When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L ADULT) Ch 20 Repost 7/31 [WIP]

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When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L ADULT) Ch 20 Repost 7/31 [WIP]

Post by Whimsicality » Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:02 pm

A/N: REWRITE HAS BEGUN!!! - Up to Chapter Twenty so far.
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Round 12 - Best Lead Portrayal in a UC Fic for Liz and Best Polar Fic
Round 13 - Best Lead Portrayal in a UC Fic for Liz and I Have Never Read UC Until This Fic





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Title: When Dreams Change
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing, all characters and original Roswell settings belong to other very lucky people.
Pairings/Couples/Category: UC, the main couple is Mi/L, the others will be revealed later but all main characters are in this story.
Rating: Mature until Chapter 21 then it hits Adult full on but only briefly!
Summary: This is an AU fic set just after Departure. I wasn’t particularly fond of the way Liz just lost her backbone after everything that had happened and this is my version of how it should have gone.
Author's Note: Reposting has begun! I am so sorry it took me so long to get this up, I have had massive laptop issues and work crazyness lately, I in fact currently do not have a working computer at home :twisted: but, I should be able to keep up an every other week posting schedule for this from work. Some parts are new, some are old, and hopefully this rewrite will fill in some holes that the old version left and answer more questions. Thank you all for patience and support and I hope you enjoy!



~ A Beginning ~


One of the millions of images streaming through its consciousness caught the being’s attention and it paused, concentrating more fully on the events playing out. The lines of possibility had shifted and new avenues were opening up, leading to a different set of futures, a better set of futures. Focusing the bulk of its intelligence, it set its attention on the strings of images flowing forward from the event.

It never ceased to amaze the being that, while the events it ever so delicately nudged along, the circumstances it painstakingly pulled the strings to achieve, only occasionally produced desirable outcomes; it was the events it had no hand in and, in fact, had no inkling of that truly changed the face of possibility.

The beings of the worlds it cared for were constantly making choices, choices it could not always predict. Sometimes those choices led to disaster, some not, and many times it was forced to watch as they suffered things it would rather have prevented. But by necessity it had to care for more than individual lives, its charge was far greater than that and the happiness, or even survival, of every person it watched was at times sacrificed.

However there were times when it could achieve both, when the lives it saw go from infancy to adulthood could be made a part of the larger plan, where both happiness and success could be attained. Those were its favorite moments and the people it was now watching were of special importance to it, so seeing that it could guide them towards a brighter future for themselves and their worlds was a great gift.

A gift it intended to use to full advantage.




Chapter One ~ Seeking Normal

Liz shoved clothes haphazardly into her bag, hardly able to see through the haze of tears clouding her vision. He let her go. He let the bitch who killed her best friend go. She still could not believe it. Max let her fly off in the one bargaining chip they had with his child, giving their enemies exactly what they wanted.

Suddenly she stopped moving, startled by a harsh noise, and then realized it was her own laugh. He actually thought she would forgive him. Forgive him for sleeping with the enemy, forgive him for being too stupid to use a condom, forgive him for letting a murderer go.

How could she forgive him when she could not even forgive herself? If she had used her head instead of her heart when Future Max appeared in her bedroom, then all of this could have been avoided. If she had asked questions instead of blindly following, then maybe Alex would be alive and Max would not have a son in the hands of the enemy.

But she had not and so she had stood there watching Tess disappear as he wrapped his arms around her and told her it was going to be all right, that they would get his son back and their lives could go back to normal.

Normal. That word did not exist anymore. Her willingness to forgo normal had cost Alex his life, had cost the Sheriff his reputation, had cost all of them so much and for what? The love of an alien hybrid who lost his virginity to someone else. This time the bitter chuckle that escaped her lips did not surprise her.

Well it was time normal got a chance. She was doing something completely human, completely typical, the epitome of teenage rebellion; she was running away. If she stayed here, she would not be able to keep herself from falling back into the abyss.

Liz still cared about Maria, Kyle, the Sheriff, even Michael, Isabel, and yes, Max, but somehow they would end up in the same place as last year; together but not together, afraid of their own shadows, and waiting for the bomb to fall. She could not do it anymore, she would not.

Tess was gone. The Granolith was gone. She had sacrificed her own happiness for the last time; her love, her future, her wedding; all given up for a traitorous murdering bitch. The possible future could no longer be changed by her presence in Roswell, nor could she bring herself to care if it did.

They did not need her. Max did not need her, as he had proven time and time again. As for the others, they still had each other, they still had hope; hers was buried in the Roswell cemetery, the victim of a misguided attempt to change the future. The first, and she was determined that he would be the last, casualty of the war her life had become.

So, she packed only the necessities. A bare minimum of clothes, toiletries, and the entire content of her savings account, still withdrawn from her almost flight to Sweden. A few pictures were taken and, of course, her journal, a record of the string of disasters and mistakes that had changed her from a Harvard hopeful to a teenage runaway and conspiracy theorist.

The journal was a record of the good times as well, the happy memories that made the last two years worth it, if barely. As Michael said when he returned it all those months ago, the journal showed just who she used to be, and as she was not sure she could recognize herself any longer, maybe it would help her learn who she was now.

On the bed next to her bag sat a pile of envelopes. A letter from her aunt lay on top of the pile; it contained an open-ended bus ticket so she could visit again this summer, or travel, her choice. That one was going with her, the rest were her goodbyes, the thickest one for her parents, then one for Maria, one for Kyle and the Sheriff, and one for Michael and Isabel.

Max’s envelope had no letter; she had not been able to bring herself to pen one, her emotions too conflicted to be written out in black and white. So it contained only his class ring, the pocketknife he had returned to her when he left for New York, and a picture of Max and Alex, sitting together at the Crashdown and laughing. She had taken it last year, the week before Tess came into their lives.

Tears welled in her eyes once more as she stared at her best friend’s smiling face, so happy and full of life, a future of possibilities still lying ahead of him.

It was a poignant reminder of how she had gotten to this point, and why she was leaving. Biting her lip so hard it split, she resolutely slipped the photo into the envelope, her tongue darting out to catch the bitter tasting drops of blood as her resolve firmed and strengthened, now harder than diamonds.

This was the end. This was a beginning.

She slid out her window without so much as a lingering glance at the life she was leaving behind. When her hand touched the edge of her balcony, she thought for a moment she saw Max standing behind her, then she shook her head as the vision faded and quickly descended the ladder. She refused to see any other paranoid delusions or glimpses of future happiness she would never find. If she never saw so much as one more flash, it would be too soon.

She had managed to foist the others off with the claimed need for some alone time, and her parents were out of town for the weekend, but it was only a matter of time before one of her nosy, though well-meaning, friends decided she needed company.

Maria had left her Jetta in the Crashdown parking lot as she had once again lost her keys, and hitched a ride in the Sheriff's car with the others. Liz felt a faint flicker of guilt as she pulled the ‘lost’ keys out of her jacket pocket, but she intended to leave it fully gassed at the bus station, and her letter to her friend had both an apology and the locker combination at the station where her keys would be.

Even with the stop at the gas station the drive was short; Roswell was not exactly a hotbed of activity after midnight. There was a bus heading east at 1:15 and she got there with twenty minutes to spare, enough time to lock up Maria’s keys and find an isolated seat in the back, not hard on a bus with one other passenger.

As the bus rolled out onto the street she closed her eyes, not to sleep, but to block out the sight of the city that had claimed her innocence. The city she could no longer call home.


~*~


Maria was the first to realize that Liz had left, Michael was the second, so informed by the piercing shriek his girlfriend let out when she found the pile of letters the next morning. Her bout of hysterics lasted well into the afternoon and the arrival of the others to convene in the back of the Crashdown after lunch did not slow her meltdown.

After escorting the rest of the group to the backroom and calming her down somewhat, Michael returned to the front door of the restaurant to relock it and post the ‘Sorry, We’re Closed Early’ sign, and found himself lingering, reluctant to return to what would inevitably be an afternoon full of tears, outrage, and half-baked plans to bring her back.

He did not understand why everyone was so surprised. The Liz they used to know left a long time ago. The Liz whose journal he had stolen, who had watched Max with the equivalent of cartoon hearts in her eyes, who had tried to help everyone no matter the cost to herself…that Liz had all but disappeared since they learned about their destiny. And when Alex died so did the last bit of her that was left.

Michael did not blame her for leaving. He loved Max like a brother but the other boy had been in denial for a long time. Liz changed for a reason and Max never bothered to find out the real truth behind it. Then he got Tess pregnant and let her go even after they knew she murdered Alex. No, Michael was not at all surprised she had left. (He would have left too.) In fact, he believed that the only reason she had not left sooner was her determination to learn the truth and protect the others from Alex’s murderer.

The Sheriff popped his head into the room and interrupted his introspection, “You coming, son?”

Michael nodded, already weary. The shit was about to hit the fan and if it were not for Maria he would be tempted to leave them to it.

As he expected, the meeting lasted past dark; Isabel and Kyle largely remaining quiet while Max tried to talk the Sheriff into mounting a search party that very night. Maria alternated between sobbing into his chest, afraid that something would happen to her best friend, and raging that how dare Liz leave now, after everything. Michael diplomatically decided not to point out that 'everything' was exactly why she had left, and instead did his best to comfort her and keep the peace, even fetching drinks and food from the kitchen when it was clear that the meeting was going well past dinnertime.

It had been a surprise to find Isabel’s and his name on an envelope, knowing that Liz and the two of them had never been close, largely due to their own hostility towards her. Isabel had read it rather quickly and without comment, though he did catch a glimpse of what looked like tears sparkling in her eyes as she passed it over. He on the other hand tucked it in his back pocket, wanting to wait for the privacy of his own apartment before reading it himself.

After several more crying bouts and Max’s stormy departure when the Sheriff pointed out that as Liz was seventeen it was up to her parents to authorize any search if they so chose, Isabel and he, who had borrowed her dad’s car for the day, dropped Maria off at her house. Maria’s mother surprised him with a grateful hug that he returned a little awkwardly with a faint smile and a promise to be there first thing in the morning so they could pick up the Jetta.

Isabel dropped him off at his apartment, her silence only broken for a soft “Goodbye,” and a long look that conveyed all of her worries and fears, a look he returned with as encouraging a smile as he could manage after the intensity of the past hours.

Then he retreated upstairs, locking the door behind him with a sigh of relief as the tension from the long day flowed out of him. He had not really had a moment to think ever since saying goodbye to Maria, after what he thought was their first and last night together. It had been an exceptionally long forty-eight hours and it was most likely going to get worse before it got better.

When he collapsed on the couch, the crackling sounds of paper being crunched reminded him of the unread letter in his jeans. He pulled the small envelope out of his pocket and began to read, not sure what to expect.

Dear Michael and Isabel,

I know that despite, or maybe because, of the circumstances that brought us together we’ve never been close. I was just the friend of a friend and I know that you both have a right to resent me for being the trigger for the chaos that these past two years have brought to your lives.

Nevertheless, I want you to know that I think of you both as family, and, despite everything that being a part of your secret has cost all of us, I know that it was worth it. You both hide from the world, Isabel with your ice queen façade and Michael with your tough guy act, but you let us see through that, see the real you, and it was beautiful.

Isabel, Alex really loved you, the inner you, and I know he died happy because you let him in, because you were starting to love him back. I don’t intend to ever return but I know that with your powers you could probably find me and if you ever need me, even just for someone to talk to about Alex or girl stuff, not for any big alien crisis, you’re always welcome in my dreams.

Michael, the rebel, you’ve made Maria happier than I’ve ever seen her, even when you’re driving her crazy, and I know you’ll keep her sane through this crisis as well. Max may be the leader, but you are the protector of us all and I know I can leave because you’ll keep everyone safe.

Tell everyone not to worry about me, I’ll be okay. When Max saved my life two years ago I couldn’t believe how lucky I was but now I don’t even know if my life was worth the pain and suffering to all of you. I need to find myself again, to find a reason to live.

You’ve always pretended to be the least human of all of us but I know that’s only to hide how deeply you really feel things, so I think you’ll understand why I must do this. I know that my parents can never know the whys of the past few years but please keep an eye on them for me.

Take care of yourself too. Don’t let Max or Maria or anyone else walk over you, you’re better than that. I wish you and Isabel all the happiness in the world and maybe our paths will cross again one day.

With Love,
Liz


Michael blinked - damned watery eyes. (Maybe Maria was right; he did need to dust his apartment.) He had never bothered to thank Liz for helping them so many times over the past few years, most recently for figuring out just who Tess was really loyal to before the three of them ended up executed back on Antar. In fact, he did not think anyone, even Max, had ever told her how grateful they were.

Looking back, he had to respect the fact that she had never really complained about all the shit they put her through. Not when Valenti was interrogating her and Kyle was hounding her every step. Or the many times she got in trouble for being out late or not coming home at all. Not when her life had been put in danger or Nasedo had kidnapped her. Even when he had stolen her journal, she had forgiven him completely, never telling Max what he had done.

The full weight of the events of the past few days was starting to settle in and he wondered just how many repercussions Liz's leaving would have, both in their lives and in the community at large. She had been the one to keep Maria calm, Max grounded, and was frequently the only reason their lies to the adults and parents in their lives worked at all. The next few weeks were going to be trying for everyone and he only hoped all of them came through it unscathed.

Liz was counting on him to keep everyone safe and that was exactly what he was going to do. There were not going to be any more Alex’s on his conscience and he only hoped that Liz kept herself equally safe as she escaped into the world outside of Roswell.

As his eyes fell onto the letter once more, he carefully folded it up and tucked it back into the envelope, carrying it into the bedroom with him and sliding it into the metal box under his bed where he kept his most important sketches and the few alien artifacts in his possession.

Kicking off his shoes he collapsed onto the bed fully clothed, staring at the darkened ceiling when his eyes refused to close. The day had been exhausting, but the millions of thoughts bouncing around inside his skull were more than enough to keep him awake.

They still had parents to deal with, both Max and Isabel’s and now Liz’s. The jeep would eventually be found and Tess’s disappearance needed to be explained. He could only hope that Max was not out doing something stupid to make the situation any worse than it already was, but knew better than to count on anything else.

Eventually he drifted into a troubled sleep, disturbed by dreams he could not quite remember in the morning, but left a vague sense of loss and loneliness that lingered all into the next day.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:51 pm, edited 58 times in total.
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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 1 - 12/25

Post by Whimsicality » Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:52 pm

A/N: Thank you for feedback everyone! Sorry for the long wait between chapters, I kind of forgot I'd started reposting it :oops: Oh! And Synera made a good point that the changes may not be obvious so to sum up, for this chapter the first time around I did not go into detail of Liz getting the car or the job etc, it was just summarized in a paragraph so that's all new and everything else was expanded and revised. Same for the meeting on Michael's end, lots of expansion and most of the dialogue is new, the whole thing is over twice the size of the original (and hopefully better!) :-D



Chapter Two ~ The Devil’s in the Details


Liz stepped off of the bus and stretched, absorbing the warm California sun with a relieved smile. The past couple days had not been the enjoyable kind of road trip and knowing it was over was a wonderful feeling.

Several cities east of Roswell she had switched buses and headed west, a few more misdirection’s and modes of transportation later and here she was in a generic coastal Californian city. One large enough to disappear in if you were so inclined.

Disappearing sounded just about perfect right then; there was a lot to be said for anonymity. If no one knew who you were, then no one cared what you were doing. She felt like she had been living under a microscope since the shooting, so much so that even now, states away from anything alien related, she could not quite shake the feeling of being watched however much her rational mind tried to tell her otherwise.

Maybe she just needed some sleep. Her dreams had been too disturbing to allow it on the bus, and only caffeine was enabling to keep her eyes open, but she had several things she needed to accomplish before she could give in to her exhaustion.

At the last stop before this one she had ducked into a gas station bathroom and altered her appearance, assuming one more in suit with her new identity as Liz Jackson, twenty-one year old Vegas native. Using some scissors and a self-perming kit she had shortened, layered, and curled her hair, then added highlights with a box bought for a long ago hair party with Maria.

The new hair combined with a low slung pair of black jeans, red tank top, and a leather jacket and boots bought during a punk phase in Junior High combined to make her look both older and more worldly. Or so she hoped.

When the Sheriff caught them in Vegas and brought them back home, she had kept the fake ID Michael had created, and with Alex’s help, altered it to be much more convincing along with his and Maria’s. Given everything they had been through she had figured having them might come in handy. It had never come up after that, but it was one of the few possessions she took with her when she left and it should help her hide if the others, or anyone else, attempted to pursue her.

It also gave her one more nostalgic link to Alex, something even more precious than the other benefits it provided.

Confident that with her new look she at least appeared older than seventeen, and forcibly maintaining an outwardly awake appearance, assisted by heavier makeup than she usually wore, she put a little extra sway in her step as she sauntered over to the inter-city bus.

First on the list, used car lots. Relying on her bike or rides from friends had worked well in the small town of Roswell where she lived above her job, but here she needed something safer and most importantly, something that was hers and hers alone.

Three hours and five car lots later and she was feeling discouraged. Everything the oh-so-cheerful salesmen had showed her was flashy and would die in six months, if they lasted that long. On one lot she had managed to look around a bit before the manager attached himself to her like a talkative barnacle, but there had not been anything worth the money they were asking.

By the time she had reached lot number six, she was ready to call it a day and resign herself to getting a bus pass. Tuning out the remarkably high pitched chatter of the saleswoman next to her, she let her gaze drift away from the hideous blue Chevelle she would never in her right mind consider and skim across the rest of their offerings. Ugly, gas-guzzler, badly patched bumper, pink…it was hopeless. Then she saw it, a dark black sedan in the back corner, hidden behind a disturbingly yellow van.

“How much is that one?” she asked, interrupting Betty’s sales pitch and pointing towards the vehicle that bore an eerie resemblance to the cars that had chased Max and her one terrifying night.

The bottle blond looked surprised and faintly offended before her ‘professional’ mask slipped back into place. “Thirty-five hundred.”

Liz just gave her an unimpressed look, “You don’t hide a thirty-five hundred dollar car in the back of the lot. Fifteen hundred.”

The conversation heated after that but eventually they settled on a mutually agreeable twenty-one hundred dollar price tag and Liz drove her new car off the lot with a triumphant smile. No one would ever expect her to drive this and maybe it would help her face lingering fears. She did not like to talk about it, or even think about it, but she still had occasional nightmares of what could have happened to her and the rest of the group if they had not been so lucky.

They had been lucky a lot and she had to fight off panic attacks every time she gave any real thought to the events of the past two years. By all rights, she should have died in the diner that day and sometimes it seemed like Death was trying to catch up to her and correct its mistake.

The light she was stopped at shifted to green and she pressed her foot to the gas pedal, sending the car surging forward as she decided to move past her depressing thoughts with the same speed. This was a new start and old nightmares had no place in it.

Now that she had reliable transportation and a good chunk of her money was gone she needed reliable income, item number two on her list. Waitressing was the simplest, but it was also what people would expect of her and once again she wanted to avoid those expectations.

Bartending would not be expected and it was more lucrative, two checks in the pro column. Unknown to her companions and despite her age she was quite capable of tending bar. Her grandfather had taught her father to tend bar despite the conversion of Parker’s into the Crashdown, and he had passed his knowledge of mixing drinks and dealing with drunks down to her, during the many nights they spent alone together when her mother was off visiting her numerous out of town relatives.

After several sweeps through the large downtown area she settled on Johnny’s. It was of a slightly higher class than the seedier outfits the city boasted, but low enough that they would probably not look too closely at her ID or her situation. It had a slightly faded 'help wanted' sign in the window and so she parked on the street and headed for the back doors where a shipment was being unloaded, approaching a stocky man who was holding a clip board and talking to the truck driver.

The man glanced over at her dismissively and said, “Strip joint's down the street, lass, though I think they’re looking for ladies with more endowments than you.”

Liz fought a blush and a brief urge to defend her ‘endowments’ and replied in as cool a voice as she could manage. “I saw the sign out front; you’re looking for a bartender?”

He turned to look at her more fully, muddy brown eyes scanning her up and down, taking in her height, the clearly used vehicle behind her, and her apparent youth. Not the first runaway he had seen, nor the last he was sure. But, no obvious problems, no questions asked was his policy, and his regulars would definitely take a shine to her pretty face. “You got experience?”

“Six months tending bar and six years waitressing.” Liz replied, barely even feeling a twinge of guilt at the lie (she had become entirely too good at that).

The man eyed her doubtfully. The girl sounded confident enough and waitressing was a pretty common career. As for bar tending, well at her age it seemed unlikely but it could be proven easily enough and, if she failed, his regulars would get a good laugh at his expense, no real harm done. On the other hand, if she did know how to tend bar, then he would gain a new employee who would help bring in the younger crowd and please the old farts.

“Let’s talk it over while you make me a drink,” he finally stated, signing the paperwork and passing it over to the deliveryman before leading her through the storage area towards the bar proper. If the drink she made did not gag him she would already be better than the last idiot he fired, and the last idiot was not half so pretty to look at while he drank.

On his request she mixed up a few common drinks; a gin and tonic, long island iced tea, a margarita, a Manhattan, and a martini. He approved of all of them and gave her instructions to return that night at five for her first shift.

Once back in her new car she did a little jig of happiness at pulling it off before taking a deep breath and mentally moving down to the next order of business, finding a place to live.

Apartment hunting went faster than the search for a car had and she settled on the third complex she found. The buildings were faded and grimy; the only color visible other than brown was a red lettered sign sporting the words ‘Cheap Rent. No deposit.’ It was a far cry from her middle class life in Roswell, but it indicated a lack of interest in its residents that was necessary for her underage runaway status, so she straightened her shoulders and went in search of a manager.

An overweight woman in a baby blue tube top was sitting in the office in front of battered metal fan, reading Cosmo. She did not even to glance up when Liz knocked and entered, just shoved an application across the desk, no pen, and pointed to an equally battered folding chair.

Liz sat gingerly, not sure it would support even her slight weight, and pulled a pen from her backpack. The empty spaces for name, age, place of employment, and vehicular status she was completed quickly. On previous residences she hesitated, finally filling in a few fake addresses, highly doubting that they actually went to the trouble of contacting prior landlords for their prospective tenants.

Tucking the pen back into her bag she stood, grateful that the chair had survived, and handed the application back to the woman who scanned it quickly, dropped it in a desk drawer, and then held up a key, speaking her first and only words. “You’re apartment number eighteen. First month’s rent is four hundred, due now.”

Liz pulled a small bundle of money from an inside pocket of her jacket and traded it for the silver key. She waited a moment to see if any other response was forthcoming, then left; clearly she was not going to receive any direction as to where apartment number eighteen might be.

After fetching her one other bag from the car she mounted the steps to her new home, doing her best to ignore the graffiti on the walls and the empty beer bottles lying scattered in the doorway of her nearest neighbor. The key fit into the lock easily and she quickly stepped inside and shut the door behind her, not having any desire to meet any other tenants at this time, or preferably ever.

Only the sun coming through a dusty window lit the bare and empty room, faint remains of a large water stain on one wall the only decoration. Sliding to the floor her head fell into her hands as the reality and enormity of her situation suddenly crashed over her.

The tears burning down her cheeks felt like acid, as did the loneliness and desperation eating its way through her heart. What had she done? Had she really left everyone and everything she had ever known? Her parents, her home, her school, her friends…and for what? A broken heart and a dead best friend?

The thought of Alex brought a fresh flood of tears. If only he could be here now, to make her laugh, to be her strong shoulder to lean on just like he always had been. What was she supposed to do without him? Without all of them?

The true realization of just how alone she was had her gasping for breath, panic overwhelming her as her heart palpitated against her rib cage. She had never thought about the consequences of her leaving, just the consequences of staying, and now she was uncertain she had fallen on the right side of the scale. She had no one. No one to turn to if things fell through or something happened. What if more skins showed up? Or the FBI? How could she handle it on her own?

Anonymity might be nice if you wanted to avoid scrutiny, but it also meant that you had no support, no friends, and no backup. All she had was herself, and, no matter how smart she was, she was only one girl, one girl lost in a world she knew was bigger and scarier than most people could conceive of.

When she realized that her mental voice was starting to sound like Max, whom was so sure that no one could make the right decisions without him and the group, she lifted her head and stared determinedly around the room as she fought off the feelings of desperation.

She could do this, she decided. She was smart and independent and quite capable of taking care of herself. In the half day since she had been here, she had already secured a job, a car, and a place to live, and she did not think she was being egotistical to say that she was the only one of the group who could have managed that, powers or no powers. None of them, other than Michael, had any real clue of what it took to live on your own and yet she had managed just that.

Instead of looking at her loneliness as a curse or a hindrance, she saw it as freedom. For once in her life, she did not have anyone telling her where to be or what to do or what their expectations of her were. Or most importantly, telling her who she was. Perfect Miss Parker. That had always been her identity and everyone, even her family and especially her friends, expected her to live up to it.

But perfection was not possible and pedestals were doomed to crack and fall. She was tired of trying to hide her flaws. It was about damn time that the ‘Perfect Miss Parker’ toppled over and the real Liz Parker got a chance to live. No matter how scary and uncertain that life might be.


~*~


Michael stared out across the desert, his outwardly blank appearance in no way matching the turmoil within. They were having a meeting, as they so often did, and it was accomplishing nothing, as was usually so.

It had started harmlessly enough. Max had requested that everyone meet so they could decide on a joint story to tell everyone about Liz and Tess’s disappearance. It was something that needed to be done and they all agreed readily enough. They really should have known better, he should have known better, than to assume Max was going to be that level-headed given everything he had been through in the past week.

Liz’s disappearance was the easiest to explain. She had written a letter to her parents explaining why she had left; what it said they did not know as the Sheriff had refused to let Max open it and her parents were still on their way back from the conference they’d been attending when Valenti called them. Michael was sure though, that she had covered all her bases and once her parents did arrive, they would be the ones to explain her absence to the school, the authorities, and anyone else who cared to question where she had gone.

Tess and the jeep were more pressing concerns, as Tess did not have parents to explain her absence. The Sheriff was willing to help where he could, but Max’s dad was not going to be thrilled that his son had lost the vehicle he had bought him when he got his permit.

Unfortunately, they had never reached that point in the discussion. Instead as soon as the Sheriff had mentioned Liz’s name, with the purely innocent intention of letting them know her parents would be back later that day, Max had lost what little sense he had left.

Under the guise of wanting her protection from their various enemies, whom he felt would search out a lone human rather than one of the actual aliens, he unceasingly tried to persuade the group to go after her and bring her back. Clearly he was under the delusion that his love for her, as fickle as it might be, would convince her that the hell that had claimed her best friend’s life was worth it. Unfortunately for Max, no one else shared in his denial.

And it was denial, no matter how understandable. He did not want to accept that Liz would never come back because it would be confirmation that everything - Alex’s death, Tess’s betrayal, his missing son - was real and that there was no going back. Understandable, but faulty.

So he had gone to them each individually, trying to play on their insecurities and fears to bring them to his side. He had given up on Michael almost at once since his stony silence prevented even an argument from taking place, thank God for small favors.

Maria had reverted from hysterical to catatonic, the loss of her two closest friends sinking in, and was sitting on a rock next to Michael, neither moving nor speaking in a silence completely atypical for her and completely useless to Max.

Having failed at that he went to work on the Sheriff, hoping to use his role as protector of the group to inspire him to bring Liz back since according to Max, evil FBI agents, evil aliens, or just plain bad people had all put a target on her back.

Michael had almost reached his bullshit limit when a loud cry rent the air with a shocking suddenness. “Shut up! Just shut the hell up!”

They all turned in surprise to see Isabel facing Max, her eyes bright with fury. “She left you. Deal with it.”

Max opened his mouth to reply and shut it just as quickly when Isabel raised a glowing hand. “Alex is dead Max. Did you forget that? Because I haven’t, not for one second, and I know I’m not feeling a fraction of the pain that Liz is.” She shook her head, sorrow and regret now filtering through the anger in her voice. “You treated her like crap, we all treated her like crap, and she found his murderer and saved all of us anyway.”

There was a moment of silence as they all absorbed her words and then the blonde’s stance straightened and her eyes went cold as her voice hardened once again. “The entire situation sucks and she is not coming back. You need to leave her alone and let her find peace. You need to move past this or the rest of us are going to wise up and leave too.”

Max’s face was white and his eyes were wide with shock and rage. Michael could not believe his ears; he had not thought that Isabel liked Liz at all, let alone enough to stand up for Liz against her own brother. Alex’s death had affected the ‘ice princess’ more than any of them had realized, and he was sure the subsequent betrayal by Tess had not helped. He doubted she would forgive her brother any time soon for letting Alex’s murderer go.

Beyond that she was right, the situation did suck, for all of them not just Max, and it was time that he faced his responsibility in creating the mess. So, after pushing his own guilt and grief back down, he strode over to stand next to Isabel, presenting a united front against their brother’s stupidity.

“She’s right Max; it’s time to move on. We have more important things to worry about. Like the fact that you let Tess go to our enemies with information about all of us - where we live, who we care about, just how few powers we really have. Not to mention the Granolith which they seemed to want pretty badly. You should have checked with us, done something to make sure that she really was telling the truth about the baby, before fucking us all over royally.”

As Max’s face crumpled, Michael tried to soften the blow. “We still care about you Max and we want to help you with everything, but we need to deal with this situation before any adults figure something out. Liz is just going to have to wait. If you really love her you need to leave her alone. We need you to be strong for us now, before anything else happens.”

Michael was pretty sure that it was the most rational speech he had ever given and Max stood like a statue, pale and silent. For a moment he thought they had actually gotten through to him, but sudden anger flashed in his brother’s dark eyes, wiping away the shock.

“You don’t know what you’re saying! I need her!” His voice was broken, anguished, and Michael knew he was pinning all of his hopes on returning to the way things had been before Alex, before Tess, on a slip of a girl who could not take it anymore.

Before anyone else could say anything or make a move to stop him, he shoved passed them and jumped into his dad’s car and left.

Michael sighed and reached up to scratch his eyebrow as he tried to figure out just what they were going to do next. If Max decided to go after Liz on his own there was not a whole lot they could do to stop him, and honestly they had other problems to worry about. His main concern was that Max would do something stupid and get himself exposed as a ‘Czechoslovakian’ in his pursuit.

But they still needed to deal with Tess and decide what they should do to prepare for the possibility that Khivar might decide that having everything he wanted was not enough and that he still wanted the 'Royal Four' dead… of course, that was assuming there was anything they could do.

Looking around the group and seeing their tired and defeated expressions, he decided that a solution could wait for another day. They still needed time to mourn, to process, to accept the loss of two members of their group and the betrayal of a third. None of them were in any shape to think rationally, and both he and Maria had a shift starting in an hour.

“Let’s all just go home. We’ll try and meet again tomorrow,” he said quietly, and he felt relieved when he saw the Sheriff's approving nod and Isabel’s grateful look. Walking back over to Maria he took her hand and helped her to her feet, worried at how pale and drawn she looked.

“Are you going to be okay to work today? I’m sure the Parker’s would understand, even if we had to close early again.”

She shook her head but did not speak so he wrapped his arm around her and guided her back to the Jetta, taking the keys from her unresisting hand. Maybe the routine of working was what she needed.

Isabel rode back with them, Max having driven off in her ride, and all too soon they were back in Roswell, getting ready for their shifts while Isabel took their usual booth in the back and stared blankly into space.

Work went by in a haze until the Parker’s came home and disappeared upstairs, looking pale and frantic. The three of them exchanged glances before returning to work and oblivion respectively.

Two hours later the Parkers came back downstairs and into the diner, at the same time that Max came in through the front door, looking both apologetic and desperate. It was poor timing on his part and, a bare second after he entered the Crashdown, Mrs. Parker’s palm hit his cheek with a sharp crack that had every head in the restaurant turning to stare.

“You bastard! How could you do that to my daughter?!” Angry tears streamed down her face as Jeff pulled her into his arms, glaring fiercely at the boy who still had the imprint of his wife’s handprint on his cheek.

“You need to leave and never come back.” His voice was deadly cold and Max paled, swallowing hard. His eyes darted towards each of them, clearly seeking some support and finding none. Finally he turned to go, the bell on the door ringing harshly in the silent room.

Isabel rose from her seat and hesitantly approached Liz’s parents, “I’m so sorry Mr. and Mrs. Parker…”

“It’s all right, Isabel. It’s not your fault. You and Michael have been good friends to our Lizzy,” Jeff said with a faint smile, his voice was choked, but, at that moment, he was doing better than Nancy who by then was sobbing into his chest.

Michael met Isabel’s gaze and saw his own guilt reflected there. They had not been great friends to Liz but he was determined to change that. It was too late to make amends with Liz, but he was not going to make the same mistake with Maria and Kyle, the only two friends they had left.

It was not until after their shift was over that they learned what Liz’s letter had said. She surprised them all by telling a version of the truth - not all of it, and certainly nothing about the aliens or the FBI or the truth of Alex’s death. What she had said was that Max had impregnated Tess and the girl had fled town, stealing his jeep in the process and that, because Max had tried to then pressure Liz into getting back together with him, not taking 'no' for an answer, she was so upset that she felt the only way out of the situation was to leave. How, she wondered in her letter, could she stay in the same town as someone who claimed to love her but had a child with another girl?

Michael could not help but admire the pure simplicity of the act. Once this got out, and it would, Liz would have succeeded in both completely destroying Max’s reputation and solving their cover-up problems all in one fell swoop.

Clearly she had been taking lessons from whoever had coined the phrase about ‘A woman scorned.’

The act both lessened their load and increased his guilt. Even when running away, she thought of them and what to do about the mess that had been created. It was time they started learning to clean up their own messes, or better yet, stop creating them in the first place.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 2 - 12/28

Post by Whimsicality » Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:56 pm

A/N: And here is the new chapter three! Just some general expansion and revision this time, also some new foreshadowing, and the removal of a few plot holes :wink:. Next chapter, up in two weeks as scheduled, will be brand new, never before seen. Hope you all enjoy! :D




Chapter Three ~ Baby Steps


Liz was so lost in thought that she did not realize she had been wiping down the same section of counter for the last ten minutes until Matt cleared his throat. Startled, she glanced up at him and smiled weakly. “Guess it’s clean now.”

He smiled down at her and said in his gruff but sincere way, “You did good last night; did good this whole week.” He handed her an envelope. “Here’s first weeks pay, take a day off and I’ll see you Monday night.”

Taking the envelope from him she hesitated, “You sure?”

“Yeah. The bar’s always dead on Sundays and I can handle it by myself. Besides, you’ve earned a break.” He gently took the washrag from her and shooed her towards the door. “Go, have a drink yourself, relax, do whatever it is kids these days do for fun.”

Liz chuckled and smiled back at him. “Thank you.” She thought he would be rather surprised if he knew that instead of drinking or partying, her idea of fun these past few years had consisted of fleeing from the FBI, covering up the existence of aliens, and trying to hide the murder of a member of congress.

No matter how hard she tried, she could not actually remember the last time she had had fun just for the sake of having fun. Even in Vegas, first Maria had abandoned her to Tess, and then even Tess had left her; if she added the flashes from her ruined future, the day had just totally sucked. And life had only gotten worse after that.

The last time she had really enjoyed herself was before Tess had shown up and Topolsky had come back into their lives for the last time, when it was just the six of them. Alex was yearning after Isabel, Maria and Michael were having secret make-out sessions, and Max and she were finally dating, finally together, and everything was as perfect as she could have ever dreamed it to be.

The smile on her face died as she left the bar and headed towards her car. Maybe that was the problem; humans were not meant to find perfection and when they did, the Universe seemed to revel in taking it away from them. In this case, the perfection had been full of invisible fault lines, ready and waiting for exploitation when Tess and Nasedo entered their lives.

A tiny trickle of dread filled her stomach at the last thought, some inkling that the fallout from that unseen betrayal was not over with. Digging her nails into the steering wheel she forcibly shoved the feeling down, along with the remainders of a similar nightmare that had woken her that morning.

The sun had just peeked through the smog and she took a breath, thinking a tad sarcastically that she really needed to find her happy place. Despite the fact that she had been at work since before the sun went down, she found herself full of an inexplicable energy. Her emotions that past week had run the gamut - from depression to giddiness - but right then she felt she was trying to walk the line between. She wanted to do something, something fun, something different.

Her parents’ letter had included, besides its explanation of her disappearance, the fact that she was not planning on going back and her request that they sign the paperwork she had left so she could graduate early. Although her grades and test scores more than qualified her for an early graduation, she had always planned on completing all four years. That way she would have as many credits possible before graduating and she could enter college with her peer group, rather than having the label of a young overachiever follow her through the University. But plans had changed and she wanted to start taking classes at a local community college.

While her ID might be able to get her a job and an apartment, it was in no way air tight enough to allow her to attend college. That would require falsified high school records, something she did not know the first thing about creating. So instead, she would be taking the risk of registering under her real name.

Unfortunately, waiting for them to accept her decision and submit the paperwork to the school meant that she did not have any responsibilities other than work, and for someone like herself that led to entirely too much time to dwell on past mistakes and lingering future fears. So there she was with a whole day off and nothing in mind to do but watch the ocean on the most secluded beach she could find, a habit that was becoming much too routine, and that just was not appealing.

Something physical, not mental or academic, that was what she wanted, needed. After parking she quickly ran up the steps to her apartment and changed into some loose cotton capris, a tank top, and an old pair of sneakers before returning to the sidewalk and heading left towards the center of the city.

It only took a few blocks for her to fall into a rhythm, the regular sound of her feet hitting the sidewalk forming a beat that her heart matched easily. In Junior High she had been on the girls' track team, one of the stars in fact, but as her parents continued to push her towards academics and as her own dreams took over she dropped out to focus on her studies.

As the stress from the past week flowed out of her she wished that she had taken it up again a lot sooner, and not just because running for her life had become a standard activity (She had no intention of ever facing any more panicked flights.) She enjoyed the casual run. It was soothing.

In the three hours she jogged, she saw more than she had seen in the past two years. Ever since that day in the diner she had been living with blinders on, only seeing her friends and the alien abyss and of course Max, completely ignoring the rest of the world around her.

Two homeless men under a bridge waved at her, fellow morning joggers smiled or nodded, cars honked angrily, and the few street vendors out that early tried to tempt her into spending her hard earned cash. When her calves started to burn, green trees beckoned her toward a downtown park where she sat and rested, reveling in the uplifting sense of peace and freedom as the last of the morning’s depression faded away.

Her world had become so narrow, so focused on survival and secrecy; she missed the way she used to look at life. Open eyes, open mind, open heart. That used to be her philosophy, one she shared with Grandma Claudia, and she had fallen far from that ideal.

But her eyes were finally open, and so was her mind; she was ready to learn again. Ready to watch the world and the people in it, not with suspicion, but with honest curiosity.

As for her heart, that would take more time, but she was determined and eventually it would heal. Max was not the end all and be all love of her life and she would find someone again, no matter how long it took.

After she had rested and was jogging back home, she took care to take in everything the city had to offer. The sights and colors: predominately gray but also reds and yellows and blues, in clothes and buildings, even graffiti on the sidewalk and walls. All the scents: the ever present salt tang of the ocean, the rich scent of oil from the cars, the tantalizing and homey smell of grease as she passed a small diner. And the sounds: the loud ding of the trolleys and the clacks, thuds, and curses from a construction site. Laughter floating up from behind the wall of an elementary school and a woman walking past who called her a bitch for no reason that Liz could see.

When she finally reached her own door again and walked into her new home, she actually felt that she could call it that - a home. Not just a place she had run away to; but a place she might stay a while, might grow to love for its own sake, and not just as an escape from her past.

Having walked into her one small bedroom, she sat down on her sleeping mat and for the first time since she left, pulled her journal out of her bag. She stared at it for a moment, the flood of memories washing over her every bit as vivid as the sights, smells, and sounds she had just experienced.

Opening the cover she flipped through the first few pages, stopping to stare at a small Mrs. Evans doodle in the upper right hand corner of a page before turning to the next blank sheet and picking up her pen.

As the tip touched the paper and she began to write, the peace from her morning settled in a little deeper, her thoughts pouring out on the paper in a sudden crashing wave of emotion. ‘I’m Liz Parker and I may not be happy yet, but I’m getting there.’


~*~


Loud banging on the door startled him out of sleep and he cursed as he tripped over the blankets that blocked his path to the offending noise. “What?!” he demanded, his eyes flashing as he yanked open the front door and stared down at the annoying midget who had interrupted his hard earned rest.

“Max is gone.”

Three little words, that was all it took to send his world into a tailspin yet again. He walked towards the kitchen, fists clenched, not bothering with a ‘Come in,’ and set his fists as gently as he could on the counter, resisting the urge to punch something. He would not be Hank; he would not react with violence when he was angry. “When?”

“Sometime last night,” Kyle said somberly as he followed Michael towards the kitchen. “He left a note for Isabel and his parents saying he was going to stay at their cabin but…”

“We all know he’s really out there somewhere being an idiot,” Michael finished for him, with a biting tone. Leaning against the fridge, he stared at Kyle. What was he supposed to do? With Max out of the picture they would look to him to make decisions and that was not his forte. Split second action, that was what he was good at.

“When are we leaving?” Kyle asked in a defeated tone. Once again his life, all of their lives, were put on hold while his royal highness threw a hissy fit.

Seeing the weary expression on Kyle’s face made something inside Michael snap, pressure that had been building a long time finally breaking through. “We’re not.”

At Kyle’s startled glance he continued, his tone firm: “It’s about damn time Max realized we’re not here to cater to his moods. He’s not a two-year-old and we’re not his parents.”

He paused and gave a faintly bitter smirk. “If he wants to run away, let him. He’s not going to find Liz, and he’s sure as hell not going to find another way off this planet to go after his son and even he did, so what?”

Michael almost laughed at the near comically surprised expression on Kyle’s face; the other boy had clearly not been expecting that kind of statement. But even if he had not stayed for Maria, there was nothing left for him on Antar and, in a continuation of the decision to stay, he was making another to not follow.

“We can’t go back there Kyle. They want to kill us and thanks to Tess they know exactly what we look like and what we’re capable of. The only thing Max is going to accomplish if he gets that far is getting himself killed.” He felt a stab of pain and guilt at the thought of Max dying, but what he said was true. Michael was Max’s friend, brother even, but not his keeper and it was time he and Isabel, all of them, decided to follow Liz’s example and live their lives for themselves, not for Max and not for Destiny.

“Let’s go,” he said abruptly, startling Kyle out of his daze as he started towards the door, grabbing his leather jacket off the couch as he passed. “It’s time for a meeting.”

The smile that crossed Michael’s face at that moment terrified Kyle and simultaneously gave him more hope than he had possessed since his father shot him the year before and the girl he kind of loved betrayed them, forcing him to carry his friend’s bloodied body like a piece of luggage. The alien abyss seemed to have an endless hunger for their lives but maybe, just maybe, the time had finally come to take their lives back.

It did not take long to gather Isabel and Maria and drive out to the canyon. The cave had been destroyed when Tess left and the Crashdown was in its summer rush, so even supposing that Michael had wanted to bring them to his apartment, which he did not, the canyon was their best option for privacy. It was also good timing on Max’s part for once, since that was the only day that week that Maria and he had off.

Even Isabel had been helping out occasionally, largely Michael thought, because of her guilt that the Parker’s were short staffed due to her brother chasing their daughter out of town.

The girls were quiet on the drive, assuming like Kyle had earlier that this was a planning session for finding Max and bringing him back. Michael kept his silence, though he was not able to keep a hint of a grin from staying on his face. He felt lighter with his decision than he could ever have imagined and he sent a brief thought winging its way to wherever Liz was for inspiring the courage to do what he was about to do.

“Did you bring them?” he asked Isabel as they all piled out of the car and onto the hot desert sand, still cooler than it would be in a few hours.

The tall blond nodded and with a puzzled expression on her face, handed him a bag containing Max’s and her healing stones, their orb, and the destiny book. “I don’t understand what this has to do with Max.”

His grin widened and he almost chuckled at the concerned expression on the girls’ faces; clearly they thought he had gone off the deep end. “It has nothing to do with Max; in fact none of this has anything to do with Max.” Before she could interrupt he held up his free hand and continued, forcing down another pang of grief and hoping that she would agree with him.

“Max left. He’s probably out there doing something monumentally stupid like trying to find another spaceship. He may get himself exposed or killed and, I’m sorry to say, there’s isn’t anything we can do other than stay as far away as possible so we don’t get taken down too.”

Kyle gave him a silent cheer and fist pump but Isabel just stood there silently, a thoughtful expression on her face.

Maria on the other hand, stared at him in shock. “What do you mean? We can’t just leave him out there!”

Michael set the bag on the ground and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Yes, we can Maria. We have to. For two years now, you and Kyle and Liz and especially Alex - you’ve all been put through hell because of what we are. Look what it cost us.”

Her eyes started to glitter suspiciously and he hugged her tighter. “I’m done. We’re done. All that matters is keeping you safe. We can’t go home. With any luck Khivar won’t come looking for us anymore now that he has what he wants, unless we provoke him. Nasedo took care of the FBI before he died and the skins, as far as we know, are gone.”

He scratched his eyebrow, shifting his gaze from Maria to all of them. “Max is the only one left who has any reason to continue the search. He doesn’t want our help or he wouldn’t have just left. His carelessness is putting us all in danger and, as much as I wish we could help him, the farther away from him we are right now, the better.”

Michael paused, unused to speaking this much and even more unused to having people listen when he did. It was a strange feeling and part of him liked it while the rest was worried over the implications. “Liz did the right thing; she wanted her life back, to be free of all the crap we put her through, and it’s time we did the same thing.”

“Leave?” Isabel asked, her tone half surprised, half considering.

He shook his head. “No, or at least not until we’ve all graduated, but we can move on without leaving. We need to just live our lives for us and ignore all the alien crap, just be teenagers because this is our home now. We still need to be cautious, but there’s no reason we can’t have semi-normal lives. Max will come back, or he won’t, but his presence doesn’t need to determine what we do.”

“Hear, hear!” Kyle said, breaking out with his own huge grin. “Death to tyrants and free the slaves! Hallelujah brother, you’re my hero.”

Isabel surprised them all again by being the first to laugh, then lightly bumping her shoulder against Kyle’s in a surprising display of affection and smiling. “You’re right, Michael. I’m tired of being afraid, tired of cleaning up my brother’s messes. I was planning on telling you all tomorrow that I took the tests to graduate early. I got the results back last week and I passed. I’m already enrolled in some classes in Albuquerque but I’ll still be living at home.”

“Good for you!” Kyle cheered, gently bumping her back. “Now you can introduce me to all your hot coed classmates?” he added with a friendly leer.

Michael laughed, mostly to cover up his surprise, and smiled at his sister. “I’m happy for you; we all need to start making decisions for ourselves.”

Maria had been silent since her earlier outburst and was staring at the ground, apparently lost in thought. When Michael pulled her closer she raised her head and gave them all a half-smile, “I don’t completely agree with leaving Max alone but I’m not going to go against the group. Let’s give it a try. I kinda miss being normal.”

Michael wrapped both his arms around her and whispered in her ear, enjoying her small giggle. “You were never normal.” Then he rested his chin on her head, surprised to feel real happiness bubbling inside of him as once again he felt like he had come home.

Isabel took a few steps towards her brother. “Why did you have me bring all that stuff, Michael?”

He glanced down at the small bag a couple feet away, having almost forgotten its presence. “I’m going to put it with all of the stuff I have and hide it somewhere safe, that way if Max does come back he doesn’t get the bright idea of trying the communicators again and bringing more enemies to us. But if we need any of it, we’ll have it.”

She nodded and then laughed as Kyle quirked an eyebrow and commented, “Look at you Guerin, turning all calm and rational.”

Michael flipped him off and Isabel interrupted before it could devolve into a pissing contest. “Do you think that we should warn Liz that Max might be looking for her?”

Michael shrugged. “You’re the only one with the ability to do so, so it’s up to you. I’m sure she covered her tracks pretty well, but Max is smart when he uses his upstairs brain.”

“Nah, she’s way too smart for him, but someone should tell her she’s inspired us all,” Kyle piped up from Isabel’s side, and then he tilted his head to see her face. “So, are you going to be a sorority girl?” he asked with an eyebrow wiggle and a suggestive grin.

She rolled her eyes but laughed. “I don’t know. Keep your horndog tendencies in check. Isn’t Buddha supposed to help with those urges?”

Kyle folded his arms and assumed an offended expression. “My master does not forbid the desires of the flesh, and furthermore…” He was stopped from continuing when Michael fell to the desert floor, inadvertently pulling Maria down with him, laughing uproariously. “What,” Kyle asked frostily, “Is so funny?”

“Just the image of Buddha satisfying your urges,” Michael managed to gasp out between laughs and pummels from Maria for making her fall.

Isabel chuckled at the gape mouthed expression on Kyle’s face. “Come on guys. I’m starving, and I’m sure Mr. Parker could use some help after lunch.”

“Spoilsport,” Kyle said, but then tucked her hand under his arm and led her towards the car. “Let’s leave these hooligans here and you and me have some fun.” He added with a charming wink as he opened her door for her.

She shook her head, but did not say anything, just sat in her seat and turned to hide the grin she could not prevent. It felt nice to laugh again, after everything, and it astonished her that after Alex and Tess, Kyle could still crack jokes, act normal, and make everybody smile including himself. It was kind of amazing.

By the time Kyle got into his seat, Maria had noticed that they were being left behind and jumped to her feet, ignorant of the fact that she stepped on Michael’s hand, and raced towards the car waving her arms.

Michael shook his head and grimaced in pain as he followed her more slowly; Kyle was too intelligent to leave him behind, knowing full well the vengeance Michael could wreak upon him. He grinned suddenly as the thought struck him that this was probably the most successful meeting they had ever had, and he hoped it was a sign that things were changing for the better.

After all it was not like things could get worse, right?
Last edited by Whimsicality on Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Whimsicality's Fics

There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 3 - 12/31

Post by Whimsicality » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:47 pm

A/N: So this chapter is entirely new, never before seen, just a few lines stolen from the original chapter four, which is now the rewritten chapter five (and will be posted in two weeks) :D

A/N2: The old chapter four is now chapter five and is posted below the new chapter four. :D





Chapter Four ~ Still Waters


Liz stared down at the glowing symbol in the sand, a bemused smile on her face. Leave it to the ice princess to be cryptic and beautiful at the same time. She should have known something was up when she fell asleep and did not immediately enter one of her all too familiar nightmares.

Instead a peaceful beach had appeared before her and walking along it she had found a message scrawled onto the fine white sand. ‘We’re Free. Thanks.’ Above it was the symbol from Isabel’s necklace, confirming the identity of her dream visitor.

“I guess a face to face chat was too much to ask.” She muttered to herself, and then almost jumped out of her skin when the tall blond appeared in front of her.

“I wanted to make sure you’d be ok with it.” The hybrid said apologetically, reaching out a hand to steady her.

Liz chuckled, and then surprised both of them by pulling the other girl in for a hug, before backing away with a faint blush. “It’s great to see you Isabel.”

“It’s good to see you too Liz.” Isabel replied sincerely, clearly also a little embarrassed by the unusual display of physical affection.

“So what exactly does that mean?” Liz asked after a brief awkward pause, gesturing to the message still emblazoned on the ground and quirking an amused eyebrow at the blond.

Isabel chuckled and waved a hand, “Just that you’ve inspired us.” Her face got a little more serious as she continued. “Max disappeared, we think to look for a way to find his son but he might look for you too.” Then she shrugged, “We decided not to look for him, just try and be normal.”

The shorter girl nodded slowly, indicating her understanding even as part of her worried over the information about Max before deciding to let it go. She could not stop him from looking, she had done everything she could to make herself hard to find, there was no point in adding to a stress level she was already trying to reduce.

“I’m happy for you guys, normal sounds pretty good these days.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Isabel said, a faint smile on her beautiful face and a thoughtful expression in her eyes. “I tried so hard to blend in by standing out for so long, tried to appear perfect but now,” She shrugged gracefully, “It doesn’t seem so important anymore.”

Refocusing, she looked at Liz with a hint of her old ice queen intensity and the brunette fought the urge to shift her feet. “And you? How are you doing?”

“I, I’m doing well. It’s not perfect and sometimes it’s hard, but right now it’s what I need.”

Isabel continued to watch her for a moment, the tilt of her head and the slant of her eyes reminding Liz of a bird of prey, before she seemed to relax and then sat down on a boulder that appeared out of thin air, another appearing conveniently behind Liz.

“Well that’s enough of that. I saw some paperwork with your name on it while I was finishing up the last few things so I could graduate early too. I’m assuming you’re going to a community college, what classes are you taking?”

Liz blinked for a moment at the abrupt change in topic, and then laughed; Isabel’s bluntness was a refreshing change of pace. So she sat down on the large rock and leaned back so the heels of her hands took most of her weight. “I’m signed up to start four classes this fall, Biological Anthropology, Human Genetics, Calculus II, and Western Civilizations.”

The first two were listed with an excited tone of voice, the third with her normal studiousness, and the last with a faint hint of distaste causing to Isabel to shake her head in disbelief.

“You do realize you are insane right?” She asked in a conversational tone of voice, not really expecting an answer and watched amusedly as Liz blushed. “Well I’m taking Western Civilizations as well so maybe we can help each other there. The rest of mine are all general ed.”

Liz nodded her agreement, afraid that if she opened her mouth to speak, out would spill a long defense of her class choices and general nerdiness. It was not her fault science was so fascinating.

“So Michael and Kyle have been bonding, it’s a match made in hell, a never ending stream of fart jokes and body counts interspersed with the occasional ‘enlightened’ piece of wisdom and Michael threatening to blast his ‘Buddhist ass’.”

Liz giggled, “I bet it’s driving Maria crazy.”

“Just a touch,” Isabel stated dryly, “I think they both have permanent handprints on the back of their skulls. Speaking of which,” She said with a pause, arching a perfectly shaped eyebrow at the brunette. “Your mother left quite an impressive handprint on my brother’s face.”

The other girl’s mouth fell open in surprise before she closed it abruptly, sitting up straighter. “My mother?” Isabel nodded and Liz shook her head, still in disbelief that it had been her mother and not her father who assaulted Max. “Wow, I almost wish I’d been there to see that.”

“It was pretty amazing.” The blond commented, then their eyes met and both girls giggled.

“I’m glad you don’t hate me, for leaving.” Liz said hesitantly, her face sobering as she decided to stop avoiding the giant elephant she half-expected to see surfing on the waves beside them.

“I’m glad you don’t hate us for Alex.” Isabel replied simply, her face also serious as their gazes met again, this time in understanding and empathy.

There was another pause, no longer awkward, and then Isabel straightened. “You’re going to wake up soon and I need to talk to my parents, they’re not doing so well with everything. I’ll come back soon though.”

The last comment was a statement, not a question, but Liz nodded her acquiescence anyways. “Thank you Isabel.”

Isabel just smiled and faded away as an annoying beeping sound echoed over the beach until Liz rolled over on her sleeping mat and clicked off the alarm. Shifting onto her back she stared at the ceiling, a content and still faintly amused smile on her face.

Who would have thought that in leaving home, Isabel would be the first one she saw again, and the one who surprisingly enough, she was most all right with seeing. It had been nice to hear about Roswell, to hear about her friends, even if it was tinged with a bittersweet air.

It was also nice to know that regardless of Max and Alex and her leaving, she could still be friends with Isabel, and hopefully Michael; two things she had gained and kept out of all the craziness, something that was both shocking and gratifying given the strained state of their relationship these past two years.

Taking a deep breath she sat up and stretched her arms over her head before bending her knees and standing, frowning a little at the effort. She did miss having a real bed, if she could have figured out how to get one here without paying for delivery or assistance in carrying it up the stairs she would have bought one already.

Giving the mat a half-hearted glare, she picked up the neat pile of folded clothes on the bedside table she had purchased, and headed for the bathroom to shower and change before eating her breakfast, although for most people, it was dinnertime. It had been strange at first, completely switching her sleep schedule, but after two years of sporadic sleep it was kind of a nice to have a regular schedule, even if it was a little odd.

She showered quickly as the apartment had excellent water pressure but the water heater did not last very long, and then slipped into her normal ‘uniform’ of a tight pair of low slung jeans and a bold top with just the right amount of skin showing, before padding towards the kitchen. Usually she made an attempt to cook something, but that day she was not feeling the urge so instead she poured a bowl of cereal and ate it at the counter, feeling a faint wave of regretful nostalgia at all the plans she and Maria had once made for their first year of college, as roommates of course.

Living in a barely better than ramshackle apartment, alone, before graduating high school certainly was not where she was supposed to be or what she was supposed to be doing. But if the alien abyss had taught her anything, it was that you could not always be a control freak and that sometimes pragmatism was a better approach to life. So she had a job that paid well, an apartment she could improve, and she was still going to attend school and take the same sort of classes even if it was not an Ivy League. It was good enough, for then anyway, and her future was still wide-open.

After eating, she had some time to kill before leaving for work, so she wandered through the small apartment, making a list of everything she wanted to get; a couple of chairs and maybe a small table instead of the one lone stool, a few rugs to brighten the place up, and a bookshelf so she had a place to put the books she was starting to collect.

By the time the list was completed, it was time to go and so she slipped on her boots and jacket, grabbed her keys and the small bag she carried that barely deserved to be called a purse, and headed down the stairs.

She had driven before coming here, had her license for a couple of years, but Roswell traffic was nothing like big city California traffic and it had taken a while to adjust to the fitful stops and starts, winding streets, and the very intense nature of the other drivers. It was an experience to say the least; though one she had become mostly used to and confident in navigating.

The biggest change was how long it took to get from one place to another, especially from her apartment on one side of town, to the bar on another. Forty-six minutes after leaving her apartment, she pulled into the back of the bar, locked her sedan, and pulled her brand new key out of her purse. Matt had given it to her after her last shift, proof that he trusted her and that she was now a permanent employee.

The gesture had helped settle some of her nerves over the fragility of her new life. Job security definitely fell into the category of a new worry; her father would never have fired her and even when she went to work for the Congresswoman, she knew she could always return. Adding to that worry, was the fact that her paycheck now actually determined her living status and the contents of her refrigerator and, well, receiving that key had been another moment that warranted a jig, though an internal one.

It gave her new empathy for how Michael must have felt when he was first emancipated. Yes, he had been freed from living with a man as despicable as Hank, but he had also had to become a fully responsible adult who paid his own bills, worked full-time, occasionally attended school, dealt with alien madness, and with Maria; all of which were full-time jobs in their own right. Yet Max, all of them really, got on his case about being responsible when he deserved respect for what he was accomplishing.

Being away from the group, from everything, had helped her gain a more objective view of the last two years and there were a lot of people, situations, and relationships, she was reevaluating. Sometimes it felt like her list of regrets multiplied every day.

Matt poked his head out of the back door, looking at her with a hint of irritation and she waved, tucked the now unneeded key back in her purse, and jogged towards him. “Sorry, got distracted, I’m all here now, I promise.”

He shook his head but chuckled and closed the door behind her. “Whatever you say lass, just get to it.”

Liz grinned at his back as he disappeared into the bar and ducked into his office, dropped off her purse, and tied on her short apron before pushing through the swinging doors into a wash of noise and light. Home sweet home.


~*~


Isabel had tried several times before to reach Liz’s dreams, but had not been able to detect her on the dream plane even once since her disappearance. Until that day she had tried in the late afternoon and found her right away. They had purposefully not talked about details, but that left Isabel to assume that either she was in a very different time zone, or more likely, was working a night job.

She would never admit it, but a small part of her had been worried about the girl who was only in the situation she was in because of Isabel’s family. Admittedly, Liz would most likely not be alive if her brother had not interfered, but she was not sure that fact made up for two years of disdain on her part, or the loss of Liz’s best friend, home, and everything she had ever known.

That was the real reason why she had made such an effort to find her dreams. Not to warn her about Max’s sudden departure, or even to thank her for inspiring them as Kyle had asked. No she had wanted to make sure that she was all right, that she had survived the devastation of her entire life.

And deep down, on a level she barely admitted to herself, she knew she could not go back to who she was before the shooting, before Alex, and actually making an effort to befriend Liz was important to her. Both to assuage her own guilt, and for more selfish reasons. She did not have female friends, not real ones, and while she had been spending more time with Michael and therefore Maria, the bubbly blond was not someone she could really click with.

Despite the fact that she had consistently mocked Liz’s studiousness and, in her eyes, boring nature, secretly she respected her, at least a little. Liz never backed down, no matter the consequences or the struggle, she always did what she felt was right. It showed a strength that Isabel felt she herself lacked; her fears of being vulnerable preventing her from ever believing in something so fiercely that she would go after it at any cost.

Rescuing Tess was the only truly brave thing she had ever done and in retrospect everyone would have been better off had she not.

A knock on her bedroom door startled her out of her reverie. “Are you coming to dinner sweetie?”

“I’ll be right down Mom.” She called back, and then swung her feet off the bed and stood up. Reaching down she closed the yearbook still lying on the bed and slipped it back into her nightstand. Then she took a breath, waved her hand over herself to straighten her slightly rumpled appearance, and marshaled all of her emotional control.

Dinners since the reveal about Tess’s pregnancy and Max’s subsequent disappearance had become a minefield between her mother’s tears and her father’s suspicions. Getting through them without tearing her hair out took everything she had.

If Max were not blocking her from his dreams, she would have made him pay every single night for the past week. Steeling herself she walked down the stairs and into the dining room, smiling cheerfully at both of her parents. “What’s for dinner?”


~


Across town Michael was untying his apron and shoving it in his locker, judging by the smell he would get one more shift out of it before he had to take it home for a wash. Mr. Parker came into the backroom as he turned to leave and greeted him with a smile. “I really appreciate all of the hard work you’ve been putting in this summer Michael; I know it’s not exactly what most teenagers look forward to when school’s out.”

Michael ducked his head, unaccustomed to the praise even after a year and half of working for the man, “Well I guess I’m not your average teenager Mr. Parker.”

The other man chuckled and clapped him on the shoulder, “That you’re not but still, you and Isabel have helped make this summer easier on me and Nancy and I just wanted you to know we were grateful for it.”

Jeff was still smiling but his eyes had gotten sad and distant as he spoke and Michael felt an unexpected urge to comfort the obviously still grieving man. “Liz is really smart and responsible Mr. Parker, I’m sure she’s taking good care of herself.”

The older man looked startled at first, but his eyes lightened a little and he gave Michael a warmer smile. “Thank you, I think so too. Now, you get home and get some rest, she’s not the only one who needs to take care of herself.”

Michael nodded and scratched his eyebrow before turning to go, not quite sure how to react to the obvious show of care for himself when the man should not be worried about anything other than his missing daughter. But he had a date with Maria, so thinking about Mr. Parker would have to wait; he needed to wash the grease off before picking her up for dinner.

Ever since he stayed for her things had been more mellow between them, less arguments and discussions of his failings, more sweet and quiet moments. But Liz’s disappearance had changed her and sometimes he worried that the feisty blond he had fallen for would not be able to find her way back to this new quiet and withdrawn version.

Maria, for all of her bravado and fire, was as vulnerable on the inside as she was impenetrable on the outside and the loss of the two closest people in her life had damaged her more than she let anyone see. Their roles were reversed, with him waiting patiently for her to let him in, instead of the other way around.

Swinging his leg over his bike, he put his helmet on and pulled onto the street, heading for his apartment. They had all changed since Alex’s death, Tess’s betrayal, and Liz’s departure, and he did not know yet if those changes would prove to be for the better, or the worse. He could only hope for the former while preparing for the latter.


~


Kyle stared sightlessly at the TV screen, not registering the football game at all as his thoughts circled endlessly around a small blond and a small brunette, both of whom had had equally devastating effects on his life if in different ways.

He had liked Liz as more than a friend since about mid-way through freshman year when he realized that the hot girls like Vicky Delaney and Pam Troy worked their way through football players like it was its own sport. Despite his rising fame on the varsity teams for football, and basketball, and baseball, which meant that despite his youth he got his pick of such girls, he had decided that he wanted someone who would see him as more than just a jock, someone who, unlike his mother, might stick around for the long haul.

Liz Parker, being both beautiful and smart, as well as the quintessential good girl, seemed perfect. And once he got to know her, saw more of the personality and sense of humor underneath that perfect shell, he liked her all the more, although even before Max Evans entered the picture part of him had realized that a girl like that did not make sense with a guy like him.

But Kyle Valenti was not a quitter and he had no intention of giving up because some ‘dark haired mystery man,’ especially one his father did not trust, swooped into her life like some damn hero. It had been a lost cause though and eventually he had given up his pursuit, only to watch his own father take up the crusade. For a time there, he had thought that he would be committing his father just like his grandfather had been committed, and for that he hated Max Evans, and by extension stopped trusting Liz, even more.

Then came the day when he learned that aliens were real, when he was shot and healed, and was suddenly part of a conspiracy involving an ex-girlfriend he was barely over, acquaintances he had not been real friends with since grade school, and four aliens he most certainly did not trust and did not understand why he was supposed to so damned grateful to them.

After she used him to get to Max before he had even become a part of the ‘alien abyss,’ trusting or being attracted to Tess was the last thing on Kyle’s mind, but after worming her way into his house, she had wormed her way into his affections as well.

Suddenly, between his newfound spirituality and his growing feelings for the unique blond, Max getting Liz did not seem so bad, and neither did his involvement with the aliens, although he still hated to watch his father get sucked deeper and deeper into saving their necks.

And then Liz had come begging for his help, which he could not refuse to the one girl he still cared about though things had irrevocably changed between them, and Tess had gone back to panting after Max like a bitch in heat. And then Alex, one of the other few good things to come out of the abyss, was dead and once again he hated everything to do with the aliens.

And that was before he found out that Tess had twisted his brain like she had twisted Alex’s, made him carry his body to the car so she could stage the accident he still saw in his nightmares. Only in his nightmares Alex woke up just before the crash and screamed as he died.

Cheering erupted from the television speakers and he jumped, startled out of his dark thoughts. Lifting up his shaking hand he turned the game off and watched his fingers as they continued to tremble until he dropped the black plastic rectangle.

Standing up, he did his best to shake it off and grabbed his keys off the end table; maybe Michael would be up for a video game or Isabel would be up for grabbing a milkshake, anything to get out of this house and away from these memories.

All other foes that I appease and wait upon
Will show me favors, give me every aid,
But should I serve my dark defiled emotions,
They will only harm me, draw me down to grief.


The only way to defeat his own emotions and memories was to create new ones, and only by facing and embracing the two remaining aliens, could he conquer his fear and anger over the two who had gone.


~*~


The being watched and waited, happy that some of its children were finding peace in the rebuilding of their lives, but knowing that the time they had to attain said peace would be short. Things were falling into place, people and events aligning in the necessary patterns. Soon everything would change again, new players would enter the scene, and new objectives would be set.

The humans had their games of strategy that they played with a mixture of childish enthusiasm and deep studiousness that it admired. Its own strategy encompassed multiple dimensions and timelines, and stretched from before the life forms it now watched existed, seeking to ensure that they would survive into the future.

Survival – that had been questionable before recent events, but was looking much more likely at that point in the timeline. Let them have their quiet; they would begin to see the bigger picture soon enough.
















Chapter Five ~ Winked at by the Eye of the Storm



Fingertips touched, arms arched, and a long contented sigh broke the silence as Liz slowly opened her eyes. The nightmares that had plagued her since Alex’s death were fading away and her sleep these past few weeks had been surprisingly restful. As for her dreams, her lips curved into a smile, they had been decidedly more pleasant. Ever since Isabel’s visit just over three weeks before, they had spent at least an hour or so every day with Isabel detailing life in Roswell while Liz threw in the occasional tidbit about her new life in California.

Missing her friends and family had been a constant ache in the pit of her stomach since she left and the conversations helped her feel connected to them, allowing her to be a part of their lives without losing her hard won freedom. The only thing better would be if she could go into their dreams herself.

Isabel was good for the drama in Maria-land, the continuing ‘match made in hell’ of Kyle and Michael, and the run of the mill town gossip, but it was no replacement for actually talking to each of them; and Isabel did not have the inside scoop on her parents whom Liz missed more than she had expected given the distance that had come between them over the past two years.

Her relationship with her parents had become strained due to the necessity of her lying to them, their disapproval of her relationship with Max, and the fact that they still saw her as an irresponsible teenager when the past two years had aged her well beyond her years.

They saw late nights with a potentially law-breaking boyfriend, while she lived in fear of her life and fear for his life and freedom. They saw her making impulsive and irrational decisions, disappearing with no explanation, and in general, flouting their authority at every turn. They did not know, could not know, that she had been dealing with situations of far greater enormity than any teenager should have to face, and that every ‘rebellious’ act had been necessary, or at least thought to be so at the time.

After Alex’s death, when it was clear that she and Max had had a falling out, they had been more supportive and understanding, but she knew that they still could not understand who she had become, did not understand why their daughter had changed so much.

It hurt that she no longer had an open and trusting relationship with them, and while part of her blamed Max, the rest of her knew that it had been her choice to follow him headlong into whatever dangers being a part of his life had brought. It had also been her choice to push her parents away instead of doing her best to include them in the pieces of her life that they could have still been a part of.

She should write them another letter, figure out a way to explain some of the questions they must have about everything that had happened since that day in the diner, and try to repair one of the most important bonds in her life before it was too late. Some piece of them still trusted her to make the right choices, as evidenced by the fact that they had signed the papers necessary for her to graduate early.

It was time she returned that trust, as much as she was able to without betraying secrets that were not hers to tell.

Arching her back in one last stretch she rolled off the sleeping mat and sprung to her feet, smiling down at her new reddish orange rug that made her remember the bright colors of home, and covered up the ugly brown carpet. The bed on the other hand, was still a lack thereof, and she had decided that the best way to solve that problem was to do it in pieces, literally.

If she picked up a bed-frame that needed assembly, even if it was actual wood, she should still be able to get it up the stairs and into the apartment on her own, and once she had accomplished that she knew she could put it together easily enough.

She was pretty sure that if she folded the backseat down, which since her sedan was an older model might take some jury rigging, that she could fit a mattress and box spring back there, one at a time of course. Basically it would take several trips and be a general pain in the ass, but it would definitely beat continuing to sleep on the not-quite-thick-enough foam mat she was using then.

Pulling off the t-shirt she had slept in she dropped it in the new, to her at least, wicker hamper she had picked up. Thankfully the apartments had their own laundry room and she had not been forced to use one of the many small and overcrowded Laundromats the city had to offer.

She grabbed a pair of black jeans and another shirt from their respective hangers and headed towards the bathroom. Only one of her three towels was clean and it was already hanging over the shower rod in preparation.

As she stood under the stream of hot water, she gave thanks again for the excellent water pressure. It was Friday night and the bar was going to be packed. Matt was considering hiring another bartender, at least for the weekend rush, and she was looking forward to being able to rotate days off. The schedule was fine for now, but in a little over a month classes would start at the community college she had enrolled in and having two nights a week to sleep and study instead of just one would be wonderful.

Standing in the bathroom after her shower, she wiped the steam off of the mirror and realized that she was going to have to re-trim and re-dye her hair soon if she wanted to maintain her new identity. It was amazing how quickly time had passed and how much her new life, her new city, had become normal to her. It was both heartening for her ability to move on, and a little saddening as a testament to just how much she had grown up since being a naïve, if intelligent, sixteen-year-old girl who was shot in her father’s diner.

After slipping into her clothes, she applied her makeup, wishing not for the first time that Isabel was there to do her magic hand wave after the second time she stabbed herself in the eye with the mascara brush. She had never worn this much makeup at home, or worn it this dark. She liked the look and she knew her customers did too, but she also knew that her friends from Roswell would have had a hard time recognizing the mousy Liz Parker if they passed her on the street.

Most of the time, that gave her an inner glow of confidence with just a touch of smugness, but sometimes it worried her that she had lost too much of that unashamedly bookish girl who lived to figure out the mysteries of science and life.

Well, she might not be as self-conscious, or radiate such a geeky aura, but on the inside she was still the same girl who loved school more than anything and held dearly to her beliefs. She just had to remember that when she was flirting with patrons and mixing drinks. She liked Liz Jackson, but it would not do to forget Liz Parker.

Twenty minutes later she smiled at herself in the mirror. Her deep blue off the shoulder top perfectly complemented her complexion, and the low slung tight jeans enhanced her slight figure. Her hair was up in a loose ponytail that just brushed the base of her neck and she had curled the layered ends to add volume and a flirty bounce. Throw in the gold hoops, red lips, and shimmering eyes, and she looked nothing like the broken girl who had fled Roswell in the middle of the night, and every bit the worldly bartender from Vegas she had formed herself into.

Walking back into the bedroom she pulled on her boots, one of the few things she had splurged on since she had started at the bar. Real black leather with low heels they were both sexy and comfortable, an absolute necessity when you were on your feet from seven at night until four or five in the morning. Tucking her prepaid, and therefore hard to track – or so she hoped – cell phone into her pocket, she grabbed her keys and her bag and left.

When Liz walked into the back of the bar, a blast of sound greeted her and from the tight expression on Matt’s face it was clear that the partying had started early. After locking her purse in the office, she set to work, smiling and laughing with all the regulars and flirting with the newbies while filling drinks as fast as she could. Matt whispered a faint thanks in her ear as he passed and she nodded, not missing a step as she hoped the evening convinced him to get someone new by the next weekend.

The rush lasted all the way until closing and by the end of it she had decided that even her boots were not comfortable enough. Switching off the beautiful oak jukebox she finally collapsed onto one of the barstools and accepted a tall water from Matt with a soft ‘thank you’, patting the stool next to her.

He shook his head with a tired grimace, “Would you mind closing up tonight? I’m beat.”

“Not a problem, get some rest and I’ll see you tomorrow night.” She replied with a smile, taking the safe and office keys from him and giving him a gentle shove towards the back. “Just…”

“Be careful, I know.” He interrupted her with a grin. “You sound like my mother girl.”

She laughed and shook the keys at him playfully, “Would you work your mother this hard without help?”

He grimaced again, “No I wouldn’t. Put the sign back up before you leave and hopefully we’ll get some applicants this week before the students start trickling back into town.”

Nodding, she shooed him towards the door again and after he left, moved behind the counter to finish up the last bits of cleaning. A sudden noise startled her after she started counting the cash in the drawer and when she looked up, all of the blood drained from her face.

“Heya Liz.”

The all-too-familiar blond figure did not get a chance to speak again before a stream of green electricity came blasting out the brunette’s fingers and smashed the petite girl into the opposite wall.

Liz stared down at her hands in shock and then at the crumpled figure on the floor. What the hell had just happened?


~*~


Michael looked up from the grill and bit back a laugh. Kyle had just gotten whacked across the back of the head for the third time that afternoon, twice by Maria and just then by Isabel after she caught him mimicking her waitressing skills. There were only twenty minutes left until closing and Maria had just rung up their last table.

He was cooking dinner for the four of them and then all he had left was cleaning and locking up. Jeff had taken Nancy to her sister’s in Florida for some family time and to Michael’s surprise had left him in charge with Jose to help if he needed it. Whoever the closing waitress was, usually Maria, would handle the stocking and the cleanup for the front of the restaurant, and he handled cleaning the back, checking in the food shipments, and tallying the day’s totals before locking up and taking the money to the bank.

Being trusted with that responsibility, something that Liz had always handled for her parents, had surprised him, but also, though he would never admit it, made him feel proud to be worthy of such trust. And it was one more way he could help make up for the loss of their daughter.

Stepping out of the kitchen, he carried four plates to their table and plopped down next to Kyle, digging in without further ado, as it was his first meal in seven hours.

Isabel gave a small harrumph before sliding her plate over and beginning to eat much more daintily.

Kyle paused his own meal to laugh at the two of them, and received a mock glare that he returned with a charming smile and wink before digging back into his food.

Maria slid in next to Isabel and stared listlessly at her food for a moment before picking at the french fries with decidedly less fervor than the rest of them. Michael glanced at her concernedly for a moment until she waved him off with a smile, “Just not hungry tonight Spaceboy, your cooking’s fine.”

He grimaced at the nickname and then smiled as he finished off the last bite of his burger. “Fine? What are you talking about, my cooking’s awesome.” He stated, licking his fingers to illustrate his point.

Kyle snorted. “Egotistical much? You’re cooking’s about on level with my Dad’s. If it’s grilled or fried it’s edible, other than that unless it involves a microwave, forget it.”

Michael shot him a dirty look but otherwise ignored him, finishing off his fries with a few pointed sounds of enjoyment.

There was silence for several minutes and then Kyle spoke up again. “This is lame. We need excitement in our lives.” The others stared at him for a moment and before they could reply he continued. “School starts up again in a month or so and all we’ve done this summer is blow up a cave, exile our leader, and work our asses off.”

“Our asses?” Maria asked sharply, a hint of her old personality shining through, “I don’t see you sweating in a little green skirt.”

Kyle waved his hand dismissively, “I am part of the group therefore our asses. Although, I do think my ass would look mighty fine in one of those skirts. That aside, we need some fun. I say road trip!”

Michael smirked, “Ignoring the disgusting thought of your ass, just how do you think we could leave? Unlike you, the rest of us have responsibilities. And in my case, bills.”

“Hear me out,” Kyle said as he held up his hand, a knowing twinkle in his blue eyes even as his voice sobered. “I talked to Mr. Parker before he left and he’s already agreed to give you guys four days off next week when he comes back, since the tourist rush is tapering off for the summer and he has a couple new waitresses starting. Plus I played the whole ‘With all this stress, we need some time off card’ that parents always fall for.”

The twinkle in his eyes faded and he gave them all a serious look, “In this case it happens to be true.” None of them could dispute that and he continued. “My dad has an old buddy who has a cabin over by Lake Pleasant in Arizona and he said the four of us could use it for free, no problem. We all fit in my car and if we all pitch in for gas and food it won’t be that expensive.”

“You’ve put a lot of thought into this.” Isabel said, looking at him curiously.

Kyle shrugged, the corners of his mouth turning down slightly. “We need a break, all of us, and I think this would be good for us. If you guys don’t want to, that’s fine, but since I went to all this trouble…” He trailed off and managed a teasing grin. “Besides, we can leave these two lovebirds in the cabin and you and me go skinny-dipping.”

Michael laughed as his sister’s face reddened and she opened her mouth to deliver what he thought was going to be a furious tirade.

“I think it’s a great idea, we do need a break. But the only way you’re going to see me naked is if we get to see you in one of those skirts.”

“Isabel?!” Michael exclaimed in shock, “Buddha boy doesn’t even get to think about you naked, much less see it.”

Maria chuckled, “I agree Kyle, and I’ll even join Isabel in the skinny-dipping if you dress up in my uniform.”

“Well now, this is a more interesting proposition. How about it Kyle, ready to man up and dress up?” Michael asked with a snort, instantly switching sides as Kyle’s face slowly grew pale.

“We shall see, my tall and shaggy friend, we shall see. But is it a yes? Shall I have my dad tell his friend we’ll be there?” There were unanimous nods around the table and he gave a genuine smile. “Just don’t forget to bring that uniform Maria, I intend to collect on that bet.”

That time it was Michael who smacked him across the back of the head as the girls fell on each other laughing.

Someone cleared his throat behind them and they all jumped and turned to see the Sheriff watching them amusedly. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that last part and call Bill to let him know you’ll be there next week.”

“Thanks dad.” Kyle choked out.

“Now I don’t have to tell you kids to be careful right? And I don’t mean because you’re ‘special.’ Your parents, including me, are showing a lot of trust by letting the four of you go off alone and I don’t want to hear about you getting in trouble.”

“No sir.” Michael said into the silence, when it was clear that no one else was going to speak up, and the Sheriff nodded.

“Good to hear. I’m actually here to pick up Maria and Kyle; we’re all having dinner with Amy tonight.”

The two teens in question exchanged terrified glances before standing up, Michael moving to let Kyle out of the booth. He gave Maria a hug and brief kiss and then watched with Isabel as the ‘happy family’ left the diner, locking the door behind them.

Isabel looked at him and smiled. “I’m glad they don’t hate us.”

“Even when they annoy you?” He asked her consideringly, again thinking of how much the past year had changed all of them.

“Even then.” She said with a small nod and he nodded back.

“Me too.”


~


The next week they were all packed and ready to go. Kyle had stopped at Michael’s place first and picked up Maria and him and loaded Michael’s one bag and Maria’s three into the trunk. Then they moved on to Isabel’s where they stood outside and waited for her to come to the door. When she did, they all sobered, the early morning cheer fading away at the sight of her pale face.

“What’s wrong?” Michael asked immediately, stepping towards her and putting a hand on her shoulder. “What happened?”

“Max. He was arrested somewhere in Utah trying to hold up a convenience store. My dad wants me to go and see him.”

“Damn it.” Michael swore, taking a step back and clenching his fists. “Holding up a convenience store? What was he thinking? Is he trying to get us all caught by the FBI?”

There was heavy silence for a moment and then Kyle spoke, “We can cancel the trip Isabel, it’s okay. We’ll understand if you want to go make sure he’s all right, he is your brother.”

Michael looked up at her, nodding along with Kyle. He did not want to see Max at this point; he was pretty sure that he would lose control and punch him for being an idiot. But he cared about Isabel and he knew how much she loved her brother even though she had sided with him on not following Max when he abandoned them.

“No. I’m going on vacation and I am going to have fun. I already told dad.” She stated firmly, surprising them all as she pushed the door open further to show her two large bags packed and ready by the door.

“He said it was okay, he understood, and that he would try to bring him back.”

Michael just gave her a silent hug and then reached past her to grab her bags. “Then let’s go, the sooner we start, the sooner I won’t be crammed in a car next to the fountain of cheesy proverbs.”

They all managed a laugh and headed towards the car, Isabel getting the last words as she bumped Kyle’s shoulder. “I packed my camera Buddha boy; I’m sure the sight of you in that skirt will be enough to knock the cheerleader team speechless.”

“Nothing else does the trick.” Maria muttered and Michael felt his spirits lift a little as they all chuckled, even with Max being a royal pain in the ass maybe things were getting better.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 4 - 1/3

Post by Whimsicality » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:41 pm

A/N: I am so so sorry for the long wait guys. Life just went crazy on me. My best friend was married on monday and as her Maid of Honor I had crazy amounts of stuff to do, plus working 10-11 hour days five days a week (with no car I might add) and then on top of that my laptop stopped working again (it's back up for now, yay!) so I just had no time. Thank you all for your feedback and patience and we should be back to my regular posting schedule now! (Meaning I will post the next chapter in two weeks)




Chapter Six ~ Not Just a River




Fingers still crackling with the strange green energy, Liz approached the crumpled figure with a mixture of fear, anger, and determination. Whatever she wanted, Liz had a sudden new confidence that she could hold her own. It was an invigorating feeling.

In the dim light of the bar, it took her a moment to see the fading pink and purple streaks amidst the golden curls, and the glint of metal in the nose and eyebrow. With a gasp of recognition, she fell to her knees and gently shook the girl, “Ava, Ava! Are you okay?”

After a long moment the blond groggily opened her eyes and stared up at the worried brunette. “Geez Cornball, I thought we was friends.”

Liz laughed weakly with relief as she helped the girl sit up, “I thought you were…her.”

Ava was silent for a moment, looking around the bar with curious eyes before finally returning her gaze to Liz’s face. “You have a serious hate on for that girl. I take it she stole your man?”

Then it was Liz who remained silent as she bit her tongue to hold back the tears and words of fury that threatened to destroy the peace she had managed to build and maintain that past month. “Something like that.”

“I know they’re gone.” The hybrid said suddenly, her eyes eerily penetrating as they stared into the distance past Liz’s head. “We felt it leave. Lonnie and Rath went crazy, screamin’ and cussin’. They found Nicholas.”

She paused and suddenly a small and vicious smile crossed her face, startling Liz with its intensity.

“He killed them. Poof, gone. Zan…Zan would be happy.” She turned slightly so her eyes met Liz’s and continued, “I ran. Nicholas, he went crazy too. Khivar abandoned him, left him here and his husk, it’s almost gone. I’ve been looking for you for a month; I knew you’d be changing. You’re family now.”

Liz rocked back on her heels in surprise, family? She had a family, but Ava…suddenly she felt ashamed. She had forgotten all about the girl after she left. Her problems were nothing. She had parents who loved her, friends who missed her.

Ava, Ava had no one. Her family had betrayed her, her planet had rejected her; she had absolutely nothing. Who was Liz to judge or dismiss her? She reached out and took the blonde’s hand. “I would be proud to be your family Ava, there are more important things than blood.”

Ava smiled but shook her head. “That’s not what I meant Cornball. I know blood doesn’t matter, but you are family.” She reached into the dirty black backpack on the floor next to her and pulled out a small metal book etched with all too familiar symbols.

“Where did you get that?” Liz asked with shocked revulsion, recoiling in horror from the incongruously small object responsible for the death of her best friend.

Ava just stared at her, amusement and a hint of concern evident on her pixy like face. “We had one too.”

She opened it to the page Liz hated the most, the one detailing the destiny that had ruined and destroyed so many lives including her own. Fighting the urge to look away, and to vomit as memories washed over her, she forced herself to look down at where Ava was pointing and for the second time that night felt faint as green electricity crackled on her skin.

The foursquare was no more. Only two faces remained on the page, Ava, of course, but it was the second face that sent her stomach plummeting below her feet. It was her.

Reaching down she lightly traced the engraved metal; it was strangely warm beneath her fingertips. “How?” She asked, not looking up from the disconcerting sight of her face so boldly displayed in an alien artifact.

“You changed.” Ava said simply, her gaze also on the book. “And so does it.” She reached out and touched the top empty space, “Zan disappeared as soon as they killed him; it’s how I knew he was really dead.”

Liz looked up, struck by the sadness still evident in her friend’s voice. “And the others? Did they disappear after they died?” She asked hesitantly.

Ava shook her head. “No, they were gone shortly after Zan. Betraying the king erased all of their possible destinies.”

The brunette’s ears perked at the phrase ‘possible destinies’ as well as the sudden realization of Ava’s switch to proper English, but she shoved her pained curiosity down. “When did I appear Ava, and how…why?”

“I’m not sure exactly why and how can wait for later, as for when,” she paused and looked upwards, “The day the Granolith was used, your face appeared. I didn’t know what had happened, I still don’t, but I knew I had to find you.”

With those last words she turned and her blue eyes bored into Liz’s with staggering intensity. “You are a part of our destiny now, whether you like it or not.”

Liz’s mouth fell open and the room swam as the words echoed in her head. What Ava said, it could not be happening, could not be real.

Destiny; how she hated that word. It was not supposed to apply to her, that was the reason she had pretended to sleep with Kyle, had pushed Max towards the murdering bitch, because of destiny. If she was a part of their destiny, then why had she been forced to do those things, to live every single minute in fear of ending the world and trying to fight her own heart?

Destiny was a sick joke that had cost her everything, and if it wanted her, it would have to do a whole lot better than putting her face in some damn book.

Tilting her head, she stared at Ava, seeing another spiteful face superimposed over the look of concern, “I’ll be your family Ava, but I don’t believe in destiny, not anymore.”

Ava took her hand and smiled sadly, “I wish it was that easy, Cornball, but destiny believes in you, and that’s all that matters.”

The words resounded in Liz’s skull like a portent of doom and she started to laugh helplessly; just when she thought she was out, they sucked her right back in.


~*~


Michael stared out the cabin window and grinned, though the smile did not quite reach his eyes. Maria and Isabel were in the water, laughing like crazy while Kyle posed on the deck in Maria’s skimpy little uniform. He had gone back inside to fetch Isabel’s camera and been struck by a sudden wave of sadness.

The vacation had been perfect so far, everyone, even Maria, had relaxed and had fun. But something, or rather someone, was missing. Liz should be here too. She had been on his mind a lot lately.

The four of them that were left in Roswell had bonded over the summer and for once in his life, he finally felt secure in his family, the family they had created. But his family was not complete and more and more he was realizing that it was not Max he was missing. Instead it was the annoying brunette who had shoved her way so fully into their lives that he could not go a day without wondering where she was or if she was doing okay.

He never brought her up to Maria, not wanting to send her spiraling into a deeper depression than the one she had sunk into ever since the morning after Tess and Liz left. Besides, it felt strange, even to him, that Liz had had such an impression on him given everything. But she was a part of that created family and things just didn’t feel quite right without her.

Maria waved at him through the window and he shook himself out of his reverie, grabbing the camera off the counter and walking onto the wooden deck as he snapped several pictures before Kyle noticed.

When Kyle finally saw him, he gave an indignant shout and turned, intent on chasing his friend down. Michael laughed mercilessly and held the camera over his head tauntingly before casually stepping back into the cabin and locking the door behind him while Kyle beat futilely against it.

After hiding the camera and before opening the door, he made a decision. When they got back, he was going to have Isabel lead him to Liz’s dream orb. He wasn’t very good at finding them, but once he had he could always go back and maybe seeing her for himself would get her out of his mind.

Leave it to Parker to drive him batty when she wasn’t even in the same state.


~


Maria dangled her feet in the water and stared across the lake. Michael and Kyle were grilling up dinner and Isabel was taking a shower, giving her time to think.

Kyle had been right, this was a good idea, and she hoped no one saw through her smiles. She had made more of an effort that day and she knew it had worked at least a little because Michael had not given her as many concerned glances.

She knew she was worrying him, possibly worrying all of them, but she had not been able to make herself believe in her own Teflon lately. Losing Alex had been so horrible and then what it did to the group…she still felt guilty for not believing Liz right away, but it had been all she could do to keep moving, and stopping long enough to question would have broken her.

And Michael had been so sweet and so perfect, even showing up just in time to save their lives and then they had had The Night. The one night that she had always dreamed of and it had been about as magical as even a girl like her could wish for, even the knowledge that he was leaving had just added the perfect bittersweet air.

But then her mom had gone crazy and Liz had figured it out like she always did and then Michael stayed, stayed for her! Did it make her a horrible person that part of her wished Michael had left if it meant keeping Liz?

She loved Michael, she really did, but Liz was her rock. Liz was her best friend, the only one who understood all of her moods, who had known her since before her father left, who loved Maria no matter how irrational or emotional she got. Without Liz, and without Alex, Maria did not know who she was anymore.

She never would have dived headlong into the alien abyss if Liz had not led the way, and with her gone, she was adrift without a foundation.

“Hey sis! Come grab a dog!” Kyle called loudly.

“Don’t call me that!” She snapped back half-heartedly as she rose to her feet and pasted back on the brightest smile she could manage. Just be strong Maria, sniff some cedar oil, and it will all work out.

Even her self-pep talks weren’t as effective as Liz’s had been.


~


The day had been perfect, Isabel thought contentedly to herself as she flipped through the pictures on her camera. The boys were outside, setting things on fire or some nonsense like that, and Maria was sleeping, worn out from all the excitement.

She would never show anyone these pictures, except for maybe Liz if they saw her again, but the thought that she might should keep Kyle in line. Leaning back on her pillows, she closed her eyes and pictured the expression on Kyle’s face when he realized she did indeed plan on going through with her side of the bet.

Laughing softly, she sat up and slipped the camera back into its hiding place, then turned off the light. She wasn’t sure exactly how she felt about Kyle. She knew he made her smile and laugh regularly, something nothing and no one else had managed in months.

She knew she cared for him as a friend, but as more? And she wasn’t the only one with doubts. Ice princess she might be, but she was still observant and she knew half the reason he tried to so hard to make her laugh was to distract himself from his own anger and grief.

No, she didn’t know how she felt about him yet, or what she intended to do when she figured it out, but she would have a lot of fun messing with him until she did. After all, he wasn’t the only who could be distracting; in fact she could be considered an artist in that particular arena.


~


The flames crackled around his marshmallow as it bubbled and blackened, the sweet smell of burning sugar filling the night air. “You do realize that I’m going to see your sister naked.” Kyle said with a grin as he stared at Michael across the fire. Yanking the tall alien’s chain was irresistible.

In the same conversational tone his friend replied. “You do realize that I can kill you without even standing up, your dad probably wouldn’t even blame me.”

Kyle scowled back at him for having such an irrefutable response, but quickly reverted to his natural smile, his eyes closing halfway and his voice taking on a dreamy quality. “It would be worth it.”

There was silence for a moment and then his eyes shot open when a loud pop signaled his marshmallow exploding in an unnaturally large fireball.

Michael was grinning at him, the light of the flames giving his face an evil cast. “You’re right Buddha boy, it would be worth it.”


~


It was dark when the armored truck reached the Roswell jail, a civilian car following close behind. The Sheriff was waiting at the door, keys in hand and a stoic expression on his face as the guards escorted the prisoner out of the back of the vehicle and into the building.

He waited for the man following to get out of his car before turning to enter the building himself. “I’m sorry it’s come to this Mr. Evans. If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know.”

Mr. Evans nodded gratefully, but remained silent and the Sheriff sighed. Now if only he could be sure that the boy would stay put. Sometimes he wished that he did not know the truth, did not know that the young man they were locking into a cell could simply melt the bars and walk back out.

Maybe Amy had packed him some pie; it was the kind of night that needed pie.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 5 - 1/7

Post by Whimsicality » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:39 pm

Chapter Seven ~ Strength in Numbers




They were back at her apartment and Liz was flipping through the metal book, wishing with all her might that she could understand a single symbol, so that she could find something to get her out of it. Something that would make the backwards hell of her life suddenly make sense.

“How do you know so much about this Ava?” She asked the blond who was currently curled up on the other end of the sleeping mat in Liz’s royal blue bathrobe. “My…not even Tess could read it in our group, it took,” stopping mid-sentence she looked down, unable to continue and instead, stared blindly at the book in her hands, no longer seeing it through the unshed tears clouding her vision.

“Our set had more memories of our prior lives. I don’t know why; we were all supposed to be the same.” Ava shrugged. “Anyway, I was the Keeper of the Records back on Antar. It was sort of a family position and I loved it. It gave me a way to feel connected to our history; to feel important as Ava, and not just as the Queen.”

After a long pause, she tugged on one of her curls, now almost as long as Tess’s had been, and continued, her eyes looking somewhere that Liz could not see. “Our powers did not exist as they do now on Antar; you know our powers our human in nature?” She asked, her gaze shifting briefly to Liz who nodded, before her focus faded again.

“Here, they are based on science; there, they came from our heritage, a mystical nature passed down through the generations. The Granolith was a sacred object that held great power. That book is just a piece of the Granolith. Even what your four were tasked with guarding was just a piece of the true Granolith.”

Liz opened her mouth to speak, shocked out of her ‘destiny’ induced haze by that revelation given her own understanding of just what the Granolith was capable of, but was stopped by Ava’s raised hand.

“All on Antar had the potential for gifts, no matter their position in society. But over the years, the strongest and most useful gifts were carried through bloodlines and those bloodlines tended to rise in power. Foresight was the rarest and most treasured of those gifts, as it was believed to have been a gift from the Granolith itself, and only one who had that gift could aspire to royalty.”

“There were many branches of the royal family and in the past, who was to reign each generation was determined by their strength of foresight. In our time, that tradition had been lost; no one with that gift had been born in generations and that lack had caused war and strife for centuries. Who ruled was determined by might and alliance.”

Ava grimaced, her blue eyes sad with remembered pain, and Liz listened intently. She was enthralled by the recitation of their history, information that would have been invaluable to them had they known it sooner. Their ignorance had born a heavy price tag and she only wished that she had asked Ava to stay all those months ago, maybe some of her regrets could have been avoided.

“It was bloody and brutal; peace was a rare and precious commodity. Zan was one of the strongest contenders for the throne and he and I were betrothed at a young age. I was of Antarian descent, but lived on one of the four neighboring planets. My mother had married into the royal family there and it was hoped that marriage to me would give Zan enough power to not only take the throne, but keep it, ending the constant feuding once and for all.”

She stopped abruptly and licked her lips hesitantly, appearing to Liz much more like the nervous girl she had found in the Crashdown alley last fall.

“Do you have anything to eat? I haven’t stopped much lately and…” Trailing off she looked down as pink tinted her cheeks, clearly embarrassed by what she had asked.

“Of course!” Liz said, jumping to her feet. “Let’s go scrounge in the kitchen, I’m hungry too.” And she was, she had been starving after her shift, as per usual, she had not had much other than some peanuts and an apple all night, but the shock of seeing Ava and everything that ensued afterwards had been more than enough to suppress her body’s natural reaction.

Ava smiled more confidently at her and rose gracefully to her feet. “Sounds good to me Cornball, I’m starved.”

Liz laughed and wrapped her arm around the girl’s shoulders. “Well City Mouse, what say you and me go rustle up some grub?” She drawled with her best southern twang, causing Ava to roll her eyes even as she giggled.

Ava sat at the counter on one of a pair of matched stools and watched while the petite brunette rummaged through the fridge.

“Do you like omelettes?” Liz asked, her head popping over the refrigerator door. “I don’t have too many options.” She added apologetically as the other girl stared at her blankly.

“I’ve never had an omelette.” Ava admitted, her voice quiet as she looked down again, red rising back up her cheeks.

“Well, then we’re just going to have to try them!” Liz said, voice cheery as she started pulling things out of the fridge and stacking them on the counter, all the while wondering why the girl who remembered living in palaces but grew up in the sewers turned out so sweet compared to her counterpart. “Come here, you’re going to help.”

Sporting a deer in the headlights expression, the hybrid stood up and approached the food on the counter with obvious trepidation.

Fighting the urge to laugh at the tough reincarnated alien queen’s fear of cooking, Liz finished piling up the ingredients and pulled her one frying pan out of the cupboard. “Omelettes are easy. Just a little bit of butter, eggs, and whatever else you want to put in them.”

Ava still looked terrified and Liz relented on the cheer a little, giving her the task of grating cheese, while she herself diced the onions, tomatoes, and her special treat, the jalapenos she had bought from a street vendor on her jog last week.

She had always loved spicy food, growing up in New Mexico almost guaranteed that, but her association with the Tabasco-loving aliens had definitely increased her appreciation for tongue-burning treats. Although, at that moment, she could not help but look at the fondness with new eyes, maybe it was another symptom of her apparent changes.

Ava brought her the small bowl of grated cheddar, and after having the other girl crack the eggs into the pan, Liz whipped them with her small wire whisk, as Ava helped her sprinkle in the rest of the ingredients.

The expression of sheer bliss on the blonde’s face when she first bit into her half of the omelette made Liz grin as she dug into her own food, savoring each bite all the more because of Ava’s uninhibited enjoyment of the meal. She paused after swallowing a bite and caught her companion’s eye.

“I’m glad you found me Ava, and unless you have other plans, I’d love it if you would live with me.” The words were true, despite the news Ava had brought with her, and Liz’s smile was genuine.

The small girl broke out with a hesitant grin and then reached out to take Liz’s hand. “Well of course Cornball, you’re stuck with me now!”

They both giggled and went back to eating, a new family enjoying their first meal together.


~*~


Glistening water droplets slid down the smooth expanse of creamy skin, holding his gaze as firmly as the earth held the moon in its orbit. Despite fulfilling his end of the bargain, and tormenting Michael, he had still not expected Isabel to actually complete the bet, and faced with the reality of his fantasy he was not sure how to handle it.

Both girls were in the water, laughing and splashing and generally doing their best to drive Michael and him crazy, and it was working. He had finally slipped into the water himself, if only to hide his growing reaction to their display, although, like Michael, he had chosen not to take off his own swim trunks; there were lines he would not cross and that was one of them.

His breath caught as Isabel slowly walked towards him, and his eyes darted between the ripples caused by her passage and the sky behind her head, as he tried to avoid meeting her eyes, or anything else. She laughed, a low sound that shivered through him and affected things he had not known could get more affected.

He gathered his courage and met her eyes, losing himself in their warm brown depths, and tuning out the distractions her body so amply provided. “Lovely weather isn’t it?” He asked; his own eyes twinkling even as he inwardly cursed himself for such an inane comment.

Isabel could not stop the pleased blush from spreading across her cheeks at his oh-so-obvious reaction to her. She had been on many dates but she had never gone past simple kissing, no matter how much said dates wished otherwise. The dreams of the young men in town had quenched her desire to explore sexual activities on a casual basis. Alex was the only one she had ever considered going farther with and they had never gotten the chance.

The thought of Alex froze the flirtatious smile on her face and killed the joy that had been bubbling inside of her. What was she doing? Was this how she honored his memory? By skinny-dipping bare months after his death, with Kyle who had been his closest male friend?

Kyle watched with growing concern as Isabel remained silent, her glowing smile slowly diminishing until it was gone entirely and her beautiful eyes began to glitter with unshed tears. Without a single thought about her lack of clothing, he stepped forward and pulled her into a hug, stroking her hair with what he hoped was a soothing gesture. “It’s okay Isabel. It will be okay.”

Biting her lip, Isabel tried to hold in the tears. It had not even been three months since he died and she had forgotten him. She had actually gone this whole vacation without thinking about him every hour. Missing him had become her constant and faithful companion, her penance for not appreciating him while she had a chance, and she had let herself forget, had let herself have fun without him, have fun with someone else.

“I forgot him Kyle, I forgot him.”

Kyle closed his eyes, suppressing the all too familiar flash of himself carrying Alex’s limp body. “Sometimes at night, I wake up and I run to the sink and I can’t stop washing my hands because all I can see is his blood.”

Isabel started to shake and her sobs broke through as he tightened his hold on her comfortingly and continued, voice soft. “And sometimes I wake up and I’m smiling and crying because I remember some joke he told me or the time we were trapped together by that ridiculous blue alien sludge and I know that he would be smiling too if he was there.”

“No, you didn’t forget him, and you never will. He was the best of us and we will never be able to replace him but he would not want us to be miserable. It’s okay to have fun Isabel, it’s okay to be happy.” Ignoring the tears streaming down his own cheeks he tilted her face up towards him and kissed her on the forehead. “I’m your friend Isabel, that’s all I need to be, and I want you to be happy too.”

Isabel was silent for a moment longer before a smile slowly reappeared on her face. “Thank you Kyle.”

Their eyes met in shared grief and acceptance, until their moment was interrupted by a wave that appeared out of nowhere and crashed over them. Gasping for air and soaking wet they turned towards Michael, who had his hands on his hips and was glaring at them, Maria doubled over behind him laughing.

“What do you think you’re doing to my sister?”

Before Kyle could respond, Michael was sucked under the water with a loud splash. Isabel grinned and slung her arm around Kyle’s shoulders. “Now that’s how you do it.”

Kyle laughed and wrapped his arm around her waist, giving the now surfaced and sputtering Michael a cocky grin. With Isabel at his side, he was safe from revenge. Michael was tough, but even he wouldn’t cross the blond princess.

Turning to smile up at her, he suddenly became aware of her nudity and flushed, dropping his arm and stepping away from her hastily.

Isabel looked at him in confusion and then smiled understandingly. She waved a hand over herself and her dark red bikini reappeared. “Better?”

The sarcastic twinkle was back in her eyes and Kyle thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. “Much better.”


~


“Canoe.”

“River.”

“Dance.”

“Ballet.”

“Sissies.”

“Michael!” Maria exclaimed, shock and anger tinting her voice as Isabel and Kyle laughed.

“Mullet.” Kyle said through his chuckles, and laughed louder when Michael turned a glare on him. “Hey big man, it’s word association; she said Michael, I said the first thing that came to mind.”

“Want to know the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Kyle?” The other boy growled out.

Kyle touched a finger to his chin in thought before shaking his head, “No, not particularly.”

Isabel giggled again and Maria smacked Michael’s arm. “You’re the one who ruined it first Michael. Ballet dancers are not sissies.”

He gave her a disbelieving look in return, but did not reply, not wanting to spark an argument on their last day of vacation. Instead he turned to Kyle and waved his hand magnanimously “I forgive you for not knowing a good hair style when you see one midget.” Kyle gaped slightly and Michael added, almost as an afterthought, “Because this vacation was a good idea.”

Kyle laughed, a cheerful sound that rang over the lake. “Good to know you approve Chewbacca, I am sooo glad you’re enjoying yourself.”

Before Michael could come up with a suitably insulting reply, Isabel interrupted them, “I agree, this was a lot of fun; I’m not looking forward to going back to the real world.”

Maria sighed her agreement, pulling her hand away from Michael’s arm and leaning back in her deck chair. “I say we stay here, far away from Roswell, and work, and school, and alien madness.”

“Well Michael’s here so we haven’t completely escaped the alien madness.” Kyle said slyly and Isabel chuckled as Michael rolled his eyes.

Maria did not respond to the jab though, instead closing her eyes and remaining silent while Michael watched over her, his face tight with worry and something else, before he forced a sarcastic reply. “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, clearly you can’t accept what side of the line I fall on.”

Kyle snorted disbelievingly and even Isabel gave Michael an amused and disparaging look; a look he responded to with his trademark smirk, a smirk he had to work to display. Clearly the vacation had not helped Maria as much as he hoped it would and whatever was bothering her was not going away; and since she would not talk to him, he had no way of fixing it.


~


Later that night, as the four teens slept, some restless with worry and some peaceful with new contentment, a fellow dreamer sought their thoughts and frowned in his cell, unhappy with what he found.

They should have been frantic with worry when he left, and afraid for his safety rather than angry when they heard what had happened. What had become of his friends? How could they go on vacation while he rotted in jail?

Maybe Michael had been right all along; trust no one, not even each other. He would not let them interfere with what needed to be done. He would wait here for their return, sway them to his side, and then it would be time to act.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 6 - 1/10 Pg 4

Post by Whimsicality » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:12 pm

Chapter Eight ~ When it Rains





Liz was actually impatient to get back to her apartment, a first since she had been in her new home. Ava had refused to say another word last night after dinner, about anything, and the blond had still been sleeping, clearly exhausted, when Liz left for work early in the evening.

The bar was packed, it was Saturday night, and instead of reveling in her excellent tips Liz’s inner eyes could only see her face etched in alien metal and the strange green current that had run through her hands.

She remembered writing about changes in her journal, long before a leather clad man had appeared at her window and destroyed her life, and long before she had helped Isabel reach Max in New York at Ava’s insistence. Why had she stopped feeling those changes when they were obviously still occurring? Had she repressed them because of ‘destiny?’ Was she truly capable of that much self-denial?

She snorted as she absently refilled someone’s beer; apparently she was more than capable of all sorts of denial. Matt caught her eye as she moved on to the next customer and she sighed.

He had noticed her distraction early on and had been shooting her concerned glances out of the corner of his eye, apparently he had decided to stop being so subtle. She waved him off with a bright smile and tried to get her head back in the game, sharply reminded of all of the times she had found it hard to focus on her job back home with all of the alien madness that seemed to occur.

The difference was that instead of willingly choosing to be a part of that world as she had in Roswell; here she had done everything in her power to escape it, until she was not given a choice. Her humanity itself was in question, that could not be denied any longer, and while part of her had accepted that when she projected to Max, that part had died along with her best friend.

Alex had been ruthlessly murdered by an alien’s abilities and she was just supposed to accept that she had powers herself? The logical part of her pointed out that the abilities were human in nature and that more importantly, blaming the abilities for the actions of the person wielding them, was foolish and incorrect. The emotional part of her did the mental equivalent of a middle finger in response.

“Oh God, I am going insane.” She muttered under her breath, then smiled inanely at the group of girls she was handing a tray of daiquiris to. A small part of her could not help but wonder what would have happened if she had developed her own abilities when she first learned of them, maybe she could have prevented Alex’s death.

She realized that she had effectively zoned out again and shoved that last thought down with the rest of the guilt that had been plaguing her since the reason for Alex’s death was revealed. What Max and the others had never realized when she said that his death was alien related, was that she was not just blaming them, she was blaming herself. She told Alex the truth, she brought him into the whole mess, no guilt she assigned to anyone else was greater than the guilt she felt herself.

She took a deep breath and tamped down furiously on all of her thoughts and emotions, determinedly bringing herself back to the present as she managed to finish off her shift without dwelling even once more on the new tangles in her life, or the old ones.

After bidding Matt goodbye until Monday night and completing her cleaning duties, she drove home, obeying the speed limit as best she could given her eagerness to get back to Ava.

The usual exhaustion of her last and busiest night of work was completely subsumed by her burning need to learn everything the other girl knew about their past, and her future. Ignorance was no longer a part of her game plan and she intended to ask her every question she had not asked Nasedo, Future Max, or Ava herself the first time around.

Knowledge was power; that quote had never been truer.

She stopped only long enough to hit a drive-thru so they would not have to waste time cooking, and pulled into her parking spot soon after, racing up the stairs at twice her usual speed without even noticing the throbbing in her feet.

Opening the door she stopped suddenly, halted by the unusual sight of Ava sitting cross-legged on the floor in the middle of her living room, eyes closed as the Destiny book levitated in front of her, glowing faintly.

Liz quietly shut the door behind her and sat down to wait, her knees pulled up to her chest as she watched and wondered, the food growing cold beside her.

Almost an hour later, and before she had a chance to react, Ava was on her feet, book in hand, approaching her. Kneeling down next to her the blond handed Liz the book and grabbed the bag of food, pulling things out one by one and reheating them with a quick cherry-red glow of her hand before dividing it all between them.

Liz just stared bemusedly at the supposedly timid blond, and then looked down at the book in her hand which she realized had started glowing brighter as soon as it touched her. She dropped it as if it had burned her and picked up a breakfast sandwich, not noticing that Ava was holding back a laugh at her actions.

They settled into a peaceful silence as they ate, an unspoken agreement to wait for serious conversation until the food was done. They exchanged the occasional comment and Liz interrupted her meal once to get Ava a glass of milk that her friend drank with childlike glee, clearly a rarity in her life.

After throwing away the various wrappers and refilling Ava’s glass with more milk she sat on one of the beanbag chairs she had bought at a local thrift store along with the stool and gestured to the second one, something the hostess in her had demanded she purchase despite her lack of possible guests.

Ava took a moment to settle in, sipping at her milk and watching Liz’s growing impatience with obvious amusement. Shooting the brunette a sassy wink she finally picked up her narrative from the night before. “It was a popular belief that one of the reasons the gift of foresight had deserted us was due to our increasing reliance on scientific advances. Zan and his rival Khivar were both strongly for continuing those advances despite the fact that the current King and a large portion of the Council were striving to bring our people back to their roots.”

The blond shook her head and sighed, “The two of them had more similarities than differences and that was what led to a lot of the friction between them.”

Liz bit her lip as she stared at the other girl, turning the new information over in her mind. It made sense, wars were rarely clear cut between good and evil, and while events had naturally prejudiced her against Khivar, knowing what had happened to lead him to that point was important.

“Before Khivar declared himself a contender for the throne, he and Zan’s sister were betrothed and happily so. However, after it became clear that he was a threat to Zan’s ascendancy to the kingship, he forbade Vilondra to marry him, and instead forcibly betrothed her to his second against both of their wills.”

Liz’s eyes widened at that piece of information, proof that Zan was not the total saint they had believed, and proof that things had been more complicated than they ever imagined.

Ava gave her a knowing glance as she spoke again. “Rath agreed to the betrothal out of loyalty to Zan, but in name only. He never made Vilondra show any affection for him other than as a brother, and it was well known that while he remained celibate, he did not ask her to do the same. She and Khivar continued their affair in private trysts though Vilondra refused to share any of her brother’s secrets with him.”

“The old King fell ill and it became evident that Zan’s supporters outnumbered Khivar’s, so without Vilondra’s knowledge, Khivar plotted to kill her brother and take her and the throne for himself.”

The blond rested her head on her hands, eyes hazy with memory. “I was Vilondra’s confidante. Rath was my cousin and I had been a part of their lives long before Zan and I’s betrothal. She was afraid of what Khivar would do if Zan took the throne, and was worried that her continued affair with him would undermine her brother’s support for the throne.”

She shook her head, lips quirking ever so slightly. “I told her not to confront him alone, but on the night of Zan and I’s wedding, she went to tell Khivar that it was over; that she still loved him, but that it was time to take on her responsibilities as princess and future wife of Rath, who would become Commander of the armies once Zan was King. She never returned.”

Her voice grew softer and her expression saddened, “As soon as our vows were complete Khivar’s troops burst into the castle. The fighting lasted for hours but by the end of the night, Khivar’s troops had won. Zan was dead, as was Vilondra. Rath and I had been captured and awaited public execution. Whether by chance of fate, or design, the old King had died while Zan and I were wed, and Khivar was now officially Ruler of Antar.”

Ava stopped, clearly struggling with the emotional impact of reliving her violence-filled past. Glancing up at Liz she gave her a pained smile. “One of the problems with reincarnation is a perfect memory of your own death.” She closed her eyes for a brief moment, “All I could see that night was blood. Vilondra’s blood on Khivar’s hands when he confronted Zan. Zan’s blood on my marriage gown after Khivar killed him. I could taste it in the air.”

Pausing for breath, she opened her eyes again and stared at the last dregs of milk in her glass, trying to distance herself from the memories. “Rath and I were dragged into the courtyard. The old Queen was crying, Khivar’s troops were jeering.” She trailed off and a tear trickled down her cheek. “Rath tried to save me at the end, but they were too much for him. He wounded Khivar with his last blast and died silently, not one cry of pain.”

Shivering, she wrapped her arms around herself. “Khivar himself killed me, he reveled in slow deaths.”

Liz slid her beanbag over to Ava’s, heart aching at the pain she had been through in not one but two lives, and wrapped her arm around the other girl’s trembling shoulders. Ava smiled shakily and leaned into her gratefully.

“Well, you know most of the rest, I think. The old Queen managed to steal our bodies from the internment ceremony and bring them back to the planet I had been raised on, where using mysticism and science, boosted by the power of the Granolith, they extracted our essences and cloned us. Then they sent us here. As for why Earth was chosen,” she managed a teasing grin, “I’ll tell you that story later.”

Liz smiled back, unable to not be curious, but also not caring in the face of what Ava had just recited, and hugged the small hybrid. “Works for me City Mouse.” In an effort to distract the girl from the pain of her memories, Liz infused her voice with excitement and added, “I say we spend the day shopping!”

Ava just looked at her quizzically. “Why do you call me City Mouse?”

Grinning, Liz stood up and pulled the other girl to her feet. “I’ll buy you the storybook, now come on! I think between my money and your powers we can really shape this place up.”

Ava giggled, Liz’s enthusiasm was catching enough for her to force down her lingering grief, and besides she had never been shopping before. Doing that required real money and they had always stolen what they needed. “Let’s do it Cornball, lead the way!”


~*~


Michael stared out of the passenger window, his fingers tapping restlessly on the door handle. He was doing his best to hide his anger from the others until he had time to process, but the sting of betrayal was making his fury harder to conceal.

No one else had said anything that morning, or seemed disturbed at all, but he knew Max had visited their dreams last night and his anger at the breach in privacy burned hot and fierce. Unless it was absolutely necessary, they had all agreed never to use their powers on each other, and never without permission.

Michael’s dreams were an unpleasant place, and one he preferred to keep to himself. Nightmares could reveal far too much about your inner psyche, and no one else had the right to slip inside his head unless he invited them in. It had taken him two years to grant Maria access and even she was not aware of all of his demons.

Right then he was hoping Max was still in jail, to prevent any violence from occurring. Apparently it was not enough that he had signed their death warrants, sent their best bargaining chip to the enemy, and was doing his best to bring the FBI down on all of their heads. No, he had to add snooping into his family’s heads to his list of crimes.

And that was not all; Max had not just looked at his dreams, he had tried to manipulate them, tried to plant sympathy for himself. Which begged the question of where he had learned such a despicable trick? Not even Isabel, who was the strongest Dreamwalker of them all, had the ability to do that. Had it been Tess? Or something, someone, else?

Michael was pulled out of his thoughts as they pulled into Roswell. Maria’s mother wanted her home, so they swung by her house first. He helped her with her bags and leaned down to kiss her goodbye, catching her cheek when she turned her head towards the opening door. He suppressed a frown and said goodbye to her and her mother before heading back to the car, a sinking feeling in his chest.

Neither Isabel nor Kyle wanted to go home yet and Michael had no food in his house, so they decided to stop by the Crashdown for an early dinner before officially ending the vacation.

The diner was nearly empty. The tourists were leaving and the afternoon teenage rush was over. Jeff waved as they walked in, on his way towards the office with an armful of inventory papers.

Michael ducked into the kitchen and snagged some food off of the grill, returning Jose’s cheerful swearing with gusto. As he came through the swinging doors balancing three plates, his eyes met those of the sheriff’s, who was just removing his sunglasses as he stepped into the restaurant.

Michael still remembered when the very sight of the man had struck fear and anger in his heart. Now he trusted him more than his own brother, and from the look in the other man’s eyes, Michael had a feeling that said brother was going to be the topic of discussion and not a happy one.

Kyle and Isabel were sitting in their regular booth and had both fallen silent as they too noticed the serious expression on Valenti’s face. Unfortunately, they all knew there could only be one reason for it.

Michael sat down and passed around the plates as the sheriff pulled a chair up to their table and began to speak quietly about Max’s pretrial in Utah, and his subsequent transfer to the Roswell jail while the hearings continued. “Your dad worked a pretty tricky bit of legal work to get him here, your mom was pretty vicious in the courtroom too I hear, and I don’t want either of their good names sullied, not to mention mine, if your brother escapes.”

Isabel nodded, a steely look on her face, “Don’t worry, Sheriff, my brother will stay right where he’s at if I have to glue him to that cell. I know how much my parent’s reputation means to them, and how much more we do, and I won’t let my brother ruin either.”

Michael added grimly, “Max has a lot to answer for and we’ll make sure he sticks around long enough to do so.” Kyle and the sheriff both shot him a concerned glance at the intensity of his tone but he brushed it off and stood to get soda for the three of them and coffee to go for the sheriff.

After expressing happiness that they had enjoyed their vacation, and promising Kyle that they would make dinner together tonight, the sheriff accepted his mug from Michael and left, while the three teens ate their food and settled into a discussion of just how they would go about keeping Max where he was.

“I need to tell you guys something.” Michael admitted after remaining silent for several minutes, staring down at his plate with an unusual lack of appetite.

Isabel and Kyle turned from their discussion of alien methods of restraint and stared at him, caught off guard by his tone. “What’s wrong Michael?” Isabel asked, concerned for the only brother who still seemed sane.

“I think Max has been developing new powers, and, I know he’s been using at least one of them on us.”

Kyle’s fist hit the table with a loud thump, the sound echoing in the now empty café. “What do you mean?” he demanded, his fear and anger palpable.

“I felt him in my dreams last night; I’m pretty sure he was scoping all of us out. And I caught him trying to plant sympathy for himself, manipulate our emotions. I was able to block him, but I don’t know what else he is capable of.” Shaking his head he met each of their eyes in turn, “Either Tess was able to teach him a lot more than we realized, or he’s found himself another source of information.”

Isabel’s eyes widened in fear at his words. They had yet to meet another of their kind that had anything remotely resembling human compassion or anything other than a desire to kill them. If Max had found himself a mentor, it could not be a good thing. “What do we do?”

Kyle grunted, trying to hide his own fear with brave words. “We need to go talk to his Royal Pain in the Ass and find out what sort of alien crazy pills he’s been popping and who he’s getting them from.”

Michael bit back a chuckle and nodded, “Yes, we need to talk to Max. If we go after hours the sheriff should be able to let us in to see him. Talk to him tonight Kyle and if he agrees let us know and we’ll meet you at the jail.” Turning to Isabel he continued, voice softening, “I know you don’t want to Izzy, but if you could talk to your parents and find out as much as possible about where he’s been and what he’s been doing…”

She grimaced but nodded, face serious. Talking to her parents about Max would open up a whole discussion she wanted no part of, but she had not lied to the Sheriff, Max was not going to ruin her parents lives or their love for her. “I’ll do it, what about you?”

“I’m going to try and figure out a way to keep him under control. He is not going to be happy about being told to stay put and accept whatever judgment they decide for him. He isn’t stronger than both of us, but we can’t babysit the jail day and night and he knows things we don’t. We need to take away that advantage.”

He sighed and scratched his eyebrow, continuing reluctantly. “I kept the translation of the book; I’m going to see what I can find in it.”

Isabel looked stricken and even Kyle looked grim, but they both nodded. Michael turned to Kyle and asked, “Can you take us home now? Then call us when you’ve talked to your dad?”

Kyle nodded shortly and stood, pulling his keys out of his pocked and smiling with dark determination. “Let’s go.”

Isabel was dropped off first and gave them both a long look of warning and concern before taking a breath and straightening her shoulders before entering her home.

Kyle kept quiet all of the way to Michael’s apartment, unusual for the talkative teen but Michael was too wrapped up in his own anger to try and help the other boy deal with his. After Kyle dropped him off, he ran up the stairs two at a time, determined to find something to offset Max’s apparent new strength.

He had felt a little ill when he first found the translation copy in Tess’s room, knowing that it was the reason that Alex had died and everything had gone to hell, but he could not in good conscience throw it away when the knowledge it contained was so invaluable.

He knelt on his bedroom floor and reached under the bed, pulling out the metal box that contained the translation and a few other important artifacts and pieces of paper. He set the translation and the book on the floor next to each other, staring fixedly at the engraved metal cover that sent unbidden chills down his spine before picking up the translation and heading for the kitchen table. He grabbed a Snapple from the fridge and settled in for a long, thorough, read. It was time to be proactive.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 8 - 1/18 Pg 4

Post by Whimsicality » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:07 pm

Chapter Nine ~ First Blood






Three stores after leaving the apartment and only the faintest of shadows remained in Ava’s soft blue eyes, it was clear that she was enjoying herself and despite her exhaustion Liz was enjoying watching her. She had been surprised by the other girl’s knack for finding great deals, and a hidden talent for interior design. Which given where she had lived most of her life was nothing short of amazing.

Liz had her own sense of style, but she lacked the patience necessary to put patterns and colors together, to see what it would look like in the home while at the store. She could make a room look comfortable and presentable, but certainly not as nice as what Ava had thrown together so far. She had a feeling that Max would have been disappointed in his dream woman if they had married and it had been revealed that she was not the housewifely type.

“One more store and it’s time for lunch.” She declared as Ava’s face lit up with some new perfect find. “And maybe a nap,” she added under her breath, fighting a jaw splitting yawn. The confusing, almost nightmarish dreams that had plagued her after Alex’s death had resumed in the past couple weeks and between that and how crazy the bar had been lately, not to mention the time she’d been spending with Ava these past two days, she was decidedly short on sleep.

Ava tucked the bronze lamp under her arm and bumped her hip into Liz’s. “You need a nap Cornball?” Grinning at Liz’s startled expression she continued, “That’s ok; I guess I’ll just show you how to develop your powers tomorrow then.”

As Liz sputtered to come up with a reply, Ava laughed, a free unfettered sound, “Don’t worry Cornball, I was kidding. Come on, let’s get some eats and then you can help me do the apartment, with your powers.”

Liz took a breath to calm herself and then smiled back at the other girl. “Sounds good, what are you in the mood for lunch wise?”

The blond was silent for a moment, clearly deep in thought, and then grinned widely. “Hot dogs. I haven’t had a hot dog since I left New York.”

The brunette giggled and wrapped her free arm around the hybrid’s shoulder, “Well you’re in luck, Bob’s Dogs is just three blocks away.”

Cocking an eyebrow and biting back her own giggle, Ava choked out, “Bob’s Dogs?”

“Yup! It’s just a little shack on the beach but they are the best hot dogs in town. At least, that’s what all of the bar regulars say.”

Ava gave her a skeptical look as she handed the cashier the lamp, two pillows, and a rug she had found, but remained silent as Liz paid and they carried the bags to the car.

The two of them added the three bags to the growing pile in the back of the sedan and headed towards the beach, windows down and music blaring. Liz could not remember the last time she felt this normal, just having a fun girl’s day, and felt a brief pang of guilt at what Maria would say if she knew she went shopping without her best friend.

Parking a couple blocks away in one of the many, expensive, parking structures, the girls walked towards the sound of the ocean; crashing waves, screaming seagulls, and of course all of the human traffic. The shack was not hard to find and luckily, as it was only ten in the morning, there was not much of a line. Liz ordered a polish dog with ketchup and mustard. Ava, after staring at her with disgust plain on her face, ordered a chilidog, with everything.

They wandered over to a nearby large rock and sat down to eat, watching the seagulls skim over the waves in search of something edible. Ava was as fascinated by the ocean as Liz was. Unlike Liz, she had lived near an ocean before, but it was not an ocean like the one they were staring at then. So blue and wild, a minimum of trash floating in it, just clear beautiful water dotted with the occasional colorful sail or surfboard.

Liz’s fascination derived from the immense variety of teeming life, so different from her own seemingly barren desert. She still loved the desert and felt most at home there, but her surroundings in California had re-sparked her love of biology, reminding her of what her priorities used to be. As she finished off her lunch, she shoved that thought down and refocused on her current scientific pursuit. “Am I going to have the same abilities as the rest of you?”

Ava just smiled enigmatically and stood, brushing the crumbs off her pants before facing Liz. “No talking until we’re decorating; let’s go.”

Liz pouted, but followed, tossing their napkins in a trashcan and walking silently until they reached the car. The drive home seemed entirely too long and by the time they reached their own parking lot Ava was laughing hysterically and Liz was white-knuckling the steering wheel.

Pointedly ignoring the petite blond next to her, Liz walked primly up the steps to their apartment, eyes forward with the slightly pursed lips of a repressed smile.

Ava giggled as Liz went to open the door and found she could not, even after unlocking it. “Consider this your first test. I locked it with my powers and it’s up to you to figure out how to unlock it.”

After glaring briefly at her roommate, Liz’s rational side took over and she glanced around to make sure no one was watching before reaching forward to touch the lock. She closed her eyes and concentrated. At first nothing happened, then she focused on the memory of the night before and how she had felt with that strange green electricity flowing through her, her fingers tingled and she heard a loud pop.

Opening her eyes, she stared in shock at the smoking hole in her door where her lock used to be. She jumped as Ava patted her on the back before the other girl reached forward and recreated the lock, and then opened the door.

“Well that worked, not exactly what we were going for, but you could have gotten in, so congratulations; that was the first conscious use of your powers.” Ava stated with a smile as she stepped around the still stunned brunette and walked into the apartment.

Liz finally snapped out of it and laughed, picking up her share of the bags and carrying them into the apartment and closing the door behind her. “Yes, yes it was. Now I need to try not blowing things up. Who knew that I would turn into Michael?”

Ava laughed and shook her head, “You’ll be fine.” She set her bags in the middle of living room floor and pulled a light green corduroy pillow out of one of them, then held it out to the other girl. “You are going to change this covering into royal blue silk; easy change.”

Liz just stared at her, not even reaching out to take it. “You did still want a pillow right? I paid for that, I’d like it to still be around tomorrow.”

Chuckling the blond pushed it into her hands, “You’ll do just fine. It’s simple. Just close your eyes and picture it. See the green changing into blue. Feel the softness of the silk.”

Liz still looked dubious, but complied, folding her fingers around the edges of the pillow and closing her eyes. Using the image of her bathrobe, she pictured the deep blue silk folds and tried to summon the same energy she had used minutes before, but with less destructive force, all the while trying to repress thoughts of just how ridiculous she must look and how much it was not going to work.

Hearing Ava’s soft gasp as she felt the telltale tingle in her fingers she opened her eyes and stared bemusedly at what used to be a pillow, then raised her gaze to Ava’s smiling face and handed her the bathrobe. “Here, now we match.”

Taking it from her the blond alien folded it over her arm, still chuckling a little. “It might not be a pillow, but it didn’t blow up either so good job. We’ll get this place in shape.”

Nodding and feeling quite a bit more confident that she was not just a walking weapon, Liz joined her in unpacking the rest of the bags. Three hours later, and a few mishaps, and their living room had a beautiful patterned blue rug in the center and two dark wicker basket chairs with royal blue cushions to match the newly silk bean bag chairs. Their bedroom had two thick mattresses both topped with gorgeous down comforters, the result of an imagination pattern competition.

The towels in the bathroom had doubled in number and size and no longer looked like hotel room rejects, and even the kitchen had newly patterned tile.

After a quick snack, Liz finally crashed, the excitement worn off and exhaustion catching up to her. She had promised Ava that they would discuss changing the color of the walls and carpet after she woke up, still amused by the blonde’s obvious enthusiasm for all things decorating.

The smile on her face lasted until she fell asleep. She had not forgotten her fear or anger over her apparent destiny, but she no longer felt quite so helpless in the face of it and that was a welcome feeling. She was not just a liability anymore, and no one else would die if she could help it, and now she could help it. Regaining control of her own life, at least a part of it, was wonderful, and she only hoped that trend would continue, though she couldn’t get rid of a sense of lingering dread that she couldn’t explain and didn’t know the source of.


~*~


Michael looked up from the pages in front of him when he realized suddenly how dark his apartment was. Judging by his internal clock, he had been reading by the glow of his own hand for quite a while. The sheer bulk of knowledge contained in the fragile pieces of paper staggered him. A lot of it was technical and scientific information that he did not understand, like words that hovered on the edge of his consciousness that he knew if he could just dig deep enough inside of himself he would be able to grasp.

The history though, that he understood, and even as it enlightened him, it saddened him to know the details of their past. He had learned of their people, their culture, their war, and the intricacies of his relationship to Max, and Isabel, and even Tess. He understood now why learning of his betrothal to Isabel had felt so wrong, so incestuous, yet had made him so happy. He had loved her, as a sister, and family had always been important to him, even in his previous life.

Learning that he had been related to Tess, had cared for her, even sacrificed his life for her, had been a shock. It gave him some insight into how she must have felt when she came to town and they all refused to accept her. She remembered that life. She remembered them loving her and accepting her, and with his own rejection issues he could understand why she had reacted the way she did. It was possible that if they had not flat out rejected her, she might have ignored Nasedo’s deal and become one of them in truth.

It did not excuse what she had done by any means. And if she reappeared then he would do what was necessary to protect and avenge his family, including kill her, but for the first time he truly considered what could have been and it was not all bad.

In the past ten or so minutes he had finally found what he had been searching for; a detailed description of their collective and individual powers, both in their past lives, and the ones it had been predicted they would have in their new forms. He had briefly skimmed over the section on group powers before delving in depth into Max’s and his individual powers. It seemed that in their past life, part of their King’s famed charisma had been due to a healthy dose of persuasive powers. It was Michael’s personal theory that these had been warped in their current incarnation to include a lower level of coercion similar to Tess’s Mindwarping abilities. He also believed that it was only his own innate protective powers that had shielded them from Max’s attempts.

The silver lining in all of that was, that in their past life Michael’s abilities had also included the power to bind someone else’s powers temporarily. In that life he had used it both as an extreme training for his soldiers, and during the interrogation of prisoners. It was that last use that appealed to him in the present, and he was hoping that his powers had gained strength as well. And that he could figure out how to use that particular skill in less than an hour.

Finally, just as the sun set for the evening, his phone rang. All of the deputies had left the jail for the day and the sheriff had volunteered for the overnight shift, ostensibly because he had a lot of paperwork to catch up on. Hoping against hope that what he had learned would be enough, Michael grabbed his coat and swung out the door, not even noticing that down the hall a strange glow was emanating from his bedroom.

Kyle pulled up less than a minute after he reached the sidewalk, and they headed for the jail. Isabel was taking her own car, a new present from her dad since she no longer had a brother slash slave to drive her around.

The sheriff was waiting for them at the front desk, a worried expression on his face. After letting them in, he dimmed the lights and locked the door, then led them through the back of the office and into the connecting jail cells. Max was their only prisoner at the moment, and he was in the first cell, staring morbidly at them through the bars. Michael could practically hear the Counting Crows soundtrack playing in his head.

He felt Isabel stiffen beside him as Max suddenly smiled and stood, reaching his hand through the bars towards her. “Izzy! I’ve missed you.”

Michael batted Max’s hand away, knowing that touch greatly enhanced his abilities, and crossed his arms, staring authoritatively at his once brother, who felt somehow wrong to him, some presence that wasn’t quite right tainting Max’s energy. “We know what you’re trying to do Max and it’s not going to work.”

Max assumed a perplexed expression, his brown eyes wide and innocent. “What are you talking about Michael? You’re always so paranoid.” Turning towards his sister, his tone took on a pleading note. “I had to Isabel. I know I made a mistake but it was my son. He contacted me, I need to find him!”

Before Isabel could say anything Michael stepped forward, the anger in his face causing Max to falter and step back. “Then you should have come to us for help. Your stupidity put us all at risk. If the FBI decides to start looking for us again, they’ll put us all in white rooms. Or they might just decide to skip that part and kill us outright.” He scoffed, eyes narrowing. “Not to mention Khivar and how much he would just love an excuse to kill us.”

He took another step forward, his face almost touching the bars. “You’re supposed to be our leader. You’re supposed to be the responsible one. You’re risking all of our lives and it’s time you decided if you’re going to stop being an idiot and come home, or leave and just risk your own damn life”

The room was deathly silent, the four of them almost holding their breath in anticipation of what Max’s reaction would be. “What would you know of pain, of the white room Michael?” Max’s face and voice were ugly with anger and he reacted like an injured coyote, viciously and without warning. His hands glowed as he wrenched the bars apart and stepped through, clearly targeting Michael in his rage.

Unfortunately for him, that was what Michael had been waiting for. He needed Max to be using his powers before he could bind them. Grabbing Max’s arms with his own now glowing hands, he reached deep inside himself and pulled out every ounce of protective feeling he had, focusing on his fear for the others rather than his anger towards Max.

His whole body had begun to glow with a soft white light, and Max’s glow had all but disappeared. Stepping forward Michael pushed Max back into his cell. Concentrating intensely he sent a bolt of power through the other boy’s body and then let go, sending him sprawling on the cold cement floor. He stepped back out through the mutilated bars and bent them back into shape, reinforcing the steel with another bolt of power before turning towards the awed faces of the others.

“Well Sheriff, I can promise you that no one normal will ever break out of that cell again.” He said with a faint smile, before swaying and then leaning against the wall, clearly drained.

“What did you do?” Kyle asked, voice hollow with shock and amazement.

Before Michael could reply another voice popped up, dark and sarcastic. “Yes Michael, what did you do?” Max was standing again, his fists clenched as his eyes bored into his Second, fear and fury warring for control of his face.

“I bound your powers. You’re staying right where you are.” Michael replied with obvious satisfaction, a tired grin spreading over his usually stoic face.”

As Max began to erupt in a furious tirade, his sister stepped forward, a look that could only be described as formidable on her face. “You are going to face the consequences of your actions. You’re making our parents miserable Max; how could you do this to them? They love us, even when we lie to them and hide things from them. They won’t stop loving us, but this; this is inexcusable Max. I’ll be visiting your dreams tonight and we are going to have a long talk about your priorities.”

Max opened his mouth to speak, anger and frustration visible in his dark eyes, but Isabel stopped him with a hard glare. “No Max, you are not going to be the one speaking. For once it’s your turn to listen.” Turning away from him she left without another word, just a brief glance at Michael and Kyle, respectful silence filling the room in her wake.

Their fearless leader watched them accusingly as they all filed out after her, the small twinkle in the Sheriff’s blue eyes the only visible sign of emotion in the group. As they stepped into the cool night air, Kyle let out a loud whoop, grinning as his dad shushed him unconvincingly. “That was absolutely beautiful man!”

Michael hid his own satisfaction and frustration behind his usual stoic mask, not sure what he felt or why, and raised one eyebrow questioningly at them. “I have a key to the Crashdown; you guys want some pie?”

The two Valenti men just looked at him and he finally cracked a smile. “Right, stupid question, let’s go.” Leaving Kyle’s car and the sheriff’s sedan behind, they walked around the corner and down to the diner, Michael silencing the bell as they walked in so as not to awaken the Parkers.

Kyle and the sheriff sat down at the counter and he walked behind it, opening the door to the dessert case. “Key Lime or Pecan?” Kyle wanted Pecan and the Sheriff wanted Key Lime while Michael took the last piece of Dutch Apple after serving them, ignoring Kyle’s pointed glare.

They had settled into a comfortable silence when Jeff came through the swinging door in his night robe, eyes wild before they settled on the three men. “Oh. Hello Michael, I thought you were…” He trailed off, staring wistfully out the window and Michael felt his stomach clench uncomfortably. Visibly recalling himself to the present, Jeff stared at the three of them, one side of his mouth lifting in an amused smile. “Late night sweet attack Jim?”

“Something like that.” The sheriff replied, smiling gently. “Sorry to wake you Jeff, I hope we didn’t disturb Nancy.”

Shaking his head Jeff slid onto the last stool, cocking an eyebrow at Michael and glancing towards the pie case.

There was silence for a moment and then Michael jumped to his feet, ducking back around the corner and pulling out another plate. “What’ll it be sir?”

Jeff chuckled. “Well seeing as you took the last piece of apple…I’ll take some Pecan, and throw a scoop of vanilla on there for me would you please?”

Michael nodded and quickly did so, handing him the plate and fork in record time before heading back to his own seat, pointedly ignoring the grins on Kyle and the sheriff’s faces.

Across town, Isabel was sitting on her kitchen counter with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, wishing not for the first time that Liz was there to share it with her, and dreading the coming confrontation with her brother. Life never seemed to get any less complicated and she just hoped that they were done with chaos, at least for a little while.


~


Max paced in his cell, angrily clenching his fists as he failed time and time again to reach his powers. Kal hadn’t warned him about this, hadn’t warned him that the others might be able to unlock their powers, hadn’t warned him that Michael was a threat.

He slammed his fist against the wall, pain shooting up his arm. “Fuck!” He swore, cradling his hand as it began to purple. If it weren’t for Michael he could heal it. If it weren’t for Michael he wouldn’t be stuck in this cell and could have found Liz. Liz would know how to get his son back, would know how to help him. She only ran because she was overwhelmed by everything, but once she knew how much he loved her, she would forgive him. She always did.

Unlike his own family who had betrayed him at every turn; so much for sticking together he thought derisively as he sat down on the small cot, glaring furiously at the iron bars he could no longer escape. If they really wanted to help him, they would understand that nothing was more important than finding his son. Nothing. Not hiding like scared little rabbits, and definitely not them.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 8 - 1/18 Pg 4

Post by Whimsicality » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:03 pm

Chapter Ten ~ Foresight isn’t Twenty-Twenty






Lying on her back in the middle of the living room, Liz stared at the ceiling, then tilted her head towards the blond lying next to her. “You’re right, it does look better with the light blue.” Ava smirked and Liz stuck her tongue out at her before returning to contemplating the new color scheme, grinning inwardly at the thought of the heart attack the landlady would have if she saw the apartment now.

The carpet was a deep royal blue, matching the cushions in the basket chairs and complimenting the newly cream-colored beanbag chairs. The walls were sky blue as was the ceiling, giving the room a light and peaceful tone. The bathroom had been done ocean themed at Ava’s request, with seashell-patterned tile, sand-colored walls, and royal blue towels and shower curtain, continuing the blue trend. The bedroom was similarly shaded, as was the kitchen. Turning her head back towards Ava, Liz smiled. “I love it.”

Sitting up, she stretched, linking her fingers and pushing her hands into the air until her muscles strained. Grunting softly with satisfaction, she stood, grasping Ava’s hand and pulling the other girl up with her. “How would you like a job?” She asked as she picked up her purse and opened the front door.

Ava just stared at her for a moment. “But, I’ve never had a job before; I don’t know how to do anything.”

Liz cocked an eyebrow at her before gently shoving her out the door. “You’re a genius Ava. You can pretend to be an ignorant street rat all you want, but I know better. You could probably learn any job in a week, if it took you that long. And it just so happens that we need a new bartender; I think you’d be perfect.”

Ava didn’t respond immediately, clearly thinking through the situation before replying. “Okay. I can always snag the information right out of your head if I can’t figure it out on my own.”

Liz gaped at her, stopping mid-step and almost falling down the stairs as all the blood drained from her head at the thought of anyone being able to invade her head like that.

Laughing, Ava caught her, holding on to her arms until she regained her balance. “I’m kidding Cornball. Genius or not, I can’t do that, but the look on your face...”

Squinting her eyes at the other girl in a pointed glare, Liz continued down the stairs, muttering to herself. “Ungrateful little…see if I offer her a job again, feeding her, giving her a robe…”

The blond slipped her arm through Liz’s and pouted up at her, widening her baby blues and batting her impossibly long eyelashes. “Aw Cornball, don’t be mad at me. I was just teasin’.”

Liz glanced at her, then away, clearly trying to ignore her and failing utterly. Finally she relented with an exasperated sigh. “You are entirely too good at that.”

Shrugging, the blond walked to her side of the sedan. “Gotta learn some tricks to stay alive.” Suddenly she stopped, one leg in the car and one still on the ground. “I won’t have to get rid of my piercings will I?”

Climbing into her own seat, Liz just shook her head and grinned. “No, Matt might find it a little strange, but the customers will love them, so don’t worry about it.” She paused a moment with the key hovering over the ignition. “You’ve never been to a piercer or a hair salon. You did it yourself.”

Ava just looked at her, face clearly expressing her sentiment of ‘Duh.’

Liz grinned, clearly thrilled, and lifted her hand to her hair, concentrating on her recently discovered inner store of energy. Her hair shortened and the colors re-brightened until it looked as good as the first day she dyed it. “Well that is just so much easier!” She exclaimed, ignoring Ava’s mocking laughter as she pulled out of the parking lot and turned up the music to drown the other girl out. She refused to let the blond ruin her fun.

They arrived at the bar a little before noon; she knew Matt would be there receiving their weekly shipment, and she was hoping he would be able to interview and accept Ava on the spot, so they could go home and get a nap in before her shift that night when, hopefully, she could start training Ava.

Waving at the delivery driver, she went in through the back door, smiling at Matt as she pulled a reluctant Ava behind her. “I’ve found us another bartender.”

Matt finished signing the clipboard and then turned towards her, inspecting Ava from head to toe in much the same manner he had inspected her all those months ago. “Experience?”

Liz nudged her and the blond spoke up, voice confident but soft. “Not much but I learn fast and Liz has been teaching me a bit.”

Matt fell silent, studying the two of them carefully, and Liz grinned mentally with pride at Ava’s slight fudging of the truth. Finally her boss grunted and nodded.

“Alright, she starts tonight. If she works out this week, then we’ll start rotating shifts next week. But you’ll both always work weekends you hear? And if you don’t cut it you’re gone, friend of Liz’s or not.” They both nodded earnestly and with a grudging smile he waved them off. “Go, get some rest. I’ll see you tonight.”

When they turned to leave he added, “Nice hair,” with a glance at Ava’s newly brightened pink and purple streaks, and pointedly not looking at her piercings.

Liz grinned back at him cheekily and waved before slinging her arm through Ava’s and walking out of the bar, a happy skip in her step. “That worked out perfectly. Told you so.”

The other girl rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out, eliciting a laugh from the brunette as they both got in the car and turned up the music, both girls smiling all the way back to the apartment.


~


Twelve hours later, after locking the door behind the last customer, Ava turned to face Liz and sagged against the wall. “That was crazy! And my feet hurt!”

Wiping down the counter, Liz just laughed. “And this was the slowest night of the week, wait until we hit Friday.”

Ava dropped her head into her hands and moaned. “Crazy human, why did I let her talk me into this? I can literally make money…”

“Aww…” Liz replied teasingly. “Is the super-powered-alien-hybrid tired after a hard night’s work?”

Grumbling and limping slightly, Ava stood up straight, glared at Liz, then grabbed the broom from the corner and began to sweep up the various bits of debris left from an evening of good-hearted debauchery. “Stupid boots.” She muttered. “I just had to look hot.” Liz appeared behind her and tapped her on the shoulder, making her jump.

Liz chuckled. “Relax, just going to make your boots a little more comfortable.” Bending down she touched Ava’s shoes and concentrated, picturing the high-quality leather and comfortable soles of her own boots. As soon as she was done, the hybrid let out a sigh of relief.

“That is so much better. You’re going to be outdoing me on powers before long.”

Smiling, Liz shook her head. “Never, but while we’re on the topic…what are the powers you all have, am I going to have the same ones? And what about individual powers? I know that each of you had more than one, are they the same as your powers in your past lives? Am I going to have more than one? And…”

Before she could continue, Ava held up both of her hands, the broom clattering to the floor. “Stop! I will tell you what I know, no more questions!” Shaking her finger in Liz’s face and smirking at her guilty expression, she picked the broom back up and began to sweep again, talking as she cleaned.

“Not all of our powers are the same as they were on Antar. Some are the same, some we have that we didn’t before, some we don’t have that we used to have, and some are just variations on our old powers.” Switching the broom out for a mop, she continued. “We can all manipulate molecular structures, something that only the most powerful could do on Antar, accompanying that comes some basic healing abilities. A small cut, broken bone, bruise; these are all things we can heal when in control of our powers.”

Liz had moved back behind the bar, washing dishes and listening fascinatedly, trying to match everything Ava was saying against the things she had observed over the past two years.

“Major healing however, is a power only Zan or Max has, and isn’t one any of us had in our past lives, although the Queen Mother did. I think they added it for extra protection, so he could heal himself and the rest of the foursquare if enemies attacked us. Also, we can all dreamwalk, although Vilondra and Isabel’s powers are significantly more advanced including the ability to create dreams, bring several dream orbs together into a group dream, and the ability to access people’s subconscious while they’re still awake. Vilondra had the same gifts in our first life.”

Finishing up the floor with a speed only an alien could achieve, Ava returned the mop to its closet behind the counter and sat down at the bar, accepting the drink Liz had made for her with a grateful smile. “That’s another difference. You’ve mentioned that Max had a severe reaction to alcohol. I think that was a flaw in his genetic makeup, since none of us ever had any reaction to it other than Rath turning into even more of a jackass.” She said with a grimace. “You and the others should all be safe to experiment, although fair warning; once your body adjusts, it’s almost impossible to get drunk.” She added with a grin.

Liz shrugged, raising her own drink to her lips and taking a long swallow. “I assumed that I was different at least, since I’ve been able to drink without a problem since I got here. Do your, our, bodies just metabolize the alcohol too quickly for it to affect us?”

Ava nodded. “Other than being abnormally healthy and exceptionally long lived, once our systems adapt to the environment, or in your case to the changes, we shouldn’t have any unusual reactions to foods or substances since our bodies can simply alter anything harmful into something benign. Very few drugs can affect us. And yes,” She said, seeing Liz’s curiosity. “You will be very healthy and probably very long lived now too, provided we aren’t killed of course.”

Liz raised an eyebrow and replied sarcastically, “That’s encouraging.”

Ava just grinned at her and took another sip of her drink before continuing. “We all can get flashes from a person or object; we all have the ability to move things without touching them, although some of us are stronger than others. That’s another hold over from Antar.”

Liz sat down next to her, still listening intently, and Ava tapped her glass against the brunette’s with a smile. “Now to the good part. Our individual powers are a little more complicated. I, as you know, can mindwarp, but I’m nowhere near as strong as you’ve described Tess. On the other hand I have strong empathic abilities and it doesn’t sound like she did.”

Liz laughed bitterly at that understatement, but waved for the other girl to continue, refusing to let her anger ruin this opportunity for knowledge.

“In our first life, I was equally strong in both. We also both can call fire, but it only activates in times of stress; it’s not something I had conscious control over in either life, and it came from our non-Antarian half. Zan, and Max, had strong persuasive abilities in the past, similar to Mindwarping but on an emotional level. He also had a very strong shield and the ability to use the personal connections we can all create to make someone trust him.” Shaking her head she did her best to hide the sadness in her tone. “He didn’t like to use his powers, said they weren’t fair.”

Liz reached out and squeezed her hand, giving her an empathetic smile. “I wish I could say the same about Max, but I no longer have faith in his moral strength.” She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “Maybe with me gone, he’ll be able to go back to how he used to be.” It was hard not to compare the Max who had yelled at her, bruised her arm, and tried to pretend nothing had changed when Tess left, with the one who had saved her life and touched her heart with sweet words and gestures. The last two years had changed all of them, and not necessarily for the better.

Ava gave her a faint agreeing smile and resumed speaking. “Other than her Dreamwalking powers, Vilondra and Isabel have the strongest offensive capabilities in the group other than Rath and Michael, including lower level blasting capabilities and the strongest telekinetic powers of all of us. Her connections with people involve less visuals and more depth of emotion which is one of the reasons she doesn’t form them very often, or in Lonnie’s case, at all.”

Pausing, she gave a knowing smile, her empathic senses had pinged every time she mentioned Michael and she had to wonder if Liz knew just how strong her feelings were for Ava’s cousin. “And then we have Rath, or Michael. He actually had the greatest strength and variety of powers which is why he had so many supporters on Antar who wanted him to seek the throne. He didn’t have foresight, but he did have a presentience for danger and change that almost amounted to a true gift of sight, earning him even more supporters. But he refused to give up his loyalty to Zan.”

Liz perked up, fascinated by that tidbit. Other than Courtney, they had never learned a lot about the group that wanted Michael to take the throne, and with hindsight, she had to wonder how smart it was for them to ignore that possible source of information and assistance. She cursed the blinders that future Max’s visit had placed on her and wished she hadn’t let her emotions turn off her brain for the past year. “I can definitely see the strength in him. When it comes to character and integrity, after everything we’ve, and he specifically, have been through, I would prefer him over Max, but he’s always struggled with his powers.

Ava smiled gently, hiding her amusement at the roil of emotions behind Liz’s words.
“It’s not surprising; Rath always struggled with his too. Because their powers were stronger, they were also tied to a greater degree to their emotions. In this life and the last one, he always struggled with anger. In his previous life, Rath had great emotional control and trained himself to always put others first, using his protective instincts to control his emotions. In this life, at least with our Rath, he had none of that control and so his powers, while strong, always came in fits and starts. I don’t know much about Michael, but from what you’ve said he puts others first, but hasn’t learned to completely control his anger yet, and until he does he won’t be able to control his powers completely either.”

Liz contemplated that for a moment, letting her mind drift back to the deserts of home and wondering how they were all doing, what changes had occurred in their lives since she left them. “I miss them all more than I thought, especially Michael. We were never that close, but I always knew I could trust him, with anything. And with the whole Tess fiasco he really came through for us, for me…” Trailing off she saw the questioning look in Ava’s eyes and shook her head. “I’m sorry, I just, I can’t talk about it yet.”

Ava leaned over and hugged her tightly before letting go and smiling brightly. “It’s okay; I know just how to distract you. Let’s talk about your powers!” Seeing Liz’s sudden smile and feeling her grief fade, she continued without letting the other girl speak. “From what I saw when you tried to electrocute me,” She stated with a wink, chuckling at Liz’s blush, “You definitely have strong offensive capabilities and you shouldn’t have much trouble learning to control them given how quickly you’ve been picking up the basic powers.”

It worried her a little, how strong Liz was, and what it might mean, but the best thing to do was help her learn how to use her powers so that they were prepared for whatever might come. “You’re very strong and you will probably remain strong in all of the group powers as well as whatever other individual powers you develop. As for what those might be…” She shrugged. “We’ll just have to wait and see, they could appear next month, or in six months.”

Ignoring Liz’s disappointed pout, and her own fears, she stood and pulled the other girl to her feet. “Now let’s go home and go to bed. I’m tired and my feet hurt and I know you’re making me do this again tomorrow.” She said darkly. “It’s time to enlarge the tub…”


~*~


Michael stretched, staring at the unfamiliar ceiling, and thanked his alien makers once again that he did not need a full eight hours of sleep. Jeff had told him just to crash on the couch after the impromptu boys club meeting broke up, as it was less than five hours until his shift started in the morning, and being a smart alien hybrid, despite many opinions to the contrary, he had taken him up on the offer.

He rubbed at the back of his neck and wished he hadn’t been so tired the night before. He still hadn’t talked to Isabel about leading him to Liz’s dream orb, and last night he had wanted to tell her about Max, about what he had learned. If anyone could give him an objective opinion about their situation, about where Max could have learned what he did and the differences in his energy, and if what Michael had done was the right thing, it would be the small brunette, who never seemed to let her emotions influence her decisions. It was a trait he envied.

Shoving those thoughts, and their accompanying emotions, aside to deal with later, he slipped out of the Parker’s apartment and headed for the break room, pulling a change of clothes out of his locker, and then headed for the kitchen once he was dressed to make a quick breakfast before his shift started.

The day was a long one. It was the last day before school started, and the knowledge that summer was over had hit the students hard, making them less than friendly and completely uncontrollable. He himself was actually looking forward to the semester starting; a fact that would have surprised the entire population of Roswell had any of them known it. The burning desire to go home had left him the day Tess blasted into orbit, and had been replaced by the desire to make the best of this life and this home.

They hadn’t officially discussed it, but it was his plan to find Liz once they had graduated, at the very least to make sure she was happy and safe, if not to stay wherever she was. After that he wasn’t sure of his plans, but knew he wanted to keep his family close, all of them. His duty, especially now, was to protect them, and the best way to do that was to blend in with human society. A big part of that involved graduating on time, which meant a very complete turn around that was bound to shock the hell out of his teachers.

Everyone was meeting at his house after work so they could go over everything he had found in the destiny book, and he made sure to pack a bag of food before he left since he knew they would be hungry and there was nothing edible in his house. It had been a while since Maria had done a grocery run for him and he had no time these days to do it himself.

Hanging up his apron, he left the restaurant quickly, ignoring Jose’s curses at his refusal to stay later and help with the dinner rush. He had already stayed two hours past his scheduled shift, and he still had a long night ahead of him. Just because he didn’t need a full night’s sleep, didn’t mean he wasn’t exhausted at the end of such a long day.

Kyle was there already to pick him up and the girls were meeting them at his apartment, which was why he told them a half hour later than when he really planned to get home so Isabel wouldn’t just let herself in. They reached his apartment ten minutes before the girls were due to show up and he cleared off the couch and the coffee table, laying out the translation papers andforbidding Kyle from eating next to them. Kyle was threatening him with ketchup soaked fries when the girls walked in and simultaneously rolled their eyes, making Kyle laugh and spill the soda he was drinking on some papers, quickly earning Michael’s wrath.

After banning Kyle to the kitchen and evaporating the liquid from the papers, he sat down with Maria cuddled up to his side. Relaxing into the peace he felt when she was around and tamping down his worries over her detachment lately, he dropped a kiss on her head, glad that she was there despite her reluctance to be involved in the ‘alien madness’.

After a moment, he became aware of how silent the room was, even Kyle had stopped eating, and he looked up to see Isabel and Kyle staring at him. “Well I guess you want to know what I found.” He said dryly. The blank looks didn’t change so he sighed and began.

He explained the history of their planet, how divided it was and its relation to the other planets they were allied with. What role they had each played, and what had led to their downfall. The look on Isabel’s face when he revealed that she hadn’t betrayed them was beautiful, her overwhelming relief as she turned away to hide her tears was clear to all of them. He explained what he had seen as he had skimmed through their group powers, and what he had found out about Max’s, warning them all not to let Max touch them since he wasn’t sure how long the binding would last.

“What about my powers?” Isabel asked when he was done, her voice mostly returned to its usual coolness.

Michael shrugged. “I hadn’t got that far. As soon as I found mine, I worked on figuring out how to use them.” Shuffling through the papers on the coffee table he handed her the ones dealing with their powers, letting her read through them herself.

After reading for a moment, she looked up. “Can I see the book? I wonder, I wonder if we could figure out how to read it.” Michael nodded, but before he could disentangle himself from Maria and stand, Kyle spoke up from behind him.

“I’m already up, let me get it.”

Michael frowned and gave him a warning glance. “Don’t go poking around my room Buddha Boy, the book’s on my bed; grab it and come back.”

Kyle smirked and sauntered off down the short hallway. “I’ll look in the closet and under the bed, steal your playboys…” He stopped suddenly, standing in Michael’s doorway and staring straight ahead as if mesmerized.

After a moment, Michael realized Kyle wasn’t just making a joke about the state of his room and jumped up, reaching Kyle’s side in four quick strides and stared at what had stopped the shorter man in his tracks. The book was floating in midair, glowing with a bright white light; it was opened to the foursquare page and it was changing. Tess’s face was already gone and Max’s face was halfway erased. As they watched, the page reconfigured itself. Michael’s face slid up to the first square, Isabel’s to the space below him. Then two new faces were etched in, eliciting a shuddering gasp from Kyle as his face appeared next to Isabel’s.

Michael had to suppress his own confused and oddly elated reaction as Liz’s face appeared in the former Queen’s square next to him. Seeing their faces, both glowing with that strange white light, felt right in a way that the idea of he and Isabel never had, and it disturbed him that the idea didn’t disturb him.

By then Maria and Isabel had come to investigate what was going on and were staring, equally entranced, at the book. They all gasped as it stopped glowing and clattered to the floor, Michael was the only one who didn’t jump. He stepped forward and picked up the book, snorting with amusement at the white faces of the three people staring at him from his doorway. Amusement was infinitely preferable to panic.

“What the hell am I doing in that book?!” Kyle asked vehemently as they all traipsed back into the living room, fear and anger coloring his voice. Isabel gave him a hurt look and he instantly softened, reaching out to touch her arm. “You know that’s not what I meant.”

Maria was staring up at Michael with wide green eyes, hurt and confusion shimmering on their surfaces. “I don’t understand; why are all of you in it, why, why is Liz in it?” She stopped and looked down, voice breaking. “Why aren’t I?”

Michael guided her gently to the couch, Isabel taking the other end and Kyle sitting by her feet on the floor. “I think it’s because Max healed them, but I’m not sure. Why doesn’t everyone grab some papers and we’ll see what we can find out.”

She nodded and he hugged her before handing her a stack of typewritten pages. Acting on instinct he looked down at the book in his lap and opened the cover, strangely not surprised to find that he could now understand the strange lettering. The book seemed to be completely attuned to him and as he watched, the words on the page changed, revealing the information he sought. Before he could clear his throat to get everyone’s attention, Isabel’s gaze raised to his, her eyes filled with the ghosts of the past, and he knew she had felt the same awakening he had.

When the book had changed, they had changed to, something inside shifting and awakening, making him feel more comfortable in his own skin than he had ever felt before. It felt right, just like using his powers to bind Max and seeing Liz’s face etched in alien metal. Looking into his sister’s dark brown eyes, he knew she felt the same way, and wondered why they had never felt this before. What had triggered all of this?

Maria and Kyle noticed the charged silence and looked up too, glancing back and forth between the two hybrids until Maria finally broke the silence by lightly smacking Michael’s shoulder. “What’s going on Spaceboy?”

She attempted to sound cheery, although only managed subdued, and he could tell that the situation was bothering her. He wished that the price of him feeling at home, didn’t make her feel so outcast, and remembered with a chill her words about escaping the alien abyss when they were camping. Wrapping an arm around her, he began to read, hoping the words would soothe everyone’s fears.

“The planet Earth was chosen for your new life because of its history with the Antarian people. Centuries ago, when our space travel capabilities were first flourishing, we sent out several expeditions seeking compatible life outside of our sister planets. Earth was one such world. To our great sorrow, the team sent to Earth suffered a fatal equipment error and was forced to land not far from where the four of you will sleep until your birth.”

“At the time only a primitive society had evolved; centuries, possibly a millennia away from being of a compatible technological level with our own. The natives were warm and friendly however, and helped our crew with their injuries, welcoming them into their society when it became clear that the ship was beyond repair. All of our ships with galaxy crossing abilities had been sent on similar expeditions, and by the time one returned and could reach Earth, our crew would be long dead and only their descendants would remain. So with courage, our people began their new life, discovering that despite certain superficial differences, they were biologically compatible with their new friends, and thus truly became part of their new world until all but the faintest traces of their presence have been erased by time.”

The room was silent, the four teenagers absorbing the epic information, the knowledge affecting each of them in very different ways. For Michael it was confirmation of what he already felt, that he was home. He did have family here, whether they knew it or not, and a small part of him couldn’t help but whisper an ‘I told you so.’ Riverdog was family. There was no doubt in his mind that their ancestors had joined the Mesaliko tribe those hundreds of years ago. And it meant that in a real way, he did belong in Roswell, just as much as those born in Roswell Memorial Hospital.

“Well your people sure like to talk.” Kyle suddenly said, the humor back in his voice and eyes as he interrupted Michael’s reverie. “That was more wordy than most of Liz’s ‘simple’ explanations.”

To Michael’s surprise it was Maria who laughed first, clearly doing her best to push down her hurt and confusion. “Come on Michael, read the rest. We still don’t know why Liz and Kyle got to join the freak parade.”

Squeezing her hand gently, he ignored the freak comment, and its accompanying pang of old fears, and continued reading. “We sent you to Earth with two hopes. The first of course, was that you would survive and grow, learning about yourselves, your past and create a new life, the one you didn’t have a chance to have before.” Michael paused, frowning. That sure didn’t sound like the ‘come back and rescue everyone’ crap that Tess and Nasedo had pushed ever since they showed up. It never had made sense to him that a whole planet would languish for fifty years, waiting for four reincarnated people to save them. He exchanged a brief glance with Isabel and then picked up the narrative again, hoping for more answers.

“We also hope that you will be able to find those on Earth who will be sympathetic to our cause. Join with human society and become familiar with their customs, but never forget your past or those of us left behind still fighting for freedom. It is our hope that you will be able to blend yourself with the humans as the first crew on Earth did. We have strengthened your genetic material and given you a much longer life span than is normal for a human or Antarian. Your descendants should combine the best of both races, and hopefully, with your help, be able to render us an alliance with those on Earth, enabling us to defeat Khivar and regain freedom for our planet.”

He stopped reading again, the words confirming just how much of what Tess had said was bullshit. Blending with humans had certainly never been mentioned in her little destiny spiel, and he had to wonder when Nasedo had made his deal, and what exactly it had entailed that didn’t involve killing them in their incubation sacks. Controlling his anger, he took a breath and read on.

“Your powers have the ability to affect those in your lives who are open to you and our plight, and change them to a level similar to your own in power and longevity. Only a major or continuous exposure to your powers and continuous time spent in your presence can affect these changes in willing individuals so do not be afraid to use your powers to help others.”

After a long silence Kyle let out a short, sarcastic chuckle. “So apparently I’m a willing subject; I want to be green.” Humor and something darker warred for control of his voice, earning a worried glance from Isabel.

Maria’s eyes were downcast and she scooted away from Michael. “And I don’t.” Her voice was quiet as she purposely avoided looking at any of them, the papers in her hand fluttering to the floor.

“That’s not true.” Michael said firmly, trying to pull her closer and feeling his gut tighten in dread as she resisted the gentle pressure of his hands. “It just means you haven’t been exposed to enough of our powers.”

Pushing him away, she stood, trying not to look at him. “No. I don’t want to be like you.” The silence in the room was so profound that Michael was sure they could all hear his heart stop beating as devastation flooded through him. “I’ve already lost my best friend; I don’t want to lose myself too.” Finally raising her tear-filled eyes, Maria stared into Michael’s shocked face and whispered. “I’m sorry.”

Then she walked out, leaving a broken man in her wake.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Whimsicality
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Re: When Dreams Change (UC Mi/L MATURE) Chapter 9 - 1/21 Pg 5

Post by Whimsicality » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:04 pm

A/N: So just to make things confusing, here's another brand new chapter that wasn't in the original, so as of today 11/16, this is the new chapter eleven, and the old chapter ten is still below it because it will be replaced by its rewritten version, now chapter twelve, in two weeks. Enjoy!

A/N2: So I lied, or rather forgot something in my previous AN :oops: The chapter I'm posting today, 12/21 (waaay late, soo sorry!) is the new chapter twelve, but it is also brand new, so the old chapter ten will still be below it in this post (meaning there are three chapters in this one post, two new, one old as of today), and will eventually become the new chapter thirteen the next time I post (this time for real!!) So sorry for the confusion.

A/N3: Okay! So finally, on 2/6 (waaay late I know) I posted the new chapter thirteen, bringing the number of chapters in this post up to a final total of three. That should lessen the confusion, hopefully. Also, points to anyone who catches my tiny crossover moment in chapter thirteen!




Chapter Eleven ~ Picking up the Pieces






Ava opened her eyes and sighed, wishing that Liz were ready to commune with the Granolith. Continuing to make the attempt herself was taking a toll and she was getting sick of the chronic migraines. Despite her bloodlines, she found it difficult to communicate with the being, to understand everything it tried to show her. Their family, her and Rath’s, were the traditional keepers of the Granolith shards, and before the Granolith had been shattered, they were its caretakers all the way back through Antarian history. But only certain members of their family could actually speak with the being, and in her previous life, she had been the first to attempt it in over a century. And, despite her years of study, she had only managed to barely scratch the surface of the being’s power.

She had a feeling that Rath, the original Rath, would have succeeded where she failed, but he had refused to try, not wanting to spark more discord between himself and Zan, or add more fuel to the whispers that he should be king. Rath in this life had no interest in such things, and his intelligence had been completely subsumed by his anger, and Lonnie’s wiles. Lonnie hadn’t wanted an equal partner, just a biddable lackey; more fool she.

Once Liz had time to heal from whatever had happened in Roswell, Ava wanted to speak to her about going back to find Michael, assuming of course that he didn’t come find her first in his role as protector. She doubted that the Roswell version of Rath shared the same weaknesses as the one she’d grown up with, and it would be a relief to surrender the burden of responsibility to the person it rightfully belonged to; or, at least, one of the persons.

Already she could feel the pull of the book towards her friend, could feel the Granolith’s wordless desire to connect with the other girl, who lived in steady denial of her own feelings. Liz was not what she expected from the brief moments they’d spent together the year before. That Liz had been stubborn and smart, but Ava hadn’t seen her as particularly strong, or powerful. She had sensed the difference in her, a faint tingle explained by her healing, but she’d had no inkling of how much power the small human would eventually hold

Being near Liz now, was like standing next to an open fire; her power radiated from her in waves that Ava could almost feel like heat on her skin. That would be their next lesson; learning to conceal her power so that she wasn’t a walking beacon for their enemies. Liz learned quickly, was ever curious, and her mind seemed perfectly suited to grasping the details of how their abilities worked. The only times she struggled was when instinct trumped logic, and then Ava had to remind her to stop thinking and just feel.

But aside from Liz’s growing control of her powers, Ava worried about the other girl, about how bottled up she was. She still hadn’t told her what happened to drive the brunette out of Roswell. All Ava knew was that somehow Tess had betrayed them and left Earth, and that Liz had subsequently fled, leaving the others behind and asking them not to follow. Ava had contemplated trying to contact someone in Roswell to find out more, but didn’t want to risk either losing Liz’s trust, or one of the others thinking that she was Tess and striking out in anger. Michael or Isabel were both perfectly capable of destroying her mind on the dream plane, whether they knew it or not, and she didn’t fancy being a vegetable for the rest of her life.

The tiny blond uncurled her legs and stood, stretching her arms over her head until she felt her spine pop and then walked from the living room into the kitchen. Liz was at class, she had started college two weeks before, and Ava had the house to herself for the next four hours before Liz would come home to start getting ready for their shift. They each worked two days from Monday through Thursday, but on Friday’s and Saturday’s they both worked, and tonight was the first of their two busiest shifts.

Once she had become accustomed to it, Ava was surprised by how much she enjoyed working at the bar. It was loud, and crazy, and filled with so much energy that her empathic abilities sometimes overloaded, but she loved every minute of it. It felt good to be earning her way, to be accepted as an employee, as a normal person, something all too rare in either of her lives.

And the flirting was fun too she thought with a grin as she pulled the fixings for a sandwich out of the fridge. The college guys couldn’t seem to get enough of her miniature doll looks and piercings, and flashing the tongue ring always guaranteed her a big tip, along with a few phone numbers scribbled on napkins. She never took any of them up on the offer; casual sex held little interest for her, and dating was clearly out of the picture, but knowing they wanted her was a unique kind of high, a pleasure she hadn’t experienced in New York when she had been unable to see past her love for Zan.

Liz got her share of numbers too, and all were tossed in the trash, the ones from dark-haired men usually crumpled first. Whatever had happened, had hurt her deeply, and despite Liz’s sunny outward demeanor, Ava worried that the scars weren’t healing, and wouldn’t until Liz was willing to talk about it.

The Granolith pulsed its agreement and worry in her mind and she sighed again, staring listlessly at the sandwich she had made, appetite lost to renewed pain and stress. All she could do was be there for her friend; offer her support and companionship, and hope that Liz opened up before someone else found them.

Pain that deep could cause permanent damage, especially to emotion-based abilities like theirs, and though Liz refused to admit it, they both knew that her involvement with the Royal Four, and their enemies, was far from over. For now, Ava wouldn’t push, but eventually, Liz would have no choice but to the face the demons of her past, or she would be consumed by the demons in their future.


~


Liz collapsed on a bench in the small grassy area outside the main campus building and closed her eyes, tilting her face up towards the sun, craving the suffocating heat of home. It was warm here, and bright, but never as warm or as bright as Roswell. The smells were wrong too. She had loved the salty tang of the ocean when she first arrived, and still did, but she missed the sweet desert air more every day.

Speaking with Isabel in her dreams had alleviated some of the pain of being away from home, but Isabel hadn’t come in two weeks, and Liz hadn’t yet worked up the courage to ask Ava to show her how to dreamwalk herself. After all, she had chosen to abandon her friends and family when life became too much for her, maybe they had decided they couldn’t forgive her for that betrayal. Leaving Max was one thing – but leaving everyone else – sometimes she wasn’t sure she had made the right choice.

She loved her life here in California. She loved her freedom, working at the bar, her new classes. She loved living with Ava, and was even becoming accustomed to the idea that she was no longer entirely human, although she wasn’t willing to dwell too deeply on what that might mean for her future.

But more and more, she was realizing that coming here hadn’t just been finding a fresh start, it had also been running away, and just as with that first summer after Tess showed up, eventually she would have to face the people, and the problems, that she had left behind. She could only hope that this time, once she had the courage to deal with everything that had happened, it wouldn’t lead to even worse events. Because looking back, it would have been easier if she had stayed in Florida, although not necessarily better. Who’s to say that without her, things would have played out differently? They might have even played out worse, at least for Michael, Isabel, and Max, betrayed by one of their own. As much as she loved, and missed, Alex, she knew she wouldn’t trade his life for the hybrids.

If she could go back, could change things, would she tell herself to stay out of the diner that day? To call the sheriff and say that she thought one of their customers had a gun? After everything that had happened when Max came back, she didn’t know if time travel was ever a viable option. Hindsight was most definitely not twenty-twenty. She didn’t know if she had stopped the world from ending, but she knew that Alex would still be alive, and that Max’s innocent son wouldn’t be in the hands of the enemy, if she hadn’t changed things irrevocably. No, there would be no more messing with time, no more attempts to make things right. No matter how tempting it was to try and reclaim her lost innocence, everyone’s lost innocence.

Liz would face her past, eventually, but only with a mind towards the future. The dreams of the girl who wanted to be head of molecular biology at Harvard were dead and gone. So were the dreams of the girl who had pictured herself in a wedding dress and practiced writing ‘Mrs. Evans’ over and over again. Pieces of those girls still existed inside of her, her love for science, and even her love for Max would never disappear completely, but she needed to figure out new dreams, new plans.

This Liz Parker had a family in Ava, a life of work and school, and powerful abilities that meant she would live in fear of the government, not to mention aliens, until she died. Which, if she listened to Ava’s occasional bouts of pessimism, might be a lot sooner than she wanted. She was trying to be proactive in learning about her powers, about the aliens past and possible future, but there was still a lot more to learn if she wanted to be prepared for whatever might come their way. No matter how much she wanted to pretend that nothing outside her carefully created bubble existed.

Taking a deep breath she opened her eyes, tasting the salty air on her tongue, bitter like tears. She needed to tell Ava what had happened with Future Max and Tess, find out what the other girl thought it might mean for them now. She also needed to face her remaining fears; Max to say goodbye, Maria to repair their lifelong friendship, Kyle to apologize for abandoning him in his darkest hour, and Michael to see if he would ever forgive her for what she cost all of them.

The salt she tasted now was no longer entirely from the ocean, and she swallowed, hard. Soon, she would be ready soon. But not yet.


~*~


Jeff watched Michael working in the kitchen through the open door of his office, concerned by his unusual silence. The boy had always been laconic, but he had become positively mute in the past two weeks, and he knew it had something to do with the way Michael flinched whenever Maria was around, quite different from their usual explosive relationship.

As awful as the cost was, Jeff had been pleased with the way Michael, Isabel, Maria, and Kyle seemed to have bonded together after the loss of their friends. Maria at least he had always considered a second daughter, and as the others became important to Liz, they had become important to him too. Unlike their friend Max, Jeff had never disliked Michael or Isabel, especially once Michael became an employee.

But two weeks ago things had changed. Maria was now on the outside of the group, willingly it seemed or he knew she would be yelling up a storm, and while Isabel and Kyle remained close, Michael had withdrawn from everyone, speaking only when spoken to and performing his duties with as minimal human interaction as he could manage.

The quality of his work was as high as ever, and he had been unfailingly polite to Jeff and Nancy as well as the other employees. Jeff also knew that he was doing extraordinarily well in school. The perks of being a son of Roswell meant that he had contacts everywhere, and Mary in the school administration was keeping him in the loop when it came to ‘his’ kids, especially Michael. He knew the boy was emancipated and he worked so many hours, even more so after Liz left, that Jeff had worried it would damage his chances of graduating. But the boy seemed to be balancing everything just fine, with the exception of his personal life.

He knew that Michael would never willingly speak to him about his problems, and wondered briefly if he spoke to anyone about them. He would have asked Liz, but Liz wasn’t here, a fact that still sent wrenching pain through his heart every minute of every day. Pain that her latest letter, filled with apologies and expressions of love, had done nothing to alleviate. The thought of his little girl, out there all alone, it terrified him and woke him with nightmares every night.

One of the reasons he worried so much about the boy he was currently observing, was that he knew Michael cared about his daughter too. Michael asked Jeff regularly if he had heard from Liz, and had promised to let him know if Liz reached out to him or anyone else in their group. Jeff cracked a smile at the idle thought that if Liz was here, he might have encouraged her to date Michael if he and Maria were really over, although he wasn’t sure if the girl code allowed it.

It was a strange thought for a father to have, but given his other choice of Max, or the highly unlikely celibacy until age thirty, well his baby girl could certainly do worse than the shaggy-haired young man flipping burgers ten feet away.

Maria’s voice suddenly rose in the diner and Jeff frowned as Michael visibly winced before his face returned to its previous stoic expression. Maybe he would ask Isabel about it, she had been very helpful over the summer, and if any of the remaining teens would know what was going on, it would be her. But right at that moment he needed to stop avoiding his balance sheets before Nancy started making him sleep on the couch again.


~


Diane peeked into the living room and smiled as she saw Isabel curled up on the couch with the Valenti boy, laughing. Laughter had become far too scarce in their house over the past few months, and seeing the happiness radiating from her daughter’s face made her heart clench and tears well in her eyes.

When Alex died, and Tess and Liz Parker both left, and Max started spiraling, she hadn’t known if she’d ever see Isabel smile again; real smiles and not just the plastic ones she put on for her parents’ benefit. She hadn’t realized that Isabel even knew the Sheriff’s son, but lately he had become a fixture in their house, and whenever he was around, Isabel couldn’t seem to stop smiling.

She pulled her head back, not wanting her daughter to catch her spying, and sighed, wishing her other child’s problems could be resolved so easily. Max had never opened up to them like Isabel had, had never fully trusted them, but she knew in her heart and soul that he loved them, that he wanted to be a part of their family. Which made his recent actions even more inexplicable.

Where had she gone wrong? Was there any way she could have shown him how much she loved him, how unconditional their roles as parents were? What had happened to take her quiet, straight A, unfailingly polite son, down the path that led to him sitting in a jail cell? She had been so thrilled when he showed an interest in Liz Parker, when he started breaking out of his shell, and while she hadn’t like the blond, Tess, quite as much, at least it proved that he was no longer hiding from the world.

But, as much as she wanted him to be who he really was, to not be afraid to make mistakes, she had never foreseen criminal behavior, and had no idea how to help him when he wouldn’t even tell the truth, wouldn’t tell them why he had done what he did. Philip was angry and suspicious and their meetings inevitably ended with Max retreating into sullen silence, refusing to speak at all.

Something had happened, something awful that had caused two girls to leave town and her son to change in ways so drastically that she hardly recognized him anymore, and unless one of her children admitted the truth, she didn’t know if the mess could be fixed.

Isabel laughed again and Diane smiled through her tears, feeling true joy that her daughter was moving past her grief, and true sorrow that her son could not move past whatever obstacles prevented him from living.

She could only hope and pray that he would be able to move past this, without the impetus of yet another trauma, because she couldn’t bear the thought of losing her son, not ever.


~


Amy leaned against his shoulder, her small sigh making Jim smile and worry at the same time. He was grateful that Amy had let him in, that despite the hardships of the past few months, his personal life hadn’t been so sweet since Kyle’s mother left him, since before that if he was honest with himself. But adding Amy to his life, meant adding one more child to worry about. Not that he hadn’t worried about Maria before, just not in quite the same way.

The teens were pretty good about keeping him in the loop when it came to alien stuff, but when it came to their personal lives; he was as clueless as any parent. He did have eyes though, and he knew something had happened to separate Maria from the rest of the group, something that made her restless and moodier than usual, and had turned Michael into a taciturn mute.

Amy had asked him for advice and he hadn’t known what to tell her. Other than alien related drama, both pre- and post-shooting, Kyle had been relatively easy to raise. They had the same interests, similar personalities, and excluding his son’s recent fascination with a fat philosopher, they didn’t have too many breakdowns in communication. Girls were different, more complicated, girls as volatile as Maria even more so, and without letting Amy in on all of the secrets he was keeping from her, there was nothing he could do or say to make the reasons for her daughter’s behavior clear.

Lying to a woman that he was beginning to love, it frustrated him endlessly. If Michael wasn’t so clearly going through something, he would have already approached him about telling Amy the truth. It wasn’t fair to her to have the two most important people in her life lying to her. And with Maria as a daughter, and if Jim got his wish and got to stay in her life forever, she would undoubtedly become a part of the alien madness eventually. Better for her to learn now, before a crisis came up, and before it was too late for her to forgive him for the deception. The next chance he got, he would speak to Michael about telling Amy the truth; he didn’t want to ruin this second shot at happiness, not if he could help it.


















Chapter Twelve ~ Moving Forward


Liz looked up from her textbook and frowned, the sensation of someone watching her making the back of her neck tingle. Ava was at work so the apartment was empty, meaning there was no way for anyone to be watching her; at least not anyone human she thought with a shudder. It wasn’t the first time she’d felt it since arriving either, she realized with a growing sense of unease. Maybe it was Ava, checking in on her; although she wasn’t sure the hybrid actually had the power to do that.

Or maybe, she told herself rationally, you’re just being paranoid. After all, given everything, she’d kind of earned the right to be paranoid, and with newly developing alien powers she wasn’t quite used to, it wouldn’t be so surprising if it was just her imagination acting up. Lately she’d been sensing things from people around her, noticing things she’d never noticed before, and it made her twitchy. Even her regular senses like sight and hearing were enhanced, which had led to some very impressive headaches after a long night at the bar, although her speed and accuracy with orders had never been better.

Giving up studying as a lost cause, she leaned over and set the textbook on the floor before reclining deeper into the basket chair, staring at her hands and willing strands of green electricity to come to the surface. The crackling lines of green danced across her skin with only a faint tingle and she smiled. It had taken almost a month for her to learn to control her most volatile ability, and only in the past three weeks had she learned to do so without pain.

Her grasp of molecular manipulation was almost perfect and she’d even come up with a few uses for it that Ava had never thought of, like practicing on blood samples until she could make them appear human in case of a hospital emergency like the car accident with Max two years ago.

Looking back, she had to wonder why the hybrids hadn’t worked harder on their powers. She understood their desire to hide and avoid suspicion, but better control of their powers would have made that easier rather than harder, and after two potential teachers showed up, only Michael had shown any interest in learning, although in retrospect Tess may have done more harm than good with her teaching, who knew what her plans had been.

From what Ava had said, the bulk of their powers didn’t start showing up until puberty, and had increased in strength since then, which especially in the case of Max and Isabel who didn’t have to deal with the stress Michael did, was plenty of time to experiment and try to gain more control. Maybe it was just the scientist in her talking, but she couldn’t imagine having these abilities and not wanting to know everything she could do with them.

She let the power cascading over her skin die out and bounced her foot restlessly. One of the perks, and frustrations, of her changing status, was that she needed less sleep, and had a lot more energy. Which, as a college student and working girl, were useful, but not so fun on her days off when she used to be able to veg out and now couldn’t hold still for more than twenty minutes without getting bored.

Working at a bar killed all desire to go to one recreationally, and at this time of night there wasn’t a whole lot to do that didn’t involve partying. She still hadn’t worked up the courage to ask Ava to teach her how to dreamwalk, but maybe she could figure it out on her own? Isabel had done it after all, although the blond did have a prior life’s instincts to draw on unlike Liz. She knew Isabel used pictures to connect with people and while Liz didn’t have whole photo albums like she did at home, she did have a few she could try, if she could decide who she wanted to risk visiting.

Jumping to her feet, she walked to their shared bedroom and pulled her journal out from the wall, a trick Ava had showed her in lieu of her balcony full of loose bricks. Tucked inside the journal were several photos from home, including one of her parents, who she desperately wanted to see. Seeing them like this would be a horrible invasion of privacy, but her guilt over leaving them overruled her guilt over taking an uninvited trip into their subconscious.

Liz collapsed on her bed, holding the picture with her left hand, and touched her father’s face with her right index finger, concentrating on that tingling pool of energy inside of her. The picture started to smoke. “Crap!” She exclaimed, yanking her hand away and quickly pulling all of her energy away with it as the picture fluttered down to land on the bed. The photo was warped now, but otherwise undamaged; the faces of her parents still clear.

Blinking back tears as frustration welled within her, she grit her teeth and picked the picture back up. She could do this. Closing her eyes, she slowly breathed in and out, lightly drawing on her inner core of power and trying to focus on how she felt when Isabel had visited her dreams. Unseen behind her tightly shut eyelids, a ripple moved over the surface of the photo as her consciousness flowed out of her body and onto the dream plane.

All around her were glowing orbs, some bright with color, some dim and gray. She was moving too quickly to see more than a brief glimpse of the strange landscape and suddenly found herself in front of a dark orange orb, currently streaked with flickering black lines. Something tugged at her and then she was inside, standing at the end of a dark alley in some unknown city.

Her father was standing at the other end of the alley, despondently calling her name as sirens echoed in the background. His eyes were dark with pain, and the look on his face was devastated. “Lizzy! Where are you Lizzy?” He sounded so lost and Liz felt her heart shrivel in her chest, what had she done to him?

The connection shattered as she lost focus and with a jerk she was back in her bedroom, sitting up on her bed and gasping as tears burned in her eyes. She fumbled unseeingly for the nightstand and managed to wrap her fingers around her small, prepaid cell phone. She dialed a number from memory and held it to her ears, praying that this wasn’t a horrible mistake, and knowing that she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t take the risk.

“Hello?” A sleep roughened voice asked and her heart started to beat again.

For a second she couldn’t breathe, and then she managed to squeak out. “Daddy?”

“Lizzy? Oh my god, is it really you? Are you okay?” He babbled, sounding nothing like her usually collected father. It made her smile.

“I’m fine daddy; everything’s fine. I just, I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too sweetie, come home; whatever happened, we can work it out. Just come home.”

“I can’t daddy.” She said softly, pain shooting through her as she forced cheer into her voice. “I’m in school. I have a job that I love, I even have a roommate.” She could picture his disapproving scowl at her last words and hurried to add, “It’s a girl, dad, a friend I met while I was in Florida.”

“Are,” his voice broke and she could hear him trying to gain control of himself before he spoke again, “Are you happy Lizzy?”

Liz remembered teaching Ava to cook, remembered nights dancing and singing while cleaning up the bar, thought of just how much she was enjoying her new classes. “Yes daddy, I really am.”

They talked for almost an hour and by the end of the conversation, she was pretty sure he’d be having fewer nightmares about her, fewer, not none. He was her dad after all, and she knew he would always worry about her. But, at least for now, she didn’t have to worry about him hunting her down, or asking her to come home again, at least not to stay. He still wanted her to visit, maybe over winter break, but she wasn’t sure she’d be ready to face Roswell again.

One thing she was ready to face, was further experimentation of her new powers. She wanted to see if she could duplicate what she had done with Isabel last year when they reached Max all the way in New York. She had no desire to see New York again, but peeking in on Ava at the bar should be both feasible and entertaining.

She didn’t have a picture of Ava, but she had lived with her, and trained with her, long enough that she was pretty confident she could find her energy signature without a focus. She had ended up pacing while talking to her father, and now curled up on the bed again, sitting in Ava’s favored cross legged position and concentrating on the petite blond who had quickly become as close as a sister. After several minutes of concentration, her mind slipped away from her body again, but instead of seeing glowing orbs, she was flying through the city streets, as fast and invisible as a phantom until she was surrounded by the loud bustle of Johnny’s. No one seemed able to see her and she turned in circles, searching for a streak of pink and the familiar glitter of piercings.

Ava was standing behind the bar, flirting, laughing, and serving drinks like a pro. Liz grinned proudly, then placed her hands on her hips and waited. She knew the moment Ava saw her, the other girl’s blue eyes widened and the pitcher in her hand dropped to the floor, the tinkling sound of breaking glass cutting through the bar chatter. Matt helped her clean it up, clearly worried, and Liz’s enhanced senses caught her excusing herself. She concentrated and appeared in the backroom just as Ava came through the swinging doors, eyes blazing.

“What the hell Liz? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!” She exclaimed, hands waving angrily in the air.

Liz laughed, disappointed to find that no sound escaped her lips, and shrugged. ‘Sorry.’ She mouthed.

Ava glared and folded her arms over her chest. “Experimenting without me I see?” Liz flushed and the hybrid shook her head, a smile twitching at her lips. “Well it is very impressive, but let’s save it until I get home, okay?”

The brunette nodded sheepishly and waved before closing her eyes and focusing on the apartment, the sound of Ava losing control of her giggles echoing in her ears as she flowed back into the darkness. She could feel the tug of her body and reached for it until something suddenly ripped her off course, sending her consciousness spinning in a direction she had no control over.

When the waves of disorientation passed she found she was back on the dream plane, in front of an orb that was a pulsing and malevolent black and sickly green. Something about the way it felt was familiar, but overlaying that familiarity, was another presence, something decidedly unfriendly.

Fear traced her spine with icy fingers as the pull towards the orb intensified. She fought against it with every ounce of power at her disposal, a rush of electricity spilling out of her until she was surrounded by a halo of pure energy. The pull strengthened until she could almost see tendrils of black creeping towards her with malicious intent.

Sudden anger overwhelmed her fear, and she wrenched herself away and out of the dream plane, one image flashing through her mind before she crashed into her body; the image of Max’s disappointed face.


~*~


Jim watched helplessly as tears streamed down Amy’s face. Her hands shook as she clutched the note Maria had left and his heart broke at the sheer misery radiating from her slender frame. Clenching his fists, he turned and plucked the phone off the wall, guilt and determination solidifying in his gut. It was time.


~


Michael groaned and rolled over, reaching blindly for the phone as he cursed whoever had woken him up at the ungodly hour of six in the morning on his day off. “What?” He growled into the phone.

It was the sheriff, sounding both panicked and firm. “It’s time Michael; bring Isabel and Kyle over to Maria’s house. Something happened and Amy needs to know the truth.”

The other man hung up before Michael could reply and he slammed the phone back on the cradle with another frustrated growl. Damn it all to hell. He didn’t need this, not now. He knew why Jim wanted to tell Amy the truth; he even agreed and respected his decision, but the last thing on Earth Michael wanted, was to be there when she found out exactly what her daughter had been sleeping with.

As for Maria, his heart clenched; the pain was fading, but it still hurt every time he saw her and remembered her words, remembered the look in her eyes when she told him she didn’t want to be like him. His shoulders slumped as exhaustion, physical and emotional, washed over him. Maybe it would have been better if he hadn’t stayed for her, if they had gone back to Antar. Yes, he probably would have died, they all would have, but Maria, Liz, Kyle, and the sheriff would have been safe, and his last memory of their relationship would have been of the night he and Maria shared, instead of the sight of her walking out of his apartment and out of his life.

Gritting his teeth, he stood and moved to his closet, disinterestedly grabbing the first clothes that came to hand and dressing in the dark before striding out of the bedroom and towards the front door, snatching his keys off the kitchen table before leaving. He’d ride his bike to Isabel’s and then they could take her car and swing by to get Kyle before heading to the Deluca residence.

It was the last place he wanted to go, but he wasn’t the boy who had tried to leave Roswell anymore. No matter how unhappy he was, he wasn’t abandoning his family ever again, and if that meant facing Maria, and Amy, well then that was what he would do. Even if it killed him, or, more likely, just made him wish for death.


~


Jim answered the door, his weathered face taut with worry. “Hey kids, come on in.” They followed him into the living room where Amy was pacing, wringing her hands and sobbing. Jim wrapped his arms around her and guided her towards the couch before pulling something from her fingers and handing it to Michael.

It was a crumpled and tearstained piece of lined paper, and Michael shot him a confused glance before smoothing it out as best he could and reading the words scribbled on it in sparkling purple ink, Maria’s favorite.

Mom, I’m so sorry to leave you with just a note, but I knew I couldn’t do it if I had to face you. I’m leaving, going to New York to try and pursue my music. Billy’s waiting for me so I won’t be alone. I just can’t do it anymore, I can’t be here without Alex and Liz, I can’t stay in Roswell any longer or I’ll never get out. It’s not Michael’s fault so don’t blame him, I’m doing this for me. I love you and I’ll call as soon as I’ve settled in. This will be a good thing, you’ll see, in no time you’ll be hearing me on the radio and seeing my face on billboards! I know I haven’t always been supportive about you and Jim but I know he makes you happy so I hope you keep him around. I miss you already.
XOXO, Maria.


Michael wordlessly handed the note to Isabel and moved closer to the couch, shifting his feet nervously as he stared down at Amy. “I’m sorry Mrs. Deluca, I never wanted Maria to be so unhappy here. If there’s anything I can do…” He trailed off as she lifted her face to meet his gaze, still sniffing.

“It’s okay Michael; you made Maria very happy when you were together, if anyone’s to blame for this it’s me. I’m not exactly a great role model.”

“No Amy, that’s not true.” The sheriff said, shaking his head and hugging her closer.

Michael nodded and added, feeling awkward. “I know Maria loved you Mrs. Deluca, she thought you were an amazing mom and I might not be the best judge, but I have to agree.”

“Thank you Michael.” Amy said, managing a shaky smile. “I just wish I knew what was going on with her; she used to tell me everything and now,” she gestured helplessly to the note before collapsing deeper into Jim, her shoulders beginning to shake once more.

“Well we can tell you some of what Maria’s been dealing with the past two years.” The sheriff said gently, his eyes darting to each of the teens before settling back on Amy’s face, which was shifting from sorrow to confusion.

“What are you talking about Jim?”

Michael sighed and sat down in the chair next to the couch, preparing himself for a long night. “He’s talking about us, about the secret that Maria found out two years ago, about why she’s probably safer in New York than she was here.”


~


“Well that was fun.” Kyle said sarcastically as they walked out of the house three hours later; three hours that contained more tears, disbelief, rage, and finally a kind of shocked acceptance that Michael was sure wouldn’t last. He could only hope that Amy would forgive the sheriff for his part in the deception, even if she never could forgive Michael.

A raging headache was pounding in his skull and there was nothing more he wanted to do than go home and collapse into bed, but telling Amy had made him realize that there was someone else who deserved to know, someone else who needed to know if he was going to keep his promise of having no more deaths on his conscience.

“I think we should make one more stop, if that’s okay with you guys.” He said quietly as they got back in Isabel’s car, both of the others turning to look at him from the front seat with a mixture of curiosity and concern. “We should go see Brody at the UFO center; if he already broke through the warp once, he might do it again and without Max…”

He trailed off, seeing the light of understanding flicker in both of their gazes. “He could end up like Alex.” Kyle said grimly while Isabel flinched.

Michael nodded and leaned his head back on the seat as Isabel pulled away from the curb, wishing for a little healing juice of his own to soothe the pain drilling through his temples. He could fix bruises and a broken ankle, but a migraine of this proportion was a little out of his league, despite the recent honing of his powers. So instead he focused on breathing in and out, and on pushing every single moment of the past five weeks out of his head.

By the time they reached the UFO center, the pain had dulled from blinding to merely unbearable, and he had managed to mostly suppress thoughts of Maria and her mother and how his world had come crashing down even as he finally found the answers he had sought all his life. It was time to give someone else the answers they needed, and maybe help a man regain the life he had lost because of them and their past.

Brody was just finishing up a slideshow for the few tourists who came to town after summer and the Crash Festival, and Isabel managed to catch his eyes with her trademark smile and shoulder lift. Michael snorted and Kyle grinned, although there was a brief flash in his eyes of something that looked a lot like jealousy or possessiveness to Michael’s brotherly gaze. He frowned, but before he could speak Brody had approached them.

“Hello Isabel, are you here about Max?”

“No, not exactly. Could we talk to you? Somewhere private?” She asked, smiling winsomely.

“Of course, of course, we can use my office.” The man said brightly, his perpetual enthusiasm wearing on Michael’s nerves even as he knew that confirming the truth of alien existence would send that enthusiasm through the roof. His headache was already getting worse.

Brody sat at his desk and gestured to the two chairs in front of it. Michael let Isabel and Kyle take the seats and chose to lean against the wall behind them, next to the door in case things didn’t go so well and Brody tried to bolt or they had to get medical help. They hoped that telling him the truth would prevent the warp from damaging his mind, but in all honesty they had no clue what it would do to him.

“Do you remember a few months ago? When you told us about a man named Larek?” Isabel asked gently, and Michael tensed.

Brody frowned, “That name, how do I know that name?” He reached up and rubbed his temple, lines of pain appearing around his eyes as he muttered softly to himself for several moments before his voice grew loud enough for them to hear him clearly. “I, I had a gun and I threatened people.” He shook his head, voice rising frantically. “What did I do? That girl, that blond girl, she made me forget…” His head snapped up and his eyes locked with Isabel’s, voice uncharacteristically harsh. “What is going on?”

Michael straightened and held out his hand, palm up, concentrating until a glowing ball of light appeared above it. “Aliens are real; you’ve met quite a few. You really were abducted Brody, by an alien named Larek, and we’re here to tell you why.”

Brody stared wide-eyed at the hovering ball of energy before his eyes lifted to Michael’s and he collapsed back in his chair. “Holy crap.”

Michael’s lips quirked into a smile and he closed his hand, extinguishing the light. He might have said it with different words, but the other man had perfectly expressed his sentiments. Holy crap indeed.
























Chapter Thirteen ~ Reconnecting


Liz gazed at the deep, midnight sky, a feeling of foreboding washing over her. There was a sense of electricity in the air that had nothing to do with her powers, and reminded her strongly of how she had felt in the cave as the four hybrids worked to activate the orbs. Fear swirled in her stomach in reaction to the building tension. Sleeping, dreaming, had become a nerve wracking prospect ever since her encounter with Max’s orb and this was doing nothing to reassure her.

Shivering, she glanced down the beach and noticed a dark figure sitting in the sand, staring at the crashing purple waves. Isabel was the only person who had ever visited the dreamscape, and Ava had taught her how to put protections on her orb against hostile intruders, something they both felt was necessary after her last hijacked excursion.

She coated her hands in crackling strands of electricity, wondering at the effects of a battle in the subconscious, and approached the figure, stopping when she was just a few feet away. Before she could say anything, it started raining, torrents of warm water falling out of the imaginary sky, and the person turned towards her, a heartbroken face revealed to her questing eyes.

“Michael!” She gasped, dropping to her knees beside him and wrapping her arms around his broad frame, her normal reluctance to invade his personal space completely erased by the devastation in his warm sienna eyes. “What happened?!” Michael wasn’t the sort of person who broke down often, or ever. She hadn’t heard from Isabel in more than two months and only something horrible could have prompted this; visions of dead bodies all too similar to Alex were flying through her mind. “Is everyone okay?”

He was shaking and while he didn’t lean in to her embrace, he didn’t pull away either. “She left.” He finally said, his voice lost and broken. “I stayed for her and she left.”

“Maria?” Liz asked dumbly, wondering what could have driven her best friend to leave the man she had fought so hard to let her in to begin with.

“She didn’t want to be like us; she didn’t want to change.” He choked on the next words. “She didn’t want to be like me.”

The pain in his voice broke her heart. Someone else hadn’t taken Maria away from him; she hadn’t left because of his personality or a fight, but simply because of what he was, and for Michael…that would crush him. He was so sensitive about who he was and what he was; he craved acceptance even as he rejected it and this was the ultimate betrayal. Liz felt a surge of anger at her best friend and tamped it down. She didn’t know what had happened and it was Michael who needed her now.

“It’s not your fault, Michael. It’s her problem not yours.” She stated firmly, gripping his chin so he couldn’t look away from her. “If it was you, then I would have freaked out when I started changing but I didn’t.” He looked doubtful and her voice softened. “You did not chase her away. You did everything you could to make her happy; you gave up all of your hopes for seeing your home for her, if that wasn’t enough then there isn’t anything you could have done.”

He hadn’t tried to turn away so she let go of his chin and smiled, her arms still around him. “The rest of us are still here, we love you, and even if you wanted it, you’re never going to be alone again.” After that she fell silent, feeling a little nervous about her declaration no matter how true it was, and projecting all of the feelings of acceptance that she could, hoping that her words had penetrated his depression.

The rain changed as suddenly as it had begun, changing to a sprinkle of small warm droplets that fell on her upturned face. Michael pulled her into a breath-stealing hug before letting her go and shifting away from her slightly, his gaze moving to the ever-changing waves. He remained silent for a moment and she held her peace, giving him time to recover from his unusual display of emotions, something he didn’t have a lot of practice in.

“Thank you.” Was all he said when did finally speak, his fingers reaching out to rest on hers as the two of them watched the ocean in comfortable silence, until the sun rose and it was time to return to the real world.

Liz woke up with a smile on her lips, the peace she had felt sitting next to Michael still pervading her being. It had felt right having him there in her dreams, and she found herself hoping that he would come back, a hope she didn’t dare dwell too closely on.

Remembering why he was there in the first place brought an angry frown to her face and she decided she would actively seek someone else’s orb for the first time since her father. Isabel’s first to catch up on what was going on and find out what had happened from a more objective perspective, and then she and her best friend were due for a talk. For more reasons than just Michael.

A sudden clatter from the kitchen brought her to her feet and she grinned as she padded down the hallway. It seemed Ava had taken her up on her suggestion to start cooking.

The sight that greeted her amused eyes almost sent her to the floor with hysterics. All three pans and four bowls they owned were on the counter, plus half the food in the fridge. Ava’s hair was up in a loose ponytail that now had half the hair falling out of it and there was actual flour smeared across her left cheek. Her frantic blue eyes met Liz’s laughing brown ones and she wailed. “Pancakes are evil!”

Biting back her laughter so she didn’t stress her friend out even further, she walked around the counter and took the shaking glass bowl out of her hand, setting it down next to the sink. “What happened?” She asked calmly, leading Ava towards their new kitchen table and seating her in one of the four chairs.

“I wanted to surprise you with breakfast. I know you like pancakes and I asked Matt last night, and he said I should find a recipe, but all they needed was eggs and butter and milk and flour, and if you wanted something else you could add it in, and then you dropped the batter in the pan with some butter and flipped them and that was it, and I couldn’t find a recipe so I thought I would just try and then I dropped the eggs and I grabbed the wrong white stuff and it tastes wrong and I don’t know what to do!”

Liz added not needing to breathe to her mental list of alien abilities and wrapped an arm around Ava’s shoulder. “It’s okay. We’ll fix it and I’ll teach you how to make pancakes. We will also go buy you a cookbook; you can pick out any one you want. Okay?”

Ava nodded, grimacing as she reached up to wipe the flour off her face. “I look like a cornball.”

“Don’t worry; you’re still a badass chick from outer space, even if you do look adorable.” Liz said dryly as she stood and handed Ava a dishtowel. “I’ll wash, you dry.”

Pouting, Ava took the towel and started putting food back into the fridge as Liz piled dishes in the sink, both of them sidestepping the eggs on the floor with the ease of someone who worked in the food or beverage industry.

They finished cleaning in companionable silence, only the occasional teasing comment heard amidst the clatters and running water. Afterwards Liz got dressed, Ava got cleaned up and they left to go out for breakfast. It was their shopping day and besides Ava’s cookbook, they also needed to run some errands. Their day passed in relative harmony, ending with a very successful dinner by Ava before she had to leave for work.

Liz spent the night doing homework, still reveling in the fact that she was learning again, challenging herself. She and Isabel were taking certain similar classes, and before the months of silence, had planned on comparing notes to gain new perspectives, something she hoped they could still do. She had missed school a lot; something that most normal teenagers would consider grounds for committal to an asylum, but that didn’t change the fact that she just loved learning new things, discovering new ideas she had never considered before, and that she actually enjoyed the classroom environment. Yes, she had been learning a lot about her new powers and the alien world she had unwittingly entered, but that knowledge had all sorts of fears and dangers that her formal education did not.

She left the living room light on for Ava and went to bed, falling asleep rather quickly, her mind seeking Isabel’s before her eyes were fully closed.

The next day was Friday and they both worked that night, fully enjoying the excellent tips from the drunken college students who still had spending money from their parents. The period of broke desperation wouldn’t set in for another couple months, and a flirtatious smile and wink was all it took to pad their spending money. The two of them had finally convinced Matt to update the music in his ancient jukebox and the customers loved it.

The last drooling coed filed into a waiting cab and they locked the door with happy grins. It was the first weekend that Matt had let them work alone, and so far it was going wonderfully. No major incidents, great business, and happy customers.

“That guy totally wanted to take you home tonight.” Ava teased. Liz flushed and ignored her, scrubbing the counter diligently and refusing to think about the leather clad man from earlier who had easily reached Michael level hotness. “He was totally yummy and you know it.” Ava continued, bumping Liz’s hip with her own as she passed, not noticing the way Liz blanched as she realized what she had just thought. Had she really just called Michael hot? Not that he wasn’t; but she wasn’t supposed to think about him that way, was she?

Focusing on the conversation with Ava to distract herself, she rolled her eyes. “Yummy he was, but I’m not interested. His brother seemed to really like you though, even if he was a lot quieter than flirty boy.”

Ava giggled. “Maybe, but he was like twice my height! And they were both carrying way too much baggage, not to mention some weapons.” She said, tapping her nose to indicate the smell of metal, and oddly enough salt, they had both picked up on around the two men, who had only had so much opportunity to flirt because of the way Liz and Ava had wanted to keep an eye on them.

Moving to the jukebox, Ava slipped in a couple quarters and made a selection, looking over her shoulder at the brunette. “But enough talk about boys, let’s party!”

Liz groaned, her head rocking back as she closed her eyes in resignation. “Ava…”

“You know you like it.” The blond stated with a grin, turning the volume up with a wave of her hand as the strains of ‘Crazy Bitch’ filled the room.

Liz sighed inaudibly, but finally smiled and went back to cleaning, singing along just as loudly as Ava.

Since it was the first of their two busiest nights they had more cleaning to do. Not bothering with any more quarters, and after repeating ‘Crazy Bitch’ two more times, Ava waved her hand at the jukebox and altered it to play continuous, random tracks.

After a brief moment of whirring, the next song began. A moment later and Liz stopped mopping, her fingers white as they gripped the wooden handle, and her eyes sliding closed to hide her pain. ‘Well my girl’s in the next room, sometimes I wish she was you.’ “Please turn it off.” She managed to stammer out, unpleasantly surprised by how much the memories still hurt.

Ava obliged and then walked towards her, opening her mouth to speak when a sudden click at the door caused them both to turn.

All of the blood in Liz’s face drained out as someone stepped into the room, dark eyes locked on hers, sending her heart into her throat where it struggled to escape.

Ava glanced back and forth between them, the terror visible on Liz’s features freaking her out. “It’s your friend Liz; you knew they’d find you eventually.”

“No!” Liz snapped, her hand shaking as she raised it to point at the figure. “That isn’t my friend. My friend is dead, Tess killed him.”


~*~


Isabel stared at the rubble around her, broken bits of stone and crystal and other material, millions of memories destroyed in a single, thoughtless act. A minor loss compared to the rest of the devastation in their lives, but one that affected her all the same. Closing her eyes she concentrated intensely, bending the dream to her will. When she opened them again, the pod chamber surrounded her in all of its original glory. She smiled and trailed her fingers over the rough edges of the sack that had kept her safe for almost fifty years. Here in her dreams she could still see it as it had been, the only place she had ever felt close to her original mother, the elusive woman who had sent her millions of miles away to have another chance at life.

“I miss you mom. I don’t even know you, but I miss you. We’re doing okay, we finally know why we’re here and maybe, maybe someday we’ll see you again.” She said into the silence, blinking back tears. “Max, he’s not doing so well, and I don’t know what to do.”

Before she could continue, someone cleared their throat behind her and she whirled, hands raised defensively.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt you.” Liz said apologetically as she stepped out of the shadows.

Isabel dropped her hands and gave a weak laugh. “Only fair I guess, considering how many times I’ve interrupted your dreams.”

Liz smiled, seating herself on a large boulder. “You’re always welcome, even when you ignore me for weeks on end.”

It was Isabel’s turn to smile apologetically. “I’m sorry; it’s just been really hectic these past couple months. With the book and Max, and Maria, not to mention school…” She trailed off and chose a boulder for herself. “I’m sure you have lots of questions.”

Liz nodded. “Yes I do, but a specific one first. What happened with Maria? Michael…he visited my orb last night; he was upset and he said Maria left, but he didn’t explain what had happened.” She shrugged, a worry line appearing between her eyes. “I was hoping you could fill in the blanks.

“Normally that would surprise me,” Isabel said with a sigh, “But with everything that’s happened lately, well at least he’s reaching out, even if it isn’t to me.” The blonde straightened, her voice firming as she pushed her emotions aside to deal with later.

“We figured out about Earth and our abilities, and how Kyle and you are changing a little over two months ago. Maria, she freaked. At first she was upset that she was the only one not in the book, not changing, and then she realized she didn’t want to be and broke up with Michael.”

Liz frowned, but nodded slowly, she could understand Maria having that reaction, but one thing wasn’t clear to her. “What do you mean she was the only one not in the book? Do you mean the Destiny book?”

Isabel’s eyes widened, “Oh! I’m sorry, sometimes I forget you aren’t here, you have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”

Liz shook her head, smiling slightly, and biting down on the impulse to explain about Ava and just how much she did know. It was Ava’s choice when she was to be revealed to the others, and she wasn’t ready for that yet.

“Michael and I can read the book now, and it changed. Max and Tess aren’t in there anymore; instead you and Kyle are, paired with Michael and I respectively.” Isabel explained, clasping her hands together to hide her nervousness and hoping that Liz took the news better than her best friend.

The brunette’s jaw dropped. She knew she was in Ava’s book, but she hadn’t really thought about what that might mean to the Roswellians book. Max was gone? Kyle was in it? The pairings Isabel mentioned, that meant that they were the new foursquare, but what about Ava? Where did she fit in? Liz cleared her throat when she picked up on Isabel’s nerves and smiled shakily. “Well that’s interesting. How did Michael handle all of this?” She asked in a not so subtle bid to change the subject.

Isabel nodded, indicating her understanding, and moved on. “He didn’t take it well, became a hermit again, just going to work and school and reading that damn book. He only talked to us when we talked to him and never talked to Maria, who never talked to him either. She still talked to Kyle and I, wanted to be friends, but it was awkward.” Isabel admitted, smiling hesitantly at the other girl. “Then finally, about three weeks ago, she left a note for her mom and went to New York.”

The hybrid sighed, shaking her head. “Maybe it’s our fault for not trying harder to include her after she and Michael broke up, but ever since she left Michael’s been worse. It wasn’t until today that I actually saw him smile or start a conversation. I think I know why, now.” She said, managing a smile as she wondered deep inside what had led her brother to go to Liz; if it was just friendship or if Michael had finally moved on to the girl she had always thought he liked, but ignored because of Max.

“It’s not your fault.” Liz said first as she mulled over everything Isabel had just told her, everything except the few tidbits she was choosing to repress at the moment. “I love my best friend, but I also know her, and she’s never been completely comfortable with the whole alien thing. Realizing that it wasn’t comfortable with her either would have been enough to send her packing, especially without me or…or Alex to help support her.” She finished, voice breaking slightly as she met the other girl’s gaze with a shared flash of grief.

“As for leaving Michael, I think, in her own strange way, she was trying to save him pain by leaving him free to find someone who would be okay with what he was, and with becoming what he was.” She shook her head and gave a half smile. “Not that he wanted someone else, but Maria tends to think she knows what’s best for everyone, regardless of their own opinions. Just another of her loveable quirks.”

Isabel laughed, strangely heartened to hear Liz talk about her best friend that way. It reassured her that Liz wasn’t going to be angry with them about Maria leaving; Michael wasn’t the only one with rejection issues. “You should also know that Amy and Brody both know the truth. Jim didn’t want to lie to Amy anymore now that they’re getting more serious, and Michael didn’t want to risk Brody being hurt.”

“How did Amy react?” Liz asked, wide-eyed. She understood telling Brody, and respected Michael all the more for why he had done it, but Amy, that was risking a nuclear explosion.

“About as well as you’d expect. She’s forgiven Jim now and they’re still dating, although not quite as intensely as before, but she goes out of her way to avoid the rest of us.”

That was about as Liz had expected, and she was glad that Amy hadn’t rejected the sheriff, after everything he’d been put through since helping them save Max; he’d earned a little happiness, they all had. “Well, that’s enough of the serious stuff, if there’s anything I need to know about Max you can tell me later. How’s college?” She asked, leaning forward with a bright smile and locking away thoughts of destiny and Michael to be dealt with later.

Giggling, Isabel leaned forward too, her voice taking on a conspiratorial tone. “Well the classes are fun, but the boys are simply hilarious…”


~


Two hours later Liz rested in her own dreamscape, still smiling. She found it odd that she got along better with Isabel now, when she was miles away and no longer dating her brother, than she ever did in Roswell. Odd, but definitely good. Letting her smile fade away, she steeled herself and sought out her best friend’s orb, far from its usual home.

Maria was sitting at the fountain where Liz had told her about future Max all those months ago, staring into the water and holding a guitar as she strummed the beginning chords of ‘Strange Attraction.’

Liz couldn’t help but smile as she watched, then walked over and sat down next to her.

Maria looked up, clearly startled, and then gave her a wan smile as the realization that this was more than just a dream settled in. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; I knew you were changing.”

Liz nodded, but remained silent, studying her best friend for a few moments, noting the changes since she had last seen her. She looked worried and tired, more than she used to, but she also appeared happy and despite the hurt she had caused, Liz couldn’t help but be glad that the only best friend she had left was doing well. How could she blame Maria for wanting to escape? Wasn’t that what Liz had done? Maria was strong, but she needed people who understood her and with both Alex and Liz gone, it wasn’t surprising that she had finally realized the alien life wasn’t for her.

Maria shifted uncomfortably as Liz stared at her. “So, how’s life wherever you are?” She finally asked, breaking the silence if not the tension.

“I’m doing good; working, going to school, I even have a roommate.”

Maria smiled sadly. “We were supposed to be roommates in college. I’d be your eccentric bohemian friend who didn’t actually go to University just community college, and you were going to be my insanely smart bookish roommate who was going to save the world from cancer or something.”

“Or something.” Liz agreed, remembering the day she had supposedly saved the world and wondering just how much good she’d actually done, if any. “We were also supposed to have normal boyfriends, boring lives, and both still be in Roswell, toiling away in my parents’ diner. Nothing happened the way it was supposed to.”

“I guess not.” Maria said with a sigh. “You’re here about me leaving aren’t you?” At Liz’s nod, she grimaced. “I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’m not like you Liz, I don’t embrace the unknown. I might be considered the bold, loud one, but you’re the one with real courage, not me, and I’m not willing to give up all my normal, boring dreams.”

“None of your dreams are normal or boring.” Liz stated with a smile as she bumped her shoulder against Maria’s, happy to see a sparkle returning to her best friend’s eyes. “And I know how hard it was without me and Alex, I’m sorry.” She added softly, reaching out to take Maria’s hand. “Michael will be okay. I think, in a few months, you two should talk in a dream, work everything out.”

Maria nodded hesitantly. “I guess that would be okay. I didn’t mean to just leave him, but I couldn’t think of any other way to do it that would hurt him less.

Liz squeezed her hand. “It’s okay, you did hurt him, a lot, but he still has Isabel and Kyle and me, he’ll be alright.” Seeing the sadness flash over the blonde’s face, she decided she’d made her point and changed the subject. “Now who’s this friend of yours, and how’s New York?”


~


Several hours later and several states away, a brooding, teenaged alien stared at the chemistry homework in front of him, and smiled at the thought of the tiny brunette who was the only person he knew that people thought of when looking at complicated chemical formulas. Thinking about Liz helped him not think about Maria, and with the brunette’s face in the book next to his he had plenty to think about.

Kyle hadn’t started changing yet, but he could tell from Liz’s dream that she had, and not only had she changed, but she had excellent control of her powers, probably better than his had been before these past few months, and he couldn’t help but wonder where’d she learned that control. Something to ask her the next time he visited her dreams, something he needed to know as a protector, and as a friend.

He wasn’t sure why he had sought her out, why it had been Liz who was privy to his loss of control instead of his sister or even Kyle; but that night, when his repression techniques stopped working, she had been the only one he was drawn to and somehow, inexplicably, he had found himself in her dream orb the moment he fell asleep, despite Isabel never leading him to it. He supposed it was only fair that she got to see him show weakness, considering how thoroughly he had invaded her personal thoughts when he stole her journal.

She amazed him. Then and now. Her reaction couldn’t be more opposite than Maria’s, even though she had personally experienced more betrayal and loss at their hands then anyone other than Alex. She accepted him, comforted him, no matter that her entire life had been destroyed. Max really was an idiot; he never should have chosen Tess over the brunette, no matter the provocation.

Thinking about Max drove away all sense of peace and happiness and he frowned, pushing away his textbook. Max must have found another alien to teach him about his powers, and the only aliens on Earth whose existence he was sure of were Nicholas, Rath, Lonnie, and Ava. The last choice was unlikely, but if Max had found, or been found by, any of the first three – Michael’s fists clenched in anger and frustration – that would be disastrous.

Ever since they used the orbs, confirmed the past Tess had been telling them of, Max had been different. It wasn’t immediately evident at first; he was still pining after Liz and rejecting all things alien, something Michael had understood and not pushed that summer because of what Max had gone through in the White Room, something Michael still felt guilt and rage over. But then Liz had come back, those stupid rumors about her sleeping with Kyle spread around, and Tess had become Max’s shadow.

Michael had watched helplessly as Max distanced himself more and more from everyone but the blonde girl, as he grew angrier and more controlling, his worst traits magnified and his best ones suppressed. When everything exploded – Alex’s death, Liz’s accusations, Tess’s pregnancy and betrayal – he had hoped that the devastation would be enough to snap Max out of whatever funk had come over him. Instead, he had gotten worse.

The Max of two years ago, no matter how impulsively he acted when he healed Liz, would never have held up a convenience store, would never have invaded his family’s dreams, and would never have sought out another alien, preferring to remain as human as possible. Whether it was Liz, Tess, or some other catalyst, something had irrevocably changed the boy he once called brother.

Now Michael just had to pray that Max didn’t figure out a way to break through his binding. He had already reinforced it once, but he could tell that Max had been actively fighting it and if he succeeded, Michael wasn’t sure what the other boy would do, or what he himself would be willing to do to protect the family he had left.

He looked up at the clock and groaned, then pulled the chemistry book back towards him and finished off the last few equations, anticipating another “Well Michael, look who got another A, see what happens when you try?”

In addition to his new academic status, the Parkers had begun to train him to be the official assistant manager, increasing his responsibilities and pay, and ensuring that he wouldn’t need to find another job when his government aid ended next month. His life had changed, and was still changing, on all fronts, and so had he, making him wonder what had happened to the angry teenaged alien who just wanted off this planet. Maybe he finally grew up.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:49 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...

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