|"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.
|Liz decided there was nothing she loved more than waking up in Max Evans'
arms. She stretched slightly, and they tightened around her. She lifted
her head and looked into his face. He was smiling. "Good morning."
"Hmmm." He purred as the bent to kiss her. "Good morning." They looked around. Michael and Maria were still asleep. Alex was leaning up on one elbow, stroking Isabel's hair, watching her sleep.
They weren't in any hurry, so Liz collapsed back down on Max's chest. Sighing contentedly, she dozed lightly for a few minutes. 'Yes,' she decided sleepily, 'she could definitely get used to this.'
It was the sound of approaching footsteps that finally roused them all. Max rose quickly and stepped to the entrance of the cave. It was Riverdog who had seen their cars go by yesterday, but not leave. He was afraid something was wrong. Max assured him that they were all ok.
"I'm glad you're here. We were coming by to see you later today anyway."
"Oh?" As usual, Riverdog was a man of few words.
"Yes. We need a favor." Max explained what they needed Riverdog to do.
Tess was sitting in the CrashDown when Michael and Maria came in. Maria was saying, "...I left it in my locker." They spotted Tess.
While Maria went into the back, Michael walked over to where the shape-shifter was sitting.
"Hey." He sat down. "How's it going? With the foster care and all?"
"It's fine. Not like living with Max and Isabel, or Nasedo, for that matter. It's strange sometimes."
"Yeah, I'll bet. Are your foster parents nice?"
"I guess. I mean, they have two other foster kids besides me, they're pretty busy. But they seem nice."
"That's good. I know how it can be... My foster father, Hank, he could be real mean. I just want you to know that if things get rough there, you can count on me."
Maria walked back over, brandishing a small black sack. "I got it. Hey, Tess." Then to Michael who was standing up, "Are you ready to go? We don't want to be late."
They started to walk away, when Maria stopped and looked over her shoulder. Tess sank back into her seat. She was planning to follow them, sure they would lead her to Max. Maria said, "You know, I bet Tess would like to come, too."
"You're probably right." Michael turned back to Tess. "We were on our way to the Indian reservation to see Riverdog. Would you like to meet him?"
"Meet Riverdog?" The Indian Nasedo told her he'd lived with all the years he was waiting for his charges to hatch? Tess was intrigued in spite of herself. "Yeah, sure." Grabbing her bag she slid out of the booth.
They drove to the reservation in near silence. Once there, Michael parked next to Max's jeep. "Max is here, too?" Tess asked.
"Yeah, there's some kind of ceremony here today. We were invited to stay and watch. Maria and I returned to town only to get the stones," he motioned to the black bag Maria was carrying.
"The Healing Stones?"
"Yep, those are the ones." Maria was flippant. "Riverdog said they were to be used in the ceremony."
"Yeah, the ceremony is to celebrate Nasedo and his arrival here. He was very respected in the tribe. They realized right away that he was a 'visitor' and welcomed him."
"Yeah, in fact that's how he got his name. Nasedo means 'visitor' in their language."
They were walking toward two small teepees where they could hear drums and chanting. "Riverdog said that first we have to go to a cleansing, the women in one tent, the men in another, then the ceremony could begin." The tent with the chanting was all male voices. "This one must be mine." He bent quickly and kissed Maria. "See you soon."
The two girls opened the flap to the second tent and went inside. It was dark and uncomfortably hot in the tent. It got hotter as an old woman began to throw herbs and other stuff onto the fire. Several hands reached for the two newcomers. They guided the girls to the opposite side of the small tent where they sat down. The wrinkled old woman began a chant, and the rest of the ladies followed.
Tess could see Liz sitting across from her, but no Isabel. "Where's Isabel?"
"Shh, no talking," Maria whispered. "She must still be on her way."
It was getting difficult to breathe. Tess wondered how the others could stand it. She began coughing and wheezing. The old woman threw more herbs onto the fire, making it smoke unbearably. Within seconds of entering the tent, Tess was desperate to get out of it. The chanting grew louder as the women passed around a bowl of water. Tess was coughing so hard she could barely bring the bowl to her lips. Rather than soothing her throat, she felt worse after drinking. Scared now in a way she'd never been, she knew had to get out. But how? She couldn't see the exit. What was wrong with her eyes?
What was happening to her? Instinct driving her on, she felt along the edge of the tent until she came to the door. Hands reached out to restrain her. Breaking free, she opened the flap and stepped out into the desert. She didn't know which way to run, but she forced herself to move.
She never saw Max, Michael, Alex and Isabel standing there watching her. Liz and Maria stepped out of the tent. Together the teens slowly followed the alien who had come to destroy them. They knew she didn't have much time. A few months ago, Michael had come to the reservation looking for Riverdog, and had been invited to join in something called a 'sweat'. It was a ritual cleansing. Something about the heat and the smoke upset the alien's biological systems, and within hours, he lay near to death with the others powerless to help him. They came to Riverdog looking for answers and discovered that the exact same thing had happened to Nasedo while he was living with the Indians. Riverdog had in his possession something he called Healing Stones. They were round crystals from Nasedo's home planet that had the power to harness energy and direct it towards the alien, restoring the normal balance that the 'sweat' had interrupted in the alien's body. They were able to restore Michael just as Riverdog had restored Nasedo all those years ago. So when the teens were trying to figure out how to stop a creature as powerful as Tess, Michael remembered and suggested the 'sweat.' It was just a matter of getting the help of Riverdog's people.
Max glanced down at the black bag that Maria was carrying. "Why did you bring the Healing Stones? We're not going to use them."
Maria shook the bag, "What this? This isn't the stones." She opened the bag, reached in and pulled out a bottle of Tabasco sauce. "Michael was complaining about the food last night while we were eating." She dropped the sauce back into her purse and zipped it closed.
Max shot Michael a look.
Michael just shrugged, "It was bland."
They found Tess laying in the shade of a large rock formation. She was in pretty bad shape. She heard their approach, and through her fever, pleaded with them to save her.
"Save you," Max sneered. "Like you would have saved us? Like you saved us on our home planet when we trusted you? Like you saved my wife when you found her in the incubation chamber? Like you saved Liz from getting hit by that car?"
"Go to Hell," said Michael, meaning it literally.
Not able to watch, but unable to leave, either, the six of them moved away. Within two hours, she was completely covered in a cocoon. Max, Michael and Alex took turns digging a deep, deep hole. Whether it was impossible for her to fully die, they didn't know, but they would make it impossible for her to escape if she ever did recover.
Dusk was approaching as Max and Michael scooped away the netting that covered her. Apparently, as she had weakened, she had been unable to hold the form of Tess, and had shape-shifted back into her true alien state.
Isabel and Michael stared at her as Max and Alex drug her over to the hole, and dropped her in without ceremony.
"Stand back," Max said as he jumped in after her with the shovel. They heard it striking the earth hard - once, twice. "That's for my wife - for both times I failed to protect her." Then Max climbed back out of the grave.
In silence they watched him fling dirt back down on top of what remained of Tess Harding. Liz walked over to him, grabbed a double handful of dirt and tossed it into the hole with all her might. "That's for me. And this is for hurting Max." She sent more dirt flying down the hole. Soon, everyone else had pitched in, and other than the pile of freshly laid dirt, there was no evidence that anyone had wandered out here to die. Then even that proof disappeared as Max waved his hand slowly over the gravesite. The ground now lay a smooth as ever with no indication that anything had happened here.
The group walked back to the reservation quietly, each caught up in their own thoughts. Maria and Alex were glad it was over. Things would return to normal. School would be starting soon, and life would go on. Michael and Isabel were thinking briefly on their destinies, and how far they'd come since this time last year. They had faced the devil twice, first with Pierce, then with Tess, and come out stronger for it. They found love and strength in their human counterparts, and vowed to never let them go again. They had allies now where there used to be only enemies: like Sheriff Valenti, Riverdog and Nasedo. They were ready to face their destinies.
Liz was thinking about what the lady in the orbs had said about them learning to use their powers and abilities. 'Our enemies have come to the Earth,' she had said. 'you will know them only by the evilness within... You must learn to use your powers...to combat the enemy...' Liz was determined to continue to learn how to use the powers she was given. To explore the possibilities of her own limitations so that she would be an asset to this team. She felt that everything that had happened to her this year was fate. That she was meant all along to replace the fourth alien, Max's wife. She would take her place at his side, not standing in the way of his destiny as she'd told him a month ago outside to pod chamber, but standing beside him, facing it with him head on. And when the time came for him to leave here, to return to his home and fight for the freedom of those who are counting on him, she, Liz Parker, once the smallest of small town girls, would be right there with him.
Max was thinking about the images he'd seen from Liz's flash, and the beings that had been in it. Tess's allies were waiting for her to return to them, and soon. When she didn't, they would come looking for her, he knew. It wasn't over yet. This was only an intermission. He needed to learn what the alien's weaknesses were. They couldn't continue to lure unsuspecting aliens into the sweat lodge. There had to be a way they could fight their enemies without involving a tribe of peaceful Indians.
He needed to talk to Nasedo. Nasedo could give him the answers he needed. Come to think of it, he didn't even know if his people's enemies are from the same planet as his people. They were assuming they were. What if they weren't? He needed to know more. He would also have to talk to Sheriff Valenti again. Tess would go reported as missing and there'd be an investigation if he didn't nip it in the bud. Plus the sheriff should be made aware they are now expecting several hostile aliens to arrive in Roswell any day now. There might be an outright war.
He sighed and pulled Liz closer. You would think a small town like Roswell, New Mexico would be a quiet, nothing-ever-happens here kind of town. Max smiled and shook his head as he thought of the events that had unfolded to bring them all to this point. 'Never a dull moment,' he thought.
The six of them returned to Nasedo's cave, happy to steal one more night together before returning to Roswell and taking back up their lives. That night, they shared friendship and laughter, completely unencumbered by the stress and worry of the past. For this moment in time, they able to enjoy each other and laugh and joke as they never had before. They feel asleep, each one of them comfortable with themselves and their place in the world.
Early the next morning, Max left the cave and drove to the pod chamber. He carefully dug up the remains of his beloved wife. He could see her as she was in Liz's flash and felt a stirring echo of the feelings his former self had felt for her. He remembered seeing her as she had looked floating weightlessly inside the incubation pod. Felt his reluctance to leave her, but the pressing need he had to stay with Michael and Isabel overrode it.
At some level he was filled with sorrow and remorse for having failed this tiny creature in so many ways. He gently transferred her bones to a small sack.
He drove with her out to the cliffs in the desert where he and his friends sometimes went to talk in safety. He found a quiet spot where trees grow year around, and buried her there. He used his powers to carve a cross onto the tree that would shelter her from now on. He whispered a quiet prayer and stood listening to the river as it babbled by, and the wind stirred the leaves in the trees. A feeling of peace settled over him. Peace and contentment such as he had never known. It was like she had reached out from the grave and stroked his cheek. He heard a voice speak softly in his ear, "I am always with you, my love. Turn around." He turned and saw Liz Parker standing fifty feet away, clearly not wanting to intrude, but drawn to him in ways she couldn't explain. The ghostly voice whispered, "Come to me, I am waiting for you."
|Part 10 | Index
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours