Enlightenment pt. 2 - "Journey"

Author: Debbie
Rating: R/soft NC-17
Disclaimer: Still don't own anything.
Authorís note: Part 1's story idea was the product of Craww's genius, but I done thunk up part 2 on my own.
Feedback: Pretty please, tell me what you think.


"Oh my God."

Kyle and Max woke to find Tess standing in the entryway, staring at them. She had the grace to avert her eyes while they grabbed their crumpled boxers and yanked them back on. Kyle scrambled up first, blurting out the first thing that came to mind.

"It's not what it looks like."

"Oh?" Tess turned back to face him, raising an eyebrow. "You care to explain what IS going on, Buddhaboy?"

"I ... uh ... " Kyle faltered. Max wasn't helping any - through their link Kyle could feel the other boy's suppressed laughter at the "Buddhaboy" remark.

"I see. Well, that explains everything," Tess smirked.

"Look," Kyle tried to look menacing as he loomed over her tiny frame. "You saw nothing here. There's nothing going on. Got that, spacegirl? And if you dare tell anyone, I swear I'll ... I'll ... "

"Whatever." Tess rolled her eyes. "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take a nap for a bit and try to forget what I saw here. Ooops. I mean, what I didn't see." With another smirk at Kyle, she turned on her heel and went to her room.

Kyle ran his fingers through his hair and blew out his breath in frustration. Then he turned on Max, who by now had pulled on the rest of his clothing. "What the hell happened here?"

Max shifted his weight uncertainly. "I'm not sure. I felt a ... connection form with you. In fact, I can still feel you, in a way, like you're in the back of my head. Not words, just your presence." He glanced at Kyle. "What about you?"

Kyle glared at him as he zipped up his jeans and reached for his shirt. "Yeah, I feel it all right, Evans. So what alien voodoo did you do to me this time?"

"Hey, I didn't DO anything to you." Max was starting to get testy. "This ... whatever this is, it happened to both of us."

"Shit." Kyle flopped down on the sofa and put his head in his hands. He felt the sofa shift as Max sat on the opposite end and bent to tie his shoes. Another thought occurred to Kyle - in fact, he couldn't believe it hadn't taken top priority. He turned his head to look over in Max's direction. "We got it on, didn't we?"

Max swallowed. "Yeah."

"Great. I can see the headlines now. 'I had sex with an alien.' And not just any alien. A male alien. Oh, man. If this ever gets out, my reputation is ruined ... "

"Well, I'm not going to talk. I just want everything to go back to normal."

"Normal? You call this normal? We have some sort of weird bond going, and we have ... I mean, had this compulsion to get naked. I mean, I don't even like you."

Max looked at him pointedly. "You're not exactly my best friend, either." His expression changed to one of quiet resolve. "So, let's just forget everything that happened here today. Maybe the connection will go away. It doesn't seem as strong as before, anyway. I mean, I can still feel you, but before, I was seeing all kinds of images."

"Mmm." Kyle didn't want to think about it.

"Unless ... "

Kyle glanced at him. "Unless what?" he asked suspiciously.

Max's reply was to reach out and touch Kyle's exposed arm, below his T-shirt sleeve. Immediately, Kyle's awareness of Max increased again. He was aware of a jumble of thoughts, mirroring his own confused state. "Shit! Don't do that!" He knocked Max's hand away. The "volume" ebbed again, but Max remained a steady presence within him. Man, he needed a drink. Then: *Damn.* He forgot -- he gave up drinking when he became a Buddhist. Meditation, then. Something to distract him.

"Well, that answers that." Max sighed again.

Kyle was losing patience. He stood up and looked down pointedly at the other boy. "Look, Evans. I don't know what the hell is going on here, but I do know that I'm not going to let it interfere with my life. So I suggest that you go, and do whatever alien thing it is you people do, and leave me alone."

Max got up and headed for the door. "Have no fear, Kyle," he threw over his shoulder. "For once I agree with you. I have every intention of keeping things normal." The door banged closed behind him.

"Normal." Kyle snorted at the empty room. "He's one to talk about 'normal'."

*****

On Monday morning, Max got to English a few minutes early, hoping to get a few words in with Maria before class started.

"Hey," he said urgently, twisting in his seat to face her. "Do you think there is any way I can get back on Liz's good side?"

Maria considered a moment. "Well, the only thing I can think of is just to be casual. You know, just be friends and stuff like that. You've been pretty intense lately."

"Yeah, I know. It's just really important that I be with her, you know? Keeps things normal."

Maria laughed. "Down boy! You see, there you go again. Anyway, what's this 'normal' stuff?"

Max looked chagrined. "Nothing." He muttered. "It's just that—" His sense of Kyle suddenly intensified, and he knew, without turning around, that Kyle had come in and taken his seat. The other boy's relative closeness made Max feel more centered; perversely, however, that only made him edgier. No. No, no, no. Forget Kyle. Ignore him, ignore the bond.

Maria waved her hand in front of Max's face. "Helloooo? It's just what?"

Max blinked. "Huh? Oh. Never mind. It's not important." There was no way he could explain what was on his mind, why it was so important to focus on Liz in order to keep the strange connection with Kyle at bay.

Maria looked at him more closely. "Are you ok? You seem different somehow. Did something happen to you?"

Fortunately, just then Mr. Copeland started his lecture. Max pulled out his notebook with relief, glad to have sidestepped the question.

*****

Kyle opened his eyes and heaved a sigh. Looked like it was going to be another fruitless meditation session. He stretched his legs out of their lotus position while he flipped through his book, looking for a quotation, a passage, something he could use as a mantra to bring him some serenity. Of course, he'd looked for such assistance yesterday. And the day before that. And all last week. He kept hoping that maybe there was something he'd overlooked. He'd already tried all the mind-quieting exercises, but they just weren't helping. Frustrated, he tossed the book back under the bed and went out to the kitchen to get some water.

His dad was sitting on the living room sofa, watching the game. "Hey, Son," he said, glancing up as Kyle came in. "How's it going?"

"Fine," Kyle said shortly. He got his drink and then plunked down on the sofa next to his father. He stared morosely into space, not really paying attention to the action on the screen.

"Score!" his dad suddenly shouted, jumping up and turning to high-five his son. Kyle looked up at him blankly from his seat. "Hmmm? Oh, yeah. Score."

His dad sat down again and looked at him. "Something on your mind, Kyle? You've seemed distracted the past few weeks. Girl problems?"

Kyle rolled his eyes. "Dad—"

"No, really. It's ok. You can tell me anything, remember? So who is it?"

"It's no one. No one. I'm fine. I've just been feeling a little stressed lately, that's all. School. You know." He stood up. He didn't want to talk any more or even think any more about his mental state. "I'm going to go out and shoot some hoops, ok? Be back for dinner."

*****

Max paced around the Crashdown nervously. He had finally managed to get Liz to agree to a date. Sort of. A group date, anyway. Isabel, Tess, Michael, Alex, and Maria were already there; they sat at the counter, swapping horror stories from last night's Thanksgiving dinner while they waited for Liz to change out of her uniform.

It wasn't ideal, but at least she was willing to spend time with him again. That was a good step towards getting back together with her. So why wasn't he happier about it? It didn't make any sense. He supposed he would feel better once she came back to him completely. It would happen. It had to. Right? Finally, he saw her emerge from the back room, dressed in her jeans and a blue and white twinset.

"You look nice," he told her. And she did, although he felt like he was assessing a painting, for all the effect she was having, or rather, not having, on him. "Shall we go?"

"Yeah." She was fishing in her purse for her keys. "I told Kyle to meet us at the movie theater, since it's closer to his house."

Max stopped in his tracks. "You invited Kyle?"

"Of course. He's my friend, too. You got a problem with that?" Liz looked at him pointedly, as if daring him to bring up the subject of her and Kyle in bed again.

Max knew that one wrong word would ruin any chance for a reconciliation with Liz. He swallowed his misgivings. "No. It's fine."

The group met Kyle outside the theater. Max avoided looking at him as he threw a terse "Hey," in with everyone else's greetings. They paid for their tickets and went to get seats. Because of the holiday, the theater was crowded, and they had to split up into 2 rows. Max groaned inwardly as Michael, Isabel, Alex and Maria grabbed one row, leaving him and Kyle in the same group. He sighed -- well, nothing to be done for it, not without making a big fuss and drawing attention to himself. At least he was next to Liz. He tried to focus on her, squelching the pull he felt for the boy on his other side.

The movie--an action flick-- was pretty good, and for a while Max was distracted enough to relax. About halfway through the movie there was the standard hero-hooks-up-with-a-gorgeous-girl scene. As the two actors kissed onscreen, Max smiled to himself - he imagined himself kissing Liz. But it only lasted a moment; almost immediately the images in his mind clouded over and began to change. Liz's brown hair shortened; she was replaced by someone taller, sturdier, with expressive blue eyes. Kyle. He was kissing Kyle. Over the noise of the soundtrack, Max heard Kyle's sudden gasp as he drew in a ragged breath. And as if that wasn't enough, Max was suddenly aware of his own raging hard-on, pressing insistently against his jeans. Oh, God, no ...

Blindly, Max launched himself out of his seat and pushed past Liz to the aisle.

"What are you doing?" she whispered in surprise.

"I ... I have to go. I'm sorry. I'll see you later." He practically ran out of the theater, desperate to put as much space between him and Kyle as possible. He knew instinctively it was hopeless - no amount of distance would break their connection - but in his panic, he didn't care.

Max was almost at the street before he noticed footsteps running behind him; he turned to see Liz approaching. "Are you ok?" she asked. She looked genuinely worried.

Max groaned inwardly. Why did she have to be so concerned *now*, when all he wanted to do was escape? "I'm fine. Really," he added, seeing her doubt. "I just ate something funny, I think. I'll be fine. Go back with the others."

He turned and fled, before she could say anything more. Once home he raced to his room before his parents could spot him and threw himself on his bed. Bitter tears of frustration spilled and ran down his cheeks. His image of a normal life with Liz was gone. He knew that now. He couldn't even dream about her anymore. It was Kyle, this damned bond with Kyle. Oh, God, why him? Max felt as helpless as when he'd been Pierce's captive - once again he was being held in a situation against his will, and there was nothing he could do about it. And there was no one he could talk to about it, either - how could anyone possibly understand what it was like?

Max's brain swam in little circles as he clung to his pillow, trying to take comfort in something, anything. Eventually, though, the strain caught up with him and he fell into an exhausted sleep; he didn't even hear Isabel look in on him when she came home a short while later.

*****

He was alone. Alone in a large white room. People were coming after him, and there was nowhere to go, nowhere to run. Masked enemies held him down, a dark figure caused him pain. Tests and probes, drugs and mind games. He was powerless to defend himself. And alone, so alone. And then came the knives, the needles, and he knew the last thing he'd see would be that dark figure, looming, laughing ...

Kyle woke with a jerk, and lay awake the rest of the night, trying to calm his terror.

*****

In the first week of December the infamous heatwave rolled into town. Daytime temperatures soared, making classrooms uncomfortable and air-conditioning a highly-sought-after commodity.

At least, Max thought, shutting the front door behind him, the evenings cool down a bit. Once again he'd been having trouble sleeping, so, rather than toss in his bed all night as he had been doing lately, he thought he'd take advantage of the comfortable night to go for a walk.

He wandered the streets of Roswell aimlessly, just enjoying the warm night and pleasant breeze. He didn't try to think of anything, and he found that this left him feeling more relaxed than he'd felt in ages. All was peaceful and still until he approached the local park. Thump thump thump thump. The faint sound of a basketball being dribbled got louder as Max drew near, and he knew before he saw the well-lit courts that it was Kyle. Max was too relaxed to fight the pull he felt. Instead he went over and stood in the lamplight until Kyle acknowledged him.

"Hey." Kyle shot a basket.

"Hey."

"Couldn't sleep either, eh, Evans?" Kyle dribbled the ball a few times before taking aim again.

"No." Max debated asking "Come here often?" meaning simply to inquire politely after Kyle's habits, but realized just in time how much that sounded like a cheesy pickup line. Not what he wanted to say. Instead, he asked, "So, you want to pass the ball over here?"

Kyle stopped his solo game to stare at Max in surprise. "You play?"

Max shrugged. "Isabel and I have played some pickup basketball with our parents. I'll never make a team, but I'm pretty good."

The other boy bobbed his head thoughtfully for a second. "Ok, Evans, you're on."

Forty-five minutes later they sat side by side on a bench, panting. "Not bad, Evans. For an amateur, anyway." He grinned at Max.

Max smiled back. "Thanks. And thanks for showing some restraint so I wasn't totally humiliated out there."

"Nah, I didn't do anything. We were actually pretty well matched."

There was a pause, and then Max stood up and stretched. "Well, thanks again for the game. I think I'll go home and try to sleep now."

"Yeah, me too. Later, Evans."

*****

Max closed the door to his bedroom and turned to face his lover. Kyle stood by the window, shirtless, and Max took a moment to appreciate the way the moon highlighted the curves of muscle, the clean-cut features. Then, in a few short steps he had closed the space between them and had taken Kyle in his arms. Lips came together hungrily, tongues explored and tasted. After long minutes, Max bent his head further and worked his mouth down Kyle's neck as his hands caressed the smooth lines of Kyle's back and his well-muscled butt. He felt Kyle run his own hands under Max's shirt. Warm fingers traced teasing lines over his chest, eventually raking over his nipples, and he groaned in response. In one swift movement, the shirt came off, and Kyle pressed his eager lips to those same nipples, flicking his tongue; at the same time Max felt himself being nudged backwards until he collided with the bed. They both collapsed onto its cushioned surface.

Hardly missing a beat, Kyle reclaimed his position, using his tongue to trace heated paths down and around Max's abdomen, before finally reaching the barrier of his jeans. Max reached for the button, but his hands were gently but firmly batted away. Kyle slid the offending material down Max's hips and long legs, then stripped out of his own remaining clothing before rejoining Max on the bed and recapturing his mouth with more kisses. Time passed in a blur of sexual excitement as Kyle skillfully used his hands and mouth to bring Max to a heart-stopping climax. As soon as he had recovered, Max returned the favor, relishing in the feel of Kyle's muscular frame beneath him, the way he responded to Max's ministrations. He took just as much pleasure in giving as he had in receiving ...

"Max, honey, are you up yet?"

"Yes, Mom. I'll be down in a bit." As soon as I clean the mess off the sheets ...

Kyle stuffed his sticky boxers as far down into the laundry bag as he could. Thank God no one had seen him slouch off to the bathroom this morning, before he'd had time to change.

*****

"So, anyone got any plans for New Years?" Tess asked.

"Our parents usually go out with friends, so maybe you all could come over to our place," Isabel suggested. "How about it?"

It was the week between Christmas and New Years. The group sat at the Crashdown, clustered around two tables they had pushed together. Liz and Maria were both working, but since it was a Thursday evening, there weren't too many other customers. Liz had just plopped down next to Isabel, while Maria was setting down a pair of Alien Blasts for her only remaining patrons.

"Hey, you guys," Maria said as she came over. "Guess what I got for Christmas?" Without waiting for an answer, she lifted her hair out of the way and showed off her ears. "My mom let me get them double-pierced!"

Kyle grinned inwardly at his irreverent thoughts. That girl needs more holes in her head like ... well, like a hole in the head. He heard a snort and looked across the table, where Max was clearly trying to hold in his laughter. No one else was paying any attention - Liz, Tess, and Isabel were ooohing over the earrings Maria had chosen, and Michael and Alex were busy rolling their eyes at each other over the girls' behavior. Kyle exchanged a sly glance with Max, his lips curving in a secret smile.

*****

Max helped Isabel pour the Martinelli's, then carefully brought the sparkling apple juice-filled glasses out to the living room. It was almost midnight, and everyone quickly took a glass as they prepared to toast the New Year.

He looked around the room at the assembled group. There was Michael, his arm draped languidly around Maria; the two of them seemed to have reconciled. For the moment, anyway, Max thought, smiling inwardly. Seriously, though, he wanted to see two of his best friends happy, and they certainly seemed made for each other. The other three girls stood in a cluster on Michael's other side. Isabel, Liz, and Tess had been slowly cultivating a friendship of their own; the three of them spent an increasing amount of time together, and there had even been a couple of sleepover nights lately. Maria came too, when she wasn't with Michael. Max rolled his eyes at the memory of all that feminine giggling coming from Izzy's room. He didn't want to know what they found so amusing.

Max stopped a moment to consider Liz. Remarkably, they had started to be at ease with each other lately. It was still early, but he thought they might eventually be close again, although just as friends this time. Some time after that miserable night at the movies he had started to let go of his desperate attempts to be with her, and she had relaxed almost immediately, responding to him more positively than she had in months. Weird how things turned out sometimes. Liz turned to speak to Alex for a moment. He must have said something mischievous in reply, because she laughed and swatted at him playfully. Just like he was her brother, Max mused. He felt a twang of sympathy for Alex; it seemed he would always be a loner in some ways - and Max knew all too well what that felt like.

And then there was Kyle.

Max's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of people counting - the ball was dropping down in Times Square, and everyone joined in the countdown.

" ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 Happy New Year!" they all yelled. There was a clinking of glasses as they all toasted each other. Max noticed Michael and Maria sharing a passionate New Year's kiss; almost involuntarily, his eyes slid over to Kyle. They exchanged a brief glance before Max was practically knocked over by Isabel hugging him. There was mild chaos as everyone else hugged everyone else.

They all stood around talking for a while longer, and then the party started to break up. Maria drove Michael home, and Isabel offered to take Tess, Liz and Alex back in the Jeep so that Michael and Maria could have privacy in the Jetta. Max stood at the door, waving them off, then closed it and turned to Kyle, who was zipping up his jacket.

"Well, thanks for coming Kyle."

"It's been a blast Evans."

Max opened the door again and stepped back so the other boy could pass. Kyle patted down his pockets, checking to make sure he had everything, then walked towards the entryway. "Well, thanks again." With one hand on the doorknob, however, he hesitated, turning his head back to look at Max. There was a pregnant pause. Max was aware of a crackling sensation within him, along the lines of connection between them, as they stared at each other, golden-brown eyes into blue. Neither one of them moved; they scarcely breathed.

"Ah, hell," Kyle said suddenly, and without further hesitation he put his hand around the back of Max's neck and pulled him down for a kiss. Max lost all outside awareness as they came together ... there was only Kyle. Kyle within him, around him, embracing him. He was Kyle, Kyle was him, they were one. He was whole.

They kissed for long minutes before finally breaking apart. Max unconsciously licked his lips, and then whispered, "Happy New Year, Kyle."

Here's to our future ...

END


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