Title: It Has Begun (10/10)
Author: Kata
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Rating: Oh, PG-13, maybe.
Feedback: Please! I know this didn't turn out as well as it could have
Distribution: Well, if you really want it, just give me your URL. (unless I already have it)

******

The next day, Tess rushed into the Crashdown. "I can't find her!"

Maria stopped in her tracks, still holding a plate of food she was delivering. "What do you mean?"

"Liz!" Tess cried, almost in tears. "I went to her apartment, and she wasn't there, and I just asked her dad, and he hasn't seen her, either!"

"Come on. Let's ask Mrs. Parker." Maria walked to the back of the Crashdown, Tess trailing behind. "Mrs. Parker? Have you seen Liz?"

Mrs. Parker looked up from her paperwork. "She went out with that new man. Howie, I think his name was."

Maria and Tess looked at each other in panic. "Call Max," Maria mouthed, than turned to Mrs. Parker. "Thanks, I guess I'll catch her later."

******

In less than half an hour, everyone was gathered in a booth at the Crashdown.

"Isabel, you have to dreamwalk," Michael urged.

Isabel nodded. She closed her eyes, and let her mind dwift. Her eyes snapped open. "Buckley's Point. And we have to hurry! She's in danger!"

Without a seconds thought, they were on their way. Maria didn't even tell Mrs. Parker she was leaving. It was just too important.

When they arrived at the cliff, Max held everyone back. "Let's take this slowly."

It wasn't long before they could hear Howie's menecing demands, and Liz's frightened replies.

"Where is Max Evans?"

"I don't know."

Howie shook her. "Now, where is Max Evans!"

Liz cringed back in fright. "No! I don't know, really! I wouldn't let him talk to me!"

Howie rushed at her, fists raised.

"No!" Max cried, and rushed out to confront Howie. "No," he repeated in a firmer voice, lifting his hand toward Howie. Howie fell to the ground, dead.

Max gathered Liz in his arms. "I couldn't let him hurt you," he whispered in an amazed voice.

She looked up at him. "You really couldn't, could you?" And a tear fell-- the first one in ten years. "I'm sorry, Max. I'm sorry."

"Sh... It's gonna be okay. I'm sorry." He stroked her hair, and let some of his own tears fall. "We'll be all right."

A few feet away, Maria turned to Michael. "It really will be alright, won't it?"

Michael looked around the clearing. At Max and Liz taking comfort in each others arms. At Alex and Isabel, talking quietly and holding each others hands. At Valenti rushing up the hill, ready to protect them, as usual. And finally, he looked at Maria, and brought her into his arms.

"Yes, it's going to be okay, now."

End

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