FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Exploring Avenues"
Part 42
by Mary N
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Max and Liz both looked out the window with shocked expressions on their faces. "Max, those last images we got. . . ."

"I know. They looked exactly like it looks right now, down to every last detail." *** Pulling over, Michael looked out the window and was very surprised they found this place so easily. He was sure if it hadn't been for Max and Liz's latest series of flashes they could have spent the whole day looking for this place and never found it. The so-called stone church would have been hard to distinguish from any stone building that had been left in ruins, and the tomb stones, they were barely visible through the knee high grass. "Tell me you know exactly where this tomb stone is, and that we don't have to stumble around in that while it's still dark out here!"

"Sorry Michael, can't do. We do however know it's somewhere in one of the back rows."

"I suppose I should be happy we don't have to search the whole place."

They all climbed out of the vehicles and gathered on the edge of the road, in front of the ruins. Michael and Maria stood so close to each other, you would have had to be blind to miss the fact that they had worked things out. At the same time, the distance Tess put between herself and Kyle, was screaming she was far from willing to let him off the hook.

After taking in everyone's countenance, and before they had a chance to ask the same question Michael already had, Max went into leader mode, and took control. "We shouldn't be here long. We know the tombstone we are looking for is on one of the back rows. I want everyone to pair off and start searching. Liz and I will start in the very back. Isabel, you and Alex take the row one up, Michael and Maria, two from the rear. I think you get the idea Kyle and Tess. If for some reason we don't find it in those rows, we'll just keep working toward the front. Unless there are any questions . . ." He looked around to make there were no questions. Everyone was seemed fine, so he continues. ". . .fine. Then I'd suggest we get started, so we can get out of here." Max gave Liz's hand a light tug, and the two of them left the group, walking toward the last row of tombstones.

Michael and Maria, Alex and Isabel made their way to the row of tombstones they were directed to search. Thus leaving Kyle and Tess standing alone, just staring at each other uncomfortably. The tension between them was becoming unbearably, that Kyle just couldn't take it anymore. Taking one step closer to Tess, he made the first move to break the ice that had formed between them. "I think this would be a good time for us to clear the air, don't you?"

Without acknowledging him, Tess turned away and started her journey to the fourth row from the rear of the cemetery. Kyle let out a sigh of frustration then followed as quickly as he could. Once within reaching distance, he grabbed hold of her arm and turned her to look at him. "Look Tess! We really need to talk about this!"

"Fine! Talk all you want, just don't expect me to stand around listing. We're here to find something, or have you forgotten?" Kyle suspected that this was going to be hard, but after hearing the tone in her voice, he realized it was going to be even harder than he had feared. He didn't want to make her any more angry at him, he took a deep breath and forced his voice to come out as calm as he could muster. "Fair enough."

As they both started trekking through the tall grass, searching the stones for one with the name ‘Gregory Hall' on it, Kyle tried to work things out. "To start, I know I screwed up big time this morning. I should never had said what I did, and I want you to know how sorry I really am. I don't want my big mouth to ruin what I think we can have together." He paused for a moment as they moved some grass to the side so they could read the name on the tombstone in front of them. Kyle was hoping she would say something, anything in return, even if it was to yell at him some more, but she remained silent.

After checking two more stones, and still not a word, he started again. "Come on Tess, I really am sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you like that. It's no excuse, but I hear that kind of talk in the locker room all the time, and it just kind of slipped out. I swear, it will never happen again if you will just forgive me this one time. I mean it, I swear."

Tess stopped and turned to face Kyle. She could tell he meant every word he was saying from the strain in his voice. "I believe you, Kyle. I believe you really are sorry."

Kyle was so glad to hear her say that, and for the first time since his screw-up, he felt like there was a chance for them to work this all out. "This is great. Then we can go back to the way things were before I opened my big mouth."

For the first time in her life, Tess felt vulnerable, truly vulnerable. When things went sour with Max, only her pride had been hurt, not her heart. With Kyle, it's a whole new ball game. With his careless words, he had inflicted a kind of pain she'd never known. He had been able to affect her in ways no one in her life ever had, and it scared her. It scared her to think one person yielded so much power over her, that they could make her feel strong one minute, and weak the next with a few choice words. That one person could hold the power to make her feel like her feet never touched the ground, or hurt her so badly that it was painful to breathe.

"Sorry Kyle, it's not going to happen." She watched the excited, hopeful expression disappear from his face as quickly as it had appeared. Watching his expression change like that hurt her more than she'd ever expected. So much so, she wanted to give in just to take away his pain. The only thing stopping her, was her stronger need to protect herself from getting hurt again. "I can't get involved with you. I just can't risk . . . , I mean, I can't let my defenses down right now."

Kyle couldn't believe what he was hearing, she was pushing him away again. "Tess, why are you doing this? I know you like me as much as I like you, so why? And don't you dare give me that line about not letting your defenses down. There's more to it, and we both know it." Kyle was getting more agitated by the minute. His suspicions about what was going on were growing, but he didn't want to rely on them, he wanted to hear her answers. There was one problem, all she was doing was standing there looking at him with this blank expression on her face. "Come on Tess, look at the others. Look at Max and Liz, they work better when they are together. We wouldn't be on this little mission to find this orb right now if they weren't together."

"If that doesn't prove it to you, then look at Michael and Maria. Michael built up this wall to protect himself from or anyone else from getting to close. He was hot headed and lacked control over his powers. It was Maria who brought his wall down, and when she's around not only is he a calmer person, but he also has more control of his powers. I haven't quite figured out what Michael does for Maria, other than make her as mad as all get out one minute, and happy as a lark the next."

"Then there are Isabel and Alex. The last two people anyone in our school expected to see traveling in the same circle, let alone together. But it works, and why does it work? Because together they are able to bring out each others best qualities. They both are able to look beyond the outer shell, at the person within. We all knew Alex was funny, and smart, but it took Isabel for us to see his courage and willingness to sacrifice everything in the name of friendship. And somehow Alex found a way to melt down the ice princess persona she'd spent years perfecting, and let the real Isabel Evans out."

"You and me, who knows what we could do for each other if you would just give us half a chance. I for one am not willing to throw it all away just because of one mistake. Granted the mistake was mine, I've admitted it. For Pete's sake, I've even apologized for it."

Tess knew he was right, but she couldn't, or wouldn't allow herself to give in. She turned away from him so that he would see the tears forming in her eyes. The only thing she could think to do was act as if she wasn't affected. Implementing her plan, she walked toward the next tombstone, and knelt down pushing the tall grass away so that she could read what it said.

She stayed in that position longer than normally needed, but she needed the time to push everything he said, and everything she was feeling as far away from her concusses thoughts as possible. Feeling composed once again, she stood to her feet, and headed to the next one. With each step she took away from Kyle, she felt a less apprehensive. Even though deep down she he wouldn't, she hoped Kyle was going to let this go for now.

The small glimmer of hope was quickly ripped away as she felt his hand grab hold of her upper arm. As quickly as the sensation registered in her mind, she found herself being whipped around and was standing face to face with him once again. His hands gripped hold of her shoulders making her look directly into his eyes. The pain fringing with anger, she saw in his eyes was too much for her to bare, and she tried to look away. Only he wouldn't let her, he freed one of her shoulder and clasped hold of her face, forced her to look back at him. The determination in his voice as he spoke to her, was enough to make her knees quake. "What are you so afraid of Tess Harding?"

She couldn't keep the fear from her own voice as she weakly answered, "I'm not afraid of anything."

Everything he needed to know was written on her face. "The hell you aren't! You're afraid of feeling. Your afraid to feel all those things Nesado trained you to put aside." Tess tried to deny it by shake her head no, but Kyle knew better. "Your problem is, when you're with me, you can't do it, because I make you feel. I make you feel human, and it's scaring the hell out of you, isn't it?" Tess lowered her head as the tears began to flow giving Kyle the final confirmation he needed that he was right. He pulled her into his arms and held her firmly against him as she continued to cry against his shoulder. *** Knowing the way Maria feels about cemeteries, Michael reached out and took hold of Maria's hand. "Are you okay? If you're scared, I can search for this by myself, and get Alex or someone to sit with you in the car."

Maria didn't even try to hide the smile on her lips. Sometimes Michael could be so sweet. And when he was worrying about her was one of those times when it showed through. "I'm fine. She could tell he didn't believe her, and felt it was best to try and explain. The problem was she wasn't sure how to. "Really Michael, I'm fine. Even though this has to be the creepiest cemetery I've ever seen, I'm not scared at all. It's strange, but this place feels like . . . , I don't know how to describe it. If feels like there is something special here. Kind of like when you walk into a church or something. There is a peaceful, but powerful presence here."

"Now that you mention it, I feel something different her too." Michael glanced over at Isabel and Alex who were on the next row over, and then at Max and Liz who were just beyond them. He was trying to see if any of them had noticed the difference in the air around them. It didn't appear that they had. Figuring it was probably nothing to worry about, he went back to searching for the tombstones. *** Nesado parked his car off the road far enough that anyone driving by wouldn't be able to see it. Cautiously he made his way closer to where the eight teens gathered, just in time to see them braking up into pairs and moving deep into the small cemetery. He moved only as close as he needed to in order to make out what they were doing. He wasn't surprised to see that they were looking for something. Putting two and two together, he realized that Olan must have hid one of the orbs here, or perhaps a clue as to where he had hid one.

His eyes continually moved over the terrain watching for any movement, or anything that seemed out of place. Feeling confident that they were alone, his eyes came to rest on Tess and Kyle. He recognized the young man from the photo he'd seen on the sheriff's office the one and only time he'd been there. The day he found the camera that undoubtable, Liz Parker had hidden in his home.

Nesado wondered how he found out the true about those in his charge. He was sure Kyle hadn't known before they rescued Max from the FBI's compound, and they hadn't mentioned telling him before he left Roswell impersonating Peirce. What could have happened since then to make them feel they had to, or at least comfortable telling him their secret?

"Nesado." Nesado nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Olan's voice behind him. No one had ever been able to sneak up on him, not even on their home world. "How did you . . . ? Were did you come from?" He asked looking around as he tried to answer the mystery of Olan's appearance for himself.

Olan smiled to himself as he saw the look of astonishment on Nesado's face. He felt a sense of pride knowing that his years of staying in the shadows, had increased his abilities to move in stealth. "I have news for you. The Seer has said, you need to regain their trust, because unfortunately you will not be able to help them from the distance as I had hoped."

"How am I supposed to go about doing that?" He asked not seeing the likelihood of accomplishing such a task.

"If I can help you in anyway, other than revealing myself that is. I'll do it, but like it or not, the end results will fall mostly on your shoulders. You are the one that has to prove to them that you can be trusted, and as you know, it will not be easy by any means." *** As the sun started to rise in the morning sky, Maria's excited voice was heard calling to her friends. "We found it, come on everyone. We found it."

Michael was so excited, that by time everyone gathered around, he already had the tombstone loosely swaying back and forth breaking lose of from the dirt that had held it securely in the ground for over fifty years. Kyle moved in beside him, and together they pulled the stone from its long time resting place.

As soon as the stone was freed, a burst of light shot up in the air causing all who watched it to stare up in awe. Even Max and Liz, who had seen this happen once before, looked awe struck. *** When the light shot up into the sky, Nesado was instantly on his feet and ready to move. It had been Olan's strong grip on his arm that stopped him. He turns to look at the other man and questioned his actions. "What are you doing? That beacon can be seen for miles, and if any of our enemies saw it, then we are all in danger. I have to get them out of here, and I have to do it now."

"No! This isn't the kind of protection they need. They don't need you warning them of the obvious. They will need you to protect them when situations arise that they can't handle on their own, and this isn't one of them." Olan points at the group, making Nesado see what is already happening. "Look, Max knows the risks, and has already taken charge."

*** Once the light disappeared, Michael reached into the hole and retrieved an orb that twinned the others they have had in their possession. With a rare smile on his face, he turned to Max. "Looks like this was one wild goose chase that payed off in the end."

"Was there ever really any doubt?" He retorted with a smile of his own. Max reached out and took the orb from Michael's hand. Turning to face Tess, he covered the short distance between them. Reaching out, he took one of her hands into his, and turned it palm up, then he gingerly placed the orb into it. Her eyes immediately dropped to their hands at the treasure she now possessed. Max released her hand without a word and waited to see how she would react. With tears of joy glistening on her checks, Tess looked up into his eyes and smiled.

To the most part, Tess had already accepted what Max and Liz told her about their true destiny as truth. But there had always been that lingering bit of doubt that kept her from accepting it completely. As she stood there, looking down at the newly retrieved orb resting in her hands, those last traces of doubt vanished.

She didn't know how long she stood there staring at it, before she felt someone's hands settle on her shoulders. Turning her head to see who it was, she heard Kyle ask. "What do you think? Does it look like before?" As he asked, one hand left her shoulder and pointed to the tombstone they'd removed. It was back in place, and the area around it looked as if they'd never been there. "Looks good." She answered leaning her head back against his shoulder.

"Max wants to get out of here. He's worried someone might have spotted that beam. They're all waiting over there if you're ready." Together Kyle and Tess headed over to join the others standing in a circle talking. As they approached, they heard Michael ask. "So Maxwell, what next?"

"We head back to Roswell, and do the only things we can do, train and wait." He expected at least Michael to argue the point, but he remained silent, so Max continued. "It's settled then. When we get back to Roswell, the eight of us start doing some training, while we wait for the next clue as to where the last two orbs are."

"The eight of us Max? Don't you mean the four of us?" Tess didn't want to come across like she did think the humans in their group weren't important. Not after everything that has happened, and all that she's heard from Max and Liz about the eight of them needed work together. However she didn't see what benefit it would serve to have them training with them. "Nothing against you guys, but why do they need to train with us?"

"I'm not sure what is coming our way any more than you are. But I do know this, we were sent to earth to find Liz, Kyle, Alex, and Maria. And it wasn't just to find our soul mates. There is something bigger here. Something much bigger, and until we know what that is, we have to prepare for anything that could come our way. In the flashes, it took all eight of us working together to make the orbs work. I think we should help the other discover what their part in that was. Don't you?" *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Many times during our lives we come to a fork in the road and we must make choices that will define who we are and whom we will become. If we are lucky, we have a good foundation to help us make these choices. This foundation could be anything, the lessons we've learned from our parents, our own personal experiences, or those of others. Other guides in our lives can be our friends. That is if they are willing to tell us things we may not want to hear.

People who we believe to be our friends may not always be true friends. These are the ones you have to watch out for. Typically they are the ones who lead us down the wrong path. The thing to remember is that in the end the choice is always that of the individual.

When making these choices, sometimes we make the wrong choice and end up on a path we never expected. These roads tend to be more rocky, with lots of twists and turns, and they are harder to recover from. The worse part is, we don't always travel these roads alone. We take others with us, and not only do we pay the price but so do they. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~ The way I see it, Nesado made wrong choices. Tess was lucky to find friends that helped her make the right ones. The group is always trying to support each other.


Part 41 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.