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Along the Edge, Part Three
Reply to Trixie or visit her websitePosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list July 17, 2001
Title: Along the Edge (3/4)
Disclaimer: Joss and Jason own all;) The author this fic is based upon actually wrote some of the lines in this fic- which I preserved to give it the general feel. He/She gets all the credit, and I will reveal at the end who it is. Their genius is unparalleled- at least to me! ;)
Author's Notes: Please feel free to get angry about the Liam and Liz part. But also know, I'm a B/A shipper, first and foremost. Everything in this story has a purpose.
AN2: If you need to catch up;)
Dedication: to everyone who has sent feedback. It's so nice to get encouragement.
Metal scraped against metal as Liam opened the door and stepped inside with Liz clutching his hand. She was frightened. Her mind was swirling with visions of bats and moats, of fairy tales filled with cold blood and nightmares. This was a castle, and it scared her.
"What are we doing here?" she whispered to the quiet man beside her. His pale skin was swallowed by the rich darkness.
"Seeing my Mother."
"Why does she live in this place?" Liz questioned, brushing away a cobweb that filtered over her face with stringy intent.
Liam looked amused, a small smile played on his lips. "I don't know. I think she enjoys the darkness. Anyway, I call her Mother. We're close, but my own mother died a long time ago."
Liz's heart was touched- she hated that. Her softness. Isabel always affectionately called it her little downfall. "You're too good," she'd murmur when they lay in bed together and talked about their day. Her voice always held a thread of irritation as she said it- as if Liz's innate goodness annoyed her. Liz suspected Isabel thought it was a weakness. And she was right.
"Maybe we should have called first," she said to him and he laughed quietly.
"No. She'll know we're coming. She reads her own fortune every morning- so she knows exactly who'll be arriving."
They entered, finally, a large library stacked floor to ceiling with huge dusty tomes. A woman sat at a table in the center of it. Crammed on every surface were objects Liz could barely recognize or defy. She had wild images of foreign bazaars where anything might be sold or bartered for. A Tibetan prayer wheel, a silver bell used to ward away evil spirits, huge charts with stars and symbols and planets not known to normal mankind. Liz felt dizzy- as if the room was going to choke her. She glanced at the woman, and felt even more faint.
Her hair was long and heavy, white- as was her dress. But her lips were blood red, curved, into a smile of welcome- that somehow reeked of evil. The lines in her face looked etched- as old as time itself. The years had obviously not been kind, and Liz knew, whatever this woman said- she wouldn't want to hear.
They sat down on two wooden stools at her beckoning. "Hello," Liz said, her voice chafing with dryness. She coughed slightly and glanced at Liam, who gazed casually at the hag.
"Hello Mother," he greeted her, crossing his legs and looking around the room with disinterest.
"Your name, child?" the old woman asked.
"Liz," she responded, hesitating. "Liz Parker."
As she began to prepare the chart, Liz whispered to Liam, "Doesn't she need to know when I was born?"
"No," he murmured back. "The years are all the same. She doesn't do the normal astrological chart."
After a while, the woman sat back and turned her blue eyes on Liz, who stared back- more out of fear than any courage.
"You have been with others all your life, but yet feel alone in your struggles. One of your friends died, and you still feel great pain over your failure to save him. Your parents try hard to understand you, but do not. For a long time you thought you loved a boy, but you couldn't have him, and this suited you. For you'd rather dream than do. However, you have a very analytical mind, and your talent in the sciences is vast, for you plan everything. It is in your nature to be controlling- but you hide it well.
"Messiness scares you. You like things to be neat. The woman you are with, her coldness- it suited you. But you were also frightened by the fire you sensed at her core. She was too much for you. But you two had a great love- and still do. Your friends- their relationship- you never wanted anything like that. Their love was too volatile for your nature- and you feared them, which is why you always discouraged her from following her heart's path.
"But you suffer. For you can not find someone who will love you always, with no conditions. Neither the boy nor the girl could do this for you." She paused, and gazed at the dark haired girl. "Am I not correct, Liz Parker?"
"Yes," Liz whispered, the coldness seeping into her bones bubbling with sweat. She felt sick, and her arm throbbed. How did this woman know so much? How could she... know?
"Why..." she trailed off and considered. She wanted to know- of her past. The past that was dead. "Why did Isabel leave me?"
"Because you were too much for her as well," the old woman replied. "She wanted what was safe and comfortable... and she couldn't be sure you'd always give her that security."
Liz wished she hadn't asked. "But... I loved her."
"And she loved you, child. But she was scared of that love. She didn't know it... she couldn't recognize it. So she chose what was safe. She chose her past. She thought she wanted to move on, and do great things, but in the end, she could not. Your goodness scared her... she feared that softness within you."
"You always bring it back to fear," Liz stammered, and the witch leaned closer to her. Liz could smell the copper on her breath and wondered if she had a mouth full of blood. If it was going to drip past her teeth and stain her chin red.
"What do you fear, Liz?"
"You tell me."
"You are afraid to be alone. You are afraid that you will not be understood, that you will not be listened to. You are afraid you will never find love- true abiding love- and that dreams will have to suffice you until death." She stopped and then cocked her head. "How much do you want to spend tonight, Liz?"
"I don't understand what you're asking," the girl replied, her skin and heart and ribs shaking with terror. This place horrified her.
"What you have done determines where you are going," the woman said obliquely, and then touched the crackling parchment with the chart embedded upon it. "Do you wish me to speak of the future?"
"No," Liz stood up, trembling. Her arm was stinging bloody murder, and she just wanted to run. "No, I don't."
She turned and strode out of the room, only stopping when Liam grabbed her arm. "Hey," he whispered. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry she upset you."
"Why did you bring me here?" she shouted at him, wishing she could hear the rain outside, or the crashing waves. Anything but the suffocating stillness.
"Because I thought it would be good for you. I was wrong. Come on, Lizzie. Let me show you where I stay when I'm here."
She let him lead her further into the castle, until they reached a room where the fire shone in the hearth and the bed was turned down with rich velvet sheets. Liam picked up a bottle of wine and poured some of the liquid into two glasses. He gave one to her, and she looked at it with trepidation. "I shouldn't drink. I'm driving, remember."
"Never mind that. It will help you. Make you feel better."
She was shaken. "How do you know how I feel?"
"I know your wrist hurts," he brushed a kiss to her temple. "I know you feel sick to your stomach. I know because I know everything." He lifted the glass to her lips and made her drink. It slipped down her throat like orange juice and felt like human blood. She laughed as it curled around her belly, making the nausea vanish and the aching in her arm recede.
"Mm... it's good," she mumbled and felt his kiss on her mouth. He tasted of wine and then his arms were around her. She fell back on the bed and lay still, staring at the ceiling, as the salty wind from the open window as he kissed her all over, and the beverage in his mouth darkened her skin so it appeared she was bleeding and that she was being eaten by the man making love to her. She laughed and cried, images of Isabel glowing behind her eyelids, and of Anne, sitting alone in the car beside the rocky cliffs.
She slept, and dreamed. She couldn't remember everything she'd done that night- couldn't recall if Liam had slammed into her with enough force to split her in two- couldn't remember why Isabel was gone- but she told herself- it didn't matter.
It was Anne's turn to talk. She began to speak as they drove, and Liz shifted, uncomfortable. She couldn't really pinpoint what had happened in the old hag's castle, just that Liam had shook her awake and told her they needed to get going. She wasn't sure what time it was. The sky was still black as pitch and it rumbled with a stormy force.
"After she killed Angel, Buffy ran away," Anne said softly, for once she had no cigarette in her mouth. "She went to Los Angeles, because she figured it would be big enough to get lost in, and no one would ever find her there. She waitressed and was unhappy and threw up every night. She had horrible dreams about her dead lover. Mostly they involved her murdering him over and over again, and that was enough to keep anyone up at night. For many reasons, at the end of the summer she decided to return. It was rough going at first- her friends were not very understanding, and life was difficult. But she got by- she always did. Until he came back. It was never really explained why, but he was returned to her, and Buffy didn't know what to do. She knew her friends would be furious, so she hid him, and that made everything into a mess.
"Perhaps she should have stayed away. She knew he was trouble. But she loved him so much that sometimes it seemed a small price to pay. They broke up more times than either could count, but eventually, they always returned to each other. It wasn't sex that brought them together- God knows, they couldn't have any. It was something else- simple love. True love. They just loved each other- and that should have been enough, but it never was.
"Angel left Buffy right after her High School graduation. He cited many reasons for the breakup- he couldn't give her sex, he couldn't give her normalcy. Her heart broke in the worst way, but she put up a wall and got by. No one really cared if she hurt, so she chose not to care as well. Angel went to LA- funny isn't it- the place Buffy escaped to as well- and he made a new life. One that didn't include Buffy. They met a few times after that, but she had a boyfriend and her mother died, and she got a new sister, and things were hard enough without old wounds. " Anne sighed, and touched her hair with a hand that Liz could see was shaking. "They still loved each other... sort of. But it had been so many years, and things weren't simple anymore. So they lost each other. In different ways."
She stopped, and Liz murmured impatiently, "What happened?"
"Lots of things," Anne answered. "None of them good. But I want to hear more from you."
"Yeah, tell us more," Liam spoke for the first time, and Liz glanced at him, scared. She wished they hadn't kissed on those wine stained sheets. She liked him. But she still wanted Isabel. God, she still wanted Isabel. That bitch from Hell. She hated her.
"All right," she began softly, watching the clouds soar in the sky, the road blur before her. Her stomach was aching so badly she was afraid she was going to throw up, but something drove her on. "Isabel and I were as happy as we could be for a while. For a year. It was a dream for me, because I'd never been a relationship that wasn't doomed, and I thought... finally I'd made it. That is... until Max came to visit. I think I knew it was the beginning of the end. You see... although Max always said I was his one true love, his heart was always Isabel's. She was like that- she demanded total devotion. And she got it. From me, from Max, from a lot of people. But none more than him. He loved her so much." Her voice broke and she could feel her eyes go damp.
"They kept going on the beach for long talks. Nothing was really strained between Max and I at that point- we just didn't talk that much, and he had his own life. I had mine, and I so no reason for them to mingle anymore. But he had a hold over Isabel that I should have known was stronger than us. I remember exactly how it happened...
("What's wrong?" Liz asked her lover as they lay on the rooftop. She was glad Max was gone out for the night.
"Nothing," Isabel answered. Her voice was distant. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" Liz swallowed. She had never said 'nothing' like that before. Even when she talked about the world ending, she said there would be something left. Liz turned to the blonde alien and touched her arm. The skin quivered underneath her fingertips. "Does this 'nothing' have a name?"
Isabel shuddered. "Yes."
"Do I know his name?"
"Yes," she said again and Liz rolled away, clutching her stomach, which suddenly felt as if it had been slit down the center, allowing her guts to spill out onto the stone floor. The burning candle beside them flickered and went out. She wanted to scream.
"You're going home, aren't you?"
"Yes," Isabel murmured, and sat up. Her voice was strained. "Max found a way. Another way. I'm..." she paused and then laughed. A short bitter laugh. "No, I won't even say I'm sorry. It's too insulting to you. I can't... I can't not go with Max, Liz. He's my home. He's always been my home."
"You love him more than me," Liz moaned and stood up, wobbling on knees gone to mush.
Isabel stared at her, and seemed to flinch. "I don't. I love you both... in different ways."
"Get away from me," Liz muttered, stumbling as she headed for the stairs. "Get the hell away from me.")
"What happened next?" Liam said in a soft tone.
Liz wiped her eyes and felt the salty burn on her aching wrist. "I went over to Max's hotel room a while later, after a long walk on the beach. The door was unlocked. I took... I took a knife." She gulped. "I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to kill him. I walked in and saw them... lying curled together on the couch, asleep. I thought about slamming the knife into their hearts- making them pay. I'd never... I'd never felt that much hatred. They looked so content. But I didn't. I dropped the knife, ran home, packed my bag and got in the car. You know the rest."
The car was silent for a long time.
"We have to stop and see my father," Anne informed them after hazy moments. Liz wanted to snarl at her. The pain in her wrist and stomach and head was so bad she felt like dying. She had the flu, she was certain of it. Or maybe it was just heart break pain. Whatever it was, it was making her feel blurry.
"I don't want to," she said coldly, and Anne looked straight at her in the rearview mirror.
"It would be good for you to see him."
"Because he could hear your confession."
She felt a chill run through her and breathed; "I have nothing to tell."
"Just stop at the church. Get your strength back. You may need it," Anne cautioned her.
"For what?" Liz asked.
"Who knows?" Anne replied, and pointed to a tunnel of trees. "It's there. Follow the road."
Liz steered into the path that Anne had indicated, and wondered why she hadn't seen any cars in a while. She also wondered why her body was so sweaty. Her palms were dripping over the steer wheel with perspiration. She glanced at Liam, and then at Anne, whose blonde hair looked like gold.
They stopped finally at a huge church with steeples and turrets. It looked like a huge grey maze and Liz's belly squeezed.
Anne held out a hand to her. "Let's go."
End of part three. As always, feedback makes me write faster;) I love it, and I need it! Trixiefirecra16@hotmail.com
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