Chapter 04: Aliens and Lies
"Get up." Elsie's voice drew her out of a restless sleep and she blinked bleary eyes up at the long-haired blonde.
"Huh?" Elsie let out an annoyed sigh, rolling her eyes as she grabbed Liz's leg and gave it a rough shake.
"Up!" She demanded, tossing a pair of sweatpants and a tank top at Liz's head with her other hand. "We're going running."
"Screw you," Liz croaked, but without any real heat as she tried to roll over and go back to sleep, only to find herself unceremoniously dumped from the bed as the other girl lifted her mattress and sent her tumbling to the floor.
"Up!" Elsie snapped again.
Working out in the morning was a horrible way to begin the day.
"Good morning!" Sonny chirped cheerfully as Liz came stumbling out the backdoor of the Crashdown with Elsie hot on her heels.
"God," was all Liz said, fighting the urge to grimace in the face of such obvious cheerfulness.
"Tone down the perky-meter, Son," Elsie instructed as she stretched, indicating for Liz and Sonny to do the same. "It's a little too early for your brand of cheer."
"Okey-dokey," Sonny agreed with a smile and promptly began humming under her breath. Liz jerked her gaze over to Elsie who smiled and shrugged her shoulders in a classic 'Hey-what-can-you-do?' gesture, coaxing a reluctant smile from the moody brunette.
"Five miles," Elsie instructed once they got back to their feet. "Meet up at the Old Mill outside of town and we'll do some basic self-defense."
"Katas?" Liz asked, hoping desperately that that was it. Elsie shot her a knowing look as she stretched out her arms.
"Spells," she shot back dryly. "Yours definitely need some work."
It was a hit at yesterday's disappearing door act and Liz flushed, ducking her head, suitably embarrassed by the whole debacle.
She was so sweet to look at, so kind and nice…until you saw this side of her.
"Slave driver," Liz panted, rolling up from the ground as she turned to keep a careful eye on the other girl.
She was on her own here – Sonny was stuck to the wall, literally, and Liz was too busy trying not to get her head blown off to rescue the blonde. So instead she was doing her best to be one hell of a distraction while Sonny got herself unglued.
The training session was two days late, delayed first by the shooting and then by the visions and headaches, the latter of which had yet to fully dissipate.
She'd asked Sonny about it earlier, earning her a bit of a curious look in response.
"Headaches caused by visions usually go away within a day," Sonny had told her, sounding vaguely puzzled. "Does your head still hurt?"
Liz had made a noncommittal noise in response, ducking her head down and speeding up to avoid having to answer any other questions.
"Move!" The yell came just in time, with Liz throwing herself to the side and rolling as a great big energy ball kicked up one hell of a dust storm exactly where she'd just been standing.
"Damnit, Liz!" Elsie the nice girl was gone, replaced by Elsie the Protector who was clearly Not Happy.
"Where the hell is your head today?"
"Up in space," Liz muttered under her breath, snorting at the irony of it.
"This isn't something to joke about, Liz," Elise all but snarled, pacing in front of the other girl. "In real life, you'd be dead by now and so would Sonny. Get your head in the freakin' already!"
"Fine!" Liz shouted, wincing as the sound reverberated in her skull, shooting Elsie one hell of a nasty look as she bent over, one hand pressed against her temple and she sucked in air.
"Fine," Liz replied, straightening and glaring as her fists curled into claws at her side.
"You in the game?" Elsie asked, her snarling tone replaced by pure cold expectation.
"Yes." Liz replied, turning to stare the Protector dead in the eye.
Elsie said nothing for a few moments, merely content to stand and study the other girl before finally giving one decisive nod.
"Good. Let's try this again."
Sore and achy and just feeling like shit all around, Liz trudged through her diner shift, barely mustering up the energy to feel annoyed when Michael Guerin came in about halfway through, plopping his blonde ass down at one of her booths and refusing to leave.
"Look," she finally gave up ignoring him, trying for the direct approach as she leaned over real close. "I'm tired, I've had a shitty day, I currently have the headache from hell and I know you have a shitload of questions to ask me, but could you please not bother me today?"
Michael met her gaze dead on for a long silent moment before smiling in the most annoying manner ever.
"I'll have a cherry coke, please."
"Right," Liz sighed, her chin dropping to touch her chest. "It's too much to ask that I meet one person today who does not annoy me."
"With Tabasco sauce." Michael continued on with that same damn irritating smile as he held up the empty bottle at the table. "This one's out."
"It'll be a minute," Liz replied dryly, pushing away from the booth and trudging towards the back.
"What's with Guerin?" Maria asked the second Liz was within talking distance.
"Don't know," Liz replied, reaching for a clean glass and spending several long moments contemplating spitting in it before, with a sigh, she settled for filling it with ice and cherry coke.
"He's been sitting in your section for the past three hours," Maria pointed out with a faint frown. "Don't you find that a little bit suspicious?"
Liz sighed, letting the nearly full glass thunk onto the counter as she turned her head to look at her friend.
"Maria, I do not now, nor have I ever, really given a damn about what Michael Guerin does and why he does. Don't ask me what he's doing here because I honestly have no idea."
That said, Liz grabbed the cup and a straw and all but stomped over to where Michael was sitting.
"Here," Liz grunted, thrusting the drink towards him and just barely keeping it from sloshing over onto his lap.
"Great service," Michael commented, waving a hand over the spillover, making it disappear right before her very eyes.
"Hey," Liz scowled, kicking his shin under the table as she glared. "Don't freakin' do that here. You're trying to be low key, remember?"
"Low key about what, Miss Parker?"
It was a testament to just how on edge that she was the Liz didn't just yelp.
She jumped two feet up and over and let out a startled scream as she jerked around, falling back into the booth and landing right on top of Michael, who looked equal parts startled at her reaction and his lapful.
"Liz!" Maria was there in a heartbeat, hovering in a manner only a best friend could hover while Liz struggled to regain control of her breathing, involuntarily clutching at Michael's arm in support.
"Sheriff," Michael greeted, expression tight as one hand rested carefully over Liz's abdomen, the other flat on the tabletop.
"Mr. Guerin," Valenti greeted the younger boy with twisted lips, hard expression softening slightly as he refocused on Liz.
"I'm sorry Miss Parker. I didn't mean to startle you. I just couldn't help but overhear your conversation."
"You eavesdrop on private conversations now?" Maria snapped out, stress making her forget all semblance of good manners as she glared at the older man. Valenti surprised all of them by smiling.
"It's sort of part of the job, Miss Deluca." Maria's loud snort made her opinion on that abundantly clear.
"What are two trying to be low key about?"
Well, you see Sheriff, the thing is, Michael here? He's an alien. And me? Well, I may look normal, but I'm actual a witch the power to heal and a three hundred year old curse dogging my heels and threatening everyone I care about.
"Uh," was what she said instead, gripping tightly at the arm wrapped around her waist for support.
Michael said nothing.
"Liz," Maria started.
"We're dating," Liz exclaimed in one rushed breath, her eyes widening slightly even as the words left her mouth.
"Michael and me," she continued on, digging her grave all the deeper. "We're dating as in boyfriend and girlfriend dating."
"Really?" Valenti made it abundantly clear that he wasn't buying it and Liz tried to relax back into Michael, but he was tense as hell and it was like trying to get comfortable lying on top of a two-by-four.
"Really." Liz did her best to smile in a loving manner, just barely managing to keep her urge to wince in check when Michael merely looked at her like she was from another planet in reply.
"Liz!" Maria yelped out, eyes wide and expression scandalized as she gaped at the two of them with faint disgust. "Guerin? Seriously?"
"Yes," Liz gave her best friend a tight lipped smile as she fixed her gaze on the Sheriff.
"Is there anything else you want, Sheriff?"
"No ma'am," Valenti replied, tipping his head as he smiled at the two of them. "You two lovebirds have a nice day now."
"Thank you, Sir," Michael spoke for the first time, giving Liz's waist an extra hard squeeze. "Will do."
Liz watched the Sheriff leave, thunking her head back against Michael's shoulder with a tired sigh.
"Liz!" Maria snapped again, her expression practically livid as Liz held up a hand to stop her.
"I'm sick, I'm tired, and I have to go throw-up now," Liz told her best friend as she pushed off of Michael and got to her feet, swaying only slightly as she grimaced around the pounding in her skull.
That said, she headed for the bathroom to do exactly as she said she would.
"This isn't normal," Elsie was saying somewhere above her.
It was the worry in her tone that had Liz pulling the pillow off her head and braving the sunlight to squint at the Protector.
"What's normal?" She asked, shooting for philosophical and coming out on the slightly bitchy side of the equation.
"Not this," Elsie replied, placing a cool hand against Liz's sweaty forehead. "You're burning up."
"I feel like shit," Liz replied, yanking the pillow back down over her head.
"You look like shit," Elsie agreed before turning to address Sonny. "We should call Carmen."
"No," Liz was shaking her head underneath the pillow. "Not yet."
"Yet?" Elsie pulled the pillow up slightly so she was staring down at Liz. "Honey, you're practically on fire. That isn't normal for anybody. Add in the fact that you're a natural born healer and shouldn't be getting sick in the first place, and something is really wrong with you."
"Not wrong," Liz muttered, a familiar touch brushing against her mind as she felt the achingly longed for touch of sleep on her eyelids. "Just not right."
"Well," she heard Elsie say somewhere in the fog above her, her voice fading. "That helps."
And then she was asleep once more.
"Gee," Liz crossed her arms and glared at the alien across from her. "You really know how to make a girl feel special."
Zan scowled at her.
"You're dying because you're not even trying to gain control over your abilities."
"What abilities?" Liz replied, hands thrusting in the air with exasperation. "I don't have 'abilities'. I have one ability. I heal people – that's it."
"You healed somebody different," Zan stated. "Somebody unlike anybody you've ever encountered before."
Liz remained silent on that one.
"It didn't feel like any other healing and it drained you to the point of near death."
"Near unconsciousness," Liz corrected automatically.
"Death," Zan replied with a headshake. "You wouldn't be here unless it was true."
"Unless I was dying?" Liz blinked at him. "I'm dying?"
She choked at the realization, crouching over in an hysterical wheeze while Zan watched her impassively on the other side of the room.
"You can save yourself easily enough," Zan stated, not without compassion, but firmly enough that Liz found herself a little annoyed. Which was great, because annoyance was better than hysterics.
"Just tell me one thing – if I die, do I take you with me? Cause then it'd almost be worth it."
"I exist outside the realms of your mind," Zan retorted dryly. "Nothing you do can kill me."
"Damn," Liz straightened, still shivering slightly as she regarded the other man cautiously.
"Do you want to die?" Zan asked, his words genuinely curious.
"Not particularly," was Liz's slightly sarcastic reply.
"Then you need to listen," Zan stepped forward until he was directly in front of her.
"I can only do this for you for so long," Zan informed her, his hands coming up to rest on either side of her head.
"Do what?" Liz asked, her eyes rolling as she stared at the hovering appendages before fixating on Zan's face.
"Direct for you," Zan replied, the heat of his hands getting hotter.
"You've said that word before," Liz swallowed dryly. "But what does it mean?"
"When our children are young," Zan answered, his eyes on his hands as he spoke. "They can't focus their powers so their parents do it for them until they can be taught to do it for themselves."
"Oh." Liz was silent for a moment as she mulled this over, a faint frown forming. "But I still don't get it. I mean, I only have one pow – "
Whatever she was going to say next was cut off by a searing pain that reverberated through her skull and sent her into a screaming convulsion.
"Let me in," Zan whispered above her, visible beads of sweat forming on his skin and dripping down his face. "Liz, you have to let me in."
"I can't," Liz sobbed out, clutching his hands as her only support, her legs threatening to buckle in the face of that white light.
"Yes you can," Zan snapped. "You're stronger than you look," he continued on. "And you're a fighter. Don't you dare give up now. Drop your shields."
Liz had no real idea what he was talking about, but it hurt so bad and he was so sure he could make it go away, that she reached out with that energy in the soul of her mind and grabbed at him, mentally yanking him forward.
And then he was there, in her head. The dam erecting itself, diverting a cool blue stream of energy she'd never seen before away from her own energy, pulling it to him until with a snap, it became nothing more than a faint trickle.
And the pain disappeared, leaving her panting while Zan went stumbling back, away from her, his own breathing uneven.
"You have to learn to Direct yourself," Zan heaved, panting harshly between each word. "I can only hold it for so long."
"How?" Liz hunched over, hands on knees and head tilted back slightly as she stared him.
"How do I do it myself?"
"Focus," Zan replied, taking a deep breath and straightening with a slight wince.
"You have to maintain your focus. See the power and control it."
"The blue light?" Liz panted. "That's the power?"
"Yes," Zan breathed evenly now.
"Was it always there?" Liz asked, genuinely curious. Had she always had another power, or was it something that was a result of Max Evans?
"The potential was always there," was Zan's oh-so-helpful reply.
"You have to go now," Zan stated abruptly, interrupting Liz's silent bitchfest at his lack of forthcoming useful information.
"It takes energy to maintain this place," Zan replied. "And energy to Direct your power. You can't come back here until you've managed to do that on your own."
Zan gave her a grim look.
"Otherwise you'll die."
Liz woke up to find Sonny curled against her side and Elsie sleeping uncomfortably on the lounge outside her window.
She debated for a few seconds whether or not to wake them up and let them know she was okay, but both of them looked so exhausted, she decided not to.
Rolling over onto her side, she closed her eyes and sighed.
She was halfway to normal sleep when a faint memory from earlier had her snapping awake with horror.
"Oh God," she breathed, staring up at the ceiling with wide-eyes and a dropped jaw.
She'd told the Sheriff she and Michael Guerin were dating.
A/N: It's been a busy week writing wise. Hope you enjoy my latest offering! And if you get a free minute, check out my other two crossovers – Another World and Blue. You might find them interesting.