TWO

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His eyes follow her as she walks away from the table. It is with sadness and regret that he watches his former girlfriend talk to Maria behind the counter. They are not laughing like they used to do while working. Because even if Max successfully removed their memories of alien hunts and paranoia, Alex is still dead.

He falters when he encounters the memories involving Alex. Going through Liz's mind is like going through a well-organized filing system, which doesn't surprise him considering Liz's highly structured personality. Memories are categorized according to events, places or people.

Her grief slams into him so strongly he has to hitch for his breath. But there is something else there, something stronger.

Guilt.

Liz blames herself for Alex's death. Not only for pushing him into the Abyss by asking for his blood that day Max ended up in the hospital, but for letting him in at all, and especially for altering the timeline. If the other version of Max had not gotten Liz to change the future, the world would've ended with them all dying. But with the future changed, Alex died.

And Liz feels every bit responsible.

Having already disintegrated the memory of the long-haired version of himself, he removes all painful and lonely memories of Liz desperately trying to find the truth behind Alex's death. Having to remove every single memory concerned with Alex's death, Max is forced to go through them one by one. He never knew. He never knew how much she was suffering when he turned his back on her.

Max hears the door bell chime and looks up to see Michael walk into the Crashdown. Michael really tried to get out of working his shift today not wanting to deal with the reality Max had created.

There is something about the silent explosive energy surrounding Michael this morning that makes apprehension trickle down Max's back and makes him stand from his booth. Michael reaches the counter at the same time as Max and Max observes how Liz turns around, giving Michael a small smile.

Before Max can intercept she speaks, "Hi Michael."

"Whatever," Michael murmurs and Liz's face falls in barely surprised confusion.

Because it's not Michael's words that cause that look of hurt bewilderment. Michael is known for his one-worded blunt replies. No, it's the tone. Ice cold with a teaspoon of acidic anger.

Max steps in. "Michael, I need to talk to you."

"I'm late for work, Maxwell," Michael snaps.

Max grabs Michael's arm tightly. "One minute more doesn't matter then."

He turns to Liz and says, as neutral as possible, "Liz, excuse us."

Michael might be taller than Max, but Max is definitely stronger and he more or less drags Michael over to the corner of straws and napkins.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Michael bites. "You don't think you've messed up my life enough?! Now you want to get me fired as well?!"

"You can't treat Liz like that," Max says.

Michael's eyes are dark as he stares Max down. "Why not? I consider that nice. You don't want to know what I really wanted to tell her-"

"You can't treat her like that because she doesn't remember," Max says, his voice lower to not be overheard by interested ears, but not lacking in intensity.

"Then who should I blame, Max? You?! Yes, that actually makes sense. You might think that you did what you did out of love for Liz, but the truth is you did it to soothe your own guilt about pulling her into all of this to start with. You just needed a reason and Liz gladly gave it to you."

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