Title: Union

Summary: Third in a trilogy that includes Out of the Woods and Legacy. If you don't read them, you will be seriously lost. If you DO read them, I congratulate you, because even I am horrified by their length. I will also be tickled pink! They are archived here at fanfic.net

Some important information: This story began with Out of the Woods, which was Post-Destiny, so everything that has occurred during Season 2 is not applicable here. All couples are currently together except for Kyle and Tess. Jennetta is Michael and Maria's daughter. Why she is grown-up is a long story and is told in Legacy. Max and Isabel also consider her to be their sister because she was raised by their alien mother on their home planet of Illyria. Max's alien name is Jaxon Falconer, Isabel's is Mirana, Tess' is Sabrya and Michael's is Tristandor. Michael and Tess are siblings.

Category: This story will be mainly Max/Liz, but will include all conventional couples, in particular Kyle/Tess.

Rating: PG-13, might reach an R. We'll see if my innocent eyes can handle it! In Canada we call it PA.

Disclaimer: I own the story, the characters Jennetta, Ren, Andrina and Tarsus. I am just borrowing the others with thanks.


Prologue

December 2, 1812

Salisbury, England, Earth

My dearest,

It is difficult to comprehend that as I transmit these words to you, you are asleep on a far distant planet, circling another star.

I feel you with me everywhere, at all times. If my brother knew how he was torturing me by ordering this mission, I do not doubt he would regret it. And yet, I know that he was right as well. If we can endure this trial, our union will only be stronger, proving once again that peace and love are the only way to save our world.

My journey through the portal was uneventful. The humans did not note our arrival, Jemma's mind-warp working as it was meant to. We have set up temporary headquarters above a small tavern in the town of Salisbury. The task force is currently researching where a more permanent colony might be established. Preliminary research seems to indicate that somewhere in the wide expanses on the continent of North America might be appropriate. We will book passage to cross Earth's great expanse of water shortly.

I find myself restless this evening. I crave information, knowledge that you are safe, that Gordian has kept his word and is slowly allowing your fellow Dernians into Illyria. I trust my brother implicitly, but I do not trust your Duke. Lazar has spoken falsely too often to be believed. I fear that the truce that he has instigated will not last, especially now that he has an heir.

My fear is great my love. And yet so is my hope. The births of Jaxon and Mirana seem to have revitalized my people in a way that nothing else could. Their lives guarantee that the portal between this world so like our own and our beloved Illyria will remain open for at least another generation. This only proves again that our decision to come here is the correct one.

And yet I long to return to you. My greatest desire is to do so soon. In the meantime, I look forward to your transmission through my brother.

Know that I love you and that this only becomes more true as the days pass. Be safe my heart.

Your Andrina

Part 1

She sees him laying in the bed alone tonight,
The only thing touching him is a crack of light
Pieces of her hair are wrapped around and 'round his fingers
And he reaches for her side, for any sign of her that lingers.

And she says you are not alone
Laying in the light
Put out the fire in your head
And lay with me tonight.

One of them bullets went straight for the jugular vein.
There were people running, a flash of light
Then everything changed
Nothing really matters in the end you know
All the worries sever
Don't be afraid for me my friend, one day we all fall down forever.

She says you are not alone
Laying in the light
Put out the fire in your head
And lay with me tonight.

The wedding date was June just like any other bride,
She loved him like no one before and it was good to be alive.
But sometimes that can slip away as fast
As any fingers through your hands,
So you let time forgive the past and go and make some other plans.

You are not alone
Laying in the light
Put out the fire in your head
And lay with me tonight...

Patty Griffin

May 2002, Roswell, New Mexico

The sun shone far too brightly on the day of Liz Parker's funeral.

It should have been over-cast, the heavens threatening to erupt at any moment. Even nature should have been mourning the loss of the girl Isabel Evans had come to regard as a sister.

Isabel rubbed her temples gently, willing the head-ache she had had all day to leave her in peace. And yet, in some way, the steady thrumming pain was comforting. At least it assured Isabel that she could still feel. She had been emotionally numb for so long now, she was beginning to wonder.

Isabel glanced up at her mother as Diane Evans came into the living room. "Jennetta's almost ready." Diane told Isabel.

"Is Max dressed?" Isabel asked, sighing as she stood.

Diane just shook her blonde head, her worry reflected on her face. "He still insists he isn't coming. I've tried to reason with him, but he's still reading that book. He won't even acknowledge me anymore."

Isabel sighed again. "I'll go try." She told her mother. She knew that it was going to do little good though.

Isabel knew that he would regret for the rest of his life if he didn't go to Liz's funeral. She understood that it was going to be the hardest thing he would ever do, saying good-bye to his soul-mate, but he needed to do it, if only to even take one step on the long road to re-entering the world of the living.

For Isabel did not doubt that Max wanted to die - that for her brother, living without Liz Parker wasn't living at all.

She knew that he hadn't even really accepted what had happened yet. It almost seemed like his mind REFUSED to accept it, knowing that if it did, Max WOULD curl up and die.

It had been five days since the fire at the Crashdown and even Isabel was still having trouble accepting it.

The Evans had all been in bed when Sheriff Valenti had come to tell them the news.

Isabel swallowed as she remembered the look of impending doom that had crossed her brother's face when he had realized that the Sheriff was there to tell him something was wrong with Liz.

His voice had been disturbingly quiet when he had asked the Sheriff what was going on. "Where's Liz?"

The Sheriff had looked visibly distraught as he had recounted the horrible story.

"There was a fire...at the Crashdown." Sheriff Valenti had halted, clearly struggling to find the words. "It started in Liz's bedroom. She apparently left a candle burning when she fell asleep. The firefighters tried to get in, but the flames were too much. The investigators found three bodies fifteen minutes ago. One was in Liz's bed and it was clearly a teen-aged girl." The Sheriff had paused again, taking a deep breath. He had not had to elaborate that that was about all they had been able to tell from the remains.

Isabel had almost thrown up. The grief that had claimed her had been so intense, she had had to sit down on the stairs, or she would have fallen down them.

She had been aware of her sister Jennetta quietly sobbing behind her. But Isabel's only thought had been for Max. Her brother had been frowning slightly, as though he was having trouble comprehending what the Sheriff was telling him. Isabel's mother had moved up next to her son, had put her arm around him.

"Are you trying to tell me that Liz is dead?" Max had finally asked, his tone perplexed. He sounded so absolutely confused, Isabel had closed her eyes to try and compose herself. She knew that she was going to need to be strong for her brother. She had to be strong for him.

"I'm sorry Max." The Sheriff said, shaking his head. "I wanted to come tell you myself. Liz and her parents are gone."

The front hall-way of the Evans' house had been silent with shock for so long, Isabel had almost been frightened to break it when she finally said, "Max..."

And that was when Max had started to laugh. It was the most terrifying sound Isabel had ever heard, no humour in it at all. Considering her brother didn't laugh very often anyway, the sound was highly unnatural as well.

Isabel had exchanged a look of concern with her mother. Diane had tried to lead Max into the living room, but he had pulled away from her, shaking his head. "It's not true. It's impossible." He had looked at Isabel, his eyes bright with something that she couldn't even begin to analyze. She had realized finally that it was certainty. "I would know Izzy. I would know if she was gone." And then his expression had changed, to one of deep sorrow. "Oh God. The poor Parkers. Liz is going to be absolutely devastated."

Mrs. Evans had looked at the Sheriff desperately. He had looked so sad, Isabel had almost wanted to go comfort HIM. "Honey..." Diane had tried again. "I think you need to come sit down."

"Why?" Max had looked at her like she was crazy. "I need to go find Liz. I have to be the one who tells her about this. She needs me."

Isabel had pressed her lips together, moved over to her brother. She had placed her hands on both sides of his face, forcing him to look at her. "Max. You can't. She's gone."

Max had just shaken her off. "I'm telling you!" He had practically yelled. "It's impossible! I only left her two hours ago! How the hell could the entire building have been destroyed in two hours? I would have known, would have felt something!"

Isabel had hoped that meant that Liz hadn't suffered. If Max hadn't felt anything through their connection, it seemed likely that had been the case. "Max, you have to accept this. Its a terrible tragedy...but its true. You know that Sheriff Valenti wouldn't lie to you."

Max had just glared at her. "You're all crazy! I'm telling you, I would know." He had looked around at them all, disgusted. "I'm going to call Maria. I'll bet that Liz is over there."

But, of course, Liz hadn't been at Maria's - or Alex's - or even Michael and Tess's. She hadn't been anywhere.

She was gone.

But as Isabel prepared to knock on her brother's bedroom door now, she knew that Max still had not even begun to accept that Liz was really gone.

She knocked, didn't wait for Max to respond.

Her brother was lying on his stomach on his bed, flipping through one of the many books that were scattered around his bedroom. He had a frown of concentration on his face.

"Max?"

Max looked up. "It's just another stupid book about farming." He told her, slamming the book shut and throwing it on the floor.

Isabel looked around the room in astonishment. "Max! When did you bring all of this here?" She could see that the books weren't just regular volumes. They were silver and made of a material that was definitely not of this Earth.

Apparently her brother HAD left his bedroom and had raided an alien library in the process.

They had found the library by chance. Or, rather, their friend Kyle Valenti, the Sheriff's son, had found it. It was buried deep under the desert in the extensive compound their people had built outside of Roswell, when it had been built still a mystery. They had barely begun to uncover the secrets and information the library contained.

"What are you doing?" Isabel asked now as she went to sit beside Max on his bed. He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

"I'm looking for ways that Tarsus could have gotten to Earth without coming through the portal." Max replied, stretching and then rubbing his hand across his face wearily. "I just can't figure it out."

Isabel felt a pang of sorrow. She hadn't realized that Max was this delusional with grief. He was beginning to invent scenarios for why Liz had disappeared. This needed to be stopped. If it continued, when his hopes came crashing down around him, the fall-out was going to be even greater.

"Max." She said quietly. "There is no other way - or at least no other way that doesn't involve years and years of space travel. You know this. Ren told us." Isabel continued, referring to the shapeshifter from their home planet who had come through the portal over a year ago.

Max just looked at her. "Clearly there IS a way Isabel. Because I know that he came here and he took Liz. It's the only explanation that makes any sense."

Isabel sighed again. She decided to humour him for the moment. "Okay, say you're right. Why? Why would he do this Max? Why Liz of all people?" She stood up, compulsively smoothing her black silk skirt to erase any wrinkles that might have appeared. "Why wouldn't he take Jennetta - she's the Chosen One after all - or you or me or Michael or even Tess? Why Liz?"

Max just eyed her for a moment. Then he strode across the room, picked up another volume and tossed it at her. "Because of this." He replied.

Isabel frowned at him in confusion. She obediently opened the silver book though. She gasped despite herself at the picture on the page that the tome fell open to.

Liz Parker's face was staring up at her from the centre of the this book that had clearly been alien-made. And beside her was Max's face.

"What is this?" Isabel managed to croak after staring down at the page for what seemed like years.

"I don't know." Max replied. "But I do know that its the reason Liz is gone."

Isabel slammed the book shut. She had to get through to him. Whatever this book was, it didn't change the fact that Liz had died in a fire five days before. "Max. I don't have any idea what this is either, but I do know that Liz is gone. And this isn't why. She's dead Max - you have to accept it."

Max just rolled his eyes. "She's not dead. How many times do I have to tell you people that I would know if she was dead?" He turned away, picked up another book and began to flip through it. "Close the door on your way out."

Isabel just stared at his back. "Max...you need to pull yourself together here. The funeral is in an hour. You have to be there - for Liz. You have to accept this for her."

Isabel saw Max's back tense. He stopped turning pages. "I said to close the door on your way out." He repeated through gritted teeth.

Isabel felt tears fill her eyes. There was absolutely no reasoning with him. He had gone crazy.

But that didn't mean that Isabel had given up. It only meant that it was time to call in reinforcements...

Part 2

Michael Guerin rubbed a hand tiredly across the back of his neck as he loped across the Evans' front yard. His tie was practically strangling him, but he had decided to dress for the Parker's funeral before coming to talk some sense into Max.

He hadn't seen Max since the night of the fire. While Isabel and Jennetta had been giving him daily updates on how he was coping - not well by all reports - most of Michael's time was spent with his girlfriend, Maria Deluca. She had gone into deep mourning for her best friend. Since Isabel was preoccupied with Max, Alex Whitman, HER boyfriend, had been spending a lot of time with them as well. Both Maria and Alex were absolutely devastated by the loss of Liz and Michael had been doing his best to help them through the worst of it.

But did the worst ever end when the glue that held you all together was gone? And that was what Liz had been - the one person that had bonded all of them. They all knew that it was unlikely any of them would have been friends if it wasn't for her.

Michael almost snorted as he reflected on how he would have sneered if someone had told him at the beginning of his sophomore year that two and a half years later not only would he be dating Maria Deluca, they would have a child together AND he would have admitted to himself that he loved her. He would have flat out laughed at the idea that he would be GLAD that humans knew the truth about he and Max and Isabel.

Liz Parker had been responsible for giving him the half-way decent life he now enjoyed.

Yes, it had been Max who had brought her in on their secret when he had healed her on that horrible day in the Crashdown - on that day that had only been delaying the inevitable it seemed - the inevitable that Liz Parker was meant to die young. But the things that she had done in the two extra years she had been given...she had enriched all of their lives by steamrollering her way through Max and Michael and Isabel's defenses. She had made them trust her, had brought them other friends they could trust.

Above all, she had given them hope. Hope that they could form relationships, could be HUMAN, something Michael had never realized he wanted until Liz....until Liz and MAX...

Michael and Liz had never been extremely close - their friendship had never fully recovered from the time when Max had been lost to them on Illyria. Liz had barely held herself together during that time, but one thing that had helped her to be strong was to blame the whole debacle on Michael. Michael had been perfectly willing to shoulder that guilt because he had blamed himself too. While they had managed to move beyond that dark period in their relationship after Max came back - mainly because neither of them wanted to upset the one person who connected them - they had never really made any effort to bond with each other on the same level as they had with other members of their group.

And yet Michael mourned Liz...

He mourned the way she always looked out for everyone else before herself. He still remembered the feel of her small hand on the small of his back as she comforted him when it had seemed that Jennetta was going to die in her pod several months before. She had seen his pain, had wanted to ease it, and in her own small way, she had.

He couldn't even begin to imagine how Max must be feeling.

Michael had his own brush with almost losing the two most central people in his life - Maria and Jennetta. He remembered the almost unbearable pain - it had felt like his heart was being torn in two - when Maria had flat-lined in the hospital before Jennetta had been brought back to her. He still felt the agony of the loss of his daughter Jennetta's childhood. It was now a dull ache, but it was still there...

But Max and Liz had always been different. Neither was complete without the other.

Michael knew deep down that if he lost Maria, he would go on. Life would totally suck - but he would survive.

But Max...Michael hated to think it, but he was actually a little surprised that his best friend was still alive...

And the scary part was that it seemed that the only reason Max was dealing with this situation at all was that he was in total denial...or at least from what Isabel had said on the phone. Michael had no idea why she thought that he would be able to get through to Max. Max NEVER listened to him.

Getting through to Max might not be the best thing anyway. Because Michael really believed that if he started to accept that his Liz was gone, Max Evans would not be long for this world.

Michael had paused under Max's window to gather his thoughts. He knew exactly the approach that he had to take to get Max to that funeral. It wasn't going to be pleasant, but Max would never forgive himself if he didn't go.

It had to be done.

As Michael pounded on the window he realized that there was really no reason to be going into the Evans' house that way. He knew that everyone else had already left for the funeral...he could just walk in the front door. But somehow this seemed the natural thing to do, and so he did it.

Max's face appeared a moment later. He looked like crap. He had dark circles under his eyes and his hair was standing on end, like he had been constantly running his hands through it - or maybe trying to tear it out would be more accurate. He also looked like he had lost weight. Michael guessed that he probably hadn't eaten a bite since the day of the fire.

Max stared out at Michael for a moment, an eyebrow raised, then rolled his eyes and opened the window. "Aren't you supposed to be at the funeral?" He asked as he turned and walked towards the desk, picking up a volume that lay open there.

Michael climbed through the window frowning. "Aren't you?" He demanded, going into annoying Michael mode right away. The way to get through to Max was to piss him off and if anyone could do it, it was Michael.

Max didn't even look up. "I'm busy." He replied. He sighed in frustration, threw the book down on the desk. "Nothing! I can't find anything."

Michael eyed him for a moment as Max started shifting other alien volumes around on the floor. "What are you looking for exactly Maxwell?" He picked up a volume that sat on the bed, his eyes nearly crossing at the gibberish that stared up at him from the silver pages. Michael might have had his memories of Illyria returned to him, but the language was still a mystery. He knew that he had been unable to make heads or tails of it when he had been on the planet with Maria too.

Max stopped fumbling around, looked at him suspiciously. "Give me a break. I know Isabel told you that I've gone crazy." He rolled his eyes, shaking his head in annoyance. "Clearly I must be insane since I KNOW that Liz isn't dead and that Tarsus came and took her. I mean there was a body and everything. We SAW the smoldering ruins of the Crashdown. Liz's parents are both gone too. Liz MUST be dead and so I MUST be crazy - driven completely loony-tunes by grief...Isn't that right?"

Michael swallowed. "Well, she might have said something to that effect." He admitted. "You can't deny that it looks a hell of a lot like that Maximillian."

Max narrowed his eyes. "I know Michael. I know she's not dead." His tone was so certain, Michael blinked.

"But what if she is Maxwell?" He finally asked. Max froze in the process of throwing some of the books on the floor onto his bed.

"She's not." He said quietly, swallowing hard.

"But what if she is?" Michael continued. "And you don't go to her funeral and pay your last respects? I mean, its LIZ Max. You owe this to her. It's going to suck big time - but you have to do it."

Max straightened, looked sad. "I know she's not Michael."

Michael clenched his fists in frustration. It was like talking to a brick wall. "And if you're right? What about her parents? If Liz comes back someday, how are you going to explain to her that you didn't go to her parents' funeral?"

Max just looked at him. "I never thought of that." He glanced down uncertainly at the book in his hand. "I just need to read all of these. And I haven't even been to the Crashdown since they took down the police tape. There's got to be something there. I don't have any time to go to the funeral. I need to find out how Tarsus did this and then I need to find her. She needs me Michael."

And then Michael knew exactly what to say to get Max to the funeral. "I'll help you."

Max stared at him, perplexed. "What?"

"I said I'd help you - but only AFTER the funeral. And ONLY if you come with me." Michael knew that it probably wasn't the best plan in the world to humour Max - not in the complete state of mania in which he currently existed - but he was desperate here. The funeral began in fifteen minutes. He needed to be there. It might be the only way to get him to start accepting that this nightmare was legitimate.

Max's expression brightened. Michael sighed. Isabel was NOT going to be pleased. "Okay! Great! I really should go so that I can tell Liz about it. She is just going to be devastated. I owe it to her to be there." He threw the book down, looked around in confusion. "What the hell am I going to wear?" He looked completely lost suddenly.

And it was in that moment that Michael knew that although Max might want to believe with his entire soul that Liz was still alive - he wasn't one hundred percent certain.

This was only going to get worse.

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

Kyle Valenti sat in a pew near the back of the church, his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands.

He was still having trouble believing it but being there was making it entirely too real.

Liz was really gone.

Kyle had not been surprised at the intensity of his grief. He had loved Liz. She had been his best friend in a lot of ways. If there was anyone who believed in him, it was Liz. Even when he had become the distant jerk he had been for the last few months, she still cared about him, worried about him...

And she was the only other person on the face of the planet who understood what it meant to have been healed by an alien king.

He was completely alone now.

It had been his choice to distance himself from the others, to deny what they meant to him, but his regrets were immense now. Death had a way of doing that to you - especially the death of someone so young, so beautiful, so full of life, so full of hope...

How were any of them going to go on?

Kyle raised his head, realized that the service was half over. A friend of Mr. Parker's was at the podium giving a eulogy about what a wonderful person Liz's dad had been.

The church was absolutely packed. Kyle and his dad had been late, the Sheriff having been delayed at work. It had been a lucky thing that Hanson had been in charge of crowd control or they might not have been allowed in at all. Apparently even the Mayor was in attendance. The death of the family who had owned the Crashdown Café, one of the biggest landmarks and tourist cash cows in Roswell, was a fairly big deal in this one horse town. Some of those security guards hadn't seemed to give a crap that Kyle's dad was the Sheriff. As it was, they were stuck back in the nose bleed seats.

Kyle glanced up the aisle. He could see Maria's blonde head near the front. She was sitting with Jennetta, her daughter's arm around her shoulder.

He had almost had a heart attack when he had seen Liz's best friend walk in with the tall dark-haired beauty. He had not laid eyes on Jennetta since she had emerged from the pod - had not even been aware that it had even happened. He recognized her right away though.

She was the spitting image of Maria, although she had apparently inherited Michael's height and his dark eyes too. Jennetta had turned in her seat at one point and had stared right at him. He knew that she recognized him. He had felt a little woozy after that. Some of this alien stuff was still too weird for him.

This woman was Michael and Maria's DAUGHTER. And she was older than them...it was just plain freaky.

Kyle shook his head. Now was not the time to reflect on the insanity that was their lives. Now was the time to think about Liz and to try and figure out how he was going to fix the mess he had somehow gotten himself into.

Tess.

As usual, it always came back to her.

He hadn't seen her yet, but he knew she was there. Of course she was there. She would be there to support Max most of all, but she had loved Liz too in her own way. She had even been willing to share Max with Liz towards the end there. Just the thought of it still made Kyle feel sick, but he knew that it was time to mend fences.

He missed her. And he was tired of being mad and sad and lonely...

He was willing to take whatever she was willing to give. He wanted her friendship back, if that was all she was willing to give. He knew that he would never be a Max Evans, but she seemed to want him, Kyle, in her life. He would be grateful for what he could get.

Life was just too damn short.

He remembered the last words she had spoken to him at the prom: "I have things to say to you - things you haven't let me say. I'm tired of running Kyle." She had reached out and touched his cheek. "I'm so tired. And I think you are too. I just want..."

He had never found out what she wanted -they had been interrupted by his date Vicky Delaney - since then he hadn't even let himself speculate, to hope too much...

He just knew that he would give her whatever it was she wanted.

And he would thank Liz everyday for making it happen. Because he didn't doubt that she was responsible.

He was going to miss her so much.

Kyle felt his father nudge him. "Kyle, its ending. Stand up son."

Kyle stumbled to his feet. He watched as the three coffins were carried down the aisle.

"Good-bye Liz." He whispered, swallowing hard against the tears that threatened to fall.

And that was when he saw him.

Max Evans was staring right at him, his dark eyes unreadable.

Kyle took a deep breath, preparing to go over there to give his condolences...

It took him a moment to realize that Max was not the only one looking at him. His eyes shifted to the right and down.

Tess Harding was there too, holding Max's hand, and glaring at him.

Kyle had not realized that it was possible for him to be more miserable than he had been two minutes before. And yet, apparently it was, because it really felt like his heart broke when Tess put her arm around Max and turned him towards a side door, effectively showing Kyle her back.

Her meaning could not have been more clear if she had marched down the aisle and screamed in Kyle's face.

It was over. Before it had ever begun.