FanFic - Max/Liz
"Finding Tess"
Part 2
by Nina
Disclaimer: Please, I`m just an innocent little girl who owns almost nothing, including Roswell, so don`t sue me!!!
Summary: Each member of the group gradually discovers who Tess really is as they hide out in a church.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Authors Note: Takes place a couple days after "The White Room." As always, I have included throughout the story the names of songs that would be played during the episode at the specific places they would be. As always, you can sample them all at if you`ve never heard them before to get the full deep fanfic experience. The music in this fanfic comes from Alanis Morissette`s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and the Red Hot Chili Peppers` Californication. By the way, if you want to know the end of Alex`s joke you have to e-mail me for it and tell me what you thought of the fic first :)
But Max didn`t actually know Tess as well as he could know her.

"Are you all right?" Max repeated. "That was probably..."

"Scary," Tess finished. "Oh God."

Max couldn`t stand and talk to her back. Not when it was shaking up and down. He put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, don`t just face the wall like that...."

Tess turned around to face him. "Why?"

What was that supposed to mean? Why shouldn`t I face the wall, cause if I don`t I`ll just want to hold your hand again? Why shouldn`t I, because you don`t want to talk to me anyway?

What was with her?

"Because I can`t talk to you with your face against there," Max replied. "Really, are you okay?" Max couldn`t help it. He was sort of trying to prove to Tess he could trust her and be nice to her as long as she wasn`t so...Tess. Max couldn`t just forget about her and ignore her right now. He wasn`t like that.

"I can`t say I am." Tess shivered. Was it cold? Was Max just unable to gather it right now if it was cold? Or was it perfectly warm and she was just really scared? "Do you really care?"


"I was just wondering why you even ask."

Does she really think I`m that careless? Max wondered. He put a hand on her shoulder to calm her down. Would that answer her question enough? So that he wouldn`t actually have to say anything?

Tess slowly came closer to him so that he wasn`t stretching his arm out a foot. "I`m sorry. I`m just all stiffened up and freaked."

"It`s okay," Max said. This was good. This was where he needed everything.


Max watched her eyes start to water. Or had he just not noticed she was crying until now? It was really dark. That was probably it.

He hugged her.

This was okay. Max had to do everything around and with Tess as if they had no destiny together. It wasn`t like if he touched her they would automatically have to take it any further. And Tess needed him to act reasonably right now. He couldn`t be worrying about the stupid...

Tess lifted her head up and kissed him. By the time he broke away it was too late. He just knew, knew somehow before he looked, that Liz was standing at the end of the alley.

"Liz?" Max asked. "Wait, Li-"

She just shook her head and ran away. Max looked back at Tess angrily. "That`s great."

"Sorry," Tess said unmeaningfully, immediately out of her mellow, scared mood.

"Stop it," Max said and turned away from her.

"Stop what?"

"Stop looking at me that way. Stop standing there. Stop breathing in my atmosphere. Cause every time I look at you, every time I`m with you, I feel like a criminal."

"You`ll always feel like a criminal if you stay with Liz, it`s not just me!" Tess shouted. "Now that you know that you were born to be with me, every time you kiss her-"

"It`s very important to your future that you don`t finish that sentence," Max snapped, spinning back around. "You don`t have the right to finish that sentence."

"Why, Max?"

"I`ll tell you why, I don`t care what you think of it. Having you talk about what will happen when I kiss Liz makes me sick, all right?"

"It doesn`t make you feel sick, it makes you feel guilty."

"Fine, it does. There."

"Damnit! Whatever happened to Liz`s safety?"

"Oh please, not this..."

"If there`s ever been a time to stay away from Liz for her safety, this is it. Pierce is looking for us right now! What if he find us? Liz is going to know who they are, they aren`t gonna let her live. We`re lucky, Max. We`re valuable. They need us alive, but she`s just a worthless human in the way..."

Suddenly Liz screamed. Max turned to his right to see her in the alley being shot, falling backwards hard against the wall...

"Stop it!" Max shouted to Tess. "Stop it!" He said again, so desperate that he hit her just to make it all stop.

Liz was no longer in the alley. When Max looked back at Tess his eyes were blaring with anger. He grabbed her shoulders and pinned her against the hard brick wall behind her. "You won`t get anywhere poisoning my mind with images, Tess! Don`t ever do that again!"

Tess glared back angrily as he let her go.

"You know where I`m going right now?" Max asked her as he started walking backwards away from her. "I`m going to run after my girlfriend to explain to her for the third time that I don`t want anything to do with you. Aren`t you gonna stop me?"

Tess just stood there with her arms crossed.

"Good." Max turned around to walk away. He was several steps away when he turned back around and asked, "You know how I was saying why I can`t trust you and accept you in the group so easily, and was interrupted, before that guy came after us?"

Tess nodded. "What were you about to say?"

Max sighed. "I was about to say...that you make it so hard to love you."

He walked away and Tess just stood there, watching him, until he was gone. Then she wiped one eye with her sleeve.

She had tried so hard. He just couldn`t forget about...her. It was just too hard.

The second Max walked into the library was the second he started talking. "She was scared."

Liz turned around. "So you kissed her?"

Oh God, Max thought. Here we go again. He didn`t want to be reasoning with Liz, he wanted to be kissing Liz. He didn`t want to be kissing Tess, he wanted to be shouting at her right now. He was just tired of being nice to her. It was as simple as that. She`d gone too far.

"You know, I have to hand it to you, though, because if you wanted to comfort her, you found the best way," Liz continued. "All Tess wants is for you to purposely kiss her."

"I didn`t purposely kiss her," Max said. "I had no intention to. I just hugged her, and then she knew you were there and turned it into putting a show on for you."

"Of course," Liz said sadly. "She`s always trying to put on a show for me. I`m sure she really cares that every time her little shows are enough to break my heart again and again..."

"Liz." Max moved forward and put his arms around her as she started to sob. Now it was official. If Tess ever walked back through that attic door he swore he may not be able to contain himself. He`d be at her throat. He knew it.

"How much did you see anyway?" Max asked.

"I saw a guy run out with a gun. Of you and Tess it doesn`t matter, I saw too much."

"What were you doin` out there?"

Liz pulled back from him and took some money out of her pocket. "We realized no one had given you anything to pay for it, so I was gonna run after you and give this to you. But I guess..."

"Tess handled it," Max explained. "And the first thing I do when she comes back is kill her, and then we eat. I shouldn`t have left her with the groceries."

Liz laughed. "I don`t think it would be healthy if you were thinking about food at a time like that. I just hope Tess remembers them."

Max smiled. "Liz, I`m sorry."

"Don`t, please, don`t do this. It`s not you. It`s her."

Max pulled her to him her again. "I don`t want you to have to be around when she comes back."


"I won`t let her do this to you anymore. I`m going to tell her to go somewhere else."

"Max, isn`t that sort of jumping to conclusions? We don`t have to-"

"No. I don`t trust her anymore. I was just beginning to be able to let her in and then she did this. She ruined her chance to ever be close to us. God, I can`t stand to look at her or be with her anymore, it`s-"

"I know, I know," Liz said quietly. "I feel it too."

Max rubbed his hand down one of her arms. "You`re cold. It`s chilly in here, isn`t it?"

Liz shivered. "Yeah."

Max rubbed his hands up and down her arms and took her hands in his. Liz suddenly felt warmer in a matter of seconds. She knew Max was doing it, but it felt like the entire room had just become warmer instead of just her. She smiled up at Max. "Thanks."

He smiled back. Then they heard a thud up above him. And from down there they could hear Isabel scream, "What the hell were you thinking!?!"

Max frowned. "Tess is back."

Tess set the grocery bag down on the floor and leaned against one of the attic walls. She said nothing.

"I hope you`re happy, Tess," Michael said.

Before anyone could add something to that Max came in through the door. He glared over at Tess. She stared back.

"Come out in the hall," Max told her. She reluctantly walked over to the door and Max followed her down the stairs that went up to the attic to the hallway on the next level. Tess leaned against one wall with her arms crossed, and Max stood in the middle of the path facing her.

"Now you have a tendency to not understand certain things very well so I`m going to say this very slowly," Max said. "I want you to take your coat, and maybe a bottle of hot sauce, and get out of here, and hide somewhere else."

"You need me here," Tess said.

"I can`t stand you here. We`ve lived our lives in danger together this far and we`ve done alright, and we can live without you now."

"Where am I supposed to go?"


"Fine. But the more we spread out the more Pierce can find us. What if he finds me, just me, and I tell him where you are?"

Max took that as a threat. Maybe she would purposely turn them all in. And they would have no way of knowing if and when she was captured.

Suddenly he didn`t trust Tess to keep herself from being captured. To protect everyone else he had to keep her safe.

"Fine," Max said. "You find somewhere else in here to sleep. But if you get near us, and you try something like you did today again, and I have to see that hurt expression on Liz`s face one more time, you`re leaving."

"Very well," Tess muttered, sounding disapproving.

Max knew she`d cooperate. She didn`t have a choice.

"Good morning, tabasco sauce," Michael said as he pulled a bottle out of the brown bag. "You`re really happy to have that stuff, aren`t you?" Liz asked as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Of course," Isabel answered for him. "It`s like finding a few bags of marshmallows to roast on an island you`ve been stuck on for a year." "Um...colorful. Well I just can`t imagine putting sauce on any kind of breakfast product." "Well, it`s just bread. It`s not like we toasted it." "Hm. Max, get up!" Liz smacked his head. "You`re leg`s on my arm." Isabel giggled and threw a piece of bread at his forehead as he started to wake up. "Damnit," Max moaned. "I was having the best dream about San Diego."

"Well wake up and dream about decent food," Isabel laughed, waving a bottle of sauce in his face.


"Where`s Tess sleeping?" Alex wondered.

"Who knows? Probably in a pew."

"I still just can`t believe she did that," Maria said. "That`s so horrible."

"We should have seen that we still couldn`t trust her," Isabel said. "She only helped us get Max out because, you know..."

"Yeah. Because, you know."

As the day went on all six of them were constantly all over the place, in the sanctuary, in the library, back in the attic, hanging in the gym, or moping around who-knows-where in a hall, possibly in any of what seemed like hundreds of possibilities of places one could be. To say the least, a time where they all knew exactly where everyone was was a rarity throughout that day.

It wasn`t long till everyone knew that Maria had discovered Tess sitting curled up in the right side of the confession booth, and several times one of them would walk by and think they could hear her crying. No one really talked about it. It was just easier to not talk about it and try to forget about her.

That sounds easy. It was almost impossible for Max or Liz.

They were together once when they heard her in there. They exchanged an uncomfortable look for what seemed like an eternity before walking on. They couldn`t let theirselves feel sorry for Tess. That was all she wanted. It would lead them to weakness. They couldn`t allow that.

Not feeling sorry for her became harder than they all thought. If not to comfort her, to make her stop crying and making them miserable, Maria went into the booth across from Tess later that day. "Stop it."

Tess had her legs up on the seat with her, and she raised her head from her knees and slid the black cover across to see Maria through the screen. "Stop what?"

"Stop making us feel sorry for you," she said. "Tell me, really, why are you crying?"

"Why am I crying?"

"Yes. Really, I wanna know. It`s all interesting to me." It sounded stupid, she realized, but at least she didn`t sound sympathetic. "Why was...why was important to you?"

There was a very long pause. A long enough time of silence for Maria`s mind to drift off to another subject and then snap back when Tess finally spoke.

"I don`t know," Tess admitted. "It`s just like...where do I go from here?"

"What do you mean?"

"What`s left for me to do? I`m supposed to be..with him. But I`m not. I can`t do it. I thought I could. I thought I was a big enough match. But I can`t."

It sounded like she was starting to cry again.

"I just can`t make him forget about her," Tess cried. "It`s too hard."

Maria was no longer quizzical. Tess was falling apart and in the process giving up and throwing it all out and showing her weak side. It was making Maria feel so sorry for her. she couldn`t help it. "It sounds like you...admire Liz."

Tess didn`t say anything.

"You do admire her," Maria decided. "I can hear it in the way you talk about her."

Tess sniffled. Definetly crying by now, Maria confirmed. "I do. I hate myself for it but I can`t stop it. I look at her and I see...oh, everything I want in the world. Have you ever felt that way about anyone? Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, look at her. If I had that, if I was that, if I was just that beautiful all over, everything...everything would be mine." Maria thought. "Isabel."


"I used to feel that way about Isabel. The three of us, me and her and Liz, we all went through this phase. Isabel went through this thing where she felt her bond to Michael and Max was threatened by the two of us-you know-oh, they were so close. They were all she had too. And she seems so strong, so unafraid of everything, you know? But then things very important and special to her were in danger of being stolen away from her and...and she just felt like she had to fight. She acted like such a strong, controlling person to me, it seemed if anything got in her way she just destroyed it. But when you know what she`s fighting realize there`s a soft side of Isabel, and it`s very sweet, and it`s everything that makes her outside so threatened and strong. The outside appearance she gives, that fearless person everyone sees her as? It`s all to defend the people she loves. I think the whole reason Isabel is like that is because she knows she`s different and because of that she has to protect herself and be ready, so she put that character over herself. At first when this whole competition for Michael`s attention started between us, I thought she was selfish to want to keep Michael away from me. But then I realized it`s all just because she`s worried about losing them. Worried about losing Max to Liz. Worried about losing Michael to me. I slowly started realizing she had nothing to worry about. Michael and Max cared about her a lot. Suddenly I started feeling competitive too. It was hard. I just saw her and thought, look at her She has everything. She`s so close to Max and Michael. Like I probably never will be. Then was the time I realized I admired Isabel Evans."

Maria realized she had been drifting off saying everything that crossed through her mind out loud to Tess, and got a grip of herself before she went on.

"It feels horrible, doesn`t it?" Tess asked. "Admiring someone like that. It feels...vulnerable."

"Vulnerable?" Maria repeated. "It makes me feel ashamed of who I am. It makes me feel not good enough. If it`s jealously it makes me feel selfish. I think it`s just your onlook of the life in front of you that makes you feel weak when you admire someone. See, if you admire Liz, you should just be happy for her. I know that sounds stupid but that`s what I believe. Congratulate Liz because she manages to keep Max to herself when you can`t."

A small moment of silence passed. Then Tess asked, "How did you stop admiring Isabel?"

Maria smiled. "I don`t know if I ever did."

Tess sat there for a moment, stopped crying a little, and after a while asked, "What do I do now?"

"What do you want to do?" Maria asked.

"I don`t know. It`s like...there are now more possibilities. I mean, I saw my destiny and I knew I had to fulfill it, that was all I knew. In fact it`s like I don`t remember what I wanted before I knew. Maybe there wasn`t really anything I wanted."

"See, babe," Maria said, "you`re treating this like a bad thing, which I guess it is, but there`s a way to look on the bright side. Don`t you see now you can go off and do anything you want? You know, make some other friends. Go bowling. Go on shopping sprees. Do normal, human stuff. No one`s telling you what to do anymore. Doesn`t that mean anything to you?"

Tess thought about that. "But you see, if I went out and faced the world like I had before I came here and joined you six people, I wouldn`t be my real identity anymore. I would just be little Tess Harding the alien in disguise forever. I would never feel in place."

"Well, you don`t have any more choice in the matter than the other three do. Max and Isabel and Michael, they`ve put on a disguise their whole lives, having no connection to who they really were but each other. It was different with you, you had Nasedo. All they could do was...hide. But you know what? They like their disguises a lot now and they`ve gotten used to them, and it really isn`t that bad, Tess, if you would let yourself get to know a human or two."

"Why, so I can be like them? Like Max, who has this bond with Liz even I can`t break? Like Michael, who is the same way with you? And now Isabel just lately gave in and let herself be with Alex like that. They`ve destroyed their strength to leave by getting too close. It`ll be so hard for them to go one day because they let you and Liz and Alex in too deep. I`m not going to let that happen to me."

"Ah, I see..."


"You`re afraid of becoming vulnerable. Is that why? That`s all it`s about with you, stay strong, stay defensive, stay as a match for anything, because if you`re weak, Tess, if you let yourself be weak then you won`t be able to fight for the things you want. Wake up, dear, it`s not all about that. The only reason you`re sitting here in a friggin confession booth in an empty catholic church is because you can`t forget about fighting for the things you want. The war is over, Tess. It`s time to give up. Time to build a new house on the battle grounds. Time to find new things to enjoy. Find new things you want. You lost this war, maybe next time you`ll win, but until then, relax. Your life has not temporarily stopped. Your life has not been delayed until some other purpose in your life for you to fulfill pops up. Your life hasn`t ended. No matter what happens or what you do your life is still running. Right now. Which means you`re not just going to sit around and wait. You gotta get up and prepare for the next big thing. Accept the last big thing as a loss. You catching my driff?"

If Tess was going to answer, Maria didn`t give her much time to before shooting back, "Good. Cause if you don`t get what I`m saying it`s too bad cause I will not let myself sit here and be Nice Maria any longer."

With that Maria stood up and left Tess alone in the booth.

Liz slammed the booth door shut behind her and he first thing she said was, "They`re different but they have hearts. Do you?"

Tess sat up and looked out through the gold screen as Liz sat down. "Oh. It`s you."

( One by Alanis Morissette )

"You didn`t answer my question."

"I was hoping you could tell me the answer."

"What do you mean?"

Tess was silent.

"You have no idea what you want anymore, do you?" Liz asked.

"No, I really don`t."

"You know, I heard that whole conversation with you and Maria and I admit that without regret because there are worse times to eavesdrop, and all I have to say is I don`t know how you can not consider yourself vulnerable when you let something else telling you what your destiny is take over you like this. I mean, are you aware of the concept of free will by any means?"

"That`s what I`m trying to figure out about myself."


"It seems so much like I really do want...him....but everyone`s telling me that can`t be possible that I really do. It`s like why is that so hard to believe?"

"Quite honestly, Tess," Liz said, "because it`s BS. You know, a good thing like what me and Max have takes a long time. You know how long it took us to discover we even liked each other in that way? A few years. You know how long it took for us to realize we pretty much had to be together? A while. You know how much time together it took to make it what it is today? A long, long time, Tess. This relationship has been through a lot. A lot of experiences. Stages. Changes. You know...development." What am I blabbering on about? Liz asked herself. I`m analyzing the friggin dipshit out of our relationship to lecture Tess like some school teacher. "Anyway, now do you understand why something that has lasted that long and grown that strong over time would be so hard to just make Max...forget about?"

"If I understand it perfectly that doesn`t make it any easier for me," Tess said.

"I won`t lie to you. I have no desire to make it any easier for you, Tess. If you don`t want people to treat you like this anymore in the future, remember a simple tip: be careful with people`s hearts. Human or not. Because mine..." Liz hesitated. "Mine hurts just as much."

"I`m sorry. I didn`t understand...I didn`t want to get you involved. It wasn`t your issue. But it happened. You got hurt. I didn`t mean to..."

"I`m sorry. I think that`s a lie. Even if it wasn`t I`m afraid it`s too late. You`ve damaged too much to fix anything...between any of us in the group. It`s too late."

She stormed out of the dark booth. A few seconds later the door slowly opened back up and Liz stood in the doorway. "Do you love him?"

After a pause Liz said, "No, let me rephrase that. Are you in love with him?"

A very, very long, hanging moment passed as Liz just stood there, and Tess was just silent. When she finally spoke it wasn`t to answer the question.

"I thought I was lucky," Tess said, "when I found out there was someone for me. I thought, finally, there`s somebody I`ve found who can`t turn me down. Who has no choice. He`ll go along with it. He has to. He`ll know he has no choice. But there was someone else in between..."

"Me," Liz guessed.

She saw Tess nod through the small screen.

It was then that Tess answered her question.


That night was not fun. It got cold. It got really cold. And the worse place to be was the attic.

"Burrrrr," Maria rubbed her arms as she paced back and forth on the creaky floorboards. "Jesus, it`s so cold. How are we ever gonna get any sleep up in this crap-pad?"

"You know, in a whole bunch of those survival books," Alex said, "at a time like this people use body warmth."

Maria smiled over at him. "Feel free to give me a rain check, but I think I`ll pass today."

"Man, I`ll bet Tess is down there toastin` her toes," Michael said. "While we have to stay up here."

Max scoffed. "At least we aren`t gonna be getting caught any time soon up here. I hope she knows what she`s doing living down there."

"Besides." Alex held up the bag of Wonder bread. "We got the real food."

Max and Liz sat next to each other as they ate a little bit before they were going to hit the sack.

"Uh, Liz," Max said. "I think you and maria and`s time for you to leave."

"Max, I already told you," Liz argued. "We`re staying here."

"But someone needs to talk to Valenti," he pointed out. "And you three aren`t in as much danger."

"Then one of us can leave the church tomorrow and talk to him. Max, I can`t go back and work and go to school when I don`t know if you`re okay."

"We`ll be fine."

"But think about it. How will I be able to just live my life normally sitting in class when I know Pierce could be busting into here and taking you all? And besides, what kind of cover story are we gonna tell our parents about the three of us coming back and the other three coming back later. Actually, other four."

Max frowned. "You have a point."

"I`ll go with Maria to the sheriff tomorrow. We`ll talk to him about finding out about what Pierce is up to. I think he could help us find out. But I`m not leaving you until Pierce is taken care of."

Liz lifted her glass of water to take a drink. As she was drinking Max reached over to get a bottle of hot sauce from behind her and knocked water all over her shirt.

"Oh damn, I`m sorry," Max said as she brushed her shirt and dots of water sprinkled off but a big spot soaked in. She laughed as she shivered. "Now I`m really cold."

"Sorry," Max apologized. "Here." He waved his hand down the length of her shirt and lifted the moisture off in one swift movement.

Liz smiled at him. "You guys love to do that, don`t you?"

"Yeah, that`s really why we`re here on Earth, is to come down here and show off."

Liz giggled. Then she reached behind her and grabbed the tabasco sauce. "Is this what you wanted?"

"Yes, thank you. but actually, you know, I think I`m gonna go to bed."

"Me too."

As assumed, everyone curled up to sleep with someone else to keep warm that night because it was so cold in the attic. I think you could take an educated guess as to who curled up with whom. Liz knew when she rested by Max he would use his powers to keep her warm, and usually she would jokefully say something like, "That`s cheating!" but in this case she could make an acception. After all, it was FREEZING. You would have to be stupid not to use whatever you had to keep warm sleeping in a place like this. So wherever Tess was, she would be fine, too.

Woah, Liz thought. Where`d that come from? Tess would take care of herself. Why would she waste time worrying about her?

Liz had been convinced from her little visit to see Tess that day that she was losing it. Not losing sanity. Losing the Tess everyone thought they knew. Was she finally accepting what she needed to? Was that why she was changing?

I still don`t trust her, Liz decided. She still makes it sound to me like she really needs to have Max somehow. One thing was for sure, though, and that was that she had now realized there nobody left on Tess`s side. She alone was the thing that supported the four aliens` purposes. Their destinies.

"What are you thinking about?" Max whispered.

It was obvious he could see that everyone else was already asleep. Otherwise he wouldn`t talk to her like this.

"Her," Liz answered, snuggling in closer. Seeing she was still cold, Max rubbed his hand down her bare arm that wasn`t around his neck. Liz smiled up at him as a thank you.

"Don`t worry about her ," Max whispered. "She won`t bother you anymore."

"What about you?" Liz looked up into his eyes. "That`s another reason I don`t want to leave. I don`t trust her alone in this church with just you three."

"Yeah," Max agreed as he closed his eyes. "Me neither."

Part 1 | Index | Part 3
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