Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.|
|Tess was halfway through the park before she spotted Max sitting on a bench,
alone. He was completely still, his head bent towards the ground. He was
staring into space, not seeing anything at all. Clearly, Max was
shell-shocked. Tess didn't know exactly what had happened to bring about
this sadness, but she had felt his despair and come to the park, somehow
knowing he would be there. I guess the park is our place, Tess thought
bitterly. That is, if we were close enough to have a place of our own. |
She had been lying on Kyle's bed, now her bed, meditating on her plans for the evening. Of course, she didn't have any. She could hit the books, or hone in on a new power that she'd been experimenting with, but neither would do much to change her current situation. She was alone, and she had a sneaking suspicion that she would always remain that way. Maybe it was her lot to be alone in this life. Hey Kyle, what would Buddha say of that? she wondered. The thought of Kyle as a Buddhist monk brought a brief smile to her face. These humans were strange creatures, indeed. Strange, but sometimes amusing.
Tess had just flipped herself over, ready to practice her new "art", when the sensation began. It started as an uneasy feeling in her stomach, but grew to a persistent humming in her temples. It was Max, and he was upset. Tess had sighed, risen from the bed, and thrown a sweatshirt over her shoulders. It was a difficult thing to be telepathically connected to someone who resented your very existence.
She sometimes resented her connection to Max, especially recently, during the times when he was unable to hide his disgust for her. It was this connection that had helped lead her and Nasedo back to Roswell, in search of the missing trio. She had felt their connection since she was a little girl, even before she knew what to make of the strange humming in her head. Later, after Nasedo had revealed her destiny, shown her the book, and given her a face to connect with her nameless husband, Tess learned to define the emotions that she felt coming from Max: fear, anger, happiness, love. But now that she knew Max, and fully understood his loathing for her, she wished she could turn it off. She just wanted to tune out Max's feelings, and drift along in a sea of blissful ignorance for a little while. But their connection would not be ignored. Max was upset, and he needed someone. She had to go to him, whether she wanted to or not.
Tess felt the wind come up and hugged her arms to her body, trying to consolidate her body heat as she walked through the park. She didn't understand Max's aversion to her, but there was no way around it. Every time she entered a room, Max looked for a way to escape from it. Max wasn't the only one suffering from an unwelcome destiny, Tess thought angrily. Nasedo had schooled her well, and she understood the importance of their connection only too clearly. She had been told that there was a reason why they shared this connection, that Max was her preordained mate, that he had been her husband in another life. But although she had asserted the contrary to Max, the truth was she didn't remember much of their other life. She remembered images, moments, but nothing that really defined the life she had shared with him. Had Max been a good leader? Had he been a considerate husband? Had she loved him? These things Nasedo either would not or could not reveal to her. Nasedo had been more of an enigma than a father figure, always hiding more answers than he revealed, especially where her own past was concerned. Not that she had ever really bonded with him, anyway.
But now that Nasedo was gone, she had to admit that she missed him. Tess missed the surety, the sense of safety that she had felt when he was alive. Even though they had been forced to move from town to town, always barely a step ahead of the FBI, Nasedo had always known what to do. He had understood their mission, and had acted decisively. Now she was left in the hands of this bumbling leader, whose entire happiness seemed to hang on the feelings of a woman, a human woman, who had nothing to do with them. Tess wondered if she was as much in love with Max as in love with the idea that they could fulfill their destiny together and return home again.
All those years of loneliness, of isolation, of living with a "parent" who could not love or be loved, she had comforted herself with the notion that there were others like her out there. She had a family. She had a husband who was waiting for her to help him fulfill the destiny of their kingdom. She was important. She was needed. She was necessary to the plan.
All of these delusions came crashing to an end when Tess located Max, Michael, and Isabel in Roswell. They didn't need her, they didn't want her. In fact, they were afraid of her and they felt threatened by her presence. At first, Tess had thought it was sort of a game. She would tease Max, and see how long it took him to remember her. It was only a matter of time before Max recognized their connection and realized their destiny. Since then, it had become more than clear that Max was not going to come around. He was not going to be the husband and lover that she had dreamed of. He was not even going to be a friend.
Loneliness overwhelmed Tess once again as she approached Max, stopping fifteen feet away from him. She sensed that a certain raven-haired human was responsible for Max's despondence yet again. Tess knew she should be upset, but she could not find it in her heart to be angry with Max. He looked fragile, sitting by himself on the bench. Max was so beautiful, even in the midst of greatness. Maybe especially when he was in the midst of great sadness. As Tess felt his waves of despair wash over her, her heart went out to Max. He wasn't conspiring against her. He wasn't even thinking about her. He was in love, and alone. He was alone, just as she was.
Tess sighed, her breath visible in the chilly evening air. Max looked so upset, and she admitted to herself that her presence would probably bring no comfort to him now. But what was she supposed to do, leave him there, alone and dejected? Any moment he would see her there. Tess stood in the grass, watching Max, half-afraid that his reaction would merely be another reminder of his disgust for her. She was considering leaving again, when the decision was taken out of her hands. Max looked at her.
Tess swallowed and took a few steps towards him. Whatever reaction Tess had been expecting from him, it was not the one she got. Max looked awful. Tess took another breath.
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