The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 10 - 8/7/2018

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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KindredKandies
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The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 6 - 4/8/2018

Postby KindredKandies » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:05 pm

keepsmiling7- Thank you for the wonderful compliment!


Parker1947- Thank you for such a wonderful compliment! It's the girlfriend relationships that tend to be most difficult for us to write, so your review means so much. Thank you again!

xmag- Thank you. :) Maria's life has been turned upside down, not only by her current situation, but also by the uneasiness she was experiencing prior to Michael's arrival. She's been blaming those uncertainties on her past, so sure that her commitment issues are seated in specific events related to not only Michael, but her father as well.

The trauma she's suffering from witnessing the brutal murder of what her mind now knows was not her mother is compounded by the reality that while her mother didn't die at Michael's hands, the reality is that Amy Deluca is dead. Her emotions are on edge and in their heightened state she's being forced to examine her perception of things.

Questioning Liz managed to distract her and in doing so allowed her to recall the recurring dream she's experienced over the past fifteen years. Scenes between the girls are some of the most difficult for us to write and this one is very close to our hearts. Thank you for the compliment.


xilaj- Thank you for the amazing compliment! The girlfriend relationships tend to be a challenge for us to write and especially now when the teens we knew are grown adults.



Book One – Chapter 5

October 13, 2016 – Pete’s Liftoff Gas Station, Outskirts of Roswell, NM – 0503 Hours

Isabel settled back to blend in with the shadows. At 16 years old the thought of Isabel Evans wanting to be invisible would have been laughable. She had stood apart from the crowd and that was the way she had wanted it. Being back on Earth had brought a myriad of memories to the surface and with them came a barrage of emotions. So far she had managed to hold them at bay, keeping them from overrunning her protective barrier, but as the night wore on and the station’s human occupants began to calm down and voices became hushed, that barrier seemed to weaken.

The desert night was far from silent. Animals that hid from the unforgiving sun during the day came out once the oppressive heat retreated, giving them ample time to forage for food before the sun came up again the next morning. There were sounds that so many people would never be able to detect simply because they didn’t have the training to listen to the silence. She’d learned over the years that the quietest sound could be nearly deafening under the right circumstances.

Up until a few minutes ago there had been enough of a disturbance to overshadow the sounds of the desert coming to life. While Liz and Maria hadn’t been loud by any means, their hushed voices had provided a block. Now it was quiet enough that she could hear the sound of the small insect slowly creeping up the broken window she had stationed herself next to since Michael had refused to come inside to rest.

Even now he remained outside, eyes locked on something in the distance. She didn’t know what it was, didn’t even know if it was something actually there or something only he could see. So many of the things they had seen since leaving Earth could never be forgotten no matter how much they might like to banish the memories. Death, destruction, betrayal… it seemed as if those things had run in a constant loop, blurring one day into the next.

She had witnessed his return from the battlefield many times, had seen him covered in blood more times than she could count – the blood of their enemies, the blood of those loyal to them and his own blood. Somehow seeing him come in several hours ago had been worse than any of those other times. She knew without a doubt that the blood hadn’t belonged to Amy Deluca, but Maria’s reaction to what she believed to be her mother’s murder at the hands of someone she had at one time trusted had torn at something deep inside of herself.

The Skins were ruthless and lacked a conscience. They hunted tirelessly and they killed viciously, drawing as much pain from their victims as they could. She couldn’t control the shudder that racked her body as she imagined the deaths Jim and Kyle Valenti had suffered at the hands of one or more Skins. She had witnessed what they were capable of and it had made her violently ill. They didn’t just kill for survival, they hunted their prey and they killed for sport, and they enjoyed it.

She tried to shake off the image of such an ending coming to her parents but the possibility haunted her. It had been so hard to leave them. It had been a painful decision and it had torn her apart. She had known when the time came for them to leave that she couldn’t stay behind but that hadn’t made the decision any easier. The loss had just piled up and the weight had seemed impossible to carry but she’d had no choice but to keep moving.

Her vision blurred as she stared up at the stars through the broken glass and she drew in a slow shuddering breath. The skies over Antar had been so foreign and the stars visible in the murky night sky had mocked her every time she had searched for a point of familiarity. Her eyes drifted closed as grief washed over her; grief that in spite of time and distance hadn’t diminished. Most days she was able to keep it compartmentalized. She’d had no choice. If she hadn’t found a way to push it down it would’ve destroyed her.

It pulsed to life as her barriers weakened and in that moment it was as if the past fifteen years didn’t exist and he had just died. Losing Alex was part of the reason she had made the decision to leave. The grief had been overwhelming; it had been all-consuming and the fear that who she was could have somehow been responsible for that loss had haunted her. She hadn’t been able to rid herself of that thought and the guilt had only gotten worse when Liz had made that painful accusation. She hadn’t known if who she was might end up costing her parents their lives one day. It had been one more reason to leave the planet when the opportunity had presented itself. Surely if she was thousands of light years away on another planet, possibly another solar system, they would be safe.

There had been a price to pay for that decision and the cost was just as painful. She had left them on a planet without protection. They’d had no way of knowing how much the Special Unit knew about them. They had no way of knowing if they were really dismantled. They had no way of knowing if whoever or whatever was responsible for Alex’s death could target them next. She fought to control the tremors she could feel causing her insides to shake as she recalled sitting next to Max and making that tape for their parents. It had been a gut-wrenching experience and it had ranked right up there with saying goodbye to Alex.

She wanted her mom. She needed to know what had happened to her parents. Diane and Philip Evans were her parents, they were Max’s parents, and she didn’t need biology to make it true. She’d known it from day one. She’d seen the couple walk into the orphanage and she’d been drawn to the woman with the friendly, smiling face and the yellow sweater that had reminded her of the sun. No matter how much time had passed, how many miles had separated them, she still knew that truth in her heart.

Her gaze shifted to the darkened corner across the room where Liz and Maria had taken refuge and once again her thoughts were drawn back to Maria’s reaction to what she believed she had witnessed. A scene like that would unleash the soldier she had become and human emotion would fuel her alien instinct as she tracked the enemy and exacted retribution. She had learned to kill and she had become skilled at it out of necessity.

She could feel the anguish building up in her chest, swelling until it pushed everything else out including the ability to breathe. Just the thought of losing her parents pushed her under a sea of emotions and left her feeling like she was drowning. She wanted to keep them safe, to save them from a horrible death. She didn’t want them to end up like Jim and Kyle or Amy. They didn’t know exactly what had happened to Maria’s mother, but they knew from experience that the Skins didn’t leave their victims alive.

Panic clawed at her chest, the silenced screams trying to force their way out, and she leaned forward to rest her forehead on her raised knees. She had to control this. Breaking down wasn’t an option. There was no place for that here. She squeezed her eyes shut and her fingers bit into the flesh of her legs as she began to shake.

“Isabel.”

The hand on her shoulder pulled her back to the moment and she felt her nerves begin to settle. She reached up and rested her hand on top of his, a silent show of appreciation. He wouldn’t question her ability to handle what was coming at them and he wouldn’t mention this momentary lapse of control. They all had a moment of weakness from time to time and when that happened one of the others would step up and offer the necessary support to help them put those emotions away where they needed to be.

She nodded and stood up, telling him without words that she would be going outside to check the perimeter. The cold night air would clear her head and give her the space she needed to bring her emotions fully under control. She could do this. She would do this. Failure was not an option.

*****

He watched from the shadows as Michael approached Isabel, knowing before contact was made between them that she would calm at his touch. There were certain moods that struck her that could only be reached by Michael’s brand of comfort. He had never been a talker and that hadn’t changed over the years. But he felt things deeply and he recognized pain in others, especially when it came to Isabel.

He’d watched as the bond between them strengthened over time. The countless battles, the constant death and destruction, the loss both old and new that always weighed on them, it had all worked together to forge an unbreakable bond. The three of them had survived and they’d come back to Earth determined to save the people they loved and change the past that had left them all damaged in one way or another.

A past they had to change. They couldn’t afford to fail. This mission above all others had to be successful. The war on Antar wasn’t theirs to fight, it never had been. But they’d landed right in the middle of it and their only choices had been fight or die – it hadn’t really been much of a choice and it had done its best to take their souls a piece at a time. He’d often wondered if they made it out alive how much of their humanity would be left. So much of what they’d had to do to survive was unthinkable… and so unnecessary.

He ran a hand over his face tiredly. He winced when the old scar that crossed his palm rasped against flesh that was overly sensitive courtesy of an old injury. He held his hand out and stared at it as if he no longer recognized it. He’d learned to kill, he’d become skilled at killing, and he hated the part of himself that was proud of his abilities on the field of battle. He’d never wanted the responsibility of making decisions that affected people’s lives, but a single decision made before the thought of leaving Earth had ever really occurred to him had changed everything and set all of them on an irrevocable course.

He sighed inaudibly and watched as Isabel slowly got to her feet with a hand up from Michael, knowing before she looked directly at him and nodded that she’d be going out to walk the perimeter and pull herself together. One decision, one mistake, and countless lives had paid for his error in judgment.

Max turned his head slowly when the air shifted subtly and he watched as Liz stood, murmuring in low tones to Maria before she moved back to the coolers Isabel had worked a little magic on. They’d known they would have to hole up somewhere out of sight and finding the old gas station abandoned had been perfect. It hadn’t been much back before it had closed but at some point the owner must have tried to keep up with the competition because the bathroom now housed a shower and there was a small kitchen area that had been added.

Thanks to Isabel those things were working enough to get them by. She’d gotten her hands on supplies so they wouldn’t be hungry or thirsty while they got ready to implement their plan. He was grateful to have food but most of the time he ate out of necessity. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten for the pure enjoyment of pleasing his palate. It was like everything else he did – he did it for survival. Life had long ago lost any joy.

Antar had robbed him of that along with his innocence. It had changed him, turned him into someone he didn’t recognize most days. He straightened up when Liz opened one of the cooler doors, observing her as she leaned into the cool interior and rested her forehead against the hand gripping one of the shelves. What had he done to her? He’d known years ago that he didn’t deserve her. He’d betrayed her in the most elemental way possible and that betrayal had been costly.

He knew there were plenty of people who would say no, he hadn’t technically betrayed her because they hadn’t actually been together at the time he slept with Tess. But he had and he knew it. He’d managed to get Tess pregnant and he’d blindly followed her lead. He squeezed his eyes shut as he wished away the memory of every hurtful word that had been said between him and Liz after that fateful night. So much pain had been inflicted but any wounds he’d suffered as a result of her verbal assaults were minimal in light of what he’d done. But it didn’t stop them from hurting any time he ripped the old scars open and revisited each of those moments in time.

How could he have just walked away, left Earth knowing he was leaving her to possibly face the person that had killed Alex? He’d known in his heart there was no way Alex would have committed suicide. He’d known it, and yet he’d let himself be swayed because he couldn’t face the truth. One mistake after another had started to pile up on him and that guilt had become so painfully crushing in spite of his attempts to outrun it.

It wasn’t possible to outrun guilt. Even absolution couldn’t rid a person of that weight. And even now he didn’t believe he deserved forgiveness from her. The light above the door she held open flickered a few times, bringing the tear tracks on her face into stark relief and his heart twisted in his chest.

He hadn’t really sat down and talked to her since they’d gone to get her. She’d come with them without question and that had hit him like a punch in the gut. How could she still have any faith in him? How could she trust him after what he’d done to her? He’d betrayed her, he’d left her, and he’d unknowingly taken Alex’s killer with him when he left Earth, protecting her but leaving her with no closure and Alex’s family with the burden of believing that he had taken his own life.

She reached up to wipe her hand across her face, trying to erase the tracks of her tears, and he found himself moving without conscious thought. He didn’t know what to say to her, but there was no way he could stand there and let her suffer alone. If nothing else, he was responsible for the turmoil she was in. His hands flexed into fists a couple of times before relaxing as he approached her and he reached up to grip the door she held open.

“Liz?”

She drew in a slow deep breath, hoping to keep her emotions under control. She’d waited years for him to come back, imagining hundreds of different scenarios where he returned and finally told her what had happened, but not a single one of them came close to the reality. She could remember tiptoeing through 2014, part of her afraid that somehow the present hadn’t been changed enough to alter the future timeline that had sent Max back to visit her and alter the past.

She’d sacrificed her future with Max, sabotaging a relationship she’d wanted more than anything else, and as much as that had hurt, as much as it still hurt deep inside, she’d known it was the right thing to do. What right did she have to be selfish enough to protect her own happiness when it would end up costing the lives of everyone they loved? She had waited with trepidation for 2014 to end, watching the sky every night for anything that might suggest a coming invasion.

And then, nearly two years after 2014 came to a close, she’d looked up from giving her tenth grade class their assignment for the weekend and caught a glimpse of a striking blonde walking past her open classroom door. She bore a striking resemblance to Isabel Evans and after teaching at West Roswell for several years now she was certain she would’ve spotted a teenage girl that stood out like Isabel had. She hadn’t been able to curb the hope that leapt to life at the possibility that they had returned, that he had finally come home.

She knew she’d gotten a few strange looks from her students as she gave them their final instructions, having to repeat a couple of things because she was so distracted. She was grateful when the bell finally rang and she was able to turn the teens loose and set out after the tall blonde. It didn’t take long for the halls to empty out and she nodded and spoke to a few of the other teachers when they called out from their classrooms. Soon she’d left the classrooms behind and she pushed through the double doors that opened up to the quad where there were picnic tables set up for students to have lunch outdoors.

She paused a moment, searching the area and shaking her head when the only people she saw was a handful of students hurrying to escape for the weekend. Maybe the girl was a new student. Fifteen years had passed. Isabel Evans would have aged with time. Even she wouldn’t have been able to stop the hands of time. She sighed as she discarded the idea. No, she knew she hadn’t imagined the resemblance. How many times over their high school careers had she seen Isabel walk through these very halls as if she owned them? There was no mistaking that walk, that posture, or that appearance that was so familiar it was like she’d just seen her yesterday.

She turned and followed the sidewalk around to the side of the school. Her fingertips brushed against the leaves of the bushes that bordered the path, the whisper of sound comforting in the sudden silence that surrounded her. There was an air of anticipation hanging over her, further proof that something important was about to happen. Out of habit she sidestepped a crack in the cement and the old rhyme ran through her mind.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Step on a line, you’ll break your father’s spine.

She was pretty sure whoever came up with those sick little rhymes had parental issues. Her eyebrows lifted in surprise when she spotted three motorcycles parked in a secluded area. It wasn’t a sight seen very often in Roswell. Sure, there was the occasional motorcycle, but three in one place? Practically unheard of. And behind the school? That had never happened in the history of the small town.

A small movement off to her right caught her attention and as her eyes located the source she stopped dead in her tracks. When she was sixteen years old he’d come to her from fourteen years in the future and to this day she could remember what he’d looked like. The man before her blew those memories out of the water. Tall and leanly muscled, long hair that was showing signs of graying, his face drawn and his eyes haunted with the shadows of things she couldn’t begin to guess at, he was an imposing presence. His hands hung loosely at his sides, a stance that was probably meant to be non-threatening, but it wasn’t necessary. She didn’t feel threatened.

Her eyes flicked to the side when Isabel moved and she realized she was leaning back against the wall not far from her brother. Yes, she was still as impressive as she’d been in high school, even more now than before. She was older, but she still carried herself with an air of confidence and in spite of the years that had aged her, she was still beautiful. No, she thought as she watched the tall blonde stride across the open area and settle on one of the motorcycles in one smooth move, it was more than confidence, it was something that went so much deeper than that.

She shifted her gaze back to Max, soaking up his presence and wondering what had brought them back home. He straightened up and she turned her head when she saw his eyes lock on something behind her. She was surprised to see Michael walk past her but not surprised when he did nothing more than nod curtly in her direction. He settled on the second motorcycle and braced his hands on his knees as he looked at Max expectantly.

“Liz…”

His voice washed over her. It was huskier than she remembered and it awoke something inside of her that had been dormant for so long. She looked at him, watching him as he moved from his position by the wall. His movements weren’t hesitant or uncertain as he walked toward her. She could sense the urgency in him, but more than that, she could feel the resolve in him. He moved with purpose and he commanded attention.

She couldn’t stop her gaze from moving over him appreciatively. He was so much more than the man she had met on her rooftop balcony back in high school. He wore riding leathers, the supple material creaking quietly with his movements and giving visual representation to the dangerous air surrounding him.

“Liz, I know you have no reason to trust me and I have no right to ask you to, but you have to come with me. Now.” His eyes never left hers as he threw one leg over the seat and held a hand out to her, waiting for her response.

She hadn’t seen him in fifteen years. They hadn’t parted under the best of circumstances. They didn’t know each other anymore. Yet she’d never been more certain of what she was doing as she placed her hand in his, their palms sliding against each other in a slow caress. His hand curled around hers and his grip was firm and strong, steadying her as she climbed on the motorcycle behind him. He reluctantly released her and without waiting for him to ask, her arms slid around his waist.


Several days had passed now and they hadn’t really talked. It was like neither of them had any idea how to start the conversation that was years in the making. She wanted to talk to him, needed to talk to him, and as much as she trusted him, believed in him and yes, as much as she had waited for him to come back, there was a part of her that was still angry with him. Maybe that was why she hadn’t pushed to start a conversation with him.
Last edited by KindredKandies on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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keepsmiling7
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 5 - 3/11/2018

Postby keepsmiling7 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:36 pm

What a heart warming, yet heart breaking part.
No one realizes how Alex's death effected Isabel........and how perfectly normal, she still wanted her mom.
Max lost so much on Antar.......and he now feels all of the pain he caused and left behind on earth.
Can't believe Liz just took off with Max.........but she probably never really gave up on him.
Thanks for this wonderful part,
Carolyn

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Eva
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 5 - 3/11/2018

Postby Eva » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:57 am

Whoaw, I didn't see this story! And what a pearl! Alright, I know it's strang to say it like that. It started as a nightmare and I'm sure it will stay that way for several chapters. But you can tell already that it will capture the attention of everybody who'll start reading it.
Take a look at Eva's world[/center]

Parker1947
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 5 - 3/11/2018

Postby Parker1947 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:15 am

It continues to get more complex. Well done, can't wait for more...

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maxandlizforever
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 5 - 3/11/2018

Postby maxandlizforever » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:39 am

I'm guessing Liz didn't get powers?
"Seize the Moment, for you never know, tomorrow you might be dead."--BTVS, S1E1
"'You wanna sleep with me?'
Grissoms looks at her stunned, dropping his food and wiping his mouth, "Did you just say what I think?'
'That way when I wake in a cold sweat you can say it was just empathy.'"--Sarah Sidle to Gil Grissom, CSI S1E10

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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 5 - 3/11/2018

Postby xmag » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:52 am

They are all so broken, time hasn't been kind to all of them. Mostly to the aliens, their lives were spent fighting, Killing and for what? A planet they don't feel like they belong to, right?

The Evans are likely dead, aren't they? God, it's going to break Max and Isabel even more!
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Michael : From day one, I knew you were the girl for me, I never wanted anyone else.

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The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 6 - 4/8/2018

Postby KindredKandies » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:23 pm

keepsmiling7- Thank you. Isabel was greatly affected by Alex's death and leaving her parents. We love Isabel for being so close to her mom and dad. It was an endearing quality about her that others saw in her especially Alex and Maria.

Eva- Lol, we're glad you found this story. :) Thank you for the wonderful compliment. Pearls start out as a grain of sand, an irritant to the oyster. It takes time for the beautiful layers to form a pearl. It's a grand compliment and we humbly thank you.

Parker1947- Thank you! Here's more....

maxandlizforever- We'll get more answers as we get further into the story

xmag- The road they've all been down has been hard and harsh, but has a purpose. We are getting closer to where we'll see what that purpose is in coming chapters.


Book One – Chapter 6

October 13, 2016 – Pete’s Liftoff Gas Station, Outskirts of Roswell, NM – 0543 Hours

“I understand your anger.”

Liz exhaled audibly as she shifted and the door of the cold case bumped against her back. The thought that it was anger preventing her from pursuing a conversation made sense, but it wasn’t really the problem. If it was old anger boiling beneath the surface she would have lashed out at him the moment she saw him. She wouldn’t have gotten on the back of that motorcycle without a single word, a single question, if she’d had any underlying anger issues.

Fifteen years ago she had run the gamut of emotions after their departure. She hadn’t really known how to process it or how to deal with it so for a couple of years she had done her best to suppress her feelings where he was concerned. Eventually it had come to a head and she’d had no choice but to face those feelings. It wasn’t the sort of thing she could talk to just anyone about and strangely enough it was Kyle who had finally pushed her to acknowledge those buried emotions.

He’d sat on the balcony of his apartment, cold beer in hand, and explained that what she was burying was grief, plain and simple. His theory was that she had stalled out in the denial phase of the grieving process. That conversation had helped and she’d slowly but surely started to deal with it. She had been through the anger phase years ago and she’d dealt with it and finally put it behind her.

No, it wasn’t that old anger rearing its ugly head. It was the jumble of emotions that had slammed into her at seeing him again. They had continued to build over the past few days, twisting and turning, confusing and frustrating as the chaotic thoughts bounced around in her head. She liked order and right now she was out of sorts and it was keeping her off balance.

Six days. They only had six days before the end of the world as she knew it. She didn’t want to spend it with this distance between them. She’d forgiven him a long time ago. The past was the past and she didn’t want to waste what little time they had. She just had to find a way to get past this awkwardness that sat between them like an impenetrable wall.

“It’s not anger,” she said finally.

Anger or not, he needed to talk to her. He’d fought for fifteen years to come back to her and if he had to wade through an emotional minefield to find a way to mend fences before he righted his wrongs, that’s what he was going to do. If this worked they would never be in this position, but no matter what happened, he had to make sure she understood the truth before their impending deadline was upon them.

There was no anger in her tone, just a weary tiredness that he understood all too well. She had given him an opening, intentionally or not, and he didn’t intend to waste it. One corner of his mouth lifted in a half-smile as he shook his head. “I beg to differ.”

Her lips twitched in response to the teasing glint in his eyes. Eyes that seemed so much older than his thirty-two years, she thought sadly. She cast about for something to say and the words suddenly fell right in her lap. “Are you like, reading my mind, or something?”

Max stared at her as the familiar question tugged at his memory. She had asked that very same question that night on her rooftop balcony, the night he’d connected with her and allowed the connection to open between them and she’d seen herself the way he saw her. He struggled to recall the words he’d spoken to her in response to that question, but so much time had passed since those innocent days, and he couldn’t bring his exact response into focus. “I don’t read minds.” He decided to risk rejection and reached for her hand where it rested on the frame of the cold case.

She smiled slightly. “It’s been a long time, Max.”

“Too long.” His thumb traced over her ring finger. “I wondered if…” He shook his head and glanced over his shoulder when he felt movement behind him. He relaxed when he recognized Michael’s familiar shadow.

“If what?” she prodded. “If I was involved with someone? Married with kids?”

“You should be. You deserve to be happy.” As much as he believed that, a part of him, the selfish part, was happy to learn that she hadn’t moved on. “I blew my chance to make you happy.” He stared at a point over her shoulder and his eyes indicated that he was somewhere else at that moment. “I blew it all to hell. I just threw everything away and everyone I ever cared about paid for it.”

Some things never changed, she thought as she watched him. “Did you at least find your family on Antar?”

“No.” He fell silent for a moment. “The moment I realized Tess had betrayed us the truth became painfully clear.” He rubbed a hand over his chest unconsciously. “A truth that had been with me all along. I knew eventually my decision to pursue Tess was going to come at a cost but I didn’t know how high that cost was going to be. And nothing caused greater pain than knowing that I had abandoned you.”

“You did what you thought you had to do.”

“I left you here believing there was a murderer on the loose.”

“Max, you were seventeen years old.”

He shook his head. “That only excuses so much, Liz. If it hadn’t turned out to be Tess…” he cocked his head to one side as Maria’s earlier words when she was going back and forth with Isabel replayed in his mind. “How’d you know it was her?”

Liz released her grip on the door and when it closed she leaned back against it, soaking up the feeling of the cold as it seeped through the heated material of her shirt. “I realized it was her when the mindwarp Tess had put on Maria’s mom started to wear off. She was exhibiting behaviors that were identical to some I’d seen Kyle displaying and it just clicked so Maria and I went to see him.”

He braced one shoulder against the cold case when she shifted to face him fully. “She’d mindwarped him,” he guessed.

“She did so much more than that, Max.” She sighed as she thought about the many late night conversations she and Kyle had engaged in over the years. “She broke something in him.”

He frowned. “I don’t understand. I mean, I know he was into her but after we left – “

“It wasn’t just that. She messed with his head and his heart. He did like her.” Liz lifted their joined hands and cradled his hand so she could trace her fingertip over the scar on his palm. “She let him get close and then Prom comes around and out of nowhere he’s suddenly gone from thinking of her like a girl he wants to get close to, to thinking of her like a sister. Then in the middle of all those conflicting emotions the two of you got together and she got pregnant. He was getting hit from all sides and even then he was the standup guy who cared about her even though she’d walked all over him.” She paused to look at him and she could tell he was trying to follow what she was saying. “I’m sorry. It still makes me so mad when I think about what she did to him.”

Max nodded and waited patiently for her to say what she had to say. He’d be willing to sit still and listen to her read the ingredients off the back of a package of crackers if it kept her talking to him, but this was so much more important and he had to let her get it out in her own time.

“She mindwarped him, Max. He caught her the night she killed Alex. She made him carry Alex’s body and put it in the car. Once those memories came back there was nothing to block them. What she did to him was unforgiveable. I wasn’t being melodramatic when I said she broke something in him. I can’t tell you how many times he’s gone over that year moment by moment, reliving every move he made and trying to figure out at what point he lost control of the situation and she took over, wondering how much of what he felt for her was real and how much of it was manufactured by her as a cover.”

“Did he ever find someone, settle down?” He almost hoped she’d say no because it would mean one less person would have to suffer a loss.

“No.” She dropped her head back to rest against the door. “He’s always believed trust is the cornerstone.” She smiled briefly, thinking back to high school. “It’s important to him. It wasn’t easy for him to let someone in, especially after what I did to him, but he took that risk with her and she threw it back in his face. A person can only take so much and too many people had walked away from him. I’ll never forget the expression on his face when he realized what she’d made him do.”

“I’m sorry, Liz.”

She shook her head. “What she did to him isn’t your fault. It never was. That’s on her. We made peace with that.”

“All of you?”

She turned her head to follow his gaze and she could see the bulky shadow Michael threw as he watched over Maria from a safe distance. “Seeing you guys again just pushed every emotional hot button and what she witnessed… you can’t blame her for her reaction.”

“No, I don’t. That wasn’t exactly the way her retrieval was supposed to go down.”

“Maria dealt with things her own way. Kyle was a big help to both of us. We stay in contact and he’s always calling us up to check on us. We get together a lot, especially since Maria moved to California and I came back home.”

“He didn’t leave Roswell?”

“Yeah, he just didn’t go very far. He’s on the Santa Fe SWAT team. We were so proud of him when he made it.”

“I didn’t think he was interested in law enforcement.”

“Kyle needs to help people. There’s always someone and it keeps him busy.” She thought about all of the conversations about forgiveness and letting the past go. “He’s great at giving advice but he’s not so great at taking it himself.”

“How’d that Buddhist thing work out for him?”

“Some days better than others. He’s struggled to work past Tess and what he did under her influence, but he’s never been able to forgive himself. It makes me so angry because he carries that burden and it wasn’t his fault. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve sat up to all hours just talking about the past. He helped me deal with it and I was finally able to let it go, but I’ve never been able to do the same for him.” Her eyes welled up as she was suddenly hit with the realization that she would never be able to repay him for everything he’d done for her. She would never again get the chance to sit on his balcony eating cold pizza and drinking a margarita while he explained some sports thing that meant nothing to her, handed out advice or just sat with her in silence. “And now I never will.” She reached up to cover her mouth with her free hand, fighting to hold the tears back.

“We’re gonna fix it, Liz,” he swore as he pulled her into his arms, needing to hold her. “I swear to you, we’re gonna fix this.”

*****

Michael flexed his shoulder, using the motion to propel him away from the wall he had been leaning against for a while now. After experiencing a familiar wave of anxiety he had come inside, knowing Isabel was fighting the tidal wave of emotions threatening to pull her under as she was assaulted by memories of loss; feelings surfacing that had long been buried as the need for survival rose above everything else.

They didn’t talk about it, they didn’t have to, they just knew. Since arriving on Earth they had all had their share of debilitating memories. They had all left something behind. He glanced over his shoulder where Max and Liz stood locked in a tight embrace, comforting and being comforted in equal measure. He couldn’t imagine six days being long enough to stem the anger and distrust that seethed in Maria, threatening to erupt like a severed artery.

He had saved her life and in the process created a chasm they didn’t have time for. The clock was ticking and for the plan to work, everyone had to be involved. There was no halfway. It was all or nothing… and nothing wasn’t an option. He didn’t know what it was going to take to get her to a point where she could trust them – him – enough to fully participate.

For the past twenty minutes or so he had been watching her from his position in the shadows, alert to everything going on around him. She had been dozing fitfully when he came inside, her body twitching and her expression revealing her inner turmoil. It had taken less than a couple of minutes for her to sense his presence and she had jerked awake, her eyes alert and fearful as they scanned the immediate area before moving further out.

He had known the exact moment she had located him because her body had tensed up and her eyes had quickly found another spot to lock onto. It would be easier if she could believe him as easily as Liz believed in Max; she had accepted his return without question, believing he was who he said he was without requiring proof. She was a methodical person and she relied on the facts to make her assessments, but when it came to Max, she didn’t seem to require them. His very presence, his word, was good enough for her.

It would never be that easy for him and Maria. Not after all that life had thrown at them over the years – before and after his betrayal of her. They had demanded more than that from each other from the very beginning. They weren’t the kind of people who could just reconnect after being separated the way they had and then come to terms with it simply by being reunited. Max and Liz had their own way of dealing with things, and maybe it wasn’t as simple as they made it look, but it wasn’t the way he and Maria dealt with things.

What he’d done to her in high school wasn’t something she was likely to forgive him for. He had his doubts that she’d found a way to absolve him of guilt in the time he’d been gone, and he would never ask that of her. Getting caught with Courtney had been a deliberate move on his part and he’d known there would be no going back.

The moment of opportunity had presented itself and he hadn’t hesitated, he’d taken advantage of it before it could slip past him. He’d pinned Courtney up against that filthy alley wall, mindless of the fact that they were surrounded by garbage, and he’d wasted no time. Years later he could fully admit that after all the flirting and teasing she had done he had wanted to get her in that position, with or without the intention of searching her mind. He’d felt like he’d spent that entire summer on edge. He and Maria broken up, new faces showing up in town, and then one of those faces suddenly started flitting around him, flaunting her body at every opportunity, tossing out one innuendo after another, and making blatant passes at him.

Yeah, he’d felt like something was off with her and he had wanted to know what it was, but that hadn’t been the only thing behind that kiss in the alley. Months of pent-up frustration had fueled his desire that night. Knowing he had a mission to fulfill and that keeping Maria at arms’ length was important but that knowledge had warred with everything he’d felt when she was around him. The rapid-fire back and forth sniping comments they engaged in, the perceived insults they traded, the irritation-laced barbs that seemed like outright aggression to anyone else, those things were foreplay for them and at the time they hadn’t had a clue.

All he knew was that he was going to explode if something didn’t happen soon. The kiss with Courtney hadn’t been a shared experience; he’d taken, plain and simple, using the most convenient weapon in his arsenal to gather intelligence on a potential enemy. There hadn’t been any finesse as he’d practically shoved his tongue in her mouth, doing his best to force the truth to surface in her mind while her barriers were weak.

She’d been taken off-guard but she had quickly begun to reciprocate, hands clawing at his shoulders as she urged him to take what he wanted. There were moments when he lost focus and he had to fight to rein himself in – the feel of her thigh rubbing against his suggestively being the one that stuck out in his mind. He had grabbed the backs of her thighs, enjoying the feel of bare skin beneath the short uniform skirt, and lifted her up, forcing her back against the wall as his pelvis pushed into her.

He had seen enough in those unguarded moments to know she wasn’t who she said she was, but not enough to tell him who or what she really was. The delivery door had opened and he only registered the sound when it was forcefully slammed back against the wall. He had ripped his mouth away from Courtney’s but his hands had remained on her hips as she slid down his body at an agonizingly slow pace to put her feet back on the ground.

In all the years that had passed since that night he had never forgotten the devastated look of betrayal on Maria’s face. He had known in that moment that it was over; there would be no forgiveness or reconciliation after what she had been witness to. He had walked away, leaving Courtney standing by the garbage without saying so much as a word to her.

Later that night in his apartment he had paced the floor like a caged animal, restless and struggling to control the battle waging inside of him as he tried to keep his mind away from the demands his body was making. Frustration was still heavily dominant and the desire for physical release was only made worse by the bass thrumming through the floor and walls as his neighbors’ stereo blasted music late into the night.

Even knowing that Maria was lost to him for good he still had to fight his overwhelming need for her. She had become important to his existence and even without them being together she was still the one he wanted to talk to, the one he wanted to explain the situation to… she was the one who deserved that from him. And she was the one person he could never reveal the truth to. So rather than make the mistake of going to her he had settled for the only thing available to him. His eyes had come to rest on the flashing number on his answering machine, the number indicating the mailbox was full. As if hypnotized, he crossed the room and pushed the button to play the message and placed a hand over the machine as her voice surrounded him. He had eventually found himself on the sofa, slumped into the sagging cushions, as her voice flowed over him. Around the sixth message his eyes had closed and he slid into a dreamless sleep.


He hadn’t known it at the time but it was one of the last nights he would be given that reprieve.

With a small shake of his head to dislodge the memory, Michael pushed away from the wall he had leaned against at some point. He watched Maria as she silently pushed herself to the edge of the cot and forced herself to her feet. He held himself in check when he saw her stagger slightly, knowing that any offer of assistance he made would be refused. She didn’t look at him as she walked by, pretending he wasn’t there or maybe just wishing he wasn’t, he didn’t know.

His eyes followed her as she made her way over to Max and Liz, keeping one hand on the empty shelves to maintain her balance. She had to be feeling like hell and he had only made that worse, but there was no way to go back and change the past. He smirked at his own thoughts but there was no humor to be found there. If they were successful they would change the past and this wasn’t who she would be in fifteen years. None of them would be the people gathered here.

He was brought out of his musings when Max spoke up next to him and he frowned when he realized he had been so caught up that he hadn’t seen him move. “What?”

“I said, go take a shower and then get some sleep.”

“I’ve been old enough to know when to shower and sleep for a long time, Max.”

At the moment he had his doubts about that. Max let his gaze bounce back and forth between his second and Maria, mulling over his options. He knew he could make it an order and Michael, in spite of being resistant, would follow it without question. He also knew once he had a little time to adjust he would take care of things himself. It wasn’t an easy adjustment to be surrounded by so much silence after being on the battlefield for years without reprieve.

He just shrugged and moved to the front of the station to check on Isabel. The perimeter check would be finished soon enough and then he hoped they could sit down with Liz and Maria and talk a little more. There was still so much that needed to be said and now that things with Liz felt more stable he was ready to proceed.

Behind him he could hear the heavy footfalls as Michael’s boots struck the floor. He wished things hadn’t gone so badly with Maria’s retrieval. Her lack of trust in Michael was damaging and while he understood Michael’s reaction upon being faced with the Skin about to kill her in a manner that would have been horrific, he knew they were losing precious time as they fought to regain her trust.

Liz had assured him Maria wouldn’t let them down and as he had so long ago, he believed in her and trusted her enough to wait it out. She knew they were under a heavy time constraint but her faith in Maria wouldn’t be dissuaded. No one knew Maria better than Liz so he was giving her the space she had asked for to talk to her friend for a few minutes before they settled in to talk as a group again.

He kept his head turned slightly, picking up bits and pieces of conversation as Liz talked to Maria, encouraging her to nibble a few bites from the crackers she had pulled off of one of the shelves Isabel had filled. He had become so used to the horrors of death that the sight of blood and gore that accompanied it on the battlefield no longer made him physically ill. He could still recall the first time he’d been introduced to that kind of violence and his reaction hadn’t been much different. He hadn’t had time to process it though; they had been thrust into the middle of a war and it had been a matter of shoving that down and learning to survive.

He glanced down at his hands, his eyes tracing over the jagged scar that bisected his palm. He hadn’t healed it, had chosen to let it heal naturally to provide him with a reminder that letting his mind wander was dangerous. Focus was of the utmost importance and his had slipped in a weak moment when faced with an enemy soldier that had played to his humanity and then attacked. It was the last time he had made that mistake.

His gaze shifted to Liz when she called his name, letting him know they were going to freshen up a bit before joining him and Isabel. He nodded and turned back to the window, arms crossing over his chest as he watched his sister. She had paused out by the islands where fuel pumps had once stood, face upturned as she searched the sky. Only the brightest stars were still visible but it wouldn’t be long before they were once again hidden by the light from the rising sun. He could see the light on the horizon creeping towards them and edging the darkness out.

Once the last star had disappeared he saw Isabel draw in a shuddering breath before turning to come inside. Countless nights he had caught her with her gaze turned to the stars, concentrating on them as if they held all the answers. They never talked about it but he had always felt it was where she felt closest to Alex, to their parents. They had all needed something to hold onto and whatever their chosen anchor it was understood by the others that it was sacred and not to be mentioned.

The door closed behind her when she came inside and other than a look shared between them nothing was said. He maintained his post when she moved further into the station, letting his thoughts wander. Things with Liz were going better than he had dared to hope and he was so grateful for that. Now he just hoped it would make the situation with Maria easier to handle. It was important for both of them to be onboard with what had to happen and there was so much ground to cover before their time was up.

A sharp gasp drew his attention and he pivoted on his heel, taking off in the direction of the bathrooms at the back of the station. He winced when he reached the open area behind the small kitchen where a large stainless steel sink had been installed against the wall. He had no idea what it had been used for, unless it had been used for dishes or something. He knew it hadn’t been intended as a bathing station, which it was being used for now.

Michael had removed the mirrored cabinet door from the small bathroom back off of the old office and propped it up against the back of the sink, using it to keep an eye on anything coming up behind him. Judging by the taut muscles in his shoulders and the steely look in his eyes he was aware that every eye in the station was on him. For nearly a solid minute he stood frozen, his calloused, scarred hands locked on the rim of the sink as one pair of eyes in particular sent a frisson of awareness straight up his spine.

Maria couldn’t look away from the mottled, scarred tissue that covered his back. His skin was tattooed and she didn’t understand how the images weren’t distorted by the scarring that seemed to be everywhere. It extended around his body and her eyes roved over his reflection against her will. It took a few moments before she connected the dots and she slowly moved off to the side to study him as he turned to reach for his shirt.

Her brows pulled down into a deep frown as he pulled the shirt down over his chest. If she hadn’t been so certain he wasn’t who he said before, she was sure now. She had seen Michael Guerin shirtless on more than one occasion and sure, the body had a tendency to change in some ways as time passed, but this wasn’t right. She’d always admired his body, but it wasn’t the same. This man’s frame was different. A guy didn’t just outgrow a slight barrel chest, he didn’t suddenly become broader through the shoulders; his frame so perfect it looked like it had been sculpted. Yeah, had had been perfect in her eyes but she had by no means believed he was perfect.

Michael could see the belief that he was an imposter reignite in her eyes as she stared at him, still seeing the scarred flesh long after he’d covered himself up. Liz had politely looked away but Maria’s eyes were still locked on him. He’d never meant for her to see the atrocities etched into his skin. He sighed heavily and silently as he gathered his things up and wordlessly left the room, deciding that with them all inside maybe it was safe enough to take a quick shower.

“I don’t know who or what he is, but that is not Michael Guerin.”

“What happened to him?”

There were very few times he had cursed his ability to hear so well, but this was one of them. Even with the bathroom door closed and the water running in the shower, he clearly heard Maria’s declaration and Liz’s question as they ran over each other. He closed his eyes for a moment and bowed his head to let the scalding hot water run over his body. There were areas where there was little to no feeling left in the scarred tissue and others where it was so sensitive that even the slightest brush of cloth against his skin brought the burning sensation back to the surface. In this moment he welcomed the burn because for just that brief time it left his mind occupied and far away from the truth he knew was about to be revealed.
Last edited by KindredKandies on Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Eva
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 6 - 4/8/2018

Postby Eva » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:47 am

The years weren't light on both Maria & Michael. And certainly with the last few days, it's normal that Maria doesn't trust Michael anymore. But it hurts to see them both like that. It hurts to see Michael suffer because you just know he's been suffering almost 15 years. Maria's trust would be a balm for his wounded soul.
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Parker1947
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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 6 - 4/8/2018

Postby Parker1947 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:17 am

Fascinating story. So many conflicting emotions, and time plays with everyone. I enjoy this story.

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Re: The Long & Winding Road: Book 1 - Dry Lightening (CC, Mature) Chapter 6 - 4/8/2018

Postby xmag » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:02 am

In this moment he welcomed the burn because for just that brief time it left his mind occupied and far away from the truth he knew was about to be revealed.


Why do I think that the next update will be Michael's story on Antar and it's going to be horrifying? Because with the scars and damages done to his body, the story is going to make everyone sick, especially Maria.

And the plan? Why do the aliens need the humans on board with that plan?

Poor Kyle. He did allright in the end, but still, he paid a high price. It's been swept under the rug in the show, and in many fics, but he did see Alex being murdered and was mindraped into taking his body into the car. That's got to leave scars in his psyche.
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Michael : From day one, I knew you were the girl for me, I never wanted anyone else.


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