FanFic - Other
Part 16
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. The characters and concept belong to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz. Tarsus of Dernia and all Illyrian characters belong to me. Lyrics by Sarah McLachlan, Phil Collins, Amanda Marshall.
Summary: Sequel to "Out of the Woods." I highly recommend reading it before trying this one. It is archived at the Crashdown. Basically, Max is gone, and the others have no idea whether they will ever see him again.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Roswell, New Mexico

Kyle glanced at the clock in his fourth period English class for the fifth time in the past ten minutes. The minute hand seemed to be moving backward. There was absolutely no other explanation for why this class was taking so long to end.

He was the only one who had managed to make it to school. Tess had been absent in the two classes he shared with her, Kyle assumed Maria was too ill to come and Alex had gone AWOL as well.

So much for acting like everything was normal.

He tapped his pencil against his desk impatiently, frowned slightly when he noticed that Pam Troy was staring at him, a slight smirk on her face. Kyle scowled at her. She quickly turned away and began giggling with the girls sitting hear her. That girl needs to get a life, Kyle reflected as the bell finally rang.

Kyle jumped out of his seat, pushed his way through the crowds of students to the front door of the school. There was no point in hanging around. His concentration was totally shot anyway and he was going to explode if he had to sit through one more ridiculous class, his next one being French.

Somehow the proper use of the subjunctive did not seem significant when one of your friends was dying, while three more were off on a covert mission to England to try and bring a fourth back from another planet.

And then there was Tess: the girl he loved, who didn't know he was alive and was suddenly acting like he had the Bubonic Plague.

It was time to get to the bottom of that little mystery.

Tess had returned to Maria's the previous evening in order to check on her. She had barely even acknowledged Kyle or Alex's presence but Tess had even offered to sleep on the Deluca's couch if Maria wanted. Kyle had seen Alex and Maria exchange perplexed looks at that. Tess was taking this "protecting Maria" stuff way seriously.

It was beyond weird. It wasn't like Maria was in any real danger that Tess would be able to prevent. Her illness was slowly draining her, but there was nothing Tess could do about it. What was she trying to accomplish?

Kyle climbed into his Mustang, pulled out of the student parking lot with a screech of tires. He saw two freshmen practically have to jump out of his way, felt a little bad, but kept going.

He pulled up in front of the Harding's house several minutes later. Tess had continued to live there after Nasedo had gone to work at the Special Unit. Kyle's dad had taken care of the paper work and had helped Tess to become legally emancipated like Michael. Nasedo had left her with enough money to live quite well.

Of course, Kyle did not want to even think about where Nasedo might have gotten the money. He would not have put it past the shapeshifter to have murdered some billionaire in his sleep just to keep his earthly finances solvent. While Kyle had never actually met the guy - the stories that Maria, Liz and Alex had told him about him...they made his toes curl.

And the man responsible for a murderous rampage across the South-West was basically Tess' father - he had raised her at least. Sure he had done most of it to protect Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess, but he had still killed alot of innocent people.

Max, Isabel and Michael had been raised as humans. Max and Isabel had known loving parents and a pretty normal life. Yeah, Michael had had to deal with some crap, but he had at least had Max and Isabel.

Tess had only ever had a murderous, shape-shifting, emotionless weirdo to depend on.

It was no wonder that she was kind of strange. The fact that she was as normal as she was one of the things Kyle admired about her.

There was no answer when Kyle rang the doorbell. He peered in the picture window in the front of the house but there was no sign of any life within. He turned around, stood on the lawn for a moment with his arms crossed, frowning.

Where the hell was she?

He knew she wasn't at Maria's. He had called there on the cell in his car, just to check in. Amy Deluca said that Maria was sleeping and that there had been no sign of Tess all day.

Kyle didn't really feel like driving the streets of Roswell in search of her. He'd try the Crashdown and then come back here later if he had no luck. He had climbed back into his car and had started down the street when he saw his quarry walking down the sidewalk, her head lowered, her curly blonde hair falling over her face. Tess appeared to be deep in thought.

Just as he opened his window to hail her, another car, coming from the opposite direction, pulled up next to her. Tess raised her head, clearly not noticing Kyle at all, although he was only about ten feet away from her. She quickly opened the passenger door and climbed in.

"Tess!" Kyle called, trying to catch her before she took off with whoever was in the car. He jumped out of the Mustang, ran down the street after them, but they were gone. Belatedly he realized that he should have stayed in his car and followed them.

Imbecile. Worrying about Tess was turning him into a moron.

He stopped, scowling. There was absolutely no one in Roswell that Tess Harding should be getting into a car with, he reflected. Her only friends were her fellow Czechs and he, Liz, Alex and Maria. He wondered briefly if it was Nasedo, finally back.

Tess had contacted the shapeshifter at the FBI after Max's disapearance. Nasedo had apparently been strangely uninterested in the whole affair. "He had to go back sometime." The bastard had told her.

They had largely been out of touch with him since. Once Max was gone, he didn't seem to take his role as their "protector" quite as seriously. No one quite knew what to make of that.

Kyle returned to his car, wondered if he should try and catch Tess and her mysterious companion. He decided it would be pointless. He might as well go grab some lunch at the Crashdown and try and catch up with her later.

His plans changed a moment later when his cell rang. "What?" He demanded as he switched it on. In his current mood there was no time for social niceties.

It was Alex and he didn't seem to care, not even bothering with a typical snappy comeback. "I don't have time to talk Kyle, but you better come to the hospital right away."

Kyle's brow knit. "What's wrong?"

"It's Maria. Get here quick." The other boy hung up without saying another word.

Kyle turned off his phone, stared out the windshield in front of him.

He knew exactly why Maria was in the hospital.

The end was near.


Tess waved her hand in front of the stone wall, watched with an expressionless face as the silver handprint appeared. She glanced at her companion, raised an eyebrow.

The girl stepped forward, placed her hand directly on the mark. Tess closed her eyes as the wall slid away, leaving the entrance to the pod chamber open.

So she had not lied. She was one of them.

And Tess Harding's entire world changed.

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