Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 74, 12/17

This is the place to post all your General Roswell fanfiction. Any Canon fics, which pick up directly from any episode of the show and that focus on Max/Liz, Michael/Maria, Isabel/Alex or Isabel/Jesse, Kyle/Tess, or all the couples together! Rule of Thumb: If Max healed Liz in the Crashdown in September 1999, then your fic belongs here. If it picks up from the show in any way, it belongs here.

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Kathy W
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2002 5:06 am

Chapter 53

Postby Kathy W » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:20 pm

Hello everyone! We're back from the west coast, and we had a wonderful time! Having a child live so far way can be tough, so it was great to see him again.





CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE







November 15, 2000, 9 p.m.

Whitman Residence









A breeze blew as Tess stood in Alex's front yard, lit only by a streetlight a couple of houses down and the soft glow coming from the windows of his house. "You know, you could have rung the doorbell," Alex said. "And we don't have to hang in the front yard. You can come inside the house."

A car went by behind them; Tess waited until it passed before speaking. "I'd rather not. This is kind of...sensitive."

"Ah," Alex said, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "So it's about Max."

"What? No," Tess said quickly. "I need a favor. I need your language skills."

"You need a tutor?" Alex said. "That's why we're standing in the yard?"

"No, I don't need a tutor, and we're standing in the yard because this is what I need help with."

Alex's eyes widened when he saw what she had in her hand. "What...what is that?"

"It's from our home," Tess said. "Go ahead—take it. It won't bite."

Alex gingerly took the alien book from her as though afraid it might self-destruct, and for all they knew, it might. She was taking a risk nicking it from the pod chamber, but this was important enough to gamble the ire of the Others if they found it missing. "Wow," Alex said softly. "It looks heavy, but it isn't. What's it made of?"

"No idea," Tess said. "And we also have no idea what it says. That's where you come in."

"If all of you don't know what this says, how am I supposed to?"

"You're good with languages," Tess said. "That's a language. Maybe you could figure it out."

"Looks more like hieroglyphs," Alex said, leafing through it. "And...whoa. Is that...is that all of you?"

"As children," Tess nodded, "and then older."

Alex stared at the etched drawings in dismay. "So they knew exactly what you all would look like? That's creepy." He flipped a page. "But not as creepy as this," he added, coming upon the etchings of her and Isabel. "Is this...are you…"

"Pregnant," Tess confirmed, "or that's what it looks like."

"And Michael's with Isabel," Alex murmured. "Good luck with that. He just screwed Maria over with Courtney."

"What I need to know is if you can decode this," Tess said, not the least bit interested in the latest ill-conceived love affair with a human.

"You'd need a lot more than just me," Alex said. "This calls for some serious computing power. You'd need a super computer."

"Oh," Tess said, crestfallen. "Where do I get one of those?"

"Usually a university," Alex said. "I think Las Cruces would be the closest one."

"Is there any way to copy this?" Tess said. "I can't very well hand this book to just anybody."

"Good point," Alex said. "I'm not even sure if this is made of something found here on Earth. But I can scan it and print out a paper copy, or we can put the scans on a floppy disk so you can carry it around more easily."

"Can we do that now? Without your parents seeing it?"

Alex glanced back at his house. "Come with me, and be very quiet."

He led her around to a back door, where they slipped inside and tiptoed to the stairs. Laughter roared from a television, masking any noise they made, and they arrived at Alex's room with no one the wiser. "Let me pop this on the scanner," Alex said, "and then we're in business."

Tess meandered around the room while Alex got to work. It was a typical geek's room, all computer stuff and books, with one important exception: It was clean. Most guys didn't have such neat bedrooms.

"Sorry about the mess," Alex said, heedless of the irony. "I didn't know I was expecting company."

"Mess?" Tess said. "This is white glove clean compared to Kyle's room."

"Really?" Alex said. "Interesting. And so is this," he added as the pages of the book appeared on his computer screen. "You know, this is really fascinating. And you have no idea what it says?"

"Nope. None."

The printer whirred, spitting out printed pages. "Here's your paper copy," Alex said, "and here's a floppy disk with a computer file of the same images. Now you can put the book in a safe place and just walk around with the contents."

"But is it safe to walk around with the contents?" Tess said doubtfully. "I'm not sure it's safe to show this to anyone. They're going to want to know where it came from, and what would I tell them?"

"If you want it translated, you'll have to show it to someone," Alex said.

"That's why I wanted you," Tess said. "You're good with languages, and you already know about us. You're the perfect person to do it."

"Like I said, you need more than just me," Alex said. "You need a super computer and a whole lot of time, and I don't have either. This isn't going to be easy to figure out. Whoever does it will have to look for something familiar, like...like these symbols under your pictures. The odds are good that these are your names, your alien names. That would be a good place to start."

"I don't even know our alien names," Tess sighed, sinking onto the bed. "And even if I did, I'd have to tell someone way too much in order to translate this."

"Max must think it's worth the risk or he wouldn't have you doing it," Alex said.

Tess's eyes dropped. "Max does know about this, doesn't he?" Alex said.

"Uh...not really," Tess admitted. "It's a surprise," she said quickly. "A gift, sort of. It's something we all want, but we just don't know how, so I decided to see if I could do it. If I can pull it off, I'm hoping he might see me as more of a partner than…"

"An interloper?" Alex suggested.

"Yeah," Tess admitted. "That."

Alex was quiet for a moment. "It's a nice thought, but you're going to have to spill a lot of information to whoever cracks this, so I think all of you need to be in on it just in case, you know, it goes south. Like things tend to."

"You're right," Tess nodded. "Well...thanks for the copies. You've been very helpful. Oh, and...I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't mention this to Max. I'd like to tell him myself."

"Sure thing," Alex said. "No problem."

Five minutes later, Tess leafed through the paper copy of the book as she headed back to the pod chamber. Max might very well see her as a partner if she pulled this off, but she had another reason for doing this. Max may never come around, and if he didn't, she had some decisions to make. Decisions required information, and there was information in this book that was out of her reach, out of all their reach. She wanted to see it first so she could decide what to do if the rest of them decided to abandon their world and settle down with humans because there was no way she was going to do that.

"You need a super computer and a whole lot of time, and I don't have either."

Perhaps that's the place to start, Tess thought. She'd found the perfect person to translate this. Now she just had to find him the right tools.






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






Evans Residence






Trig, Isabel thought distastefully, bent over her math book. Ugh. It wasn't that it was hard; she could do it if she wanted to, but the point was she didn't want to. Math was boring, just strings of numbers, or letters standing in for numbers arranged in puzzles called word problems or equations or theorems, and the only reward for solving those puzzles was getting the right answer, at which point you were handed yet another puzzle. It was a never-ending chain of work which resulted in no practical gain, and she glanced hopefully at the clock, wondering if now was a good time to take a break. After all, she'd been at it for nearly ten solid minutes.

Her phone rang. "Hello?" she said hopefully.

"What is it with women?" Michael's voice demanded. "Why are they so suspicious? Why do they just assume that whatever you say is wrong? Why do they just assume you're lying to them?"

Crap, Isabel thought wearily. She'd been so grateful for the distraction that she'd neglected to check who was calling, and now she was saddled with the only thing more boring that math problems—Michael's love life. "Do I take this to mean that you and Maria have hit a rough patch? What'd you do now?"

"More like a 'Maria freak-out patch', but...wait. What'd I do? What makes you think I did something? Why couldn't it be Maria doing something?"

"Fine, what'd she do?"

"She poked her nose where it didn't belong," Michael said. "I was investigating Courtney, and then she starts investigating Courtney—"

" 'Investigating'?" Isabel said. "Why are you investigating Courtney? What'd she do?"

"Nothing, but that's not the point," Michael said.

"It isn't? Then what is?"

"Would you just stop talking?" Michael said crossly. "I was investigating Courtney, and then Maria started doing the same thing. She found a picture of you, me, and Max in her locker with my face circled."

"Of course she did," Isabel said. "Everyone knows Courtney has the hots for you."

"She does?"

"Everyone but you, apparently," Isabel amended.

"Okay, but why a picture of the three of us?" Michael said.

"Maybe because we're together a lot?" Isabel said. "I know this is backwards because I'm usually the paranoid one, but I just don't find that alarming. So she had a picture. So what? Get to the part where you—I mean Maria—did something."

"She brought it over to Courtney's house," Michael said. "And I was already there, and she got all pissed off about it."

"Who? Maria or Courtney?"

"Maria," Michael said. "Courtney was in the shower."

"The shower?" Isabel said, suddenly interested. "What was she doing in the shower?"

"What'dya think? She was taking a shower. The point is—"

"The point is that you were in another girl's house while she was in the shower," Isabel interrupted. "That's weird."

"I told you, I was investigating her," Michael said impatiently. "I had to get her out of the way so I could nose around."

"And she wound up in the shower? How did that happen?" Isabel paused. "Michael," she said warningly when he didn't answer, "what did you say to her? What could you possibly have said to her that would make her take a shower?"

An exasperated sigh floated over the phone. "I kind of told her that a clean girl was a...a sexy girl."

"What?" Isabel exclaimed. "Do you mean you were...you were going to…"

"No! No way!" Michael declared. "I just needed her out of the way so I could nose around."

"Oh, I see," Isabel said with mock relief. "So insinuating that you going to sleep with her was the only way you could think of to get her out of the way so you could 'nose around'. And what exactly were you going to do when she got out of the shower?"

"Make up an excuse about why I had to go," Michael said. "I only needed a few minutes, and I didn't even get that because Maria showed up when I wasn't expecting her."

"Oh, for sure," Isabel said dryly. "Did Maria know Courtney was in the shower?"

"Well, Courtney came out wearing a towel while she was here, so, yeah, she did."

"A towel? Oh, God," Isabel groaned.

"I wasn't going to do it!" Michael exclaimed.

"Try telling that to Maria!" Isabel retorted. "Oh, that's right—you already did. Not surprised that one didn't go over."

"So, what, you think I'm lying too?"

"No," Isabel sighed. "No, Michael, I don't think you're lying, but I can see why Maria would."

"Hey, Maria was doing the same thing I was—investigating Courtney," Michael protested. "Why is it okay for her to do it and not me?"

"Because her way didn't involve being naked in a towel," Isabel said wearily. "It's not what you were doing, it's the way you were doing it. I don't see a way out of this one unless Courtney turns out to be a fang-gnashing alien."

"Thanks a heap," Michael said sourly.

The line went dead. Sighing, Isabel tossed her phone on the desk and tried to go back to math, but every little thing distracted her: Her father's chair scritching back and forth in his office, the canned laughter from the television show her mother was watching, that thump from Max's room…

Curious, Isabel went to the window. She knew the sound of a threshold being breached, and sure enough, a dark figure walked across the lawn. Smiling, Isabel abandoned her homework and went to her brother's bedroom.

"I take it all back," she said from the doorway. "The serenade worked."

Max sat motionless on the bed, hands clasped, eyes on the floor. "I heard the unmistakable sound of shoes on a windowsill," Isabel went on. "Fortunately Mom didn't. Sounds like the ice age is over—Liz Parker has paid you a visit." She paused. "Max? Why do you look like that? Isn't this good news?"

"She doesn't want to be with me," Max said dully.

Isabel stared at him for a moment. "Oh," she said finally, having forgotten that the pendulum could swing either way. "Oh, I...I'm sorry."

"She says she wants to be with normal boys," Max went on, in that toneless voice as though he couldn't quite believe it. "She wants to have kids, and she wants them to be safe." He looked up at last, his eyes haunted. "She says she doesn't want to die for me."

Isabel winced. Ouch. "Okay...Max, I know this must hurt like hell, but...can you blame her? She never asked to be sucked into this. And God knows she's gone to hell and back for us, so she's paid you back for saving her life. She doesn't owe us a dime."

"You think this is about owing us?" Max said. "I love her."

"I know," Isabel said patiently, "and for what it's worth, I think she loves you too. She's just not up for all the baggage that comes with loving you."

"Yes, she is," Max protested. "She's proven she is."

"Just because she can handle it doesn't mean she wants to," Isabel pointed out. "And if she's thinking of the future, of having children and what being married to you would mean for them, well, that's very different than anything she's done so far. And can we even have children? I mean with humans? Is that even possible?"

"Nasedo told Tess we have human bodies," Max argued. "Human bodies can produce human children."

"We don't know that for sure," Isabel said. "Maybe we can have kids with each other, but not humans. We don't know. Liz just doesn't want to be the guinea pig who finds out, and I can't blame her for that."

"But she doesn't mean it!" Max insisted. "She loves me. She was wavering. She was this close to coming back to me. I know she was."

"Maybe she was," Isabel allowed, "and then she thought better of it. People who are wavering can waver in either direction, not just the direction you want."

"I know her," Max insisted. "I know her. I know she loves me, and I know she was ready to get back together. Something else did this. Something changed her mind. What could do that?"

"Oh, I don't know," Isabel said. "Maybe the thought of having a kid with green scales?"

"You're not helping," Max muttered.

"Okay, then, how about having a normal kid who winds up dead because we're running for our lives? She's not just thinking about today or tomorrow, she's thinking about next year, and the year after that, and ten years down the road. Based on what's happened so far, you've got to admit it doesn't look good. But at least she told you," Isabel added gently. "And she had the guts to tell you to your face. I admire that, even if you don't like what she said."

Max slumped on the bed, thoroughly dejected. "What do I do?" he said miserably.

Give up, Isabel thought, knowing full well that her smitten brother would do no such thing. "My advice? Go to the one person who knows Liz better than anyone."

Max suddenly looked ever so slightly more alive. "Right. Yes. Good idea." He stood up and grabbed his jacket. "Uh...thanks, Iz."

"No problem," Isabel said. "Relationship advice is what I'm all about tonight."

Isabel returned to her desk, having had a change of heart. Numbers didn't love you or leave you. Word problems were hypothetical, not real. Equations bore no resemblance to reality. Their reality was so fragile, so volatile, so unpredictable; perhaps some abstraction was the way to keep sane.

Her mother appeared in the doorway. "How's the homework, sweetheart?"

"Just great, Mom," Isabel smiled. "I love math."






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






November 16, 2000, 7:30 a.m.

West Roswell High School








Liz Parker looked miserably down the hallway, her hands gripping the straps on her backpack as though it were a life preserver. She was heart sick and exhausted, having slept hardly a wink last night. Her bedroom, once a place a refuge, was now a place she spent as little time as possible because that's where Future Max was most likely to show up. She didn't want to see him again right now; after last night's debacle with Tess and her subsequent visit to Max's house, she was fresh out of ideas about how to turn him away from her and completely out of initiative. Since she wasn't sleeping anyway, she'd gotten up much earlier than usual and made excuses about needing to get to school so she could tutor someone; in reality, she'd crept into a corner of the theater and dozed, hoping no one would find her. No one had, and the sound of students spilling into the school had roused her, leaving her to face the second person she most wanted to avoid, in this timeline or any other.

"Hey, Tess," Liz said.

Sharp eyes peered from around the locker, bored into hers. "Look, I'm really sorry about last night," Liz rushed on. "I had no idea he'd see me."

"What were you even doing there?" Tess demanded. "What, you couldn't wait for a report? It was working, Liz! We were talking about the book, and then you had do the peeping Tom thing and mess the whole thing up."

"I'm really sorry," Liz said. "I just...I guess I just wanted to see if it worked. And I know I should have just waited. I...I screwed up."

"You think?" Tess muttered.

"I'll make it up to you," Liz promised. "I'll—"

"Don't," Tess said firmly. "It's almost like this whole thing was a set-up. Make me think you were helping me with Max, then screw it up so he thinks less of me than he ever did, if that's even possible."

"No!" Liz exclaimed in horror. "No, that's not...that's not at all what I was trying to do. I know we haven't exactly been friends, but...do you really think I'd do that to you?"

Tess's expression softened. "No. I don't. We may not have been friends, but you've always been decent to me, which is more than I can say for some. I don't think you were trying to screw me over, I just think you're crappy at setting up your ex-boyfriend. Just please, don't 'help' me any more. I'll take it from here. Assuming there's anything left to take."

Tess left, and Liz walked dejectedly to her own locker. Well...that could have gone worse. Maybe things were looking up, at least in that couldn't-be-worse sort of way.

"That's the look of a girl who tried to set up her boyfriend with his ex-wife, and got caught," a voice announced.

"Maria?" Liz said. "How do you know about that?"

Maria leaned against the lockers next to her. "I had a late night visitor from a certain Czechoslovakian of our mutual acquaintance."

Liz's eyes closed. "Max."

"He says you paid him a visit," Maria went on, "spouting Shakespeare and claiming he's dangerous."

"I was talking about how Romeo and Juliet is also a tragedy, not just a love story, and he is dangerous," Liz said. "And he's not my boyfriend. And Tess isn't his ex-wife; they were married when they died."

"Details," Maria said dismissively.

"Important details," Liz insisted. "Look, I don't want to get into it. I'm feeling bad enough as it is. And you of all people should understand because you don't want to tell me why you're mad at Michael."

"Still don't. The whole thing still makes smoke come out of my ears. And no worries," Maria went on. "We're on the same page. When Max told me what you'd done, I realized you meant business, and I told him so. I told him to let you go."

Liz paused, her hands full of books. "You did?"

"Yeah, I did. And for a moment there, I thought I had him. I thought he was actually going to throw in the towel. But then the moment passed, and he said he loved you, and he couldn't help it."

"When did this happen?" Liz asked.

"Last night when I was closing," Maria said.

Closing time… "The Kleenex box," Liz whispered. "He couldn't grab it, and then he could...it almost worked. It almost worked!"

"What are you talking about?" Maria said warily.

"I...never mind," Liz said. "It just...it seems like I almost got through to him."

"Yeah, well, don't get your hopes up," Maria sighed. "I predict more Max encounters in your future, and I don't even need Madam Vivian for that. See you in class.

Great, Liz thought disconsolately. She still had to come up with something which would make Max turn away from her permanently, but at least now she knew it could be done. She'd almost succeeded. Why didn't that feel like a good thing?

"Hey, Liz. You okay?"

"Alex!" Liz said. "Hi. Um...yeah. Why?"

Alex's face was wreathed with concern. "I was just wondering how you were getting on after that thing with Max and Tess didn't work last night."

Liz slammed her locker door in consternation. "You mean you know about that too? That was supposed to be a secret. Does everyone know about it? Was there a newspaper article, or a P.A. announcement, or something?"

"No," Alex said carefully, as though afraid she might explode. "I just happened to be at the Crashdown last night when it happened. And for what it's worth, if you really want something to be secret, don't do it at the Crashdown."

"Right," Liz said faintly. "Sorry. I'm sorry, I'm just...I'm not all here."

"You and Maria both," Alex said.

"Do you know what happened with her and Michael?" Liz said. "She won't tell me."

"I gather it involves Courtney wearing a towel," Alex said. "And nothing but a towel."

"Oh," Liz said faintly.

"Yeah, 'oh'," Alex said darkly. "I'd love to tell Guerin exactly what I think of him. I'd ask you to come with, but I think you've already got enough on your plate."

I'll say, Liz thought sadly as Alex walked away. If she didn't succeed in turning Max away from her, it wouldn't matter who was mad at whom because none of them would survive.






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






Langley Residence







Zan slipped through the front door as quietly as he could. He wasn't really in the mood for talking, never mind arguing, so it would be best if...

"Welcome back," a voice called from the kitchen.

Shit, Zan thought darkly. He'd been hoping that hybrid stealth would be a match for Covari hearing, but apparently not. He found Brivari in the kitchen tending pans of sizzling bacon and eggs.

"What's this?"

"Breakfast," Brivari replied. "You were so hungry yesterday, and humans do so love bacon. Perhaps that's why they call it the 'marijuana of meat'."

"How did you know I'd be here for breakfast?" Zan asked.

"Lucky guess. You were gone yesterday morning when I got up, you didn't come home last night, you tried to sneak in this morning...if I were the suspicious type, which I am, I might think you were avoiding me."

"I was busy," Zan said shortly.

"Saving the planet?" Brivari said.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact I was," Zan said. "Or trying to, anyway."

"I assume you're referring to your aborted attempt to reunite your younger self with your wife?"

Zan stared at him. "You're following me?"

"Of course I'm following you," Brivari said. "I'm not about to let you wander this timeline unchaperoned, and besides, it's my job."

"Then it's really too bad you didn't do your job when I was younger," Zan retorted. "We never so much as laid eyes on you."

"If you never saw me, how do you know where I was?" Brivari said. "And for the record, you did see me. Do you recall an evening not long after your hopelessly stupid healing of the Parker girl, in broad daylight and in public no less, when some friends of her then boyfriend paid you a visit?"

Kyle's friends, Zan thought, recalling that exceptionally painful encounter. "Yes," he said guardedly, "I remember. What about it?"

"Perhaps 'paid you a visit' is a bit of of a stretch," Brivari amended. "More like they beat the ever-loving shit out of you. You needed a hospital, which would have proven problematic, so I healed you in the street where you fell. Until you ordered me away, of course, but I was almost done by then. You did the rest."

Zan gazed at him in shock. "You were...you were that guy? That guy who bent over me and...that was you?"

Brivari raised an eyebrow. "Don't sound so surprised. I helped River Dog guide you in healing Michael when he almost died from his encounter with the sweat lodge. I was there when he fled his foster father, when you were held captive by the Special Unit, when your sister killed Vanessa Whitaker." He paused. "In our language, the root of the word 'Covari' means 'hidden'. I'm always there, Your Highness, even if you don't see me."

Zan sank slowly into a chair, mentally rewriting some of the biggest events in his life. "So...you killed Hank? Is that what you're saying?"

"Jaddo and I disposed of that sorry excuse for a human being," Brivari confirmed.

"And...you knew River Dog?"

"River Dog is one of my oldest and dearest friends on this planet."

"So…you're Nasedo," Zan said. "River Dog's Nasedo, I mean."

Brivari smiled faintly. "He told you Nasedo 'befriended them all'. Does that sound like the Nasedo you knew?"

"No," Zan admitted, "it doesn't."

"Jaddo was never much into 'befriending'," Brivari said. "When he left with Tess, he needed something for her to call him. He knew River Dog called me 'Nasedo', and he inexplicably grabbed that."

"Why did he leave with Tess?" Zan asked.

"Didn't I explain that in your other life?"

"We were fighting a war," Zan said. "We didn't exactly have time for chitchat."

"The four of you emerged from your pods much too late and much too young," Brivari said. "You were supposed to have emerged much earlier and fully grown, and your memories should have returned in short order. Instead you emerged as young children who remembered nothing, and we disagreed over how to raise you. I thought you should be placed in families familiar with children, but Jaddo didn't want you raised by humans. He thought we should raise you ourselves."

"But why not two and two?" Zan said. "How did he wind up with only Tess?"

"Because she was the last to emerge, and he left without telling me," Brivari said. "I was furious with him for that, and I didn't know where he was for years. I could have found him, of course, but I found life much quieter without him. We disagreed, Jaddo and I. A lot."

"I remember," Zan chuckled. "You used to…" He stopped, puzzled. "How do I remember that? Why am I suddenly remembering things?"

"Spending time with those who knew you in your previous life will jog memories," Brivari said. "Your turn. I thought the future was in peril because I rejected the treaty. What does Ava have to do with it?"

Silence descended on the kitchen as Zan's eyes dropped. Admitting to Courtney that he'd inadvertently scuttled an alliance which could have saved the planet was one thing; admitting it to his Warder was another.

"Here's how this works," Brivari said, loading plates with food and plopping one down in front of him. "If you want me to support that treaty, you're going to tell me what happened in that other timeline. None of this 'I can't tell you much' crap that you plied the Parker girl with. You and I both know that if you succeed in changing the future, what happened before is irrelevant."

"No, it's not," Zan insisted. "Serena was very clear that even if we change the future, we may not change as much as we think. The same things could happen, just at a different time, or maybe we get there via a different route. We still need to know what happened originally so we can tell if we're still on that trajectory."

"Is this the 'Serena' you referenced before?"

"She's the one who helped us modify the Granolith so it would send me back in time," Zan said.

"The Granolith?" Brivari said skeptically. "So you're saying it's a time machine? Good thing I brought it with me."

"Good thing I told you to bring it with us if we ever needed to evacuate," Zan said. "If I figured out it could be used that way, others could too. Just imagine what would happen if Khivar gets his hands on it."

Brivari fixed him with a hard stare. "For the record, I think I'm smart enough to keep experimental technology away from the enemy without you telling me. I'm not an idiot."

"For the record, neither am I," Zan retorted. "I'm not the neophyte you remember, Brivari. I've been at war for months. I've had crash courses in politics, battle tactics, and public opinion that go way beyond anything you taught me. You haven't walked in my shoes, so stop acting like you know everything."

Brivari regarded him in silence for a moment. "Fine. Educate me. Tell me everything, and I do mean everything, that happened to you. Start at the beginning, and don't leave anything out."




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




I'll post Chapter 54 on Sunday, August 14. :)
BRIVARI: "In our language, the root of the word 'Covari' means 'hidden'. I'm always there, Your Highness, even if you don't see me."

keepsmiling7
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Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 53, 7/31

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:51 pm

We're glad you are back from your visit with your son. It must not be easy having him so far away......is it a permanent situation, or only for a certain time period?

Back to the story.......I had always wondered how Tess was able to get Alex on board for decoding the book. Your back stories are always so interesting......and very possible.
Of course everyone knew Courtney had the hots for Michael. He was so dense.
Loved Max's comments to Isabel........he was still confident that he could win back.
Thanks for the new part,
Carolyn

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Kathy W
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 682
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2002 5:06 am

Chapter 54

Postby Kathy W » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:34 pm

Hello to everyone reading!


keepsmiling7: Our son has been in New Zealand for almost 6 years now. He's frustrated with the restrictions of living on an island and being so far away from family, but he loves his job there. I think he'll be back some day, but for the moment, that's the best place for him. My younger one is now looking for a job--fingers crossed for the continental US!

Back to EOTW...







CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR




November 16, 2000, 10 a.m.

Banks Residence







The alarm buzzed. Eyes still closed, Courtney reached out a hand to whack it silent, rolled over...and smiled. For the first time in years, since arriving on this planet, really, she was genuinely happy. To have this unprecedented occurrence happen only weeks after losing Jaddo and mere days after the remaining Warder expressed a distressing desire to off her was surprising; to have it come at the hands of a king from the future was downright flabbergasting. But come it had, with that king confirming that not only had she survived, she had a brand new husk provided by his Second, who would have gladly married her if he'd had the chance. A peaceful Antar, a compatible husband, heck, even life itself was all within her grasp; she just needed to find a way to bring all those threads together in one timeline, not scattered between two. Smile still firmly in place, she took her time showering, spontaneously bursting into song, an old tune she'd heard on TV late last night.

"Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! I've got a wonderful feeling! Everything's going my way!"

Collapsing in giggles, she almost dropped the soap, did drop the soap, retrieved it, then belted the chorus again. Thank God she was in the shower; if her neighbors heard this, they'd have her committed. She was still humming several minutes later when she left the bedroom, breakfast on her mind.

"There you are," Dee said. "I was beginning to think you were never going to get up."

Courtney nearly jumped a foot. "Good God, you scared me! My shift doesn't start till noon, and what on earth are you doing in my living room?"

"Isn't it obvious? Waiting for you!"

"What, in stealth mode?" Courtney said crossly. "Say something! Send up a flare! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

"I'm sitting on your sofa, and last I checked, I'm not so thin that I'm invisible," Dee said tartly. "No one is returning my calls, and I've got Grandson 2.0 wandering around town with no idea what he's up to."

"I told you I hadn't seen seen him," Courtney said.

"Need I remind you that you were just singing?" Dee retorted. "In the shower, no less? Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's highly unusual behavior, even if the song isn't some cheesy tune from an old musical. Out with it!"

"It's from a musical?"

"Oklahoma. Quit stalling."

"Huh. That must have been what I was watching last night."

"Courtney!"

"Okay, okay," Courtney said, plopping down in a chair. "I didn't call because there was nothing to tell you—"

"You don't sing," Dee interrupted, "not in the shower, not anywhere. Something happened to cause that, which means you have something to tell me."

"You didn't let me finish," Courtney said reproachfully. "There was nothing to tell you until late last night."

"So why didn't you call me then?" Dee demanded. "You know I stay up till a million o'clock...oh, never mind," she finished peevishly. "What happened?"

"Zan showed up at the Crashdown," Courtney said. "Future Zan, I mean. He was lurking in the storeroom, waiting for me. Kind of like you were."

"I would hardly compare sitting in your living room to hiding in a storeroom," Dee objected. "What did he say?"

"He said he was looking for a friendly face," Courtney answered. "Apparently he's leaning on Liz Parker to help him get him and Ava together, the younger him, that is. They tried last night, and it backfired when our Zan figured out what Liz was up to."

"Oh, dear," Dee sighed. "Why does he want him and Tess together? Does she side with the enemy, or something?"

"She didn't side with anyone," Courtney said. "She left Roswell, presumably because he married Liz. When the invasion arrived, Larak had convinced the leaders of our sister worlds to support the king, but they backed out when they found the queen gone and the king married to a human. He wants Tess here in 2014 in case his efforts to fix things with the treaty don't work. He thinks he could have convinced everyone to back him if the Royal Four had been intact."

"And what do you think?"

"I think they're out of their tiny little minds," Courtney said bluntly. "Zan would be infinitely better than Khivar even if he married a goat, and apparently I said so. But if they need this big symbol to get that point across...well...let's just say I'd try anything to head off this disaster, especially since…" She paused while Dee waited expectantly. "Dee, he told me that Rath was going to marry me," she went on, unable to keep the excitement out of her voice. "He told me that we were a good match and that he approved! He told me the new husk I had in that future was from Rath—he got it for me. Can you believe it?"

"Oh, Courtney!" Dee said, her expression softening, "That's wonderful! I'm so happy for you!"

"Can you believe some things actually went right in that other timeline?" Courtney said. "I haven't screwed things up completely. There's still a chance to make this work. I just have to figure out how."

"And we will," Dee promised. "For starters, where is he?"

"Who? Zan?"

"No, the Easter Bunny," Dee said impatiently. "Yes, Zan! Or Max, rather. Where is he staying?"

" 'Staying'?" Courtney said. "You make it sound like he's on vacation in a hotel. I guess he's with Brivari, although I got the impression they didn't have a happy reunion. If he's not there, I don't know where he is. Why?"

"Because I want to meet him, that's why," Dee said.

"I don't think that's a good idea," Courtney said warily. "It's pretty clear he never knew you knew about him."

"Which is precisely why I want to meet him," Dee said. "You know Brivari and I have had a long-running argument about whether Max should know about me. Now we have the chance to find out, to ask him directly what he thinks I should do."

"But how would he know?" Courtney said. "He's 14 years older, Dee. He's been through hell. He has a totally different perspective than our Zan."

"Exactly," Dee said bitterly. "And what if I'm to blame for that? What if I could have pointed him in a different direction or steered things differently?"

"Wait...you think you're to blame for the Earth being invaded?" Courtney said. "Where did that come from?"

"I think the kids have no guidance," Dee clarified. "They have no adults they can confide in, unless you count the sheriff, who's all alone and in over his head."

"But there were a million factors that went into what went wrong," Courtney protested. "See, this is why it's not a good idea to know the future. You get paranoid."

"Says the one belting Rogers and Hammerstein," Dee said dryly. "Apparently it's okay to know your future if you like what you see."

"Okay," Courtney allowed reluctantly, "although I don't 'like' the fact that Rath is dead in that future. But I still don't see why you think you're responsible. And the sheriff isn't alone—he has you. And for years, the hybrids had no one."

"And that worked until that day Liz was shot," Dee said. "This past year has been hell on wheels, and just when they found a guardian, he was killed. I understand why Brivari won't step out of the shadows, but Max can't make me do a thing I don't want to."

"You sure about that?" Courtney said doubtfully. "Maybe he can't 'make' you, but he can sure put a lot of pressure on you. Zan is the intense type. Don't sell him short."

"I'm not," Dee insisted, "which is why I want to ask him. If he says, 'Don't tell me,' then things go on as they are. If he says, 'Tell me,' then maybe having a family member they can turn to will help change things."

"Or maybe he'll be so angry that you knew and didn't say anything that this warm family chat you're imagining won't go so well," Courtney said. "Did you ever think of that? But never mind," she went on when she saw the look on Dee's face. "You'll do what you want regardless of how I feel about it. Just keep in mind that when you change the future, you can make it worse as well as better."

"I will," Dee promised. "As long as you do the same."

"Sorry?"

"Oh, please," Dee said. "Do you really think I don't know that you intend to act on what you just learned about you and Michael? Do you really think that's wise? You're just as likely to mess up the future as I am."

Courtney squirmed, having been planning her next move ever since Zan's visit last night. "He fell in love with me once," she said stubbornly. "I don't see why it wouldn't happen again."

"Because the last time he fell in love with you, you didn't realize what was coming," Dee said. "Now you know, and that might make you do things differently, which might make things turn out differently. He may love you in the future, Courtney, but he doesn't feel that way now. Overplay your hand now, and that part of the future may never happen."






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





5 p.m.

Valenti Residence







"You're home early," Kyle said over the blare of the TV as his father closed the front door. "What's the occasion?"

"The occasion is I snuck away early," Valenti answered. "Is that basketball?"

"Yep. Illinois State and San Diego. Illinois is winning."

"Huh. Go figure. Is Tess home?"

"Nope. Said something about taking a book back to the library."

"You two getting along?"

"Yeah," Kyle answered. "We're good."

"Even though she has your room?"

"It's only temporary right?" Kyle said. " 'Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment'."

"Right," Valenti said warily. "Well, as long as you're okay with it, and it doesn't make you too miserable."

"Why would I be miserable?" Kyle said. "It makes Tess happy to have my room. 'Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared'."

"Guess not," Valenti allowed. "Glad to hear it's going well."

" 'He who gives away shall have real gain'," Kyle continued. " 'He who subdues himself shall be free—' "

"Not so glad that I want Buddha chanted at me all night," Valenti clarified. "I'm going to take a shower."

"Rock on," Kyle said. "That's me, not Buddha."

"Really?" his father said dryly. "I never would have guessed."

Kyle's eyes remained on the game as his father left, but his mind was elsewhere. Judging by the fact that he and Tess had very nearly knocked boots the other night, they were certainly getting along. At least that's what he thought had almost happened, quite probably would have happened if Liz Parker hadn't happened along at that exact moment, causing him to consider strangling her until he'd had a chance to calm down. Had he really been considering having sex with an alien? Could humans even do that? What happened when you had sex with an alien? Did the alien eat you after afterwards like a Black Widow Spider? Would his plumbing still work after he had sex with an alien? Could he get an alien pregnant? What would come out if he did? After a night spent dreaming of non-functioning anatomy and babies with extra eyeballs, Kyle had found himself feeling considerably more charitable toward Liz's interruption and had opted not to resurrect the subject of lamp trimming with Tess, who had similarly avoided it. Perhaps it had just been the heat of the moment. God knows she'd been pissed, and she certainly was hot when she was pissed. Or not pissed. Or tired. Or not tired. Or eating, or walking, or...well, face it. Tess was always hot.

The doorbell rang. Kyle's eyebrows rose when he saw who it was.

"I need your help," Liz Parker said.

"Why, Liz Parker," Kyle said. "Long time, no see."

"Yeah, I...I'm sorry about the other night," Liz said. "It looked like I interrupted something."

"No, no, no, that's all right," Kyle said. "No harm done. Come in."

Liz followed him into the living room, where Kyle muted the sound but left the game running. "So...my help. What could you possibly need my help with?"

Liz perched on the opposite end of the couch, straight-backed and awkward. "Well, you probably know that Max has been trying to get the two of us back together."

"I think people on Mars know that Max is trying to get the two of you back together," Kyle said. "He hasn't exactly been subtle."

"Right," Liz nodded. "Right. See, the thing is, I don't want to get back together with Max, but he won't leave me alone."

"Gotta watch out for those quiet ones," Kyle chuckled. "They look harmless, but they can be awfully stubborn. Silent, but deadly, just like a big ol' fart. Sorry," he added when she blinked at him. "Bad analogy. How can I help?"

"I want to do something which will make Max leave me alone," Liz said. "I...I want to give him the impression that we...that you and I...that we…"

"That we...what?" Kyle prompted. "That we're seeing each other again?"

"That we...that we slept together," Liz said, turning a particularly vivid shade of scarlet. "I mean, not really," she rushed on. "I just want it to look that way so he'll leave me alone."

Kyle stared at her in silence for a moment. "Wow," he said finally. "Wow, that's...that's harsh."

Liz crumpled suddenly, collapsing into the curve of the couch. "I know!" she said miserably. "I know, I just...I just can't think of what else to do! I've tried ignoring him, talking to him, pleading with him...nothing works! I am at my wits end here. If you have any ideas about what else I could do, I am all ears, Kyle. I mean it. Think like a guy. What can I do to make him stop?"

Kyle gazed at her sympathetically as she slumped dejectedly on the couch, very near tears. God, but he'd always had a soft spot for Liz Parker. "Well, Liz, you're in luck, because thinking like a guy is the only way I know how to think. And we guys can be a bit...territorial when it comes to girls we like. Look at me—I got that way just from Max visiting you at the hospital when your grandmother was sick."

"Yeah, I...I'm really sorry," Liz said, sounding even more miserable than before, if that was possible. "I know this is awkward for you because of...well, because of 'us', but...I just didn't feel comfortable asking anyone else. I...I mean, I could have asked Alex, but I don't think Max would have believed that."

"Good man," Kyle nodded. "Maybe Max is smarter than I thought. And Alex already donated when he did that striptease. This is actually less weird. No, seriously," he went on when she looked alarmed, "I don't have any better ideas for you. Although I can't help thinking there's more to this. I mean, Evans has been cheesy as hell, but he hasn't done anything that bad. I can't see you doing something this drastic just because he's still into you." He paused, watching closely as Liz dropped her eyes. "There is something else, isn't there? Must be pretty big."

"I don't want to talk about it," Liz said firmly.

"Fair enough," Kyle said. "Then if you're really at your wits end, maybe it's time for something else."

"But do you think this will work?" Liz said. "Nothing else has."

"I'm betting it will," Kyle answered. "We Neanderthals are famous for wanting the freedom to shop around, but our girlfriends aren't supposed to." He paused. "And if you quote me on that, I'll deny it until the day I die. Again."

"Scout's honor," Liz promised. "I'll never tell you divulged guy stuff."

"Good. Now...how exactly are we going to do this? Or rather, not do this?"

"Okay," Liz said, straightening up, better now that she had a list to make. "Max is coming over tomorrow night with concert tickets—"

"What concert?"

"Gomez. I told him I don't want to go, but he—"

"You're turning down Gomez?"

"Yeah. So I thought we'd—"

"Have you considered maybe going to Gomez, then doing this whole get-rid-of-Max bit?"

"Kyle, focus," Liz commanded. "This isn't about concerts, this is about making Max believe that I don't want to be with him any more."

" 'Making' him believe? Does that mean you really do want to be with him? Sorry," Kyle said when Liz looked ready to bite his head off. "I'm over-analyzing. So...tomorrow night, tickets, your place. Then what?"

"Well, I thought we'd be...we'd be in bed, and...and Max will show up and see us, and...and then hopefully he'll get the message."

"He'll definitely get a message," Kyle said. "So, what, are we naked?"

"No!" Liz said, shaking her head vigorously. "No, no, not naked."

"But how's he going to believe it if we're in bed with our clothes on? You want this to work, right?"

Liz stared at him for a moment. "Okay. Okay, then...we'll...we'll take something off. Like, we'll take our shirts off."

"And we should kiss," Kyle added.

"What?"

"Kiss. You know, touch lips? That will make it more realistic. It's not like we don't know how. We used to kiss when we were dating. Sometimes."

"Right," Liz said, looking supremely uncomfortable. "Right. Okay, we'll...we'll kiss. But no tongue."

"Chaste kissing," Kyle agreed.

"We just want him to think we're…you know," Liz said. "Just so he'll leave me alone."

"It's all an illusion," Kyle nodded. "Got it."

"Okay!" Liz said brightly. "So...tomorrow night, around 6:00 p.m., my place?"

"It's a date!" Kyle said. "I mean, a non-date. See you then."

Liz reached out, squeezed his hand. "Thank you, Kyle. I don't know anyone else I could have asked for a favor like this."

"No problem," Kyle assured her. "I'm honored to be the one you chose to have fake sex with."

Liz's smile faltered, reasserted itself, then faltered again. "Okay, I...I guess I'll see you tomorrow night."

How weird was that? Kyle thought, turning up the volume on the TV again as the front door closed behind his former girlfriend. He was finally going to get Liz Parker in bed, just not the way he'd wanted. The universe worked in mysterious ways.

"Did I hear someone else out here?" his father asked, coming into the living room.

"Yeah, Liz Parker," Kyle answered.

"Liz? What did she want?"

"She wanted me to sleep with her."

Kyle waited an excruciating moment before putting his dad out of his misery. "Kidding! She just wanted my help with something."

"God, don't do that!" Valenti exclaimed.

"Dad," Kyle admonished, "seriously? If I slept with a girl, do you think I'd tell you?"

"Please don't," Valenti said. "But you know you can come to me with anything, right?"

"And we've achieved mixed messages," Kyle said dryly. "Touchdown!"

"That's football," Valenti said crossly.

"Slam dunk, then!"

"I'm going to start dinner," Valenti said, changing the subject. "Looks like Tess won't be cooking tonight."

" "Work out your own salvation'," Kyle intoned. " 'Do not depend on others'."

"What say you turn off that game and come 'work out our own salvation' with me?" Valenti said. "You set the table. I'll cook."






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





Proctor Residence







"Come in, come in!" Dee exclaimed, throwing the front door wide open. "Anthony's almost ready to throw the steaks on the grill. I'm so glad you could make it for dinner on a weeknight."

"Are you kidding?" Diane chuckled. "I'm so glad I don't have to cook tonight."

"I'm so glad I don't have to listen to her cook tonight," Philip added, earning a playful swat from his wife.

"And I'm always glad to see you, anywhere, any time, for any reason," Isabel said, giving Dee a huge hug.

"Same here, sweetheart," Dee said, returning her hug. "Hello, Max! How are you this evening?"

Max hung back, silent and glum, in sharp contrast to his bubbling family members. "Max is glad to be here, too," Isabel assured her quickly. "He's just having a bad day."

"It's that girl," Diane sniffed. "What did she do this time?"

Max's eyes flashed. "She's not 'that girl', Mom," he said sharply. "She has a name, and you know what it is. I'd appreciate it if you used it."

"Fine," Diane sighed, "what did 'Liz' do this time? Because all she ever seems to do is make you unhappy."

"Don't dump on Liz," Max protested. "She literally saved my life. More than once."

"So dramatic," Diane clucked. "Teenagers think everything is a matter of life and death."

"Maybe it was," Dee said.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," Diane scoffed.

"Honey, this is Max's business, not ours," Philip interjected. "We should stay out of it. He'll let us know if he needs us."

"Well, I say it's just—"

"Mom!" Isabel said warningly. "Leave it! You're just making things worse."

Startled by the wave of criticism, Diane faced her disapproving daughter, grave husband, and angry son. "All right," she said finally. "I certainly wouldn't want to make things worse. I just—"

"Look who's here!" Dee interrupted, cutting Diane off before she could dig herself in even deeper. "Everyone, we have a guest tonight, a very old friend of Grandpa's and mine. She's staying with us for a while, so I invited her to join us for dinner."

Yvonne smiled as she picked her way slowly down the stairs, her cane making faint thumps on each step. "Good evening, everyone. I appreciate you allowing me to join a family gathering."

"Oh, Dr. Johnson!" Diane said, using the pseudonym Yvonne had used for decades, ever since she'd fled Eagle Rock after Jaddo had escaped, making "Yvonne White" a dangerous name to have. "We're honored to have you join us. My mother-in-law told us about your husband. Please accept our deepest condolences on your loss."

"Thank you, dear," Yvonne said, patting Diane's hand. "You're very kind."

"You remember my husband, Philip," Diane said, "and these are our children, Max and Isabel."

"Of course," Yvonne said. "Hello, everyone."

"Have we...did we meet you once before?" Isabel ventured.

Max was more succinct. "Did you say 'doctor'?"

Dee and Diane exchanged glances. She'd convinced Diane to bring the kids for dinner so they could meet Yvonne before their sessions started, but there was no getting around the fact that neither of them wanted to be in therapy. "Yes, you've met Dr. Johnson before," Diane said, "about a year ago. And yes, Max, I did say 'doctor'. Dr. Johnson is the doctor you'll both be seeing for some help with whatever's bothering you."

There followed a long and painful silence. "Oh," Isabel said faintly while her brother merely stared, eyes burning.

"Diane, why don't you and Philip go help Anthony?" Dee suggested. "He hates grills, and I'm sure he could use your expertise on how long to cook the steaks."

"Great idea," Philip said immediately, more than happy to get away from the tension.

"It is?" Diane said doubtfully.

"Absolutely," Dee said firmly. "The kids and I will set the table, won't we kids?"

It took Isabel a moment, but she nodded. "Yeah," she said with a worried glance at her smoldering sibling. "Sure. Of course, we...we'll set the table."

"Run along, then," Dee said, shooing Diane and Philip toward the kitchen. "Don't come back without the steaks. Now, then," she went on briskly after Philip had steered Diane out of the room, "let's get the dishes."

"If you bring them to the table, I'll set it," Yvonne said.

"Is this supposed to make us accept therapy?" Max demanded.

"No," Yvonne replied evenly. "It's supposed to put dishes on the table so we can eat dinner."

"Max, just do it," Isabel whispered. "Grandma knows what she's doing."

Momentarily taken aback by the straight answer, Max followed his sister and Dee into the kitchen. She and Isabel hadn't spoken since Isabel's admission that she was "different", albeit in an unspecified way, but she'd assured her they needn't fear their new therapist, and Isabel seemed to remember that. Plates were produced, along with silverware, napkins, and glasses. No one spoke as these were ferried to the table, where Yvonne arranged them.

"So, do you have a...an office in town where we'll be seeing you?" Isabel asked, breaking the silence.

"Heavens, no," Yvonne said. "I'm not in practice any more; I'm doing this as a favor to your mother and grandmother. I'm staying here, so you'll come here to see me."

"Here?" Isabel repeated. "To Grandma's house?"

"Yes," Yvonne replied.

"Will you be here?" Isabel asked Dee eagerly.

"Of course I'll be here," Dee answered. "I live here, remember?"

All the tension drained out of Isabel as she sank into a chair, visibly relieved. "Oh, that's...that's wonderful!"

"Yeah, great," Max deadpanned. "So we sit in our grandparents' living room while you grill us about our feelings. That makes it so much better."

"I gather your last experience with therapy was with a traditional therapist," Yvonne said. "I won't be 'grilling' anyone about anything. I'm available to talk if you'd like, but if you'd rather, you can spend your time here some other way."

"Like what?" Max asked.

"Read a book," Yvonne suggested. "Do your homework. Whatever you want."

"And what if Isabel 'wants' to bake cookies with Grandma?" Max said.

"What a wonderful idea!" Yvonne smiled. "Chocolate chip, I hope. They're my favorite. Of course I'm not supposed to eat them, but I find the older I get, the less interested I am in 'supposed to'."

"And what if I want to just leave?" Max pressed, unmollified.

"Then you can leave," Yvonne said.

Max's eyes narrowed. "You'd let me?"

"I'm hardly in a position to physically restrain you," Yvonne noted, "and why would I? What would be the point?"

"What's the catch?" Max said suspiciously.

"Max!" Isabel hissed. "Don't be rude!"

"He's not being rude," Yvonne said. "He's merely investigating the boundaries of this new and unwelcome situation. You're free to leave if you wish, but I suppose the 'catch' is that I won't lie to your mother and say you stayed when you didn't. You'll need to explain yourself to her, not me."

Max fell into a frustrated silence, well aware of what facing Diane could mean. "Before your parents come back, I'd like to make something clear," Yvonne continued. "Your mother asked me if I thought you'd benefit from a therapist, and I said no. When it became clear she was going to pursue the matter anyway, I offered my services because I felt I could offer you more than the type of therapist you would have wound up with. Keep in mind that baking cookies with your grandmother is a type of 'therapy' in itself, and often the only kind most of us need."

"And you think Mom will be okay with that?" Max said dubiously.

"Leave your mother to me," Dee said.

After his attitude toward Yvonne, it was gratifying to see Max accept that without question. "Okay," he said, still wary, but conceding. "It just sounds too good to be true."

"Max!" Isabel chided. "We get to come here, and Grandma will be here. That's more than we could have hoped for."

A door opened in the kitchen. "Who wants steak?" Philip called.

Fifteen minutes later everyone was tucking into dinner, with Max obviously less enthusiastic than anyone else, but still looking like he felt better. He was passing the mashed potatoes when a cellphone went off.

"That's mine," Dee said. "Excuse me everyone."

She returned a few minutes later. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to step out. A friend of mine has just been hospitalized."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Mom," Diane said.

"Which friend?" Anthony asked.

"No one you'd know. Sorry I'm missing the rest of dinner. We'll do this again soon, I promise!"

Yvonne gave her a curious look as she grabbed her purse, but Dee didn't have time to explain. She only had a short while, an hour at most, to accomplish what she wanted to. Explanations would have to wait.






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







Evans Residence







With a soft thump, Zan landed on the carpet in his old bedroom, shaking his head at the noise he'd just made. Good thing he wasn't back in his old world; even a slight noise like that would have given him away. He'd come in through the window out of pure nostalgia, remembering all the times he or Michael or Liz had climbed over this windowsill. But the window was smaller than he remembered, causing him to land less than gracefully. His bedroom also seemed smaller, but then he was quite a bit taller than he'd been at 17, having grown several inches in his early 20's. No wonder the house looked smaller, the doorways lower, the walls closer. He'd been a child here, with a child's body and a child's mind. What he wouldn't give to be that child again if only for a moment, to feel that peace, that safety. Even though he was quite certain his younger self would not describe this life as one of "peace" or "safety", it was a walk in the park compared to what it had turned into later.

Zan moved wistfully about the room, fingering textbooks, opening drawers, perusing the calendar. It was odd, really, that he'd find the house empty on this particular evening. This time period was seared into his brain, every moment remembered in minute detail because this was when Liz, who had been vacillating between her love for him and her insistence that they shouldn't be together, had finally tipped in the direction of love. He was quite certain that in that previous life, his family had not piled into the car for dinner at his grandparents' house the night before Gomez. That they had done so now was simultaneously exciting and disturbing; exciting because it meant he'd managed to change something, that change was indeed possible, and disturbing because he didn't know what it meant. Of all the things he wanted to change, dinner with his grandparents wasn't one of them, so where exactly had that ripple come from?

Doesn't matter, Zan thought, if it bought him this, another walk through the house where he'd been so happy. There was his parents' bedroom, his father's side messy while his mother's was neat as a pin. There was Isabel's room, with enough make-up to stock a department store counter and a closet packed to the gills. There were the little marks of civilization he'd so taken for granted, like a letter waiting to be mailed, a cake recipe on the fridge, his Mom's dirty gardening shoes by the kitchen door. No one mailed letters or baked cakes or gardened where he came from. Those were things you did in stable, peaceful societies which had the safety and resources necessary for leisure pursuits like that. There was nothing stable or peaceful about his world, nothing civilized or leisurely. Nothing like that huge TV in the living room, or the family photographs on the walls, or…

...Grandma on the couch?

"Hello, Max," Grandma Dee said.

Zan gaped at her, completely tongue-tied. What in blazes was she doing here? "Grandma!" he said, acutely conscious that he looked very different from the version of her grandson who had left this house only a short while ago. "What…why...I mean, I followed you here," he stammered, trying desperately to come up with an explanation. "I was afraid something was wrong."

"No, you didn't," Grandma said. "You're still at my house eating dinner with your family. Well...your younger self is, I mean."

Zan stood stock still, barely breathing. What had she said? Had she just said what he thought she'd said? But that meant…

"Sit down, Max," Grandma said softly. "We have a great deal to talk about."




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Another vacation coming up (last one!), so I'll post Chapter 55 on Sunday, September 11. :)
BRIVARI: "In our language, the root of the word 'Covari' means 'hidden'. I'm always there, Your Highness, even if you don't see me."

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Natalie36
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Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:06 pm

Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 54, 8/14

Postby Natalie36 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:01 am

will miss you can't wait for more :D

keepsmiling7
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Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 54, 8/14

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:21 pm

Very interesting part........so Courtney and Rath were an item long ago on Antar??
Courtney was smart enough to know Max really didn't belong with Tess.
"Rock on".......from Kyle not Buddha. I love Kyle's humor.
Yes Sheriff, Kyle and Tess are getting along.
That is until Liz interrupted them with her favor.
Again, Kyle's humor was priceless.
Loved Zan's tour of his old home, isn't that true......it looked much larger when he was younger.
Now I can't wait for Zan and Grandma to have that "talk".
Thanks, and enjoy your next vacation,
Carolyn

cjeb
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Location: South Carolina

Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 54, 8/14

Postby cjeb » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:49 am

Just a quick thanks. Still hiding behind the tree
"I didn't step out from behind my tree,my kids cut er down and dragged me out kicking and screaming"

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Kathy W
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Chapter 55

Postby Kathy W » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:13 pm

Hello, everyone! We're back from all the various summer happenings. (I do so love summer. Image ) One of the things we did was tour the "other" side of Ellis Island, the hospital wings not currently open to the public. They're offering "Hard Hat Tours" to raise money for the renovations which will hopefully let them open that part of the island to the public in the future. It was fascinating to hear about those who stayed at Ellis Island, sometimes briefly, sometimes for years, and tour the old buildings. If you're interested, get your tickets early--they go fast!

Natalie36: Thank you! It's good to be missed, and good to be back.

keepsmiling7: I absolutely love Kyle. So much untapped humor there. :mrgreen: Courtney and Rath weren't an item on Antar, but she's hoping they will be an item in the future, especially since FutureMax told her that she and Rath got together in his timeline.

cjeb: Good to see you, and you're very welcome! *pushes picnic hamper full of goodies behind the tree* Image








CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE





November 16, 2000, 7:30 p.m.

Evans Residence









A car drove by outside, its silhouette snaking across the wall near the one light in the living room Philip and Diane always left on whenever they left the house. Dee waited quietly on the sofa while, across from her, a future and frankly unsettling version of her grandson sat motionless, silent and stunned. It had been Diane who had suggested they introduce the kids to their new therapist over dinner, and Dee had immediately seen the advantage of doing it at her house, quite certain that having the family home empty at night would be an opportunity the future version of Max would not be able to resist. Given how long she'd been waiting, she now had only a short time, an hour at best, before the rest of them reappeared. The clock was ticking, but she held her tongue, allowing him to process the extremely abbreviated information she'd just given him. She'd actually told him very little, but even that would be a lot to take in.

"So...you knew about us all along," Max said finally.

"Yes," Dee answered.

"Because...you found our ship when you were a child."

"I did," Dee confirmed.

"And...is that how we wound up with Mom and Dad?"

"You wound up with your parents because they fell in love with you," Dee said. "Your mother was having trouble conceiving, and she was very upset about that. I introduced her to you, but I couldn't make her love you. She did that herself."

Max was quiet for a moment. "Did you know Nasedo?"

"Yes."

"Did you know he died?"

"After it happened, yes."

"Did you know Brivari?"

"Yes."

"Did you know I was captured?"

Dee hesitated. "Yes."

The rapid fire questions came to a halt as Max's eyes widened. "You knew? You knew, and...and you didn't say anything?"

"I may have 'said' nothing, but I certainly did something," Dee said. "I was there that night at Eagle Rock, helping to get you out of there."

"You were there?" Max repeated wonderingly. "You were there. And you never let on."

It wasn't a question, so Dee didn't answer, the more than faintly accusatory tone hanging in the air like fog. This was exactly what she'd feared, that he would not take kindly to the news that she had kept her knowledge from him, and she found herself wishing, not for the first time, that she was making her confession to the younger version who would be more likely to cut her some slack. This older version of Max was taller, heavier...harder.

And angrier. "You knew!" Max repeated, his voice rising. "You knew! How could you not say something with everything that was happening to us? Do you have any idea what it would have meant to us to have you know?" He shook his head in disbelief as she watched him mutely, waiting for the storm to pass. "Isabel thought you knew. Michael thought you knew. I shut them both down on the subject several times."

"Why?" Dee asked.

"Because I wanted to keep you safe!" Max exclaimed. "Because I didn't want you to know, because it wasn't safe for you to know. And all along, you were right there in the thick of it anyway! Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you tell us?"

"I seriously considered it many times," Dee admitted.

"So why didn't you?" Max demanded. "God, the number of times we didn't know what to do, when we had no one to talk to...it could have changed everything!"

"Unlikely," Dee said. "The only thing that could have changed 'everything' is if you hadn't healed Liz Parker. Somehow I can't see you ringing me up to ask if I thought saving her was a good idea."

"So it's my fault?" Max said angrily. "You're saying what happened is all my fault?"

"Of course not," Dee said, "no more than it was my fault, which is what you just implied. But there's no getting around the fact that we both made choices that had certain repercussions—"

"You're saying I should have left her there," Max broke in. "I should have just left Liz bleeding on the floor and let her die."

"I did not say that," Dee said firmly. "Don't put words in my mouth."

"Then put words in your own mouth and tell me why you didn't tell us," Max shot back. "Answer me!" he shouted when she didn't. "Say something!"

"I'll answer you when you're ready to listen," Dee said in a steely tone. "And I don't appreciate being shouted at."

"Yeah, well, I don't appreciate being lied to," Max retorted.

"I don't recall you asking me if I knew about you," Dee said. "When, exactly, did I lie?"

"Don't," Max ordered, wagging a finger at her. "Don't do the semantics thing. You lied by omission, and you still haven't told me why."

"I'm not sure it would do any good, not while you're angry and incapable of processing information," Dee said. "You may not like it, but there were very good reasons I stayed in the background."

"Oh, come on!" Max exclaimed, out of his chair and pacing now, he was so upset. "What is it with you and Brivari, lurking in the dark and thinking it's better that way? Why does everyone do that?"

"Tell me something, Max. Since you arrived in this time period, have you given Brivari an order?"

Max stopped dead in his tracks, staring at her in astonishment. So you have, Dee thought grimly as the way suddenly became clear. She'd come here tonight to settle one of the most nagging issues of of her life. While she couldn't say she was pleased with the outcome, neither was she surprised.

"Well?" she prompted. "Have you given Brivari an order?"

"What does that have to do with anything?" Max asked defensively.

"Everything," Dee answered. "Have you used your power to command him? To make him do as you wish? To turn him into a puppet?"

"No!" Max exclaimed. "Why do you care? I can't order you."

"Damn straight you can't," Dee said grimly. "But you can order him. And you did, shortly after you came out of the pods. You had all remembered who you were, and you ordered him to connect with you and show you what happened on your world. He begged you not to, but you insisted. You forced him to show you your own murders."

Max stopped pacing. "I did?"

"Yes, you did. And then you all had some kind of breakdown. You withdrew into a corner, Isabel screamed, and Michael flipped out and attacked her. That's why your mother never liked him."

For a moment, Dee thought she had him...but then his momentarily startled eyes hardened. "We were kids," he said dismissively. "We'd just come out of the pods. That has nothing to do with why you never told me you knew."

"If I'd told you, it wouldn't have taken you long to figure out I knew more than I should," Dee said. "And then you would have wanted to know how, and I wouldn't have told you...and you wouldn't have accepted that. When you couldn't wear me down, you would have followed me, tracked me, done whatever it took to find out who my contact was."

"You're exaggerating," Max scoffed.

"Am I? You've done it before."

She held his gaze, his eyes wary now, guarded. "And when you found him, it wouldn't have taken you long to figure out the power you had," Dee went on, "or very long to start using it. That's why I never told you, Max. You're not ready to know. I couldn't tell the others and put them in the position of having to keep it from you, and I couldn't tell you because you're not mature enough to use your power wisely."

" 'Wasn't'," Max corrected. "Wasn't mature enough. You're talking about the younger me. I'm not a kid any more."

"Aren't you? You just lied to me about giving Brivari an order."

Max's eyes grew cold. "If you think I'm such a child, why are you telling me this now?"

"Because if you succeed in changing your future...and I'm betting you will...it won't matter," Dee said. "I wanted your opinion. I told you I've often considered telling you. I thought talking to you might shed some light on the 'should I or shouldn't I' question...and it did. You're not ready. After all you've been through, you're still not ready, so the younger you definitely isn't. The havoc you could wreak is so great that it demands a higher level of maturity than you possess. I was right to keep it from you, and that's what I'll continue to do." She stood up. "I'm sorry for what you went through, but I'm glad we met. Build a better future, one where you have time to make yourself worthy of the power you've been given."

"How do I do that?" Max said in frustration. "I've fought so many battles, I've lost count! I watched Mom and Dad die, I watched you die, Isabel, Michael...how am I supposed to make myself 'worthy'?"

Dee considered that for a moment before shaking her head. "I'm not sure. Maybe you can't. Maybe it's too much of a temptation. Think about it…'absolute power corrupts absolutely'. No one should have that kind of power over another. Maybe the only way to be worthy of having it is to realize that."

"Where are you going?" Max demanded as she gathered up her purse and coat.

"The rest of them will be back soon," Dee said, "including you. I can't be here when they arrive, and you can't either. Have a last look around and be on your way."

"Grandma?" Max called as she walked away, sounding plaintive, almost desperate. "Grandma? Grandma, wait!"






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






November 17, 2000, 2:30 p.m.

West Roswell High School








The school secretary frowned, peering over her glasses with a stony look which made it quite clear she was not pleased. "Miss Harding," she said sternly, "do you have any idea how exclusive this program is?"

Someone else may have ditched right then and there, but Tess had learned a long time ago that it didn't pay to be easily intimidated. "I do," she answered, hoping her voice contained just the right amount of contrition, "but—"

"Do you have any idea how many apply and are turned down?" the secretary continued. "Do you have any idea the commitment involved for those who pass muster? And do you have any idea how far past the deadline you are?"

"I do," Tess said, sounding suitably chastened. "I'm sorry, really sorry. It's just that—"

"Not so sorry as to prevent you asking for paperwork which should have been submitted no later than when school started," the secretary scolded. "We have rules for a reason. We have schedules for a reason. Your convenience would not be that reason."

Bitch, Tess thought blandly. This one would be a tougher nut to crack. Time for the big guns.

"Of course not," Tess said, careful to put a catch in her voice. "I didn't mean to put you out, Mrs D'Antonio, I just...well, I just moved here at the end of last year, and I had no idea what this school offered. My father and I move around a lot—a lot—and I've never been to a school which had something like this. I thought only private schools did this sort of thing. I never expected to find it in a public school."

The thin line currently passing for Mrs. D'Antonio's mouth curved upward slightly. "Yes, well...that's a common misunderstanding," she said with no small amount of satisfaction. "Lots of people think public schools are wastelands and private schools are the promised land, but this country's public education system has a great deal to offer its students, including things you won't find in even the priciest private school."

"I should have looked sooner," Tess said sadly. "My dad and I meant to sit down and go over all the offerings for this year, but then he got posted to Europe so suddenly, and I had to move, and…" She paused, letting her eyes well up a bit. A tissue appeared, indicating that she was on the right track. "No, no, it's okay," she said, taking the tissue anyway. "I'm used to moving. I am. We move all the time, and I change schools every time we do. Every single time. But the one constant in my life, the one thing which made it bearable was that my dad was there, and now that he's not...I mean, the sheriff means well, and I'm forever grateful that he took me in while my dad's away, but...well, I guess his son isn't interested in stuff like this, so he didn't know about it either, and...and I'm babbling," she finished, blowing her nose. "I"m sorry, I'll just—"

"No, no," Mrs. D'Antonio said in a much less judgmental tone. "I forgot about all the upheaval in your life recently. I'm sure Sheriff Valenti means to do right by you, but let's face it—his Kyle is hardly the sort of student who would qualify for something like this, so we can't really expect him to be up on what the better students are doing, can we?"

Tess waited a beat for signs of capitulation. "I'm really grateful that you looked into this for me," she went on when none appeared, "and I'm sorry I'm so late. If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to have a copy of all the paperwork so I can study it. I'll make sure I'm ready next year...if I'm still here."

That last bit was accompanied by near tears, and Mrs. D'Antonio's resolve crumpled. "There, there now," she murmured. "It's not as bad as all that. You've had extenuating circumstances, so I'm going to get you everything you need, and…" She leaned forward, whispering conspiratorially. "You didn't hear it from me, but there's an opening coming up. Someone got cold feet. When that happens, they go over all the applicants again to pick another candidate. Have everything back to me by tomorrow morning, and I'll be sure your application is in that pile."

"Really?" Tess whispered, eyes appropriately wide. "You'd do that for me?"

"It's the least I can do, given all you've been through, dear," Mrs. D'Antonio answered, patting her hand.

"Oh, thank you!" Tess exclaimed, clasping the hand fervently. "You know, I never knew my mother—she died when I was a baby—but I bet she was as kind as you are."

It was a sentimental, gushing statement which had nothing to do with the subject at hand, but it had the desired effect. "Oh, sweetheart!" Mrs. D'Antonio exclaimed, obviously flattered. "That's so beautiful! Now, you wait right here, and I'll be back in a jiffy with everything you need."

Another hand pat, the clack of heels on a tile floor, and then Tess could dispense with the tearful, dying-of-gratitude expression. That had taken a bit more work than she'd expected. She'd been prepared to play the dad card, but she hadn't expected to have to push it quite so hard. The official explanation for her living with the Valenti's was that her father had been unexpectedly called to Europe on a classified assignment, necessitating his immediate departure. Sheriff Valenti had offered her shelter while her father was away, and all the necessary paperwork had been duly signed by "Edward Harding", legitimizing her living arrangements in the eyes of the school. It was hilarious, really, how easy it was to fake stuff like that. Edward Harding hadn't even needed to put in an appearance; invoking his military employment and uttering the world "classified" meant no one questioned his absence. The sheriff's assurances that he was able to contact Mr. Harding assuaged fears. And one part of that sob story she'd told Mrs. D'Antonio had been true—Nasedo had been the one constant during each of their many moves, the one rock she'd clung to, however hard and unpleasant. Now that rock was gone, and she was having to get inventive. Fortunately, he'd prepared her for that.

"Hey, Tess."

Tess resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "You've already apologized. I heard you the first time."

Liz Parker's eyebrows rose. "I'm not here to apologize."

It was a flat statement which was followed by silence. "So I guess I'm supposed to ask why you're here?" Tess prompted.

"I'm going to see Max later on," Liz said. "You might have another opportunity."

"Opportunity for what? Public humiliation?"

"To be the one who comforts him when he's upset," Liz answered, ignoring the jab. "Come to the Crashdown tonight. Make sure you can see the rooftop outside my room."

"Why?" Tess said dryly. "You gonna throw him off it?"

"If you want in on this, be there by 6:30," Liz said. "If not, forget it."

"Wait," Tess ordered when Liz started to leave. "What are you going to do?"

Liz fixed her with a level stare. "6:30. Don't be late."

Flustered, Tess fixed her eyes on a point across the school office as Liz walked away, feeling like she'd just been dismissed...or just plain dissed. What was it about Liz Parker, anyway? At first glance, she was just a goody two-shoes with perfect grades and stellar extracurriculars, the kind college counselors drooled over. But having seen her in a wide variety of stressful situations, it was clear this perfect student had a stubborn streak and, sometimes, a spine of steel. Like now, for example, when she'd ignored the barbs, made her an offer she couldn't refuse, and made it very clear that she thought Max would be getting a raw deal if that offer was accepted. It didn't help that what had happened at the Crashdown the other night wasn't entirely Liz's fault. No, the blame for that also rested on her shoulders.

"You were talking to Liz about this?"

"Not exactly."


Tess winced, wondering all over again what had possessed her to say such a stupid thing. "Not exactly"? What the hell was "not exactly"? That was the true public humiliation, the fact that she, veteran liar that she was, had simply blurted out a confession without a second thought. She should have been able to talk herself out of that one in a million different ways. "Talking to Liz? Of course not. Why would I do that? Why would she do that?", or "I overheard Liz and Maria talking. So sue me for eavesdropping", or "Max, everyone knows Liz wants out. She's made no secret of that." Any of those would have been worlds better than "not exactly". Hell, total silence would have been better than "not exactly".

"Hey, Tess!"

For a split second, Tess thought Liz had returned. But the voice was too cheerful and also male, so by the time she turned her head, she was breathing again.

"Alex! What brings you here?"

"Still trying to get all the computer AP's I can find," Alex said. "Listen, I thought some more about what you asked me, about translating the...you know."

Tess's heart skipped a beat. "Right! Right. And…?"

"And I decided that I'm still just not comfortable doing that without Max knowing," Alex said. "Have you told him?"

"I...there hasn't been a good time," Tess said.

"Well, whenever you do, just let me know and I'll get right on it," Alex said. "Assuming Max is okay with it, of course."

"Of course," Tess nodded. "Thanks, Alex."

"I really want to help," Alex added. "I just think it would be better if it wasn't on the sly. Too many chances for misinterpretations, you know? So let me know. Oh...hi, Mrs. D'Antonio."

"Hello, Alex," Mrs. D'Antonio beamed, having reappeared with a stack of papers in her hands. "Such a nice boy," she added to Tess as he walked away. "So polite, and so smart."

"Very nice," Tess agreed. "You said to have these back by tomorrow morning, right?"

"Yes, and I looked up the slot which has an opening," Mrs. D'Antonio whispered. "It's in Sweden."






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






Langley Residence







Where the hell is he? Brivari fumed, slamming his car door. The hybrids were safely ensconced in school, including the puppy version of Zan, but the older, problematic model had been MIA since last night. There were few things more annoying to a Warder than losing one's Ward, which seemed to be a regular occurrence of late. He'd worked up a good head of steam as he approached the house, mentally going down a list of anywhere he'd forgotten to check.

"Looking for me?"

Brivari stopped, craning his head upward. Oh. So that's why he hadn't been successful—he hadn't been looking in the right place, specifically the last place he'd thought to look. Five minutes later he'd heaved himself out a second story window and clambered up the steep roof to the ridge, plopping down with grunt.

"Surveying your dominion, Your Highness?"

Zan shook his head, ignoring the sarcasm. "No. Just thinking."

"And what kind of thinking requires a rooftop view?"

"The kind where you see your home alive and well, and full of people who aren't afraid to move around in the daytime," Zan said. "Look at that guy trying to walk that giant dog. I think the dog is walking him." He paused. "It's been a long time since I've seen Roswell this way. I wish Liz could be here now to see it. My Liz, I mean."

"So why didn't you bring her?"

"It took a massive amount of energy to send me here. There was only enough for one person."

"So sayeth Serena," Brivari murmured.

Zan smiled faintly. "Yes, Serena. Jealous that she managed to modify the Granolith?"

"More like suspicious," Brivari said.

Zan shook his head. "You never did like anyone who got close to me, did you?"

"I wouldn't be much of a Warder if I did. You know, we have a place for introspection and naval gazing," Brivari said, trying to find a comfortable spot on the roof ridge. "It's called a porch. I even have one."

"The view is better up here. And I got to watch you drive off in a snit," Zan added. "That's worth something."

Brivari glanced sideways, his curiosity piqued. Ever since his arrival, Zan had been by turns haughty, accusatory, impatient, driven, opinionated—himself, in other words. Now he was relaxed, conversational, even humorous. Something had changed.

"You're in a good mood," Brivari observed. "Anything I should know?"

Zan shrugged. "Just enjoying the sunshine. Remember when I used to hide from you as a kid?"

"And you're still doing it," Brivari said. "Wait...does this mean you remember?"

"It's coming back now," Zan said, watching an elderly neighbor trundle to the corner mailbox. "Just bits and pieces at first, like Jaddo's name, and then more. I used to hide, and time you at how long you took to find me. I think I just wanted to make sure you would find me. I knew you didn't like me."

It was not an accusation but a statement, and a matter-of-fact one at that, but Brivari still felt a prickle of unease. His unhappiness with Riall's wish that he ward his son was something he and that son had never discussed, not in words, at least. It came out in other ways, like a small boy playing annoying games of hide and seek, or a snarky adolescent with a sharp tongue. He'd certainly never expected to get into it with the war-hardened manchild who sat beside him now.

"It's okay," Zan said, as though reading his mind. "I get it. You loved my father."

"I did," Brivari agreed. "Which is why I still look for his son, even as he continues to play hide and seek."

"I'm glad you did," Zan said. "It was fun to have one last game.

"Why does that sound like a goodbye?"

"Because it might be. Liz and I are going to take another stab at pushing…'me'...away. I don't have a lot of hope for it, but if it works, I won't be here any more."

"So you're still on that tack," Brivari said. "I thought this was all about me not supporting the treaty."

"It's both," Zan said. "This part is up to me, or rather, Liz."

"And you think you'll just disappear if you manage to throw a bucket of water on your ardor?"

"Serena said that if I changed the timeline in any significant way, my timeline would cease to exist, and so would I," Zan said. "It works. I started to fade once already."

" 'Fade'?"

Zan held up a hand. "My hands...I couldn't touch anything, couldn't pick up anything. My hands just went right through solid objects. It was kind of...freaky."

"Freaky?" Brivari said doubtfully. "Not terrifying?"

"Maybe for a moment," Zan admitted, "but then I was okay with it. It's what I came here for, so it's a good thing. Unfortunately, we won't know right away if we made things better. All we'll know for sure is that it will be different; as for how, we'll have to wait and see."

On the street below, the senior citizen finally reached the mailbox. "I'm glad I got to see this again," Zan went on. "If I have to fade out of existence, this is the way I want to go, with everyone I love still alive, my home still in one piece, and the most loyal person I've ever met sitting beside me."

"Let's not get all misty-eyed," Brivari said dryly.

"I'm serious," Zan said. "It's a miracle you're still here. All these years later, all this crap later, and you're still here, still hunting me down, still bristling at anyone who comes near me. You could have given up ages ago, made a life for yourself, passed as human. No one would have blamed you." He paused. "Thank you."

Brivari eyed him warily. "Have you been drinking?"

"If I'd been drinking, you'd know. We hybrids don't hold our liquor well, remember?"

"Vividly," Brivari said with feeling. "You've set me quite the pace this past year."

"I know. I'm sorry."

Brivari looked at him in astonishment. Gratitude and an apology, and in rapid succession? "Are you quite sure you haven't been drinking?"

Zan smiled faintly. "Just a little nostalgic, I guess. I've realized a great many things right at the end, but at least I got there. And because of that...I have one last order for you."

The atmosphere changed abruptly, the air turning to lead as Brivari stiffened. So this was the reason for all the compliments and apologies—Zan was going to clean up loose ends before he "faded" by forcing him to do something. This was all just a way to soften the blow. So much for actually entertaining the harebrained notion that this large child's mind had actually grown to fit his body. No such luck.

"What do you want?" Brivari said coldly.

Zan shifted sideways on the roof to face him. "I order you," he said slowly, "to never again regard a command from me as something you must do. From now on, you have the right to refuse any order I give you, including an order which rescinds this one."

Brivari blinked. "What?"

"You heard me," Zan said. "You don't have to obey me any more."

Brivari's mouth worked for a moment. "I...but...does that even work?"

"I'm not sure," Zan admitted. "It was the only way I could think of to fix it. Try it—Brivari, get down off the roof."

Flabbergasted, Brivari's heart began to pound. The king's ability to control Covari had already caused disaster when the hybrids were children. It was the single, most important reason he had stayed in the shadows all these years, why Dee had kept her knowledge to herself, the one insurmountable roadblock between monarch and Warder. Was this even possible? Could it really be that easy? Not easy, he corrected, because no king, not even Riall, would have given up such power...

"Well?" Zan demanded. "Is it working?"

"I...I don't know," Brivari said, flustered. "Try again. Make it more forceful."

"Brivari, I order you to leave this roof," Zan said firmly. "Go downstairs and wait for me." He paused, and a moment later, the stern visage vanished. "Did it work? You're not moving. Does that mean it worked?"

Brivari looked down at his hands, his feet, his precarious perch on the steeply sloped roof. There was nothing pulling him from his uncomfortable seat, no urge to leave, except…

"It's hard to tell," he said in frustration. "I want to get down from here, so it's all mixed up. Order me to do something I don't want to do."

"Brivari, stay here while I go inside," Zan said.

Zan stood up and left, navigating the roof with ease, folding himself through the bedroom window. Brivari waited for a moment before gingerly making his way to the window and climbing inside, with more effort...but no road blocks. Nothing stopped him. Nothing called for him to return to where his king had ordered him to stay. No genetic imperative screamed that he was going the wrong way, doing the wrong thing. He felt, quite literally...nothing.

"Well?" Zan said.

"Holy shit," Brivari breathed, looking at the spot outside where he'd been ordered to stay. "Holy shit, it worked! It worked!"

"Congratulations," Zan said softly. "You're free."

"I'm free," Brivari whispered, still looking at his former seat on the roof as though it would rise up and grab him at any moment. "I'm free! But...why?" he finished wonderingly. "What brought this on?"

Zan gave a small shrug. "In that other life, I led armies. Some of the soldiers from the five planets supported me, just not nearly enough. All of them followed me willingly. We had our disagreements, and it got noisy sometimes, but we worked them out. I couldn't force any of them to do anything...and that's the way it should be. I finally realized that this was the cause of so many of our problems. It's why you were afraid to come near me, it may have killed Jaddo...can you imagine how different things would have been if you could have been there from the beginning? If you could have told me 'no'? This power, it had to go. No one should have that kind of power because no one can resist using it. It really is a kind of slavery."

Still shaking, Brivari raised his eyes to the man he'd wanted to throttle only moments before. "Thank you," he whispered.

"You're welcome," Zan said. "Enjoy it while you can. If Liz and I are successful tonight, I'll disappear, and the younger me will take over."

"But...he can do this too, can't he? If you can do it, he can do it."

"He can...but he won't. He's not there yet. He may never be."

"But you got there!" Brivari said desperately, the specter of losing something he'd never hoped to gain unbearably painful. "If you got there, he should be able to get there!"

"I had to go through a war to get there," Zan said. "If I succeed in changing the future, that won't happen, or at least I certainly hope not. But that also might mean he never figures out what I have, never reaches a point where he can let go." He paused. "You were right to stay away, Brivari. If you hadn't, it wouldn't have taken me long to figure out what I could do, and then...and then I don't want to think about what would have happened. If I'd learned that when I was younger, it wouldn't have ended well. Make sure you stay away from me unless you know I can handle it. Ask my grandmother. She'll know." He stopped, looking awkwardly at the floor as Brivari gazed at him, speechless. "Well...I guess this is it. Good luck with whatever happens now. I hope it's better than the first time."

"Wait—you're leaving now?" Brivari demanded. "But I just...we just…"

"Had our first genuinely adult conversation? I know," Zan said gently. "But I have to go. I don't know what a new future will hold for any of us, but I know the one I left was a mess. I have to change that."

"Then do it later," Brivari pleaded. "Do whatever you're going to do tomorrow, or the next day. The future's waited this long. It can wait a bit longer."

"No, it can't," Zan said sadly. "It has to be tonight. Tonight is the make or break night for me and Liz, and I have to make sure that this time, we…'break'. I owe you my life a thousand times over, and maybe someday, if we're lucky, the younger me will be smart enough to thank you for that, and wise enough to realize that I can't keep the power I have."

"But what about the treaty?" Brivari said. "We haven't hashed that out."

"We don't need to," Zan said. "I told you what happened, how everyone felt and behaved. Now it's up to you. Do what you think is best. You were always far better at politics than I ever was."

"Wait," Brivari begged. "It's not that I didn't like you, you were just too young. You were a naive child, and I…I only ever knew you as a boy. I'd love to talk to the man."

"And I'd love to talk to the Warder as a man," Zan said, "but, ironically, I'm out of time."

Brivari swallowed hard, a completely unfamiliar emotion welling in him. "I don't want you to go!" he blurted.

Zan smiled faintly. "You know, I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




I'll post Chapter 56 on Sunday, September 25. :)
BRIVARI: "In our language, the root of the word 'Covari' means 'hidden'. I'm always there, Your Highness, even if you don't see me."

keepsmiling7
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1832
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 55, 9/11

Postby keepsmiling7 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:10 pm

We find out more and more as this story progresses.
Dee was at Eagle Rock.......and she helped......
Interesting conversation between Dee and Zan.
Tess is full of "it" and always gets what she wants.
So Liz has her lined up close to her balcony that evening.......I can only imagine what is planned.
Thanks,
Carolyn

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Kathy W
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 682
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2002 5:06 am

Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 55, 9/11

Postby Kathy W » Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:32 pm

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry, but I'm not going to make it today. My youngest is leaving shortly for his first job, and my oldest is moving back to the US from New Zealand, so the family is a bit busy. Image

I'd love to make it next Sunday, but I can't promise that, so I'll shoot for Sunday, October 9 and make it sooner if I can!

*resumes packing*
BRIVARI: "In our language, the root of the word 'Covari' means 'hidden'. I'm always there, Your Highness, even if you don't see me."

keepsmiling7
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1832
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Birthright *Series* Season 2 (CC, TEEN), Chapter 55, 9/11

Postby keepsmiling7 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:53 am

You've got a lot going on there.......we'll be here when you make it back.
Carolyn


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