Fanfic - Other Roswell Stories
"Sibling Rivalry"
Part 5
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!
Isabel managed to maintain her cover-girl smile through most of dinner. She prided herself on being a good actress - it was what had kept her secret safe all of these years. She could pretend to be anything. Sometimes pretending was easier than being herself.

When Paul offered her a cocktail, she smiled sweetly at him and declined. He didn't seem like it bothered him. Maybe her fears about being drugged the night before were irrational. Besides, Tess wouldn't let something like that happen to her. Isabel and Tess were alike, the same - they would protect one another.

Then it happened. Glancing across the table at Jackson, Isabel saw Max again. But this time she was coherent enough to realize that she was being duped. Panic started to twist in her stomach and she glanced at her half-empty plate. The food. Of course - last night whatever had been in the drinks had gone straight to her blood stream and rendered her incoherent nearly immediately. But tonight they must have guessed she was suspicious and they drugged the food instead. The slower absorption into her system had allowed her these few moments of clarity.

Isabel pushed herself unsteadily to her feet and mumbled something about using the bathroom. She felt Jackson's hand on her arm. "Are you okay?" he asked, but Isabel brushed past him and staggered down the hall to the bathroom. She shut the door behind her and fused the lock shut with her powers. In the mirror, her eyes looked frightened, her countenance pale.

What was going on here? Was Tess in on the whole thing? Why did she keep seeing Max? She only had seconds to ponder these questions as her knees gave out and she crumbled to the bathroom floor…

"Wake up, Is."

Isabel cracked open her eyes. She was still on the bathroom floor, but now she wasn't alone. Max was with her. She smiled drunkenly and reached for him. He took her hands in his and suddenly she felt complete. Typically Max, he pulled her in tight to his body and rubbed her back. Oddly, he seemed taller - Isabel and Max were near the same height - because she had to reach up to put her arms around his shoulders. She kissed his cheek and laughed giddily.

"I love you, Max," she said as she looked into his eyes. "And I've missed you so."

"Then come to me," he urged.

And suddenly Isabel was in Max's bedroom like she'd been the night before. But she didn't recall being there. She didn't know how she was there now, and she didn't care. Looking down at her hand, she noticed that she could see all of the way through it, like she was some sort of apparition. She wasn't alone.

"Is this your brother?" Paul asked. Isabel looked toward him and noted that he also seemed sort of transparent. She nodded.

"Who's that?" came Jackson's voice. He was pointing toward the floor and Isabel knew who it was without even looking.

Tess answered. "That's Michael. He's like us," she warned. Isabel wondered why Tess was warning these people of Michael's abilities. Why should they be wary of Michael? They weren't a threat to anyone, were they?

But Isabel turned her attention back to Max. He was sleeping on his back, one of this legs crooked at the knee. She sat down on the edge of the bed near his hip and watched him sleep. His dark eyelashes brushed his cheeks as his eyelids fluttered with some dream. Isabel felt a tear slip down her cheek as she watched him, but her tears had no substance.

"He's quite handsome, isn't he?" Jackson said close to her ear.

Isabel nodded. "He's my best friend," she said softly as she sniffed back her tears.

"Is he?" Jackson asked. "Does he see things your way?"

Isabel thought. She thought as well as she could, which wasn't saying much.

"He doesn't, does he?" Jackson prompted.

She shook her head, trying to rid her mind of his words. "No, not always. But he knows how I feel."

"Does he?" Tess asked, leaning close to Isabel's other ear. "What did he say about coming to Boston?"

Isabel turned to look at her and was suddenly transported lucidly back to that day… ______________________________________________________________________

"You can't go," Max said as he leaned against Isabel's doorway.

"Who are you to say?" she asked, her patience still maintained. "You're not going to pull that king crap on me, are you?"

Max sighed. "No, of course not. Not that you would listen to me any way. Look, you can't go live with Tess. I don't trust her, Is, and neither should you."

Isabel sighed and dropped down onto her bed. "You don't trust her because of Liz," she said bluntly.

Max shook his head. "No, that's not it. Liz has nothing to do with this."

Isabel raised one eyebrow. "Really? Could've fooled me."

Max sighed and sat down beside her. "Look, leave Liz out of this. This is about you and me and Tess. She's got powers you should be afraid of, Isabel. She can make you think things are happening that aren't. How are you ever going to know what is reality and what isn't?"

Isabel crossed her arms over her chest. "Are you saying I am that easily manipulated?"

"No, I'm saying that she could manipulate you without your knowing it."

"What's the difference, Max?"

He raked a hand through his hair in frustration. "She's got the ability to hurt you - to hurt all of us. You need to be careful. Being so far away - there's no way I can protect you, or Michael could protect you."

At that, she jumped to her feet. "I don't need protection, Max. I'm a big girl." She felt her voice rising. "I have my own scary powers. And where do you get off dissing my friend? Like it or not, Max, she is my friend. Is that the problem? That you didn't go pick her out for me?"

Max rose and reached for her arm, but Isabel jerked out of his reach. "Isabel, that's not what I am saying. I'm concerned for you."

"Well, you can just stop it," she demanded. "I am going to Boston."

Max's jaw set and his eyes started to blaze. "You're making a stupid mistake."

"Stupid? Did you just call me stupid?"

"Yes, I did. You're not stupid, but you are acting stupidly."

"Why, because I'm not acting the way you wish me to? That I actually have a mind of my own?" Isabel stepped close so that she was only a few inches away from him. "I have news for you, my dear brother - you don't freaking own me. You can't tell me what I can and can't do. You can't judge my stupidity as you sit on your goddamn throne all high and mighty - " Her voice cut off as Max's hand shot out and grabbed her by the arm. "What are you doing?" she demanded as she tried to wrench herself free.

"Listen to me," he said through his teeth as he tightened his grip.

"You're hurting me." Isabel's voice was more threatening than frightened.

"Listen to me," Max repeated. "She will take advantage of you. She's gonna get into your head and make you believe things that aren't true. You will try to fight her, but you will fail."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence. Now let go of me." Her eyes were hard, harder than Max had ever seen them.

"Fine," he said but didn't release his grip. "Don't call for help when she has you whimpering in a corner begging for mercy. You're a big girl, right? Isn't that what you said? You can take care of yourself, right? Well, don't call me and don't call Michael. I will order Michael to not go to you. And he will do as I say because - unlike you - he has some common sense and knows when I am right. You're on your own."

Isabel paused only momentarily before spitting out her response. "Fuck you, Max."

Max started to tighten his grip on her arm, but Isabel raised her free hand and used her powers to send him tumbling backward over the bed…. ______________________________________________________________________

Translucent tears were gleaming in Isabel's eyes as she watched Max sleep. Tess placed a hand on her friend's shoulder.

"He doesn't understand you at all," Tess said softly. "Not at all."

"He refused to help you if you were in trouble," Jackson added, placing his hand on her other shoulder. "He turned his back on you, Isabel."

"But we wouldn't do that," Paul added.

Isabel glanced at each of them in turn. No, they wouldn't do that to her. Jackson had taken her pictures, told her she was beautiful. Paul had welcomed her and her 'differences' as though they were normal. And Tess had been all the friend Isabel had ever wanted. She'd welcomed Isabel into her home, talked to her when she was sad, and had never ever turned her back on her.

"He's hurt you," Tess said. "Hasn't he?"

Isabel nodded as a nearly invisible tear streaked down her nearly invisible cheek.

"You could hurt him back," came Jackson's husky voice near her ear.

She could hurt him back. He did deserve it, didn't he? He sure had hurt her, turning her out on her own. She was an alien, people could capture her and torture her and he had told her not to come knocking if she was in trouble. Where was the loyalty? He expected her to be all 'you are the king' with him, but he never wanted to realize that she was a princess, with just as many rights as him. Isabel's tears started to dry and she turned defiant eyes to Jackson.

"What do I need to do?" ______________________________________________________________________

The Atherton dream again. More blank pages, more frantic searching. Max felt that old familiar panic in his stomach. Who was he? Why was he here? The answers were all supposed to be in this book - it held the key. But why were the pages so empty?

Max looked up when he felt a presence near him. It was Isabel. He held up the book. "It's empty," he told her incredulously. Placing the book back on the table, he started to reopen it when Isabel leaned forward and slammed it shut.

"There's nothing there because you are nothing any more," she explained, her voice harsh.

Max looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"Once upon a time there was a great king…have you heard that story?"

Max shook his head.

Isabel snorted. "No, I guess you wouldn't because you don't know what it means to be a great king, do you? Well, let me write another story for you."

"Am I a king?" Max asked, looking back down to the book.

Isabel ignored him. "Once upon a time there was a sniffling little brat who liked to tell people what to do even though he hadn't a clue what to do himself."

"Isabel?" Both of Max's eyebrows were raised in confusion.

"Then one day one of his loyal subjects came back for a little revenge."

Max noticed movement over her shoulder - two strangers and Tess. Why was Tess here? And who were those people?

"You have the power," one of the men said and Isabel smiled.

"You can do it," Tess affirmed.

Max started to rise to his feet, but Isabel's hand shot out and grabbed him by the throat. He felt her form a connection with him, then she raced fiercely through his body. She was searching for a way to kill him, a way that would not be suspicious to anyone in the real world. He could feel her anger with him and he knew suddenly that this was more than a dream. He needed to wake up, but he was starting to feel oddly light headed. What was going on? Isabel lacked the ability to manipulate the human body - she couldn't heal, she couldn't kill other than by normal methods. How was she doing this?

Max felt Isabel's mental fingers wrap around an artery in his brain and squeeze. He had just enough breath left to let out an anguished moan before his heart fluttered in his chest and he stopped breathing altogether. ______________________________________________________________________

Michael was on his feet and kneeling over Max as soon as the cry for help had escaped Max's lips. Max wasn't breathing, but Michael laid a hand on Max's chest and could feel his heart still beating.

Oh, crap, Michael thought frantically. I can't heal him.

But he had to try. Michael placed his hands on either side of Max's head and started to make the connection. If he could just get into Max's head, maybe Max's subconscious could tell him what to do. Or maybe he could bring Max around enough to heal himself. Michael concentrated for all he was worth, tried to push away any thoughts of losing his brother. Suddenly he was in - and he wasn't alone. He felt several other presences in Max's brain - he recognized Isabel and Tess immediately, but he had no idea who the other two were. The feeling he got from them was one of pure hatred, of imminent danger.

Then Max was sitting upright, gasping for air. Michael leaned away from him to give him breathing room. Max's hand went to his chest and his head whipped around the room as he searched for the intruders. He tried to stand up, but his knees gave out and he fell to his butt on the floor. Michael scrambled from the bed and sat down beside him.

"Maxwell?" he asked, peering into his friend's face. "Are you okay? Are you there?"

Max looked at him with vacant eyes, then, for the first time since Michael had known him, tears of shear terror spilled down his cheeks. Max pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. Michael placed a hand on Max's shoulder.

"Get Liz," Max ordered, his voice shaking.

Michael blinked, then shook his head. "After what just happened to you? I'm not leaving you alone."

"I'm not going back to sleep," Max explained. "They can't get to me unless I'm asleep. Go get Liz."

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