Happenstance (CC,MATURE/ADULT) Part 71 [WIP]

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:34 am

Thanks for all the feedback! So here's you're Christmas present and a thank you for being so patient...2 parts! Hope you enjoy...I know the Candies will like Part 32. ;)


Part 31

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire. Something he read from a book on Aristotle once. Back when he was trying to figure out his place in this world. The more he studied humans and human nature, the more he wanted to be one…to live like one.

But in the process, he also realized that his hybrid charges were created with everything he wanted. They could live here, on this planet, as humans. For the most part, they are human. And the only reason he’s here is because that damn ship crashed, leaving him no way back.

So there’s the paradox. A planet where he doesn’t belong…whose governments would gladly take custody of him for experiments if they could. This planet that he hated at first…knew he could never belong within their society is now the place he would give up everything for to stay. To belong. To truly live as they do. Feel as they do.

Oh, how they would be horrified back home if they could see him now. Loyal Armin, struggling for a mere scrap of humanity. Living for the days when he can taste…when he can smell. They don’t come often and it usually involves something very spicy, bitter, extreme. But those days…it makes it all worth it.

“Sir, we’ll be landing in fifteen minutes.” His lovely assistant, Stephanie tells him…pulling his attention away from the blackness outside the jet’s window…away from his thoughts.

Terrific. Having the king know that he’s programmed to obey his every command is something he wishes could have been avoided. He has better things to do than fly across the country at the last minute for their latest crisis. Why can’t they just settle in…enjoy what they have? All the questions…it would probably give him a headache if he could actually get one. What do they think having answers is going to get them? It’ll get them exactly nothing…that’s what.

But there’s no helping it now. The Granolith has screwed things up. It’s their damn curiosity that gets them in trouble. Obviously, somewhere along the line they learned that the Granolith could rip a tear in the fabric of time here on Earth. That’s dangerous knowledge in the hands of ignorant hybrids. They had no business messing with it. If he could have, he would have destroyed the thing. But at the time, shortly after the crash, his only thoughts were of getting off this planet and back home. And the Granolith was the only way.

So many mistakes were made in the beginning. He would have done a lot of things differently if he knew then what he knows now. But isn’t that always the way? Isn’t that what he always hears humans talk about? Hindsight is 20/20. It makes him feel better. Makes him feel more human that he has the same faults as they do.

“Call Max and tell him where I’ll be.” Cal tells Stephanie. He looks at his watch and sees that it’s just before 9pm Eastern Time. Whatever’s going on, he hopes his stay here will be short. But he has a nagging feeling that it has to do with more than the visions of alternate timelines.

~~~~~~~~~~

His phone starts ringing as they make their way back to the apartment. It’s probably Isabel. He’d called her earlier to fill her in on what happened and to tell her to meet them at home. He’d talked to Liz briefly and assured her that he was ok.

Digging the phone out, he sees that the ID isn’t showing up. “Hello.”

“Mr. Evans?” He hears a woman on the other end and he stops, thinking something happened at the hospital.

“Yes?”

“This is Cal Langley’s assistant, Stephanie. I’m calling to let you know that we’ll be landing shortly. Mr. Langley also wanted me to tell you that he’ll be in room 1710 at the Waldorf Astoria during his stay in New York City.”

“Ok, thank you. Tell him I’ll be by to see him later tonight.” Max says, glad to hear that Cal is finally here.

“Of course. Goodbye, Mr. Evans.” Stephanie says courteously, as if she’s making an appointment for Cal at the spa.

Max tucks his phone back in his pocket and turns to Michael. “Cal’s here.”

“Good.” Michael says and looks over at a nervous but somewhat resigned Zan. “You going alone?” He asks Max.

“Yes.”

“Is that a good idea? I think I should go with you.” Michael says, knowing Max will say he wants to talk to Cal by himself first.

“I need you here with Isabel.” Max motions toward Ava and Zan as they approach the street entrance to their apartment. “I don’t want him going anywhere.”

Michael nods his agreement and notices Max stepping to the side of the door as they get ready to go inside. “You’re going now?”

Max sees Zan and Ava waiting patiently for them to go in and he says, “I’m going to the hospital first.”

Zan steps forward and says, “Can you…can you just tell her…”

“No.” Max says quickly, cutting him off and turning back to Michael. “Keep an eye on him and I’ll call.”

Michael nods and opens the door, leading Zan and Ava into the building.

~~~~~~~~~~

In an isolated square patch of worn out land, Tess and Lonnie are sitting on the ground and enjoying their brief half hour of freedom. Fifteen-foot high electrical fences, topped with nasty looking barbed wire, surround the yard. Surrounding them along the fence are ten armed guards watching their every move.

Aware of their constant surveillance, the two women have learned to use whatever they can to communicate. Body language, hand signals, and sometimes a little mind walking. When they first arrived, Tess didn’t even know that Lonnie was at the facility with her. It was over a year before she found out the other woman had been confined to a room just next door to hers.

The first year was filled with experiments…procedures. There were several times that she wished they would just kill her, or hoped that she might die on the operating table. Waking up to find herself in a very secure government facility had shocked her to the core. How did things go so wrong? How could the shifter let this happen?

But she can’t think about that. What’s done is done. Ever since she discovered Lonnie was here with her, she’s thought of only one thing…the same thing she knows Lonnie thinks about, too. For the last two years, three months and ten days, her mind has been filled with nothing but escape. Escape…and revenge.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Maybe I should move out here.”

“Maria. Stop it.” Alex sighs again and pointedly rolls over, turning his back toward Maria. They’d both come back to the apartment exhausted and decided they didn’t want to sleep alone. Maria would often do this when she came to visit…most nights ending up curled up in bed with either Liz or Alex. Usually finding Maria peacefully asleep next to him would warm his heart, but tonight Maria won’t let go of this idea she has and all he wants to do is sleep.

“I’m just saying.” She ignores his attempt to get her to shut up and scooches closer to his back, crowding him on his side of the bed. “It wouldn’t be that big a deal. I could get a great place and you and Liz could move in with me, of course, because you know I refuse to live here and not have you close. A nice, big place…close to the park…with a doorman…and lots of security.”

Rolling onto his back, Alex stares up at the ceiling and says, “We like it just fine here. I know why you’re thinking of doing this, but don’t. You know we’d love it if you moved here, but don’t do it for the wrong reasons.”

“The wrong reasons?” She gasps in disbelief. “Are you telling me you and Liz are the wrong reasons?”

“No, I’m saying that moving here because of what happened to Liz is the wrong reason. Being in a bigger place with a doorman and lots of security wouldn’t have stopped what happened.”

Maria, for once, doesn’t respond right away. She feels so helpless and it’s a feeling that she’s not very used to. Lonely…yes, she’s used to feeling lonely. But never helpless. If there’s one privilege of having money it’s that she can get whatever she wants and she can provide her mom and her friends with security and peace of mind.

But this whole alien business has turned her world upside down. She can’t protect anyone from aliens. “I think we should all just stay away from them from now on.” She says quietly, her eyes on the ceiling.

“Maybe you’re right. But I really don’t think that it’s up to us, do you?”

Maria snorts and says, “Well Liz better get her head out of her ass and start thinking about herself and her own safety. I don’t care that she’s in love with him…he’s gonna get her killed. Maybe get all three of us killed.”

“I don’t believe that’s an entirely inaccurate statement.” Alex turns his head toward Maria. “But you and I both know that we can’t tell her what to do. Our girl is nothing if not stubborn.”

“Yah.” Maria closes her eyes, hating this feeling. “Let’s go to sleep…I’m beat.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Liz feels herself reluctantly drifting off to sleep when she hears her door open quietly. She turns and sees Max quickly sneak in, shutting the door silently behind him. “Hey. I had to sneak in…visiting hours are over.”

She smiles at his nervousness. “I’m glad you came.” She watches him as he makes his way over to the side of her bed and sits down. “How’d it go?”

“Better than expected. It was like he was waiting for us…we found him pretty quickly.” Max shakes his head. “You should have seen it…where they lived…grew up. He was hiding out in the sewers, where they lived after Cal left them on their own.”

“Oh my God. The sewers? Are you serious?” She can’t imagine what living there would be like.

“The sewers.” Max nods his head. “Furniture…everything. There were these empty…pod things hanging on the wall. What we came out of, I assume. We have matching ones somewhere, I guess.”

“Pods? Like incubations chambers?” When Max nods, Liz can’t help the curiosity bubble up inside of her. “Where they organic? Or synthetic? Was there anything attached to them, telling them when it was time to release you? I wonder how you received nutrients.”

Max smiles slightly, of course she would be fascinated by the science aspect. “I don’t know. I didn’t actually study them.”

“Right.” Liz smiles, embarrassed. “Sorry. Tell me what happened with Zan.”

“He thought we’d come to kill him…he was expecting it.” Max furrows his brow. “I don’t know what to think right now. Whether I believe it was the bond that made him act, or something else.”

“Something else? You mean someone else?” Liz asks.

“Yah. He had obviously lost all control of his actions. He seems genuinely scared and horrified at what he’d done…he thought you were dead.”

“Did you tell him I’m ok?”

“Eventually.” Max looks up sheepishly. “Cal just got in. I’m going there after this to talk to him.”

“Are you going alone?” Liz asks, concerned.

“He can’t do anything to me. I just want to run a few things past him before we all get together tomorrow.” Max makes a mental note to ask Cal about something…realizing how easy it was for him to sneak in here.

“You don’t think he had anything to do with this, do you?” Liz worries.

“No. I doubt it. What reason would he have? I thought about it, but I’d like to hear it from him to confirm that it wasn’t him.” Max checks his watch and sees that it’s getting late.

“Who’s going to be there tomorrow?” Liz asks.

“Michael, Isabel, Ava, Zan.” Max says, knowing what she’s going to ask.

“I wanna be there, too. I’m sure I’ll get out of here in the morning.”

Max sighs and shakes his head. “I don’t want you anywhere near Zan.” He sees the fiery denial coming and says, “Liz, please. How about I have you on the phone instead?” She doesn’t say anything and he can tell she’s not happy with being left out. Sighing again, he says, “What if Maria and Alex came and I had you on the phone the whole time? Would that be ok?”

She pretends to pout for a moment and grudgingly says, “I guess. I don’t see what the big deal is, though. It’s not like he’s gonna do anything to me with everyone there.”

“That’s not it. I just…I don’t want him near you. I don’t even want him looking at you.” He realizes that what he’s saying sounds extremely possessive and he says, “I’m sorry. That sounds really childish.”

She smiles when she sees him blush. “Yah…but it’s sweet.”

“Yah? I thought it came out more cavemanish, but I’ll go with whatever you say.” He smiles back and says, “I should get going. You need to get some rest.”

“I suppose I do. I was almost asleep when you came in.”

Max looks alarmed and says, “I’m sorry. Why didn’t you say something?” He stands quickly, afraid that he’s been sitting here keeping her awake.

“Because I was glad to see you.” She assures him, not wanting him to feel guilty now for coming.

Warmed by her words, he smiles and says, “Well, I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” He shifts, not wanting to leave her side, but knowing he has to.

“Good luck with Cal. And be careful.” She tells him and he gives her a smile and nod before he walks toward the door.

Turning before he opens it, he says, “Good night, Liz.”

“Good night, Max.” She says softly and watches him leave as silently as he came in.

~~~~~~~~~~

At room 1710, Max stands staring at the engraved number on a gold plaque. Behind this door are answers that he knows Cal has…answers that have been withheld from him for too long. He raises his hand to knock but before it reaches the door, it’s opened by a woman who Max assumes is Stephanie.

“Max, come in. Cal’s waiting for you.” She steps aside as he enters and he takes in the woman standing in front of him. Does she know who Cal really is? Does she know who he is? She’s all business…dressed in a pressed black pantsuit with her hair tied back severely on the back of her head. She’s wearing black-framed glasses and carrying a small, electronic organizer. He notices two mobile phones clipped to her jacket pocket…one of which is ringing softly.

“He’s right through there.” She motions him forward as she reaches for the ringing phone and closes the door.

Max walks into the living room and sees Cal sitting in an overstuffed chair…papers spread out over his lap and on the table in front of him. When he sees Max, Cal shuffles the papers on his lap and drops them onto the table. “So what do I owe the pleasure, Max?”

Max doesn’t miss the sarcastic tone of his voice. He knows Cal is extremely irritated to have been called here on such short notice, helpless to say no. “I want you to answer some questions. A lot has happened since I talked to you yesterday.”

“Sit.” Cal motions Max toward a chair facing him. “Would you like something to drink…eat? Stephanie can call up room service.”

“No. I’m fine.” Max glances over at the woman on the other side of the room suspiciously and looks back at Cal in question.

“She’s ok. She knows my little secret…anything you say stays in this room. She can be trusted.” Cal says, noticing the wary way Max is eyeing his assistant.

Max looks at him in surprise, but quickly shakes it away. He doesn’t have time to think about what motivated Cal to let a human in on who he is. “Zan attacked Liz last night…almost killed her.”

This gets Cal’s attention and his eyes pop open in surprise. “Where is he now?”

“Liz is ok…in case you were wondering.” Max says, annoyed.

Cal waves his hand in the air. “Of course she is. I’m assuming you healed her.”

“He’s at my apartment, with Michael and Isabel. We found him hiding out in the sewers…where they lived after you abandoned them.” Max can’t help the hatred he feels for this man…no, alien…right now and it’s seeping out in his tone.

Rolling his eyes, Cal says, “You gonna judge me, now? I don’t have to explain myself or my actions to you regarding the back-up. You have no idea what happened, so you can quit with the righteous indignation.”

“I found out last night that not only were Liz and I bonded, but Zan had a bond to her, too. It drove him insane and he snapped last night. Tried to rape Liz…almost killed her. You wanna tell me why you decided to keep that bit of information from me all these years? You knew…you knew what it would do. Why didn’t you warn me?”

“Hey…I didn’t make him attack her.” Cal throws both hands up in the air defensively. How dare this kid come in here and start slinging accusations at him.

“Didn’t you?” Max eyes him suspiciously.

Bolting up from the chair, Cal says, “Whoa…uh uh. Hold it right there. I didn’t make Zan do anything.” He stares directly into Max’s eyes and repeats, “I didn’t make him attack her. I have no influence over Zan or what he does. You understand me?”

Max studies him for a moment, then nods his head slightly. “Why, then?”

Sitting back down, Cal shrugs. “Who’s to say? You want me to take care of him? That why you made me come here?”

Max looks at him questioningly. “Take care of him?”

“Kill him, of course. He’s obviously defective.” Cal says off-handedly.

“He’s not an object. He’s a person…you can’t just…” Max starts.

“No…he’s not a person.” Cal interrupts. “He’s a biologically engineered alien with obvious defects. Attacking the queen…his king’s bonded mate…who he also shares a bond with…tells me that there was a flaw in his creation.” He sees the look of horror on Max’s face and continues. “He’s not human. He was created with human DNA which makes him look human…but he’s not. We don’t live by human laws and moralities. The same thing would be done if this had happened on our planet…and believe me, I’ll show a lot more mercy than he would get there.”

Seeing the confliction on Max’s face, Cal says, “What are you gonna do? Turn him over to the police? Have him arrested? Sent to jail? Sorry, it won’t work that way. They’ll take his blood and it’ll be all over for him. They’ll send him somewhere that’s a whole hell of a lot worse than jail, believe me. Killing him would be what he’d want…ask him. Besides, you wanna risk Liz’s safety by leaving him on the loose?”

“The bond is gone. I’m not sure that’s he’s even a threat to her anymore if that’s what made him do it.” Max tells him.

“How did that happen?” Cal asks, then understands. “She died…and you brought her back?”

“She died…the doctors brought her back. I just made sure she would make it.”

Nodding, Cal says, “I see.” Stroking his chin with his hand, he absently wishes he could feel stubble there. “So you think Zan is harmless now?”

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what to do about him right now. He seems pretty shaken up at what he did. He thought I came to kill him when we found him earlier.” Max looks toward the windows and the twinkling skyline that lies just outside of it.

“You want him to pay for what he did.” Cal says. “Understandable. I’ll do whatever you decide.”

“Do you think it was the bond that made him do it? Or could someone else be controlling him?” Max asks.

Cal thinks for a moment. “Hard to say. If someone were controlling him, it would have to be someone powerful…someone with a strong mind ability.”

“His sister, maybe?”

Surprised that Max actually thought of that, Cal cocks his head. “Maybe. Doubtful that she’s powerful enough, but it’s a possibility. She’s probably got a lot of time on her hands. A lot of time to plot revenge.”

“Khivar? What about him?”

“He’s not on this planet. I’d have heard if he was. And honestly, I don’t know what motive he would have. My contacts have consistently told me that he has no interest in you or the back-ups. Although, he would still like to get his hands on the Granolith. If he’s decided to make a move for it, he could be plotting quietly…biding his time.” Cal’s thoughts drift in this direction and he taps his fingers on the table next to him.

“And eliminating Liz would get rid of any chance of my producing an heir. That also means that he knows a lot more about us than I feel comfortable with.” Max deduces.

“True, but him knowing about Liz doesn’t mean much. It would have been clear to him that you’d claimed your queen, and who she was, for those few days she was transmitting.”

“Can you use your contacts to dig deeper into what Khivar might be planning?” Max asks. He sees Cal arch an eyebrow at him…letting him know that he doesn’t want anything to do with this. He realizes his mistake and corrects by saying, “You will use your contacts to find out more about what Khivar is planning.”

Smirking, Cal says, “What are you gonna do if you find out he is planning something?”

“I’ll worry about that if and when the time comes. I’m not standing back anymore and doing nothing, though. You will tell me everything you know, and you will use whatever resources you have to help me.” Max narrows his gaze at Cal, letting him know how serious he is.

“There are other matters we need to discuss, but they can wait until tomorrow when everyone else can be here. For now, I want you to arrange for security for Liz. I don’t care what means you use, or who you get…but you will guarantee that not a hair on her head will ever be harmed again.”

“You don’t think Liz might have a problem with that?” Cal asks.

“Liz won’t know. You keep them out of her way and out of her sight. Do whatever you have to do.” Max is beyond caring about taking advantage of Cal, his money, or his resources. He’s going to take advantage of anything he can to make sure Liz is protected.

“I understand. I’ll make some calls tonight and take care of it.” Cal nods toward Stephanie, letting her know to make a note. She’s been quietly standing to the side, taking notes of the meeting.

Max stands up then and says, “We’ll be here tomorrow. Ten a.m. alright with you?”

“Wow. You’re actually asking me? I’m touched.” Cal picks his discarded papers up off the table dismissively.

Max rolls his eyes and heads to the door. Stephanie beats him there, opening it for him. “Good night, Mr. Evans. I’ll have breakfast waiting for you when you arrive tomorrow.”

Max glances at her as she makes a note about it in her organizer and says, “Uh, yah…sure. Thanks.” He isn’t sure how he feels about knowing this stranger knows who and what he is. As he walks toward the elevator, he hears the door shut and lock. He makes a mental note to ask Cal about her tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~

As he walks back toward home, Max dials his office number and leaves a quick message for his boss telling him he won’t be in for the next few days because of a family emergency. He promises to call by Tuesday to let him know when he’ll be back in and in the meantime to have his assistant call him if something comes up.

He really wants to go back to hospital to see Liz, but it’s too late and he hopes she’s resting. Debating about whether to call or not, he decides to wait until tomorrow. Instead, he dials home and lets Isabel know that he’s on his way back.

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:35 am

Part 32

December 2012

Christmas sucks. Most years, he wouldn’t even give it a second thought…only to complain about the subways crowded with bag-toting people, or the corner Santa’s begging for money that he doesn’t have. At least the Christmas Nazi has calmed herself over the years, having given up on getting a co-conspirator out of either him or Max.

Instead, she throws herself into going to the round of parties all month. People in the fashion industry throwing holiday parties suck even worse than the holiday itself. Michael usually spends the month of December locked in his room, avoiding getting trapped into a blind date, or as Isabel’s escort for the evening.

But this Christmas is different. This Christmas there are humans who know who they are…right in this city. Since they got back from Roswell a few months ago, Michael can’t get that thought out of his head. It’s been three months since he last saw any of them. It’s also been three months since he, Isabel or Max have talked about what happened. They’ve just somehow thrown themselves back into their lives as if it never happened.

Isabel goes out every weekend. Max works every spare minute. They’re both avoiding…he can see it in their eyes. Not that he’s big on sharing, but it’s like a giant elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. They’re not alone in the world anymore. There are others out there like them. There are
humans out there who know about them. How can they just fall back into old routines and ignore that?

It’s one a.m. and he’s just gotten home. He knows when he walks in that the loft is empty. One week until Christmas and Isabel is probably still at her party. Max is no doubt at the office working. Working until he’s ready to drop. As if that will erase the memory of her.

Michael walks back to his room and shuts the door as he clears out his pockets. Then he carefully pulls out the folded piece of paper, smoothing it out over the top of his dresser. He stares at it, memorizing the words printed there and looks up at his haggard appearance in the mirror. He doesn’t think he looks that much older. Tired, weary…yes. There are a few lines appearing at the corner of his eyes that didn’t use to be there. And his forehead has a crease there that used to go away when he was done frowning that doesn’t go away anymore. He shrugs…doesn’t matter. He is almost 32 years old…he thinks. That means he’s probably got about 50 to 60 years left. 50 more Christmases. That doesn’t matter, either. Because this year is different. This Christmas will be different.

He looks down at the announcement and reads it again…almost in disbelief that the words are really there.
Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall ~ Featuring Maria Deluca This year will be different because he’ll be seeing Maria.

“Michael, did you hear me?” Michael’s thoughts are shattered by Isabel’s voice. His thoughts about that Christmas three years ago…and what happened…memories that return with the weight of a 10-ton truck every Christmas. Shooting her his most annoyed look, he answers back, “What?”

“Max is on his way back. He just called.”

“Ok?” He waits for more…for a better reason that that for her to be interrupting his musings.

Instead of giving him one, she throws her hands up and rolls her eyes…making a grunting sound as she whirls away from him and walks back into the living room.

He shakes his head, wondering what she’s so pissed at. But ends up shrugging and looking back down at his desk. The calendar there says that today is December 20, 2015. His radio is playing Christmas music and he wonders if she ever thinks about that night three years ago.

~~~~~~~~~~

Maria can’t sleep. Too much has happened in the last 48 hours that she can’t calm her mind down enough to fall asleep. Not wanting to wake Alex up with her restlessness, she quietly gets out of bed and tiptoes into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. As she plays with the teabag, she thinks about what she said to Alex. She was serious…they shouldn’t have anything to do with them. Look at what happens when they do.

He agreed with her, too. Oh shit…what is she doing thinking about him? Scrunching up her eyes and shaking her head, she tries to steer her thoughts away from that subject. But she can’t help it. Especially during this time of year.

December 25, 2012

“Merry Christmas New York! Thanks for coming out tonight…you’ve been great!” Maria yells into the microphone, her voice carrying over the cheering crowd in front of her. She gives one last wave as she turns to walk offstage, but a face in the crowd causes her to stumble slightly. She recovers quickly, throwing another glance at the familiar person standing at the end of one of the rows up close. Fifth, sixth…whatever. He’s close enough that she recognizes him.

As she reaches the side of the stage, she glances back once more and he’s still standing there…immobile…staring at her.

“Maria, you were great!” Her manager rushes over with a bottle of water and her cell phone. “Your mom’s on the phone.”

She takes it absently, knowing her mom watched the broadcast on TV since the show was live. She looks at it a moment before stopping her manager. “Alan, there’s a guy…end of the row, left side, fifth or sixth…I couldn’t tell. Go give him a pass and tell him to come back to see me. Tall, shaggy brown hair, wearing a blue shirt and jeans…he’s alone.”

Alan looks at her strangely. It’s not like Maria to invite anyone backstage, let alone strange men. But when she gives him a piercing look to get moving, he goes.

She talks to her mom on the way back to her dressing room. Tells her she loves her and misses her and makes plans for her mom to come out to L.A. and visit in January after her New Year’s show in Hawaii. Sitting at her dressing table, Maria takes off her make-up as she looks at the flowers that fill the room. She smiles when she sees the big bunch of daisies sitting close by. They’re from Liz and Alex. Alex went back home for the holidays and Liz met her parents down at her aunt’s in Florida. Funny that she’s the one here in New York and her two friends who live here are gone.

Sighing, she changes into her street clothes. Jeans and a black turtleneck sweater. From here she’s going straight to Hawaii. He mom wants her to stop in Roswell on the way since she doesn’t have to be in Hawaii until the 31st. She’s still debating about that, knowing in the end she probably won’t go…but at least she can tell her mom that she’s thinking about it.

She hears a hesitant knock on the door and she remembers who it is. “Come in.” She calls and turns to the sound of the opening door. Tilting her head to the side, she studies him for a moment as he shuts the door behind him. “Hi.” She says softly, wondering what he’s doing here by himself.

“Hi.” He says back, scratching his eyebrow with his finger. A gesture that she finds both endearing and familiar. Familiar in a way that she can’t explain, considering she only spent a couple of days around him.

“You should have called…I could have gotten you tickets. You must have paid a fortune for the seat you got.” She begins with an innocent enough comment, trying to ease his nervousness…and hers.

He shrugs…doesn’t answer.

She waits for him to say something and sees him looking around the room at all the flowers. “The smell’s a little overpowering, isn’t it?” She smiles and watches him move to one of the larger bouquets sitting off to the side.

He touches the card, his eyes opening a little in surprise. “The President?” He turns to look at her with an eyebrow raised.

It’s her turn to shrug. “I’m sure he didn’t send them himself. He has an entire staff in charge of sending gifts and flowers.”

He makes a noncommittal sound and turns back to look at all the flowers. Most are roses, orchids…exotic and obviously expensive. His gaze falls to the daisies and he asks, “Alex or Liz?”

Surprised, she says, “Both. How’d you guess?”

“Daisies are your favorite. Only someone who knew you would send them.” He says nonchalantly.

She doesn’t say anything…doesn’t ask how he knows daisies are her favorite. Probably the same way she knows that he still listens to old metal rock…Metallica, Nine Inch Nails.

“Why aren’t they here?” He asks her, having not seen either one of her friends at the show or backstage.

“Out of town. Roswell, Florida.” She says.

He nods. “And you’re here for Christmas by yourself.”

She smiles. “Yah. But not for long. I’m leaving for Hawaii later tonight. New Year’s Eve show.”

Is that disappointment she sees cross his face? Maybe, but he recovers quickly. “Well, I don’t wanna keep you. It was good to see you again…you were really…it was a good show.” He backs toward the door slowly and turns to open it.

Making a split second decision, she calls out, “Wait!” He turns back around and she smiles…embarrassed. “I have a couple of hours before I have to be at the airport. You wanna…I don’t know, get a cup of coffee or something?”

She holds her breath, hoping he doesn’t say no. She’s not disappointed when he nods and says, “Sure.”

They find a hole in the wall diner that’s thankfully open on Christmas and they spend the next three hours talking. About their lives, about Roswell, about what happened a few months ago there. Michael tells her about how he’s thinking of going to school. She tells him about how she’s thinking of stopping in Roswell to see her mom before going on to Hawaii…how she doesn’t want to…how she hates Roswell.

He encourages her to go…to see her mom for Christmas. He tells her family is important, especially at this time of the year. And her mom probably misses her.

“Come with me.” She asks, glancing at her watch again…hating that the time has gone by so quickly. She doesn’t want the night to end now.

“What?” He asks in disbelief. “You’re crazy.”

“We all know that. Come with me. You’re alone tonight, I’m alone, my mom is alone. No one should be alone on Christmas.” She gives a look that she hopes is convincing. She can see now that he’ll say yes…she can see that he doesn’t want to go back home tonight. For some strange reason, he wants to spend this night with her. “I want you to come with me.” She looks at him closely, willing him to say yes.

Shaking his head lightly, he says, “Fine.”

Forty-five minutes later, they’re seated on a private jet speeding up for take-off. Maria opens a bottle of champagne and pours a glass for herself, starts to pour one for him but he stops her. “I don’t drink.” He says, grabbing a bottle of apple juice instead.

She raises her glass once they’re in the air and says, “To a truly surprising Christmas.”

He nods and clinks his bottle with her glass before drinking. “This has to be the craziest thing I’ve ever done.” He says, setting the bottle down on the table in front of them.

“I doubt that. In fact, I know that’s not true.” She quirks an eyebrow up at him and leans back in her seat…studying the mysterious man across from her. She never thought twice about him in High School. Not until he disappeared along with Max and Isabel, that is. She spent so many years digging for information, trying to find answers for that day in the Crashdown…answers that her best friend wouldn’t give her.

“Why aren’t you scared of me…of us?” Michael asks her as he leans back also, crossing his long legs ankle to knee.

She always had her suspicions that Max was an alien…Michael and Isabel by association and circumstances. Having it confirmed for her didn’t really shock her, surprisingly. Maybe it would have if she were younger. But years in the public eye, living in L.A., have made her cynical. She’s seen how low people will sink to get what they want. She’s seen how desperate people will go to great lengths to come out on top. Not much about people surprises her anymore. The fact that her suspicions about Michael, Max and Isabel were true…well, it could have been worse.

She shrugs in response. “I don’t know. You’ve never done anything to make me afraid.”

“Do you trust everyone until they do something to make them not trust you?”

She laughs. “Oh God, no. I don’t trust anyone. Except for a handful of people…my mom, Liz, Alex.”

“You barely know me and you invited me along on this little…trip. I could kill you, hurt you. You don’t know.” He’s baiting her, she can tell. Looking for something…but what? Confirmation that she feels something for him?

She looks around the cabin as if suddenly aware that they’re alone and she turns back to him, smiling. “I guess you could. No one here to see. Just the pilot. But you could probably use some kind of alien power on me…make it look natural, right?” She shrugs again. “But you won’t. I may not know you very well, but I know enough.”

“What do you know?” He says, his tone dripping with doubt.

“I know you’re protective of Max and Isabel. You’d give your life to save theirs if you had to. They’re all you have. You’ve been alone your entire life…growing up, you had to learn how to survive in a world you didn’t feel you belong in. I know you don’t get close to anyone…you have walls protecting you. You don’t like that we know about you, can expose you. I know that you’re attracted to me and you hide it from Max and Isabel. I know that you’re alone on Christmas, that you came to see me sing, not expecting that I would have seen you and asked to see you. You’ve come to other shows I’ve had throughout the northeast. I saw you in Boston three years ago. I didn’t recognize you fully, but I saw you…knew that I knew you from somewhere. I know you wouldn’t hurt me.” She picks up her champagne glass and takes a sip, delighted with the look of shock on his face.

“Just because I like to hear you sing doesn’t mean I’m attracted to you.” He finally responds.

“Then why are you here?”

He shrugs, looks around the plush interior of the plane. “Didn’t have anything better to do.”

She smiles at him again and says, “Fair enough. I’m grateful for the company either way.”

They’re both silent for several minutes, staring at each other, trying to figure out what’s going on here. Michael opens his mouth a few times as if he’s going to say something, but closes it again. The tension in the air has grown thick and Maria finishes off her glass. She’s intrigued by him, that’s a certain. She also knows that she wants him.


Maria takes her mug of tea over to the windows and looks out into the blackness of the night. The empty street outside is lit by streetlamps as she thinks about that night yet again.

It didn’t take long for them to end up tangled together on the leather couch of that plane. It was passionate…desperate. They made love for the next three hours and when they reached Roswell, she left him at the airport, instructing the pilot to take Michael back to New York City.

They agreed that it would be best to keep their brief encounter private. She knew that her life wasn’t for him, he knew it, too. Just as she didn’t belong in his life…it was too dangerous. As she got into the car waiting for her, she watched the plane carrying Michael Guerin take off before telling her driver to take her to her mother’s house.

It was one of the best nights of her life and she doubts that she’ll ever forget it. They agreed to pretend it never happened. It was an indulgence that their friends didn’t need to know about…their own private memory…their own Christmas.

But she never expected to be thrust back into his life like this…never really expected to see him again. She hates that she feels rattled around him, especially since her appearance doesn’t seem to affect him very much. If anything, he seems uncomfortable. She wonders if he thinks about that night even half as much as she does.

~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning, Max calls Alex and Maria and asks if they want to meet them at the hotel for their meeting with Cal. They agree to meet them there after going to the hospital. He manages to get everyone up and ready to go…no small fete…considering two of those people are Isabel and Michael. Isabel called into work and told them she was taking the week off. Her boss wasn’t happy, but couldn’t argue against a family emergency. Michael is already on break from school for the holidays so he doesn’t need to make any arrangements.

At 9:30, Max knocks on Michael’s door and says, “You ready?” He hears a grunt on the other end and assumes that means yes. He continues into the kitchen where Isabel is pouring juice.

“I don’t see why we gotta go.” Zan calls in from the living room. “We can just hang here.”

Max levels his gaze at Zan and says, “This involves you. You’re going.”

When Michael finally emerges from his room, they all leave and head toward Cal’s hotel. On the way there, Michael asks Max, “You really think someone else is involved in this?”

“I don’t know. But it’s time we were one step ahead of our enemies instead of the other way around.” Max says.

When they arrive, they see that Alex and Maria are already there. Max immediately asks how Liz is and Maria says, “Ready to go home. The doctor gave her the go ahead…we’re going to get her after this.”

Max nods, glad to hear it. Stephanie has indeed provided a buffet of everything anyone could ever want for breakfast and everyone is hovering around the table loading up plates of food.

Maria has evidently gotten over finding out that Cal is an alien because she’s sitting next to him and they’re both talking about L.A. and people they both know there. She’s balancing a plate of food on her knees as she laughs at something Cal says. Max looks over at Michael and sees that he’s watching her intently. He doesn’t know what’s going on there and he thinks that he’ll ask Michael about it later.

Cal spies Max looking over the group and he clears his throat. “So we gonna get started here, or what?”

Everyone makes their way over to sit down and Max takes out his cell phone to call Liz. When she picks up, he says, “Hey. I hear you’re going home today.”

“I can’t wait. Are you all at Cal’s?” Liz asks.

“Yah, we’re just getting started. Just let me know if you have any questions or anything you wanna add.” He sits on the arm of the chair Isabel is sitting in and says to the group, “Liz is on the phone.”

Max pointedly ignores Zan, who suddenly starts fidgeting nervously. “Right now we’re just trying to cover all the possible angles of Zan’s actions the other night. You all know the issues with the bond, which no longer exists, but Cal and I decided last night that we also can’t rule out the possibility of an outside influence.”

“You think someone else was controlling Zan?” Alex asks.

“Maybe.” Max says and turns to Zan. “What do you think?”

Zan shrugs and says, “Don’t know. It’s possible seein’ as how I felt like I couldn’t control what I was doin’.”

Max rolls his eyes when Zan raises his voice in an obvious attempt for Liz to hear him. “Ava, would you be able to see if someone had been in Zan’s head?”

“Wait now…I never agreed to let anyone wander around in my head. Not even Ava. Checkin’ for the bond is one thing…takin’ a stroll is another.” Zan protests.

Max ignores Zan and waits for Ava to answer him. She glances at Zan apologetically and says, “I might. I don’t know what I’d be lookin’ for, though, so it’s hard to say.”

“That’s a good idea.” Cal says. “It’ll let us know how far we should pursue that angle.”

“Am I invisible? I ain’t lettin’ no one sift through my head.” Zan says again, louder this time.

“I won’t mess with anything, Zan.” Ava says. But then everyone starts talking at once…the loudest voice belonging to Zan, protesting. Michael’s telling him to shut up, Maria is demanding that Cal do something with him. Alex is trying to come up with another way and Cal is telling Max that it’s ridiculous to involve everyone in this.

The more Zan talks, though, the angrier Max gets. He can feel the blood rush to his face, heating it, and he yells, “You’ll do what I tell you to do!” He’s staring straight at Zan and is glad to see that everyone has stopped talking and turned to Max…surprised that he raised his voice. When it’s quiet again, he says, “You’re alive right now because I say so. That can change.”

Zan stares back at Max defiantly, clenching his jaw in frustration. “Fuck you, man. Don’t do me any favors.” He stands up and shoots a betrayed look toward Ava before taking a step toward the door.

Both Max and Michael jump up and Max shoves Zan, knocking him back onto the sofa. “Give me one more reason to kill you.” Max yells at him as Michael pulls him back. “Just one.” Max punches Zan once more in the chest before whirling away out of Michael’s grip.

“Alright, alright. Let’s get the testosterone under control.” Cal says. “Zan, how about you just keep your mouth shut and you might live through the day.”

Maria hears a noise coming from the floor and looks down to see Max’s cell phone lying there. She can hear Liz’s voice yelling on the other end and she picks it up. “Liz, it’s me.”

“What’s going on there? Dammit, I hate being here.” Liz says in frustration.

“We almost had an Alien Smackdown. But no one’s dead…yet.” Maria watches Max walk back into the room, considerably calmer than when he stormed out. She holds the phone out to him and says, “Moondoggie, you dropped Gidget on the floor.”

Max looks at her in confusion before he realizes what she’s talking about. He walks over and takes the phone back, glancing at Cal in annoyance…he’s laughing so hard at Maria’s comment that he’s wiping imaginary tears from his eyes.

“Moondoggie! Maria, you’re killin’ me here!” Cal continues to laugh, not caring that he’s the only one.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Wed Jan 21, 2004 12:19 pm

Thank you for all the great feedback!

Part 33

Once everyone calms down, Ava says, “You want me to do this now?”

“Might as well get it over with.” Cal says. “Then we can concentrate on what the real threat is.”

Ava gives Zan a sympathetic look before asking, “I’m not really sure what I’m looking for. You got any idea who it would be?”

Max shakes his head and says, “We have a couple of ideas, but why don’t you just look for anything abnormal.”

She turns to face Zan and says, “I’m sorry. It’ll be ok, I won’t mess with anything…I’m just gonna look.”

He doesn’t say anything, just stares straight ahead. Ava kneels on the floor in front of him and places her hands on his head, looking into his eyes to form the connection she needs. Everyone watches silently as Ava and Zan become completely still…their breathing evening out.

The only sound in the room is Max talking to Liz, telling her what’s going on. Isabel listens closely…the way he’s talking to Liz, the tone of his voice…she can tell that this is going to be a permanent thing. Liz Parker has now become part of their lives for good or bad. There’s nothing standing between them now.

Isabel glances over at Michael to see, unsurprisingly, that he’s still staring at Maria. Maria is either oblivious, or doing a very good job at acting like she doesn’t notice. She gets the feeling that something is going on between them, or something happened in the past. Michael would never tell her…maybe she’ll have a little talk with Maria later.

She then looks over and catches Alex looking at her. She smiles, feeling a flutter in her stomach at catching him staring at her. She wonders if he ever thinks about her. At least she knows he thinks about her in his dreams. She feels a pang of guilt when she thinks of all the times she’s dreamwalked him. Seeing him almost studying her, she wonders if he’s ever suspected her of intruding on him like that. He knows she can do it.

She looks away from Alex and notices that Max has stopped talking to Liz. The room is silent and everyone is staring intently at Ava and Zan. Neither one of them has moved, but she can see lines of strain appearing on Ava’s face. Finally, she drops her hands and falls back onto the floor.

They all wait expectantly for what she has to say and Maria hands her a bottle of water. “Thanks.” Ava says, taking the bottle from Maria gratefully and drinking half of it in one gulp.

Ava turns to Cal and shakes her head. “His head is a mess. I don’t know if anyone else has been in there, but it’s all confusing. Like there are conflicting brain patterns.” She shakes her head in frustration. “I don’t know how to explain it. I wanna say it looks like multiple personalities or something, but that’s not it.”

Cal leans back in his chair and asks, “Did you ever get into Lonnie’s head?”

Ava thinks for a moment and says, “Sure. A few times when we were younger.”

“Did you recognize her at all when you were in Zan’s head? Did you recognize her presence at all?” Cal asks.

“You think…no, I didn’t get a sense of her at all.” Ava figures out that Cal thinks Lonnie may be the one getting in Zan’s head. “I think I’d recognize it if she was there or had been recently.”

Cal nods and looks over at Max. “Sounds like remote possession of some kind.”

Max takes a deep breath and looks over at Zan. “The other night, when was the last time you can remember being totally in control of yourself?”

Zan takes a few moments to think about it, then says, “I was hangin’ out at the pizza place down the street from my place. Then I don’t remember much until I found myself out on the street in front of your apartment. But it was like I was watching myself…like I wasn’t in my own body.”

Max nods and looks back at Cal, who has an expression of understanding on his face. “What do you think?”

“Like I said, sounds like remote possession. I need to contact a few people…try to find out if this is what I think it is.” Cal takes a deep breath and exhales loudly. “Fuck. We’re in for some trouble if I’m right.”

“Right about what? What does this mean, Max?” Isabel asks.

“We think Khivar may be making a move to take back the Granolith.” Max says. “Eliminating Liz would be his first step in getting me out of the picture.”

“What does Liz have to do with the Granolith? Couldn’t he just come to Earth and take it?” Maria wonders.

“As far as Khivar knows, Liz and I…and by default, Zan…are bonded. Getting rid of Liz would eliminate any chance that I could produce an heir.” Max listens to the phone, obviously Liz is saying something.

He nods and looks at Cal. “Liz remembers you saying something about the heir not being important. If that’s true, why would Khivar be concerned about that?”

“Your heir isn’t important for operating the Granolith like Browan thought. But your heir would be very important in the grand scheme. There’s a chance that any heir you produce would be able to travel back to our planet and claim back the throne. You can’t…you weren’t engineered to survive on our planet. But there’s a small chance that your offspring might. But at the very least, a royal heir would rally the resistance to Khivar.”

“So they could have children who are alien…more alien than they are?” Maria asks and Michael doesn’t miss the note of hysteria and disgust in her voice.

Cal shrugs and says, “It’s genetically possible. Besides eliminating any chance at an heir, though, killing Max’s bonded mate would open up a greater opportunity to find and take the Granolith. It would throw Max into a physiological and psychological tailspin. It would ensure that Khivar could come and take it without Max knowing, or caring about it.”

“Are you sure we’re dealing with Khivar? Could it be someone else?” Isabel asks, not liking the idea of having to go up against him.

“Could be. Lonnie is a possibility. There’s also Tess, but Lonnie would have a greater motive for revenge. Although, her reasons for going after Liz are unclear.” Cal says. “If I had to bet money, I’d bet on Khivar.”

“How are we supposed to protect ourselves from him if he can just possess any one of us and make us do whatever he wants?” Michael asks.

“I can’t be sure, but if he truly did have possession of Zan, then he got a foothold into his head during the awakening. If Khivar has been waiting all this time for his chance, that would be it. His strength lies in his mental abilities and the brief time that Liz was the active queen would have given him the chance to get to Zan…get his foot in the door.” Cal looks back over to Max and continues. “On our planet, the queen is vulnerable. I told you this before. But we also have security there that you don’t. Security for the queen and everyone who comes near her involves scanning. Kind of like fingerprint scanners here…they scan the brain to verify identity and prevent this sort of thing from happening.”

Max feels the familiar anger rising again at not being told these things. If he had known from the beginning, he might have been able to prevent forming the bond with Liz in the first place. Or at least prevent claiming her as his queen. He hears Liz’s voice in his ear and he repeats what she asks to Cal. “Khivar would think that Liz is dead, though, right? The bond is gone, he would have felt that through Zan.”

“True. That could definitely work in our favor. He wouldn’t be expecting any trouble from you, that’s for sure.”

“Would he still have access to Zan now that the bond is gone?” Max repeats what Liz says again.

“Yes. Once he’s been in, the door is always open.” Cal answers.

“Great.” Zan mutters from the couch.

Max ignores him and turns to Ava. “Could Ava put something in Zan’s mind…something to prevent him from remembering that Liz isn’t really dead?”

“No…I let her go walkin’ around in there…but there’s no way in hell I’ll let her fuck with my memories.” Zan jerks his head toward Cal. “You better just fuckin’ kill me cuz you ain’t turnin’ me into a vegetable.”

Cal rolls his eyes and says, “Don’t be such a drama queen.” He turns to Ava and asks, “You think you could do it?”

Ava looks doubtful and glances at Zan. “I don’t know. I don’t really like doin’ that.”

“You work on it. If he believes he was successful, it’ll give us an edge. And we need all the help we can get.” Cal says. “On to the timeline. You need to fix that first.”

“Liz knows where the Granolith is. We’ve been there before, we just didn’t know it.” Max says.

Maria slumps back in her chair. “We really have to go back to Roswell? Because if we’re voting, I vote no.”

Max gives her a sympathetic look and says, “Sorry, we have to go.”

“When do we leave?” Alex asks.

“As soon as possible. I can have a jet ready today if you can be ready.” Cal motions for Stephanie as he looks over the group.

“What are we going to do about Zan? Liz has to go, too. If we make Zan believe she’s dead we can’t have him seeing her.” Max looks over at Zan, sees him pouting and staring at the floor.

“Good point.” Cal brings his hand up to his chin, thinking. “We’ll have to go in two groups. Zan in one, Liz in the other.”

“I can arrange for another jet to be at the airport by…” Maria glances at her watch. “Six tonight?” She looks at Cal to see him smiling at her.

“Excellent.” He says, clapping his hands together. “We meet at the airport at six tonight. Maria and Liz on her plane, everyone else on mine.”

Max frowns, not liking that idea, and says, “I think Michael should go with them.”

This gets Michael’s attention. “What? Why me? Why not you?”

“We don’t need anyone babysitting us.” Maria protests at the same time.

“I’d feel better if you had him with you for protection.” Max tries to reason with Maria and he can hear Liz ask him why they need protection over the phone.

“Max is right.” Cal gets their attention. “Michael should go. Max and I have things to discuss, he goes with me.”

“Besides, I’m not letting Zan out of my sight.” Max adds. “Please Michael, can you just do me this one favor?”

“Fine.” Michael sighs, annoyed with how easy he is.

Maria stands up and says, “Is that it? We really need to go get Liz released from the hospital.”

“Yah. We’ll see you at six.” Max says.

Maria glances at Michael and catches him looking at her. Smirking, she grabs Alex’s hand and heads to the door. “Au Revoir.” She calls out as they walk out.

“I just adore that little girl.” Cal muses after Maria leaves. “Full of fire, that one. There was this party last year, big to-do in the hills. Anyway, she shows up with Trent Farrel, you know, the guy from those Out of Time movies?”

“Can we move on? I don’t think we need to hear Maria stories.” Michael grumbles.

“No, no…this is good.” Cal holds his hand up and smiles.

Max hears Liz say that it really is a good story and he smiles, too.

“So, there’s cameras everywhere and Maria’s giving ‘em a show…smiling, posing with other industry types. And Trent is hanging all over her, kissing and groping…putting on his own show for the cameras. He was hoping to ride on her coattails, help his stock go up, you know? She’s polite about it the whole time, smiling for everyone. But just when the cameras leave…and I saw this happen myself…she grabs a glass of white wine and pours it down the front of his linen pants. Then she knees him in the balls…hard.” Cal starts laughing. “Trent was moaning and stumbling through the party grabbing his crotch, could barely walk. And Maria comes in shaking her head…all sympathetic like…and announces, ‘I’m afraid Trent here has had a little accident.’ you know…staring pointedly at the wet spot on his crotch. The look on Trent’s face was priceless. I tell ya, I wish I’d had my camera there. He was completely horrified and tailed it out of there pretty fast.”

Max and Isabel join in laughing and even Ava tries to hide a smirk behind her hand.

“Ava, why don’t you get started with Zan. I want to be sure it works before we leave.” Max finally says, noticing that Michael didn’t seem to think that was as funny as the rest of them.

~~~~~~~~~~

About an hour later, Max is pretty sure that Zan doesn’t remember anything about Liz other than attacking her and thinking he killed her. They’ve had Ava triple check and they’ve questioned Zan extensively. He’s genuinely distraught at what he’s done and can’t seem come to terms with it. He see-saws between screaming at Max in rage for not saving Liz to and curling up on the couch in confusion.

“Why don’t you leave him here and I’ll keep an eye on him while you take care of whatever you need to do.” Cal says.

Max, Isabel, and Michael get ready to leave but Max stops to talk to Cal privately. “Did you take care of the security?”

“Taken care of. As of five this morning, she’s got three tails around the clock. It’s gonna be difficult on the plane, but I’ll send one with the pilot…she won’t see him. The others will ride with us so they’re in Roswell when she lands.”

Max nods, glad that’s done. “Thanks. Call me if anything happens with Zan. Otherwise I’ll see you at six.”

“Will do.” Cal turns away then and takes a ringing cell phone from Stephanie. He’s already in a conversation by the time Max is in the hallway.

“What was that about?” Michael asks as they walk toward the elevator.

Max has debated about whether or not to tell Michael and Isabel. He might as well, in case Michael sees the extra man on board the plane and gets suspicious. “Cal arranged for Liz to have a security team follow her wherever she goes.”

“Why would he do that? Liz will never go for it.” Isabel says, pushing the elevator button.

“I asked him to.” Max says. “She won’t know they’re there.”

Michael snorts and says, “Man, you are gonna be in so much trouble when she finds out. And you know she will, because Maria will find out and she’ll blab to Liz.”

“And how exactly will Maria find out?” Max levels his gaze at Michael.

Michael shrugs and says, “She just picks up on that shit. I’m telling you, she’ll know something’s up.”

“Then maybe you should distract her so she doesn’t.” Isabel grins at him and steps into the elevator…her smirk getting bigger when she sees his face turn red.

“There’ll be a guard on the plane sitting up with the pilot. Just do your best to make sure Maria and Liz don’t know who he is. Tell them he’s part of Cal’s security team…whatever.” Max says, rescuing Michael from further embarrassment.

Michael gets on the elevator and wonders if Isabel and Max think something’s going on with him and Maria. No, nothing has happened to make them think that. Isabel’s just being annoying.

~~~~~~~~~~

As promised, Max shows up at Liz and Alex’s at thee sharp. Maria called and told him Liz was at home and he immediately left to go over there. When he walks in, he’s surprised to see Liz in the kitchen making coffee.

“What are you doing?” He rushes over to her, throwing an accusatory look in Alex’s direction. He just shrugs at Max and walks back to his room.

“I’m making coffee. What does it look like?” She smirks at him, knowing what’s coming.

“You should be…” He starts but she slaps her hand over his mouth.

“If you say I should be in bed, I will have to kick your ass.” She says. “I’m fine. I’ve been in bed long enough…I won’t break.”

He reaches up and grabs her hand, kissing her palm before pulling it away. “At least sit down so I can heal the rest.”

She smiles and starts to take a coffee mug from the cabinet above her. “You want some?”

“Sure.” He says, reaching for another mug and gently shoving her toward the living room. “Sit.”

She rolls her eyes and heads toward the living room, calling over her shoulder. “I like extra vanilla in mine.”

He searches the counter and sees a container of powdered vanilla sitting close to the coffee maker. After pouring the coffee, he carries both cups into the living room and sets them on the table. She picks it up and holds it under her nose. “Mmmm…it’s been so long.” She croons with her eyes closed as she takes a giant whiff of the aroma.

“It’s been a day. I think you’re overreacting a tad.” Max smiles as he takes a sip, thinking the vanilla definitely makes it taste better.

She narrows her eyes at him as she takes a sip of hers. “Don’t come between me and my coffee.”

He throws his hands up in surrender and says, “Never. Now will you let me do this?”

She sets her cup down and says, “How do you want me?”

He arches an eyebrow at her. “There’s a loaded question.”

Her smile fades at the switch from playfulness to…something else. “Maybe I should…um…lie down?” She turns and leans back onto the armrest, bringing her legs up to stretch out as Max kneels down on the floor beside her.

He looks her over, from the khaki pants and thick wool socks to the bulky turtleneck sweater she’s wearing. He hesitates for a moment, not sure where to start.

“Should I get undressed?” She asks, her voice is soft but it still startles him.

He has his hands over her, not quite touching yet. “Maybe just the sweater.”

She leans up and he helps her pull the sweater up over her head. He’s both relieved and disappointed to see that she’s wearing a tank top underneath.

He spends the next several minutes carefully healing every scrape, every bruise from her body. It doesn’t take too much energy since they’re all just surface injuries. He focuses on her smooth skin, running his hands down her arms, over her hands, up and over her shoulders and neck.

Liz can feel the warmth radiating from his hands, making her skin tingle. When he brushes them across the upper part of her chest and up to her neck, she hears an involuntary moan escape her throat and she freezes…embarrassed. Did he hear that? Yes, he had to…because his hands have stopped and he’s lifted them off of her skin.

“Did I hurt you?” He asks, his voice quiet and full of worry.

She opens her eyes and sees that he’s close, so close. Shaking her head, she says, “No. It…it feels good.”

He nods slightly, licks his lips and continues healing her neck, then her face. When he’s done, he puts his arms down and leans back slightly. “Good as new.” He says, watching her bring her hands up to see the now smooth skin on her knuckles.

“That’s a really cool trick you have.” She smiles over at him, still impressed at the awesome power he holds in his hands.

“Hmm..yes, but I seem to only have to use it on you. Too often.” He says. “You’re trouble, Miss Parker.”

She smiles and says, “I guess I’ll have to keep you around, then.” She sits up, bringing her legs back down to the floor on either side of him and leans forward. Pulling his face toward her, she covers his lips with hers for a soft kiss. “Thank you.” She whispers when she pulls away slightly.

He searches her face briefly before leaning in and kissing her back. It’s more demanding, quickly turning into more than a little thank you kiss. He feels her bring her arms around his neck and press her body into his…another breathy moan escaping her throat.

Breaking away, Liz brings her hands to his face. “I need to um…go pack a few things.”

“Right.” He takes a deep breath and kisses her gently on the forehead before he stands up.

“I’ll see you at the airport, though…before we leave?” She asks as she stands up, pulling the sweater back over her head.

“I planned to just go to the airport with you. Isabel has my stuff.” He says. “If that’s ok?”

A bright smile comes to her face and she says, “Of course. You can help me pack.” She winks at him and grabs his arm, pulling him toward her bedroom.

“Only if you promise to behave. We only have two hours.” Max jokes as she pulls him along.

“I am a very good girl, Mr. Evans.”

He laughs. “Sure you are.” And she slams the door behind him once they reach her room.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Sounds like someone’s feeling better.” Alex says, hearing Liz giggle from her room. He turns to Maria who’s sprawled out on his bed while he packs.

“Yah.” She says. “Sounds like it.”

Alex studies her for a moment and says, “What’s wrong?”

She looks up at him absently and says, “Huh? Nothing, why?”

“I know you don’t want to go back there. But it won’t be for long.” Alex sits next to her, thinking she’s feeling stressed about going back to Roswell.

“I know.” She shoves him and says, “Finish packing, I’m just tired.”

He walks back over to his closet and hears a loud thump from across the hall followed by laughter. “So what do you think…about that.” He nods his head toward Liz’s room where he can hear Max laughing.

Maria shrugs and says, “It’s good. It’s what she’s wanted for a long time. I think Max is a good guy…he loves her.”

“I just hope he doesn’t get her hurt again.” Alex says, stuffing clothes into his suitcase.

“It wasn’t his fault, Alex.” Maria doesn’t know why she’s defending Max, but he’s obviously going to be a part of Liz’s life now and it would be better if Alex didn’t hold him responsible for every thing that happens to Liz. “She loves him.”

“Weren’t you the one who was agreeing with me last night that we need to stay away from them?” Alex asks.

Maria groans and says, “Yah, you can see how well that’s working out for us.” She rolls her eyes at him when he looks over. “Hopefully this will all be over soon and we can just forget about them.”

Alex pauses in his packing. “But you’re ok with Liz being with Max?” She doesn’t answer and he makes an Ah Ha motion with his head. “You’re talking about Michael and Isabel…or are you just thinking about Michael?”

Maria sighs. “I don’t know. I just…I wish I knew that we were going to be all right in the end. I don’t see anything good coming out of being in this alien mess, you know?”

“Well, for what it’s worth, I think we’re already knee deep in it and there’s no getting out now.” He closes his bag and throws it out into the hall. Pulling Maria from the bed, he says, “Come on. Let’s get this over with.”

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:50 am

Thanks for all the great feedback and comments! :)

Part 34

Michael and Isabel are the first ones at the airport. As they sit in the private jet’s waiting area, Isabel turns to Michael. “Is there something going on with you and Maria?” She’s noticed the looks, the guarded comments
over the last couple of days and she can’t get rid of the nagging feeling that there’s more going on between the two of them than they’re letting on.

Michael gives Isabel a blank look and doesn’t say anything.

Isabel looks away and nods. “How long?”

“There’s nothing going on.” He says, telling the truth. There isn’t anything going on with him and Maria. There never really was. He’s not actually lying to her. “Never was.”

She eyes him doubtfully for a few moments. “Interesting.” She raises an eyebrow at him, prepared for more of his denial when Cal arrives with Ava, Zan and Stephanie.

“Let’s get this show on the road. Where’s Max?” Cal says loudly as he enters the waiting area.

“He’s with…Maria and Alex. They’ll be here soon.” Michael catches himself before he says anything about Liz.

Cal nods. “Right. Well, let’s go ahead and get on board.” He guides Zan and Ava out of the hanger and toward one of the waiting jets on the tarmac.

Michael stands up as they leave and says to Isabel, “You can go ahead…I’ll wait here for Max. He should be calling soon to make sure Zan’s out of sight.”

Isabel picks up her bag and stands up to leave. She turns back to Michael before she reaches the door. “Michael, just…” She doesn’t know what she wants to say so she just says, “Just be careful.” She knows he’s lying to her about Maria. And part of her doesn’t really care if he gets involved with her. It’s just that she knows their lives don’t mesh. Hers is too public and his is too private. Knowing that there’s something more than the casual roll in the hay going on between the two of them, she just doesn’t want Michael to get hurt.

Michael nods and says, “You, too.” He watches her walk outside and get on the plane. He shakes his head and wonders how she knows. Does Max know, too? No…they can’t. Are they seeing something in him that he, himself, doesn’t see? He always thought he kept his thoughts and feelings pretty close to the vest.

His phone rings, interrupting his thoughts and he tells Max that Zan is safely on board Cal’s plane and they’re clear to come in. He then calls Cal and tells him that Max is here. Now Cal needs to make sure that Zan doesn’t see anything that he shouldn’t. As he walks toward the door, he thinks that keeping Zan from finding out about Liz during this trip is gonna be a pain in the ass.

He meets their car when it pulls up and waits while they all get their bags together. Alex hugs Liz and Maria before he walks toward Cal’s plane.

Max walks with Michael, Maria and Liz to the other jet and he passes off Liz and Maria’s bags to the pilot who’s waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Michael notices Maria look curiously to a second man getting on the plane, but thankfully she doesn’t say anything.

When the pilot sees Maria, he says with a wide grin, “Ms. Deluca. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Mike, good to see you, too. Haven’t seen you for a few weeks.” Maria says.

The pilot nods and says, “Had to take some time off for a family emergency.”

“I’m so sorry. I hope you’ll let me know if there’s anything I can do.” She tells him, sincerely.

He smiles. “Thank you.” As he’s taking the bags from Max, the pilot’s gaze falls on Michael and Max’s mouth drops open at his next words. “Mr. Guerin? So nice to see you again.” At Michael’s surprised face, the pilot continues, “I never forget a face. It’s been, what…two, three years?”

Michael looks at Max, then Maria…extremely uncomfortable…and surprised. “Uh…yah. Something like that.”

Max stares at Michael, confused. He’s never seen this pilot before…he doesn’t think he’s the one who flew them from Roswell back to New York. He can see that Michael is embarrassed and Max shifts his gaze to Maria. She’s staring at the ground, her face bright red.

“Well, let’s get going.” She says, a little to cheerfully. She grabs Liz’s arm and pulls her up the stairs.

Michael is torn between following them and answering Max’s questioning gaze. He’s thinking desperately for an explanation when Max says with a smirk that Michael hates, “Mr. Guerin…you better get on board.”

Michael watches as Max turns and walks over to Cal’s plane before he climbs the stairs to his own. Great…he’s never gonna hear the end of this. And not only is he going to have to put up with Max after this, he has to sit on this plane…the same plane…with Maria as they fly back to Roswell. How much torture can one guy take?

Mike follows Michael up the stairs and secures them before disappearing into the cockpit. Making his way toward the seats, he stops and grabs a bottle of juice before he settles himself next to a window opposite Liz and Maria. He can hear Liz asking Maria how her pilot knows Michael and he strains to hear Maria’s answer.

“Oh…I think Mike was our pilot when we all flew back to New York from Roswell. I don’t know…this company uses a rotation of five or six pilots. I know them all…he must have been with us then.” Maria says so easily…so smoothly, that Michael’s jealous at how well she can lie.

Michael glances over and sees Liz looking toward the cockpit. “Really? I didn’t recognize him.”

He sees Maria roll her eyes slightly and take a deep breath. “You were pretty out of it.”

“Yah, I guess.” Liz’s gaze shifts from the pilot to Michael and she sees him listening to them and watching a little too closely. She smiles knowingly as Michael jerks his head away and looks out the window. Yup…there’s definitely something going on with them. Between the pilot recognizing Michael and the easy, familiar way he grabbed that juice from the mini refrigerator when he got on board…Michael’s been on this plane with Maria before. And it wasn’t when the rest of them were here, too. “But I’m pretty sure I remember the pilot from that flight.” Liz decides to play with them a little more. “And that wasn’t him.” She jerks her thumb toward the cockpit.

“Oh for Christ’s sake, Liz. Just drop it.” Maria huffs and pulls out a pair of headphones from a pocket on the side of her seat and plugs them into a jack in the armrest. “How am I supposed to remember who our pilot was on a flight three years ago? Shit, I can’t remember what I wore yesterday.” She throws her hand up dramatically and makes a show of turning her music on and the volume up, signaling the end of that conversation.

Liz tries to hide her smile…especially when Michael slinks down further in his seat and turns his face closer to the window as if trying to hide.

~~~~~~~~~~

“You’ll have to move the Granolith after this. It’s not safe having this many people know its location.” Cal says to Max as their plane climbs through the atmosphere on its way to Roswell.

Max notices his choice of words…that he said you and not we…and agrees that Cal shouldn’t know of its new location. He’s seen how easily Cal is willing to give up the location of the Granolith. “I agree.” His tone dripping with accusation that they can’t even trust their protector with that knowledge.

“I’ve never kept my intentions a secret, Max. You’re right to not trust me.” Cal shrugs.

Max looks out the window at the brilliant colors of the horizon. Orange, red, purple, pink…with the clouds below looking like big tufts of cotton and the sky a brilliant blue above the colorful display, it almost looks like a different world.

The scene in front of him shifts so quickly and suddenly that Max gasps. The clouds morph into skyscrapers and a tall fence appears in front of him. He sees people crowding around him from his periphery, but before he can recognize any of them, the New York skyline disappears and he finds himself back on the plane and looking out at the sunset dancing along the horizon of clouds.

He’s seen the skyline countless times, but one thing he’s never done in all the years he’s lived in New York is seen the skyline from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. It must be a vision of another timeline.

“How are we supposed to fix this?” Max turns to Cal. “Do you know what we’re supposed to do?”

Cal shakes his head. “No idea. It’ll come to you once you’re there. The primaries should be the only ones there. I can get it started, but it’ll know what to do once it recognizes you.”

“Primaries?”

“The ones who created the rift. The ones responsible for altering the timelines.” Cal says. “That would be you, since you’re the only one who could have traveled back in time using the Granolith. And those who made decisions as to how the future would change…those who helped you, the future versions of you.”

“So no one else needs to be there?” Max asks.

“They should be close by, but no. Only close enough for the Granolith to pick up energy signatures.”

Sighing, Max nods in understanding. That means just he, Isabel and Liz will be going to the Granolith. He wonders what will happen while they’re there. Will the timelines come together somehow…showing them what happened? Or will the other timelines simply disappear without any memory of them. This possibility is why he wanted to write down as much as they could remember of the visions they’ve all had. He doesn’t want to lose the record of what happened.

Of course, he was hoping that by writing it all down they’d get a clearer picture of what went so wrong before that he had to go back twice to change things. But now it doesn’t look like they’ll be finding any answers.

Answers. What a joke. They’ve been living blind their entire lives. And this…man sitting in front of him has held all the answers. Every question they’ve ever had about where they came from, why they’re here, who they are. Questions that have always consumed them, become a part of them. Questions they gave up ever finding answers to. And they’ve lost everything and everyone that’s important to them because of it.

September, 2007

It’s Max’s favorite time of year in New York. Fall. As he makes his way through the Manhattan streets, he takes in everyone around him. So many people making their way home at the end of the day. The fading sunlight filters down on him as he slowly makes his way down Lexington Ave. and he turns his face toward the park where he feels the sunlight on his face before it dips down behind a building.

He can feel the beginnings of a chill in the air, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The changing of the seasons. So different from the New Mexico desert. Stepping up his pace, he heads toward the subway.

Dropping his keys on the table and closing the door behind him, he sees Isabel sitting at the kitchen counter with her laptop. “Hey. You’re home early.”

Isabel looks up and he sees that her eyes are red and puffy. He drops his briefcase and rushes over. “What? What is it?”

She gives him a weak smile and turns back to the laptop. “I couldn’t take it anymore, Max. I’m sorry, but I just had to.”

When he reaches her side, he sees what Isabel is talking about and he freezes. On the screen are several different pictures of his parents. Pictures that were obviously taken without their knowledge. “What is this?” He whispers.

“It’s all anonymous, Max. I swear, no one knows.” Isabel tries to assure him quickly, knowing what he’s thinking.

“You hired someone to follow them?” He asks incredulously. How could she have their own parents followed…maybe put in danger? All because of her curiosity.

“Just…just for a couple days. They never saw him. And he doesn’t even know who I am…just through an anonymous email account. There’s no way anyone can trace this back to me.”

Max looks back at the screen. He sees a picture of his parents in what looks like their kitchen. The photographer must have been using a pretty good telephoto lens. There’s another one of them on the sidewalk in front of their house. One of his mom getting out of a car on Main St. One of his dad walking up the front steps of his office. “Why?” He asks absently, noting how much his parents have seemed to age.

Isabel ignores him and instead says, “Look, he even sent a video.” She clicks and suddenly a window pops up. His parents are sitting at an outdoor table on the sidewalk outside the Crashdown. There’s even sound…hard to hear, but it’s there.

“…I’m just saying that it’d be better if you just go and I stay here.” It picks up in the middle of a conversation that’s already in progress. Max sees his mom reach across the table and pick a sugar packet out of the little white box that sits next to the ketchup as she talks.

“Honey, you know Susan would like it if you came with me.” His dad says.

“I know. I just really want to get the kitchen finished. I can’t stand one more day living with tarps and paint cans in there.” He watches his mom shake her head and stir the sugar in her glass of iced tea.

Max watches his dad sigh and say, “If that’s what you want…” He’s cut off when someone walks up to the table and pulls up a nearby chair. Max’s eyes widen and he leans in slightly when he sees that it’s Jeff Parker.

Isabel scoots her chair over to give Max room and she smiles knowingly…watching Max as he sees their parents for the first time in eight years.

“Hi guys.” Mr. Parker sits down in the chair he’s pulled over and smiles at his parents as if they’re longtime friends. Of course, they knew each other, but Max never knew of a time the two couples ever socialized. “Phil, I have that drill bit in the back. It should do the job for you. How about I come over around six tonight and we’ll try it out?”

“Sounds good.” Phil smiles at Jeff. “I’ll stop and pick up some beer on the way home.”

Max watches his mom roll her eyes and laugh. “Oh God, you two. You just want an excuse to sit in the garage all night and drink. Don’t even try to pretend you’re doing any work on those cabinets.”

Mr. Parker smiles and says, “Come on, Diane. We have to have our boy’s night every once in awhile. And besides, we’ve made some good progress on those cabinets.”

Max glances at Isabel, then back to the screen. “What the…?” His parents are
friends with the Parkers? He continues to watch as they chat for another minute and Jeff Parker gets up to leave. They both watch him go and his mom sighs and turns back…staring down at the table. She runs her hand over the top of the table, almost reverently.

“You remember? How much they used to come here? I wonder if they ever sat here.” Max watches his dad reach across the table and grab his mom’s hand.

“I remember.” His dad says. “It’s ok. Let’s just order.” He releases her hand and picks up the menu.

Max sees his mom nod her head in agreement and pick up her menu. “I think I’ll just have a salad today.”

The video continues for ten minutes. It cuts off at the Crashdown and picks back up as they get out of the car and walk into their house…where it follows them around as they do everyday things like check the mail, take out the trash, and put the car in the garage. There’s no more sound.

When it ends, Isabel clicks on one of the pictures to bring it up front. A picture of their parents in front of their house. A good one…both are smiling at something. Max takes a step back in shock…he doesn’t know what to say.

“Max, I…” Isabel looks up at her brother and he can see that she wants to tell him something. But she stops, her lips pressing together as she looks to the floor. There’s something besides hiring and investigator to follow their parents weighing heavily on her. But she’s afraid. Of him? No, he doesn’t think so. But she’s afraid of something.

“What? What is it?” Max asks, looking between her and the laptop screen.

Isabel shakes her head, almost to herself, and looks back up at him. “Nothing. I just…I miss them. I’m sorry, but I just wanted to see them.”

“It’s ok.” He tells her, understanding. “But you better not let Michael see that.” He looks around and asks, “He’s not here?”

She shakes her head and he pulls a chair up next to her. “Let’s watch it again.” He says as he takes his suit jacket off and she smiles at him, tears coming to her eyes as she turns and starts the video once more.


Max opens his eyes and looks out at the now-dark sky. Isabel almost told him that night. She almost told him about the future. He can look back now and find several times that she almost told him throughout the years. She’s had to carry this burden with her for so long, and he should be angry with her for keeping it from him. But how can he be? It was him that made her promise not to say anything, wasn’t it? How can he feel anything but remorse for the secret she’s had to keep all these years…because he asked her to?

He looks up and sees Isabel reading a magazine. He gets up and sits in the seat next to her and she looks up. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He looks down at the magazine. “What’re you reading?”

She shrugs and says, “Nothing really.” She looks at him and asks, “What’s on your mind?”

“I was just thinking about mom and dad.” He says. “About those pictures you got…the video. You remember?”

She smiles and cocks her head to the side. “Yah. What made you think of that?”

He shrugs and says, “I don’t know.” His gaze travels over her face. She’s still as beautiful as she was when they were teenagers. But he sees the strain of their life on her face, in her eyes. “I wanted to apologize.”

“Apologize? For what?” She’s completely confused and she smiles at him uncertainly.

“For asking you to do that…for asking you to keep this secret all this time.”

“Oh.” She realizes what he’s talking about and isn’t surprised he’s found a way to twist it all around so that he can feel guilty about it. “You don’t need to apologize. It wasn’t really you, anyway, was it? I did what I had to do.”

“But you shouldn’t have had to do it alone. I…I wish you wouldn’t have had to go through it alone. I’m sorry for that.”

Isabel grabs Max’s hand, unsure of why he’s thinking about this now. But she can tell it’s weighing heavily on him for some reason. “It’s ok, Max. Really. I was never alone. I had you and Michael. And we were safe. That’s all that’s important.” She lays her head on his shoulder. “We all did what we thought we had to do and it’s gotten us this far, hasn’t it? No regrets. Not now.”

Max closes his eyes, thinking of a way to make it up to her. It’s time to start making up for the mess he started so many years ago. “No regrets.” He says, squeezing her hand and settling back into the seat for the long trip ahead of them.

~~~~~~~~~~

“So.” Maria taps her fingers on the armrest of her chair as she takes a sip of her vodka and tonic.

Liz glances over at her and says, “So.”

Maria grins slightly and asks, “What’s going on with you and the alien?”

Liz raises and eyebrow and says, “I could ask you the same thing.”

The grin fades from Maria’s face and she says, “But I asked first.” She doesn’t want to get into a discussion about Michael. Especially with him sitting a few feet away. She glances over at him, happy to see he’s not
paying any attention to them.

“I’m not sure what’s going on. You know, we have other things to worry about right now and it’s just really complicated.” Liz says, picking up the soda in front of her and absently playing with the tab at the top.

Maria waves her hand at her and says, “Blah blah, words words…now dish. I want details.”

Liz smiles and rolls her eyes. “I don’t know…it’s just…he’s just…” Maria sees the far off, dreamy look come to her friend’s face and she smiles. She’s happy that Liz has found what she was looking for…that she found the one person she’s been waiting for her entire life. If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s Liz.

“I’m glad. Really Liz…I hope it works out. That is, if we make it out of this whole mess alive.” Maria takes another sip of her drink and shoots a withering look toward Michael. Not that it does any good, he’s not looking in her direction.

He’s busy looking outside the plane window and doing his best to appear as if he’s not listening to every word they say. If this plane weren’t so damn small. Maybe he should get up and move further away. No, he can’t do that. Then they’ll know he was listening. Sighing heavily, Michael reclines his seat as far back as it’ll go and closes his eyes…hoping those two will do the same.

He jolts out of sleep, not realizing he’d drifted off, when he feels the plane dip suddenly. Gripping the armrest, he looks over and asks, “What the hell was that?”

Maria and Liz are wearing matching looks of surprise and Maria says shakily, “Turbulence. Must be turbulence.”

The plane continues to bounce for a few more minutes before finally smoothing out. Michael relaxes his grip on the armrests and takes a deep breath. He sees Maria unbuckle her seatbelt and walk forward to the cockpit. She’s only gone for a couple of minutes and when she comes back, she says, “The pilot said it was a little rough patch, but everything’s ok now.”

Michael grunts, disbelieving, and stands up to stretch and walk to the back of the plane. From this spot, he can see directly into the cockpit. The pilot is sitting on the left and another man on the right. Liz’s secret
security. He glances at Liz, wondering if she’s noticed anything weird about the extra man and sees Maria eyeing him curiously instead.

Cursing under his breath, he turns away swiftly and picks up a magazine lying on the seat next to him. Maybe if he plays it cool, she won’t get a bug up her ass. He flips through the magazine absently and sees her coming toward him out of the corner of his eye. Shit.

“Ahem.” Maria clears her throat to get Michael’s attention. She knows he’s not really reading that magazine. Because it’s upside down. Reaching over, she grabs it from him and turns it around so it’s right-side up. “Better?”

He looks at her sheepishly and puts it down. “I uh…wasn’t really reading it.”

She smirks at him and gets right to the point. “So, you wanna tell me about our extra passenger?”

“Part of Cal’s security team.” Michael says automatically.

“I see.” She moves to lean on the wall opposite him and crosses her arms. “But that doesn’t answer my question. Why is he on this plane?” Michael’s eyes involuntarily flick over to Liz. For the briefest moment…but it’s all Maria needs.

Oh shit. He sees her eyes open wide in understanding and she leans in toward him. “He’s for Liz, isn’t he?!” She whispers excitedly. “Did Max arrange for this? She doesn’t know about this, does she? No, of course she doesn’t. She would have said something. How long have they…”

“Jesus. Shut up, would you?” Michael spits out angrily.

She shuts her mouth fiercely and pulls her head back in surprise at his tone. Did he just tell her to shut up? She looks at him and can see him studying her to see what her response will be. He looks scared…and mad.
Raising her eyebrows, she dramatically turns on her heels and starts to go back to her seat.

Liz is watching intently, having hear Michael shout at her friend.

“Maria, wait.” Michael calls after her and grabs her arm.

She stops and looks down at his hand, then glares up at him as she turns her head. Very slowly, she says, “Don’t. Touch. Me.”

He clenches his teeth, and pulls her back toward the bathroom he knows is beyond the door to his right. He grips her harder when she struggles and makes a few vocal protestations and drags her through the door, shutting it firmly behind her.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Maria yanks her arm from his grip.

“Just listen, would you? Why do you have to be so difficult?” Michael stands in front of the door, blocking her way out.

“Me…difficult? That’s funny.” Maria huffs and rolls her eyes.

They hear Liz call out on the other side of the door and knock. “Maria? What’s going on? Are you ok?”

Before Maria can answer, Michael calls out, “We’re fine. Just need to talk…you understand, right?” He shoots Maria a warning look and he’s thankful when she doesn’t say anything.

“Oh. Liz pauses and says, “Maria?” Liz sounds doubtful and Michael sends a pleading look to Maria, begging her with his eyes to just hear him out.

Maria stares at Michael…sees that this is somehow important to him. She lets him sweat for a minute before yelling out, “It’s ok, Liz. I’ll be out in a minute.”

Michael hears Liz walk away and his shoulders slump in relief. Max owes him big time. “Max asked Cal to get some security for Liz…to stay out of sight. He knows she won’t like it, so he doesn’t want her to know about it.”

“Of course she won’t like it!” Maria rolls her eyes. “She has a right to know she’s being followed around by a swat team.”

“Think about it for just a minute, would you? She’s in danger, Maria. Serious danger. Don’t you get it? Somebody tried to kill her. Or have you forgotten about that already?”

“The somebody who tried to kill her is on the other plane right now. And no, I haven’t forgotten. I’m just saying she should know about it.” Maria takes a step forward and points a finger at him. “Don’t make me sound like I’m some horrible person. I know she’s in danger. We’re all in danger. And why is that? Oh yah…because of you!” She feels a twinge of satisfaction when she sees him flinch, but it quickly plummets into her stomach when a look of regret and sadness lands on his face.

He exhales loudly and says, “Ouch.” He knows she’s right. Hell, they talked about this very thing…apparently on this very plane…three years ago. It’s one of the reasons they agreed to not see each other again. But it doesn’t make it hurt to hear her say it any less.

She drops her hand and says contritely. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like…”

“Yes you did. And you’re right.” He scratches at his eyebrow absently and asks, “Can you just wait until we get to Roswell? Let Max tell her. It won’t do anyone any good if you march out there and tell her now.”

Maria mulls it over for a minute and agrees. “Fine. I won’t say anything. But he better tell her, or I will.”

“I told him you’d be a problem.” Michael mutters.

Her eyebrows shoot up and she says, “Really. And you know me so well?”

“Better than you’d like.” He smirks at her, happy to see a blush creep up her neck into her face.

“You’re right about that.” The words fly angrily out of her mouth before she knows what she’s saying. She sees his face turn to stone and instantly regrets it. “Michael…I…” She takes another step toward him, but he turns abruptly and opens the door.

“Don’t.” He says. “I think we’re done here.” He walks out the door without looking back and she falls back against the sink counter and brings her hand to her forehead.

“Crap.” She mutters to herself before straightening and following him back into the cabin.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Posts: 258
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Location: Kansas City

Post by Angel » Tue Feb 03, 2004 12:10 pm

frenchkiss, you won't have to wait much longer...the granolith connection will be in part 36.

mareli, you'll find out soon what happens with the granolith. There's a little dreamer scene in this part...but don't worry, I plan on having bigger ones later. ;)

Linn, go back to part 32...that's when Maria & Michael were together.

out of this world, posting this early so you can have a chance to read it before you leave. Hope you enjoy it!

Gigo, bets? Hmmm...I'll place a bet that it won't be too long before they both give in. ;)

Milla, welcome! And thanks for reading!

Itzstacie, those darn pilots and their memories. ;)

roswellluver, yes, they are pretty uncomfortable around each other. I don't think either of them realizes what the other feels and they're insecure.

Craig Beatty, Well, I think Isabel will get a little comfort from her guilt in this next part. ;)

vegas, hint taken. ;)

tabata, thanks for reading!

dreamingofstars, Max has something in mind regarding the family and Isabel. ;)

cherie, you're right...something big will be happening. But not until part 36. :)

PhoenixFlamez, welcome! And thanks for reading!


Part 35

Landing in Roswell was nothing short of a major production. Fortunately, Cal is equipped to deal with major productions. Keeping Zan from seeing Liz was the first concern. The second? Where everyone would be staying.

He got it all worked out, though, and by ten, everyone was safely and comfortably ensconced at a hotel in Roswell. They made plans to get up at dawn and head out to the Granolith. The early hour would help in keeping anyone from noticing such a large group traveling together. Having Maria Deluca with them doesn’t help matters, but there’s nothing they can do about it now.

In room 310, Maria and Liz are sitting on one of the beds with a pile of chips and snacks in front of them. “God, I feel like a teenager again.” Maria says with a grin. “You want the Sun Chips?”

Liz shakes her head and says, “No, go ahead.” And she grabs a package of vanilla cookies instead. As she opens the package, she asks, “So what exactly makes you feel like a teenager? Eating this crap? Being back in Roswell? Or hiding out in a hotel room?” She raises her eyebrows at Maria, teasing her as she stuffs a cookie in her mouth.

“Ha. Ha.” Maria says sarcastically. “That was not my fault. I had no idea what Billy had planned. And I had no idea he had a warrant out for his arrest.”

Liz laughs, covering her mouth so cookie crumbs don’t fly out. “I still wish I could have seen your face when the cops came and busted down the door.”

“Laugh it up. My mom thought it was hilarious, too.” Maria rolls her eyes.

Liz finishes chewing and studies Maria for a moment. “Are you gonna visit her while you’re here?”

Maria shrugs and says, “I don’t know. I guess I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow. What about you?”

“No.” Liz shakes her head and pops in another cookie. “I won’t be visiting your mom while I’m here.”

Maria playfully shoves Liz’s shoulder and says, “I’m serious.”

After taking a sip of her soda, Liz says, “I probably should. But they’ll ask questions and I don’t know what I’d tell them. ‘Hi mom! Hi dad! Just thought I’d pop in without calling. I now I haven’t been to Roswell to
visit for years, but I just got this urge.’ I don’t think so.” She shrugs and says, “Besides, I’d rather not attract any unwanted attention.”

A knock on the door interrupts their conversation and Maria bounces off the bed to answer it. When she sees who it is, she dramatically opens the door and sing songs, “Lizzy, you have company.” She waits for Max to walk in and says, “I’m just gonna go…get some ice. Maybe a drink at the bar. See you kids later.” She winks at Liz before walking out and shutting the door behind her.

Max eyes the pile of junk food on the bed. “Hungry? I think they have room service here.”

Embarrassed, Liz shoves the food aside and stands up. “Oh, um…yah. We just wanted a little snack.”

He nods and smiles at Liz’s idea of a snack. “I just wanted to check and make sure everything was ok with your room.”

“Yah, um…it’s great, actually. Thanks.” She smiles, knowing he didn’t come here just to check on her room.

He looks around the room and says, “So tomorrow. Cal said just you, me, and Isabel need to actually connect with the Granolith.”

“Because we’re the ones responsible for the different timelines?”

Max looks surprised. “Yah.”

“Cal already explained it to me.” She smiles.

“Oh…right.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets, knowing he’s being totally obvious. “Well, there goes my excuse for coming here.”

Liz closes the distance between them. “You don’t need an excuse, Max.”

“I’ll remember that.” He watches, mesmerized as she walks toward him. “So um…I should probably go. Let you get some sleep.”

“I’m not really tired. Are you?” Liz brings her hand up to rest on his chest and runs it down slowly.

He reaches up and grabs Liz’s hand. “No. But you’re depriving me of a graceful exit.”

“Hmmm.” She puts her hand up to his cheek and pulls him down for a soft kiss. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulls her closer and deepens the kiss. He feels her move her hands over his shoulders and down his back and he groans, pulling her body closer against his.

When he feels his body respond to her closeness…and no doubt she’s felt it as well…he reluctantly breaks away from the kiss and brings his hands to her arms. Taking a few moments to get his breath back, he finally says, “I really should go, before…”

“Yah. You should go.” Liz pulls away from him, tucking hair behind her ear. “Maria will be back any minute. And we should sleep…you know, it’ll be a big day tomorrow.”

He smiles as she convinces herself. “Yah.” He runs his thumb over her eyebrow and cradles the side of her face. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Leaning down and placing a soft kiss on her lips, he says, “Good night.”

“Good night.” She says as he backs toward the door. She follows him and when he steps back into the hallway, she closes the door quietly and leans against it…letting her breath out in a rush of air.

On the other side, Max leans back against the door and swipes his hand across his forehead. As he pushes away from the door, he thinks about the cold shower that he’ll be taking before he goes to bed.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the corner of the bar off the hotel lobby, Alex and Isabel sit watching people make asses out of themselves singing karaoke. As one, slightly drunk man tries to make his way through Sweet Home Alabama, Isabel turns to Alex and says, “Thanks for coming down with me. This is a lot more fun than watching TV in my room.”

“Hey, no problem. This is definitely entertaining.” He winces as the man hits a wrong note.

“So how long has it been since you’ve been back here?” Isabel asks him.

Alex shrugs and says, “Last Christmas. I try to make it back once a year.” He looks over at her and frowns. “I’m sorry. It’s probably hard for you to come back here and not be able to see your parents.”

She waves a hand at him. “Don’t be. I asked, didn’t I?” She smiles at him and says, “It’s hard. But what choice do we have?”

“You miss them.” He says this as a statement more than a question.

“Yah. But they’re safe…not knowing about us.” She looks away back toward the stage, signaling that she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

He watches as her icy exterior suddenly takes over…amazed at the transformation. She’s had a lot of time to build those walls, and they slam down at an alarming speed. He reaches over and covers her hand with his,
earning him a shocked look. “You did the right thing. None of us would be here if you hadn’t have done what you did.” He watches as what he’s saying sinks in. “You did the right thing.” He repeats, knowing that she needs to hear that.

Neither one of them sees Maria peek her head in the door. When she sees the crowd and the singing, she decides not to risk it. Turning away from the bar, she heads back through the lobby toward the elevators. There goes that idea. Someone would surely recognize her in there.

It’s too soon to go back up to the room. Max and Liz are probably rolling around in bed, throwing clothes everywhere by now. Suddenly, she smiles…remembering what she used to do in high school. She gets in the elevator and hits the top floor, hoping that it’s still open.

When she reaches the top, she steps out into the hallway and walks quickly around the corner to the door she hopes is there and unlocked. It is. Smiling, she looks around before opening it and walking the last flight of stairs to the roof.

She steps outside and rushes to the side, her smile getting bigger as she surveys the town below her. When she was young, she would come up here at night and just watch everything that went on on the streets below. She would sit up here for hours…watching other lives go on around her.

Closing her eyes, she takes a deep breath of the fresh, desert night air. There’s no smell quite like it and it causes a rush of memories to flood back.

“Hey.”

The sound makes her scream and she jumps, turning to look to her right. “Godammit! You scared the shit out of me!” About twenty feet away, Michael is sitting on some type of electrical box. He’s obviously been up here for a while.

“Sorry.” He shrugs. “But I was here first. So if you don’t mind…” He nods his head toward the door, indicating that she should leave.

“You were here first? What is this…kindergarten? I think the roof is big enough for the both of us.” She rolls her eyes and turns back to the ledge.

“This planet isn’t big enough for the both of us.” He mutters, knowing she’ll still be able to hear him.

Sighing irritably, she turns back toward him. “Look, there’s no where else I can go. The bar is full of people and Max is in my room with Liz doing who the hell knows what. So just give me a break, alright?”

“Fine.”

“Fine.” She walks over to the ledge and sits on it sideways so she can still look out over the town. Pulling out her pack of cigarettes, she shakes one out and lights it…inhaling deeply as she closes her eyes. When she opens her eyes, she automatically searches out the familiar lights of her mom’s store. It’s mixed in with a dozen other alien themed shops that litter the streets.

She laughs a little at the thought of it now. She used to have a little green alien hanging from her key chain. Looking over at Michael, she wonders if all that alien stuff ever offended them when they were growing up. As she takes another drag of her cigarette, she thinks about the irony of three aliens growing up in Roswell. Hell, they even had the crash festival every fall. Did they go to it and watch the display of the crashing ship and burning aliens, wondering if that’s what happened to them? Did they dress up like aliens?

Gazing down at all the alien themed shops, her mood takes a drastic turn. She used to feel so lonely growing up here. Roswell always seemed so small and she knew she’d never end up there for the rest of her life. Now, glancing over at Michael, she knows that she has no idea what lonely is like.

~~~~~~~~~~

It’s starting to get cold. And this metal box he’s lying on isn’t helping. Staring up at the familiar stars brings him back to a time that he’d rather forget. He spent so many nights outside that dilapidated trailer looking up at the sky and wondering where he came from. If one of the stars up there was his home.

The stars don’t look the same anywhere else. He’s been to dozens of different places, but the night sky is never what it is in Roswell. Now as he lay here and look at the familiar constellations of his childhood, he briefly feels like he’s a kid again.

He turns his head and sees Maria sitting on the ledge of the building smoking a cigarette. She shouldn’t be sitting there…isn’t she worried about falling? He sits up when he sees her swing a leg over so she straddling the ledge and he calls out to her. “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that.”

She looks over at him and asks, “What?”

“You could fall.” He says, hating the amused look on her face.

She swings her leg back and forth and throws her arms out on either side. “Really? You worried about me?”

“No. I’m worried you’ll splat yourself all over the sidewalk and this place will be swarming with cops.” He gets up and walks over to her.

She frowns and says, “Right. Well don’t worry. I think I can manage to keep from inconveniencing you by splatting myself everywhere.”

They’re both startled by a shout from below and they look down to the sidewalk five stories below.

“Hey! Up on the roof!”

“Great.” Michael grouses when he sees it’s a cop. “See?”

Maria smiles and says to Michael, “Don’t worry. Its just Jim.”

“Jim? As in Jim Valenti, the sheriff?” Michael can’t believe she’s so casual.

“Hey Jim! Long time no see!” She calls down.

“Maria? Is that you?” Jim tilts his hat back to get a better look. “Hold on.” He holds his hand up and heads inside the hotel.

“Shit, he’s coming up.” Michael looks at Maria and is annoyed that she seems to find this amusing. “This isn’t funny.”

She forces the smile off her face and drops her cigarette on the ground, grinding it beneath her shoe. “No, you’re right. He’ll tell my mom I was smoking, then I’ll really be screwed.”

Michael rolls his eyes and turns to go back to the door so he won’t be here when the sheriff comes up. This isn’t good. And she’s making jokes.

“Michael, wait. He already saw you. Besides, he probably won’t even recognize you.” Maria says.

“I’m not waiting around to find out.” He turns to leave again, but it’s too late. The door opens and Jim Valenti steps through, spotting Maria immediately.

The two quickly meet half way and hug fiercely.

“Maria. What the hell are you doing here? Does your mom know you’re in town?” Jim says.

“I just got in. I haven’t had a chance to call her yet.” Maria says, squeezing him back before stepping away.

He smiles at her and says, “How many times have I told you it’s not safe up here?”

Michael snorts with satisfaction and regrets it when Jim focuses his gaze on him. He stuffs his hands in his pockets and tries to step in the shadows.

Turning his attention back to Maria, he says, “I was just heading home. Why don’t you come with me…you’re mom will be so surprised to see you.”

“Oh, thanks Jim, but I already have a room here. And it’s late, and I’m really beat. I was planning on stopping by tomorrow. How’s that sound?”

Jim glances at the shadowy figure behind Maria, then back to her. “Well…ok. But if you don’t call first thing in the morning, I’m telling her where to find you.”

Maria smiles and says, “I promise. Now get home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jim nods and puts his hat back on. “Alright then. I’m glad you’re home, Maria. It’s been too long.”

Maria steps forward and kisses him on the cheek. “I know. Stop giving me the guilt trip. Now scoot.” She playfully shoves him toward the door.

Before he leaves, he turns back and says, “You stay off that ledge, now.” He glances once more at the stranger, wondering why Maria didn’t introduce them. He’s obviously someone she knows, though. She has so many people traveling with her all the time, it’s hard to guess who he might be. He tips his hat at her and gives her a parting smile before leaving.

Once he’s gone, she turns to Michael and says, “See?” She walks back over to the ledge and lights up another cigarette.

He can’t help his curiosity and wonders what it is about her that makes him want to know everything there is to know about her. She’s loud, overly dramatic, and a pain in the ass. But there’s something about her that he can’t get out of his system. Like an itch that won’t go away, and the more he scratches the more it itches.

Without saying anything else, he turns to leave…it’s not safe for him to be up here…with her.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Alex, you don’t have to walk me to my room.” Isabel laughs as they walk down the hallway.

“I know.” He says. “I want to.”

She turns to look at him and smiles a small smile. “Well, thanks…for hanging out with me tonight. It took my mind off of everything.”

When they get to her door, he says, “Me too.” He notices that she’s been looking at him intently. “What’s wrong?”

What’s wrong? The words echo in her head as she studies the man in front of her. What’s wrong is that she feels lightheaded. What’s wrong is that she doesn’t want to walk in her room and end this night. What’s wrong is that she really wants to kiss Alex right now, and he’s looking at her like a second head has sprung up from her shoulder.

She shakes her head and laughs self-consciously. “Nothing. I’m sorry…I’m just…tired, I guess.” She nervously runs her hand over her hair to smooth it away.

“Ok. Well, go in and get some sleep. I’ll just um…see you in the morning.” He smiles and turns to walk away.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. “Wait! Alex…” Isabel calls after him, suddenly feeling stupid because now she doesn’t have anything to say. He turns to look at her in question and she just stands there…feeling utterly helpless and tongue tied.

She feels her face turn red and can feel the heat from the blood that’s rushed there. She thinks she might actually be dying from humiliation. But then something miraculous happens. He stalks toward her and at first she thinks he looks angry, but when he reaches her he grabs the back of her head and crashes his lips down on hers in a bruising kiss.

She melts under the force of the onslaught…groaning when she feels his tongue part her lips. He pulls her body close to his and she feels her back being pressed against the wall. Running her hands through his hair, she moves them down his back and up under his shirt.

Her senses are on overload, having never felt this…electric before. She feels like she might actually scream if he stops touching her. His hands are everywhere. Her face, her hair, her back, her hips…she strains to get closer to him, wanting more.

“Oh God.” He drags his mouth down to her neck and she throws her head back, a moan coming from the back of her throat. The sounds she makes, the way she’s touching him…all he can think about is how much he wants her. Everything around him disappears. Everything but the feel of her skin and the taste of her. When he brings his hand down to cup her ass and he feels the heat coming from between her legs, he can’t help involuntarily grinding his hips into hers and he’s rewarded with another desperate groan from her.

Through the fog in his brain, he hears a loud gasp…and it’s not from Isabel. They both freeze and turn their heads slowly in the direction of the unwanted noise.

Down the hall, at the entrance from the elevators, Maria is standing in shock, her hand on her chest and her eyes wide.

It briefly registers in his mind the scene they’re making. Her hands are on his back, under his shirt. One of his hands is gripping her ass, the other is under the front of her shirt and he’s pretty sure there must be lipstick all over his face.

“I um…oh shit. I’m uh…” Maria fumbles in her purse as she rushes to the door of her room…looking for her key card. She looks over at them and says, “I’m sorry…I just um…I…” She struggles to get the card in the reader the right way and sighs in relief when the light turns green. When she finally gets the door open, she glances at them once more and says, “Sorry.” before rushing inside and closing the door.

Alex is still frozen in place, staring at the empty space Maria was just occupying. Ok, that was awkward. But reality suddenly forces itself on him again and he feels Isabel’s lips on his neck. Moving them back toward her door, he says, “Open the door.” It comes out sounding more like an order, but before he can feel bad about it, the door behind them opens and they stumble inside the room.

~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning, Liz and Maria get up at 5a.m. and head downstairs for some breakfast.

“Shouldn’t we wake up Alex and see if he wants to come with us?” Liz asks as they walk toward the elevator.

Maria grins and says, “Nah. I’m thinking Alex probably had a long night. Let’s let him sleep.”

Liz looks at her strangely, wondering why she would think that. Maria looks at her and loops her arm through hers. “Don’t worry. I’ll fill you in later.” She smiles to herself and pushes the down button for the elevator.
Liz was asleep when she rushed into their room last night, after having seen Isabel and Alex groping each other in the hall. She’s pretty sure Alex didn’t even sleep in his own room last night…if he slept at all. As soon as those two make an appearance, Maria’s sure they’ll all know what’s going on.

“I’m starved. I hope they have Belgian waffles.” Maria says as they step into the elevator.

When they step into the lobby, Maria asks, “You’re sure Zan won’t be down here?”

“Cal told me last night that he’s making Zan stay in his room so he won’t run into me. He’s even got him on a different floor.” Liz says.

“Good.” Maria glances around the lobby and sees two men watching them. They’re dressed like your average tourists…one in the lobby reading a newspaper, the other standing by the reception desk pretending to look over brochures. She wouldn’t notice them normally, but now that she knows about the security Max arranged for Liz, she notices them everywhere.

Max had better tell Liz about them soon. She’s bound to notice. As they walk into the small restaurant, she sees Cal, Max, Michael, Ava and Isabel sitting at a large round table looking over menus.

“Oh look. Everyone’s here already.” Liz smiles and grabs Maria’s hand, leading her over to the table.

Max’s face lights up when he sees Liz. “Good morning.” He gets up and pulls out a chair for her to sit in. She smiles and sits.

“Good morning everyone.” Liz says, sitting in the offered chair. She feels his fingers brush across her shoulder and shivers with the contact.

Seeing Max pull out a chair for Liz, Cal jumps up and pulls a chair out for Maria. “Here ya go, darlin’.”

“Thank you, Cal.” Maria smiles at him before sitting and glaring at Michael.

As Cal sits down, Max asks, “So where’s Alex?”

Maria looks over at Isabel and sees her blush and look down at the table, picking up her orange juice glass nervously. “I guess he’s still sleeping. I think he was really worn out last night.” She smirks when Isabel coughs on her orange juice.

Max looks concerned and asks, “Did he have a rough night?”

Maria has a hard time not laughing at Isabel’s embarrassment and says, “Well I sure hope so.”

Isabel glares at Maria, while everyone looks at Maria in confusion. Isabel is saved when the waitress comes over to take their order. By the time she’s done, the topic of conversation has moved away from Alex.

“We’ll go out with Isabel and Liz, then the rest can follow us there a few minutes behind.” Cal tells Max as their food arrives. “We should get going as soon as we’re done here. The sun’s already coming up.” He motions toward the window where they can all see the first rays of the morning shining through.

“So how long do you think this’ll take?” Maria asks. “Will we know that it worked? Or will it be, like, a gradual thing?”

Cal shrugs. “Couldn’t tell you. I’ve never done this before, either.”

“Right.” Maria digs into her waffle covered in strawberries and whipped cream.

“That looks good…I should have gotten it instead.” Ava says, looking down at her omelet.

Maria looks up and says, “You can have part of it if you want. I can’t eat all of this.” She picks up her knife and cuts her waffle in half, sliding it over onto Ava’s plate.

“Thanks.” Ava smiles at her before dousing her plate with Tabasco sauce.

Maria grimaces at the sight and says, “No problem.”

Alex walks into the restaurant, then, and Liz waves him over. “Why didn’t you guys wake me up?” He asks, running his hand through his hair. His face is drawn and tired and he looks like he just stepped out of the shower. Hair wet and face freshly shaven, Liz spots shaving cream on his ear.

She pats the seat next to her and says, “Maria thought you might need your sleep.” She shrugs and brings her napkin up to wipe off the shaving cream.

“Are you ok, Alex?” Max asks, noting his worn out appearance. They all should have gotten plenty of sleep last night considering the time change.

Maria sits back in her chair, thoroughly enjoying the way Isabel and Alex are shooting uncomfortable glances at everyone and squirming in their seats.

“I’m fine. The uh…my bed was a little uncomfortable.” Alex searches for something to say as he looks over at Isabel. She has her elbow on the table, her face resting in her hand. Did she tell them?

“Why didn’t you say something? You could have slept in someone else’s room. I had an extra bed in mine.” Max says, not picking up on any of the tension at the table as he eats a slice of bacon.

Liz brings her hand up to Alex’s back and rubs it. “Poor Alex.”

Maria snorts, having difficulty holding in her laughter. She has her face down, looking at her lap…knowing that if she looks up it’ll be all over.

Michael notices Maria’s odd behavior and asks, “What’s wrong with you?”

She looks up at him and says innocently, “Nothing.” He eyes her, disbelieving.

Cal has a pretty good idea about what’s going on, seeing how those two are turning beet red and avoiding eye contact with anyone. “I don’t think extra beds would have helped Alex’s problem.” He looks over at Maria and they share a knowing smile.

Liz looks around, noticing her friends’ strange behavior and says, “What’s going on? Did I miss something?” She smiles and looks at Max, who shrugs his shoulders…letting her know he doesn’t know, either.

Suddenly Isabel drops her silverware on her plate and slams her hands down on the table. “Fine. Alex was with me last night. We slept together. We were up most of the night…having sex. Are you happy now? Is everyone satisfied? Can we shut up about it, now? Please?” She spits this all out in one breath, louder than she intended.

Everyone at the table freezes; eyes open wide, mouths hanging open. Isabel ignores them and picks up her fork and continues to eat her breakfast in silence.

A full minute passes as everyone looks around the table in shock. Alex feels all eyes on him and decides to follow Isabel’s lead. Catching the waitress’ attention as she walks by, he says, “Hi…I’ll have pancakes, eggs over easy, bacon and some orange juice, please.” She nods and writes it down as she walks away.

Once she’s gone, Alex sees that everyone is still staring at him…Isabel is shoveling food in her mouth and staring at her plate. After a few moments, he clears his throat and says, “So…what’d everyone else do last night?”

It takes a few seconds, but Maria busts out laughing, followed quickly by Cal, Ava, Michael and Liz. Max manages a smile, even though he really doesn’t need to be hearing his sister tell an entire restaurant that she had sex last night. Isabel looks up at Alex and they share a smile as everyone starts talking, thankfully, about something else.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:14 pm

Milla, Our little Alex has grown into quite the man. ;) Max and Liz have a lot of other worries going on...Zan...the Granolith. Plus Max's knowledge that two previous versions of himself tried so hard to keep Liz out of his life. They're preoccupied and scared. But have no fear...I'm a dreamer at heart and I have a feeling they'll find their way to each other soon enough.

frenchkiss, Alex and Isabel shocked me, too. LOL

mareli, Hmmm...a locked door? Might do the trick. ;) But the Granolith awaits...

mmcherron, yup...always the quiet ones. ;)

Reven Eid, hey, thanks! And thanks for reading!

Gigo, yes, Max and Liz's control bothers me, too. ;) We'll have to do something about that soon.

cherie, wait no more...here's chapter 36! Thanks for reading!

Breathless, Thanks so much! Coming from you...I can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

Craig Beatty, Who would have thought that underneath all that ice was a raging fire? ;)

Becca, Thanks for reading!

out of this world, I always wished they would have stuck with the Alex/Isabel angle on the show instead of chucking it aside, only to bring it back up just so Isabel would have some drama after he died. Oh well...I guess that's what fanfic is for. ;)

vegas, Heh, Billy and Sean together? LOL Hmmm...don't give me ideas. ;)

BelevnDreamsToo, wow...thanks to Debbi for recommending this! I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Thank you again, everyone, for all the nominations! You guys are GREAT!



Part 36

“I’m nervous.” Liz admits from the backseat where she’s sitting next to Isabel. The familiar, brown and tan landscape calls her attention out the window to her left.

Isabel pries Liz’s hand off of her pants and holds it in hers. “I can tell. You’ve turned your pants six different colors since we left.” She gives Liz a weak smile and says, “It’ll be ok. Nothing to worry about.”

Liz knows she’s just saying that to calm her down. There’s no possible way Isabel could know what’s going to happen. She also knows that Isabel is nervous, too. Her hands are sweaty.

Max and Cal are in the front discussing the Zan situation. “I’d feel more comfortable if you took Zan with you back to L.A. We can move the Granolith, then go back to New York.”

“Khivar can’t come here in the flesh. He has to possess someone. You realize what that means?” Cal says.

Max clenches his jaw and says, “Yah, I know.” It means they may have to kill Zan to kill Khivar. Or someone else if Khivar chooses to inhabit another body when he comes for the Granolith.

“If it’s Zan, I won’t be able to do it.” Cal reminds him. “I could get someone else to do it…but it can’t be me.”

“I know.” Max knows that if it comes down to it, he’ll be the one to kill Zan. He wouldn’t ask Michael to do it just because he’s a coward. And he won’t have Cal involving anyone else in this. No, he knows that he’ll be the one that’ll have to do it. The thought of killing makes him nauseous, but it’s either kill or be killed and he can’t afford to make any mistakes.

As they turn off the highway onto a dirt road, Max glances in the rearview mirror and sees Liz in the backseat. She’s looking out the window, no doubt remembering the last time they were here. He knows he is. He remembers the complete panic he felt when Liz gave he and Isabel a chance to escape. The panic when he realized that Liz was going to have to remain with their captors and there wasn’t anything he could do about it. He never wants to feel that again.

A few minutes later, Max can see the jutting rocks that mark the spot they had been gathered before. “Liz, are you sure this is it?”

She nods and says, “Yah. We’ve all had visions of these rocks, too. They have to be significant since we were all out here. This has to be it.”

“I think so, too.” Isabel agrees.

“What the hell?” Cal slowly exclaims as they approach the rocks and they all look forward to see what’s there.

A truck…a police truck is parked close to the rocks and they can see the outline of a man sitting on the hood.

“What the fuck is this?” Cal swears and looks around the landscape for others. He doesn’t see any, and looks once again toward the rocks. “We can’t turn around now…he’s seen us. Shit.”

Liz leans up in her seat to look out the windshield and she smiles. “Wait. Stop the car.”

“Liz?” Max turns to look at Liz. They’re approaching the truck and the man has slid down to the ground and is standing with his hand shielding his eyes from the sun…watching them approach.

“Stop the car. It’s ok.” Liz squeezes Max’s shoulder and turns to her door, opening it before Max can even get the car stopped.

“She must know him.” Isabel says as she leans forward, trying to get a better look.

“She better.” Cal says, not liking this turn of events. A cop is definitely going to put a wrinkle in their plans.

The three of them watch Liz run up and practically leap into the man’s arms as he spins her around in circles. They can hear the laughter and shrieking from the interior of the car.

“I hope she knows him. Or we’re gonna have to talk to her about how to talk to strangers.” Cal jokes, earning a smile from Isabel, but not from Max.

Max watches as the man puts Liz down and they seem to be talking about something…hugging at least two more times. He sees Liz glance over at the car and it looks like she’s searching for a reason for being out here. He then sees Liz react to something the man tells her and her hand flies to her mouth, her eyes darting back to the car quickly. As the dust from their car clears, Max finally sees who it is she’s talking to. Kyle Valenti.

“Oh shit.” He turns in his seat quickly, facing the back. “It’s Kyle. Don’t let him see you.” He says to Isabel.

Isabel’s eyes go wide as she ducks down behind Cal.

“Who’s Kyle? Someone you know?” Cal asks, studying the cop.

“We went to high school with him.” Max says.

“Ah.” Cal says. “You think he’ll be a problem?”

“Only if he sees us. His father is the sheriff…he’s the reason we left Roswell in the first place.” Max says, stealing a quick glance out the windshield to see what’s going on. If he drives off, it’ll look suspicious. Plus, he can’t just leave Liz out here.

“She’s coming back.” Cal says.

A few moments later, Liz opens the car door and gets in…leaving the door open. “I guess you know who it is.” She sees Isabel slouched down in the seat and Max turned away from the windshield. “He already saw you…so you don’t have to hide.”

“Great.” Isabel straightens in her seat and rolls her eyes. “Now what?”

Liz looks at Cal and says, “It’s ok.” She leans forward and grabs Max’s arm. “I think you should listen to what he has to say.”

“What’s going on, Liz? Did you tell him…what we are?” Max is worried suddenly and he looks toward Kyle, who’s leaning against the side of his truck. When he sees Max look at him, he raises his hand in greeting and Max scowls back.

“No. I didn’t tell him who you are. He already knows.” She sees the look of shock on their faces and says, “I really think you should just listen to what he has to say. You can trust him, Max.”

Max turns again to study Kyle. He surveys the landscape and the rocks once more and doesn’t see anyone else around.

“Well, we need to do something.” Cal says, checking his watch.

Isabel takes a deep breath and opens her door. “Come on. Let’s get this over with.” She doesn’t look back to see if anyone is following her.

Max, Liz and Cal all get out of the car and follow Isabel. She stops several feet away, as does Max and Cal. Liz walks over to stand next to Kyle and says, “Kyle, this is Cal Langley. Cal, this is my old friend Kyle
Valenti.” The two men nod at each other and Liz continues, “And you remember Max and Isabel.”

Kyle turns his gaze to Isabel, then Max…studying them closely. “Max…Isabel. It’s been a long time.” He raises his eyebrows, acknowledging the absurdity of that statement.

“Kyle.” Max says simply, then clenches his jaw. He glances at Liz, hoping this is going somewhere other than fight or flight.

“So uh…I guess you’re wondering why I’m out here.” Kyle shifts on his feet and takes his hat off before running his hands through his hair.

“The thought crossed my mind.” Max answers, not taking his eyes off of Kyle.

Kyle pauses, noting the strained tone in Max’s voice. “I was sent to meet you.”

“What?” Isabel looks toward Max in panic. Could Khivar have somehow possessed Kyle? Is this a trap?

“By whom?” Max asks calmly.

Kyle laughs and scratches his head. He looks at Liz who encourages him to go on. Turning back to Max, he says, “Well…it’s the damnedest thing. My wife. She sent me.”

Max’s brow furrows and he adjusts his weight onto his right foot. “Your wife.” He looks at Liz in question.

“She’s the guardian.” Kyle says, as if he expects them to know what he’s talking about. When he sees nothing but confusion on Max’s face, he adds, “of the Granolith.”

Cal steps forward and asks, “Serena? Serena’s alive?”

Kyle nods at him and says, “Alive and well.”

“Ok. Back up.” Max holds his hand up. “What is a guardian of the Granolith?”

“She was with you on your ship…she guards Granolith.” Kyle says slowly…confused that he has to explain it at all. She told him that they’d know all of this. He glances at Liz, wondering again how she came to be a part of all of this.

“But…I thought she was dead. I saw her pod. It was damaged beyond repair.” Cal shakes his head. “Where is she? I must see her at once.”

Kyle nods and asks, “Are you their protector?”

“No…kind of. Their protector was killed. I’m the second.” Cal knows now that Serena is, indeed, alive. Only she would be able to tell this human about protectors.

“I see.” Kyle glances at his watch and looks at Max. “You all should go on up and do your thing. Then Serena told me to bring you back to our place. She’ll meet us there.” He nods his head up the side of the rock face.

Max glances up where Kyle indicated and says, “I’m a little lost.” He turns to Cal. “What the hell is going on here? Who is Serena? And why is she married to a human…to Kyle? Why hasn’t she contacted us before? And why in the hell does Kyle Valenti know more about what’s going on than I do?!” By the end, his voice is raised and Isabel has stepped next to him to grab his arm in an attempt to calm him.

Cal glances at his watch again and says, “Ok, short version. Serena is a hybrid. Created…just as you were. She was sent to guard the Granolith, but we thought she died in the crash. I’m a little fuzzy on what happened to her, or how she survived, but apparently she came back to Roswell…as she was programmed to do…to protect the Granolith. Met this Kyle fellow, fell in love and married him.” Cal looks to Kyle to confirm the last part and Kyle nods. “That’s all I got for you. Now, can we get this started before the others get here?”

“What others?” Kyle looks out over the landscape.

“Alex, Maria, Michael…it’s a long story.” Liz says, noticing the shocked expression on Kyle’s face when he hears that Alex and Maria are involved in this, too. “Did Serena happen to tell you how we…find the Granolith?”

“You don’t know?” Kyle looks over to Isabel and Max. “Well, wasn’t expecting that. Come on…I’ll take you.” He puts his hat on and starts climbing the surface of the rock. Serena told him they’d know all this stuff…that he’d just have to meet them, then bring them home when they’re done.

Kyle leads them up to a small landing and points to the rock wall in front of them. “Here. Just wave your hand like this.” He demonstrates for Max and motions for him to do the same.

Max waves his hand over the spot Kyle showed him and is shocked to see a silver handprint appear on the rock.

“Just put your hand there, and it’ll open.” Kyle says, having seen Serena do this a million times before.

Max does and stumbles back a bit as the rock surface shifts and moves to reveal an opening. He steps through, then helps Isabel and Liz inside. Once they’re all in, the wall shuts and Max finds himself standing in the middle of a cave bathed in a glowing blue light.

“Our pods.” He says as he approaches the wall of four empty pods…the source of the eerie blue light. His hand automatically goes to the one on the right and it glows brighter with his touch.

Cal turns around the cavern and says, “I don’t see the Granolith.”

Kyle nods and steps in front of Max. “Follow me.” He drops down on the ground and proceeds to crawl through one of the pods. Everyone follows him and they soon find themselves standing in a pristine, bright white room. If they didn’t have to crawl through dirt and rock to get here, you’d never know you were in a cave.

“It’s a little obvious, isn’t it?” Cal circles around the Granolith…never taking his eyes off of it.

You didn’t know where it was.” Kyle points out, negating Cal’s argument that it was easy to find. “Plus, only a hybrid can open the door.”

“True.” Cal drops to one knee and proceeds to say something in a language Liz, Max and Isabel have never heard before. When he’s done, a small drawer opens at the base of the large, black, cylindrical cone that takes up most of the room.

Once the drawer opens, a design lights up on the wall. A large orange circle with strange symbols surrounding it.

“What’s that?” Liz walks over to study it.

“It’s the menu.” Kyle says. “It’s not the official word, but I call it that. It’s where you order up what you want the Granolith to do.”

“Why isn’t Serena here?” Cal asks, studying the various crystals that lie in the drawer he’s opened.

“She had to work…couldn’t get out of it. But she’s looking forward to seeing you again.” Kyle explains.

“Again? But…you said she was in her pod the last time you saw her.” Isabel says to Cal.

Cal turns to Kyle and says, “They don’t remember their past lives.”

“Ah. That explains it.” Kyle nods in understanding, which makes Max want to scream in frustration.

Max hears his cell phone start ringing and he pulls it out of his pocket, already knowing who it is. “What is it, Michael?”

“What’s going on? Why is there a cop car out here?”

He forgot about that. “Sorry. I should have called to warn you. Don’t worry about it…it’s all under control. We’re just getting started…I’ll see you in a few.” Max turns his phone off and puts it back in his pocket.

Liz steps over to him and asks, “Are you ok?”

He nods and says, “Yah. Just a little…caught off guard.”

“Yah, me too.” Liz says. “I’ve known Serena for years…I was the maid of honor at their wedding.” Her voice drifts off and she looks over at Kyle, wondering how long he’s known his wife is an alien. He knew exactly what she was fishing for when she called the other day about the visions. Why didn’t he tell her then?

“Ok, we’re all set.” Cal stands up. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

“I’m gonna wait out here. Good luck.” Kyle crawls back through the pods to get back in the cave.

Max, Isabel and Liz all gather around the Granolith in a circle. Cal instructs them to hold hands and tells them he’s going to insert a crystal, which will start the process. He then backs up against the wall, out of the way.

The Granolith suddenly seems to come to life…blazing purple, blue, and white lights appear swirling around the sterile room. The Granolith itself looks like it’s glowing from within and Max wants to avert his eyes but can’t. He’s mesmerized by the patterns in the blackness in front of him. He feels a tingling running through his hands and wonders if Isabel and Liz can feel it, too. That’s his last thought before the world turns upside down on him.

~~~~~~~~~~

Maria walks around the truck they unexpectedly found when they drove up. She’s pretty sure she knows whose it is, but hopes to find something to confirm it.

Alex joins her and looks in through the passenger window and says, “This is Kyle’s truck.”

“Kyle Valenti?” Michael asks, looking in through another window. “Are you sure?”

“Yup.” Alex taps on the glass. “That’s his jacket…it has his name on it.”

“I wonder where he’s at.” Maria looks around for any sign of him. She tries the door handle and finds it locked. “He locked the doors and the keys aren’t inside. So he has to be here somewhere.”

“He must have gone with them.” Alex says. “That’s weird.”

“I don’t like it. Why didn’t Max tell me more?” Michael surveys the land around them, wondering where they went. There’s nothing else out here besides their two cars, the truck and the giant rock in front of him.

“I’m sure he would have said something if there was a problem.” Maria says, noticing Michael looking at her intently. “What?”

“What’s up with you and Valenti, anyway?” He asks.

She’s taken aback by his question and says, “Nothing. Why?”

“You seemed awfully cozy with him last night, considering you don’t get back to Roswell that often.” He says.

Maria realizes that he’s talking about Jim, not Kyle. “Oh. He’s married to my mom. I guess I didn’t think…that you didn’t know that. I mean, why would you, right?” She laughs nervously.

“God, could this get any worse? So that would make Kyle…” He trails off, having the answer to a question that bugged him all night.

“My step brother. For better or for worse.” She smiles, still not used to idea of Kyle as her brother after all these years.

When Michael walks off, indicating the conversation is over, Maria walks back over to the car they came in and leans against the side. Zan is still sitting inside, sleeping with his head resting on the back of the seat. He’s been sleeping ever since they left the hotel. Ava is sitting in the passenger seat with door open…her legs stretched outside. “Who’s Kyle?” She asks Maria.

“Someone we went to school with.” Maria answers before turning to face Ava. “Can I ask you a question?”

Ava laughs and says, “It’s all we got, isn’t it?”

Smiling, Maria admits that she’s right. “Why doesn’t Zan want you in his head? I mean, haven’t you been in there before? You two have, like, been together…right?”

“That’s more than one question.” Ava jokes. “Ok, number one…happens to be Zan’s number one rule. No messin’ with his head. He’s real serious about that. I think it’s because Lonnie used to do shit to him when we was kids. Used to make him see stuff. Like this one time, he was convinced someone was after him. She spent a couple months drivin’ him crazy before he figured it out. I never seen him so pissed.”

“Is that how she tried to kill him?” Maria asks.

“Yah. Rath pushed him into the street…she made him think it was clear. He didn’t see the truck ‘til it was too late.” Ava checks the backseat to make sure Zan is still sleeping. “Second question. Yes, we’ve been together lots of times. But that don’t mean I automatically get in his head. He closes himself off so a connection doesn’t form. Guess that answers the last question, too.”

“So you can do that…block people from getting in?” Maria asks.

“If you know what you’re blocking…yah.” Ava looks over toward Michael, then back to Maria. “I wouldn’t worry about it. The males of our kind don’t really have a lot of power when it comes to mental abilities. They’re more physical.”

Maria’s eyes open wide and she stutters, “No…I wasn’t…that’s not why I…” She stops when Ava starts laughing at her.

“It’s ok. I won’t say nothin’. But you guys are really obvious…I picked up on it right away.” Ava reaches into her purse and pulls out a tube of pink lip-gloss.

“I um…” Maria looks over to make sure Michael’s standing far away, then back to Ava. “So uh…yah. Thanks.” She turns and walks over to sit on a rock next to Alex. She’s much more comfortable thinking about Alex’s life than her own right now.

“Hello luvah boy.” She purrs in a sassy accent as she leans in toward him.

“Hello traitor.” Alex dramatically moves away from her and rolls his eyes. “I’m assuming I have you to thank for the show at breakfast?”

Maria gasps and puts her hand to her chest. “Why Alex, I’m hurt. I didn’t breathe a word about your little rendezvous. I’m afraid it was written all over your guilty faces. Everyone figured it out on their own. Well, everyone but Liz and Max. How naïve are they?”

“Ha. Ha.” Alex leans his head down to rest in his chin in his hands. He stares down at the sand beneath his feet and watches a bug cross over his shoe. He still can’t believe what happened last night. It was probably one of the best nights of his life. He woke up this morning in Isabel’s room…alone. Of course, he’d only been asleep for about an hour. She must have not slept at all. How could she have looked so beautiful at breakfast and he look like a walking sack of shit?

“Well, it must have been a very good night for her…the girl was practically glowing this morning.” Maria’s tone turns from teasing to concern. “Or, that could be an alien thing. The glowing.”

“Ok, can we not talk about my sex life? If you stop, I promise not to ask you any questions about the chit chat going around about you and Mr. Guerin.” Alex smiles smugly at the badly hidden look of guilt on her face.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Maria tries to sound as innocent as possible. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“My point exactly. So let’s drop it for now, alright?” Alex looks over at Maria and is suddenly hit with a powerful force and it knocks him off the rock and onto the gritty sand. He glances over and sees that Maria has been thrown as well, but he doesn’t have time to dwell on it before the world changes around him.

No longer is he sitting in the desert…but he’s standing in the back of the Crashdown. Bewildered, he tries to move, but finds that his feet are stuck…his legs frozen. The scene in front of him is frozen, like a 3D picture. And he turns his head…seeing Maria standing next to him. “What is this?” His voice sounds like it’s being played back in slow motion and he begins to panic.

He turns and sees Liz standing on the other side of him. Max and Isabel are with her. It’s ok, Alex. He hears Liz’s voice, but her lips aren’t moving. Turning to look over at Maria, he also sees Michael and Kyle Valenti. It must be the first time Michael sees Kyle, too, because the look on his face is complete shock.

Before anyone can say anything or react to what’s going on, a voice materializes from all around them. Alex can’t tell where it’s coming from, but it’s soothing and he relaxes slightly.

“You are one with us and with time. This world is not as it should be. You have used us to change time on this planet and you must now make it right. Our benevolent King, only you, with the cooperation of our guardian, could have wreaked such havoc. As you have seen, the consequences of abusing this power are often times worse than where you began. We will show you the path that should have been. Only from there can you journey toward it once again. We will start with the first, followed by the second abuse. From this knowledge, it is our intention that you draw the common lines together to repair the damage that has been done.”

Max listens to the voice…more like voices…trying to remember everything it says. He realizes that when it says we that it’s referring to itself in the plural. Is the Granolith the voice of many? And whose voices are those?

“Do not think on such things, my King. It is not important to your journey.”

Stunned, but not really surprised, Max looks at the scene in front of him…frozen in time…and tries to concentrate on what the Granolith wants him to do.

“Kyle Valenti. You do not belong here.” And as quickly as that, Kyle suddenly disappears before their eyes. “Beginning timeline one.”

The scene in front of them suddenly starts moving. But it’s fuzzy around the edges…as if they’re looking at it through a camera lens. They all watch as a young Liz and Maria race around the café taking orders and delivering food.

Liz sees Max and Michael sitting at the booth they used to and realizes this is from a time before the shooting. She feels a vague recognition as they all hear Maria talk about Kyle and compare him to a poodle and it hits her.

The bullet, that is. It hits the young Liz in the stomach, dropping her to the ground. They all watch, mesmerized as Max races over and heals her before running out of the café to the jeep Michael’s waiting in out front.

The scenes race forward and slow down to a crawl. It seems disjointed, but here it makes perfect sense to them. Alex sees everything for the first time and understands now what had been happening. Maria finally has confirmation…with her own eyes…of what really happened that day.

Another fast-forward and they’re still in the Crashdown, but it’s night. Liz and Max are there, and he’s cradling her face. They both look as if they’re in a trance and everything is still and silent. Until a warm, golden glow appears around them and spirals up above their heads. The two of them seem totally unaware of what’s happening around them as the light becomes brighter and turns red. The spiraling slows and the red light descends around the two of them, disappearing as if absorbed into them.

They break apart and Maria hears Max ask Liz, “Did it work?” Liz just nods and looks up at Max like he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Yup, that’s it. She’s pretty sure that’s the exact moment Liz fell in love with him.

What was that light? I don’t remember that. Everyone hears Liz’s voice in their heads.

Max watches his younger self leave the Crashdown as the younger Liz watches him go. That was when our bond was formed.

They all watch different scenes play out. Some at school, some at the Evans’ house, and some in the Crashdown. Nothing seems significant until they see Liz in her bedroom. Maria walks in wearing a bright green alien costume and confronts Liz about the shooting. But instead of lying as she remembers, Liz is shocked to watch herself tell Maria the truth.

Everyone else is equally shocked and amused to see Maria run out the door screaming. That didn’t happen. Liz says.

It did happen. In the first timeline. Max says before his attention is drawn to a new scene in front of them. They watch as Liz and Maria trap Max, Michael and Isabel in the alley and Max offers to turn himself over to the sheriff. And they’re fascinated to see Isabel step forward and say they’ll try Liz’s plan.

They watch Liz go to Kyle’s house and ask him to meet her at the festival. They also watch as Michael and Max hunt down the costume Liz told them to get. Then they’re at the festival. Maria is lying on the ground, with Michael leaning over her. They see the sheriff track down the person he though he saw, only to find Kyle instead.

This was your plan. Max was right, it worked. Isabel says, her voice full of awe.

The scenes fly by once again, slowing down at some points, speeding up at others. They see a trip to Texas…to the geodesic dome where Isabel finds a necklace. They see Michael go to the Indian reservation, then get sick. They see Liz and Alex get arrested at a party and listen as Liz tells him the truth in jail.

They watch as Liz and Max get closer and eventually find a metal orb in the desert. Michael and Maria get closer and they all watch as Michael goes to her one night in the rain and she lets him in…holding him all night. Then they see Michael get himself emancipated and move into his own apartment and away from Hank and his abuse.

Tess appears, and they all see her planting images and ideas in Max, Isabel and Michael’s minds. They see her scheming and plotting, even though their younger selves haven’t realized what she’s doing yet. They helplessly watch as Nacedo, posing as Max kidnaps Liz and ends up getting Max captured by the FBI.

Isabel and Michael look on, horrified, at what they do to Max in the white room. Max feels sick to his stomach, and relieved when he sees his own rescue. Jim Valenti helps, much to Liz’s surprise. But when she sees Kyle get shot and Max heal him, she realizes why she’s seen Kyle and his dad in so many of her visions. She finds it interesting that Jim agrees to help them and wonders if that would be the case if he found out now.

They see a scene in which the silver orb transmits a message from their mother and Isabel tries to commit her image to memory. And as Liz runs out of the cave and down the rock face crying, Max is overwhelmed with everything they’ve been shown so far. It seems that not even a year has passed from the time of the shooting to this point, and yet…so much happened to them.

Liz sees herself at her aunt’s house in Florida. Then she’s back in Roswell and takes a job with the congresswoman. They all watch Liz repeatedly push Max away and tell him to pursue his destiny with Tess. And they watch Isabel get closer to an older man…one who turns out to have evidence about them and doesn’t know it.

No one is too upset to see that the shapeshifter was killed. They know he wasn’t helping them, as the younger versions of themselves seemed to think.

A new waitress comes to work at the Crashdown, and Maria watches as she flirts with Michael shamelessly. They see Isabel search for Tess, finding her at an old power plant…beaten. They find out about Congresswoman Whitaker and they listen to her tell Isabel about her past and about her betrayals. And they watch Isabel kill her…turning her into a swirling mess of flakes of skin. They see Isabel discover the Granolith for the first time.

Max’s pursuit of Liz intensifies and Max watches in embarrassment as he shows up singing to Liz one night. Dude. That is so cheesy. Michael says. Max answers with a terse, Shut up.

They all watch as Max shows up at Liz’s balcony with tickets to a concert. They see her resolve weakening until she finally caves. But they don’t end up going to the concert. As she watches her younger self being stripped of her clothes, Liz tries to bring her hand up to cover her eyes and finds out that she can’t move it. Oh my God! We’re not gonna watch this! Close your eyes…oh my God! Liz’s frantic voice echoes through their minds.

Maria laughs and says, No way! Look at you go, Liz. This is hot! You lost your virginity before me, you slut!

Liz rolls her eyes and tries her best to melt into the floor. Especially when she hears Isabel groan. “Jesus, why do we have to see this? I really don’t want to watch this.[/I]

As Maria, Isabel and Michael trade laughs, and Liz watches with complete and utter embarrassment…Max looks on, fascinated. In a way, it just all seems surreal. And although part of him is embarrassed that his friends and sister are being forced to watch this, another part of him is completely spellbound by the sight in front of him.

Just as the catcalls have reached a fevered pitch, the red light they all saw from earlier appears around Max and Liz again. That shuts everyone up. They watch the light once again start to swirl around the two of them and rise up above their bodies. It spins faster and grows brighter until it seems to implode on itself and disappear for a split second. But before anyone can say anything, it explodes in the air and appears in the form of what looks like a star system shaped like a V. It’s the same pattern they saw in an earlier vision of the cave the Indian showed Max.

Oh my God. That…that must be the awakening. Maria gasps.

But…wait. We never…there was no uh…we didn’t do…that in this timeline. Liz stumbles over her words. Mostly due to the fact that she’s still watching her younger self make love to her younger Max. No. See…I would remember that.

I should hope so. Maria says, sounding impressed.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:20 pm

extingman, thanks!

BelevnDreamsToo, yah, it seems that no matter what the timeline is, Max is always irritated with Kyle. ;)

PhoenixFlamez, thanks for the vote!

cherie, hope you like the rest. :)

Milla, Liz is also wondering why Kyle never said anything to her. You'll find out why a bit later.

Craig Beatty, thanks for the great feedback!

mareli, I love Kyle...and usually he plays a bigger role in my fics. So of course I had to find a place for him in this one. ;)

frenchkiss, there's a lot more information coming up...hope no one goes on overload. ;)

Itzstacie, yah...they should laugh now. They'll soon find themselves with the tables turned as far as the porn shows. LOL

out of this world, thanks!

roswellluver, thanks for the feedback!

Kath, wow...thanks for reading and leaving feedback! You've got quite a bit to catch up with. ;)

Breathless, Thanks so much! *blushing*

vegas, I had to leave it there. LOL The Granolith scene is a long one and I had a hard time deciding how to post it. Billy & Shawn's Excellent Adventures. Hmmm...a phone booth instead of a Granolith...could work. LOL

Gigo, I just hope no one gets bored reading about things we already saw on the show. I hope I included enough plot advancement during all this that people don't just skim over it. :)

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone! This next part is so long I broke it up into 2 posts. I wanted to finish with the Granolith and it couldn't be done in just one part. Anyway, I hope you enjoy...and thanks for reading!!


Part 37

The images change again and they learn the new waitress, Courtney, is a Skin. I knew she was trouble. Maria says triumphantly.

I can’t believe…all of this would have happened if we’d stayed. It’s like…it’s like watching a home movie of our lives. Lives we never lived. Isabel says in awe as they watch their younger selves go to Arizona and destroy the Skin’s husks.

Liz recognizes Nicholas from when he and the shapeshifter kidnapped her. She feels a shiver go down her spine when they watch the entire town of Roswell disappear when he shows up again. And she can’t help the sadness that overcomes her as she watches herself cling to Max right before she disappears.

Look at me and my big brain. Maria says as they watch her and Kyle knock out the green transmitter that’s causing people to disappear. Shortly after that, they see their duplicates come to town wanting to take Max back to New York to go to a summit. He refuses, and after some tense moments, they finally leave…vowing to make Max pay.

They all watch as Tess becomes more bitter over how close Max and Liz are becoming until she finally decides to leave town. No one really misses her, except the Valenti’s a little bit since she’d been living with them a few months, and it seems that over the next few months, things are normal in Roswell.

Michael feels a stab of jealousy when he watches Maria get close to Brody, the owner of the UFO museum. He’s surprised when they see that Brody is being possessed by another alien who seems to be helping them. Especially when they find out about the virus-type crystals that came with them on their ship. He watches in fascination as he and Isabel find out about Laurie and her relation to him.

They watch helplessly as Kyle drifts further and further from them after his dad loses his job helping them. Alex is the only one he remains friends with, and it’s how he stays in the loop with everyone else.

Alex smiles when he sees Isabel finally admit that she has feelings for him and a relationship between them starts. They all seem happy when they go to the prom that year. Except Maria, who goes by herself when Michael says he doesn’t want to go.

Maria rolls her eyes when she sees her younger self and Liz spy on Michael with another woman. But when they see Michael show up at the prom and tell Maria he was taking dancing lessons to surprise her, everyone does a collective, Awwwww…

Aw geez. Michael groans when he sees what a sap he was. He grouses even more as the scene shifts to his apartment after the prom and he sees what’s gonna happen. Oh shit.

Liz giggles and says, Looks like it’s your turn. as she watches Michael and Maria strip out of their prom clothes and stumble into his bedroom.

God, I feel like such a perv watching this. Alex says.

Liz turns to Maria, noticing how quiet she is, and says, I wish we had popcorn. Maria just glares at her friend and stays quiet. That is, until they see a familiar golden light start to appear around the couple in front of them.

Aw, look. They’re bonding. Alex says as the light starts spiraling. But it never does what it did with Max and Liz. The light stays around them, spinning and sort of…pulsating…until it finally fades. When the scene switches to what looks like summer, Alex sighs and says, I need a cigarette.

Isabel, Max and Liz laugh at his joke, and they laugh even harder when they notice Michael and Maria are conspicuously silent. They see themselves go on vacation to Florida using the money Michael got from Laurie’s aunt and uncle. It’s hard to tell how much time they spend there, but the three couples go to Disney World and the beach. It looks like they have a pretty good time and they finally return to Roswell for their senior year.

The year flies by before their eyes…literally. Very few things seem to happen during this time. The only thing they really find interesting is Michael’s new job at MetaChem. They watch scientists come in after he leaves and collect samples from his work area. What the hell? Michael mutters as they watch men in hazmat suits go to his apartment and take various items.

They watch as Michael’s friend and co-worker is shot and dies in his arms. It all becomes even more horrible as they see Michael and Max go to Jim Valenti and ask for his help, resulting in Jim getting captured at MetaChem. They see the group of them come together to go into MetaChem to rescue Jim. And they’re amazed at how they seem to operate like a well-oiled machine.

Yeow. Look at us go. Maria says, impressed. She watches as they all infiltrate MetaChem and locate Jim. When Jim gets shot and Max heals him, they all look on in awe. Each time they’ve seen Max heal someone, it still seems unbelievable.

When they see that Max and Jim are surrounded, Liz is shocked to see herself, Michael, Alex, Isabel and Maria all work together to distract the armed men so they can escape. As they watch themselves run out of the building, there’s a collective gasp when they see Isabel get shot. But she keeps going, Michael half carrying her until they reach their cars.

They watch Max heal Isabel’s wound as they drive back to the Valenti’s where Jim calls the police and tells them about the armed men at MetaChem and the evidence they have that Michael’s friend was murdered.

The scenes continue and they see themselves all go to the prom again, graduate, and decide where to go from there.

Wow, Liz. In that timeline we went to the prom twice. Maria says this and Max suddenly wonders who Liz went with in this time.

Who did you guys go with this time? He asks.

I didn’t go. Liz says, before Maria says, I went with Paul Androni junior year and I stayed home with Liz our senior year.

There’s a few moments of silence as they watch their younger selves enjoy the summer in Roswell before Alex says, I went with Molly Young our senior year. You know…if anyone cares.

She was hot. Michael comments to Alex, watching himself working the grill at the Crashdown and making googly eyes at Maria while she works.

Isabel watches in silence, remembering that Molly Young was a total slut. She wonders what Alex and Molly did after the prom, but that thought flies away when she sees her parents. They look like they’re saying goodbye to her…seeing her off to school.

Then she sees Alex get out of the SUV her parents have been helping to pack. They say goodbye to him, too. Wherever she’s going to school, Alex is either going as well…or close by. From their conversation, she can only figure out that they’re going to California somewhere.

They see Maria and Michael looking at apartments, eventually finding a better one than he had and moving in together.

Next they see the Parkers, Liz and Max at the airport. Ooo…I wonder if I still went to Harvard. Liz says, watching her parents tearfully hug her goodbye. Yup, Harvard. She hears her parents talk about her coming home for Thanksgiving. Max must not go with her because he says goodbye next. After she walks onto the plane, she sees Max fall into a nearby chair…hanging his head in his hands as her mom puts her arm around him in comfort.

They learn in the following scenes that Max stayed in Roswell, taking classes at the community college. Then he planned to go to UNM to get his degree. He wanted to stay close in case anything happened and not leave Michael alone.

Time flies by in front of them and then it’s Christmas. Liz, Isabel and Alex are back home and they spend most of their time together from what it looks like. Kyle has gradually come back to the group and once again seems to be on friendly terms with them. Although his relationship with Max is still strained, he seems to have integrated into the group fully.

Jim Valenti gets his job back at the sheriff’s department as a deputy as the kids all go back to school. When the school year is over, they see Liz and Max in the jeep as they drive out to the outcropping of rock that they’re at now. Liz watches with a smile on her face as she sees Max drop down onto one knee and propose to her. Her younger self enthusiastically agrees as he puts a ring on her finger.

As Max starts telling her all his plans about finishing school, getting married, and where they’ll live, Liz interrupts him and suggests they get married now. Max protests, saying they’re too young, but she tells him about how Romeo and Juliet were even younger than they are and that there’s no reason they should wait. She tells him she wants to move back to New Mexico and go to school with him and that she’s already made up her mind.

The scene changes to show Max and Liz in Las Vegas at The Elvis Chapel being married by a man dressed up as Elvis.

Oh my God, Liz! You got married by an Elvis impersonator. Maria says, partly with disgust, partly with sadness that she wasn’t there. They see all of them meet up in a dive bar halfway between Roswell and Las Vegas and they all celebrate…dancing until the early morning hours.

They continue to watch as the years fly by. Alex and Isabel move back to Roswell when they finish school and make plans to get married. Maria opens her own jewelry shop and Michael takes over running the Crashdown from Liz’s parents, who decide to retire and start traveling.

They also see something their younger selves don’t seem to notice. People following them…aliens following them. They’re being watched everywhere they go.

They know…because of the awakening. Liz comments as she watches herself cross the main street of Roswell…two aliens right behind her.

At Alex and Isabel’s wedding reception, they all watch in curiosity as a strange man shows up and dances with Isabel…telling her who he is. Khivar. Tensions are high as Alex and Isabel leave for their honeymoon and Max and Michael tell them they don’t think they should be going…that Khivar is a threat they need to deal with.

Isabel insists that they’ll be fine and that nothing is going to ruin her honeymoon. After they leave, Brody informs them about Khivar, who he is, and what he wants. They all rush to San Francisco where Alex and Isabel are honeymooning and find Khivar already there. Somehow, he’s brought out Isabel’s alien side and she almost agrees to go back with him. But at the last minute, she comes back to herself and pushes Khivar into the wormhole he created between their worlds, sending him back alone.

On edge, the group returns to Roswell and they resume their lives…only more cautiously. Then a strange girl shows up one day at the UFO museum, which Max has taken over running from Brody. She bows and introduces herself as Serena, the guardian of the Granolith.

At this point, they don’t know much about the Granolith, other than where it is and that the Skins want it. Everyone is suspicious of her at first, but Brody confirms for them that she is who she says she is. As more time goes by, they watch Serena become an integral part of their close-knit group and when Isabel becomes pregnant, she helps deliver the baby.

As the scenes play out in front of them, there seems to be babies everywhere. Maria gives birth next, to a boy, which prompts Michael to ask Maria to marry him. She makes him wait until she finds herself pregnant again just a year later…then she orders him to marry her. Before Maria has the second baby, a girl, Isabel gives birth again to twins.

Geez…it’s like we were running a daycare. Alex says when they see a scene of everyone gathered at Isabel and Alex’s house for a barbeque. They see Max and Liz arguing at one point. Max says he wants to start a family, Liz wants to wait…she tells him they’re not in a hurry and she’s selfish with her time with him. She works a lot at a research lab in Las Cruces, spending a lot of time away from home.

Kyle and Serena move in together, getting married a short time after. Max keeps up his vigilance over any alien situation he hears about from Brody and they all start to believe that they no longer have anything to worry about on that front. They still haven’t noticed the contingent of aliens that follows Liz everywhere she goes.

As the time advances, Liz watches Max’s hair get longer, confirming for them the visions they had when they saw him like this are from the first timeline. Max and Michael start going on treks, tracking down anything suspicious that Max hears about. Liz continues to work long hours and then get offered a promotion that would take her to New York.

No one is happy with the news that Liz wants to take it…especially Max. He doesn’t want to leave Roswell in case any of their enemies, or the FBI shows up. But after reassurances from Michael and Isabel that they can handle anything that comes up and that they’ll call if it does, Max agrees to go.

They all watch the tearful goodbyes. Isabel’s oldest has her seventh birthday party right before they leave and they watch as she changes the color of her birthday cake while everyone is singing to her…in front of Max and Isabel’s parents. They have no choice but to tell them everything and Max is frustrated because now that his parents finally know, he’s leaving…the next day.

They see Max and Liz in New York and Liz’s entire personality seems to change. She’s happy to be away from Roswell and all the worries associated with being there. She tells Max that she’s finally ready to start a family and they decide to go out and get a puppy in their excitement of starting a family. Everyone recognizes Bailey and Liz starts thinking that this timeline is coming to an end soon. She figures in her head that it’s been about thirteen years since she was shot in the Crashdown, and Max is looking more and more like he did in her visions.

Everyone travels to New York to visit over the next few months. Liz recognizes the pond in Central Park…they spend a lot of time there with Bailey…excitedly making plans for kids and a house outside the city.

Their tranquility is shattered, though, when news reports start coming in about unidentified objects moving toward Earth. Max and Liz immediately get in their car and drive straight through to Roswell…the airports having been shut down. By the time they get there, it looks like a war zone.

Khivar’s troops descend on Roswell first, hoping to wipe out Max, Michael and Isabel…and in the process destroying the town. They move out to the desert, setting up a temporary base of operations while trying to fight off daily attacks.

Alex is the first to be killed. A blast from the enemy side hits him and although Max tries to heal him, he’s too worn out from the fighting to save Alex. Isabel is devastated and when she receives word that Khivar’s men attacked her parent’s house, killing them and her children, she goes off alone to Khivar’s camp intending to kill him even if she dies in the process.

They watch her march in, blasting everyone in her way, but she’s killed quickly…and before she ever sees Khivar.

Their lives become chaos that involves battle every day. Max and Michael fight alongside the human resistance, no longer worried about revealing themselves. The entire planet now knows about the existence of aliens. At this point, it’s fight or die and Khivar is intent on destroying Earth. They’re all the same now…human and alien…fighting to stay alive.

They’re desperate, learning quickly that their weapons are useless against the advanced alien technology they face. Liz is anguished to find out one night that she’s pregnant. Finally, the family she and Max had been waiting for. And it’s the end of the world. She struggles on whether to tell him or not, but at Michael’s urging, she finally does. By that point, Max had all but given up…fighting when he had to, but his heart wasn’t in it. Michael was hoping that finding out a baby is coming would give him what he needed…something to fight for.

It did. But it was too late. Khivar had them trapped in the desert close to the pod chamber. Little did he know that the Granolith was sheltered within the very place he was driving them. As a last desperate move, they seal themselves up in the pod chamber. Tired, covered in grime and blood, Max and Serena come up with their plan to use the Granolith.

Time slows to a crawl and they all know that this is the end. They watch themselves fight…all of them. They use useless weapons in a small effort to hold them back long enough for Max to use the Granolith. During one such battle, Michael sacrifices himself to save Max from enemy fire. There was no choice, Max is the only one who can go back and if he’s killed they’ll have no hope.

Max watches as he drags Michael back to the pod chamber and cradles him in his arms as he dies. Maria breaks down totally, refusing to believe that Michael is dead. It’s not long after that when Serena announces that the Granolith is ready and Max says his goodbyes to Kyle, a distraught Maria and Serena. Serena confirms that she’s set the Granolith for the time they talked about. It took many long discussions, but they finally decided the best course of action. Tess. She was the key. Their four square wasn’t complete and it threw them off…they had no chance without her. Max has to go back and make sure she stays.

They all watch Max and Liz enter the Granolith chamber. Max hesitates, not wanting to leave Liz there to die, but she urges him to go…that there’s no other option. He puts his hand up to the Granolith and is transported inside. As Liz watches and the cave rumbles from being hit from the outside, the Granolith lights up and Max disappears…and everything goes black.

Liz thinks that she’s been knocked out, but when she turns her head she sees Max standing next to her. She’s about to say something when she hears Alex say, Well, that movie kinda sucked. I want my money back. She smiles sadly and turns to look at Maria who has tears in her eyes.

I don’t wanna see the next one. It’ll be worse. We all know that. I don’t wanna watch…you have to let me out of here. Liz can see the panic in her eyes and knows that a full fledged hurricane is ready to be unleashed.

Liz wants so much to hug her, but she can’t move her arms. She can see Maria start to shake and she says, It’s not real, Maria. It’s ok…we’re all right here. Maria nods quickly and says, Alright, let’s just get this over…

Her sentence is cut off when a scene appears in front of them. They hear the voice say, “Beginning timeline number two.” In front of them, they see Maria, Alex and Liz driving back from a visit to Maria’s psychic. They saw this in the last viewing so it’s all familiar. It speeds up until they see Liz once again in her room pretending to marry Max in front of her mirror. Except this time, there’s a flash of light outside her window and they see Max…the one they just saw go into the Granolith kneel down outside her window.

They see Liz panic, thinking he’s a shapeshifter and accusing him of not being Max. He tries to explain to her who he is and how he got there and he tells her that he’s about to show up outside with a mariachi band to serenade her. Liz doesn’t believe him until she hears the sound of guitars coming from outside. They watch the younger Max singing to Liz again but this time, the older Max is standing back out of sight. He tells her how he learned the song and how he turned the roses to white as he threw them up.

They listen helplessly as Max from the future tells Liz that she has to get his younger self to fall out of love with her so that he’ll be with Tess…thereby ensuring that she stays in Roswell. They’re all thinking the same thing. This timeline is doomed from the beginning. After everything that older Max had gone through, he never learned about Tess’ agenda.

Liz tries to help Tess attract Max’s attention, but when that doesn’t work, she goes to Max and gives him a rehearsed speech about not wanting to die for him and wanting to date normal boys. It’s like watching a nightmare as Max sees Liz ask Kyle for his help. And when he sees his younger self show up at Liz’s window with the concert tickets and sees Liz and Kyle in bed, he wants to shout at himself and tell him it’s not true.

But that Max believes what he sees and they see Liz have her wedding dance on her balcony with future Max before he disappears. Things spiral downward after that. Some events are the same, but drastically different because of the strained relationship between Liz and Max. They still destroy the Skin’s husks and Nicholas still comes to Roswell after making its inhabitants disappear.

Maria saves the day once again, and this time when their duplicates come to town, Max agrees to go with them. This is the first event that strays drastically from the first timeline and Max pays close attention. They all watch Max go to Liz and give her the Christmas present she’d given him the year before back and tell her he can’t be friends with her. They also listen to her warn Max about the Granolith, but he’s so cruel to her before he leaves.

Geez Max, could you try to be a bigger prick? They all hear Michael say. Between this and that stellar scene in Copper Summit, I’m starting to question this whole sensitivity thing you’ve got going. I never knew you were such an asshole.

No one says anything else, every one of them agreeing silently with Michael, as they watch Max leave before Liz breaks down in tears. Max feels a constriction in his chest and has a feeling that it just gets worse after this.

He and Tess go with Rath and Lonnie to New York where he sees Nicholas again. That’s the first thing he files away…noting that in both timelines, Tess appeared to have killed Nicholas in the school. Apparently, that didn’t really happen. He’s surprised when his younger self doesn’t realize this and continues to trust Tess.

Thanks to Liz’s warning, Max refuses to turn over the Granolith to Khivar and they watch as Ava confides in Liz that Lonnie and Rath killed Zan. When Liz connects with Isabel to save Max’s life on the street in New York, Isabel says, There’s the first thing we’ve ever seen regarding Liz’s powers. We never saw anything showing us that in the last timeline.

When Max and Tess get back to Roswell, events seem to pick up where they did in the previous timeline. Except in this one, Max cures a roomful of kids with cancer at a hospital trying to make amends with the ghost of a man he didn’t save.

I wonder why that didn’t happen last time. Liz says.

Because he was with you all the time. He didn’t go tree shopping for Isabel that day the man was killed. Maria answers.

~Continued in next post~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:22 pm

Then something completely different happens. They see Tess begin mindwarping Alex and arrange for him to go to Las Cruses to translate the alien book while making everyone think he was in Sweden for an exchange student program.

Nicholas is helping her and Liz is surprised than none of them realize what’s was going on. They see Alex in a dorm room working day and night and in the computer lab working furiously to finish the translation. They also see him breaking down mentally and the toll Tess’ mindwarps are having on him.

When he comes back to town a different person, no one thinks anything about it. The events surrounding the Gandarium happen almost exactly as they did previously, except Liz distances herself more and more from the group and it takes them longer to figure out what’s going on.

Relationships within the group continue to deteriorate and when Michael suggests to Max that they go to Las Vegas with his $50,000, they can all see that it’s just going to get worse. They all laugh a little at the comical way everyone else weasels their way on the trip and how irritated Michael is.

Max cringes when he sees himself and Michael get arrested and argue in jail. And when he sees himself pack up to leave and go to the arcade to say goodbye to Liz, he can’t believe the conversation they have about getting married in Las Vegas at the Elvis Chapel. The look in Liz’s eyes as his younger self tells her he would never do that kills him. How could he have been so blind?

His stupidity is reinforced even more as he watches himself go to get a cab and sees a vision of he and Liz on the sidewalk…having just got married. At least he decides to stay after that. God, how many more signs did he need?

As they all watch Max walk into the club and ask Liz to dance, telling her about the vision he had…everyone screams at once, TELL HIM! They watch Liz hesitate, just on the verge of telling him the truth. But she doesn’t. Instead, Maria’s song ends and everyone begins to applaud.

Time goes forward to the prom and Liz ends up asking Max in a round about way to go with her. He agrees, but tells her about his memory retrieval he’s been doing with Tess. When Liz goes to Max’s window the night she and Maria discover Michael at his dance teacher’s apartment, instead of finding Max there alone, she sees Max and Tess embracing on his bed.

This is just…you guys are just painful to watch. Isabel comments as she watches Liz walk back to the car, heartbroken.

At the prom, Liz tells Max that she’s suffocating and what she’s saying seems like she’s begging him to say something…anything, to give her some hope. But he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he lets her walk away. That’s when they see Tess sitting in the background, her face scrunched up in concentration.

That bitch is mindwarping you! Maria exclaims.

When Liz sees Max and Tess kissing and leaves, Michael feels like punching Max. He knows this was another time and another place, but how could Max do the things he’s doing. There’s no way he would behave like that.

It gets much worse, though, when they see Alex break out of his mindwarp and confront Tess. They look on helplessly as Tess mindwarps him again and end up killing him in front of Kyle. She then mindwarps Kyle into helping her put Alex into his car and drive it out to the highway where they set a chain of events in motion that make it end up looking like Alex died in a car accident.

Jim shows up at the Crashdown to tell everyone and they immediately go to the coroner’s office so Max can try to save him. When he’s unsuccessful they all watch, horrified, as each of them leaves…going their separate ways…and leaving Liz alone.

They see Liz obsess over Alex’s death and her investigation that drives a wedge further through the center of their group. It comes to a head at Alex’s wake when Liz accuses Max of ignoring the facts because he’s afraid they might be responsible. The group splits, then. Alien versus human.

Could this get any worse? Maria asks, weakly.

Liz continues her investigation without help from anyone. And Tess continues to worm her way closer to Max. They watch the relationship between Max and Liz get worse and worse as he worries about her exposing them. Isabel and Max also butt heads when she announces she’s graduating early and leaving Roswell. He ends up threatening her into staying.

They can all see Max practically coming apart at the seams and the way Tess seems to be there to pick up the pieces for him. When Liz decides to go to Sweden to investigate Alex’s death further, Max finds her waiting for a cab and the fight that ensues causes everyone to cringe.

But even more cringe worthy is watching Tess show up at the Observatory when Max is at his lowest. She planned the entire thing and manipulated everyone and everything until she was all he had left. Liz frowns as they’re forced to watch Max and Tess have sex on the floor of the Observatory and she’s more than happy when the scene switches to the airport, where she finds out that Alex was never in Sweden.

It goes from worse to horrible when they see that Tess is pregnant. Liz finally convinces Maria to help her in her investigation, and by default, Michael. As Max agonizes over his impending fatherhood and the fact that the baby apparently won’t survive in Earth’s atmosphere, Liz, Maria and Michael travel to Las Cruces and recover the translation that Alex did. Turns out the book tells them how to use the Granolith to go back to their planet.

Max goes to Liz and admits that she was right all along and that he’s going to help her track down Alex’s murderer. In the process, he almost kills an innocent girl and tells Liz that Tess is pregnant and they’re all going back to their planet at dawn. They say goodbye and Liz admits that she never slept with Kyle. Not that the knowledge does any good at that point, but Max still has to know.

They watch him break down in his jeep outside the Crashdown and Liz goes to Shawn in a desperate attempt to forget about Max.

The only bright thing in these events is when Michael makes dinner for Maria and tells her how much he loves her and lets her see him for the first time. Oh Michael…that is just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen you do. Isabel says.

They watch, once again, as Michael and Maria make love and when Michael tells her afterwards that he’s leaving in a few hours, Isabel says, I take it back. Real nice, telling her you’re leaving the planet right after sleeping with her for the first time.

Michael shrugs and says, Hey, I tried. You saw…she practically attacked me.

Oh my God. Shut up. Maria says as they watch Maria, Liz and Kyle figure out that he’d been mindwarped and that Tess killed Alex. The three of them rush to the pod chamber to warn the others. When the scene changes to the Granolith chamber, Michael says, This was one of my visions.

They see Liz tell them that Tess killed Alex and they watch as Max lets Tess leave because she’s carrying his child. As they all stand outside, watching Tess take off in the Granolith, Max says, I’ve seen this, too.

Hardly anything they see next follows what they saw from the previous timeline. Max becomes obsessed with finding his son. Liz forgives him and agrees to help. Liz, when did you lose your spine? Maria quips as she watches Max take total advantage of her friend.

When Isabel sees herself get involved with a new lawyer at her dad’s law firm, she says, Hey, I remember him from the last timeline. He was only there for a few months.

Alex watches, feeling slightly weird knowing that he’s dead. Didn’t take you very long to get over me, huh? I mean, geez…you were just pouring out your soul to me at my grave a couple of months ago.

Isabel can’t disagree. I know. Maybe I’m just using him to get over you.

They watch Max and Liz get arrested in Utah, then sent home on a technicality engineered by Max and his dad. They also see the beginnings of Mr. Evans’ suspicions regarding Max. Max moves out of their house and in with Michael as he and Liz spend all their time trying to avoid her parents and finding clues to find Max’s son.

Michael gets a job at MetaChem again and they all know what to expect there. Max tries to pay closer attention here, thinking there might be something having to do with MetaChem that could help answer some questions.

See. I’m still having imaginary conversations with you, Alex. Isabel points out when she sees herself talking to Alex repeatedly about Jesse. But when Jesse proposes and she finally says yes, she can’t fool herself anymore. What the hell was I thinking? He doesn’t even know anything about me.

Max starts to turn into a totally different person. He skips school repeatedly and cheats on his tests and his homework so he doesn’t flunk out. He watches himself go to L.A. to track down Cal and isn’t surprised that Cal doesn’t seem too happy to see him. Well, at least he’s consistent.

He sees himself force Cal to change shape to pilot the ship and he watches as he ignores Liz’s phone call to him. He wonders what happened to him in this timeline to make him so…stupid. Liz watches helplessly as her younger self takes Max back, yet again, allowing him to treat her like crap. She wonders how she could turn into such a doormat.

They all watch Isabel get married and Max try to salvage his relationship with his parents. When they see Khivar show up at the wedding, though, they’re surprised because it happens in this timeline much sooner than the last one. The events pretty much play out the same way, only Isabel doesn’t tell them about Khivar…she leaves it to Kyle to explain. And instead of her honeymoon in San Francisco with Alex, she’s in La Jolla with Jesse. But Max and Michael follow them there and she once again pushes Khivar into the wormhole back to their planet alone.

They see Maria and Michael’s relationship deteriorate as she decides she doesn’t want to be part of the alien mess she’s in and instead pursue her musical career. She breaks it off with Michael and heads to New York to record a demo, but that falls apart.

Evidence of Liz’s powers start showing up and instead of confiding in Max, she goes to Kyle. They all watch as she struggles with them and becomes afraid that they might kill her. When Max finally finds out about them, he tries to use the healing stones to help her, but her powers surge so much that she ends up destroying them. She finally confronts Max about sleeping with Tess and decides that she needs to get out of Roswell and takes up her father’s offer to send her to boarding school in Vermont.

Max is devastated but becomes distracted when the events at MetaChem come to surface. Michael’s friend is once again shot and in helping Michael, Jim gets held prisoner. This time, though, it’s just Max, Michael and Isabel who go in to save Jim. He’s shot and Max heals him, but because they’re outnumbered, Jim and Max get taken away at gunpoint.

They finally see what’s going on when the Wheeler woman forces Max to heal her aging husband. They all watch in horror as Max tries to heal him and instead, ages right before their eyes. By this point, Maria has left New York and stops in Vermont to see Liz…who feels it the instant that Max dies.

There are frantic phone calls between Roswell and Vermont. Isabel was shot as they were getting away from MetaChem, but because Max is dead, no one can heal her. Jesse finally learns their secret and gets a doctor he knows to help her. They watch the struggle between Max and Clayton Wheeler for control of his body as Clayton goes after Liz at school…intent on killing her.

In a moment of clarity, Max begs Liz to kill him before he has a chance to kill her. But instead, they both fall out of the upper story of a building and Max uses his shield to save Liz’s life. Thinking Max is dead…again…Liz kisses him goodbye, but sees Clayton Wheeler leave Max’s body, leaving Max…alive, but confused.

Did everyone else get that? I think I’m confused. Michael says, not understanding what the hell just happened.

I’m not sure. Max died. He died again, and Liz brought him back to life? That’s all I know. Maria answers.

Soon after they all get back to Roswell, they discover that Michael has now become the King because Max technically died. They all watch Michael get out of control and let the power go to his head. It comes down to a battle between Max and Michael and Max finally gets the seal back.

In the process, Jesse becomes more wary of his wife and his newfound knowledge of what she really is. It’s even worse when, in his power hungry state, Michael attacks Jesse. They watch as Jesse withdraws and Isabel helplessly stands by, not knowing what to do about it.

They all watch Max make half-assed attempts to get Liz back and look on, confused, when she buys it and takes him back. And when Tess comes back, crashing her ship in the desert and killing an entire room of people…it doesn’t look good for anyone.

When Liz sees the baby, she recognizes him instantly. That’s the baby I saw you with. She says to Max. As they all stand around Isabel’s apartment debating what to do with Tess and as they hear each of their younger selves vote, Isabel says, I can’t believe we’re voting on whether to kill someone or not. What’s become of us?

I can’t believe Liz voted no. Come on, man…she killed me! You could at least gimme a yes vote, you know, in honor of my memory. Alex jokes. Michael answers by saying, Hey, I voted yes for you, man. Feel the love.

Liz doesn’t say anything because she already knows why she voted not to kill Tess. It’s confirmed a second later when Tess wakes her up and asks her. When they see Liz drive Tess to the base and hear what Tess says about doing something good, Maria says, Does anyone at this point believe a word she says? When Tess blows up the base, she adds, Well, at least she’s dead.

Isabel feels bad as she watches the tape her parents made of her get in the hands of the military, and Jesse get kidnapped by the FBI. She feels even worse when it turns out Jesse has to kill a man because of her. He seems resigned to the fact that he’s a part of it all and even though she should feel happy that he finally accepted her, she doesn’t.

They watch as the events leading up to graduation veer drastically from the last timeline with Liz developing the power to see the future. You can do that now, can’t you? Isabel asks.

Somewhat. It’s never been very useful, though. And I’ve never really worked to develop it. Liz answers.

They watch Max once again propose to Liz, although six months earlier than the other timeline and Alex thinks it’s cool that Max can make a diamond out of a lump of coal. They watch themselves run from Roswell and barely escape the military when they come for them. Maria isn’t surprised when she sees herself make the decision to join them. But she is surprised to see Kyle decide to go, too.

Isabel watches as she tells Jesse he can’t go and that he should get on with his life without her. She thinks that was probably the best decision. Max and Liz get married, again. This time with their friends there, and while they’re on the run. But the first time they make love, they don’t see the seal appear. Liz thinks that it’s probably because their relationship isn’t as open as it was in the last timeline. There’s mistrust between them, still.

They continue to stay on the move, helping people along the way when Liz senses trouble. They don’t return to Roswell for three years. And the reason they go back is they get word from Jim Valenti that a young woman came to town asking questions about them. When they learn her name, Liz insists that they need to go back.

That’s when they meet Serena. They stay out of town, choosing to stay in Dexter rather than risk being seen around Roswell. They all get odd jobs to survive…living in a rundown apartment building and changing their names.

The group never seems as close as they were in the last timeline. They seem to be more resigned to the fact that they’re stuck with each other. They go through the years barely surviving and not really living. Living in the shadows takes its toll and you can see it by the etched lines in their faces and the circles around their eyes.

They all watch themselves become other people. Paranoid people. Angry people. They end up hating their lives and each other and they can’t seem to find a way out of the black hole they’re falling into.

At the end of 2014, though, Liz seems to take a turn for the better. Her spirits lift and she seems to have a new lease on life. Only Maria knows why. The world didn’t end. It’s been 14 years and the world didn’t end. She thinks she was successful. But by that time, her relationship with Max has dissolved until it barely exists. When she approaches him about repairing their marriage and maybe having the children he’s always wanted, he laughs at her bitterly and tells her it’s too late.

Liz seems to take this in stride, though, and decides to go to college to get her degree. Maria decides to take classes with her…anything that will take her away from the reality their lives have become. Max turns into a shell of the person he used to be. Paranoid about the government finding them and faced with the disaster his marriage to Liz has become, he spends as much time away from home as possible.

When Khivar comes to Earth in this timeline, it’s later than the last. Three years later. And they’re even less prepared to deal with it, if that’s possible. They’re all weak and living a life on the run has created rifts within the group that are irreparable. Max and Liz are either fighting constantly or ignoring each other…Maria and Michael barely speak to each other…and Isabel has closed herself off to the point that no one ever sees her. When he realizes that his powers aren’t going to manifest themselves the same way they did with Liz, Kyle decides to move back to Roswell.

So they end up being caught completely off guard when the news reports come in that unidentified objects are headed toward Earth. The first wave of attack levels Roswell and most of the people in it, including Jim Valenti.

By the time Kyle reaches them in Dexter, Khivar’s troops are on the ground and on the hunt for them. They didn’t align themselves early enough with the human resistance and they find themselves literally running from Khivar and his men.

They try desperately to find Isabel since they hadn’t seen her for days. Unsuccessful, they head for the pod chamber. On the way, Liz talks to Serena about modifying the Granolith…telling her that she did it once before. The whole story comes out then, creating even more tension. Liz had never told anyone about Max coming back from the future…only Maria. She tells Max what he has to do and that he has to go back to Isabel. Max barely registers what she’s saying because he’s so mad. They hear her remind him to warn Isabel about Tess but he doesn’t seem to be listening.

When they reach the desert around the pod chamber, they’re all still fighting. Max is yelling at Liz, pissed that she lied to him, pissed that she never told him. Michael is yelling at Max and Liz, blaming them for the mess they’re in. Serena goes on to the pod chamber to get to work with what little information Liz gave her and Kyle and Maria try to stay out of the way.

Khivar’s men show up in an ambush and take Liz out with a fatal blow to the back. Max watches as her blood splatters all over him while he’s yelling at her about lying to him. For a moment, he thinks the scene has frozen, but it’s just that no one is moving. He sees himself stare at Liz in shock as she slumps to the ground, lifeless. It takes the sound of Maria screaming to break Max out of his daze and realize what’s happened.

Kyle grabs Maria and has to pick her up and carry her away. Michael runs over to Max and drags him away from Liz’s body…he’s screaming that he can heal her and to take him back. Maria and Max both struggle to free themselves…reaching back toward Liz screaming her name. Michael and Kyle do their best to dodge the enemy fire as they climb up the surface of the rock to the door that will lead them to the pod chamber.

Just as they get there, a large blast catches Kyle and Maria…sending them flying off the ledge and down to the desert floor. Max gets dumped on the ground as Michael runs back down, screaming Maria’s name the whole way. They see Michael get hit about halfway down and Max watches, stunned, from the ledge as Michael rolls down the face of the rock, landing in the sand…dead.

He remains where he is, staring in shock at the bodies littering the desert at the base of the rock. Suddenly the door to the chamber opens and Serena leans out and drags Max inside. The next thing they see is Serena shoving Max into the Granolith chamber and into the Granolith itself. She gives him last minute instructions about where he’s going and what he has to do before the room lights up and Max disappears once again…to the past.

Everything goes black once more and Liz feels numb. It takes her a moment to realize that the Granolith is speaking to them again.

“Time is right once again. Take with you the knowledge of your past mistakes. Find your true path using this knowledge, we have done all we can. Our King, you cannot use us again in such a manner or time as you know it will be damaged beyond repair. This planet cannot survive another such attempt. May the suns and moons of Antar keep you well.”

Liz is blinded by bright light and she stumbles back a couple of steps, trying to shield her eyes with her hand.

“Whoa.” She hears Cal say as he grabs her arms to steady her. When she looks around, she sees that only she, Max and Isabel are in with the Granolith.

“Where did everyone go?” She asks.

“Everyone, who?” Cal asks.

Liz looks at him in confusion and asks, “How long were we…”

Cal looks at his watch and shrugs. “Three…four minutes. Why? What happened?”

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:02 am

Breathless, I never thought any of the characters even came close to working through their problems from season 2. The only think I could think of at the end of season 3 as they all drove off happily ever after was: they're gonna end up hating each other.
Where do they go from here?
Ok, now you've got that song from the Buffy musical in my head and I can't get rid of it. LOL

Gigo, yes, looking at their actions from the outside would make anyone think they're wacked...even themselves.

PhoenixFlamez, the others were outside all the time.

A hearty welcome to all the new readers! I'm so glad you're enjoying this story.

I'm sorry it's taken me a week longer than usual to update. It's been a crazy week for me. I had a closing that went bonkers (I'm a realtor...did I tell you guys that before?) and 2 buyers making offers. Anyway, I have one more lender to add to my EVIL LENDERS list. Thank you for your patience. :)


Part 38

Liz jerks her head to see that Max and Isabel are just as surprised as she is. Four minutes? How could all of that have happened in only four minutes?

“But…it felt like…days.” Isabel says, looking down at her own watch. “How could we have seen so much in such a short amount of time? We were even talking to each other.” She looks over to Max and knows he won’t have any answers for what’s happened. Actually, her head is still reeling from everything they saw and it’s all spinning around in her head, making her want to lie down and sleep for two days straight.

Overcome with a wave of nausea, Liz says, “I think I need to sit down.” She crouches down to crawl through the pods to the outer chamber. When she gets through, she sees Kyle on the other side and he stands up in concern. Visions of Kyle flying down the side of the rock face, dead, swim in front of her.

“What…you guys done already?” He looks behind her to see if anyone else is coming out.

“Yah.” Is all Liz says as she walks to the rock wall where they came in. “Can you open this?”

“No. One of them has to.” Kyle takes in Liz’s pale skin and shouts into the Granolith chamber, “Hey, can one of you come here? Liz wants out.”

Max comes crawling through the pods and Kyle thinks he looks like he’s been thrown into a tailspin. He walks over to the door, looking at Liz in concern and opens the door for her. “Liz, are you ok?”

She doesn’t look at him as she steps outside and takes a deep breath. “I just need some air.” She sits down on the ledge with her back against the rock wall and shuts her eyes.

Kyle sees Maria and Alex just outside the door and they both sit down next to Liz, Maria putting her arm around her.

Looking around at the dazed faces surrounding him, Kyle asks, “What the hell happened in there?”

No one says anything as the wind whistles through the cave. Silence is all that answers him and he’s worried. Cal and Isabel crawl through to the outer chamber and as he stands up, Cal says, “You need to move this thing. It’s not safe here anymore.”

Max nods, his gaze still on Liz. Isabel steps over to him and when she sees Michael stepping up to the ledge and through the door, she feels the weight of everything she just saw and a sob escapes from her throat. She covers her mouth with her hand and drops to her knees, not able to help the tears that flood her eyes.

Michael rushes over to her and collects her in his arms, cradling her as she sobs. He turns to look up at Max and can’t see anything on his face. He’s frozen, his face has become a stone mask that’s completely unreadable.

Finally, Max turns to Kyle and asks, “Can you get a truck? Something big enough to move this?”

“Uh…sure. I have one at home that I think will work.” Kyle says, thinking he should call Serena…he’s not sure what to do here and he knows she’d know what to do…how to handle whatever happened to them in there.

Max nods and says, “I need you to take everyone back to town, then come back with the truck. Bring Serena if you can. We’ll need some tarps and ropes, too, if you have them.”

Turning to Cal, Max says, “You go with them and keep an eye on Zan.” Then to Michael, he says, “You stay here with me. I’m gonna need your help.”

They suddenly hear retching coming from outside and Michael turns to see Liz hunched over, vomiting, while Maria rubs her back and holds her hair. He catches Alex’s eye and nods for him to come inside as he stands up, pulling Isabel with him. “Help me out here.” He passes her off to Alex and sees Max turn away from the sight of Liz throwing up and crawl back through to the Granolith chamber.

“Ok, folks. Everyone going with me, let’s go.” Kyle motions for Alex and Isabel to go out before him and gives Michael one last glance before leaving the cave.

He helps Maria with Liz and leads them down the rocky surface back to the cars. Alex, Isabel and Cal follow. When they get down, Alex sees that Zan is still asleep in the backseat while Ava is flipping through the radio stations in the front. And he realizes that Zan’s not really asleep…someone made him unconscious for the trip out here.

Kyle puts Liz in the passenger seat of his truck and Maria gets in the back. Cal gets in the car with Zan and Ava while Alex and Isabel take the other car, leaving Max and Michael stranded.

Michael watches as they all pull away and head out toward the highway that’ll take them back to Roswell. He feels the desert breeze blow across his skin and ruffle his hair and he thinks about how he could drop to the ground here and just sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sitting on the floor, bathed in the soft glow coming from the base of the Granolith, Max tries to reconcile everything he just saw. They screwed up…he screwed up. Bad. How could they have abused the power they had so horribly? How could they be so arrogant to believe they could just use the Granolith to order up a do-over?

They can’t prevent the future from happening. It’s obvious that when they try, it causes a ripple in events that grows to an eventual tsunami. He thought that those other versions of himself knew things that he didn’t. That they knew the way…answers that would lead them down the right path this time. But he was so wrong. He didn’t know anything. He made desperate choices while his back was against the wall. Desperate choices that led to disaster.

The Granolith said to look for the common thread that would guide them to the right path. He realizes now that that thread isn’t Liz, or the fact that he exposed them by healing her. It’s not Roswell, either. The common thread is their very existence on this planet. For that reason alone, they bring about the end of civilization on Earth.

In both timelines, Khivar brings on an invasion that the people on this planet have no hope of defeating. It doesn’t matter how many times he goes back and changes the events leading up to it…it will still happen. Because he, Michael and Isabel are here. The three of them could never be equipped to fight a war here or defend this planet.

Was the message from their mother where their path should have really lead? Are they supposed to go back to their planet and help the people there overthrow Khivar? Cal says it isn’t so. He says they wouldn’t even be able to survive there. Obviously Cal is either wrong or lying. Tess went back and she survived.

And if they’re supposed to go back, how do they get there? If they use the Granolith, what’s to keep them from being killed as soon as they arrive as Tess said they would be in the second timeline?

“Maxwell?” He hears Michael calling from the other chamber and he lifts his head.

“Yah.”

“I’m coming in.” Michael says as he crawls through. When he stands up, he sees Max sitting on the floor with his back against the wall…staring at the Granolith. He walks around it slowly…seeing it in person for the first time. It looks just as it did in the visions they just had. He makes his way back around to Max and sits next to him. “I know what you’re thinking.”

Max looks mildly surprised and says, “You do?”

“We’re not supposed to be here, are we?” Michael looks over and sees Max lean his head back against the wall and close his eyes.

“No. I don’t think we are.” Max says quietly. He wishes he could believe Cal and what he said about them staying here and just living their lives. But he can’t ignore what the Granolith showed them.

Michael nods and looks back at the Granolith. It’s dark now…quiet and still. “Do you think it’s too late?”

“I don’t know. I feel old…too old.” Max feels defeated…tired. “But I don’t think there’s any choice. If we don’t fight the war we were created to fight…it’ll come to us. And we’ll lose.”

~~~~~~~~~~

An hour later, they hear the distant sound of an engine getting closer. They crawl out of the Granolith chamber outside and see a large, red pick-up leading a trail of dust toward the jutting rock. Max studies the size of the bed on the truck and thinks it’s big enough to do what they need it to. They won’t be moving the Granolith very far.

Max watches intently as the truck comes to a stop and Kyle gets out of the driver’s side. He keeps his eyes on the passenger door, wondering if Serena came. As it opens, he recognizes her immediately. He also sees that she’s wearing green hospital scrubs.

She looks up to the ledge, shading her eyes with her hand, and seems to study them for a few moments before Kyle gets her attention. She glances up at them once again before following Kyle up the rocky surface to meet them.

Max can tell they’ve come up here often by the sure and steady way they climb up…their feet having memorized the way. She comes to a stop directly in front of Max and looks him in the eye. She’s a few inches shorter than him, but he senses a power within her that bellies her size.

“Max, I’m happy to finally meet you. I regret I couldn’t be here earlier…I had an early morning surgery scheduled that I couldn’t postpone.” She says, her eyes never straying from his.

Max nods at her, not quite knowing what to say. She senses his turmoil and says, “Well, let’s get the formalities over with, shall we?”

He furrows his brow and glances at Michael in confusion as she drops to her knee in front of him.

“Zan of Antar, my King. As the guardian of the Granolith, I give you the power of the Granolith and vow to protect it and you with my life.” She remains kneeling and Max tells her quietly to get up. He’s feeling extremely uncomfortable and sees her smile when she stands up.

“Sorry, I know all the ceremonial stuff makes you uncomfortable. But it’s always been done.” She sees the grimace on his face and says, “Relax. At least I didn’t make you cut my hands open and drip ceremonial blood over the alter of the Granolith. We have a unique situation here, so I’m improvising.” Her tone turns serious for a moment, then she says, “I am sorry for the loss of our Queen. I wish I’d had the chance to meet her.”

“My wha..?” Max starts to ask, then says, “Oh.” He realizes she probably felt, along with every other alien, when he claimed Liz as his queen. And when the signal disappeared, she probably assumed she’d been killed.

Before he can explain anything more to her, she turns to Michael and says, “Michael, I’m glad to meet you, too. I’ve been looking forward to this day for many years.” She looks between the two men and almost laughs at the expressions on their faces. If not for what she knows they’ve just been through, she would. “I know you have questions. Feel free to ask me anything, but why don’t we go inside and get out of the sun.”

She settles herself on a rock just inside the chamber and waits for Kyle, Max and Michael to join her. “I feel that everything’s been set right here this morning. You connected with the Granolith?”

Max nods and asks, “I assume that since you knew we were coming that you’re connected to the Granolith in some way?”

“Yes. I come from a long line of guardians. And since you seem to have lost your memories of your past lives, I guess I have a lot to tell you. But I’d rather wait until Isabel is with us so I only have to tell my story once.” She says. “For now, I hear that you’d like to move the Granolith to another location.”

“Cal thought it would be a good idea. Zan, my duplicate, has somehow been possessed by another alien and we’re afraid the location of the Granolith may have been compromised.” Max explains.

“And he knows where it’s at?” She asks.

“We’re not sure, but to be safe we’d like to move it. I don’t want Cal knowing where it is, either.”

“Ok. Well…” She looks at Kyle and says, “I’m thinking the reservation. What do you think?”

Kyle nods and says, “Sounds good. The cave?”

“Maybe. It would be well hidden there. We can probably create another chamber behind it, like this one, to hide it better.” She turns back to Max and says, “It shouldn’t be too difficult to move.”

Max looks at the wall of empty pods and says, “We should probably move those so we can get it out easier.”

They make quick work of dismantling the pods and making an opening big enough to get the Granolith out. Max, Michael and Kyle carefully carry it out of the chamber and down the rocky slope toward the truck. Max tries to go slow, careful not to jostle it too much when Serena says, “Don’t worry. It won’t be damaged if you drop it. It’s unbreakable.”

Kyle helps them secure it in the back of the pick-up, covering it with tarps and tying it down with rope. When they’re done, Max climbs back up to the pod chamber and closes the rock door. As the silver handprint fades away, he stares at it a moment remembering another Max in another time finding this handprint for the first time.

Shaking his head of the memory, he makes his way back down and climbs in the backseat of the pick-up with Michael. “Ok, let’s go.”

On the way to the reservation, Max asks Serena, “So you’re a doctor?”

“Yes. I didn’t know what to do with myself once I got to Roswell and found that you weren’t here. So I went to school and kind of fell into medicine.” She says, turning in the passenger seat to look back at Max.

“How long have you been married?” Max is still having a hard time grasping the fact that Kyle not only knows about them, but is married to one of them.

“Twelve years next April.” She says, smiling at Kyle.

“And Kyle’s known…about us for how long?” He asks.

“Oh gosh…before we were married.” She smiles slyly, as does Kyle. “But that’s another story that can wait until later.”

Max feels like he’s missing several pieces to the puzzle and he remembers what Liz said to him earlier. “So why didn’t you ever tell Liz?”

Serena looks taken aback and asks, “Liz? Why would I tell her?”

“You don’t know.” Max says, more to himself than to her. “You don’t know everything about the previous timelines.” He assumed that since she was connected to the Granolith, and that she knew they were coming that she knew everything.

“No. I only know that time was tampered with. And I know that only you could have done that…with my help. I’ve seen flashes…visions of the other timelines. Kyle has as well. I don’t know the details…only that by connecting with it, the Granolith showed you the timelines that were.” She looks at Kyle and asks, “Is there something about Liz you haven’t told me?”

“I didn’t know until I saw her. She came here with them.” Kyle tells her quickly, before she accuses him of hiding things from her.

“So Liz is at our house right now?” She asks.

“Yup. Along with Isabel, Alex, Maria, the protector, and a couple of duplicates.” Kyle says. “I think we’re gonna need more beds.”

“We’ve got rooms at the hotel.” Max says absently before turning his attention to Serena. “You’ve known Liz for a while…and you never sensed anything…different about her?”

“No, why? I know she’s human…that’s all I’ve ever gotten from her.” Serena says, confused.

“Oh man.” Michael mutters from next to Max. “So you don’t know about the shooting?” Michael asks both Serena and Kyle.

“What shooting?” Kyle glances back in the rearview mirror.

“In the Crashdown. Liz was shot, Max healed her. That’s why we left town.” Michael explains in his typical way.

Kyle looks confused and says, “But…Liz wasn’t shot.” He thinks back to that time and suddenly remembers the silver handprint he saw on her stomach. “Oh my God. I…I saw it. I saw the handprint…but I didn’t remember it until now.” He looks over at Serena and then realization hits him. “You left because of my dad, didn’t you? I told him about it and…oh shit!”

“It’s complicated, but basically, yes. We left a few days after that.” Max says.

“You changed her. Why didn’t I ever sense it?” Serena murmurs to herself. She’s silent for a few moments before she says, “I can’t believe this.”

“Oh, it gets better.” Michael says. “Max made her our queen and she got kidnapped by our protector and Nicholas.”

“She…what? Wait…I thought…but she’s alive. Didn’t you say she was at our house?” Serena turns to Kyle and asks. “I’m confused, I thought the queen was dead.”

“She’s alive. It’s…a long story, but we’re not bonded anymore.” Max says.

Serena turns around in her seat to face forward and think about what she just heard. “And Nicholas…your protector?” She asks.

“Dead. The duplicate’s protector is the one with us now.” Max says.

“Maria and Alex…are they changed as well?” She asks.

“No. They’re normal.”

Michael snorts. “I wouldn’t use the word normal.”

Max smiles a little and rolls his eyes. “They found out about us three years ago when Liz was kidnapped.”

“Why didn’t Liz ever tell us about you? I mean, I’d think she would at least tell me she was shacking up with you since I knew you from high school and all.” Kyle wonders. “But she never said anything about seeing anyone.”

Max sighs and says, “Because we weren’t. The first time I spoke to her after leaving Roswell was after our protector had kidnapped her. We didn’t even know we lived in the same city.” He can’t tell them he’d never seen her before that, but he doesn’t think they need to know he’d been spying on her for days before that.

“Then how…?” Serena starts to ask, but Michael interrupts her.

“There’s the 64 million dollar question.”

“You two never…slept together?” Serena asks, disbelieving. She assumed when she felt the awakening that that’s what had happened. Her and Kyle were even joking about Max ‘getting some’ the night it happened.

“No.” Max says. “I didn’t even know what had happened. Our protector kidnapped Liz, assuming she was carrying my heir.”

“And Liz didn’t know, either?” Kyle asks.

“No. Her powers became more amplified, but she had no idea.”

“And you were all in New York together…all these years, and never knew it. That’s just…unbelievable. And if you healed Liz that long ago, then she’s been keeping her powers secret for years. God, poor Liz.” Serena frowns, thinking that all this time she could have helped Liz, or at least given her someone to talk to. “That just…incredible.”

They continue their drive in silence, each caught up in their own thoughts until Kyle pulls off the main road and starts driving over rougher terrain. Soon, he has to slow down to maneuver through trees as they become denser.

Pulling the truck to a stop, he says, “This is as far as we can go. We’ll have to carry it the rest of the way.”

They make quick work untying the Granolith and carrying it to the cave. When they get there, they set it down and Michael walks over to the markings on the wall. He’s seen them before, but like the Granolith, it’s the first time he’s seen them in person.

“Ok, you’ll need to blast a hole back there…big enough to put this in…then you can reconstruct the wall, hiding it.” Serena says to Michael, as if this is something he does everyday.

“Blast a hole…just like that?” Michael looks to where she’s pointing, then back at her like she’s crazy. “I can’t do that.”

She laughs as if he’s joking, but when he doesn’t laugh with her, her smile fades. “You’re serious.”

“I’d probably end up killing all of us instead.” He says.

She nods and looks at Max. “You haven’t developed your powers? At all?”

“To some extent. I can heal pretty well. Isabel can dreamwalk. But it’s a little harder for Michael to practice blasting in the middle of New York City.” Max explains. “He’s uh…not that precise with it.”

Serena looks at them like they’re crazy. She glances at Kyle in disbelief before turning her attention back to Max and explaining, “That’s just the tip of what you’re capable of. Max, healing is the King’s power. You have countless other abilities besides that one. And Michael, you have abilities that practically make you a one-man army. And Isabel…” She throws her hands up in the air. “I can’t believe this! You’re like newborn babies…thank goodness you found me, or you’d be killed the minute you reached our planet.”

Hearing her say what he’s been thinking, finally confirms for Max what they’re supposed to do. Now he understands her behavior in the other timelines. In a lot of ways, she was like their guide…showing them how to hone their powers. He doesn’t remember seeing her ever encourage them to go back to their planet, but he always sensed her disappointment in them…especially when it was decided to use the Granolith to go back in time.

“So we are supposed to go back.” Michael says.

Serena closes her mouth and looks at the ground, aware that she’s said more than she should have. “It’s not my place to say. I’m sorry…I wasn’t thinking.”

“No. We need to know. Is that why we’re here? To go back? Is that what we were created for?” Max presses her, needing some kind of confirmation.

But she just shakes her head. “I…I’m sorry. That’s a decision only you can make. I was out of line.”

“Just tell me one thing. If we did go back…would we survive on that planet? Would these bodies adapt?” Max asks her, knowing that her answer will tell him all he needs to know. “Would we be able to fight?”

She looks up at him slowly, trying to accurately judge how her answer would affect his decisions and says, “Yes.”

Max nods his thanks and says, “Alright. Let’s get to work on that hole.”

An hour and a few errant blasts later, they finally get the Granolith sealed up in the wall of the cave. Max works to erase any signs that they’ve been in the cave and they hike back to the truck to make their way back to Roswell.

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Sun Mar 07, 2004 11:18 am

out of this world, I think you should get an award for sticking around for this story for so long! :shock: I just looked back and I started this almost a year ago. Geesh! I sure am slow. LOL But I appreciate your feedback so much and hope that you're patience pays off in the end. Oh, and GO BUCKS! I went to OSU, so everytime I see your post with the little Columbus, Ohio under your pic, I get all nostalgic. ;)

cherie, thanks! :oops: Let's all hope they get things right this time, or Earth is just plain doomed. ;)

Gigo, uh oh...you might have to wait a while for the fly's story. :oops: You know I can't just have them all sit down and talk about how they feel about everything. That would ruin all my angst! They'll get around to their feelings eventually. But man, that Michael and Maria...they sure are thick-headed. ;)

roswellluver, Cal's motives, or non-motives, will be revealed soon. But first...lots of tears, of course. :)

BelevnDreamsToo, I've got a million answers, too. LOL Patience, young grasshopper.

frenchkiss70, Of course we're in for more angst! Tsk tsk...you know I can't have everyone all happy.

kittens, well, it's not necessarily the BEST timeline...but it's the one that has to WORK.

Ner, ...without too much angst? Happy moments? I don't know if I can do that. Hmmm...I can certainly do happy moments...but you should know one thing about me. I can't give them to you without a heaping serving of angst as the main course. LOL ;)

Milla, The end? Nope, not anytime soon. And as for thinking of going to Antar: believe it.

Itzstacie, Ummm...ok, I won't tell you. ;)

vegas, Zee bond, she ees gone. Au Revoir, bon voyage, ciao! Yes, they do work better together as a group. Gosh, I sure hope they figure that out before Max takes off. :shock:

Kath, LOL Come on my little hare...you can do it! And as far as the angst? You should talk to Breathless...I think she hates me. LOL But thank Buddah she still reads my stories...she's a trooper!

desertskies, 300 pages! :shock: Holy crap! You're as brave as Kath starting this thing from the beginning. :) I'm glad you're reading, though!

Breathless, :::passing the box of kleenex::: You might need these for the next few parts. I'm sorry.

I want to give a hearty welcome to all the new readers who posted feedback. I LOVE YOU! Ok, love might be a kind of strong word. But seriously, I enjoy the feedback and am truly humbled that people actually like to read what I write. It's an amazing feeling.

On another note, I've finally posted links to all my stories (LOL all three of them!) in the Work by Author forum. And I've added some long awaited banners for Forget and Ruins. I know...it's a little late, but I always enjoy seeing a banner when I'm reading a fic. You'll also see a banner and synopsis for the new fic I'm working on, Normal. I won't be posting it until Happenstance is over because I only like to post one at a time, but I left a little teaser for you. ;) So hop on over and take a look. I'm especially proud of my Ruins banner. Because..you know, Liz with a gun is always rockin'!

Ok, without further ado...


Part 39

As they drive through a residential neighborhood that Max doesn’t remember being there, he looks out the window at all the homes. Roswell has changed a lot since he was teenager. The houses lining the streets are fairly large, most with three car garages and Spanish tile roofs. It makes him think about his parent’s house. Everything about it was always warm and inviting. The perfect place to grow up. As much as he didn’t like it when he and Isabel first arrived, he grew to think of that house as his safe haven. His normal.

Kyle pulls into the driveway of a house that sits at the back of a cul-de-sac, drawing Max from his nostalgia. There’s a basketball goal in the driveway and a few small trees in the yard. Most likely because the neighborhood is new…Max didn’t see too many large trees as they drove through the streets. He also sees Kyle’s police truck parked in the driveway and their two rented cars parked on the street out front.

“Home sweet home.” Kyle says, turning off the truck and getting out.

Max and Michael follow Kyle and Serena to the front door and Max prepares himself for seeing everyone again. He can’t help but feel shame and extreme guilt for everything he saw himself do in the timelines they saw. He can’t even believe that was him. An incredible urge to just turn around and walk back to the truck threatens to overcome him but he feels Michael’s hand on his shoulder. Almost as if he could sense the panic about to come.

They walk into a large, homey looking living room with olive green overstuffed furniture. Cal is sitting in a chair by the fireplace talking on his cell phone. Isabel and Maria are sitting on the large sofa flipping through what looks like photo albums. Max notices that everything looks new and tastefully decorated. There are framed personal photos on the mantel and on a couple of side tables as well as some decorative coffee table books and candles in front of his sister and Maria.

Putting down his cell phone, Cal stands up and says, “Zan is down in the basement…playing video games. I brought him in before Liz and told him to stay down there.”

“So he didn’t see her?” Max asks, having wondered about that back at the pod chamber.

“No. Ava put him to sleep when we got out there.” Cal says before turning his attention to Serena. He smiles and walks up to her raising both of his palms toward her. She reaches her palms up to his and a soft, golden glow appears around their hands. “Serena. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re alive.”

“Thank you.” She lowers her hands and steps back. “We have much to discuss.”

“You have no idea.” Cal says.

She smiles and says, “I heard a little bit about what’s been going on from Max and Michael.” She looks around the living room and asks, “Where’s Liz?”

“I’m here.” Everyone looks over to see Liz, Ava and Alex walking in from the kitchen. Liz is tearing a piece off of a slice of toast in her hand, looking around cautiously for Zan.

Serena rushes over to her, pulling her into a hug, crushing the toast between them. “Liz, I had no idea. I should have known…should have seen it.”

Liz furrows her brow in confusion and says, “Should have seen what?”

Serena pulls away from her and studies her closely. “That you’re changed. I sense it now…so clearly. I should have seen it before.”

“Oh. That. Well, I guess I wasn’t the only one hiding things.” Liz says slyly and with a small smile, seeing her friend in a new light. She looks at Cal and asks, “Is it still safe for me to be here?”

Cal nods and says, “He’s still in the basement. Ava, why don’t you go down and keep him occupied.”

Ava’s shoulders slump and she heads toward the basement door, wanting to stay with everyone else but also knowing how important it is to keep Zan away from Liz.

Liz sees the disappointment on her face and instantly tenses. “She can stay up here if she wants. This affects her, too. She’s not Zan’s babysitter.”

Ava quirks up the corner of her mouth at Liz’s boldness with Cal and says, “It’s alright. I don’t mind, Liz, really. Don’t go all mother bear on me.” She can practically see the hackles on Liz go down as she smiles back at her and rolls her eyes.

Once she’s gone, everyone falls into uncomfortable silence and they stand around staring at each other awkwardly.

“So.” Serena says, noticing how uncomfortable everyone is and knowing it has to do with what they saw at the Granolith. It can’t be easy seeing alternative lives for yourself. “I’m gonna go change out of these scrubs. Kyle, why don’t you get everyone something to drink?”

“Yes, dear.” He says with a smile and heads to the kitchen.

Once Kyle is gone, Michael finally steps into the living room from the foyer and drops into the chair Cal vacated next to the fireplace. It’s times like this that he’s glad no one will give him shit for being silent.

Isabel closes the photo album in her lap with a loud clap and sets it back on the coffee table. She looks around at everyone, seeing how they’re all avoiding eye contact and she knows they need to get this all out on the table and into the open. “Ok. So, we’re all a little freaked right now. But can I just point out one thing? We’re all the same people we were before we saw…what we saw. None of that happened to us. It happened to other people…people with different lives.”

Alex walks over and sits on the edge of the coffee table next to Isabel, grateful that she got the ball rolling and says, “Isabel’s right. Those people just made some bad decisions…”

“You got that right.” Maria levels her gaze at Max, her hostility toward him has only grown the longer she’s had time to process everything she saw.

“Maria…” Liz says in a warning tone and Maria looks away. “I really don’t think we need to talk about this right now. There’s nothing we can do about what we saw anyway…we have our own concerns to think about. One of which is in the basement.” She turns to Cal and asks, “What exactly are we going to do with him now? It’s gonna be difficult trying to avoid him if we all remain together.” She doesn’t really think that rehashing everything right now will get them anywhere other than blame, guilt, yelling and tears. It’s all so fresh and raw right now, anyway, and the last thing she wants to do is think about it. Bad enough that the images are rushing around her head and won’t leave her alone.

Cal rubs his hand across his mouth, impressed with how Liz has taken control of the situation and gotten them on track with their present concerns. “Max and I discussed me taking him back to L.A. with me. That way you won’t risk running into him in New York. I can set him up there and keep an eye on him. I’ll be heading back soon.”

“Ok, well that solves the Zan problem. What about whoever it is that’s possessing him?” Alex asks, worried that they’re just dealing with the symptoms and not the disease.

Kyle walks back into the living room carrying an armload of canned soda and sets them all down on the coffee table. “I’m afraid all we have is Diet Coke and Root Beer. If anyone wants water, we have lots of that.” He jokes.

“Thanks, Kyle.” Alex says as he selects a root beer.

Isabel notices Max and Michael exchanging looks and she asks, “What? What are you two not saying?”

Liz looks at Max and he meets her gaze. In that moment she knows what he plans to do. She can see the regret swimming in the depths of his eyes but she can also see the determination. If she thinks about it hard enough, the idea popped into her head as soon as they left the Granolith. She just knew what Max would take away from those visions. She knew the conclusion he’d come to. Because it was the first thing she realized when it was all over. Before she can say anything, though, Serena comes back downstairs.

“So, I guess we should start.” She grabs a Diet Coke off the coffee table and sits on the floor.

Max tears his gaze away from Liz and says, “Why don’t you begin by telling us about who you really are.”

“Right. Ok.” Serena pops the top of her soda and takes a long drink. “Why don’t you sit down, though? You’re making me nervous standing there.” She smiles weakly at him as he sits on the floor. “Like I told you, I come from a long line of Granolith protectors. Actually, our families have been linked for hundreds of years. For each generation your family has had a king on the throne, that king has also had a member of my family as his Granolith guardian. For each heir to the throne that is born, a guardian is also born into my family. We grew up together, you and I. The guardian is the king’s closest advisor and confidant. I guess I should mention that the guardian is always female. It’s to ensure a harmonious relationship between the king and the Granolith.”

“You talk about the Granolith like it’s alive.” Isabel says.

“It is, in a way. It’s a part of every being on our planet. I guess I would compare it to the God that your people worship. It is a part of us…and essentially, it is us.” Serena tries to explain but knows that they’ll never understand the Granolith completely. Not without their memories.

“What happened to you, Serena? I was sure your pod didn’t survive the crash.” Cal interrupts, anxious to learn what happened to her after…considering his own fate after the crash.

Her gaze wanders away for a moment as if she’s thinking of the best way to tell him. The memories dance before her like an old home movie being shown on the wall in front of her. But she shakes her head and says, “That’s a story I will share with you later. It’s not important now. But I will tell you that I was well cared for by people we can trust.” She looks over to Max and asks, “So, now that I’ve given you the Cliff Notes version of who I am, I have a few questions for you.”

Max nods at her, telling her to ask her questions.

“Where are the rest of the hybrids? Are they dead?” She fears the worst, but at least there’s a complete four square left. That will have to be good enough.

“Rath, Michael’s duplicate, is dead. The other two, Tess and Isabel’s duplicate, are with the FBI as far as we know.” Max tells her.

Serena raises an eyebrow. “And Browan? Why is he dead?”

“He was working with Nicholas and Khivar.” Cal says. “Along with the duplicate set and a team of Skins. They were after the Granolith. Vilondra tried to kill Zan and Ava kept him hidden until she finally agreed to help us. That’s why they’re here. Browan was a traitor and had to be killed. Nicholas is dead as well.”

She nods in thought and asks Cal, “Do you know what went wrong with the pods? Why their memories aren’t in tact?”

Cal shrugs and says, “My set came out with a lot of their memories, but not all. I can only guess that Browan sabotaged his set during the flight. They also emerged at an earlier age than planned. Also, if you remember, that set was engineered with a higher concentration of human DNA…that could have had something to do with it.”

“Probably a little of all those reasons.” Serena muses. “It’s unfortunate.” She gives Cal a look that Max interprets as disappointment.

“On our planet…when we were killed. Were you killed as well?” Max asks, wondering how she came to be on the ship with them.

Serena smiles sadly and says, “No, I wasn’t. I helped oversee your creation, though. As well as my own engineering. I suppose I could still be there…the original me, I mean. But it’s doubtful.”

“You think Khivar would have had you killed?” Max asks.

She shakes her head and says, “I would have killed myself before he ever had the chance to get his hands on me. It’s likely that I’m the only Serena that exists…I would never allow myself to be captured.”

“What about our parents…our mother?” Isabel asks. “Do you think…maybe they’re alive still?”

“Oh yes. I’m sure of it. She is probably a prisoner in her own home, but she lives. Khivar wouldn’t kill her.” Serena says this so surely before she frowns. “But you must know…your father’s dead. Zan is our King…the throne was passed to him on the day of your father’s death.”

Feeling a strange pang of loss at hearing her real father is dead, Isabel asks, “How can you be so sure our mother is alive?”

Serena looks uncomfortable as she glances at Cal. But he just raises his eyebrows at her to say that she should tell them. She looks at Max and Isabel and says, “Because she’s Khivar’s mother as well.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“What the hell we doin’ here, Ava?” Zan sighs and slouches back onto the sofa. “This is bullshit.”

Ava looks at him in sympathy and says, “I know. But they don’t trust you…I’m sure you can understand why.”

He doesn’t say anything for a full minute and Ava starts to get up, thinking he’s just going to ignore her. But suddenly he stands up and paces the room, looking around him until his gaze lands on her. It’s almost like he’s surprised to see her sitting there and looks at her more closely.

“Zan? What’s the matter?” She asks him.

He can hear voices from above his head and asks, “So why are we down here?”

Ava looks at him confused, and says, “I told ya, they don’t trust ya. I’m sure we’ll be leavin’ soon.”

“Because of Liz…because I killed Liz?” He asks her sounding almost as if he’s not sure. She starts thinking that maybe he’s beginning to break out of the block she put on his memory. But then she notices his sudden mood change and she realizes that whatever’s been going on with him…whoever has been controlling him…is doing it right now.

Carefully, she stands up and brushes her pants off…trying to look casual. “Yah. You know they’re not gonna trust you now.”

Zan looks at her intently and it sends a shiver down her spine…wondering who it is who’s really looking at her. “Why are we here…in Roswell?” He seems to be thinking, but Ava knows that whoever it is, is accessing Zan’s memories.

“You know why.” She tells Zan, trying to sound annoyed that he’s asking a question he already knows the answer to. “Max is looking for answers. They’re tryin’ to figure out the visions.”

“Right.” He says, continuing his pacing around the room once again. Ava can tell he’s digging into Zan’s memories, trying to find out what’s happened since Liz was ‘killed’. Suddenly, he stops and turns to Ava. “I want you to go up there and find out what’s going on. What’re they all whisperin’ about, anyway?”

She bites her lip and says, “Cal told me to stay down here with you.”

A look of complete rage comes to his face and she takes a step back. But just as quickly as it appeared, it disappears and he grins at her. “Come on, baby.” He takes a few steps toward her and raises his eyebrow suggestively. “Do it for me.” Standing in front of her, he raises his hand and threads his fingers through her hair a second before he leans down and kisses her…causing bile to force its way up into her throat.

When he releases her, she stumbles back and brings her fingers to her lips. That definitely wasn’t Zan kissing her. It was a soft, gentle kiss. When Zan kisses her…the few times he actually kisses her on the mouth…it’s rough, full of uncontrolled passion, exciting. But never gentle. She takes a step toward the stairs and forces a smile on her face. “I’ll see what I can find out.”

She takes the stairs, one at a time, thinking of all the possible ways they can handle this. At the top, she enters the hallway and closes the door behind her quietly. When she enters the living room, she can feel everyone’s eyes fall on her at once.

She approaches Cal and leans in close to him, whispering, “Zan ain’t Zan anymore.”

He looks at her, startled, then nods and looks toward the basement door. “Alright. Get back down there and act like normal.” He starts to turn away but she grabs his arm.

“He sent me up here to see what you were talkin’ about.” She whispers.

“Just tell him what we agreed about earlier. We’re talking about the visions everyone’s been getting.” Cal says dismissively. “That’ll keep whoever it is curious enough to stick around.”

She nods and turns to go back down to the basement. She doesn’t want to go…frightened of who’s controlling Zan. She walks slowly, each click of her heal on the steps sounds like a gun going off. At the bottom, she forces a neutral look to her face and looks over to Zan. “They’re still talking about those stupid visions.” She shrugs, trying her best to look bored and flops down on the sofa.

Zan appears satisfied…he sighs and starts looking at a bookshelf against the wall. Ava watches as he runs his fingers over the spines of all the books slowly, as if he’s looking for something in particular. “Who lives here?” He asks her, startling her.

She doesn’t know what to say. She can’t tell him that Kyle Valenti is a friend of Liz’s. She also doesn’t know whether she should tell him about Serena. It’s obvious that she’s taking too long to answer because he turns to look at her in question.

“Who lives here?” He asks again.

Deciding to take the easy way out, she shrugs and says, “I dunno…someone Max knew from when he was a kid, I think.” There, that was vague enough. And believable, she thinks. He doesn’t say anything, just stares at her for a few moments and she knows she’s being judged.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Khivar seems to be a good possibility.” Serena says after Cal explains to her and the others what’s going on in the basement. “But we shouldn’t discount the other two…the ones being held by the FBI.” She can still sense the shock coming from Max and Isabel from her announcement before Ava came upstairs. She can’t imagine what must be going through their heads knowing that the one responsible for their deaths is their brother.

“They’re definitely closer.” Cal says. “I was thinking Lonnie would be the more likely candidate…she’s probably got some revenge going on. But it’s hard to tell at this point who it is.”

“You don’t think Tess could be doing it?” Maria asks, noticing how Liz flinches slightly when she hears the name and she immediately glares at Max…needing to blame him right now for Liz’s state of mind. She knows it’s not rational, but she can’t stop thinking about what that bitch did to all of them…to Liz, to Alex. And the irrational side of her is blaming Max, because he’s the only one here that she can blame.

“Maybe. But I don’t see what her motive would be…besides the fact that she’s probably pissed off at her current circumstances.” Cal also notices the looks being passed around the room and he asks, “Is there something I’m missing?”

Max isn’t meeting anyone’s eyes…feels them all on him at once. He clears his throat nervously and says, “We shouldn’t discount anyone at this point.” He knows what’s going through everyone’s heads…hell, it’s going through his own. He can’t even look at Liz…doesn’t want to see what he knows will be there. Hurt and disappointment.

Logically, he knows that what they all saw didn’t happen. Not to them, really. Logically, he knows that that wasn’t him who treated his friends and family like shit. Logically, he knows that he’s not responsible for anything they saw…that he shouldn’t feel guilty for what that other Max did. But logic isn’t asserting itself at the moment. No…logic flew out of that cave opening and soared over the New Mexico desert…disappearing like so many grains of sand on a windy day.

And in its place…in this reality that holds no logic…he’s sitting in Kyle Valenti’s living room with a shapeshifter, a long lost hybrid alien, and an evil possessed hybrid in the basement. In this reality, he just watched two different versions of his life play in his head in less than four minutes.

During the last few minutes…as he’s listened to Serena tell her tale…as Ava came up to tell them Zan checked out and someone else checked in, one thought ran through his mind. None of what they’re talking about really matters. Because in the end, no one here will need to worry about their enemies because he’ll be going to Antar soon and take care of them himself.

~TBC~

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