was sure there were other things going on in her mind that she could be dealing with, but she was there for him. He loved her with all of his heart and everything he was.

"Let me go brush my teeth real quick, then you can get in."

Max realized that he missed Liz, even though she was right in the bathroom, and he could clearly see her from where he was sitting, but he missed being close to her. So he decided to walk into the bathroom, where she was in the process of washing her face.

Liz was caught off guard by thus and jumped. Max wrapped his arms around her from behind and nestled his head in the corner of her neck. "Max, you have to go. This is embarrassing."

Max lifted his head, and looked in the mirror, at a very blushing Liz. "Why? You are beautiful."

Liz laughed, and covered her face with her hands. Max smiled, happy with himself for making her smile. He pulled her hands away from her face, and outlined her eyes, " These eyes tell me when my girl is sad, happy, angry, or… embarrassed." Liz smiled. And then Max caressed her cheek, "And these cheeks show me when you are excited." Then he moved onto her mouth, "And this, this tells me I love you, and this," Max kissed her. "This shows me how you love me." His hand was pressed on her heart.

Liz felt unusual amount of emotions coming from Max. They were a mixture of arousal, pain, and then love. "Come on, get in the bath." Liz walked out of the bathroom, leaving Max by himself.

Max gazed at the steaming water. He stripped out of his borrowed clothes, and put a leg into the water. It was hot, but very soothing to the touch. Max lowered the rest of his body into the water, and lathered his body in the bubbles that Liz had added to help his aches and pains from the fight with Kyle and friends.

Rinsing off all of the soap, Max leaned back into the water. It was relaxing, and it calmed all of his thoughts. He continued to put his head under the water, and his thoughts started to wander to his life. It was such a huge mess. Would anyone really miss Max if he took his life right now in this very bathroom? Would he really miss his sad excuse of life? Would anyone care if he died? Sure, Liz loved him, but did she love him enough to die for him, if it ever came to it? Max knew that he was running out of air, but the water, and his stupid fucking life was tempting his thoughts with the pleasant thought of a better place.

Would anyone really miss him? That was the real question, and Max wasn't sure if anyone really would. This thought really sickened Max, and he forced himself to stay under the water as his thoughts become more depressing and suicidal. Even though Liz had apologized for not helping him when Kyle was torturing him, it still hurt. What hurt worse, was he had seen Liz looking at him while he was being taken away. But when she had apologized, it had made Max realize that maybe in his sad excuse for living there really was someone that cared for him. This thought was enough for Max, who was almost an inch from drowning himself. He lifted his head above the water, and took a deep, deep breath of air. The intake of air lowered Max to a coughing fit, but he held the coughs in, so as to not alert Liz that something was wrong. He really did not want to have the one person who cared for him to see him in such a weak state.

It was as if he was admitting that he was weak, which he was reminded every time he saw him. All that really mattered was what his master said. What he says is what Max is supposed to care about. What he says, is the real and only truth. If Max, was to challenge the truth of what he says then Max would have to be punished for going against master. Max laughed. He did not understand why he had to call this man, master. Maybe he had a confidence issue, or maybe he was just messed up in the head. Max would have loved to know what his deal was, but Max would never on his life venture to ask why, because Max would have to deal with the punishment afterward.

Max rinsed his body one last time to get rid of the bubbles, but then he realized that the once steaming water was ice cold. He was freezing, and he was sure that it was only going to get worse. Liz tended to keep all of the fans in the house on, and keep her bedroom door closed, making the room cold because the air would not circulate throughout the house.

Max rose from the tub, and lifted his leg over the side of the bath. An immediate coughing fit seized Max, and he lifted his hands to his mouth. With putting his hands to his face, he lost the support he had while he was holding onto the wall, and he fell the rest of the way out of the tub. He landed on the bathroom floor and banged his head against the side of the tub. He stifled a cry of pain, while he was still stifling his coughing, and brought his hand to the back of his head. His hand was covered in a light red substance; blood.

Great, just what he needed a possible concussion. First he was beaten with a baseball bat all over his body, including his head, and now he tripped, and cut his head. It probably added a nice size bump. What really drove him mad was that since most of his injuries were seen by Kyle and friends, all of the jocks probably knew about it.

Max honestly thought that at this moment, even if he wanted to heal his head, he wouldn't be able to. His head was so fuzzy, and cloudy. Max leaned against the sink, and gathered his clothes to put on.

After he was done, while still using the sink for support, he opened the door leading to Liz's room. He wondered why Liz had not heard all of the noise that he had made, but then he found out why. She was asleep. Good thing he had stifled his coughs and that whimper of pain as he had hit his head.

Max brought his hand to the back of his head again, and found that it was still lightly bleeding. Great. It was also freezing in Liz's room, just like he had predicted. Fucking great. How could she sleep like this? Or even live like this?

Max did not stop to think, but he realized that he did not want to bother her with anymore of his problems. She did not deserve this. Liz was giving him all her love, but in the end all she was going to get from him was pain. Max ran from her room, ran from her house, ran from her life, and ran from her love.

He made it halfway to his house with running before his tiredness caught up with him. It was still raining. Not the nice rain, but the kind that fucking hurts. He slowed down to a walk, hoping that his breath would resume back to normal. With running, his breath had quickened, and it was not slowing down. Max started to cough, and he could not breathe. He couldn't breathe! His coughing continued, making it hard for him to take a breath. He couldn't get any air into his lungs. Maybe this had something to do with the cut on the back of his head? He didn't know. His surroundings were going dark. No one was around. It was all fading, like an old time movie at the end. He fell to the ground, and tried to breathe. Max turned to lie on his back, hoping that some air would make it into his lungs, but it didn't work.

Everything became dark, and a truck drove by Max.

Max's breathing returned to normal, as soon as he had ceased panicking.

The man from the unknown truck, lifted Max's frail body, and lowered him into the back seat. He drove away.

--

Hope you liked this chapter!