FanFic - Other
"Not to Be"
Part 1
by Nina
Disclaimer: Zoom in on my empty wallet. I don`t own nothin`. Not Roswell, not even a decent instrument for playing in my band.
Summary: Takes place after our favorite ep "Destiny" and involves Tess, Kyle, Max, and Liz. Tess finds a friend in Kyle when they team up to get what they want, but Tess will learn the hard way to be careful with fragile people, and what can happen when she`s too careless.
Category: Other
Rating: PG
Authors Note: WARNING-this can have a sad ending or a happy ending, it depends on whose side you`re on.
Max had his elbows on his desk in his quiet bedroom with his forehead resting in his fingers, and gasped when the purse was slapped down onto the desktop. He looked up to see Tess leaning against the desk, making herself at home without waiting for an invitation. She leaned over to see what he was doing. "Algebra?"

Max sighed as he shut the book in front of him and slid it away. "It`s hopeless. What are you doing here?"

She was now pacing around his room, examining all his stuff. Hadn`t she been in here before? Max wondered. Seen his stuff already? No, he realized. The only time she`d been in here it had been too dark to see. He remembered what it had been like when she came to him that one night to show him the cave. Being in the same room with Tess was bad enough for Max, but being unexpectedly awoken at night by her body suddenly against his and her voice whispering to him in the dark had just been completely... uncomfortable.

"What?" Tess asked. "I`m not allowed to drop in and say hello to our big leader?"

"Just because you`re some wife of mine from my pre-life doesn`t mean you can break into my house and drop in at any time you see fit," Max stated. He noticed then that she had shut the door behind her when she came in. He shuddered when he imagined why...

"I didn`t break in," Tess corrected. "Isabel opened the door for me. If you call THAT breaking in..." She was walking back up to his side, pressing her hip against the desk next to him, getting a little too close.

"Could you just leave me now?" Max asked her as she approached him from behind. "I have a lot of work to catch up on. It`s giving me a headache just to try and figure out these equations..."

"Then don`t," Tess said, violently and quickly spinning his swivel chair around so that he was facing her. She had her hands rested on the arms of his chair and was leaning forward, positioning herself right in front of his face. Far too close. She was trying very hard today, Max noted. Harder than she usually tried. Too hard. "Just relax," Tess said, softly and quietly this time, and her face was suddenly a distance too small away from his.

"Tess," Max said. "I can`t."

Tess stood up. "Damnit!" She was now just as uncomfortable as he was as she started pacing around again, but in an entirely different way. "Would you just forget about her? There`s something you don`t seem to realize here, and that`s that she left you. You didn`t run away. It was her. If you`ve forgotten how you pleaded with her to stay, Max, I can remind you in great detail. I saw it all. And I`ll admit right now: I was scared. I was very scared. I thought she was really going to stay. I was so scared because it was then I was watching you and realized, my God. I`m no match for what they have. Look at them! I watched everything. I saw you kiss her. I heard the passion in your voice when you told her she meant everything to you. But no. She still turned away. After that big show you put on that actually moved me, cold little me who everybody hates and wishes would just go away, she still just walked away. Walked away from you. Nothing MADE her do it, but she did it anyway. Gave up."

"That`s not true," Max argued. "Everything made her do it. She didn`t have a choice. Maybe I wasn`t up for facing it at the time, because, you know, I`m the guy that wants to be unrealistic about everything because I can`t accept these things, but she had to leave me. She didn`t have a choice, Tess."

"And you know what else?" Tess said quietly, leaning forward again. "You don`t have a choice either."

Max just stared into her piercing, forceful eyes. He didn`t know what to say, because the truth was part of him knew, or was afraid, rather, that that was true.

"I can`t deal with this yet" was all he said. Then Tess straightened up and moved away from him when they both heard the doorknob turn and Isabel walked in.

"I really hope I`m not interrupting anything," Isabel said hardly and blankly, trying to hint that what she meant was she hoped there wasn`t anything going on in there to interrupt. "Max, you`ve got a postcard. From... Aunt Erin."

He held up a hand to catch it and she tossed it to him. "Tess, so... you said you had some stuff to do. Don`t let me keep you away."

Tess got the point and just gave him a smile and then made her way to his bedroom door. Max figured Isabel was probably able to easily tell that what he has said was bull shit and he just wanted Tess out quick. But he was glad he had sent her out when Isabel said what she said next.

"There`s also something from a..." Isabel held up a letter with neat handwriting, "Elizabeth Parker."

Max was tempted to say, "I don`t want it." After all, nothing that Liz had to say could be good, and the last thing he needed in this time was more bad news. But of course he hesitantly leaned forward and he saw the sympathy in his sister`s eyes as he took the envelope from her hands.

"Max, I..." Isabel wasn`t sure what to say. "You know that I`m here for you, right?"

Max looked up with a smile. "Of course, Izzy. I`m here too."


"And for right now, thanks for dropping in as an excuse to get Tess out of here."

Isabel smiled. "She seems to be getting harder to respect every day. How can you be so nice to her? Just pretend she doesn`t disturb you like living Jesus."

"Believe me. It`s starting to stop lasting."

Isabel smiled again and walked out of the room. Max looked down at the letter in his hand, staring at Liz`s neat handwriting. He didn`t know if he dared to open it. Why had Liz sent him a letter? What could Liz possibly have to tell him?

He took a pencil from his desk and slowly ripped the envelope open with it. He reached inside and felt something small and hard and pulled it out.

He couldn`t believe it. It was the ring. It was one of those cheap diamond-cut things you get from a machine for a quarter, and he`d found it by a napkin holder in the Crashdown one Christmas and had jokingly pretended it was for Liz when she came to take his order. He didn`t think she`d fallen for it for even a moment, of course, but she still thought it was really funny. Every once in a while from then on he`d notice her wearing it, on her pinky, since that was the only finger it fit on, and if he pointed it out she`d say she was trying to spread a new fad of cheap twenty-five-cent rings.

He wasn`t sure if he had believed her.

Now he held it in his palm. She`d kept it since last Christmas. That had been over six months ago.

He looked in the envelope and saw a small note. He pulled it out and read it.


That was all it said. That was it? Max felt around in the inside of the envelope, but that seemed to be all there was.

"You won`t find her in there, Max," Isabel said. He didn`t know she was still there, standing in the doorway.

Max sighed. "I know, Iz." He looked sadly down at the note. He knew perfectly well what Liz meant by "The fad is over." There had never been any fad. There had been... them. A time there had been an "us." But that was over now. That was gone.

"Oh, I am such a shit," Liz moaned in misery at the Crashdown.

"Lizzy," Maria sighed. "If everything`s that bad why do you put yourself to work? Why don`t you just stay home?"

"Because, Maria," Liz explained, "I have to pretend nothing happened. I have to pretend everything`s okay. If I stay home and pretend I`m sick and accept that everything isn`t okay than this whole situation is going to get the best of me."

"It already is getting the best of you! Have you looked at a mirror lately?"

Liz shook her head, putting her chin in her hands.

The door of the cafe opened. I walked Kyle Valenti. Maria and Liz exchanged a look. "Have you talked to him since... you know?" Maria said quietly so no one could hear. "Cause I sure haven`t."

"A little," Liz said at the same volume level. "I`m trying to get him to understand this whole situation with me and Max, but it`s pretty confusing, you know."

"Wait. You`re opening up to KYLE about the problem with you and Max?"

Liz shrugged. "He`s been different since he found out who they were. Since, you know... Max saved him. Only..."

"What?" Maria asked.

"When I talk about this whole problem sometimes I sense that he... thinks Max did something wrong."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it just seems like when the conversation is to explain to him why things aren`t working out with Max and me, but it goes into his ear as all the reasons Max is some big jerk."


"Shh!" Liz hissed.

"Hey," Maria said suddenly, "you don`t think he could still be interested in you, do you?"

"Kyle? No!" Then Liz looked over at the table where he was getting his order taken by another waitress. "Well... I don`t know. I never thought about it."

"Because it`s just that is it not completely like him to point out reasons to blame Max for all this in order to, you know, have a shot at getting you back?"

"Maria, I haven`t been in the best state lately but I`m not so out of it that I can`t tell you`re jumping to conclusions."

Maria sighed. "You`re probably right. Well, coffee cups are screamin` for refills, babe. I gotta get back to work. You too."

Fun shit. I can`t wait, Liz thought. This place is fun on normal days, but when I feel like crap it just feels like it`s not worth my time. And I feel like REAL crap today.

I hate this place.

"Stressed much?"

Liz looked up. It was Kyle. "I must look it, don`t I?"

"Unfortunately, yes. You look like you just did a school year`s worth of homework in five hours."

"Worse than that. What`s up?"

"Anything but the temperature of this coffee, I`m afraid."

"Oh, sorry. We got so much business today. It`s crazy." Liz took his cup and went to refill it up with fresh, steaming coffee. "There you go."

"Thanks," Kyle said. "So... Max doing good?"

Liz shrugged. "I wouldn`t know." She assumed not so good.

"Aren`t seeing eachother much?"

Liz shook her head. Kyle began to walk away, but Liz asked, "Why?"

He turned back around and shrugged. "Just wondering. Haven`t seen him around lately."


It still seemed like a strange thing for Kyle to say.

Liz turned to go out from behind the counter. She let out a gasp at seeing Tess right there. She didn`t even mean to, it just came out. "...Hi."

Tess smiled an unmeaningful smile. "Medium root beer. To go, please."

Liz nodded. "Okay." She went and started filling up a cup of soda, and as she did Maria brushed past her and whispered, "Spike it with something."

"Shut up," Liz hissed back. She didn`t mean for it to come out so mean, but she was trying to keep herself under control, and Maria wasn`t helping by giving her any ideas.

When she gave Tess her drink she didn`t even realize she looked strangely unpolite as she said, "2.15." Tess handed her a five. Liz concentrated deeply on handling the money, putting it in the cash register, taking out the change, because she didn`t want to think about everything it meant to have Tess standing in front of her. She gave Tess her change and she turned around toward the door.

Liz had been concentrating on handling the money so hard that she was still subtracting numbers in her head. And she realized something. She`d given Tess a dollar and sixty-five cents back. But that wasn`t right at all. The drink has been two dollars and fifteen cents...

"Damn!" Liz said. The last thing she needed was for Tess to realize she`d short-changed her and think Liz was up for starting a little revenge here. Or competition.

"Problem?" Kyle asked her. She didn`t even know he was still there.

"I gave her the wrong change," Liz said. "Man, is she gonna..."

"I`ll take it to her," Kyle offered.

"You will? Oh, that`s great." Liz opened the cash register back up and took out the missing change and handed it to Kyle. "Thanks."

"No problem."

Kyle caught up to Tess as she was just slamming her car door shut and putting her seatbelt on.

He opened up the door of the passenger`s seat, sat down next to her in the car, and pulled the door shut. "What`s up?"

Tess looked surprised, but not exactly angry. She stared at him for a moment, her eyebrows drawing together in confusion. "Nothing much. How are you doing?"

"So-so," he answered. "Well... I`ve been talking with Liz, seeing what`s going on with her, I know how Maria`s doing, I`ve heard Michael`s okay, haven`t heard anything BAD about Max so I`m assuming he`s cool, and Isabel and Alex just look dandy as they are still in dating mode together, but you? I haven`t heard your story."

Tess turned her rattling keys over in her hand. "I`m not obligated to tell you anything. Just because Max saved your life doesn`t mean this is all suddenly your business."

Kyle whistled out a falling noise. "Ouch. Just wanted to check in with you, hun, but I guess not."

Tess smiled. "It`s nice of you to be concerned, but I think we can all get along fine by ourselves, thank you."

Kyle pondered on that for a moment. "You`re kind of a sheltered person, aren`t you?"

"Excuse me?" Tess didn`t get it.

"You just don`t seem to wan to... let anybody in, you know?"

Tess stared. "What do you mean?"

"Listen, ever since that thing happened at the UFO Center, I have just felt like I owe you people something, like I should be sort of included with the seven of you guys, and if I was way off and very wrong about that I`m sorry. I just felt that it would be appropriate of me to see how everybody is doing. I mean, you people are going through something hard. Was I jerk to do that?"

Tess looked away from her keys and straight at him. "I feel like trash."

Kyle raised his eyebrows. "I know the feeling."

"I mean, it`s kind of like how everyone is treating you now. I should be included, I SHOULD be a part of the group now, but they all just want to throw me away." Tess put her forehead into the hand that wasn`t holding the keys. "They don`t like me."

"Don`t like you?" Kyle repeated. "Of course they do. I`m sure they do. What`s not to like?"

Tess sighed. "My destiny."

The car was quiet for a little while. "But ARE you and Max..."

"No." Tess shook her head. "He just wants to live in the past. And he`s blind and he`s stupid, and..."

"But he broke up with Liz."

"That`s what I`ve been trying to tell him! He isn`t making any use of them not being together, and meanwhile Liz is absolutely miserable and... and I think she actually believes we`re together now."

"Well, that`s stupid."

"Tell me about it. They`re all stupid about this. They`re weak."

Kyle looked at her. He didn`t know that much about any of the seven people in this group, but he could tell one trait Tess had that the others didn`t was strength. She seemed to be the only one completely accepting what had to be.

"I sure wish Liz would get over it," Kyle said.


"I mean, it`s been nine days. You`d think she`d at least be smiling a little by now. It`s ridiculous."

Tess shook her head. "I know."

"And I`m trying to make her feel better but she doesn`t even seem to want to try. I mean, if there`s one thing that would make her feel better it`s going out with somebody else. I mean, there`s tons of guys who wanna go out with her."

Tess stared. "You still want Liz, don`t you?"

Kyle reached out a hand and spilled out her change on the dashboard. "You left that back there. I`ll see you later." He turned for the door.

"You do want her back," Tess concluded at his immediate discomfort. "You always have ever since you two broke up."

Kyle ignored her and opened the door. But Tess grabbed his arm. "Wait. Don`t you see something here?"

"No," Kyle said, impatient to leave.

"You want Liz. I want Max. We-"

"My food`s getting cold in there."

"Kyle. Don`t you see?" Tess pulled him around to face her. "We both want the same thing."


"For Max and Liz to forget about each other."

Kyle stared for a long moment. Then a smile quivered up across his face.

Max raised his hand up to the window for about the fifth time. He closed his eyes and forced himself to knock. He knocked three times. And then he saw Liz come out of the bathroom with a robe on rubbing a towel over her wet hair. She looked surprised to see him. Why wouldn`t she be? They hadn`t communicated in any way ever since she left him that day at the cave.

She slowly went over and opened the window. Max was sitting out the balcony. He just stayed aside the window like he had that day he came to her when he thought Michael was going to leave he and Isabel since he was being abused. He thought it would be too painful to face her. To be close to her. To look that closely into her eyes.

God, he thought with a pang. Was this how things were always going to be between them from now on?

"Liz," Max said quietly. "We haven`t been talking to eachother lately."

"I know," Liz said. "Maybe... maybe it`s better that way."

"But I need to know you aren`t hurt, you know? Because..."

"I don`t think anyone can help that, Max," she answered quickly.

Max closed his eyes. He hated to hear her talk like that. "I`m not with her."

"I didn`t think you were."

"Yeah, but if it`ll make you feel any better... I don`t think I can do it."

"You have to. And you know it. That`s why I left you. I`m going to help you get through this, Max."

"But Liz... I understand that we`ve got a mission to do, you know, to help our planet or something, but I don`t believe anyone who tells me that the fate of my people depends on who I`m in love with. You understand I can`t be with you right now because this thing we have to do isn`t your job, it isn`t your place with us right now."


"But don`t think that means I`m going to be starting something with Tess. I couldn`t even do that."

Liz was silent. She leaned against her bedroom wall by the window and sighed. Then she said quietly and slowly, "I miss you."

Max smiled a sad smile she couldn`t see. "Me too."

"How do you do this, exactly?" Kyle asked. "You just think about it and WHAM! Someone sees something that isn`t really there?"

"Pretty much," Tess answered. "You sort of have to go into the person`s mind first, me telling them mentally, 'Look, this is happening,' and then how it pretty much goes is whatever you want them to think, they will."

"So... you could change someone`s mind about something too?" he asked.

"Yes, but unfortunately it would only be for that period of time."

"I see."

"Now, when she comes out don`t touch me or say anything. It takes lots of concentration. Or else my connection thing will break and she`ll know what`s going on."

"Sure. Right."

"Here she comes," Tess announced as she saw Liz coming out of the class they were across from. "Here we go."

Tess closed her eyes.

Liz looked back and forth in the hall. She needed to get her history book from Maria. She had left it at her house lats night.

Where was she?

Then she saw something she wished she hadn`t.

Tess was a few feet away with her back against the lockers, and Max was leaning against them next to her, too close to her, quietly saying little things into her ear with a flirtatious smile on his face. She was fiddling with the buttons at the top of his shirt. Too close...

Liz turned and ran. She collided into Maria at the far end of the hall. When they each stopped Maria said, "Hey, you know you left your..." She stopped when she saw tears welling in her eyes. "Liz?"

Liz wiped one of her eyes. "He lied." Then she brushed past her and went away.

Kyle tapped Tess`s shoulder. Her eyes opened. "I told you not to-"

"She's gone," Kyle said.

"Did she see it?"

"I could live without seeing that expression on her face again, if that answers your question."

Tess sighed with relief. "Step one finished. What`s next?"

"I don`t know, I left my checklist at home," Kyle answered.

"Shut up. Now you have to talk to her soon and stand as the sweet supportive friend who`s there when she just saw her guy flirting with someone else."

"I thought it was making out."

"That comes later."

"All right. I get it. And what are you doing next, Miss ?"

Tess thought. "I don`t know. I think I`ll just drop into the Crashdown today and see what I can do."

"Well, I have to talk to Liz, right?" Kyle asked. "Why don`t we just go together."

Tess looked confused. "Together?"

"Well, yeah. Why not?"

"Well, it`s just... off. Won`t it look kind of suspicious?"

"Hell, no. Right, Liz is going to see us come into the Crashdown together and automatically figure out that what she just saw was step one of the two of us plotting to get her and Max apart. Come on, she is never going to think I`m into anything at all with you. She didn`t even see me just now, right? You blocked me or whatever."

"Well, I GUESS you have a point..."

"Of course I do. I`ll pick you up at four, babe."

"Um... right."

He walked away before she could say anything else.

Index | Part 2
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.