Title: To Live Again
Summary: Fourth story in "Picture" series.
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell
A/N: The final installment of the Picture series will be up shortly.
Chapter Two: Where There's Smoke...
One Hour Before the Fire
Liz observed Michael closely, waiting for some kind of response. Realistically she wasn't expecting him to jump in unrestrained excitement. With that being said, the lack of any reaction at all was more worrisome.
They were outside of another motel in the middle of nowhere. Liz had slipped Michael a note to meet her outside after Maria had fallen asleep.
"You asked me to stay in the room with you," Liz said slowly.
"I did," he affirmed.
"And we had sex."
He regarded for a brief moment regretfully before looking away with a shameful frown on his face. "This is the first time we've talked since...that."
"We fell asleep and I woke up to you telling me I had to leave before they got back from work," Liz whispered. She wanted to cry but refused to. She wasn't sure what she should have expected. To wake up in his arms? To have Max and Maria find them and have all this over with?
But not to be shooed from the room like a drunken one night stand.
"I hurt you," he stated and pulled her towards him. She resisted a bit causing Michael to look at her questionably. "I deserve that."
But he didn't remove his hand from her arm as she glared at him. She was unsure and behind the anger in her eyes, he could tell how hurt she was. "I've been so afraid to tell you," she sobbed finally.
Michael's heart was pounding. He had never meant to hurt her like this and it killed him to see her recoiling from him. He grazed her thumb on her arm and tugged gently. "Why? Come here, Liz."
Liz slowly leaned into him. "You didn't want me then. Why would you want her?"
She was still a bit tense next to him until Michael kissed her forehead. He couldn't contain a smile from spreading across his usually stony countenance. "Her?"
Her eyes met his. "Yes. We've connected. I can feel her. When she's happy or making me throw up everywhere-"
"I love you," he interrupted her suddenly. His hands cradled her face so she could look into his eyes. "I was stupid and scared. I just figured that I had to cut the string before you changed your mind and left me anyway. I don't know, baby, I just-I really messed up."
She was still not fully convinced, he could tell. "I'm done with this shit," he continued. "Max isn't raising my child or touching you anymore. We'll go in there and tell them right now. I swear-"
Liz pressed her lips up against his, kissing him fervently. His tongue swept her bottom lip. Liz moaned and opened her mouth for him. When Michael pulled away from her, he had tears in his eyes.
"What's wrong?" she asked breathlessly.
"I felt her," he said in awe. His hand rubbed her still flat abdomen. "You are never allowed to think I don't want either of you ever again," he said to Liz. When she placed her hands over his, he noticed she had taken off her wedding band.
Liz saw where his gaze was and gave him a small smile. "I was going to tell Max something. I don't know what. The words never came out though. He didn't realize I had taken it off before bed."
Michael thought for a long moment before frowning deeply. "He won't let you go."
"We can't give our daughter this life," Liz said. "We need to keep her safe."
"Then we leave."
Michael knew the words were harsh but they were partly true. The Special Unit had gone through extreme lengths to recapture or kill Tess when she had returned. Despite her mindwarp that kept the agents from seeing them in the desert that night, they had never returned. It was because Max wasn't with them. They had probably looked for Tess a bit longer, then assumed she herself was dead after no more murders occurred with her MO. Michael had a strong feeling that if they left, his family would be safe.
"Max won't let us leave and if we do it anyway, he will come after us."
Michael tried to imagine how that conversation would go with him. Past history between Michael and Liz or not, Michael had impregnated his best friend's wife. That conversation alone made his palms sweat. Liz was looking to him for answers right now. While it may have been his biological obligation to protect his King, the woman next to him carrying his little girl were superseding that responsibility.
"Do you trust me?" he implored. Liz nodded.
"Okay," he exhaled. "I know what we have to do."
"That day you came into my room you told me that we could die any day. You also said there might be a point where we just can't go back to how it was. If we leave we have to make it so that we can't go back-so that he won't come looking."
Liz scooted back a little. A trepidus look was etched on her face. "Michael, what are you saying?"
Liz was sobbing as she watched herself die. A death just for Max and Maria so she could have a life for her and her daughter. She briefly dwelled on how selfish this might be-how damaging this blow would be for what was left of their group. But as the flames danced, Liz felt something else.
She had watched as Max and Maria fled their rooms-panicked and heart broken. She had never seen Max look so forlorn. An engine roared behind her and Michael tapped at this window, motioning for her to jump in.
Liz prayed that Max and Maria had enough sense to leave the scene for their own safety before they saw that someone's car from the hotel had been stolen. Liz went over to the car, tapping the body to change the color and fingered the license plate to change the numbers.
She knew this wasn't the best plan. It left a lot of questions for Max and Maria to wonder over. Leaving two bodies in their places wasn't an option. It was the best they could do for now.
Michael searched her face when she got into the car. "Are you alright?"
Liz wasn't sure which feeling to pinpoint. The guilt welling in her stomach was nagging at her but the lightness in her soul was one she hadn't felt in a long time. Free.
"Yes. Let's go."