Roswell, Recurring Dream

Title: Recurring Dream [Max/Liz]
Rating/Warnings: PG for Max being a big baby.
Summary: Max is having nightmares, and they’re very familiar.
A/N: It’s very cliche, but I like it.

Recurring Dream

Max looked around the desert, noticing the alien symbols dotting the ground with a growing feeling of dread. He looked down to find himself dressed all in black, then his legs started carrying him towards the symbols, towards the four square symbol he knew would be in the middle.

Soon he saw the others coming towards him, seeming also to be drawn against their will, also all in black. They all stopped at the side of the four-sided figure and reached for each other’s hands. The square completed, Max struggled to break it, finally jerking his hand out of Isabel’s…

…and waking up in his bed, drenched in sweat. He took several deep breaths, trying to shake off the dream, blinking into the darkness with eyes that had been staring at blinding desert sands a moment ago.

“Max?” Liz asked, beside him, rolling over and blinking the sleep out of her eyes. “Oh, Max,” Liz sat up beside him and rubbed his back soothingly. “The dream again?”

Max nodded wordlessly, still gulping down air. Liz’s cool hands calmed him to the point where he could speak again.

“Sorry for waking you up again, baby,” Max said softly, the hitch in his breath reduced to an occasional hiccup.

“Max, come here,” Liz pulled Max to lay beside her, his head pillowed on her chest. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“It’s just the same dream as before,” Max shrugged lightly. “The four of us are in the desert, standing around the symbol, I break away, and then I wake up.” Max fought to keep the quaver out of his voice, but couldn’t suppress a shiver. Liz ran her hand through Max’s hair, smoothing it comfortingly.

“What happens if you don’t fight?” Liz asked.

“What?” Max asked.

“I mean, it’s the same dream every time,” Liz continued. “Why don’t you do something different and see what happens. If you don’t wake yourself up, what happens?”

“I don’t know,” Max shook his head slowly. “I feel pretty stupid that I didn’t think of that sooner.”

“It’s okay,” Liz whispered conspiratorily, “you haven’t been sleeping much lately.”

Max lay against Liz quietly, calmed by the steady rise and fall of her chest, thinking about this.

“I love you, Liz,” he said randomly after awhile.

“Mm-hmm,” Liz responded sleepily. “Love you, too. Go back to sleep.”

* * * * * *

Max’s heart was hammering as he realized he was back in the desert. He tried to calm it and started walking towards the signals before the compulsion forced him to. He reached the four square symbol before the others and watched them approaching, holding out his hands to Isabel and Tess and nodding at Michael in greeting.

When all four had joined hands, Max looked around at them, all clad in black staring seriously at one another. He caught a flash of movement over Michael’s shoulder, and watched patiently, waiting for it to come closer, bracing himself for whatever would happen next.

He relaxed as he realized it was Liz, coming towards them with a bright smile. He looked over Isabel’s shoulder to see Kyle heading towards Tess, and over Tess’s to see Alex. He didn’t have to look over his own shoulder, he could tell Maria was coming towards Michael, just from the look on Michael’s face.

The humans slipped into the circle, each across from their alien. Max felt someone separate his hand from Isabel’s, and he looked down to smile at Maria. Maria smiled brilliantly at him, and he couldn’t help but smile in return.

He realized that humans weren’t wearing black like the aliens, they were dressed in bright, vibrant colors.

Kyle was wearing blue, deep and serene, like the ocean, like the sky, vast and of endless space, but full of life, and Max saw the happiness flow from Kyle to Tess through their gaze, and Tess laughed out loud.

Maria was wearing a bright yellow sundress, the warm yellow of the sun waking up everything sleeping during winter into full summer, and she brought Michael to life the same way, basking in her brilliant glow.

Alex was orange, loud and fun, a color that clashed with almost everything else, but did it so cheerfully you had to love it, had to stare at it until you could help but laugh too, just like Isabel was laughing now, hard, with her head thrown back to shake her hair off her face.

Max looked finally at Liz, who was brilliant green, the earthy green of grass in childhood memories, the green of growing things and of healing, and her smile and warm brown eyes telling him that she loved him were healing Max, until he was laughing too, softly, but still heartfelt.

He looked at the other three aliens again, realizing that their clothes were changing, the black leaching away to their own colors.

Tess’s black faded away fastest, leaving behind soft pink, the pink of roses and the pink her cheeks turned when she caught Kyle looking at her, pink with the strength of emotions of love and acceptance and family that Tess was feeling for the first time, and the others felt the wonder of those emotions through her just as strongly.

Michael was red, passionate and fiery, maybe angry, but nothing if not alive. Michael burned, hot to the touch, and they all fed off his heat at one time or another.

Isabel was rich purple, the color of royalty, caring about everything so much that she seemed to care about nothing, imperious and confidant, the master of the brave face when everything was falling apart, at times when the veneer of calm was all that was holding them together.

Max looked down at his own clothes as they faded to deep indigo, the color of the night at the first hint of dawn, enigmatic but soothing and cool, and full of hope, a color that contained hints of all the other colors in its depths, just as pieces of all the others made up Max’s soul.

The four of them had been lonely and lost before these humans had found them, missing crucial parts of themselves. Now they were whole.

That’s what the dream had been trying to tell him, Max realized as he looked into Liz’s eyes and felt the others around him.

“But I knew that,” Max said out loud, wrinkling his brow.

“I know you did,” Liz answered. “Sometimes, Max, a dream is just a dream. Even for you.”

* * * * * *

“No, he’s still sleeping, Iz,” Liz said, shifting the phone to her shoulder as she stirred pancake batter the next morning. “I’m sorry it took so long, who knew you could fight so hard in a dream.”

“That’s Max for you,” Isabel sighed on the other end of the phone. “What did you think about the color thing? Was it too much?”

“I liked it,” Liz assured her. “I thought it was a good metaphor.”

“If we ever have to do this to Maria, it’ll have to be scents instead of colors,” Isabel and Liz shared a laugh.

“What was his original dream before you changed it?” Liz asked. “I mean if it was just the four of you in the desert, what was he so upset about?”

Isabel tapping her fingers on the table was audible to Liz through the phone.

“When Tess first showed up and everything went haywire, we all had that dream,” Isabel told Liz. “We thought it was our alien side trying to tell us something, but then it turned out just to be Tess. Near as I can figure out, Max just happened to have that dream, and the more he dwelt on it, the more it recurred.”

“Stupid boys,” Liz said irritably. “If he would have just told me what was bothering me when all this started, we all would have gotten a lot more sleep this week.”

“Amen! I…hold on a sec.”

Liz heard Isabel cover the mouthpiece of the phone with a hand and heard her talking to somebody.

“Liz?” Isabel came back on. “Alex wants to talk to you.”

“Okay, put him on,” Liz shrugged, her lips quirking in a smile, wondering what her geeky friend wanted.

“Elizabeth Evans!” Alex said imperiously, and Liz giggled at his use of her full name. “I trust that’s the end of this nonsense! Having Isabel dreamwalk your tortured husband at all hours of the night!”

“Yes, sir,” Liz answered happily.

“Good, keep it that way, Evans!” Alex said sharply, clearly teasing. “Nobody should be keeping my beautiful wife up all night but me! In fact, we might have to spend all day in bed just to make up for lost time…” Liz smothered another giggle as she heard Isabel strike Alex and his answering grunt. Alex cleared his throat, trying to regain his dignity.

“Seriously, kid,” his tone sobered a tad, “glad the fearless leader’s doing all right now.”

“Thank Isabel for that,” Liz shrugged. “Trust my husband to come unhinged over a dream that really is just a dream.” She heard Max stirring in the bedroom and glanced over her shoulder to make sure he hadn’t overheard her. “I’ve got to go, he’s getting up. Tell Izzy thanks again, Alex.”

“Alex Whitman-Evans, singing telegram at your service!” Alex announced, making Liz laugh again. “Later, Liz.”

Liz hung up the phone just as Max padded into the kitchen, looking sleepy but not like he might keel over at any moment like he had for the last few days.

“Morning, beautiful,” Max rumbled, his voice still thick with sleep, kissing Liz’s neck softly and dipping a finger in the pancake batter. “Mmm, pancakes. You know what I like.”

“I thought it might be the only way to get you out of bed,” Liz teased, slapping away his hand playfully. “How do you feel?”

“Better,” Max said gratefully. “Your suggestion worked. I guess I was making a big deal out of nothing.”

“Well, you know what Kyle says,” Liz said lightly. “One’s own mind can do more harm to oneself than any enemy.”

“Maybe I’ll have him teach me to meditate,” Max said and Liz fought the smile that tried to break free when she imagined Max sitting in a lotus position with Kyle. “Even if it doesn’t help, at least I’ll have a quote for every occasion.”

Liz did laugh at that, given their friend’s verbose serenity.

“Go on, get out of here, you’re in my way,” Liz nudged Max out of their small kitchen. “By the time you shower and get dressed, the pancakes will be done.”

“All right, all right,” Max headed for the bathroom. “Oh,” he called back over his shoulder, “Tell Isabel thanks for me.”

“Damn!” Liz laughed, sticking out her tongue at her husband’s back, knowing she should know better than to try to keep secrets from her alien spouse in the first place.

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