|"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 slowly began to stir on the bed, each limb of her
body feeling as if it weighed fifty pounds. She rolled
over to one side, trying to think past the cottony
numbness in her head.
It was nearing dusk outside and for the life of her,
she couldn‘t remember why she would be in bed so
late... or was it so early? After several
disconcerting moments, she finally recalled going
upstairs to check on her father, because someone had
loosed a blast of power downstairs. Then, seeing...|
herself descend the stairs...
Her heart clenched as it all came flooding back. The hunter had pretended to be her, had almost gotten to Michael, and Max because of her. Liz felt tears spring in her eyes. She had to check on them. And her father, had the shifter gotten to him first?
*She did, but he was just knocked unconscious,* Michael’s thoughts suddenly drifted through her mind.
Michael, are you okay?
*Yeah. And your dad’s fine. Izzy woke him up and fed him some corn beef story. He bought it. Apparently, the shapeshifter wasn’t after humans.*
What day is it, Liz rubbed at her eyes, feeling as if she’d been asleep for too long.
*Still Thursday,* Michael’s dry voice reminded her. *Been a great day. Very quiet.*
Liz smiled. She could feel the relief he felt at her being awake again. His sarcasm didn’t cover it that well.
*Yeah, well, I hope you and Maria made the most of it.*
She got a smile and a few slightly disturbing thoughts about her best friend’s anatomy- Ugh! Please keep that to yourself. How’s Max?
*Predictable. He’s fine. He didn’t make it to work this morning, but he beat you up by a few hours. I think he’s at the Crashdown waiting for you.*
Liz jumped off the bed... or rather heaped herself on the floor...
Liz laughed at the position she found herself in. She was still so weak.
I’m fine. Just clumsy. Get back to Maria.
*Can‘t right now. Justin‘s here.*
Liz stopped in her tracks. Justin. Joey. Wow, how are they? Is Justin really your brother, Liz asked, amazed she hadn’t picked up any emotion from him about that.
*Maybe. We haven‘t gotten very far trying to talk about it. Too much going on. Everyone‘s here. You woke up just in time.*
Liz sat back down on the bed. She wasn’t sure she was ready to tackle this yet. But Max had to know. They had to be open to whatever Justin might tell them.
Be right over.
Max jumped up as soon as he saw her. “Liz,” he ran to her and almost upended his coffee on the way. He grabbed her and held her small frame close to him, completely ignoring the rest of the dinner crowd. “Are you okay?”
He searched her face for any sign of hesitation, but found none as she sighed and answered, “I’m fine now.”
Then she pulled away and grabbed his hand, heading for a booth. Max reached out and grabbed his coffee on the counter, taking it with him. He still needed the caffeine. Sleeping half the day had made him chronically drowsy. He slid in as close as possible beside her on the seat, putting his arm around her shoulders. She smiled up at him and Max leaned until his forehead was against hers, just breathing in her wondrous scent. He couldn’t believe it that he’d almost lost her again. Seeing her on the ground like that-
“So, I guess we got rid of another hunter,” she said in a low voice, as her suddenly somber eyes sought his.
“Just barely,” he whispered back. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Me,” she said with wide eyes. “You were the one who had to deal with her and then save me on top of it. You- you were unconscious afterwards...”
He saw the tears fill her eyes and put his hand up to her delicate face. Caressing her cheek, he whispered, “Let’s get out of here. I have something to give you.”
She looked up at him with trembling lips and nodded.
Max gave her a few seconds to compose herself, rubbing his face against her soft hair as she turned away. Then he pulled out a dollar and threw it on the table.
“Ready,” he asked the beauty beside him.
“I think we’d better head to Michael’s. Everyone’s waiting for us.“
Max frowned. How did she-? Oh, Michael. Right. “Okay, Michael’s first. Then we go somewhere alone. Alright?“
Liz looked at him with bright, happy eyes. “I’d love to.“
Max smiled and waited for her to snuggle in close beside him before walking to the back and through the swinging doors.
Somehow, he managed to stop the flood of memories from last night as they crossed the very place where Liz had lain almost dead. But the tightness of her grip on his hand told him that she was not doing as well.
“Mr. Parker,” Max called into the kitchen. “Liz and I are going for a drive.”
“Wait, just a minute, Max,” Mr. Parker entered the back room wiping his hands on a towel. His chef gear gave evidence of the fact that Michael’s absence had been felt at work today. “Liz, honey, how are you feeling? Last I heard you were really sick.”
“No, dad,” she managed to say. “I was just tired. All these wedding plans and stuff. I guess I stayed up too late working on the vows.”
“Hm,” Mr. Parker watched her carefully, obviously trying to decide whether or not she was well enough to be going out.
“Mr. Parker, I’ll have her back early tonight, I promise,” Max tried to look as trustworthy as possible. “I’m worried about her getting enough rest, too.”
Especially the night before the honeymoon... Max squelched the thought before it went any further. He was talking to her dad!
Liz smiled up at him and eventually Mr. Parker joined in. “I know you are Max. If there’s one thing I’m convinced of, it’s that you love my daughter and want the best for her. You two go ahead. I’ll deal with your mother.”
Max nodded and tried to look as though the words hadn’t affected him. But they had. Liz was pulling at his arm, so he swallowed and walked away, trying to console himself with the touch of her against him and the knowledge that no one was going to be able to keep them apart after the wedding on Saturday. No one.
Max and Liz entered Michael’s apartment and greeted everyone quietly. It was a somber, nervous group that met their eyes.
“Is everyone okay,” Max asked lightly. His gaze went to the couch, where Alex sat with his arm around the huddled Isabel. They nodded hesitantly, but it was obvious that Isabel was disturbed.
Liz knew from Michael what the problem was. Isabel’s hunter was the only one they hadn’t yet dealt with. She was just plain scared.
Maria was sitting next to Isabel, studying her with concern. She reached over and slid her hand into Isabel’s.
“I’m alright,“ Isabel insisted, rolling her eyes at all the attention. Liz heard Max sigh deeply beside her. Isabel was not alright.
Michael caught Liz’s eyes. *She’s a wreck.* Liz nodded.
Then Justin entered from the bathroom and crossed to sit on the floor beside Joey. The strange flood of emotions Liz felt from Michael made her flinch. Doubt, anger and hostility were all but completely burying the underlying hope that was there, the hope that Justin really was the family he’d always wanted.
Liz saw with amazement that Michael managed to look completely in control as he watched Justin with Joey.
There was only a small frown on his face, which Liz copied when Joey shifted her weight into Justin slightly and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him with a slight blush and he smiled down at her.
It was sweet, but a little unnerving considering the two had just met under adverse circumstances not even two days ago.
Liz shook her head. How much had she missed while she was asleep? A vague fear that Justin’s motives were less than friendly was still prominent in her mind. Or was that just the extreme paranoia from Michael clouding her judgment?
*Thanks for the vote of confidence,* he thought to her dryly.
Liz grinned over at Michael, now leaning against the edge of the table. That sounded more like his normal self, but she could still sense his fear. She turned to Maria and raised her eyebrows a little.
Maria’s eyes automatically went to Michael and Liz gave her a slight nod.
Best friend telepathy.
Maria gave Isabel a last pat on the leg and tried to stand up awkwardly. Her leg was healed inside the cast, but it was still hard to move around. When she started losing her balance, Alex reached forward and pushed her rear in the right direction.
“Nice hands,” she mumbled as she jerked forward and stiffly walked to Michael.
Isabel perked up a bit and managed to smile, “I think so, too.”
Michael almost chuckled and Liz smiled, pleased to notice that Max smiled, too. It felt good to lighten the mood.
But she felt Max beginning to shift into great leader mode beside her and she braced herself. There was no telling what might happen.
“So,” he began. “Justin, we have a lot of questions for you.”
Justin looked up at Max with a guarded face. “Yeah, and I guess I have quite a few myself. Like how come all of you act like we’ve never met before.”
Everyone got completely still.
“What do you mean,” Max said quietly. Liz looked over to see that he looked shaken.
“I’m only two or three earth years older than you guys,” Justin’s face was filled with barely hidden disgust. “You really don’t remember anything, not even your names?”
Liz saw the look of wonder on Joey’s face and her quick look to her older brother and sister before she answered him. “Justin, we don’t remember anything. What- what do you remember?”
The brown eyes grew hostile and he refused to meet anyone’s eyes. The tense silence seemed to make him withdraw even more. He hunched over and leaned his arms on his legs.
Michael was getting angry, “You can’t just come in here and drop hints about the past and then clam up. The only reason you‘d have to do that is if you really don‘t know anything and it‘s all a bunch of lies.”
Justin fixed his hostile gaze on Michael. “Fine,” he spat out in Michael’s direction. “I’ll tell you the whole long, sad story... or at least what I remember of it.” There was a trace of sarcasm in his voice, but Liz didn’t believe for one second that he was that calloused. It was becoming obvious to her that Justin dealt with his emotions the same way Michael did, by hiding them behind anger.
Justin looked around the group defiantly. “I still can’t believe that no one remembers anything.” He shook his head as everyone just stared back at him.
Then he sighed and seemed to give in. Then his jaw worked for a moment before he spoke. Joey slipped her hand into the crook of his arm. He stared at it for a moment, the gesture seeming to calm him.
“God, where do I start?”
There were a few quiet movements around the room as they gave him time to think. Liz rubbed Max’s back softly, trying to ease the tension there. She could feel Michael’s mounting emotions and swallowed hard against the dryness they created in her throat. Maria had her arms around him, trying to help.
“I grew up in an orphanage, but not alone,” Justin said, stone-faced. “My sister Kate was with me; we refused to be separated. Every foster home had to take both of us. Finally, we got adopted, but not for the reasons you would think. Someone found out that Kate and I could do things with our minds. And someone sold us to a man ready to cash in on our ‘abilities.’”
“Oh my god,” Isabel said quietly, echoing Liz’s thoughts.
“How awful,” Maria whispered.
“Yeah, well, it was basically hell,” Justin admitted after giving the group a long look. “Found out a lot of stuff I didn’t want to know. Did a lot of things I didn’t want to do.”
“How long were you there,” Max asked quietly.
“Six years, to the day,” Justin answered matter-of-fact. “They used Kate to keep me there. She would never go with us, so I couldn’t just take off. Not if I wanted to see her again.”
Liz had to ask the question that was at the forefront of Michael’s mind. “Is she really your sister, I mean, genetically, is she your and Michael’s sister?”
Justin gave her a shrewd look. “Yeah. I’m the oldest, then Kate, then Michael and then... Illnyasetsa. She’s the baby... I have no idea where she is.”
Liz felt tears sting her eyes at what was obviously a painful admission. She looked over to where Michael had bowed his head, trying valiantly to control the emotions raging through him. He had a brother and two sisters. The thought was salvation to him and yet, so painful...
Liz kept her thoughts to herself, trying to respect his privacy.
“That name, what did you call Michael,” Max asked intently.
“Krynasettah,“ Justin provided reluctantly. “That’s his real name. And my name is Magrasettah. They sound strange, I know.”
“Yeah, but the hunter seemed to recognize that name, Kryna- whatever,” Michael mumbled.
“And the first hunter we met, Doug,” Max leaned forward on the stool. “He called me something... something like that... Cha-ta-ma...”
“Yeah,” Justin looked up at Max intently. “Chatamalinkasohn.”
“Wow, that’s quite a handle, there, big guy,” Alex teased, smiling at Max.
Justin’s glance wasn’t very friendly. “Yeah, well it means something, okay? It’s not just a random bunch of syllables.”
Alex held up his hands in surrender. “Waving a white flag here.”
Everyone looked back over at Justin.
“What does it mean,” Liz asked quietly.
“I’m... not actually sure. Um... it’s something like the longer your name, the higher your position. I can’t remember exactly.”
Liz looked over at Max with new eyes, suddenly feeling that the way everyone deferred to him might not be an accident. Maybe he was born to it?
Max was looking uncomfortable at the way attention had shifted onto him. “So, how did you end up here,” he asked Justin quietly.
Justin hesitated again, for a long moment. “Kate’s been missing for about a year. We had finally escaped from the Nelsons and made a new life for ourselves, in Ft. Worth. But someone knew where we were. I don’t know who... we were careful, I swear.” He looked around as if to convince everyone of that fact.
“What happened,” Michael asked in a tense voice.
“I came home after work one day and she was gone, just like that,” his voice was haunted. “Nothing was disturbed; there were no clues. Since then, I’ve been searching everywhere. I got hooked up with this motorcycle gang that travels the Southwest. They have a lot of unorthodox connections, and I‘ve been through almost all of them. I honestly don’t know where else to- to try.”
Justin bowed his head, and Joey settled her head on his shoulder, watching him with worried eyes. Liz grimaced, feeling Michael’s rage starting to take over. She jumped to her feet quickly, just before Michael did.
“So what, you’re just gonna’ give up,” Michael was up, glaring down at Justin. “Stop searching?”
“Michael, I don’t think that’s-”
Justin jumped to his feet suddenly, interrupting Max’s calm statement. “What the hell do you know about it? It’s not like you were around to help-”
And they launched themselves at each other, with Max and Joey desperately pulling away at each of them.
“Oh, and that’s my fault,” Michael yelled at Justin as tried to yank his arms away from Max.
Joey had gotten in front of Justin and was pushing him away from Michael. “Stop it,” she yelled, in tears. “Stop it!”
Liz sat back heavily on the stool. The emotions slamming into her from Michael were drowning her, sending adrenaline racing through her and dizziness quickly following. The room began to spin.
“Liz,“ she heard Maria’s voice echo from across the room. The yelling faded into the background and gravity increased, pulling her down, down toward the ground in slow motion.
“Liz? Liz?“ She was caught up before she hit the ground. Everything whirled around in her brain, and she fought off the blackness threatening to take over. Maybe she wasn’t as recovered as she thought...
But eventually she realized that it was Max, cradling her up into his arms easily. “Are you alright,” he whispered hoarsely. Liz reached up and put her arms around his neck weakly. The room was still spinning.
*Liz?* Michael was concerned. At least her fainting spell had stopped them from fighting.
I’m fine, Michael.
God, she hated feeling so weak. Tears squeezed out of her eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m fine,” she whispered, ducking her head into Max’s chest.
“Guys, I guess that’s it for tonight,” Max called out.
A small murmuring told Liz that everyone agreed easily. Things had gotten a little weird.
“Please, just go ahead and talk, I’m fine,” she protested weakly, despite the fact that she still couldn‘t open her eyes.
“No, I think you’ve had enough,” Max had that tone in his voice and Liz just sighed loudly. That meant it was over and arguing wouldn’t help. “I’m taking you out to the car.”
Liz perked up at that thought. She’d get Max alone...
“I still have something to show you,” Max whispered low in her ear. “If you can sit up and be well for a few minutes. I mean, I know I should get you home and in bed, but I‘ve been... looking forward to this all day.”
Liz started feeling dizzy again... for an entirely different reason. Her breath shortened as the hum began to warm her body. She cautiously opened her eyes to see his concerned face looking down at her. “I could probably arrange a few conscious moments for that.”
“I’m taking Liz to the Jeep,” Max announced, then headed for the door.
“Bye Liz,” Maria called out. Liz didn’t answer. She was looking up at Max. His smile was leaning a little more toward a wolfish grin than she was accustomed to.
“Max Evans,” she whispered. “What are you planning?”
“Just a little payback, darlin’,” he whispered as he maneuvered his way through the door. “That’s all.”
Was that a Southern drawl coming out of his slightly curled lips? Liz could hardly believe it, but she liked it. A smile made its way across her face.
|Part 18 | Index | Part 20|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|