Candyliciouslovah: We're glad you're enjoying our fic. Thank you for reading... Here's more.
keepsmiling7: Left you on the edge of your seat? *Cindy says to not lean too much more forward or lean too far backward.* Thank you for the compliment. Oh yes, Isabel and Christmas go together. For her being here with them on the run it's her way of coping with being away from her family.
Beautiful family story.
Thank you! Here's more....
sarammlover: Lol, your reaction mirrored Michael's perfectly.
We're back though, and now... here's more.
What????????????????? Kyle can make people disappear!!!! That's crazy!! I love it! I wasn't expecting that at all.
Yay!!! Mission accomplished. We're so glad you like it. We've been working the story up to this point for a long time and so couldn't wait for Kyle to get his powers. Thank you for the compliment.
I love the details in your scene, you can really picture everything and feel like you are right there with the characters. I know that must take forever.
Thank you, and you're so right. It does, lol.
We're glad you enjoy the moments between the guys and the kids. We enjoy writing them.
Yes, more updates are coming. Here's one for now...
Thank you for your wonderful review
"Wait." Maggie pulls KK’s arm. "Mama says to come to the kitchen, she has a pan of Macaroni and cheese, baked apples and magic bars for Alien_Friend."
*KK asks what the occasion is?* Maggie wrinkles her nose and turns to whisper into Cindy's ear and then turns back to KK after Cindy whispers back to her..* "Cindy says that Mama found out that it was her birthday a couple days ago."
Hmm, looks like we'll have to get someone to deliver it for us.
Eva: Hey girl, so glad to see you again. Yup, Kyle's power is similar to Liz's and to Isabel's. We'll be finding out more in this update.
Jim Valenti wasn’t a man prone to pacing. But pace he did. Up and down, back and forth, any direction his feet carried him. He was a man who worked things out in his head, rationally, focused, and without falling back on nervous behaviors. But this involved his son and that threw rational right out the proverbial window. He hadn’t been able to rest since Kyle had appeared in the kitchen, trying to remember everything about the younger man as he had stood there, his expression a mix of hope, relief, fear, and confusion.
He turned his head to look at the woman sitting in his living room. He had almost forgotten she was there. He had gone to see her only after his shift had started that morning, stopping in at her shop to ask her to stop by in the evening. As the days had passed and weeks had turned into months, the eyes on them had started to slowly withdraw from their small town. They operated under the assumption that they were still being watched, knowing it was too risky to think otherwise. Their children’s lives were at stake and they were careful when they met, spoke, made phone calls, or communicated in any way.
He had maintained communication with Agent Duff and she had provided him with the necessary equipment to perform regular sweeps of all their residences and places of employment. She had filtered information to him when she was able to and thanks to her help they knew their children had narrowly escaped the agents tracking them on more than one occasion. She couldn’t give them any real information about them because she had no way of knowing how they were holding up under the pressure of living on the run.
Just that morning he had swept the house again and the device hadn’t registered evidence of any surveillance equipment. He hadn’t slept since seeing his boy standing in the kitchen, afraid to leave the house in case he showed up again. He was beginning to think he had imagined the whole thing and had even ended his shift early, claiming he didn’t feel well and needed to go home. No one had questioned him because after hours of walking the floor, staring at the spot Kyle had stood in for barely more than a breath, he looked like he could be coming down with the flu.
“I saw him,” he said quietly. “He was here.”
Amy Deluca sat sideways on the couch, her right leg tucked beneath her and her chin resting in her hand. “I believe you, Jim.”
“He stood right there in the kitchen. He looked at me, called out to me, and just as he took a step towards me he disappeared.”
She bit her lip to keep from asking a bunch of questions that he didn’t have the answers to. His son had only been there for a moment, only uttered a single word, so she knew pressuring him for answers would only complicate the situation. “That isn’t a power or ability that any of them possess, is it?”
He shook his head as he retraced his steps. “No, not that I’m aware of. Max heals, Isabel dreamwalks, Michael blows things up, and Liz can teleport or project her image, I’m not very clear on her ability.”
“And she developed that ability because Max healed her, right?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I think it was a couple years after he…” His steps slowed and he stared at her. “He healed Kyle.”
“So you think maybe he’s developing some sort of alien ability?”
“It would make sense and the timeframe would be about right.” He wondered what it was that determined the kind of power they developed. Was it something that drew on the person’s inner strengths? Maybe all of that meditating Kyle had been doing was finally going to pay off. He planted his hands on his hips and turned to look at the Christmas tree he had put up recently and his eyes took on a faraway look. “He’s lost weight,” he murmured quietly.
Amy swallowed hard at the concern that was so visible on his unguarded features. She could only imagine that if she were to look at herself in the mirror she would see the same thing reflected back at her. “They’re…” she trailed off because whatever she was going to say was either going to be an empty platitude or something to fill the emptiness around them. “I’m sure they’re doing the best they can, Jim.”
He drew himself up to his full height and drew in a deep breath that he expelled loudly. “Yeah, I know.” He reached out and plucked one of the plastic branches. He could still remember that Christmas with Tess, could still hear his son telling her that he used their tree to dry his socks rather than bother dragging it in the house to be decorated. He was a cop, he should’ve seen through her lies. He was trained to see past the facades people presented but she had slipped past his radar and he had invited evil into his home.
She could see the self-recrimination slipping into his expression. “Jim, don’t go there.” She stood and crossed the room to stand next to the tree, reaching up to take his hand. “She wasn’t your average criminal and there’s no way you could’ve known just how devious she was. What she was able to do, getting into people’s heads and controlling their thoughts…” her teeth ground together as she recalled her own brush with the girl. Jim had been there to help her when the memories had started to return and the hours spent held hostage inside the UFO Center began to surface.
He squeezed her hand in an attempt to pull her away from the negative thoughts. “I noticed you put a tree up when I drove by the other day.”
She nodded. “Maria’s always loved Christmas and I just couldn’t bear the thought of not having one even though she won’t…”
“Why don’t we go in the kitchen and have a slice of that coconut cream pie you brought over? I’ll even make a fresh pot of coffee.”
She smiled and nodded, falling into step beside him as they walked into the kitchen. They worked in companionable silence and as they sat across from each other a short while later they let the sounds of water sizzling and snapping from the coffee pot fill the air around them. “You know, when Maria was little and I was getting the shop started I dragged her everywhere with me.” She took a sip of her coffee and then turned the mug between her hands. “Later, when she got older I was busy with work, in and out of town all the time and she was busy with school and working at the Crashdown, and somewhere along the way we started to spend so much time apart.”
Jim sighed and rubbed his forehead. “I know what you mean. I was right here and half the time I was so wrapped up in work that I just didn’t see my own son. He was growing up right in front of me and I missed it.” He smiled crookedly. “I never would’ve thought it’d take aliens to make me open my eyes.” He shook his head. “There were times when he seemed to take on the parental role because I just,” he laughed gruffly and pointed at his head, “I wasn’t here.”
“I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder if I raised Maria or it was the other way around.” She sighed. “Sometimes I think we raised each other.”
He watched her as she toyed with a small box she had been carrying around for months. It always seemed to appear when they were talking about Maria. “There is an advantage to having that partner in your life when you have kids.” He lifted his mug and tapped the edge against hers as they drank in agreement, pausing when they heard a quiet sound from the living room. He frowned, wondering if another of the ornaments had fallen off of the tree to shatter and decorate the skirt below.
Kyle barely registered the sound of fragile glass breaking as he reached out to stabilize Maria when she stumbled. He wasn’t as disoriented as he had been the first time this had happened but he could tell their trip had thrown her off balance.
Maria’s right hand covered her mouth as nausea rolled through her stomach and dinner threatened to make a reappearance. “Oh, my God, Kyle, what just happened?” she rasped.
He looked around the room, taking in the familiar furniture that was comfortably worn in, the few family photographs scattered around, and the Christmas decorations hung haphazardly with Dad’s special touch. “I think… I think we’re in my house.” He shifted back and glanced down when what was left of the ornament they had knocked off of the tree crunched loudly beneath the heel of his boot. He lifted his head to look at her and turned to stare at the sock tangled up in one of the branches of the Christmas tree. “Make that I’m certain we’re in my house.”
“Wait… you mean like we’re really there? Here? We’re in Roswell standing in your house,” she clarified, forgetting about the nausea.
Kyle nearly jumped out of his skin when she moved to pull her hand free of his, her intent to begin an exploration of their surroundings clear. “Whoa! Do not let go of my hand,” he said emphatically. “I go back without you and El Capitan won’t hesitate to line me up in front of a one-hybrid firing squad.” He squeezed her hand as a reminder to hold on. “I’m not ready to meet Buddha in person, got it?”
Tension rolled off of Michael in waves as he did his best to wear a rut in the floor. He paced the area where Kyle and Maria had been when they had disappeared, his eyes locked on the spot where his girlfriend had been sitting. He had waited for them to rematerialize for several minutes after they had vanished into thin air but when the spot had remained vacant he had begun to prowl.
Isabel had known what to expect from Kyle’s description of events but she was still shaken at witnessing it for herself. She wondered if he had been able to reach his destination with his unintended companion, if his newfound abilities would allow for the extra passenger or if it would have derailed his focus in any way. She shot a glance at Michael before looking at her brother. “We shouldn’t have pushed him.”
“We had to know – “
She shook her head. “You have no idea how much this situation’s freaked him out, Max. He’s not like us, he wasn’t born like this. I mean, we were, and it took time for us to get used to being… different.”
Max rubbed his hands over his face as he glanced at Liz and he turned to follow her gaze across the room. The tic in Michael’s jaw seemed to match his agitated steps and he could see the weight of his decision to push Kyle written in his stiff posture. His fear for Maria was palpable though he tried to hide it. “Iz, he’s gonna be okay,” he said as his attention shifted to his sister once more. “He said the last time it lasted for maybe a minute before he found himself right back here in the cabin.”
“And it’s been more than a minute, Max,” she said insistently. “Do you see him?” She began to fidget with her necklace as she stared at the loveseat. “God,” she whispered, “first Grant, then Alex, and now…” her lower lip trembled in spite of her attempt to control the show of weakness. “I can’t lose Kyle too.”
Michael whirled around to face her and his voice had an edge to it when he spoke. “No one’s losing anyone here. That isn’t an option.”
Liz straightened up, visibly pulling herself together. “You guys, let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?”
Jim and Amy stood frozen as the quiet voices from the living room filtered in and they stared at each other in shock. He grabbed her hand when she started to run from the kitchen and he lifted a finger to his lips in a bid for silence. He had seen too much over the past few years to just assume that what they were hearing was real. Keeping himself strategically between Amy and their unexpected ‘guests’ proved to be a challenge because the woman was constantly in motion as she tried to get around him. His knees locked as he entered the living room and she slammed into his back.
“Kyle?” He barely kept from reaching up to rub his eyes to make sure what he was seeing was real.
“Maria?” Amy cried out, almost afraid to hope that her daughter was really standing in front of her. “Maria, oh my God, honey, is it really you?”
Maria’s eyes widened when she saw her mom pushing to get past Jim and she bolted across the room, dragging Kyle with her as he struggled to maintain his hold on her hand.
Kyle tripped over his feet and cursed the bulky gear he was wearing because it made it more difficult to move around. He remained silent when she launched herself into her mother’s embrace and he hurried to move before she could rip his arm out of its socket.
Amy leaned back but was reluctant to release her daughter, afraid that if she did she would simply disappear again. “But… how?” she asked, her gaze moving from Maria to Kyle and back again.
“Son?” Jim asked quietly.
“It was me, Dad,” Kyle spoke up. “I’m the one who got us here.” He held up the hand that was tightly wrapped around Maria’s. “She hitched a ride accidentally. This’s pretty new to me. The first time it happened it was unintentional and it may have lasted a minute, tops.” He shrugged when Dad reached out to cup his hands around his neck, his blue eyes taking in every nuance of his features. “It’s really me, Dad.” He lifted his free hand to wrap it around his dad’s wrist. “I don’t know how long we’ll be able to stay.”
“Understood.” The older man shook his head. “I’m just glad to know I wasn’t seeing things the other day.”
Kyle’s eyes traveled over his dad, taking in the loss of weight and the eyes that seemed set deeper and filled with shadows. He was opening his mouth to ask how he was when Dad suddenly pulled him into a tight embrace.
“Merry Christmas, Son,” Jim whispered raggedly. “It’s so good to see you.” He leaned back and his hands clenched tightly around handfuls of the coat Kyle wore. “We need to talk. I know your time is limited but it’s important.”
He felt the familiar feeling of being pushed beneath a wave and he gripped Maria’s hand harder, unaware of her startled yelp.
“Ow!” Maria’s head snapped to the side to look at Kyle. She could see his expression and could only assume that he was losing his grip on their current position. “No, no, no, no, no, Kyle. We’re not ready to leave yet.” She released her mom and turned to face him. “Look at me.” His eyes locked on her and she nodded. “Breathe with me, okay? Breathe in slowly, hold it for a moment, and slowly – “
“Somehow this feels like a Lamaze class,” he muttered but followed her instructions.
She rolled her eyes at him. “Just let whatever it is that’s trying to pull you back pass.”
He nodded at Maria when the feeling began to pass as he relaxed and he breathed a sigh of relief. “Dad…”
“I know we don’t have much time, Kyle, so we’d best say as much as we can.” He waited for his son to nod before continuing. “We’re not safe here. We’ve been under close surveillance until recently. It has eased a bit but we routinely sweep our homes and businesses and we’re careful to monitor our conversations and when and where we meet.”
“We suspected as much.”
“We intend to leave. We have a plan in place and we’re just waiting until we have the details nailed down.”
Kyle glanced between his dad and Maria’s mom. “We?”
“I’d rather not list everyone. Even though I swept the place earlier today I don’t wanna risk mentioning someone who isn’t on their list. They have enough people they can use against you.”
“Okay, I understand. You’ve included Grandpa, right? He doesn’t need to be in that place, Dad, and if we can get him someplace safe…” He frowned when his dad swallowed with difficulty. “What?”
“Son…” his chest tightened and he shook his head.
“No.” His vision blurred and he dropped his gaze to the floor just as his dad’s arms came around him in a crushing grip.
“Kyle, I went to visit with him every day. You were with me every time.”
“When?” He shook his head. That croaking sound couldn’t be his voice.
“I’m sorry to hit you with this,” he apologized, seeing how hard his son was taking the news. “His heart gave out in September.” He nodded as they pulled themselves together, knowing they could run out of time at any moment. “With this ability and seeing that you were able to bring someone along for the ride, maybe we’ll be able to meet at some point. I need to talk to Max.”
Kyle straightened up and wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand. “Okay, where?”
Jim glanced at Maria who was safely ensconced in her mother’s embrace and then back at his son. “Where I took them when we rescued Max. He’ll know where.”
He nodded. “I’ll tell him. When?”
“You set it up and when you guys can manage it, come and get me.”
Amy brushed her daughter’s hair back as she tried so hard to hold her tears at bay. Relief at seeing her little girl, at knowing she was alive, and the chance to hold her again were causing her emotions to run in a dozen different directions. She knew what Jim was saying was important but she trusted him to relay what needed to be said and concentrated solely on her daughter. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“Mom…” Maria hugged her mom tightly, knowing that at any moment they could be pulled back to the cabin and torn from her mother’s arms.
Her forehead knitted together in question as she put just enough distance between them to let her eyes scan over the heavy winter coat Maria was wearing.
“I can’t tell you where we are, Mom,” she said regretfully when she saw the questions in the older woman’s eyes. “We’re in a good place for now.”
“How’re you doing, Maria? I mean, really.”
Maria swallowed hard. “I’m doing good. I miss you… I even miss Sean. But don’t worry, I’m okay.”
She sighed. “Michael, he’s been keeping us safe.”
“That’s not what I meant, Maria.”
“No, I know, but it’s true, and up until now we haven’t had much time together. You know, just us. We’re together, but it isn’t like we were before. I… Mom, I hurt him so badly when I broke up with him. I think he’s forgiven me but I’m scared that he doesn’t trust me like he used to.”
Amy looked at her daughter, drinking in her presence and marveling at the opportunity to have this moment. “Maria, I know more about what was going on back then now that I’ve had the chance to read the journal that Liz sent. It’s clear that Michael loves you. I knew that without ever reading what she had written. He stayed for you, honey. He’ll come around.”
Max pulled Liz closer and glanced at Isabel before sneaking a look at the cheap lighthouse-shaped clock on the wall. It hung just a few steps from where Michael was making his turn to retrace his steps through the room. Liz had tried her best to be calm and rational as she attempted to talk her way through what had happened but had only succeeded in talking herself into a hole as Michael shot down everything she had to say. She had fallen silent and sought comfort in her husband’s arms, leaving Michael to prowl the room and burn holes in the walls with his glare.
He caught the slightest pause in Michael’s steps, letting him know he had been made by his friend. Seventeen minutes. Only seventeen minutes had passed since Maria and Kyle had pulled their disappearing act. They had no way of knowing if they had reached their destination, they had no real understanding of Kyle’s abilities, and it was wearing on all of them.
If Liz was right and they were actually with Kyle’s dad in Roswell then seventeen minutes wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things. There were so many things he wished he could tell his dad. And his mom especially, there were so many things he wanted to be able to tell her if he only had the chance. Seventeen minutes would fly by in a heartbeat if he were home again. He had accepted that he would never see home again, had toyed with the reality that he may never see his parents again, and he had learned to live with that ache in his chest.
Michael’s repetitive, heavy footfalls brought him back to the present and he realized just how insufferably slow those same seventeen minutes would pass if it were Liz that had disappeared with Kyle. One man’s paradise was another man’s hell, he thought as he pulled Liz closer before speaking. “We’ll give them five more minutes. If they don’t come back by then we’ll go after them.”
Michael stopped in his tracks and turned to face him, his eyes hard and harboring a mix of emotions he didn’t dare give name to.
“And just how do you suggest we go after them?” Isabel asked, her sharp voice underlined with a worry she couldn’t disguise.
“With everything we have,” Max answered but his gaze stayed locked on Michael. “Isabel, you can dreamwalk Kyle.” His eyes lowered to focus on his wife. “And Liz can try to reach Maria like she did with me when I was in New York.”
Liz nodded against his chest.
“What if that doesn’t work?” Fear dominated Isabel’s voice this time. “What if we can’t reach him?”
Michael’s mood shifted from agitated to dangerous in the blink of an eye. His footsteps became shorter, his pace increasing, and it indicated just how close he was to losing it. Time seemed to slow down as Max watched his friend, his brother, draw himself up to his full height. The anger rolled off of him in waves as his eyes darted around the room and landed on the small wastepaper basket on the floor by the kitchen. He directed a vicious kick at it and everyone in the room flinched when it slammed into the wall before landing on the floor.
“We do this now!” he demanded loudly. “We’re not waitin’ another minute without us doin’ somethin’ to bring them back.” He swallowed hard and his posture was rigid as he pulled his hands free of his pockets. They dangled loosely as his sides as he brought his gaze to rest on his friend.
Max was awed by the control Michael was exhibiting, amazed that the only thing in the room that had been affected was the one thing that had been targeted. Nothing else had been disrupted or damaged. He lifted his eyes and nodded as his gaze locked with Michael’s. He released his hold on Liz and took the few steps necessary to bring him close to the other man.
“She’s coming back to us, Michael, and so is Kyle. If Isabel and Liz can’t get to them, we have the healing stones. We’ll use them to try and amplify their powers.”
He had years of experience reading Michael and he could see the fractional relaxing in his stiff posture, could see his pupils reappear as the rings of his irises began to retract. He reached out and placed his right hand on Michael’s shoulder and then turned to look at his sister.
“Isabel?” he queried in a soft voice.
Kyle tugged on Maria’s hand. “I hate to interrupt, but…” he waved their joined hands apologetically. “We need to give going back a shot.” He was silent as Amy nodded at him and then focused on her daughter once more before pulling her into her arms. His gaze dropped to her hand and he caught a flash of something red as she slipped something into Maria’s coat pocket.
“Be safe, honey. You and Michael, you take care of each other.” She sniffled and smiled shakily as she took a step back and reached up to brush the tears from her cheeks. “And you tell that boy his family misses him.”
Maria nodded, unable to speak. A part of her wanted so badly to hold onto her mom and never let go but she knew Kyle was right and it was time for them to go back. She had no idea how long they had been gone but it felt like it had only been a few minutes. “I have to go, Mom,” she whispered raggedly.
Amy swallowed hard, forcing down the lump in her throat and nodding wordlessly. She could only imagine what her only daughter’s life was like and it hurt to know that she couldn’t be there for her. “I love you, Maria.”
“I love you too, Mom.” A single tear forced its way out, escaping in spite of her intention to hold it at bay. She suddenly felt as if she was being pushed under water and the feeling of nausea intensified as everything around them disappeared.
Jim’s hands shot out, grabbing Amy before she could fall as she lunged for her daughter just as she and Kyle disappeared. He pulled her to him and held her tightly as he stared at the spot where their children had stood. His own vision blurred as his gaze dropped to the floor and the small puddle of water surrounding a rapidly melting clump of snow that had fallen off of his son’s boot.
“They were really here,” she whispered as she leaned back to look up at him. She turned to follow his gaze and she gave in to the tears pushing to be free. “They’re alive, Jim.” She looked up at him. “Wherever they are, they’re alright.”
For now, he thought. He drew in a shaky breath and nodded as he shifted to rest his forehead against hers. “I don’t think I wanna be alone tonight,” he admitted gruffly. “Stay?”
She gave him a watery smile. “Yes,” she answered simply.
Isabel squeezed her eyes shut and inhaled slowly when her brother addressed her. She was mentally kicking herself for not trying to develop her abilities, to sharpen them so that she could use them at will. She had used her abilities on a few occasions but she had avoided putting much focus on them. Why hadn’t she just made the effort? She sighed. Tess. She avoided anything that reminded her of Tess and honing those abilities took her right back to every single time she had used them and the other girl had been there.
Yeah, she had dreamwalked Max when he was in the White Room, drugged to the gills, but how much of that had been her and how much of it had been Tess? If she thought about it she could still feel the sensation of Tess there, guiding her… manipulating her. She had experienced it again when Tess had talked her through prying into Pierce’s head. It had scared her then, and it still scared her now, to think that if she pushed to try and develop those abilities that somehow that gift would begin to resemble Tess’. The last thing she wanted was to be anything like the monster that had betrayed them and killed Alex.
“You could never be like her, Isabel.”
She released a shaky breath and turned slowly, her stressed features relaxing slightly when she saw Alex leaning back against the kitchen counter.
“Isabel?” Liz walked over to her, easily reading the fear in her eyes. Fear that she knew mirrored her own. “I’m here with you. I’ll try to reach Maria while you’re trying to connect with Kyle. Maybe we should do this together, like when we reached out to Max in New York,” she suggested. She watched the taller girl struggle to come to a decision and she tipped her head to one side as she remembered something Isabel had said to Kyle before he had disappeared. She couldn’t help the quiet snort and she shook her head when her sister-in-law’s sharp gaze landed on her. “Um, so I was wondering what you meant when you told Kyle ‘No centerfolds being fed chocolate cake and no towel boys.’?”
The corners of her lips slowly lifted as she remembered facilitating Kyle’s little fantasy with Jodi Ann. They had both been awake at the time. It had happened so easily, she had connected with Kyle so effortlessly. Her forehead wrinkled as she wondered if it was because he had been right next to her in her room or if it was because… What if it had been so easy not because of proximity, but because it was him?
Michael cleared his throat when he caught the expression on her face that indicated something was going on behind her dark eyes. “Iz?” he said hoarsely.
Isabel turned her head to look at Michael. He was leaning up against a wall, his tall frame stiff with tension. She nodded to let him know she had things under control before glancing at Liz. “It means it’s gonna be okay. I should be able to reach him.” She led Liz into Kyle’s room, intent on finding something of his to hold onto when she heard something fall in the living area followed by Michael’s startled shout.
As fast as the living room of the home he had grown up in blinked out of sight, the living room of the cabin he shared with Isabel materialized around them. Beyond the initial feeling of being pushed under water and the feeling of falling backwards that immediately followed, there were no other sensations. At least not for him, he thought as he glanced at Maria. She looked a little green around the gills and he absentmindedly hoped that if she blew chow it wouldn’t be on him.
Even though he knew exactly where they were and that they were safe he still almost jumped out of his skin when Michael’s voice bellowed through the cabin. He waved his free hand in a bid for silence and with his other he squeezed Maria’s hand to draw her gaze to him. “Hey, we made it back. We’re okay.”
She swallowed hard and nodded, quickly stilling the movement when it felt like every single bite she’d had at dinner was lodged in her throat. We’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay. She chanted the mantra over and over in her head but it did nothing to settle her stomach. She was just barely holding it together when she was suddenly pulled to her feet and she inhaled sharply to control the urge to give in to her nauseated stomach’s insistent demands.
“What the hell were you thinking?!” Michael demanded as he ran his hands over her to be certain she was alright. “And you!” His heated glare pinned Kyle to the cushions. “You just took off with her!”
“Me?!” Kyle yelled as he shot to his feet. Okay, maybe not the smartest move, he decided when it made his head swim for a moment. He could see the concern for Maria in the other man’s angry features but it did nothing to calm the emotions that were churning in his gut.
“Kyle didn’t do anything, Michael!” Maria tried to pull free of his tight grip and it infuriated her when he didn’t release her. “I’m the one who – “
“I know what you did! I saw it plain as day, Maria!” Fear, anger, the hole it would leave in his chest if he lost her, all of it came together and pushed him even closer to the edge. “What if he’d lost you? What if you’d gotten disconnected or whatever and you’d gotten stranded there? Huh? Did you even think of that? You’d be trapped with a target on your back and you wouldn’t have any backup!”
And there it was, she thought miserably. Her head was spinning lightly, her stomach was threatening to revolt, and Michael was throwing the reminder that she was the weak link in her face once again. Maybe he didn’t mean it the way she took it, but she couldn’t help correlating his fears with her inability to protect herself or anyone else.
“You can’t just do shit like that without thinking! Do you have any idea what – “
Maria tried to shake his hand off again and when he didn’t let go she jerked it free. She was debating between telling him off or going and sitting down to let her stomach calm. When he reached for her again she took a step back and shook her head. “I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions and I can take care of myself. I did it before all of the craziness started and I can still…” Her rant was abruptly interrupted when her stomach made the decision for her. She slapped her hand over her mouth and sprinted for the bathroom.
Liz and Isabel had come out of the smaller bedroom as soon as they heard Michael’s shout but they had remained silent as his fear and concern blinded him to Maria’s nauseous state. She watched Maria dart from the room and she quickly moved to intercept him when his intention to follow her became clear.
“Get out of my way, Liz,” he growled menacingly.
There was a time when he had intimidated her. And even though she knew him so much better now and she understood him to a certain degree thanks to Maria, she had to admit that there were times when he was still intimidating. This was one of those times but her concern for her best friend overrode everything else. “Let me take care of her, Michael.”
His jaw clenched tightly and he gave a single sharp nod before stepping back and clearing the way. As the door closed behind Liz he jerked around to face Kyle, paying no heed to his state as he sat on the loveseat, his head resting in the palm of his hand. “What the fuck happened?”
Isabel had been watching Kyle, concerned by the slump to his shoulders and the dull gleam in his eyes. “Michael, back off.” She snapped the order off without so much as a glance at him, her focus concentrated on the silent man slouched into the loveseat cushions. She didn’t know what had happened while they had been gone, had no real understanding of what his ability was beyond what little he had told them, and she wondered if while they had been gone they had experienced time in the same manner. Did time pass the same once he had reached his destination? Had it only been a matter of minutes for them?
“Did you make it to Roswell?” Max asked as he shot a quick glance at Michael to let him know he’d handle the questions.
“Yeah,” Kyle mumbled. “Yeah, pictured myself in our living room and,” he snapped his fingers, “there we were.” He couldn’t even muster up enough energy to explain to Michael that Maria was just nauseated from the quick jump through what, space and time? He didn’t know. He had no idea how this ability worked, he just knew he could think of a place and he was there. It was why he had imagined the living room this time instead of the kitchen, just to see if he would land there.
“And you saw your dad?” He tamped down the jealousy that reared its ugly head. He didn’t know how their powers developed or how it was decided who got which ones, but what he’d give to have that one just for a brief time.
Michael glanced over his shoulder when he heard the exhaust fan come to life in the bathroom. It took an effort to force his mind back to the matter at hand but he knew he needed to know what had happened.
“Yeah, I saw him.” He decided to leave Amy’s presence there out of the current conversation and let Maria bring it up if and when she felt like it. It wasn’t really relevant and he didn’t feel like getting any deeper into this if he didn’t have to. “They’re bein’ watched.” He lifted his head when he felt Isabel’s hand settle on his shoulder and he reached up to cover her hand for a moment, letting it fall away when even that small move felt like too much of an exertion.
“Has something happened?” Michael demanded, straightening up and crossing his arms over his chest.
“Nothin’ more than the usual. He just knows they’re bein’ watched and he and the rest of your parents are workin’ on a plan to get outta Dodge. He said they’ve gotta nail down some details and then they’re gonna pull a disappearing act.” He rubbed his hands over his face before he raised his head to look directly at Max. “He said to tell you he wants to meet with you.”
Max scratched his neck where the zipper of his coat was brushing against his skin. “Where?”
“Uh, he didn’t say exactly.” He sat up. “Wherever you guys went after you rescued Max from Agent Pierce. He said you’d know the place.”
Max and Michael exchanged a look. “Yeah, we know the place.”
“Would that even be safe for you?” Isabel asked. “I mean, you’ve never been there so how do you see yourself someplace you’ve never been?”
Kyle shook his head. “I don’t know.” He slumped back against the cushions again. “I guess we’ll have to try it an’ find out. Maybe holdin’ El Presidente’s hand will connect us and that’ll act as navigation.” He frowned and rubbed his eyes. “How long were we gone?”
“Seventeen and a half minutes,” Michael muttered. “When does he wanna meet?”
Kyle shrugged. “I don’t know. He said to set up the time and let him know.” There you go, folks, he thought. Kyle Valenti, intergalactic messenger at your service. Continental messenger? He sighed and shook his head. He’d think about it later when he didn’t have a dozen different things bouncing around that he couldn’t quite get hold of.
He nodded in approval. “The silver mine in Gallinas. Makes sense. There’s nothin’ out there but the mine. How soon – “
“That’s enough for tonight,” Isabel interrupted, wondering what was weighing so heavily on his mind. “I want all of you out. Now.”
“I’m not goin’ any-damn-where without Maria,” Michael insisted stubbornly.
She was opening her mouth to argue with him when the door to the bathroom opened and a moment later Maria and Liz walked into the living room. Maria looked a bit shaky on her feet and when Michael immediately moved to her she just knew the other girl was going to blow.
“C’mon, Maria,” Michael said as he reached for her coat with the intention of closing it up for her. “We’ll get you back up to our – “
She pushed his hands away. “Stop it, Michael, I don’t need you fussing over me!” She and Liz had talked in the bathroom briefly, but she was still feeling inferior and she hated it. Why couldn’t he understand that she could take care of herself? “I’m capable of buttoning my own coat!”
Michael threw his hands up in irritation. “Then button the damn thing,” he snapped. “I just thought I’d – “
“Well, don’t!” She pushed her way past the others and jerked the door open, stepping out into the freezing cold and slamming the door behind her.
“What the hell’s goin’ on with her?” he muttered as he hurried to go after her. Women! If he ever understood them… What the hell was he thinking? He was never gonna understand them! He inhaled sharply as the cold wind hit him in the face, making his eyes water. He jerked the door closed behind him and took two steps before he tripped over a log that had rolled off of the pile stacked to the side of the door. He turned the air blue with every curse word he could think of as he struck out across the frozen ground in pursuit of his girlfriend.