|"The Road Not Taken"|
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything Roswell related. |
Authors Note: Sorry its been soooo long since I updated this story - real life yet again getting in the way I'm afraid. I've got part 8 pretty well underway too, so the wait for the next part (hopefully) won't be too long. Hope you enjoy.
The effort it cost him to appear normal throughout the day left him weary to the point of exhaustion, so it was with a feeling of profound relief he returned to Pierce’s apartment, thankful to gods he didn’t believe in, he’d managed to clear Pierce’s desk so that he could take a rare Saturday off.
He was loathe to break the routine he’d built up for Pierce over the years, but admitted to himself the strain of holding the same form for such a long time was starting to become a factor. Increasingly, he was finding it difficult to block the pain.
The minute he closed the apartment door, he allowed himself to shift. Not into his natural form of course. As exhausted as he was, he knew that was an unacceptable risk. Instead he permitted himself to shrink into the form a young child. At least he could release some of the pressure caused by appearing so much larger than he actually was.
After the sharp pain ebbed from his mind, he opened his eyes and felt the lessening of tension. Reaching into his shirt pocket he pulled out his tic-tac container, dumped a few candies into his hand, then into his mouth. For the first time since he’d woken to the field agent’s call the previous night, his mind was clear. Unfortunately a clear mind meant he could no longer avoid thinking about the implications of the information he’d received.
He simply didn’t know what to make of the intelligence. On the one hand he knew The Three to be dead. Hell not only had he helped arrange it, he’d personally disposed of the bodies. They were dead. They were dead but…he couldn’t stop thinking about The Sage’s pronouncement. Somehow he couldn’t lightly dismiss it as others seemed able to. Perhaps, because unlike the others who had volunteered for the mission, he’d actually been present at the time it was given. An involuntary chill caused his small body to shiver slightly. The memory of that day filled him with a terror that remained undiminished, even after a hundred years.
With a sigh her realised he didn’t have any choice. As much as he didn’t want to do it, he was going to have to contact Tess. Walking over to the phone, he picked it up and started to dial. Before the call connected he hung up. There was no sense in ringing when he had nothing of substance to report. If, if by some miracle The Three were alive – and they WEREN’T, he sternly reminded himself, it would only be a major problem if the human girl was alive as well.
Reaching for the phone again, he dialled another number. While he waited for the call to be answered a smile spread across his small face.
~ The Present ~
Isabel watched as the first hints of light peeked through her window, throwing strange patterns over her walls and floor. Even though her eyes felt raw and gritty like she’d rubbed sand in them, she was thankful for the distraction. She hadn’t slept – at all. Since leaving Michael the previous evening, she’d done nothing but think about Alex and now her heart felt as raw as her eyes.
Since the horrible night they’d run from Roswell, Isabel had worked hard not to let herself even think about Alex, let alone allow herself to feel her love for him, her devastation at leaving him, her undiminished longing for him. She’d been on autopilot, living each day with a fierce determination to allow nothing to intrude from the past and with no active thoughts of the future. Michael’s vision and what that meant they had to do, broke that resolve as though it never existed.
She desperately didn’t want to think anymore, so she stared at the shadows. Problem was, the longer she stared at the shadows, the more like Alex each one became. Isabel saw his profile over the window, his lanky frame reflected on the door, his baggy pants complete with wallet chain stretching along the floor. He was everywhere and nowhere.
Finally Isabel couldn’t stand it any longer. Looking at the clock on her beside table, she stifled a groan - it was barely 5am. Throwing her legs over the side of the bed, she dragged herself up with a tired sigh. Snagging her robe, which was hanging on the end of the bed, she wrapped it around herself and headed towards the kitchen. Coffee, she could definitely use some coffee.
Unfortunately as the coffee, liberally laced with tabasco, slid down her throat, Isabel knew it wasn’t going to be the magic cure she’d hoped for. Allowing the heat of the mug to warm her hands, she walked over to the sink, her gaze drawn to the scene outside the window.
As much as she hated her life now, Isabel had grown to appreciate the peacefulness of the country. Watching long grass in the fields, which rolled out past the old fence, sway in the gentle breeze, Isabel felt herself calming down a little. It was so different to the desert. The desert always made her anxious and … afraid.
Michael was right. They could not allow anything to happen to either Maria or Alex. A mental image of Liz slumped in a lawn chair on her balcony came unbidden to her mind and Isabel felt her stomach retch. Nothing could happen to Alex. No matter how hard it was going to be to see him again, regardless of his reaction to seeing her again, Isabel couldn’t even begin to face the thought of him not being around.
Liz got up at an obscenely early hour on a Saturday to collect Alex and Maria from the airport. As most normal people were in bed, she had a good run into Logan, found a park fairly close to the terminal and so was at the arrivals gate when Alex and Maria wandered through both looking like they could use a few more hours sleep.
After much hugging and a some raucous laughing they decided to get a coffee at one of the airport shops and the three of them huddled around a small white table, running down the terrible coffee and generally just enjoying being together again. By some tacit agreement they all avoided bring up anything remotely Czech related, instead Liz was kept entertained by Maria’s animated stories of the kooks who lived in L.A. and Alex’s good natured contradictions of aforementioned stories.
Now they were almost back at her apartment and Liz felt relaxed as she smiled in the mirror at Alex. Maria continued to talk non-stop in the front seat and Alex grinned back at her, rolling his eyes and then furtively giving her his famous thumbs up. Liz realised suddenly just how much she’d missed this, them.
~ The Present ~
Max woke early and considering the events of the previous day, he was surprised at how together he felt. No, it was better than ‘together’ he felt…whole. The house was quiet so Max didn’t attempt to get up. Instead he rolled over and stared at Liz’s journal that was still open on his floor. Izzy had wanted to put it away yesterday, but he wouldn’t let her.
Max very rarely touched her journal, having come to fear the feeling that were invoked in him when he did, but he allowed no one else to either. From where Max lay, he could just make out the start of the open entry, the familiar “I’m Liz Parker.” Somehow, seeing the words didn’t tear him up inside like they usually did. He didn’t feel the crushing sense of loss. He didn’t feel his failure to his very soul. Instead, the words caused Max to see her sweet face in his mind, smiling softly at him her eyes looking at him with nothing but trust and love, just like in his dream. He felt undivided…at peace.
Max laced his hands together under his head and stared at the ceiling. Understanding swept through him like a brush fire. The journal wasn’t all he had left of Liz. She was inside of him – in his heart where he could never lose her. She was with him and somehow he knew she didn’t blame him, that she loved him. Maybe that’s what the dream had been trying to tell him.
|Part 6 | Index|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|