Title: To Live Again
Summary: Fourth story in "Picture" series.
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell
A/N: In the event that you are familiar with the original To Live Again-this is completely rewritten. Instead of a one shot, it will be about three chapters. The final installment of the series should be up shortly once this it is finished. FYI, I love all of your reviews-or being favorited or anything that makes me feel like ya'll like what I am doing.
Prologue: Fire, Fire,Fire
When the fire truck pulled up to the Margate Motel, most of the occupants had been evacuated. It wasn't much as far as hotels go so there weren't many people that were standing outside in the summer night air. Donald Brickle was one of the fire fighters designated to get statements from the people outside. Mostly everyone just seemed to be annoyed but he noticed two people who were staring at the smoke with blank stares.
The petite blonde and raven haired male were captivated by the sputtering flames that licked the dark night. "Are you alright?" he asked them. "Were these your rooms? You were lucky you know. You got out safely and the fire didn't spread."
Donald waited for a response. The man was rubbing a small golden ring in his hand, the rawest form of anguish across his face.
"We're fine," the blonde choked out. "Can we just have a moment?"
Donald nodded before walking away, Maria turned to Max frantically. "We need to get out of here. They will think we started the fire."
"They took them. While we were sleeping-she's gone."
Max had just been saying the same phrase in different ways for the last thirty minutes. All he had to hold onto for comfort was the feeling of falling asleep next to Liz. She had been quiet and did not even say goodnight. He hadn't either-just made a mental note to figure out what was wrong with her the next morning.
He woke up, choking on the smoke in the room. Liz wasn't there. Even when he checked every corner of the room, all he had found was her wedding ring. Maria had flown into the room exclaiming that she couldn't find Michael. Then, Max knew.
They had left the ring as a message. We have her. We took her.
Losing Isabel had torn a hole inside of him that he knew would never heal properly. Michael and Liz-
He was ripped in two and his other half was wilting as the fire was now.
Maria had been staring at him for a long time now. "Max? We have to go. You already extinguished most of the fire. We need to leave."
Max was still unresponsive until Maria grabbed his shoulders and shook him. His eyes met hers and Maria forced back her own tears. "Max-"
Maria wasn't sure what to do. Even if they didn't agree with Max's decisions, he was still the one they looked to to make them. Especially the hard ones. She had never seen Max like this or seen this emotion on his face. Honestly, she wasn't sure if he cared if they got caught right now.
"Please," she begged.
"OK," he drawed out. The words seemed forced but Maria was appreciative for the response. He soundlessly turned and headed back to their van. HIs feet felt like lead and his heart felt even heavier.
Maria was worried as she watched him get into the passenger's side with zombie-like motions. Then he turned to her with a somber expression on his face.
"I know that-" and he swallowed a sob. "I know that I messed up with her. I know that I changed and she-"
"I can't change it. I can't undo anything but I would have liked to say that I was sorry. That I would have tried to fix it. That none of this seems-I can't be in a world without her in it."
Maria grabbed the steering wheel so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. She wanted to scream but she knew Max was two seconds away from falling apart completely.
"Max," she began. She wanted to say something profound or comforting. But she felt too numb right now. She took a heaving breath and touched Max's shoulder gently. "There was a fire. They are gone and we have to keep is the world now."
Max regarded her sadly then looked out the window. "This is the world now."
And he cried.