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Chalkboard Destiny 2: A Familiar Deception

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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive September 9, 2002

Title : A Familiar Deception
Author : Mel
Summary : Sequel to 'Getting Behind the Wheel'.  Someone isn't too happy about Liz and Isabel's relationship and takes drastic measures to put an end to it.  (Isabel/Liz, impled Isabel/Tess)
Disclaimer : I own nothing, but too many Witches' Brew candles and a cat that acts like a monkey.  Roswell belongs to Melinda Metz, and anybody else associated with the books, the show, the WB and UPN...whatever, I'm just borrowing Isabel and Liz and getting them to be truthful about their feelings.  The probability of me giving them back is slim <grin>.  I OWN NOTHING.  I make no money at all right now.
Rating : R for language. 
Feedback : Love it.  fivebyfive13@prodigy.net



       Liz Parker had been up half the night thinking. Days had turned into weeks and suddenly she and Isabel had been together for over two months. Liz smiled at that...she was 'with' Isabel and she had never been happier. The only problem was that Max still wouldn't talk to her. She had come to terms with the fact that he wouldn't acknowledge her existence, instead reverting to staring at her when he thought she didn't see him. But she did. He had the same piercing eyes as his sister. She wondered if one day he might be able to forgive her...or at least deal and move on. Mostly, Liz hoped that Max would talk to Isabel because she knew it was weighing on her girlfriend. Isabel tried not to show it, but Liz knew how badly it hurt her that Max could barely look at her. One day things would get better. Liz prayed that day would come soon.

       Liz saw the soft sparkle of early morning light creep in through her window. A few minutes later she saw the first hints of the sunrise on its way, felt the yellow warmth begin to enter her room and shed its light on her bed. She moved to get up, but strong arms tightened their grip around her waist and pulled her back into a warm cocoon of blankets and body heat. Liz relaxed for a moment and smiled, breath hot on her neck. She slowly turned her head to look at Isabel, still sound asleep eyes closed, mouth half open, breathing softly. After the first night they were together, Isabel made good on her promise and never ran from Liz again. Liz never woke up unexpectedly alone again. She gently extricated herself from the vice grip Isabel had laid on her body and quietly opened the window to escape onto the roof.

       Isabel Evans was feeling warm, very very warm. What felt like only a moment later, she wasn't so warm anymore. She reached out to pull Liz closer to her, but her arms fell onto an empty side of the bed. Isabel woke with a start, sitting up quickly. It was still fairly dim outside...the clock said it was too early to be up for school. She squinted in the faint light and couldn't see Liz anywhere in the room. Throwing off the covers, she ran a hand through her tousled hair and climbed out of bed. She pulled a blanket over her tank top and pajama pants, making sure it was tight around her. She ducked her head into the bathroom and whispered Liz's name only to hear the silence answer her back. Isabel noted the bedroom door was still locked from the inside when she felt a slight breeze enter the room. She quickly turned her attention to the window which she realized was half open. Something inside of Isabel stilled, a calm that had created itself for and to be contained only in Liz Parker's presence. It was a feeling Isabel had come to know, something she desperately needed...something she was thankful for every second of every day.

       Isabel ducked through the open window so softly, Liz didn't even hear her. Isabel smiled at the picture of Liz sitting quietly on the wall, knees hugged to her chest, sweet colors of the rising sun surrounding her like a glow. There was a chill in the cool morning air, but by the late morning the scorching Roswell sun would make sure everyone was warm. Isabel hugged the blanket closer to herself as she shuffled across the rooftop, blinking away the sleep as the light penetrated her eyes. Liz finally heard Isabel approaching her as she got closer, but didn't make an effort to move in the slightest. She ran her hands up her bare arms feeling the cold air nip at her skin. She felt Isabel's warmth creeping at her back as the tall girl straddled the wall behind her and eased herself down slowly. A moment later she felt Isabel's arms go around her followed by the softness of her favorite blanket.

       "For a minute there I thought maybe you'd been abducted," Isabel teased as Liz leaned back in her embrace, her hands finding Isabel's own. "You know if you're going to insist that you dress like me, you could at least remember to grab a blanket. You're freezing."

       "Not anymore," Liz shook her head. "Besides, I knew you'd find me." Her body relaxed as Isabel held her tighter and kissed the top of her head.

       "What are you doing out here anyway?"

       "Waiting for you," Liz answered quietly. "You've shared so much with me these past months and I just wanted to share something with you. You don't know how many mornings I've come out here by myself just watching the sun come up wishing that one day I'd have someone out here with me." She paused and tilted her head to place a sweet kiss on Isabel's lips. "Finally my wish came true," she whispered pulling away. Isabel nodded slowly, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.

       "Isabel Evans blushing," Liz declared. "I never thought I'd see the day."

       "Only for you, Liz," Isabel whispered in her ear leaning in, hair spilling forward over the both of them. "Only for you," she said once more before capturing Liz's lips in a searing kiss that left both girls breathless. They snuggled closer as the sun crept up enjoying the closeness that they had come to realize they only knew with each other.

       "I think I should tell Maria," Liz started after a few minutes of silence, "before she hears it from someone else." She turned her head slightly to see Isabel staring off into the distance.

       "Yeah, that's probably a good idea," Isabel replied turning to kiss Liz on the forehead. "Who gets to tell Alex?" She breathed against Liz's hair.

       "I hadn't even thought of that," Liz admitted. "You want to tell him?"

       "I feel like I should."

       "It's not going to be easy."

       "You think telling Maria is going to be easy?" Isabel asked with a laugh.

**************************

       Liz showed up at Maria's house that morning just in time to catch Sheriff Valenti on his way out. They exchanged awkward greetings and went on their separate ways. Once Liz found her way to Maria's room, she sat on the edge of the bed and picked at her fingernails. A few minutes later, Maria emerged from the shower in nothing but a towel.

       "Hey," Maria said as she started drying her auburn locks.

       "Hey," Liz replied. She fidgeted nervously.

       "What's up, Lizzie?" Maria dropped the towel and started dressing. This was normal, for them to change in front of each other. And Liz wasn't even attracted to Maria...they were practically sisters. But she was a little scared that after she told Maria about her budding romance things would get awkward. Liz looked at her shoes. Then looked back up when Maria put a hand on her shoulder.

       "I have to tell you something."

       "It sounds serious."

       "It is," Liz said as she got up and started pacing.

       "Are you pregnant?" Maria asked, her eyes wide. Liz stopped in her tracks and almost laughed.

       "No, I'm definitely not pregnant, Maria."

       "Did you sleep with Michael?" She asked, eyes narrowing.

       "Ew, no. Maria, you know I wouldn't do that," Liz replied trying to muster up the courage to say what she had come over to say.

       "What do you mean ew?"

       "What?"

       "You just ewed my boyfriend."

       "Jesus, Maria. If you'd let me tell you what I have to say you'll realize why I said that," Liz said running a hand through her dark hair.

       "Well, spit it out already," Maria said becoming impatient.

       "I'm seeing someone...have been for a couple months," Liz breathed with relief that it was finally out.

       "That's so great," Maria got up and hugged her friend tightly. "It's about time you moved on from the alien drama that is Max Evans. Wait, why haven't you told me before this?" She asked pulling away.

       "See that's the thing. I haven't really escaped the alien drama, Maria."

       "You lost me. Because you're not sleeping with Michael. And Max and Tess are like always together holding hands and being vomit worthy. So..." Maria pondered for a moment. Liz waited for her to do the math, but decided it should come from her mouth.

       "Oh my God. There's a new alien in Roswell?" Maria screeched before Liz could get a word out.

       "No, Maria. Calm down," Liz said putting a hand up. "It's Isabel."

       "Isabel Evans?!"

       "Do you know another Isabel that happens to be from a universe far, far away?" Liz asked waiting for Maria to start breathing again.

       "That is so fucked up, Liz," Maria said once the blood returned to her body.

       "What?" Liz said startled and surprised.

       "How could you do that to Max?" Maria asked harshly, stepping back when Liz moved forward. "More importantly, how could you do that to Alex?"

       "This isn't about Max...or Alex, Maria," Liz answered, blinking back tears.

       "What's it about then?"

       "Right now it's about me and you. It's about me trying to explain this to you if you'll listen," Liz said wiping at her eyes with the sleeve of her sweater. When Maria was silent, Liz continued. "Isabel and I have this connection that I can't seem to put into words. God knows, I've tried. I had to give Max up to Tess, you know that."

       "So this is your consellation prize?" Maria accused, her voice hard.

       "No, what I have with Isabel is so much deeper than what I had with Max. When I'm with her I feel important, somehow whole. Something I never felt with Max. With him I always felt like a puzzle piece trying to cram itself into the wrong spot," Liz said trying to hold her ground, but feeling her legs start to get weak with sadness. Maria just stood there, silent.

       "Maria, you're my best friend in the world. Say something, please," Liz pleaded.

       "What do you want me to say? Huh?" Maria replied with anger. "We never keep secrets, Liz, never. And this is one major secret. God," she said pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration.

       "Maria, I'm so happy with her," Liz said, trying to make her understand.

       "Good for you, but what about everyone else?" Maria said grabbing her jacket and walking out of her own house, leaving Liz standing in front of the vanity mirror to take a good look at herself. After drying her eyes for the hundredth time, she dragged herself to school hoping to find comfort, or at least distraction, in her classes.

**************************

       Alex was sitting on the steps in front of his house tooling on his guitar when Isabel began trekking up the walkway. When he noticed her, he put down the guitar and stood up pulling his shirt down nervously over his oversized pants. She was smiling nervously, herself, but all Alex saw was that great big Isabel Evans smile coming towards him. As far as he was concerned, she was pure light.

       "Isabel, what are you doing here?" He asked. "At seven o'clock in the morning, no less. I'm not complaining or anything," he added, smiling.

       "We need to talk, Alex," she said, the smiling sliding off of her face.

       "Okay, about what?" He asked anxiously.

       "I have to tell you something that you might not necessarily like."

       "Isabel, you already broke up with me. So trust me when I tell you it can't be any worse than that," Alex said, leaning the guitar against the front of the house. "Wait a second, is this about you and Liz because I..."

       "What?!" Isabel said shocked. "Liz and I what?" She asked.

       "Liz and you being a couple," Alex answered bluntly. He smiled.

       "Why are you smiling?"

       "You're so cute when you're flustered," he answered, touching her face for a second. Isabel let him. "I'm touched, really, that you thought it was something you needed to share with me. You know, like a courtesy." He let his hand fall away.

       "You're not mad?" She asked, sticking her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket.

       "No, Isabel. I'm not mad. After I found out, it sort of hit me a little hard. But I got over it. I like being your friend, Is. I'd rather be your friend than not have you in my life at all. And besides, we were a wrong fit right from the start." Alex just stood there smiling and Isabel wanted to cry. Instead, she walked forward and hugged him, feeling his arms go around her and squeeze her tightly.

       "Thank you, Alex," she said quietly before stepping back. "How did you find out, by the way?"

       "Are you kidding? You two are so completely obvious. And I haven't seen Liz this happy since we were five and she got the Barbie dream house she asked for for Christmas," he replied. "I put two and two together and figured with all the time she was spending with you that something must be up."

       "We're really obvious?" She asked getting self-conscious.

       "Not really," he said. "I just pay a little more attention to you than everyone else, I guess."

       "Come on, I'll walk you to school," Isabel said, winking. "You can stare at me the whole way if you want," she added with a sly grin.

       "I promise I won't tell Liz," he said fastening his backpack, and raising his eyebrows. "Seriously, Isabel. Be careful with her. She acts tough, but I know she isn't. Don't hurt her."

       "Not a chance of that happening, Alex. Don't worry," Isabel replied sincerely. She had no idea she was being watched.

**************************

       After the bell to let out school had sounded, Isabel and Alex were walking out of last period in search of Maria. Isabel had gotten worried when she realized Liz hadn't showed up at all for school. She figured Maria would know what happened. It didn't even dawn on her that the reason Liz might be absent was because her meeting with Maria hadn't gone as well as hers did with Alex. She spotted Maria and Michael obviously arguing about something right before he slammed his fist into a locker and walked off. Isabel tugged on Alex's sleeve and made her way to where Maria was throwing things around in her locker.

       "What was that all about?" She asked the other girl. Alex tried to put a hand on Maria's shoulder, but she flinched and shook it off.

       "None of your business," Maria replied through clenched teeth. She squeezed some drops of one of her liquid herbs into her mouth and tried to breathe.

       "Okay, well do you know where Liz is?" Isabel asked. She was answered with the slam of Maria's locker.

       "Maria?" Alex said softly, confused. He went to touch her again, but she brought a hand up to ward him off.

       "I assumed she was with you," Maria said turning her attention to Isabel whose jaw was beginning to clench. "She's not my girlfriend. Maybe you should keep better tabs."

       "She told you," Isabel replied, more of a statement than a question.

       "Unfortunately," Maria said, placing a well manicured hand on her hip. She looked at Alex, who was calm and then back to Isabel. "Looks like I'm the last to find out."

       "Where is she?" Isabel asked jaggedly. If Liz was in trouble or upset, she knew she had to go find her.

       "I told you I don't know. I took off after she came out with the truth," Maria said with a snort. "Sorry, no pun intended. I thought she'd go running to you for comfort...maybe you two are a little less together than you think. But who am I to judge your relationship, right?" Maria said with a forced smile.

       Isabel looked at her for a second and then to Alex. He was looking at Maria like he had no idea who she was. She checked her watch which read half past two and took off down the hallway and out into the hot Roswell sun, hoping to find Liz and attempt to make things better.

       "What is wrong with you?" Alex asked Maria after Isabel had left.

       "Excuse me? What is wrong with you?" She shot back at him. "Your best friend just stole your woman from you and you don't even care and you're asking me what my problem is?"

       "Maria, chill out. I'm fine with it. It's okay," he said trying to calm her down.

       "It's not okay," Maria said pointedly, tears forming.

       "Why not?" Alex asked, finally being allowed to pull Maria to him.

       "Because she's my best friend and I'm the last person she told," she said into his shirt. "I feel like I don't even know her."

       "Did you tell her that?" He asked gently. "This isn't about her and Isabel. It's about Liz and you, Maria."

       "I just don't want her to feel like she can't tell me stuff. You know us, Alex, we never keep secrets."

       "You should talk to her...calmly. It's just stupid for you two to be fighting over this," he said, pulling back from her. She nodded and wiped at her eyes.

       "I guess I acted like a big jerk, huh?" She asked, smiling.

       "Yeah you did," he answered. "Come on, let's go. You can talk to Liz at the Crashdown later and buy me dinner," he added putting his arm around her shoulders and walking her out.

**************************

       The Roswell sun beat down hard and relentlessly on Liz Parker as she made her way back from the pod chambers. She needed to be alone and she figured no one would come there, especially to find her. Her bare arms were hot and were starting to burn, but she didn't notice. She didn't care. She felt like she had her insides ripped out by the person she thought she was closest to. Maria should have understood. Liz hadn't even thought her freaking out would be a possibility, but she was wrong. She was so wrong and it occurred to her that maybe some of the things Maria said were right. What about everyone else? What if Alex freaked out too? Was it worth it to ruin everyone else's lives just to have Isabel? Yes. Liz thought simply that. No matter what the cost, she wasn't going to let Isabel go. She had always put everyone else before herself and this time that wasn't going to happen.

       When she got back to the Crashdown, it was nearly five o'clock. She gave her father some lame excuse about having some big test the next day and locked herself in her room. Maria was working and she wasn't ready to deal with her yet. About half way through the evening shift, Liz heard a knock on her door. She sat up, startled. She hoped it was Isabel and then remembered she hadn't bothered to call her and explain what happened.

       "Liz, it's Maria." A voice said through the locked door. "Can I come in?" Then she heard the doorknob jiggle. Liz made a two second decision to get out of there, grabbing her jacket and climbing out the window. She heard Maria keep knocking as she made her way across the balcony, but by the time she hit the pavement below it was a distant murmur. She went around back, snuck inside the restaurant back room and lifted the keys to her Dad's pickup truck. Five minutes later she found herself outside Isabel's house.

**************************

       Isabel threw her keys on the table and grabbed a bottle of water before heading upstairs to her room. She had looked everywhere for Liz and come up empty handed. She even went to the Crashdown and questioned her father. It was almost nine when she got home. She was thankful that Max wasn't there. She figured he was probably with Tess, but he wouldn't be there to not look at her anyway. She heard shuffling in her room and busted open the door to see what was going on.

       She opened her door to find Liz playing with one of the candles on her dresser and she breathed a sigh of relief. Liz turned to look at Isabel, her eyes puffy and red around the edges. She gave a weak smile before bursting into tears and walking into Isabel's arms. Isabel held her with all the strength she had, trying to reassure her that everything would be okay. She ran her hand over Liz's hair and tightened her grip with every sob. Eventually, Isabel led them over to her bed to sit down and Liz finally relaxed.

       "I was so worried about you," Isabel said, wiping at Liz's tears.

       "I know. I'm sorry," Liz breathed softly. "Maria completely freaked."

       "I know. I saw her. She was less than forthcoming with any info and she looked about ready to claw my face off."

       "And Alex?" Liz asked hopefully.

       "He's about to start us a fan club," Isabel replied, smiling. "He already figured it out. Says you haven't been so happy in a long time," she added getting serious. "That true?"

       "You know the answer to that," Liz said leaning forward to capture Isabel's lips in a sweet kiss, an affirmation of the love she felt so deeply in her soul.

       "Think she'll come around?" Isabel asked when they parted.

       "I don't know. I hope so, but she just seemed so angry."

       "Yeah I kinda got that impression too."

       "She came by my room tonight, but I just didn't know what to say to her. So I came here instead," Liz said, shifting closer to Isabel.

       "I'm glad you did," Isabel replied, bringing a hand up to gently run her fingers along the side of Liz's face. Liz closed her eyes and leaned into Isabel's hand.

       "I feel so lost when you're not around," she breathed just above a whisper.

       "So do I," Isabel said in return. She leaned in and kissed Liz firm and heated. Liz was holding onto her, gripping her sweater so tightly her hands were in fists. Isabel pulled back to look into Liz's eyes and was scared by the fear and uncertainty that stared back at her. "What is it?" She asked.

       "Are you prepared to deal with all the loss that comes from being with me, Isabel?" Liz asked, hoping she wouldn't be leaving with a broken heart. "I mean, what if Max doesn't ever want to talk to you again? Maybe we're being selfish."

       "Liz, I'm not going to leave you...ever," Isabel replied. "I mean, I'm not exactly the safest person to be around either. With the alien hunters and otherworldly enemies I seem to have attracted in the past. I want to be with you, Liz. No matter what the cost."

       "What about Max?" Liz asked.

       "He'll get over it. He's probably off with Tess somewhere making babies or something," Isabel said with a smile. Liz gave a small smile in return right before attacking Isabel's lips with the thunder of a hundred rain clouds.

       They laid there for the next few hours entangled, enjoying the silence and each other's heartbeats. Liz drifted into sleep for a while and Isabel simply watched her and realized how completely lucky she was to have such an incredible girl in her bed, and more importantly her heart.

       Liz stirred and bolted upright. Isabel was immediately at her side. Liz clung to her in desperation.

       "Shh..it's okay. You were dreaming," Isabel said, gently rubbing Liz's back.

       "Someone was there, Isabel. In my head. Someone was there," Liz replied, shaken.

       "What? No, Liz you've just had a long, crappy day," Isabel said. "It was just a dream, nothing more than that. I'm right here and nothing can hurt you."

       "Maybe you're right," Liz said, sitting back. She held Isabel's hands and squeezed them gently. "I'm a little more than you bargained for, huh?" She asked with a smirk.

       "Somehow I think I'll manage."

       "You better," Liz said and then looked across the room at the clock. "I better get going. It's late. And my Dad doesn't even know I took the truck."

       "Sure you don't want to stay?" Isabel asked with a sly grin.

       "Not tonight, Is. I'm still pretty worn out from last night," Liz replied, grinning.

       "Want me to walk you out?" Isabel asked, both of them getting up.

       "I think I can find my way. You should get some sleep. We've both had pretty long, tiring days," Liz answered, putting on her jacket. Isabel nodded and moved forward, reaching around Liz's neck to pull her hair out from under the collar. She rested each of her hands on the sides of Liz's face and pulled her in for a kiss. Liz slipped her hands around Isabel's hips and rested them on the small of her back, pulling her closer. After a few endless moments they pulled apart, still touching forehead to forehead.

       "Sure you don't want to stay?" Isabel asked breathlessly.

       "Of course I want to stay, but I'm not going to," Liz replied. She extracted herself from the embrace and opened the door. "I'll see you tomorrow."

       "Check. Tomorrow," Isabel replied. "I love you, Liz Parker." They stood there and smiled at each other for a minute.

       "I love you, too," Liz said and exited the room, closing the door behind her. Isabel flipped off the light and climbed into bed.

**************************

       Liz was closing the side door when Max pulled into the driveway. She walked down the steps, biting her bottom lip. She could either ignore him staring at her and go home or put an end to all the silence and careful sidestepping. When she was certain he was looking right at her, she looked up and stared him down. He looked away quickly and stepped out of the jeep, closing the door quietly after he did so. Max was walking past her, when Liz reached out and grabbed his arm. He froze and looked away.

       "Max, I think we should talk," she said, not letting go until he faced her.

       "About what?" He asked, his face neutral.

       "Isabel."

       "What for?" He asked, confused.

       "She's your sister, Max, and you won't even look at her," Liz said, softly. "She loves you and she just wants you to talk to her...to work things out."

       "You think this isn't hard for me, Liz?" He asked, leaning closer to her, anger in his voice quickly turning to pain. "I thought I was going to be with you forever and now I have to watch you with my sister, the closest person to me in the world. Do you know what that kind of betrayal feels like?"

       "Max, you two need each other. No matter who she's with. No matter what I or she's done to you, Isabel is always going to be a part of you and you can't just cut her off like this," Liz said, placing a hand on his arm and staring him straight in the eye.

       "You have no idea what this is like," he yelled, violently shrugging her off. "I'm still in love with you, Liz. Sometimes I think I always will be. And every time I look at her, I see you two together and a part of me dies. I feel like I'm withering inside and there's nothing I can do to stop it," he said backing away.

       "But you're with Tess."

       "Either that or I'm alone," he replied, stepping backwards. "And I really don't think I could stand being alone right now," he finished and turned to open the side door. "She's not you, Liz. She never will be."

       "Max, please talk to her. Hate me all you want, but don't keep hurting her like this," Liz said, pleading to his back. Max stood still for a moment. Liz could see his shoulders rise and fall in deep breathing, but then he opened the door and went into the darkness inside never looking back at the girl that had scarred him forever.

       Liz stood there for an endless moment wondering if things would ever go back to the way they were before. She sort of knew they wouldn't and part of her was glad. But part of her just wanted Maria to be her best friend and for all of them to get along like they used to. She walked to the truck and got in, emotionally drained from the day's events. She banged her hand on the steering wheel so hard she knew she was going to have a bruise the next day. She welcomed it, pain that might somehow take her mind of how fucked up things had gotten in the past weeks.

       She was about halfway down the road when a small, dark figure ran out into the street in front of her. Liz saw a hand raised towards her right before the she was blinded by a bright, shining light. She went to hit the brakes, but the truck started shaking and she had lost complete control. The wheel jerked to the left sending the truck across the street and down a wooded embankment where it rolled until it hit a large tree, stopping it's further movement. The last thing Liz remembered was the face of her attacker, curled in a satisfied smile and the thought that if she was gone the wedge in between Max and Isabel would be gone too. The light slowly took over and she didn't struggle. She gave herself up to it willingly.

**************************

       Isabel stirred, feeling something just wasn't right. Through lidded eyes, she caught a glimpse of flashing lights penetrating her window. Suddenly reality took hold of her, ripping her from her peaceful slumber. Sirens wailed in the distance, but Isabel realized they were coming closer to her. She shrugged the covers off of herself and her bare feet hit the floor with a loud thud. Dragging herself in the direction of the window, of the flashing lights and loud sirens, she peered through the blinds. A little ways down the street she could see patrol cars, ambulances, and fire and rescue. She spotted Valenti pull up and race out of his truck, frantically shaking his head when he was able to see what had happened.

       Isabel grabbed a sweatshirt and sneakers and walked out into the hallway. She nearly ran into Max who was dressed in a similar fashion and appeared to be headed in the same direction as she was. He stopped in his tracks and looked down, waiting for her to pass in front of him. Isabel opened her mouth, but shut it just as quickly and hurried outside to see what the commotion was all about.

       Her feet hit the pavement and something inside urged her to run. She felt a sudden moment of panic, her body getting hot and uncomfortable. Isabel took off in a sprint towards the cars and flashing lights. Max watched his sister, suddenly feeling the same way and followed her trying desperately to keep up. They both arrived at the side of the road at the same time, Isabel nearly sliding down it herself she was going so fast. Max reached out and pulled her back, letting go immediately after she had gotten her footing. Isabel would have turned around and acknowledged that Max had touched her for the first time in two months, but her eyes were focused on the mess that laid below them.

       "No," Isabel whispered. Then louder, "no, no, no," she continued. Sheriff Valenti looked up from where he stood next to the mangled remains of the truck. Isabel could see even from afar that his eyes were wet. "Liz," she yelled scrambling to get down to where her girlfriend's truck was laying in shambles.

       "Isabel, no," Valenti yelled as he came towards her. He grabbed her around the waist and tried to push her back from the accident scene up to the top of the hill. He was shocked at how much force Isabel was putting back on him, desperately trying to get past him. Valenti locked his arms and picked her up off the ground carrying her to safety. "Max, a little help here," he said still slightly struggling.

       Max just continued to stand there like he hadn't heard or seen anything. He felt his hands go numb and his knees threatening to buckle.

       "Max!" Valenti yelled, commotion still bustling in the background. News crews were starting to arrive. Neighbors were flooding from their houses. Isabel attempted one last time to push past him, but Valenti shoved her to the ground, finally breaking Max out of his shocked silence.

       "Stay here," Valenti commanded looking down at Isabel. Her hands were starting to shake.

       "Is...she..." Max began, his voice unsteady, "down there?" He asked looking up at Valenti with sad, anxious eyes.

       "Yes," he answered, running a hand through his hair.

       "Is she," Max paused, looking at Isabel who was staring over the edge of the embankment, and then back to Valenti. "Is she dead?"

       "We don't know yet, Max. The EMTs are doing all they can, trying to get her out and up here so they can transport her to the hospital," Valenti answered. "Please keep your sister up here while I go back down there and see what's going on." A young cop came forward like he was going to try and escort Max and Isabel back from the scene, but Valenti shook his head and waved him off.

       Isabel's eyes went wide and she scrambled back to her feet, but it seemed that they wouldn't work. She stood frozen, like a statue as Max and Valenti turned their eyes back to the truck. Valenti ran down the hill to where the medical technicians were finally pulling Liz from the wreckage. She was obviously unconscious, bleeding from the head and her clothes torn. A minute later, the truck started to spark and a small fire began near the brush.

       "Everybody out fast, this car's gonna blow," one of the workers shouted. The EMTs quickly strapped Liz down to a gurney and everyone rushed up the hill as the truck rumbled and shot sparks behind them.

       They had just made it up the hill when the truck exploded in a hail of scrap metal and flames. Max jumped at Isabel, knocking her to the pavement and covering her body with his. There was another blast and then it became almost too quiet. Everyone was standing around in awe and shock. Seconds later the ambulance took off down the street and Sheriff Valenti was helping Max and Isabel to their feet.

       "What happened?" Isabel asked in a faraway voice, not bothering to brush herself off.

       "We don't really know," Valenti answered. "We got a call that someone heard a crash, saw some kind of really bright light. When we got here this is what we found."

       "Is she going to be okay?" Isabel asked, tears caught in her throat threatening to spill.

       "I don't know, Isabel," he said putting a hand on her shoulder trying to comfort her. "Max, you going to be okay?" He asked turning his attention to the boy he knew was still in love with Liz even though he was seeing Tess who was much like a daughter to Valenti now. Max nodded in response and Valenti turned to start investigating. Max put a hand out to touch his sister, but pulled it back at the last second. She looked at him, fear and anger in her eyes and then spoke steady and firm.

       "She said someone was in her head, Max. When she was sleeping, she said someone had been in her dreams. And I didn't believe her," Isabel said, hands clenching at her sides.

       "You think someone did this to her?" Max asked, confused. "But who? Why?"

       "How many enemies do we have, Max? How many that have been watching us and know how big a part she is in our lives?"

       "Get to the hospital. I'll call Michael and tell him to meet us there. Be careful, Is," Max said, turning to run back to the house.

**************************

       By the time Alex got to the hospital, all the aliens were there with the exception of Tess. They were all sitting in the waiting room, all looking sullen...even Kyle. Maria was leaning against Michael, sniffling. The only person missing was Sheriff Valenti who was presumably trying to figure out what had happened. Alex stuck his hands in the front pocket of his sweatshirt and gritted his teeth in order to hold back his tears. Liz, Maria, and he had been best friends since birth and although Maria was always there for him he had always felt more connected to Liz. When Maria spotted him coming towards the group, she extricated herself from Michael and walked towards Alex with weary steps. Her face fell and she started crying only to end up with his arms around her. She leaned into him, her close friend, closer to her than any other people in that room.

       "How is she?" Alex asked, tightening his hold on Maria.

       "I don't know," she answered between sobs. "They won't tell us anything. She's been in there for over two hours."

       "How are Mr and Mrs Parker?"

       "Mrs. Parker's visiting her aunt in Seattle, but she's on the next flight," Maria said taking a step back and wiping at her eyes. "Liz's Dad is trying to get on of the doctors to tell him something...anything."

       Alex nodded. "It'll be okay," he said quietly, putting his hand on her shoulder. Maria nodded back, biting her lip when she felt it start to quiver again. Alex looked past her and saw Isabel with her head in her hands. When she looked up, he was surprised to see no tears in her eyes. Instead her face was hard and set. He knew Isabel, knew she needed to act like it didn't bother her or it would consume her. He gave her a half smile and proceeded to take a seat next to her. Maria sat back down next to Michael and he put an arm around her protectively.

       "How you holding up, Isabel?" Alex asked.

       "I'm fine, Alex. Fine," she said looking past him, staring at something, anything other than another human being.

       "I know you are," he said placing his hand on her knee for a moment and smiling encouragingly. Maria shifted away from Michael, a strange look on her face.

       "Wait a second," she began. Everyone took their gazes away from the floor and all eyes were now on her. "Max, you can heal her, can't you?" She asked.

       "Yeah Maxwell, what are you waiting for? If she dies, it'll be too late," Michael interjected, grabbing his girlfriend's hand.

       "I don't know, Michael," Max said his dark eyes shifting to his hands which he seemed to be trying to rub the skin off of.

       "What do you mean, you don't know?" Kyle asked, speaking for the first time and leaning forward in his seat. "It's not like it's the first time you've saved her, Max."

       "I don't think that's such a good idea," Tess said arriving at the hospital just in time to add her two cents. "With all that's going on. With the government and who knows who else watching us. It wouldn't be the smartest move would it Max?" She asked placing a hand on his shoulder, yet still hovering above him.

       "Who the fuck invited her?" Isabel asked standing up straight, towering over the smaller girl.

       "Isabel, if we're in danger so is she," Max explained putting a hand up between the two girls. Isabel shoved his hand away and stepped closer to Tess shooting daggers into her clear blue eyes.

       "Isabel, please," Tess said in a soothing voice. "Can we please stop fighting?"

       "I think you should leave," Isabel said through clenched teeth. "Unless you want to end up in an adjoining room," she threatened. Her right hand began shaking and her power vibrated through the room.

       Suddenly everyone was on their feet, Maria looking down the hallway to a distraught Mr. Parker being followed by an emergency room doctor. He pulled his face mask down and wiped at the sweat on his forehead. Maria took a step forward towards Mr. Parker as the two men arrived in the waiting room.

       "How is she?" Maria asked, eyes hopeful yet scared. Mr. Parker put his arm around her and pulled her towards him.

       "The good news is that she's out of surgery," the doctor began. A sigh fell over the group. Tess had made a smart move by stepping behind Max and away from Isabel. "The bad news is that she seems to be in a coma," he finished.

       "Is she going to be okay?" Maria eeked out through tears.

       "She's stable at the moment, but we don't know if," he paused. "Or when she'll wake up. You need to be prepared for it if she never regains full consciousness because right now that's a very real possibility."

       Maria erupted into tears and Mr. Parker could do nothing but hold onto her tighter. Michael stuck a hand in his back pocket and turned away. Kyle sat back down and put his face into his hands, his shoulder rising and falling in tears. Max merely stood there, frozen feeling his world slipping away and Tess grabbing onto his hand. He clung to her because he could do nothing else at that moment. Alex felt the damn break and the tears start to flow and turned to Isabel just in time to see the floor at her feet begin to crack. Instinctively he grabbed her hand, and felt a surge of power before his pulled her into his arms not letting her protest. Isabel gripped the back of his sweatshirt so tight in her fists he was afraid it would rip right off of him. She buried her head in his shoulder but she wouldn't cry. She wouldn't let anyone see her cry, especially Tess.

**************************

       After Mr. Parker had spent a few hours sitting by Liz's bedside, he asked Maria if she would help him open the restaurant. She agreed and Kyle and Alex went along to help, leaving just the four aliens alone in the hospital waiting room. Before she left, Maria hugged Isabel and whispered in her ear.

       "If she wakes up, tell her I'm sorry."

       Isabel nodded in response and squeezed the other girl's hand in acknowledgment. And then she was alone with the people that were supposed to be her real family, but whom she felt were the farthest things from her at that point. Isabel was just sitting there glaring at Tess across the room. It felt good to be able to channel her energy into something other than thinking about Liz. Tess tightened her grip on Max's hand, staring Isabel down and smiling sweetly. That bitch.

       "Listen, we need to figure out what happened tonight," Max said breaking the silence. "If it has to do with us, then we need to find out why and who's responsible because we could all be in danger."

       "Max is right," Tess agreed.

       "But how?" Michael asked. "The only person that seems to know what happened is Liz and she can't tell us."

       "Valenti should be here soon," Max replied. "Maybe he found something out."

       "Are you going to heal her, Max?" Isabel asked after not saying a word for and endless piece of time. "I mean, we all know you can. And she's just laying there..." She broke off looking his straight in the eye and waiting for a response. He looked away from her.

       "I think Tess is right," he replied. "There's already too much attention on us as it is. And maybe healing Liz that day in the Crashdown is what started all this trouble in the first place."

       "You're not sorry you did it, so don't sit here and act like you are," Isabel said raising her voice. "I know you still love her, Max. I see it every time you look at her and you think no one's watching."

       "That's not the issue, Isabel," Tess replied for him. Isabel stood up.

       "Max, you better get your little slut out of here before I put a hole in her face," Isabel warned her feet threatening to take a step forward.

       "Just do it, Isabel," Tess countered, standing up and moving towards her. "You want to do it so badly then just do it and then it will be done and we can get past it," she shouted, her eyes afire. Isabel could feel Tess' heat emanating from her, she was so close. She remembered all the intimate moments they had shared before Tess had thrown her away like she didn't even matter. The nostalgia quickly turned to resentment and Isabel could feel her blood pressure rise.

       "That's enough," Max yelled stepping in between his sister and her ex-girlfriend. "We need to figure out what happened and what we can do to stop it or help or whatever."

       "And you could put an end to all of your questions if you would just go in there and heal her, Max," Isabel shot at him, her voice wavering.

       "We need to give her a chance to come out of this on her own, Isabel," he replied.

       "Why, Max? Because she's not your girlfriend anymore?" Isabel turned towards him momentarily forgetting Tess was even in the room. "Because she's with me, you won't help her? So now I might have taken away her one chance to survive?"

       "I know you think you're the only person in the world with something to lose right now, but you're not Isabel," Max said, tears forming in his eyes. "If she dies, none of us will be the same."

       "So save her, Max. What good is fighting the world...what do we have to tie us here if she's gone?" Isabel said pleading with him.

       "And who says that's such a bad thing, Is," Tess interjected. All three of the others turned to look at her with anger and shock. "If there's nothing to tie us here, we can go home."

       "This is my home," Isabel replied. "If she dies because of me, I'll never go back to the place you seem so anxious to call home. The place that we had to crash into another planet to escape."

       Valenti showed up then, just in time to halt another extreme confrontation between Isabel and Tess. The four teenagers looked at him with anxious eyes, waiting to hear if he had solved the mystery of what had happened to Liz Parker.

       "It's late. You should all be at home getting some rest," he said approaching the group. "Actually it's morning already."

       "Did you find anything out?" Max asked.

       "Bits and pieces are all that I got. A few neighbors said they saw a small figure run in front of the truck right before a bright light made them turn away. Next thing they knew there was screeching and crashing and the road was clear," he said. "Funny thing is that there are no skid marks whatsoever."

       "But if someone jumped in front of her car, she would have to slam on the brakes in order not to hit them," Max observed.

       "Unless whatever stepped in front of that truck basically threw it off the road," Isabel said.

       "Meaning?" Valenti asked.

       "The bright light," Michael said quietly.

       "Who do you know that emits a blinding light out of nowhere?" Isabel asked nodding.

       "Us when we're using our powers," Michael replied.

       "You think some sort of," Valenti paused and lowered his voice, "alien is involved?"

       "When Liz woke up last night, she was startled. She kept saying that someone was in her dreams, in her mind," Isabel said. "Maybe whoever was in her head was the one who forced her off the road."

       "But who?" Tess asked.

       "Well someone killed Nasedo," Max replied. "And Nicholas is bent on getting us to go back to our planet. Seems to me that the possibilities are endless."

       "But why Liz and not one of us?" Isabel asked.

       "You said it yourself. If Liz is out of the picture then what's left to tie us to this planet?" Tess answered looking directly into her deep brown eyes. "It heightens the chances that we'll return home. Maybe it was your old boyfriend, Velandra," she added like a dagger sliding into the heart of the person she still truly loved.

       "I'm going to check on Maria," Michael said distracted, ignoring the scene in front of him. "Call the Crashdown if anything happens," he added and was gone.

       "Max, why don't you and I do some investigative work," Valenti suggested.

       "Good idea. I may have a better idea of what we're looking for," Max replied. "You two stay here," he said referring to Tess and Isabel. "And make sure nothing else happens to Liz."

       "Max, if you know what's good you'll take her with you," Isabel said.

       "Isabel, I don't want you here alone if something or someone tries to hurt you," Max said putting on his jacket.

       "And who's going to protect her from me?" Isabel asked.

       "I think I can manage," Tess replied flatly.

       "Is, maybe you can try dream walking her," Max suggested. "She may be able to tell you what happened."

       "I'll try," she replied.

       "I'll help you, Is. Don't worry," Tess said stepping to her side.

       "If you need anything call my cell phone or call the station," Valenti said and then escorted Max out of the building.

**************************

       Isabel was in the bathroom washing her face when Tess came through the door and locked it behind her. Tess handed her a paper towel and she accepted it without looking at the shorter girl.

       "This is a public restroom, you know. Someone might get suspicious if they can't get in," Isabel stated firmly.

       "We need to talk," Tess replied.

       "When are you going to get it in your warped alien brain that I don't want to talk to you," Isabel shouted at her. "We have nothing to talk about, Tess."

       "I get that you're still bitter about me and Max, Isabel. But we need to start working together," Tess said willing Isabel to look at her. Isabel looked up. Her face was drawn and tired like she hadn't slept in days.

       "Bitter?" Isabel shot at her former lover. "My girlfriend is laying in a coma and you've convinced my brother not to heal her. Maybe you're a little bitter that he'll never love you the way he loves Liz." Tess stood there shocked, her eyes growing cold and her face setting in anger.

       "Isabel, I'm not in love with Max," Tess replied advancing on her. Isabel retreated to the wall behind her until she could go no further. Tess braced her arms on either side of the tall girl and rose on her tiptoes. "Til the day I die Isabel, I will never stop loving you," she whispered, her voice thick. "I'm trying to save you. If Max heals her, we will all be in danger and I can't bear to lose you again."

       "What do you mean 'again'?" Isabel asked bracing her hands on the wall behind her, trying to push further away from Tess, but not wanting to push past her or somehow unable to move.

       "You don't remember what it was like," she said, memories flashing before her eyes. "Before we came here." Isabel shook her head.

       "I was engaged to Max, but I wasn't in love with him. Not there and certainly not here," Tess said not backing away in the slightest. "Why do you think I gravitated toward you when I got to Roswell, Isabel? Why do you think I got involved with you?" She asked. "Because I knew what it was like to be with you. I remembered your touch, your lips...your heart," she said reaching up and placing a hand over Isabel's heart. "Even in another galaxy, your heart always beat just for me, Isabel. You were mine there and when we fled I lost you somehow in the mess."

       "How do you know that?" Isabel asked, her voice heavy.

       "Because I remember, Isabel. How could I ever forget something so important to me? You were what I lived for," Tess said leaning in slowly, focused on Isabel's full lips.

       "No," Isabel yelled finally pushing past Tess, flinging the frail girl into the sinks. "Things are different now, Tess. You will never be what I live for...never," she said before unlocking the door and beginning to pull it open.

       "Are you going to dream walk her, Isabel?" Tess asked pushing off of the sinks.

       "Why wouldn't I?" Isabel slid back at her harshly.

       "Because maybe you're afraid of what you'll see inside her mind."

**************************

       Maria had just thrown some plates into the sink at the Crashdown and was slamming her locker door open and shut when Michael approached her from behind.

       "Did I do something wrong again?" He asked, afraid to touch her.

       "What? Michael, no," she replied, turning around and leaning against the closed locker, clutching a picture of her and Liz in her hands. Michael looked at it for a second and then into her eyes.

       "She's going to be fine, Maria. Max won't let her die," he said honestly, staring directly at her.

       "And what if she's not, Michael?" Maria asked, breaking down. "What if she dies and the last conversation we had ended with me walking out on her??"

       Michael gathered the sobbing girl into his arms and prayed that Max would listen to his heart and save the one thing in the universe he knew he cared about without a doubt.

**************************

       Isabel and Tess sat in the waiting room trying to see which one could burn a hole through the back of the other's head using just her eyes. Their power danced in the air consuming oxygen and fighting an unseen battle of wills and passion. In her peripheral vision, Tess saw a figure come to a stop just to her left. She saw Isabel raise her eyebrows and was shaken out of her trance. Turning to her left she saw Kyle standing there, hands in his pockets and an expectant look on his face.

       "What are you doing here, Kyle?" Tess asked, dumbfounded.

       "I called him," Isabel replied.

       "Why?" Tess said, returning her gaze to the girl sitting across from her.

       "You're leaving," Isabel said flatly. She suddenly felt better than she had all day.

       "What?"

       "You.are.leaving," Isabel replied, every word pronounced jaggedly.

       "No I'm not," Tess said getting up.

       "Yeah you are," Kyle interjected. "Dad wants you home anyway. We're all meeting at the house."

       "What about Isabel?" Tess asked.

       "I've got some work to do here," she replied. "Besides, I wouldn't leave her side for anything," Isabel said fixing her eyes on Tess'.

       "C'mon," Kyle said putting an arm across Tess' shoulders steering her away from Isabel. "We can come back later with everyone else."

       Isabel watched them walking away, Tess' steps slow and sluggish. Kyle turned around for a second and Isabel mouthed a "thank you" getting a nod and smile in response. She took a deep breath and began moving towards Liz's room. She had yet to visit her mostly because of Tess' presence, but also because she was afraid she wouldn't survive having to look at Liz, battered and broken all because of who Isabel was.

       When she got to the door to Liz's room, Isabel stopped. She wanted to go in, but something was holding her back still. Maybe Tess was right. Maybe there was something inside Liz's mind that Isabel was afraid to see. No, she wouldn't let Tess win. She would never let Tess win. She shook her head, trying to shake off any doubts she had about her relationship with Liz, and gently placed her hand on the doorknob. Pressing down and with a small almost undecernable click, Isabel stepped forward into the structured crypt that housed the other half of her heart.

       Isabel closed the door behind her, before turning around to cast her eyes upon the figure laying silently in the hospital bed. When she turned her eyes to look at Liz's seemingly lifeless body, the breathe left her body. She looked so small, hooked up to so many machines. Her face was dark and bruised, her dark hair matted to her forehead and cheeks. She was pale where the black and blue marks hadn't yet reached, her eyes sunken in. The machines were the only sound in the room, one with a steady beep, the other helping Liz to breathe. Isabel felt her heart breaking. She swallowed hard, forcing herself to move forward until she reached the side of the bed.

       Isabel took Liz's hand into her own and was surprised at how cold it was. She knew these hands, knew what they felt like crawling across her skin with an electricity that could short circuit the sun. Isabel felt so unfamiliar, so helpless holding Liz's cold, frail hand in her own. Lips that no more than twenty-four hours ago had been pressed against her own were now enclosed around a breathing tube. Isabel felt her defenses falter and tears sting her eyes, but she beat them down to her absolute core and promised herself they would never find their way out. She remembered when the government had captured Max and in order to get into his head, Isabel needed Liz. Now she was realizing that Liz didn't enhance Max's energy, she enhanced Isabel's. She needed to get into Liz's mind, but this time she was on her own.

       Isabel pulled a chair from behind her and sat down. She exhaled softly and placed her warm lips on Liz's knuckles in a gentle kiss. Then she closed her eyes and concentrated on Liz. Her eyes. Her scent. The touch of Liz's bare skin sliding against her own. All the silent moments they had spent together. All the memories they had shared with each other. And then Isabel felt herself falling...gliding through a time and space that was undefined. Until she ended up in Liz's bed.

       Isabel glanced around, startled. She sat up quickly and let her eyes drift across Liz's bedroom only to find she was alone. Her hands were cold and the room had a cool, grey tint and feel. Isabel felt a breeze sweep through her long flowing hair like ice cold fingers. Across the room, she saw the window to the balcony was only about half way closed, wind blowing the curtains back in an uneven rhythm.

       She rose from the bed, her feet bare, and slowly made her way to the open window. Slipping out onto the balcony, she was enveloped by a warmth only rivaled by the feeling of being in Liz's arms. The sun was shining brightly in her eyes and she held a hand up to block it. An outline formed of a small girl sitting with her legs hanging over the side of the brick wall. It was instinct before anything else that told Isabel that Liz was sitting in front of her and was close to falling.

       "Liz," she said stepping forward, arms raising from her sides.

       "Isabel," Liz said softly, turning around just enough to see her. "I was wondering when you'd get here," she said smiling.

       "Liz, we have to go," Isabel said hastily, feeling something in the air that just wasn't right. "Come with me. You're going to fall."

       Liz responded by shaking her head slightly and turning back to look at the sunlight.

       "It's so beautiful here, Isabel," she said. "I want to stay here forever. Besides, you'd catch me, wouldn't you?"

       "Liz, I..." Isabel breathed, her voice thick with emotion. "You can't stay here. You have to come back with me," she pleaded.

       Liz turned around, swinging her feet to land on the concrete floor of the balcony. She leaned forward slightly, letting her weight fall onto her hands that were braced on the ledge.

       "Don't you see, Isabel? It's better this way," Liz said smiling, trying to make Isabel understand. Isabel shook her head back and forth, biting her lip. "Yes, Is. It is," Liz reiterated. "I'm not one of you. I never will be. And as long as I'm around, you will always be in danger. As long as you stay here and deny the truth, you will never be free."

       "What are you talking about?" Isabel shouted. "Who did this to you?"

       "Let's not talk about that," Liz replied, her brown eyes turning almost black. She rose to her feet and advanced on Isabel who was stuck on the ground where she stood. "I won't be here much longer so why don't we just enjoy the rest of the time we have."

       Liz reached up and traced a delicate outline of Isabel's face, remembering the touch like she was trying to burn it into her memory. Isabel closed her eyes, her heart racing faster than she ever thought it could. Liz let her hands glide down to Isabel's neck in a feather light touch that made Isabel wonder if Liz was actually there at all.

       "You are so incredibly beautiful," Liz breathed softly, clasping her hands together behind Isabel's neck. "That is something I will never ever forget," Liz finished, her voice just above a whisper.

       Isabel's resolve fell hard and fast. She opened up her eyes to the sight of Liz standing in front of her surrounded by an orange light that made her whole body seem to vibrate with energy, and the tears began falling quick and relentless. Isabel staggered forward into Liz's arms, holding onto her like she could save her if she would just hold on tight enough. Liz rose on her tiptoes to meet Isabel's height and slid one arm over her shoulders and the other she used to stroke her girlfriend's hair soft and steady.

       "Liz, please," Isabel cried. "I can't do this without you."

       "Shhh," Liz responded by pushing herself flush up against Isabel, feeling their hearts beating as one. Isabel sobbed, turning her head and burying it in the soft crook of Liz's neck.

       "I can't..."

       "You can, Isabel. And you will," Liz said losing her hand in Isabel's thick hair.

       "No," Isabel insisted, pulling Liz even closer to her.

       "Yes," Liz replied, pulling back against Isabel's grip to look in her eyes but Isabel had them shut tight. "Open your eyes, Isabel. Look at me."

       Isabel resisted at first, but when she felt Liz's soft, warm hands cradling her face she finally opened them. Liz was looking at her with pure love that was emanating from the entire expanse of her body. Liz smiled, wiping the tears from Isabel's face.

       "You will be fine," Liz said sternly, gazing into Isabel's eyes with an intensity that couldn't be denied. "You don't need me, Isabel."

       "Yes I do, Liz," Isabel said staring back into the eyes that reflected her very being.

       "No, Isabel, you don't. You've got Max and Michael and Tess. There's a whole world out there waiting for you, Isabel."

       "And I don't want to live in it without you," Isabel replied, gritting her teeth.

       "It just wasn't meant to be, Is," Liz said crying silent tears.

       "Please, Liz, don't give up," Isabel pleaded drawing Liz closer to her once again.

       "It's too late for me, Isabel. But it's not too late for you," Liz answered. "I love you, Isabel Evans."

       "No," Isabel kept repeating, shaking her head. "I won't let you go. I won't let you give up," she continued, but was silenced by the force of Liz's lips against her own.

       They kissed for what seemed like forever, like they were exploring each other for the first time all over again. Isabel could taste the saltiness of their tears mingling with the sweetness of Liz's mouth, hot and moist against hers. Liz's eyes were shut tight, her hands clutching at Isabel's shirt with desperation and a longing to stay connected forever. And just as soon as it started, Isabel felt time shift once again.

       Isabel woke with a start, inhaling deeply and loudly. She felt her world closing in around her and falling out from under her feet. She felt a slight squeeze being applied by the hand she held in her own, a slight warmth return. And she felt a presence behind her that she knew to be Max, hovering above her. And suddenly, Liz's hand went limp and ice cold and fell away from her own. Isabel rose with a guttural sound that could only be described as despair manifesting itself into noise and turned, grabbing Max by the collar of his leather jacket.

       "Don't let her die, Max," she screamed, tears flooding her eyes. "Please..." She sobbed, letting her head fall onto his chest. As his arms went around his sister, the machines began beeping faster. He looked up, realizing that they were losing her.

       Max gently pried himself away from Isabel and quickly shut off the machines. Isabel heard commotion outside the door, and raised her hand up holding it closed with her powers. She turned back to Max, who was by Liz's side, placing his hand on her. He laid one hand on her chest over her heart and the other on her forehead. He concentrated, feeling Liz's shallow breath slow down and her body temperature drop. He strained, putting more pressure and feeling into his hands and a few seconds later, he felt Liz's pulse steady and her heartbeat quicken.

       Liz opened her eyes suddenly and struggled to sit up. Max gently pushed her back down and fell to his knees by her bedside. The door burst open as Isabel met Liz's eyes and her hand dropped to her side. Liz reached up and ripped the breathing tube from her mouth, glad to be able to inhale on her own. Her lips turned up at the edges in a weak smile, her face still sore.

       "Thank you," she whispered, her eyes fixed on Isabel's. Isabel smiled back at Liz before falling back into the chair, collapsing and sobbing. She felt Maria's hand on her shoulder, comforting her and heard her tell Michael to call Valenti. Seconds later, the doctors rushed in and all was suddenly blurred in the commotion.

**************************

       Kyle picked up the phone on the first ring and frantically spoke into the receiver.

       "Hello?" He said loudly. "Michael? Yeah...uh huh...oh God," he was saying as Tess came out of her room. Kyle collapsed on the couch, his head in his hands.

       "Kyle what is it?" Tess asked approaching him. He looked up through tears, his hands shaking.

       "Liz is awake."

       "What?" Tess asked surprised. "How?"

       "Max."

       Tess balled her hands into fists and her clear blue eyes clouded over. Kyle's head went back into his hands as she retreated to her room and closed the door.

**************************

       Liz was sitting up finally. The doctors were gone and her father had come and gone back to the Crashdown after making sure Liz was in good hands. The entire gang, with the exception of Tess and Valenti were surrounding her. Maria approached her, with tired weary eyes and took hold of her right hand. She leaned down and kissed Liz on the forehead, Liz closing her eyes at the touch of Maria's lips. When she pulled back she looked at Liz with fear and uncertainty of whether or not she was forgiven. Liz squeezed her hand.

       "I know, Maria," Liz said quietly. "I know." Maria nodded in response and slid back into Michael's arms. Liz's eyes grated over the room until they fell upon Max who was leaning against the wall in the back.

       "Thank you, Max...again," she stated sincerely. He nodded with a slight smile and ran his hands over his thighs.

       "And thank you, Isabel," Liz said quietly, looking into Isabel's deep eyes. She leaned as far as she could to her left and Isabel met her half way in a sweet, soft kiss. "I knew you'd find me," she said in a whisper when they parted. Isabel tightened her grip on Liz's hand.

       "I won't ever lose you again," Isabel replied in a solemn promise.

       "I hate to break up the love fest," Kyle said, "cuz it's actually really turning me on."

       "Kyle," Maria said, swatting at him.

       "Sorry," he apologized. "But seriously, now that our girl is back, isn't there something we're all wondering?" All eyes looked toward Liz, who was biting at her bottom lip nervously.

       "Liz, what happened?" Isabel asked gently, feeling her discomfort. Liz took a deep breath and closed her eyes before answering.

       "It was Tess."

       END...for now.... FEEDBACK??

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