|"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.
|Max and Isabel had joined Liz and Maria at the CrashDown. There was no
avoiding the truth: Alex was missing. They were trying to figure out where
he could possibly be, ready to have Isabel try to dream-walk him as a last
resort, when the door opened and Eddie rushed in.|
"Thank god you're here." He looked at Liz as he spoke.
"Eddie, what's wrong?"
"I saw one of your friends come out to the reservation yesterday. When his car was still there this morning, I decided to go up to the cave to see if everything was ok. I heard some guy questioning your friend about someone named Tess Harding, and when he didn't answer, he hit him. From what I could see, there were three or four of them in there with him."
Everyone was already on their feet before he was halfway through his story. They were instantly rushing to the door as Liz said, "Thank you for coming to tell us." Not having a car that could hold all six of them, Liz and Max jumped into the Jeep, and Isabel hopped into the Jetta with Maria. They sped over first to Michael's apartment, then his work but he wasn't at either place. Not wanting to waste anymore time, they headed to the reservation, Liz and Isabel talking to each other on their phones. Max didn't want to go into whatever situation awaited for him with just the three girls with him, but he couldn't see an alternative. 'Where was Michael,' he wondered.
About the only thing he was certain of was: if these guys were looking for Tess Harding, then it wasn't likely they were human.
Alex staggered to his feet. Parts of him were going numb, and there was a buzzing in his ears. He was holding together by sheer determination only. The aliens were again gathered around Nasedo's drawing. He wondered if they'd figured out it was a map yet. It seemed not. They appeared to be interested in one symbol in particular. They'd asked him about it more than once, but it was one of the ones he'd had no idea the meaning of. Actually, he and his friends had only figured out the significance of three of them: the oval which represented the library where Tess had retrieved the book with the same symbol on it's cover, the four square symbol which represented the pod chamber and the four pods, and the squiggly symbol right next to it which kind of looked like a capital cursive "Z" which looked just like the jutting peak of the mountain in which the pod chamber was located. That was it. None of the other symbols held any meaning for Alex, and that included the one they were so interested in. Though it looked familiar to him, he couldn't figure out why or how.
As they turned to look at him, he spotted the leader of the group holding a rolled up piece of paper. He didn't take his eyes off it as he stepped closer. The top portion had been unrolled so that he could see what was drawn at the edge. It was the same symbol they'd been so interested in on the map, but different, with more detail. Again he got a sensation of having seen it somewhere before. But where? His brain felt like it was working through a haze of cotton.
Mr. Skinny rolled it back up when Alex neared. "What is that?" he asked, pointing to the scroll. Was that his voice? It hurt to talk, and with his nose swollen up like it was, his speech was very nasally. He was actually surprised when the man answered.
"This... this is the Scroll of Conflict."
"Oh." That sounded bad. "Wh... what does it do?"
"Absolutely nothing." The man laughed at the look on Alex's battered face. They others joined in, their humor malicious. "It doesn't do a damn thing." He unrolled it a little to show Alex the symbol at the top, and said, "This, on the other hand, is something worth having." Alex looked from the aged parchment to the wall. Yes, the symbols were nearly identical. Alex wondered if Nasedo had buried this strange thing somewhere and then indicated its location on his map.
"So, now I'm going to ask you again, where is the man who put these symbols on the wall? Where is Tess Harding, and where are the aliens that live here?"
They stepped toward him threateningly. Just then there was a sound of rocks falling from outside the cave. The leader nodded to one of his buddies with a look that clearly said, 'check it out.' The alien headed quietly through the entrance into the bright sunlight. Maria, seated on the rock above the cave's entrance, hurled a large stone directly at the back of the man's head as soon as he stepped away from the opening. The impact stunned him, and Max finished him off with a large branch he'd picked up on his way from the car. Isabel and Liz quietly picked him up and moved him out of the way. They bound his hands and mouth with duct tape. It was all over in a matter of seconds.
Inside the cave there was silence, as everyone strained to listen. Alex began inching away from his captors, in case they should decide to break his neck rather than risking his getting free. The leader called out to the alien he had sent outside, and there was no response. He called again. Leaving the big guy to guard Alex, who had tiptoed nearly to the other cave that opened into the back of this one, he and the other remaining alien went outside.
Max was anticipating two men this time, and he was not disappointed. He signaled to Maria to let the first guy get clear. As soon as she saw the second guy, she let him have it with another rock to the back of the head. At the same time, Max jumped the first guy. Isabel and Liz stepped in to help, beating the aliens with tree branches and large rocks. The aliens didn't stand a chance.
As Maria jumped down from her perch, Max cautiously approached the entrance. Eddie had said he thought he saw three or four men in here, so there might be another one inside. He stepped into the entrance, but not completely into the cave and allowed his eyes to adjust to the dark. There were torches burning, so it wasn't pitch black, but compared to the late afternoon sunshine, it was dark enough. He could hear feet moving in the rear of the cave, and called out, "Alex, it's Max. Can you hear me?"
Alex answered from the rear of the cave, "There's one more in here." The rescue team breathed a quick sigh or relief at the sound of his voice. They had all been silently afraid they would be too late.
Max stepped into the cave. Just then, the remaining alien rushed at him. Max rolled away and got to his feet. "What are you doing here? What do you want with Alex?" He asked the stranger while they faced off.
Ignoring him, the alien said, "You know I'm not going to let you leave here, don't you."
"Just try to keep me." The bigger man made a move forward which Max ducked. Liz and Isabel had sneaked into the cave and were stealthily moving toward the direction Alex's voice had come from. "Get him out of here," he told them as he took a swing at his opponent.
The other guy was fast for his size, and he missed. He swung back, and almost got him, but Max was able to move out of the way in time.
He heard Isabel's voice exclaim, "Alex, oh my god, Alex," then Liz murmuring reassuringly. Maria's voice from outside, "Hurry, they're waking up. Let's go."
The alien Alex had named Bubba grinned evilly, and said, "Time's almost up, boy. What are you going to do?"
"This." Max stepped back, put his hand up and focused all of his powers forward - hard. The alien was pushed up against hard enough to smack his head into a jutting rock. He slid down the rock, dazed.
Isabel and Liz, supporting Alex, stepped back into the room. Max could see why Isabel was so upset. Alex's face looked like it had been through a meat grinder. The rest of him didn't look much better. As quickly as they could, the four of them helped Alex down the trail, and into the back seat of the Jetta. Isabel got in next to him, and Maria got behind the wheel. Max and Liz got into the Jeep, and followed the others off the reservation.
Maria drove with one eye on the road and one eye in the rearview mirror as she watched Isabel gently heal the bruises and lacerations on Alex's face, then erase the evidence of blood, dirt and tears. She was whispering quietly to him all the while. She needed to know what else was wrong with him, "Alex. Alex," she nudged him softly. He opened his eyes and looked at her. He was struck by how beautiful she looked. She was his own personal angel. "Are you ok? Where do you hurt?"
He hurt in too many places to begin describing them. She took his face gently between her hands. "It's ok, Alex. Look at me. Look at me. Let me see you." Slowly, uncertainly, she created a connection between them, just like the connection Max had created between himself and Liz before he healed her in the CrashDown last year. She was able to see into Alex's soul and beyond. She could feel all of his hurts, and quickly healed them as best as she could. She had never done anything like this before, and she was afraid of doing something wrong.
His abdomen was badly bruised, as were the organs in that area. One kidney was about ready to fail completely, it was so badly damaged. As Isabel finished healing them she could feel the last of her strength fading away. He wasn't completely done yet, but he would survive until they got to town.
The connection was broken, and Isabel collapsed in her seat breathing heavily. She felt weak as a newborn kitten.
Maria asked from the front, "Alex, are you ok?" he nodded wearily. "Who were they? Why did they do this to you?"
"Tess. They were the others who came here with Tess." He reached over and gathered Isabel against him. "They're looking for Tess... and everyone. They have this scroll... the Scroll of Conflict. They're looking for something."
"I don't know, but whatever it is, we don't want them to find it."
"Scroll?" Again Alex nodded.
"What were you doing out at the reservation in the first place?"
"Oh," Alex reached into his pocket and produced Isabel's necklace which he'd found on the floor in the smaller cave just before Max had come in. "This." He gave it to Isabel, and told her, "I remembered seeing it on you the last time we were all together in the cave. So, I went back to look for it."
The group of them fell silent, and they drove back to Roswell each lost in their own thoughts.
The next day, Sheriff Valenti was staring moodily out the window of his office. His thoughts were being pulled into several different directions, and it wasn't helping his concentration. He had been trying to make some headway into the disappearances that had been plaguing Roswell lately, but at the same time, he couldn't stop thinking about the Guerin case. He was certain today that Michael had done nothing to his foster father. However, the man was dead, and it was clearly the result of an alien frying his innards from the inside out. The only other aliens that had been in town at the time that the sheriff knew about were Max and Isabel. He didn't believe they had anything to do with it either. That left only one possible conclusion to draw: there were more aliens in Roswell other than the three he knew of.
Max had told him about there being only the three others like him. He reassured him that there were only four incubation pods where they had slept for so many years. Max, Michael, Isabel and Tess had occupied them. There couldn't be anyone else he didn't know about. 'Wait a second,' the sheriff suddenly thought, Max told him that they had discovered that Tess wasn't one of them, after all, that she was like the shape-shifter they called Nasedo, and that she had come to Roswell to kill them. So, if she wasn't the alien that had occupied the fourth pod, then who was? Where had that alien been hiding all of these years? Was it the one responsible for Hank Guerin's death?
Valenti went back through the evidence he had to see if this line of thinking would be a possible answer. It certainly seemed so. If there were another mysterious alien running around Roswell, it would certainly tie up the case. But how to figure out who it was? Until he'd actually seen him using his powers to protect his friends, Valenti had been completely unaware that Michael was also an alien. They all looked and acted like regular people.
He would need to go talk to Max and see if he knew anything more that he could tell him about the fourth alien. The sheriff was straightening his desk in preparation to going out when there was a knock at the door. When it opened, Max Evans stood there. "Sheriff, can I talk to you?"
"Max, I was just going to go look for you."
That caught Max's attention. He looked into the sheriff's face intently and asked, "You were?"
"Yeah." He picked up his hat and keys, and said, "Let's go for a drive."
What he had to say was too delicate a conversation to have in the bustling sheriff's station where anyone could interrupt or overhear. He needed to be assured of their privacy to protect not only Max, but himself as well. The Special Unit was off their backs, but that's not to say there weren't other divisions of the government that would love to get their hands on Max and his friends. That Sheriff Valenti was helping to conceal their identities meant that he would be held accountable if it all came out. It was not a pleasant thought.
Once in his cruiser, with the radio turned nearly off, Valenti asked Max about the alien who was in the fourth pod. "Tess killed her before she ever woke up. Then she took her identity before Nasedo came to collect us. He assumed it was she all these years."
"How do you know?"
Max looked at his hands. He wasn't about to tell Valenti about Liz and her ability to connect with people by touching them. There's no way to tell how the sheriff would react. So he said only, "She told us before she died."
"Ok, so what if she was lying to you? What if the fourth alien also got out of the pod chamber before she got there, and she just pretended all along? What if that other alien like you has been hiding in Roswell all this time and you never knew it."
"That's not possible, sheriff."
"How do you know?"
"It just isn't."
Sheriff Valenti was getting angry at Max's refusal to communicate. "What aren't you telling me, Max?"
"Nothing." Max shifted in his seat and fiddled with the tail of his shirt. He didn't want to out-right lie to him, but he hated talking about their abilities with him, and no way was he going to mention Liz either. After a moment's hesitation, Max admitted, "Sometimes, when things get... tense, we get these flashes after touching objects or people. When we touched her, we got this rush of images that told us about who she was and what she'd done. That's how we knew she was here to hurt us." He exhaled noisily. "It doesn't happen all the time, and I can't control what I'll see when it does."
The sheriff digested this, then asked hesitantly, "Has it ever happened when you touched a person... a human, I mean?"
He couldn't help but ask, "Has it ever happened when you've touched me?"
"I've never touched you, Sheriff."
"What? Of course you have."
"Have I? You've touched me. When you handcuffed me, and pushed me around at the Crash Festival..., when you helped Michael and the others save me from Pierce... every time we've ever touched, it has been you touching me."
Valenti looked at Max's hands lying so innocently in his lap, and realized he was right. Max had never touched him. Not voluntarily. He thought back as far as he could, and realized that he couldn't remember ever seeing Max Evans have physical contact with anybody... except for Liz Parker. The sheriff suddenly realized what a lonely existence he and the others must have had growing up, not only trying to protect their secret and each other, but avoiding getting close to the humans around them. Then he came along and manhandled the guy. Little wonder it took them so long to come around to trusting him.
He wondered what the teen was thinking. He knew this conversation was making him incredibly uncomfortable, but he couldn't help but be fascinated by everything involving Max and his siblings. The idea of getting glimpses into people's lives and thoughts simply by touching them was astounding to him. Then he realized that from now on he wouldn't be able to see Max or one of the others touching someone without wondering if they were getting 'flashes' from that person. Then a thought occurred to him, "What about Kyle? When you touched him that day..."
"No, I didn't get any flashes when I healed him." Max was already anticipating the next question, "But I did when I healed Liz last year."
"Really?" He thought of how he saw them frolicking outside the restaurant a couple of days ago, and had to ask, "Is that the only time? With Liz, I mean?"
Max blushed and looked out his window. "No," he whispered.
Valenti couldn't help but think of what Kyle had been trying to tell him a couple of days ago. About how Max might be hurting Liz unintentionally. He was beginning to see where his son's fears were stemming from. What if these 'flashes' were injuring her in someway? Did she even know about them? He had to ask, "Does she know about..."
"Yes, she knows." Max cut him off. "It's ok. I swear to you, Sheriff, I'd die before I hurt her."
Having seen for himself how devoted the couple was to one another, he took that at face value and let the discussion drop. He thought again about the problem he was currently faced with. That was, again, the issue of who killed Hank Guerin. They drove in silence for a few minutes, before he remembered that Max had come to him today needing to talk about something.
"What was it you wanted to see me about, Max?"
"We think those other aliens we've been waiting for are here in Roswell."
If he hadn't been driving, he would have shot to his feet in surprise. "What! The ones you said would come looking for Tess Harding? What makes you think so?"
"Alex was held captive overnight out on the Indian reservation where we stayed after Tess died. There were four guys asking him questions about Tess and Nasedo, and us."
"Is he ok? How did you find out?"
"He's was pretty beat up, but he's fine now." Valenti correctly interpreted that remark. "One of the guys from the reservation, Eddie, saw his car parked out there overnight, and went to check on him. From what little he could hear, he figured out that Alex needed help and came to get us."
"Lucky for him."
"Yeah, we had just realized ourselves that he was missing when Eddie showed up at the CrashDown yesterday."
"Who knows how long he would have been out there before we would have thought to check there for him," Valenti said.
Max knew that they would have found out Alex's location within a couple of hours with Isabel's dream-walking ability, but he said only, "Yeah."
"Why didn't you come to get me? You said there were four of them. You could have used my help." Valenti asked, surprised.
"We were ok, Sheriff."
"Max, it's my job to protect you. I need you to tell me what's going on so I can do it."
Max, looking directly at this man he'd come to respect over the last few months and said, "How can you protect me from other aliens, Sheriff? So far, the two that I've seen have little value for humans. Nasedo killed without conscious, and Tess was just plain evil. Either one would kill anyone who stood in their way. I think that, in this case, it's my job to protect you."
They shared a long look of understanding. Then Max continued, "I just wanted to tell you that they were here in Roswell. From what Alex said, they don't know who we are, and have been poking around here for a couple of days at least. Plus, Michael has disappeared. I went by his apartment yesterday to get him before going out to the reservation, then again, last night. He wasn't there. Maria doesn't know where he might have gone. I'm worried. A few months ago, it wouldn't have surprised me, he used to just drop off the face of the earth for days at a time, but now, it's not like him."
"I've got Michael."
Max turned in his seat to look at the sheriff fully. "What do you mean you've got Michael?"
|Part 6 | Index | Part 1|
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