Fanfic - Crossover Stories
"Distant Connections"
Part 5
by Irene
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and the situations are owned by Regency Television and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
Summary: This is in response to crossover challenge issued by Carol on the RoswellDreamGirl list. Being a fan of both, I couldn't pass it up. . . Disclaimer: the usual; I bow down to the great and powerful Katim's and company, by whose good graces I mangle these characters. . .
Category: Crossover Stories
Rating: PG
"Man! Fifth period could not come fast enough today!" Michael burst into the crowded storage room, muttering heatedly. "Now, someone wanna tell me what all the secret agent stuff is about?"

Alex shrugged an 'I dunno,' in Michael's general direction and Maria left Liz's side to join Michael in the doorway, giving him a desultory 'hello' kiss which Michael barely noticed.

Max could tell Michael resented being summoned here, which didn't make organizing his thoughts any easier. Sometimes Michael was just so . . . Michael. Why did he have to be so angry all the time? Even when there wasn't an obvious reason like . . . like being called to a meeting without any explaination as to why. . . OK, so that explained today's attitude, anyway. . .

And though he knew Clark had asked that the five of them keep the morning's revelation to themselves, this was Big. They all needed to know.

Max had passed his meeting request along the usual lines of communication; each was asked to tell the next one they saw.

Maria and Liz had arrived first and Max was truly grateful for it. He clasped the tiny hand he held even tighter, trying to draw some strength from Liz's calm. Alex and Tess had been the next to arrive. Then Kyle. And now Michael.

For some reason, Tess had been on edge ever since she'd gotten there and neither Kyle's usual jock come-ons nor his regurgitated

Buddhist utterances, which usually just cracked her up, could calm her pacing. Max would have chalked it up to Tess's typical Liz discomfort, which no doubt was more acute than ever since his reconciliation with Liz (the news of which was all over school by 3rd period), but something told him there was more to it than that. Much as Max hated to accept it, he and Tess were tied together on some level. He was aware of her emotions, even if he couldn't track the source. And something was definitely . . . not right with her.

And then there was Michael, ever the soul of patience, who broke into his musings with a tightly barked, "Well?"

"We're waiting for Isabel to get here," Alex supplied gamely.

"Story of your life, eh, Alex?" Michael snapped.

Kyle stifled a giggle, but Alex just rolled his eyes, unfazed. He, like everyone else, knew when to take Michael seriously and when his temper had just gotten the better of him.

Michael pulled up an overturned bucket and sat down. "So, do I get a preview, anyway?"

Looking him dead in the eye, Max held Michael's gaze for a moment.

"I met someone this morning," he began after a very deep breath.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tess's step falter for a beat.

"Big whoop," Michael said, unimpressed.

Kyle had been standing near a rack of cleaning products, inspecting his cuticles in a less that Zen-like way, when his patience and his philosophical platitudes clearly reached their end. Maybe it was Tess's pacing. Maybe it was Michael's 'happy' vibe. Whichever. . .

"As touched as I am to have been invited here to the Oval Office," he said. "My human body actually needs to eat lunch. . ."

Just then, Isabel slipped into the darkened room, out of breath and clearly agitated.

"Max, I've been freaked out since I saw you in the hall before last period. What the hell is going on?"

"Iz, relax. . . . Everything is fine." This seemed to do little to reassure her. "Have a seat. I'll try to explain what I know."

"I'd rather stand." She was breathing heavily and she couldn't keep her hands still. He hated to see her like this, especially after all she'd been through. Best to get it over with.

"This morning I met someone . . . like us."

It was as though a bomb had gone off over Michael's head. He stared at Max, incredulously. "And you waited until friggin' fifth period to tell us about it?!" He gave Max a heated look, shaking his head. "Why doesn't that surprise me?"

Great, just what I need now. . .

"Look, Michael. I . . . I needed time to think this through, to try and make some sense of it, before I told anyone."

"Max. . ." There was a look of real hurt on Isabel's face. "Why didn't you come find me as soon as you got into school this morning?"

"Because I . . . I wasn't sure what it meant," he said softly, hoping they would all hear the truth of it in his voice. "I'm telling you now, aren't I?"

Kyle cleared his throat. "Technically? Not yet. . ."

He glanced around the room to the expectant faces of his friends and confidants, and then began.

Choosing his words carefully, Max recounted his meeting that morning with Clark Kent; the instant connection that had been made, the feeling of incredible power he'd felt in him, the mind-numbing images he'd gotten from him, and the realization that not only was this stranger like them, an alien, but that somehow Max had known him-in his life before.

Michael was staring at him, incredulously. "And you just let him walk away?! How do you know he's not a Skin? Or worse!? He could have been Kivar! He could have been anyone!"

How could he explain it to them when he could barely explain to himself. He just knew that he could trust the man.

"He's not a Skin, Michael. I would have known that. . ." He felt Liz's hand tighten around his own, found the strength, went on.

"I don't know how I know this, I just . . . I just do." He paused, remembering something else, another impression he'd gotten from the man. His glance slipped over to Tess for a second and he saw that she was frozen in her tracks and that her face had gone ashen. He chose his words carefully. "I've . . . I've never remembered anything from . . . from my other life before, never remembered anything about our world. But I remember this man. I know that I knew him and I know that he was very important to me."

Michael worked his jaw for a moment, about to speak, when suddenly Tess mumbled something incoherent.

"What was that, Tess?" Michael asked.

She almost seemed frightened.

"I said. . . I-I was wondering how long it would take you to find out. . ."

* * * *

The seconds ticked by.

Everyone held their breath while Max clenched and unclenched his jaw. A moment more of heavy silence, which no one dared break, and then he sensed movement in the cramped closet. His eyes were still glued to Tess's, afraid that if he looked away for even a second, she'd disappear, but he could see in the periphery the lot of them being herded out the door by Liz and Maria. Isabel hung back and Michael sullenly resisted, but in the end, they left. The door closed behind Michael with a soft click, cutting out the light from the hallway.

Max suspected they hadn't put up more of a fight because they knew him well enough to know this was not a conversation he was going to have with all of them there. No doubt they'd find an empty lounge or classroom somewhere and commence speculating their heads off.

So. . .

So, now it was just the two of them; the "king" and his "bride."

"It's not what you think, Max." Tess's voice was small and a bit unsteady.

"You mean, it's not that you knew something vitally important about our past, my past, and you chose to conceal it for some reason?"

Tess bit her lip, then smiled nervously. "OK, it is what you think." She fumbled with her hands for a moment, then took a deep breath. "But it is not some big conspiracy."

Max took a deep breath and tried to swallow the bile rising in the back of his throat, knowing from experience that it'd be harder to get her to talk if he blustered at her. Though he very much wanted to.

"Then why didn't you tell me?"

She tossed back her head, almost laughing now. "Oh, like you've been soooo interested in your other life," she said, her voice tinged with bitterness. "It's like you think that if you find out what that life was like, you'll start to remember. And then you'll remember that you once loved me." Eyes narrowed, she clicked her tongue a few times. "Can't have that, now, can we?"

Max didn't have time to wallow in guilt right now. He knew the man that he had been owed the woman she had been . . . something, he just didn't feel the man he was now should be held to that. He couldn't make himself feel something he didn't feel, but he was not without pity for her.

Pity and love are two very different things, though.

"Tess. . ." he said, more gently.

"Look, I just didn't think it was relevant, OK? I never thought your paths would ever cross. As weird as our lives are, it's still a big world, Max."

Oh, she knew something all right. Something pretty specific, too, from the sounds of it. What was she talking about?! What was it about Clark Kent?

Max could remember the zing of power he'd gotten from the man when they'd shaken hands that morning and a vision of his face, glowing in the reddish light of a different sun. And he remembered a familiarity. And . . . and comfort.

He was so confused.

"So tell me-who is he, Tess? I-I know him, don't I?"

She was chewing her lip again, clearly not wanting to continue. "Well . . . you do and you don't."

He felt his jaw tightening as he fought the urge to shake her into making sense.

"You're gonna explain that, aren't you?"

After another excruciating minute of hand-wringing and lip-chewing, Tess finally spoke. "OK . . . you know how we were told that we were hybrids-a mixture of human and alien DNA?" He nodded tighly and she continued. "Well . . . your mix was a little different from the rest."


". . .Max, your's is more of a 3-way mix. And . . . the third part is. . ."

"Is what?!"

She looked up at him slowly, eyes steady, seemingly resigned, now that she'd started, to just say it and get it out there in the open.

"The reason you know this man, the reason he seems familiar to you . . . is because his father is your father."

* * * *

Lois was grateful for the Cherokee's air conditioning. New Mexico was definitely living up to its rep today.

But ungodly hot or no, nothing could have kept them away from this meeting.

"That boy is my . . . my brother. . ."

Once again, Clark's words, and his belief in them, rocked through her. From a planet that had destroyed itself, halfway across the galaxy, before this young man was even born, somehow came a sibling. Over the past six years or so, Lois had been expected to believe some pretty unbelievable things, but this one . . . this one just refused to sink it.

Giving up on it for the moment, she returned her attention to the present. Off road now, they passed a sign that read "Buckley Point." She could see the cliff and, shimmering beyond it, the water below.

The kids were sullenly waiting for them when they got there and, Lois noted with surprise, their numbers had swelled. Clark seemed to register the crowd with a faint unease and she knew he was displeased that Max had obviously told his friends. There was no way Clark could reveal his identity to so many, especially when that 'so many' was a group of gossipy teens.

Lois counted eight of them, including Michael, the beleaguered short-order cook from the café this morning. There was a statuesque blond who could have been two years into a successful modeling career by now, a skinny kid sporting "grungewear" and flushed cheeks (he seemed very aware of the model), another boy, this one very powerfully built and dressed in a school sports jacket, and a tiny, but buxom, blond who was pacing in front of the cliff edge, twitching as she walked.

Now that she was really looking, she saw they were all watching this blond, save the grunge kid who still seemed slightly preoccupied with the model.

She, on the other hand, could not keep her eyes off the boy. Inwardly, she chastised herself for not having seen it before. It was so incredibly obvious to her now.

The resemblence. . .

Both men, because she was forced to admit there was nothing boyish about Max Evans, had dark hair, powerfully muscled bodies and faces of amazing beauty, but the comparison went beyond the superficial. In both, she could see barely contained power, inner passion, and a desperate urge to do right coupled with a true need for anonymity. These things might not be perceptible to the untrained eye, but Lois was a seasoned reporter, much used to searching out the true nature behind the people she interviewed. And she was already an expert on this particular subject; she could read her husband like a book.

And now this young man, as well.

She knew her husband loved her deeply. She knew he never regretted that he was here on Earth. She knew he loved the Kents with a fierce, unwavering loyalty. But she also knew there would always be a void inside of him and a need that could never be filled.

Until now.

She glanced over to him as he unbuckled his seat belt and prepared to meet the group. There was no mistaking the look of barely contained joy poised on his face. She caught it briefly before he wiped it clean and became, once again, the model of journalistic detachment.

Yeah, right. Lois held back a smile. Journalistically detached, but blushing like a fool. . .

Then again, maybe not so detached. He couldn't be happy about the crowd gathered before him. Especially when he'd been so clear with Max earlier.

Clark had a smile painted on his face, but his jaw was clenched and the blood was coloring his cheeks more deeply. In his own Clark way, she knew he was angry, but she also knew he'd put on his best diplomatic face and skirt the subject until he could get Max alone to talk with him.

"Max," he said, hand extended as they joined the kids at the cliff. At the last moment, Clark drew his hand back, a fleeting expression of realization on his face; he hadn't wanted to risk another revelatory session here in front of the group. "Nice to see you again. . . .And your friends." This last was rather pointed, a fact not lost on Max.

"It's all right," the youth said steadily. "I trust these people."

As confident of that last statement as Max had clearly wanted to seem, Lois couldn't help noticing a slight twitch over his right eye as he said it. What was going on here?

"All right, then," Clark said, rubbing his hands together. He shyly pushed his glasses back onto his nose. Lois knew how uncomfortable her husband was appearing before more than a couple people. Pretty amazing thing to fear for a man who didn't need to fear much. "You must have a million questions, Max."

Max's eyes grew dark and his face stony.

"Actually . . . Clark," he said, hesitantly. "I have some information for you." Casting a quick glance to the nervous blond, he began. "When I first met you. . . I mean, when we shook hands, I . . . I saw things."

Clark was nodding to himself. She knew he'd seen "things," too.

Max went on. "That not unusual for me. I've . . . connected that way with people before, but it doesn't happen often. When it does, it always means something . . . very important." Max paused in his faltering speech and she saw him lift his eyes in search of her young cousin, who smiled warmly at him in response. "T-the . . . the things I saw from you. . . . I couldn't explain them, but . . . but they seemed to be telling me that I knew you somehow. . . "

"From another life," Clark said softly, finishing the sentence for him.

"We were sent here," he said indicating three of his group. "Isabel, Michael, Tess and I, in the hopes that we could some day return to our planet, stop the war that killed us, that is still killing millions, and free our people. I know nothing of the life I lived before, I have no memories of it, but somehow I knew you."

Clark had lost all semblence of reserve. "Because you are my brother," Clark said, his voice filled with emotion. "I just haven't been able to figure out how." He was shaking his head now. "Max, you're eighteen years old. I'm thirty-six. My father died sending me here to Earth. I've been here since I was a baby. How could you possibly know me?"

"I may be eighteen years old, but I-we've been here on Earth for over 50 years."

Lois saw Clark echo her thoughts with a whispered, "How?"

"The UFO crash here in 1947. . ."

"It really did happen." Lois said softly, knowing the feelings that must be running through her husband at this news; it was what he'd believed.

"We were in incubation pods and, somehow, our gaurdians got us to safety. Forty years later, we were . . . born. . . . I thought I knew you, Clark," Max said softly, sadly. "But I was wrong."

Lois saw Clark's face fall at the same time that Max did; the young man continued immediately.

"I never knew you. But I knew your father."

She saw the realization dawn on her husband's face as the pieces started to fall into place. "Our father," he breathed. "But I thought you said you didn't remember anything from your other life?"

"I don't."

The blond, Tess, came up behind Max now, her face flushed with emotions Lois could plainly see: fear; regret; shame; oddly, defiance. She was proud, this little one, despite her obvious guilt.

"I remember everything," she said, her tone quiet but strong. "The others were raised by human parents. I was raised by one of our own. He taught me how to retrieve those memories of my previous life. I remember my life on Antar. Our life. I knew your father."

This last hit Clark hard and he could barely choke out his response. "Y-you did?" His face was hopeful and expectant.

Before them, Tess seemed to change, holding herself more steadily, more confidently, as if bolstered by her memories.

"Jor-el was a scientist of some repute on his planet," she said, smiling up into Clark's open face.

Like a sponge, he was thirsty for her every word.

"He was testing out an interstellar communications device when we became aware of him. Wishing to investigate this new race of people, to see if an alliance would be wise, we sought him out."

"W-we had no means of space travel," Clark said.

"No, not then. Not for several years. And not without our help." She paused, as if just now noticing the attention focused on her from all sides. Her cheeks flushed and she faltered for a moment, then continued. "We established communication with Jor-el alone, found that he was open to an exchange, and retrieved him and brought him to Antar. While we learned that the people of Krypton were not ready for outside contact and so therefore unsuitable for an alliance, we came to have a great deal of respect for Jor-el. In the years that followed, he became an advisor to us." The girl's eyes became warm now and she looked to Clark, who was still standing, transfixed. "Wise. Giving. Open. Patient. He was much beloved amongst the Royal Court." She paused, watching as Clark's face flushed with joy. Her face grew saddened as she went on. "But the war we were fighting, was a war we would lose." She stopped then, lost in her own memories. "Plans were . . . plans were made in the eventuality of our deaths. The Court must continue, if not in this life, than in the next. This war would not end when we died. If we could live again and return, it might be won. We had the means-the means to give our people another chance. We searched the galaxy for a suitable world and preparations were made. Our essences were . . . combined with DNA from that suitable world. The Royal Four would be reborn. But fearing we might not be strong enough, our King had another plan." She looked to Max who inclined his head ever so slightly.

And there is was! Now Lois understood what she'd seen earlier. The way Max carried himself, the way the others deferred to him, the way he seemed to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. . . . He was. Just not this one. . .

Max stepped forward now, taking over the narrative. "They-I mean, we knew that the sun of your father's homeworld was different from our own and that ours somehow gave him . . . abilities he did not have on Krypton. The sun of Antar is a yellow sun. Just like Earth's."

"So they mixed in some of my father's DNA with . . . with yours?" he asked, seeing the answer in Max's expression.

"Yes," the young man nodded. "With mine. If I were to lead, if we were to return and win this fight, I would need to be stronger. Stronger than I was . . . before."

Clark blinked, incredulous. "Then . . . then you know. You know how this yellow sun affects me? How it affects you?"

Max shook his head. "I have no idea how it affects me. Up until now, I had no idea this . . . this ability was in me. I'm not really sure what it means. What can you do?"

"Max, I don't know about this. . . " Clark cast a glance to Lois, but she could only nod dumbly and hope he saw in her face what he needed. She didn't know; could these children be trusted?

Max, as if sensing their reservations, stepped forward, putting a hand on Clark's forearm. She could almost see the jolt of energy that raced through them both. "You can trust each and every one of us here." Clark's gaze went to Tess and Max nodded in understanding. "What you saw when you arrived was our anger, my anger, that Tess had kept this information from me. You have nothing to fear from her. Nothing that you can't handle. Or me, for that matter. . ."

Taking a deep breath, Clark faced them all. "I need to explain something to you before I . . . show you anything. I'm sure you all know how dangerous fear can be. When people fear you, they hurt you. To protect myself and those I love, I had to create another identity. . . . The things I can do, the abilities I have, I use them to help people in danger. I use them to stop those who would hurt others."

"Kind of like Robocop," the grunge kid supplied.

Lois saw Clark fighting a smirk. "Robocop was a movie. What you're about to see is very, very real. . ."

And then he was spinning in place, a blur of browns that faded into blues and reds. When he stopped, he was no longer her husband, Clark Kent.

He was now Superman.

Michael the Fry Cook hooted appreciatively. "Oh, cool!" he smirked. "X-Men!!!"

"Michael!" Max hissed.

Superman took it all in stride. "Can Wolverine do this?" he asked, rising gently above the cliff face to float several feet above their heads.

The young man's eyes were wide with disbelief and his jaw had dropped to its limit. He was shaking his head as his eyes followed Superman's movement.

They all stood in stunned silence.

Clearly enjoying himself, Superman launched into a rather simple demonstration of his flying ability, zipping over the edge of the cliff to disappear out of sight, then rocketing back up and past them, to land, calmly on their far side, shocking them all. Strolling to the edge of the cliff, motioning for them to follow, he proceeded to explode a tossed rock with his X-ray vision, then blasted the surface of the water below with his super-breath, freezing it as they watched.

Maria, the snappy waitress from the morning, was the first to speak. "Super!" she said, with much appreciation. "Man, that was really super!"

The Man of Steel shot Lois a look and smiled. "You want to tell them, Lois? Afterall, it was your idea."

"Yup," she said, rolling her eyes as she nodded. "I was the first to name him." She blushed. "It seems kind of silly now, but. . ."

Superman looked wounded. "Lois!"

"Sorry, hon," she said, an eyebrow raised. "But I'm sure given time I would have come up with something . . . different." She grinned apologetically to her slighted, super husband, then glanced to the expectant faces around her. "Superman. His name is Superman."

Michael hooted again. "Oh, right. That's definitely better then "Wolverine."

His waitress girlfriend smacked him on the arm. "I think it's perfect! You can keep your stupid opinion to yourself, spaceboy!"

"You can . . . you can fly!" said an awed voice. That was her tiny cousin, Liz, speaking. The girl had moved closer to Max during the demonstration and now wrapped her arms around him from behind. "Does this mean you can fly, too, Max?"

He covered the arms that held him with his own, eyes to Superman as he spoke. "I don't know. I don't think so. . ."

"Well," said Superman's steady voice. "I guess we have some testing to do, don't we?"

"Test all you want," Maria said and Lois could see her eyeing Tess with suspicion. "What I want to know is . . . why didn't Tess think . . ." She waved an arm to Superman and the air above their heads which he had just occupied. ". . .this was worth mentioning? To anyone." She moved closer to the blond, who was trying to shrink into the athlete's side. "Seems pretty flippin' "relevant" to me. . ."

As a group, they turned to the once again nervous Tess.

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