Title: Between the Sand and Stone

Author: Kath7

Category: M/L

Summary: From a challenge by Blanca at roswellfanfic.com. What if Max had left with Langley in "Control?" This is a future fic.

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters, just borrowing them. Lyrics are from "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling.

Rating: Probably no more than an "R," and then only if Max is lucky.

"Wherever You Will Go"

So lately, I've been wondering
Who will be there to take my place?
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face.
If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all.
And between the sand and stone
Could you make it on your own?

If I could, then I would,
I'll go wherever you will go.
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go.

And maybe, I'll find out
The way to make it back someday.
To watch you, to guide you
Through the darkest of your days.
If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all.
Well I hope there's someone out there
Who will bring me back to you.

If I could, then I would,
I'll go wherever you will go.
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go.

Runaway with my heart,
Runaway with my hope,
Runaway with my love.

I know now, just quite how
My life and love might still go on.
In your heart and your mind
I'll stay with you for all of time.

If I could, then I would,
I'll go wherever you will go.
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go.

If I could turn back time
I'll go wherever you will go.
If I could make you mine
I'll go wherever you will go.

The Calling

Part 1

Albuquerque, New Mexico - October 2009

"Tell me again what we're doing here this early?"

Liz Parker elbowed her best friend in the side as Maria Deluca barely managed to stifle a yawn. "Maria, you promised you would be good."

Maria sighed heavily, running her fingers through her long, strawberry blonde hair. "Liz, its nine-thirty in the morning. I don't usually get up before at least one." She rolled her eyes. "I still don't get why we're doing this anyway. It's not like Queen Amidala has ever done anything for us in the long span of our unfortunate acquaintance with her and her fellow Czechoslovakians."

"We're not doing it for Isabel." Liz replied, beginning to feel a little annoyed at Maria. "I told you, we're doing it for her kids. Plus you were the one saying yesterday that you were bored with everything being about weddings since we came home."

Maria snorted. Liz watched her best friend as Maria pulled a compact out of her purse and began to fiddle with her make-up. "I said bored. I didn't mean I was desperate to visit a bunch of rug-rats." She noticed Liz's glare. "Right, right. Career Day. I know I'm being a witch, but I'm tired. That stagette was wild babe. I didn't realize that Harvard graduates were capable of partying that hard." She snapped the mirror shut and glanced at Liz, grinning slightly as she looked around the room in which they found themselves. "If you'd told me ten years ago that Isabel Evans was going to end up teaching fourth grade, I would have told you you were crazy."

Liz smiled back, shrugging. "Remember when we did that career survey sophomore year? I remember hearing somewhere once that Ms. Topolsky told Isabel that she belonged in a care-giving job. I guess maybe she was right."

Maria narrowed her eyes slightly. "I can guess who you heard that from."

Liz sighed, glanced away. "Max." She admitted.

Liz lowered her eyes briefly, avoiding the concern on Maria's face. There was no reason for Maria to be worried, but Liz knew that that didn't stop her best friend.

Max. It was a name that was never far from her thoughts, try as she had over the years to forget him. Being around Isabel lately had only made it so that she thought about him on a more regular basis.

She had gotten over him a long time ago, but that didn't mean that she didn't remember him.

He had been her first love. She could never forget him. She didn't even want to forget him anymore.

She had gotten over her anger and hurt a long time ago too. Now when she thought of him, she just hoped that he had found what he had been looking for, that he was safe and happy, wherever he was.

"Liz, are you okay?" Maria was waving her hand in front of Liz's face. Liz refocused on her friend. Maria was shaking her head. "I so knew this wasn't a good idea. Being back here is only going to hurt you again Liz. Especially being around his sister."

Liz smiled. "Maria, you've got to stop this. I swear, its okay. You know that I got over Max a long time ago."

Maria did not look convinced. "Lizzie, he broke your heart."

"More than once." Liz agreed, shrugging. "Which is why I'm better off without him. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't think about him. He was a part of my life once upon a time. I loved him. He didn't love me as much. It's as simple as that. I'm a grown-up now Maria, not a love-sick eighteen year old. I can remember Max - remember the good times. Because there were good times." Liz laughed. "Even if they were few and far between."

"Good times. I wonder what those are like." Maria replied darkly. "Michael and I have had like maybe two in the span of ten years."

It was Liz's turn to be worried. She put her arm around Maria's shoulders. "Maria, you told me that you and Michael were finished."

"We are. This time I swear we are." Maria told her resolutely. "He wouldn't even come back to New Mexico with me. The bastard."

Liz sighed again. Maria had refused to open up about what had happened between she and Michael before she had returned to Roswell, but, whatever it was, Liz knew it was bad.

She didn't have time to ask any questions though because Isabel suddenly appeared in the doorway of the empty classroom where Liz and Maria were waiting.

Liz had been amazed when she had met up with Max's sister the week before. It had been the first time she had seen Isabel since she had left Roswell for Albuquerque more than five years ago.

Isabel looked much the same. She had let her hair grow out again, but it was still dark. Liz remembered when she had first dyed it. It had been in the week after she had graduated from high school, after they had found out what Tess Harding had done to their best friend Alex Whitman. Liz and Maria had wondered at the time if it had been her way to mourn Alex permanently, but they had questioned that guess when Isabel had married Jesse Ramirez barely six months after Alex had died.

At first they had wondered if the wedding had been a consequence of Isabel's grief, the ultimate rebound, but she and Jesse were still together. Liz even had to admit that she liked him. He was a nice guy - no Alex, but he had made Isabel happy and had made her feel normal, especially after Max had disappeared.

"Hey guys." Isabel said now, smiling serenely. All the bitterness and snootiness that had once been such a part of Isabel's make-up were gone. Isabel Evans Ramirez was happy and it showed.

Liz wished that she could say the same for Maria.

She hoped that she would soon be able to say the same for herself. She was almost positive she would.

"Thanks again for coming." Isabel continued. "The kids are super excited to meet you Maria. You too Liz."

Liz smiled, amused. "I doubt they're as excited to meet a molecular biologist as they are to meet the next 'Celine Dion'." She laughed when Maria glared at her. "Hey! I wasn't the one who called you that! It was that woman at the Blind Date concert. The one you sang at with the Whits!"

"Don't remind me." Maria muttered, rolling her eyes. "Those were the days when I still wanted to be the next Alanis." She giggled. "I almost drove Alex crazy that day."

"I know he'd be really proud of you Maria." Isabel said, smiling to herself at the thought of Alex. Liz watched her closely. She didn't see any sadness in Isabel's expression at the memory of their lost friend. Over the years, her grief had melted into an unswerving love and dedication to keeping his memory alive. This had been reinforced to Liz when she had heard from her mother that Isabel had named her daughter, who was now two, Alexandra.

"Anyway, I swear they are Liz." Isabel insisted, changing the subject back to their original topic. "They know what Harvard is." She grinned suddenly. "But I do have to admit the idea that I am actually friends with Maria Deluca has upped my cool factor a considerable margin with all these nine year olds." She paused, cracked another smile. "But maybe Liz, you should go first. I don't know if we'll be able to settle them down again after they meet Maria. They still don't know she's here and once they find out, they're going to be crazy for the rest of the day."

Liz laughed. "No problem. So Jesse's almost done then?"

"Completely done actually." Jesse Ramirez poked his head through the doorway. "I've regaled them with the mysteries and intrigues of the law profession long enough I think." Isabel's husband grinned as he entered the room. He pulled Isabel into his arms as he admitted to Liz and Maria, "Every year I bore them a little more."

"You do not Sweetie." Isabel gave him a peck on the cheek. "Just make sure he doesn't give a speech at your wedding." She pretended to whisper to Liz, then laughed as Jesse pinched her lightly in punishment.

At the mention of her wedding, Liz felt her heart skip a beat. She smiled softly to herself as her thoughts drifted towards her husband-to-be, who right now, was back in Roswell, helping her mother and father make the last arrangements for the wedding, which was a week away. "You've decided to come then?" Liz asked, pleased.

"Jesse was able to rearrange a few appointments." Isabel replied. "My Mom can't wait to actually have Lexi in Roswell too. She's never been. It all worked out for the best."

"Are you sure that it won't be too weird for you Isabel?" Liz asked, concerned.

Isabel snorted. "Because of Max? Please. He's the one who deserted you. I don't owe HIM anything." Isabel's face darkened at the thought of her brother. Liz knew that it had taken Max's sister a long time to admit to herself that her brother was never coming back - almost three years in fact. Since she had, she had been angry anytime anyone even mentioned him.

Liz knew that anger was Isabel's way of dealing with how much she missed Max, but it was still fairly disturbing to see it reflected on her face now. "I'm sorry Isabel. I shouldn't have brought it up." Liz said now.

"Never mind." Isabel waved her hand in the air dismissively. "He chose to go. He didn't think about us before he left. Why should we bother worrying about him now?" Liz saw the concern on Jesse's face, reflecting her own.

But strangely, it wasn't just concern for Isabel that Liz was beginning to feel. Memories of that horrible time were threading their way through her mind - memories of pain that she had thought was long-forgotten. Pain that she had just told Maria was long over.

Why on Earth had she brought this up?

It had been almost exactly eight years ago that Max Evans had gone to Los Angeles to track down the second shapeshifter from the ship that had crashed near Roswell in 1947. He had been looking for a way to get back to his home planet, desperate to track down the son he had sent back to Antar in the company of his murderous former-life bride Tess Harding.

Liz had spoken to him several times on the phone while he had been searching for the other alien, but then all communication had ceased. Liz remembered how he had been cut off during one of his conversations with her. He had been in a film vault on the Paramount lot, had discovered something about the shapeshifter and then had disappeared.

She had not heard from him again, even though they had agreed that they would talk at least once a day. Isabel had been the last person to actually speak to Max. He had called her when he had found out that she was engaged to Jesse. Isabel had hung up on him and that had been the last that they had ever heard of him.

At first Liz had been angry that Max had called Isabel and not her, that his search for his son seemed to be driving a wedge between them, even though she had done everything in her power to help him. She had even helped him to hold up a convenience store so that he could access a ship that might have been able to take him back to Antar. She had later realized that it had all been a fairly desperate bid to hold on to someone who had already left her in all the ways that counted.

They had all expected Max to show up sooner or later to stop Isabel's marriage. Liz had not known what she was going to say to him when she saw him, had even been considering breaking up with him, although she had known that she would never stop loving him.

It was only when Max never appeared that they all became frantic. Liz had remembered how they had first become aware that the shapeshifter existed - because he had killed someone. What if he had hurt or, even worse, killed Max?

The wedding had been postponed while Michael, Isabel and Liz had driven to Los Angeles to try and find him. They had managed to trace his movements through his visit to the Paramount Lot, had even uncovered who the shapeshifter had been. Max had told Liz that he was a producer. It had turned out that the producer's name was Cal Langley.

But Cal Langley had apparently disappeared as well. Completely. They had concluded that he had likely disappeared right off the face of the Earth in fact, taking Max Evans with him.

Everyone had concluded this except Liz and Isabel that is. Michael had accepted it almost immediately. He had always understood that Max would not rest until he had recovered his son. Only later had Liz admitted to herself that she had secretly hoped that Max would give up someday. She had not truly understood his obsession, although she had pretended that she did.

Isabel had continued to insist that Max would never leave without her. He had told her that once, right before they had almost returned home the first time, when Max had sent Tess off instead. Liz had believed Isabel, had secretly hoped that Max would never leave her either. The old Max would not have.

But then the old Max Evans would never have slept with Tess Harding either. The old Max Evans had been completely destroyed the day that he found Liz Parker in bed with Kyle Valenti. Even when he had found out the truth - that it had never really happened, that she had been trying to save the world - he had not been able to completely return to the way he had been before. Too much had happened. They had both hurt each other too much.

And yet, Liz had still loved him. She thought that she knew that he loved her too.

Liz had finally had to admit to herself that all evidence told her differently though. Max would leave her - in fact, had left her. He didn't love her anymore - not the way he had. It had taken almost a year, but she had finally faced the truth. Hadn't he been perfectly willing to leave her on Earth after Alex's death when they had still thought a murderous alien was running around? They had not known that Tess was responsible for Alex's death after all - not the first time he had almost left her.

It had been a clear spring day in 2003 when Liz Parker had finally given up on Max Evans. She had left for Harvard that fall and had not looked back since.

But that didn't mean that she didn't remember Max. As she had told Maria, he had been her first love. You didn't forget your first love, especially one you had been convinced was your soul-mate. Deep down, Liz had admitted to herself that she still thought that, even after she had become engaged.

Liz had learned the hard way that soul-mates weren't always destined to be together.

Yes, Liz had gotten over Max a long time ago, but that didn't mean that she didn't remember him. She was even happy to say that she could remember him with a smile now, instead of tears.

Liz Parker had grown up.

But it did sound like Isabel had NOT gotten over her brother's departure. Liz regretted bringing it up. "I guess we shouldn't." Liz told Isabel now. "I'm just glad that you're coming to the wedding."

Isabel smiled again, more forced this time. "It's the least I can do for one of my former bride's maids." She replied, with forced cheer. She clapped her hands together in a gesture common to most teachers of Liz's memory. "So, are you ready to fill my little kiddies in on the mysteries of the scientific world?" She asked Liz.

Liz and Maria exchanged a look, but Liz nodded. "Ready and willing." She followed Isabel out of the room.

***********************************

Liz was still smiling to herself about half an hour later as she stepped out of the auditorium and went in search of a Ladies Room. Her presentation had gone well, although she had been right that the greeting that Maria had received after Liz had finished had been deafening in comparison to the children's interest in HER job. Liz could imagine how excited the students were to meet a real singing star. She would have been thrilled at their age. Even the reflection that she might have met one of the New Kids on the Block made her giggle.

Liz was glancing from right to left into various classrooms where children were working. It had been a long time since she had been in a public school. She had not been anywhere near one actually since she had graduated from West Roswell. She had forgotten how much fun school was, how much she had loved learning when she had been a child. She knew that she was one of the few kids who had actually admitted to herself that she loved school, but it had been true.

Learning had lost a lot of its luster since she had taken her job at Harvard. She had achieved her dream, but it was not the wonderful thing she had once imagined it might be. She was confronted by a lot of academic rules and deadlines every day. The joy had gone out of it. Plus, it was annoying that she very rarely got to pursue her own interests. She was the low woman on the totem pole, assigned her research topics and her classes. It would be years before she would be allowed to foster her own research.

Liz was not an impatient person, but being back in New Mexico, getting ready to marry a man she loved, was beginning to remind her that there were other options in life. As she stared at herself in the mirror in the Ladies Room several minutes later, she wondered if she had the courage to make the break she had been considering...

On her way back to the auditorium to meet up with Isabel and Maria again, Liz paused just outside the school office, gazing at the class pictures on the wall. She found Isabel's group of fourth-graders, smiled to herself again. She realized that she envied Isabel. It must be nice to teach kids who actually listened to you. Most of Liz's undergraduate students at Harvard were so busy trying to prove how smart they were, they often tried to knock HER down a few pegs to show it.

"...sure that he'll be very happy here Mr. Evans." The voice drifted through Liz's mind as she tilted her head to the side and gazed at the face of a small child with two missing front teeth in Isabel's class. She blinked.

Liz whipped around, stared in the direction from which the voice had come. She realized that it was drifting out from under a door marked "PRINCIPAL."

Had that voice just said "Mr. Evans?" It was impossible. She must have Max on the brain. Liz laughed softly to herself. But she found herself holding her breath to hear the voice of the person who replied. It came, but it was too soft for Liz to get any sort of recognition factor. She wasn't even sure that she would recognize Max's voice anymore. It had been so long...

Liz shook her head, smiling to herself again. All of these thoughts of Max should have been disturbing her, but instead she found them reassuring. It was only natural to remember old romances in the days leading up to your wedding. If she was trying to block the memories, she would have been more worried about her state of mind.

She turned, made her way back towards the auditorium. It was time to head back to Roswell, time to return to her fiancé and her real life.

Once she was back with Dan, all memories of Max Evans would be just that - memories.

To be continued...