|"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!!!
|Maria flipped the television off. She could hear him
coming a mile away: the heavy footsteps, the loud
voices calling after and finally stopping him just
outside the door. She couldn’t wait to hear what he
said to them.|
But try as she might, she couldn’t hear him at all. He was whispering.
She sat up straighter in bed, despite the pain and strained toward the door. Oh my god.
Michael Guerin was whispering...
The clock above the television said it was after midnight. There was no way those nurses would let him in now. Not even if he did turn on the Guerin charm.
But the door crept open and there he was. Maria immediately felt vulnerable as his eyes swept over her bandaged and scratched body. The intensity of his gaze finally made her look away. She heard him curse to himself quietly. After a moment of silence, she risked another look.
He was focused intently on the window, obviously fighting himself. It seemed to take several seconds for him to get back in control. Then he approached the bed, looking for all the world like he expected her to chew him out.
But she was just in too much pain to fight tonight. Everything hurt, and all the stupid medicine did was make her sleepy.
She did manage a little smile. “So... you came.”
He stared at her and then sat on the chair across from her. “Yeah.” Then he jumped to his feet and paced over to the window.
Maria frowned as she watched him. He was so nervous...
Oh, because of Mrs. Parker. That did change everything in a way.
“Michael, I’m sorry-”
“Wait,” he interrupted her with an abrupt wave of his hand as he stared out the window. “Hang on.”
So she did. Her eyebrows went upwards of their own accord as at least a minute rolled by without a sound or even a movement from Michael.
She wearily wiped at her face and started to lower her bed. She was tired. A small shift was all her leg allowed, but she was almost on her side now. More comfortable, except for her back, which wasn’t supported at all by the new position. Crap. She just didn’t have the strength to try again.
Instead, to her extreme embarrassment, she started to cry.
“Maria, what is it,” Michael was suddenly in front of her, bending over with a concerned face.
Oh god, how embarrassing. “I just- my back hurts and I can’t get comfortable,” Maria felt her control loosening, but she just kept talking. “And I hate hospitals and my mother didn’t spend the night with me, Michael. Why didn’t she spend the night? And why DID Kyle have to hit me? It just hurts... so much.” She just buried her head in one i.v.-ridden hand and cried.
Of course, this would happen when Michael was here. He finally gets in here and she just wails on him.
Then, to her surprise, she felt a pillow being tucked behind her back.
“That better,” he asked gruffly.
And she found that it was. Much better. Maria wiped her eyes and looked up at him.
“I want to ask you something, Maria,” Michael said, looking away briefly. “So, can you just, like, be quiet for a minute?”
Maria wanted to be mad at that, but his face was so tense... So she just nodded.
“Will you marry me,” he said, turning his dark, intense brown eyes on her.
Maria gasped. Her mind refused to work. Marry Michael? Mr. Stonewall? Wait- he wanted to marry her?
One thought finally broke through her amazement. “But Michael, what about the- compatibility thing...”
He just nodded and sat back down on the chair, leaning forward and resting his arms on the handrails of the bed. “I know. But I just can’t wait anymore.” He gestured loosely with one arm. “You almost died tonight, and it- it just-” His arm fell back down and he ducked his head down between his arms, again fighting for control.
Maria took a moment to digest. So, he hadn’t figured anything out, he just wanted her to know how he felt.
And how he felt was... that he needed her.
He wanted to marry her.
A smile danced across her lips. He loved her so much that he wanted to marry her.
She reached out and ran her hand over the tousled brown hair. He didn’t look up for a minute, but she just waited.
As soon as he could look her in the eyes again, she started to cry. Tears in her eyes, lips trembling helplessly, she finally managed one word: “Yes.”
The relief on his face touched her deeply. He grabbed her hand in his own and held it tight, finally kissing it passionately. Then he reached out one hand and stroked her face lightly.
“I love you, Maria Leah Deluca.”
Oh man. He actually said it. Even if half her face hadn’t been covered in bandages, she still wouldn’t have been able to manage a word.
One ring and Alex was fumbling for the phone. Awake. Yeah. That’s me. He finally found the phone and answered it, pulling his eyes wide open. “Yeah?”
“Alex, it’s me,” Isabel’s voice almost, sorta’-kinda’ made him totally awake. He jumped out of bed and started pacing, pulling the phone cord with him.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m up,” he said quickly. “What- what time is it?”
“Sorry, it’s three in the morning,” she sounded exhausted herself.
Alex suddenly became concerned, his thoughts automatically conjuring up more alien hunters... more back-stabbing parents... more car accidents. “What happened, Izzy?”
“Oh, just an update from the Alien Chronicle,” her voice sounded tense all of a sudden. “Hot off the presses. You might want to sit down.”
He did. “Yeah?”
“Joey has an orb with her.”
Alex just let the idea run around in his brain for a minute. Another orb. That meant more aliens, right? “So, is it just like yours?”
“Yeah, except the symbol is a little different. It has a circle in the middle instead of a triangle.”
He had no response to that. “What does this mean, Izzy?”
She hesitated. “Well, it’s just guess work, but we’re thinking that everything that applied to our orb applies to hers. That would mean that there is... another group of four and the orb is the guardian for that group, just like ours.”
“Okay,” Alex said slowly. “So does that mean maybe this Christopher guy is one of Joey’s group?”
“We’ll have no way of knowing until Max and Liz find out more about him,” Isabel sighed. “But it does seem probable, if Michael is right and he is one of us. But what are the chances? Joey shows up and he just happens to fit in her little group? This whole thing just gets weirder and weirder.”
“Well, I’ve got the equipment for them: high-tech all the way,” Alex stood and took a few steps over to his desk where lay the packages of tiny equipment they’d all pitched in to buy: audio transmitter and receiver, mirrored rearview sunglasses, hand-held e-mail computer.
“Of course,” Isabel said, her voice betraying a smile.
Alex’s face slid into a grin. “Hey, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t offer my expertise for the good of the group?”
“Expertise,” Isabel said, dragging the word out rather obviously. “Oh, Right.”
“Hey, you think you know more about this than I do, then go right ahead and take over, your highness,” Alex couldn’t help but get a little miffed. This was, after all, the only major way he could help, besides blowing over alien hunters with fire hoses.
“Alex, I’m just kidding,” Isabel tried to appease him.
It worked, of course.
“Yeah, yeah, just tiptoe softly around the ego there, sweet-ums,” he chided her gently.
“No problem,” she whispered.
“Uh, Iz,” he spoke up, sensing her winding down. “Are you okay, I mean, from earlier tonight? That guy...” Alex gulped involuntarily at the memory.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she answered quietly. “He just had us paralyzed somehow. Max first, and then me when I tried to help. It just sort of... oh, I don’t know- hurt.”
“Sorry,” Alex offered after a long silence, feeling he should have done more.
“Hey, you were the man of the hour, you know,” Isabel prompted him. “Big hero, grabbing all the headlines, getting the ticker-tape parade and all. You were... awesome.”
Alex actually flushed at her statement. “Yeah, put a fire hose in my hand and alien hunters everywhere tremble. I am the Hose-inator.”
“Yeah,” she smiled in her voice. “I knew you had it in you all along.”
“Just... okay, yeah. Count me in for the next transformation project,” he grumbled.
“Thank you, Alex,” she said in a suddenly choked voice.
“Yeah, well,“ he answered quietly. “I wouldn’t mind having more firepower next time someone comes to town.”
“Yeah,” she sighed. “We haven’t even dealt with my hunter yet. Or Michael’s...”
Alex swallowed again and closed his eyes at the thought. “Don’t worry, I’ll be here. And so will Max and Michael, and Liz and Maria. And hey, Kyle is pretty handy with a moving vehicle.” Oops. Alex shook his head in the silence. “Sorry about that. Mouth sometimes not connect to brain,” he said in his best Indian imitation. “Big apologies.”
“Alright, ‘Runs-On-At-the-Mouth’,” Isabel’s voice held a trace of annoyance, but mostly good humor. “Why don’t we just say good night?”
It is three o’clock in the morning, Alex reminded himself. “Yeah, Alex think that good idea. ‘Night ‘Obsesses-Over-Nail-Polish.’"
“Ha ha. Good night, Alex. And thank you.”
His eyes closed in appreciation of the words. No more 'Alex, the incredible wuss man.' “Good night, Izzy. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Max tramped over to the sink wearily and washed his grimy hands. He wished he could take a shower. He was covered in gray powder from the cement. But he’d just get filthy again. He’d been using a sledgehammer to knock out some walls in an old building all morning, and would be doing the same thing after lunch.
This job was killing him. But it was the good kind of killing, he reminded himself. The kind that made it possible for time to speed by, which made it possible for the honeymoon speed closer.
A grin settled on his face as he grabbed his lunch and headed over to the picnic tables. By force of habit, he slowed at the message board. A folded yellow note caught his eye and to his surprise, it was labeled “M. Evans.”
Max jerked the note down and opened it up. “10:35- Mrs. Parker called. Important.” Important? Max was inside the cool office and dialing the phone in under a minute. His eyes danced around the office walls nervously as he waited for someone to answer his call.
It was Mrs. Parker.
Max cleared his throat. “Mrs. Parker, it’s me-”
“Max,” her voice was brittle. Was that good or bad? “Something’s wrong with Liz. She won’t wake up and I thought it might be... something you would know about.”
Max couldn’t answer. Too many emotions trying to take over at once... relief at her trusting him, fear for Liz, frustration at not having the right answer. “Did anything happen last night, after we talked? Anything at all?”
She hesitated. “No. When I went to talk to her, she was already asleep. But wait- yes, apparently Michael was here talking with her sometime before she went to bed. Jeff spoke with him before he left.”
“I’ll be right there. Just... wait for me.”
“Max- wait. I didn’t call the doctor. I didn’t think- Is she going to be okay,” Mrs. Parker sounded as desperate as he felt.
“She’ll be fine,” he said automatically. “We’ll make sure of it.”
Then he hung up and headed for the Jeep, his worry easily overcoming his hunger and fatigue. Liz had to be okay. She just had to be.
Okay, just stay calm, Maria told herself. Mom knew this could happen. She’s ready for this. She wants me to be happy.
But no matter how many times she told herself that, Maria just couldn’t believe it. She frowned darkly at the nurse taking her temperature with the terrible-tasting, plastic-coated thermometer... again. They were a little anal about their patients here. The way she’d been woken up through the night, you’d think her life was in danger or something. The nurse finally removed the thermometer.
“So, am I going to go home today or what,” Maria wasted no time in asking.
“Oh yeah, prob’ly. The doc just wants to come on by and check your vitals from last night and today, and then he’ll clear you,” the dark-skinned lady said as she wound up all the various cords and prepared to leave. “Oh, nice ring,” the nurse said with a big smile. “Where’d you get it, girl?”
Maria lifted up her left hand to look at the silver band with a smudge finish on it. “My fiance gave it to me.”
“Oh, girl, he has good taste, uh huh,” she grinned as she left.
Maria looked at the ring with a smile. No, she’d better take it off. She’d tell her Mom first, and THEN show her the ring. After all the yelling and fainting was done.
Michael was jerked to his feet before he was even truly awake. His first thoughts were of Maria and of his engagement.
Wow, he thought as he scrubbed at his face and tried to stay on his feet. His second thoughts were wondering who in the hell was throwing clothes at him and demanding that he get dressed.
“What time is it?” Michael stood blinking slowly and watching Max race around the apartment, yelling about Liz.
“Liz,” he said fuzzily. He reached out with his mind and felt the familiar sleepy buzz. “Liz is fine. She’s asleep, Max. Which is what I was doing,” he threw out before heading to the bathroom.
“Michael, listen to me,” Max was suddenly right in front of him, his voice hoarse with emotion. This time, his urgency penetrated the haze in Michael’s mind. “Liz won’t wake up. Was she okay when you left her last night?”
Michael stood silently for a minute, taking in Max’s sweaty work attire and frantic face. “She was fine. I just put her to sleep so I could...”
And then it dawned on him. He grabbed a bar stool and sat heavily in it.
“You did what,” Max asked quickly.
It was a moment before Michael could move. He met Max’s eyes with a flicker of shame and then jumped into motion. “I put her to sleep so Maria and I could be alone,” he said as he grabbed a shirt off the floor.
He thought Max would explode, but he was completely dressed and at the door without hearing a word. He turned to see that it was a hard-won silence. Max‘s hands were clenched at his sides, the muscles in his arms trembling with restraint.
“She’s fine, Max,” Michael offered somewhat firmly. “She’s just asleep. I guess she... just needs help to wake up.”
After a tense silence, Max crossed to Michael, his eyes blazing. “She’d better be okay.” Then he walked out the door.
Michael took a deep breath, remembering with absolute clarity how hard he had fought Liz to keep from trying her numbskull idea. If she had just drank the damn Nyquil...
He rubbed his face and closed the door behind him. If Liz doesn‘t wake up, I‘m going to kill her.
“I’m going to kill him,” Amy started off in a shrill voice.
“Mom,” Maria tried to interrupt, but her Mom was already pacing and flailing her arms about like she was going to take off.
“How dare he,” she screeched. “He... he lulls me into a false sense of security with that... that whole ‘I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing’ crap and that fake ‘I don’t give a heck about her, anyway’ crap, meanwhile secretly romancing and proposing to my baby girl!”
“Mom, it wasn’t fake-” she tried again.
“Who is only eighteen years old, by the way,” Amy paced back across the room and pointed at Maria. “I know your best friend and his best friend are getting married, but that’s no reason to get in a hurry, young lady. I mean, does he even love you?”
“Yep,” Maria couldn’t stop the smile. “He said it last night.”
Her mom stopped in place. “He said it? Michael Guerin?”
“Yeah,” Maria nodded slowly, trying to keep from looking as much like a kid on Christmas morning as she could. “He said, ‘I love you, Maria Leah Deluca.’”
Amy sat in the chair across from Maria. Her eyes were suddenly teary. “He said, ‘I love you, Maria Leah Deluca?’”
Maria nodded, tears in her own eyes. “Yeah.”
“Oh, I’m so happy for you sweetie,” Amy clutched at her chest and then grabbed Maria’s hand. “He does love you. You were right all along. I just didn’t know. But you knew all along.”
Maria smiled at her mother, but knew it wasn’t over yet. Her mother’s eyes suddenly flashed and they were off again.
“But wait- you are still too young to get married! Do you hear me?”
“Yes, I know, I know,” Maria held up her hands in mock surrender, wincing at the slight movement. “We aren’t getting married for... a while. A whole lot of things have to happen first.”
“Like him getting a real job,” Amy began the list for her with raised eyebrows.
“Right,” Maria nodded with her. “And me maybe going to college. And some other... things. I don’t know. We have a lot to figure out. But, we want to figure it out together. That’s all.”
Her Mom shook her head and leaned over to touch Maria’s arm. “I just want you to be happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
“Oh, really,” Maria rolled her eyes.
“Oh, alright,” Amy admitted. “Happy and not promiscuous. Or monogamous, really. Happy and completely asexual until you get married to a guy that I approve of.”
“Like...” Maria prompted her.
“Okay, okay. Like Michael,” Amy nodded in acknowledgement. “I guess I approve of Michael, for the most part.”
Maria was stunned.
“So, did he give you a ring,” Amy asked with a pointed look.
“Did who give who a ring,” Alex’s voice startled Maria. He was at the door, just coming inside with an incredulous look on his face.
Mrs. Parker answered the door with one hand nervously clutching at her chest. She didn’t say a word, just stepped back to let Max and Michael through.
Max hesitated and then pressed on to Liz’s bedroom, afraid of what he would see. But nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She was halfway under the covers, on her side with one arm thrown out, looking relaxed and... asleep.
Max glanced at Michael and then knelt beside the bed. Liz’s face was tinged pink from warmth, her dark eyelashes fringed against them. She looked beautiful.
“Max, what’s going on,” Mrs. Parker’s voice was high-pitched. “Why is he here?“ Max looked up to see her glancing nervously at Michael.
Max gave Michael a nod and reached out to touch Liz’s forehead. He didn’t have time to explain. The hum immediately began between them and he closed his eyes.
“Alright, now that we’re alone,” Alex scooted his chair over to the bed so that he could talk quietly. “The transformation thing. So you’re really willing to go through with it? I mean, you do remember seeing Liz go through it, right? The nightmares, Nasedo and the funky medicine, the kissing-”
“Oh, god, don’t remind me,” Maria put a hand to her head at the memory. “But it should be easier because Michael and I won’t be apart. So the orb can just use him to do it, right?”
“Hmmm,” Alex said thoughtfully. “And then you and Michael would be connected like he and Liz are?”
Maria nodded slowly. “Yeah. I guess so.” Then she frowned. “But I guess that would be weird, because he’s already connected to Liz. That can’t be permanent though, right? I mean, Michael won’t be having sex with me when we’re fifty and stop to tell me that Liz is like, baking an apple pie or something, right?”
Alex winced and put out his hands weakly. “God, the mental picture there is so... blinding. Between Liz and Max and you and Michael, there won’t be an un-singed cell left in my brain. Don’t you people get it? I don’t WANT to think of you that way.”
Maria smirked at him. “Got it. So what are we supposed to think about you and Isabel, then, celibates for life?”
She was pleased to see Alex’s mouth actually dropped open. “I didn’t say that. I didn’t- did I say that? Why are you asking me that?”
“Just wondering. You did bring up the transformation thing yourself, you know,” she pointed out with a smile. “There must have been a reason. Like contemplating it yourself, for example?”
“Yeah, yeah,” he admitted grudgingly. “I told Isabel I’d be willing. Not that it would happen. But if it did, I’d be okay with it. Except for the excruciating pain part. Did Liz ever tell you exactly what kind of pain it was? I mean, was it a general, all-over kind of pain, or was it a sharp, jabbing kind of thing in different places...”
Maria just sighed and let him babble.
“Okay, this is taking too long,” Mrs. Parker said as she sprang toward the bed.
Michael grabbed her arm and held her back firmly. Not that he wasn’t tempted to give her a good thrashing while he was at it... but it wasn’t his style.
“Max is just trying to help wake her up,” he glowered at her. “If you think he would ever do anything that might hurt her, you must be stupider than you look.”
Mrs. Parker yanked herself out of his arms. “Excuse me, but what right do you have to talk to me like that,” she took a step back, but her eyes held a challenge.
“What right do I have,” he asked with a furrowed brow and snorted. “I’ve had to sit through every one of Liz’s sobbing spells because you wouldn’t listen to her. I’ve had to feel every pang of guilt she’s felt because of the crap you said to Max.”
Mrs. Parker was staring at him like he’d lost his mind. But he didn’t care if she understood; it just pissed him off more. He went on, even louder. “And you almost compromised my very existence with that little cloak-and-dagger routine you pulled. If Larry had given that tape to the FBI, I’d be on a dissection table right now, just like Max. And Liz. So, hell yeah, I‘ve got a right.”
Mrs. Parker’s eyes widened. “You mean, you... you can’t mean... you’re...”
“An alien, too? Yep,” he said with a smirk. “BOO!”
She did jump back a step, and Michael shook his head. Then he looked back over at Max and Liz. “Just look at them. Look at Max, and tell me you see someone who’s a danger to your daughter.”
Michael got more forceful when Mrs. Parker just kept staring at him. “I said look!”
She finally looked back over to the bed, where Max was now gently cradling Liz’s head in his hands and caressing her hair.
“I’m telling you,” Michael added soberly. “It’s the guys you don’t see that are dangerous. If Larry squeals, we go down. And it’ll be your fault.”
The words tasted bitter in his mouth. Mrs. Parker stood frozen watching Max, tears in her eyes. “I didn’t tell Larry anything, I swear,” she breathed out. “He just kept telling me things... about Max, about the disappearances, the powers he supposedly has.” Her voice grew raspy and louder. “All I did was listen to the wrong person.”
“The hell you did,” Michael spat out. “You bugged your own apartment and trapped Max like a freakin’ animal. When Liz finds out what you did...” Michael just let the venom-filled sentence hang. He’d been doing his level best to keep Liz from knowing the truth, but only because Max wanted to wait until after the wedding. She deserved to know.
Mrs. Parker’s eyes settled back on Michael’s face with unflinching fear.
Good. Maybe that got through. But if she was telling the truth, maybe Larry wasn‘t as dangerous as he seemed.
|Part 13 | Index | Part 15|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|