|"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.
|"Sheriff, I need your help." Max stood uncomfortably in front of Sheriff
Valenti's desk two days later. Glad to see him, the sheriff was intrigued.
Despite knowing Max's secret, he knew very little else about the alien. Max
was a closed individual who talked openly to only a few people. The sheriff
had been dying to call Max into his office to get every detail of his past
out of him, but knew it would be futile, and could possibly damage what
little rapport they have now. He owed Max Evans a great debt, and would do
anything in his power to help him.|
"Come in. Sit down." He studied the younger man. "You look tired. Are you recovered from..." he left the last unsaid. How do you ask a guy if he's over being tortured and hunted by the FBI?
"Yeah. The drugs were the worst of it, and they wore off by the next day."
"Hmm. So what can I do for you?"
"You remember Ed Harding?"
"The guy who turned in the surveillance camera? Yeah. You never did tell me why you were watching him."
Max sat very still. "It was actually his daughter we were watching."
A snippet of whispered conversation floated through Valenti's mind. '...She scares me.' 'That's why we won't let her win. So go change your clothes and we'll go back to the garage and watch her on the monitor.' Max and Liz had been so wrapped up in each other they hadn't noticed him coming to stand close enough to hear. When Harding turned in the camera, Valenti assumed it was he the kids had been watching. Apparently he'd been wrong. What could they possibly hope to gain from watching a sixteen year old girl? "His daughter. Why?"
Embarrassed now, Max shifted in his seat. "We thought she was the shape-shifter."
Valenti sat forward on full alert. "Is she?"
"Why did you think she was?"
"I really don't want to talk about it." The sheriff just looked at him.
"She was making things happen... to me. Making me see things... She had some kind of power over me." Max looked down at his hands folded in his lap.
"So, who is she, Max?"
"She's like me. She's another one of us." Seeing the look on Sheriff Valenti's face, "That's it, Sheriff. There's just the four of us."
Until two weeks ago, Sheriff Valenti had thought that Max was the only alien, plus the mysterious shape-shifter. While rescuing him from the FBI, he discovered that Isabel Evans and their friend Michael were also "not of this world." He had been a little overwhelmed at the knowledge, but still determined to do the right thing.
"How do you know there aren't any others?"
"The four of us were incubated in pods until eleven years ago. When we came out, we looked just like normal six-year-old humans. The Evans who adopted us picked up Isabel and me off the side of the road. Michael hid when he saw the headlights. That's how we got separated. Someone who put him into foster care, with Hank, must have picked him up. Tess was the last to come out of the pods. We were already gone. We had forgotten where the pods were, or that she existed, until she and her dad came back to town."
"We all went back to the cave where the pods are two weeks ago. There are only four pods."
There was a moment of silence as the sheriff absorbed this. Max continued, "Ed Harding is the shape-shifter."
Valenti stood up and crossed to his window. "The shape-shifter. Ed Harding. Ed Harding who was here in my office turning in that camera. That Ed Harding?"
"Yes. He arrived at the incubation pods too late to get us, but Tess was still there. He became her guardian. She's been with him ever since. I don't know much about him other than he's different than us. The four of us are actually about 85% human, but he is 100% alien. He was in the crash. He sometimes goes by the name Nasedo which means 'visitor'. It's what we call him, anyway." Max paused. "You've actually talked with him more than I have, first as Dr. Margolin, then as Ed Harding."
The sheriff's head began to spin with the ramifications of this. Twice he'd had conversation in this very office with a murdering, shape-shifting alien. Twice, and he hadn't known either time. He suddenly felt like he'd been had. "Where is he now?"
"We had him replace Agent Pierce in the Special Unit. He is currently probably in Virginia destroying every document that has any mention of any of us in the FBI vaults." Max looked relaxed for the first time since he'd entered the office, and Valenti shared his relief. The plan was diabolical, to put an alien in charge of the special alien hunting unit of the FBI. That goes beyond irony. "So here's where I need your help."
Valenti came back and sat down at his desk.
"Tess Harding's father has been missing for two weeks." Max gave him a look. "She's been staying with us, but that situation can't last. Could you officially come and get her? Place her in foster care or something? I don't know what to do with their house. Perhaps you could contact Agent Pierce at the FBI. I believe they knew each other."
Valenti was able to keep up with what Max was saying. He was being asked to take official action against a possible abandoned minor. To place said minor into protective custody. This was completely within his rights as an officer of the law. It was, in fact his duty to take action, now that he'd been made aware of the situation. But there was something he needed to clear up. "You said she's..."
"And you don't want her to stay with..."
"No. Isn't there a law for this or something? There's no room at Michael's apartment, or we'd just have her go there. She has to leave our house as soon as possible. Or sooner," Max said thinking about what had happened last night. "She can't stay at her house by herself indefinitely, right?"
"Right. I see your point. I'll ask around and make sure there has been a report that he's missing, and put the wheels in motion."
"Thanks, Sheriff. I appreciate it. Let me know when everything's ready. I'd like to be there when you come to get her. To make sure everything is fine." His eyes spoke volumes. They shook hands. Max glanced over Valenti's shoulder to the picture of his son on his bookcase. "How's Kyle doing at basketball camp?"
"He's good. Having the time of his life."
"That's good." There was a pause. "Is he... It's just... we were never friends, Sheriff. The opposite in fact. I'm sorry he was there. I told him to stay home, but I guess he was determined to protect you... from me."
Max still felt responsible for Kyle having gotten shot in the first place. If only Kyle hadn't followed him to the UFO Center, he would never have gotten hurt.
Knowing the other boy's distrust of him, he should have realized Kyle would not have just stayed quietly at home once he found out that Max was in someway involved with his dad. It was because of him that he had gotten caught in the crossfire and had nearly died. The fact that he was able to save Kyle using his healing powers in no way released him from his feelings of guilt.
"He's a good son."
"He's had a good father." After he left, Valenti thought about all Max had said, and all he hadn't said. He wondered what kind of power Tess had over him to make him almost fear her. He also was beginning to understand what could prompt three scared high school teenagers to risk everything to protect him: he had this way of looking into a person's eyes.
At the CrashDown, Isabel sat down in her usual booth. Liz came over without asking and set a Coke in front of her. "Hey."
"Hey. Can I get you anything?"
"How about a happier brother." Things we pretty strained at the Evans' house. When Max was home he rarely left his room. Moping is too weak a word to describe his actions lately. Then there was Tess. Did the girl not know the word "no"? She had been staying at their house since Nasedo left to replace Agent Pierce in the FBI. Nightly, it seemed, they had to evict her from Max's room. He'd been considering staying at Michael's, but he couldn't stay there forever. Ever since Liz broke up with Max, Tess has taken it for granted that Max was hers, and she's done everything but tie him up to get him to notice her.
Isabel couldn't understand what was driving Tess. Aside from the initial dreams she and Michael shared, she didn't feel any all-encompassing need to go to him. Other than a new awareness of him, her feelings for Michael were the same as they always were. Her feelings for Alex were as strong. She would go to great lengths to protect either one of them, whatever it takes. But to be driven to such lengths to posses Michael? No, Isabel couldn't understand. Of course, she didn't understand Max's on-going obsession with Liz, either.
Liz was turning away, and Isabel grabbed her arm. "Can you sit for a minute? We need to talk, sister to sister."
"Look," Isabel began as Liz slid into the booth. "I understand why you broke up with him. Part of me even admires you for the strength it must have taken. But he needs you. By not being with him, you're probably hurting him more than you're helping."
Liz's heart soared at those words, then plummeted again as she remembered all the times she'd seen them together this past week. "I don't believe that. I've seen him. He looks pretty happy with Tess."
"Happy? Tess is driving him insane."
"Isabel, you must be mistaken. Trust me, he's with the one he wants now." Liz stood back up, leaving Isabel to look after her thoughtfully.
As she was leaving, she told Liz, "I'm here for you if you need me. I'm your friend, too. Remember that."
Liz smiled shyly. "Thanks."
Max didn't feel like going home. When he left Sheriff Valenti's office, he went to the warehouse where Michael was working. After waiting for him for over an hour, Michael was able to take a break.
"How's it going?"
"What do you want here, Maxwell?"
"I haven't seen you in a while, thought I'd stop by to see you. Maybe invite you to dinner tonight."
"Nothing. I'm just busy. What are you suddenly, my father?"
"No, I'm your friend. I think we need to talk."
"About what happened two weeks ago. About what happened to Pierce."
"Pierce is dead. What is there to talk about?"
"Don't do this, Michael. Don't do this to yourself. What happened was not your fault. If you hadn't done what you did, he would have killed me, you, Valenti... and then who knows what he would have done to the others without us there to protect them. It wasn't your fault. It was self-defense."
"Lecture over now? I got to get back to work." Michael turned his back on Max and walked back into the warehouse. Max stood there with a frown creasing his forehead. He'd been trying to reach Michael since the accident had happened. Nothing he said seemed to make a dent. Maybe he needed to try a different approach.
He walked as he thought, and wasn't surprised to discover that his feet had carried him to the CrashDown. Maria was waiting tables.
"Hi to you, too." He gave her an apologetic smile but let the question stand. "She's upstairs. She asked me to cover for her."
"Is something wrong?"
"You tell me." Implying that if something was making Liz unhappy, he had to be the source of it.
"I'll go see her."
"And will that make it better or worse?" But Maria was talking to his back.
Upstairs of the CrashDown Café are the living quarters of the Parkers. Liz Parker had lived here all her life. Going up the stairs Max could actually feel her presence getting closer. He turned towards her room.
Max opened the door and spotted Liz sitting on her bed. She was trying not to look at him. Flipping through her yearbook, she was reading all of the inscriptions. Sometimes he was surprised to remember that she had friends other than Alex and Maria, but he remembered seeing her surrounded by lots of kids at school as they were growing up. He didn't buy a yearbook. What would have been the point? None of the memories he most cherished from this past year were incorporated in its pages. The one basketball game he'd made it to Liz had been cheering for Kyle. He hadn't participated in any football games, no clubs, and no extracurricular activities, unless you count running from the FBI.
The yearbook didn't mention the most perfect date he'd ever been on where Liz had agreed to dance with him. Kissing Liz at Buckley Point wasn't in there either. No, Max had no need for a yearbook to commemorate this past year.
"Hey." She was so beautiful, but looked tired. Had she lost weight? Max's protective instincts came to the fore, but he said nothing. "Max, what are you doing here?"
"I came to see you." Max gave up trying to get her to look at him. "If my favorite waitress won't wait on me, then I'm not hungry. Are you ok?"
"Umm, yeah. I'm fine. I, um, I had a headache."
He came over and sat down next to her. "Liz, I need to ask you a favor... but I need you to keep it a secret from Alex... and Maria."
That brought her head up. He'd only ever asked her one time to keep a secret, the fact that she was unable to not withstanding, that he would ask such a thing immediately got her full attention.
"Of course, what is it."
"I'm serious, now. No one." She nodded. "I'm worried about Michael. I've tried talking to him, but he's not letting me in. I think he is upset over what happened to Pierce. I still remember what he said when it happened. He thinks he's a killer. That he's some... evil... thing."
"He's afraid of hurting someone else."
"He won't listen to me or Isabel. He's not talking to Maria. Please, Liz. I think he might listen to you. Please get him to talk about it."
"Ok. I'll try."
A silence fell, before Max grew uncomfortable. This was the first time they'd been alone since he'd ordered her out of his room last week. To this day he still couldn't figure out what had happened. But he suddenly felt the need to apologize. "Liz, I'm sorry about..."
"That's ok. Forget about it." She cut him off. She wouldn't be able to bear listening to him apologize for becoming attached to Tess. She was his destiny after all, and Liz wasn't sure she could stand to hear it said out loud.
"Are you sure? I just feel so strange about it."
"No, that's good. It's fine. Really."
"Ok, well maybe... maybe I should go." He would have given anything to stay.
"All right." She would have done anything to prevent him from leaving.
"Uh, Michael usually gets home by eight o'clock."
|Part 1 | Index | Part 3|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|