FanFic - Other
"Moerae "
Part 1
by Elizabeth
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Summary: Future fic. Michael returns to Roswell.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note:
Lachesis sings of the things that were, Clotho those that are, and Atropus the things that are to be.

He's been everywhere and nowhere and now he's back in Roswell. When he was younger, he would have railed against that. His entire life, reduced to a desert town that is mocked for its fascination with everything that he supposedly is. It used to make him uncomfortable--did those who made it so he ended up on Earth know that he would end up in Roswell? Did they know what the town would be? Did they have a glimpse of the future and find it all funny? That thought used to anger him, the thought that his fate could have been a joke to someone, something, somewhere. Ha, ha, guess where those kids ended up? Good one, huh?

But apparently time confers maturity on even aliens. He's grown up. He has some gray in his hair now, and he's ok with the fact that maybe it was all a joke. John once told him that the way he figured it, life was pretty much something that you could make what you wanted. There is at least humor in a joke, and it serves a purpose of sorts. He can live with that.

Roswell isn't the same. He didn't think it would be but it's even more changed than he expected. The UFO Museum has expanded, mushrooming into the space where The Crashdown used to be. The Evans' house is now owned by a couple that seems to feel that paint is a luxury. The Old Chisholm Trail Trailer Park is now a golf course. He has three stops to make. Which one to make first? All three are important.

In the end, he decides to just go in order. Three stops, just three. Three is a number he is familiar with. It seems to have figured prominently in his life--all the patterns of it are clearer to him now that he's lived a larger part of it. Three isn't a bad number or a good number. It's just a number, but it's his number. He almost got a tattoo of it once, but in the end decided that it was already on him in so many ways that marking it wasn't really necessary. Besides, he'd never really liked needles all that much.


He's lived in three places. Roswell, New Mexico. Rutland, Vermont. Randall, Virginia. Three R's. Always three, isn't it?

He left Roswell when he was nineteen. Going overseas or even to Canada or Mexico was never really an option for him--how would he have gotten a passport, gotten across the border? And he still distrusts the government with a cold fear born mostly of dreams that never happened and experiences that weren't his.

He traveled around the United States for a few years. His first stop was the West Coast, which seemed to be divided into areas of extreme wealth and grinding poverty. He never found a middle ground, though he supposes there is one. There always is. He just missed it and didn't care to linger long enough to find it.

The Midwest, with its brutal summer and winters, was next. Too extreme for him, though he developed a healthy respect for anyone who could live through winters that seemed like they would never end and summers that were mostly full of baked ground and relentless sun.

The East Coast was his final stop and he ended up in Vermont by chance. He was on his way to New Hampshire, actually--he was planning on going to see Max, who was in graduate school at Dartmouth. But he never quite got there. He stopped in Vermont for a day and ended up there for six years.

He stopped in Rutland, Vermont to get a soda. But his car gave out and the guy at the garage said it would take a day or so to fix. So he resigned himself fairly cheerfully to a brief stop and set out to find a place to stay. All the bed and breakfasts in town were filled up with people who'd journeyed to see fall in Vermont and the guy in the garage felt sorry for him and took him to his mother's house.

His mother's name was Pam and she made furniture. She made rocking chairs and only rocking chairs. They were very nice chairs and she believed him when he said he had experience working with wood. He was just telling her a story--he'd gotten good at that over the years, had gotten so he could tell anyone anything and smile at the end. Stories, he'd found, were just about the best means of conversation there were. He embellished the napkin holder story a little--made it many napkin holders instead of one and she told him she was looking for help. He said sure because it seemed like a sign and he figured it would just be a slight delay before he went to see Max. He was always good at delaying.

Pam was in her 60s and she had a very calm way about her. He liked that. She had long silver hair that she never wore up and it always had wood shavings in it. He liked that too--she looked like one of those story-book illustrations of a witch. She laughed when he told her that and said "Your idea of flattery is going to keep you single for a long, long time Michael." He told her he supposed it would.

He got to be very good at making chairs and even better at selling them. The secret wasn't the chairs themselves, though they were very fine chairs that never creaked and rocked gently. The secret to selling the chairs was selling a dream. Pam lived and worked in a ramshackle old farmhouse full of old-fashioned charm and it sucked the tourists in and spat them out with lighter wallets. He learned that it was the idea of the chair--the idea of a peaceful place to sit; the idea of owning something from an easier, simpler time--that's what appealed to people.

Pam nodded when he told her that. "That's right. The past is always held up as an ideal and that's what I'm really selling. It's the notion that once people had time to sit down and rock in a chair for a while. They forget that sometimes that was all you could do."

It took him a while to figure out what she meant by that, but when he did, he felt a lot better about his life in general. Idealizing the what-ifs is a lot easier than really living, and he'd been a master of imagination. In another world, he mattered. In another world, he had it all.

But everybody thought like that. He didn't feel so alienated after he realized this. He told Pam about it and although she looked at him curiously (he was laughing over using the word alienated in a sentence) she agreed and told him everybody needed something to dream about. "That's just human nature." Alien nature too, he thought, and then another couple came into the store and he went to sell them a dream of their own.

He was in Vermont for six years and he left the state with sadness. Pam's so-called arthritis got worse--her bones hurt her all the time and no matter what she did or what the doctors said, it never got better. He knew she had cancer--he could tell just by looking at her--but he didn't even consider trying to heal her. Pam was a strong believer in fate and by that time he'd come to respect her. He just tried to make sure that she rested and was happy.

He came downstairs one morning and she was sitting at the kitchen table, her hands folded in front of her. She liked to start her day looking out the window at the sun. "Praying to the dawn" is how she always described it and he liked the sound of that.

He started the water for coffee and asked her how many orders they had to finish that day. She didn't answer and when he went over to the table he noticed that her eyes were fixed and sightless. There was a smile on her face and he was glad she'd left looking out the window. She always liked the view from the kitchen.

He stayed for the funeral and helped her son box up her stuff. She left him all the stock in the shop and he shipped the chairs to New Mexico, to Max. He figured that Max would keep them safe and maybe he'd understand why he'd been so delayed in his visit all those years ago.


He didn't go back to Roswell, though he thought about it. He called Max and they talked about it and he made vague promises. He went south and thought about life in a southern state--staying somewhere full of deep accents and secrets.

He ended up in southern Virginia. The accents in southern Virginia aren't truly Southern--there are none of the endless vowel sounds, just a slight lengthening. He stopped because he'd gotten lost; he didn't think he'd end up staying. He was supposed to go to Williamsburg--Alex was there for a conference and Michael had promised to meet him--but he got lost driving around on the back roads and ended up stopping to ask for directions. Another welcome delay. He didn't get a secret to unravel in Virginia, but he got peace and he figures that's actually better.

He stayed for twelve years. Twice the length of Vermont and another number divisible by three. Three is definitely his number. John would say he should play it in the lottery, but he isn't sure if New Mexico even has a lottery and besides, what would money give him?

The forest was what drew him to Virginia. He'd stopped at John's house because it reminded him of Pam's--it was old and ramshackle--but also because even from the road he could see that behind the fields was a huge expanse of forest.

He loved looking at the forest from the long back lawn of John's house--all that green, so tall, so lasting. John was kind about the forest--he didn't mention that trees are only eternal in the sense that when they are gone, sometimes other trees grow up in the spot where they stood. He never mentioned the paper mill down the road, and Michael always managed to ignore it.

After he'd been there a few months, he asked John if he could go out with him when he checked the fields so he could finally go into the forest. John shrugged and they went.

The fields were long and shallow and empty of anything except grass and hay and cattle, although later soybeans would be planted and Michael would learn that soybeans, raw soybeans, had almost no taste. The cattle were a surprise--they were slow and they smelled and Michael could find nothing lovable about them. John laughed when Michael said that, told him "I figure no one ever wants to talk about how bad animals stink, Mickey. What would be the fun of that?"

John was the only person he'd ever *let* call him Mickey. John had a brother named Michael who'd died in 1976--killed in a motorcycle accident, and Michael knew that John still missed him. He was John's re-born Mickey, in a sense. He didn't mind that. He understood it. And John didn't ask for much.

They'd gotten to the end of the fields and there was the forest Michael had stared at every day. Up close, it was dizzying green--endless vistas of forever green. He hopped off the tractor and walked into the forest.

It was disappointing. Up close, all the green separated into piles of scrub brush and briars and dead leaves covered with moss. Up close, the trees were fighting for space, their branches tangling with each other as they reached towards the sky.

"Up close" John told him, smoking a cigarette, his red shirt glinting dully in the sun. "Up close, nothing is ever quite the way you pictured it. I reckon that's God idea of a joke, don't you think?"

Michael nodded and John gave one of his almost-smiles. He had thin lips and his teeth were large and strong, stained yellow by nicotine. Sometimes Michael though about sharing a little of his life with John--of telling him stories of Roswell and his three, but he figured that John wouldn't have been impressed. John was the only person he ever met who didn't want stories. If Michael had wanted to use his powers to fix the broken tractor, John just would have pointed out that there were worse breakages out there, in the world, and it would have been a shame to waste ability on something that just needed to have a bolt tightened.

Michael figured he finally understood what that meant, and let John fix all the equipment. There was magic in that, itself.


Sometimes tourists came by the house. Not often--John lived in the part of the state that was near precisely nothing, and the only tourists they got were the lost kind. Bewildered, confused by the network of unmarked back roads that wound around in circles and looped past tiny houses surrounded by large fields. They always wanted to get away and Michael figured it was because John's world didn't come wrapped in a pretty dream like Pam's did. There was work in John's world, work and a rhythm that was a little too close to the Earth for most people.

Two months before he left, they'd gotten a typical visit. A family, lost. "We're trying to find Williamsburg?" Michael smiled and they looked vaguely alarmed--a man in a plaid shirt and old jeans, just smiling--what does he know that we don't? They were reassured by John who could always assume the air that everyone not from the South thinks that Southerners have--polite, deferential, a little slow.

John drew a map for them and made all those endless back roads accessible, knowable. Drivable. The couple nodded and thanked and made polite comments about the weather. They had a little girl with them and she looked out at the fields, which were stubbled with soybeans and cows in the back pasture, which was fallow for a while to let the soil heal.

The mother asked, hesitantly, if they could go and take a picture of the cows because their daughter wanted them to and John said sure and went to put on his work boots. The adults stared at the boots--surprised perhaps by all the mud on them. But the soil in southern Virginia has a lot of clay in it and clay makes excellent mud. Michael learned the hard way to actually lace and tie his shoes. Mud soaking into your shoes while you are out in the fields is no fun.

The family and John marched off into the fields and Michael went inside to call Myrtle, who lived down the street and was expecting John to show up and take her to town for her doctor's visit. Myrtle was a cousin of some sort--the family ties in the area were complex and thick and Michael could never keep track of John's endless array of mostly elderly cousins who all made Jell-O dishes thick with marshmallows and complained softly.

The father and mother's faces were both wan when they got back up to the house. All the grass and dirt and smell of the Earth--a heavy smell that can be overwhelming--it was sometimes a shock to people who'd only seen nature in a carefully manicured suburban or park setting. The little girl was smiling though and Michael heard her ask John, "Don't the cows get bored out there all day? What do they do?"

He heard John's slow reply, which was the cows were happy to do what they were supposed to do and that they really just wanted food to eat and water to drink and the little girl nodded, satisfied. The parents looked less impressed but Michael figured that was typical. When he was younger he wouldn't have understood either, but he'd learned a lot over the years. If the cows had been clean and shiny and suitable for postcards, they would have been a dream, and the parents would have been happy. What they wanted was for the cows to want their dream too. But the little girl was still young enough to see that dreams are whatever you want them to be and sometimes, some dreams are a little different.

The family got back in their car, a large shiny sports utility vehicle that gleamed with care and wax, and drove off. "Hope they wiped their feet off before they got in that car of theirs" John muttered. "It'd be a damn shame to get mud all over it."

Michael sighed and went to get a glass of water and let John worry properly about the car. It was John's way, to care about the little things that no one else ever noticed. He came in after a few minutes and they went to get Myrtle. It turned out that her hip wasn't healing properly and the doctor wanted to admit her to the hospital. Michael went and called all the church ladies for her and greeted them when they came to visit. They brought sturdy green plants and stayed to visit with Myrtle for a few minutes while he and John hovered and listened and waited to sign forms.

That was his time in Virginia. It was gentle and slow and he liked it. It wasn't a dream you could sell, but it was a dream with its own gentle rhythm.

He got the call in October and he'd known it was coming. He could feel it coming; he could almost hear Roswell calling him, waiting for him. John answered the phone and handed it to him silently. He listened while Max spoke and knew it was time for him to go back.

John drove him to the airport and dropped him off out front. He shook Michael's hand with grave solemnity and Michael actually wanted to hug him. But he didn't want to embarrass John so he told him to tell Myrtle that he was sorry he'd miss seeing her come home from the hospital and that he was pretty sure he'd left the tractor key on the table next to the phone.

He flew to Chicago and got off the plane to wait for the one that would take him to Albuquerque where a rental car that Max had paid for would be waiting. He felt the pull of the city--the pull of another place--who would he meet if he stayed and what would he learn? It was tempting, but in the end, the pull of Roswell was stronger and he boarded the plane to New Mexico.

When he landed, the air in New Mexico was a shock--it wasn't as weightless and clean as he thought it would be, as he remembered; but the car was as generic and as unadorned as he'd expected so he figured it all balanced out.

And now he is in Roswell and he has three stops to make. Then the rest of his life will unfold. It always does and he doesn't worry about that anymore.


Isabel-- Lachesis

Isabel was the one he loved first.

She was his first memory, really. Her and Max, waiting for him in the desert. "Come on, come with us. Michael, I'll wait. I'll remember." He didn't go with them of course, and that haunted him for a while. But he went with them later and even found the courage to go off on his own. He thinks Isabel was proud of him for that.

He'd always loved her. As a boy, he'd loved her with a fierce worship. She was his protector--when he first came to school she stood up for him and listened as he recited real and imagined slights. She always gave him birthday presents and clucked over all his hurts. She listened to his dreams of home and never embroidered her own onto them, never did more than let him see that his dreams weren't her own.

As he got older his love for her shifted a little. He still loved her for her fierce protection but he also loved her because she was always the voice of reason. He didn't always listen--he rarely did in fact, but he still loved her for trying. He loved her because she was as radiant and as glowing inside as she was on the outside and because her desire to keep him safe was the only mothering he'd ever known.

Then he began to dream of what they had been to each other and it rounded out his love for her. Once, he was a different Michael and the Michael he had been had loved the Isabel she had been with a passion that risked a life he had never had for her.

The discovery of that past love frightened them. What were they supposed to do when their past selves clamored for something that had never really been an issue for their present selves?

Once, he decided that he wanted to understand who he was. He kissed her as his real self and discovered that he loved her still. And she kissed him back and loved him. Being with her was memory--past ghosts living in them and remembering. He knew what she wanted without asking and the times he had with her were memories. A glimpse of who he'd been and sometimes, who he thought he wanted to be.

After a while, they both realized that who they used to be, as important as it was, was nothing compared to who they were then. He took her out into the desert and they bid farewell to the past. He touched the girl he loved and the shadow of the woman he'd worshipped and imprinted himself onto her soul. She'd done the same and he felt the tug of it for years. A vision of her skin under his mouth. The memory of the scent of her hair. A dream of a child; their child. In another world, it was all he wanted. In this one, a few shining moments and the memories were enough for both of them.

She cried when he left, but more out of worry than anything else. She, of all of them, his three; she knew how reckless he could be. It meant a lot to him that she still loved him anyway.

He finds the house and parks his beige boring car. He knocks on the door and waits. Alex opens it and smiles at him. "Hey Michael."

Michael returns the greeting and Alex invites him inside. "I'll call her down. Hold on a second. Diane!"

There is silence and Alex tries again. "Diane!"

There is more silence and then an exasperated noise. "Daddy! I'm on the phone!"

Alex walks upstairs and Michael smiles. It will be nice to see Isabel's legacy.

Diane comes rolling downstairs, all the exuberance of her youth expressed in the quick stomp of her feet on the stairs. She is a part of Isabel that he has never seen--she was born well after he was gone and Isabel didn't live long enough to see her grow, so he felt that he had to wait till he was called.

She doesn't look much like Isabel until she smiles and then he is reminded, strongly of her. "Is this Uncle Michael?"

Alex has followed Diane downstairs and nods. She sits down and tells him hello and tells him that Alex has spoken of him. He tells her a few stories and watches her responses.

She looks nothing like Alex, but then, how could she? Isabel was always one for surprises and Michael wonders how Alex coped with the fact that the child she died giving birth to wasn't his.

Diane leaves after thirty minutes--she's young and assumes that Michael will be back, later. And when he isn't, it won't bother her. The memory of her mother is always with her, Michael is sure of that. Isabel chose well with Alex. He could understand everything Isabel did, even the things that she didn't understand and he will love her forever, without hesitation.

"Does she know?" he asks Alex.

Alex smiles at Michael. "Of course she does. She was turning walls red when she was mad even as a baby."

Michael nods because he has the answer to his question. Diane has the blue eyes of her father, and Michael wonders if Jim Valenti died knowing that he'd left a part of himself behind. Probably not. Isabel, out of all of them, had a heart that was hidden and guarded well, and he has a feeling that Jim probably never knew quite how much she loved him, never knew quite how much Isabel felt she owed him.

He talks to Alex for a while and meets his wife. Her name is Angela and she has a radiant smile and clearly adores her husband. Michael is happy to see that, and tells Alex he'll be back. Alex smiles at him and Michael knows Alex is aware that he won't be back and has already forgiven him for his lie.

"She always told me you'd come back," he tells Michael when they are walking out to Michael's car. Michael nods at that. Alex looks up at the sky for a moment and then at Michael. "I'm glad you got to meet Diane."

"I am too." And he is glad. Glad that Alex and Isabel's love created a world safe for Diane to grow up in, glad that Isabel loved wisely enough in the end. Glad that his love for her and hers for him was only part of her life and that she spun herself a world without him in it. Isabel always loved him and he always loved her, and it was a smooth kind of love and it was a celebration of the past that carried over into the present in a way that gifted both of them.

He has to get going. There are two more stops he will make and they are calling him. Alex surprises him by hugging him and Michael gets a quick wash of Alex's contentment, the aura of peace that surrounds him. He gets in his car and heads off towards his second stop, which waits just down the road. He wonders if she is expecting him and suspects that she probably is.


Liz-- Clotho

Liz was the one he loved the most intensely.

When he was younger, he hated her role in his life. He wanted it to be reserved for Tess. He wanted Tess to be one of the most important people in his life; he wanted her to shape his destiny. But Tess, as much as he cared for her--she never had the impact that Liz did.

He hated Liz and he loved her. He hated her because she started a string of events that changed Max's life and Isabel's life and even his life. He hated her because she was kind and gentle and had a way about her that made it impossible to keep her out. He loved her because she offered him a sweetness that no one else ever did. She offered an understanding that no one else ever gave him, she asked for nothing of him.

She wormed her way into his life and his heart so easily. He used to hate her for that too. But his hate for her was really a shell and he suspects that she probably always knew that. She had a way about her. A way of calm quiet and easy acceptance that irritated him and fascinated him.

At first, his relationship with her was defined by Max. Max loved her so Michael looked out for her as best he could. But his emotions--when he was younger, they were ragged and sore and he could never keep them in--sometimes they would spill over, change; grow. His fear at her growing role in his life, in Max's life; it let him to do things, say things, and his feelings for her bloomed.

He used to be ashamed of what he felt for her, which was another sign of how much he was drawn to her. His love for her was messy and complicated and it never fit into the neat category of "acquaintance" that he wanted it to be.

When Max tried to find his own way, when Max turned his back on his love for her, Michael wasn't sure if he was happy or sad. He was still working in the Crashdown at the time--he was still in high school, and Liz was a fixed part of his life. He thought it was just because of work, and it was only later that he was able to admit to himself that he could have gotten another job. Maria would have understood. It was just that he worried that Liz wouldn't.

There were three times with Liz. It was those three times that made him sure that she was one of his three. Three again. He felt it should have been Tess--wasn't she family, after all? But he wasn't that sorry about it, and he isn't sorry at all now. Who is he to say what love is or should be?

The first time with Liz, the first time he had an inkling of the love he had for her, of the role she would play in making him who he is--it was when Max was on a "destiny" kick. He had them once in a while. Max always felt an obligation to someone or something and it took him years to learn that the only obligation he needed to fulfill was the one to himself.

It was fall and Max was gone and Liz was being stoic and brave and she was bothering Michael. He wished she would just get angry and get over it, but she never did. She probably always knew that Max would come back to her.

But one night--it was in October; a month that is surely his as well--and the two of them were closing the Crashdown. He'd finished cleaning the grill and was watching her scrub the counters. She was rubbing her back and she looked a little sad, like she almost always did.

He went and helped her clean the counters and she thanked him. They went in the back--he wanted to get his coat, and she was going upstairs--and she told him "Goodnight" in that solemn owl voice of hers. He touched her without thinking, sliding his hand around the back of her neck, cupping the skin there gently. Her belief in herself, in Max--it was so strong. He didn't ever want her to lose that. He kissed her quietly and loved her a little more than he did before. She tasted like soda and apples and her hand was cold when it rested against his face. It was over in a moment, but he thought about it for weeks, years afterwards. Liz had a way about her.

The second time, which is when he learned that she was as human as he could be, was in the summer. She and Max were together again and that moment in October was something he thought she'd long forgotten. It was August; sticky and moist and the heat had turned the kitchen of the Crashdown into an oven. He was standing there, in the back, sweating and hoping that he wouldn't have to cook any more food and she came into the back. Max was out in the restaurant, waiting for her. She was leaving early to go to the movies with him or something.

He'd seen her out front, with Max, right before. Max kissed her and she'd leaned into him, all her love for him reflected in the way her arms rested around him lightly, knowingly. She pulled away and smiled at Max, and Michael had watched entranced, as she came into the back. She went to put her headband down on the counter and he watched the smile on her face, the swing of her hair, the way her nipples pressed against the front of her uniform. She was a promise then, a promise of love and want and happy endings and Michael wanted her so badly that he imagined going to her and supplicating himself, asking for a little of the bliss she carried with her. She noticed him as she was heading back out to Max and the look in her eye--that clear, joyful desire--she let him share that look, she showed him that love could be a satisfying thing. And for that, he loved her a little more.

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