A Christmas Short Story AU (teen) 12/29/2007 Complete

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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A Christmas Short Story AU (teen) 12/29/2007 Complete

Postby greywolf » Sat Dec 29, 2007 4:57 pm

A Christmas Short Story…..

Author: Greywolf
Disclaimer: I don’t own Roswell or any of the characters. I’m just using them for fiction purposes. Please don't sue.
Rating: teen
Category: AU with aliens Max

Summary: OK, I know it's too late for Christmas and that I have promised people to post to my OTHER stories, but the Christmas Muse bit me and I had to write this. It's complete in one posting.

Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, Roswell NM
December 24th 9PM

It wasn’t that Deputy Sheriff Jim Valenti was really unhappy….more just that he was less happy than he might have been. In fairness, he was one of the junior officers in the department so it made sense that he would wind up working a late shift Christmas Eve...and likely not get off tomorrow morning before Kyle would be up and…along with his two cousins at his sister’s house, likely opening his presents before Jim was even done writing up the paperwork on the drunks he was likely to have to arrest after a holiday night’s partying.

Jim had really wanted to be with Kyle tomorrow morning…to see the happiness in his eyes…or at least, he hoped to see it. His mother running off had been hard on the kid…not that it had been particularly easy on his father, Jim observed wryly. The last thing in the world he had really wanted was to come back to the county where his father had once been Sheriff…and was still the object of a fair amount of controversy. But with his wife running off almost a year ago, childcare for Kyle had become an issue and the ability and willingness of his sister Donna to take Kyle at difficult times like Christmas Eve was enough for him to overcome his reluctance to leave Albuquerque and return to this place where some of the senior officers still referred to his father as Sergeant Martian.

The entire population of Chaves county….60,000 souls, wouldn’t have made a medium sized town in much of the country, and that population was spread out over an area of almost 6100 square miles… over five times the area of the state of Rhode Island. Had the population density been greater there might have been more law enforcement officers on duty tonight and….like Albuquerque, they might have been in two-man patrol cars at least. But it wasn’t Rhode Island….or even Albuquerque, so junior deputy Jim Valenti was going to be spending Christmas Eve and morning alone in a patrol car about twenty-five miles north of Roswell, watching for speeders…drunks…and whatever else came up. As he looked around the briefing room he saw the nine other guys with the misfortune to have Christmas Eve duty, noticing with a little displeasure that one of them was Arnold Carter.

Deputy Carter really wasn’t all that bad a guy, Jim admitted to himself…if he’d just learn to shut up about Jim’s father’s preoccupation with…well, the 1947 saucer. There were times Jim figured that if Carter called him Sergeant Martian Junior just one more time, he’d go and….Jim shook his head….that wasn’t the Christmas spirit, and hopefully Carter would eventually figure it out…like most of the other officers already had, that Jim didn’t consider the joke a damn bit funny even the first time he’d heard it…which had been in junior high school.

The watch commander went through the standard briefing including who was assigned to which sectors. Jim noted with some displeasure that Carter would be due east of him and mentally wrote off having coffee and donuts at Sal’s bakery tomorrow morning, since Carter would almost certainly be there along with the New Mexico State Patrol officers in the sector. At the end of the standard briefing the watch commander added items of interest, and there were only two.

“First, we have a missing kid, eight years old, an apparent runaway. His folks reported him missing this morning.”

“Any chance his parents might themselves be involved…or that he ran off because of something they were doing to him?”

“The detectives don’t think so. The boy and his sister are adopted… his name is Max. The Department of Child Protective Services has been following the case pretty closely, the two kids have been living with the adoptive parents….Phil and Diane Evans….. for two years and DCPS has been following Maxwell rather closely. Both kids were foundlings and the little girl bonded rather quickly with the family and the boy…well, he just never did. The Evans’ have been in counseling about it and everything…trying to do their best, but somehow the little boy is just somewhat of a loner apparently.”

“Any evidence of foul play?”

“We don’t think so. The boy apparently packed a few changes of clothes and slipped out of the house this morning. He has the contents of his piggy bank…estimated at not much more than 25 dollars…and that’s about it.”

The watch commander handed out copies of a picture of a raven haired eight year old with big amber eyes and Jim shook his head. ‘Crap, that kid is in Kyle’s class at school.’ Jim shuddered to think of how he’d be feeling if that was somehow Kyle all alone out there.

“The second alert tonight is for this man,” the watch commander again distributing pictures, this time of a sort of seedy looking guy in his early forties that appeared to have been taken from a bank surveillance video, “…this fellow we believe to be Elmer O’Hara…three prior bank jobs, one involving death of a guard. Nonetheless, the parole board in their infinite wisdom decided last week that old Elmer had served his debt to society, and he was released from the Texas State penitentiary. Apparently Elmer wasn’t really all that penitent however, because in less than 48 hours he hit a bank in El Paso. He took a hostage as he was leaving and used her to get by an El Paso police officer who had responded to the silent alarm…then shot the officer…apparently for no other reason than to make sure the officer didn’t pursue him, before letting the hostage go and getting in his car. Most likely he’s already in Mexico by now, but just on the off chance that he headed East rather than South….be aware of him. The El Paso officer died of multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen so needless to say, O’Hara is armed and dangerous. If you see him, try not to let him spot you so he doesn’t take any other civilians for hostage, until you have back up and can go after him. Here is a picture of the man, a description of the car he was driving…the plates are stolen, but then so was the car. Now….any questions or comments?”

“Yeah,” said Deputy Carter, looking at Jim Valenti and grinning. “You might want to brief Sergeant Martian Junior here that if he sees someone in a red suit coming out of the sky on a UFO pulled by reindeer tonight he better hold his fire….otherwise he’ll have every kid in the state mad at him.”

Jim did his best to ignore the chuckles from some of the other officers. He put the wisecrack out of his mind as he thought about the bank robber/murderer, glad that he had his ballistic vest on. Most of the officers…like Deputy Carter, hated the vests, and in fairness they were very uncomfortable during the heat of the summer and somewhat clumsy even in winter, but as a single parent, he needed to be there for Kyle…it wasn’t like there was anyone else. So safety first….and while he was thinking about it…”

“Speaking of kids mad at them…those of you not wearing your vests,” and Jim looked specifically at Carter, who had three kids of his own, “…might want to go get them on, because if O’Hara is out there and somebody stops a slug with his body that he might have stopped with Kevlar, they’re going to make it a real shitty Christmas for your kids.”

The watch commander nodded his head in agreement, he’d long been in favor of making wear of the ballistic armor mandatory, but the commander wasn’t quite convinced. Carter, however, was having none of it. “You worry about your aliens out there, Valenti…I’d rather by mobile…agile…able to move, than slowed up by a damn vest.”

Jim just shook his head and went out to check out his vehicle.

It was almost six hours later that Jim spotted him about a mile away….walking by the light of the near-full moon along the old road to Albuquerque. It wasn’t like there was much doubt who it was, the area was desolate…no houses for miles…an unlikely place to find any unattached eight year old with a back pack except the runaway. Jim continued along the new road for a mile and then cut across to the old highway, his headlights off, and hid the police cruiser behind some large rocks. Then he just waited.

Max was walking along the old abandoned road…knowing the cave to the pod chamber was three or four miles ahead. Of course, he wasn’t quite sure what he’d do when he got to it. He wasn’t quite sure about anything, except that the people…he still couldn’t bring himself to think of them the way Izzy did…as Mom and Dad….that the people could never really accept him…not if they knew. And as much as Izzy wanted that…needed it….Max couldn’t bring himself to lie to them any more. He wanted to be their son, but to really be their son he couldn’t lie to them…and if he told the truth…well, that certainly wouldn’t work either. So the only thing he could think to do was to go back where he came from…although just what he would do once he got there he hadn’t yet quite decided. That was part of the problem of being an eight year old with only two years of life experience. There were a lot of things he hadn’t quite figured out yet.

As he went past the large boulders Max’s eyes were focused at the distant foothills almost four miles distant. The voice from behind him took him completely by surprise, and he whirled on his feet…only controlling his fear just in time as his right palm went up reflexively at the voice.

“Kind of cold night for a walk, isn’t it?”

Jim had to chuckle as he saw the boy jump…then felt guilty as he saw the fear in the boy’s eyes…

“You may not remember me, Max, but I saw you on open house night at the school. My son Kyle…Kyle Valenti, is in Miss Garcia’s third grade class with you.”

“I remember you…,” said Max sadly. This wouldn’t change anything. The Deputy would no doubt take him back…back to the house that could never really be his home and to the people that could never really love him. But he’d just have to run away again.

“You know…it’s got to be kind of hard on your parents and your sister, worrying about you instead of enjoying Christmas.”

Max seemed to shrug his little shoulders in the moonlight. “Izzy loves Christmas so much I doubt anything could spoil it for her.”

“Well, I think you’re wrong about that Max, but even if you weren’t, your folks are no doubt worried sick over you…they love you quite a lot.”

Jim watched the eight year old shake his head. “They don’t really love me…they just love who they think I am.”

It wasn’t often that Jim Valenti was confronted by eight year olds venting their feelings about their parents….and certainly not at 2AM Christmas morning in the middle of nowhere.

“So at eight years old….you think that you’ve failed them somehow?” he asked, amused but trying to keep a serious tone in his voice.

“I know I’m not really the person they think I am….and that they wouldn’t like the person I really am.”

Jim fought back a smile. Eight years old was definitely too young for the boy to take himself or the world this seriously. Whatever happened to childhood, he asked himself.
“Well…I’d be willing to bet you are wrong, but right or wrong….you need to get in the car. I’m surprised that you haven’t frozen to death out here already.”

The boy trudged toward the cruiser with a resigned look on his face, halting only as the Deputy opened the back door.

“Can’t I sit up front..?”

Jim was tempted…it wasn’t like the young man was a hardened criminal…but it wasn’t like he wanted him to sit next to the 12 gauge shotgun with the double-ought buckshot in it either.

”Sorry Max, but the rules are you have to sit in back….but we’ll compromise a little, I won’t put you in handcuffs at least.”

Max looked up at the Deputy…not quite sure if the man was kidding him or not. It didn’t look like the handcuffs would even fit an eight-year old…not that he couldn’t unlock them anyway if it came to that. Finally he just climbed in to the back seat.

Jim really was surprised the boy hadn’t gotten hypothermic out there, it was barely above freezing. He turned the temperature on the heater all the way to high, figuring Max needed a chance to defrost, and he could turn it down when it became too uncomfortable for him in the Kevlar vest. As they drove along Jim’s hand found the microphone and he depressed the button.

“Control…..Valenti here. I have found the missing boy. Please reassure the parents he’s OK….I’ll get him back to town as soon as I can.”

“Roger that, Jim. Are you going to take him to the ER to get checked over?”

“How about that. Max? Are you OK, or do you want to get checked over at the hospital?”

“I’m OK I guess….”

“Control, I think I’ll just bring him back to the station…he seems to be OK, and has no complaints. We may have to stop at Sal’s bakery for some coffee and hot chocolate first though,…maybe a couple maple bars too, Max looks like he forgot about dinner. But tell his folks not to worry, he’s alright.”

Control acknowledged the call, just as Jim moved in to the low mountains to the east of his patrol area. The reception there with headquarters really wasn’t very good. They needed to put in a repeater up on the ridge just north of the road. You were lucky to be able to get through at all. But just when he thought he’d have no radio reception at all…suddenly there was a flurry of static and he barely heard a scratchy voice on the police wavelength.
“Control…control…Carter here….officer down….send EMS…I’ve been shot…he got me twice and I need help..…”

“Arnie…this is Jim Valenti. Where are you, Arnie…give me your location…”

“Jim…I’m about three miles west of Longhorn on State route 119…I need help…”

The weak and scratchy radio transmission told Jim that Carter was using the small handheld radio attached to his uniform and Jim was absolutely sure there was no way that control would have heard either of them. As he sped toward state route 119 he briefly wondered if he should let the boy out…but there was snow falling and they were in the middle of nowhere. He couldn’t abandon the kid here, any more than he could take him in to a firefight. He’d have to take him along, even knowing that a civilian in a danger zone would impede him far more than it would whoever had shot Deputy Carter.

Elmer O’Hara saw the police cruiser coming and noticed that this one too was a one person patrol car. The fact that the county mounties here drove solo was the only good thing that had happened to him since he’d left El Paso. First, the damn car had broken down….well, he’d stolen the damn thing anyway, but the SOB who owned it could have at least kept it maintained. He’d been fortunate to see the other patrol car coming, taking cover in the rocks alongside the road. It had been pretty obvious the first cop had made the car, but he’d been a little careless in his hurry to get back to get the shotgun in his car, and O’Hara had cut him down from concealment behind the boulders….only to find out that one of his rounds had gone through the hood and actually managed to crack the engine block. That car wasn’t going anywhere but to the scrapyard, and even there it’d have to be towed. He had salvaged the deputies 12 gauge from the car though, which, with the 9mm service automatic he’d taken from the downed cop gave him considerably more firepower than the lousy 38 Special he’d used to put the holes in both the El Paso cop and the deputy here. The deputy wasn’t dead yet, which O’Hara approved of. It wasn’t that he really wanted the man to live…just that a wounded but alive deputy would hold the attention of the second one a lot longer than a dead body would.

The thought of the young kid in the back seat weighed heavily on Jim Valenti as he saw the movements of the obviously badly wounded deputy beside the patrol car….but there were no good options to protect him from some risk. He’d have to come along, and he yelled at Max through the screen between the front and the back of the car that the boy was to lay on the floor of the car and to stay there until Jim Valenti personally told him otherwise.

As he drove toward Arnie Carter, Valenti did his best to look for the attacker, knowing full well he could be anywhere in the moon-shadows of the rocks near the injured officer. He saw no one…not that THAT meant anything, but he did see Carter struggling to breathe…bubbles coming from a dark bloody wound on his chest with each strained attempt at breathing. Jim swept the headlights through as many of the shadows as he could, before finally bringing the car to a stop with the driver’s door perhaps ten feet from the wounded deputy. He put the headlights on highbeam directed toward the rocks, the most likely place for the attacker to be hiding if he was still in the area, and then opened the door rolling out the door without standing…then scuttling like a three legged crab toward Carter, holdin his service automatic in his right hand.

Even in the pale light of the full moon, Carter looked ghastly…and Jim was pretty sure that the blueness in the lips was not a trick of the light. The man had a chest injury and at least one collapsed lung. Jim wasn’t sure how he’d survived this long, but unless he got help he’d be dead within minutes. Jim looked at the sucking chest wound…cursing himself for not thinking to get the first aid kit from the trunk of the car before this. He’d have to go back.

Arnie Carter saw the car pull up alongside him and saw Jim Valenti roll out. He knew he was dying…knew he couldn’t make it….he just wanted to tell Jim Valenti to be careful…that he thought O’Hara still might be around,…and to ask him to tell his wife and kids that he loved them. He looked up at Valenti’s eyes as they looked down at his wounds…not needing Valenti’s wide eyes to tell him just how seriously wounded he was. He just wanted to warn him…and get him to carry the message to his family…but in the end he could find the breath to do neither.

“I’ll be right back, Arnie….just hang on…,” said Valenti. He stood up quickly and started back to the trunk of the car. The shotgun went off from fifteen feet away as he took his third step.

The twelve .33 caliber pellets from the police shotgun had already started to spread when they hit Valenti’s chest at 1330 feet per second. The ceramic plate over his sternum was almost instantly pulverized, and the ‘give’ created by its destruction allowed the Kevlar fabric to stop the pellets from actually penetrating through his skin. What it couldn’t do, however, was to take away the massive force of the shotgun blast at such short range. The Kevlar didn’t so much stop the force, as attenuate it…spread it out over a wider area, and to an extent, over a longer time frame. It did keep the pellets from penetrating his heart and killing him instantly, but it didn’t stop them from fracturing his sternum, the cartilage around it…and two of his ribs.

The blow had knocked Jim off of his feet, and his sternum felt like it was on fire, with every attempt at a breath sending spasms of pain throughout his entire chest. He struggled to his knees, unable to rise farther without catching his breath. Somehow he’d lost his service automatic, and as he saw Elmer O’Hara come out of the shadows, he knew he wasn’t going to get a chance to look for it. As he heard the shotgun pump….ejecting the spent round and chambering a new one, he knew that the next shot would not be into the Kevlar, it would be into his head…and that he couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

O’Hara smiled as he saw the cop…not yet dead, but too incapacitated to do anything but watch it coming. He almost chuckled as he saw the fear in the cop’s eyes…but as Elmer started to squeeze the trigger, it seemed like the small body came out of nowhere.

Just as Jim thought the night could get no worse, the boy suddenly had jumped between him and O’Hara. Jim’s mind was a mixture of confusion…how the hell had the kid gotten out of the locked back compartment of the cruiser….and dismay….dismay that he’d ever brought Max Evans into such a terrible situation…and lastly despair…knowing what was about to happen to the kid. The fact that Max was now going to die too…and that Jim Valenti was responsible…somehow bothered him even more than his own passing.

O’Hara felt the click as the sear released the hammer, felt the explosion as the firing pin hit the primer…felt the recoil as the double-ought buckshot was sent down the barrel. What he didn’t feel…at least not at first…was the powerblast that met the double-ought buckshot right at the end of the barrel…the powerblast that reversed the course of those pellets and even the gas that drove them…sending them back up the chamber even as the barrel itself started to deform as the powerblast kept coming. The explosion of the chamber blew most of his face off and even then pieces of the hammer and firing pin kept coming…driven by the force of the powerblast until they embedded themselves deeply into his brain. Of course, by that time he was long past feeling anything.

Valenti watched helplessly as the boy went to Arnold Carter.

“Deputy…you have to look at me,” said Max.

As Jim Valenti watched, Max seemed to go into some sort of a trance…but even as he did so, Arnie’s chest wound stopped bubbling. His breaths became deeper…slower, and the color was returning to his cheeks. Jim collapsed on the ground, barely able to breath, but unwilling to stop looking at the miracle that was happening before his eyes. He had only managed to convince himself that Arnie was indeed going to make it, when Max leaned over him, his large amber eyes filling his vision. The flashes hit Jim then…two naked kids walking along a road….a cavern with strange podlike chambers in them…then the pain of Max’s hand on his chest stopped….all the pain stopped. He took a deep breath…amazed that he was able to do so. He too was going to live, thank God…and Max Evans.

“So….I take it, this is the person you don’t think your folks would like, Max?” asked Jim Valenti, sitting up now and looking at Max Evans eye to eye. In the background Arnie was looking at Max…probably as wide-eyed as Jim himself was. “Well…I think you’re wrong about that. I think that knowing what you did tonight…I think that’d make them even prouder of you…not that they aren’t proud already.”

“But I can’t ever really be their son. I’m not even really human I don’t think.”

“No kid,” said Deputy Carter. “That guy there….,” nodding at the wreckage that was once Elmer O’Hara, "....now he was some kind of a monster. You…heck, you couldn’t be more human, could he Jim?”

“No,….no, he couldn’t. You going to be OK, Arnie?”

“Yeah…yeah, I think I am. Why don’t you go take the patrol car up to the top of the hill there, you’ll be able to radio Roswell from there. Max can stay here and take care of me….keep the Martians away maybe, least the other Martians…,” he said with a smile as he ruffled Max’s hair with his right hand. “Maybe he and I can think up a way to explain the holes in this shirt when the other deputies…and the coroner’s team … shows up.”

Max looked back and forth between the two officers, as if surprised they didn’t immediately arrest him. They seemed to almost read his thoughts.

“I don’t think you would fit my handcuffs anyway, Max.” Valenti said. “What with those skinny little eight year old wrists…”

As Max reached over and held his hand against the torn and bloody uniform of deputy Carter the golden glow came again…the two bullet holes vanishing…as did the blood stains. Carter looked down at the areas of conspicuous cleanliness and reached down to the dirt below him, slowly rubbing it into the areas until the uniform was a uniform mess of dust.

It was almost 9AM by the time the reports were completed and the investigation was done. The detectives were pretty sure that there was more to the story than they’d been given, but the story they got was the only one the deputies had wanted to tell, and that was that Deputy Carter had stopped to check out a disabled car and O’Hara had come out of the darkness to slug him. When Valenti had showed up with the kid, O’Hara had tried to use the shotgun he’d taken from Carter’s car, but apparently he’d gotten some dirt up the barrel crawling around during the night and it had exploded, killing the man.

Intuition born of decades of law enforcement experience had told the detectives that there was more to it than that, and they both had figured if they leaned on the kid hard enough they could have probably gotten the truth out of him. But this was, after all, New Mexico. The cop he’d killed in El Paso hadn’t even been buried yet, and both detectives were going to the funeral as representatives of the department tomorrow. They had neither need nor desire to grill some eight year old kid to find out exactly how O’Hara had met his end, and no desire to cause trouble for either of the deputies either.

O’Hara was dead, and the two deputies and runaway kid were alive, and as one of the detectives explained to the other after watching the kid kind of hide behind Jim Valenti when the forensics people were picking up the pieces of Elmer O’Hara, the outcome couldn’t have been better, whatever the process.

So it was about 9:15 when the police cruiser with the two deputies and the eight year old boy pulled up to the Evans residence, the young boy sitting between them in the front seat almost astraddle the 12 gauge shotgun, in direct defiance of standard operating procedures.

Even before the three got to the door it opened and two anxious parents and a sister who had been so worried she wouldn’t open a single present until she actually saw her brother met the two officers and boy halfway to the door.

“Max…we were so worried,” cried a tearful Diane, hugging her son like he’d been gone an eternity, rather than just 24 hours.

“Son,” said Philip, "...you scared us so badly….your mother and sister cried all night. Thank God these deputies found you, we were so worried about you being out alone.”

Even as he said the words Philip noted the amused looks that passed between the two officers.

“Max handles himself pretty well in the outside world, Mr. Evans,” said Jim Valenti as the went inside and closed the door. “When it comes to realizing how great a human being he really is and how much people really do care about him….well, that’s taken a little bit longer. But he’s going to sit down and tell you a secret now…he and Isabel. And when he’s done with it, he’s going to know for sure that to those who love him, it doesn’t make any difference at all. Aren’t you Max?”

“Yes, Deputy Valenti.”

“A secret…?” asked Diane.

“Yes,” said Valenti. “It turns out that Max and Isabel know just a little bit more about where they came from before you found them than they ever told you.”

“Max…Is this true?” asked Philip Evans. Max nodded his head, looking back to Jim Valenti and being reassured by the friendly smile of the deputy.

“Yes…Dad,” he replied.

“Well…where are you from, Max,” asked Diane.

As Max pointed his finger skyward, Philip asked “North?...like from Canada?”

“Not exactly,” said a wide eyed Isabel.

As the two deputies laughed, Jim Valenti said, “Well…I can see that this has become a family matter. Both Deputy Carter and I have our own families to have Christmas with….but Max and Isabel….when you get done with the explanations, Jeff Parker is having a Christmas party for everyone in the third grade down at the Crashdown at 1PM. I’m going to be taking Kyle…maybe we’ll see the two of you there too, …once you’ve told EVERYTHING to your parents.”

“That would be nice, Deputy Valenti,” said Max. “I’d like that…”

As the deputies were closing the door to leave they heard Max say, “Not north, Daddy….up.”

"Yeah, Daddy," said Isabel. "We aren't actually from around here...."
Last edited by greywolf on Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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