Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 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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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/03/2009

Post by greywolf » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:32 am

Room 204, Visiting Officer's Quarters
Holloman AFB NM

Jim Valenti lay there in the darkness – looking at the ceiling above him in the dim light filtering through the curtains from the parking lot outside.

Was he being irrational? Was he playing the role of Ahab and were the shapeshifters his own very own great white whale? Perhaps the scenario wasn't all that far from the truth. He'd seen what had happened to his father when he'd gone public with his stories – what it had done to Jim and his sisters still scarred them.

Jim's father was older than the fathers of most of the kids that Jim had grown up with – the kids that had been his classmates in school. His father had lost his first wife – then remarried. Jim's mom had been his father's second wife and almost twenty years his junior. Jim's dad had been born too late to go to WWII – but he'd been a rookie Sheriff's deputy in 1950 – when it had all happened. When – according to his father – the carnage had come to Chaves county. The old man had kept it to himself for all those years – why he couldn't have kept it to himself all of his life, Jim wasn't sure, but he hadn't.

Jim had been in fourth grade when the old man – now Sheriff of Chaves County – had talked to the newsman. That had started the worst two years of Jim Valenti's wife. His father had been made the laughingstock of four states – constantly pilloried by one newspaper columnist after another – and that had spilled over to Jim and both of his sisters – who were taunted for decades about the old man's 'delusions'. Even Jim's mother had put up with snickers and whispers behind her back, but the worst had been the old man himself. Oh, he'd been able to hold on to his job for another eight years – but the fallout from that one interview had embittered his father. He was a proud man – most of the people in New Mexico were – and the humiliation he had experienced – and he had caused his family to experience profoundly changed him. After that was the booze – and with his mother's death, his father had gradually stopped caring himself if he lived or died.

Jim hadn't read the original newspaper article in years – but that didn't really matter. His father had claimed he was misquoted – that the reporter had set him up and the article 'was just a steaming pile of horseshit anyway.' But he'd remember always the one long discussion he'd had about the shapeshifteers with his father. It was two weeks after his mother's funeral – she'd died of breast cancer – and the old man was seriously drunk, Drunk enough that Jim worried about whether or not his father was just going to stop breathing from the alcohol if he didn't keep him talking and keep him drinking cup after cup of black coffee.

His father had blamed the shapeshifter's for his mothers death – not directly – more just that they could have saved her – even with a late diagnosis in the days before mammograms, a nd even with metastatic disease. The shapeshifters, he'd told Jim – could heal injuries and even disease – at least their own. That's when he'd heard the whole story. He could close his eyes even now and hear the old man's voice – half drunk – explaning just how it happened.

Hell, Jimmy, it wasn't like it is now back in the 40s and 50s. Miranda rights? Shit, there weren't any such thing. You give law enforcement any crap back then, you were just as likely to get your head busted as not. But even so – those FBI guys – special unit they called themselves – they were the coldest bastards I ever saw. Arrogant bastards too – more so than most feds even. We got told the story – how much of it is the truth I still don't know – when we responded to a murder. It was a senseless damn thing – a pregnant woman killed while her husband was in a store. Only mark on her was this glowing silver handprint. Apparently somebody had wanted the car and she'd tried to stop them and – well, she would up suddenly dead. We'd just been there a few minutes – Old Jeff Browning – he was my mentor when I was a rookie – and then these special unit agents showed up and showed us these federal presidential orders and told us to help them and then not say shit to anybody about it.

I tell you, Jimmy, it was a different world back then. We'd been through WWII – those presidential orders were signed by FDR himself – of course he was dead and Truman had somehow managed to get himself elected and - well I guess he was busy with the fighting in Korea – or at least fighting with old Doug MacArthur about Korea. Like I said, it was a different world then. I think those presidential orders originally had been about the Japs – you know, the ones living in the US? The ones that got put in all those camps in California and Arizona? Hell, I remember when they took Mike Nishimura away – he was on the Roswell High baseball team with me. Everybody was scared after Pearl Harbor and the government was making all sorts of orders and – well, ten years later, they still hadn't gotten straightened out. Anyway, the orders from FDR said the Special Unit was entitled to hold 'aliens, people with sympathy toward potentially foreign powers, and anyone who had entered the country illegally' incommunicado indefinitely. The powers they had under those orders were damn near absolute. They could have tortured people to death if then needed to to get information to protect the country. Like I said, Jimmy, it was a different world. You step out of line just a little bit, next thing you know you are subpoenaed by old Joe McCarthy himself.

Anyway, these feds just sort of drafted me and Browning to help them track down those things - those shapeshifters. Apparently they had captured them both back in '47, the first just a just a few days after the crash, the second almost two weeks later. The head fed - Earnest Price was the bastard's name, about as hard a guy as you'd ever want to meet, said that they'd leaned on the first one real hard to try to get it to give up it's fellow.

The things spoke English - hell, they spoke a lot of languages - none of them all that well. It was like they were kind of brain damaged or something - smart but confused all the time. After awhile they sort of decided that the first one they caught was trying to give false information and they really worked it over. Price said it was dying from the punishment they gave it - likely would have if they hadn't caught the other one just then. Torn up and dying as the first one is, the second one went over to it and touched it with his hand and this silvery glow came out - and the other one was fixed. Of course those shapeshifters were tough bastards too. They had to keep them drugged pretty near all the time. That had been the problem - why the things had escaped - they'd gotten a defective batch of this drug that they used. Apparently it hadn't been stored right and was too weak. If you didn't keep them drugged they could shoot this golden light out of their hands - that was their long range weapon. Up close they could just touch you and kill you... Price said they'd lost six of their guys when the shapeshifters had broken out - although they didn't know it right away. Three guys had gone on guard duty - two guys had come out. When the first two guys went home they eventually went in to the laboratory to get the one guy who hadn't come out - and found all six guards - three from each shift - dead on the ground with a hand print on their chest...

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/04/2009

Post by greywolf » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:09 pm

Back in the malpais, things weren't going quite as well as they might

Max was staying awake - nervously concentrating on heating the stone in front of Liz. It wasn't, he told himself, going to be like the other nights - the nights he had fallen asleep - forgotten to keep it warm on the other side of her - the nights she had been forced by the cold to snuggle back against him. No, tonight Liz was going to sleep in comfort and safety. She could get a good night's sleep, without having to find herself in the morning instinctively pushed back against the only warm object in the vicinity - even if that warm object was ....different. Even if that warm object instinctively groped her.

Only it wasn't instinctively - he knew that now. If nothing else, the events of last night forced out into the open the thoughts he'd never really dared think. Liz's body forced against his had been a guilty pleasure - but it had also forced him to admit - to finally come clean with himself - what he really wanted. No, not groping Liz - although the less he thought about THAT particular subject the better, he told himself as he tried to ignore the pleasant musky smell that seemed to linger in her hair - in fact to exude from all of her.

'Omigawd,' he thought suddenly, '...I wonder what I smell like? I haven't showered since Saturday morning - I wonder how she can stand to be in the same cave with me?'

But however much he feared offending her with his smell, he feared even more offending her with his actions - intended or not.

'Concentrate on Izzy's cooking...' he told himself. 'Think about Izzy's gag-a-maggot meat loaf. Her hard boiled eggs that were so overdone you could use them for ping pong balls. Brownies so burned that even Mom and Dad said they ought top be given to the gods of ancient Greece - as a burnt offering... '

Yes, those were the things he needed to think about to get through this night. Things that were concrete - which certainly described Izzy's biscuits... not things like the pleasant smell of Liz's hair in his nostrils, the musky smell of her body that made his body want to pull her close, the pleasant sound of her breathing beside him, and certainly not that dream he'd had about her - the dream where even knowing he was different, she'd looked down on him with such possessive eyes.

No, it hadn't even been the sexual thoughts, Max knew that, it was her face wanting him - really wanting him to be hers for the rest of their lives despite knowing what he was, despite knowing about his difference - THAT was what was most important - the thought that she might love him just as much as if he wasn't different.

'If I believed that dream could ever come true, I'd do anything...anything at all to make that happen,' Max told himself.

Of course, a lifetime of believing such a thing to be impossible takes awhile to overcome. Still, he was at least admitting to himself what he wanted - and for Max that was a start. Max was still a long way from finding emotional maturity - despite the flogging Liz's pheromones were giving his midbrain.
Still, if they had another week or two lost in the wilderness ahead of them - even Max might have eventually gotten around to a 'Me-Tarzan, You-Jane' sort of understanding. But long before that would happen they'd be at Highway 380 and their forced togetherness would be over. Oh, Liz's midbrain was doing its damnedest and so was his - but sometimes winning slowly is the same thing as losing.

'I am about to cook,' she thought. It wasn't like she was ungrateful for the heat. It was below freezing out, and in a short-sleeved blouse with no jacket she'd have chattering teeth if she were outside - up on the surface where the winds were already bringing the wind-chill factor down into the teens - and heading quickly toward hypothermia if not already there. The problem was that the frequent intermittent heat meant that Max was still awake, which of course meant that she had to stay where she was - almost eight inches away from him. What she REALLY wanted was for him to go to sleep so she could snuggle up against him. Now THAT was the way to stay warm. But as it was, she was starting to do more sweating than cuddling - not at all what she wanted.

Liz sighed in resignation - the subsequent inhalation bringing the pleasant musky smell of Max to her nostrils. She started to smile - imagining herself back against him, his arm around her waist - maybe even finding its way against her bare midriff. Suddenly it felt even warmer.

'I am sweating like a pig and I haven't showered in most of a week,' she told herself, '... and he probably doesn't want me anywhere near him - and it's hard to blame him at that.' Yet somehow, HIS musky smell was not only pleasant, it went quite a ways beyond merely pleasant.

Maybe, she decided, if it wasn't quite so warm.

"Max, are you awake?" she whispered.

"Yes, Liz?"

"Could you maybe turn the heat down just a few degrees?"

"Uh, sure Liz - I'll let it cool off more. I just didn't want you to get cold like you did the other nights."

"I wasn't really cold the other nights, Max, except the first one of course - and even that one I warmed up pretty fast when you - uh - heated my body up with your hand."

THAT was not the memory that Max wanted right now, and his eyes closed as he struggled to go back to what he was concentrating on before.

Liz hadn't meant to say that - it had just somehow come out. 'A Freudian slip, no doubt,' taunted her subconscious mind. Nonetheless, the thought of his hand against her abdomen - heat flowing in to her - it was unbelievably lovely and not just a little sensual either. She wondered if the thought of that moment had affected Max like it had her.

"Max, what are you thinking right now?" Liz asked.

"I was thinking about meat loaf," he replied - truthfully. It had been several milliseconds ago when he'd been thinking about her body heating up under his hand....

"Just food?"

"No, not food - not food at all. Izzy's meatloaf. I'm afraid that my dad gave his to the neighbors dog. If that mutt ever remembers where he buried it, I hope he has the good sense not to eat it - at least until I get back to heal him..."

'Good,' thought Liz, '...I didn't frighten him by talking about him touching me.'

"That's very funny, Max, but I'm sure your sister's cooking is a lot better than that."

'Good. She bought it. All I have to do is keep thinking about Isabel and her cooking and I won't think about how it felt when I put my hand on her abdomen to heal her - or about when she pulled her blouse up and put my hand on top of the mark I made healing her...Oh damn,' thought Max, struggling to remember some other culinary disaster of his sisters that would distract him from the thought of Liz looking at him unafraid as she proved he was an alien.

Of course as he struggled to replace the look of her doing that with the memory of the burning creme brulee' that had resulted in the smoke damage to the kitchen and the fire department being called by his father, he neglected to remember that the look on Liz's face as she'd placed his hand on the healing mark had been very close to the look that had been on her face in that dream - a look of knowing - accepting - and wanting.

"G'night Max, sweet dreams..." Liz said, hoping he'd drift off to sleep quickly.

"G'night, Liz, sweet dreams to you too," he replied. He'd think about his sisters cooking as long as he could. Unfortunately, Isabel only knew about two dozen recipes - unfortunately nothing remotely edible.
Last edited by greywolf on Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/07/2009

Post by greywolf » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:31 am

Meanwhile, back at Holloman AFB, Jim wasn't getting to sleep very quickly either. He was still remembering that conversation with his father....

Yeah, Jimmy – before those bastards even knew they were in a fight, six of their guys were down. From what I saw and learned later I sort of think the pregnant woman was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time and – I would guess – tried to fight those things to keep the vehicle.

Those creatures – shapeshifters – had been locked up for two years – tortured and given experimental drugs. Once they had killed six guys to get away from that laboratory, well I suppose those things weren't in any sort of mood to argue with a woman about a get-away vehicle.

Browning and I.... well, we were just sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time too, I guess. They drafted us – told us if we ever told anyone we'd be violating some FDR Secret Special Finding and they could disappear us into some white room like they had those creatures. That's why I didn't talk about them for all those years. By the seventies – hell, twenty years had gone by since I helped them chase those critters – I thought the story ought to be told. I guess I thought the Special Unit guys – the few that survived that chase – would have to come clean.

'The few that survived the chase,' Jim Valenti thought to himself. 'Maybe you should get some backup on this one, Jimmy-boy,' he thought. Then he shook his head wearily. That just wasn't going to happen. He wouldn't let Kyle go through what he'd had to go through – everyone laughing and pointing – thinking his old man was crazy. No, he wouldn't put his son in the position of having to either support his father and getting laughed at and abused, or having to disown someone he cared about. He couldn't.

But neither could he just walk away either, he knew. Hell, maybe Liz and Max had fallen to their deaths somewhere else altogether. Maybe the two kids bodies hadn't been in any of those six seats – maybe they'd clung desperately to the other seats until their arms had given out and they'd been sucked out the hole in the fuselage – perhaps miles from where the baggage and seats were found. Hell, maybe those HADN'T been shapeshifter blobs on those infrared films at all.

But the way it seemed to Jim Valenti that it best went together is that the shapeshifters had been hiding in the malpais – about as isolated an area as it was possible to find this close to Roswell – subsisting off the vegetation and maybe any small animals that lived out there. Would they scavenge dead human flesh for protein? Jim wasn't sure – the very idea that the two kids were dead was painful enough – the thought of their bodies being desecrated by scavengers – after this time almost a certainty – perhaps it really didn't matter all that much if the scavengers were extraterrestrial or just a flock of turkey buzzards.

But what did matter to Jim was the pregnant woman back in 1950. She was just a simple citizen – the sort that law enforcement are supposed to protect. A cold case? Well, hell yes. It had happened before Jim Valenti had even been born – before his parents had even met. Nonetheless, The woman deserved justice and those – things – deserved their day in court. Thinking back to the rest of the story his father had told him, he wasn't sure the creatures were really legally responsible for their actions. They had been – if his father's story was correct – somewhat screwed up even when the Special Unit had first captured them. Of course that was the conclusion the Special Unit guys came to only after eighteen months of drugs, torture, and even vivisection of the first shapeshifter. Had they not caught the second one, it's doubtful the first would have even survived its treatment. The fact was, today a jury might even let the creatures go if the right lawyer said the right things – if not go free, at least to a mental hospital. Perhaps that would even have been the most just thing – the creatures seemed like damaged goods even before the Special Unit had tortured them.

'But that's not your decision, Jimmy-boy,' he told himself. 'Your job is to get irrefutable evidence they exist – bring one or both in – only if you can do it safely – then let the courts sort out who was right and who was wrong a half-century ago.' One thing was sure, though. The things were now a half century older. 'That must have slowed them down somewhat,' Jim thought – trying to convince himself. Of course, he couldn't burn spines of cactus by waving his hand at it, so he really had no idea what a half century meant to these creatures.....

While Jim Valenti was staring at the ceiling – wondering whether or not he was being stupid by pursuing these creatures a half-century after his father had first pursued them – there was a little agonizing going on over in the malpais as well.

Liz hung in there for almost two hours – waiting for Max to go to sleep – but it was obvious from Max's breathing pattern and the periodic warmth coming from the wall in front of her that Max wasn't all that tired tonight. As much as she wanted to wait him out – then cuddle up against him – she knew she'd already scared him several times by being too forward. A girl had to have a plan and her plan right now was to wait for him to make the first move. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen tonight. Even so, he was keeping her safe and warm and was right there beside her. For tonight that would just have to be good enough, she decided. She closed her eyes and - within a few minutes – was sound asleep.

Max stayed awake even longer – partly because he was afraid of how he'd awakened the last time they'd slept, partly because he sort of feared the dreams he was having these nights spent near Liz. They were too beautiful – too intoxicating – they pulled at his heart and his mind in a way he would have never believed possible. It wasn't fair – really. The dreams weren't going to come true – he knew that with absolute certainty. Winning the lottery – that was unlikely. The dreams coming true – that was impossible.

So why? Why did those dreams affect him so deeply – even though he knew they could never be real?

Those were the questions and thoughts that Max muddled through his mind for those hours – but there was no answer. Eventually the labors of the day – finding food – travel over rough terrain – preparing the cave – keeping it warm – eventually the fatigue caused by all of these things got the best of Max. Two hours later than Liz – he finally gave out and drifted off to sleep....which is how he joined Liz's dream-orb with the dream already in progress.

Max recognized the place almost at once. It was a remote campsite in the Lincoln Forest west of Roswell. His family had gone camping near there one summer weekend almost two years ago. The biscuits Isabel had made for them that morning were still no doubt buried in the shallow grave his father had dug for them a few dozen yards away from the campfire.

But the four people here today weren't the Evans family. They were the Parker family - plus one. He and Liz were older in this dream - but not greatly so. High school age certainly - but not more than that. The junior of the two couples were perhaps sophomores - junior at most. That the four people were couples was obvious even to Max's modest social awareness.

The older couple seemed to anticipate each others actions - their movement almost choreographed in the fashion of those who know from long experience the habits of the other. The younger couple were more tentative - but a couple nonetheless.

Those younger two seemed to be very aware of the other - their hands frequently intertwined - their bodies somehow managing to find some way to briefly touch even if they were doing no more than setting gear down on the picnic table at the campsite. Both dream-Liz and dream-Maxseemed to be in the blush of new love- comfortable with each other - but perhaps too aware of the presence of the other couple and how that couple might react to their now being a couple.

Too late to blend in to his dream-Max persona, Max floated through the dream orb like an invisible wraith toward the four people - just in time to hear the conversation start.

"Liz," said dream-Nancy, "...Why don't you and I go set up the tent while your father and Max get a campfire started?"

Even to someone of Max's meager social skills, it was obvious that this was a ruse - just an excuse for Nancy to get Liz away to talk to her in private - and perhaps to allow Jeff Parker to explain to dream-Max what the rules were going to be. Max was frankly surprised that he would have been invited on the family camp trip at all. He'd heard how important the annual event was to Mr. Parker. Of course, it was only a dream....

"Uh, thanks for inviting me along on the camping trip, Mr. Parker," said dream-Max.


"Excuse me, sir?"

"Call me Jeff, Max..."

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/10/2009

Post by greywolf » Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:18 am

“Well, thanks for inviting me along then....Jeff.”

“It's our pleasure – Max - Nancy and mine, and obviously Liz's – who would have no doubt otherwise done her level best to convince us she was happy to be here – all the time looking like she'd have rather been anywhere else...”

“I don't mean to spoil your family tradition, sir...,” started dream-Max.

“Max, I wasn't saying that. Nancy and I are truly grateful you are here – not just because it means that Liz is happy rather than moping – but also because … well … because we enjoy your company too and we hope that we can keep that family tradition intact. It certainly isn't any great secret that you two kids care a lot for each other and I guess I'm hoping to start a new tradition rather than wait for the day that Nancy and I are back to doing this with just the two of us because Liz will be with you. I don't know how you feel being dragged along on this but I think that if we can convince you that these trips can be fun, we might not only get you along but keep Liz as well.”

“Well, I'm certainly having fun so far,” said dream-Max. “Uh, Mr. Parker...”

“That's Jeff, Max.”

“Yeah, well, Jeff – about Liz and me. Are you OK with that?”

“Max, I'm probably as OK as any father is with the prospect of his little girl growing up. Given my druthers, I'd have probably kept her in second grade forever. But you can't do that of course. The day came when my little girl went to third grade – well, even before that I guess, when she went to register for the third grade and had you not been there for her she would, I'd imagine, have been savaged pretty badly by a pit bull.

Max, you have to play the cards that you are dealt – not the ones you wish you'd been dealt. Frankly, if I controlled destiny Liz would have lived a very uneventful childhood and the two of you would be meeting a few years hence when you go off to college.

I like you and I'll forever be grateful to you for all the times you've been there for Liz, but if I could have planned this, I'd have just as soon you and Liz hadn't become so close so quickly. I think sometimes that you both got cheated out of your childhood somehow. I'm extremely glad that you were responsible and took care of my daughter and glad that she helped you – but everyone is an adult a lot longer than the are a kid. Having to bear adult responsibilities at a young age may be something that matures a person, but that's its only virtue. There is a lot to be said for a boring and uneventful childhood too.”

“It wasn't like we planned this – either one of us,” protested dream-Max.

“I realize that, Max, and it isn't like I'm not grateful for you being there, it's just that – well, seeing your little girl grow up and having another man become the most important guy in her life is sort of a bittersweet time for any father. Of course, that being said, I certainly can't fault her choice of that young man. I simply wish that I'd stayed the most important guy in her life just a little longer.”

“Mr. Parker – Jeff – you are the most important guy in her life...”

Jeff Parker looked toward the flat area across the campsite where Liz and Nancy were struggling with the tent.

“Max, that's not so and you know it. That's not bad - Liz loves you and that's a good thing. The two of you are very good for each other – her mother is right – you two are better as a pair than either of you are as individuals. But even you can't believe that you aren't the number one guy in her life right now.

No, Max, you are real good at a lot of things, but you aren't a very good liar. That's sort of surprising too – as long as you kept your secret. Speaking of that, I'm never going to get this green wood burning – how about giving me some help here?”

It was only as dream-Max used his powers to ignite the fire that the real Max realized that Jeff Parker knew. The dream that he and Liz were a couple had been beautiful but that her parents would know – and still accept him – that was too much to believe. Not too much to WANT to believe, he realized sadly.

'If it could only be real,'
Max thought, but of course it couldn't. Even in the dream he knew that.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/10/2009

Post by greywolf » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:52 pm

People don't sleep all that well on bare rock. That's partly just physiology. A teenager's systolic blood pressure is only about 90mm Hg - scarcely two pounds per square inch. Bony prominences overlying even smooth rock put more pressure than that on the underlying tissues. The rest is physics. Blood can't get in to the area because it can't overcome that hydrostatic pressure. Because of that discomfort develops, and - without even awakening - a person will move to one side or another to relieve that pressure and restore circulation to those areas. Usually that process is direction-less - something like Brownian movement. Not so in this small cave in the malpais.

Although the movement itself was purely due to physiology the direction of the movement was not - or at least if it was, it was due to a physiology of a wholly different sort. As the hours passed the two unconscious bodies slowly but inexorably moved toward each other. Since the initial gap was only inches, it didn't take long. Even as both Liz and Max were lost in the dream-orb, somehow her body had spooned backward molding itself against his, and somehow his body had moved forward. Gradually his arm had encircled her waist and once again somehow his hand found the bare midriff where it appeared to snuggle happily just north of her navel.

Meanwhile, back in the dream-orb.

The fire blazed to life quickly under the influence of his molecular manipulation, and Jeff smiled.

“Thanks, Max – it wouldn't do to let the gals get ahead of us.”

“It's not true thought that you aren't the most important guy in Liz's life though, Mr. Parker.”

“That's Jeff, Max, and even if it weren't true -and I think it probably is – it will be soon. You are a very special guy, Max.”

“Weird you mean....”

“I wasn't referring to your powers Max – or even to your rather unique heritage. In a fair world you wouldn't have to hide that. You'd be proud of being 'weird' as you call it. I know your parents are proud – I know Lizzy is proud. But it isn't a fair world, it's the world we have. A world with crackpots we get around here at the Crash Festival. No, your parents are right about using a lot of discretion about who finds out about that part of your life. But that really has nothing to do with what I meant when I said you were a special guy. What I was referring to was your character. You have behaved very admirably toward Liz – right from the very first. Despite your childhood being somewhat 'weird' as you call it, you always put Liz's welfare ahead of anything else – even your own. That's what made Lizzy fall in love with you, and that's what concerns me a little bit.”

“I guess I don't understand...”

Jeff Parker looked into dream-Max's eyes and saw the confusion. He shook his head and rolled his eyes skyward.

“Max – this isn't the kind of subject that a girl's father generally has with her boyfriend but – if you don't really understand - maybe I ought to tell you. Let's go back to the car and get the rest of the gear and we can talk along the way.”

Long before they'd gotten back to the trailhead they passed a couple of large flat boulders and Jeff Parker nodded for dream-Max to be seated.

“This,” said Jeff, “...is not going to be an easy topic for me, Max. You know Lizzy's Grandma Beverley told me that Nancy's father had a difficult time coming to terms with the two of us – Nancy and me that is - becoming a couple. Nancy was his pride and joy – still is. It wasn't so much that he resented me as he was just in denial. We dated for a couple of years and he was flabbergasted when I proposed to her. She said he was even more surprised that Nancy accepted. We were married for four years before Nancy got pregnant. According to Beverley he had sort of convinced himself that we had a platonic relationship going. It wasn't like he didn't want a grandchild – just preferred to consider her a virgin birth...”

Dream-Max blushed visibly, “Mr. Parker – I haven't – I wouldn't – I ….. Mr. Parker, I don't have any idea if Liz and I even could have children, but we aren't....”

“I'm not sure which one of us is more embarrassed by this, Max. I wasn't implying that you and Liz have any immediate intention of finding out if you can have children. Hopefully you someday can, because I've come to learn that grandkids are the compensation that fathers get for having to give up their daughters, but you have no idea how happy I will be if you and Liz wait eight or ten years on that.

My point, son, is that if you and Liz had never met until high school – if you'd been – well let's use the word 'normal' as opposed to 'exceptional,' you and Lizzy would have had a more conventional sort of relationship. The only problem with that scenario, of course, is that my daughter would have never survived to see it. You see Max, normally when a young couple meet there is – rightfully – an awful lot of uncertainty about just how suitable each might find the other.”


“Yes,” said Jeff, finding it hard to look into the innocent eyes of the young man, “... for the young lady a significant issue is trust. Is the young man really the sort of one she can count on – not just for a few dates – but for a lifetime? Does he really care about her – or does he simply want to use her – or at least her body – with no thought to any sort of real commitment?”

“Mr. Parker, I have never – I mean Liz and I haven't... we wouldn't....”

“To tell the truth, Max, I really don't want to know – not now, and certainly not in the future. The point I am trying to make, Max, is that your relationship with Liz hasn't been normal – it has been exceptional, not just because of your powers but because of your character.

My daughter is neither ignorant of that character nor - I'm quite sure – unappreciative of how fortunate she is to have the relationship she has with you and if you still harbor any of those ridiculous notions that she regards you as too 'different' to be the person she wants to spend her life with, I am pretty sure I don't want to know what she'll do to convince you that's not the case, but convince you she will.

You see Max, the problem is your character. You've taken away any reasonable possibility for her to doubt how much you care, and that doubt is all that exists sometimes to keep young ladies from getting carried away and doing something that they might not yet be emotionally prepared for.”

“Mr Parker, I would never ….”

“But you would, Max. You're only human – well, no I guess that isn't right either – but the point is, you are human enough – and even if you weren't, Lizzy is a healthy young red-blooded lady – thanks in great measure to your efforts, I might add.

In the normal course of events you would have dated in high school – eventually decided you were right for each other – and then reached the point in your relationship where the girl's father just prefers to think that neither one of you have any intention of getting past second base until marriage and the honeymoon whatever the reality might be.

The problem here is that Lizzy doesn't have any reason whatsoever to doubt your feelings or doubt the kind of guy you are. Every time she talks about the two of you on the malpais she gets this wide eyed stare off into the distance and goofy smile. I'm doing my best to assume that nothing more serious than getting to second base did happen out there....”

“It didn't sir...”

“But the point is, Max, I don't really want to know, because Liz does know the kind of person you are and does love you and – even though I don't think either of you are ready for that yet, and to tell the truth I'm kind of like Nancy's old man, I'd just as soon believe that the two of you are never going to do that, but …. well, I guess I'm a little more of a realist than that.

Sometime, son, probably long before either your parents or Nancy and I are comfortable with it, the two of you are going to feel some very strong urges to deepen your commitment to each other and – after all you've been through together – there isn't going to be a whole lot of doubt in the minds of either of you to hold you back.

If – more likely when – that does happen, I do not want to know about it and I damn sure don't want Nancy to know about it. We'd like to keep our delusions until the two of you are safely married and our celebration of any grandkids that come along can be - uh – unrestrained.”

“Mr Parker, Liz would never...and I would never...”

“Stop, Max. I don't want you to make any promises that you'll feel guilty about not being able to keep. Like I said, I don't want to know, but I do have some ground rules. I'd like your word- man to man – you'll follow them – and that's all I want you to promise, OK?”

“What rules?”

“First of all, I won't ask you to promise to love her and take care of her – that'd be a waste of effort. I know you already do – heaven knows you've shown it often enough. What I want is your promise that if and when you and Lizzy decide to take your relationship to a uh – deeper – level, you will BOTH decide that – and do it with malice aforethought.”

“Malice aforethought?”

“Yes. Max, I don't want you and Liz making some spontaneous hormone driven decision in the back seat of a car or something. I don't want you two to put yourself in a position where you do this by 'accident' or without giving it full consideration. If that does happen Max, it ought to be important enough to both of you that you plan for it – not just taking precautions like they talk about in sex ed, but be discrete. Take precautions to not be where you are going to be discovered – particularly not be me or Nancy – and Max, however it happens it ought to be something beautiful for you and Liz, not something furtive or vulgar or classless – not something that doesn't really reflect the love that the two of you have for each other.
That's all I ask. Will you do that for me, son?” asked Jeff Parker, holding out his hand.

“Yes sir.... Jeff,” said dream-Max, shaking the hand slowly. “If anything like that ever does happen – Liz will know she's the most important thing in the world to me.”

“THAT I think she already knows, Max......”

Max fled the dream-orb in near panic. It wasn't possible – he told himself. Not possible that Liz could ever accept him that way – not possible that her parents could accept him either – it was all impossible. He was too different – always had been – always would be.

Then he opened his eyes to find her hair in his face – her body against his – his hand around her waist the feel of her warm skin under his palm as he pulled himself closer to her. Max didn't move – barely breathed. He knew it wasn't real – that uit couldn't be – that Liz could never really accept him that way – that her parents couldn't. But the sense of loss of the beauty of that dream was almost soul crushing.

But even if you can't believe you can take a lot of solace in having the one you love near you – in feeling her warmth against you – her body moving against you with each breath. The tears he cried were soon lost among the beautiful strands of her hair and he kissed the back of her head softly. No, the dream would never be real – but he'd have this moment of closeness and the warmth of that dream – things he would remember, Max knew, for the rest of his life. At least in that beauty he found some comfort.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/11/2009

Post by greywolf » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:46 pm

It was 6:45 and the sun was just hitting the tops of the San Andres mountains to the west as Jim Valenti turned off Highway 380 and onto county road A008. The road went just a little over a mile before it dead-ended at the gate. Jim took out the key he'd been given and opened the gate driving the 4 wheel-drive Yukon through and carefully locking it behind him. The second warning sign was only about a mile further and he stopped the vehicle to review with some care the map he'd gotten from the Senior Master Sergeant back at the base. It appeared that the road ahead wound through an arroyo that brushed against the black basalt lava of the malpais in five separate areas which – if the good Senior Master Sergeant was to be believed – constituted the only areas where he could safely climb up onto the lava. Of course, 'safely' was a relative term.

According to his father there had been ten of those 'special unit' FBI guys who had – along with Jim's father and Deputy Jim Browning, his father's own partner – finally trapped the two shapeshifters in the box canyon. Of course by the time it was over, the real question was who had trapped whom?

Altogether the FBI Special Unit had lost fourteen people – six in the original breakout and eight of the ten that had pursued the creatures into that box canyon. Somehow neither his father nor the other deputy had gotten a scratch on them – although both had been knocked aside by some sort of blast from the beasts. Unlike the FBI guys, the creatures hadn't followed up with a hand to the chest – which seemed to be their preferred mode of dispatching their enemies. Jim Browning had theorized -half in jest - that they'd been protected by their bolo ties. His theory was that it was personal between the creatures and the FBI guys and the creatures recognized the difference between the 'uniform' of the FBI guys – suit and tie – and the uniforms of the sheriff's department of cowboy hat and bolo tie. Maybe it had been so. For whatever reason, Jim's dad and Jim Browning – the guy he was named after – had been passed over while eight FBI guys died in that canyon.

Jim's father had told him that after the bodies had been recovered he had seen one of the surviving FBI guys in a bar drinking heavily and talked to him about just how this had all gotten started. What the guy claimed was that the whole thing had started at the time of the 1947 crash.

The two shapeshifters – of course the Army Air Corps hadn't known they COULD shapeshift at first – had been found dazed and confused at the scene of the saucer wreckage. There had been four pods among the debris – units of some kind that actually had the ability to stop time. What exactly was inside, they hadn't had time to discover but the scientists thought they might be part of the drive mechanism because certainly none of the rest of the wreckage looked like it had anything that could generate faster-than-light flight.

They'd asked the two they had captured what the purpose of the pods was but apparently the creatures' ability to communicate was pretty poor, but both had insisted that they needed to have possession of those pods. The Army Air Corps, on the other hand, wanted every bit of the wreckage to study. One of the creatures had apparently immobilized one of their guards and the other just walked out of custody, its body changed to duplicate the guard that was being held by the other creature. There was a lot of confusion over that - even after the man was discovered unharmed . Before anyone knew what was going on the four pods were gone. That's when the FBI Special Unit was brought in.

The FBI guy was pretty drunk but he'd claimed that their team Agent-in-Charge had been a real ambitious guy and had wanted to get promoted – that he'd leaned on all those presidential findings dating back to the early part of the war – back to when even American citizens had been put in concentration camps if they were from the wrong ethnic group. That the guy had pushed their authority under those presidentail orders to the limit – and past it. They'd tortured that beast trying to make it give up the other one so they could get back those pods – tortured it to the point where they'd all known it would die. Whether it couldn't or just wouldn't give up its fellow, the FBI guy didn't know, but it would have died if the second one hadn't come back and somehow helped heal it. That was how they'd caught the second one.

Once more they'd tortured – working on first one and then the other – trying to get the information about those missing pods. That had gone on for six months – the creatures too drugged – or so they thought until their escape – to be able to effectively resist. But somehow they'd managed to beat the drugs – and taken the first six FBI guys down. The pregnant woman had apparently tried to fight them for the keys to the vehicle – it hadn't been anything personal. What had been personal was when the two of them had caught up to the team Agent-in-Charge. He'd been one of the eight who never made it out of the box canyon alive and the only one who had literally been torn apart by the creatures. The memory of that was why the junior agent was in the bar drinking and drunk enough to talk.

'But it's been fifty years,' Jim Valenti told himself. 'If they were adults in 1947 they have to be getting sort of feeble by now, don't they? Especially if they've done nothing for the last sixty years but roam around the malpais and eat cactus....'

He looked down again at the photographs that he had taped together. The two creatures were separated in the photo by a good fifty meters or more. If he could take them one at a time....

Jim looked again at his weapons. The 12 gauge shotgun had magnum shells of double-ought buckshot alternating with rifled slugs. At close range it could probably take down an elephant. Past fifty meters it would be dumb luck if he hit anything with it. He wasn't carrying his .40 caliber service automatic – normally none of them carried their primary weapons while on search and rescue duty, but he did have his backup – a 9mm Glock. That had an effective range of not much more than fifty meters either.

Of course, this wasn't some traffic stop. Reading these two their Miranda rights might be just a little hazardous to his health – sixty years older or not. He got up and went to the back of the Yukon and opened it up – finally finding the box he was looking for. The tranquilizer dart rifle was actually for use on large animals – like when one of their search and rescue missions had been caused when a bear had once treed a hunter – but it had the capability to put a moose to sleep if you put the full 10 ccs of tranquilizer in it and its range was almost 150 meters. Not only that but the rifle made only a fraction of the noise of the shotgun or handgun.

If he could catch the two creatures separated he could immobilize one with the tranquilizer, then get the other before the first one could wake up. If either of them resisted or offered any sort of a threat – well, he wasn't going to let what happened to those fourteen FBI agents happen to him. He'd be able to use that shotgun long before they put a hand on him.

Maybe the junior agent was right – maybe the Agent-in-Charge had tormented the creatures to the point where he deserved what happened to him – but the other thirteen guys were just following orders and the pregnant woman was a civilian. Sixty years or not, these creatures needed to be held accountable by the law, he told himself.

Perhaps somewhere in the back of Jim Valenti's mind he was wondering if this wasn't really about getting even for all those people who laughed at his father – and at the child he'd been - when the newspapers had made out his father to be a lunatic. Perhaps his conscience was whispering to him that this was really stupid - no less a vendetta than Captain Ahab and Moby Dick - but if his conscience was saying that, he certainly wasn't listening to it.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/12/2009

Post by greywolf » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:16 pm

December 14, 2009:
It was almost 2PM and Jim figured he had perhaps three hours more of daylight to get back to the Yukon. He was almost twenty three miles road – if you wanted to call it that – miles from state highway 380. Jim doubted that the road had ever been all that good but this week's thunderstorm had apparently made it even worse.

He had made less than eight miles an hour this morning – counting the twenty minutes he'd spent winching the 4 wheel drive vehicle out of the gravel after it had essentially high-centered itself in ruts eroded by the recent rain. Of course, that had just gotten him to the edge of the malpais. It had taken him an-other three hours to hike in from the military road where it had the road had made its southernmost contact with the lava flow. Then had come almost an hour of looking before he had found what he had sought – another area where the vegetation showed the results of shapeshifter foraging and another of the rock shelters the creatures somehow created in solid stone.

Jim had gotten out his map and charted the position of the three areas of foraged plants. If you drew a line from the first – near where the unsecured aircraft seats had been found – to the second – where the creatures had been photographed by the satellite four days ago – it went directly through this area – where he had now found the additional area of foraged plans and rock shelter. Based upon these three points Jim could tell the direction they were going – almost due east – and their ap-proximate speed.

Given the limited hours of daylight they were sustaining a speed a little bit faster than he could expect to make over similar terrain. That pretty much ruled out him trying to chase them down. Without the Yukon close by he'd need a sleeping bag – pack – food – and a lot more water than he was now carrying – not to mention a rifle dart gun, a 12 gauge police shotgun, and his backup pistol. All those things would slow him down even more, while the creatures appeared to be foraging as they went. Even if he moved at night – not easy on the sharp and treacherous lava – he would likely not be traveling much further in a day than they were. Of course, he'd need to use a light, which made his chance of sneak-ing up on them non-existent, even if he didn't break a leg in the process.

And yet, Jim knew, he HAD to sneak up on them – or at a minimum, he needed to con-ceal himself until he could engage the two separately. Maybe the creatures were ninety years old – maybe older than that even – he still didn't trust himself to be able to over-come both of them simultaneously – not when he knew that the creatures had once taken out fourteen FBI agents in less than 36 hours.

That was why Jim was on his way back to the vehicle – hopefully to arrive there before sun-down – after which he intended to drive back up the road about nineteen miles to the east-ernmost area where the government rail con-tacted the lava flow. His intention was to camp there – get a good night's sleep – and then work his way north. If he was estimating right from the map he would be able to get in front of them – then work his way westward tomorrow morning until he could find a place of concealment. Then he'd let the creatures come to him.

The trank-rifle was CO2 powered – it scarcely made any noise. If he could knock one out with the tranquilizer gun and get it safely handcuffed, he could then do the same to the other. Once he had his proof, he'd have no problem getting on his radio and calling for help from the Carrizozo Fire Department, the Otero County Sheriff's Department, or the en-tire US Air Force. That, he decided, was his most reasonable course of action. Of course, he had no real way of knowing, he realized, if the trank gun would even work If it didn't he'd need to use the shotgun quickly then get out of dodge before the second creature showed up.

Jim headed south toward the vehicle and road. He had over three miles to go and little more than three hours to get there. One mile an hour didn't sound all that difficult – normal walking was about four miles an hour. 'Yeah,' thought Jim Valenti, '...but there is nothing normal about walking in the malpais.' Even so, he figured he'd be there by dusk – if the soles of his boots didn't wear through....
Last edited by greywolf on Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:24 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/14/2009

Post by greywolf » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:07 pm

They had, Liz told herself, made good time. Considering the terrain they'd crossed, they'd traveled faster and farther than on any of the days since they'd fallen onto the malpais. That had been the only really good thing about today.

Max had been distant the whole day. Not distant as in far away - except for a couple of potty breaks they hadn't been out of each others sight - but distant emotionally. It had started that very morning and Liz still wasn't sure why. Perhaps it was concern for his parents and sister - Liz would have understood that. She was worried about the seven kinds of hell her parents must be going through too, thinking that she was dead. She'd spent a little time today brooding on that herself. But with Max it seemed to be more than that. It seemed to be directed towards her - almost as if being around her was unpleasant. It wasn't that Max was being unkind, it was just - well he was reacting to her like he had seldom reacted to her - sort of like he had reacted that day on the edge of the quarry when she'd pushed him about dating.

'Was that it?' she asked herself. 'Did you say or do something that he might have interpreted as pushing for a boy-girl sort of relationship?'

She didn't remember doing anything like that. Of course, she'd started the day with the memory of the dream with the talk between her father and Max - her two main men...'You wish.' and it was possible the warm fuzzy feeling that dream had given her had lead her to do or say something Max could have interpreted as pushing him, but she sure couldn't remember it if she had said something. Whatever had happened, Max had somehow changed.

'He's been through a lot - living a lie his entire life. Maybe he just needs some time to adjust,' she told herself, hoping it was no more than that. Something deep inside her said it was though.

It was getting dark as sunset approached. Max was hollowing out another shelter with his powers - Liz was somewhat surprised at how quickly something so amazing to her had become routine - while she was rustling up dinner. So far some agave and some prickly pears she had knocked off an older cactus - too mature to make nopalitos from - with her cholla wood walking stick. It was already too late -and quickly growing too cold - for snakes and Lizards to be out.

' If I could only find a bird's nest or something - that would be good.'

A hundred feet north, Max was hollowing out their next sleeping place. He had actually considered doing two - one for each of them - before realizing Liz would have no way but her own body heat to keep hers warm. Even under the ground, the rock was in the fifties - too cold for the way she was dressed. He had been trying to keep his distance from her emotionally all day - without as much success as he would have liked. His mind kept coming back to that dream - that terrible and beautiful dream.

It wasn't just the thought of Jeff Parker essentially trusting him with the life - and love - of his daughter - although he really couldn't imagine any greater acceptance or trust that one man could ever have for another than to give his blessing to the two of them being a couple. No, that was beautiful enough - even in the bittersweet knowledge that it was only a dream and it would never really happen.

What really bothered him was that he'd seen how he and Liz had acted in that dream. They had been a couple - a REAL couple - like there was nothing held back between them.

Max wasn't a complete social idiot - he'd done observational stuff. Humans always kept a certain 'space' about themselves - a certain physical limitation. It was challenging or rude or ill-mannered to get too close to someone - unless you were a couple. The Max and Liz in that dream had been a couple. When they walked, they held hands, when they stood, there had been arm's casually entwined, hands softly touching, all happening without conscious effort. It wasn't foreplay - or even overtly sexual - it was more just a reassurance of one another that the other was near - that the world was .... well, like it was SUPPOSED to be.

He wanted to be a couple with Liz - he had to admit that to himself, and the thought scared him and - he supposed - was what was causing the emptiness he was feeling in his soul when he was forced to admit that THAT was just not going to happen. He couldn't and wouldn't embarrass her or himself by even suggesting she might want to go down that road now that she knew he was different.

But the problem was, the dream of that had ensnared him. All day he'd been thinking about that dream - except when he'd been thinking about lying by her side tonight. THAT was why he was making this chamber a little extra big - to enable her to stay farther away from him. He was determined - tonight at least - to resist the temptation to hold her as she slept - to bury his nose in her hair and breathe in the scent of her....

'Max, stop it. Stop it right now!'
He told himself. 'It isn't going to happen and you'll just hurt her and make yourself feel worse if you keep thinking it is...'

"How's it coming, Max. I got us fruit and veggies - but nothing resembling meat. I'm afraid we'll need your magic with the prickly pears if we are going to have anything really tasty."

"Uh - I'm getting there," he said.

The sleeping chamber was already larger than their previous ones - and it was starting to get cold. He went over and heated a rock next to Liz with his powers, so the radiant heat from it would keep her warm while he worked on the the food she had brought.

"The cave needs to be a little bigger yet, but I suppose it'll wait until after dinner," he said.

'I'll be OK,' Max told himself - perhaps not entirely convincingly, ' ...if I can just stop having beautiful dreams like that about her...'

Tonight, he decided, he really would stay awake all night.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/15/2009

Post by greywolf » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:02 am

2 miles east of highway 380, Jim Valenti was having a restless night.

For those who have never tried it, sleeping in a vehicle in the cold - even a vehicle big enough to allow you to fold seats down and actually lay out flat - is considerably less comfortable than sleeping on the ground. The vehicle cold soaks - becomes three tons of metal heatsink at 15 degrees and it seems to want to pull the warmth right out of you. The Search and Rescue Unit was, of course, equipped with cold weather gear including sleeping bags, but these were war surplus 'mummy' bags - so named because they were about as restrictive as the anciant Egyptian death shroud. Perhaps somewhere there was someone who actually fit comfortably in such a bag - generations of GIs had never located that person - but Jim Valenti certainly wasn't such a person. What was worse, the sleeping bag was only a moderate weight one – suitable for only down to around 40 degrees. The military solution to that was to take the mummy bag and put it inside what was called an 'arctic bag,' somewhat warmer than the first which combination together would handle nearly any degree of cold. Unfortunately the 'arctic bag' was no larger than the original – meaning the inadequate volume inside the bag was now actually decreased by the additional space taken up by the insulation of the second bag. For anyone with any tendency toward claustrophobia, this combination was entirely unworkable. Even those without claustrophobia tended to develop it.

The dreams people have are slightly under the influence of the conscious mind, but they are hugely under the influence of the subconscious mind. That's why Jim's dream-orb was a mosaic of all sorts of thoughts – a feeling of being physically trapped in a small place – half-seen faces of shifting shapes that would reach out toward his chest with glowing hands trying to claim his life – the taunts of his youthful friends about his father – and a scene he'd been trying for a decade to be able to forget:
  • “Michelle – how can you do this? Not just to me, but to our son?” asked dream Jim Valenti, holding a baby in his arms.

    “Well he wasn't MY idea. He was a mistake – that's all – like marrying you was a mistake. I had a whole future in front of me – I was the head cheerleader at Lincoln High, Jimmy, and why on Earth I let you talk me into marrying you – or coming to a hick town like Roswell – I have no idea. But it ends here and now. There is an agent in Los Angeles who has seen my portfolio and wants me to audition for a part there – and I'm going to take that opportunity to make something of myself.”

    “Please stay – for our son...”

    “YOUR son will probably grow up as crazy as his grandfather – as crazy as his father – living in Roswell and seeing aliens around every corner. You keep him – tell him if he wants to see his mother he can just go get a ticket to a movie – I'll be up there on the big screen.”
Jim tossed and turned in the tight sleeping bag as the demons of his past were resurrected. Michelle had never come back – never written – never sent her son as much as a birthday card. Her movie career had been brief parts in two films – both X-rated. Eight years ago he'd tried to contact her to tell her about her mother's death. He'd found out that she'd just been released from jail awaiting trial for prostitution and possession of controlled drugs. Before she'd ever come to trial she'd overdosed on drugs her pimp had given her. He had nightmares constantly about Kyle finding out about his mom. All his son knew was that she'd left and had never contacted either of them again - but someday he'd ask man-to-man and Jim would somehow have to find a way to tell him....

The entire night was like that – bizarre nightmares about homicidal alien shapeshifters – claustrophobia – and painful scenes from his childhood and marriage. Jim got little sleep and even less rest. But he'd be up at 6AM – swilling lukewarm black coffee and hiking in to set up an ambush. He couldn't do anything about his father or his childhood or Michelle – he couldn't give Kyle the mother the young man deserved to have. But those two shapeshifters – those he might be able to do something about.....

Eight miles away Liz had been out for hours – and Max had been concentrating on not getting close to her and thinking about Isabel's – well, you couldn't actually call it cooking, he just wasn't too sure WHAT to call it – but you get the picture. Of course it had been a long hard day and he'd worn himself nearly to exhaustion creating the oversize cave so he COULD keep away from her. A little after 2AM he finally gave out – falling quickly asleep. Just as quickly he wound up sharing her dream-orb again. The dream tonight was actually a rerun – not that THAT bothered Liz, it was her favorite dream – and he joined it in the process. It was new to Max though.....
  • “Gee honey, I’m sorry. But when I heard Jessie cry I had to check her – then she had poopy pants and I had to change them – then I had to rock her back to sleep. I did get back as soon as I could,” he said somewhat defensively, apparently not at all sure the woman in the bed was just kidding him.

    Dream-Liz flashed him a warm and reassuring smile. “Well, I forgive you, I guess. Get back in bed before our daughter hiccups or something, and you feel the need to abandon me again. I told you, I have plans for you tonight…”

    Dream-Max smiled back nervously. “Are you sure you are ready? I mean, it’s only been six weeks now. I wouldn’t want to do anything that might hurt you…”

    “Max…,’ said the woman. “It HAS been six weeks, and I had my six week checkup today, and the obstetrician said it would be fine for us to go back to ‘all the usual activities,’ which would certainly include fooling around with my husband.”

    “It’s not that I’m unwilling, you understand, it was just that the delivery…”

    “Max, the delivery was totally normal. Women have babies all the time, Max.”

    “Yeah, well darn good thing they do, because I don’t know any men who’d be brave enough to go through that.”

    “Why do I feel my husband is stalling here?” dream-Liz asked rhetorically.

    “Because I’m scared to death of hurting you, that’s why!”

    “Max, get back in bed,” said dream-Liz, pulling back the covers beside herself, and giving her husband quite an eyeful of breasts that seemed still engorged by the recent pregnancy. “We haven’t done this in almost nine weeks – twenty weeks since you were last on top.”

    “Was it that memorable, or did you just write it down in your journal?” her husband asked, dropping the robe on the floor and quickly slipping out of his boxers as he slid in beside her.

    The motion under the sheet was soon rhythmic, and obviously well practiced despite the apparent recent hiatus. Eventually they finished and dream-Liz lay cuddled up close to dream-Max, their passion spent and both content to hold one another and give gentle caresses – at least until there came a high-pitched cry from down the hall outside the door.

    Max noticed – just as dream-Liz noticed, that dream-Max had that same deer-in-the-headlights lookhe always had when he was in a social situation where he was uncomfortable, but didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by doing the wrong thing.

    “Oh, go get her – it’s all right,” said a smiling and obviously happy dream-Liz.
Max woke up – tears running down from his eyes. His shaking hands reached out to hold her – then stopped only inches away.

'It was only a dream,'
he told himself, '...and that's all it will ever be.'

Max looked at his watch – it was 3AM. He used his powers to heat the rock near Liz – then scooted out of the opening in the cave. It was cold up on the surface – but at least that would keep him awake. Yes, it was only a dream – he realized that. No one would ever love him – want him – that much. He wanted to wish away the memory of that terrible-wonderful dream.

'It was so beautiful it hurt...,' he thought, but in truth even he knew that what hurt was not the beauty but rather the realization that it would never happen.
'Maybe in my next life...,' he thought, shaking his head sadly.
He guarded the entrance to the cave for the rest of the night – ducking in to heat the rock for Liz every twenty minutes or so, and heating a rock near the entrance to keep himself warm.

Yes, Jim Valenti had a cold and miserable night – much like Max did.
In the dream-orb, dream-Liz nursed her child at her breast and spooned back against her naked husband and smiled happily.
Last edited by greywolf on Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Falling (AU, M/L Teen) 12/16/2009

Post by greywolf » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:14 am

“Carrizzozo fire department, this is Chaves County Search and Rescue …. how do you read this transmission?” whispered Jim Valenti into the radio microphone. His wait was a brief one.

“Chaves SAR, we read you loud and clear …. what can we do for you?”

“Right now nothing, thanks,” said Valenti. “I'm just doing a ground search of the malpais – looking for remains from a couple of passengers of that Air Mesa crash. They probably aren't even out here, but I wanted to make sure I had radio contact if I needed some help”

“You got that right – that's an ugly place out there – and an easy place to get hurt. You be careful now, y'hear?”

“I will,” said Valenti. “Chaves SAR clear.”

“Carrizzozo fire department clear”

It was almost noon in the malpais – 2 miles west of highway 380 and almost the same distance north from his truck. Jim had hiked in with his gear and done some reconnoitering. To the north and south were vast areas of flat lava – too flat and level for the sand that had accumulated over the centuries to find the depressions that allowed it to stay put – to become the little islands of arable soil that permitted even the hardy flora of the Tularosa Basin to grow. Only here in this narrow strip where the two lava flows had overlapped was there a ridge line that had allowed the blowing dust to anchor for long enough for plants to grow – plants whose roots then matted in the dust and allowed permanence to these small oases of life in this vast wasteland. If the creatures were going to continue to head east and forage as they went, they would have to come here – and when they did he would be ready for them.

Jim had slept fitfully throughout the night and he was tired. He reached in to his pack and grabbed another energy drink – his third since breakfast. He had been working steadily for five hours – hiking in with his load of gear – then quickly assessing the most probable course of travel for the creatures and setting up his camp in their path. His desert camouflage tarp would have stood out on the black basalt lava – but it matched the color of the sand and plants here in this small ridge. He spread out his sleeping bag and covered it with the tarp – then covered it further with grasses and other local vegetation. It was, in effect, a shooting blind. Before him – less than 100 feet to the west – was the richest foraging around – a small thicket of prickly pear bushes heavily laden with fruit. He sighted in the trank gun – and put the shotgun down next to it. His backup pistol was in a pancake holster in his waistband. Here, hidden from sight he could wait in relative comfort and let the creatures come to him. Once one of them was in range he could tranquilize it. If that worked he could secure it and go on the radio for help. If it didn't work..... well, then there were going to have to be some decisions made quickly and the shotgun was probably going to come in real handy. Running like hell was a real possibility too.

Jim thought back to the radio call and what he'd said – looking for remains – and realized he really hadn't thought much about the dead teenagers since he'd seen the sleeping cave two days ago. He felt a little guilty about that. They were good kids and their families were good people and he regretted that he wasn't able to at least give their families the comfort of closure.

But it was more than that, a little voice in his head seemed to be asking him what the hell he was doing out here at all? In a way he really couldn't blame the creatures for what they did to the Special Unit. If his dad's story was true, one of the creatures had been drugged and tortured almost to death for three years before they'd captured the second. Then they'd both been worked over for at least two years before they escaped. From the perspective of a half century later, he had no real way of knowing what would happen if he did catch them.

If they were considered animals, chances are they wouldn't be legally accountable for the fourteen men that had been killed or the pregnant woman. They'd likely wind up in a cage someplace – but you don't kill animals for being animals – especially when they'd been mistreated. Of course, these were damn capable animals and – however fouled up they'd become – at least at one time were extremely intelligent.

So what if they wound up being tried as men? Jim could just see his case getting to a twenty-first century judge and jury. Illegally held by the FBI for years – drugged and tortured – hell, not only were they likely to get off from killing the FBI guys – assuming the FBI today even knew or would admit they knew that the Special Unit ever existed - they were probably going to get off from killing the woman - their lawyers alleging they were driven out of their minds by the FBI treatment..

Of course, the file on the pregnant woman was still back in his safe – the iridescent handprint on her chest at autopsy was obvious on the picture – the autopsy itself saying she died of myocatabolism – heatstroke – that centered around the handprint. Put in layman's language, it was like her heart had been microwaved. At least it was quick. But a half century had gone by – you talk about your cold case – and the chance of proving anything to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt with only his own father -who not incidentally had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's as a witness.... maybe this was just tilting at windmills.

Even if they were convicted chances are they'd just wind up spending their time in some cell that was a hell of a lot better than the malpais, eating something that tasted a hell of a lot better than prickly pears, and sleeping on a mattress a hell of a lot softer than a rock cave. Maybe he ought to leave well enough alone.

'No.... that's not right,'
thought Jim. 'That woman – she deserves her day in court too - her chance to get justice,' he told himself.

But deep down inside another voice was asking him if this was even about that woman. Or was it about proving to all those kids that had taunted him – that had called his father a crazy man – even proving to Michelle – even if she was dead – that he'd been right all along? Was this about justice, the voice asked, or about validation of the life of Jim Valenti? Once this was over would he be able to lay those ghosts to rest and start living again himself? Once he proved that he was right – that aliens existed – could he then move on?

Jim didn't know the answer to those questions but it really didn't make any difference. Jim wasn't listening to that voice. He was listening for the footsteps of the shapeshifters that had caused him so much pain.
Last edited by greywolf on Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.