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Hands First

Reply to Tha Wrecka

Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list January 27, 2003

TITLE: Hands First
SPOILERS: Up to and including "Who Died and Made You King"
NOTES/SUMMARY: Max is alive. Jim is alive. Isn't that just neat?
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. They belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, 20th Century Fox, UPN, etc.
FEEDBACK: Is appreciated, critical or otherwise.

        His hand is tanned and the skin is healthy, almost glowing in the light. His fingers are long and thin, but strong in their own way. The skin stretches tight across his hand.

        The bones beneath the skin are strong and sure. If he tries he can feel the play of bone, muscle and skin as he clenches his fist and opens it again.

        His hands have power. With his hands he has broken skin, felt the curves of a woman and sucked bullets from bodies.

        With this particular hand he drew death into himself.

        Max draws his hand away from the light.

        He gets a soda from the fridge, opening the can with a finger and a thumb. He can feel the fizz of air escaping from he can. The metal is cold against his lips and the liquid is sharp and sweet on his tongue.

        Max is just getting used to having a body again.

        He finally remembers to close the fridge door. He moves over to the couch and sits and drinks. He can feel the cool liquid move down his throat, the beat of his heart in his chest and the warmth and roughness of his jeans. He can hear light, distant traffic and the soft sound of Michael snoring.

        Max closes his eyes and savours the cool sugary taste, the burst of bubbles on his tongue and the strange chemical smell.

        A hard knock on the door rouses him from his reverie.

        Max slowly makes his way to the door, enjoying the stretch and burn of his leg muscles as he walks. Jim Valenti is on the other side of the door, wearing his usual grave expression. This is the first time Max has seen Jim since he came back to life and he's surprised it took so long. It's almost as if Jim has been avoiding him.

        "I just came to see how you were," Jim says.

        "I'm good. Come in," Max says, opening the door wider.

        Jim sits down awkwardly on the couch and Max sits at the other end.

        "Kyle told me about Michael. How is he?" Jim asks.

        "He's... Michael," Max replies cautiously.

        Jim's face is decorated with lines and creases, marks of life. Max knows what it's like to feels lines and creases from the inside now, deeper ones than Jim has achieved.

        "I would have come sooner but I was busy," Jim says.

        Jim isn't looking Max in the eyes. Usually Max can feel Jim's sharply focused eyes on him and it feels strange to miss that.

        Max puts his hand on Jim's jaw, tilts his face up. The skin is warm under his fingertips, tanned and toughened by the desert air.

        Jim's eyes are bright and affectionate, intense the way Liz and Kyle looked after he saved their lives. Max could almost fear this except he thinks, just maybe, that Jim looked at him like this before the healing.

        "Max, are you really OK?"

        "I'm alive," Max replies, and kisses Jim.

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