|"Fading into Twilight"|
Disclaimer: It’s not me, really. It’s all them:
Melinda Metz (the creator of such amazing characters),
Jason Katims (the perpetrator of such a lovely t.v.
show with those same main characters), and the actors
who flesh them out for us so wonderfully. Please take
no offense at my offering; this is just a tribute, not
a theft. :0))|
Summary: Tess is gone. Doug is gone. Both aliens brought more harm and fear than good. But there is more out there “than is dreamt of” in their philosophy. More to discover, more to fear. More danger approaches as they move toward learning about their origins, their purpose.
Authors Note: This is an alternate reality to WB's Roswell. My characters are in line with the show up through "Sexual Healing" and then we deviate into "Captivated by Darkness", and two years later, we see the group in “Fight the Break of Dawn,“ the prequel for this story. My storyline doesn't follow the show at all after Sexual Healing: so remember, Topolski never returned, Max was never tortured, Nasedo never told them they were part human and the Mom-0-Gram never happened. Try and bend your mind around that!! Dedication: to Irene, Joey, Miranda and Bella, who are such encouragements to me; you make it worth while-- really!!!
|Liz sat beside Maria on the hospital bed and held her
hand gently. The face she adored was so covered by
scrapes, bandages and bruises that it was difficult
not to wince every time she glanced up.
But she knew that didn’t help Maria feel better, so
Liz worked hard at keeping her face and voice normal.|
“Isn’t it great that Max and Isabel found their sister,” she tried to stay on a peppy topic.
“Yeah. Listen, I need to talk to you, alone,” Maria said with a pained whisper. Liz stared at the sudden change in tone. She sounded like she was about to drop. But Liz just nodded and turned around to the guys standing behind her. “Max, Alex, can you guys leave us alone for a minute?”
Max nodded and smiled at Maria before leaving. “Get better soon. And let me know whenever I can help,” his emphasis on the last word indicated his desire to heal her whenever she thought it was safe. Liz smiled at him as he exited.
Alex walked over and stooped to give Maria a kiss. “Next time, call a cab. More reliable than the Valenti express.”
Maria almost laughed, but stopped as it caused her pain.
Liz smacked Alex on the arm.
“Are you okay, Maria,” Alex looked stricken.
Maria rolled her eyes. “No, I’m not. Because you, in overprotective mode, are definitely driving me crazy. Leave.” But the slight smile in her eyes let him off the hook.
“Right,” he agreed and backed out with a formal bow. “Ladies...”
Liz turned back to Maria with a forced smile. “Too bad you missed out on all the uh... festivities at the school tonight.”
“That’s just fine by me. The less Czechoslovakian crap I have to put up with, the better,” Maria spouted off quietly, her mind obviously on something else. After a moment, she met Liz’s curious gaze and then hesitated. “I know I shouldn’t ask you to tattle on him or anything, but what is he doing out there. I mean, it‘s not like I expect him to be by my side every second, but at least to come in, ya‘ know?”
Liz took a deep breath and let the feelings from him flood back into her. She couldn’t tell Maria what was going on without compromising some part of Michael’s trust. He would know what she said, and he would be pissed. But Maria was in a lot of pain, for goodness’ sake. It wasn’t like she didn’t deserve an explanation.
*Fine. Spill. I’m leaving.*
Liz rolled her eyes at Michael’s thoughts and Maria hesitated. “What is it?”
“He’s mad, but he knows he can’t stop me from telling you this. So he left.”
“God,” Maria let out with exasperation. “He‘s just gonna‘ leave? Doesn’t he even care?” She winced and touched the bandages at her face.
Liz’s eyes flew open wide. “Yes, he does. Calm down, Maria. Of course he does. He’s just... complicated. Very complicated.” She hesitated, trying to decide how to couch this just right. She had to protect Michael, too. Maria seemed to sense this and she remained quiet.
“Okay,” Liz finally began, “You have to promise me that you won‘t use this against him, Maria.” Her eyes held Maria‘s soft blue ones unwaveringly.
“Of course,” Maria said weakly.
“Okay, okay. So I won‘t mention it. Ever.”
Liz studied her a minute. “Okay, I am only telling you this because this situation is so hard for Michael and I don’t want you to jump to conclusions and just stop trying. Because... you just shouldn’t.”
“Michael spent so many years telling himself that he didn’t need anyone- family, friends, or a home. He basically lied to himself to make his life at least seem like it was okay, that he didn’t need what Max and Isabel had. And it helped him to get through. But the problem is, he got so used to protecting that lie that it was almost like he started believing it himself. And when something or someone forces him to acknowledge that it’s all a lie... he runs.”
Maria was nodding her head. “So he isn’t in here because seeing me in this bed would make him feel like he...”
“Needs you, which goes against every instinct in him,” Liz finished.
Maria nodded, and she looked at Liz with a studied expression. “You can read his thoughts, can’t you? I mean, I know he can read yours.”
“Uh... yeah,” Liz answered. “But I’m not saying anything else, Maria. You know everything you need to know. Just don’t let him make you believe the lie, too.”
Maria reached out and grabbed Liz’s hand tightly, her voice suddenly choked. “You’re a great friend, Lizzie. To both of us.”
“You’re not too bad yourself,” Liz smiled with a twinkle in her eyes. “for road kill.”
“Oh, harsh, babe,” Maria half-laughed. “Do you see tire tracks anywhere?”
“No, thank god.” Liz started to laugh. She laughed until she had tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe they could joke about something like this. Too much stress all at the same time, she decided.
Maria gave her a long look, which sobered Liz up immediately. “What is it,” she asked, wiping a few stray tears.
“Oh, chica, I am so tired,” Maria laid back and closed her eyes.
“I guess I should let you sleep then,” Liz whispered, reaching out and brushing Maria’s cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” came the quiet answer.
Liz walked quietly to the door and just as she put her hand on the handle, Maria opened her eyes. “Liz, before you leave, could you send Max in here? I need to talk to him for a minute.”
Liz’s mind tried to project all the possible reasons Maria could want to see Max- alone. Must be about Michael, she decided. “Sure, Maria. No problem. Good night.”
Liz closed the door softly behind her and walked down to the waiting room. Max stood to his feet and walked over to her immediately, pulling her into his arms.
“Hey, you okay,” he asked softly.
“Much better now,” she admitted as she slid her arms around his waist, feeling the soft, warming hum begin between them. She glanced over at the others sitting in the chairs. Alex and Isabel were talking softly. Joey was sitting by herself looking out-of-place.
“Listen, Maria wants to talk to you for a minute, okay,” Liz pulled out of his embrace and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “I’m going to go check on Kyle.” Max’s jaw tightened almost imperceptibly. “He feels terrible, Max, he really does,” Liz reassured him and grabbed his hand. “Just go talk to Maria and I’ll be done by the time you two finish, okay?”
Max nodded and turned to go, slowly pulling his hand away. Liz smiled at him, enjoying the feeling of protection and love he communicated even without words. She didn’t want to leave him again, either. When alien hunters can pop out of nowhere and waste you with a wave of their hands, it’s just wise to take nothing for granted.
Max knocked softly and listened for the summons before entering. Seeing Maria’s pale and bandaged face, he forced a small smile and walked over to the bed. “Did you decide you want me to... uh...” with his hands he tried to discreetly mimic healing.
Maria stared at him, puzzled. Then she suddenly got it. “Oh. No. At least not here, not now. But definitely later. My leg is killing me.”
Her smile looked just as forced as his was, so he decided to go for broke as he sat on the edge of the bed. “Maria, is this about Michael? I know he should’ve come in to see you, but it’s just that this is hard-”
“No, no,” Maria stopped him with a commanding wave. “Liz and I have already had this conversation tonight. Michael thinks he is an island unto himself and I’m just some turtle swimming around hoping he’ll eventually develop a beach somewhere among those dang cliffs.”
Max tried to look like he completely understood. “Right. A beach.”
Maria gave him a patronizing look. “Max, I can’t think like you logical people. It gives me a headache. So I think in metaphors. Creative expression.”
Max nodded and really tried to look like he completely understood.
Maria sighed, “Okay, next subject.”
Now that he understood. “Right. Why did you call me in here?”
Maria looked away. Her hands crept around the neck of her nightgown, making Max even more uncomfortable. Michael should be in here with her, not him.
“I have something to tell you,” she started without even looking his way. “I don’t know how to do it, so I’ll just start at the beginning, okay?”
Max found her blue eyes suddenly turned on him and he nodded, again. “Sure.”
“Okay,” she said and then took a deep breath. “Today I spent all day trying to come up with a way to convince Liz’s mom that Liz is now a... Czechoslovakian. Eventually, I decided to give her the whole enchilada, to just spill the beans completely.”
Max knew his face must have shown his fear at the thought because she jumped back in immediately. “But I didn’t tell her, okay? I went there to tell her, but there- I mean, there I was standing on the stairs in this perfect outfit, with the perfect words chosen to do something which I knew might put all my friends in danger, but if I didn‘t do it, they might be in danger, anyway, and all I could think about was Liz’s face when she-”
“Maria,” Max interrupted tensely. “What happened?”
“Oh, sorry,” she flushed a bit and continued. “I heard voices.”
“Voices,” Max lowered his head and prodded her after a moment of silence.
“Yeah, coming from the apartment. Mrs. Parker and... Larry Trilling.”
Max‘s heart clenched tightly and he could barely breathe. “What were they talking about?”
“I’m sorry, Max,” she started off, her blue eyes round and hesitant. “They said you had been there earlier and had admitted who you were.”
Max was confused for a moment, but then remembered with regret the last words he had said, the ones Mrs. Parker had taken as a threat.
**“Please don’t do anything you’ll regret, Mrs. Parker. You don’t understand what will happen if you tell someone.”**
“Yeah, I guess I...” Max trailed off as he felt a wetness in his eyes. Too much for one day. Too much to handle.
“Max,” Maria’s eyes were shining with tears and she reached across the bed for Max’s hand. Oh no. “Max, I’m so sorry. She taped the conversation and gave the tape to Larry. I think he paid her for it.”
Max’s vision fuzzed out around Maria’s face and blood pounded in his ears. Mrs. Parker had done it. She had betrayed him. He tore his eyes away from Maria. This is it, he thought in a panic. The last stop before dissection. How long will it be before they show up to take me away, and Isabel and Michael? And oh, god- Liz, too? He heard a choked sob tear from his throat and he bowed his head.
“Max, wait! Don’t- I, oh, God, I should’ve said this first. Kyle has the tape. That’s why I was hit by his car. Don’t you see?”
Max raised his head to eye level with her, completely confused but hopeful. “Kyle has the tape and that’s why he ran into you?”
“No,” she said with a huff of frustration. “I was running away from Larry’s house because I had followed him there and watched him put the tape away in his dresser drawer like an idiot. I mean, he was the idiot, not me. For putting the tape in his top drawer, I mean. Anyway, I couldn’t get the window open, so I ran. And Kyle was coming around the corner and he hit me. So I told him to go and get them out of house and get the tape. And it actually worked. He got the tape. So it’s okay, really.”
Max’s mind was still catching up to Maria’s mouth, but it sounded like the FBI shouldn’t be involved yet. If there was only one tape and the tape was in Kyle’s hands, then they just needed to destroy the tape, right?
His mind zeroed in on the solution with fierce desperation. Find Kyle. Destroy tape. He jumped to his feet and headed out.
Her panic stopped him cold. There was more? He turned back to her. Maria hesitated before she spoke. “I told you first. I tried but- I couldn’t tell Liz.”
It hit him like a load of bricks. Liz. Oh, man. This was going to devastate her.
“Hey, Kyle,” Liz intoned softly as she leaned over into the driver’s side window of Sheriff Valenti‘s truck. “You okay?”
“You’re speaking to me,” Kyle looked at her with narrowed eyes, trying to discern her motive. “What, you don’t want to jump on the death threat bandwagon? You tried to attack me earlier, you know.”
“Yeah,” Liz admitted with a slightly shamed face, still somehow managing to look gorgeous. “That was... because of my connection to Michael. He kind of wanted to rip you apart piece by piece, and I just sort of caught the tail end of it.”
“Oh, of course,” Kyle said without one ounce of belief in his voice.
“Really,” Liz emphasized with a hint of sarcasm. “I was only going to rip your nose off. He was going to go for more pertinent parts.”
Kyle looked at her with wide eyes.
“Gotcha’,” she smiled and laughed that husky laugh.
He watched her walk around the truck and climb in without asking. Damnit, she knew him way too well for him to be comfortable in her presence right now.
“Liz,” he started, trying to stare her down.
“I know you’re not okay, Kyle,” she said with that stubborn look on her face. “You feel guilty and it’s driving you crazy. And you can’t keep that bottled up inside.”
“So, how much are you charging for your couch time these days, Liz, or should I call you Dr. Schlesinger?”
Liz smiled and rolled her eyes. And then she crossed her arms and waited.
If she thought he was just going to spew his guts out all over the place, she was mistaken. But the silence was making him nervous. He had been trying not to channel that sensitive guy who lived deep inside the Valenti testosterone chain mail armor, but, dammit Liz was the one person who could bring the pansiness on in a heartbeat.
“What,” he said nervously.
“Talk, Kyle,” she pushed him. “You do remember how, don’t you? Open mouth, insert foot. You were pretty great at the inserting-foot part, from what I remember.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Kyle mumbled, looking straight ahead.
And there it was. She actually had him accessing the emotions, bringing up the past. Great. She had asked him once how he felt about her and he blew it. Well, now that the two-minute warning was fast approaching in the Evans-Valenti championship, might as well try the “Hail-Mary Pass.”
So he cleared his throat and turned to Liz, taking her completely by surprise. “I guess I do have something I need to say to you, and it looks like you’re not leaving until I spill something completely humiliating. So, here goes.”
And... the words just left him. They stared at each other.
Kyle took a deep breath and just started talking. He had no idea where it was coming from. “I’m sorry I mouthed off at you earlier. I was being a jackass and it led directly to me hitting Maria. If I could go back...” Kyle felt his throat close with the unfamiliar rush of emotion. But he just looked away and kept talking. “It’s just that you were the only girl I ever cared about and it’s been hell watching you with Evans. Yeah, he saved my life, and yeah I’m an asswipe for wanting to strangle him every time I see him with you, but that’s how I feel.” Kyle’s eyes and mouth (finally) closed. And that’s how to demolish an ego in two easy steps.
One, open mouth. Two, channel inner pansy and talk to ex-girlfriend.
He finally risked a look at her and saw the stunned face he expected. Now she couldn’t speak. He paused and continued, looking her in the eyes. “I know this seems like it’s coming way out of left field,” he admitted. “And I did fine for two years. But when Doug came back and all that crap happened with him. I don’t know, I was so worried about you and you were all that I could think about.” He had to stop and swallow. “Seeing you hurt... I would do anything to keep that from happening. I even ran in Evans’ house on a complete suicide mission, knowing that Mr. Nasty was in there and intending to blow him to hell if he touched you.” Kyle paused and smiled at the next words that were begging to come out of his mouth. “Get this, Parker. I would kill for you. I would die for you. Now, you go on and tell me how in the hell I am supposed to just sit by and watch you get married.” The words hurt him on the way out. He knew they had to hurt her, too. And... her eyes filled with tears. Great. He finally has the balls to tell her how he feels and it just makes her cry. “I don’t suppose those are tears of joy, are they,” he asked after an awkward silence.
“Um... not really,” she whispered, her face turned away. “I am so sorry, Kyle. I never meant-”
“Whoa,” Kyle interrupted, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “I didn’t tell you that to make you feel guilty. I told you that... just ‘cause it was kinda’ stuck in there, you know?”
“Yeah,” Liz nodded and finally met his eyes, wiping away her tears. “I know. Maybe that will help some. And Kyle, you will find someone else. I‘m not worth all of this. Really.”
“Hey, if you’re gonna’ lie to me, then just get out,” but he made sure that his voice was light. “I’m fine. Just forget I said anything.”
There was another silence. Then he felt a light brush of her body against his arm and a feather-light kiss on his cheek. She was out of the truck in seconds, leaving a whispered “I’m sorry,” hanging in the air behind her.
His forehead hit the steering wheel two seconds after she left. “Stupid, idiot, jerk.”
|Part 10 | Index | Part 12|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|