Isabel dragged Michael out the door. Leaving me with Max.
He'd put Chaka Khan in the CD player. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I'd told Michael he had to help me convince Max, and I was pretty sure he had.
Just because I'm going along with this doesn't mean I like it, Liz.
I don't like it either, Michael, but we have to know...
I wish it was him, I thought, staring at the door. I wish it was him.
Wishing isn't going to get you answers, Liz.
I wish they hadn't lit the candles. That was... personal. For me and Michael. I hoped it wasn't him.
No. I knew it wasn't his idea.
He'd hate that as much as he hated what I was about to do.
I turned around and looked at Max. He looked terrified. Hopeful. Expectant.
Time to get started.
"So, you told 'em, huh?" I said, taking off my jacket.
"Yeah," he said.
"And now everyone's just sort of cheering you on, like at a football game."
"No. No," he said. "It's - it's not like that. I mean - yes, they want us to keep going so we can find out where all this leads. But that's not -"
"Max, I need to find out where all this leads, too," I whispered, pulling my collar down. "Look."
The hickey had stopped glowing an hour ago. Now it was a dark rash.
It's because I don't want him touching me.
Don't be stupid, Liz -
He covered his hand over the rash and I felt his palm warm up against my skin. The same warmth I felt in the cafe that day. When he saved my life.
His hand left my neck. I knew it was gone before he told me. I knew that if I really looked tomorrow, I would see a faint silver handprint on my shoulder.
The sob threatened to rise up out of my throat and I caught it between my teeth.
Max's touch wasn't like Michael's.
"- thanks," I whispered. You can do this, Liz. You can -
He moved his hand down my arm and I felt it. The light of his touch. The same glow I saw with Michael. No, not the same. Similar, but -
You can't think about Michael, Liz.
He might see us. He could get a flash from me about Michael. I didn't even know how to prevent him from seeing things about me, from getting flashes about my life.
If he saw me with Michael, none of us would get any answers.
"Max," I whispered. "Do you understand any of this?"
"No," he whispered back.
I kept skirting the issue. I didn't want to face what I was here to do.
"Can you -" My voice cracked.
"Can you - take your shirt off?" I asked.
"Can I? Yeah."
He fumbled with the material. I took a deep breath and traced my hand over his chest.
That made no sense. I could trace Michael's body with light the same way he could -
Stop. Thinking. About Michael.
Why didn't it work with Max?
"I can't do it to you," I said, trying to keep the surprise and disappointment out of my voice.
What does that mean?
"I'm glowing everywhere," he said. His breathing was heavy. "My toes, my heart - you can't see it. It's on the inside."
I looked up at him and knew. He was in love with me. I could see it in his eyes.
It's the only way we can get answers -
It wasn't worth it.
"No, Max," I whispered. "We can't do this."
"I know," he said.
No, Max, you don't.
"You know -" I fumbled for a reason that he could understand. "Could I, uh - could I get sick?
"I don't know anything," he said.
"I don't even know who I am."
I don't know anything about myself, Liz, and I can't stop thinking about you...
"You know, the - the mark went away because - because you touched it," I said, thinking fast. There had to be some kind of explanation. "Maybe it came because we were away for - too long," I whispered.
"That sounds really crazy, but -"
I caught a flash of Michael. Storming through a park, hands shoved in his pockets.
Wearing the clothes I just saw him wearing.
I wish it was you, Michael -
"- it would be a complete disaster," I finished.
Stop thinking about Michael -
"I can't ask you to do anything that might hurt you in any way," he whispered. "And I have no idea what that is - and what's right - or wrong."
I can't do this.
I have to do this.
"I have no idea what's right or wrong..."
I almost started to cry.
I have to stop.
"You know things about me that you, um -" I shook my head. "That you shouldn't know, Max, and my mother - my mother, who I love, is just gonna kill me - if i don't die from this."
"You're right," he whispered.
Stop, Liz. Just stop. You don't have to explain anything to him. Just stop and go home.
"This is the first sign we've ever had -"
"I can't stop," I said.
The lump in my throat made it almost a whisper.
He kissed me and I saw Michael, shoulders hunched, head down, his footsteps going faster and then he was running, sprinting through the trees, trying to drown out the roaring in his blood, and I thought I can't, I can't do this to him, I can't not think of him, he's going to see us, he's going to know and I don't care -
Soldiers are running towards a beeping sound -
An object being buried -
The tower again -
A radio tower.
I looked up.
Maria was in the doorway.
"I was - looking for Michael," she said. She looked like she was in shock. "Um, something tells me he isn't here."
I looked at Max, at myself. We were on the couch. Michael's couch. I don't remember how we got there.
I scrambled to get off the couch, get away from Max.
Don't hate him because you're using him, Liz.
I needed to find Michael.
They'd stopped. The visions had stopped.
My legs went out while I was still at a dead run and I hit the ground, trying to breathe.
I didn't know I would see them, that I wouldn't be able to see anything but them -
Oh, God, I thought, the images resurfacing. Then I started laughing. I don't believe in God.
They wouldn't stop. I tried to shut my eyes against them and almost laughed again.
They're not in front of you, Guerin, they're in your head.
"She's just trying to get answers," I whispered to myself. My breath was ragged. "That's all. Relax."
I rolled onto my back, gasping on the wet ground like a fish out of water, my legs and lungs burning from the run that didn't help, that didn't keep me from seeing them together, his shirt off, leading her over to the couch -
I felt like I was going to be sick.
Do you want answers or not, Guerin?
"No," I whispered. "I don't."
I had to find her, to tell her. We couldn't do this again.
It had to stop.
|DC Slash||Harry Potter||Ros. Hetero||Ros. Slash||Ros. Other|