Title: Ghosts of Yesterday
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell.
Summary: Grand finale of the "Picture" Series. Will Michael and Liz finally be able to put their past behind them?
A/N: Just like "To Live Again" if you read the original version, this is slightly different. Please read the previous stories (At least To Live Again) so this one makes sense. Just go my profile page since the links don't seem to like me today :(
#1 Never Give You Up
#2 All We Know of Heaven
# 3 Picture
#4 To Live Again
Prologue: The Wrong Place
Five Years After The Fire (2009)
"You came back", he said, taking in her presence. His weepy eyes noted her long brown hair, withdrawn eyes, and sad smile with a familiarity. He sucked in a harsh breath and pushed back the urge to touch her. Instead, he turned his eyes back to the cold slab of stone in front of him.
Her soft laughter reached his ears. "I never left. "
Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and he stood up, his outstretched arms reaching out to her. She stepped back, her smile turning into a tight lipped frown. "Then again, I'm not even here. Am I?" she half-taunted.
He dug his knees back into the cold ground and together they stared at the nameless tombstone. " It wasn't safe to put your name on it. You understand, don't you? ". His pleading eyes searched for hers. His mind struggled to figure out which one was real. The woman buried in the ground or the one looking at him now with a cool indifference.
" You're a dream," Max finally said, sadness seeping into his hoarse voice.
Liz 's lips curled into an amused smile. "I 'm dead, Max. Of course I'm a dream. "
Or was she a ghost? She constantly haunted him every second of the day.
"Liz, I-" he began only to have her cut him off.
"You didn' t bring me flowers," she said blankly and in front of Max 's eyes the lone tombstone had her name on it. Her year of birth and her year of death carved into the heavy marble and weighed Max 's heart down. He choked back a cry and two similar headstones appeared on either side of hers. Isabel Evans and Michael Guerin.
Tears overflowed his eyelids. "I couldn't find you, Liz. I had nothing to bury. They took that away from me. I'm so sorry, " came his tearful apology. Max flinched when cold arms wrapped around him and he clenched his teeth at the realization that she was not his Liz.
He didn't move from her empty embrace. Max looked at the tombstone. "I took your life away. All I wanted was for you to be happy. But you weren't happy, were you? "
" I am now. "
Max looked at her in confusion. But before he could speak, she pointed towards the tombs. "You aren't looking in the right place. "
The grass around the tombstones suddenly began to burn. The smoke filled his nostrils and he covered his eyes from the stinging air. When he opened them, he was back in the hotel room from that night. He remembered the bed stand, the lamp, everything.
He remembered the flames.
A hand reached out to him and he turned to see Maria standing in front of him. Her eyes were wide and panicked. "Max, where' s Michael? " she asked frantically and then began to cough violently.
Realizing that the tombs were gone, he realized that Liz was too. "Where 's Liz? " he asked to himself under his breath. His heart stopped when Maria let him go and looked to him for answers. She wouldn't find him. She would not find either of them. He closed his eyes as anguish washed over him. Max could no longer see Maria but he knew where she was.
She was running back into her room to double check for Michael. That 's when the blazing flames exploded from her room with Michael in it. "Max, where s Michael? " he vividly remembered her asking him. Max remembered the look of pure terror on her face when she realized there was no way Michael would have survived.
Painfully, he recalled the feeling of running frantically back into his own hotel room and putting out the flame with his powers. Max recalled unlocking the stuck bathroom door and catching a glimpse of Liz 's wedding ring on the floor, but not seeing her. Then, he would run out to catch his breath before going back in to find Liz. But he would be too late and the flames would be too big to put out with his powers and too strong to pass through without killing himself.
As Max remembered this, Liz was standing behind him. "You weren't looking in the right place," she said in almost a whisper. Max whirled around to confront her and ask her what she meant but she was gone.
The feeling of someone watching him pulled at the back of his mind and he shifted his eyes to the window, looking out. Suddenly a thought as suffocating as the fire gripped him.
How could we explain the wedding ring left behind? He had assumed it was a message that she had been taken but the FBI had never used her as leverage to get to him? Had they just been killed and their bodies were taken?
The fire disappeared and he was left to stand in the room alone.
"I think we should go to New Jersey, " Maria was saying when he woke up. He was still groggy from sleep and was trying to push his dream in the back of his mind. Maria was sitting next to him on his small bed in their small apartment.
"Why New Jersey?"
Maria skittered her gaze away from him. This couldn't be good. Max knew everything about Maria by now. For the last five years, they were all the other one had. He knew for sure that something was going on in her head. Something was wrong.
"My mom is there, Max. I talked to her last week. "
Max bristled a bit at her words but bit his tongue. Even though the FBI had made no appearances, it didn t mean they weren't still watching. "I thought that you liked Vermont, " he said quietly, trying to stall the inevitable words he knew were coming.
Maria shifted her weight so that the bed creaked a bit. " I want to go home, Max. I can't live like this forever. Besides, you and I both know that it s safer now. "
"How do you-? "
"They've done enough damage, don t you think, Max? " she bit off curtly. Maria still thought that the FBI had started that fire but Max knew it wasn't them. He knew that they'd want to keep them around for experimentation all too well. But Maria needed someone to blame so he didn't stop her.
Maria had changed, anyone could see that. Michael and Liz' s deaths had mellowed her out, broken her. She never actually admitted that she felt guilty for her and Liz 's falling out but it didn't change the fact that it was there.
And now she was tired and worn out.
She wanted to leave him.
Max rubbed his eyes. "What am I going to do?" he asked softly, knowing that Maria had made up her mind.
Maria gave him a weak smile. "What do you mean? You could come with me. "
Max just grunted and looked away from her. "I can't do that, Maria. You deserve to *really* be home and happy. All I 'll do is remind you of the past. "
"What about you deserve? " Maria asked in a soft voice.
"I don't know if I deserve much of anything. "
Maria didn' t deny it. " We've been through alot, Max. "
Max felt numb as Maria rambled on with her goodbye speech. All Max could think about was that he had no one left now.
For the next two hours, they talked about their adventures-the good and the bad. She told him that she was preparing to leave in three days. Max lied and told her that he would stay in Vermont for a while and sell the apartment for cash and then find some place to live. Max knew that he would probably stay in the apartment.
Finally, after Maria had talked herself out, she got up to prepare lunch. "Max, where did you put the pan?" she asked him loudly.
Max just stared at the wall thinking.
"Are you even looking? " she joked with a small laugh. Max 's blood ran cold.
You aren't looking in the right place.
"Maria! " he yelped, jumping off the bed to find her. He was losing his mind, probably, but the thought that had just crossed his head
"What s wrong? " she asked when he came into the kitchen. She took in his wild glazed eyes and frowned. "Max, what s-? "
"When had Liz ever taken off her wedding ring? " he blurted out. Maria stood rigid and her hand began to shake at her best friend's name.
"Max, I don t know, " she said, wanting him to drop the subject.
" Why didn't we find them?" he asked, his glazed eyes searching hers. Maria felt like crying and she wondered why Max was suddenly bringing this up. For the first time in five years, hope was shining in Max Evan s eyes.
" I fell asleep with Liz by my side, Maria. When I woke up and I saw the flames, she wasn't there. Where was Michael, Maria? " his determined gaze was fixed on her. Maria 's head began to spin.
" He was next to me, " she whispered. "Max, why are you asking me these things? They're dead. "
Max seemed to flinch but he reached out and gripped Maria' s arms. "They were right next to us when we fell asleep, Maria. Where did they go? Why couldn't we find them? "
Maria was shaking her head furiously now. She didn't want to hear this. She pleaded with him in her eyes to not say it. "Max- "
"They would have used her to capture me," he hissed.
" NO!" Maria shouted. "You are losing your mind. I was there, Max."
"They weren't in the room when the fire started. How could they have just taken them from the room while we were in there? Come back into my room to leave the ring?"
Maria looked at him with a resigned look on her face. "You're the one who told me they were dead. You couldn't feel her anymore through your connection, remember? You said it was like dead air, Max. Do you remember that?"
"What if they're alive? What if I didn't look hard enough? If I gave up so easily?"
His words hung in the air. They were spoken with certainty but at the same time, they were filled with doubt. Max was mindful of the can of worms he had just opened.
"It s been five years, Max," Maria said quietly. "We've gone over all the possibilities. "
Maria was crying hysterically and threw her arms into the air. "They burnt to death, Max! They are *dead*. Why are you doing this? Are you trying to hurt me for something? I don't understand why you would do this! " and with that, she ran into her room, slamming the door behind her.
But Max was crazed now. Ideas were running through his head at a mile a minute. It could be false hope spurred by some random dream and he knew that. But he didn't have time for that.
In her room, Maria was bursting into tears every two seconds. She didn't understand what Max was doing.
Max had his mood swings before. There were days when he was in complete denial or days when he was crying like a child. But today, just moments ago, Max had lost mind.
Despite her better judgment, she thought about his words. She wanted to believe him. But all she did know was that Max would do anything for Liz Parker. She knew that was probably scheming up ways to find her right now.
Even if she was already dead.
If she knew anything about Max Evans, it was that when he found something to cling on to, he didn't let go. If he thought that it would make things better, he would never stop. That s what he did when he was searching for Zan. Then, he had destroyed the people around him.
Now, he was just going to destroy himself.