FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Return to Innocence"
Part 4
by jezebel
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell. I do not own Max, Michael, Isabel, Liz, Maria, Alex, Tess, Kyle, Sheriff Valenti, Topolsky, or any other Roswell character. I don't own Jason Behr (damn!). If you want to sue me, have fun. You can take my computer, cuz it's just about the most valuable thing I own. But beware--my computer's name is Bob, and he bites.
Summary: A totally different universe--the aliens came much earlier, and now the children they've left behind will become involved in one of Earth's turning points.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: YES THIS IS UC NOW BUT IN THE FUTURE IT WILL NOT BE. I SWEAR. ALSO, ALL THE MAIN CHARACTERS WILL AT LEAST MAKE AN APPEARANCE. YES, MICHAEL IS IN THIS FIC. KYLE IS IN THIS FIC. MARIA IS IN THIS FIC. EVERYONE IS IN THIS FIC. I KNOW HOW THIS STORY IS GOING IN ADVANCE FOR ONCE, SO DON'T FLAME ME GOING, "WHERE IS M/L?" OR "WHERE IS M/M?" THEY WILL BE COMING I SWEAR! Also, this fic has really been a labor of love for me--when I started writing it, I didn't realize how little I really knew about the Second World War and the American homefront. If you want to know a little more about WWII, some good sites are: Rationed Fashion Lest We Forget The Women's Army Corps World War II Encyclopedia World War II Oral History
Liz licked her lips in concentration. How was she going to end this letter? It was the first one she had written in over three months. It was March now, and they were shipping over to Europe in two weeks. With any luck, this letter would arrive at the same time she did.

"Max, things are going well here. I'm sorry I didn't write, but I was getting adjusted. I have made a few friends here, among them a girl named Maria who is my age. Her boyfriend is over there, maybe you've met him? His name is...well, I don't remember it right now, but I'll be sure to mention it in the next letter.

"Also, we're shipping out in two weeks. We'll be there by the first week in April. I don't think we're coming to your base, though we are stopping in England before heading to the front in Italy. Maybe our letters will be speedier then.

"All my love, Liz."

Liz had barely laid the pen down when she fell asleep.

****

"Liz...Liz...oh God Liz, wake up!"

Liz snapped awake, her mind whirling until it crash-landed abruptly in reality. She rolled over to face the voice and nearly rolled off her bunk.

"Whoa! Are you awake?"

She forced her eyelids open and tried to see who it was in the blinding sunlight. "What time is it?"

"It's almost noon! God, you've gotta come, it's Maria..."

"What? What's wrong with Maria?"

Maggie was clearly holding back tears. Liz sat up. She'd fallen into bed the night before fully clothed, not even able to undress in her exhaustion. She jumped out of the bunk and landed softly on her feet. "She...oh Liz, she got a telegram this morning."

Liz's eyes widened and she pulled on a coat to protect her from the chill. "Where is she?"

Maggie finally lost her control and began to cry. "I'll take you to her."

****

"Maria...Maria, Liz is here..."

Liz couldn't see her friend anywhere, although she could hear an odd noise, a soft click-click. Maggie had brought her to an old warehouse they used for practice when it rained. It was moldy and stank of old coal, and most of the girls preferred dancing outdoors in the chill. Sunlight shone in through the tiny, boxed windows near the beamed roof, laying shadowed stripes over the vast empty space.

"Come on, she's back here..." Maggie whispered, pushing Liz toward a dusty corner.

Like a wraith, Maria rose out of the shadows. Her normally golden skin was blotchy white, and her eyes were wide open. She didn't seem to recognize Liz or Maggie.

Liz crept slowly toward her, and she realized what the noise she'd heard had been. Maria was sitting on some old rotten boards discarded in the corner, and one slapped the ground each time she rocked back and forth. "Maria...what's wrong? What is it? Is it..." She didn't want to say it, but she knew what telegrams normally meant.

Maria said nothing, her eyes blank. For the first time, Liz noticed what she held in her hands. In one hand there was a letter, old and folded many times, and a tiny gold ring. In the other there was the newer, yet crumpled telegram. Liz pulled the telegram gently from her hand and sat gingerly next to her on the boards. Looking up at Maggie, she began to read in low tones.

"To Miss Maria DeLuca. Stop. Pvt. Robert Scott missing in action. Stop. Last seen at Cassino. Stop. Date of last sighting, 1/17. Stop. Our prayers are with family. Stop." Liz fell silent, her eyes filling with tears for Maria. Not to know for certain if her boyfriend - well, from the looks of it, her fiancÚ - was dead or alive - at least Alex and Max were safe in their base in England.

Finally, Maria's mouth opened, but instead of words one long, continual wail came from her lips, and Liz would never hear a sound like that again in her life. Liz reached over and pulled Maria gently into her arms, trying her best to comfort her.

Maggie's mouth was trembling and tears were falling down her cheeks. "You - you don't know for sure," she offered. "There's always a chance - they said - "

Maria looked up, her eyes hateful. "Missing in action. That means he's dead. That always means they're dead." Then her head fell on Liz's shoulder. Liz stroked her hair absently, her thoughts far away on the other side of a vast ocean.

****

"Mail call...Evans...hey, Evans!"

Max looked up. "Huh? What?"

"Mail call, asshole!"

"Oh," Max said, and ran over to pick up his mail. Yet another letter from Mom, he thought irritably. It wasn't his fault his sister had run off and left him the only child she had to whine to.

There were two envelopes. Both looked as though they had been through the wringer, and they most likely had. One read Diane Evans.

The other read Liz Parker, c/o USO.

"Holy shit," Max breathed. He fumbled for the back of the letter, his hands shaking as he tried to rip through the glue on the envelope. "The USO? No way, Liz. I can't --"

"Everybody down!" the scream rang out through the room. The lights went out, and the world began to shake. Max fell to the floor, groping for the letter in the blind darkness.

It was gone.

****

"Liz! Liz!"

Liz recognized the familiar shriek long before she actually saw the girl who made it. She didn't even bother to look up from her romance novel. "What is it now, Maggie?"

"Liz...Liz, the base in Cornwall's been bombed! They're sending out bombers in retaliation right now!"

Liz dropped her book, almost unable to move. "Was...was anyone killed?"

"They don't know yet. It's possible."

"Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod..." Liz whispered, fast and furious, under her breath. She rose from her cot and slipped her shoes on. The hallway was darkened; it was almost midnight. The black curtains were drawn everywhere. Technically, this wasn't really a base; non-military personnel stayed here often. It was more like an old hospital, Liz thought to herself, and she had a feeling it might soon be serving that function again.

Sarge was sitting at her desk, her finger moving so fast over the old Morse code machine that Liz could barely see it. "Sarge?" she asked desperately.

"Parker," Sarge said, without looking up. "We've got an emergency here, or can't you tell?"

"I just..." Liz was panting from her run across the building. "I just wanted to know where they're sending the soldiers."

"Some of them will go to the base in Scotland, some will be sent to local hospitals, and some will come here."

Liz's heart thudded in her chest. Alex...Alex and Max could be here, any moment. Or they could be hurt, or dead. She had no way of knowing. She marched out of Sarge's room, still hearing the clackety-clack of the machine behind her. For all her faults, Sarge was extremely knowledgable about everything from dance to secret codes which, she guessed, were headed over the wires right now. This was the place to stick to.

Maggie appeared, looking as breathless as Liz felt. "Isn't...isn't your fiance..." Liz nodded slowly. Maggie bit her lip unhappily. "Sometimes I feel like the only person here who hasn't experienced any tragedy..." she murmured, almost too quietly for Liz to hear.

"I haven't experienced any goddamn tragedy yet," Liz snapped. "We don't know anything yet."

Maggie was silent.

"Where's Maria?"

"In her room. I don't even know if she knows yet."

Liz stared off into space. "I don't want to tell her. She's the last person in the world I want worrying for my welfare."

Maggie nodded. "I understand."

****

At some point during the long wait, Liz had fallen into the realm of dreams. She was sitting on a chair in an empty room. The room was so incredibly vast that she could not see its end, and it was vastly dark. She was alone, and the silence was deafening.

Two figures emerged from the darkness at the end, walking slowly toward her chair. She felt intense joy; she knew who they were. They were her boys. She stood, reaching out her arms... and the two figures vanished into midair.

Liz awoke with a start, her heart pounding so loud she could clearly hear each beat. Then someone poked her arm, and she realized it wasn't a heartbeat she was hearing after all. It was the pounding of boots as someone walked toward them. Gradually it grew louder, and it was clear that it was more than one set of boots. Maria released Liz's arm. She looked alert for the first time in weeks. They're coming, she mouthed.

The door opened, and men began pouring in. None of them appeared to be too badly hurt; more than anything they seemed to need a good night's rest. The women set out cots and pillows as the flood of soldiers continued. Liz was so absorbed in what she was doing that she didn't hear the door shut, and the voice of Sarge didn't really register.

"Is that all?" she barked.

"Yes, that's all we have," said a male voice, and Liz dropped the cot she'd been unfolding onto the concrete with a clash. Never, in a million years, could she forget that voice.

She looked up into the concerned brown eyes of Max Evans.

Part 3 | Index | Part 5
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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