Title: All We Know of Heaven
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell.
Summary: Second story in Picture series. After the wedding, can Michael and Liz keep their secret?
Chapter Five: Without You
For the next two months on the road, it was like hell on Earth. The five of them drifted in their own worlds, unknowing to each other's pain. Maria was the only one who acted the same. In two months, they had gone through five towns. In each town, Maria had a job and to the others, it looked like she was still on her quest to find normalcy. Maria knew otherwise. It cut her deeply when she realized that there wasn't a normal anymore and it cut her even deeper that Isabel was gone. Isabel's actual death meant less to her than it did to others but what her death *meant* shook Maria to the core.
Michael became more brooding and detached from the group. He secretly blamed himself for not being able to protect Isabel and in doing so, began to take jobs with Maria and Liz so he could watch over them. He truly never did regret killing Tess.
Liz, too, had become withdrawn. Isabel had been her only confidant, her only friend. Maria and Liz had grown farther apart and things went back to normal between Michael and Liz. Kyle hardly talked to anyone anymore.
Kyle, like Michael, started taking jobs with the girls for a while but soon went back to working with Max. Kyle began to drink heavily almost every night. Everyone noticed but no one said anything. Even though Kyle wouldn't admit it, he blamed Max for Isabel's death. Deep down, he knew if Max had been there, he could have healed her.
You couldn't tell by outward appearances, but Max took it the hardest. While everyone else seemed to slip into depression, Max was far in denial. He never talked about Isabel and went on his life. He knew everyone partially blamed him and he didn't blame them for that. He blamed himself too. It was too much for him to handle.
Max Evans didn't have a sister. So he didn't mourn her.
And like they always do, the emotions of these five people exploded with two simple words spoken at dinner.
They were all in Liz and Max's hotel room eating crudely with plastic forks. Everyone dropped their forks and didn't move.
"No," Max said simply. That was the first order Max gave anyone. This was the day Max would snap. Maybe, if Kyle had known that, he wouldn't have spoken.
With that, Max went back to eating but everyone else stared at him in surprise. Kyle narrowed his eyes at Max. "I'm not asking you. I'm *telling* you."
Cold eyes pierced into Kyle. "I'm telling you that you aren't leaving, Kyle. End of story."
Kyle began to flush with anger and Maria said softly, "You can't leave Kyle. It's too dangerous."
"Not if I don't go back to Roswell," Kyle pointed out.
"Where will you go?"
"Somewhere. I don't even care how I get there. I just need to get the hell out of here," he said curtly.
"Are you drunk?" Liz asked in concern.
Kyle shook his head. "No. This is the most clear-headed I've been in a long time."
"Really?" Max snipped. "Because I think you're pretty damn crazy thinking you can just leave without talking about this first."
"This is my life!" Kyle shouted.
"You made the choice to come out here."
"Things are different now," Kyle pointed back.
"We're all hurting," Liz said gently. "We just need to stick together and-"
"Then why the hell are we falling apart? It's been that way for a while now. With Isabel gone, it's just getting worse."
Max instantly quieted and clenched his teeth at Kyle's words. "Fine then, Kyle, leave. Then you'll end up just like Isabel. Is that what you want?" he spat out coldly.
In a split second, Kyle's fist had connected with Max's face and Max had fallen off the bed. Max rubbed his jaw in disbelief and lunged at Kyle. But Michael quickly ran to pull Max back. Kyle took one last look at Max and then stormed out, heading for his room. Michael released Max and just when Max was about to speak, Michael shoved him into the wall. "Another performance like that and you'll be lucky if we all don't leave you."
His words sunk in and Max frantically locked eyes with Liz. She glared at him in disappointment and brushed past him, going to follow Kyle. Michael gave Max a pointed look.
In the other room, Liz opened Kyle's door to find him violently stuffing his duffel bag. "Kyle," she began.
"No," he said. "I'm leaving. Don't try to stop me."
"I'm not," Liz said softly. Kyle stopped packing and turned to look at her in surprise. "Isabel would want you to be happy."
"She'd want you to be happy too, Liz. Come with me."
Liz frowned deeply, sadness meeting her eyes. "If only it were that easy."
Kyle shrugged. "I had to try. Liz, I need you to know that I don't hate you for whatever it is that Michael and you have going on. It was hard to accept at first but if Isabel was OK with it then I am too."
"You weren't before when Tess told you. You looked so angry," Liz said sadly, twisting her fingers nervously.
"I was, Liz. I know I have no right to judge you-"
"No, you don't," she said firmly.
"I just felt so betrayed. You lied to all of us, Liz. You and Michael *lied*. You married Max and that was a lie. How come you never told me?"
"We never told anyone, Kyle. Isabel figured it out on her own," Liz explained.
"So how do you do it? Still love Michael and be with Max at the same time?"
"It's not something I choose to do, Kyle. It's just the way it has to be."
Kyle didn't say anything for a while. It seemed like he was debating something within himself. "I just don't know how you do it, Liz. I guess you're stronger than I ever gave you credit for."
Liz gave him a sad look. "I'm not the strong one here, Kyle. I would have fallen apart if I were you. I mean, if something happened to Michael, I don't think I could go on."
Kyle frowned. "You call this 'going on'? I'm an inch away from becoming a raving alcoholic and a complete mental wreck. Sometimes, she's all I think about. I could spend an entire day just missing her."
Liz blinked away tears. "You just need to miss her away from all of us right now and I know that. I'm sorry about Max back there. Not that I have to tell you twice, but you really shouldn't listen to him."
"It isn't your fault. Max is just like that sometimes. Don't feel responsible for what he does," Kyle said angrily. "Can I ask you a question, Liz?"
Liz bit her lip. "Go right ahead."
He chose his words carefully and gauged her reaction. "You don't love Max and Max is making all of our lives a living hell lately. You have this secret over him that could destroy him. Why don't you?"
"Because I don't want to," Liz answered immediately. "I truly don't *want* to hurt him. But you are right though, I do hold this secret and it controls him in a way. The sad thing is, if that's true, if somehow *I'm* the one with the power here-why am I trapped? Why do I want to not hurt him? Why do I feel a need to protect him? It just doesn't seem like I have the power."
Kyle considered this for a moment and shoved a shirt into the duffel bag. "You do. His power over you is in his weakness. Max can't do this without you."
Finally, for the first time in a long time, Kyle understood Liz. He understood her enough to not ask a second time if she would go with him. Kyle swung the duffel bag until it rested on his shoulder. "You're leaving now?" Liz asked painfully.
"I've been planning this for the past week. I have about an hour until my bus comes," Kyle admitted.
"You couldn't have told us a day before?" she asked, a bit hurt.
"By time I get out of here, Max won't have a chance to stop me," he replied easily.
"I'll go with you," Liz said. "I'm just going to get my jacket out of my room. You *are* going to be here when I get back, right?"
Kyle nodded and Liz closed the door softly behind her. She took a deep breath before she opened her hotel door and when she did, Maria, Michael, and Max were still arguing. When they saw Liz, they all went quiet. Without words, Liz went into her bag and pulled out a jacket.
"Where are you going?" Max asked, fearful that Liz was going to leave with Kyle.
"I'm taking Kyle to the bus station, Max."
"Wait," Maria exclaimed. "He's leaving today?"
Liz whirled around and glared at her. "Will the two of you just get off it? This is Kyle's *life* and contrary to what you believe it isn't up to group discussion. He can leave whenever he damn well pleases."
"Well Kyle doesn't make the decisions around here," Maria shot back.
Liz just looked at Maria. It was obvious that she sided with Max. "You know what Maria? Why don't you grow a pair and leave with Kyle because that would make all of our lives so much easier!"
Maria gapped openly at Liz. Liz had never verbally attacked Maria before and now that she had, she felt better. She also felt sick at the notion that turning on her best friend brought her a bit a joy.
"Take Michael with you," Max said. "You shouldn't be alone coming back."
Max didn't sound angry. He sounded tired and resigned. Liz almost felt bad for him.
Liz just left the room with Michael not far behind her. Kyle was waiting in the hallway. "You heard?" Liz asked.
Kyle nodded. "Remind me again why I'm leaving," he said jokingly.
Liz didn't laugh but instead hung her head. "Let's go."
After a silent car ride, they arrived at the bus station. Kyle sat down on the bench closest to the door and Liz sat down next to him. Kyle played with his hands and after a moment, drew Liz closer so she could lean on his shoulder. Liz sighed and a small tear fell down her cheek. None of them spoke until Kyle's bus came. Considering the minimal contact Liz and Kyle had had in the last few months, they both now looked like they were losing their best friend.
Kyle stood up, blinked away tears, and looked at Michael. "Make sure she stays safe," he said to the taller man.
Kyle knew very well that he was leaving Liz with a considerably emotionally damaging group who were about to get worse. Michael nodded and his eyes flickered over to Liz. Kyle extended his hand to shake Michael's. "Is there any chance that you-" Kyle began, out of Liz's earshot.
Michael released his hand. "Not without Liz."
Kyle had never heard Michael actually admit to loving Liz. But he saw the emotion that Liz invoked in Michael and he knew that Michael wouldn't let anything happen to her.
Kyle hugged Liz tightly and kissed her cheek. "Dream walk me sometime, OK?"
Liz laughed a bit. "Be careful."
Less than five minutes later, Kyle was on the bus and disappearing past the horizon. Michael reached over and grabbed Liz's hand, his rough fingers interlacing with hers. It was show of comfort and Liz closed her eyes at the gesture. "We should get back to Max and Maria," he said slowly.
Michael grew worried when Liz didn't respond. "Liz?" he asked gently.
In theory, Liz should have been happy Kyle was leaving. She would miss him, of course, but she knew this was what Kyle needed. But watching him leave just reminded her how she couldn't. Watching him move forward just made her realize how she wasn't moving at all.
She tried to remember when the group had fallen apart. Had it been when Isabel died? Hell, had it been when they all took their first steps into that van? Did it happen during a normally meaningless moment?
When the hell had things gone so terribly wrong? Liz clenched her teeth together in an effort not to cry out in complete desperation. Michael sensed her distress and gripped her hand tighter.
Liz looked up at him and Michael's heart almost jumped out of his chest at the sight of her eyes filled with repressed tears. He wanted to make things better for her but he didn't know how just yet.
Someday he would, that much he could promise.
But for today, they had to go back to Max and Maria.
Liz pushed the feelings back and plastered a smile on her face. Michael easily recognized that she was faking it but he didn't say anything. Silently, he walked her back to the car.
On the ride home, Liz looked out the window, her elbow resting on the window. "Things aren't going to just go back to the way they were, are they?"
Michael looked over at her and saw how tired she looked. How tiny. "That can mean a lot of things."
Liz bit her lip. She was too wiped out to talk about them and where they stood. "You, me, Max, and Maria. It's different now."
Michael shifted his gaze to the road, not sure what to say. When he looked back at her again, she was looking at him dead-on. "Yeah," he said slowly. "It's different now."
"So why didn't you go with him?" he asked nervously after a while.
"Because some things don't change," she answered honestly. "Because I'm not leaving without you."
I couldn't leave you either, he thought to himself, almost hoping she would hear him. But she didn't. Instead he turned back to the road.
"That means a lot, Parker."
And they continued to drive down the deserted road with Isabel watching over them.