Title: Heart of the Phoenix

Author: Majesty majesty0000@hotmail.com

Rating: PG13/Eventual NC-17 (A/U)

Disclaimer: I own nothing Liz and Max nor do I own the idea of Starman, which to me is almost as good as the idea of Max…<sigh> life just isn’t fair!

Summary: A *very* loose adaptation of the movie Starman (No it’s not going to play exactly the way the movie did). If someone has already done this, please let me know so I don’t waste my time LOL. Liz Evans has been in a perpetual state of numbness since the death of her very human husband Max Evans in a terrible car crash. But something turns her life upside down, and she will never be the same.

Those of you who have seen the movie know the basic plot. Those of you that haven’t, well you’ll just have to wait and see!

 

Chapter 10

NINE MONTHS LATER

Liz sat rocking in the huge wooden chair in silence, looking out over the vast expanse of pastures that spread before her. Absently, she fingered the silver orb in her palm that she kept with her always, once again taken aback at how much her life had changed in such a short period of time.

Alex had dragged her out of the valley to her car, all the while hearing the voices of the soldiers around them in the fog. Somehow he was guided by a force he couldn’t explain to the car. Even today he couldn’t rationalize what had guided him in the fog and snow. He just *knew*, he said.

The ship continued to hover over the valley, as they reached the car, and Alex pushed a sobbing Liz into the passenger seat. Lucky leaned over the seat licking her tears as she looked out the window into the valley.

Alex went to start the engine. No keys. Dammit!

“How did you start this?” he asked her urgently.

She just sat silently, her shoulders shaking as she felt her heart ripped apart.

“Look, I know you’re upset Ms. Evans,” he said, “but the fact remains that if we don’t get out of here *now*, Dennis is going to find us, and if he does that, you are going to become the next human pin-cushion for the government because you were with him willingly the past few days. Am I making myself clear?” he asked.

My baby, she thought to herself, panicked.

“He…he did it, with his fingers,” she said shakily.

“Well that’s great,” he said, sitting back in the seat. “Now what?”

She sat for a moment and then her eyes widened slightly as she opened the dash compartment.

She rummaged quickly through it, and produced a screw driver.

She handed it to him. “It might work,” she said. “It used to work on Max’s old jeep.”

Hoping for the best and fearing the worst Alex took the tool from her and jammed it into the starter, turning it with all his might, and the engine sprang into life.

He heard the shouts of the soldiers in the mist, as he threw the car into drive and gunned it away from the valley. The mist appeared to clear a path only for them and they quickly found the road out of the park, never stopping. Liz took a longing glance back a few miles away as the ship finally rose higher and higher, disappearing into the sky.

They had hidden for weeks, taking hotel rooms under assumed names, paying cash for them. Liz didn’t dare call Maria. She didn’t dare call anyone.

She knew that they would be watching her loved ones, waiting for her to break down and contact them.

She told Alex everything, because if he was on the run with her, he had a right to know what he was getting into. He accepted her account of her days with the visitor without judgment.

She wouldn’t do it. She had resigned herself to the fact that it was now just her and her son.

Alex was now a wanted man too. Dennis had seen him at the site and he was quite certain that he had something to do with the disappearance of Elizabeth Evans. Unless of course she was taken by the alien to another planet. Dennis kept up the search for weeks, unable to admit defeat, until he was *told* to call the search off. They had officially disappeared.

Alex contacted a wealthy family friend named Don Waters. Don was a rancher in Nevada, and a good friend of Alex’s father before he passed away. Science was in the Whitman blood, a passion, a life’s work. Waters and Alex’s father met in college, and remained good friends long after they had left their dorms to start their careers. The senior Whitman worked for a large pharmaceutical company and Don took over the large ranching business his father had started years before. His college education in business and agricultural management built his cattle business into a profitable enterprise.

Waters married a local rancher’s daughter, and they had two children. When she suddenly came down with a rare form of cancer, and conventional doctors could not help, the first person he thought to call was Alex’s father.

Though it is not well-known, there are effective treatments tested and approved for the most aggressive cancers. But the pharmaceutical companies profit more on the ongoing chemo treatments, antibiotics, and other medications than they would administering the cure, so they were never brought to light. Alex’s father created one of these little known medicinal cures, though it was never made public.

As soon as he heard of Water’s plight, he knew what he had to do. Taking a three-week vacation, he treated Waters’ wife at the ranch, monitoring her closely, under the agreement that they never breathe a word of it to anyone. If the government got wind, Alex’s father’s very life would be in danger. The Waters’ kept their promise, and his wife recovered, and they promised Mr. Whitman that if he or his family ever needed anything, they need not hesitate to ask. Alex had never had to contact him, until then.

Waters asked no questions, just took them in with open arms. When they arrived, there were rooms prepared for them in the massive ranch house. After weeks on the road, and the trauma of losing Max again, Liz was exhausted. Alex picked her up out of the passenger seat of the car, and carried her in, without introduction to his friends. He set her down on her feet in the room they had prepared for her, and she fell into the warm bed, and quickly passed into sleep. She slept for two days straight.

When she had awakened, she was disoriented for a few moments. After a hot shower, she carefully dressed and opened the door to her room and was greeted with the enticing smell of a home-cooked breakfast.

She entered the kitchen shyly, not knowing what to say to the rancher’s wife who had so graciously taken them in. She stood in the doorway in silence as she watched the woman bustle around busily at the counter preparing the meal.

A moment later, the woman turned and noticed her.

“Well hello Liz!” she smiled. “I’m so glad you are awake!”

The woman rushed over with a big smile and gave Liz a warm hug.

Liz stood absolutely still, in shock.

“Th-thank you for letting us stay here for a bit,” Liz said. “I hope it’s not going to be too much trouble for you.”

“Not at all! Any friend of Alex’s is welcome here always. Oh where are my manners?” she cried.

“I’m Terrie,” she said, and I am so glad to have another woman here,” she laughed. “I had two boys and they’re all grown and living on their own now. I’d always wanted a daughter, so maybe I can pretend for just a little while with you,” she said.

Liz smiled at her.

“Are you hungry dear?” she asked. “You look so thin.”

“I’m starving,” Liz admitted. The fast food they had eaten while on the road held no appeal for her, and the rich smells of home-made biscuits and frying bacon was making her mouth water.

“Good, then sit down and I’ll fix you a plate, and you can tell me all about yourself,” she said, shooing her to the table.

Liz sat quietly at the table as the Terrie fixed her a heaping plate full of eggs, bacon, toast and biscuits.

“Where is Alex?” Liz asked, as Terrie sat down next to her, pushing the plate in front of her.

“Oh he was out with Don early this morning on a cattle drive. He won’t be back before dark I’m sure,” she said. “They took your dog with them. I must say, that pooch loves having full roaming privileges,” she laughed.

Liz nodded, looking at the plate longingly.

“Go ahead, eat,” Terrie urged, and Liz picked up her fork, tentatively trying her eggs. They were delicious, and soon she was digging into it with gusto.

Terrie chattered on while she ate, and finally Liz couldn’t fit another bite into her stomach. She sat back and smiled.

“That was wonderful,” she said.

“Now you must answer some questions for me,” Terrie said. “I hope you don’t think I am prying, but I am thinking you and Alex…well, you aren’t *together*?” she asked.

Liz shook her head.

“I thought not. But you’re both in trouble. Alex told me that you both were in trouble with the government,” he said.

Liz sat completely still, not knowing how to answer her.

“Don’t worry honey, I have no love lost for the government. If it was up to them, I’d be dead right now. Alex told you didn’t he? What his father did for us?” she asked.

“Yes,” Liz said quietly.

“So then I will just tell you, you can tell us as much or as little as you want to. We won’t ask questions, and you needn’t worry about us asking you to leave, or feeling that you have to. You are welcome here as long as you want to be here,” she said kindly.

“Thank you,” Liz said, tears forming in her eyes.

“Never mind dear,” she said, patting her hand. “It’s a terrible thing to feel that each day may be your last. I don’t want you to feel that way here. No one can harm you, Don won’t allow it,” she said.

Liz could not get over the kindness of this woman, who had taken them in no questions asked. Someone must be watching over me, Liz thought.

Impulsively, she reached out and hugged Terrie.

“I don’t know what to say,” Liz choked out.

“Don’t say anything dear,” Terrie said quietly, gently rubbing Liz’s back.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Time passed quickly, and there wasn’t an hour that passed that Liz didn’t think about Max, up there somewhere in the cosmos. Every night she would spend hours at the window, gently rubbing her belly, gazing at the sky, talking to her son, their son, telling him all about his father. And then she would talk to Max, somehow hoping that he would hear her, hear her words of love, and would know that she still thought of him.

Don and Terrie were wonderful to her and Alex, treating them as if they were their own children. Liz helped Terrie where she could around the house, and Alex frequently worked with Don out in the pastures.

Liz took many long walks during her time there, trying to come to terms with all that had happened to her. When her belly started to swell slightly, she knew that she couldn’t keep the secret of her pregnancy from her hosts much longer. She had to tell them something, but she didn’t want to tell them everything. It was bad enough that Alex was involved with this whole mess. She decided she would have to talk to Alex about it.

One night as he sat on the swing on the porch, thoughtfully looking out into the deep night, Liz quietly sat beside him.

“Hey,” she said quietly, and he smiled at her.

“Hey,” he answered.

After a period of comfortable silence, she spoke.

“Alex, are you ever sorry that you didn’t follow Dennis’ orders? Your life would be so much different now,” she said.

He was thoughtful for a moment.

“No,” he said finally. “I think I knew deep down all along what they were about, but I didn’t want to see it. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I had sold out. All my life, I dreamed of meeting someone like the visitor, having the opportunity to talk to someone not of this planet, hear the secrets of the universe. And maybe I didn’t get to do all of that, but I did get to meet him, I did get to help him, and that makes me feel like I can live with myself for living a lie with the government for so long. I should have known better, seeing what happened with my Dad,” he said.

Liz nodded.

“I’m glad you were there,” she said.

“I don’t know where I would be right now if you weren’t,” she said. “Probably locked up in some lab I suppose.”

“Yeah, it’s not so bad here is it?” he sighed. “I’ve gotten used to it, and I actually kind of like it here.”

“Me too,” Liz said, and he put his arm around her companionably, as she stared up at the sky.

“Thinking about him?” he asked.

“Always,” Liz answered, and he smiled.

“I bet he’s thinking about you too,” Alex said.

“I like to think so,” she said wistfully.

“I know so,” he said, knowing the impossible feat Max had accomplished in coming back to her, even for that short time. Only someone who loved deeply and wholeheartedly would have the will to do it.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

Liz unconsciously rubbed her belly.

“Good,” she said. “Normal morning sickness, nothing unusual.”

“Are you worried about when he comes? I mean, he’s a special baby. There’s so much we don’t know,” he said.

“A little,” she admitted. “I can’t go to a hospital. That’s an impossibility. I can only pray that everything will go well, but I can’t help being a bit scared,” she sighed. “I’m going to have to tell Terrie and Don something soon. I am not going to be able to hide my secret much longer.”

He nodded silently.
“Alex, I don’t think I should tell them what happened. I don’t want to put them in any further danger by telling them. It’s not fair,” she said.

“I was hoping you would say that,” Alex said. “I mean, I wouldn’t have stopped you if you wanted to tell them, but I don’t want them to be in any danger either.”

“I was thinking of telling them about Max, you know, that he’s my husband, and that he got into some trouble with the government. That he had to go away, and I don’t know if he’s going to be back, but that the government is looking for me too, because he’s my husband, and they think I might know where he is. But I don’t, and I am not going to see him again, because he went underground, for my safety, and left me in your care. And that I found out after he was gone that I was pregnant,” she finished.

“Sounds reasonable,” he said.

“I would think so, as opposed to the truth, which is basically that my husband came back from the dead, was merged with an alien, and left on a spaceship never to return, but not before I got pregnant,” she laughed.

He chuckled. “Well, when you put it that way…”

She laid her head on his shoulder.

“Thank you for this Alex,” she said, looking up at the stars.

“For what?” he asked.

“For giving me a safe place. For being my friend. For helping us,” she said softly.

He smiled at her and looked up at the deepening sky.

“Don’t worry about the birthing,” he said. “Terrie used to be a mid-wife. She’ll know what to do. And if anything weird happens when it’s time for you to deliver, we’ll deal with it then. They’ll understand, I know they will.”

“Ok,” she said softly.


*%*%*%*%*%*%%*%*%*%*%*%

Now as she sat in the rocker, as she had so many nights before, she felt somehow blessed. Blessed that she was carrying their son, blessed at the beautiful place in which she now lived, and blessed that she had seen her husband that one last time, even though it broke her heart every day to think about it.

She shifted uncomfortably in the chair. Her body had become so cumbersome. She felt the gentle kicking in her womb and smiled.

“Settle down Matthew,” she said gently. She had chosen his name months ago. She knew Max had liked it, he had mentioned it as a boy’s name when they talked of having children.

A twinge caused her to sit straighter in the chair. And a sharper twinge pierced her back as she felt a warm rush on her thighs.

It was time, her water had broke. Carefully, nervously, she got up from the chair and padded into the hallway, making her way to Don and Terrie’s room. She knocked quietly on the door, and a moment later, Terrie opened it, bright-eyed and awake.

“I’m sorry I knocked so late,” Liz started.

“I know dear, it’s time,” Terrie said. “I’ve been feeling it was going to happen all night. Mid-wives intuition,” she said.

“Come on, lets go get your room prepared,” she said, starting to walk past her. Liz grabbed her arm and stopped her.

“Terrie, I’m scared,” Liz said in a small voice. Terrie patted her hand comfortingly.

“It’s going to be ok honey,” she said. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything. It’s going to be just fine.”

Liz nodded, slightly comforted by Terrie’s confidence. She was right, this was going to be just fine.

Terrie took her arm and led her to her room.

“Sit down and just relax,” Terrie said. “I’m going to get my things, I’ll be right back.”

Liz sat on the bed, nervously toying with the small silver orb still in her hand. What if something went wrong? They didn’t know anything about this child, what it needed, what they needed to do for it.

She wished with all of her heart Max was here. His absence was even more poignant now that her labor had started. She was scared and he would have comforted her. He would have surrounded her with his love and reassurances. But she would have to do this alone. And she would be fine, she told herself.

She went to the window and looked up at the stars.

“Max my love, he’s coming. Our son, he’s ready to be born. I wish you could be here to see it, to see him come into the world. But I promise you Max, I’ll love him with all my heart, and I’ll tell him about you, about how wonderful you are, and how much you love him. I miss you Max,” she said tearfully.

Then Terrie was back in the room.

“You’d be best just lying down dear,” she said. “It’s going to be a long night.”

Liz squeezed the silver orb gently in her palm and went to lie down.
Throughout the night, the contractions came and went at a steady pace, becoming deeper and closer as dawn’s light shone through the window.

Liz was quiet throughout the night, even when the ever-increasing pain wracked her body, straight down her back.

Alex sat out in the hall, waiting to hear word.

There would be no pain-killers, the birth would be completely natural. Liz had insisted, not knowing how any drugs would affect the baby’s physiology.

By mid-morning, she was in agony. She cried out as another white-hot contraction ripped through her body, panting as it passed.

“Terrie,” she panted. “I need Max.” Tears poured out of her eyes. “Ah God, I want Max,” she sobbed.

“I know honey,” Terrie said comfortingly. “I know.”

“I wish we could somehow have him here, but you know that’s not a possibility,” she said gently.

“I know,” Liz said tearfully. “I know.”

Terrie checked her once again.

“Hun, he’s crowning. It won’t be long now. Are you ready?” she asked.

Liz nodded wearily.

“When I tell you to push, give it all you’ve got. Ok?” she said.

Liz nodded panting with the pain.

“Ok hun, *now*,” she said, and Liz bore down with all of the strength she had.

She let out an agonized wail as she felt a terrible tearing in her body. She slumped back, letting out little gasps.

“Again hun,” Terrie said.

Again Liz pushed with all her might, feeling as if her body was ripping in two.

“Ok Hun, his head’s out. One more,” she said.

“I can’t,” Liz panted.

“Yes you can Dear, just one more,” Terrie coaxed.

“I can’t, I can’t,” Liz said, her hand still gripping the orb hidden in her palm.

“Yes, you can Liz,” Terrie said. “You’ve got the will to do it. Just find that place inside you. You can do it!”

Liz shook her head. Though neither noticed, hidden in Liz’s palm, the little orb started to glow a beautiful indigo blue.

With one final deep breath, Liz bore down with all her might, and her son was completely in the world.

He let out a feisty yell as Terrie cleaned out his mouth and nose, and cut the umbilical cord, wrapping him in a soft blanket. Liz cried as she watched Terrie finish her duties.

Terrie brought the baby to the side of the bed.

“Say hello to Matthew,” Terrie said with tears in her eyes as she handed the tiny bundle to Liz.

“Oh,” Liz sobbed as she looked upon her son for the first time, as he quieted in his mother’s arms. He looked up into her eyes, and she looked into the amber eyes of his father, and felt such love well in her heart for this tiny being she held in her arms.

Tears streamed down her face, as she smiled at him.

“Hello Matthew,” she said softly, touching his tiny fingers, his tiny toes.

“You’re so beautiful! You look just like your Daddy,” she said, as she saw the dark shiny hair on his head.

 

THREE YEARS LATER

A warm breeze blew across the high grass of the pasture as Liz sat near a tree, watching Matthew toddle after a lizard in fascination. She smiled as he shouted in delight.

“Momma, gon’ catch it ta show Unca Alex!” he giggled as he chased after the reptile.

Liz laughed softly as she marvelled at his development. He had spoken his first word at eight months, and was walking at 15 months. Very progressive for a child, and he was a constant source of joy to her.

“Fweeze!” he shouted at the lizard as he held his hand out, and the lizard struggled against what seemed to be thin air.

“Matthew honey,” she scolded gently. “What did Momma tell you about that?”

“Sowwy Momma,” he said shame-faced, and Liz couldn’t help but grin.

“C’mere,” she said, holding out her arms, and the little boy ran into them.

“You know why I told you not to do that right?” she said gently.

He nodded. “Cause if people see they might tell the bad people,” he answered solemnly.

“You’re so smart sweetie,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “Momma loves you, you know that right?”

He nodded, throwing his arms around her neck.

He remained there for a minute and then pulled away.

“Can I still chase the lizard?” he asked hopefully.

She laughed. “Go ahead,” she said.

He went to the edge of the grass again, looking for the elusive lizard.

Liz sighed as she looked at him.

She reached into her pocket for the silver orb. It had become a habit, holding it, playing with it in her palm. It calmed her.

She stretched out on the ground lying on her side so she could still keep an eye on Matthew, and propped head up on her elbow as she again studied the small silver orb. It was completely smooth, and slightly heavy for such a small object. It was a metal that didn’t exist on this earth, she knew that. She didn’t know what it could do, but she kept it with her always, just in case. She knew it had a purpose, and she never knew when it might come to light.

Pursing her lips, she laid it carefully on the ground next to her, as her attention again turned to her son. She watched him jump through the grass after the lizard. He looked so much like his father, with that dark shiny hair, strong jaw-line, and those impossibly beautiful eyes of amber.

She heard him giggle again, and she shut her eyes against the bright rays of the sun. It was a beautiful warm day in late spring, after a hard winter, and she was just thankful to be able to sit in this peaceful field while her son played to his heart’s content. Her life was so different now, empty again without Max, but filled with her son.

On the ground, a slight blue glow emanated from the silver orb, pulsing, first slow, and then faster until it let off a continuous light.

She heard Matthew giggle again, and she half opened her eyes, seeing him standing still looking off across the pasture. She couldn’t see above the grass what he was looking at, and so she slowly sat up.

Across the field, a figure slowly made it’s way toward them. It must be Alex, she thought, as she squinted and put her hand to her brow to shield her eyes from the sun’s strong rays.

Funny…he almost looked like Max from a distance, she thought to herself mildly as she stood up slowly.

“Daddy!” Matthew shouted as he started to run toward him.

“Matthew wait!” she said. “That’s not…” and her voice trailed off as the figure became clearer to her, that familiar dark hair, that strong physique, that wondrous smile.

“Max?” she whispered, as the little boy launched himself into his father’s arms, and was promptly swung around.

“MAX??” she shouted, and ran toward him, as his long strides quickly covered the ground between them.

She stopped before she reached him, her hand at her mouth, taking in the wondrous sight of him standing before her.

Tears pricked his eyes as he smiled at her, shifting the eager little boy who had his arms wrapped around his neck.

“Hello love,” he said softly.

“Is it really you?” she asked softly, moving forward to touch his cheek, trying to convince herself that this wasn’t a dream.

“C’mere,” he said softly, and she put her arms around him, enfolded by his free arm, her ear pressed to his strong heartbeat once again.

“I don’t understand…how?” she sobbed.

“Shhh…” he said comfortingly. “You didn’t think I could stay away forever, did you?” he whispered.

She lifted her head from his chest, to look into his golden eyes, and his head lowered, his lips brushing hers gently, tenderly, longingly.

She couldn’t stop touching him, his arms, his chest, his face, as she couldn’t believe he was standing there in front of her.

“Max, I’ve missed you,” she said tearfully. “I talked to you every night.”

“I talked to you too,” he said kissing the top of her head. “There wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t thinking of you and Matthew.”

“I told him all about you Max,” she said. “I told him so that he would never forget, so that I’d never forget…” she trailed off.

He pulled her tightly to him with one arm, as their little family was together for the first time.

“He’s beautiful,” he said softly near her ear. “But then I knew he would be.”

“Daddy,” Matthew whispered against his shoulder.

“He knows you,” Liz said incredulously.
“It’s one of those alien perks,” Max said, laughing softly. “I knew him too.”

“I have so many questions Max. How did you find us?” she asked.

“The orb. The orb called to me,” he said. “I knew if I found that, I’d find you.”

“Max, I’m so happy you’re here!” she said. “I…I still can’t believe it.”

“I’ll explain everything later,” he said, motioning to Matthew.

He carefully put the child down and knelt in front of him. The little boy smiled shyly at him.

“Matthew,” he said softly. “I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. If I could have been here, I would have, I promise you.”

“S’ok,” Matthew replied. “You cam from far away. It takes a long time,” he said matter of fact, and Max looked up at Liz with tears in his eyes. She smiled emotionally at him.

“That’s right Matthew, I was very far away, but I’m home now, and I’ll never leave you again, I promise.”

“Good,” Matthew said resolutely, and Liz let out a small chuckle at their son’s frankness.

He stood and took the little boy’s hand, with his left hand, and Liz’s hand with his right.

“This is all I ever wanted,” he said looking at her. “I’m sorry you were both so alone.”

“Not alone,” the child replied. “I felt you Daddy. Sometimes I felt you.”

Liz looked at him shocked. “Matthew, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to make you sad,” he said.

She smiled tearfully at her little boy.

“Come on, I think it’s time you had a shoulder ride,” Max said.

The little boy giggled as Max lifted him onto his shoulders.

“I love shoulder rides,” Matthew crowed. “Unca Alex gives me shoulder rides all the time!”

A small flash of pain flitted across Max’s face.

“Alex saved our lives,” Liz said. “I want you to meet him. He’s been so good to us.”

“If he’s been good to you, then I’ll be happy to meet him,” Max said solemnly.

“I’ve missed so much, haven’t I?” he said wistfully, as he looked up at his son, as they started back toward the house.

“We have our whole lives now Max. We can’t dwell on what we can’t change,” she said, threading her arm through his, pressing her side against his as they walked.

She couldn’t help the smile that broke out on her face as she kept glancing at the image of father and son together for the first time.

“I have so much to tell you Liz,” he said to her quietly, but I want to tell you when we can sit quietly,” he said.

“Later,” Liz agreed softly, just glad to be living in this joyous moment.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Their arrival back at the house caused bedlam when Alex saw Max walking from the fields with Liz and Matthew. He leaned heavily against the fence-post in shock as they approached.

“Who is that with Liz?” Don asked curiously.

“That’s Max,” Alex choked.

“Oh…” Don said in a lilting voice.

On the way back to the house, Liz had told Max all about Alex and the way that he had helped her, found this lovely place for her to live, with people that became like her own parents. He had sacrificed his career, and put his own life in danger to help Max and the other to escape, and to help Liz *disappear*.

Max knew he owed this man a lot, and somehow he would find a way to repay him.

Max stopped a short distance away, and Liz came and took Alex’s hand, bringing him over to Max.

“Alex, you remember Max,” she said softly, careful in her wording, so as not to arouse Don’s suspicions, because as far as he knew, Max had left Liz in Alex’s care.

“Hello again,” Alex said, smiling at him.

Max shook his hand. “Thank you for everything you’ve done, for Liz, for us,” he said with quiet meaning, and Alex nodded wordlessly, overcome with the intensity behind those words.

“If I can ever repay you…” Max said.

Alex shook his head. “It’s been an honor to know her, and your son,” he said.
Max smiled at him, and Terrie came out onto the porch noticing their new visitor.

“Hello,” she smiled curiously.

“Max,” Liz said, taking his hand, “I’d like you to meet Terrie and Don Waters. They’ve taken us in and been so kind to us.”

Max handed Matthew to Liz and walked over to Terrie.

“I don’t know how to thank you,” he said, and Terrie impulsively threw her arms around him.

“So this is Max!” she cried, as Max looked over her shoulder at Liz, puzzled. Liz smiled at him.

“I’m so glad you’ve come. Liz talks about you all the time,” she said, pulling away, getting a good look at her beloved girl’s beau.

“Oh Liz, you weren’t lying, he’s devastating,” she said, and Max colored with embarrassment as Liz chuckled.

“Hello Max,” Don said, shaking his hand. Max smiled and nodded at him.

Suddenly a mad barking came from the nearby barn and Lucky came bounding from behind it. Max knelt and the dog rushed up, knocking him over, planting his paws on Max’s chest, before giving him some sound licks on his face.

“Lucky!” Max sputtered, and Matthew giggled.

“Guess everyone’s glad your home,” Don laughed.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Later, over dinner, there was much discussion and laughter, before talk turned to what Liz and Max would do now.

“If you were in trouble with the government, it’s probably not safe for you to go home,” Don said, and Max nodded silently. There was an even more valid reason than that one, he thought, since technically he was dead to his family.

“Why not stay here? Max, you can help us out on the ranch here in return for a place to live,” Don said.

“We couldn’t do that,” Max said quietly. “You’ve already done enough for us.”

“Nonsense,” Terrie said. “You’d be doing us a favor. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good help these days?”

“She’s right,” Don said. After much discussion, it was decided that Max, Liz and Matthew would stay for the time being.

After dinner, Max, Liz Alex and Matthew retired to the front porch to enjoy the warm breeze rolling over the pastures.

Mathew chattered for quite awhile to Max, about the ranch, Lucky, Liz, Alex, Don and Terrie, the ponies, and a host of other things while sitting in his lap.

Max listened attentively, enraptured by his son. He couldn’t take his eyes off of him except of course when he had his eyes on Liz.

Finally Matthew yawned and curled up in Max’s lap, soon fast asleep. Max smiled contentedly as he looked at his son. Liz took Max’s hand gently squeezing it, throwing him a warm smile which he quickly returned. Max’s attention turned to Alex, who rocked quietly as he looked out at the sky.

“Alex,” he said, and Alex turned his attention to Max.

“I’ve been thinking about a way to repay you for all you’ve done for us,” he started, and Alex put his hand up.

“I told you, I don’t want or need any repayment,” he said.

“Hear me out,” Max said. “Liz told me you have an interest in the extra-terrestrial world. Well, I’m part alien, and I’ve been out there so I thought maybe we could sit down soon and have a chat. I could tell you anything you wanted to know.”

Alex sat with his mouth open for a moment, as that opportunity he thought he had lost had suddenly presented itself.

“I…yeah, I’d really like that,” he said. “I’d like that a lot.”

“Good,” Max said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Alex smiled his thanks.

“We should probably take Matthew into bed,” Liz said, looking down at their sleeping son.

Max nodded, picking the slumbering little boy up in his arms.

“We’ll talk soon,” he said to Alex, and Alex nodded.

Liz walked over and planted a small kiss on Alex’s cheek.

“Goodnight Alex,” she said quietly, and he grinned at her as they quietly entered the house.

Max carried Matthew to his room and gently laid him on the bed while Liz put his pajamas on. Together, they covered him up and kissed him goodnight. Max lingered a moment just taking in the sight of his son.

“I can’t believe he’s ours, part of you and me,” he said.

“And the other,” Liz said quietly.

“Yeah,” he said, kissing her cheek. They quietly closed the door and went to Liz’s room.
As he stood looking around the room, Liz suddenly felt overwhelmed again that he was here. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at her husband, so handsome, so powerful, and now so tangible.

“Max, how did you get here? Are you going to get sick?” she said worriedly.

He smiled and shook his head.

“We’ll talk about that later,” he said huskily. “Right now I have more important things to attend to.”

His arms wrapped around her protectively as his lips captured hers in a passionate kiss, his tongue entering her mouth lovingly, hungrily.

She sighed audibly as her body pressed against his, loving the powerful hardness of his chest pressed against hers. His lips moved to caress her neck and she moaned hungrily.

“God how I’ve missed this, and you,” she said, as her heart pounded excitedly in her chest at his touch, his warmth, the fire of desire in his eyes.

He gently tugged the straps of her tank down, nibbling on her shoulder, sending shivers of anticipation through her body.

Her hand stroked his cheek as he threaded his fingers through her hair.

“I’ve waited so long to do that again,” he smiled, his eyes filled with tears. “I’ve waited so long to touch you, to hold you, to tell you I love you again.”

She smiled at him softly.

“I thought you were gone forever Max,” she said tearfully. “I thought I’d never see you again. Every time I thought about it…I felt like I was going to suffocate. Matthews been a joy to me, but these past few years have been so hard,” she said, touching her forehead to his chest, as he gently stroked her hair.

“I wish I could have been here with you Liz. I wish that we hadn’t lost this time,” he said sadly.

“You’re here now, and that’s all that matters,” she said lifting her head. I love you Max Evans. You are my soul-mate, the love of my life, and I never want to be without you again,” she said.

“I’m here for good this time,” he breathed, as he gently laid her down on the bed, moving to lie beside her. For long moments, he gently stroked her belly as they looked into each other’s eyes, just content to be…

Slowly, tenderly he leaned over and brushed his lips against hers, and that very simple act brought all of the emotions Liz was feeling boiling to the surface, and she cried for all that they had been through, all that they had lost, and this chance they had been given to be together again.

Max held her as she let it out, whispering words of comfort and love in her ear as his hands gently soothed her.

She tearfully kissed him, moving closer to him, needing to feel him against her, to make this real.

Her finger gently played over the well-defined muscles in his arms, and then he gently pushed her back to the bed, moving to lie on top of her, propped up on his elbows.

“This feels like a dream, being here,” he said shakily.

“I know,” Liz said. “I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and you’ll be gone.”

He shook his head. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said gently, as his nose rubbed against hers, and his lips found the velvety softness of hers.

Tentatively, Liz’s hands reached around his back, pulling the hem of his t-shirt up. He carefully maneuvered so that she could pull it over his head.

Liz smiled at the magnificent physique that was revealed to her waiting eyes. He was perfect. His golden skin fairly glowed, and the mere sight of it caused her breath to catch in her throat. Max had always been completely sexy to her, but at this moment, he took her breath away.

She lovingly ran her hands down his chest, feeling the supple silkiness of it.

“My turn,” he whispered, as he gently pulled her tank off, revealing the silky lace of her bra. Tenderly his lips grazed the fabric, teasing the sensitive nerve endings, and she gasped at his touch.

His lips moved to kiss the swell of creamy skin at the edges of the top of her bra, and she moaned softly as his tongue gently caressed her skin.

“Max,” she gasped softly, and he moved up to gently touch his lips to hers.

Shortly, they both were rid of the annoyance of their clothes, and Max lay on his back on the bed. Liz kneeled above him, marveling at the sheer perfection of his body, fully aroused for her. Slowly, she moved on top of him, carefully stretching herself out fully over his body, every inch of her skin touching his, her face inches from his own.

His fingers gently traced feather light caresses up and down her back to her rear as they lay still, just feeling the sensation of skin on skin, heartbeat matching heartbeat.

Slowly, his tongue entered her mouth, savoring the sweetness, and moaning when her own tongue swirled against his. His hands gripped her waist as her moist heat pushed up against his erection, enticing him, creating a tight spiral of desire in the pit of his stomach for this vision that lay atop of him.

She moved instinctively against him, feeling his need surge with her own, and the two gasped in unison as white-hot bolts of desire rocketed through their bodies.

Max felt the tension quickly building in his body.

“Liz, I can’t wait any longer,” he said, but he needn’t have spoken, because she was already rising, guiding him to her most intimate spot, sliding him gently between her walls.

They both cried out at the furious rush of pleasure that rocked the two of them as Liz rose slowly, creating friction, heat.

She placed her hands on his chest as she moved her hips seductively, provocatively, rising off of his hips, and taking him in again and again.

Max’s eyes were darkened with the overpowering love he felt for his wife as she moved over him, looking down at him with such love in her own eyes, that he felt as if he was going to lose complete control. His own hips rose to meet hers as her rhythm became faster, more urgent, their breathing more ragged, their moans audible in the silent room. They whispered the endearments they had repeated so many times during their marriage, and it finally felt like Max had come home.

He felt his control slipping and he knew any moment he was going to go over the edge, and he sat up, and her legs wrapped around his back as her breasts pressed so enticingly against the hardness of his own chest, and he took her mouth in a fierce and furious kiss as he felt her start to tighten around him.

“Liz,” he breathed. “Liz, I love you” he cried as she drove him over the edge, and she tenderly cradled his head to her chest as he pulled her hips down, spilling into her, and she cried out in release.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

Later as they lay in each other’s arms, Max spoke quietly.

“Liz, I have so much to tell you, the other’s world, it was so beautiful,” he said.

“What was it like?” she asked.

“Like nothing I’d ever seen. Their lakes and oceans were this beautiful deep red, and the landscape was just filled with every color imaginable,” he said. “When I looked at the sky at night, there were four moons in the sky. And I looked at the sky every night, talking to you, hoping you would hear me.”

“I did too,” Liz said, gently placing a soft kiss on his neck.

“What were they like, his people?” she asked curiously.

“They were a very gentle race,” he said. “Unlike ours. They only wanted to learn from me, from us,” he said. “They don’t have war, or murder, or violence of any kind. When I explained these things to them, I was ashamed,” he said. “It was hard to communicate with them at first, but it came to me, from the other, their native language.”

“They knew that the other had…melded with me. And they knew I was unhappy. They had never seen this happen before. They re-create themselves in the image of other species all the time, and had never seen an absorption like mine.”

“They observed me for a month. It took eight months to get to their planet. Their ship was something I can’t even describe. Their technology was unimaginable. I don’t know how fast we were going, but I do know that the system their planet is in is light years away,” he said.

“Then, one day, I felt strange. I could feel something was going to happen. I didn’t know what at the time, and then suddenly, I got an image, a flash in my mind of Matthew being born. It was the orb. I saw it Liz. For the briefest moment I saw it, and I can’t even tell you the joy and the heartache I was feeling at the same time. I saw my son being born, but I couldn’t be there with you, and I heard you call out for me. I heard it and I couldn’t answer,” he said raggedly, and Liz could feel the emotion welling in his heart. She put her hand on his chest comfortingly.

“I knew then. I had to convince them to help me find a way to get back, to be able to survive here. I think they didn’t quite understand the concept of love, but they weren’t going to hold me there against my will. But they would not kill one of their own, the other that was merged in my body, in order to change my genetics so I could go hime. They had a meeting of their council, and they decided to put their best scientists on figuring out how to change my physiology,” he said.

“I went through a lot of tests. *Alot*. And a year later, they figured out how to modify my DNA without destroying the other. And still I had to wait. There was the other problem of modifying a ship so that I could survive the trip back here after the modifications. I could fly the ship with the knowledge of the other, and then the ship could be modified to return without a pilot. They also added extra cloaking to avoid detection. They learned their lesson after the last time. The ship was a lot smaller than the one that met us in Washington,” he said.

The trip was longer with the smaller ship, and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of you and Matthew,” he said. “And now I’m here, finally,” he said, kissing the top of her head, and squeezing her tighter.

“Do you still feel him Max? The other?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “He’s like a part of my consciousness I guess. I became even more aware of it after Matthew was born, with the connection to him. But it’s not like there is two people living in my body. I can’t explain it, but he really is a part of me now.”

“I’m sorry for all that you went through alone Liz,” he said quietly. “I would have given anything to take some of it away.”

“Max, I would have done every single thing the same way. I have you back, and we have a son. I know it will be hard not to see our families again, but you get used to it, I promise. We have each other, and Matthew, and the rest of our lives, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I love you Max,” she said softly.

“I love you,” he answered quietly. Liz settled into the warm comfort of his embrace, and a short while later, he heard her breath even out in sleep.

But sleep did not come for Max just then. He didn’t want it to. As he lay there gazing at the peaceful sleeping face of his wife, he thought of all the tomorrows he would have. And he smiled, knowing that whatever tomorrow held, it would greet him with his wife in his arms, and his son, his beautiful son who would have so much to offer the world. Perhaps someday humans would be ready to learn from the others.

But for now this was enough.

THE END