Fanfic - Other Roswell Stories
"Sibling Rivalry"
Part 2
by Karen
Disclaimer: Wish I owned stock in UPN; glad I don't own stock in WB; don't own any of these characters either.
Summary: Isabel and Max part on bad terms, which can only lead to bad things.
Category: Other Roswell Stories
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Feedback always appreciated! Enjoy!
Across town, in a much less affluent area, two other teens were awake and roaming another kitchen. Long legs stretched out before him, Michael Guerin was seated at the kitchen table. He was watching Maria Deluca wash the dishes. It wasn't the washing that intrigued him - it was the fact that she was singing and dancing at the sink, her slim hips rotating in an oddly suggestive manner. Doesn't she know what she's doing to me? he asked himself. Can she possibly be that oblivious?

Maria stretched her long frame to put away a dish on a high shelf and Michael nearly groaned aloud. He had to shift his weight and cross his legs to hide his sudden bodily reaction to her. Maria turned around, blue eyes taking him in, full lips pursed into their perpetual pout.

"Did you say something?" she asked.

Michael shook his head, then gestured to the chair beside him. "You about done?"

Maria walked over from the sink and kissed the end of his nose. "No, but I'll take a break - just for you." Then she planted a big one on him and Michael did groan aloud. She looked down into his lap and smiled. "Hell-o," she sing-songed.

Michael gave her a smirk and gently pushed her away. "It's a present," he joked. "Just for you."

"Oh," Maria replied, acting excited. "Maybe I'll open it later."

"Yes, please do."

She giggled and went back to the sink. Her mother was out with friends - she'd probably be out most of the night. There wasn't much doubt about Maria eventually opening Michael's "package". She wiped her hands on a towel, then went back to sit on Michael's lap. She kissed him for a while then kissed his forehead and smoothed his hair.

"Did you say goodbye to Isabel?" she asked.

Michael smiled and nodded. "I gave her the Game Boy. She looked like she actually liked it."

"Really?" Maria laughed. "Who'd've thunk it?"

Michael nodded his agreement. "She'll be okay," he said confidently, trying to assure himself as well as Maria. "She's a strong woman, Isabel. She'll be okay."

"I know she will," Maria agreed eagerly, then her expression fell. "Did she talk to Max?"

Michael met Maria's gaze, then shook his head. Maria frowned and kissed his forehead again. Michael sighed.

"Hopeless?" Maria asked.

Michael shrugged. "I dunno. Your sister goes off to live with a person who made your life hell. So, basically she has chosen between the two of you. What do you do about that?"

Unable to think of an answer, Maria looked at the floor.

"Where's the devotion in that?" Michael continued. "She and Max have been through so much, Maria. From the moment they came out of the pods, they've been together, never apart. Even in crowds, like at school or concerts or football games, they gravitated to one another. I don't even think they were aware that it happened. They just naturally came together. And now…" He shook his head. "To just leave like that, all full of hatred and anger."

Maria knew Michael had gravitated to Max and Isabel also, that it wasn't just the two of them, but rather the three of them that had clung together. First because they were the only ones who knew the big secret, and then afterward because they were the same. Whatever Max and Isabel were made of, so was Michael. It must be hurting him horribly, Maria realized, to have Isabel so far away. Without being aware of it, a tear slipped down Maria's smooth cheek.

Michael raised a concerned eyebrow and almost looked panicked. Sometimes he couldn't handle Maria's emotional swings. He used his fingers to wipe away her tears. "What's that for?" he asked.

Maria put her arms around his shoulders and hugged him tightly. "Nothing," she said as she squeezed him tighter. When she pulled back, she looked into his confused eyes and smiled. "Can I open my package now?" ______________________________________________________________________

Isabel felt a hand brush her forehead and she quickly opened her eyes. She'd fallen asleep on the couch and sunlight was streaming through the opened drapes. Before her, Tess was kneeling by the couch. Her pretty lips were stretched into a wide smile. Isabel drew in a quick breath, sat up and quickly pulled her friend into her arms.

"Oh, Tess!" Isabel breathed against her shoulder. "It's so great to see you!" Isabel pulled back and glanced toward the window - it was morning. "Did you just get home?"

Tess laughed in embarrassment. "Yeah. I, um, have a boyfriend."

Isabel's eyes widened in realization, then she laughed too. "That's wonderful. Really wonderful." She thought briefly of Alex, felt a pang of guilt for leaving him behind.

"He is," Tess agreed, her blue eyes sparkling. "And he has a friend."

"A friend?" Isabel questioned uncertainly.

Tess nodded. "I want you to meet him." Then she caught Isabel's wary expression and reached over to touch her arm. "Some time. Doesn't have to be now."

Tess got up from her crouched position and moved into the kitchen. Isabel sat up and stretched.

"I'll cook breakfast," Tess offered as she opened the refrigerator.

Isabel glanced at the clock. 7:00 am. It was only 4:00 in Roswell. And it was still 4:00 inside her body as well. She frowned. How long would it be until she stopped comparing Boston time to Roswell time and wondering what everyone there was doing? ______________________________________________________________________

A week after Isabel's departure, Max drifted in and out of sleep, but finally plunged headlong into a deep slumber. First there was nothing but the abyss, nothing but blackness, but then he found himself embroiled in the reoccurring dream that haunted him the most.

The Atherton book was opened before him and he knew in his gut that it held all of the answers he'd been looking for. Every question, every uncertainty, would be answered in the book's smooth pages. Only the pages were blank, empty, white. Frantic, Max flipped from one cover of the book to the other. He felt panic rising inside of his body that his history, his importance, his life had been mysteriously erased.

Then the dream altered itself. He felt a warm, soft hand touch his and he glanced up in his panic to see Isabel slide into the seat across from him. She smoothed the skin of his hand and smiled warmly at him.

"Iz?" Max gasped. He held up the book. "It's empty. Where did all of the words go, Iz?"

"They don't matter," Isabel told him. "You know who you are, don't you?"

Max racked his sleep-befuddled mind. "I don't know. I'm not sure who I am. Who am I, Isabel?"

"You're my brother, silly."

Max stopped, realized this had turned into one of those strange dreams where he knew he was dreaming. Even more odd, he knew that it was out of the normal course of the reoccurrence that Isabel had suddenly appeared in his nightmare. He stopped panicking and looked straight into her dark eyes.

"Are you dream-walking me?" he asked bluntly.

Isabel seemed to withdraw a bit, then indignantly tossed her hair over her shoulder. "What if I were?"

"Why are you here, Iz?" Max could feel himself start to sweat, could feel the tears sting his eyes.

She hesitated, then Max saw her jaw set in defiance. "I'm not here. I'm just a dream."

And she was gone.

Max awoke from his dream with a start. He sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Holding his head in his hands, he quickly went over the events of the dream for fear his conscious mind would forget them. She was there, inside his head. She'd visited him. And he'd managed to call her on it. Why had he done that? He should have played it cool, let her believe that she was tricking him, just so he could find out her purpose.

Max walked to the bathroom and retrieved glass of water, which he gulped thirstily. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and couldn't keep the question from running over and over in his mind - why had she been there, and what was she trying to tell him? ______________________________________________________________________

As the jeep bounced over the back roads of Roswell, Liz noted that Max seemed a little more quiet than normal. He'd been kind of withdrawn since Isabel had left, but tonight he just seemed preoccupied, almost upset. Liz bit her lip then reached over and put her hand on his leg.

Max turned to look at her, his expression blank. When he realized her was looking at her expressionlessly, he forced himself to give her a smile and placed his hand over hers.

"You okay?" Liz asked.

Max nodded as he glanced back to the road. "Yeah, of course."

"Do you still want to go to Michael's?"

"You know I do." I was a special day - the day that Max had "found" Michael 7 years prior and the three podsters were reunited. It was an anniversary of sorts and they always got together to celebrate it. Though this year there was no Isabel. Michael had told Max that she had called him earlier to wish him a happy anniversary, but she hadn't bothered to call Max. She hadn't called in the week she'd been gone.

"It's a special day, huh?" Liz said, trying to make cheerful conversation. She knew Max was thinking about his sister.

"It is." Max smiled sincerely. "It's the day I found my brother."

Liz smiled in return. She knew genetically, in that other world, Max and Michael weren't siblings. But before they had been privy to that information, they had always regarded each other as brothers - complete with fistfights, practical jokes and genuine concern for one another - and no book was going to tell them they weren't.

The jeep suddenly bucked and started to slow down, the dash lights flickering and going dark. Max frowned and pulled to the side of the road. He cursed to himself as he jumped from the driver's seat and walked around to pop the hood. Liz waited patiently - "Bob" the jeep was always breaking down in one way or another. Liz silently wondered when Max was going to have enough money saved to buy something more reliable. She watched as Max waved his hand across the engine to no avail. He came back to the driver's seat and reached under the dash. Another wave of his hand and the dash lights jumped to life, sending a blue glow to everything around them. Max smiled but Liz shuddered. The eerie blue light cast shadows across Max's handsome face, distorting his features and giving him an otherworldly appearance. The color turned his skin a strange grayish-blue, the shadows causing deep bags under his eyes, deepening his cheeks and giving his teeth a jagged quality. Liz was suddenly reminded of that night in his room when she'd likened him to a man a crucifix. For the second time in a week, she'd envisioned Max as a corpse.

"Max," she breathed, her voice shaking.

Max straightened and met her gaze, his eyes confused at the fear in her expression. Sitting away from the lights, he became Max again, not the corpse Liz had seen.

"It's okay," he reassured her. "I fixed it. Something in the wiring down there."

"I know. It's not the jeep, it's…" Her voice trailed off as she realized she wasn't making any sense. She forced a smile and glanced at her watch. "We'd better go. We're late."

Max eyed her in concern for a few moments, then reached to start the jeep. ______________________________________________________________________

Tess's boyfriend, Paul, was everything she'd claimed him to be - handsome, witty, tender with her. Isabel watched them converse from across the table and felt a sudden pang of loneliness. She thought of Alex, many thousands of miles away, and of how she'd dumped him. Unceremoniously. Goodbye, Alex. I'm leaving. That had been the end of it. Isabel wondered what he was doing, what he was thinking. Out of pure reflex, she glanced at her watch to check the time - 7:00 PM Boston time, 4:00 Roswell time. She racked her brain to recall Alex's annoyingly routine schedule. He'd just be getting home from school, probably. Then he'd go to the refrigerator, get out a Yoo Hoo, plop down on the couch and start flipping though a music magazine. Isabel smiled in spite of herself.

"How's your fish?" the man sitting to Isabel's left asked her, breaking her from her revere.

She glanced his way and gave him her best man-eater smile. "It's wonderful," she said, taking a sip of her water. His name was Jackson and he was a friend of Paul's, the friend Tess had mentioned on Isabel's first morning in Boston. Jackson was also very attractive, very tall - he towered over Isabel, not easy since her own height was considerable. His eyes reminded Isabel of Max's for some reason - perhaps it was their color, or maybe it was their depth. She frowned over the lip of her water glass - she didn't want to think about Max.

A week or so ago, she'd actually been so lonely for him that she'd dreamwalked him. He was embroiled in some nonsense regarding the Atherton book and blank pages. At first she'd been disgusted with him that he was still so wrapped up in finding out who he was; then she'd seen his desperation, his panic, and she had felt the need to intervene in his nightmare. That had been a mistake. She'd enjoyed the feel of his skin under her hand, had enjoyed hearing the sound of his soft voice, but somehow he'd been able to figure out that he was dreaming and that she shouldn't be there. She'd bailed on him - again.

"You're really quite lovely," Jackson said to Isabel.

Isabel could feel her cheeks redden. When was the last time a guy had made her blush? She looked into her lap and toyed with her napkin. "Oh, well, that's very kind of you."

He was leaning on his arm, his chin cradled in his hand. "No, I'm serious. Could I shoot you some time?"

Isabel stopped cold at the word 'shoot'.

Tess giggled lightly from the other side of the table. "Jackson's a photographer," she laughed.

"Oh!" Isabel exclaimed. "Of course. Silly me." She giggled. Giggled? Isabel Evans didn't giggle.

Jackson's eyes were amused. "So, may I?"

Isabel met his eyes, saw no deceit there. "Um, okay. Why not?"

He smiled widely at her. "That's great. I'll set aside some time and maybe you can come by my studio."

"Okay. Sure." Why were her palms sweating?

"Jackson is good at what he does," Tess explained. "He took some of me, didn't you, Jack?"

Jackson turned his attention to Tess. "I sure did. You're a wonderful subject, too." He glanced back to Isabel. "Maybe I could shoot both of you together sometime. You're both blond, beautiful." He reached over and brushed a lock of hair from her eyes. "Yet different in so many ways."

Isabel could suddenly feel her heart starting to pump a little faster. She gave him a gracious smile, then glanced at Tess. "Ladies room?"

Tess gave her a knowing smile and excused herself.

In the washroom, Isabel blotted her makeup with a towel. "Mama mia, Tess!" she laughed as she brushed on more face powder.

Tess giggled. "I told you he was something, didn't I?"

Isabel put her hand to her chest, then grabbed Tess's and put it there. "Feel my heart!" she exclaimed. "I'm going to have a heart attack! He's going to think I'm a goof!"

Tess laughed again. "You're doing fine. Paul said they want to have us over for a little party some time. Do you want to go?"

Isabel fanned her face. "That's the dumbest thing you've ever asked, Tess."

Part 1 | Index | Part 3
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