The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Ch .6 8/12/14 [WIP]

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Musickat18
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The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Ch .6 8/12/14 [WIP]

Postby Musickat18 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:32 pm

My original Prologue post got deleted accidentally, so I'm editing this post to contain both the prologue and chapter one. Thank you.

Title: The Rebellion

Author: Musickat18

Disclaimer: Unfortunately for me, I own nothing relating to the characters of Roswell. I write this purely for my own amusement and do not derive anything but my own pleasure from it.

Pairings/Category: CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I

Rating: Teen

Summary: They've been running for over ten years. But what happens when the fate of the three remaining members of the Royal Four catches up to them? Will they choose to ignore their calling, or will Max, Isabel, and Michael agree to help the rebellion and defeat their enemies.

A/N: Thank you so much for reading! In the interest of full disclosure, all three of the aliens will have their former lives on Antar thrown in their faces and will therefore have to deal with their former love lives. This will cause turmoil. I'm a canon couple lover in general and specifically a Candy lover, so...I don't want to say more, to avoid spoiling too much, but I wanted people to be prepared. This isn't a fluffy fic, but there are no major character deaths either. Ok, I hope that covers everything! Thanks again for reading!

Prologue


2005

Max Evans stood in front of his hotel window, staring out at the night. It was a stupid thing to do, standing in plain sight, but he was feeling a little reckless at the moment. He could hear the others, packing up their things as they prepared to leave the hotel. No one was talking, except to ask for this or that to be handed to them. He could hear faint sniffing sounds, but he didn't know who they were coming from. It could be Liz, Maria, Isabel, or all three.

Michael walked up to stand next to him.

"We don't have to do this, you know."

Max flicked his eyes over to Michael for a moment and then back at the window. "Yes, we do." His tone brokered no argument, but Michael never was one to back down.

"No. We don't."

He sighed, which only seemed to irritate Michael. "Look. We've been doing fine for the past three years-"

Max snapped his head to look at Michael. "Fine? You think we've been doing fine?" He took a step towards Michael, who leaned back but refused to budge. He pointed at Kyle, whose face was covered in bruises. "You think Kyle is fine?" he said, his voice growing louder.

"Max-" Liz started, but Max held up his hand and said, "No." He looked directly at Michael. "We almost got caught this last time. All of us. Kyle was nearly beaten to a pulp for information, Liz-" he stopped as his voice cracked. He didn't want to think about what they had done to Liz. For days after they got her out she wouldn't talk, not even to him. There hadn't been any bruises, or any other marks for that matter, but she had been damaged somehow. When she finally had talked, it had been to tell him not to ask her what happened.

Max closed his eyes and swallowed, trying to regain his composure. To his credit, Michael kept his mouth shut.

When he opened his eyes, he looked around the room at everyone. "We can't keep traveling as a group. There are too many of us."

"But-" Michael started to speak but Max whipped his head back around.

"What if it had been Maria, Michael? Or Isabel? What if they had had god knows what done to them. Would you still want to stay together?"

"Max!" Isabel hissed, clearly horrified at his tactlessness.

Max looked at Isabel, feeling twinges of guilt. "What? It's true." He looked around again. Kyle was frozen, a folded t-shirt in his hand halfway to the suitcase. Maria's eyes were red-rimmed and she sniffed, arms hugging herself. Isabel looked panicked, her eyes wide and flooded with tears. And Liz…Liz's eyes merely looked hollow. She also had her arms wrapped around herself, but it didn't look like she was hugging herself. Instead it looked like she was trying to keep herself together, and it nearly ripped Max's heart out to see her like that.

He once again looked at Michael, but this time spoke quietly. "The only way to ensure our safety is to split up."

Max could tell Michael was getting ready to argue again when Maria softly called, "Michael." He looked over at her and Max could see her shake her head out of the corner of his eye. When he looked back at Max, he merely said, "Fine," and walked away.

Max turned back to the window to stare out and think. They had been running for three years. In the beginning he had thought the running would be easier, that they'd be able to just melt into some big city somewhere and live under aliases. But in the entire three years they'd never managed to get that far. It was as if they had a constant tail on them that they couldn't shake. They never seemed to be able to stay anywhere longer than a couple of months before something happened and they were forced to run again. It was exhausting.

And then after this last time, when they had been so close to getting caught, Max had finally decided it was time to split the group up. He had been toying with the idea in his mind for nearly the past year, but had been hesitant to act on it. He knew that his, Michael's, and Isabel's powers were strongest when they were together. He and Michael had even talked briefly of trying to find Ava, hoping that maybe if they were four again, they might be stronger. But in the end, all that had amounted to had been talk. Truth be told, they had no idea how to even begin finding her, especially when they were on the run themselves, and Max was hesitant to ruin yet another person's life. If Ava had truly been able to carve out a normal life for herself, then how could he ruin that for her? Besides…even if Ava wasn't Tess, Max knew that Liz would have had a hard time having her around, the constant reminder that he had been married to someone else in a past life; that he had ever loved anyone else. He knew that she didn't doubt his love for her, but he also knew that she didn't like to think about his past life.

Max looked away from the window, over to Liz, frowning slightly when he saw her sitting with her knees up to her chest, arms wrapped around and chin resting on top, staring at the wall. He walked over and sat down.

"Liz?"

She jumped, as if she hadn't noticed he was there, then looked over at him, the ghost of a smile on her face. "Hey…How are you doing?"

Max laughed once hollowly. "I was going to ask you the same thing."

Liz's ghost of a smile grew a little wider, but didn't reach her eyes. "Me? Oh I'm doing fine."

"Liz-" Max started, but Liz shook her head.

"I told you not to ask me about it," she said, a little sharply. "I'm fine." She grabbed his arm and wrapped it around her. "I'll always be fine as long as I'm with you." Maxed wrapped his other arm around, holding Liz in a side hug.

They were quiet for a few moments before Max said quietly, so no one else could hear, "Do you think I'm doing the right thing?"

Liz, whose head had been resting on Max's chest, sat up and looked at him. "Yes," she said, seriously. "I do. Six people is too many to hide. We can't keep running like this or one of us is going to end up dead."

Max nodded slightly, feeling reassured by her support. He looked down and smiled at her. "Are you sure you want to live in Canada? There's a whole world out there to choose from."

Liz smiled. "True, but I'd like something as similar to home as I can get."

Max raised his eyebrows playfully. "And snow, mountains, grass and trees are as similar to Roswell as you can get?"

Liz playfully swatted his arm, smiling. "You know what I mean. Somewhere close to America…so I can at least pretend I'm not living in exile."

Max's smile faded at the reminder that, if it weren't for him, Liz would be leading a normal life at home with her family; that she'd be a junior in college by now. "I'm sorry, Liz."

Liz sighed, and pushed away from him so that she could look into his eyes. "Stop it. I'm not going to have this same argument. I chose to be with you, and I don't regret it. I never have, and I never will. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me." She watched him a moment as he swallowed past the lump in his throat and then settled back down into his arms. "Just…hold me for a while, please."

Max hesitated and then wrapped his arms back around her.

They sat there for who knows how long when Isabel walked over, holding a duffle bag in her hand.

"Max?"

He and Liz pulled apart and Max stood up, frowning when he realized that Isabel had her coat on. "What's going on?"

Isabel swallowed, looked back at Kyle, and then at Max again. "We, um…" She took a deep breath. "Kyle and I are leaving."

Max paused for a beat. "What?"

Isabel tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "Yeah, we, uh, decided that it would be best if we all left at separate times. And you know, we're ready...at least as ready as we're going to be," she said under her breath. "We found plane tickets to Paris for pretty cheap, so we bought them. The plane leaves in three hours, so we have to get going now if we want to catch it."

Max stared at Isabel, and then looked at Kyle. When they had discussed separating a few nights ago, everyone had agreed it would be best to travel in pairs, one alien with one human. Of course Isabel, by default, got stuck with Kyle. Max watched Kyle for a moment, at the way he was watching Isabel. When Isabel had found out that Jesse had been killed by a drunken driver the year before, the only person who had managed to consol her had been Kyle, so maybe "stuck" wasn't the right word to describe it. And even if they hadn't ever talked about it, he knew that Kyle harbored unrequited feelings for Isabel, so it was unlikely that Kyle would be complaining about his lot.

Max looked back at Isabel, who was looking at the floor. He wanted to protest, to tell her that now wasn't the time, but he couldn't. Now was the time. They had been preparing for this for several days, and she was going to have to leave sometime, so why not now?

Max swallowed the lump in his throat and coughed. "Yeah, ok."

Isabel looked up, clearly relieved. Then her eyes filled with tears and she reached over to hug Max. "Promise me you'll keep in touch. We have to email each other." She pulled away and looked around the room. "All of you."

Michael spoke up. "It's too dangerous. They can track our IP addresses."

"Then fly to Peru every two months to send an email," Isabel retorted. She turned back to Max, who had yet to reply to her. "Promise me, Max."

He nodded and Michael sighed in frustration. "I promise." He glanced at Michael and then back at Isabel. "But only a couple times a year. Michael's right. It's too dangerous." He looked over at Kyle. "Do you have the passports?" They had spent the past several days perfecting fake passports and visas.

Kyle nodded. "Yep."

"And the visas?"

"Yep."

"And what about money? Do you have the credit cards?"

"Max," Isabel said, putting a hand on his arm. "We've got everything."

Max nodded, vaguely realizing that he was stalling for time.

Kyle quietly said, "Isabel," and tapped his watch, glancing in Max's direction. Isabel nodded and turned back. "We really have to go. We don't want to miss the flight."

Max nodded again, not sure what to do. Liz stood up and hugged Isabel. Michael and Maria did the same as Liz walked over to Kyle. Max watched as the two of them hugged and then took up an easy banter that left both of them chuckling. He couldn't hear what they said, but was happy to see Liz laugh about anything. He watched Michael and Maria walk back over to Kyle, leaving him alone with Isabel.

He looked at her, a heaviness settling in his chest. They had never been apart, at least not for long - not since they had landed on this planet - and now they were going to be entire an continent away from each other, only communicating once every six months, if they were lucky.

Isabel was strangely stoic. Max could see tears in her eyes, but she was standing tall and steady, her face entirely smooth. Jesse's death had changed her. In the beginning she had been nearly inconsolable, but then one day she had dried her tears and began to act like everything was fine. Ever since then, the emotional sister he had had for as long as he could remember had become one of the least outwardly emotional among the six of them. She smiled a little now, making Max realize he was staring, and then reached over to give him another hug, hanging on for longer than usual. When she pulled away, she immediately turned around and walked to the door. Kyle held it open for her. She paused before going out, looking behind her one last time, and then walked quickly through it. Kyle simply nodded and followed her out, closing the door behind him.

Max exhaled and sank onto the hotel room bed, putting his head in his hands. Liz walked over and sat down next to him, putting an arm around his back and leaning her head against his shoulder. He stayed like that, indulging in a moment or two of self pity, until he heard someone clear their throat. When he looked up he saw Michael standing in front of him, looking uncomfortable.

Max watched as Michael took a military stance, legs apart and arms clasped in front of him.

"So, the thing is," Michael started, looking at the floor, "Maria and I are leaving too."

Liz stood up. "What?" She looked back at Max and then over at Maria, bringing a hand to her mouth.

Max slowly nodded and stood up, feeling older than his twenty-one years. "Where are you going?"

"Brazil."

Max's mouth twitched. "You don't know Portuguese."

"Maria knows Spanish."

"That's not Portuguese."

Michael sighed. "Then we'll learn," he replied, sounding irritated.

Max pressed his lips together to keep from smiling.

Michael held out his hand and looked away uncomfortably. "So, anyway. We'll be seeing you."

Max reached out and slowly shook Michael's hand, but when Michael tried to pull away, Max didn't let go, instead pulling Michael into a hug. Michael froze at first before wrapping his arms around Max as well and slapping him on the back. They pulled apart, a little awkwardly, and turned towards Maria and Liz, who were both crying and hugging one another, rocking back and forth. They broke apart as Max and Michael walked over. Maria immediately gave Max a hug as Liz hugged Michael.

"You take care of her, do you hear me, Max Evans?" Maria said into his shoulder.

"I will," Max replied.

Maria pulled away, wiping her tearstained face with her hand. "And don't think that just because we're in a different hemisphere that you can't make us godparents to all of your kids."

"All?" Max said, surprised. He had thought about kids with Liz, but he didn't know if there was an "all" in their future.

"Oh god," Maria said, lunging back at Liz. "I'm going to miss you so much."

"I'm going to miss you too," Liz said, also crying.

Max and Michael looked at each other, both knowing what had to be done, but neither one wanting to do it. Michael reached a hand towards Maria. "We have to go."

Maria reluctantly pulled away from Liz and nodded, grabbing her bag and immediately running out the door. Michael looked back at Max and Liz, but didn't say anything before he closed the door behind him.

Liz immediately turned into Max's arms, hands against his chest, sobbing. Max wrapped his arms around Liz, his own pain causing a tear to fall from his eye.

"It's alright. Like you said, we're doing the right thing," Max said, more to himself than to Liz. "We're all going to be safer this way.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2013

"Get out of the way! NOW!" shouted Michael. He ran into the cave with Max in his arms, passed out.

"Oh my god!" Liz shrieked. "Max!" She ran over as Michael gently set Max on a long, flat rock, blood all over both him and Michael. "Where is he hurt? What happened? Oh my god, Max!" Liz looked around frantically. "Someone help!" She looked at Michael. "Heal him!"

Michael shook his head. "I can't."

"What do you mean you can't?" Liz grabbed Michael by his shirt. "HEAL HIM!"

"Oh my god," Maria ran in through the mouth of the cave, "What happened?"

Michael shook his head. "We were ambushed. They knew we were coming."

"Did you get Isabel back?"

Michael nodded, pressing his hand down on Max's middle, trying to staunch the flow of blood.

"Well, where is she?" Maria asked, frantically looking around. Arrin came in, holding several instruments that looked like they could be medical.

"Where is the king?" he asked, glancing around frantically. Then, seeing Max lying on the rock, he rushed over, pushing Liz aside. Liz, however, refused to be pushed aside, immediately taking residence at Max's head while Arrin began to work.

"Where is Isabel?" Maria asked again.

Michael didn't look up, but answered, "Kyle has her. She passed out. Kivar did something to her before we could get her out."

"What happened?" she asked again, running over to Michael and gasping when she got a good look at Max.

"I don't know," Michael said. "Everything was fine. We were almost out of there, home free, and then there were just explosions and chaos everywhere."

"Well, how did you all get out?"

Michael swallowed. "I don't know."

##################################################################################

A/N: Thank you everyone for the warm welcome! I'm excited to be posting here. I started posting this on a different website, but was told that this is where all the action is. :) I'm scared of new things so it's great to be welcomed. :) But anyway, I'm uploading this chapter today so that this'll be caught up with the other site. With any luck I'll have chapter 2 uploaded by Monday. Thanks again for reading!

Chapter One


2013
One month earlier
Brazil

"Michael!" Maria shouted at him as she walked quickly past him, "The delivery is here. Can you take care of it?"

"I'm a little busy," Michael responded, one hand stirring rice, while the other turned frying acarajé.

"Yeah, well, I've got six orders to get out, and Claudia called out sick again, which means I'm all alone." She looked over at him with a sarcastic smile as she started positioning plates on her arms. "So unless you want to deal with having people complain that the Moqueca de peixe doesn't have enough coconut while pinching you in places you'd rather not talk about, I suggest you get out there."

Before he could respond, Maria walked out the door with six plates resting on both her arms. Michael rolled his eyes, setting down the two spoons. "Hey, Ricardo!" he shouted at his assistant chef.

Ricardo looked over from chopping tomatoes. "Sim, boss?" he said in a heavy accent.

"Quit chopping those tomatoes and keep that crap on the stove from burning. I've gotta go take care of the delivery."

"Ok, boss."

Michael wiped his hands off on his apron and walked to the back, using the back of his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. He and Maria both owned of this restaurant, and yet it seemed to always fall on him to take care of all the paperwork.

When they had first moved to Brazil, he and Maria had struggled to make ends meet. Neither of them spoke the language, making it difficult to do pretty much anything. They had both manage to find a job at a little hole in the wall restaurant. It was just some tourist trap owned by a burly man named Eduardo, who knew as much about cooking as he did about astrophysics. He had hired the pair of them, he said, because he needed someone to talk to all the English speaking tourists. The pay had been crap and the hours long, but at that time both he and Maria had been happy to have a distraction and anything resembling a normal life. Michael had started as a waiter, but that had lasted all of three weeks before he punched a man for smacking his bottom every time he walked by. It had only been Maria's intervention that had kept Eduardo from firing him. She had, instead, convinced him to reassign Michael to the kitchen, where she had assured Eduardo that he could handle himself.

Of course, working in the kitchen hadn't been a walk in the park either. Michael was no chef, and certainly hadn't known anything about Brazilian cooking, but he could tell when food tasted like crap and had wasted no time in telling Eduardo, who hadn't taken kindly his assessment. They had fought several times until one day Michael came in with some rice he had made at their apartment and made Eduardo taste it. Maria had found the recipe online, and when Michael saw it lying on the counter in their apartment, he decided to give it whirl, hoping to prove to his boss that he knew what he was doing in the kitchen. Eduardo had tasted it, narrowing his eyes as he chewed. After he had swallowed, he stared hard at Michael for several seconds before saying, in heavily accented English, "Fine. You cook all food from now."

After a couple of months, with Michael cooking a large portion of the food, the restaurant had started to pick up more business, making more money. And that meant Maria had insisted they get raises. Eduardo had resisted paying them more until Maria threatened that the both of them would quit and find jobs where they were appreciated. Eduardo had sighed and increased their pay by six Reais, or about three dollars, per hour each. They had celebrated by moving out of their cockroach infested studio apartment into a one bedroom apartment in a nicer neighborhood.

Three years after that, Eduardo had come to them with a long face and said he was going to sell the restaurant. His arthritis had gotten bad and his wife was insisting they move into the country. Shortly after that, Maria had suggested that she and Michael buy the restaurant.

"But it would drain our entire savings," Michael had countered. Having spent so many years running had taught the both of the value of saving a penny for a rainy day. In truth, they never knew when they were going to have to pick up and leave again, and that was much easier when you didn't have to use alien powers to give your bank account a little boost.

Maria rolled her eyes. "Come on. We've lived here for over four years now and nothing's happened."

Michael continued to hesitate, considering the idea, so Maria seized the opportunity to keep talking. She crossed her arms. "Think about it, Michael. With the amount of money we'd be making as owners, we'd regain our savings in a year. We could actually afford a larger apartment. We would be doing something with our lives instead of working at dead end jobs making just enough money." She walked over to him and put her arms around his neck. "We could actually live our lives instead of just waiting around for something bad to happen."

In the end Michael had agreed. After four years of peace, even he had started to think that maybe they would make it through their lives without more trouble. So they had gone to Eduardo to strike a deal. It had taken all of Maria's bargaining powers – since Michael was hardly the bargaining type – to get a fair deal from Eduardo, but eventually they agreed on a price, and Eduardo decided to finance the pair of them, liking the idea of a steady monthly income.

So they had been running their own restaurant for the past three years, and doing a pretty good job of it. Of course, Maria had been wrong that they'd recoup their savings within a year. It had taken nearly the entire three years to do it, what with the monthly cost of their loan, not to mention all the overhead neither one of them had considered. But thanks to Maria's business sense and Michael's surprising ability to cook half decent food, they had managed to turn their tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant into a pretty successful establishment.

Michael was still scowling at having to always be the one taking care of the deliveries, when he rounded the corner and halted, staring in surprise at the woman in front of him.

He frowned. "Where's Henrique?" he asked, in Portuguese.

The woman, with long, glossy black hair falling down past her shoulders in waves, smiled, revealing a set of perfect, white teeth. "My father is ill today. I volunteered to deliver this one for him."

Michael raised his eyebrows. "Just this one?"

The woman smiled coyly at him through thick, mascara covered eyelashes and walked over with her clipboard in hand. "Well," she said softly, leaning in closer. "You are a very steady customer, and I did not wish for my father to lose your business."

Michael stared at her, feeling off kilter at her close proximity, with a nagging suspicion that they had met before.

"Have we met?"

The woman took a step back and puckered her lips into a pout. "I'm hurt you don't remember me…unless you frequently share hotel rooms with strange girls during Carnaval."

Michael blinked in shock. "That was you? Sorry, I didn't recognize you with…clothes on."

The first couple of years in Brazil, he and Maria had tried to avoid as many of the Carnaval festivities as they could, mostly due to the constant fear of discovery. After several years, however, Maria had made the executive decision that they should start acting like Brazilians and "go have fun". Last year, he and Maria had gotten into a fight over something stupid – he didn't even remember what the original argument was about now – and Maria left him in the street, claiming she was going to go have fun with her friends, when she apparently had gone straight home. Feeling annoyed at the argument, and reckless because of it, Michael had wandered off, downing drink after drink.

The next morning he had woken up in a hotel room chair with a strange woman sleeping in the bed. He was fully dressed, but she was more…scantily clad. According to her, nothing had happened, for which Michael had breathed an enormous sigh of relief. He had gotten sick in the street, so the woman had taken him to her hotel room to sober up and he had fallen asleep in the chair. Before he had had a chance to ask the woman her name, Maria had burst into the hotel room, arms waving, yelling at the top of her lungs, and Michael had hurried out of the hotel room. Eventually he had been able to convince Maria that nothing had happened, although he never had found out just how she had found him in the first place.

"What's your name?" he asked.

She smiled at him. "Ana." She held out the clipboard for him to sign.

He grabbed it from her. "And you're Henrique's daughter?"

"Yes," she said, brushing her fingers on his hand as she grabbed the clipboard back.

"Funny," Michael said, "You don't look anything like your dad."

Ana winked at him, her eyelashes so long, they fanned out across her cheek. "I take after my mother." She walked over to truck, opening the doors, her shirt coming up to show the skin on her lower back.

He was just getting ready to ask Ana how she even knew he was on her father's delivery route when there was a cough behind him. "Michael."

Michael snapped his mouth shut, not realizing it had been open, and turned around to see Maria standing with her arms crossed, glaring at him.

Ana turned around. "Ah, this must be your wife."

"She's not my wife," Michael said quickly, then instantly wishing he hadn't said that.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know," Ana said, looking genuinely surprised, while Maria narrowed her eyes at him. Marriage had become something of a sore subject between them lately. Ana smiled thinly at Maria, "You probably don't remember-

Maria cut her off, "No, I remember who you are." She looked at Michael, eyes flashing, and smiled sarcastically. "Michael, Ricardo is burning the food. I suggest you get back in there."

"What? You were the one who wanted me to handle the delivery."

"Yes, well, now I think it'd be best if I handled it," Maria said through her teeth.

Michael rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever," as he walked back into the kitchen.

He was in the middle of trying to see if he could salvage any of the acarajé Ricardo had burnt when Maria stalked back into the kitchen and stopped in front of him, hands on her hips.

"What was that?"

"What was what?"

She glared at him. "You know what. You were flirting with her."

Michael glanced up in surprise before he tossed the entire pan's worth of food into the trash. "No, I wasn't."

"Yes you were," she hissed. She put on the falsely low voice she used when she was trying to imitate him. "She's not my wife." She made a noise of disgust. "What was that?"

"Well, you're not," Michael said. "And that's not flirting. That's just speaking the truth." He knew he should probably keep his mouth shut, but he never could seem to do that with Maria.

"And you just had to point that out…to her?"

Michael shrugged. "What difference does it make who she is?"

Maria crossed her arms. "Oh, so you're going to just pretend you don't remember who she was."

"I didn't remember who she was. She had to point it out to me."

Maria snorted. "Yeah, right."

Michael tossed down the bowl he was holding with a clatter. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Boss," Ricardo interjected in Portuguese, "I would shut up if I were you…"

Both Michael and Maria turned around at the same time to say "Shut up, Ricardo." He merely shrugged his shoulders and continued chopping tomatoes.

Maria, however, lowered her voice as she said, "It means that I found you in her hotel room and I don't believe you'd forget something like that."

Michael shrugged. "Well, I did. Because, unlike you, I can move on from the past."

Maria recoiled in shock. "What?"

"I told you then that nothing happened, so what difference does it make if I'm talking to her today."

"You weren't just talking to her. You were flirting. And you denied that we were married."

Michael rolled his eyes. "Because we're not."

Maria rolled her eyes back at him. "I can't believe I put up with this."

Looking for any reason to deflect the conversation to something else, Michael pointed towards the line outside. "We have customers waiting. We can talk about this later."

Maria sighed, exasperated, and stalked out of the kitchen.

They spent the rest of the day and night only speaking to each other when absolutely necessary, though that was more Maria's doing than Michael's. The only thing he was mad about was having the same argument for the umpteenth time.

When they locked up for the night, they rode home in silence, Maria fuming next to him. As soon as they reached their apartment, Maria strode into the bedroom, while Michael grabbed a cola and sat down in front of the television to watch some fútbol. After so many years in Brazil, the sport had started to grow on him.

Just as he was considering going in to find Maria, she walked out, dressed in a tight fitting red dress and high heels, complete with full hair and makeup. Without saying anything to him, she walked to the door.

"Where are you going?" he asked, confused.

"Out," was all she said before she slammed the door shut behind her.

Michael spent the rest of the evening alternately mentally defending himself and planning his apology. He knew that marriage was a sore spot for Maria. During the time they had been on the run, they had never talked about it, and even those first couple of years the subject had never come up. But once they had started to settle down, Maria had started bringing the subject up, and each time she did, it ended in an argument.

It wasn't that Michael didn't want to be with Maria. He knew he didn't want to be with anyone else, even if they hadn't had to flee the country together. He wasn't the marrying type, but he also knew that that wasn't the real reason he continually fought against it. In truth, over the years, Michael had started to feel guilty that Maria was on the run with him; that she had given up her life for him. She hadn't needed to run away with them. She could have stayed behind and lived a normal life, but had instead chosen to be with him. And every time she complained about Brazil, or mentioned being homesick, he thought of the fact that if they got married, then he knew the chances of that ever happening were nearly non-existant. There was a small part of him that hoped she could eventually live a normal life; that she could leave him behind and go back to Roswell.

He was laying in bed, unable to sleep and staring at the ceiling, when he heard Maria come home. He looked at the clock and saw that it was three in the morning. When she tip-toed into the room, he reached over to flick on the lamp, flooding the room with a soft glow. Maria jumped.

"I thought you would be asleep," she said, pulling off her shoes and setting them on the floor so she could reach up to remove her earrings.

"I couldn't sleep," he responded, sitting up.

Maria looked at him in the mirror and then turned around, coming to sit on the bed. She grabbed his hand and started playing with his fingers. "I'm sorry I over-reacted."

Michael didn't know what to say, never good during these types of situations. Eventually he just said, "It's not a big deal."

Maria swung her legs around on top of the covers and leaned against him, pulling his arm around her shoulder and continuing to play with his hand. "You're right. It's not a big deal."

Michael wrapped his other arm around and Maria snuggled in closer.

They stayed that way for several minutes before Maria finally spoke, a slight tease in her voice. "My friends are split fifty-fifty."

"On what?" he asked, finally starting to feel a little tired.

"Whether you'll marry me."

Michael closed his eyes in frustration. She just wouldn't let it go. "What do they say?"

"Well…Claudia and Bianca say why ruin a good thing."

"I knew I always liked those two," Michael said, trying to squelch his frustration at the conversation. "And do I even want to know what the others think?"

Maria traced her finger around his ring finger. "Sophia and Cristina think I should just leave you," she said quietly.

Michael didn't say anything for awhile, thinking again of his reasons for not marrying. Finally he said softly, more to himself, "Maybe you should."

Maria immediately sat up and looked at him. "What?" she asked, sharply.

Michael opened his mouth to respond when suddenly there was a loud crack and a bright light, like a train coming through a tunnel, followed by a loud rushing sound. Before he knew what was happening he felt wind sucking him towards the light. He only vaguely realized that Maria was calling his name, but he couldn't see anything, and by the time he realized he no longer touching her, it was too late. He was completely surrounded by the light and hurtling towards what appeared to be red packed earth.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

France

Kyle sat on a bench in Parc du Champ de Mars, idly watching tourists snapping pictures of themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower, feeling jealous of their air of excitement. Of course, they were here by choice, and could choose to go home at any time they chose. None of the bright faced couples posing in a kiss, or the elderly couples out to fulfill a lifelong dream of seeing Paris, were stuck in exile, like he was.

It had been Isabel's idea to come to Paris when the group had split up. Kyle hadn't minded the idea of Paris, but neither had he been particularly excited about the prospect of living in France. In fact, he had envied Max and Liz living in Canada. At least they had decided to live in a country close to home and not halfway around the world in a country whose language they didn't speak. Now, of course, he could speak French fluently, but it had been rough in those early days. He had tried to convince Isabel to go to England, but she had insisted she always wanted to live in France, so he had given in.

He jumped when he felt a hand tap his shoulder.

"Earth to Kyle."

He looked up, shading his eyes from the sun, to see Isabel standing, basket in hand, smiling down at him. He stood up. "Sorry. I was just thinking. Have you been there long?"

Isabel shook her head, looping her free hand through his arm. They started walking through the park, towards their usual picnic spot. "What were you thinking about?"

Kyle didn't answer for a moment. Though they had never actually made an agreement out loud, there was an understanding between them not to talk about their former lives. He knew why Isabel didn't want to talk about it; the only thing in her past was the pain of loss, first Alex, then Jesse, and then Max and Michael. Although they had all promised to keep in touch, they never had. It had been a good seven years since either he or Isabel had heard from anyone. Kyle didn't know anyone else's reasons for not sending emails, but his own was an attempt to put Roswell, and all the memories it had, out of his mind and try to live his life. And he couldn't do that if he was constantly thinking about emailing those memories. He suspected that the others all had similar reasons for not keeping in touch, but he knew that it hurt Isabel to never hear from Max or Michael.

Eventually he just shrugged. "About life."

Isabel looked at him for a moment before nodding and changing the subject, obviously clued in to what he was thinking about. "Soooo…" she said, a smile on her face, "How was last night?"

Kyle opened his mouth to answer but ended up yawning. "You know," he said, avoiding the question, "most people spend their Saturday mornings sleeping; not picnicking every week in probably the biggest tourist spot in Paris."

They reached their usual spot, under a tree with a good view of the Eiffel Tower and the many tourists excitedly walking by. Isabel let go of him and reached into the basket to pull out a blanket and set it on the ground. "We are not most people." She sat down and opened the basket, taking out an assortment of food items and laying them out. Kyle sat down, picking up a croissant and tearing a piece off. "And besides," Isabel continued, "The tourists are the reason I like it here." She picked up a strawberry and bit into it, gazing off a bit. Kyle watched her, wondering what she was thinking about.

"Why on earth would you like tourists?" He countered, picking through the assortment of cheeses Isabel had packed, trying to find one he actually liked.

He had expected Isabel to answer with one of her usual snappy retorts, but instead she spoke softly, looking at the many and varying people walking past them. "Because they're always happy."

Kyle didn't say anything and after a couple of moments Isabel snapped her head back around with a large smile on her face. "Besides," she said, "our picnics have become a fun tradition. We always meet at that bench at ten o'clock and have brunch under this tree on Saturdays. It's fun." Kyle could tell that her voice was falsely bright, but chose not to point it out. Instead he smiled back at her.

"Well, I can't argue with that."

Isabel busied herself with the food in front of her. "So, you didn't answer my question."

Kyle leaned back, not feeling particularly hungry, and put his hands behind his head, staring up through the tree branches at the blue sky above. Though it was January, there had been a strange warm spell, so it was actually pretty pleasant.

"What question," he asked, knowing very well what question.

"You know what question," Isabel replied, giving him a look. "How was last night?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "It was fine."

"Just fine?"

He turned his head to look over at her. "Justine was nice."

Isabel raised her eyebrows. "Nice?"

Kyle turned his head back to look up through the trees, shivering a little as a cool breeze blew by, and thinking about his date the night before.

"Well," Isabel said, "Did you like her, at least?"

"She was fine," Kyle replied, choosing to remain ambiguous. In truth, the date had been a bit awkward…even more so than the usual first date was. They hadn't had anything in common, for one thing. And it had only been at Isabel's pushing that Kyle had even asked Justine on a date in the first place. Isabel seemed to think that he needed to be "with" someone, even if she thought it was perfectly fine for her to be alone. And it wasn't that he didn't like dating. He wanted to date…just not Justine.

"'Nice.' 'Fine.' Sounds like you had a blast," Isabel said wryly.

He shrugged. "Not every date is going to sweep you off your feet."

Isabel laughed. "'Sweep you off your feet?' I'm sorry. This whole time I thought I was talking to a nearly thirty year old man, but apparently you're really a fifteen year old girl."

Kyle sat up. "Excuse me?"

She smiled at him and shrugged. "Well, you know, I just didn't know that I needed to find you someone 'dreamy'," she responded, teasingly.

Kyle grabbed his half eaten croissant and chucked it at her. "If you want fifteen," he said with mock seriousness, grabbing a handful of blueberries, "I can give you fifteen."

Isabel held up a hand, laughing. "Kyle! Those blueberries cost a fortune!"

He smiled at her. "Oh, but Isabel, fifteen year olds don't care about the expense of blueberries." He raised his hand threateningly.

"Fifteen year old girls might!" She held up a hand to cover her face as Kyle started taking the blueberries and tossing them at her, one by one. "Stop it!" She laughed.

Kyle merely smiled and continued chucking them at her. In response Isabel grabbed a handful of strawberries and started throwing them back at him.

"Oh I see how it is," he said, lifting the hand holding the blueberries to try covering his face as he used his other hand to keep throwing. "The blueberries are too expensive, but it's ok to throw the strawberries."

"A girl has to defend herself," Isabel laughed.

As they continued to throw food at one another, Kyle couldn't help but notice how great it was to see Isabel laughing. It wasn't something she did often and he loved the way it made her eyes sparkle.

When Isabel ran out of strawberries, she grabbed a small bottle of champagne she always brought for him, knowing he liked mimosas, and began shaking it.

Kyle held both hands up, dropping the remaining blueberries. "Ok, now. Let's not be hasty."

Isabel grinned mischievously. "You're the one who started this remember?"

"With blueberries," he retorted. "Not expensive alcohol."

Isabel shrugged as she poised her fingers over the cork ready to pull it out and douse him. "Sometimes in a war you have to make sacrifices."

"Seriously, Isabel," he said, dreading the prospect of being drenched in the middle of winter. Warm spell or not, he would still freeze if he were wet. "I'm sorry I threw blueberries at you."

"Oh, people are always sorry when they have to face the consequences." Isabel smiled even wider and started to pull the cork out.

"No! Wait-" he started, but was interrupted by a cold spray in his face. Kyle instantly lunged across the blanket, towards Isabel, who was laughing and screaming. She fell backwards, trying to hold the bottle out of his reach, while he fell on top of her and managed to grab it out of her hand. He immediately sat up and turned the still spraying bottle towards her.

"Kyle!" She screamed, laughing with her hands over her face. "No! Stop it, I'm getting all wet!"

Kyle was getting ready to reply when suddenly there was a loud crack and blindingly bright light. He was vaguely aware of people screaming, but was too distracted by the sudden gale force winds to see where they were coming from. Before he knew what was happening he felt himself being pulled up by the wind. He looked below at Isabel, trying to shout her name, only to have his voice blown away. He could see that she was being pulled up as well and tried to reach out to grab her. Before they could grasp each other's hand, however, he was suddenly spun around so fast he thought he might vomit, and saw something red coming alarmingly fast towards his face.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada

Liz sat on her couch, grading papers with the news on for background noise. Max never understood why she liked watching the news, saying it made him feel anxious, but she liked the sound of newscaster's voices. They always spoke so calmly even if they were talking about horrific things, and it was just the sort of white noise sounds that she liked when trying to slog through a night of grading.

She sighed as she added up the number of questions missed and assigned a sixty-three percent. "Come on, Brandon, I know you can do better than that." This year's batch of sophomores seemed even less inclined to understand Chemistry than her previous two years. It wasn't like she even made the exams that difficult. They just didn't want to try. She picked up another paper, hoping this one did better. She hated having to grade on a curve but if everyone failed she might end up having to.

The words "FBI's most wanted," jumped out at her from the television and she glanced up sharply to look. As it always did when she heard the letters FBI, her heart jumped and then raced. She breathed a quick sigh of relief as neither her, nor Max's, face appeared on the television, and then set down her pen, rubbing her hands on her face and trying to get rid of her sudden shaking.

Liz didn't usually have such a violent reaction to a quick scare like that, but then, her body was doing some strange things lately. She smiled and placed a hand on her stomach, mentally reliving the moment earlier in the day when she had found out she was pregnant. She hadn't seen Max in person yet, so she hadn't told him yet. He had gone bowling with some coworkers straight after work. Her smile widened as she started daydreaming about the look on his face when she told him he was going to be a father.

Naturally when they had been on the run, children had simply not been an option. And when they had first started settling down in Vancouver, they had been a mixture of too tense, too busy, and too poor to have children. They had both gone to college, getting degrees in education, so it had not been entirely practical for them to start a family in the middle of that. But a couple of years ago, Liz had finally broached the subject with Max. He had been hesitant for many reasons, not the least of which being unsure what any child of theirs would look like. Though it had hurt her to bring it up, she had reminded Max that his first child had been entirely human, and there was no reason to assume that the same wouldn't be true with their children. Eventually she had convinced him and they had started trying.

Except, having a child wasn't as easy as it sounded. There were teenagers out there getting pregnant left and right, but for some reason, it had taken them nearly two years. Neither one of them had really wanted to go to a doctor, because, for all they knew, Liz's body had changed the moment she had started receiving her powers, and so they had merely kept trying and hoping for a positive test.

Liz had gotten so used to negative pregnancy tests, that she hadn't dared hope that her being late this month had anything to do with a baby. In fact, she hadn't even mentioned it to Max, not wanting to dash his hopes, yet again, with the false hope of pregnancy. But the test had been positive. She had taken two more to make sure it wasn't a fluke and both of them had come out positive as well. It had taken everything in her to not immediately call Max, who taught seventh grade algebra and had left early for a meeting at school, and tell him the news. She had wanted to tell him in person so she could see the look on his face.

Liz shook her head now. "Focus, Beth," she said out loud. "You'll never get your grading done at this rate." She reached for the next test and tried to focus.

By the time Max walked through the door, Liz had managed to almost completely finish her grading, a feat she hadn't thought possible tonight.

"Hey," she said, smiling at Max as she put down her pen and stood up. "How was bowling?"

Max smiled at her as he set down his bowling bag and walked over, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. "No one beats Zan at bowling."

"Is that so?" Liz said, reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck.

"Yes," he said, "That's so."

"And what about a certain someone named Beth Maxwell?" Liz said playfully.

Max looked down at her, a twinkle in his eyes. "Well, that was just the one time, and she hasn't been able to repeat it since."

Liz shrugged her shoulders. "I don't think it matters how many times it happened, just that it happened at all."

Maxed leaned down to kiss Liz quickly on the mouth. "Well…maybe, but I think that just means it was a fluke."

He started to lean down again, but Liz pulled her head back, smiling. "Wait. There's something I want to tell you-"

Before she could even start telling him she was pregnant, there was a loud crack. Max immediately wrapped both arms around Liz, in a vice-like grip, pressing her head into his chest.

"Zan, what is it?" she yelled. "What's happening?" She could feel a strong wind whipping around her, and saw the papers she had been grading flying around the room, along with a few of their knick-knacks.

"I don't know," Max yelled back. "It looks like some sort of portal!" Liz tried to look up but found herself squinting at the bright white light.

She tried to push herself away, but Max held onto her tightly. "We have to grab the ready bag!" she yelled. Even though they were only inches apart, she could hardly hear herself.

"I'm not letting go!" Max shouted.

"Then just hold my hand. It's right under the couch. Hurry!" Max let her go and gripped her hand as they both tried to run towards the couch. It was like trying to run through a glass wall. Liz could feel her feet being lifted off the ground, and grabbed for the coffee table, which immediately went flying away. She reached down and gripped the plush carpeting, hanging on as tightly as she could. She turned her head. "Grab my ankles, I need both hands!"

Max reached a hand out to grab her by the ankle, and then let go of her other hand, trying to keep himself on the ground. They both tried crawling, Liz gripping the shag carpet with now sweating hands. As soon as she could, she reached for the leg of the couch, and threw her other hand underneath it, grabbing hold of the strap.

She turned around and shouted "I've got it!" while twisting her wrist to wrap the strap around it securely. Then she was able to see past the bright light and gasped silently, feeling her fingers start to slip on the couch. On the other side of the tunnel of light, there was red earth and endless starry sky.

She looked at Max and saw him trying to yell to her. "What?" she yelled back. He mouthed "I love you" and then before she knew what was happening, he let go of her leg.

She screamed and then immediately let go of the couch, trying to follow him. She flew towards the red packed earth, feeling both completely weightless and weighted down. She wasn't able to move and was glad she had had the foresight to wrap the bag strap around her wrist. She couldn't see Max at all as she flew for what seemed like an impossibly long time.

Suddenly she was whipped around so that she could see the now tiny hole leading back to her living room. Before she had any more time to wonder what was happening, she hit the ground hard, knocking the air from her lungs. She lay there, gasping, trying to take a breath and staring at the stars above her, vaguely realizing that something was different about them, but not able to put her finger on what it was.

"Beth!" Suddenly Max was above her. "Are you alright? That was a stupid thing to do!" He yelled at her.

Liz started to sit up when she heard a voice to her right. "Oh my god. Liz?"

She looked over, in shock. "Maria?"

Maria, dressed in a short, tight red dress, barefoot and standing next to a pajama clad Michael, put a hand to her mouth, her eyes wide and round.

"Max? Michael?" Max and Liz both looked behind them, and saw Isabel and Kyle, both dressed warmly in coats and scarves.

Isabel's eyes were enormous as she looked between Max and Michael. Liz watched as she swallowed once, and then broke down sobbing, one hand on her mouth. Isabel ran over and started hitting Max on the shoulder, as if they were still teenagers. "You idiot!" she yelled. "What do you mean by not emailing me in seven years?" Before anyone could react, she grabbed him in a hug. Max froze, completely shocked, before hesitantly putting his arms back around her, looking over her shoulder at the group.

Liz, who by this point had regained her breath, stood up slowly, suddenly feeling nauseated and worried about how the trip might have affected the baby. "What's going on?" she asked, looking around. "Where are we?"

"I was hoping you'd know," said Michael, holding Maria's hand.

"You are on Hylian, second moon of Antar."

Everyone whipped their head around to see who had spoken, but found no one.

"Up here," said the voice, in a soothing baritone.

Liz looked up, only now realizing that they were standing next to a rock formation, and then gasped. The voice belonged to an alien. But it wasn't like the aliens she had seen before in Roswell, nor like the aliens found in classic science fiction. He, or so she assumed from his voice, was not a small bodied, big headed, pasty-green alien. In fact, Liz could only see a few certain similarities between Earth's classic embodiment of an alien and the alien standing in front of her. He was green, yes, but it wasn't a pale green. It was the deep, vibrant green of an emerald. His head was slightly disproportionately large to the rest of his body, but not by much. His eyes were almond shaped, and definitely larger than the average human eye, but not so large that it took up half of his face. They were also a lighter green color, not quite matching the color of his skin, at least so far as she could see from where she was standing. His face was oval shaped, but his chin was more round than pointy, and he had hair, which was a fiery red color, falling down to his shoulders. He was dressed in some sort of all black suit, which fit snuggly on him, and what looked similar to combat boots. His limbs were sinewy, with bulges indicating muscles underneath. The only word that came to Liz's mind as she looked at him was "beautiful".

Max took a step forward. "Who are you? Why are we here?"

The alien looked towards Max. "Are you Zan?"

"Yes."

The alien cocked his head to the side. "They said you would look nothing like your former self, but it's not true."

Liz could see Max swallow and knew that he was nervous. She walked over and grabbed his hand. The alien glanced down at their hands and then back up to their faces as Max took a more confident stance.

"I asked you who you are," he said, firmly.

The alien paused for a moment before suddenly bowing. "Forgive me, your highness. My name is Arrin."

Max stiffened at being addressed like that. Liz squeezed his hand in reassurance. "What are we doing here?"

Arrin stood straight and clasped his hands in front of him. "We have brought you here to lead our rebellion and reclaim your rightful throne."
Last edited by Musickat18 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:18 pm, edited 18 times in total.

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Re: The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Ch 2, 2/1/13

Postby Musickat18 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:02 pm

A/N: Thank you everyone so much for reading and reviewing! I'm so happy you are enjoying it. :) I had a bit of trouble with the prologue disappearing for a few days, so if you didn't read that, I copied and pasted it before the chapter one post. :)

Chapter Two


As Maria had watched Michael being pulled forward through the portal, she had immediately screamed, before realizing that she too was being pulled towards the strange white light. She had tried to turn around and grab their bed frame, but had only managed to grab a hold of their comforter and a pillow. Of course, that had offered little resistance to keep her from being pulled through to what was apparently another planet.

Despite the enormous shock of being wrenched from her apartment in the dead of night, she had been even more shocked to discover their friends scattered around them. She supposed that she should have run to hug Liz, and that's certainly what she would have done under normal circumstances, but these weren't normal circumstances, and Liz didn't look like the Liz she remembered. The last time Maria had seen her, Liz had had long hair, a slight figure, and a haunted look in her eyes. Now her hair was about chin length, and she was still thin, but there was something different about her that Maria couldn't quite put her finger on. Gone was the haunted look. In its place was a quiet confidence that hadn't been there when the group had split up eight years before.

While Max and the alien, who called himself Arrin, were talking, Maria dully looked around. It appeared that she wasn't the only one to bring something from Earth to this planet – or moon, or whatever. Littered on the ground were papers, another blanket, a basket with a few plates strapped in to it, lying on its side, and even a coffee table. Maria looked down at herself, still grasping the blanket and saw that the pillow was by her feet. She bent down to pick it up, only then realizing that she was barefoot.

Great. Stuck on another planet with no shoes.

She straightened up and hugged the pillow to her chest. Michael glanced at her from the corner of his eye. He wrapped an arm around her, and she gratefully leaned her head against his shoulder. She felt like she should probably be paying attention to what was going on, but the only thing she could think about was that the only things she had brought with her to another planet were a blanket and pillow. Well, at least I'll be able to sleep anywhere.

"Maria."

Maria looked up at Michael. He pointed in front of himself. "We're leaving."

Maria blinked, watching as Max and Liz followed the alien Arrin, Kyle and Isabel trailing behind hesitantly, exchanging looks with each other.

"What?" she said blankly.

"He's taking us to their base camp," Michael said, frowning. "Weren't you listening?"

Maria looked around at the objects littered around and shook her head. "No." She looked up. "Are we just leaving all this here?"

Now it was Michael's turn to ask, "What?"

She gestured towards all the stuff. "Don't you think we should take this with us?"

"Why?" he asked impatiently, look at the rest of the group as they walked farther away from them.

"Because it's our stuff. It's from Earth," Maria responded, not understanding why she was having to explain this. "What if we need it?"

"When are we going to need a coffee table?"

Maria sighed, exasperated. "I don't know. Maybe when we're living in our little alien hut for the rest of our lives, we'd like a nice coffee table to put our feet on while we sip our alien tea."

Michael looked at her for a moment and then sighed. "Fine. But I'm not carrying the coffee table. We can come back for that later."

They quickly walked around, Maria ignoring the pain in her bare feet, grabbing the other blanket and picnic basket and then rushed to catch up with the rest of the group, hands full.

As they caught up, Maria heard Max speaking with Arrin.

"…How did you know where to open the portals?"

Arrin, who was walking in long purposeful strides, turned his head. "We traced your DNA. We were able to obtain samples from the palace cryogenic facility."

"Cryogenic?"

"Yes. After your DNA was extracted and sent to earth, Kivar, for reasons unknown to us, kept the extra samples. Using our palace spies, we were able to obtain some of those samples with which to track you."

"I don't get it," Liz said, "Why are we the only ones here. There's another set of clones, back on Earth. Why weren't they brought over too?"

Arrin glanced at Liz's hand in Max's, and then up at her face. "I do not fully understand the science of it myself," he said, "but I believe the very fact that they are the second set of clones is why. The way I have understood it is that your Earth DNA mixed with your Antarian DNA created a sort of diluted DNA mixture. When the second set of clones were made, the DNA was further diluted. We were simply able to hone in on the strongest set of DNA, thus bringing back the original royal four."

"How come you didn't want to bring all of us? Why just the originals?" Isabel asked.

Arrin stopped, looking at Isabel and pausing a moment before answering. "It is not unknown to us that the second set of clones have allied themselves with Kivar." He paused again, his expression blank. "It would hardly be prudent to bring Kivar's allies into our rebellion."

Kyle stood closer to Isabel, grabbing her hand. Maria wondered, in the back of her mind, if there was something between the two of them. "What about Ava? She wasn't allied with Kivar."

Arrin looked at Kyle, and Maria couldn't help but think that he didn't enjoy sharing information with humans. "The one who called herself Tess was allied with Kivar. Tess, who was the real Queen Ava, betrayed her people, and her king and husband, when she struck a deal with our oppressor." His eyes moved back over to Isabel. "There is no reason to assume that the cloned, and thus diluted, Ava would not do the same."

"Why bring us?" Maria asked. Everyone looked at her. Maria was startled by how big and green Arrin's eyes were, like polished emeralds. She looked at Michael, but he was looking confused. "I mean, why bring us regular earthlings?"

Arrin blinked once before responding. "We did not intend to bring any humans with the royals. The portal is still a prototype, therefore it's abilities to exactly hone in on the subjects requested is…lacking. Anyone within the radius of the portal would have been taken. The fact that you three humans are present simply means that you were within close proximity of the royals at the time." He looked around the group once and then turned around. "Come. We must get back to the base camp. The disturbance caused by multiple wormholes will surely not go unnoticed."

He walked quickly, and after looking at each other, the rest of the group quickly followed. As they were walking Maria stumbled, desperately wishing she had shoes. Michael looked over and then grabbed her arm to stop her.

"Get on my back," he said.

"Why?" Maria said, confused.

Michael gestured around. "We're walking over rocks and you don't have shoes."

Maria looked at the group as they got farther away. "Neither do you."

"I have socks on."

"What about all this stuff?"

Michael rolled his eyes. "Wrap the blanket around you and I'll carry the rest. Hurry up."

Maria hesitated still, feeling a bit ridiculous at the thought of riding piggy-back on Michael.

"Maria." She looked up into his eyes. "I don't want you to end up with cuts all over your feet."

She nodded and quickly wrapped the blanket she was holding around herself, tying it around her neck like a cape. Then she quickly hopped on Michael's back, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. He bent over awkwardly and picked up the rest of the stuff and then started walking quickly to catch back up with the group. Maria rested her head on her right arm, her lips close to Michael's ear, his hair tickling her cheek. I wish he'd gotten it cut, like I asked. When they had been on the run, he had started keeping his hair cut short, though not spiky like it had been when they first started dating. After they had settled down, he had started growing it out again, but usually cut it before it fully reached his shoulders. It had been several months since his last haircut and just this morning – had it really been less than twenty-four hours ago? – she had reminded him, for at least the tenth time, to get it cut.

Some part of her brain realized she was probably suffering from some form of shock. Here she was on an alien planet and so far all she had been able to think about was grabbing some blankets from the ground and cutting Michael's hair.

She stared out in front of her, taking in the terrain. It reminded her of the pictures she had seen of Mars. There appeared to be no vegetation on the landscape, and the ground, a mixture of sand and gravel, was a deep, burgundy red. There were mountains in front of them, and as she turned her head, Maria saw that mountains were completely surrounding them, as if they were in some sort of valley that went on for miles. Only as she looked up did she realize that it was either early dawn or late dusk, as was not completely dark, but also no sun. The sky was riddled with millions of stars, more stars than she had ever seen. There was a streak, stretching in a 180 degree swath across the sky, of multicolored gasses and stars close to the horizon, seeming to touch the mountain peaks. It was really very beautiful, and very alien. Maria unconsciously squeezed her arms together and leaned her head against Michael's.

After about half an hour of walking, largely in complete silence, Arrin stopped suddenly, reaching out a hand and touching the air. But as he did so, there was a sudden glimmer and something resembling a large hovercraft appeared in front of them.

Arrin gestured towards it. "Please, step inside. This will take us the rest of the way."

Max walked forward first, helping Liz, who was carrying a duffle bag, into the craft. As Michael walked forward, Arrin tilted his head to the side, ever so slightly. "What is it you carry with you?" he asked.

Michael looked down at the stuff in his arms. "Stuff from home."

"But this is your home," Arrin said, and though Maria could feel her indignation rising, she could also tell that he meant no insult.

She could feel Michael tense underneath her. "I've never lived here," he replied tensely, before stepping past and aboard the craft. He bent down so that Maria could get off his back, which she did reluctantly, taking a seat next to Liz.

Liz reached over and grabbed her's hand, as Arrin came aboard the craft and took a seat in what appeared to be the pilot's seat, and squeezed it, giving Maria a reassuring smile. Before Maria could smile back, bright red beams of light came down on either side of her shoulders from the back of her seat, pinning her to her chair. Looking down she saw something similar over her waist and realized that it must be some sort of seatbelt. Maria looked over at Michael on her other side, but he was looking at Arrin through narrowed eyes.

Suddenly Maria felt herself pressed backwards into the seat as they took off, incredibly fast. She was reminded of those old science fiction films when the ships would go into hyper drive and the stars would all become bright streaks of light. After several minutes she realized that, although it appeared there was no glass encasing them, no breeze was blowing. It was like being encased, but without actually seeing the glass.

Max, who had taken the seat next to Arrin, suddenly spoke. "Where are we going?"

Without looking over, Arrin said, "I have already said. Back to basecamp."

"And how far is that?"

"I do not believe you know our units of measurement, so I doubt any answer I give will serve to enlighten you."

Maria snorted to herself. Oh, I'm an alien and I'm smarter than you because you don't know our units of measurement, she thought mockingly.

"Why did we come out so far from your base camp?" Max continued.

"As I said before, the opening of multiple wormholes will not go unnoticed. There are ways to track them, and we could not risk our base of operations. We therefore chose to have you come out at a more remote location."

"And you said we're on one of the moons?"

"Yes, Highness. Hylian, second moon of Antar."

Max glanced back at Liz. "I would appreciate it if you didn't call me that."

"But you are the King of Antar. That is the appropriate way to address you," Arrin replied.

"I'm not the King of anything," Max replied. "If you want to call me anything, call me Zan."

Maria frowned at that, wondering why he didn't say Max. She turned her head to look at Liz, now remembering what had happened when they landed. Liz looked over at Maria and laughed nervously. "What?"

"Max called you Beth," Maria said quietly. Liz didn't answer. "Why?"

Liz looked out the corner of her eye to Max, and then back at Maria, also speaking in a hushed tone. "When we moved to Canada, we changed our names."

Maria shook her head. "I don't get it. Why?"

Liz shrugged. "We felt too exposed going by the same names. So we changed our names to Alexander and Elizabeth Maxwell. Elizabeth is my real name, but there are a million Elizabeths, so I just started going by Beth instead of Liz."

Maria recoiled. "And what, Max started going by Alex?"

"No, no!" Liz said hurriedly. "He went by Zan."

"Zan," Maria repeated blandly. "And you thought that was inconspicuous?"

Liz smiled. "Well, we started with Zander, but it just ended up getting shortened to Zan."

Maria nodded and then turned back to look at the swiftly passing terrain, feeling Liz's eyes still trained on her.

"I've missed you, Maria."

Maria looked over, shocked, and then smiled. "I've missed you too."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Isabel looked out at the planet, passing by at incredible speed, still reeling from being ripped laughing from her picnic.

She swallowed her growing panic. She had seen the way Arrin looked at her, as if he were accusing her of the same crimes the Tess committed. He had said he couldn't trust Ava because of what Tess had done. He might as well have been telling her to her face that he didn't trust her either.

She looked over at Kyle, at their hands. After they had entered the extremely fast paced hovercraft, he had grabbed her hand, squeezing it reassuringly. He looked at her now, and her heart constricted. Isabel knew, or at least suspected, that Kyle had feelings for her. She also knew that, after eight years in France together, it would be extremely easy to let herself fall in love with him. She tried to smile back at him, but didn't quite manage it. She pulled her hand away from his and turned back to look out at the planet.

She looked around for any sign of life, but found none. The entire planet seemed to be only red rock and dust. It felt familiar in a way, and she idly wondered if Vilandra had been here. She closed her eyes as that name flitted across her mind and felt her panic returning.

She looked forward, trying to find distraction in her companions. She looked at Max, sitting several feet in front of her, next to Arrin. He looked both the same and different. His overall appearance was remarkably similar, but his face had aged somehow. There weren't any lines or wrinkles, but he no longer looked like the teenaged boy who had left Roswell behind eleven years before. Perhaps it was just the maturity that came with age.

She looked at Liz, speaking quietly to Maria. She too looked different. There were differences in her general appearance, such as her shorter hair, but she too seemed to have aged in that indefinable way. Isabel tilted her head to the side. There was something in the way that Liz held herself that spoke of greater maturity and a confidence that Isabel had never seen in her before. She wondered what had happened in the lives of Max and Liz to change their demeanor so much.

In contrast, Michael and Maria looked relatively unchanged. In fact, they looked younger than their age. Maria's hair was long and seemed to be bleached by the sun. She had it back in a high ponytail, with curls falling down her back to the middle of her shoulder blades. Her skin was darker than the last time Isabel had seen her, indicating a healthy tan, but was still smooth and youthful looking, not aged and dry like so many so-called "sun worshippers". Michael also had a tan, and, if it was even possible, seemed to have fewer worry lines than the last time Isabel had seen him. His hair was also streaked with sun-bleached highlights, and was curling on the collar of his white t-shirt. She watched as he, unaware of her stare, looked over at Maria. She was struck by the look on his face, equal parts love and sadness. He glanced back then and, seeing her looking, the look disappeared and he turned to stare out at the terrain.

Isabel glanced over at Kyle, relieved to see that he was also looking outside. She studied him for a moment, comparing and contrasting his current appearance with how he had looked when they had lived in Roswell. His hair was cut shorter than it had been, and he sported a goatee, which helped to counteract his baby-faced appearance, making him appear his age. While on the run, his exercise routine had suffered, softening his looks. Their years in Paris, with the constant walking from place to place, had given him a leaner appearance, despite his love of croissants and all things cream based.

Isabel suddenly realized that no one was talking and looked around. Everyone appeared to be staring out at the terrain they were still swiftly gliding past. She turned to look and inhaled sharply. Almost directly ahead of them – making Isabel wonder how Arrin could see – the sun was starting to rise on the horizon. But it was not the yellow sun she was used to seeing. It was very large and very red, taking up nearly a third of the horizon. As she looked around she saw that the sky itself was turning red, rather than blue as she was used to seeing. She stared in amazement as the surrounding mountains and rock formations all started fading away, blending in with the color of the sky. Before long, the only thing she would be able to see would be continuous red, as if she were trapped inside a large red balloon.

She felt the hovercraft speed up, as Max asked, "How do you navigate this?"

"We do not usually attempt to go out during the red day," Arrin replied. "There are instruments to help navigate, of course, but they do not alert us to the presence of bodies of waters or other creatures."

"You mean there are animals here?" Maria asked.

Arrin paused before answering, "Yes," blandly.

Max frowned at Arrin, but didn't comment on his tone. "So you only go out at night then?"

Arrin shook his head, and Isabel saw that his four long fingers were gripping the steering wheel tightly. She wondered if he was anxious about navigation or annoyed at the questions.

"There is no night here."

Michael spoke up. "What do you mean there's no night? It was darker when we got here."

"There is a period of time twice each day in which one sun has set and the other sun has not yet risen."

"So like, a twilight," Maria said.

Arrin didn't respond, except to nod once.

"So then there are only two times per day when you can get around this planet?" Michael continued.

Arrin shook his head. "No, the other sun affords plenty of opportunity. It gives off a blue light. We refer to the two days as the red day and blue day. One full day is split evenly between the two suns."

Michael frowned. "I don't remember anything about two suns."

Arrin glanced back at him. "I was given to understand that your memories of Antar were fleeting at best."

Michael opened his mouth to reply, but Max spoke up first. "They are, but we have each remembered certain minor details. I don't remember anything about two suns either."

Arrin nodded once. "I see. That is because the smaller of the two suns is rarely visible from Antar. The orbit of the moons around Antar largely hides the presence of the smaller sun, named Cerrulia. There are only a few windows of time when Cerrulia is visible from Antar."

"But that's not possible," Liz spoke up.

Arrin paused and then said, "I'm uncertain what you mean."

"Well…how can moons cover up the sun for an entire planet? I mean…there have to be places where Cerrulia is visible on Antar all year round. It's the bigger planet."

"I am afraid you are mistaken," Arrin said. "Antar is, in fact, smaller than two out of the three moons which orbit it."

Isabel could see Liz stiffen in shock. "But…how can Antar be smaller? How do you know that it's not the moon and one of these so-called moons isn't the main planet?"

"Because the moons orbit Antar," Arrin replied simply. "Antar does not orbit any of the moons."

"But that doesn't make any sense either," Liz said. "If Antar is smaller, then where is the pull holding the moons in place coming from? It goes against the laws of physics. The largest of the planets should be the one which the others revolve around."

Isabel saw Arrin's hand tighten further on the steering wheeling, lending credence to the idea that he found their questions annoying. "I do not know what 'laws of physics' are, but I can assure you that is how things are here. Is it not true that prior to the Antarian's arrival on your planet, travel outside your planet's atmosphere had not yet been achieved?"

"Well…yes," Liz responded.

"Then perhaps your laws are inaccurate."

Before anyone had a chance to respond, Arrin simply said, "We have arrived."

Everyone looked outside the craft. So far as Isabel could see, they were stopping in the middle of nowhere, although admittedly she could see very little besides red. The red bands which had been holding them in place suddenly retracted and Arrin stood up and exited the craft. Isabel looked at Max, who shrugged and followed Arrin. The rest of them followed suit, with Isabel and Kyle exiting last.

When they were all on the ground, Arrin started walking in a straight line away from the hovercraft. The group looked at each other again and then filed behind him. Isabel had no idea how he knew where he was going, but after no more than twenty feet, he stopped, placing his hand in the air. Only when a door opened did Isabel realize that they were standing in front of a large rock formation. She looked behind her towards the hovercraft, only to discover that it was gone. She looked back towards the opening in the rock. Arrin walked through first, the rest of them following. Once they were all inside, the door slid back in place, leaving them in near darkness. The only light seemed to be coming from a small circular object in Arrin's hand.

He turned towards them, gesturing to something which looked similar to a slide made of a smooth granite-like material. "To reach the base camp you will need to slide down."

"You're joking," Michael said.

"I am not."

"You want us to slide down to god knows where in the dark?"

"I am afraid that is the only way to the entrance."

"You've got a hovercraft capable of at least a hundred fifty miles per hour and you can't bother with an elevator?" Michael asked incredulously. Arrin didn't respond.

"Michael," Max said quietly. He turned to the rest of the group. "I'll go first. Liz, follow after me. Michael, you can go last."

"You can't be serious, Max," Isabel said. The thought of sliding for who knew how long into who knew what in the pitch blackness terrified her.

In the near darkness Isabel couldn't see Max's face to read his expression, but he merely replied with, "Arrin said it's the only entrance." He grabbed Liz's hand for a moment before stepping over to the slide and sitting down. Before anyone could protest he was already gone. Liz looked around and then stepped over and sat down. She disappeared equally as fast, though Isabel could hear her gasp.

"Maria, you go next," Michael said.

"Michael, I couldn't even go down Splash Mountain at Disneyland when I was a kid," she hissed.

Michael put a hand on her shoulder. "You'll be fine." His voice wavered at the end, and Isabel wondered if he wasn't as terrified as the rest of them.

With a whimper, Maria walked over and sat down, the blanket still around her neck, and one hand hugging a pillow to her chest. Almost immediately she was gone and Isabel could hear her scream in surprise and fear. The sound lasted for several seconds, until it faded away, making Isabel wonder just how far down they had to go.

"Isabel?"

Isabel shook her head. "No...I can't."

"You have to," Michael said, not unkindly.

"I'll go," Kyle spoke up. Before either Michael or Isabel could protest, he walked over. When he was nearly there, he stumbled and fell onto the slide face first, immediately launching himself down the shoot. Isabel cringed, closing her eyes in horror at the thought of Kyle having to go down there face first.

"Isabel," Michael said quietly. "You have to go."

With her eyes still closed, Isabel shook her head. "I can't."

"I'm afraid it's the only way, Vilandra."

At Arrin's use of her Antarian name, Isabel opened her eyes. In the dim light, she couldn't make out his face, although she was certain she'd find the same blank look he had had since they arrived. Michael put a hand on her shoulder and walked her over to the slide.

She started to sit down, looking behind her at Arrin. "My name is Isabel." Before he could respond, Isabel's bottom hit the smooth stone and she immediately flew forward, almost as if she were being pulled. The speed at which she flew threw the darkness took her breath away, making her wonder how Maria had screamed at all. She felt the bottom suddenly drop out from under her and she plunged downward, still sliding along the smooth surface of the slide. After what felt like several minutes, she saw a light up ahead and hoped she had reached the end. As she flew through the opening, however, she saw that it wasn't the end, but rather an enormous cavern. Light seemed to be filtering in from somewhere, hitting millions of jewels embedded in the cavern walls. The light was bouncing off each one and refracting, creating a veritable rainbow of color. Isabel only had enough time to register its beauty before she was once again plunged into darkness. She could feel herself being flung to the right and left as the slide twisted and turned, making her almost grateful that she couldn't see what was happening. Just as she was beginning to wonder if she was going to slide all the way to the center of the planet, she saw another light up ahead, and what appeared to be faces peering through it. Approximately fifty feet before the entrance the slide flattened out. She felt herself slowing down so that by the time she reached the opening her friends' hands could easily pull her to a stop and help her up.

She sat up, feeling nauseated after her travel, and then stood. "How far down are we?" she asked breathlessly, bending over to put her head between her weak knees.

"I do not know Earth's units of measure," said an unfamiliar voice, "but we are half by half to the core."

Isabel looked up and then blinked in shock at the creature before her. She was likely female, based on the curves which seemed similar to human women's curves and curling red hair falling to her shoulders. Unlike Arrin, her skin was not green, but a dark salmon color. Her eyes were red, but also beautiful. Instead of giving her a sinister air, they reminded Isabel of sparkling rubies and had a friendly look to them. Everything about her was red, down to her full, maroon colored lips and tight fitting burgundy suit, and the overall effect was beautiful. Isabel briefly wondered if everyone's eyes were the same color as their skin on this planet.

"So a quarter of the way down?" Max asked.

The alien looked over at Max with a smile playing at her lips. "If a quarter is half by half, then yes." She turned back to Isabel. "You must be Vilandra. My name is Julayna."

Isabel swallowed. "Please don't call me Vilandra. My name is Isabel."

Julayna's large ruby eyes widened slightly in what Isabel supposed was surprise. "You do not go by your Antarian name?"

Before she could answer, Michael suddenly came sliding through, with Kyle and Max grabbing hold of him. As he stood up, Maria coming over to hug him, Isabel looked around. The room they were in was cube shaped, carved out of the same granite-like material as the slide, with a door on the opposite end of the slide. The room wasn't very large, only fifteen or twenty feet in each direction.

Arrin came sliding through, deftly halting himself and rising. He nodded at Julayna, who smiled in return, and then turned towards them. "You must be in need of nourishment and rejuvenation." If this were any other time, Isabel might have found his words for food and sleep amusing. Instead they made her anxious.

Max and Michael glanced at each other.

"I could eat," Michael said.

Arrin turned and started walking towards the door. "Very well, if you'll please follow me."

Kyle stepped next to Isabel as they filed out the door. "Doesn't like to mince words, does he?" he said quietly.

"You'll have to forgive Arrin," Julayna spoke up behind them, making Kyle jump and Isabel glance back. Julayna smiled at them, but her eyes held no humor. "He has dedicated his life since he was an antari to overthrowing Kivar. Your return is the fulfillment of a life's ambition."

Isabel turned her head look at Julayna as Kyle asked, "Then why isn't he acting happier?"

Julayna paused, her gaze flickering over to Isabel. "He is not given to showing his emotions on the surface," she replied slowly. Isabel frowned slightly, getting the feeling that there was something Julayna wasn't saying. Before she could ask, Julayna smiled again and gestured forward. "We had better walk faster of your friends will leave us behind."

Isabel sped up her pace before turning back to ask Julayna a question. The alien's demeanor was not as rigid as Arrin's, making her less intimidating. "What's an 'antari'?"

"It is what we call the young among us," Julayna replied.

"Oh," Isabel said. "So it's your word for child." She laughed nervously. "I feel like I don't know anything."

Julayna reached a four fingered hand over to touch Isabel on the arm and looked at her seriously. "Your memories will return to you in time."

Before Isabel could ask what she meant, she felt Kyle grab her and pull her to a stop. She turned around and saw that she had nearly run into Michael. They had exited the hallway they had been walking in and were in another cube shaped granite room, lined with what looked like granite tables complete with granite benches. There were portions of the wall, in swaths approximately one foot squared, which were white and seemed to be the primary light source, though what was feeding it or how the light escaped, Isabel had no idea. She also wondered where everyone was. The only Antarians they had seen so far were Arrin and Julayna. You'd think the arrival of the Royal Four reincarnate would make at least a few people curious, she thought wryly.

"If you are in need of nourishment, you will find it here," Arrin said, spreading his arms to indicate the room around them.

They all looked around, and Michael said what they were likely all thinking. "I don't see anything but rock."

Arrin walked over to one of the white squares and placed a hand on it. It appeared to slowly dissolve, and a long slab of granite started to extend outwards from it, laden with multicolored dishes, much like a buffet. He gestured to it. "Please, help yourself to anything you find appealing."

Isabel heard Kyle say under his breath, "What if none of it looks appealing?" giving her the sudden urge to smile.

As if in answer to the question he had likely not heard, Arrin said, "If you are not in need of nourishment, then I will show you to your quarters."

Isabel looked at Kyle, who raised his eyebrows and looked over at Arrin. "I'm not…uh…in need of nourishment."

Relieved that he had spoken up first, Isabel said, "Neither am I."

Arrin looked at the two of them for a moment before glancing around. "Anyone else?"

Despite Isabel's hope that the others would join them, the four looked around and then Max said, "I think we'll stay here…for now." He looked at Isabel and shrugged his shoulders slightly.

"Very well, then. Vilandra, if you'll follow me please."

Isabel stayed rooted to the spot, feeling a sudden surge of annoyance. "My name is Isabel." She gestured to Kyle. "And his name is Kyle. Don't act like he's not here."

Arrin stared for several moments, his face completely unreadable, before simply nodding once. "Very well. Kyle…Isabel," he said, begrudgingly, "if you will follow me please."

Isabel turned around to say goodbye to Julayna and to thank her for being nice, and was surprised by the look of anger on her face. She was looking at Arrin with narrowed eyes and her full lips had thinned considerably as she pressed them together. When she noticed Isabel looking at her, her expression changed rapidly. She smiled and nodded. "It was an honor to converse with you, Isabel."

Isabel, still shocked by the look on her face, swallowed and tried to smile back. "Thank you. It was nice talking with you too." She turned to the others. "I'll…um, see you later then."

Max didn't look happy that she was leaving. "Are you sure you're not hungry?" he asked.

Isabel tried to smile at him. "Yep."

"Very well, then," Arrin said abruptly, "Please follow me." Isabel got the feeling he was impatient. She looked at Kyle who nodded at her. The both turned and walked towards Arrin, who walked towards another door in the wall just to the left of the one they entered through. Isabel and Kyle walked side by side, not talking. As she looked around she wondered if the entire complex had been chiseled out of this granite-like substance. It was cold and gray looking and again she wondered where the light was coming from as they passed several more of the white squares. Was it filtered sunlight? But if they were really a quarter of the way to the planet's core, then it seemed a bit far for sunlight to travel. She shivered suddenly and wondered if her body was going into shock. She still had her jacket on and didn't seem to feel cold, but she could feel the hairs on her arms standing on end.

They continued walking in silence for several minutes, turning so many times to the left and right that Isabel was sure she'd never find her way back to the dining room. Abruptly, Arrin stopped, Kyle nearly running into him, and pressed his hand against another square of white granite. A door suddenly flew open, and he walked through. Kyle gestured for Isabel to go ahead of him.

When she walked inside, she stopped abruptly in shock. The wall opposite appeared to be made entirely of glass, or some other clear material, and outside it was one of the most gorgeous views Isabel had ever seen. It was another cavern, much like the one she had flown threw on her way down, covered in millions of tiny jewels. Once again, light reflected off them, creating thousands of tiny rainbows. Below was a body of water, or at least she assumed it was water. It was blue and completely clear, and she could see that the gems extended down into its depths. There was a waterfall across the way, with the water falling in a cascade down the side of the cavern.

When she was able to tear her eyes away, she looked at Arrin. "It's beautiful."

Arrin's eyes flicked towards the wall of glass and then back. "Yes. I suppose it is." He walked towards a smaller white square, in wall to the right of the one they had come through, and pointed towards it. "If you find the need to relieve or cleanse yourself, simply place your hand here."

"Will that work?" Kyle asked. Arrin looked at him. "I mean…you know, since we're not Antarians."

Arrin looked at Isabel. "They will work for the Royal family, given you have Antarian DNA present."

"Great," Kyle said, more to himself. "So I have to ask someone to open every door for me. That won't get annoying at all."

Arrin ignored him and continued walking around the room. "Should you find that you are in need of nourishment, simply place your hand here." He indicated a square on the wall to the left of the one they had come through. He indicated a large bed, or at least what Isabel assumed was the bed, in the middle of the room. "You will be able to rejuvenate here." He then stood in front of the bed in the center of the room with his feet spread apart and his hands in front of him, reminding Isabel of a military man, which she supposed he probably was.

Feeling like he was waiting for her to respond, Isabel nodded. "Right. Bathroom to the right. Food to the left. Bed in the center." She cleared her throat, feeling uncomfortable. "Thank you."

Arrin simply nodded and walked towards the door. Kyle started to walk with him, but stopped when Arrin turned around and said, "I will leave you then." He turned back around and walked out. Before Kyle could leave, the door abruptly closed with a click.

Kyle looked over at Isabel with raised eyebrows. "I think Arrin thinks we're a couple."

Isabel laughed nervously and walked over to the white square next to where the door had opened, placing her hand on it. Nothing happened.

"Maybe you have to think the word 'open' or something," Kyle suggested.

Isabel placed her hand on the square again. Open.

Still nothing happened. She looked over at Kyle, who shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe he was wrong," she said. "Maybe my DNA isn't enough to open the doors."

Kyle frowned. "Try the bathroom."

Isabel walked over and placed her hand on the square on the right wall. A door immediately opened. Isabel frowned at looked at Kyle.

"I don't understand." She walked back over to the door, with a sudden urge to panic, and placed her hand again on the square. When nothing happened she looked at Kyle, feeling her breath quicken as her panic level rose.

"I think we're locked in."

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Musickat18
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Re: The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Ch 2, 2/1/13

Postby Musickat18 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:57 pm

Author's note: So sorry about the wait! I have no great excuses other than "life". :lol: Just a quick reminder that the name for a child on Antar is "antari". It's been so long that I'm sure everyone would be scratching their heads trying to figure out what I was talking about when it pops up in the story. :) Thanks so much for reading and thank you so very much to those who have reviewed. I soak each and every one up. :)

Chapter Three


After Arrin, Isabel, and Kyle left, Maria looked over at Michael, who looked at Max, shrugged his shoulders, and headed for the buffet. Max slowly followed, leaving Maria and Liz to stand and look warily at the buffet table. Maria glanced at Liz, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "We might as well. It's not like we're going to find a McDonalds."

Liz nodded and they slowly walked up to the table. Maria grabbed what she hoped was a plate and then surveyed the food. It wasn't that it looked disgusting. There were an assortment of colorful foods that Maria assumed were some sort of vegetable, something resembling a chicken with four legs instead of two, and a multitude of round objects she assumed were probably fruits…or maybe a pastry of some kind. The problem was simply that it was all completely foreign.

Julayna walked up behind them and pointed at a purple ball. "Those are my favorite." She pointed to an orange gelatinous substance. "I always put that on it."

Maria nodded and smiled. "Thanks. I'd ask what they taste like but you probably wouldn't be able to tell me anyway." Julayna chuckled as Maria grabbed a couple of the purple balls and dumped the orange Jello-like stuff on top. It didn't necessarily look appetizing, but Maria figured she might as well be adventurous.

"Beth? Are you ok?"

Maria looked up at Liz, wishing Max would call her Liz, and saw that she was looking a little green.

Liz swallowed and tried to smile. "Yeah. I think that the ride down here left me feeling a little more seasick than I thought."

Julayna reached over and grabbed a blue wafer. "Try this. It is easily digestible."

Apparently crackers are a universal food, Maria thought.

Liz reached over, grabbed the wafer, thanked Julayna, and went to sit at one of the tables. Maria surveyed the rest of the food quickly, picking up things at random and putting them on her plate, and then walked over to sit down next to Liz.

"Are you alright?" she whispered.

Liz took a bite out of the blue wafer and nodded. "Yeah." She smiled and lowered her voice. "I have something to tell you but not here."

Maria immediately had an epiphany and gasped loudly, pointing at Liz. Liz had been perfectly fine up until she saw the food. It was so obvious. Liz was pregnant!

Liz quickly grabbed Maria's hand and widened her eyes, giving her a pleading look. Maria quickly snapped her mouth shut as Max walked over.

"Everything ok?" he asked, sitting down next to Liz.

Maria smiled, a little overly brightly. "Yep. Sorry. I just tried something I didn't like."

Max looked at her plate, "You haven't touched anything."

Maria laughed nervously. "I mean…I just realized that I didn't want…" She looked down at her plate and grabbed something that looked a little like orange broccoli. "This. I hate broccoli."

Max looked at Liz, who just shrugged her shoulders and smiled. He leaned closer to her as Michael sat down next to Maria and immediately started eating. "Are you sure you're feeling alright?"

Liz took another bite of her wafer. "Yeah. These crackers are actually pretty good. They taste like a mixture between saltines and Ritz."

There is no way I can sit here and not ask her!

Maria looked over at Julayna, who had taken a seat on the other side of Max, and smiled sweetly. "Julayna, is there a bathroom around here?"

Julayna smiled back, looking slightly confused. "I'm afraid I don't know what a 'bathroom' is."

"Oh. Uh…It usually…I think - although I don't know about here – has a place to, um…clean yourself and um…relieve yourself?" Maria couldn't believe how difficult it was to describe a bathroom without using the words toilet and shower. To her relief, Julayna's face relaxed into understanding.

"Oh yes. I believe what you're looking for is what we refer to as the 'purification space'." She immediately stood up. "Come. It's probably best if I show you."

Maria looked over at Liz. "Liz, I think you said you had to go to the bathroom too right?"

"Wha - uh…" Liz widened her eyes warningly at Maria and then smiled at Max. "I'm just, um…going to go to the bathroom with Maria."

Max looked confused but merely replied with, "Ok."

Liz got up and when she came around, Maria grabbed her arm and then smiled at Julayna. "Lead the way."

Julayna led them down the same hallway that Arrin had taken Isabel and Kyle through, stopping about three doors down and placing her hand on a white square, causing the door to slide open. "Here you are."

Maria smiled. "Thank you, Julayna. I think we can find our way back, if you want to just go back and catch up with Max – I mean Zan."

"Are you confident you will not get lost?" Julayna smiled, looking questioningly between Maria and Liz.

Liz nodded. "Yep. I have a good memory." She pointed. "It's just straight down this way."

Julayna nodded. "Very well."

As she was leaving, Maria pulled Liz into the bathroom. She opened her mouth to speak, but then caught sight of the room.

"This is the bathroom?" She looked at Liz, who looked equally surprised. They were in a small, cube shaped room, like a smaller version of the place they had been eating, except that it was completely bare, only granite and those curious white squares. "Where is the toilet?"

"Or the sink?" Liz asked.

Maria shook her head. "Never mind that. It's not important right now. You're pregnant?"

Liz smiled. "How did you know?"

In answer, Maria grabbed Liz and squeezed her. "I can't believe you didn't tell me!"

Liz gasped, "I can't breathe."

Maria let go and then looked at Liz expectantly. "So tell me everything! Was it planned? How far along are you? What has Max said? Do you have names picked out? What are they?"

Liz, laughing, put a hand over Maria's mouth. "Maria!"

Maria nodded to indicate that she could control herself and Liz removed her hand. "Right," she said, "Sorry. I'm just so excited!"

Liz beamed. "I'm pretty excited too. I just found out today…or yesterday…" She shook her head. "The morning before we were all taken. Max doesn't know yet." She looked at Maria severely. "And you can't tell him!"

Maria closed her eyes and shook her head quickly. "Wait, wait, wait. What do you mean you haven't told Max yet? Why not?"

"I told you. I only found out that morning. I was just about to tell him when we got taken."

"Well you're going to tell him soon then right? What are you going to say?"

Liz frowned. "I don't know…" She looked around the small cube shaped room they were in. "I mean…I don't want him to worry."

Maria frowned back. "So…you're just not going to tell him?"

Liz shrugged. "Yes. No. I mean…I'm going to tell him, I just don't know if I'll tell him right away. We kind of have other things going on right now." As Maria continued to stare Liz held up her hands. "I'm going to tell him. Just not tonight."

Despite her best attempt at trying to act her age, Maria started giggle and hop up and down. Liz started laughing. "Why are you so excited about this? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love it, but we haven't even seen each other for eight years."

Maria put a hand on her hip. "And that means I can't be excited when my best friend gets pregnant? You and Max are just so…adult. I mean, you've been married forever, and now you're going to have a kid. Michael and I…" She trailed off as she recalled the argument she and Michael had had just before they were taken.

Liz frowned. "Hey." She put an arm on Maria's shoulder. "Is everything ok with you two?"

Maria tried to smile. "Of course. You know Michael." She shrugged. "We just…sort of got into an argument before we were taken."

"What about?"

Maria suddenly felt a little self-conscious, and was confused by the feeling. This was Liz. Married and pregnant Liz…

She waved her hand. "You know what? It's nothing."

Liz looked at Maria, concerned. "It doesn't sound like nothing."

Maria looked towards the door. "We'd better get back or they'll think we've fallen in."

Liz looked around. "Into what?"

Maria also looked around at the bare granite. "You know…we're going to have to figure out how to use these things…Maybe we can ask Julayna." She looked back up at Liz. "We can just say we never figured it out." She raised her hand to touch the white square next to the doorway, like Julayna had done. Nothing happened.

Maria looked over a Liz. "This is what she did right?"

Liz nodded. "Yeah. I wonder why it didn't work?" She walked over and put her hand on the same spot Maria had. The door immediately slid open. They looked at each other in confusion and then walked out and back to the dining room.

*********************************************************************************************************************

Kyle stared at Isabel for a moment, frowning. "What do you mean we're locked in?"

Isabel looked at the white square, in a daze. "The door won't open." She turned to look at him. "That's the only explanation."

"But, why lock us in?" he asked. "They're the ones who brought us here. They wanted us, not the other way around."

Isabel shook her head, her panic level continuing to rise. It was taking a lot of control to keep from breaking down. She walked over to look out the large window, unable to focus on the beauty outside. "No. They wanted Max and Michael. Arrin didn't want me or you, or Liz and Maria."

Kyle walked over to join her, looking at her rather than the spectacular view. "Ok, fine. They didn't want you or me…or Maria or Liz. But why lock us up?"

Isabel looked at Kyle impatiently. "Don't you get it? It's because of her."

"Her?" Kyle looked at her in confusion and Isabel closed her eyes to reign in her panic before it boiled over.

"Vilandra," she whispered. Isabel hated Vilandra, hated that she had betrayed her family, betrayed her people. Isabel had spent the past eight years trying to forget about Vilandra, and now she was here, with the very people Vilandra had betrayed. "No matter what I do, I can't escape her," she said more to herself. "And now I'm in this place, where she betrayed everyone." She looked intently at Kyle. "I'm not Isabel to Arrin. Did you see the way he looked at me? How he paused every time I asked a question? I'm Vilandra. He's locking me up here like a criminal. And he's probably locking you up because you came with me."

She turned away and crossed her arms, feeling cold despite the pleasant temperature of the room. "I'm nothing but a traitor to these people. I'm the reason they have to have a rebellion." Her shoulders started shaking as she felt her control slipping. She let out a gasp, throwing her hands up to cover her face as hot tears rolled down her cheeks, the result of years of pent up fear, frustration, and embarrassment over everything Vilandra had done boiling over.

Kyle immediately pulled her into a hug. "Hey. It's ok." He rubbed a hand over her back as she leaned into his embrace. "You're not a traitor. I know you're not Vilandra. Max and Michael know you're not Vilandra. And they also know that Vilandra had no idea what Khivar was planning when she took him to Zan. When they find out that you've been locked up, they're not going to let it stand."

He pulled away, gently tugging her hands away from her face, using his thumb to wipe away a tear. "Max won't let them keep you locked up."

Isabel looked down at Kyle, being a couple of inches taller than him, their eyes locking. She watched him swallow hard and felt him gently rub his thumb along her wrist. Her eyes flitted towards his mouth, her pulse starting to race, and then back up at his eyes. He was going to kiss her. She wanted him to kiss her, wanted it more in this moment than anything since Jesse.

Jesse's name brought Isabel crashing back to reality and she quickly pulled her hands away and took a step backwards. Kyle frowned in confusion but didn't say anything, instead clearing his throat and walking over towards the white square Arrin had said would somehow bring them food.

"You know, I think I'm hungry after all." He smiled at her, but his eyes didn't quite meet hers. "Care to help a guy out?"

Isabel nodded, feeling awkward about the moment they nearly had, and walked over, wondering what she'd be able to figure out how to order food.

**********************************************************************************************************************

By the time Liz and Maria got back to the dining room, Arrin had returned from dropping off Isabel and Kyle at their rooms. Liz immediately went to sit back down next to Max, her stomach lurching at the sight of the half eaten plates of food. While she was strangely happy about feeling nauseated, due to the reason behind it, she still prayed that she wouldn't throw up.

As she sat down, Michael spoke to Arrin. "So where is everyone?" He shoveled in another mouthful of food and looked at Arrin expectantly.

Arrin sat ramrod straight, with his hands folded on the table. Only then did Liz realize that he only had four fingers on each hand. She covertly glanced at Julayna's hands and saw that she also had four fingers. It seemed so obviously, Liz wondered how she'd missed it. Well, at least one stereotype had to be true, she mused to herself.

"They are on the lower levels," Arrin replied.

"Why?" Max asked.

Arrin turned his head so that he was facing Max. "Julayna and I were both in agreement that the transition from Earth would be made less cataclysmic for you if you did not have to immediately resume leadership."

Liz could see Max stiffen out of the corner of her eye. She reached over to grab his hand. Hearing it stated wasn't a shock, necessarily - after all Arrin had said that the point of the rebellion was to reinstate Max as king - but Liz knew that leadership was something Max feared. He had done an amazing job when they had been on the run, but it had worn on him, having every decision be his, and thus a large part of the consequences his fault.

Michael tore off a piece of something resembling purple bread and stuffed it in his mouth. "So are you and Julayna co-leaders or something?"

Arrin paused again and then nodded once.

Julayna laughed. "Indeed. If lifemate qualifies as co-leading."

They all looked around at each other. Maria held up a hand. "Hold on. Do you mean you're married?"

Arrin paused a moment, regarding Maria without expression, and then simply said, "Yes."

Liz looked at Max, who looked equally as surprised. Maria sat back, saying, "Well I didn't see that one coming," mostly under her breath.

Arrin looked at each of them in turn, his face still expressionless. Julayna smiled. "You seem surprised."

"What?" Maria said, laughing nervously. "No, not surprised. Liz, are you surprised?"

Liz jumped slightly, startled at having to give her opinion. "Uh…" She glanced at Max and then shook her head, trying to smile. "Nope. Not surprised at all."

Maria turned to Michael. "Michael?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, I am."

Maria laughed again nervously and widened her eyes at Michael.

"What?" he said. "It's not like you're fooling anyone."

Julayna laughed, although Liz noticed that Arrin did not. "Please, do not worry that you have offended us. You would not be the first to wonder at my life bond with Arrin."

That didn't surprise Liz at all. She wondered what would draw someone as upbeat and obviously easy going as Julayna to someone like Arrin, who had yet to be anything but staunchly formal to everyone, including Julayna.

"How'd you guys meet?" Maria asked.

Julayna glanced at Arrin, suddenly looking uneasy. Arrin didn't return her look, but glanced around and said, "Perhaps it's best if we exchange pleasantries at a later time. There is much to inform you of."

Liz glanced first at Maria and then at Max, who nodded once at Arrin. "Ok. What's been going on since we…died?" He frowned. "How long has it been?"

"It has been thirty revolutions."

"Revolutions," Max spoke slowly, as if he were thinking. "Revolutions around the sun?"

Julayna smiled warmly. "Very good, yes. We were told that time flows differently on Earth from Antar. How long has it been for you?"

Max glanced at Michael before answering. "We landed in Roswell in sixty-six years – revolutions - ago."

"So you are sixty-six revolutions then?" asked Arrin.

"No. We were in stasis pods for forty-two years. We're about thirty-years old."

"Fascinating," said Julayna. She turned to Arrin. "I wonder if the former queen had it timed so that a similar amount of time would have passed for the Royals by the time they returned."

Arrin nodded once. "I also wonder." He turned back to Max. "To understand Antar as it is today, it is best to understand the past. Under the leadership of the monarchy, of which you were a part, Antar endured many thousands of revolutions of relative peace. Our only enemies were those outside out planetary system."

"Then how come Kivar had enough people to overthrow and kill us?" Michael interrupted.

Arrin turned to look at Michael. "I am given to understand that Earth has different types of people."

Liz thought wondered at Arrin's abrupt change of subject. Michael frowned, also looking confused. "What…like races?"

"Are there not different colors?"

Michael shrugged. "Sure." He looked around. They were all basically the same skin color. "Some are darker or lighter."

Arrin nodded. "You will no doubt have noticed that Julayna and I are not the same color."

No one responded, since only a blind person wouldn't be able to tell the difference between their red and green skin tones. Arrin continued. "Prior to his rule, King Zan I, grandfather to you, Zan, and the man for which you were named, was made a fool by his betrothed, a ruby skinned woman named Aninay. As a result, his first decree as ruler was to strip away the rights of those with ruby skin. They were, so he decreed, to be treated as a second class of citizen, fit only to serve those with emerald skin." Liz saw Arrin's knuckles whiten on his clasped hands. Julayna placed a hand over them, no longer smiling. "His decrees against our ruby skinned brothers were vast, even including monetary restrictions so that they would never be able to gain wealth. Families were torn apart as it became illegal for the ruby and emerald to be lifemates. Those who didn't comply were made to watch their ruby skinned lifemates and antari flogged."

Liz couldn't believe what she was hearing. "And the people just went along with this?"

Julayna looked at Liz and spoke softly. "They had no choice. It was the decree of the king." She looked at Arrin. "Not all believed in the restrictions. Being ruby skinned was a genetic mutation which took place many thousands of years ago. All Antarians are descended from the same group."

"It was asinine," said Arrin, tensely, showing the most emotion Liz had seen yet.

"I don't understand," Max said. "Why didn't my father just change the decree when he was made king?"

Arrin looked at Max. "By the time your grandfather passed, the rift between skin colors had solidified. There were many more who now viewed the ruby skinned as true second class citizens. They did not want a change in the order."

"But he was king," Liz interjected. "He didn't have to listen to the people. You just said it. They would have had no choice."

"Beth," Max said quietly. Liz looked over. Max had his head turned towards her, but his eyes were on Arrin. "Arrin is trying to say that my father was prejudiced."

Liz looked over immediately at Arrin, whose face remained expressionless. Liz started to wonder if he was even capable of forming an expression. "Oh."

Max gestured towards Arrin, his face looking tense. Liz knew him well enough to know why. He was wondering if his former self had held the same prejudices. "Go on."

Arrin nodded once and then continued. "By the time your father, King Ahndee, took the throne, a new generation of citizen had been born and raised to believe they were superior to the ruby skinned people. But the ruby Antarians had not forgotten a time when they were viewed as equal, nor that they had been made to suffer humiliation at the hands of their own families. As Julayna said, all Antarians share common ancestors. It was, and is, not uncommon for two emerald Antarians to produce a ruby skinned antari. When this happened, they were now, by law, forced to relinquish their offspring to be raised by others for a life of servitude. Often times lifebonds were severed as a result, due to the misguided belief that a ruby antar could only come from a ruby parent. Bitterness grew among the ruby Antarians. By the time you, King Zan II, took the throne, the anger of the ruby citizens was barely contained. And they now had a leader."

"Kivar," Max said.

Arrin nodded. "Yes. Kivar had allowed himself to become impoverished rather than work as a servant. He was well educated, likely the result of illegal schooling, found on occasion and severely punished. Kivar spoke well, and the ruby Antarians listened. He painted you as a villain, who would follow in the footsteps of your father and grandfather. By the time you were made King of Antar, we were on the brink of a rebellion."

"Did…was Zan - I mean I- going to change the decree?" Max asked.

Arrin paused for a couple moments. "It is difficult to say. The history of that tumultuous time has been corrupted. The history currently taught paints King Zan II as a spoiled man, who cared nothing of the plights of his people. It was not long after you ascended the throne that Kivar killed you. It was only the quick thinking of your mother and a few loyal scientists that saved the Royal Four. It was not until after you were on your way to earth that we learned of Vilandra's treachery."

"Vilandra wasn't a traitor," Michael interjected. Arrin looked at him. "At least not on purpose. She thought Kivar was going to talk to talk to Zan, not kill him."

"You would defend the woman who betrayed you? Who betrayed us all?"

Michael shook his head. "She didn't betray us all. She was tricked. And in case you've forgotten, she was killed right along with us."

Julayna spoke up, looking surprised. "She was your betrothed, and she betrayed you with another."

Michael's eyes narrowed and Maria put a hand on his arm. "We weren't married yet. She loved someone else. It's that simple. It's not a crime to love someone."

"Actually," Julayna said, "it was. More than one crime even. Her king had given her hand. To give herself to another man was considered treason. And even had you not been betrothed, his red skin made it a crime." She tilted her head. "I find it curious that you stick up for her."

Michael boldly looked at Julayna. "Look. We don't even really remember it. Just bits and pieces. And anyway, Isabel isn't like that. She's practically my sister."

Liz glanced at Arrin, wondering what his reaction was to this news. His face was still blank, but Liz thought she saw anger flash in his eyes and wondered. He had been distant with her, Maria, and Kyle, but now that she thought back, he had also been distant with Isabel. It was only with Max and Michael that he hadn't paused before talking, as if to consider whether they were worth the time it took to answer. She had assumed that he just didn't like humans, although considering his reaction to the racism of his own planet, it was ironic that he should be so discriminatory towards them. Now she wondered if Arrin didn't view Isabel as a traitor.

"Michael," Max said calmly, though Liz could hear the underlying irritation in his voice. "We can discuss the finer points of our death another time." He looked at Arrin. "I don't remember what Vilandra did, but Isabel is no traitor." His tone brokered no argument and Liz looked at Arrin, wondering if he was going to say more or heed the warning voice of the man he calls King. Liz could see the muscles of his jaw working, but he must have decided to move on, because he didn't respond.

Liz glanced at Maria, who broke the awkward silence. "So then, after Kivar took over he got rid of the racism thing right?"

Julayna shook her head. "No. There were many revolutions of civil war before Kivar's rule was solidified. Naturally most of the emerald Antarians were distraught at the dissolution of their monarchy. But they believed they would prevail in the war against the ruby Antarians. Kivar and his army were largely untrained, having never been allowed in the military."

"Then how did they win?" Maria asked.

Arrin looked at Maria and Liz saw another flash of anger in his eyes. "Through brutality. Kivar did not play by the rules of war. He and the so-called officers he commanded spared no emerald in their path, male, female, or antari. He took no prisoners. All who fell in his path were slaughtered."

Liz pictured the terror of living through such a time and felt her eyes prick with tears. "That's awful," she said quietly.

"Eventually," Arrin continued, "the emerald Antarian military leaders decided that enough blood had been shed." Liz heard a hollowness in Arrin's voice, and wondered what horrors he had seen, how old he had been. "They gave a full surrender." His voice became hard again. "Kivar promised that no harm would come to them, but at the formal surrender hearing, broadcast around the planet, he had them immediately shot following their verbal surrender." Maria put a hand to her mouth and Liz saw Max flex his fists, his knuckles going white. She felt like she was going to be sick and closed her eyes to try and stave it off. But Arrin wasn't finished. "He then said that anyone who dared challenge his rule again would meet the same fate. After that, there was none who dared think of rebellion. Even those of us who have since formed the rebellion did not start meeting together until more than five revolutions had passed. He reversed King Zan I's decree. All ruby Antarians were now free to educate and work as they chose." Liz thought she heard a subtle bitterness in his tone. "And in exchange for the years they had lost, and the suffering they had endured, all emerald Antarians were forced to relinquish their possessions and homes to the ruby citizens. And to show the emerald the consequences of oppression, we are not allowed money. We can work for a meager fixed amount of food and a poor material to make clothing, but are not allowed anything else." By the end Arrin's commanding voice had become almost a whisper, though aside from the occasional flash of anger in his eyes, he remained largely expressionless. Julayna put her hand on his arm again. Seeing the look Julayna gave Arrin, Liz saw why she had married him. It was obvious she loved him, though just why she had fallen in love in the first place was still a mystery.

A silence extended for several minutes as they all digested the information they had just been given. Liz knew these kinds of things happened on earth, but also that it was usually limited to countries, specific small portions of land, and that help was usually sent by other countries. She couldn't imagine what it would be like to have the entire world fighting, to be unable to get away, unable to hide the color of your skin. She couldn't imagine praying that the child she and Max were having was one color and not another for fear of being forced to give him or her away. She shuddered and folded her arms. Max wrapped an arm around her and brought her close. She leaned her head against his shoulder, taking comfort in his presence.

These were his people they had been hearing about, even if it was still strange to think about. The atrocities which occurred before his reign were nothing compared to the atrocities and oppression which had occurred afterwards. She glanced up at him, wondering what he was thinking. She couldn't imagine his refusing to help after having heard all these people, his people, had suffered in his absence.

Michael was the first to break the silence. "So where did all this come from?"

Max, Maria, and Liz all looked at him. Michael gestured around. "You said that you weren't allowed to have money. So how did this rebellion end up with a high tech facility underground?"

Arrin answered, "Those who have joined our rebellion are not restricted to the downtrodden. They are not only emerald skinned, either. Kivar's brutality has many, even high up in his government, seeking a way to dispose of him. They do dangerous work for us, setting up supply lines, and acting as spies within Kivar's internal network. Though our group here on Hylian numbers only in the hundreds, our rebellion numbers in the thousands, with many more simply too scared to join us. We are well supported."

Suddenly Liz yawned. "I'm so sorry," she said when she recovered.

"You are in need of rejuvenation," Arrin said, making a statement rather than asking a question. He stood up. "Come, Julayna and I will show you to your quarters. You all can rejuvenate and then we can begin our planning."

Max looked sideways at Liz as they stood up. Arrin immediately walked out the same door he had taken Kyle and Isabel through, and they filed out after him, with Julayna bringing up the rear.

Michael and Maria were shown to their room first. Julayna volunteered to show Michael how to use the various features. Several doors down, Arrin indicated that they had reached their room. He walked in first and then paused to allow Max and Liz walk in behind him. Liz gasped at the view out their window, reminded of the many prisms in the cave on the slide down.

Arrin explained which squares were for the bathroom and how to use them and then left them alone, with instructions to meet back at the dining room when they woke up. After he left, Liz walked over to the enormous bed and sat down. It was soft. She ran her hand long the blanket on the outside. The fabric was soft, completely unlike anything she had felt before. It was like a combination of silk and velvet underneath her hand. Max walked over to the window and stared out.

Liz kicked off her shoes and climbed underneath the covers, sighing as she sank into the bed. It molded to her body perfectly, as if she were lying on a cloud. "Zan," she said yawning, "Come to bed. It's amazing."

Max looked over at her, and then walked over, also removing his shoes and climbing under the covers fully clothed. Now that they were alone, Liz felt her exhaustion hit her like a ton of bricks. It had been late when they had been sucked through the vortex, and who knows how many hours had passed since they arrived. And that's not to mention the extra exhaustion from her pregnancy.

Max settled down and Liz scooted over, lying against him, with his arms wrapped around her. They lay for several minutes before Liz broke the silence. "You have to help these people."

Max didn't answer for several moments. Liz turned her head up to look at him. "You're going to help them aren't you?"

Max looked at her and Liz could see the conflict in his eyes. "How can I help these people?"

"You're their king."

Max shook his head. "I'm no one's king. I'm just a copy. I don't know anything about this planet. I don't even remember my own past. How can I lead a rebellion when I don't even know how? I couldn't even keep our group of six together." He looked away, focusing on something across the room. "You heard what Arrin said, about Antar's history. These people are fighting wars over skin color. What are they going to say when their supposed King comes to them with white skin, looking like an earthling and not an Antarian? Look at what happened to Tess. To my son." He looked Liz in the eye. "They completely rejected him."

Liz shook her head slightly. "No Zan. The people didn't reject him. Kivar rejected him. No matter what he said originally about wanting equality for Antar, the only thing he wanted was power. He's just as much a bigot as King Zan I. More so. He repressed the people even more than your father and grandfather." Liz sat up, lookinb at Max seriously. "And you are not just a copy. You're an improvement. You weren't raised with preconceived prejudices against your people."

Max looked at her a moment before he put a hand behind her head and pulled her in for a kiss, surprising her. When he pulled away he looked at her. "Thank you for always believing in me."

Liz tried to smile. "Of course." She ran a hand through his hair, a new thought occurring to her. "You know…you don't have to call me Beth anymore."

The corners of Max's mouth turned up. "And you don't have to call me Zan."

"Actually," she said teasing, "I might. It is your name after all."

Max reached up to grab her wrist and pull her hand down from his hair, all semblance of a smile gone. "Promise me from now on you'll call me Max, Liz."

Liz felt a something like electricity travel through her as he said her old nickname. She hadn't even realized how much she had missed it until now. "Ok…Max."

He visibly relaxed as she said his name. She lay back down against him, yawning again. Just before she drifted off, Liz managed to say one last thing. "I think you'll be an amazing king."

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Musickat18
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Re: The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Ch 3, 3/12/13

Postby Musickat18 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:25 am

Author's Note: Thank you so much for reading! And thank you to everyone who left reviews. It can't be said enough how much I appreciate them. :) Sorry again for the long wait between chapters. I had another fic I was trying to complete as well as some beta-work I was doing. Both of those projects are done now, so this fic has my complete attention. Updates should be quicker in coming. :) Thanks again for reading! :D

Chapter Four


Michael stared up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. He had no idea how long it had been since Julayna had left, but it felt like several hours. He suspected that Maria was also awake because she kept tossing and turning, but neither of them said anything. Maria was probably trying to digest everything like he was.

Michael rolled over onto his side and stared at the wall, thinking. He had spent the first half of his life on Earth consumed with getting back to wherever it was he, Max, and Isabel had come from. He had wanted it so bad he hadn't believed anything could keep him away when he finally had the chance. And even up to the last few moments before he had left the Granolith he had been conflicted about staying on earth. But by then he had met Maria, and his priorities had changed, despite himself. He had given up the dream to come back. He hadn't needed to return "home" because he already had one.

Michael sighed and rolled his eyes in the semi-darkness. Why was he thinking about this? He hadn't thought about these things in years, practically since the time they had happened. He didn't like living in the past, and he didn't like thinking about his feelings. If anyone were to ask him now how he felt about being back on Antar, the only response he'd give is "it sucks." Sure they had technically been in hiding, but he and Maria had actually managed to have a life. He had felt like a normal functioning member of Planet Earth for the first time he could remember, and now it was all stripped away. Even if they did manage to get back, their life there was going to be all jacked up. How would they explain their sudden absence? And since time supposedly flowed differently, who knows how long they'd actually be gone. What if they were here fighting in a war for ten years and only six months passed on Earth?

Michael thought about everything that Arrin and Julayna had told them. Frankly, it was hard to wrap his brain around. He had known that the whole point of their earthly existence was to come back to save their planet, but to be honest, he hadn't given a lot of thought to what they were supposed to save it from. Deep seated racism and a reign of brutality and terror were more than a little out of his scope, and he didn't even know what, if any, his role was going to be. As Rath, he had been Zan's second in command, but what the hell did Michael know about war? What advice could he give? Trying to think about helping to lead a rebellion made his head spin. He was a restaurant owner and a cook. He'd never had military training. He'd never even gone to college.

In the middle of these thoughts, he finally felt his eyelids start to droop and fell asleep.

Rath walked purposefully through the hallways of the palace, eager to meet with his king and friend and share the good news. The rebel uprising had been brought to an end, and without fatalities, as King Zan had commanded.

He walked towards the door, which the guards immediately opened, and strode through, immediately kneeling.

"You may rise," Zan said, smirking as Rath stood. The newly ascended king was dressed simply, in a black jumpsuit, the only adornment marking him as royalty the pure emerald circlet on his close-cropped black hair.

"You'll never tire of watching me kneel, will you?" Rath said.

Zan chuckled. "After all the times you gloated about beating me at weapons training, I think it does you good to kneel."

Rath changed the subject. "The rebel uprising has been contained as you requested."

Zan turned around to face the window. "Were there fatalities?"

"We avoided all fatalities, as commanded, though it was difficult." Rath found it difficult to keep the judgment out of his tone. Adjusting his relationship with Zan from one of friendship to one of King and Subject was taking some getting used to. Only four months ago, he wouldn't have thought twice about telling Zan that it was foolish to waste time and resources keeping rebels alive when they would only continue attacking.

Zan turned around, another smirk on his face. "Your tone indicates you're holding something back." He gestured towards Rath. "Please, speak freely."

Rath didn't need to be told twice. "The thing to do with these rebels isn't to arrest them. They will only keep attacking."

Zan folded his hands in front of him. "And what would you have me do?"

"Either placate them by repealing your grandfather's decree, or crack down on the violence. If you continue along this path, you will only show your enemies that you are willing to let them walk all over you."

Zan raised his eyebrows. "It's nice to know you aren't afraid to speak the truth to your king," he said dryly.

Rath winced and bowed his head. Though it chaffed to be so formal with Zan, he said, "Forgive me, sire. I spoke too freely."

"Don't be dramatic," Zan said. "I told you to speak freely."

Rath didn't answer, though it was on the tip of his tongue to complain about the formalities of royalty like he had when they were antari, forced to wear constricting formalwear to a ball neither one cared to attend. He held his tongue, however, the voice of his mother yelling at him in his head. She had never ceased to remind him that his father had worked tirelessly to place his son in a position close to the future king of Antar and that it behooved him to treat Zan with the respect he deserved. He usually was rewarded with a cuff on the side of his head when he reminded her that regardless of what his father had done he had been the one who had actually befriended the future king.

Zan looked at him for a moment before walking to sit in a chair, indicating that he should sit in the chair opposite. When they were seated, Zan tried to assume a relaxed position, though Rath could tell that he was anything but relaxed. "While I wish to hear further details of your victory, I have another matter I wish to discuss with you."

Rath nodded.

Zan cleared his throat, seeming uncomfortable. "It has come to my attention that you are unbonded and that this is not a desirable state to remain in for one in your position."

Rath stared, completely unprepared for the turn the conversation had taken. "What? Who said this?"

"My advisors have pointed out that as the second in command, and as leader of the Antarian military, you are looked to as an example, and therefore should lead an exemplary life."

"And I can't do that if I'm not life bonded?" Rath didn't even bother hiding the sarcasm in his voice.

Zan placed the palms of his hands together and rested his chin on his fingertips. "Are you saying you have never considered it?"

Rath, trying not to show his impatience, responded, "You know everything about me. We've been friends since we were kids. You know more about what I'm thinking than I do half the time."

"You're right." Zan suddenly stood up and went back to the window. Rath wondered what he found so interesting that he kept going to look out. Or maybe he was just playing at being impressive. "That's why I've arranged for your betrothal to Vilandra."

Rath stood quickly, forgetting momentarily that he was in the presence of his king and not just his friend. "You did what?"

"You will be married within a revolution."

He tried to absorb this information and make some sense of it. He couldn't. "You can't be serious."

Zan turned to look at him, genuine surprise on his face. "Why are you upset? I thought you'd be happy. You've pined after Vilandra for years."

Rath could feel his temper rising and fought to control it. "Happy that my future has been planned out for me? That my choice of lifemate has been taken away? You're the Royal, not me. I'm supposed to be free to make my own choices."

"Do you have someone different in mind then?"

"That's not the point," he responded, his voice starting to rise. Zan was right, Vilandra was his first choice as lifemate, but not like this. Not arranged, without even the formalities of courting, to find out if Vilandra even shared his feelings, though he already knew the answer to that question. He gritted his teeth together. "Does Vilandra know?"

"No, I haven't told her yet. I wanted to discuss the matter with you first."

Rath turned his head sharply. "Discuss it? You mean, inform me." He shook his head. "Vilandra isn't going to agree to it."

Zan looked troubled. "She'll have to agree. I'm her king."

"So you'll force her to marry someone she doesn't love?"

Zan's face softened. "She'll learn to love you. And I have no doubt that she'll be loved in return. Not to mention, she's a princess. It's not her job to bond for love."

"You did," Rath shot back.

"The fact that Ava turned out to be a political advantage was nothing more than pure luck."

"And yet you would deny both Vilandra and me the same opportunity for luck."

Zan lost his patience. "It's not as if I'm forcing either of you to marry a stranger. You've known each other since you were children. You've been in love with her nearly as long."

"It doesn't matter!" Rath yelled, also losing his patience. It galled to have his life dictated for him. "No matter whom you're choosing, you're still commanding me to get married against my will."

Suddenly a voice interrupted. "What is going on here?"

They both turned to see Ava standing in the doorway, a look of shock on her face. She walked over to Zan and placed a hand on his arm. "Zan, what is happening? I've never seen you and Rath argue before." She glanced between the two of them. "At least not like this."

Rath furiously tried to reign in his anger. It was one thing to speak impatiently to Zan, king or no, and quite another to speak impatiently to his wife and queen. "Forgive me, Your Highness. Your husband, the King, was just informing me of joyous news," he said tightly. "It would appear I am going to be married."

Ava gave Zan a confused look. "I'm afraid I don't understand. I was unaware that Rath had begun the courting process. Why didn't you tell me?" Zan looked guiltily down at Ava.

Not wishing to remain any longer than he had to, Rath took the opportunity to say, "If that is all, I would like to return to my quarters," he paused deliberately, "to reflect on my upcoming lifebond ceremony." He wanted to make an immediate exit, but knew better than to test yet more rules of conduct by leaving before he was dismissed.

Zan gave him a curious look and then nodded. Rath walked out, fuming.


Michael jerked awake and immediately sat up, looking around, confused about where he was, why he was there, and, most disconcertingly, who he was.

A quiet voice spoke up. "Michael?"

Michael looked down, taking a moment to clear his head and focus on who was sleeping beside him.

Maria sat up. "Are you ok?"

He let out a sigh of relief, running his hands through his hair as the dream faded away. "Yeah. I just…had a dream."

Maria frowned and grab his hand, her other hand rubbing his back. "What was it about?"

Michael thought back to his dream and frowned. "I think it was a memory." He looked at Maria.

Maria looked surprised. "What happened?"

Michael looked away, running his fingers through his hair again. "I – I mean Rath – was letting Zan know he had taken care of some rebel uprising type thing. And then Zan told Rath, that he was arranging his marriage to Vilandra."

Maria leaned forward, riveted. "What'd you do?"

Michael thought of the anger he had felt, not missing Maria's use of "you". "Rath – I - was pretty pissed."

"Hmm."

Michael looked over at her. "What?"

Maria shrugged. "I don't know. I just always thought that you – the old you - liked Vilandra. I mean, I figured it was arranged or she wouldn't have run around on you, but I at least thought you were for it or it wouldn't have happened."

"I did like her." It felt weird to use first person. These were the first concrete memories Michael had ever had of his time on Antar. All he'd had before this were some general feelings left behind by his former life. He wasn't used to really thinking of himself as Rath; he always had thought of Rath as sort of removed from himself, like a clone. But clones didn't share memories.

"Then why were you so pissed?"

Michael sighed and ran his hands through his hair a third time. "I didn't want my life dictated by Zan."

Maria smirked. "So not much has changed then?"

Michael rolled his eyes and lay back down on his side, facing away from Maria. "Let's just go back to sleep."

He felt Maria lay back down and they both fell silent. Michael felt unsettled by the memory and didn't like it. He had felt like himself and yet also hadn't. He knew what it was like to get pissed at Max, but he'd never really taken his leadership all that seriously. Sure, Max was the leader of their group, but it wasn't like there were formalities, and Michael had no problem telling Max off when he needed to. It felt weird now to remember his former self holding back, trying to keep hold of proper protocol. And his speech had been so formal. It was just weird.

"Michael?"

Michael was so lost in thought, and Maria's voice had been so quiet, that he almost didn't hear her. "Yeah?"

Maria was quiet for a moment. His thoughts started drifting and he was startled when she spoke again. "What did you mean? Back on Earth."

Michael tried to remember what he'd said, but the night they were taken felt like weeks ago, instead of hours, and he was coming up blank. "What are you talking about?"

Maria sighed, sounding impatient. "Don't play dumb."

Michael rolled over, also getting impatient. "I'm not playing dumb. I don't know what you're talking about."

Maria sat up again, bending her knees and resting her arms on top of them. "Right before we were taken I said that my friends said I should leave you, and you said 'maybe you should.'" She looked behind herself at him. "What was that?"

Michael sat up again and then shrugged. "I don't know. It was a joke." He didn't feel like explaining himself now, especially since it was all a moot point now that they were stuck on Antar for who knew how long.

"It didn't sound like a joke."

"Can we just talk about this later? Sometime when it's not the middle of the night on another planet?"

"Do you want me to break up with you?"

Michael sighed, exasperated. "Yeah. You know what? That's exactly it. I stayed on Earth, moved to Brazil, and bought a restaurant with you because I don't want to be with you."

Maria made a noise of disgust. "Then what did you mean?"

Michael threw up his hands. "I didn't mean anything by it."

"Well it had to mean something."

"Yeah, it meant quit nagging me about getting married!"

Maria recoiled in shock and Michael immediately regretted his outburst. He tried to soften his tone. "Look, Maria – "

Maria lay back down on her side, facing away from him. "You're right. We should talk about this another time." He could see her shoulder's shaking, but when he laid a hand on them, she shrugged him off. "Just leave me alone." He heard her sniff and sighed, lying back down and also turning his back on her. Dealing with memories of his former life and helping to lead a rebellion to save a planet was enough without having to deal with his problems on Earth at the same time. He tried to feel some sort of compassion, but at the moment the only thing he could think was how he could relate to Rath's feelings at his unwanted betrothal.

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Max woke up suddenly, disoriented. He sat up and looked around, several seconds passing before he remembered where he was and what had happened. He looked over at Liz, hoping he hadn't woken her, and saw her lying on her stomach, hair spread across her pillow, fast asleep. He sighed and lay back down slowly, staring at the ceiling.

He had dreamed about Tess – that is, Queen Ava. It was the moment they had met. He had had flashes of the memory before, but never this vivid. He had dreamt everything about the moment in great detail, from the way the light had hit her hair – white blonde and curly, just like the Tess he had known - to how he had felt when he first saw her. It was strange, because she hadn't looked like Tess as Max remembered her – blonde hair aside - but it had felt like her…except there was an innocent nature about Ava that Tess had never had, even when she had been pretending innocence. Though he didn't often like to give Tess leeway for the crimes she had committed on Earth, there was no denying that she had lived a more difficult life than she would have as Ava. Tess had spent a great deal of her time on Earth fighting for her right to live. Max supposed that would have stripped anyone of their more innocent nature.

He tried to remember more about the dream – or memory – but felt some of the details start to fade a bit. He could still recall what she looked like, her skin a much paler shade of green than Arrin's, and how he felt, but other details, like the landscape around them, was starting to fade. He thought how he had felt the moment he had first seen her and felt his heart skip.

He frowned, turning his head to look at Liz guiltily. He knew it was just part of the memory, the projection of how he – Zan – had felt at that time, but it still felt like he was betraying Liz somehow.

I didn't know Liz then, he told himself. Liz wasn't born. I wasn't even on the same planet. But his justifications, no matter how true, didn't help him feel any less guilty. He lay back down, looking at the ceiling, and thinking of something he hadn't allowed himself to think about for years. Tess. His greatest regret.

Meeting Tess had been nothing like meeting Ava. Max hadn't felt his heart flip, hadn't even realized who Tess was. Though it pained him to admit it, he had eventually felt a pull towards her, but a part of him had always wondered if he had only been drawn to the idea of he and Tess because of Liz's (false) betrayal with Kyle. Though it had occurred to him, in some sort of abstract way, that his pull to Tess might be due to their former life, he had never really given it much credence. It had just seemed too weird to think about. Even though he had had a few memories of Antar, they had been vague. Now, however, he was starting to wonder if whatever pull he had felt towards Tess really had been because they had once been in love in another life. Max had only ever loved Liz, so when he had initially found out that he had married someone else in a former life, he had simply assumed that whatever love he had felt for Ava didn't compare to what he felt for Liz.

He wasn't so sure now, and that bothered him. A lot.

He looked over at Liz, watching her sleep peacefully, and shook his head to himself. Whatever he had felt, as Zan, for Ava was in the past. It didn't matter anymore, especially since, even if he had still loved Tess, she was dead.

The more important thing to wonder about was what he was going to do here. It was pretty obvious that Arrin expected him to be some great leader – to be whatever he had been before. But Max didn't know anything about how to lead a rebellion. On occasion, while in their self-imposed exile to Canada – though it had never felt like exile – he had studied information about different wars and battles on Earth. He hadn't really expected to need the knowledge, as he had never really believed they'd every return to Antar, but at some point it had occurred to him that learning about war could be useful. He had started with more modern history and worked his way backwards to ancient history, which he supposed was a little backwards. But he as he had gone through history, he had decided that techniques used by ancient empires were more likely to be of use than modern warfare techniques. Unfortunately most ancient history had very little specific details, unless you counted stories like that of the Trojan Horse, and somehow Max didn't think that kind of information would be valuable here.

Even if he did, by some miracle, manage to win this fight against Kivar, he knew nothing about leading a planet. Anyone watching the news could see that it was hard enough to lead a country, and that usually there were plenty who felt you did it wrong and had no problem publically voicing that opinion. He had had enough problems leading a group of six. Even on the rare occasions that everyone had kept their mouth shut about some decision he had made that they hadn't liked, he had seen the disappointment or disagreement on their faces. Frankly, the thought of trying to lead an entire planet scared him.

Max wanted to ask Arrin what sort of leader he had been as Zan, but he was afraid of the answer. Whatever else he had been, he had not been a king who gave freedom to everyone. In the amount of time he had been king, it would seem he had done little to nothing to resolve the mounting tensions with the so-called Ruby Antarians. Had he also been racist? Had he ascribed to the same beliefs as his father and grandfather? And if he had, how would he be able to convince anyone that it didn't matter to him now?

And, perhaps the most disturbing thought to cross his mind, what if he didn't want to be a part of this rebellion. He and Liz had a life in Canada. Even if they weren't free to see their families, they had started on the road to forming their own. What if he couldn't give all that up? Or worse, what if he said yes, and then Liz, or Michael, or any of them ended up dead? How could he live with himself?

But then he thought of all the people suffering on this planet, under the brutal thumb of Kivar and wondered if Liz, or Michael, or any of them would be able to respect him if he refused to help. Would he even be able to respect himself?

Were these his choices? Potential death for his friends and family or assured death for the people of Antar? How was he supposed to choose?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vilandra padded lightly down one of the minor palace hallways, shoes in hand, trying to make as little noise as possible. It had become increasingly difficult to find plausible excuses for her frequent trips outside the palace. She heard a noise behind her and turned her head to look as she rounded a corner, smacking into someone with such force that she was knocked off her feet.

From the ground across from her, a familiar voice began yelling. "Watch where you're going-"

When he recognized her, Rath sucked in a breath and then bowed his head. "Forgive me, Princess. It was entirely my fault." He quickly stood to his feet and held out a hand to help her up.

As she stood up, Vilandra tried to retain her composure, furiously trying to think of a place she could have been going and a reason why she wasn't wearing her shoes. "I believe I was the one not looking where she was going, Rath."

She expected him to deny her fault, but instead he merely nodded slightly, looking uncomfortably past her. She paused for a moment, wondering at his sudden awkwardness. He had loved her since they were children, she knew, but he had never been awkward around her.

He cleared his throat. "I beg your pardon, Princess, but…" he paused as if trying to think of a reason to leave her.

She couldn't believe her luck and eagerly waved him on. "Obviously you were in a hurry to be somewhere. Don't let me keep you. I am uninjured." Rath wasted no time leaving, merely bowing once and then walking quickly away from her.

As he walked away, Vilandra looked around, wondering if it was even still possible for her to get out of the palace unnoticed. In an amazing stroke of luck, it appeared that the hallway was still deserted. She walked quickly to a side door, usually reserved for servants, opening it slowly and hoping that she hadn't missed the changing of the guards, which was her only opportunity to sneak out. Seeing that the guards were indeed preoccupied, she quickly slipped on her shoes, pulled a scarf over her hair and walked quickly towards the entrance to the avenue. It was chaos in the streets, for which she was grateful as it would only make her temporary escape go unnoticed.

She walked quickly, counting the streets, making the eleventh left and the fourth right, coming to a stop at the seventh sand colored building on the right. She looked around to make sure she hadn't been followed and then slipped into the tiny alley between the buildings. It was barely large enough for her to fit, but there was a doorway halfway down. She knocked three times, waited, and then knocked four more. The door opened and Vilandra stepped inside, walking quickly to the back room. As she entered, she saw that the meeting had already started. She quickly took a seat in the back.

A Ruby Antarian, with hair so light it was nearly white, was speaking vehemently at the front. "Just because he orders his troops not to kill does not mean that Zan has any more respect for us than his father or grandfather! He claims he doesn't want bloodshed, and yet he does nothing to lighten our suppression!" Several members of the small crowd yelled out their support, while everyone else nodded their agreement. Vilandra watched Kivar speak, feeling proud of his ability to rally people. In the few short months that she had been attending these meetings, their numbers had grown from no more than twenty, to nearly one thousand. The only reason their numbers were so few tonight was due to the great number of them that had been detained by Zan's army earlier that afternoon.

Kivar pointed towards Vilandra. "Even the king's own sister does not abide her brother's complacency."


What is he doing? she thought. She had told Kivar several times she wished to remain anonymous. If it got out that she had been attending these meetings, she would end up with a permanent guard posted outside her bedroom door.

Several members of the small audience turned around to look at her in a mixture of surprise and mistrust. She looked down, hoping that maybe they would think Kivar was pulling a trick.

"Dear Vilandra," Kivar said, "Please come up and share your feelings on this matter."

Vilandra's head snapped up in surprise. She gave him a pleading look, begging him not to continue.

"Oh, don't be shy." He held his arms wide. "We are all part of the same cause here."

Kivar cocked his head to the side, his onyx colored eyes challenging. What game was he playing? Vilandra was just about to get up and walk away when he spoke again.

"Unless, of course, you are too ashamed of your cause to speak out against your brother."

Vilandra narrowed her eyes and clenched her jaw. How dare he? Kivar knew that Vilandra had joined his cause long before most of the people here. It was true that she had initially sought him out in defiance of her father and his crushing thumb of disapproval and dictation of her life – she had seen Kivar giving a speech to the people as her family's caravan had driven by – but over time his cause of equality had become as dear to her heart as to his.

She clenched her scarf in her hands as she stood up, lifting her chin and walking to the front, ignoring the whispers as she passed by. When she got there, she glared at Kivar before turning around to face the crowd.

"Don't be ridiculous, Kivar. Why should I be ashamed of our quest for equality? Because I am a royal?" She gave him her own look of challenge, but rather than irk him, a smile played at his mouth. He was enjoying this and it only incensed her further. She turned back to the crowd. "Or perhaps you think I cannot possibly value the cause because I am Emerald." She paused a moment to glance around at the crowd. "Perhaps you think I know nothing of oppression, that I merely live a life of pure luxury." She raised her voice. "Then you are mistaken! I am every bit as oppressed as any one of you! I may be Emerald, but I am not free to make my own choices. I have spent my life having my every choice dictated by my father. I am not free to come and go as I please. Even to be here, I had to sneak out the side door, and should it become known that I'm attending meetings such as these, I would become a prisoner of the palace, at best, or executed as a traitor to the king, should he so choose." Though it was unlikely that her brother would have her executed, she felt it best to remind them of the potential consequences of letting it become known that she had been attending these meetings. "So despite the color of my skin, I share your cause. I believe that all Antarians, regardless of whether they are Ruby or Emerald should have the ability to work as they choose, be schooled as they choose, or," she glanced over at Kivar, "marry as they choose, and I am willing to sacrifice anything to see that this dream becomes a reality."

Though she loved her brother, and though she knew that he did not share the same prejudices that their father and grandfather had, Vilandra also knew that changing the laws were not something he was keen on doing. Before their father had died she and Zan had been close, and Vilandra had frequently shared her frustrations at being little better than a slave in the eyes of their father. Zan had always seemed sympathetic, and she had, perhaps foolishly, assumed that when he became king, he would begin enacting the changes she had suggested. But it had been several months now since their father's passing and his ascension to the throne, and thus far the only thing Zan had done was marry Ava. Their father hadn't wanted them to marry due to "an unfortunate connection." Ava's parents had had a Ruby daughter, who had of course been given immediately into the care of adoptive Ruby parents, and their father had not wanted to risk "tainting" the royal line. Zan had somehow felt that by marrying Ava, he was taking a step towards equality, but as Ava was herself an Emerald Antarian, it had done very little to settle the rising tension. Vilandra hoped that when she finally told Zan her intentions to marry Kivar, he would understand that it was of political advantage to allow her to do so. She hoped she could make him see that a so-called marriage alliance between herself and Kivar would be a show of good faith that her brother intended to enact change. The fact that she loved Kivar would merely fortunate and would no doubt help reinforce the idea that the new generation of royals did not restrict their love based on color.

Vilandra was startled out of her reverie by applause. She had nearly forgotten that she was standing in front of a crowd. Kivar walked over, placing a hand on her shoulder. She was still angry at him, and resisted the urge to shrug it off.

"Very well put," Kivar said. He raised his voice. "Even the king's own sister suffers suppression under his reign!"

Vilandra looked over at Kivar, frowning. That wasn't what she had said. She had said she suffered under her father, not her brother.

"We cannot stand by and let another generation of Antarians suffer the bigotry of an uncaring monarchy!" There was a shout of agreement. "Starting tonight, we set our focus on sights on large scale change!" More shouts joined the first. Kivar grabbed Vilandra's hand and raise it up. "And it begins and ends with Vilandra!"

Vilandra turned her head sharply, surprised by this turn of events. Kivar continued speaking, encouraging everyone to come back the next evening to learn of their assignments, hopefully with the return of a few of the detainees.

As the crowd was dispersing, Vilandra glared at Kivar and ripped her hand away from his, walking quickly to toward the front of the building. She could hear Kivar following her, knew what he was expecting, but she was in no mood. She was far too angry. After she rounded a corner, out of sight of the dispersing crowd, Kivar grabbed her arm, whipping her around and pinning her to a wall. He was dipping his head to kiss her when she pushed him roughly away.

"How dare you!" she hissed angrily, ducking around him and glaring.

She saw a flash of anger in Kivar's eyes, but it was quickly replaced with a look of ennui as he crossed his arms and lazily leaned against the wall. "I'm sorry, Princess, have I done something to upset you?"

Vilandra fought to keep her temper in check. She knew he was baiting her by calling her Princess. "I can't believe you called me out like that!" she continued. "You know I have no wish to have my presence in this rebellion widely known. And what did you mean by making me a part of your so-called plan without even telling me?"

Kivar looked away, as if he was bored, and then rolled his eyes back to her, a challenging look in them. "Are you so embarrassed to be a part of our cause? Does it worry you that we might lose and your precious brother might actually force you to leave your luxurious lifestyle when we marry?"

Before she thought it through, Vilandra raised her hand to slap Kivar. But before she could make contact, his hand whipped out grabbed her wrist. She raised her other hand to slap him, but he caught that one too, spinning her around and pressing her back against the wall. She struggled to get away, but his hands were holding her arms firmly against the wall at her sides.

"Let go of me," she said between her teeth.

Kivar moved his head towards hers, stopping when his nose was nearly touching hers, desire burning in his eyes. "No," he said quietly. Vilandra felt the familiar racing in her heart as he closed gap, pressing his lips against hers.


Isabel's eyes shot open, her heart racing. She swallowed heard, feeling short of breath.

"Bad dream?"

She jumped, startled, and looked to her left, where Kyle was lying next to her. She held his gaze a moment, unsure how to answer.

She shook her head. "No…Not a bad dream."

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Musickat18
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Re: The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen) Auth. Note, 7/1

Postby Musickat18 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:38 pm

Author's Note: Thank you so much for your patience! I finally am able to use a computer in my free time. Yay! My arm issues aren't all resolved, but they're getting there. Anyway, I hope this chapter was worth the wait. And thanks again for reading. :)

Chapter Five


"A good dream then?" Kyle tried to keep his tone light, but given their current situation, and the fact that he had just spent the longest night of his life trying and failing to sleep next to Isabel, it was difficult.

Isabel got out of the bed, walked over to the window, and wrapped her arms around herself, shaking her head slowly. "I think it was a memory," she murmured, so quiet Kyle almost didn't hear her.

He drew his brows together, curious. "What was it about, then?" he asked, also getting out of the bed. He took a step towards her, but then stopped, unsure if he should walk over to stand next to her, or keep his distance. After Isabel's shut down of their near kiss the night before he was feeling confused and unsure about where their friendship stood.

Isabel closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Kivar."

He didn't respond, not knowing what to say. He wanted to ask her to elaborate but hesitated, afraid of the answer and far too aware of the fact that Kivar and Vilandra had been lovers.

Isabel turned towards him, though her eyes were unfocused. "I – Vilandra – had been going to these…rebel meetings. I don't know how long before Kivar's attack on Zan, but I think it was at least several months." Isabel paused, frowning slightly. "She wasn't betrothed to Rath yet."

Without realizing he was doing it, Kyle stepped closer to her. "How do you know that?"

Isabel looked at him – or more accurately, through him, as if trying to remember more details. "She...accidentally ran into Rath when she was sneaking out to go to the meeting." She started pacing, her shoulder brushing Kyle's as she walked past him. "She was wondering why he was acting weird around her."

"Maybe he loved her," Kyle blurted without thinking. He swallowed and tried to maintain a look of nonchalance. What was going on with him?

Isabel, seeming unaware of the awkwardness of his statement, nodded slowly as she paced. "Yes, he did, or at least Vilandra thought he did, but that didn't seem to be the problem."

"What do you mean?" Kyle asked.

Isabel stopped pacing and looked at him, chewing on her bottom lip while a wrinkle appeared in between her brows. "It just felt like...like she knew he loved her and he knew she knew, but they hadn't ever let it get awkward. They just never talked about it." Her frown deepened and she looked away, speaking almost to herself. "It was so realistic…"

He shrugged to maintain the appearance of casual calm, but couldn't help but be startled by Rath and Vilandra's nearly parallel situation with himself and Isabel. "Well," he replied, "if it's really a memory, then it was real at some point."

Isabel nodded slowly again and restarted her pacing. She was still wearing the jeans and soft blue cashmere sweater she had been wearing when they were taken, but had removed her boots and jacket. Isabel had always been a great dresser, but even Kyle, who neither knew nor cared to know anything about fashion, could tell that Paris had sharpened her look. As she paced, he admired her long legs, slender from years of walking through Paris. Her hair, no longer dark but her natural golden color, was now at least half-way down her back. It caught the light every time she turned, shimmering as she walked.

Realizing he was staring, Kyle looked away and cleared his throat. "What else happened?" he asked.

Isabel didn't speak for a moment, pacing and thinking. "It was a meeting," she said after several moments. "Like an underground sort of thing. She had to sneak out to go to it and Kivar was the speaker…He kept talking about…oppression." She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose again. "I think…" Isabel stopped suddenly, as if just realizing something. "I think it was about racism."

Kyle blinked in surprise. "What?"

Isabel frowned in concentration. "There were – are – different colors. Red and Green."

"Sounds Christmas-y," Kyle said.

Isabel shot him a look and he held up a hand. "Right. Sorry. Not the time for jokes."

"It seemed to be pretty serious. Like…like…" Isabel grappled with the right word. "Like serious racism…almost like slavery." She frowned and spoke her next words softly. "And Zan didn't seem to care."

Kyle digested these words, trying to reconcile all he knew of Max with the picture Isabel was painting of Zan. The two didn't add up, but then neither did Isabel and Vilandra. "How do you know that?" he asked.

Isabel looked over at him, sadness in her eyes. "He wasn't doing anything to stop it."

Kyle didn't know what to say to that, so he said nothing. Isabel looked haunted by this revelation, or possibly by the entire memory, again wrapping her arms around herself. He tried to think of some way to change the subject. When a thought struck him, he cocked his head to the side, trying to smile, though not quite succeeding. "Do you remember what you looked like?"

Isabel frowned. "No…I – she - didn't look at a mirror. But I remember what Rath looked like," she said, almost to herself, before adding, "and Kivar."

Kyle raised his eyebrows and, choosing to ignore the part about Kivar, replied, "Really? You remember when Michael looked like a little green man?"

Isabel rolled her eyes, but the corners of her mouth quirked up. "Hey. Don't forget that I'm an alien too."

Kyle smiled - a real smile this time - trying to keep the playful mood going. "Yeah, but I'm sure green was your color."

Isabel's grin widened. "Oh and green isn't Michael's color? Have you been paying attention to which colors look good on Max too?"

Kyle laughed. "No, no. But you know everything looks good on you so the leap isn't that hard to make."

Isabel blinked a couple times, her smile slowly fading into a look Kyle couldn't decipher. "What?"

Inwardly cursing at himself for losing the easy banter so quickly, Kyle laughed nervously. "Well, you know it's true." He cleared his throat and looked away, jamming his hands into his jeans pockets, uncomfortable as Isabel regarded him. He waited for her to say something, but the silence stretched on, seeming endless. He quickly glanced back up to her and saw that the light from the window was glinting off the hair spilling over her shoulders, creating a halo affect around her. She was so beautiful his chest tightened and he had to resist the urge to walk over and kiss her.

He wanted to tell her that sleeping next to her had been torture, that he's been in love with her for over ten years, and that he knows she doesn't feel the same way. Perhaps it was the fact that he couldn't actually see her face, or simply the fact that he had grown tired of pretending that he only wanted to be friends, or maybe he was just feeling reckless because of their uncertain immediate future, but he wanted her to know. He wanted to tell her.

"Look-"

"Kyle-"

They both stopped and Kyle gestured for Isabel to continue, already feeling his determination wane under her sad look. Isabel cleared her throat, looking away from him. "I just…wanted to say that…" She took a deep breath and looked at him. "I think you're great. You're my best friend – the only one I've ever had actually – and I just don't want to do anything that'll jeopardize that." She stopped, biting her lip and looking worried.

Kyle stared for a moment, a crushing disappointment rendering him temporarily speechless.

After a few moments, he shook himself back to reality, forcing himself to smile at her through the sudden dull ache in his chest. Although, it hurt to hear he'd been friend-zoned – even if he had already known that's where he was – he also felt relief that she had finally said it. Now any niggling doubts that he might have had about whether she saw him as more than a friend could be put to rest. This was better…

"Yeah." He cleared his throat. "You know, that's what I was going to say too." He laughed mirthlessly. "I mean, I know you don't see me that way – which is fine by the way. Actually, I think it's great that that's, you know, out there. I mean, I was going to say the same thing, of course, - because I totally feel the same way – so really you did me a huge favor." He stopped, realizing he was rambling like a teenage boy and looked away, clearing his throat again. "I think I'll sleep on the floor from now on though."

When she didn't respond, Kyle looked back at her and was startled at how sad Isabel looked. It was obvious she didn't buy his story. He felt himself flush in humiliation. Of all the things she might feel towards him, pity was by far the most degrading to his pride.

She took a step forward. "Kyle –"

He held up a hand. "You know, it'll be better if you just don't pity me." He tried to smile, but he was pretty sure it looked more like a grimace.

Isabel shook her head. "I don't pity you." She bit her lip. "It's just…it's better if we just stay friends." She lowered her voice. "I don't want to lose you."

He frowned, now feeling irritable. "What are you talking about? You're not going to lose me." She looked up, startled, and he wondered if she had thought he couldn't hear the last part. Another silence stretched between them. Isabel yet again wrapped her arms around herself, turning back to stare out the window. Kyle closed his eyes, trying to push away his humiliation and resulting irritation.

As the minutes ticked on in silence, the air became ever thicker with awkwardness. Kyle had had his share of awkward moments – hello teen years – but never had they felt more like a tangible thing, like he could just reach out grasp hold of it in the air. He looked at Isabel and noticed that she seemed to be almost wilting under it, her shoulders curving inward as she leaned forward to press her forehead against the glass. He mentally shook himself, finally succeeding at locking his emotions away in a far recess of his mind.

In an attempt to lighten the mood and distance them from the awkwardness, he tried smiling again, clearing his throat. "So what did Michael look like?"

Isabel turned around, surprised, and stared. After a few moments she adopted a falsely bright smile. "Well, he was green." She tapped her chin. "And not too bad looking actually."

Kyle raised his eyebrows. "Oh really? Do tell." Isabel smiled - a real smile this time. He really loved her smile.
********************************************************************************************************************
Maria lay next to Michael, fuming. She had no idea how long it had been since his outburst, but she knew he hadn't gone back to sleep. He was tossing and turning and sighing loudly, but she resolutely kept her back to him and pretended to sleep.

After Michael had snapped at her, her first response had been hurt and tears, but it hadn't taken long for anger to set in. Now she was so angry it was all she could not to kick him. They had been together for eleven solid years, and nearly three years before that, and yet it would seem nothing had changed. She had thought, with the way they had built their life in Brazil, that maybe they had both grown up, that they'd finally managed to have a functioning adult relationship. Of course they still had their spats, but all couples did. The point was that they had been happy in Brazil. They had been through a lot and come out the other side relatively successful, owning their own business, living life. But in the past twenty-four hours her confidence in the longevity of their relationship had been severely shaken. The past few years she had convinced herself that she was the most important thing in Michael's life - he had stayed on earth for her and she had left everything for him - but the moment she even mentioned the idea of marriage, he closed off and acted all weird. Well…not weird. Like Michael. Like the sixteen year old boy that she had fallen in love with. Except she wasn't sixteen anymore, and neither was he. Maria swallowed hard, tears pricking behind her eyes again, making her even angrier at him for putting her through this. She had never – not once in the entire eleven years since they had left Roswell - regretted her decision to give everything up for him, until now. She rapidly blinked her eyes and breathed slowly to avoid hiccupping and alerting Michael that she wasn't asleep. The worst part was where was she going to go? Even if they were on earth, she couldn't go back home to Roswell. The feds knew she had traveled with the group, so the only thing she'd get if she went back was an endless life in an FBI holding cell. And even if she did leave Michael, and go find a place on her own, she'd still have to see him every day at the restaurant – not to mention that they would have to stay in contact in case they needed to suddenly move again. Maria sighed quietly. And here on Antar? She couldn't even open a door or use the bathroom without Michael's - or some Antarian's - help. It's not like she could just request a separate room.

Consumed by the utter helplessness of her situation and no longer able to stand lying next to him, Maria threw the covers off violently, and stood up. Keeping her back to Michael, she walked over to the window and stood with her arms crossed, her nails biting into her skin. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, feeling restless. She didn't feel like stoically standing and staring out a window. She felt like throwing something.

She heard Michael stir, get out of bed, and walk towards her.

"Look, Maria –"

She whirled around, her anger boiling over at the sound of his voice, and pointed a finger in his face. "Don't! Don't you dare try to apologize!"

Michael stopped mid-step, looking taken aback. "What?"

She made a noise of disgust, looking at the ceiling. "You know what? I have listened to you apologize for eleven years. I am sick of your apologies." She advanced on him, but rather than retreat, he held his ground and looked down at her. This only incensed her further. "I gave up everything for you! We built a life together! But I guess I fooled myself into thinking you had grown up." She thought she saw something pass through his eyes, but it was gone almost immediately, replaced with the blasé look he got when he refused to let her in. It had been years since she had seen that look, and it hurt to see it now. "What is so horrible about marrying me? Do you even love me?" Her voice cracked on the word love and she cringed inwardly.

"Don't be stupid," Michael returned, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms.

She laughed sarcastically, throwing her hands in the air. "Oh I'm the one being stupid?"

"Yes," he said, "you are."

"And yet," she retorted, "you haven't answered my question. What's so horrible about marrying me?"

Maria could see Michael's muscles working as he clenched his jaw, refusing to answer the question.

She smiled sarcastically, refusing to let him see how much he was hurting her. "I see. How enlightening."

Now done with trying to talk to him, she walked over to the door and stood with her arms crossed. Without looking at him she said, "Let me out."

"Maria-"

"Let. Me. Out," she said through clenched teeth.

Michael sighed, rolling his eyes and walking over to her. "Why is this so important to you? Why do we have to get married? Why can't things just stay the way they are?"

Maria closed her eyes. How did she make him understand that it wasn't the marriage itself that mattered, but the fact that he was so opposed? Originally it had been an almost casual thing to mention, just to see how he'd react, but then he had been so against it, it had made her wonder. And that's not to mention what happened last night. Did he regret letting her come with them? Was he only with her as an obligation? Would he leave her if he had a choice?

"Because," she said, still through clenched teeth, "it just is."

"I see. How enlightening," he responded dryly.

Maria's eye's snapped open, glaring at him in response. She turned around and slapped her hand on the white square that would let her out of the room. When nothing happened, she felt a white hot burst of anger, and barely stopped herself from kicking the walls…or Michael. And then, just as quickly as it appeared, it drained out of her, leaving behind a hollowness. She leaned her head against the wall, eyes closed, arms hugging herself, resisting the urge to cry. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction.

After several seconds, Maria heard the door slide open. She pulled her head up and looked at it. Then, without looking back, she walked out quickly, hearing it shut behind her with a satisfying thud.
**********************************************************************************************************************
Max walked down the granite-like hallway towards the dining room they had left the night before with Liz beside him, in search of Arrin and food. He hadn't eaten much the previous evening but was starving now.

He glanced towards Liz, guilt bubbling up as he recalled his dream, how he had responded to it, and most importantly, that he hadn't told her about it. He wondered how she would react to the news that he was remembering his past. He wanted to tell her, to talk about what he had seen, but he wasn't sure how she'd react. On the one hand, he was sure she'd be curious to know what he had been like before. There had been nights when the group had first split up, when they would lie there and they would talk about what few memories he had, would wonder what sort of person he had been. But on the other hand, his and Tess's relationship was a subject they strictly avoided talking about. Though it had been many years since Tess had died, he didn't think Liz had ever completely gotten over his sleeping with her.

When they reached the dining room, Max found Arrin, Julayna, and Maria already there. Maria was sitting on the opposite end of the table from the other two, with her head in her hand, looking down at her plate, and poking at something which looked vaguely like an extremely spongy pink pancake with a two pronged utensil. He turned to Liz, but she was looking at Maria concerned. When she looked back at him, raising her eyebrows, he said, "Go ahead," his mouth quirking up. Liz smiled, squeezed his hand, and immediately walked over to join Maria.

Seeing that he had arrived, both Arrin and Julayna stood up and walked over. When they reached him, Arrin spread his feet shoulder width apart and clasped his hands in front of him in rigid formality. Julayna stood next to him in a similar position, though looking much more relaxed.

"I trust you found your rejuvenation satisfactory?" Arrin inquired.

Max nodded. "Yes…thanks."

Julayna gestured towards another spread of food, equally as colorful and alien as the previous evening. "If you are in need of nourishment, please help yourself."

Max nodded and walked over to the table, Arrin and Julayna trailing behind him. As he started picking up pieces of food, Arrin spoke. "Now that you have had time to recover from your journey here, I believe it is time for you to greet your subjects."

In his surprise, Max dropped the gray rectangle he had been transferring to his plate. It clattered onto the table, hitting several serving utensils. "My subjects?"

Julayna cleared her throat, glancing at Arrin. "Perhaps this topic would be better discussed after you have eaten." She grabbed Arrin's arm. "Come Arrin, let us wait for Zan back at the table."

Max watched them walk back to the table, the phrase "your subjects" playing over and over in his mind. He turned back around and swallowed, picking up the unappetizing gray square he had dropped, his raging hunger now turned to nausea. He grabbed one of the pink spongy pancakes and then turned to go sit down. He glanced first towards Liz, but it looked like she and Maria were having a fairly intense conversation, so instead he walked over to sit down next to Arrin and Julayna.

As Max sat down, Arrin folded his hands and placed them on the table. Julayna kept her hands in her lap but sat extremely straight. As he surveyed his plate, trying to decide what to eat first, Max idly wondered if everyone was always so formal or if the pair of them were acting this way because they viewed him as their monarch. He grabbed one of the utensils, the two pronged one that Maria had been using earlier, and speared one of the grey squares. He wanted to sniff it first, but felt self conscious with Arrin and Julayna watching him eat. Instead he simply took a bite and chewed slowly. It wasn't bad actually. The flavor was unlike anything he'd had on earth, but it seemed to be both sweet and salty, and sort of the texture of toasted bread.

Feeling uncomfortable with the silence, Max swallowed, cleared his throat and searched for something to talk about.

"So, uh…how come all the doors and stuff can only be accessed with Antarian DNA?"

"Kivar has aligned himself with several of Antar's former enemies," Arrin said. "Several years ago we found that the resistance had been infiltrated by a mole from one such planet. In order to ensure that the same thing did not happen again, we developed the technology."

Max frowned taking another bite while he digested the information. "But how could they infiltrate? Do they look like you?"

Julayna spoke up. "They have developed a sort of device which, when worn around the neck, can trick the eye. Though his appearance was not similar to ours, when he wore the device we were all fooled. But you cannot change your DNA, hence the technology we now employ."

Max nodded, impressed. "Makes sense." He looked over at Liz and Maria. "The problem is that my wife and human friends can't even use the…uh…purification space without one of us." He looked back at Julayna and Arrin. "That's going to be a problem."

Julayna glanced at Arrin and replied, "I'm…sure the technology could be modified to include human DNA." Arrin's jaw tightened; clearly he was not happy with this prospect.

Max cocked his head slightly. "You don't seem to think much of humans." Arrin didn't respond. "Why?"

Julayna's quickly jumped in, looking worried. "Please do not think we are prejudice. We have all been through many things. Trust is not-"

Max interrupted her, keeping his eyes on Arrin, who's expression had remained blank, though a muscle was working in his jaw. "Thank you, but I'm asking Arrin. Why don't you trust humans?" Max gestured to himself. "Last I checked I was at least half human."

Arrin blinked once and responded with a flat voice. "You are Antarian. Your human half was only needed so that you could blend in with the species of Earth."

"You didn't answer my question," Max said.

"I have no ill will towards the human species," Arrin said.

"Then why don't you want to make changes to the system?"

Arrin was silent a moment, seeming to consider whether or not to answer. Julayna rested a hand on top of his clasped ones and again spoke to Max. "We have endured much over the past thirty revolutions." She glanced quickly at Arrin and then back to Max. "We have been betrayed before and are only being cautious. The only human we have encountered before now was Ava – the one you called Tess."

"I'm just as human as Tess was." Max glanced at Liz and then spoke in quieter tones. "Our baby was entirely human and you completely rejected him."

Julayna shook her head, though Max kept an eye on Arrin, who held Max's eye while maintaining his blasé exterior. "No. It was not us. It was Kivar and his inner circle. Only the privileged upper classes even saw the child. We had nothing to do with the rejection of your offspring."

Max shook his head. "But why trust me? It doesn't make any sense."

Arrin spoke up. "You are our rightful king."

"Tess was your rightful queen," he countered.

"She aligned herself with Kivar," Arrin said, his voice rising. "She was a traitor."

"And what makes you so sure that I'm not a traitor too?" Max retorted, beginning to grow angry. "Ava wasn't a traitor before, but Tess was. What makes you think I'm not going to betray you too?"

Before Arrin could reply, Michael walked into room. Both he and Arrin watched, temporarily sidetracked, as he immediately went to the food table and began piling food on a plate. Max frowned in confusion as Michael seemed to ignore Maria, who merely glared in his direction, and came to sit next to Max, immediately beginning to shovel food into his mouth. Max saw Maria get up and stalk out. Liz shrugged her shoulders at Max and then followed Maria out.

"Hello, Rath," Julayna said, clearing attempting to break the awkward tension in the room.

"My name isn't Rath. It's Michael," he replied through a mouthful of food. "Where's Isabel?" He looked at Max, who shrugged.

"I don't know. I haven't seen her."

Michael picked up a red cube and popped it into his mouth whole. "Well, shouldn't she and Kyle be up by now? They left before we did."

Max looked at Arrin and Julayna. Julayna's entrie body tensed. "Have you seen her?" Max asked.

Arrin responded with, "She and her human companion are taking their nourishment in their room."

"Their room?" Max asked. He had no idea that Kyle and Isabel was an item, though he supposed it had been some years since he had contacted either of them. He wasn't sure how he felt about it.

"Weird," said Michael.

"Are we going to stop by to pick them up before we go meet my…subjects?" Max asked.

Arrin shook his head. "Both Vilandra and her companion are not feeling healthy. They will remain in their quarters."

Max frowned, sensing that Arrin wasn't being entirely truthful with him. He looked at Julayna, but for once she refused to look back, her hands hidden underneath the table. He glanced at Michael, who looked equally suspicious. "Ok…then take us to them."

"I'm afraid I cannot allow that," Arrin responded.

"Why not?" Michael demanded. "And her 'companion' is named Kyle, by the way."

"They are being kept under quarantine," Arrin said. "If they are indeed unhealthy, then we do not want to spread the contagion among the rest of the population. We are not inoculated against the contagions of earth. To catch one could be a costly and deadly mistake."

"Fine," said Max. "Then take us to her. If she's sick then I want to make sure she's ok."

"I simply cannot allow it," Arrin replied.

"Look," started Michael. "It doesn't matter if Isabel and Kyle are sick, ok? Even if we catch it, it won't be deadly to us. You can just quarantine us."

Max narrowed his eyes, his gut continuing to tell him that Arrin was lying. "I'm going to see Isabel."

Arrin gave Max an almost condescending look. "It is not advisable-"

Max cut him off. "Do you or do you not, call me your king?"

Arrin gave Max a measured looked. After a beat he simply nodded his head. "Indeed."

"Then I command you to take me and Michael to Isabel." Max looked between Arrin and Julayna. "And tell me what's really going on here."

"As I said before – " Arrin started.

"Don't give me that." Max looked over at Michael who nodded at him. They both knew something was up. "Why are Isabel and Kyle being quarantined?"

Julayna looked at Arrin and when it became apparent that Arrin was not going to answer, Julayna spoke softly to him. "It does no good to start off with deceit Arrin."

Arrin looked at Julayna for a few moments before nodding slightly and turning to look at Max. He placed his folded hands on top of the table again. "Vilandra is being kept to her quarters until such time as she can be tried for her crimes."

"What the hell?" Michael burst out. "What do you mean tried for her crimes? Isabel hasn't done anything wrong. And she is not Vilandra!" He turned to Max. "Can you believe this?"

Max sat back, mimicking Arrin by placing his hands folded on top of the table. He set his jaw and then spoke very slowly, trying to reign in his anger. "You will release her."

Arrin pressed his lips together, obviously also trying to reign in his anger. It was apparent to Max that Arrin was not used to taking orders.

"Without Vilandra's betrayal, Kivar would not have had opportunity to tear this world apart," Arrin said slowly. "For the sake of this planet, she must be made to answer for what she did, for whom she betrayed."

Michael slapped his hands on the table. "This is bull-"

"Michael." Max didn't speak loudly, but Michael still shut up. Max kept his eyes fixed on Arrin. "Listen closely. Isabel is not Vilandra. She has never betrayed me and she will never betray me. We didn't even know who we were until we were 16. We were raised by good parents and we love each other. And we may remember much of our lives on Antar, but we do remember this: Vilandra did not know that Kivar planned to assassinate Zan. If you have any hope of getting me to cooperate, then you will take us to her immediate and let her out. And if you can't handle having her walk free, then by all means return us all to earth."

Max waited for Arrin to respond, but it was Julayna who spoke first. "You would turn your back on your people?"

Max looked at her. "Isabel is my people." He gestured towards Michael. "Michael is my people. Liz, Maria, Kyle. They are my people. They are the ones whom I have spent the last thirteen years trying to keep safe. Believe me, I want to kill Kivar just as much as you do, but not at the cost of turning my back on the only people I've cared about for the past ten years. Isabel is my sister and her freedom is my condition for agreeing to give up the life I've built on Earth to be your king."

He looked back at Arrin. "Take it or leave it."

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Musickat18
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Re: The Rebellion (CC/UC, M/M M/L K/I, Teen)

Postby Musickat18 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:57 am

Author's Note: Hello! So sorry for the long wait. A lot has happened in the past year, and it also is looking like my shoulder/arm pain is a chronic condition now. But I've decided I won't let that stop me from writing! So anyway, the next update won't take a year. :lol: Thanks for reading and as always feedback is appreciated. :)

Chapter Six


"Maria, wait a minute!" Liz hurried after Maria, who was all but running down the hallway.

As she rounded a corner Maria called over her shoulder, "Just leave me alone please!"

Liz paused a moment to catch her breath; it had been a long time since she had had to run. Breathing heavily, she rounded the corner and stopped, surprised. Maria was sitting on the floor, her back pressed against the wall, knees up, with her head resting on top of them. Her shoulders were shaking as she lowered one arm to fiddle with the short hem of the tight, red dress she was wearing. Liz hurried over and sat next to her, putting an arm around her. After a couple of minutes, Maria's shoulders stopped shaking. She took a big breath, raising her head and swiping at her eyes.

"This is stupid. I'm not doing this," she said.

"Maria…what's going on?" Liz asked.

Maria hiccupped and then took another deep breath to calm herself. She shrugged off Liz's arm and stood up, facing away from Liz and folding her arms. "Michael and I had a fight."

Liz stood up as well. "Yeah, I gathered that. What about?"

Maria looked up and sighed, not responding for several moments. "Marriage."

"Oh." Liz frowned, unsure what to say.

Maria continued talking, starting to pace. "I mean, you know we've been together forever, and things were actually pretty great for us in Brazil. We own a restaurant, and it's been doing well, we have a home, a life. Things were good, you know?" She stopped to look at Liz, who nodded encouragingly, and then sighed. "And then, I don't know, I just…" She started pacing again. "One day one of my friends asked when we were getting married, and I said 'never', just joking, because we had a great thing going and why mess it up? And then I mentioned it to Michael and he just…I don't know. He didn't freak out, but he seemed pretty relieved. And then it just turned into this thing. It's like I couldn't get it out of my head. Why was he so relieved? Why doesn't he want to marry me? It's just…it's stupid! I don't even care about getting married! I just…want him to not…be against it." She looked over at Liz. "That's stupid right?"

Liz shook her head, but before she could speak Maria started pacing again. "And then about a year ago, there was a thing during Carnaval. We fought and got separated and then I found him in some random girl's hotel room."

Liz gasped. "Oh Maria, I'm so sorry!"

Maria sighed, exasperated. "No, I mean, he didn't cheat. He was stupid, drinking, and you know how weird it gets when he drinks. Honestly, I'm surprised the girl didn't run screaming, but maybe she was too trashed to even notice, I don't know." She waved her hands. "That's not the point. We fought, like, big time. Probably the biggest fight we'd ever had. Eventually it blew over, but I just couldn't get the image of that half naked girl out of my head, and even though I know it's psycho, and I know he didn't cheat, I just couldn't help wondering if the reason Michael didn't want to marry me was because he was bored, or wanted out, or regretted being with me, and the only reason he was with me was because of our situation. And you know Michael. Anytime I even tried to talk to him about it, he would clam up, just like when we were teenagers, which, by the way, is really annoying. And then yesterday, Little Miss Carnaval showed up at our door."

"What?" Liz asked in surprise. "Why was she there?"

"Not important," Maria responded, waving a hand. She then went on to fill Liz in on the fight she and Michael had had recently, her pacing bringing back Liz's morning sickness. "When I finally confronted him last night about it, he just blew up at me." She stopped and looked at Liz. "So I left the room, and now I have no idea what I'm going to do because I can't stay in the same room with him and I can't be in a room by myself since I can't open anything, and the only thing I have to my name is this stupid red dress that I only wore to make him jealous, and there you have it. My pathetic sob story."

"Maria, I'm so sorry."

Maria looked up, tears pooling in her eyes, shaking her head slightly. "I just don't know what to do."

Liz walked over and hugged Maria. "Hey. We'll figure something out."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arrin looked at Max, his jaw working, eyes narrowed slightly. After several tense moments he nodded his head once and said, "Very well."

Max let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding, and nodded back at him. "Thank you." He stood up, Michael following suit, and gestured towards the door. "After you."

Arrin glanced at Julayna and then stood up, walking over to the door and down the hallway. Max followed, Michael and Julayna behind him.

After several tense moments of silence, Max spoke. "Listen, I don't want you to think I don't care about the people here-"

Arrin stopped abruptly and turned around, cutting him off. "You do not need to explain yourself to me, Your Highness. You are my king and are free to order me about as you wish. It was foolish of me to forget. I have been under my own rule for too long."

Arrin hesitated a moment before bowing at the waist. Max frowned at the gesture as Arrin turned abruptly and continued walking. Michael walked past, giving Max a confused look. Max shook his head slightly and kept walking. Having someone bow before him only reiterated his feelings of inadequacy.

Walking in silence, they rounded a corner and nearly bumped into Liz and Maria, back from wherever they had gone.

Liz walked over to Max, Maria trailing behind her, eyes red. "What's going on?" Liz asked.

Max grabbed her hand and nodded for Arrin to continue leading the way. "We're going to get Isabel and Kyle."

"Why? Where are they?"

Max leaned down towards Liz, speaking quietly. "I'll fill you in later."

Arrin stopped in front of a door, putting his hand on the white square to open it. Max immediately walked in, noting that the room was similar to his own. He was grateful Arrin had not kept Isabel locked in a prison cell, though he suspected that had more to do with Vilandra's standing as a princess than any goodwill Arrin had for Isabel.

"Max?" Isabel turned around from the window, eyes wide, and then strode quickly across the room, enveloping him in a hug. She whispered quickly in his ear, "Max, they've locked us up here. You have to help us."

Max pulled away. "Already done. I've negotiated your freedom."

Kyle, who had been sitting on the bed, walked over next to Isabel. "What do you mean?"

Max looked at Arrin and then back at Isabel and Kyle. "In exchange for my help in freeing the people from Kivar's rule, all charges against you will be dropped."

Isabel exchanged a look with Kyle before giving Arrin an icy smile. "How generous."

Arrin returned Isabel's look with one of complete impassiveness, hiding whatever feelings were lurking beneath. He turned to Max. "If that is all here – "

"No, that's not all." Kyle took a step closer to Max, glowering at Arrin. "You believe him? You believe that he's just going to let Isabel go, let her walk freely around."

Max frowned. "He gave me his word."

Kyle shook his head. "And what? That's good enough for you?"

"Kyle –" Liz started to interrupt.

Kyle pointed at Arrin. "No. I don't trust him. For all we know, he's just using you, Max, the same way that Kivar used Vilandra. He'll use you to overthrow Kivar and then turn on you and take the thrown away."

Max clenched his jaw, irritated at himself for not thinking of the same thing. He glanced at Arrin, who's impassiveness never waivered. He closed his eyes, buying himself some time to think through what to do. He had spent the majority of his life hiding. Hiding who he was, hiding from people intent on capturing him for who knew what purpose. Why did he immediately trust everything Arrin was telling him?

He felt a hand on his arm and opened his eyes, expecting Liz but finding Julayna.

"Zan," she said, her voice soft. "I know you have no reason to trust us, but I can assure you that our motives are pure." She glanced at Arrin and then back at Max. "For as long as I can remember our goal has been to find you and return you to your thrown. Neither Arrin nor myself wish to usurp your rightful place." She frowned at him. "If you could just remember your life here, you would know that we are telling you the truth."

Max looked into her eyes and frowned, suddenly feeling they were somehow familiar, that he had seen them before. An image of catching a small ruby skinned child caught looking at him and bowing her head flashed quickly through his mind. He blinked as the image, the memory, disappeared.

He frowned, unsure what he had just seen, and then looked at Kyle. "The price for your freedom now is that I work with them. Regardless of their plans, Kivar is still ruling and the people are not free. Their freedom is worth the risk." He looked over at Arrin, narrowing his eyes slightly. "And if we find later that we've been double crossed, we'll deal with it then."

Max looked around the room for Liz, finding her just behind Julayna. She smiled at him and nodded encouragingly. He looked back at Kyle. "If we are going to get anything done here, then we have to start by trusting each other."

Kyle opened his mouth to say more, but Isabel put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him with a shake of her head. Kyle looked at her a moment before twisting away and back a few steps. Still looking at Isabel, Kyle shrugged his shoulders. "Fine."

An awkward silence filled the room for several moments before Arrin spoke. "If that is all, then we should proceed directly to the common area. Your subjects are waiting to see you, your Highness." Without waiting to see if Max followed, Arrin walked out the door. Max glanced at Liz and then followed behind, frowning at Arrin's behavior. By his own claim he considered Max his king, and yet he did not treat him like one, constantly ordering him around.

Arrin walked down the same hallway they had just come through, turning down another fork, and then another. It was almost as if the compound was a giant labyrinth. With each turn, Max's nervousness heightened. What did these people expect their king to be? He was no longer Zan. He barely remembered who Zan was. He was half human, and married to a human. He had been living on the run and hiding nearly his entire life on Earth. He knew nothing about being king and the closer he got to being faced with subjects, the more apparent this became to him.

After what felt like mere seconds, but was probably several minutes, Arrin stopped in front of a large double sided door. Just like the many other doors, there was a white square on which to place your palm. As Arrin placed his hand there and the doors began to slide open Max's pulse increased, his hands starting to sweat. He could feel his heart beating in his ears and the sound of the blood rushing by. What was he going to say? Did they think he had a plan for taking back the thrown? What if they didn't like him? What if they didn't think he was fit to be their king after all? What if they disapproved of his wife? What would he do if they refused to accept Liz?

Max glanced at his friends and saw that they appeared to share his nervousness.

"Your Highness."

Max looked back at Arrin who was gesturing for him to follow. Maxed walked through the doors into a large cavern. It looked similar to the one his room looked out on, and he wondered if it was the same one. He looked around, prisms flashing in his eyes, still not seeing the people. Arrin stopped at what appeared to be the entrance to a cave.

"Please wait here while I announce your arrival."

As he walked away, Michael leaned over and whispered "Is it just me or is this a little over the top? Why the hell are they all hiding in a cave?"

Before Max could respond, he heard Arrin say loudly, "I present to you, King Zan, the second."

Startled by the introduction, Max stood rooted to the spot until Michael gave him a shove. Max stumbled a bit before walking slowly through the mouth of the cave. As his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, he was even more startled by the sight that met his eyes. In the cave – although "cavern" would be a more accurate description of its size – were hundreds if not thousands of people, heads bowed and down on one knee.

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Isabel paced in her room. Despite her fear that she would again be locked in, she had returned there after their introduction to the people. Kyle had offered to return with her, but she had urged him to go with the others to the arena. Arrin had decided that Max and Michael should begin their combat training as soon as possible, and the masses were all eager to watch. Isabel wanted to be alone to think, away from the condemning eyes of the Antarians. Arrin had only introduced Max and Michael to the masses, completely ignoring her and their friends. Max had not taken the slight lightly and had made sure to introduce her and the others. Closing her eyes, she could still see the condemnation in the eyes of the Antarians. She knew it wasn't her they saw, but Vilandra and her betrayal of the people. Now in her room alone, she found herself restless. She didn't want to be here. She didn't belong here, but had nowhere to go. Even if she requested she be returned to Earth, she doubted Arrin would agree. The only reason she had her freedom was because of Max. It had been a great risk to Arrin's people to even bring them here, and she doubted they would risk detection by opening another wormhole to send her back.

She glanced at the bed, thinking of Kyle, yet another problem. Being cooped up with him in this room was dangerous. Sleeping beside him last night had not been easy. She had been careful to keep her breathing slow and her movements few, pretending to sleep, but had been awake most of the night. She had finally fallen asleep after hours awake listening to him toss and turn, aching to reach out and touch him. She huffed at herself now. It was irresponsible let anything happen with Kyle. Although she knew what others would think of her conclusions, she knew she was cursed for Vilandra's actions. Even if it she hadn't meant to, Vilandra had killed everyone she loved for Kivar and now everyone Isabel loved died. First Alex, then Jesse. She wasn't going to allow the same to happen to Kyle. She cared too much for him to take the risk.

A knock on her door startled Isabel, making her jump. She frowned wondering who would be knocking on her door. Everyone was supposed to be in the arena. When she opened the door Maria stood in front of her.

"Hi." Maria walked straight through the door to the middle of the room without invitation and then turned around, taking a big breath. "So here's the thing. I can't stay with Michael. We had this huge fight – like really huge – and I cannot stand to sleep in the same bed with him, and I know we were never best friends, and were really more like casual acquaintances despite the fact that we spent a few years on the run together because let's face it, it's a little weird that you were Michael's fiancé in another life and our personalities don't really mesh and I get that, but I just really can't stay there, so I was wondering if Kyle and I could switch rooms and you and I could stay together." She paused from her run-on sentence to take another breath. "I mean I don't know what is going on with you and Kyle, which is really none of my business because he's a great guy and whatever, so I totally understand if you say no –"

"Yes," Isabel said, interrupting whatever else Maria was about to rattle on about.

Maria stared a couple seconds before saying, "Really?"

Isabel smiled, relief at a solution to her issue with Kyle nearly making her giddy. "Yes. It's totally fine. I'll talk to Kyle as soon as he gets back. He can go stay with Michael, or get his own room, or whatever, it doesn't matter. He'll figure something out, and it's really no trouble for you to stay here."

Maria stared again, a wrinkle forming between her eyebrows. "Is everything ok with you two?"

"Yep!" Isabel replied, wincing internally at her falsely bright tone. "Perfectly fine."

Maria frowned before shaking her head slightly. "Whatever. It's none of my business anyway." She smiled back at Isabel. "Well this is great. I would say that I'd go pack my things but I don't really have any…well except for a pillow I grabbed on the way out."

"You grabbed a pillow on your way through the wormhole?" Isabel asked.

"Not on purpose. I mean, we were in bed when the wormhole hit and I just sort of grabbed at anything I could get my hands on to stop from being sucked away."

Isabel shrugged. "Makes sense."

Maria walked up and looped her arm through Isabel's, catching her off guard. "Well, now that it's all settled, do you think you could walk with me back to my old room to grab that pillow?"

"Um…sure," Isabel replied.

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Michael stood next to Max, surveying the weapons in front of them, thinking they looked more like medieval weapons than the advanced technology he had expected to find.

"Any idea what any of these things do?" he asked quietly.

Max glanced at him quickly. "No. You?"

"Not a clue." Michael picked up a weapon at random, trying to ignore the sudden rush of chatter in the crowd.

"I was kind of hoping that seeing them would jog a memory," Max said.

"I can't believe you agreed to a fight," Michael said. "And even worse, that you dragged me into it." He stared at the thing in his hand. It looked like a sword of some kind, except the blade was so thin it almost resembled a huge kabob skewer. He flicked his wrist, thinking it looked like something Zorro would use. Suddenly the metallic part went completely limp, the weapon now resembling a shiny whip. Michael looked up at Arryn, who was watching them passively, hands behind his back. "Is it supposed to do that?"

Arryn nodded. "That is the Ferrinquiens, a deceptively simple weapon. A quick movement at the wrist will render the metal either rigid or relaxed. When rigid it will pierce through even the toughest armor. When relaxed it will leave severe marks on the flesh of the victim."

Michael raised his eyebrows, turning the weapon over in his hand. "Sounds more like a torture device."

Max was eyeing the weapons, but hadn't yet picked anything up. Arrin picked up a weapon which reminded Michael of a sword, except that instead of straight the blade was curved like an S. "Might I suggest this weapon," he said, handing the sword to Max.

Max turned it over, frowning as he looked at it. "What is it?"

"It is called an Anguem," replied Arrin. "It, along with the ferrinquiens, is used in close combat."

Max nodded. "Yeah, it looks similar to an old weapon on earth." He looked over at Michael. "Ready?"

Michael looked down at the Ferrinquiens and sighed. "Yeah, whatever. Let's get this over."

As they followed Arrin towards the center of an arena, Michael tugged on his collar. Before selecting weapons they had changed into what Arrin called "training attire" but which looked and felt suspiciously like a glorified black, spandex unitard, covering them completely from the neck down to their feet, which were covered in knee-high black boots. The material of the suit felt both stretchy and hard. It moved with the body, but when he flicked his finger on his arm, it made a clacking sound.

He looked around the arena as they walked, taking it in for the first time, having been distracted before by the idiocy of fighting when they were untrained. The training arena was in the same location as the "common area" Arrin had taken them to. The entrance to the cavern was a couple hundred meters in front of where they now walked. The arena itself reminded Michael of the pictures he'd seen of the Colosseum, although this almost appeared to be naturally occurring. There was a wall made of the same stone as the rest of the cavern, curving around in an oval shape with stone bleachers rising up. It was much larger than they needed, the crowd only taking up one quarter of the seating capacity. He scanned the crowd, finding Liz and Kyle, but not Maria. He sighed, briefly wondering when they would start talking again.

Before he could start dwelling on the subject, Arrin stopped and turned around. "In order to assess where your training should begin, you will be fighting as a team against two of our best fighters."

Michael and Max looked at each other. Great.

Two emerald Antarians, both also dressed in the same full body armor as Michael and Max, walked out onto the field. Michael narrowed his eyes and turned to Arrin. "Hey, do you mind giving me and Max – Zan – some space for a minute?" Arrin nodded once and backed up several steps. Michael grabbed Max by the arm and attempted to pull him further away from Arrin's listening ears.

Max yanked his arm out of Michaels grasp and hissed, "What are you doing?"

Michael frowned. "What?"

Max glanced over his shoulder at the arena. "You want them to think I'm weak? That you boss me around?"

Michael gave Max a look. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Max leaned forward, talking low. "I am supposed to be these people's king and you grabbing me by the arm won't exactly instill confidence in my abilities to lead."

"Is that what this is about?" Michael gestured around them and scoffed. "You're agreed to this fight to prove something? Because let me tell you, Maxwell, when they see just how little we know about fighting, they're not going to be jumping in line to go take on Kivar with us." He gestured to the weapons in their hand. "I may have been the commander of your army before, but I sure as hell don't know anything about fighting now. If you want to prove to these people that we can fight, then I suggest we put down these weapons and fight with our fists, because that's all I know how to do."

Max took a deep breath. "Look, it may have been stupid to agree to a fight now, but if I back out now, how am I going to look?"

"Yeah, and how are you going to look flat on your back with a weapon at your throat?"

An uncertain look passed through Max's face. "It's too late. I'm not backing out." He walked around Michael and spoke to Arrin. "We're ready."

Michael sighed, exasperated, but turned around and prepared to fight. He flicked his wrist so that the metal of his ferrinquiens was rigid. Glancing over at Max, he saw that Max had taken a sort of fighting stance, with one foot behind the other and his sword arm forward. Michael mimicked the stance, feeling stupid. Their opponents stepped forward. One, the taller of the two, held a weapon that looked like a trident on both ends. The other's weapon was an Anguem like Max's.

Arrin nodded at the four of them and stepped back. "Whenever you are ready. The object is to disarm your opponents. We are not looking for excessive bloodshed." Michael swallowed, wondering where the line for "excessive" was.

The Antarian with the double trident twirled the weapon in his hand, stepping back and pulling his arm backwards before lunging forward towards Max. Michael had just enough time to see Max swing his blade up awkwardly before the other Antarian swung his blade towards Michael's side. Michael jumped out of the way, swinging his own blade towards his opponent, missing by several inches. He tried poking the weapon forward, but the man stepped deftly to the side, swinging his blade again, making contact with Michael's weapon, nearly knocking it from him hand. Michael tightened his grip on the weapon, bringing his other hand to hold it as well, pointing it outward. His opponent stalked him in a circle, swiping at him, almost lazily. It was clear that Michael was not giving him much of a challenge. Michael flicked his wrist, turning his sword into a whip, lashing it out towards his opponent's blade, again missing by several inches.

Rath grinned, swinging the ferrinquiens over his head and towards Belin. As the whip gripped Belin's sword Rath flicked his wrist, the whip stiffening as a charge of power rushed from Rath down the length of the blade, pulling the weapon of Belin's hands. Rath picked it up and rushed forward pointing both blades at Belin, who sighed and raised his hands in defeat.

Rath stepped back and handed Belin his weapon, clapping him on the shoulder. "What does that make this?" he asked, grinning.

Belin rolled his eyes. "Second in command to the king, and you still have to gloat."


Michael gasped as he hit the ground. His opponent had him pinned, a smirk on his face as he pointed his blade at Michael's throat. Michael looked at the weapon in his hand, shaken by the sudden vision. What was that?

Suddenly he became aware of the low murmur coming from the crowd. He glanced at Max and saw that he was being slowly backed towards the wall of the arena. Michael looked back at his weapon and then up at his opponent. Narrowing his eyes, he gripped the weapon in his hand, wondering if what he was about to do was brilliant or stupid. He had never been able to control his power, but he wasn't going to just sit there and lose.

He took a deep breath and flicked his hand forward, lashing the whip towards his opponent's blade and sending a burst of energy through his hand simultaneously. The whip gripped the sword, the energy racing up its blade to the hand of his opponent, who hissed in pain, loosening his grip as the energy pulsed up his entire arm. Michael quickly flicked his wrist, his whip returning to blade form, pulling the anguem from his opponent's hand. Michael tried to grab it, but it flew several feet to his right, landing in the dirt. He saw his opponent start running towards the blade and kicked his foot out to trip the man. As he landed in the dirt, Michael hurriedly got up, tripping as he ran towards the weapon. He felt a hand grip his collar and flicked his wrist backwards, the ferrinquiens whipping around to make contact with his opponent. The man let go of his collar and Michael lunged forward, gripping the anguem in his left hand and turning around to face his attacker. The Antarian was still lunging towards him, so Michael brought both blades up, flicking his wrist again, to make a sort of X against his attacker's throat. The blade of the anguem curved around the back of his neck, and Michael jerked him forward, pointing the blade of his ferrinquiens at his opponent's neck. His opponent raised his hands in defeat, bowing his head.

Michael, breathing heavily, removed the weapons from his opponent's throat and stepped back, only then becoming aware of the cheering. He looked over at Max and saw that he was holding the double trident at his opponent's heart with the anguem around his neck. Max looked over at Michael, a stunned look on his face as he stepped back, releasing his hold on both weapons. They fell to the dirt, Max staring at them wide-eyed.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maria tugged at the hem of her skirt for the umpteenth time. Of all the times to get sucked into a wormhole, it had to be when she was in a mini-dress.

"Hey," she said to Isabel as they walked down the hall back to
their room. "You wouldn't happen to have some extra clothes lying around, would you?"

Isabel looked over, shaking her head. "Sorry. Kyle and I were on a picnic when we got sucked away."

Maria looked sideways at Isabel. "So…what is going on with you two? Are you an item?"

Isabel laughed mirthlessly. "No. Definitely not."

"Were you an item?"

Isabel shook her head. "Nope."

Maria frowned. "So…just friends then?"

Isabel glanced over. "Yep. Just friends."

They stopped in front of the door, Isabel putting her hand on the white square to open it and walking through. Maria followed, throwing her pillow onto the bed, eyeing the sheets and wondering if she could make an impromptu toga out of them. Or better yet, go back to Michael's room and use his sheets.

"So, why just friends?" Maria asked, sitting down on the bed and pulling the sheets around herself.

Isabel looked out the window. Maria had to admit, if you were going to be stuck underground, having a cave full of crystals to look at was the way to go.

"I don't know." Isabel shrugged. "I guess we just never saw each other that way."

Maria rolled her eyes. "Oh come on."

Isabel turned around. "What?"

Maria stood up, hugging the sheets to herself, tripping on the bottom. She might need to track down some scissors if this toga idea was going to work. "I saw the way Kyle defended you. The guy's into you."

Isabel blinked at Maria, startled. "Well…it doesn't matter. I don't like him like that."

Maria shrugged, now distracted by the mechanics of toga-making. "Ok, whatever." She removed the sheet and folded it into a triangle, then grabbed two ends, twisting it around her so that the long side of the triangle was on her left side, tying a knot on her right shoulder. She looked back at Isabel, posing. "What do you think? Asymmetrical toga?"

Isabel sighed. "What exactly are we supposed to sleep with?" She asked.

Maria shrugged again. "We can go steal Michael's sheets."

Isabel rolled her eyes and then began removing the belt from her jeans. She threw it at Maria. "Here. It needs a belt. And wrap the sheet in on itself a little more, unless your goal is to flash everyone every time walk."

Maria caught the belt and tugged the fabric around her a bit more, fastening the belt at her waist. She walked over to a mirror and looked at her handiwork. "Not bad. I think the belt really makes it." She looked back over at Isabel and smiled. "Thanks." She started unfastening the belt. "Now to get out of this dress." She left the toga tied on and shimmied her way out of the dress, tossing it on the floor with her foot and then refastening the belt. She let out a sigh of relief. "You have no idea how tight that dress is. I've been sucking in for like 2 days straight."

She turned back around towards the mirror, pulling her hair over her shoulders. Suddenly the memory of prom hit her, her toga and hair reminiscent of that long ago day in a white dress and flower crown. She swallowed against the melancholy that hit her, laughing to herself now at how simple their lives had been. Oh they had thought they were complicated, but they hadn't known the meaning of complicated. That was before Alex died, before they knew Tess was a snake and a murderer, before they had to flee to different countries.

Maria sighed, turning from the mirror and forcing the painful memories away. She walked over to where Isabel was standing and looked out. Down below them, Antarians were walking from one cave into the next. It appeared that the fighting practice was over.

"So do you remember anything about Vilandra?" Maria asked, averting her eyes when she saw Michael walk out of the cave.

Isabel's head turned sharply. "Why?"

Maria looked up, surprised. "I don't know. Michael had a dream last night that he thought was a memory." She shrugged. "I just wondered if you had remembered anything."

Isabel looked back out the window at the people below them. "Yes."

"Really? What do you remember?"

Isabel sighed. "It's not important."

Maria paused a moment before a thought dawned on her. "Ah," she said. "You remembered something about Kivar…What was it like? What were you like?"

"I just…I don't know. I was different," Isabel hedged.

"Oh come on, spill."

"I'd rather not."

"What's the big deal?" Maria asked. "We all know you didn't really betray Max –"

"I don't want to talk about it, ok?" Isabel snapped.

Startled, Maria stepped back, hands up. "Ok, ok." She looked around for a change of subject. "Um…I'm just…going to go find Liz. Think you can let me out?"

Isabel looked over at Maria, who smiled tightly and pointed at the door. Isabel nodded and walked over, slapping her hand on the white square. Maria walked out. It was certainly going to be interesting sharing a room with Isabel.

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"That was a very successful first combat attempt," Arrin said, sounding pleased. Max looked over at him as they walked and was surprised to see a crack in his aloof demeanor. Arrin almost looked like he was about to smile.

Max cleared his throat. "Yes." He glanced over at Michael. "Surprisingly so."

"We must begin a strict regimen of diet, exercise, and combat training immediately." Arrin seemed to be talking to himself. "If your technique improves with each training as quickly as it did today, we may be able to move our strike forward."

"How soon were you planning to attack Kivar?" Max asked, looking through the crowd ahead for Liz.

Arrin's mask of indifference returned as he turned to Max, all traces of excitement gone. "Our initial estimation was within sixty days, but if you continue to improve at such a rate, we may be able to strike in thirty days."

Max turned to stare Arrin, appalled. "You want strike Kivar in thirty days?"

"That time should be more than enough for you to regain use of your skills," Arrin returned.

"Regain use – " Max cut off, suddenly realizing what Arrin was referring to. "You knew that we'd start getting our memories back."

Arrin nodded. "Yes. It was rumored that there was a trigger built into your DNA which would allow you to remember the lives you led prior to your demise on Antar. I assume that since the pair of you made a rather miraculous recovery from certain defeat in the arena that the rumors proved true."

"Hang on." Michael grabbed Max by the shoulder and they, along with Arrin and Julayna, stopped walking. "You got your memories back, too?"

Max glanced at Arrin and Julayna and then back at Michael, nodding. "Yes…well, sort of. I've only had flashes of memory. I don't have anything close to everything, but when I was out there, I just…I don't know." Max thought back to the fight, how he had been blindsided by a memory of training with Rath. When he had snapped out of it he had been backed against a wall, but the anguem had felt right in his hand, almost like an extra appendage. He looked up at Arrin, eyes narrowed as he realized something else. "You knew."

"Knew what?" Michael asked, looking between Max and Arrin.

"Arrin knew that I used to fight with the anguem." He turned to Michael. "He's the one who handed it to me." Max looked back at Arrin. "You knew I'd remember."

Arrin nodded. "I was not certain you would remember your favored weapon, but I suspected it might help trigger the mechanism." He turned to look at Michael. "I am certain it was not coincidence that you picked the ferrinquiens. It was your favored weapon as well."

Max looked at Michael, the wheels in his mind turning. His instincts were screaming at him not to trust Arrin. He took a steadying breath and turned towards Arrin. If Arrin was going to claim Max was his king then he was going to start acting like it. Max narrowed his eyes, trying to put as much conviction in them as he could. "Arrin, if you continue to play games with me then I will find a new advisor."

Arrin blinked, the muscles in his jaw working. "I'm afraid I don't know to what you are referring."

Max leaned forward and held up a finger. "First you imprisoned Isabel." He held up a second finger. "Then you tried to keep it from me." He held up a third finger. "And now you decided to test out your theories without telling me." He leaned still closer, talking low. "If I find out anything else to list, then you can go align yourself with Kivar, because I will not be toyed with. You call me your king, so start acting like it and quit lying to me."

Arrin stared for several seconds. Max held his breath, anger and uncertainty warring in his mind. This was twice in only a few hours that Max had directly challenged Arrin. Eventually Arrin nodded. "As you wish, Your Majesty. Please accept my humblest apologies."

Max exhaled and nodded. "I accept…and please call me Zan," he replied, chaffing underneath the royal title. "Or better yet, Max."

Arrin looked at him sharply, anger radiating from him. "I am your subject and therefore I will refer to you by the title to which you were born."

"Arrin!" Julayna put a hand on Arrin's arm and shook her head.

Max frowned at the rebuke and opened his mouth to reply.

"Maxwell."

Max turned to look at Michael. Michael in turn looked at Arrin and Julayna. "Can you give us some space?"

Julayna nodded and pulled a relucatant Arrin away.

"What is it?" Max asked.

Michael turned back to look at him. "Arrin's right."

Max stared, shocked. "What?"

"You can't have it both ways." Michael sighed. "Look, I'm down with you being all kingly and exerting power over Arrin, but you can't expect everyone to be your friend."

"Why not?" Max returned. "I'm not better than anyone here. I'm not even full Antarian. How am I supposed to lead these people if I don't develop any friendships?"

Michael shook his head, pity in his eyes. Max frowned, surprised at the change he saw in Michael. What had happened to his impulsive, hot headed friend?

"Kings don't have the luxury of friends," Michael said and then turned to walk back towards Arrin and Julayna, leaving Max staring.


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