FanFic - Other
"Thirty Miles"
Part 4
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
Liz stood at the mouth of the cave watching the stars peek out of the violet colored sky. It always amazed her how fascinating stars could be. They were just pin pricks of light and light was nothing more than a specific sort of electromagnetic wave that reacted chemically with the retina to give the sensation of sight. . .and yet that sensation provided starscapes glittering against a regal purple sky and magnificent red and gold sunsets.

Another sunset had passed and again she found herself staring at a vast sky and empty horizon. Last night the sunset had brought expectation. Tonight it brought fear. Where were the others? Had the helicopters captured them? She couldn't forget the fear in Agent Topolsky's eyes when she had spoken of the secret division of the FBI. Even now they could have Michael and Isabel, and if what Topolsky said was true Maria and Alex could be in danger as well. They knew too much. . . or at least the FBI suspected that they knew too much.

"It dark yet?" Colonel Jack asked from the back of the cave.

"Yes," Max answered in his deep quiet voice. "The stars came out some time ago."

The colonel dragged himself unsteadily to his feet. "Then it's time we left."

Max frowned. "Can you leave? I thought --"

"It was over a hundred degrees out there today. Not a good idea to hike in that kind of heat. In the desert you travel at night. " He picked up his backpack. "Now it's night, and we need to find out what happened to your friends."

The old man made it to the ledge and Max glanced at Liz. She could almost hear him asking her "Should I allow him to do this?"

At some point Max had assumed responsibility for this expedition. It was second nature to him, and he wasn't even aware of it. Liz knew that he always felt responsible, as if everything depended on him. Everything. Liz wanted to reach out and comfort him. Help him. Relieve some of the burden from his broad shoulders. She felt she should. She felt she could, and yet somewhere inside she doubted that he would allow it. It was as if he felt it was his duty alone.

"We can't stay here, Max," she told him. "Not forever. We have to see that the Colonel makes it back to Roswell, and we have to see what happened to the others."

"Right. Your right." He glanced out of the mouth of the cave as the Colonel disappeared over the edge. "But where do we start? Do we assume they've been taken or that they ran and we just haven't caught up with them?" Then he blinked and looked distracted.

"What?" Liz asked.

"Do you see that?"

She squinted. "There are lights out there."

An intent expression rendered Max's features in a thoughtful mask. "That's not a random light. It sort of reminds me of a lighthouse."

"A lighthouse in the desert?"

He shook his head. "A beacon." He called down to the colonel, "Do you see the beacon?"


"That's the direction we're taking."

* * *

Isabel sat Indian style in the dirt biting her nails. Rather than venture too far in the wrong direction, she and Alex had decided to sit and think about the situation rationally. Maybe, if they were lucky, some sort of inspiration would hit them. She became aware of Alex watching her. "What?" she demanded.

"You're biting your nails." Alex seemed unaware of the small smile lifting the corners of his mouth.


"I never thought I would see Isabel Evans sitting in the dirt biting her nails. Sort of ruins the whole 'image of perfection' thing."

"Really?" She looked down at her hands then lifted them triumphantly. They were perfect again. "See? No harm done."

He caught her hand and looked at her fingertips. "They were fine the way they were before," he said a little sadly.

Her hand trembled and she pulled it away even as he reached out to brush a stray blonde hair from her face. She lifted her hand, eager to fix it as well.

"No," Alex told her. "It's okay the way it is. Come on, Isabel, look around you. There's no one here."

"You're here."

"Yeah, but you don't have to impress me."

"I wasn't trying to-"

"Impress me? Yeah, I know. Why would you?"


He smiled gently. "There's no need for you to impress me. I've been bowled over since the seventh grade."

Her jaw dropped. "You're kidding."

"And you didn't know I was alive."

"That's not true."

He grinned. "Don't re-write history. In seventh grade I sat three rows behind you in Algebra II and you spoke to me exactly once. I think your words were 'could I borrow a pencil.'"

She looked speechless and perhaps somewhat embarrassed.

"Hey," he said softly, "there's nothing to be embarrassed about. I never really expected you to notice the scrawny kid with braces. No one would expect you to look twice in my direction." He took her hand in his once again. "But they would have all the wrong reasons why."

She cocked her head to the side so he answered her unspoken question, "You've always been so caught up in your own world, how could you see anyone else?"

She flushed. "You make me sound so selfish-"

"No! God no, Isabel, that's not what I meant. I was just thinking…Isabel your world, your life is. . .it's overwhelming. There are so many secrets and so much to fear and you cover it all so gracefully. You almost make it look easy." He touched her cheek. "But it isn't easy. It consumes you. And. . ." He lifted his chin and his clear crystalline gaze met hers unwaveringly. "You don't have to pretend with me. The cat is out of the bag, remember? I know your earth shaking secret, and I'm still here. I'm still on your side. So it's okay. Relax. You don't have to be anyone but who you really are."

"And if I don't know who that is?"

"Then be whoever you want to be. Just know whoever that is, I'm still your friend. You don't have to pretend to be something you're not."

"I liked Titanic."


"I liked the movie Titanic. Michael made fun of me. He said it was some teary eyed chick flick, but I liked it."

Alex grinned. "Okay, I can accept that."

"And I like Indian food. Max always chooses the Chinese food place, but I like Indian food."

"I'll remember that."

"And sometimes-" She glanced at him hesitantly, " --I really, really want to stop looking into the past, the crash, everything. I like my home. I like my parents." She gave a watery smile. "I like my friends, and sometimes I can't shake this feeling that if we find out who we really are I could lose all of that. What if I give up everything for a truth I end up wishing I never discovered?"

He looked down at their clasped hands. "I wish I had an easy answer for that, but the truth is I don't know. I'm being honest with you, Isabel. I just don't know. "

"Right." Her hands tightened on his and he looked at her with what she thought was speculation.

"You really are terrified," he realized. "You're terrified and cover it so well. " He sat back and looked at her with his clear cerulean gaze. There was no subterfuge in Alex. She knew it. She felt it. He had no hidden agendas or terrible secrets. Amazingly he really was everything he seemed to be-honest, dependable, and kind. Under appreciated but incredibly rare and fine qualities.

He grimaced and confessed, "I've always had this fear of being this sort of invisible guy." He gave her a self deprecating smile. "I think that might happen to any guy whose best friends are all girls who only see him as a buddy. Either that or you start to wonder if they think you're… Well anyway, after a while when you think people look at you but don't really see you, you start to believe your feelings don't matter and keep them to yourself."

"I'm sorry Alex. I never-"

"No, Isabel. I wasn't talking about me. Well, okay, maybe I was a little but not really. I was talking about-" His gaze locked with hers, steady and confident. "I see you, Isabel--the real you--and I am and always will be your friend. No matter what."

She gazed at him for a long, silent moment and felt some tight knot inside of her loosen.. "Let go of my hands," she said softly.


"Just let go."

He released her.

"Now look," she told him. . .and waited. She watched a slow smile form on his face and she bit her lip to keep from laughing when he arched his brow. Wiggling her fingers she flaunted nails that were bitten down to the quick. Alex laughed and then in some natural unthinking motion she wrapped her arms around him as he wrapped his arms around her in an enveloping hug. "I'm so glad you're my friend," she whispered against his shoulder.

* * *

Maria was heavy. Michael wasn't sure how long he had been carrying her but it felt like forever. It wasn't like one of those cheesy chick flick romantic movies where a guy could just sweep a girl off her feet and carry her away--Maria would probably like that though. She'd get a real kick out of it if she would only wake up. . . but she didn't. She lay unconscious and feverish in his arms as he walked across the pitch dark desert.

Michael shifted her weight and tried for a better grip. No, Maria was heavy. It wasn't that she really weighed all that much. Actually she was kind of small and almost fragile, but she was also heavy--a solid, real sort of heavy. She was a real person who needed him, who depended on him.

It wasn't like he hadn't warned her. He'd warned her many times not to hang around him. Sooner or later it would land her in trouble that she couldn't talk her way out of, but did Maria listen? No. She just kept pushing and pushing. She kept hanging around saying things like they were 'in this together.'

Did she know what she was saying? She was in the free and clear so why would she consciously decide to involve herself in this whole 'not of this earth' quest thing he had going? After all, how many times had Max said it was dangerous? Still, she did it anyway. Michael just couldn't understand it.

He glanced at his watch and then up to the moon. Okay, that side of the rock face would be due north. It would be in the shade when the sun came up. He walked around the boulders then as best he could in the darkness tried to scout a place to lay Maria. He kicked at the rocks. Rocks? He hated to lay her on a bed of rocks. She was small and fragile and sick, and what was he going to do for her? Lay her in a bed of rocks. He closed his eyes and grimaced.

Almost against his will, Michael looked down into the face of the girl in his arms. Her skin was more pale than usual. Her short blonde hair was wet and plastered to her scalp, and her bee stung lips had lost their normal dark coral color. The urge to apologize to her for marching her through the desert rose up inside him. He wished he could go back and do things differently. . .and that didn't happen often--that regret thing that is.

Usually he ran off at a moment's notice and everyone ended up yelling at him saying he was half brained and dangerous. But even though he pissed everyone off, he usually didn't regret it. Looking into Maria's still face when she was usually so vibrant and animated made him gulp and try to swallow the lump in his throat. Maria shouldn't be quiet. She should be yakking his ear off. She should be complaining and lecturing or cracking jokes. She shouldn't be so silent and still. It scared the hell out of him.

He eased her down to the ground. Then sat beside her and leaned back against the boulder. Gently he lifted her head so she could use his lap as a pillow. He brushed the hair off her forehead. "Maria," he said gruffly, "you can't check out of a fight like this. It's not right and it's not your style."

He laid his hand against her cheek. Geez, she was burning up. She swallowed, and he knew she needed water. . . only they had run out of water sometime around two in the afternoon. Maria was in trouble. Big trouble. He'd known it for hours but hadn't admitted it to himself. He thought about trying to heal her, maybe he could do for her what Max had done for Liz. He wanted to do that, but he was scared of hurting her. He'd never pulled off the healing trick. It seemed even in 'not of this earth' powers, his talents lay more with destruction than construction. He couldn't take the chance of hurting her. Maybe time and the cold desert night would be enough.

He glanced heavenward. The stars overhead seemed close enough to touch but right now the only reason he was glad to see them was that they gave off enough light to see Maria's face.

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