FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Goodnight Elisabeth"
Part 8
by Anne
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell or any of the characters. I have no affiliation with the WB television network or the author, Melinda Metz.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
The dead of night became the wee hours of the morning, and tonight it truly would be darkest before the dawn . . .

All was eerily quiet . . .

Funny how the two just seemed to go together. Dark and Quiet. Tess watched the unsuspecting widow from afar, as she went about her normal morning routine before her son awoke. She had no husband now, which was a major factor in why she had been chosen. Tess eagerly anticipated the moment when she would reveal herself to the widow. The sudden, startled shock at seeing herself reflected in another person in arresting detail. And, then the absolute stillness that came just before one realized they were about to die . . .

No breath.

Eyes frozen in place . . .

And then, the reality . . .

She would beg, of course. For her life. For her small son to have a mother. For a million insignificant things . . .

It wouldn't matter. Nothing would. Her blood would flow, leaving her lifeless body behind. A testament to the worst sort of evil.

There would be no consoling her with the knowledge that she was part of a greater plan. Her life was meaningless by comparison, and her son, . . . well, he was an inconvenience, but no more. As long as he remained an inconvenience and not an outright threat, he would live . . . barely . . . Tess felt no pity whatsoever for the child who would be left with no parents at the age of six.


In the shadows, created by a sun that had only just begun to rise, Max watched Liz sleeping, and felt the weight of their situation pressing firmly on his shoulders. Their children deserved better than this. So did she. He had to get this finished and get them out of here . . . soon.

His eyes moved adoringly over her glowing skin. She was so alive. More than ever, if that was possible. Radiant. His hand rested flat against her stomach, and his mind immediately produced visions of those tiny beings. He leaned across her still sleeping form, and nuzzled her cheek with his own.

Max (whispering in her ear): "God. I love you so much."

Without even waking up, he heard her reply in his mind, as clearly as if she had been completely conscious instead of sleeping soundly. How did she do *that*, he wondered. Sighing to himself, he shifted until he could sit up without disturbing her, and began getting dressed. Their day and night had come and gone, and now it was time to face reality . . .


Tess pulled the flap closed behind her as she entered the tent that would now be her home. Turning slowly, her eyes met and focused on the small child standing a short distance away and watching her with wide frightened eyes. Casting about mentally for the appropriate thing to say, she finally gave up and waited for him to speak first.

Alex: "Mommy?"

Tess: "Yes."

Alex backed away a small step, even though, the woman before him looked like his mother, he could feel none of the usual things from her. This person was cold. His mother was warm. It was as if, she were a . . . stranger. Confusion silenced any reply he might've made, and Tess looked on, uncaring, as the plan evolved, possibly changing to accommodate this new obstacle in her path.

Alex didn't know what made him say it, but suddenly he felt his mother's quiet assurance beside him, not her body, but her . . . presence . . . urging him to tell the strange lady that he was ready for breakfast.

Alex: "I'm hungry, Mommy."

Tess: (eyes glinting with cold satisfaction) "Of course you are. Let's get ready to go."

And with that, Alex turned away from her and dove for his one clean change of clothes, desperately trying to slow his racing heart, so that it wouldn't make him breathe so hard. But, he was just so scared . . .


Isabel worked efficiently, but somewhat awkwardly, later that morning, as everyone in the camp was fed breakfast. Alex worked quietly by her side, as if this were all completely normal . . .

Stealing a glance at his profile, Isabel wondered how long it would be before he began to resent her and the whole mess in which he found himself. What would become of his life living it this way, in the middle of nowhere? As one agonizing thought built upon another, tears began to sting her eyes. Alex looked up and caught the expression of utter desolation on her face and opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a small presence before he could say a word.

A boy, no more than six or seven, stood in front of Isabel with an expression that hovered between merciless fear and expectation of safety. He said nothing, but Isabel, quickly swiped her face across her shoulder, removing any and all evidence of tears, as she quickly greeted the child with a smile that was no less sincere for it's forced appearance on her face.

Isabel: "Alex! I'd like you to meet someone very special."

Alex: (glancing in the direction of the tall man beside Isabel before looking back at her) "Who?"

Isabel reached out to take his small hand in hers before turning, so that the two Alex's could become known to each other.

Isabel: "Alex, I'd like you to meet, Alex."

Isabel watched the small boy's face as he sized up this new adult in his life and decided he was trustworthy. She almost lost the small bit of control she had on her emotions in that moment. To her surprise, the man knelt down in front of the boy, and with every ounce of respect and dignity he possessed, he shook hands with his namesake. Isabel tried in vain to stop the tears from filling her eyes, but she had never loved her Alex more than she did right now, for the easy way in which he made a small fatherless child feel special and worthwhile.

Kneeling down beside them both, Isabel forced the tears aside, and looked into the boy's eyes that she had come to love so much over the past six months.

Isabel: "How are you today, Alex? Where's your Mom?"

Alex's face clouded instantly at the mention of his mother and closed down, leaving no room for further questions.

Alex: (finally, after an extended silence) "I'm fine."

Isabel glanced quickly over his shoulder and around the small camp, scanning the occupants for the familiar face of the quiet, loving woman who usually never strayed more than a few feet from her son . . .

Her inquiring gaze revealed nothing out of the ordinary, except the odd absence of Alex's mother. Her eyes narrowed as her searching returned to the child's face. In a blinding flash of something very much like intuition and just as vague, Isabel felt the screaming fear inside of Alex, as he struggled to contain and hide it. Her mind reeled in protest as his emotions slammed into hers without restraint. How could this be happening? Why? She'd never felt anything like this from anyone before . . . except Max . . .

Standing abruptly, Isabel raked the campsite one last time with a sick feeling of dread forming a knot in the pit of her stomach. Something was very wrong here . . . A chill crept across her skin, and the landscape receded as a rushing sound filled her ears. Her eyes slid almost shut as the sensation of someone's hand pressed on the back of her neck. But, there was no one there. Coming back to reality with a jarring affect, her eyes flew wide open once more, and continued to scan the immediate area for signs of Alex's mother. Someone had touched her. No. Something had touched her. Touch, yes. But not human. No warmth.

Alex took in Isabel's wild-eyed appearance and stepped protectively towards her, including the small boy in the circle. Whatever was happening, it wasn't good.

Isabel's countenance slid from focus to near panic, just before a familiar form appeared at her elbow, as if from out of nowhere.

Tess: "I'm sorry. Has Alex been bothering you?"

Isabel: (staring and trying to speak, but too stunned at first to say a word) " . . . . . . No. Of course, not. He's been perfect. He's always perfect." (her voice trailed off as her mind tried to process the reality of the image in front of her and reconcile it with the knowledge in her heart that this was *not* Alex's mother)

Tess watched Isabel's face carefully for any sign that her identity had been revealed but found none, as she quickly averted her face to the child.

Isabel knelt down once more in front of Alex, taking his small hand in hers. With no words whatsoever, she told him very plainly that she understood and that help was on the way. She had no idea how in the world she was communicating with him this way, but there it was. Maybe it was just because she loved him so . . .

Alex watched the face of the only other person in the world he adored besides his mother, and quietly went to stand in front of the imposter, whom he feared almost more than he could bear . . .

Tess placed one hand upon the top of the child's head in a gesture of possession that sickened Isabel. She didn't know what was going on, but this was not the woman she had spent the past six months with. The woman who's whole existence revolved around her son. She didn't know who this was, but it wasn't the widow . . .

As the woman and the boy turned to leave, Alex pulled Isabel into his chest and held her tightly to him, as if he could chase the haunted expression from her face by doing so. Isabel's hands gripped his back as tremors coursed through her . . .

Alex: "Isabel? What is it?"

Isabel: (forlornly) "I don't know."

Alex: "What happened?"

Isabel: "I have no idea, Alex." "I need to talk to Max and Michael as soon as possible. Something isn't right . . . "

Alex: "O.k. Try to calm down, and I'll go and get them. I'll be back in just a few minutes."

Isabel: (pulling back to stare into the eyes that made her feel safe and loved and . . . home) "Hurry, Alex."

Alex watched the near desperation appear and then quickly recede as she fought for control and without saying a word, went to find Max and Michael. He really didn't care what condition he found either of them in. They'd be up and with Isabel in minutes if he had anything to do with it . . . and thinking about where they likely were right now, he hoped they'd be dressed . . . Grimacing slightly, he made his way.


Max emerged from his tent, their tent, with a determined, peaceful expression on his face that was filled with hope. Hope that somehow, all of this would turn out all right. It had to. Before he had taken two steps outside, Alex appeared like a phantom with an equally chilling expression on his face. Max knew immediately that something was wrong, and stood quietly while Alex explained what he'd witnessed that morning. He didn't understand it, but it was more than enough cause for concern. The two quickly moved to Michael's tent and found it suspiciously quiet. A little too quiet. Max looked at Alex, knowing there was no easy way, and blushed in spite of the worry pressing in on him. Alex looked away, hoping he would not be called upon to participate in the indelicate task of removing MIchael from his bed. Max sighed in disgust, before loudly clearing his throat, once, . . . twice, . . . three . . . times. Nothing. Damn. Finally, he smacked the side of the tent in sheer frustration, moving away quickly, as a swearing Michael Guerin growled out a startled, angry expletive. Maria, for her part, remained silent. Max thanked God for small favors, as Michael emerged decently clad with a thunderous expression on his face.

Michael: (scowling and fairly snarling) "Where in the *hell* is the fire?? I can't believe you two don't have something better to do right now!"

Alex: "Something's wrong with Isabel."

Michael took in Alex's worried, quiet expression and soft words without so much as blinking. Without a word, he headed in the direction where he knew he would find her at this time of day . . . He may not be in love with Isabel, but she was his sister in every sense of the word.

Max and Alex quickly followed.


Tess carefully and soundlessly picked her way down the same path where moments before Isabel had walked pursuing what she thought was Alex. Making her see what wasn't really there had been so extremely easy. Nothing particular had happened during the encounter this morning, but Tess could sense something odd between the child and Isabel. She couldn't put her finger on it, but no risk was worth taking at this point. As she closed in on the unsuspecting Isabel, she grinned as she spotted her reinforcements a short distance away. The truly stunning part was that one of them looked exactly like Isabel . . .


Michael stood searching the area with an ambivalent aire. To be dragged out of bed, and one that contained Maria, was just . . . unjust. And, now, Isabel wasn't even here for pity's sake.

Michael: "So what's the big emergency?"

Alex: (eyes searching frantically) "I can't imagine where she went. I thought she would wait right here."

Max: (as much for himself as for Alex) "I'm sure she'll be right back."

Liz and Maria approached just then arm in arm and talking quietly with one another. Maria slid into Michael's waiting arms and found herself pressed firmly to his side. A position that felt more like home than any place she had ever been.

Liz stopped in front of Max and searched his face for the recent knowledge that they were about to become parents . . .

It was there, reflected in every facet of his eyes on her face, and body . . . Taking her hand, he pulled her into his chest and held her there, trying hard to hide his worry over Isabel from her.

Liz: "Where's Isabel? What's going on?"

Max: "I don't know. Alex said she wanted to talk to us right away . . ."

Liz: "Where is she?"

Max: "I'm not sure."

Liz and Maria looked at one another, feeling very uneasy with Isabel's strange disappearance . . .

Alex: "I can't understand it. I was sure she would be right here . . ."

At that precise moment, Isabel appeared beside Alex.

Isabel: (breathless) "I'm here. Just had to . . . well, you know."

Alex sighed in relief and pulled her close, wondering at the stiffness of her embrace but attributing it to the recent turn of events.

Alex: "I was so worried about you."

Isabel: (jauntily) "I'm o.k., Al."

Everyone glanced up in bewilderment at hearing Isabel call Alex, "Al." No one that knew him well would do such a thing.

Max recovered first even though, his mind was screaming that this was not his sister.

Max: (feigning ignorance) "What's going on Is?"

Isabel: "Oh, it was nothing, Max. I guess I'm just overtired. I'm sorry I worried you."

Liz didn't dare look at Max or Maria for fear that her face would clearly reveal everything that her heart was feeling. Pressing her face more firmly into his chest, she heard his thoughts as clearly as if he had spoken them out loud. This was not Isabel.

Michael wanted to pounce on this imposter with everything that made him who he was, but Maria's quiet, rigid, presence beside him, communicated quite clearly the need for restraint at this point.

Alex's wild eyes met Max's over the top of Isabel's head, revealing quite clearly his panic. He, too, knew that this was not Isabel. Max willed Alex to be strong until they could talk and decide what to do. Alex got the message loud and clear but acting on it was a whole different thing. As if she knew how hard this was for her best friend, Liz turned her head then and met his eyes with her own. Alex knew in that one moment how much he loved Liz Parker. Not because she was beautiful, but because she was the best friend he'd ever had and she thought he was capable of anything. Drawing strength from her, he steeled himself to face the fake Isabel. Maria's care and concern did not go unnoticed either. He was the luckiest of men when it came to friends . . .


Isabel said nothing, as her wrists were secured behind her back and a gag was placed in her mouth with a force that left her mouth full of blood. Tess whispered in her ear again. So reminiscent of that long ago day in their home, when she'd shown her the sugar cubes.

Tess: "Poor Isabel. Such a shame you had to be so close to that little boy."

Isabel felt panic surge through her heart to her lungs, and on to her brain, before it made it's way to the rest of her body. Alex!! No!! Not Alex. A paralyzing desperation seized her mind with an iron grip. Tess took advantage of her helplessness to further her position.

Tess: "He'll be fine, Isabel. As long as you cooperate, that is . . ."

Isabel felt the murderous rage behind the blow that struck her head, just before the world faded into nothing . . .

Part 7 | Index | Part 9
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