|"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!!!
|Joey looked around the crowd, fighting a blinding
panic that was pretty evenly divided between Max’s
condition and Larry‘s frightening revelation. She had
seen the looks on the faces around the church. They
had believed him there for a minute, and they were
afraid of Max. |
Her heart clenched tight. She wanted to run, to go somewhere she could be safe. But she forced her mind to rule out that course of action.
Max was her brother. They were her family now, no matter what happened.
She looked over to see her mother sobbing onto Mr. Evans’ shoulder hysterically, completely devastated.
And she could see Liz and Isabel, already connecting with Max, risking it all to heal him. And Joey’s heart was screaming at her to help them, but her mind wouldn‘t rest until she had found a solution to their dilemma. The fact was that their actions would prove Larry‘s words to everyone...
She couldn’t let that happen and she frantically looked around the room for an answer.
After a moment, her eyes came to rest on a lit candelabra just a few feet away from the blue velvet curtain. The idea came to her in a flash. Yes!
She launched herself at Kyle, who was watching the events unfold with a hand over his mouth. “Go trip the fire alarm,” she said quickly, giving him a push when he just dropped his hand and stared at her.
Then she backed up... and faked a pretty good fainting spell. As she fell backwards, she snagged the golden stand and pushed it back into the curtains. They enfolded it like a shroud.
Then she reached out with her mind and nudged the molecules of air around the small flames to speed up until they whipped the heavy fabric into flames.
Quickly, she fed it more oxygen and watched as the smoke began to pour out.
Maria felt the emotion in Michael’s fierce grip around her. She was just as frantic to make sure he was okay.
When that gun had been trained on him... She closed her eyes at the memory, trying to enjoy this precious moment. Then she opened them as Michael pulled back in confusion.
“Is it Liz,“ she asked automatically, her eyes finding for her friend where she knelt beside Max.
People were starting to form a horrified circle around them, although Alex was desperately trying to keep them away. “Give him some air, please,” he called out loudly.
Oh my god. She’s healing him, Maria suddenly realized. But at least there’s no glowing hands yet. If anyone sees-
Michael‘s voice interrupted her thoughts. “No, it’s- smoke-“
“FIRE,“ Alex yelled, pointing behind them. “Everyone out!“
Maria turned to see smoke billowing out from the platform toward them. It didn’t make sense. It was practically a wall of smoke-
“Get out,“ Michael yelled and started pushing at people. A general panic ensued and Maria gladly joined in.
“FIRE,” she screamed at the top of her lungs, pushing bodies toward the exits.
It was brilliant. Clear the room and no one sees Max get healed.
Kyle pushed through the smoke back to where he’d last seen Joey. “Joey,” he called out. He heard coughing up ahead and tried to walk in her direction.
The smoke was getting bad- really- really bad. Kyle stopped and coughed up half a lung, not able to continue. Tears stung his eyes and he thought his eyes might pop out with the force of the spasms.
“Joey,” he managed to choke out. Suddenly, the air swirled around him and he could breathe again.
But, of course, he had to stop and cough up the other lung before he could look up. Once he had finally stopped, he saw Joey holding her hands up, the smoke forming a ceiling over her.
Kyle froze in place, eyeing the bubble of clean air held in place by her... uh... forcefield? Great. Anyone seen the invisible jet, he thought with a grin. Gotta’ be around here somewhere.
“Let’s get Max out of here,” she said before he could regain his voice. So he just nodded and stood up straight with effort. The smoke continued to block their movement, but Joey’s powers just sliced through it and pushed it out of the way.
It was dark and warm inside the smoke cocoon and Kyle watched the glow from Joey’s hands light her face. With admiration, admittedly. She was stronger than he’d thought.
Michael was herding people out when he saw Mrs. Parker in the aisle bent over her husband’s still form. Wrath ignited in him immediately and he made his way through the few stragglers to stand beside her.
She was holding Mr. Parker’s head in her lap and desperately trying to get him to wake up. The gash on his head must have been bad because there was blood everywhere.
“Somebody help me,” she screamed. “I can’t get him out of here. Please!”
The raw emotion in her voice surprised Michael. But it somehow seemed fitting. All the terror and heartache she’d brought to Liz... avenged. He started to walk away, then paused. The wall of smoke was almost on them.
Turning back and kneeling, he scooped up Mr. Parker’s lanky form and heaved him to his chest. As he stood, Mrs. Parker laid a grateful hand on his arm. “Thank you-” She froze. “Michael,“ she whispered. Her eyes shimmered and she started to tremble. “Is Max okay? I’m so- so sorry-”
Michael just turned and carried Mr. Parker outside, away from the smoke.
Alex saw the wall of grey coming toward them and sucked in a big breath right before it hit them. What was this, some kind of Egyptian smoke plague? He swatted his hands at it fiercely, just succeeding in making it curl up in interesting patterns. He’d never seen anything like it in his life. Just as he was forced to suck in his first smoke-and-hack filled breath, there was a glow off to the side, coming closer.
Alex bent beside Isabel, who was still healing Max. “Izzy, we have to- to-” He couldn’t finish the sentence and coughs overtook him.
Then the light was on them and fresh air whooshed in his lungs. He’d never been so glad to just sit and breathe in his life. After a moment, he heard Joey’s short sob and realized she had brought the air. And the strange glow.
Kyle had an arm around her. “How’s Evans,” he asked Alex tersely.
“I don’t know,” Alex admitted with a shrug. “They haven’t let up yet.”
Glancing down at Max, he added in his mind only the rest of his thoughts. Max looked bad, real bad. Blood was still seeping out...
From behind him, Alex heard a rustling, then a strange disturbance in the air as Justin appeared from out of the smoke. He looked over at Joey with concern and then veiled anger.
Oh yeah, Kyle.
“Joey, you alright,” Justin said in clipped tones.
“I’m fine,” she said gratefully, giving him a sweet smile. Which made Kyle look none too happy. His arm went around her possessively.
Uh-oh. Alien vs. Human Smackdown. Count me out. Alex stood to his feet and looked between them with a pointed glance. “I think now might be a good time to remember that some among us are fighting for their life?”
Justin ignored Alex. “She’s mine, Kyle. Get your hands off of her.”
“Oh, gee, honey,” Kyle looked at Joey and said sarcastically. “You must have forgotten to show me your numbered tattoo.”
“No, Justin must be getting me mixed up with his pet gerbil,” Joey’s eyes were shooting a none-too-subtle message in Justin’s direction. “No one owns me.”
Alex looked between them with irritation. “Great, now that we’ve gotten that established-”
But a sudden groan from Isabel had him on his knees beside her in seconds. “Izzy,” he put his hands gently on her shoulders as she leaned back into him. “What’s wrong?”
“No, it’s Max,” she breathed out in between gasps. “We couldn’t connect with him.”
“What,” Alex panicked, “so you couldn’t heal him?”
“No, I mean, partly, I healed him partly,” sobs were coming out between her breaths. “But Liz is having trouble healing his heart without the ability to feel the damage from inside him.”
Alex glanced up to the serious faces around him as Isabel clung to him and cried weakly. Healing always took so much energy out of them. Alex pulled her close and smoothed her hair. “Listen, Izzy, no one knows Max’s heart like Liz does. She’ll take care of him.”
Just then, the smoke swirled and Michael and Maria stepped into the circle, coughing loudly. Michael bent over and made the most obnoxious hacking sound Alex had ever heard.
“Good god,” Justin frowned and passed his hand over Michael’s back. Michael immediately stopped coughing and stood up. “Thanks,” he said, eyeing Justin warily. “Although I ought to pound you for that little speech you gave there.”
“Come on, Mike, even you aren’t that dense,” Justin rolled his eyes. “I was trying to help.”
Michael’s eyes lit up with anger. “Well, next time you want to help, why don’t you try leaving out the words, ‘Max is an alien,’” Michael yelled.
“Michael, shut up,” Maria said tersely. “Max was just shot. Liz’s wedding day was just complete... hell and you’re- you’re”
Michael looked away and pulled her to him as she sobbed. Then he looked down at Izzy and Alex. “How is he?”
“Not so good-”
Just then, Alex heard Liz stir. She sucked in a huge breath and pulled back from Max.
“Liz,“ Alex asked quietly. She was staring at her hands strangely as the glowing faded. Then looked over at Alex with blank eyes and wiped the blood on the bodice of her dress.
“You okay, Liz,“ Maria asked quietly.
Liz didn’t answer. She just looked down at Max. Alex followed her gaze and took in Max’s pale, bloody tuxedoed body. Blood wasn’t pumping out of his chest anymore. But-
Liz suddenly toppled over in a heap.
Justin grabbed Liz just as she fell at his feet and scooped her up in his arms. “Let’s go,” he barked out.
“Is there a room somewhere we can hole up in?” Kyle was too busy glaring at him to answer.
“Uh yeah,” Maria said, wiping her face of tears. “There’s a choir room back there.”
“Michael, you and Alex get Max and carry him back there. We have to move him before the paramedics get here. Joey, can you clear the bloodstain?”
“What,” Joey jumped beside Kyle. “Oh, yeah, I can do that.”
Kyle watched as the other guys picked up Max, but he kept an eye on Justin with Liz. He felt like carrying Joey just to piss him off. In the end, he followed along behind the aliens like a lemming up the stream... in a little air bubble, surrounded by smoke in a burning church.
Kyle shook his head. I’ve got to get me some new friends.
Liz was trying to focus with every fiber of her being. She could barely make out what was being said, but she knew it was important.
So, so important.
“Okay, the room is sealed off,” Michael’s thoughts were a jumble to Liz as he continued, his emotions jumping around wildly. “What about the paramedics?”
“Yeah, they’ll be here soon,” Maria added.
“And the smoke will thin out quickly now that I‘m not out there.” Liz could hear the worry in Joey’s voice.
“We have to think of something else-”
“Max has to die,” said Justin a hard-edged voice.
Instant panic swept through Liz and she tried to move, open her eyes, scream or do something-
“Are you crazy,” Isabel’s teary voice spoke for all of them. “I’m NOT just going to let Max die.”
“Strike one, Mr. Abductee,” Kyle’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “Got any other light bulbs?”
“Okay, okay, don’t freak out on me here,” Justin said impatiently. “I just meant that he has to appear to die. Too many people saw him get shot- twice, in the chest. There’s no way anyone could survive that.”
Liz was panicking.
No, Michael, don’t let them do it!
*Liz...,* Michael was agreeing with Justin.
Liz screamed inside her head. If only she could move- or speak-
“Justin‘s right,” Alex added quietly. “Especially since Max can’t just go to the emergency room and get patched up. It’s pretty much either fake his death or expose him.”
Oh god... it was starting to make sense to her... but Max couldn‘t leave her... They were supposed to be married by now, dammit!!!
Why didn’t Larry shoot me, too?
*Liz, shut up,* Michael warned her. *Rest.*
“So, we need a dead body then,” Justin continued. Several loud exclamations criss-crossed the room.
“And exactly where in the hell do we come up with a dead body,” Michael summed it up for everyone angrily.
“Right here,” said an unfamiliar voice from the doorway.
Liz finally forced her eyes open to see Sheriff Valenti holding a lifeless body in his arms. As he let go, the body toppled to the ground before Liz’s wide eyes.
It was Max.
“Oh my god,” Maria felt the words leave here mouth with no accompanying thoughts. She had absolutely no idea what this meant, but she was betting everything she had that whoever that was WASN’T Sheriff Valenti, because the body on the floor sure as hell wasn’t Max Evans.
Everyone in the room stared at the two of them in silence.
Finally, Kyle spoke up in a shaky voice. “Uh, Dad, who is, I mean, was that?”
The Valenti person smiled in a vacant way, “I’m not your father, Kyle. I adopted this form to get a body to replace Max.”
Maria’s mouth formed an “o.”
“Nasedo,” Michael whispered in amazement.
The Sheriff walked forward. “You sound surprised. Do you think you don’t need help with this one?”
Michael just shook his head.
“So,” Justin pushed his way in between them, obviously trying to take the leading role here. “Who the hell are you?”
“He’s our guardian,” Michael said tersely. “Sometimes. A shapeshifter.”
“Gotcha,” Justin looked him up and down and nodded. “Good save. Who’s the stiff?”
“Larry Trilling, who else,” came the stunning answer.
Maria felt her mouth form an “o” again.
“You killed him,” Joey asked in a hushed voice.
Nasedo looked at her condescendingly. “Had to be done to save Max’s life. Now, on with the show.”
He bent over the real, live Max’s body and held out his hand. At first, everyone exchanged nervous glances. But then Michael nodded and there was an unspoken agreement to trust Nasedo for now. Nasedo’s brow furrowed as he held his hand over Max’s heart, then cleared as he swiped his hand and changed Max’s tuxedo into jeans and a sweatshirt in the blink of an eye.
Then before Maria could move properly out of the way, Nasedo was in front of Michael, changing his tuxedo into a firefighter’s uniform. “You,” he said suddenly, pointing at Michael, “will get him out of here now. Take the back door and go behind the side building. There you will find a silver station wagon. You and Max must disappear.”
The bloodcurdling yell from behind Maria made her blood run cold and she turned to see Liz standing unsteadily to her feet. She made a horrific sight- wide eyes taken over by panic, face as pale as death, body covered in a beautiful gown now smeared with blood, ripped down the front.
Maria’s heart broke at the sight.
Liz turned to Michael with a fierce glare. “You can’t do that to me, Michael.”
Nasedo started to her, but Michael held him back. Maria watched with a swell of tears as he went and gave Liz a big hug. They were fighting in words no one could hear, but Maria knew the instant Liz gave in.
She fell limp against Michael and he set her back down on the couch.
He looked over at Maria and she hurried over to her best friend. She had no idea how to help Liz through this, but as she put her arms around her, she determined to try.
Watching Sheriff Valenti, but not Sheriff Valenti, shoot the dead body of the Max who wasn’t Max, was quite an experience in reality comprehension for Alex.
He was honestly looking around the room for a candid camera crew or that creepy Sterling guy when Michael hoisted Max up on his shoulder and headed out the door.
Alex came back to himself quickly. Oh, god. Liz wouldn’t even get to say goodbye.
Or Isabel, Alex realized. He walked over to slide his arm around her waist, but she shook her head and made every pretense of being just fine, thank you very much.
Alex nodded at her and kept his arm around her anyhow, maybe more for him than for her.
Justin, Nasedo (now in his Indian form) and Joey headed back out the other door and into the smoke, to put the new dead Max back in the old dead, but not dead, Max‘s place.
All in all, it was a pretty confusing, but safe way to end things. The paramedics would have their dead human body and Larry’s words would be dismissed as those of a crazy man. Nice and neat.
Alex’s eyes slid over to Liz. Neat, however, does not necessarily mean easy... or happily-ever-after.
|Part 26 | Index | Part 28|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|