|"Always With You"|
by Watcher Tara
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Roswell.|
Summary: Do you want to know what happens after Destiny? This takes place a week later, when Liz and Tess face off over Max, and the gang must fight off an unspeakable evil with a familiar face. I'm betting money that I guessed the whole first half of the next season.
Authors Note: You'll love it, or your money back! Please, please e-mail me with your thoughts.
|"Isabel, what are you doing here?" Tess asked after opening the door of her
"Hi. I haven't seen you in a while, and thought maybe we could get together. Have some girl time."
Tess was surprised, and a little suspicious. Isabel's timing was a bit off. Had they figured out that she was responsible for Liz's accident? Wondering what Isabel's motive could be, she invited her inside.
They talked for a few moments, then Isabel said, "You know what I really wanted to do today? There's a carnival in Hondo. They have rides and games... Doesn't that sound like fun? Let's go, just you and me. They have people who will braid your hair, or face painting, and stuff like that. We can spend all day talking. I have so many questions I never got to ask you - about growing up and Nasedo."
"I thought you'd be carnival-ed out." Tess said, referring to the night Max was captured by Agent Pierce. They'd lost him at a carnival.
"I'm not expecting the FBI to join us, so I think it's safe to go. We won't even tell the others. Let's just go."
Still not sure if Isabel was being sincere but willing to play along, lord knows she had nothing else planned to do today, Tess agreed.
At the carnival, Liz was putting the finishing touches on her gypsy costume. She wore a fake red wig, which was almost completely covered by a shawl. All she needed to do was fasten the veil across her face, and the only part of her showing would be her eyes. There's no way Tess would be able to tell it was her.
They had given the fortuneteller fifty dollars to let them use her tent for an hour. They told her it was for a practical joke on one of their friends. She was reluctant, but Isabel had given her a little mental push, and the lady had agreed. Isabel had left shortly after to collect Tess. Liz's phone rang, and Max answered it as Liz adjusted the giant hoop earrings that dangled from her ears nearly to her shoulders. "Hello? Ok. We'll be ready." He hung up and turned to Liz. "That was Maria. They just came in the main gates."
"Liz, if anything happens to you..."
"Max, I'll be fine."
"All of us will be right here."
He bent down and gave her a kiss for luck. It turned into a kiss for love. He clutched her to him briefly, then let her go. She disappeared into the darkened tent, fastening her veil as she went. He could hear his sister's voice asking Tess if there was anything she wanted to do first, then, "Oh look, a fortune teller. Let's have our fortune told. It'll be so funny."
"It'll be a waste of time. Isabel, do you really want to do this?"
"Yeah. I promise it'll take a minute, then we'll do something you want to do."
"Great. You first." She pushed Tess into the tent.
"Ladies," Liz was sitting at a round, cloth covered table with a crystal ball sitting on it. She disguised her voice as best as she could. She motioned the two girls closer. "Come, sit. You are here today as skeptics. You do not believe Madame Tashia can read your future. Come, sit," Liz said again as she motioned with her hands towards the chair that was positioned in front of her. "You will leave here as believers. You." She pointed at Tess. "You will be the first."
Tess reluctantly sat down on the rickety chair. "Good, now place your hands on the table like this," Liz demonstrated. When Tess had complied, Liz began to slowly wave her hands in the air, and chant. She had been to a fortuneteller once, years ago, and she tried to remember the performance the other woman had put on.
From behind the tent, Maria hit the play button on the CD player. Strange gypsy music filled the tent. With her foot, Liz slowly turned up the lamp under the crystal ball, causing it to glow. She chanted for a moment longer, then looked at Tess, and said, "A moment of silence, please as I concentrate, then the spirits of the otherworld will whisper to me of your future." She put her hands on the table as Tess had, then began focusing inside herself.
She fanned the source of her power as quickly as she could, making it burn as brightly inside her as it ever had. This had to work. They might never get another chance. It took less than a minute, and when Liz was ready, she reached out her hands and said, "It is time! Quickly, put your hands in mine, and look into my eyes so that I might see your future."
As soon as they touched, the connection began. Liz was transported to some bizarre dream world. She heard no voices, but conversations whispered through her mind. In black and white, she thought she saw Max, but it wasn't Max. It looked like one of the little plastic aliens from the UFO Convention center. Whatever it was, it was crying out in anguish and betrayal while Liz could feel Tess gloating. She saw two other beings struggling against their foes. Then they were obviously dead, just before the alien who was Max - but wasn't - got struck down. More scenes of other strange beings whispering to Tess of their plans, then she was hurtling through space, and to the Earth. She didn't get a sensation of crashing, but a smooth landing. She saw Tess shape-shift into human form of a woman. She then saw her enter the pod chamber. Three pods were empty, and she felt Tess's anger, but wait, there was the fourth pod. The real Tess was still inside of it. Liz felt the malice and triumph as this Tess rammed a shovel through the thin membrane of the pod. The clear liquid that poured out was mixed with blood. The shovel slammed into the small fetal-like alien again and again, and Liz felt her glee as Tess destroyed the helpless creature. Then she was digging. Liz saw Tess bury the small body, whispering, 'That's twice now your husband has left you to die at my hands. Will he ever learn not to leave you alone?' When the body was buried, Liz watched as Tess shape-shifted into the very same small alien she had just killed just as someone entered the cave. Nasedo. Liz heard her planning: he will lead her to the others and when they were all dead, she could return home, triumphant, a hero. The last thing Liz saw as the flash ended was Max, her Max from here and now, and Tess's plans for him.
The connection broken, Tess jumped up, pulling her hands out of Liz's grip. "What the hell was that?"
Shaken, Liz tried to force her mind into the present. It was vital that Tess suspect nothing. "The spirits have spoke to me. I have seen your future."
"You tell me what just happened, or..."
"Tess." Isabel spoke up. "It's all right. It's all part of Madame Tashia's routine. What's wrong?"
"Come, sit and I will tell you what the spirits have told me." Liz just wanted her to leave. She needed to be alone to process all that she had seen. The conclusions she had drawn were unbelievable. Incredible.
Tess sat down. Liz thought quickly. "You have come from far away, and are looking forward to returning." Tess sat forward eagerly at this correct bit of information. "You will meet a man with blond hair. He has no money, but you will be happy with him. Your first child will be a girl, and you will name her for your mother whom you loved very much." Liz was running out of ideas. "Your lucky numbers are 2 and 7. Maybe if you play the lottery, you will win and be rich. That is all the stars have shown me."
Tess stood up. "What a crock." She stormed out of the tent.
Isabel stood up to follow, "Tess, wait."
Liz quickly moved around the table as fast as her shaking legs could carry her. She caught Isabel's arm. "Get away from her. Now. Make up anything, but get away from her. Meet us at Nasedo's cave on the reservation."
"What did you see?" Isabel whispered.
Liz just shook her head, unwilling to go into it with Tess so near. As Isabel ran out the front of the tent, Max, Michael, Maria and Alex all crowed into it from the rear. Liz went straight into Max's arms. She saw shaking so hard she could hardly stand up. Her ears were ringing, and she felt distinctly queasy.
She quickly stripped off her gypsy costume, and folding it neatly, placed it on the chair along with the borrowed jewelry. "We have to go to the cave on the Indian reservation where Nasedo used to live. We have to stay there. Tess doesn't know about it or where it is. I think it could be the only place where we'll be safe." She looked at Max then Michael. "We have to go now."
At the cave where they had once healed Michael when he had been so sick, the five of them sat staring at Liz as she tried to explain what she had seen. Isabel had just joined them after dropping off Tess. There were sleeping bags strewn around and a cooler with pop and food. They were prepared to stay here as long as it takes.
Not sure how to begin, Liz plunged straight into the heart of the matter. "Tess isn't like you guys, she's a shape-shifter, like Nasedo."
"That's not possible. She was engineered like we were. I remember seeing her in the pod."
"She was. She was, but the girl from the pod isn't the Tess who is walking around now."
Liz stood up and walked over to the wall there Nasedo had painted the symbols for the others to find. She touched the four square symbol lightly. "In the flash, I saw your people, Max. I saw your home planet. I saw you. The first you. The one whose essence was used to create you." Max and the others stared at her, speechless. "You were communicating with Tess, whoever she really is, and you were full of grief and pain, and..." she met his eyes, "betrayal. She had somehow betrayed you, and you were sick over it. I think you found out that she had she killed your wife. She was gloating over it. After, I saw her meeting with other aliens and heard their whispered plans. Then I saw the two of you," she looked helplessly at Michael and Isabel. "Isabel was dead, and Michael was killed while trying to protect her." Michael pulled Isabel, who began to weep, into his embrace. "They were both dead." She looked at Max. "Then she had her followers kill you, too."
Liz hated to continue, wanting to protect Max from a past he had nothing to do with, but he must know all of what happened if he were to understand what was driving Tess's actions of today. "All of you were dead, ... and ... somehow, all of it was your... fault."
"My fault?" Max looked ready to cry himself.
"From what Tess was feeling, and what I heard her whispering to her people, I think she used you. Somehow got close to you... and... you trusted her... and she was able to find out information and use it against you and those you loved."
"She was a spy?" Alex asked.
"Yeah, I think that's exactly it."
"You think she... that they... I mean," Maria could hardly get the words out.
Liz slowly nodded.
"That is, after all, how all female spies have always gotten information from their targets since the dawn of time," said Alex.
"It would kind of explain why Tess is so determined to seduce Max now," Isabel added.
"She wants him to have the same feelings of guilt as the last time. She felt so powerful when it was over. To have him at her mercy. She wants the same feeling again." Liz looked at her five friends, "Her mission is to make sure all of you are dead, and she is to let nothing stand in her way. "I think that's why she kept the box of photos. They were a back-up plan, in case she failed, she was going to blow the lid off of everything and turn all of you over to the government. The Special Unit wouldn't have been the only group itching to get their hands on you. On the other hand, she helped rescue you from Pierce because she really wanted to do the honors herself. At least, that's the impression I got of from the vision."
There was a full five minutes of silence as everyone processed all of this shocking information. Then Michael asked, "Wait a second, then if she isn't really Tess, then where is the real one?"
Everyone looked at Liz. Remembering, one tear, then another rolled down her face. "Tess killed her." There was a moment of stunned incredulity.
"When? How?" Michael wanted to know.
"She found the pod chamber. You guys were already gone. Your Tess was still asleep in her pod when this one came in and killed her. She killed her, then buried the body. She had shape-shifted into Tess just as Nasedo showed up. She's been waiting for him to lead her to you all this time. Now that she has you it's just a matter of time before she kills you... again."
"Oh my god." Maria was stunned. Then, "that explains something I've always wondered about."
"What?" Michael asked.
"Why she looked so different from the three of you. I mean, you all are tall with dark brown eyes, but Tess is short with blue eyes. She probably knew what her face was supposed to look like from the engraving in the alien book, but she didn't know how tall to grow, or what coloring was right."
Liz and Alex nodded, that same thought having occurred to them, too.
"So, what are we going to do?"
"What ever we do, we need to do it fast. She's getting impatient. Her people are expecting her to return to them. She's about ready to forgo her games in order to fulfill her mission." Liz warned.
"I need to think." Max got up and walked into the other chamber of the cave. His mind whirled with what Liz had told him. Part of him was in denial, he realized. Denial of what he wasn't sure. That Tess was his enemy, that she had killed before or that she was out to get him now. He could hear the others. Talking. Asking Liz questions. He could hear her sweet voice, still a little hoarse from her experiences today.
He wished he could see what she had seen. Liz had seen his home planet. She knew what his people looked like. They must not be green and slimy, he thought, because Liz didn't seem repulsed to be near him. On the other hand, Liz loved him for who he is, not for what he was in a past life. Sometimes, she forgot about him being an alien at all, he knew. Then suddenly, he stopped. The connection. Maybe he could create a connection between them as he had done the day after she had found out his secret and see what she had seen. Then maybe he could figure out what to do.
"Liz." He called her, and she came into the room. He didn't notice everyone was at her heels. "I want to know... I need... to know... to see..."
She realized right away what he was asking of her. "Max..." Liz wanted to protect him from the pain this would cause. Being told someone had killed and betrayed everyone you love is a little different from experiencing it firsthand. "I told you everything, Max. There's no need..."
"Please, Liz," he begged her with his voice, with his eyes. Against her will, she stepped closer. "But, Max..."
Her reached out and stroked her hair. "Please," he whispered. Unable to resist, she nodded. "This might not even work, but I have to try."
He cupped her face and tilted it up so that he was looking deep into her eyes. Deeper. Until he again touched her soul. "Think of Tess, and what you saw today," he whispered the sound so soft it barely carried to her ears. Helpless to deny him, she complied. The images came at him fast and furious, just as they had to Liz earlier. He felt the pain and humiliation, the betrayal so deep it nearly knocked him to his knees. He didn't think he could feel a pain any deeper than when he saw his young wife laying dead, until he saw Michael's valiant yet unsuccessful struggle to protect himself and Isabel. He knew then that he was wrong. There are infinite levels of pain, and he was experiencing all of them. Like Liz, even though they were in alien form, he had no doubts that the creatures he was seeing be brutally cut down were his sister and her fiancÚ. And himself. Helpless he looked on as his betrayer came to the Earth and took on human form. He flinched at the first strike of the shovel through his mate's incubation pod. He didn't realize he was sobbing aloud as he saw the shovel strike again and again. 'That's twice now your husband has left you to die at my hands..' Then the burying and the arrival of Nasedo.
The connection was broken, and Max blinked to clear his vision. Liz flung herself into his arms. "I'm so sorry, Max. I am so sorry."
He continued to clutch her to him as his body shook with aftershocks of emotion. "Oh, god. Oh my god." He couldn't express the emotions he was feeling. A sick feeling twisted through his gut. He realized that Liz was shaking as bad as he was, and he had forced her to relive the whole thing again. That, more than anything, allowed him to pull himself together. If he had known how ugly it was, he wouldn't have forced her to go through it again. He stroked her hair as she clutched him to her. "It's over. It's over now," he said.
"Not quite," Michael stated. "What are we going to do?"
"We're going to stop her." Anger rolled in his chest. "We're going to get to her before she gets us."
"Go up against a shape-shifting alien who, by her own words, can't be killed." Alex didn't sound happy at the idea.
"What do you mean, 'can't be killed'?" Michael asked.
"When Max was questioning Pierce at the UFO Center the day he died," Isabel said. "I saw Nasedo being zipped into a body bag. He looked dead, and when I told Tess that he was dead, she said that he couldn't die. She said that as long as we could get to him and use the stones we could bring him back."
"Then we won't be bringing her back. She'll stay dead when we're through with her."
"Ok, then how do we get to her?"
Michael straightened. "I think I have an idea."
Tess stood outside the pod chamber. Max, Michael and Isabel weren't anywhere around town. The three humans were missing, too. Diane Evans, Max and Isabel's mom had volunteered the information that they had gone camping. It seemed to be a spur of the moment thing. 'Yeah, I'll bet.' Tess thought. She still wasn't sure what had happened in that fortuneteller's tent earlier today, but she was certain that it was directly related to their sudden need to drop off the face of the earth.
This was the last place she knew to look for them. There weren't any cars parked below, but that didn't mean anything. She hoped they were in here. She would make sure they never left it again. All six of them.
She activated the mechanism that opened the door and stepped inside. Nothing. It was empty. "Damn." Now what? She would have to wait until they showed themselves. Turning, she walked back out into the fading sunlight.
|Part 9 | Index | Part 11|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|