|"Always With You - Part Two"|
by Watcher Tara
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Roswell.
Summary: This takes place two weeks after Always With You. Tess's allies have come to town looking for her, and Kyle is back from basketball camp with issues of his own. Also evil wears a familiar face as dead bodies start popping up in Roswell.
Authors Note: You REALLY should read Always With You first, but if you haven't, here's what you've missed: Tess was evil and not the fourth alien, the gang killed her and Liz discovered she has powers, too. I hope you like part two. Please, please e-mail me with your thoughts.
|Alex woke up pretty much in pain everywhere. At first he couldn't figure
out where he was, then he remembered. The cave, and the aliens. He peeked
an eye open. The other one was swollen shut, and he wasn't sure if there
was enough ice in the world to bring it back down to normal.|
How long had he been here? Hours? Days? In the inky darkness of the cave he'd lost all track of time. The four strangers had continued to question him, reviving him when needed, as swift punishment was served every time he'd lied to them. Alex was eventually able to figure out based on their questions what they were after. These guys must be the other aliens who had been working with Tess. They were here trying to track down Tess and Nasedo and the others. Alex didn't know how they'd found the cave, but he feared Riverdog might be the answer. Tess knew that the old Indian was connected to Nasedo because he'd told her himself. She'd probably passed that information on to her allies. She must not have contacted them with Isabel, Max and Michael's real identities, or else they would have been to Roswell to get them by now not skulking in the cave, beating up on random passers-by.
Another thing Alex had come to realize was that they had the ability to discern when someone is telling a truth or falsehood. Or, at least the big one could. Alex didn't think they could read his mind, or else why did they have to force him to give his answers out loud, but as soon as he said anything that was completely false, he was hit. However, if he said something that was true, or at least mostly true, they let him alone. It became a game of half-truths, and believing wholeheartedly in the true half of the statements, he discovered. The guy was like a living polygraph test - difficult but not impossible to fool. Alex had told them a few things about Nasedo, and the government, but refused to divulge any information about his friends. If he couldn't think of a near truth that would still protect them, he said nothing. And paid for his silence. He figured that the only reason that they hadn't killed him yet was that they figured out that he knew something.
He sincerely hoped that someone had noticed him missing by now. He knew his friends would be looking for him. He tried not to do anything to block Isabel if she was trying to dream-walk him. So far, he hadn't gotten any sensation of her trying to get into his head, but he didn't know what it would feel like, or if it would register above all of the pain he was currently feeling. He'd tried calling out to her with his mind, but didn't feel like it was doing anything. Still, it was better than nothing. It at least made him feel like he was being proactive about escaping. After a while he'd tried Max and Liz. For hours, he'd done his best to reach out with his mind. It apparently wasn't working. Out of sheer desperation he'd tried to reach Maria and Valenti next. 'Hey,' he thought, desperate times called for desperate measures. Unfortunately, the result of all that effort was a massive headache to go with the rest of his aches. He groaned as he shifted a little on the hard stone floor.
"Hey, he's waking up."
"Good, then bring him here." This from the alien who appeared to be the leader of the group, the one who had been asking most of the questions last night. He was standing in front of the wall of symbols again. Alex had taken to calling him Mr. Skinny... to himself, of course. So far, he hadn't heard any of them call each other by name, so he'd started making up names for them.
Two of the others came and dragged him to his feet where he swayed painfully. He walked unsteadily between them to where they directed.
The man pointed to one of the symbols. "What does this mean?"
"I don't know. I told you before that Nasedo never talked to me about any of these symbols. I never even spoke to him." That was true.
"Then how do you know about him?"
"Tess was living with him. I went to her house once. She talked about him sometimes." Again, all of his statements were completely true.
"Where is Tess now?"
Alex had to think on the vastness of the desert area where they had buried her before he could answer. "I don't know where..." '...exactly' he added in the silence of his mind. "She came to the reservation one day and never returned to Roswell. I don't know how to find her."
"What was she doing at the reservation?"
"I didn't talk to her that day, but she was probably here for the ceremony."
"We were all invited to join in a ritual cleansing. It's called a sweat. Very intense, no talking. You guys should try it, you'd find it very freeing..." The irony of that statement went right over their heads. "I'm sure I saw her coming out of the women's tent later, but I never saw her back in town after that." He was getting the hang if this truth stuff. It was almost like "New Math", only he'd call it "new truth" - how to tell the truth in such a way that it covered up a bunch of lies.
"What did you do to her?"
"I didn't do anything to her. I never even touched her the whole time she was in town. I told you, I haven't seen her in Roswell since that day. Maybe she left town. Maybe she got a lead on those kids you say you're looking for, and left. She didn't talk to me about her plans."
"So you don't have any more information about where she is or what happened to her."
"No." 'Oops.' Alex barely had time to flinch before 'Bubba,' the big guy grabbed him and struck him viciously in the kidneys. The sound of Alex yelling out and gagging against the nausea that threatened to overcome him masked the light sound of footsteps outside the cave.
"Let me ask you again, what happened to Tess Harding after you saw her leaving the tent?" Mr. Skinny was getting angry. Alex held his tongue and waited. Bubba didn't disappoint him. The man outside the cave heard the sound of fists meeting flesh, and Alex's involuntary cries of pain before he silently ran back in the direction of the village.
Back in the CrashDown, Liz was telling her friend about Kyle's strange ultimatum from yesterday. "It was like I didn't even know him. Why would he say something like that?"
"Liz, I didn't exactly deal with it very well after you told me about them, remember? And Alex disappeared for a week after he found out. The existence of Czechoslovakians is not an easy thing to deal with. Kyle just needs time to adjust."
"It's been a month. How much more adjusting does he need?"
"A lot more, apparently."
"I know that he and Max weren't exactly getting along before it happened, but to react like that? I don't know, Maria."
"Look at Sheriff Valenti. It took him, what? Like six months to come around? Just give him some time. Maybe he and Max need to have a talk or something."
"But that's just it. I mean, they weren't talking before he found out. Like the only time I ever saw them actually getting along was the night Kyle got Max drunk and I found them going through my underwear drawer."
"What?!" Maria's mouth gaped open in surprise. "You never told me about that. Your underwear drawer? Max?"
"No, actually Kyle was going through my drawers, Max was putting his face on all of the pictures in my room, you know, and then he like put a big glowing heart on the wall of my balcony. Kyle must have been too drunk to notice, or something because he never even said anything about it."
"This was the night of your blind date, right? The one with that guy that the radio station set you up with?"
"Yeah, Doug... Something. That's how come I showed up at the concert with not only my date, but Max and Kyle, too."
"Shellow, his name was Doug Shellow, and you told me about Max getting drunk, and what he said about wanting to run away with you, but you never told me they were rifling through your panties."
Liz blushed as she corrected, "Actually it was my bras Kyle was looking through. He hid one behind his back when I walked into the room with Doug."
The two girls shared a quiet laugh at the thought of those two boys pulling such a stupid prank.
Then Maria sat forward to say, "Wait a second, what was Doug Shellow doing in your bedroom?"
Liz was saved from answering by the ringing of the phone.
After reading the coroner's report on the corpse they'd found last night, Sheriff Valenti had called the man on the phone and talked to him about his findings in detail. Then he'd insisted on seeing the body himself.
Dead people who had been laying around for a few months were disgusting, and the sheriff didn't envy the coroner his job. The evidence was just as he had described over the phone. The body had been badly beaten just before he died, but he didn't die from the beating. Somehow this man had been cooked from the inside out, in an area surrounding the heart. With the hands missing as they were, it was impossible to make a positive ID. Attempting a dental records match was probably useless because, from the condition of the teeth, the coroner had surmised that this man had never been to a dentist in his life. Still, they would give it a try. The skin around the face was all bloated, and underground insects had begun their job of devouring the remains, but despite all that, Jim Valenti recognized this man.
The last time he had seen him, he'd come into his office as slick as you please after being gone for several days following some unexplained noises and shooting from inside his trailer, and said, laughingly, "I heard you put out an APB?"
"You heard right." He responded.
Chuckling, he said, "Here I am."
Valenti could see that. And smell it, too. When was the last time the man had bathed? "In all your glory."
The insult flew over his head, and he replied, "So, you can call off the hounds."
"Where you been, Hank?"
"Down in Carlsbad. Landed in a bar. Met a lady. What can I say?" had been the reply. It was typical of the careless attitude with which the man had lived his life.
Not wanting to let the man off the hook that easily, he had asked, "You wanna tell me about the gunshots?"
Hank had seemed lost for an instant, then shook his head and answered, "Oh, uh, well...never clean a gun while you've been drinking.
Thinking, 'Why am I not surprised?' Valenti had said only, "Uh-huh."
The man seemed eager to get this interview finished, and hurried to say, "Anyway, got an offer from a plant over in Las Cruzes. My lease is up next week, so...I'm hitchin' up the trailer and I'm gone. Thing is, I'm goin' alone...so if I need to sign some papers about that boy, or anything..."
Valenti had mentally shaken his head at this attitude. The man was getting a monthly check for taking in a foster child, but apparently had decided it wasn't worth it. The sheriff was thankful he wouldn't have to explain to the kid he wasn't wanted anymore. Living with Hank had to be hard enough, but to be abandoned by him... now that was something a kid might not get over. Fortunately, the child had already taken steps to have himself declared an independent minor, so the sheriff simply responded, "Won't be necessary."
Glad to see the back of this guy who spent at least one night a month here in county lock-up for drunkenness and starting fights, Valenti had told him, "And Hank...make it soon."
"Aw, don't worry, Sheriff. I'm already gone." And that was the last time he'd seen Hank Guerin. Until today. Sheriff Valenti placed a few calls to Las Cruzes, and after having his suspicions confirmed, he drove to Michael Guerin's apartment and placed him under arrest.
An hour later, they were facing off across the conference table in his interrogation room.
"Look, Michael, I know that he was a lousy father, and that he was a drunk, mean one at that. Just tell me what happened the last time you saw him."
"I told you, I didn't see him since the night of our argument. Max and Isabel came over to the trailer, and heard us yelling. They came in and Hank started mouthing off and hitting on Isabel. She poured his drink down his front. He made a move toward her, and I stepped between them, and shoved him back. He picked up his gun, and pointed it at us. And... I... I tried to stop him... you know." It went against the grain to talk about his powers to anyone outside of Max, Isabel and Liz. He didn't even talk about them openly with Maria. "He fell, yelling about how he always knew I was a freak, and we left. That's it. I hadn't touched him. He was still shouting as we drove away."
"That's the night you stayed at the Deluca's, right?"
"Yes." Michael would never forget the look on Maria's face as she wiped away the tears he couldn't, wouldn't explain. After all he'd said and done to her in the past, she let him into her home; her bed, her heart, and Michael hadn't been the same since. She had held him all night, and he still cherished the memory of her soft weight pressing against him when he woke up the next morning. Whether he'd been unwilling to see it or to admit it at the time, that night had struck a turning point in their relationship. He had known that by going to her, needing to be held by her, needing to be close enough to smell her soft skin, and feel her warmth with the gentle waves of her personality closing around him like a mantle, he was admitting that his days of running from her, Roswell and the rest of his family were over. It just took a few weeks to sink in.
The sheriff watched in silence as a handful of emotions played across Michael's normally impassive face. After a minute, he continued with his questioning. "At what time did you leave Max and Isabel?"
"I don't know. It was late, I guess. I wandered around a few hours before I went to Maria's."
"What time did you get there?"
"I don't know, all right?" Michael's resentment was clear in his tone.
"What happened next?"
"The next morning I went to Mr. Evans and asked him to help me get free of Hank. I couldn't stay with him after what happened."
"That's it, sheriff. I never saw Hank again after that night."
The sheriff was frustrated with the teenager's refusal to cooperate. "Michael, if you would just tell me the truth, this could be over. I can't help you if you lie to me. I already know what happened, I just need to hear it from you."
"What do you know?" Michael was completely confused. Valenti had told him that Hank was dead. He had no idea what the sheriff thought he could tell him about it.
"I know that Hank returned to town a few days after that night. He'd been in Carlsbad, and said he had a job in Las Cruzes, but he never made it there. You went to his trailer, probably while he was hitching it up, and argued about his plans to leave you behind." Michael looked at the sheriff at that, and Valenti continued, "That's right, I know he was planning to go without you, and that probably hurt your feelings. You were angry. You two argued about it, you lost your temper, and you killed him."
The sheriff approached him. "Michael, I've seen you use your powers. Both times I've seen you, they were out of control. When you stopped the FBI agents that were chasing down Max and Liz, you told Max that you didn't even know what you did. Then there's what happened to Pierce..." Valenti let the thought trail away, then continued, "You have some incredibly awesome powers at your disposal, Michael that you can't control. Now, I know that you killed Hank. I've seen the evidence with my own eyes. I need you to tell me the truth about what happened that day before I can help you."
"What evidence? How did he die?"
Valenti refused to play this game. He got into the alien's face and said angrily, "Michael, based on the condition of the body, I have exactly three suspects. Now, unless you want me to drag Max and Isabel in here, too, you had better start telling me the truth."
'If you touch Michael again, I will kill you.' Isabel's voice whispered into Michael's mind. Isabel had threatened Hank the night she and Max had come for him. Michael didn't for a second believe that she could have killed Hank, but what evidence did Valenti have that pointed to alien foul play? Hank had left long before Tess and her father had come to town, so the sheriff was right in that aspect, if Hank's death were the result of an alien, then it would have been him, Max or Isabel. Maybe one or the other had thought to teach Hank a lesson, and it went awry. Michael couldn't imagine anything of the kind happening, but on the other hand, both of them had been very upset when they found out how Hank had been abusing him.
The only thing Michael knew for certain was that he would protect Max and Isabel in the only way he knew how. "Ok, sheriff, you're right. I killed him. It was an accident. I didn't mean for it to happen. It was out of my control."
Valenti sat down opposite of Michael, and asked him questions about what had taken place the day Hank had died. The more questions he asked, the more puzzled he became. Michael didn't say anything about a fight, and when he was asked about the bruises, Michael didn't know anything about them, either. He said that he'd killed Hank in self-defense and that it had been accident, but Valenti knew he must have deliberately put his hand on Hank's chest to burn him up from the inside like the condition of the corpse indicated. He also didn't know where either the body or the trailer had been found. Therefore, the only conclusion Valenti could draw was that Michael was covering for the Evans' siblings. The sheriff couldn't believe that Max would have deliberately murdered Hank, but Isabel wasn't strong enough to put the kind of bruises like Hank had on his body onto a full grown man. So, what was the truth?
"What happens now, Sheriff?" Michael asked, unaware of what Valenti was thinking.
"I'm going to hold you for a couple of days until I get to the bottom of this."
"How many days?" Michael didn't like the sound of this.
"As many as it takes to get to the truth."
"Look, I said it was an accident."
"Michael, you did what you had to do, now I'm doing what I have to do." The sheriff escorted him through the station to the holding cells. There was no one else being held at this time, so Michael was going to be alone, which was fine with him. The door loudly clanged shut. The sheriff started to walk away, then turned back to his young prisoner. "If you're not here when I come back, you had better run far, far away, is that clear?"
Escaping hadn't crossed his mind. Michael would do this by the book. Strangely, he trusted the sheriff. If sitting in this small cell for a few days was the price he had to pay to live peacefully in Roswell and to protect Max and Isabel, then he would do it, gladly. He smiled in acknowledgement that he was here because he chose to be, not because the sheriff was locking him in, and said, "I'll be here."
Valenti looked at him a moment longer, feeling suddenly ridiculous at the notion of throwing an alien in jail, then walked away.
|Part 5 | Index | Part 7|
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