FanFic - Max/Liz
"Always With You - Part Two"
Part 9
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.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
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.
The next day, after having been up all night, Michael finally figured out where on the map the symbol that the aliens were interested in was located. If he was right, it was on the outskirts of town, right near the Old Chisholm Trail Trailer Park where he used to live with Hank. Where exactly, he wasn't certain, but he figured there had to be a landmark or something out there. The only way to be certain was to go out and see for themselves.

After changing out of yesterday's clothes, he walked over to Maria's. They met up with Isabel and Alex, who had insisted on coming along, at the CrashDown. The four of them headed out with flashlights and shovels, not knowing which they would need. The drive to the trailer park was a short one. Passing under its sign brought back a flood of memories of the years he had lived there with Hank. They were clouded by the knowledge of how he had died. He had seen first hand how merciless Nasedo could be. He shuddered to think of what his foster father had suffered before dying. Suddenly, he wondered if Nasedo had shape-shifted into him, Michael, when he went to kill Hank. Being killed like that was bad enough, but to think it was being done by the boy you'd taken in and raised since for the past ten years... Michael shuddered and let the thought drop. He brought his mind back to the present.

They drove to the far end of the park, and stopped the car on the side of the road. The four teenagers got out. Alex picked up the shovel from the trunk of the Jetta, and Michael reached in and pulled out a flashlight. Michael realized that the others were silently waiting for him to lead them in the right direction. Remembering the symbol's location on the map, he took Maria's hand in his and strode out past the end of the park's property line heading south by southwest. There was a line of hills not far from where they were, and it was there that he was taking them.

Alex was holding on to Isabel. He was completely recovered from his ordeal with the aliens. By the time they had reached Roswell after escaping from Nasedo's cave, Isabel had recovered enough to finish healing all of his injuries. He had been that afraid he would wake up in the morning yesterday with a big silver handprint on his face from when she had healed his broken nose and swollen and blacked eyes, but thankfully he hadn't.

There was a light one on his stomach in the area of one of his kidneys, though. He couldn't describe what he had felt when he saw it shining there as he was dressing. It took a minute to register what it was and how he got it. Right now, he was at a cross between treating it like a great big hickey, which needed to be hidden and covered up, or treating it like a temporary tattoo; he wanted to run all over town and show it off to everyone he saw. He felt like he belonged to Isabel now. That by healing him, and marking him she had in some way claimed him. He wondered if this was how it was for Liz after Max had healed her. Alex knew that the mark would fade. It would probably be gone by tomorrow. He wondered if these strange feelings would fade as well.

When they reached the hills, Michael told them to split up and look for anything like a cave, or a place where the plants might have been disturbed. Somehow he didn't think the thing they were looking for would be beeping like the orb had been when Max and Liz dug it up. That would be too easy.

Looking at the barren landscape, Isabel said, "Does the term needle in a haystack mean anything to you?" Michael just glared at her, and she moved away to begin the search.

After nearly three hot hours, it was Isabel who found the tiny cave that was partially hidden behind some shrubs. Maria was the only one small enough to slide into it's compact opening, and after a heated argument of whether or not it was safe to go in, with flashlight in hand, she knelt down and looked inside. She was suddenly unsure why she had wanted to go in there. 'Great, it's dark and creepy, and who knows what animals and bugs are in there,' she thought peering into it's darkness. The flashlight barely penetrated the interior. She shone it to one side and another. From what she could see, it wasn't very deep.

No eyeballs reflected into the flashlight's beam, so with more confidence she wiggled just inside. She stretched out her hand, and felt around the ground and along side the walls. She could hear Michael asking impatiently if she saw anything but didn't bother to answer. The fact that she was stuffed half in, half out of this tiny hole was response enough, she figured. 'Oh my god, if I get stuck in here...' she thought, a picture of Winnie-the-Pooh trapped in Rabbit's door flashing into her mind. She wriggled another inch forward. 'Wait,' she thought. Something reflected back from the rear of the miniature cave. One more scoot and she could reach it. Holding the flashlight on it, she stretched out her free hand. As her fingertips grazed its shiny-metallic surface, it zapped her with a bolt of static electricity. She yelped, more from fright than pain. She could hear Michael's concerned voice, and felt his reassuring touch on her hips. "I think I found it," she called out to them. With more caution she touched a finger to the alien thing. It zapped her again. After the third discharge, she got the idea that it wasn't giving off static electricity as she had surmised. 'The thing must have an internal anti-theft device,' she thought. 'Tell me again how come I get to do this. Oh, yeah, I volunteered.' Vowing to never again ask to be sent into tiny closed spaces to retrieve an object that didn't want to be retrieved, she went over her options.

Michael was getting anxious, "Well, can you get it or not?"

"Hold your horses, Spaceboy," she yelled back. She shone the flashlight at it again, and this time noticed a scrap of fabric hanging off one side of the thing. Surmising its purpose was either to protect it, or to allow Nasedo to touch it as he put it in here years ago, she reached for it rather than touching the object's metal surface with her bare fingers. She could feel it still trying to give off energy, but the fabric helped muffle the effect. Still, she wasted no time in wiggling backwards out of the cave. She handed the thing to Michael who promptly dropped it on the ground. He cried out and shook his fingers slightly.

Maria asked snidely, "Got you, too, huh?"

She held out the cloth she had been holding. Before picking it up, the four of them stood over it, looking at it, trying to guess what's its purpose might be. Like the orbs, it had a shiny metallic casing, but that is where the similarities ended. About the size of a small dinner plate, the thing was mostly flat, no more than a half inch tall at any point. It was shaped like the letter "O", only with a bar running through its center, and on the outside of the circle, on each side, at the points where the bar hit, there were two small half-circles back to back. They looked almost like scallops on a wrought iron fence. Nothing of its appearance gave indication of what it was supposed to do.

Isabel, taking the piece of cloth from Maria, bent and picked the alien thing up. "Let's get out of here."

Max and Nasedo were in the same field he had gone to with Tess to get the answers he needed about Isabel's supposed pregnancy. They had talked for over an hour about Tess and her duplicity. Nasedo had flatly refused to believe what he was hearing until Max described her shape-shifting back into her true form as she had died. When Max told him about how she had snuck into the pod chamber just minutes before his arrival, and how she had destroyed his mate then took on her form so that Nasedo would lead her to the others, Nasedo got silent and stared off into the distance.

Max tried to understand what he was thinking. Nasedo's only purpose here on Earth was to protect his four young charges. So far, one was dead, one had been mistreated for ten years, and another had been imprisoned by the FBI. Isabel was the only one of the group he hadn't failed in some way. Max wondered how things had gone so terribly wrong. Finally, he asked, "Where were you? I mean when we came out of the pods. Why weren't you there?"

Nasedo answered, "I knew I was being followed. Maybe by the same guys who are here now. One of them almost caught me once. It was a long time ago, but I got lucky."

"What happened?"

"It was about ten years after the crash. You were all in the first stages of development in your pods. I knew they were getting close, so I was getting ready to leave town. I didn't want them to catch me coming in and out of the chamber. One of them jumped me while I was out gathering supplies. I shook him off and ran, and he was about a thousand yards behind me. We were running across country away from town when I spotted a little diner with a couple of cars parked out front. I knew I just needed to make it to them, and I would be able to take a car and disappear. And I did. I caught back up with the same guy a couple of weeks later. He wasn't as lucky as me." From his tone and the look of satisfaction on his face, Max guessed that Nasedo had annihilated the unfortunate guy. "After that, I left town to try and throw them off the trail. The last thing I did before I left was go by the cave on the reservation one last time and draw the map. In case anything happened to me, I told Riverdog to guard my cave, and show it only to the four of you."

From within the depths of his memories, Max heard a voice say, "Just outside of town... I pulled into Peppers Café... You changed yourself into that drifter when you killed my Sheila trying to get our car... Valenti told me... about the handprint...just like on Sheila." It was the voice of Everett Hubble. He was so full of anger, regret and pain that even now, Max ached for his loss. He had mistakenly thought that Max was a shape-shifter that had tried to steal his car one night - years ago - and had in the process killed the man's pregnant wife.

"Was... was there someone in the car when you got there?"

"What? Oh. Yeah. Just some woman. I figured if she were sitting there then the keys would be in the ignition. They weren't, so I actually took the car parked next to hers."

Already knowing the answer, but needing to hear it anyway, Max asked, "What happened to the woman?"

Nasedo just looked at him, then returned, "What do you think?" He saw the disgust written on Max's face and asserted, "Oh, come on. What does it matter? Would you rather I let the guy who was chasing after me catch me?"

He made a gesture with his hands. "We're at war, Max. In war, sometimes innocent people die. But you have to be willing to fight for what you believe in, and fighting means that people must die. She wasn't the first human I killed, and she wasn't the last. I'm telling you now that I will do whatever I have to do to protect the three of you and keep you safe. If that means killing humans, then so be it. This is a war."

Max wanted to do nothing more than to walk away from this cold-blooded creature that had no heart, happy to never see him again, but they needed him and the safety he provided from within the FBI. He still had some unanswered questions, but resolved to send Nasedo back to Virginia as soon as possible. Returning to their conversation of how Nasedo had gotten separated from them, max asked, "What happened when you left town?"

"I tried to draw them away from the pod chamber until it was time for you guys to emerge. I stayed away until a few weeks before the projected date but by the time I got there, all but one of you were gone. Why did you leave? Even having come out early, you should have waited for me."

"I don't know." Max suddenly flashed back onto the pod chamber the afternoon the three of them had emerged from the pods. Michael and Isabel had already gotten out as he pulled himself free of his pod. He remembered going up to his mate's pod, and wiping away the condensation. She was still in stasis. Suddenly, Michael's voice was urgent in his head. He was insistent that they had to leave. He walked over to the door of the chamber and worked the mechanism that produced the opening.

Max could clearly remember his reluctance to leave the fourth alien, but Michael voice had rung in his head insistently, with images of danger and extreme consequences if they didn't leave the apparent safety of the chamber right away. Isabel has called out to him in his mind, too. She was frightened, but wouldn't leave without him. So against every instinct which told him not to leave the fourth alien still asleep in her pod, he took Isabel's hand and followed Michael out of the pod chamber.

He remembered having to fight against the desire to return to the chamber and the fourth alien the entire time he walked away from her; Michael's voice in his head urging him forward. They walked, not knowing where they were going. Michael was leading them into the desert. Isabel couldn't keep up with the pace he'd set, and they'd gotten separated after awhile. Then it was only the two of them for a couple of hours. They were following a road not having any idea where it would lead. After a time they could sense Michael's presence. It'd seemed like forever before he'd showed himself. Max could still picture him, standing so tall on the rock he'd chosen as his perch, watching them. It wasn't long after that they saw the headlights that would be Phillip and Diane Evans returning from a visit with her sister. By then, he was over his desire to turn around.

'When had he stopped wanting to return to the chamber?' he asked himself suddenly. Max tried to remember exactly when his instincts to remain with his mate had been silenced. It was about an hour after they'd gotten separated from Michael the first time, he realized. Before then he had looked back over his shoulder every ten steps or so, and Isabel had to practically drag him down the side of the slope. So that meant it was maybe two hours after they had left her that Max stopped feeling her pull at him. 'Was that when she died?' he asked silently. Had Tess been that close to getting them? There was no answer to that. Max realized that he owed Michael his life for getting them out of the chamber. If hadn't been so insistent on leaving, they would have all been sitting ducks when Tess, or whatever her true name was, showed up to kill them. 'How had he known?' Max wondered, without warning. He could recall clearly now how insistent Michael had been that they leave the chamber. He was so persistent that they couldn't wait for the last small alien to wake up. He had been adamant that they had to leave right then, or it would be too late. There was no way he could have known about the danger that had been closing in on him. Or was there? Max abruptly recalled the conversation they'd had last week. Michael had told him about the feeling of something coming towards Roswell, and them, that he couldn't shake. Max hadn't felt anything like that, and had told him so. It wasn't long after that the four aliens had taken Alex. Was it possible that Michael could somehow sense the other aliens when they arrived in the area? If so it would explain not only the feelings he'd been having, but also why he'd forced them to leave the pod chamber when he did. Then again, why hadn't his instincts warned him about Tess? "She looked pretty caught up to me," Max remembered Michael saying in response to Isabel telling them that she was helping Tess get caught up in her schoolwork. Like him, Michael had been initially wary of the stranger in their midst but not overly concerned. Perhaps he'd ignored the warning, or like with their telepathy, the ability had been forgotten after they'd left the pod chamber and ignored their powers. With all of them using their abilities more these past weeks since Pierce had died, maybe Michael's forewarning instincts had turned back on. Max didn't know the answer to that, but he resolved to have a talk with Michael about this as soon as he got a chance.

Back in the present, Max asked Nasedo, "What do you know about a 'Scroll of Conflict'?"

Nasedo looked at him in surprise. "Where did you hear about that?"

"Some aliens showed up here in Roswell with it."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Nasedo was upset.

"It just happened." Max said, not wanting to go into the details of Alex's capture. "What is it?"

"It is a document which describes how to use a weapon that was sent here with you. I guess it's useless now... as a weapon. It is also a shield that you could use if ever you were in danger."

"Why would it be useless?"

"It was designed to respond only to your and your mate. Only one or the other of you could activate the shield, and it takes both of you for it to be a weapon. So, since your life-mate didn't survive to make it out of the pod chamber, it will never be able to be used as a weapon again. The shield it creates is impenetrable, however, it requires a massive amount of energy to produce. Even if you had the Shield, you're not ready yet to use it. If you were to try, it just might kill you in the process."

"What if the three of us used it together?" Max asked, careful to make no mention of Liz's powers.

"Michael and Isabel won't even be able to touch it. It will repel anyone who isn't you."

"How does it work? I mean, how does it know when it's me and not someone else?"

"I don't know all of the technical details; I'm not one of the scientists who engineered it. What I can tell you is this: You all have powers and abilities. They radiate from you at a certain energy frequency. That frequency is based on which of your abilities is the strongest." Seeing that Max wasn't completely following what he was saying, Nasedo clarified, "Each one of you can do the same things, but to a greater or lesser degree. Your brains are human, just like your powers are human. So, like a human, you have been preprogrammed to be stronger in some things than in others. Let me give you an example: Most humans can play baseball, right? But some are really good, while most others can barely throw the ball. Their ability to play baseball well or not comes from their brain. To be a 'natural' if you see what I mean." Max nodded to show he was following so far. "Each of you are 'naturally' better at some things than the others, and this gets defined in the pattern of energy you project when you use your powers." He explained, "You are the strongest with molecular manipulation; Michael at harnessing and releasing bursts of energy, Isabel can go into people's subconsciouses, and your mate was to be able to see a person's past by touching them and forming a connection with them."

Nasedo continued, "So when you touch the Shield it will recognize you by the energy frequency created by your specific powers that you give off, just like it would have recognized your mate had she survived."

"You said that we can all do the same things? I've never been able to dream-walk like Isabel, neither has Michael."

"Your powers are still developing. Everyday they get a little stronger. When was the last time you actually tried it?" Max was silent, thinking of how he assumed he couldn't do it, and hadn't tried in years. "You can do anything you put your mind to. The only one stopping you is you."

Max shot him a look.

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