FanFic - Other
"Thirty Miles"
Part 2
by Lisa
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. I don't own Roswell. These are Jason Katims' and Melinda Metz's wonderful characters but I am enjoying playing with them so don't sue me.
Summary: Consider this to be after "Crazy" but before "Tess, Lies, and Videotape." The gang is presented with the opportunity to slip into Area 51 but once inside they are separated from one another. As they cross 30 miles of desert in pursuit of a mysterious beacon each couple draws closer together.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Alex saw the lights behind them just as he and Isabel crossed over a ridge and suddenly plunged into total darkness. He had lost track of everyone a long time ago, and he wasn't sure how he could keep track of Isabel when it was impossible to see. "Isabel?" He pitched his voice in the loudest whisper he could manage.


He moved blindly toward her voice. "Where are you?"

"Gee, it's dark. I don't know."

"Are you okay?"

"I think so. . . So where do we go now?"

Alex didn't know he--

Suddenly he was plummeting in the darkness. Rocks and gravel cut into his leg. He was sliding on his back, falling, and "Ungh!" he gave a muffled groan as he hit bottom.

"Alex!" Isabel called in a terrified whisper. "Alex, answer me? Please, answer me."

"Don't move," He told her in the most commanding voice he could manage.

"As if you can tell me what to do," She snapped reflexively but there was a note of fear in her voice which when she asked, "Where are you?"

"Don't move. There's some sort of gulch or canyon here. I. . . uh. . . I fell into it." He felt rocks splatter over him. "You're coming down that cliff aren't you?"

"I'm not going to leave you alone down there."

The silence grew unbearable as he heard her pick her way down the canyon wall. He didn't talk. He didn't want to distract her. She needed her concentration if she was going to make it down the cliff.

"I think I'm almost down," she said somewhere to his left.

Alex winced as he pulled himself to his feet and limped toward where he had heard her voice. "Isabel?" he called again in a pitched whisper.

"I'm over here."

He felt his way along the wall. "Keep talking so I can find you."

"What exactly am I supposed to say? That I don't like helicopters, hiking, heights or rock climbing?"

He caught her ankle. "Found you. Can you make it down the last five or so feet?"

"I think so." She stumbled and slid a little, but in a few moments she was standing beside him. "Now what? We can't stay here. They could find us." They heard the sound of a helicopter pass overhead. Then a second one.

"They're leaving," she whispered. "Do you think they found the others?"

"That would explain their giving up and going back to the base."

"Oh God, Max and Michael. What are we going to do?"

Alex didn't like the sound of panic in her voice. Isabel didn't get panicked. She became caustic or cold, not panicked. Then again, she had good cause to be panicked. "Maybe we should head back to Roswell," he suggested.

"And leave the others out here? We can't do that."

"No. I mean yes, sort of. We've got to be logical about this. If Max and Liz and the others were caught trespassing on a military base, we're going to need help. Legal help."

"My Dad?" she asked.

"Seems like our best option."

"No, we can't do that. Alex, my Dad doesn't know... he... he doesn't know about..."

Alex shook his head. "We don't have to tell him about... well about, you know. We can say the group got lost in the desert and that we were separated from the others. We tell him we think they're lost on the base and arrange a search party, arrange some publicity, and suddenly it's just a case of some lost teenagers. The people at the base won't have an excuse to keep them."

Isabel was silent for a long time.

"You don't think it would work," Alex whispered.

"No. I mean, no I don't think it won't work. That is I think it might work. It's just going to my Dad. I don't like him asking questions."

"Because you don't want him to know anything know."

"No, because I don't want to lie to him. I hate lying to people."

She said it with such quiet sincerity that Alex was a little taken back. Then he started to wonder if that was the reason Isabel always seemed so unattainable, so distant. Maybe she held herself aloof because she didn't like keeping secrets and hated lying.

"You know," Alex ventured, "it's probably better that your father doesn't know the truth. It will look very innocent and ordinary."

"That's what Max and Michael always say but. . . Okay," she said breathlessly.

"Okay, I say we do it. But how do we find our way back? I have no idea how to make it to Roswell."

Alex frowned. He rubbed his hand over his eyes and thought. Hard. How were they going to find their way back? He looked up as if some unknown force could give him the answer. "I've got it." He took Isabel's hand and pointed in a direction. "That way."

She turned her face and realized that only inches separated them. Up this close she could just barely make out his features in the dim light. "How do you know that?"

She didn't realize until she said it that she was still talking in a whisper.

He gazed upward. "The stars. See that one?" He pointed her arm to one particularly bright star. "That's the north star. Sailors used to follow it way back when. It can guide us."

The excitement, the knowledge and the certainty on his face comforted her. He made her feel as if everything was under control. "Alright," she murmured. "I'll follow you."

"Here...uh.. would you mind taking my hand? It might be easier for us to keep track of each other in this light."

"Okay." And she took his hand.

Suddenly he stopped and looked at her in surprise. She could see his surprise by the light of the stars. Something flickered in his expression then he smiled at her. . . and she smiled back. * * * "The sun is coming up," Maria observed.

"Yeah, I noticed." Michael muttered as he continued relentlessly searching.

"They aren't here. None of them. Max, Liz, Isabel, Alex--they aren't here."

"I've noticed that!" he snapped.

Maria blinked and walked around him. "I'm just saying we need to think. What's going to be our next step?"

"We're going to find the others."


He looked at Maria in dismay. "I don't know. Is that what you want me to say? That I don't know? I don't know where we are. I don't know where everyone else is. I don't know where the hell we've been running all night. There. Is that good enough?" She looked away from him quickly, and he felt like a jerk. Okay, so maybe he was a jerk, but why was she looking at him like he had answers? What the hell did he know? Didn't she remember who he was? The screw up. The one who could never be trusted with responsibility for anything. Who ever depended on him? Who ever trusted him to make a decision?

"Um...maybe we should head that way," he ventured.


He shrugged. "I don't know. It just seemed..." He shrugged again.

"Okay," she said. As easy as that she nodded and fell into step beside him.

"Why didn't you argue with me?" he asked.

"Why would I?"

"Why do you ever argue with me?"

"Usually it's because you're behaving like an ass," she told him. He didn't say anything and a small smile lifted the corners of her mouth. "Why aren't you arguing?"

"Because I usually am an ass."

She shook her head ruefully then said more seriously, "Do you think the others are alright?"

"If they got away, yeah. Max will watch out for everyone. Max always watches out for everyone. He's Mr. Responsibility, you know. Always makes the right choices. Always does the right thing. Etcetera, etcetera."

"He is sort of bossy that way."

"I didn't say he was bossy."

"Well, he's really nice about it," she defended, "but he does have a way of making the decisions for everyone."

"He's good at it."

Maria stopped walking and looked at him. "You know just because he's good at making the choices doesn't mean that you're bad at it."

Michael rolled his eyes. "Have you ever seen the decisions I've made?" He started walking again.

She ran after him and caught his arm to turn him to face her. "Yeah, I've seen your choices. I was there when you carjacked me, and that night you ran off with the orb to find Topolsky, and-"

"I get the point. I'm a screw up."

"I wasn't saying that!" she snapped. "I wish you would stop saying it, and for that matter, I wish Max would stop saying it too. You know Max may be right sometimes but that doesn't make you wrong all the time. Look at me," she demanded. "I can understand why you're frustrated sometimes. You do have good ideas."

He stopped in his tracks. "You think my ideas are good?"

Surprise seemed to light her features. "Of course I do. Yeah, you overreact and go off on your own-which in general is stupid-but usually the idea you've got is good. Without you Isabel wouldn't have found that necklace thingie in Marathon. And without the necklace Liz wouldn't have gone to the Indian reservation. And if Liz hadn't gone to the reservation, we wouldn't have found the writings in the cave or the orbs. If you hadn't done those things you wouldn't know more today than you did a year ago. And, Michael, you were right to try to meet Topolsky. If I hadn't stopped you, who knows how much more you would have learned."

Michael frowned. He'd never really thought of it that way. Usually, he was just told, "Michael, what were you doing going off like that?" "Michael, what were you thinking when you did that?" "Michael, you don't know don't belong're a freak." The words of his foster father rang in his head. He pushed them away but they always came back in the night.

"Michael, look!" Maria said as something flashed in the distance. "What do you think that is?"

He squinted. It was out on the horizon but something was reflecting the early morning light. It was almost like it was a beacon.

Maria walked forward then looked back at him. "Do you think that could be something from..."

"It's probably nothing," he scoffed.

"But it could be what you were looking for!"

He shrugged.

"Michael! At least act excited or something. That could be it!"

He looked at her curiously. "I thought you were the one insisting there wasn't anything out here to find."

"Well, yeah, but..."


"But nothing, okay."

He crossed his arms. "You know when I do stuff like that, you usually give me some sort of lecture about 'relationships.'"

She cocked her head to the side. "Okay, with relationships you're supposed to help people find stuff that's important to them and whatever that thing out there may be, it's important to you. We shouldn't be standing here fighting. We should be out there finding it."

Michael frowned in confusion. "Is this some kind of girl thing that you can just change your mind for no reason? Last night you were saying this was a wild goose chase and now you've turned cheerleader-"

"I didn't want you to find anything okay!" she cried. When Maria realized what she had said she slapped her hand across her mouth. Squeezing her eyes shut she took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, then looked at him. "I didn't mean that."

"Then why did you say it?"

"I don't... I mean, I ...."

"Then why did you say it?"

She looked away and shrugged. "I'm not stupid, you know. This quest of yours. . ." Her voice trailed off. "Remember that nookie motel we stayed in when we were going to Marathon?"

He nodded.

She said, "I asked you-I'm not sure what I asked you-but you said something about there had to be something better for you than Roswell." She looked directly at him as straight forward and brutally honest as she had always been. " If you find what you're looking for then you'll find that 'something better' and. . .and I'm in Roswell."

She quietly turned and walked toward the glittering beacon in the distance.

* * *

The sun was almost directly overheard so it must be close to noon, Liz thought as she stared at the sun through the two inch crack over her. 'Keep calm' had become her mantra over the night, and Max's deep even breathing comforted her. It was almost like he was sleeping. Actually she liked to tell herself that he was only sleeping. She had panicked for a few minutes after he had passed out until she had laid her head against his chest and felt his deep, even breaths. She had touched his forehead, and he felt cool to the touch not hot like Michael when he had fallen ill. Maybe... maybe the trick with the rock had drained Max or something and he just needed time to recover.

She didn't let herself think too much about other possibilities. They were trapped behind a solid wall of rock with only enough open space above them to allow air. If Max didn't wake up they would be trapped.

She heard a groan. "Max?" she whispered as she moved against him. She felt his thigh pressed to hers as she brushed her hand across his face and into his crisp dark hair. "Max? Can you hear me? Can you wake up?"

He groaned again.


"I hear you," he said hoarsely. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I'm just fine, how are you?"

He shifted stiffly. "Okay I think. Where are we?"

"We're still where we were last night."

He closed his eyes and gave a relieved sigh. "They missed us?"

"Yeah. Your trick worked. It's just that you passed out and-"

He opened his eyes and looked at her. "How long have I been passed out?"

"Hours," she confessed. "I was so worried."

He lifted his hand and cupped her cheek. "It must have been pretty scary."

"I was worried about you, Max."

He gazed at her searchingly for a moment and then smiled wanly. "I'm used to being the one who does the worrying. That's the way it works you know."

"Well, not any more. I worry too. I'm a virtual worry wart. I can worry-" He stopped her babbling by kissing her-softly, tenderly, gently. He pulled back and she looked at him with a glint in her eyes. "I really was worried," she whispered. "I don't know what I would do if anything happened to you."

"Nothing happened." He lifted his hand toward the rock covered entrance.

"No!" she cried in caught his hand. "If doing whatever it was you did last night made you pass out for so long. . . Max, we don't know what will happen if you make it go away!"

He gently removed her hand and focused on the rock wall that slowly dissolved into shrubs once more before he looked over his shoulder at Liz and explained, "Changing something back is always a lot easier than changing in the first place. It's like a molecular structure has a memory or something. Like it just sort of knows what it's supposed to be." He pulled himself from the crevice and reached down for her. She took his hand and they stood exposed in the harsh sunlight.

"What do you think happened to the others?" she asked.

Max looked away from her abruptly and started walking, looking at the ground for clues. "I never should have agreed to this expedition," he muttered. "I knew it was dangerous."

Liz came to a halt. "You couldn't have stopped it. Once the colonel showed up with the idea there's no way you could have held everyone back."

"But I should have. The others could be hurt or captured and I didn't do anything to stop it. I should have stopped it." He stopped abruptly.

"Did you find something?"

Max knelt and traced an imprint in the dirt. Then he looked up toward a group of rocks. "That way. Someone went that way."

Liz frowned and looked around her. "There were dozens of soldiers here last night. How can you know if this is one of us?"

He stood again. "Most of the tracks go off in that direction. This is a single set of tracks. One person alone. That would have to one of our group."

Good reasoning, she thought, but which one?

Part 1 | Index | Part 3
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