Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.|
Summary: Liz's secret is finally out- and Ava is the one to spill it.
Authors Note: Takes place sometime after Max returns home from New York. Title comes from the Smashing Pumpkins song, just because it's the first thing I thought of when I heard that Tess's duplicate's name was Ava.
It wouldn't stop playing in her mind. The basketball kept bouncing over and over, hitting the pavement repeatedly like the sound of a funeral march. The dream always ended at the same point- she would stretch her hand out, trying to pull him back to the safety of the sidewalk by the straps of his bag, but she'd never be able to reach far enough. Her voice was silent, her feet glued to the ground, her body was paralyzed. She watched helplessly as the truck sped without signs of stopping- about to take the life of her friend, her confidante, her leader...
...and then she woke up.
The cold sweat rolled down Ava's makeup-stained cheeks, briefly sliding over the rings on her nose and lip before taking the trip down the rest of her body. She frantically kicked her way out of the red sleeping bag rolled out on Liz Parker's floor, escaping from the heat, the sweat, the dream that plagued her once more.
She crossed the small distance to the window leading out to Liz's balcony and quietly pushed the window, taking care not to wake the girl sleeping soundly in the bed behind her. Ava collapsed into the cozy chair outside, greedily taking in the fresh night air. She turned her head slightly and spotted the small green notebook lying on the table beside her, the black pen peeking out from in between the pages. She moved her hand slowly, letting it rest on the hard cover of the journal as she remembered when she had last seen it earlier that night...
* * *
...Ava sat quiet, looking through a photo album covered with pink and purple butterflies that she'd found on one of Liz's bookshelves. It was tucked neatly in between biology and biochemistry textbooks. She chuckled and thought that this girl must be a freaking genius or something. She opened the album and gasped at the first one she came to. It was a picture of Max, their leader, Zan's duplicate. He was leaning up against a large oak tree, looking off into the distance, a smile on his face. It looked like he didn't even know that his picture was being taken. Ava smiled as she ran her finger over Max's strong jaw line, thinking about the vast differences between them, for those amazing eyes. The sound of soft crying coming from out on the balcony broke her out of reverie. Ava turned around from where she was sitting on Liz's bed, watching her as she wrote in her journal, letting warm, wet tears slide down her cheeks and hit the pages. What was making her so sad? As she looked back at the photo album, she realized that Max was in all the pictures...she recalled Lannie and Rath saying something about Liz being Max's ex-girlfriend, that she'd betrayed him somehow and that they were in a huge fight. They didn't know why. As she sat and watched Liz cry for a moment, she was amazed at how the moonlight cast a gorgeous white light on her face, illuminated her features and causing the paper she was writing on to glow. Ava was suddenly inspired...she found a pad of paper and pencil off Liz's desk and began sketching her...paying attention to every line and minute detail, capturing her enigmatic heartache with perfection...
* * *
Ava fingered the cool pages of the journal, smiling with fascination as she read some of the pages quietly to herself. The more she read, the more she was confused. Liz seemed to love Max very much. Why would she ever betray him? Was that another lie Lannie and Rath concocted to get Max to go to the summit?
"If I could take it back, I would. I wish I never knew the future... God, I know that sounds so heartless! Well, I am! The look on Max's face...it's burned in my memory forever. My heart was ripped out that night, and I don't think I can ever get it back...."
Ava's eyes moved quickly over the page, reading with interest as Liz told the story of the betrayal that changed everything. Max from the year 2014 had used the Granolith to travel back to the year 2000 to ask Liz to make his present self fall out of love with her. Apparently, her duplicate was very upset after Liz and Max got married and left Roswell forever. This made it impossible for the "Royal Four" to defeat the Skins because they needed all four of their unique gifts in order to prevail in the war on Earth. When Tess left Roswell, the Skins took over and killed Michael and Isabel. Max and Liz were the only ones left, and they would soon be dead too if he hadn't taken drastic action.
"I tried everything to get him to turn away from me. I even went so far as to tell him that I didn't want to die for him... how could I even say that? He's the only reason I'm still alive right now. Even that didn't work. The older Max still hadn't disappeared, so we knew that we didn't change the future. He ordered me to try something else. That's when I went to Kyle...."
Ava found herself mesmerized by the story as she quietly read certain passages out loud. A little voice in the back of her head was telling her it was wrong, but she couldn't stop herself from reading more. Right before Max left for New York with Tess, Lannie, and Rath, he had come to visit her.
"He gave me back the engraved pocket knife I gave him for Christmas last year. I've never felt so horrible in my life. I knew at that moment, he was giving up on me, on us...."
Ava frowned as she came to the next passage. If only Max could read this- if only she would let him! She looked back into the window and found that Liz was still sleeping soundly, so she continued to read.
"I didn't really sleep with Kyle, and if Max ever found out why I really deceived him, he'd never let me go again. I'm sure of it. But he can never know! I promised him...I can't break my promise...Max and I can never be together, never again. Everyone will die, and I refuse to have blood on my hands..."
She jumped a mile when she saw Max's head appear from over the brick ledge.
"Ava?" he asked, flustered. "Wh-what did you just say?" For the first time since she'd met him, she saw the glimmer of hope in his eyes- the one that Zan had. She shut the book quickly.
"Um, n-nothing, M-Max. When did you get b-back?" She was taken in by his beauty. He was so much like Zan- so much.
"Did you read Liz's journal?" he asked with confusion.
Ava's lip quivered. "Are-are y-you going to kill me?"
Max gasped. "Of course not! What are you talking about? I just want to hear what you just read again...." He felt torn. Normally, he wouldn't even think about invading Liz's privacy like that, but he knew now that she had been keeping something from him. Something major. She hadn't slept with Kyle, but why had she tried to make him believe that? His heart raced as he watched Ava open up the book again to the page she had marked, repeating the line she'd just uttered and continuing.
"Max and I can't ever be together. Tess will leave, the Skins will take over, and everyone will die. I have to stop that from happening!" Ava said quietly. He grabbed her ankles and looked at her with desperation and confusion.
"Why, Ava? How does she know this? What does it say?" he cried.
"Max! You're scaring me!"
Suddenly, another voice broke through the still night air.
"Max," Liz growled. "Let go of her!" Max dropped his hands to his sides and backed away from Ava slowly.
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