|"August and Everything After"|
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell, but if they are going to drop the ball by not
having it on for months at a time, I wouldn't mind taking the reins.|
Summary: My own idea of what happens after destiny
|It was a slow afternoon at the Crashdown. Maria leaned against the counter, idly
flipping through the newspaper that Mr. Parker brought in for the customers.
Times like these were when she missed Liz the most. |
If Liz were here they would be using this time to catch up on the latest school gossip or make up stories about what they would be doing if they could be anywhere but here. It was one of their favorite slow time activities and had lead to a lot of interesting conversations. She could try the same thing with Liz’s replacement, Helen, but didn’t think it would be as interesting. Somehow she knew all of Helen’s stories would include no-good ex-husbands and the sorry state of child care in Roswell. She was so bored and lonely she was actually glad to see Kyle walk in, thinking he would at least be good for a few minutes entertainment.
“Hey.” He slid into the stool across from her.
“Hey. Can I get you something?” He shook his head. “What’s up?”
He fidgeted nervously. “Coach told me today that I’m starting in our game against Hobbs this Saturday.”
Maria was bored, but not bored enough to talk about basketball. “Congratulations.” She turned back to reading the horoscope.
“No, you don’t understand. When I fell last season I hurt my ankle pretty bad. Coach has been keeping me on the bench, worried that it if I hurt it again there might be a serious problem. Up until last week they were talking like I might actually need an operation. Then I went to my doctor. Now he says it’s better. Like it never even happened.”
“Well, that’s good, isn’t it?”
“But what if it’s because of...” He lowered his voice conspiratorially even though the only other people in the cafe were all the way across the room. “Because of what Max did to me. I mean, a lot of things can happen on the court. How is it going to look if I get bruised or cut up in practice and it’s gone the next day? Or worse, what if it disappears in a game with everybody there watching?”
She couldn’t help but give him a hard time. She brought her head close to his and whispered over-dramatically. “What if it does?”
“I need to know what they’ve done to me.”
“Well, then, it looks like your timing is perfect.” The door opened and Isabel and Alex walked in. “Go talk to Isabel.”
For someone who always acted like such a tough guy, it was funny to see him being such a wimp about talking to a girl. Although considering who the girl was and what they knew about her, Maria couldn’t really blame him. She walked around the counter, grabbed his jacket, and pulled him with her to the booth where they were sitting. “Isabel, someone wants to talk to you.”
Kyle stood by the booth, looking as if at any moment he might bolt out the door, but finally slid slowly into the booth next to Alex. He spoke haltingly, never letting his eyes rest too long on Isabel. “Maria said that you...well, Max actually...may have done something to change me. I need to know if it’s true.”
Kyle’s behavior set Isabel on edge immediately. The way he was acting was exactly the reason why she had tried so hard to fit in, to be normal. She didn’t want to be an alien, didn’t want to be caught by the FBI, and didn’t want to be treated like a circus freak. She felt her old defense mechanisms coming to life again but tried to control them. This was a job that had to be done. She had to put her feelings aside for all their sakes. “Okay, let’s go in back.”
“No!” Kyle looked frightened. “I mean, I would rather be out here. In public.”
This was getting on Isabel’s nerves quick. More than anything she wanted to do something to completely scare him, like she had at first with Maria. She wouldn’t get away with much here with Alex and Maria watching, but thought maybe tonight was time for another dream-walk.
“Give me your hand.” He grudgingly complied. “Okay, now close your eyes and just concentrate.” She closed her own eyes and pushed aside her frustrations of the moment and tried to concentrate on opening her mind up to Kyle. The images started coming. Boy Scouts, Little league, riding bikes around the police station. She tried to just skim the surface, not wanting to find out too much about Kyle, especially not anything to affect her revenge plans. But it popped up anyway. Kyle, seven years old, dressed in his best Sunday clothes sitting quietly on the uncomfortable wooden bench as the judge talked seriously about Mr. and Mrs. Valenti. He knows that after today everything will be different, after today only one of his parents will be around. He wonders if it will be his father, dependable but hardly home, or his mother, capricious, so unhappy with small town life, so much a child still herself. He clings tighter to his father’s hand.
That was long enough. Isabel dropped Kyle’s hand, breaking the connection. “You can open your eyes now.” Kyle looked at his hand, as if expecting that she had changed it somehow. “Did you see anything?”
“What?” Kyle looked at her, confused.
“Did you see anything? Any kind of visions or images or anything like that?”
“Then I think you’re still the same old Kyle Valenti. Sorry.”
“Wait, that’s it?”
Isabel set her hand down on the table by a puddle of spilled coke. It began to sputter and bounce around as if on a hot plate before drying up. “Do you want me to do something else?”
Kyle quickly stood up again. “No, that’s okay.”
“All right then.” Kyle hurried towards the door, obviously anxious to be out of this situation. Isabel was glad to see him go, although now she had Maria and Alex looking at her like parents of a two year old that had just thrown a tantrum.
“Was that really necessary?” Alex asked, sounding more like her father than her boyfriend.
“No, but I thought it added something to the conversation.”
Maria shook her head. “Let me tell you from experience, when you do stuff like that it really doesn’t help make people not want to turn you into the authorities.”
Isabel shrugged. “He already thinks we’re monsters anyway. I don’t think it hurts for him to be a little scared of what we can do to him.”
“Do to who?” Max asked as he, Michael and Tess joined Isabel and Alex at the booth.
“Oh, we just had an interesting encounter with Kyle.” Isabel explained.
“Yeah, he wanted to help and Isabel used her hocus-pocus to basically threaten him.”
Isabel looked at Maria with amusement. “Hocus-pocus?”
“Spare me the lecture, Max. I already got the message from Alex and Maria.”
“What happened?” Tess had been asking Isabel, but it was Max that answered.
“How do you know?”
“Because I’ve been thinking about it, and I realized that it wasn’t healing Liz that changed her. It was something else. Something I did.” Knowing Max and Liz’s relationship nobody wanted to ask what he did to her, so they just waited, hoping it was something he could explain. “Right after the shooting, I wasn’t sure how Liz was going to take what had happened. I wanted to reassure her, let her know that there was nothing to be scared of. I thought if I could show her how I felt about her it might be easier for her to deal with it. So I kind of opened her mind to me. I never realized that what I was doing might be permanent.”
“So let me get this straight.” Michael said. “You wanted to make Liz feel better, but instead you basically made her some sort of antenna for alien thoughts. And now she’s where she can’t help us, and we can’t protect her. Looks like I’m not the only one who can really screw things up.”
“Screw things up?” Tess was incredulous. “This is great. Not only can we get the power we were supposed to have, but we also have Liz. And Alex and Maria can help us, too. We can be even stronger than if it was just us four.”
“But I’m not even sure what I did. And what you’re talking about, it’s using Alex, Maria, and Liz like tools.” Max glanced at Maria and Alex. “In order for them to help us, they would have to be put in danger.”
Alex had promised to protect Isabel any way he could, and he wasn’t going to change his mind now. “I can live with that.”
“But I can’t.”
“So we just ignore the fact that we have the power to help ourselves? We just wait for them to come and kill us?” Tess asked.
“I can’t tell you what to do. But I can tell you that what I did was very...personal. You won’t be able to do it without exposing a lot of yourself.” Michael and Isabel both looked uncomfortable at the thought. “We would still have to face our enemies, even without knowing about this. I’m just saying that we act like it never happened and do the best we can. Just think about it before endangering anyone else we care about.”
Michael set the wrench down in annoyance. Of all the times for someone to be at the door it had to be just when he was in the middle of something. He hastily wiped his hands off on his jeans and after several greasy attempts to manipulate the doorknob remembered he had other options. A slight flexing of his mind and the door swung open on its own.
“Hey, is Tess home yet?”
Isabel dropped her purse on the counter that served as the kitchen table and settled into a bar stool to watch Michael working at the sink. “We’re supposed to go pick up Maria and go shopping and to a movie. Want to come?”
He looked at her like she was crazy, then turned back to fiddling with the faucet.
“I didn’t think you would, I was just trying to be polite...Speaking of politeness and Maria, what’s going on with you two?” The pause in his work was so subtle, Isabel never would have noticed if she hadn’t expected it.
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, Michael. I’ve seen how you’ve been acting around her. I know you guys have this whole dark, moody relationship or whatever going and maybe it works for you. But lately you’ve been rude even by Michael standards.”
“Thank you, Miss Congeniality.”
“You know what I mean. I know you, Michael. Something is bothering you.”
He leaned against the counter and tapped the wrench in his palm. “It’s just...I get the feeling that something bad’s going to happen, and it may be because of Maria.”
Isabel had to admit that she’d had her doubts about Maria at the beginning, but time and again Maria had proven them wrong. “Is it something she did?”
“No, not really. But I keep having this dream. In it she does something...something to betray us. I tell myself that it’s just a dream, but it seems so real. When I wake up it takes me a while to figure out what’s really going on, and even then I still feel it with me. I just can’t shake the feeling that this dream is like the one we had before. Tess said that dream was to guide us. Maybe this one is, too.” He looked pensive for a minute, then shrugged. “Maybe not. All I know is, I look at Maria, and it seems like something’s not right.”
It seemed quite a coincidence to Isabel that Max and Michael would both be having troubling dreams. Then she thought of what Max had said, that they were never ‘just’ dreams for them. She had a feeling that it probably wasn’t coincidence either. Luckily, she thought, she might just have the tools to figure out this problem.
As she thought, she watched Michael at work at the plumbing, and a strange feeling came over her. Michael’s hands moved so surely, with a confident grace she’d never noticed before. Without her wanting it to, her mind placed her own her own skin there instead of the cold, gray metal and she could almost feel his touch, firm yet gentle, leaving it’s trace over the intimate curves of her body. Finally she tore her eyes away, breaking the spell, but not able to dispel the warm, liquid sensation inside of her.
Mercifully, the door opened and Tess flew in, full of apologies about being late and rushing to change her clothes. Isabel was glad to hide her embarrassment in Tess’s franticness, and as soon as Tess was ready, quickly escaped out the door.
The man shuffled unsteadily through the alleyway moving from dumpster to dumpster, his course changing when he spotted Michael coming out from the back of the cafe. It was just another sign of the season in Roswell as any possible shelter filled with transients heading south, escaping the winter frosts. It never bothered Michael to see them like it did other people. Something in him whispered his life wasn’t so different from theirs, that he could just as easily had the same rootless life, and still one day might.
As the man came closer, Michael anticipated the usual request for a handout. “Hey, man. I’m pretty low on cash. I can get you some fries, maybe a burger. But then you got to move on.”
“That won’t be necessary.” The man waved his hand, and as it passed in front of him the man’s appearance changed briefly before falling back into shabby neglect.
“Nasedo.” Michael felt an odd mixture of relief and resentment. “Where have you been? We’ve been trying to reach you for weeks.”
“I’ve had to be very careful lately. I’ve discovered that our enemies are closer than I’d hoped.”
“It seems they’ve been working with Agent Pierce. Their leader has been feeding Pierce’s fear of an alien invasion, promising to help the humans in return for the information that Pierce finds out. I’ve managed to shake him off the trail for now but I think he’s curious. His scouts may be here now.”
“The FBI also hasn’t lost interest in Roswell yet, although I’ve managed to leave a few new clues in some other places. But you must be very careful. They are still watching closely.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled up brown paper bag. “I wouldn’t have risked coming here, but I thought you should have this.”
Michael looked in the bag. All he could see were some rocks and some twisted wires. “I could have gotten this off the floor in shop class.”
“They are tools, and they may be very useful. If you can figure out how to use them.”
Once again the frustration rose up in Michael. “Suppose you tell me.”
Nasedo shrugged. “I don’t know how. My only purpose is to protect you, I don’t know what you were supposed to learn.”
“Great. So, you’re like some intergalactic German Shepherd.”
“That doesn’t mean the knowledge isn’t in you.”
Michael stuffed the bag into his pocket. “Hey, we found something, too. It’s what I’ve been calling you about.” He pulled a neatly folded piece of paper out of his wallet and handed to Nasedo. For once Nasedo looked shocked as he opened it and saw the symbols.
“Where did you get this?”
“I copied them off the wall of a cave up near Los Alamos. What does it say?”
“It says the Anasazi were here living with the indigenous people. It also gives directions to a ship. If it’s still there-”
“It is. We found it.”
Nasedo just stared at Michael as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “This is good news, it’s a good thing I took the chance to come here. I may be back sooner than I thought.”
“You’re not staying?”
“Pierce is already late for an investigation in Wisconsin. Something about some cattle. I don’t understand why humans think anyone from another galaxy would be so interested in their crops and livestock.”
“What should we do?”
“I need to lay out a few more surprises, then I’ll find some way to have Pierce disappear and come back here. Just try not to attract too much attention until then. Oh, and watch out for anyone eating Tic-tacs.”
“They’re small breath fresheners, sold in plastic boxes.”
It seemed to Michael that the conversation had suddenly taken a turn to the rediculous. “Yeah, I’m familiar with them. Why?”
“Well, technically, it doesn’t have to be Tic-Tacs, any kind of mint will do, but Tic-tacs seem to work the best.” If this was a joke, Michael wasn’t getting it. Nasedo saw his confusion and continued. “The earth’s atmosphere is really pretty unique in the amount of oxygen it has. Humans have somehow adapted to such a large amount of toxic gas in the air. I seem to be protected by my hybridization, but other aliens aren’t as lucky. They need something to help their bodies deal with it, and sweet, minty things seem to work.”
“Is that why we crave sweet and spicy food?”
Once again Nasedo looked vaguely amused. “No, that’s just your alien side asserting itself. Food was a little different where you came from.”
At the end of the alley way Philip Evans stopped at his car door, interested in the exchange taking place behind the Crashdown. He wanted to talk to Michael about what he saw, but he only had an hours recess from court and was running out of time. He lingered long enough to be sure that Michael wasn’t in any danger and wondered again what exactly was going on in his children’s lives.
|Part 15 | Index | Part 17|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|