"I didn't think she would do it," Maria whispers brokenly. She stares off into the wall and repeats. "I didn't think she would do it. I mean..." Deep, shuddering breath. "She seemed really sad. She was really upset. Like, really upset. And I thought... I thought that since she hasn't really been sad about Alex's...Alex's death. I thought this was just a phase or something."

She heavily sinks down on her bed as if all the air suddenly leaves her. She looks up at him, shaking her head in disbelief as she says, "I should've known that you would do it. I should've known. You could never say 'no' to her. You were always eager to protect her, even if it meant that she would not be part of the I-know-an-alien-club any longer."

He opens his mouth to protest, but she ignores him as she continues. "But I thought... You being an - excuse my bluntness - self-centered bastard these last couple of weeks, that you wouldn't reach out a helping hand to the person you were at war against."

He lowers his eyes to the floor, knowing that what she is saying is true. He opens his mouth to say something, anything, but Maria isn't finished.

"I just agreed because she was so upset. You should've seen her, Max. I've never seen her like that. When I was talking to her I got this image in my head of us standing on the edge of a cliff. She was ready to jump. She had given up." Maria sobs brokenly and Max takes a hesitant step closer to her, but she waves him off. "This is Liz Parker we're talking about. She's the last person on earth to give up. She fights. She's one of those fighters." Her lips are tight now as her sadness quickly turns into anger and Max gets to first-hand witness why Maria has a nickname comparing her to a weather catastrophe. "And you just jumped off the cliff with her."

"Maria, I-"

She looks up at him, eyes burning and he finds himself taking a step backwards. At that moment he feels very much like a human teenager and not like the powerful alien king of an alien planet.

"And now you're here to fulfill the other part of her request."

Slightly intimidated to open his mouth again, he nods dumbly.

She opens her mouth to fling out another line of anger, but stops at the last second, staring at the wall behind him. To Max's amazement, a smile creeps onto her face, but it's not a happy one. Far from it.

She laughs, the laugh dripping with bitterness. "I've always admired her for her intelligence, you know. How she can just link things together, things that seemed highly unrelated at the time, at the blink of an eye. And all those ideas she has... Her mind is always working. I was impressed by it."

She looks back at Max, the smile faltering and somberness taking charge. "I guess I'm a bit surprised that one of her ideas would one day lead to disaster."

As she falls silent, Max sits down next to her and for a long time they stare at the wall in silence, shoulder against shoulder. Maria breaks the silence, looking over at his profile. "So, she's really gone, isn't she?"

He bends his head and nods. Maria looks at him, amazed that his love for her best friend never really died. "God, she really did a number on you, didn't she?"

His head snaps in her direction and she smiles at him softly, remembering with sharpness how she used to fill him in on as much as she could, without breaking girlfriend confidentiality, when Liz went to her aunt in Florida that summer after the aliens found out about their true purpose on earth.

"Cool it," she says softly. "It was meant as a joke - or something. She didn't use you, Max. She just didn't see any other way out... Did she tell you about the...uhm...other you?"

Prodigal Son | (Roswell Fanfiction ) | √Read this story for FREE!