|"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 to the group 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 was still going over the last game in her mind as she watched the sun go down, smiling a little at the memory. There was one black kid in particular, Isaiah, who had been giving Shamiel a hard time about Joey
playing with them. That is, until she sunk a three-pointer, nothing but net. She actually only missed two or three shots the entire game. Part of that was due to the fact that no one would pass her the ball in the beginning, but she still scored at least twenty points in each game. She allowed herself a full-out grin. By the end of the second game, she was getting body-checked as much as anyone. She loved it when the
gloves came off and everyone forgot they were playing with a girl. It was the one place she was actually glad to be tall.|
She idly sipped more water and cast her eyes around for a nearby restroom. This was a new area for her to hang-out, pretty far away from her “hometown.” But it was nice. In fact, she had already scouted a place to work tomorrow bagging groceries. It didn’t pay much, but it was surprising how little she needed to live.
Water was cheap or free at most places and food wasn’t too expensive if you bought the right things. Of course, showering and sleeping were her biggest problems. Sleeping on a park bench was fine for a night or two, but since sleep deprivation wasn’t high on her list of jollies, it didn’t work long-term. And she hated, no, abhorred smelling “homeless.” She shuddered at the thought. Maybe she’d go slip in the YMCA or brave the shelter tomorrow. Or... just hide somewhere and do that...that thing. She glanced around nervously, as if just the thought of doing it were dangerous. She had already used it once last night to heal the cuts on her face from Carl. Not that it was really risky, but every time she used it, she just couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching her. Maybe someone that would love to get their hands on a mutant like her.
Joey hunched down on the bench, wishing that becoming invisible was part of her powers. No one around her looked suspicious, but still...
She had seen that comic book once time, “X-Men.” It had struck such fear in her heart, at the callousness of the world toward the mutants, and the horrible consequences of their powers. No more fantasies about using her powers for the good of mankind. Just fear of discovery and fear of being alone. Even the friends she had would probably turn away if they knew.
Joey jumped up from the bench and started walking. Still hours away from bedtime, and nowhere to go.
Liz exited her room, dressed more comfortably in shorts and a tank top. Michael’s feelings weren’t so overpowering now and she had finally gotten rid of that awful cheese smell by manipulating the smelly molecules into more fragrant gardenia ones. She couldn’t wait to tell Max. He was going to love that ability!
Liz came to a dead stop as she walked into the room. Her mother was standing at the roll-top desk, her back to Liz. In a matter of seconds, Liz decided to go for it. They were running out of time to deal with this... “So, Mom, how’s it going,” Liz bounced her head gamely as she waited for her mother to acknowledge her presence.
Nancy Parker kept her back to Liz. “Everything’s fine.”
The silence that followed was unbearable. Liz shifted uncomfortably. Her mother had been back from her trip for a week, and not one thing had been said about Max.
“Mom, um... I know we set the wedding date without you being here or really even asking you about it. Did we pick an okay day for you?” She couldn’t believe such a lame question came out of her mouth, but her mother made her so nervous now.
“Yes, honey. It’s fine.”
Liz didn’t know what she wanted from her mother, but she wasn’t getting it. Time to take the plunge. She crossed the room, stopping only a few steps behind her mother. She was apparently busy with some bills. Liz moved to the side and sat on the couch, where she could see the side of her mom’s face.
“Mom, have you got any questions about what we talked about before you left on your trip, about Max... or me?”
Nancy turned around and met Liz’s questioning gaze with firmness. “Liz, we have nothing to talk about. You’ve made your decision and I gave you my bl- my blessing.” At that point, her voice quavered and her hand went to rest nervously on her stomach. She smiled stiffly. “I wish you all the luck in the world.” Then she turned away and started shuffling through the papers on the top of her desk.
Liz was stunned. Her mom had no questions about Max being an alien? Or about Liz saying that she was an alien, too? Could she have misunderstood her mother? That talk was burned into her memory: *"I know about Max, and I don't want you marrying him."
"Oh, you know, the usual reasons..." Nancy's voice trailed off and she stood to her feet again. "You're too young; you're broke, and you're different species. I guess that about covers it."*
Nope. No misunderstanding that. Liz shook her head. “Mom, I can‘t- Mom?”
Her mother was already gone, dissolving Liz to tears in an instant.
Joey sat watching the couple for the longest time. Just the way the man put his arm around her and held the small of her back while they looked at the stars. What could he have possibly said to her to make her look like that at him, like he was her whole world?
Joey sighed and laid back on her hard bench. She had never even been alone with a guy before. By choice, of course. She knew at a very early age what those women on the street corners were expected to do, and wanted no part of it. Seeing the kind of men who frequented Carl’s house just made her that much more determined to stay away. Now, granted there were some guys at school who seemed to be different from that, but school was an off and on venture, depending on how well her survival was going. The guys there were, for the most part, too turned off by her limited wardrobe or her height, or her shyness or something.
She sighed again, feeling the hard wood against her back. She’d had a few hints that it wasn’t necessarily her looks keeping the guys away. In fact, one cute blond guy at school named Brent had told her she had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. Beautiful?
Joey shook her head and flushed just a little bit. That still floored her. Sure they were kinda’ big and had ridiculous amounts of lashes around them, but they were the stupidest color she’d ever seen. Not brown, not gold, but a mix of the two. It was called hazel by her school records, but that was just a pretty name for an icky color. Not that she spent a lot of time in front of the mirror or anything, but she knew that she did at least have decent skin and a straight nose.
Overall the effect wasn’t too bad. Her lips curved up slightly. Brent apparently thought that, too, because he had kissed her right in the middle of the hallway one day. It was so sudden that she almost knocked him on his butt. But the instinct left as soon as his lips touched hers. A soft, undemanding, minty-smelling kiss.
After she could speak again, she refused his offer of a date. Too much to hide. But she drifted on clouds for hours. Her first kiss... well, actually, her only kiss. Which reminded her, who would kiss her if she went around smelling like a horse? Just because she was homeless didn’t mean she had to pull a “pigpen.”
She sat up and looked around nonchalantly. The couple was still star-gazing, facing the other way. The dark night and full bushes around obscured the park bench from view for the most part. And there was no one else around. So she closed her eyes and concentrated. Every molecule of dirt, of sweat on her hair, body and clothes, she just evaporated away.
And at least she was finally tired enough to make a show of sleeping. It would take her a while to feel comfortable enough to actually doze off. But this bench was away from direct light and situated between big bushes. Kinda’ cozy and almost cave-like.
She laid back on the hard wooden bench and looked up at the stars.
Liz‘s heart felt heavy as she entered the room behind Isabel. She could see the worry in Max’s beautiful eyes as he crossed to her and slid his warm hands down her arms. His caresses always made her feel so safe.
“Is everything okay,” he whispered, searching her face with concern.
“I’m fine, it was just...“ Liz hesitated and looked down, not wanting to worry Max more.
“It was your mom, right,” Liz looked up as Max’s voice suddenly took on a distant tone.
“Michael told us.”
Ah, there it was. The tension in his voice had been because of Michael. Liz automatically looked over at Michael, sitting on the couch, who was watching her with concern on his face as well. He must have told them why she was late. Liz looked back up at Max.
“It was nothing, Max, really. She just said that she didn’t have any questions and that we had her blessing. That’s all,” Liz worked hard to make him relax.
But his face showed his doubt. “We’ll talk more later, okay,” Max turned back to the group sitting around the Evans’ living room and led Liz over to the big couch. They sat beside each other, and Max tucked her hand up inside the crook of his arm as he leaned forward to speak. Isabel beat him to it.
“Okay, so basically, there are three types of aliens: us, the hunters and Nasedo, whatever he is,” she looked around at Max and Michael for confirmation.
“Right,” Max agreed, giving Liz a special smile. “There’s four of us. And now we know there are more out there, aliens and hunters. One hunter for each of our people here on this world. We have to find the others, help them escape their hunters and maybe, find out more about who we are. We finally have a place to start. With Christopher Cross in L.A.”
“Whoa. So we’re like bad-alien killers now, huh,” Alex looked around the group with characteristic nervousness. “Are we going to come up with personalities to strike fear into their hearts? How about ‘Stone Cold Liz?’ Or ‘Michael the Mangler?’”
A few smiles were sent his way. “I like ‘Miscreant Michael’ myself, but Max, tell me again why we don’t just call this Cross guy,” Maria spoke up from beside Alex. The human contingent was down to just two now, although Kyle had off-again, on-again status as one of the group.
“Because we don’t know for sure who he is,” Max said with characteristic caution. Liz could read the excitement hidden under his careful words, his desire to act immediately on the lead, but doubted that anyone else could. “This could easily be a trap.”
“Did you realize that three of you have names that start with ‘M’,” Alex said, his jitters making Liz smile tightly. “Hey, what about ‘Mighty Max’?”
Liz glanced over at Michael, who was ignoring Alex‘s off-topic rant. She opened her mouth to speak, but kept silent. Michael was shaking his head at her.
“Alex,” Maria addressed him with a smile. “That thing you don’t want anymore? Diarrhea of the mouth? You’ve got it.”
Alex nodded and pressed his lips together firmly.
Then Max jumped in to ease the silence, “Now, we are all agreed that some contact is necessary to find out the truth,” Max continued. “But only if we control all the unknown elements. That would be primarily Christopher’s knowledge of who we are and what we are. We need to find out as much about him as we can, without revealing ourselves to him.”
Liz sighed as she sent her mind through the obstacle course of their wisest course of action. Trying to think like an alien was still difficult for her. She had thought she had put herself in Max’s shoes enough to understand before... but she had been wrong.
“Right,” Alex agreed. “Sounds like you guys are talking a Deep Throat Operation, surveillance kind of stuff. You can count me in.” He rubbed his hands together gleefully.
“Oh, you guys have no idea what you’ve just done,” Maria laughed. “Alex was the perpetually morphing detective when we were in elementary school. We never knew if he was going for Sherlock Holmes or James Bond, although the attempts at womanizing usually gave us a good hint.”
Liz cracked a smile. Alex was still a spy-story hound. He read every book he could get his hands on and subscribed to several e-mail lists about spy stuff, which were all basically conspiracy hothouses.
“Well, if you don’t want to enlist my services, then fine. But I know where to get my hands on some pretty cool gadgets that just might come in handy.” Alex’s grin was so contagious. He never let stuff get to him, not as long as he could find something to throw himself into. A warmth filled Liz as she remembered how many times he’d helped her. Especially last week with Doug. Had he not been there... and Kyle... Liz shivered. Suddenly, she felt Michael’s serious brown eyes on her.
*Anyone else you want to include in that list?*
Liz rolled her eyes. So full of himself. Michael smiled faintly and looked away.
“So what about your honeymoon,” Isabel’s voice yanked her back into the conversation.
“The honeymoon,” Max’s voice cracked just a little.
“Why don’t you and Liz honeymoon in L.A. and see if you can dig something up about this guy,” Isabel continued.
The room erupted into chaos, everyone talking at once.
“No, Isabel,” Max said firmly.
“Wouldn’t they actually have to leave the room to do that,” Maria threw out, sharing a laugh with Alex.
“We’ll be leaving the room sometimes, Maria,” Liz offered.
“Yeah, what to get ice and towels,” Alex said with a grin.
“And Ace bandages,” Maria added.
Liz glared at them. “Funny. But we’re not doing it. No, uh-uh. No way.”
“Doing it, Liz? Exactly what ‘it’ won‘t you be doing,” Isabel grinned like a Cheshire cat.
“We won’t be doing surveillance work on our honeymoon,” Liz answered, shifting on the soft cushion. She noticed beside her that poor Max had this deer-caught-in-headlights look on his face as everyone laughed.
“Good grief,” he mumbled under his breath. Liz gave his arm a little squeeze.
“Let’s just forget about it,” Michael said loudly. Liz realized he hadn’t been laughing.
Max kept his head down as he continued, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Our trip will be short enough as it is.”
More catcalls from Alex and Maria. Isabel smothered a smile when Michael glared at her.
Liz sighed. “Look it doesn’t have to this whole huge set-up, anyway. We already know the guy’s one of us.”
Max raised his head quickly. “No, we don’t.”
“Max, Michael got a vision when he touched the card,” Liz launched off immediately. “He knows what he saw, okay? Why don‘t you trust him?” Michael sat frozen in his chair. Oh god, was she doing it again, telling everyone his thoughts?
“It‘s not that,” Isabel argued, “but I have to trust my first-hand impression over his second-hand vision thing. Don’t you think I would’ve known if he were one of us? And Max, too?”
Liz felt Max staring at her. “I didn’t mean to bring it back up,” she said hesitantly. “It’s just that he’s pretty sure.” Michael looked at her sardonically and she amended herself. “I mean he’s very sure.”
“Stop speaking for him,” Isabel said loudly. “It’s giving me the creeps.”
“Me, too,” Maria muttered from across the table. Liz looked over at her and saw that Maria wouldn’t meet her eyes. And Max, he was still giving her one of those looks. Great.
Suddenly, Michael jumped up. “Lookit, I picked up the card and I saw him. I felt what he felt when he handed you the card. He was elated that you were wearing the pendant, Iz. He recognized it and that’s why he gave you the card.”
“Right,” Max said quietly as he looked up at Michael. “But why was he elated? Could it have been because he has been hunting for one of us for years, like Doug? Need I remind you that there is a hunter for each one of us and we’ve only dealt with two of them?”
“No, you needn’t remind me, Max,” Michael glowered at him. “I’m perfectly capable of remembering why you don’t trust my judgment on this.”
He walked out.
Oh God, Liz put face into her hands. Waves of anger crashed through her. Why couldn’t they just trust him on this? “Guys,” she began, but stopped herself. She was having to take deep breaths to calm down.
“Um... Liz, I think we’ve heard enough from the Michael defense committee today,” Maria spat out. She stood and walked over to the door. “My vote is to use the honeymoon. No one else has a reason and money enough to leave Roswell.”
It was quiet after she left, but Liz could feel Michael still seething outside.
“I hate to say it, but I have to agree with Maria,” Alex said quietly. “Shouldn’t we do something soon, before school starts back? Iz and I will be leaving, and who knows what happens after that?”
Liz swallowed the lump in her throat. Isabel and Alex were going to University of New Mexico, determined to stay together. Liz and Max would be waiting to attend school for at least a semester as they tried to get used to the marriage thing. It just wasn’t wise to graduate high school, get married and start college all in the same summer. As for Michael, who knew what he was going to do? Alex was right, once the gang was separated...
“No, Izzy, you can’t go away to college, no matter what Mom and Dad say,” Max said firmly. “You know that. Not without me or Michael, preferably both of us.”
Liz held her breath.
“So I just put my life on hold because you’re getting married and Michael doesn’t want to go to college,” Isabel said with tears in her eyes.
“No,” Liz jumped in, unable to stop herself. “It’s not that Michael doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have the money and doesn’t want anyone to feel bad about it.”
Everyone turned to stare at her. Liz looked down at the coffee table uncomfortably. “Sorry,” she mumbled. She felt Max’s eyes on her for a moment, then he turned to Isabel.
“Izzy,” Max said gently. “It’s not safe for you to try to handle things on your own. Not with the hunters around.”
“Are they around,” Isabel said in a tense, high-pitched voice. “I wish they would come around and just get this over with.”
Alex put his arm around her shoulders. Max sighed. Liz reached out to run her hand down his thigh. An immediate hum began in her body, and she tried to ignore it. She was trying to be comforting.
Max turned to her, his warm eyes intense and automatically making her body flood with warmth.
It was scary, this pull between them. It was so primal, so hungry. Max shifted so that he could put an arm back around her and pull her in. Liz ducked her head and buried her face in his chest. The familiar smell of him was so intoxicating. Her serious thoughts fled. How amazing it must be to be Max. To be such a strong, determined, golden kind of man. Such a leader, such a source of strength for everyone.
And so... incredibly sexy, her mind finally gave back in to the sensations running through her.
“Guys, should we leave,” Alex hesitantly asked.
“No,” Max breathed out as he sat back on the couch, pulling Liz in still closer. She could feel him trembling beside her and she sucked in a deep breath.
“Max,” she whispered against his neck as she cuddled closer. His arms went around her, pulling her halfway into his lap, her feet tucked up under her. Not the most comfortable position, but she just wanted to be completely encompassed about by him. And with one of his large hands under her shins, the other pulling in around her middle, and the wealth of him warming her back... it almost felt close enough. Okay, well... maybe not...
“Yeah, we’re leaving, guys,” Izzy’s voice barely made it into Liz’s consciousness as their lips found each other. Then the world exploded into sensations of warmth, of heat, of touch and feeling.
The dark, hot night surrounded him, reached into him, painfully pulling out feelings he didn‘t want to feel.
They were suffocating him.
Michael realized someone was saying his name. He was still standing outside the Evans’ house, leaning against the basketball goal. He shook his head to clear it and turned around. “Yeah?”
“Where’s Maria,” Isabel asked, her hand stuck through the crook of Alex’s arm.
Michael tried to wade through the feelings bombarding him. He wanted to run, but knew from experience that it just didn’t work. Proximity made absolutely no difference. Neither did cold showers or strenuous activity.
Answer Isabel about Maria, he ordered himself. “She went home.” There. He swiped at his face, pointed toward his apartment and started walking that way.
“Michael,” Isabel’s hand on his arm stopped him. “You know I believe you, don’t you? About the card? I’m just... I just want to be careful, that’s all.”
Michael focused on her face briefly and nodded, “Sure.”
Isabel seemed to pause as she watched him. He was doing his best to look completely normal, hard to do with these... images running through his head. He cursed under his breath and looked away.
“This whole thing with Liz has gotten so weird, Michael,” he looked up to see Isabel frowning at him. “She’s like your private attorney or something. How connected are you two?”
Michael sighed loudly and looked up at the sky. “Connected enough to know that someone probably should... go back in there... now.”
“Eww, no. I did it last time, and it took me hours to recover normal vision,” Isabel grimaced.
Alex raised his hand. “I’ll sacrifice my eyes for the good of the... cause, friendship, whatever.”
“Just don’t look, okay,” Isabel smiled and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
“Oh, no problem there,” Alex said instantly.
“And go quick. They‘ll thank you later,” Isabel waved him in.
Michael couldn’t stand it anymore. His feet hit the pavement and he ran on and on.
Maria was fuming.
No- she was miserable.
No- she was confused, and angry. And miserable.
She couldn’t even begin to understand this connection thing between Michael and Liz. She knew they were just brother and sister, but it was creepy, like Isabel said. She couldn’t understand why it wasn’t driving Max crazy, too.
She rolled her eyes at the sudden tears. Max had no reason to be jealous. He and Liz shared a connection, too, just a different kind.
So it’s just me out in the cold.
Since this whole thing with Liz started, she and Michael hadn’t had one single good make-out session. Now maybe in some relationships, that was fine. But Michael and Maria’s leap into semi-couple status had come at the heels of a passionate encounter. Michael seemed almost unable to express his feelings into words. He was much better at shutting them down completely or yelling them.
Not that Maria was much better, really. The physical aspects of their relationship helped both of them get past those awkward moments when she felt abandoned or unwanted because he just couldn’t say the words she needed to hear.
Sometimes it took everything in her not to try to force them out of him. Well, okay, sometimes she wasn’t all that successful at not trying to force them. But at least she was more successful at that than in trying to force him to say them when she did try. Did that make any sense?
Maria realized that she had automatically driven to the Crashdown as she came to a halt at the stop sign in front of the diner. She huffed out a breath of irritation. It wasn’t like she spent enough time their without losing her mind and pulling a migratory driving thing.
If only she could get the orb to transform her. Then she and Michael would have that connection, and he wouldn’t have to say anything. She would just know. She sighed as she glanced over at the diner’s window. Then she did a double-take. In the window, she could see Mrs. Parker closing up, which was weird enough in and of itself. But she also wasn’t alone.
Larry Trilling was in there with her, talking feverishly and leaning in to Mrs. Parker like this was a life-or-death conversation. She was wearing her normal guarded expression, but her hands were nervously patting at her hair, a sure sign of something big going down.
Maria held her foot on the brake, watching the two with a growing feeling of distrust. What could they have to discuss this late and with such intensity?
Maybe Jennifer had finally gotten fired (finally), and Larry had shown up to chew somebody out for it. But why wouldn’t Mrs. Parker let Mr. Parker handle it? She never got involved in the cafe business.
This was so not good. That Larry guy had always acted kinda’ weird. And Maria remembered that when he and Jennifer first moved back, Max and Michael were very suspicious of him for some reason. They never said why, and as time passed, they seemed to forget about it.
But this... him and Mrs. Parker, who knew Max’s secret now...
This was bad. Very bad. Like horror-movie, slasher-coming-through-the-shower-curtains kinda’ bad.
Maria started to feel panicky, so she took one more look and continued on home. She couldn’t deal with this on her own. She’d tell Liz later. Liz would know what to make of it.
|Part 1 | Index | Part 3|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|