Not Written Yet (K/T,M/L,ADULT) Part 5-complete! Apr 10 '05

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Not Written Yet (K/T,M/L,ADULT) Part 5-complete! Apr 10 '05

Post by Chrisken » Sun Jan 23, 2005 8:54 pm

Author name: Chris Kenworthy
Title: Not Written Yet
Coupling/Genre: Kyle/Tess, later Max/Liz and possibly others.
Rating: ADULT
Disclaimer: I didn't create 'Roswell', I didn't make it a TV series, I didn't originate the plot of 'End of the world' or any others -- I'm just adapting them.
Summary: Something triggers Liz's suspicions about Future Max's mission, and Tess learns what it really means to trim the lamp.
Author's comment: I hope many people like this... it might be the start of an ongoing series, 'Kismet Unchained.' Expect the unusual.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2000. 6:57 pm.
Valenti house.

"He can figure it out on his own, they all can," Tess Harding insisted, pacing the length of the room, next to Kyle's bed... or was it her bed, now? She shook her head dismissively, a simple blonde ponytail bobbing about behind her. "They didn't even know where the *pod chamber* was until I came along." She looked Kyle in the eyes for a brief moment before turning away in frustration. "I hate this life!"

With that, Tess collapsed to sit on the corner of her bed, palms resting heavily on her knees, torso bent forward, and let out a deep sigh, then a more normal breath. "I feel better."

Kyle was pushing his knuckles lightly against his cheek, near the corner of his mouth, in a nervous gesture he didn't even notice for staring at her. "You look really great when you're pissed," he blurted out. He linked the fingers of his hands together in front of him, stepping one pace closer to her.

She barely paid that any attention. "Yeah, right."

"No, I'm serious," Kyle insisted. "I feel, like, all this energy coming from you. 'In order to trim the lamp of wisdom,'" he quoted, spreading his hands out flat against each other, "'we must attend to our bodily needs.'"

That got Tess' attention, and she looked up at Kyle out of the corner of her face, a quirky expression transforming itself into quiet amusement, and then reserved interest. With sudden resolve she took to her feet again, standing quite close to Kyle, her eyes focusing steadily on his face.

At that moment, more or less, Liz Parker was stepping up to the door of the Valenti househould, and about to ring a bell, when a rather pensive and weighty expression came to fall upon her own features. She toyed with some important new thought for only a few seconds, and then turned around, without announcing herself after all. Kyle and Tess, therefore never knew that she had been so close to their proximity, and so nearly about to interrupt the scene that was playing itself out in the bedroom.

"Let me tell you something, Buddha-boy," Tess breathed throatily, shifting her weight slightly from foot to foot. "I got a lamp that needs some SERIOUS trimming."

He looked back into her face for a few seconds, gathering up his nerve and hoping that Tess wasn't playing some obscure joke on him, as she seemed so often to be doing. But the avid look she was shooting back at him seemed sincere, and when Kyle bent forward, tilting his head slightly and putting his hands lightly on her forearms, she met him, passively but acquiescent, and their lips met.

Compared to her standoffish body language in the instant leaning up to it, Tess' kiss itself was anything but indifferent. Something indefinable sparked between them in that instant, a searing fervor born of the sudden discovery in each of them, of someone who was drawn to them, fascinated and intrigued.

The clinch quickly deepened and grew more passionate, Tess instinctively letting her lips part for Kyle's questing tongue, coming through to meet with hers. Kyle's hands traced their way up her arms, across Tess' shoulders and upper back, meeting to stroke her skin lightly at the base of her neck, while Tess reached her own arms around Kyle's body and clasped them at the small of his back.

As the frenching got more and more serious, there were balance problems, each of which seemed to make the next one more precarious. Eventually, Tess backed away, at an angle, and sat herself back down on the corner of the bed. This meant, as it happened, that Kyle was wrenched forward into an awkward crouch, his lips still up against hers, and her arms still circling around him.

He let go of the kiss at that point, mumbling something which definitely did not qualify as english, but succeeded in conveying the problem to his make-out partner. Whether the solution was also mentioned in Kyle's untranscribable palaver, or something that Tess hit on herself, was something that no-one will ever know, but it was solved quickly enough: Tess let go with her arms and turned herself at a slight angle on the edge of the bed, so that Kyle could sit down next to her and kiss her again. He did so, quite quickly.

The soft mattress underneath their seats and upper thighs was comfortable, and encouraged Tess to experiment. She sucked on his upper lip softly, and then began the tongue play herself, stroking the face of his front teeth and the inside of his lip with her soft pink organ. Kyle's hands were in motion again, his left hand stroking her back through her multicolored silk sweater, and the fingers of his right were softly running through her hair, between forehead and ear, sending a tingle through her. Wanting to return the favor, she ran her palm along his chest, and then daringly dived underneath the bottom edge of his grey t-shirt (which had come untucked at some point or another,) to tickle his flat, sleek stomach.

The breath was forced out of Tess all at once, and she realized that Kyle had laid back on the bed, stretching out his legs, and pulling her onto him with that one hand, which was still flat on her back. Her weight was mostly resting on him... her chest, or the left half of it at any rate, pressing down firmly against his, and each of them had one hip pretty much pressing against the other's crotch. The sudden intimacy of contact was tremendously exciting, and she could feel her heart rate pick up... heck, she could feel his heart rate pick up, they were so close, not to mention a few other bodily changes; the stiffening of a bulge in Kyle's pants and of sensitive nubs, snugly encased inside her bra, and a semi-familiar twinge of activity further down.

Tess' ponytail was falling down past her head to graze Kyle's chin, and she was aware of a strong and masculine scent filling her lungs. Kyle smiled nervously up at her, and began to rub the side of her torso, up and down, (well, towards her head and towards her feet, which wasn't really up and down at the moment, since she was mostly horizontal,) with all of his hand. Tess' breath caught as the repeated tug this way and that on her shirt began to further stimulate her ardent breast...

Her breast -- which Kyle's hand was creeping slowly closer to as he repeated his motion. Tess froze for a second, and then smiled, encouraging him on...

"Hey, where are you two??" The voice called, calm and strong, up the hall, and Tess practically spun over Kyle and off the bed, nearly losing her balance and grabbing the small dresser underneath the window with both hands. Kyle sat up in concern, offering a helpful hand, but his face was full of panic as he recognized his father's voice.

Tess shot him a look that was supportive, mutually guilty, and supressing a laugh all at once, and they stayed very quiet, trying to calm their overactive hormones as much as possible before answering Jim Valenti. When he started saying hello again, Kyle replied "Yeah, dad, I'm in here. Tess was... was asking my opinion on doing a little redecorating."

Footsteps came up the hall, and Jim opened the door -- Tess gave him a tiny wave hello, though she seemed to be trying to make her cheeks pale by sheer force of will. Jim didn't seem to pay much attention to anything but the irregularly shaped blotch of pink color over the head of the bed though.

"Maybe something else, alright??" he said softly. "The grain of the wood on these walls is so naturally beautiful, why would you want to cover it up? Maybe a stain??"

"Umm... sure, alright," Tess managed to choke out.

"Nothing on for dinner?" Jim continued. "It was your turn I think Kyle."

"Erh... I kinda got distracted," he muttered.

"Well, I guess we could order in some delivery," the Sheriff mused. "Mexican sound good?"

"Sure," Tess breathed, and her knees shook once Jim was out of sight. Kyle, who seemed to have recovered more of his composure, laid a finger silently across her lips, his eyes straying to notice how full and luscious they were, and smiled. The expression in his eyes promised that this was not over or finished, simply postponed for a more appropriate time and place.

She smiled shyly at the thought and followed him out of the room, ducking into the bathroom as Kyle headed out to the living room.


Early evening.
Streets of Roswell.

Anyone who followed Liz Parker as she left the Valenti place would have been somewhat puzzled as to her agenda. But there was no such person, unless you think of yourself as 'following' her through this narrative, which is entirely up to you.

She first hurried back through the long avenues towards downtown, but not quite back to her home at, (strictly speaking, above) the Crashdown Cafe. She hurried quickly up the street opposite, paying intense interest on a particular darkened storefront, then after walking past it for perhaps thirty seconds, she did an abrupt about-face, hurried back and let herself in with the largest key on the flying saucer keyring that Amy DeLuca had given her two years before.

She closed the door of the congressional office behind her quickly and scanned the interior carefully... worried about something. But whatever, or whoever, she was looking for was definitively not present, and so quickly she began to search the premises, abstracting a second set of keys from a small drawer and using it to inspect every part of every room as quickly as she could.

Once she had found one particular item, though, Liz stopped almost instantly. She tried to slip the heavy black device into her pants pocket, but there was no way that it would fit, so she grabbed a nondescript black purse, stuffed it inside, and left the office at a dash. She looked around as she left, nearly in a panic, and hurried down to second street, wondering when the next eastward bus would come.

It took about ten minutes to arrive, without much incident, and she rode all the way to Wrangler street, the nearest stop to Max's house, and also the end of the line where the bus turned about to head back across town. Liz walked up the street, and then did a sudden double-take, grabbed the purse and looked at it. She found a hedge and managed to make a hole where she could put the entire bag without it being obvious unless you knew exactly where to look for it. Something seemed to be nagging at her about leaving it behind though, and she opened up the purse, looking through what all had been inside it before she made her own addition.

She was in luck, apparently. There was paper and two black pens, and she sketched the designs from the top face of the black device onto a sheet of typing paper, then folded up the paper and put in, and a pen, into her pocket. Then she re-stowed the purse and ran up to Max's door.

Max's father answered the door, but he was at home, and soon the two of them were in the Evans' back yard. "What's this about, Liz?" Max asked nervously. "You seem really upset about something."

"It... well, it's complicated," she muttered. "I... you remember that black pentagon device Brody Davis had at the UFO center?"

"Umm, yeah."

"I just found one in Whittaker's office."

Max's eyes widened for a second. "Oh. So maybe those things are connected with our enemies... with the skins. One may have lost his or gotten killed, and that's how Brody got his hands on it."

She nodded. "I didn't fool around with it much, but there seems to be a way to adjust it to any of five settings. That has to have been why it blasted Michael but not you... Davis fiddles with his every so often, and it was on a stun setting for Michael and a nonresponsive setting for you."

Max nodded, and she brought out her paper. "I sketched the designs onto here," she mentioned, showing him the rough five-segmented shape. "There's a blue bar on the side which I think indicates the active setting. Do you have any idea which setting symbol it was on when you saw it??"

Max frowned. "I'm not sure if I even noticed a blue bar."

"Concentrate, Max. This could be important."

He paused for a long few seconds. "Could be this one," he said, tapping one of the five glyphs, "or maybe this. I can't be certain of anything, though." Liz scowled, and then quickly wiped the expression off of her face. "Why is this so important, anyway? I admit, it could be a useful weapon - IF it affects the skins the same way it does us. But..."

"Oh, never mind," Liz mumbled, making a few tiny marks on the paper with her pen and folding it up again. "I'm sorry I bothered you with this."

"No, I'm glad you told me." Max sighed. "Liz, I have tickets for a Gomez concert in Santa Fe, this Friday. I'd really like it if you could go with me."

Liz blinked in surprise, and a low whine escaped from the back of her throat an instant before she could clamp it off. "Max, I... I'll have to think about it."

"Alright," he told her. "Tell me by tomorrow, if you can."

She smiled, and started to hurry off. "Hey, can I give you a lift back downtown??" Max asked. "I was thinking of eating at the Crash anyway."

"Of course you were," Liz muttered under her breath. She weighed the situation carefully for a few moments. "Alright."

When Max dropped her off in the parking lot, she said thanks and quickly hurried up the street, then crossed it and back down. When she came back into Whittaker's office, HE was there this time.

"What the hell is going on?" he growled. "Tess was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago. He already went inside."

"I don't think she's coming," Liz said flatly. "I didn't go and get Tess after all."

His face... Max Evans' face, more than a dozen years older, twisted into cold anger. "And why, exactly, not??"

"I, uh, I... I'm having a lot of problems with this so-called 'plan' of yours!!" Liz squeaked, suddenly afraid. "You say that Tess is the key, that if she'd been with you, you could have won. But it doesn't sound like you've even seen her since she left Roswell, which was, what, at least thirteen years ago your time. How can you be sure?"

"She's the only chance that we've got left," Future Max growled. "And I have other sources of information... sources that I can't tell you about because it would disrupt the timeline. You cannot know too much, or the disruption might be even greater than the good of the mission I'm trying to complete here. I'm walking on a knife edge!!"

"I'm sorry about that," Liz told him flatly. "But you're going to have to give me *something* more if you want to convince me to go ahead with this plan. There has to be some other way, some other ally that could give you at least as much power as Tess could. And even if it's all up to Tess, there has to be some other way to convince her to stay in Roswell... some other way to make her bond as a part of the group without tearing my life and Max's life apart, for the good of the world!!"

Future Max was just staring at her. "He asked me to go see Gomez today," she sighed. "I want to go with him SO much, and I really don't see why it should be up to me to have to sacrifice that."

"I didn't think it was this early," Future Max said with a small smile. "I remember asking you to Gomez... you turned me down, and I was crushed, yet again. That night, I stayed in Roswell myself, not using any of the tickets. I came to your balcony, and..."

"Oh my god," Liz breathed. "What happened??" Future Max didn't answer. "That's what you meant about changing, and growing deeper, isn't it?" She stared up into his eyes. "You made love to me?"

"We made love together," Future Max corrected, with a slight smile. "And yes, that's when it started. It didn't take Tess long to notice that something had changed with us. She ran away before December."

Liz shook her head, frustrated with how he kept bringing the subject back to Tess. "Well, what if I just agree to go to Gomez, and leave the hot sex for later??"

"DO YOU THINK THAT THIS IS A JOKE, LIZ??" he roared, waving his hands expansively. Something seemed to tug at one of Liz's legs, and it nearly slipped out from under her. She managed to make her way to a chair and sit down.

"You could have hurt me," she said loudly, taking special care to let the surprise and disappointment show in her voice. "How is it possible, that you, of *all* people, could hurt me??"

"I didn't mean to," Future Max insisted, hurrying over and bending down as if to look at her leg.

"I'm fine," she insisted, shooing him away. He sat up on the edge of a table and looked down into her face.

"I never thought I could hurt you myself," he admitted. "But... Michael and Isabel were killed. Things looked bad for you, and Serina and the rest of the people I care for, at the time that I left. I swore to myself that I would NOT let that happen again."

"I don't think that hurting and threatening me is going to help you much," she muttered, "and killing me would be especially counterproductive. Maybe you should just try to find someone else to pull of your plan - I just can't do it, Max!! I promise that I won't try to interfere, if you do."

"It's got to be you, no-one else," he insisted. "Maybe... if I tell you what I can, will you keep an open mind, think about what I'm telling you? I'm no more eager to give up everything that I remember, about you and I, but I really do think that it's necessary."

"Hmmm." Liz thought. "Alright. What can you tell me about our life together? Did we get married??"

"We got married in Vegas," Future Max said, and chuckled to himself as Liz's mouth dropped open in disbelief.


8:20 pm.

Liz made time that evening, after making sure that Future Max had gone away to wherever he was staying when he wasn't trying to destroy her life and wasn't following her, to visit Michael and talk to him about about the alien pentagon as well. He seemed very irritable and frustrated, and didn't have much that he could tell her, since he had never gotten close enough to get a good look at Brody's pentagon when it had zapped him.

When she got back to the Crashdown, it was getting late and not many people were around. Alex was sitting in a booth and he waved Liz over as soon as he saw her... as she got closer she noticed that he was nursing a root beer float. "Not a good sign."

"Hey, Parker," Alex smiled tightly. "Have you heard the latest?"

"Ummm... what do you... did you see..." Liz shrugged to herself and shut up. "I'm not sure. What is it?"

"About Michael, and Maria, and Courtney??" Liz thought for a moment.

"I don't think so, assuming the latest is less than a week old or so."

"Oh well then..." Alex sighed, and Liz realized that he was really upset about this. "Let's see. Courtney hanging around the kitchen, kinda flirting with Michael, right? And completely in front of Maria."

"That's old news," Liz said, sighing.

"Just setting the stage. Michael says that he's still suspicious about her, the way she just kinda showed up in town this summer, the fact that Whittaker had pictures of her. He thought there was something more about the way she was so 'interested' in him all the time, like maybe she had a notion that he was..." Liz nodded. "Well, Maria kinda broke into her locker here at the cafe while no-one was around, and found a circle of 'our three friends'..." The way he said that last phrase was clearly emphasized, "and Michael's face was circled. She got a little freaked and started asking if anyone knew where Courtney left when her shift was over, and Jose said that Michael gave her a ride home on the bike."

"Oh, man." Liz groaned.

"Yeah. She gets over there, and Michael says that he's just trying to get to the bottom of things, and then Courtney comes into the room wearing a towel and nothing else. Maria freaked out and left at that point."

"Hmmm." Liz thought about that. "Well, I can understand why she's upset, and knowing Michael he's probably being a usual dumbass about it. but I'm not sure he's entirely in the wrong. I mean... what if he really WAS just trying to go undercover, as it were. Pretending he's interested in her as a guy hot for a girl, trying to use that to figure out her secret." She sighed.

"Yeah, I thought about that too." Alex nodded. "But I'm not sure if it's a good idea to tell Maria that... she's REALLY upset about the whole thing."

"Hmmm. Maybe that's the best reason to try to broach the subject with her." Liz stayed silent a moment, pensively. "I know that it would tear me up inside if it were Max who had to do something like this... to try to get close to some girl by dating her, kissing her, what have you. But if I knew he were doing it for the right reasons, I think I could manage. Because I would know that he's thinking about me, inside. I can't believe that Michael really feels more for this Courtney girl than he does for Maria."

"No, not when you put it like that maybe," Alex said. "But I'm not sure I'd put it past him to fool around with a pretty girl for a passing diversion, because she's less high maintenance than Maria is." Liz frowned at that thought.


9:55 pm.
Edge of town.

"I'm not really sure that this is a good idea," Tess muttered, slowing down to take the unmarked turn-off that Kyle had pointed out.

"Come on, Venus-girl," he whispered. "Trust the earthborn. This sort of situation is exactly why there's a makeout point in every town in America with at least three teenagers, or so." He thought about that a second. "Well, not precisely this sort of situation, in that usually the kind of people who are sneaking out and doing what we're wanting to do are not living under the same roof and worried about the same parental figure finding them, but that's a harmless anomaly. Umm, where was I?"

"Trying to convince me that the best place to trim our lamps is in my car," Tess replied with a bit of a sardonic edge.

"Well, umm, first off, to be precise, trimming the lamp of wisdom is the part that comes after," Kyle clarified. "We should probably keep that straight. And to be honest, I'm not sure how far we're going to be able to get towards 'satisfying the urges of the body' here... but it's better than trying to do it at home with my dad hanging around all evening. And -- well, do we really have any alternative venues available?"

"Hmmm... well, there's... no, probably not. Or we could, ehh, that's probably not a good idea either." She sighed. "Well, we *could* go back to my dad's house... it wouldn't take too long to fix up a little love nest or something... and I'm sure there's not much chance that a killer alien would really come back there. It was probably just Whittaker who broke in and searched the place, and she's dead now." She shot a predatory grin over at Kyle. "The element of fear will probably just make it hotter."

Kyle blanched a little. "Uhh, well, I'm up for it if you are!"

Tess thought. "Nah, we can try that tomorrow. For tonight, I'm content to do it the human way." She laughed, and parked the car in an available clear space, a little away from anything else, though they could see some other cars nearby. "This good?"

Kyle thought. "Yeah... not a primo view, but then I can just look over at you." He chuckled, and Tess blushed a little. "We don't really need scenery, do we?"

"I guess not."

Kyle turned on the interior light to its dimmest setting and looked speculatively at Tess for a few seconds. "You really don't have much experience with this, do you? What, was that time you and Evans made out in the rain your first kiss?"

"Kyle!!" she exlaimed in sudden mortification. "Technically, the second, but the first was so pitiful that I really wish he *was* the first."

That set Kyle back for a second. "What was your life like, before you came here to Roswell, anyway? I mean, I know you and Noriega moved around a lot, but did you go to school like a normal person?"

"Almost like a normal person," she bit back. "I, I dunno, I guess I just--"

"Didn't mix socially with the inferior homo sapiens much??" he asked softly. Tess looked over at him and nodded sadly.

"Well, I have to admit, I'd never have guessed it from that kiss you gave me back in the room... or kisses, I suppose. You got moves, girl; must be a natural. But, well, I have to say I have a little experience in this area, so let me show me a few things. Come on." He opened his door a crack.

"What, where are you going??" she asked. "I thought we were going to..."

"Back seat," he explained. "More comfortable. No gearshift or other stuff in the way. Does it recline all the way back, by the way??"

"Umm, I think so," she said, getting out of the drivers' seat herself.

Once the reclination had been arranged, they sat next to each other on the vaguely-flat back seat, and Kyle kissed her again, gently and sweetly, and broke off, looking deep into her eyes in the dim light. He brought his lips back to hers again, but this time they didn't stay there, instead making their way up the side of her face to her ear, and then down her throat to the smooth skin of her neck. Tess gasped at the sensation, her eyes glazing over slightly, her breathing becoming deeper and more regular.

Kyle once again moved off a little and looked at Tess, grinning to himself. "Never felt anything like that before, huh??" She caught his eyes and shook her head a little, still gasping softly. "Necking. Another 'homo sapiens' classic pastime. Well, we explored first base pretty thoroughly this afternoon... wanna give second a try??"

"Second... second base?"

"Yep. You've heard of it I assume?"

"Well, yes, but never been sure exactly what it..."

"Then let me demonstrate," Kyle chuckled, "and tell me if I'm going too far." His fingers suddenly began to work, quickly and with no apparent lack of ease, on the tiny buttons running down the front of the plain blue cotton shirt she was wearing. Kyle had told her to change before they left, and she was also wearing a fairly short pleated skirt, and had decided to let down her hair. She smiled as he unfastened the last one in what seemed like record time, and shrugged the material off of her arms and tossed it into the front seat with gusto. Kyle wasted no time in tugging up the hem of the next layer down, a dark gray linen camisole undershirt, and Tess laughed softly as she lifted her hands above her head so that Kyle could remove that as well.

Kyle seemed to beam as he watched her for a moment, only wearing a pale pink lycra demibra above the waist, but didn't make any move to remove it immediately, to Tess' obvious surprise. Instead, he focused his attention on the pale flesh that had been exposed already... stroking and caressing her trim belly and lower back, bending over to nuzzle and nibble affectionately around the skin of her shoulder and collarbone.

It might have been a diversionary tactic. Tess was so absorbed in the sensations of these simple caresses that she missed the moment when the clasps holding straps together behind her were popped open, and gazed up at Kyle pulling the cups gently away from her bosom as if he were a magician pulling a string of colored hankerchiefs out of her mouth. Kyle smiled, and moved his head up to kiss her again, adoring her tongue with his own as his fingers traced the bare curve of her breasts for the first time. The first time, for *any* fingers -- well, except her own.

The impact of Kyle's ministrations was beginning to hit Tess more and more solidly... her eyes were screwed up in the delicious intensity, and her body was already rocking back and forth on the seat in restless anticipation. His talented fingers teased their way along the undersides of her firm titties, up the sensitive line of her cleavage, and then he released the french kiss, taking in every bit of the beautiful sight before him, tucking a lock of Tess' loose hair behind her ear. He kissed her again, this time with his lips closed. His mouth turned up into a smirk of anticipation.

Kyle then directed the attention of his hands for the first time to her nipples... well, the right singular in point of fact. First brushing his fingertips over it so lightly that she could barely feel them, then touching more definitely and retreating, then stroking the swelled nub softly, and rubbing it more firmly. Her rich pink node, already indirectly stimulated from the previous foreplay, reacted by redoubling its growth and sensitivity, and Tess moaned clearly around his lips. Kyle tweaked the sweet node playfully, then pinched it delicately, and then bent down, leaving a trail of kisses and soft licks along Tess' upper torso until his lips could pay worship to the temple of her bosom directly.

He licked and sucked at the center of her right breast first, while working the left nipple with his fingers to allow it to play catch-up, and Tess had just about enough clarity of mind left to lean back at what she hoped was a helpful angle, supporting the weight of her upper torso on one arm and the interior side of the car as well as she could. Kyle responded by alternating quickly between the left breast and the right, astounding her with the variety of his tricks, now blowing gently on the smooth sensitive flesh and making her shiver, now nibbling, and lapping at the slightly more textured skin of one areola and finally, sending her over the edge of madness by taking her left nubbin between his teeth and chewing on it, ever so carefully.

"That's it, enough teasing," she babbled. "It always feels like it's plenty, plenty to bring me over and content me, just from what you're doing there at second base, but it never is. Please, Kyle, finish me!"

He smiled that smile at her that promised such devious delight. "Lie back down, all the way, and pull up your skirt."

Tess giggled to herself happily as she followed her instructions, and then did one other thing. Waving her hand in the vicinity of the pink thong panties she had put on, the material suddenly seperated from itself and fell away. Kyle's mouth dropped open.

"Handy little talent," he muttered, shaking his head with a broad smile. But it didn't take long for him to move in, beginning to manipulate her slick lips and proud little mountain with his suppple, attentive fingers, and then bending over to attack her venus peak with his tongue and lips, licking softly at first, and then sucking at her clit and getting more inventive with it.

Kyle gasped in confused surprise, but continued on, and it didn't take long for Tess to explode, her body convulsing and a wave of moisture emerging from the depths of her crevice, which Kyle tasted eagerly, then licking and nuzzling her inner thighs as she came down. "How was that?" he asked her after a long moment, smug as a cheshire cat.

"You were amazing," she said, quickly moving to try to put herself into some kind of better order. Kyle reached out a hand to restrain her. "I like you better looking just like that."

She blushed, and contented herself with cleaning up the seat from the little pools of sweat and other fluids that had gotten onto it, using a tiny box of tissue paper that seemed to have emerged from nowhere. "You... did something happen to you, just before I..." she asked hesitantly.

"Yeah, I kinda... I saw something, though I'm not sure I know what it was. I'd rather not talk about that, right now, is that alright?" he mumbled.

"Okay, sure. Well, now, as I understand earth customs, it's appropriate for me to return the favor now??" Her face seemed to gleam in anticipation.

"Up to you... I certainly wouldn't object. How do you want me?" After a second, he added, "Do you, I mean, know what to do, or would you like me to lead you through it??"

"I think I have a few n-notions I'd like to try out," she stammered. "I've never been this far before in person, as you know, but I've... well, I did a little research over the net this summer. Didn't want to be left behind." There was a pause, and then she blurted out, "I mean, I don't know exactly what Max has done with Liz, but..."

"Hey, here's an idea," Kyle broke in softly. "Why don't we just not talk about Max like that, when we're together, huh?? I don't think that leads to anywhere good."

"Alright," she said, "I'll do my best. Now, why don't you just lean back and, umm, open up -- and let me know if I'm doing something wrong or missing anything obvious, all right."

"Okay. Like this??" Kyle tried lying across the back seat crosswise to the length of the car, and it seemed to work pretty well, unzipped his pants and took his member out of his boxers, shrugging both them and the jeans down a little way. It wasn't hard to see, even in the dim light, that his general was not at full attention, and Tess chose the same technique that Kyle had used on her to remedy that problem - begin the foreplay in other areas. She bent her head down over his at an angle, kissing him lustily, her bare breasts pressing against his still-clothed chest. Laughing nervously, she ran her hands all through his hair, disarraying it and caressing his scalp everywhere that she could, and teasingly used her knee to check if his cock was ready for her attention. It felt stiff and stupendous.

"Ready for it?" she asked him in a soft purr.

"Ohh, I think I'm ready. You're doing very well so far, I have to say." Kyle chortled to himself.

Tess rearranged herself, orienting on his hefty erection, first devouring it with her eyes, and then exploring it with hands and fingertips, trying an experimental pump and feeling the soft trace of sticky lubricant adhere to her skin. Daringly, she brought her mouth into play quickly, sticking out her tongue to lick the head. Kyle's enthusiastic groaning encouraged her to continue tonguing her way up and down the shaft several times, and then she took his head between her lips, sucking hard, licking the tip of his member within her mouth, and swallowing as much as she could, letting the length of his rod go back to the edge of her throat again as her hair fell about his upper thighs and right hip. She inhaled quickly and then gave him another hard suck.

"YEAARHHHH!!!" The discharge of thick sticky paste in the back of her mouth caught her by surprise, but also quickened her heartbeat in a good way, and she swallowed the knot of salty cream instinctively, pulling back a little and letting her tongue curl about his meat. Bllamm -- there was a second eruption of come, and she had to open the corners of her mouth to try to take another breath before even attempting to swallow again, and the sensation of cool air hitting the saliva his rod was bathed in made Kyle's anatomy let go of another half discharge. Tess swallowed gamely, traces of semen already leaking out of the corners of her mouth, but some of the viscous mass tried to go down the wrong way and she coughed violently, with the result that a tiny spot of mixed sperm and phlegm landed on the back of the passenger seat headrest. Kyle quickly removed his sensitive flesh from the vicinity of Tess' teeth, afraid that something might go wrong.

"Ooooh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Tess muttered, picking up the box of tissues again and wiping away the evidence of her misdeed. "I know, I know that was not the right thing to..."

"It's okay," Kyle insisted, putting his hands on hers, and gathering the blonde girl into his embrace. "It's not like this was on purpose, and frankly I wouldn't have been that offended if you'd spit out intentionally. That's not so important. What does matter is... you give a hell of a hummer, girl!"

She tittered nervously. "You really liked it?"

"Of course I did!" He tucked his equipment back inside the boxer shorts, and took a tissue to wipe away the spots at the corners of her mouth. "Well, you've come, I've come, and it's getting pretty late. We should be heading back, or the fuhrer's going to wonder what's up."

"In a minute, okay?" she told him. "I just want to sit here for a bit, and besides I'm not sure if my brain and muscles are getting enough blood yet for safe driving."

So they rested in the back seat, arms around each other.


11:43 pm.
East side.

A car door opened, and Liz crept out of her mother's car. Her mother's car, which she was not allowed to drive, especially not without asking, and past her curfew. But her mother was asleep already, her father would be watching television for at least another forty-five minutes, and she had one small matter to attend to.

She waited until the traffic across Second was clear, (muttering to herself that she should have braved the left turn and parked on the north side if she weren't a wuss,) and hurried over towards the stretch of greenery near the bus stop.

"Yes!!" she muttered, finding the object of her search still undisturbed -- Whittaker's purse. "Can't believe I forgot this when Max asked to drive me back downtown," she muttered under her breath on her way back. "Though I kinda did need to go with him, and couldn't risk picking it up and having it close to him when I still don't know what setting it's on. But I could have come back here earlier maybe."

Sighing, she got back behind the steering wheel and realized that she would need to make a left after all, to get back on the street heading back west towards home. "Damnit."

Last edited by Chrisken on Wed May 18, 2005 7:54 am, edited 7 times in total.
Read my other roswell stories!

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the Rowan tree's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." From 'the farthest shore', Ursula LeGuin.


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Post by Chrisken » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:00 pm

Part Two

Thursday, October 26th, 2000. 6:37 am.

Liz crept out of the small door to the fire escape and surveyed the streets and buildings spread out before her, still lit by streetlamps as morning twilight began to break, and then hurried down to street level.

She walked first past the congressional office, looking inside as she had before, and then getting her bearings. It was a few block's walk, and then up a staircase and down an exterior hallway, open to the night air, trying not to be noticed. She paused at the door reading 215. She didn't have a key for this door, at least, not right here. There was a key for it on the keyring in the office, but she hadn't felt too comfortable carrying those keys around with her and in any event, if there was no-one to let a caller in, she had no reason to enter. She knocked softly.

After a long pause the door opened, and a semi-familiar face framed by unfamiliar long locks of dark hair looked out at her. Max's future self. "How did you know I'd be here?" he asked softly, letting her into Vanessa Whittaker's apartment.

"Seemed like the most logical place for you to go," she said softly. "Nice central location, low profile."

"And why have you come?"

"Because there are more questions that I want you to answer," Liz announced doggedly, staring into his eyes as hard as she could.

After holding the stare for several seconds, Future Max led her into Whittaker's spartan but elegant... well, let's call it a sitting room for the sake of argument. He pulled up a light wooden armchair and sat in it, indicating that Liz should take a seat on the couch, if that should happen to please her.

Liz sat, but she did it matter-of-factly... there wasn't much about her expression to indicate pleasure. "You have questions?" he said softly. "Ask."

"What's the deal with Courtney?" Liz fired off aggressively. "You found out, didn't you."

Future Max let out a long groan of frustration. "That is completely beyond the point at issue, and I don't really see why I should answer it. I told you about needing to be surgical..."

"Yes, you did," Liz agreed, still fierce in her determination. "And I don't buy it. That 'mustn't disturb the course of history' line only makes sense if you like where history ends up. If everything goes to hell anyway, why are you so worried about rocking the boat!?"

"Because we had fourteen good years before the end came!" Max flared. "If I unbalance the wrong element, you and Max... all of you could die next week instead of in the far future. That doesn't help any of us either."

"Well, maybe you're going to have to risk those years," Liz countered hotly. "If we take some chances and they pay off, we might be able to head off the disaster completely." She considered for a moment. "But I'll concede that you do have some of a point there. If there's any information which you can say with certainty is disaster, is definitively worse than operating out of ignorance, you can withhold it."

"And if I go along with this, answer all your questions otherwise, will you agree to work with my plan then?" Future Max asked softly.

"If I can't come up with a better solution," Liz offered.

"By tomorrow night," he warned, and Liz froze for three seconds and then slowly nodded. "Alright."

"Courtney's a skin, like Whittaker, but her loyalties were different - making her not exactly an enemy. She belongs to a group, an obscure group apparently, who believed that Michael... or Michael-before-he-died, should have been in charge of our planet." Liz drew in a surprised breath. "Yeah, that was kinda my reaction too..."


7:49 am.
Valenti house.

Kyle headed out from the bathroom to the kitchen, surprised slightly to see Tess eating at the table alone. Her hair was falling about her head in those signature windswept curls, and she was wearing a green-brown short sleeved top with a scoop neck, and little wraps of black fabric around her forearms, just above the wrists. Kyle smiled as he grabbed a bagel out of the bag and popped it into the miniature oven. "Where's..."

"He walked down to the corner to drop a few bills into the mailbox before the morning pickup," Tess said to him, putting down her cereal spoon, "so we don't have long. I've told your father that I'll be working on my geography assignment today after school, and then maybe catching a movie. You will come home right after the end of eighth class, work on any homework you might have, eat dinner with him, and generally do anything you can to deflect any suspicions your dad might have. Around seven thirty you will give him some excuse that has nothing to do with movies of any kind, leave, and come to my old house. Do you know how to find it?"

"Ummm... no," Kyle muttered, clearly surprised by this extensive monologue. Silently Tess pulled a small scrap of paper from outside her left forearm-wrap and passed it to him. Kyle opened up the single fold and saw that there were directions on it, which was no big surprise.

"Don't let him see that, obviously. When we're done, I'll probably come back home first, and then you follow around twenty or twenty-five minutes afterward." Tess dove back into her cereal at that point, and before too long, Jim came back in and started to make himself a quick egg-whites omelet.

Kyle managed to catch one quick moment of privacy with Tess before she headed out to her car. "When we're, umm, when we're done WHAT exactly??"

"Oh, Kyle." She tweaked his cheek softly. "Sometimes you ask the stupidest questions. When we're finished with round two, of course." And she sashayed off.


12:15 pm.
West Roswell High.

Max found Maria at her locker outside the art room. "Hey, how's it going??"

"Ummm... not too great, you?" She flashed a quick smile to apologize for over-sharing.

"I've had better weeks," Max admitted. "Liz paid me a very unusual visit yesterday... I gotta ask you, have you noticed anything weird about her? Moody, secretive or anything like that?"

Maria gave that a few second's deep thought. "No... can't say that I've noticed anything, not that I've really been paying that much attention to Liz lately." She smiled awkwardly. "Maybe I should crawl out of the self-pity shell and take a little more interest in the world around me huh?"

"Might be an idea," Max said mildly. "Wasn't trying to send you on the guilt trip though, was just curious about if you'd noticed anything. From what I've heard, you've had enough going on in your own little soap opera."

Maria cocked her head a little. "Who told you?"

"I've picked up pieces here and there," he said vaguely. "Michael, Alex. Even Jose."

"Ah." Maria didn't push the subject any further along. "Any idea when Isabel's going to be coming back? I think it's making Alex a little crazy, not seeing her around like usual."

"Probably tomorrow or the day after," he answered. "We're not exactly sure."

"Why did she go, anyway? I don't think I really caught that part."

Max made a casual gesture towards the nearest stairwell, and Maria quickly packed up her things and followed as he led the way out through a single outer door that led to a corner of the school grounds near a quiet side street. "Well," he began after checking that they seemed to be as alone as could be hoped for, "she's been upset about stuff ever since discovering the 'G', and as you might know, Isabel likes to disappear into community service stuff when she's feeling frustrated. It helps take her mind off stuff.

"There was an outbreak of streptococcus in a little town up north a few hours, Rencona. Nothing too serious, but a good fraction of the people there were sick, there aren't many facilities, and the local doctor was looking for a few hardy young people to help out. I'm not quite sure how Izzy found out about it, but she volunteered. Mom checked the whole thing out to make sure it was legit of course, and she went up last weekend. The whole thing is pretty much done by now, but they're kinduv insisting that Isabel stick around for a little while so they can check and make sure that *she* doesn't get sick."

Maria nodded. "Okay. Well, I guess I'll go look for Liz now."

"If you find her, tell her that I'm waiting for an answer?" Max asked. Maria shot him a look, and Max replied with a whimsical shrug. "She'll know what it means... and I'm not going to tell you. Maybe she will."

In the cafeteria, a tall boy with slightly spiky black hair brought his tray over to a small table that was entirely empty except for Michael. "Hey, man, you mind??"

"What do I care?" was the only response. The newcomer took a seat and started digging into his french fries.

"You don't remember me, do you?" There was no response to this question at all from Michael. "Nicky Swaid. I'm in the Whits, with Alex and Maria... I play guitar." Michael grunted noncommittally and took a bite of his sandwich.

There was a short pause, and Nicky seemed to be getting slightly nervous. "So... you, you have any plans for the weekend, man?" he asked.

"Probably working," Michael growled.

"Yeah, yeah, I get that. Are you going to have any time free? I'm just asking..." Michael looked up and stared at the other boy at this point, a truly frustrated expression on his face. "Okay, okay, sheesh!! You don't want to be bothered? I'm gone!" And with that he beat a quick retreat and went back to sit with Marcos Manes.

Maria found Liz in the empty study hall room, jotting something down on a spiral-ring notebook. "Hey, why, if it isn't Liz Parker!" Liz's reaction was quite extraordinary. Jumping in sudden startlement, she quickly dropped her pen on the desk, whipped the book closed and snatched it away... for a second Maria actually thought that Liz was about to slip the pad between the chair and her own bottom, sitting on it in a futile attempt to hide it -- she actually didn't go that far, but kept it at her side, away from Maria so that her own body was obscuring it as much as possible.

"Umm, uh, hi Maria, what's up??" she said, calming down a little and clearly trying to act as if nothing was wrong. Maria's face developed a slight frown as she considered that.

"Errr, well, I was just looking for you because I know I've been lost in my own little drama for the past few days... what were you working on there, Liz??"

"Whatcha mean??"

"Well, maybe I shouldn't even ask, but it was kinda hard not to notice that you were going a mile a minute in that notebook that you're trying to make invisible at the moment... until you realized that I was here." Maria shrugged. "I guess maybe I'll just drop the subject now, though --" She hesitated, dropping into another chair and turning it around. "No, I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't at least ask if something was bugging you."

"Um, uhhh..." Liz's face contorted a little itself. "There is, but I... *I kinda can't talk about it!!*" The last phrase came out in a high-pitched (though soft) squeal that was quite unusual for Liz.

Maria pouted a little. "I kinda thought you could tell me about anything... but it's okay, I'll just -- I'll move right along."

"Okay," Liz said, still wincing a little. "Anything new happen in the Michael/Courtney drama?"

"Not really. Alex told you too?"

"Pretty much," Liz agreed with a sigh. "He said you were pretty mad about the, um, the towel incident."

"I... I was last night... well, mad or devastated; pretty close race to call. Today --" She groaned. "I realize that there could be couple of different explanations for what I saw, but... I don't want to ask him about it. I certainly don't want to ask HER about anything." Maria took another deep breath. "Maybe I should just avoid the whole situation and see what things look like when I feel sane, you know?"

"Actually, that might be a pretty good idea," Liz agreed with a smile. "I wish I could do that."

"What do you..." Maria looked probingly into Liz's eyes. "Is this another of those weird things that I should probably just ignore, and let me tell you about when you're ready??"

"I think that'd be wise."

Maria cocked her head a moment, looking for a new topic, and then she remembered one. "Oh, Max said that he's still expecting an answer, and I'm wondering what the question was."

"Oh." Liz giggled nervously. "He asked me out... to a Gomez concert, really."

"Oh, the show up in Santa Fe??" Maria guessed. "Does this have anything to do with the situation that you can't really talk about?"

"Well, it might be peripherally related..." Liz hedged.

Max was still walking on the sidewalks in the vicinity of the school, (although he had turned onto a different street,) when he heard his name being called softly. "Huh? Oh, hi Alex. How's it going??"

"Umm, okay I guess. You??"

"Not having the best day I suppose." Max sighed, and Alex fell into step vaguely beside him. "Isabel should be back in town by Saturday."

"Okay... is there any particular reason you felt you had to tell me that?" Alex replied, a bit of a joking tone in his voice.

"Maria said she thought you were missing her." There was a definite pause at that. "What do you think??"

"Umm... I'm not sure," Alex admitted. "It's been different not seeing her around at school or the Crashdown, of course. On the other hand, well, it's no big secret that I've been frustrated lately at where our relationship is or isn't. The fact that she's taken off for a few days -- maybe it's helping me get a few things into perspective. Or not, or maybe I'm not even sure."

"I hope you're not upset that I brought it up," Max said quietly, and Alex insisted that he wasn't. "Okay."

"How about you and the Park-ster? Any interesting developments recently?"

"I asked her to this concert up in Santa Fe: she hasn't given me an answer yet." Max sighed briefly. "She's kinduv been acting a little weird, I think."

"Hmm..." Alex weighed that one over. "She didn't seem too out of the ordinary when I saw her at the cafe last night... a little lost in her own thoughts maybe, but that's Liz for you. Have you got any specifics, or just a vague nebulous feeling??"

"Oh, it's the Andromeda nebula," Max joked. "Well, actually, she said a few things to me yesterday that struck me as definitely strange, and when I gave her a lift to the Cafe she ran off towards Whittaker's office."

"Well, she probably wanted to check for messages and return them... we're still trying not to let anyone clue in that her alien senatorship is missing in action, right??" Alex suggested.

"Yeah, I know, but... my nebula sensor is still calling the yellow alert," Max said. "And she wasn't a senator, just a congresswoman."

"Hmmm." Alex opened his mouth, then thought better of what he had been about to say, or perhaps just realized that he couldn't think of anything. "Oh, hi Kyle."

"What are you looking at me like that for??" Kyle Valenti snapped, staring at about two-thirds of his hostility limit at Max, and Alex apparently just because he was there with Max. "I'm just walkin' here, I got nothing to say to either of you!!" He hurried away.

The other two boys shared a look.

"Nebula sensor?" Alex repeated.

"Red alert... only I don't think I want to know what that one's about," Max cracked.


4:35 pm.
The old soap factory.

"Look, I'm telling you the truth, Liz!!" Max's future self flared. "We *never* found out that much about my homeworld or any of that stuff. That is a fact that you are simply going to have to accept!!" He took in a deep breath, realized how frightened the expression on Liz's face was, and immediately softened. "I... I'm sorry, Liz. Once the two of us were together again, I... I didn't really want to know about that stuff any more. And I kind of think that Isabel and Michael felt the same way."

"Hmm..." Liz mulled that over. "Do you think that might have been part of the problem, maybe? 'Know your enemy, know yourself, and you will prevail in all your battles.' You didn't learn about either your enemies or your heritage... and you got your ass kicked! I'm starting to think that wasn't a coincidence."

"Ummm..." He considered that, and couldn't help asking the question. "Who was that line from... the know your enemy bit?"

"Err, Sun Tzu I think."

"Since when have you been learning about Sun Tzu?" he asked.

"For... for a little while now, and DON'T change the subject!!"

"I don't know... it might have had something to do with it," he admitted. "I have to admit, I didn't expect to come here and find you shattering all of my assumptions. You... I dunno, I guess maybe you'd lost some of that brilliant fire by... well, uh, by the time you're..."

"A little old lady of thirty-something?" Liz teased. "Maybe by your time, I'd been making the same assumptions too. The two of us spent that much time together so close, I wouldn't be too surprised that we'd be thinking alike in a lot of ways." She considered that. "Okay, well, let's set the homeworld stuff aside, maybe speculate on it a little later, since there's nothing more we can do. Back here to earth... what more can you tell me about the Copper Summit skins?"

"I... I can't think of anything," Max sighed. "We didn't have close contact with many of them... T greer, Ida and Walt, and of course Nicholas -- and I've told you about them."

"By the way, speaking of Greer," Liz dug something out of a backpack. "I was looking through a few things in Whittaker's office, and I noticed that. It was postmarked Copper Summit, so I opened it."

"The fact that it was marked private didn't stop you?" Future Max cracked, and Liz shot him a warning look. "I think I remember the letter you mean, but why don't you hit the main points anyway."

Liz nodded. "From some placed called the 'universal friendship league,' which sounds freaky all by itself... dear member, your failure to report violates protocol - must receive word by the 29th - which is Sunday, in three days - or terminate your membership effective that date." She shook her head. "It sounds like a variant on the deadman's switch... if she doesn't call in, they're going to act under the assumption that she's been taken out by enemy action; which she was, as a matter of fact."

"You're right on the money there," Future Max agreed. "Specifically, they're going to fake her death, so that nobody starts asking question about a missing congresswoman and investigating her background."

Liz nodded. "That background is interesting reading, by the way... left her hometown for college, looking quite mature for a freshman -- I don't guess the skins age at all. Graduated from U Denver in three years... probably no point in asking where she got the money, is there? Got a job with a large advertising firm and became a regional assistant director in five years, then quit after John Whittaker asked her to marry him. That's a great way of winning an elected office quickly, by the way, if you can manage it."

"Yeah," Max sighed.

"But to get back to the point," Liz said, "what I really wanted to ask you about was this." She showed him the small line at the bottom of the letter, beneath T Greer's name. "Senior Co-ordinator, Vilandra Project. Any idea what Vilandra means??"

Max's future self just shook his head for several long seconds. "How in all the worlds did you know that name was important?"

"Umm..." Liz shook her head, suprise clear on her face. "I'm not sure that I *knew*. Suppose you can call this following a hunch -- why?"

Future Max growled. "Well, I'll tell you what I know, which is a fair bit -- if you agree to be discrete about it. If Isabel realizes, at this point, that you know, she's going to be EXTREMELY suspicious and defensive."

"Isabel? Why her??"

"Do you agree?" Mystified, Liz nodded. "Well, Vilandra was the name of... ehh, of Isabel's past self back on our homeworld. The old king's daughter, who died in the revolution."

"Okay, with you so far," Liz agreed. "Do you know any of the other names, by the way??"

"Don't interrupt," Future Max told her. "The night that Whittaker kidnapped Tess and confronted Isabel alone at the power plant, she told Isabel that Vilandra had betrayed the rest of us to Kivar, that the two of them had been secretly lovers. The same storyline has been mentioned by other people - Nicholas, for one, some of Kivar's other people."

"Wait a second," Liz interrupted. "If they were in love, and Vilandra betrayed the others, why was she killed too?"

"Never gotten a good answer to that question," he agreed. "Maybe Kivar was only cultivating Vilandra as a way to get to the others, and then her usefulness to him was over. Maybe he wasn't there when we... I mean, when they died and wasn't able to save her from overzealous henchlings. Maybe he didn't want to admit to his supporters at the time that he loved her." There was a pause. "Or maybe the whole thing was a crock, meant to keep us off balance and forment mitrust. The main point is that Isabel was really upset about it around now... she won't admit the full story for several months yet."

"Okay. Why did Whittaker tell her all this, anyway? Just to torture her, or..."

"She was trying to persuade Isabel to betray us all again, I think. Deliver the Granolith to her, so that she could take it back to Kivar. But this was before any of us knew that the Granolith was there behind the pod chamber."

"Right, she found it later that night," Liz agreed. "The day of her birthday party. And that's how you guys knew what to call it."

"Pretty much," Future Max agreed. "Now, I don't know what happened in our past lives, and I don't much care. But I trust Isabel absolutely. She would never do anything to hurt me, or Michael, or any of the rest of you guys. In fact, Kivar has come and tried to turn 'Vilandra' against us, and Isabel was never even tempted. She turned it around, working her way into *his* confidence a little."

"Okay," Liz said, nodding slightly. "I'll be careful with that info, don't worry." She concentrated, and then picked up another thread, packing the Friendship league letter away again.

"What happened to Nicholas, anyway?? Did he die, by your time, that you know of, or is he still leading the attack in your time?"

"He got careless... Michael threw him off a cliff in Yosemite, and we never heard anything more from him. That was, what, six or seven years ago my time." He looked into Liz's eyes intently. "Make sure that he's the one who gets careless first, and not any of you guys. He's frighteningly powerful and dangerous... and the frustration he feels from being trapped in the body of an awkward preteen just adds to that."

"Got it," Liz said, nodding.

"I'll say again, Courtney can probably give you all of this material and better -- and more. These are her contemporaries. If you get in touch with her, which I think you're planning, you won't need my intel."

"I decide that," Liz muttered under her breath. "You have an advantage that Courtney doesn't have - nearly fifteen years of future perspective."

"Say, what's the situation with Courtney and Michael right now, anyway?"

"I'm not sure, I haven't talked with him about it directly," Liz started pacing. "Maria's pretty upset still about finding the two of them together, even though she's willing to keep an open mind that he wasn't cheating on her..."

"Oh my god, that's it!!" Future Max breathed. "Finding 'them' together, cheating... that's the perfect way. We have to have Max find you with another guy!! Alex maybe, or Kyle..."

"No!" Liz almost cried out. "Forget it, I am not going to do that!"

"No, Liz, you have to." He ran over to her. "You've got a lot of good ideas, but nothing solid. The plan that Liz and I worked out in my time is still the best way of making sure that we have Tess' abilities to draw on, which is the best way of making SURE that the future is saved. Everything else would be a long gamble. You have to do this for me... or I will do what I need to do some other way."

"Just what are you threatening, Max??"

"I don't know yet... I don't want to have to resort to a plan B, and this cheating thing won't work without your co-operation, I admit that. But maybe I'll go to Michael, or even to Tess herself... if you force me to it." He took a deep breath. "Or if that doesn't look like it'll work... I *will* remove you from the picture, Liz. It would devastate my past self, but he'll recover, and Tess will be right there. If you aren't here, then you can never drive Tess away, never marry me. It would be the safest way, and though it would nearly kill me to do that to you..."

"'Remove me from the pic...'" Liz's face was a mask of horror. "Can you even hear yourself, Max? You're talking about killing me, aren't you?"

"As a last ditch plan, yes I would."

"And don't you see that that could still ruin your plans? If I die suddenly, don't you think that Max might push Tess away all by himself? God, she'd probably be the prime suspect!! It's not like any of them would think that future you did it."

"I can make it look like an accident," Future Max growled, his mouth a thin hard line.

"To this group?" Liz laughed shortly. "Considering all the weirdness we've seen and all the secrets we're keeping? Any one of us punches out within two years, and at least one other person is going to go on a crusade to find out the killer... no matter how much like an accident or natural causes it looks like!"

Future Max just shot her a look that seemed to say, 'Yes, but that'll be the least of YOUR problems even so.'

"Okay, here, I'll make you a deal," Liz said, sighing. "Let's leave the threats aside. I'll go over to Kyle's place right now, lay the groundwork in case without telling him much of what's up. Then you give me 'til tomorrow morning to find a concrete plan... one that you can't argue your way out of." A desperate idea was starting to form in the back of her mind, and she knew she had to try to keep Future Max from telling what she was thinking of. "If I can't, then I'll go along with your lead, all the way."

"Umm, alright," Max said, somewhat surprised at the suddenness with which Liz had proposed a compromise. "I can give you that long, I guess."

"Okay." Liz turned to go, and then suddenly turned around. "Wait a second, there's one other thing. The black pentagon things... did you ever figure out how to work them?"

Future Max blinked in surprise. "Umm... the Tritium resonators?"

"The thing that Brody Davis had in the UFO center... and we think maybe the skins have them too. We don't know what they're really called."

"Yeah, those things." Max groaned. "We've learned a little, why do you ask?"

"I found one in Whittaker's office," Liz said, and Future Max literally smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. "You guys never thought of that one?"

"I guess not."

Liz brought out the same slip of paper that she had shown her own Max, and the 2014 version quickly indicated brief descriptions of the various functions... 'power standby' otherwise known as off, tracking, stun setting, power nullifier, and a more powerful energy charge that would also take away alien powers from anyone it hit. He also pointed out that the pentagon in Whittaker's office had to be on a harmless setting, either off or tracking, since some of the hybrids had been near it without eliciting a reaction or noticing losing their powers. She hadn't had to be worried about taking it near Max the day before.

"And you're sure that neither of the pulses hurt normal humans."

"Sure... you, Maria, and Kyle had all been through them without hardly feeling anything," he confirmed.

"Okay, well, I've gotta run now," Liz told him. "I'll leave you a note or something when I've made my decision."

Max nodded slightly. "Okay. Are you walking all that way??"

"No." Liz shook her head. "There's a bus stop for the orange line a few blocks away from here. I'll take that by Kyle's place, and then down to the downtown terminal."


6:01 pm.
Valenti house.

"Oh, hello Liz," Jim Valenti said a few minutes after answering the door. "You here to see Kyle?"

"Um, yes please," Liz replied, and he led her in to the dining room. Kyle was working at one end of the table, consulting heavy textbooks and writing with a cheap blue pen on loose sheets of lined paper. Jim sat back down at the other end of the table and picked up the paper, finding his place in the world events section.

"Umm... hi Kyle." Liz gave him a quick wave, but the boy barely acknowledged her existence. "Umm, could I have a moment? In private??"

Kyle looked up at that, and shot a rapid sequence of glances around in a confusing pattern between his books, Liz, and his father, who was still sitting at the other end of the table, paying more attention to unrest in Ivory Coast or something like that to either of them... a lot more. "Um, okay sure," he said after a moment, without much enthusiasm.

They adjourned to the back yard, and Kyle quickly seemed to become more attentive. "Hey, sorry Liz, what's up?"

"I might have to ask you a favor," Liz said evasively. "I'd rather not go into details right now, but are you busy tomorrow night?"

"Ummm..." Kyle's face creased with indecision. "I don't actually know. Can you give me a general idea what it's about?"

"Um, well, it kinda has to do with Max... Come on, Kyle, just keep your schedule open for a little bit. I don't think it's really likely to come up, but I had to ask..."

"Okay, Lizzy, for you I guess I can spare the time." He sighed. "Is that it? Because I kinda need to get back to this geometry homework." Liz nodded, and they headed back in.

"Hey, Liz, do you have time to enjoy some of my famous macaroni neapolitan?" Jim asked as they passed back through the kitchen. "Apparently Tess won't be here for dinner, and it would be a little weird just setting two places at this point."

Liz thought a moment, and grinned. "Actually, that sounds great."


7:43 pm.
Old Harding house.

Kyle wandered around the abandoned building, swinging the beam of his little disposable flashlight to and fro as he searched for a staircase that would take him up to the second floor. The front door had been locked, (probably because Tess thought it possible that some misguided door to door salesman might just try the knob,) and so Kyle had already made his way around the side of the house and gone in through a small door leading in from the back garden. "Now, let's see... if the bottom of the staircase is near the front door, then that should be..." he muttered, and quickly had caught sight of the immediate goal, and begun to climb his way up it.

Once he was at the top landing, it wasn't hard for Kyle to find his way... literally, all he needed to do was follow the vibes. Thrumming bass notes were ringing off the floor and the walls, and by orienting on them Kyle made his way down a short hallway without trouble and into a room.

Tess had not been wasting much of the time since school had let out. Tess' old bedroom had probably been cleaned up -- at least, it showed none of the disorder that seemed to remain in the rest of the house following the mysterious break-in that had led to take Tess to the Valenti's house for her safety. The bed, which seemed to be a king-size, was freshly and unassumingly remade.

Power had been cut in the house at some point, but battery-powered lights had been set up here and a boombox was playing something with a good beat, soft and smoky. And speaking of smoky... some kind of contraption had been set up near the back of a desk... with what looked like a small candle burning in a metal cup at the bottom of it. A little more than a foot above the flame, a shallow blue glass dish was suspended, and some kind of liquid that looked vaguely oily was inside the dish, giving off faintly visible fumes and a blend of intense aromas... wild roses, sandalwood, orange and cinnamon, jasmine, sage, cedar, and something else that Kyle couldn't quite place. Definitely, though, the mix seemed enticing. The entire setup was sexy - he had to give Tess that much credit.

And Tess herself, of course... she had been lying on the bed waiting for him, her legs kicked up in boredom and her arms linked just underneath her knees. After a few moments, she suddenly seemed to realize that he had walked in, and stood up to meet him. She was still wearing the same green shirt from that morning, and the same semi-long blue denim skirt, and her curls glinted in the light reflecting off the ceiling.

"Wow..." Kyle blurted out. "I know you said you'd fix the place up a little, but... I have to admit, this is amazing.

"Thank you," she said smoothly, crossing behind him to close the door, and then walking back. Kyle couldn't help but let his eyes stray to the way her body moved... her thighs shifting back and forth underneath that thick, teasing cloth, the edges of her chest pushing against the top. "I think that comes off now." For a second, Kyle didn't understand, and then he realized she was gesturing to indicate his light fall jacket... it wasn't really cool enough outside that he needed it yet, and his pulse started to race as she let her fingers close around one of the cuffs and helped pull it off of him, tossing it so that the collar caught on the doorknob and hung from it.

"I have to ask... w... w--what is it you expect here, T-Tess?" Kyle managed to say. "I... I mean, we both enjoyed ourself last night... a good time was had by all, I would venture to say. But... but you're making such a big deal out of this, that..."

"Well, why don't we start with what you yourself said, Kyle??" Tess whispered softly. "'First, satisfy the needs of the body.' Now, I'll agree that last night was fun, and a good time. But I'm not sure I'd say that my needs were *met* with a little fondling and sucking in the back seat of a car. My body is telling me that it NEEDS to move on to the next level. And yours??"

"Well... w-well, my body 'wants' to, I'm sure of that," Kyle said, realizing how much more his body wanted, just from the fact of Tess' proximity... she was standing nearly close enough that their frames were nearly touching... her rounded bosom, bound behind the scoop-necked shirt, within an inch and a half of the area where the front of his chest met the side of his torso. "And bodies are good at making 'want' feel like 'need.' But..."

"You're being so timid about this," Tess laughed ringingly, without malice, just honest amusement. "I wouldn't have figured you for the shy type when things got to the point... certainly not after last night. You *have* done it before, haven't you? The buzz around school definitely gives you that much of a rep."

"Well yes," Kyle admitted. "But each type... each girl that I've gone that far with... we'd been dating, or at least involved, for longer than this..."

"Come on... we've wanted each other since that first morning I showed up on your couch. Possibly longer."

"That's not the..." Kyle nearly lost track of what he was saying as Tess brought a hand up to softly stroke his shirt near his shoulder and collarbone... a simple contact, relatively... but nothing that involved Tess touching him was innocent anymore. "...not the point. We've been flirting, yeah, but we only crossed the line yesterday. That means..."

"It means that a lot of your talk is bluster," Tess said. "You like to act the part of the smooth operator who goes after what he wants and plays the game of hearts to win... but deep down you're an old fashioned gentleman and a bit of a romantic softy." She laughed to herself. "Who'd have thought it - the macho jock prince of Roswell is all bluff and Buddhism underneath."

"I doubt that an old-fashioned gentleman would have gone as far as we did last night," Kyle pointed out, "but I don't think your point is entirely misplaced." He sighed slightly and put something he'd been about to say aside, mentally. "You especially, Tess, you seem... to not have that much experience about the ways and wherefores of human relationships, and so I guess you bring out something protective in me because of that. It's possible to get hurt playing these games, and I don't want to see you hurt. I'd want to be the one who hurts you even less."

"If you don't want either of us to get hurt, then just watch yourself when going around those curves," Tess quipped, bending down, (giving Kyle a good peak down the scoop of her shirt,) and doing something to the side of her skirt. Then she straightened up again, did something with her fingers at the side of her waist, and pulled the fabric of the skirt away entirely. Tess' gorgeous legs were now bare from the straps of her heels to the black bikini panties she was wearing. Kyle swallowed hard, three times in a row.

Or maybe two and a half times, since the third was interrupted about halfway through by a very energetic kiss that Tess planted on his lips. When Kyle could breathe again, he noticed for the first time that his right hand was wrapped around Tess' breast through her shirt... whether she had brought it there or he'd moved it himself he wasn't quite sure, but Tess seemed to approve.

"Convinced yet??" she taunted.

"Maybe I want to wait and see what other persuasive tricks you have left up your sleeve," Kyle shot back, starting to like this game.

"Alright then." She squatted down. "Let me have your shoes."

"Huh?? I'm not at all satisfied that I should just be letting you take my clothes off at this point."

"It's just so you won't get any dirt on the bed," Tess said, and somewhat caught off guard, Kyle kicked off his footwear and let Tess lead him back and get him lying against a few propped up pillows. He couldn't fight back a smile as he waited to see what Tess would do next.

Last edited by Chrisken on Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Read my other roswell stories!

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the Rowan tree's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." From 'the farthest shore', Ursula LeGuin.


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Post by Chrisken » Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:19 pm

Hi guys. Yeah, I'm back with a new part - whoohoo!! Also revised part two, including an inset where FM and Liz are discussing 'vilandra', so go check that part out.

Part Three

Thursday, October 26th, 2000. 8:02 pm.
Parker house.

Liz sat very still on her bed and listened as keenly as she could. The television was playing in the living room... '48 hours' had just started. Traffic outside. She thought she could make out the sound of someone adjusting their position on the couch, but shook her head, unsure if a sound like that could really be made out.

No sound from the cafe downstairs, the rest of the apartment, or her balcony - at least nothing that could be made out over the faint sound of television. Breathing softly, Liz put her back up against the headboard of the bed, so that both the door and the balcony window were in her peripheral vision, and reached under her mattress for the slim book she had taken out of its hole in the wall a few minutes before. After flipping around and skimming a bit, she turned to a fresh page, extrcted a blue ballpoint from the pencil holder sitting on her bedside table, and began to write in neat, flowing script:

"It seems difficult to believe that I've barely written in this journal since last spring. It used to be such an important part of my life last year... but then there are a lot of things about my life that changed - again - that night I looked out of the Cafe's front door and saw Max kissing Tess in the rain. I didn't even bring the journal to Florida this summer... there were too many memories in it that I wanted to forget for a while.

"But now I feel like there are things I need to confess, before I go and do what I'm afraid to do, and this journal will have to do, since I'm not sure who I can trust enough to tell about this before it's done. I don't even think I can bear to commit the full story to paper, just in case, so I'll be putting in a few euphemisms, but that's okay because I'm the only one who needs to understand just yet.

"I'll just call the guy 'Him' for now. I'm very scared of Him right now.

"Is it at all that the Max I know could ever... could ever be connected to Him, in the way that he says? It doesn't seem conceivable... He is so single-minded and obsessed, and he's threatening the most horrible things. Could He mean them? Maybe it's just a big bluff to get me to co-operate... but even that seems like a stretch, were He who he said he was. And I get the awful sensation that whoever He really is, he means those threats.

"Maybe I'm judging Him too harshly... I can't imagine what it was like to to be through what he said he was through. To see so many of the people He loved die... maybe die horribly. And -- and FL was involved in preparing the original plan, he said, though I have to assume He didn't mention this 'contingency B' to her. Still, it doesn't add up... if what He's told me is true, there has to be a better way. Maybe neither of them were, or are, thinking clearly.

"I managed to get the last thing I'll need at Valenti's this afternoon, when neither Kyle or the sherrif were watching. Even if He was following me, I had already told him I'd be going to go talk to Kyle.

"Now, I just have to hope that the time-space continuum is flexible enough to let me cheat death and get away with it."

Liz considered that for a long moment... fiddled with her pen as if considering adding something, and then apparently decided to let that melodramatic ending speak for itself. She returned the pen to its place, and spent a few minutes fiddling with the invisibly loose brick in her wall to return the journal to its hiding place. Then she went out to make herself a light snack.


8:08 pm.
Old Harding house.

Kyle smiled to himself in the dim light of the abandoned bedroom as Tess struck a pose and reached out one hand in a dramatic gesture, which had the effect of starting a new song on the boom-box. For a second Kyle wondered idly about the extent of alien powers and exactly how she had achieved that effect... was it a question of affecting the control circuitry of the CD player, or just simply pressing down on the 'next track' button without directly touching it?

And then the question flew directly out of his head. From the way she had been setting up, Kyle had more or less guessed that Tess would try to dance all sexy for him. What he hadn't really expected was that she would be any good at it!

Not great... no-one would mistake her for a girl who had any professional experience in a strip club, for instance. But as she moved herself to the relentless bass beat of whatever angsty rock song it was that was playing, all of Kyle's attention was drawn to Tess... the way her pale golden hair flew away from the back of her head, the contours of her chest making their presence known even from underneath the relatively thick shirt... the extensive bare, pale skin of her sleek legs that he wanted to reach out and stroke, but restrained himself. He couldn't keep his member from stiffening in appreciation, though... or growing or throbbing in anticipation, for that matter. Whatever Tess wanted to happen here, tonight, it probably would. 'Once she's got that much blood detoured from the brain, she's got a guy exactly where she wants him,' he whispered silently.

Tess grinned widely as she slid herself towards the bed. "Well now Kyle," she called out over the music, "is that a long, thick probe you're hiding in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?" she wisecracked.

"I'll admit, I like what I see," Kyle answered as evenly as he could, trying not to show any weakness. "What next??"

Tess didn't answer aloud - instead she brought her arms to the waist of her top and slowly, tauntingly, began to peel the fabric up her body. First, just a tiny glance of the tender and sensitive skin just above the waist of her underwear. Then her soft navel, and a stomach that wasn't lean, skinny, and 'hard-bodied', but reasonably trim, with just enough of a roundness to it to seem comfortable and appealing.

And then the shirt was suddenly up over her head, and Tess was pulling its sleeves off of her arms to throw it past Kyle to the edge of the bed. Underneath, she was wearing something that looked like a black silk half bustier that looked very erotic to him... like something out of a memory from the time when he was just beginning to discover the mysterious appeal of the opposite sex. And then she was bending over the bed, her hands moving to his midsection... nimble fingers attacking the snap and zipper of his jeans.

"Tell me no, Kyle," she purred in a stage whisper loud enough to be heard over the music. "You know what I'm after, what I want from you before this evening is through. If you don't want it too, by now, then just let me know."

"And... and what," he gasped. "You'll let it drop, or try another kind of persuasion??" He wasn't sure which answer he wanted Tess to give.

But she just locked her eyes to him and shot him a maximum dose of that irresistable, teasing smile. "Wouldn't you like to know??"

He didn't raise any objection as she eased his jeans off and slipped her hands underneath his boxer shorts, now stretched and tented almost to the point of absurdity. He stroked Tess' hair and arm encouragingly, and she pushed the shorts down to uncover his raging python cock.

Tess flashed him a look of mock surprise that quickly became an alluring laugh, and bent down to Kyle's crotch... first sticking her tongue all the way out and starting it at the base of his sack -- licking a path upwards to his stiff prick, trailing away just as she got to the really sensitive parts, and tweaking her top lip against the very tip of his wood. Kyle groaned, and she looked up just long enough to aim a wink at him, then closed her mouth against the head of his organ, massaging the responsive underside with a large section of her tongue. Kyle gasped in satisfaction as she started to work away on him.

Tess seemed to have better technique now than last night... or maybe she was simply more confident about it. She didn't focus exclusively on the monster growing from between Kyle's legs either -- mischievously abandoning it temporarily to lick and play with Kyle's nipples, or stroke his lower thighs, and then return the primary job at hand. He had lost track of time when she pulled herself up and said, "Okay, enough of that."

"What, noww???" Kyle recognized something in his own voice that he didn't like - a hint of whining.

Tess managed to twinkle teasingly as she stared at him. "Yeah, sorry bud. No more hummer tonight. From here on in, it's pussy or nothing!!"

Kyle groaned in some kind of frustration. "As much as I'd love to have sex with you right now, at this moment... I have to say I wouldn't last very long, and I don't think you really want that for your first time, now do you??"

Tess shrugged, reached over to the bedside table, and handed him a familiar-sized packet. "I'm not sure I mind. Once you've come the first time, you'll be sure to take a second go and make it good for me, now won't you??" And she shot that grin that Kyle found absolutely impossible to resist.

Kyle groaned, wanting it so badly he couldn't even seem to think of *not* taking her up on it. "Okay, take that damn thing off," he muttered, pointing to the bustier. "And your panties." He felt like undressing her himself might be enough to make him shoot off in advance.

Tess followed his suggestion with the complicated silk lingerie encasing her chest, but pointed to the undergarments at her midsection and signalled a no-no. "They're crotchless - I wanna try 'em out."

"Oh, my god," Kyle breathed. "You trying to kill me??" She just winked. "Okay, ummm..." He lurched somewhat unsteadily up off the bed and rapidly stripped off what was left of his clothes. "Get your sweet ass down, Sil."

Tess frowned a little, but she lay out near the far side of the bed, spreading her legs a little and her arms further. Kyle smiled slightly and lay down next to her, leaning over to kiss Tess on the lips, and letting his own lips and fingers briefly tour her nearly-naked body, making sure that she was as ready as she could get, considering the schedule. His long prick was already enveloped in the protective sheath that she had given him.

"So... um, and..." Tess mewled slightly as he licked her ear. "And now you stick it inside me, right??"

"Yeah," Kyle whispered throatily. "Yeah, if you're sure that's what you want."

"Yes, Kyle Valenti, yep, I really doo," she cooed back. "Pound me, take me, make me a woman. A hybrid woman."

Kyle started to move himself into position... stroking Tess' upper arm gently, kissing her on the lips again... and gasped in surprise. He had just noticed something that had never happened to him when he'd been with any other girl. He couldn't quite tell what it was though, and so he went back to the endeavour at hand... tweaking Tess' clit through the wide gaping hole in her underwear with the head of his cock... and then it came to him.

He had felt *Tess.* Not just felt as in touching her skin with his own... Kyle was starting to dimly sense what this experience was like for her, and that strange, unfamiliar nervous pleasure was adding itself to what he was receiving from his own senses. "Did... do you, ummm..." he muttered, not even sure how to phrase the question.

And Tess, keening softly, suddenly bucked her hips and pulled Kyle along by his legs, and all of a sudden he was starting to penetrate her. The sensation was tremendous, even through the thin layer of latex between them, and Kyle was still aware of what it felt like on both sides, which was starting to creep him out a little more than it had just a moment ago. Maybe that was just because there were unflattering connotations with a guy experiencing penetration... though most of the sniggering jokes really had nothing to do with *THIS* situation, where Kyle wasn't even experiencing the sensation physically, just... just psychically?? In any event, he didn't really want to pull out and slow things down for about a handful of reasons, so he brought one hand down to Tess' soft breast and pushed further in.

**FLASH!!!** He saw something, something that had nothing at all to do with what was going on in that room at that moment, or if it did Kyle didn't see the connection at all. He saw an enclosed room, full of strange shapes, of blue lights and dark shadows. He was alone there... or at least, he seemed to be alone to start with. There was a muted pounding on one of the walls, and he moved cautiously through the chamber... and an opening appeared suddenly, a door. Through the door stepped a man, a tall man, with long, curly blond hair and a trim body.

Kyle was dimly aware of being very small, and slightly wet... as if he'd been in a pool a little while before, and not had a chance to towel dry. Also slightly as if there'd been thickly clotted whipped cream in the pool, which was slightly weird. He cocked his head at the blond man, who stayed stock still for a long moment, and then began to nod enigmatically.**FLASH!!!**

Once again, he was in the middle of the act, with Tess... in fact, considerably further on into it... had his body just kept going on by instinct while his mind had literally been elsewhere?? He was driving into her now with a relentless rhythm, tweaking and squeezing her nipple as he did, and Tess was squealing with an ardor that seemed too overwhelming to be fake. Either she was blessed with a lot more sensitivity than the other girls he had done this with, Kyle realized, or else she was picking up his own nerve responses the same way that he was... maybe both.

Tess reached up, stretching out her hands flat on Kyle's back and pushing his chest down into hers, and suddenly the summit was racing towards him. As he exploded into the tight, confining sheath, he felt fire, hot electric energy surge almost visibly through his body. It was pure pleasure -- delicious, but overwhelming. Cool darkness was waiting for him when he fell out of the fire.



Five bright, shining lights in a V shape. Most of them slightly different intensities and colors... One reddish and another orange. Two blue.

The stars faded as Kyle floated back to consciousness. He blinked his eyes, realizing that he was lying down on his back on the bed in Tess' old room, and she was snuggled up against his side. The condom wasn't on his cock any more, and it was small and quiet, evidently quite content with its lot now.

"Well, that was a bragging point I think," Tess teased. "To fuck the guy out cold, my first time."

"Not quite sure it was entirely like that," Kyle said lazily, "though I'll certainly give a shout-out to your mad skills. But there was something... not human about that. If it had been, I'd probably have had a good hard come and you'd have been left hanging. Instead, you went off... you did, didn't you??"

"Ohhh, yes," she purred.

"Yah. And I went over the edge of the world, because you'd done such a good job winding me up." He laughed softly. "If there's a next time, then I think I'm going to make sure that we go over the edge together."

"A next time," Tess repeated slowly. Kyle shifted so that he could look up and into her face.

"What is it?"

"I'm not quite sure that I'd planned beyond this," she said softly. "I... well, to explain, I'd have to break your rule."

Kyle sighed. "Go ahead."

"I was mad at Max," she admitted softly. "I think I still love him, but it pisses me off royally that he's still mooning over Liz. So I wanted my first time to be with someone else, to deprive him of that. And you were... um, convenient. Kinda fucked up logic, huh??"

"Maybe a little," Kyle admitted, and decided to introduce a new subject. "How long was I out for?"

"Not really sure, I was a little too dazed to do much right afterward myself," she admitted cheerfully. "Maybe twenty or 25 minutes. It's about five minutes after nine now."

"Okay, well, maybe you should be getting up to head home," Kyle pointed out. "I have to wait long enough after that it won't be suspicious, right??"

"Are you kicking me out of my own bed??" she shot back. "Is it that you've got a problem with me just lying here next to you a bit longer?? 'Cause I was enjoying myself, thanks! We've got time."

Kyle laughed. "Sorry. I take that back. Take all the time you need."

"Thanks." She stretched against him, still nearly naked, (they were both underneath a top sheet and a quilt, well, everything but their heads and one of Kyle's hands were,) and kissed him on the ear sweetly. "I have to admit, I didn't really expect it to be like this. Nasedo said that it would be different for us than for normal humans... a 'deeper' connection, but he didn't really go into details."

"Yeah, hey, about that," Kyle mentioned. "I... I saw something, while we were -- pretty much in the middle of it."

"You got a flash?" she asked. "From me??"

"A flash?" Kyle repeated, a little confused.

"It's an alien thing, never mind. Well, what did you see?" Quickly, Kyle relayed the strange manifestation he had experienced.

"That was the first time I saw him," she said after a long moment, in a faraway voice. "Nasedo. I came out of the pods, and the others had already gone. I was scared, and frightened, and though I knew how to get out of the chamber, I didn't want to go out into the unknown alone. I didn't call for the door until I realized that there was someone out there. At first I thought it was them... Max and the others, though I didn't know their names then. But I knew that there had been others with me, in the three other pods. But it wasn't... it was him." She smiled slightly at the thought.

"Did you see anything??" Kyle asked tentatively.

"Yeah, I've been getting a few flashes from you since yesterday," she admitted. "It comes fairly easily to us. Tonight, actually, I only got one... you standing next to your father, maybe eight or nine years old, and looking at an old woman lying in a coffin."

"Grandma Valenti's funeral," Kyle said softly.

There was nothing said for a long moment. "I didn't realize it would be like this," Tess repeated. "But I *do* think I want to give you that next time." She crawled down to the foot of the bed, off, and started to collect her clothes and get dressed. "Let me know when."

"I'll think about it," Kyle replied with a grin. "Tell you what, meet me in the eraser room fifth period tomorrow. We probably won't be able to do *it* right there, but we can have a little fun, what do you say?"

She pulled on her shirt (without even bothering with the bustier,) and looked over her shoulder at him. "Whatever trims your lamp, Buddha-boy!"


9:12 pm.

A telephone circuit hummed into connection. In a small apartment near Atkinson avenue, the receiver was picked up before it had finished ringing once. "Yo."

"Hey, Michael?" A soft grunt of acknowledgement from the callee. "Max here. Just wanted to give you a ring and touch base."

"Well, you've gotten that far already, I think," Michael said flatly.

Somewhat taken aback, Max pushed the chair he was sitting in away from his bedroom desk and closed his eyes. "Umm... about the Courtney situation, specifically. Didn't want to step on your toes really, but --"

"Why is it that everyone seems to think that they have a right to stick their faces into my business?" Michael exploded. "If Maria has a problem wih the Courtney investigation, that's between me and her. Nobody else!!"

"Um, of course," Max muttered. "I'm not trying to butt into that side of things. I just wondered if you had found any proof whether Courtney was a 'player' yet."

"Oh." Michael deflated a little. "Not yet man, sorry. I'll let you know tomorrow evening."

"I won't be here," Max pointed out. "Gomez, remember?"

"Oh, right," Michael muttered. "Hear back from Liz yet?"

"Nah, I'm still sitting on 'maybe.'"

"Ech, that's not good. You're letting yourself look like some lovesick groveler, waiting for her to get back to you at the last minute. Either way, she keeps the upper hand and it's just not attractive."

"Forgive me for not taking relationship from a guy in your shoes," Max shot back, and then reconsidered. "Maybe I'll tell her it's last chance tomorrow morning when I first see her."

"Or tell her she waited too long," Michael suggested. "There anything else?"

"Nah, man. Talk to you on Saturday if we don't see each other tomorrow."

"Right." And Michael rung off with that single word.


9:22 pm.
Crashdown cafe.

"Oh, hey Kyle," Maria said as she stepped up to one of the smaller tables in the dining room. There was a second, and then she asked "What happened?"

"Umm, well..." Kyle froze, and then caught himself. "Nothing really. What makes you think something happened??"

"I dunno, you just look different," Maria replied, and thought about it for a second. "Mellow, actually."

Kyle flushed slightly. "Can I order now?"

"Well, go ahead, am I stopping you??"

He shook his head. "Eclipse burger with fries, and a diet coke." Maria nodded, and before she could turn away Kyle took a little shot. "So, Guerin's stepping out on you huh??"

"What? No!! Well, maybe - I'm not sure really." Maria was staring at him with considerable anger. "He... he's been spending some time with Courtney, yeah, but he said that there was nothing going on there."

"Oh, man, are you serious??" Kyle laughed. "Yeah - I believe that one."

She turned and stormed away without another word.


2:04 am. (Technically, Friday Oct 27 2000.)

Liz snuck up to the door of Whittaker's apartment once more, fumbled a piece of paper out of her pocket, and read it by the faint lights shining down on the walkway. It went like this:


Alright, I don't have any other option. Meet me in the eighth street park at first light, on the south side of the soccer field. We can go over your plan re: me, Max, and Kyle.


PS: For the record, first light tomorrow will be at five minutes to 6 am."

She slipped the note under the door and disappeared back into the night.

Read my other roswell stories!

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the Rowan tree's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." From 'the farthest shore', Ursula LeGuin.


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Post by Chrisken » Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:47 pm

Part Four

Friday, October 27th, 2000. 5:54 am.
Eighth street park.

'First light' was not probably not the best word for Liz to have used to refer to her proposed meeting time with Future Max on that chilly Friday, not that it's a particularly precise term in general. The kind of people who devise almanacs have come up with three distinct stages of twilight: astronomical, nautical, and civil twilight, in order of increasing illumination. The time that Liz had specified for her meeting with Future Max, five minutes to six o'clock in the morning, was very near to the onset of nautical twilight, at which point the general outline of ground objects just begin to be distiguishable -- that is, if you only count light from the sky, and not artificial street lighting.

There wasn't much street light where Liz waited at the edge of the soccer field, but enough for her to mostly see where she was walking, and to notice the figure walking towards her long before he spoke. "Okay, I'm here, and when you asked, not that I see much light," Future Max said. "What's the deal? Are you going to go along with my plan, or just give me more grief??"

"Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I'm agreeing to play ball," Liz replied. "I have one question, though... How do you know when your planning has succeeded?? When are you going to stop meddling in my life -- when you go whoosh, bank and whiff out?"

"Umm... pretty much," he agreed cautiously. "When the timelines are changed enough that they don't lead back to me going back in the granilith, then my physical body can't remain here, though the consequences of this intervention continue on. Serena said that I should be able to fell the course of history starting to move... or snapping back into place, as it were... but I won't rest easy until I'm not here at all."

"Snapping back into place," Liz muttered to herself. "So is that when the course of history PROBABLY won't end up in the same place, or CERTAINLY??"

Max quirked his thirtysomething face at that. "Probably? I didn't you were someone who believed that the universe played dice with us, Liz."

"Well, I don't -- maybe it was a poor choice of words," she muttered. "I believe in free choice, not predestination... not that my future depends irreversibly on the conditions of my past and my present. Which means... if we do this thing, and I fake sleeping with Kyle and make sure present-Max catches us, you whiff out, and I go and tell Max immediately what I did and why... that'll change the course of history again, right?? Maybe I'll even do something that leads right back to the invasion, and the end of the world."

Max froze. "You wouldn't."

"No, actually I wouldn't," Liz agreed. "But I *could.* Does that mean that you're going to stay until the timelines have changed enough that NO action of mine can lead Max's life back to where you started? How long would that take - months, or years?? Assuming that Serena was right about this 'whiff-out' effect in the first place, that is... otherwise you just stick around forever?"

"Liz... what are you getting at?" Future Max said warningly.

"I'm trying to show you why I will *not* play this out by your rules," she said defiantly, reaching her hand into a jacket pocket. "Not ever gonna happen. And, because I don't intend to let you go to Michael or Tess, or god forbid to hurt me, that leaves me with only one response... to eliminate your options."

Future Max froze in fear, and reached up a hand, focusing his attention on Liz. But he was too late. It only took a fraction of an instant for Liz to make a quick adjustment to the ominous black pentagon, and a wave of blue force spread out around her, staggering Max to his knees and forcing a cry of pain from his lips. He moaned for a long moment and looked up at her. "Why??"

"Because you were so determined to ruin everything I have -- I mean, might have -- with Max, and to devastate my life if you had to in the process," Liz told him simply. "I'm not a trained psychologist, but it seems to me that maybe you have a deep unresolved guilt complex about how you got back together with me and handled things badly with Tess, and because of that, when the invasion and disaster came, you -- we, you and future me -- decided that the only penance strong enough to wipe out your suffering was to give up that happiness. But I don't agree to that, Max."

"You came back here to fix your past, to set it from one course, charted in stone, to another. But your past is still my future, and my future has *NOT* been written yet, no matter how it might seem from your perspective!! I refuse to let ANYONE else, even you, take those choices away from me - I *will* make my own destiny, yet."

"But... but," Max muttered, but he couldn't seem to put anything else into words. Liz's rant, on the other hand, was just getting started, and she continued on.

"You're not the one to fix this, Max... not you, you. You warned me of the danger, for which I'll always be grateful, but you don't have the clarity to find the right solution. Bottom line, you don't belong here in my present, not to interfere directly. As much as it kills me..." she took something else out of her pocket, "I'm going to have to remove you from it."

It was something she'd taken from out of a locked cabinet at the Valenti's house when no-one was using, thanks to a little bit of wire and a trick that Kyle himself had taught her, over a year ago. A tiny Beretta point two five pistol, loaded and, with a flick of Liz's finger, cocked.

"You're going to kill ME??" Future Max whispered, looking at the gun as if he still didn't understand it. "But... but... it was a bluff, Liz. I would never... there's no way I could ever harm one hair on your head, deliberately. I just hoped that SAYING I would might scare you straight, might get you to agree..."

"I know that," she said tenderly, her throat starting to tighten. "I never believed that you would snuff out my life, here and now. If you could ever have been the sort of person who would do that, you'd never have come running up to me in the Crashdown after I got shot. But... well, it's a little different, from my end. No matter how difficult it might be for me to look at your face and pull the trigger, I know I'm not really ending your life. Because my Max's life *is* your life, and with the knowledge, the information you've armed me with, I'll be able to protect him. And you can damn well better believe that I will NEVER let him go back in time to this week, because I know that past-me will be waiting for him here, with this gun." She sighed. "Talking about time travel really *is* a headache, isn't it??"

Max smiled a little, both in humor, and in reluctant acceptance of the odd situation. "If the end of the world approaches anyway, no matter what you do, and you have the time travel technique??" he asked, guessing the answer.

"Then I go back myself, come to Max," she said with a laugh. "Not bothering with any of this 'falling out of love' crap and trying a different tactic. And maybe we'll go round and round a few times before figuring out a way out of the loop."

"And if you *don't* get the time travel technique one time??" Future Max asked again.

"Then we've played the game to our best, and lost," she said with a sigh. "You'll... actually, I guess you probably will be there to see it, but you won't remember THIS."

He nodded. "Take good care of him, Liz. Of me."

She acknowledged... and pulled the trigger. (She knew that she had to do it now anyway... or self-preservation instinct might have pushed Future Max to try something desperate, no matter how much he appreciated the truth in theory.) The explosion in her hands, the flash of light, the sound, the wave of air and trace of smoke coming from the small gun surprised her, but not enough that she didn't see the gunshot wound in Future Max's neck. Then he collapsed to the ground... and blasted away into dust.

Liz stood there for a moment, tears running down her face, struggling *NOT* to let go of the pistol, no matter how hot it felt in her hand. A breeze started to blow just then, picking up the remains of her time-travelling love into the air and carrying them along a ways. It wouldn't be long, she realized, before there wouldn't even be a recognizable amount of dust in any one place.

She spent a little while looking for the bullet, actually found it, still stained with blood, and looked to see if she had anything she could put it in. In her left pants pocket, she found a small white paper bag, all crumpled up. When she had it unballed and smoothed out flat, it read 'Madame Vivian's Know Your Future' in the same layout with a spread handprint as she had seen on a neon sign, earlier that week. After getting her card read, Liz had been feeling grateful enough to spend extra money on a souvenir, a gold-plated pendant with two hands clasping each other, on a thin and annoying fake-gold chain. She had put it on after getting home, and entirely forgotten about it in the Future Max confusion, sleeping with it on. She was even still wearing it now.

The fortune teller had claimed that as long as she wore it, the bonds that connected her with her true love would be protected. Had the charm actually WORKED??

Liz shrugged it off, filing another visit to the psychic's parlour on her 'things to do - possibly' mental list and inserting the bullet into the paper bag. She'd figure out what to do with it a little later... maybe bury it out in the desert somewhere. Maybe the gun too, she wasn't sure if it would be safe to return it to the Valenti's house, or if the Sheriff would be able to tell that it had gone off.


Sometime shortly before 8 am. Friday morning.
DeLuca residence.

A loud knocking rang out on the door, but it wasn't until several minutes later that the door opened, revealing a somewhat unhappy looking Amy DeLuca. "Oh, hi Michael. What do you want??"

"Umm... I came to see Maria," he said awkwardly. "Are you okay, Mrs. DeLuca?? You don't look that well."

"I'm not," she grumped. "Bad cold -- you'd probably better not get too close, or you'll catch it too."

"Oh, not to worry," he said offhandedly. "Very strong immune system - I never get sick. May I come in??"

She considered that a moment. "She may not be happy to see you, but probably it's for the best. Think she's still having breakfast in the rec room." She stepped aside and let Michael inside, before closing the front door and heading up the stairs.

Michael did indeed find Maria sitting in the old sweat pants and tank top she sometimes wore as pajamas, in the small room near the back of the first floor that had been dubbed a 'rec room', watching videos on VH1 with the volume turned up far too loud, which might have been one reason why she didn't answer the door herself. The sour, depressed expression on her face was another, and guessing that it might have been Michael might possibly qualify as a third.

"Hi," he started awkwardly. "I was hoping to be able to talk to you."

"So talk," she said, and took another bite of dry cornflakes.

"I'd rather not have to compete with Enrique."

That remark seemed to strike Maria as completely hilarious. "Yeah, like you'd stand a chance." But she reluctantly produced a remote from between the couch cushions and shut the television off.

Michael took a moment to try to gather his thoughts, and leaned stiffly against the window frame opposite the couch. "We... we have an odd dynamic, in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of it doesn't really hinge on my Albanian status, or whatever, so much as just the kind of people that you and I are."

"That's 'Czechoslovakian,' if you were groping for the reference that I think you were," she pointed out frostily. "But continue."

"I'm well aware that, when we first met... I wasn't the most -- sympathetic, or peaceful, or respectable guy you'd ever come across." He laughed hollowly. "Even putting aside all the stuff that I'm never going to be just because it flat out isn't in my nature, there are some things that I didn't like about myself. Things that I think you wanted me to be, that I wanted to be too. Maybe that's part of what drew us together, at least on my end... I looked at you and saw all the things that I could be, because you thought I could."

"But... as much as we care about each other, I'm starting to see that there's another current too. That... if we're together, and you don't have faith in me, I don't have faith in myself either. If you're thinking the worst of me, I start to think the worst about myself. If you have low expectations..." His voice cracked in the last word, and he cleared his throat. "...have low expectations of me, I *immediately* start to live down to them." He sighed. "And lately it seems that you have low expectations of me a lot. I can't say that I'm surprised, considering the kind of crap I've put you through since last spring, but it's not healthy for me and it's not healthy for us."

"So... I'm thinking maybe it'd be better for us to take a clean break from 'us as a couple' for a while. So that I can get my act back on track, and so that you can figure out what you want and if you're ready to take responsibility for the things you say and do. Umm... I guess that's all. I'd like to know what you think."

It was a while before Maria replied. "So, you want to go on a break??"

"Umm..." Michael had to swallow hard. "I think I want to *make* a break. As in cutting both of us loose from each other - at least, for a while."

Maria's eyes glinted narrowly. "Making a break. As in we can see other people??"

"Sure you can, if you want -- I'm sure as anything not going to stop you."

"And you??" Michael didn't reply, and she shook her head. "Typical. All of this is just a nice way of saying that I'm dumped so that you can go after Courtney. You think I don't *know* what your face looks like when you look at her??"

Michael blinked in surprise. "Ummm... well, I guess I assumed you did, but I'm not really sure what that is. I'm not generally looking at a mirror at the same time."

"Like the way you used to look at me, except slightly different. The same because you're intrigued, you're attracted to her and wondering if she's really attracted to you. Different because you have this notion that maybe, just maybe... she's like you are. That she's not like me and the rest of the poor pitiful earthlings, that she understands what it's like to be so different from everyone around her. And that you really want to be able to share that feeling with someone... someone you could fall in love with. Like you couldn't, with Isabel or Tess."

Michael was stunned speechless for a long moment. He hadn't realized any of that, not consciously... but then, the general consensus was that he was pretty clueless about things like that, and Maria was just as sharp about them. He certainly couldn't argue an honest denial, not without thinking about it a lot more. "Ummm... I didn't intend to do it this way to hurt you," he mumbled, aware of how lame that sounded.

"Yeah, well... not that that really matters no, does it?" She mumbled. "It's done. You should probably go."


8:27 am.
Crashdown Cafe.

Liz rushed into the cafe's dining room at a sprinter's pace, looked around, and saw a familiar head of short dark hair at the counter. "Alex!! Hey, are you almost done your breakfast??"

He turned and smiled at her warmly. "Just half a waffle to go. What, are you in a hurry or something??"

"Kinda -- you don't mind, do you??"

"I'll chew as fast as safety allows," he told her dryly.

"Right..." Liz was ruffling through her backpack, trying to verify all of its contents. "Umm... ooh, geography book!! I'll be back in a few minutes."

Once she had found the slender prodigal textbook and put it with its friends, Alex was pushing his plate back across the counter and finishing his glass of juice. "Thanks for the lift," Liz mentioned as they walked out of the Crashdown.

"Hey, not a problem," Alex insisted. "So... may I ask if the reason you want to get to school early has anything to do with our Mister Evans??"

"Since when is he 'our' Mister Evans?" Liz laughed, getting into the tiny little car. "But yeah... I really need to talk with him as soon as possible, and there's a significant probability that he'll be in the school library early, working on that trig assignment." Alex nodded as he pulled out.

"So... by the way, have you heard from Isabel at all?" Liz asked after about half a minute.

"Nope," Alex shook his head. "Maybe I should just stop waiting for something to change. She's made it pretty clear where she stands, for now."

Liz sighed, her heart going out to this young man who somehow wore his heart on his sleeve with incredible strength. "I can't really tell you what to do, but if I were you... I wouldn't give up hope. Okay??"

Alex smiled at her vaguely without really saying anything. "Ummm... any idea what you're going to do until classes start?" Liz tried.

He grinned and spared one hand from the steering wheel to pick up and show her a paperback book between the seats. "Gonna hang in the courtyard and brush up on my 'wheel of time.' The new one's coming out in hardcover next week, and I'm second on the public library's hold list for it." Liz laughed at that softly.

Max was indeed sitting at a study carrol near the back of the school library, two heavy math textbooks, a workbook, and nearly a dozen sheets of scrap paper scattered over the working area. The expression of intensely tired frustration on his face melted instantly into a delighted look the second after Liz cleared her throat and Max looked up... and then he visibly 'caught' himself and forced a demeanour of polite calm. Liz had to fight down a surge of giggles that threatened to overwhelm her with that, but a few escaped, and she was actually glad for them. They sounded kinda flirty, which was no bad thing considering why she was here.

"Hi, Max, glad I caught you," she opened quickly. "I'm really sorry to not get back to you about this until the last minute, but -- Gomez??" Several different emotions crossed Max's face simultaneously, in such a way that it was hard for Liz to identify them accurately. "I'd love to go with you, if the offer is still open."

He let a broad grin take over his face. "It *definitely* is now. And thanks for coming."

"Hey, I'm looking forward to it," she assured him. Liz still couldn't even hear the name Gomez without thinking of that night on the balcony, just after the heatwave broke... when Max kissed her for the first time, and how 'We haven't turned around' was playing on the little boom box she had out there. In her mind, it was their song -- well, one of their songs, at least, possibly the one that was most special of all.

"It's a long drive up to Santa Fe, and there may be a little traffic," Max said, startling Liz out of her pleasant daydream. "I was thinking of getting on the go right after sixth period was over... if that's okay."

Liz smiled. "I think I can afford to ditch two classes, yeah."

"Ohhh, and we kinda need to pick up Isabel on the way home," he added. "I promised I'd save her having to take the long way around on the greyhound, not to mention getting someone to drive her to the next town over that has a bus station."

Liz nodded again. "Well, as much as I was looking forward to a romantic drive back alone with you," she teased, "I think that'll be okay too. It'll be nice to see her again. Meet you in the parking lot?"

"Yes darling," Max replied immediately. For some reason both of them broke up laughing at that point, and soon they had to go their seperate ways and get ready for first period.

It was after her fourth-period lunch that Liz spotted Kyle hurrying down the hall a ways away from her, and decided to try and catch him, just to mention that she didn't need that favor any more, (and find out if his dad was bugging him about a missing Beretta fifty-two.) But it wasn't as easy to gain ground through the crowd of other students on their way from one place to the next, and Kyle seemed to be hurrying along at a pretty good clip himself. It was all that Liz could do to follow him...

Until he slipped open the door of the administrative records room and closed it behind him. What was he doing in there?? Only one thing came to mind, and it wasn't anything that actually had to do with the files inside. Slowly, Liz wandered over towards the door herself, trying not to attract any attention, and while pretending to pass by, she peered through the distorting glass of the window, trying to make out any details she could.

Yeah, there was not much doubt that a couple was making out inside, though she couldn't really identify Kyle. It wasn't until she had taken nine or ten paces away from the door that something else sunk in. It was hard to be sure... but Liz thought she had recognized the sweep of pale blonde hair that had belonged to one of the participants.

No longer even close to worried about if people noticed anything odd about her own behaviour, Liz spun around and hurried back to the door. Slowly and carefully, she turned the protruding lever of the door handle, taking care not to make a sound, and opened it just enough to peer inside.

There could be no doubt. It was Kyle, and it was Tess. French kissing like there was no tomorrow. One of his hands was tangled up in that blonde hair, and the other was cupped pretty firmly around her butt, squeezing through the relaxed fit jeans. Tess' were, respectively, wrapped around the middle of Kyle's back for support, and undoing the buttons running down the front of his light blue shirt.

For a second, Liz couldn't look away. That was all the time it took for Kyle to start attending to Tess' smooth throat with kiss after kiss, and Liz pulled the door shut, (not as quietly as she might have,) and hurried away.

Only one thought made its way through her confused mind... maybe Tess had a reason to stay in Roswell now, one that had nothing to do with HER soulmate!


3:25 pm
Approaching Ramon, New Mexico

Liz looked from the incredible desert horizon back to Max again, and sighed. Nearly two hours on the road, only a third of the way to Santa Fe, and neither of them had really said much to the other. Liz really did want to start all over with Max, but she wasn't sure how to get back that easy, (well, relatively easy,) rapport that they'd used to have a year ago at this time.

"Yeah, I know, it's weird," Max commented, making Liz laugh at how in this, ironically, he knew exactly what she was thinking. "We may need to just give things a few dates before things get back to anything like comfortable between us." He didn't seem to doubt that spending the time would be worth it, or that they'd both have the patience to follow through, if it came to that. "Want to grab some drive-through at Blackie's??"

"Ummm..." Liz tried to think about that. "I could eat... not terribly hungry, but I could go for a light snack, yeah. What's 'Blackie's' though?? I mean, what kind of food do they have?"

"You've never been to Blackie's in Ramon??" He asked, a little startled. "Well, I guess you're not as much a one for cruising the desert highways as much as I am." He laughed slightly. "It's a drive-through only grill joint right at the side of the highway. Blackie as in burnt black, though the food isn't really, but it's kind of like a running joke. They have an oversized grill set up to just pour thick clouds of smoke up into the sky, and a huge billboard facing north with a middle-aged father putting some food that has obviously been burnt to a crisp onto a picnic table, with the family all around him staring in disbelief. But their bar-b-q cheeseburgers are amazing, and they have these cheese-grilled potatoes that you've simply got to try."

"Hmm, okay maybe," Liz agreed. "How long does it take? We're not exactly doing great on time."

"I probably won't stop if there's more than four cars in the lineup already," Max said regretfully. "Any less, and we should be fine."

There were only two cars ahead of them in the northbound line when Max pulled off to go into the drive, and despite Liz's assurances that she would only be able to eat 'a tiny snack,' he ordered what seemed like a huge amount of food to go: "Double decker deluxe banquetburger, hot lady with everything going for her, pig's tail, two large cheddar taters, and a small fries. Oh, and two cherry coke slakers."

"I'm really sorry sir, the cherry coke isn't available at the moment."

Max looked really disappointed. Liz had opened her mouth to suggest some other drink, (though she wasn't exactly sure what,) when there was a snort of laughter from the speaker. "Just yankin' your chain, Max," the guy said. "First window."

Once they had picked up their edibles, paid, and barrelled back onto the open road, Max passed Liz a small package wrapped in wax paper, with his right hand. "That's yours."

"A hot lady with everything going for her??" Liz repeated as she started to unwrap it... and to giggle.

If Max picked up on the double meaning, he gave no outward sign. "Hope it's not too heavily spiced for you... I thought it'd be the thing because it's smaller than most of their burgers, yet not so tiny that you can scarf it up in two bites. A three-and-half ounce, if I remember correctly." He paused a second. "Try the cheese taters."

Liz did, finding them unfamiliar and yet an intriguing blend of savory flavors... and took a long swallow from her 'quencher.' "I have to ask, though I'm not sure I want to know... just what the heck is the pig's tail?"

Max laughed. "Not quite sure why they insist on calling it that - it's a thin pork sausage, drizzled with a delicate sweet and sour sauce, and cradled in a soft honey pastry... you have to try a bit of it." He snagged some spuds, and then cleared his throat softly. "Um, could you unwrap my burger for me? It kinda takes two hands."

Liz smiled and fished the larger cylindrical lump out of the drive-through bag. "So, when did you discover Blackie's?? They seem to know you there pretty well."

Max laughed. "Well, I'm not sure I can claim any credit for 'discovering' it. My folks used to stop here for food on family road trips, when I was just a wee little guy." He laughed.

Liz nodded, then thought about that a little more. "Why'd you take so many road trips up this way? Were you going to Santa Fe too??"

Max laughed. "No, or only as a stop on the road. There's a campground in Alamosa, across the state border into Colorado, where they'd take us and meet my mom's brother and his family. They lived... um, I'm not quite sure, but somewhere north, either in north Colorado or whatever's past there." He sighed. "When I was twelve... or you know what I mean -- they moved to Vermont, and I don't think I've seen them since." Liz smiled with a little sympathy. "Once I got my driver's license and the Jeep, the spring before we really met, Michael was on this kick about searching the desert near the reported crash site for some kind of secret hangar where the wreckage was being kept. We started exploring pretty far north of town, and Ramon was a convenient rest stop and staging base. So we ate a lot of barbecue."

There was a pause for a moment. "I've gott ask," Liz put in. "What would you have done if you'd FOUND something out in the desert???"

Max shrugged. "Not sure. In retrospect, I'm glad it didn't come up." He sighed. "And since then, when things get frustrating, sometimes it's nice to just drive around without going anywhere in particular."

Liz smiled, and they drove along in silence for a while. "Hey, mind if I grab some of the fries?"

"Help yourself!!" Max insisted.


5:28 pm.
Pizza pan eatery.

"Umm... so, any idea what you're going to have, Tess?" Jim Valenti asked her over both of their menus.

"Not sure," she mumbled. "Kinda feel like something... hot. How spicy is the sausage they put on the pie here, really??"

"Pretty damn hot," Kyle put in. "Put them together with the jalapeno peppers and the red onions, and I don't think you'll be complaining... except that nobody else will want to smell your breath for a week."

"Oh, I'm not so sure about that," Tess replied, a little smile on her face. "Think I might do without the onions though, not so wild about them. What else sounds good... hmm."

"Well, I'm glad the two of you seem to be getting along well lately," Mister Valenti commented. Kyle and Tess immediately froze and shared a nervous glance. "Well, haven't you??" he continued, a little surprised by the reaction. "I've noticed a distinct lack of sniping back and forth over the breakfast table in the mornings."

"Umm, maybe I just haven't had the energy to be bitchy lately," Tess said softly. "May change soon." Jim shrugged, and went back to considering the menu for himself.

"Err... what about you dad?" Kyle blurted out. "You haven't been around particularly much lately... is something going on down at work?"

"Not really," Jim replied, keeping his voice low. "Two calls came in from people in Whittaker's apartment building, complaining about suspicious noises. I went in and took a look around this morning, but nothing seemed out of place." He sighed. "It feels weird to be sitting on what I know about her disappearance, but the least suspicious course is to not give anything away until someone else brings up the fact that she's apparently disappeared."

"I think I may try one of the calzones," Tess decided, startling Mister Valenti with the change of subject. "Are they good here??"

Read my other roswell stories!

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the Rowan tree's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." From 'the farthest shore', Ursula LeGuin.


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Post by Chrisken » Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:15 pm

Part Five

Friday, October 27th, 2000. 6:09 pm.
Approaching Santa Fe outskirts on I-25 north.

Max smiled. "Well, I guess we didn't need to worry about the traffic. I think we'll be there and ready with about half an hour to spare."

Liz laughed. "So we have half an hour to kill... I can think of a few ways to do that. It would have been tough to sneak away halfway through sixth period anyway."

"Agreed." There was a pause, and then Max started to say "Well, we can..." just as Liz blurted out "I didn't--" and it was one of those awkward pauses where each of them waited too long for the other to start again.

"Um, you first," Max mumbled.

"No, I didn't mean to interrupt."

"It was nothing important -- I insist," Max pressed, and Liz smiled and tried to resume her place.

"I didn't just because you asked... or something like this. I mean... I know that I've been acting -- distant, lately, but it wasn't just because you suggested this concert that I wanted to... to do something with you, right now. It was a nice idea, and the offer helped me keep some stuff straight and settle overdue business, but I'd have been with you tonight even if this concert hadn't been here... if you'd have had me, that is." She sighed. "That didn't come out quite right, but I'm still glad I said it."

"I think I know what you mean," Max admitted, "and I'm glad to hear it." He paused. "Trying to decide just how much I should read into that, actually."

"Would be a question of *how* to read it instead of just how much, actually," Liz informed him. "What I'm doing here... it isn't tentative, Max. I want to start slowly... well, kinda slow, but never the sort of slow that could be mistaken for standing still. We've got too far to go for that."

Max grinned broadly at that. "Well, if it wouldn't be moving too fast, I would say we should seal that with a kiss. Whatd'you say?"

Liz nodded, beaming. "DEFINITELY. Umm -- pull over." And so Max maneuvered the jeep over to the shoulder of the road, parked, and turned to Liz. For a second it was awkward, as they took their seatbelts off and he slipped his arms around hers, but then their lips met, and it was a perfect moment... tender and sweet, innocent yet hinting at the depth of the love that they felt for each other. Right now, the hint was enough.

"Umm... was there something you were trying to say, when we both spoke at the same time?" Liz asked teasingly once the kiss was finished.

"Umm... just that we can hang around and t-- talk until the show starts," Max stuttered. "N.. n..nothing very important, as I said."

Liz was tempted to fire off a line about how 'they could find something better to pass the time than that,' but chose to sit on it instead, as Max buckled in and started the engine back up. Spending an extended period of time making out didn't seem like the best way to follow through on her stated intentions of 'starting kinda slow,' and they really did need to talk more. Everything that had happened since that afternoon in the pod chamber had created a rift between the two of them, one that had not entirely closed over yet. Most of their conversation on the drive over here had not gotten past the 'small talk' level, and maybe now they could get to something a little more relevant. Figure out where each of the two of them had gotten to, while the other hadn't been looking.

"Welcome to Santa Fe," Liz read out from a sign on the side of the road as they sped past it. "Gusty winds may exist."


7:42 pm.
Michael's apartment.

There was a knock on the door, so Michael put down his bowl of cereal and got up to see who it was, still keeping half an eye on the miniature TV screen. As soon as the door was half open, Alex barged straight through and past him. "Come on in," Michael muttered sarcastically. "What's up?"

"Nothing, nothing at all."

"Well, I was kinda watching the game, so if you've got something on your mind..." Alex, who had already paced to the far side of the living room and half the way back, reached out to grab the remote from the kitchen counter, shut the television off with a definitive click, and spun round to face Michael, putting the controller back down.

"Do you have ANY idea what you've done to Maria??" Alex said, loudly, distinctly, and with quite a bit of emotional subtext.

Michael frowned. "Yes, as it happens, I do. What I'm not clear on, you being her friend notwithstanding, is where this is actually any of your business! It's a lousy situation, but it's between Maria and me..."

"Look, I don't care that you've got thirty pounds on me, or -- or that you can kill me with some, some twisted alien power just by looking at me," Alex flared back. "I will *not* let you treat my friend like that. I -- I don't care that Isabel treats me like crap, but NO ONE does that to Maria, alright? She's not just some girl!! As one of Maria's best friends, I think I'm entitled to invoke the 'you break her heart, I kick your ass' principle."

"It wasn't like I planned for things to go down this way, man..." Michael started. Unfortunately, just at that moment there was another tap at the door.

Alex and Michael both looked over Alex's shoulder to see a blonde girl wearing a shirt that was buttoned up only immediately over her cleavage. "Knock knock," she called out in a flirty voice. Courtney.

Michael was so stunned by the immensity of the bad timing that he didn't see it coming. Alex must have wound up pretty hard, but all Michael remembered was the stingingly hard impact, coming directly at his left eye, and strong enough to send him flying back onto his ass. "OWW!" He shook off the pain in his face, propped himself up on his hands, and looked up to see Courtney monitoring the entire scene with an amused expression on his face, and Alex shaking out his right hand in an attempt to ward off the pain that the blow had cost him. It made Michael feel better on some level to see that throwing that punch had caused Alex some pain too.

Michael prodded gently at his cheek with one finger, gritted his teeth at the discomfort that even that contact far enough from ground zero generated, and shook his head slightly at Alex. "You realize that you just risked your life??" he asked in a low whisper.

"Yeah," Alex grunted, now cradling his right hand gently in the other one.

"You're a really good friend, man," Michael said in admiration. He had intended it as an apology, and it was quite obvious that he'd picked the wrong words.

"Call me that again," Alex growled, "and I will REALLY kick your ass!!" He pointed with his sore hand at Michael for emphasis, and then quickly hurried out, passing Courtney without a word and closing the door behind him.

Courtney crossed the living room and squatted next to where Michael was sitting on the floor. "Are you okay??" she asked, peering critically at the part of his face around the injured eye.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Michael grumped, and she extended a helpful arm out above his lap. Michael took hold of it and maneuvered himself to a kneeling position... and then he completely forgot about getting up. He was looking directly at Courtney's face, just inches away from his... caught by the teasing look in her pale blue eyes, noticing how her straight wheaten hair framed smooth and rosy cheeks -- trying to shake off the tempting red fullness of her lips.

The things that Maria had said to him after he broke up with her were running through Michael's mind... was he really obsessed with Courtney because he thought she was another alien? Suddenly the urge to kiss those lips again was irresistable. She leaned in at the exact same moment as he did, and their mouths met. As she kissed him back, Courtney stood back up, slowly so as to let Michael follow her motion, and wrapped her arms around his neck. They spun around together, like two lonely planets caught in each other's orbit.

Michael stiffened slightly and drew back a little, still watching Courtney's face intently. There was a secret smile of triumph peeking out in those supple lips. Did he *really* want to be making out with the other woman so soon after splitting up with Maria?

Courtney made a small, nonverbal complaining sound, and Michael stroked the top of her wrist under her long-sleeved blue top, a soothing gesture meant to buy him time until he could decide just what he wanted. But he wasn't expecting the flesh he stroked to come off under his fingers.

No, not flesh, quite, but...

Michael moved his fingers, and the stuff came away with them... a pale, yellowish-white film, thinner than tissue paper and clinging to itself around the edges. He had seen one of these before... it hadn't been as fresh and had disintegrated with his touch, but there was no mistaking the similarity.

"You're a skin??" he asked, not sure whether to be furious or excited.

Courtney reacted so quickly he could hardly believe it... pushing him away, (still with that teasing smile,) and dashing down the length of the living room. Michael could hardly believe how quickly she'd gone from zero to breakneck speed, but he had enough presence of mind to stretch out one hand and try to pull her off course. Too late he saw the cloud of rose-purple light that seemed to trail Courtney's departing form, and felt his burst of energy skew to the side, punching a large depression in the plaster of the wall.

Michael could only stare in considerable surprise as Court launched herself at the window, shattering the glass and breaking the wooden struts as she crashed through. Michael dashed towards the window, but he could hear her footsteps rapidly fading away, and knew that there was no hope of catching her this time.

Maybe the skins were different from them in their physical capacities, Michael thought uneasily as he stood there. What Courtney had just done would have made her a top-flight sprinter by human standards, and he suddenly doubted that was unusual by the standards of her kind. Were they naturally stronger than humans - or hybrids - as well? What about their talents with 'alien powers??' None of the four of them could create a defensive field like Courtney had just done... well, none of them had so far. They hadn't ever had reason, or thought, to try.

With nothing else to do immediately, Michael picked up the remote and started the television up again. Then he turned it off and grabbed the phone, dialing the number for the Valentis. Max was off at the concert, and Isabel would be coming back with him, late late tonight. But Tess should hear the news as soon as possible.


1:06 am, Saturday October 28th.
Travelling south on route NM-34 (portions unpaved.)

Liz stood up in the passenger seat, holding on carefully to the door and the windshield, and let out a wild and carefree 'WHOOO!!' She looked around, down at Max, who smiled slightly and shook her head a little, and Liz felt compelled to add a little on to her wild exclamation to make up for Max's composure. "**Yeah**, all right!" That seemed to do the job, and she resumed her seat, grinning like a maniac at the young man she thought of as her soulmate. "I'm a little worried about you, Max, acting so quiet and reserved at a show like that. You should be EXUBERANT -- I'm exuberant, aren't I??"

"That you are, and more," Max admitted. "Come to think of it, you're acting a little bit like you're drunk, Liz. You didn't... at the show --" He couldn't even bring himself to say it.

Liz thought a little about the line of dialog that popped into her head and then, perhaps predictably, threw pensiveness to the winds. She would probably never get another chance to say it, after all. "That's not alcohol, baby... That's *love*!"

It got a laugh out of Max, at least... a long and wholehearted laugh that made Liz smile just to hear it. "Well, he laughs -- that's a good sign at least. Can I get a 'Whoo'??" No response other than a bit of a sidelong peer-ey look from Max. "Can I *get* a 'WHOOO'?!?"

"Whooo," Max said, putting hardly any emphasis into it.

"I can't hear you!!" Liz shot back, really getting into this sillyness now. "Okay, well, I could, because I was sitting right next to you hear, but still... that was pathetic. *Can I get* a 'WHHOOOO'!!?"

Max shook his head, laughing under his breath, and let out a wild whoop that seemed almost musical. Liz giggled and nodded approvingly. "Okay, didn't that feel good??"

"Not bad," Max admitted. "WHOOO-HOOH!" He chuckled. "Thanks. It takes a bit for me to unwind, as you might have noticed."

"Just kind of occasionally... or, like, *always*," Liz quipped. "So, how far is it to this place, anyway??"

"Ummm..." Max peered at the odometer. "Should be only a few miles more... oh, alright, there's the turnoff." Sure enough, there was a sign marking the place where they could turn off from the state highway to an even smaller, rougher, and more dimly lit local road. "Umm... uh, I realize that you might not want to talk about this right now, but there's the question of what we do, exactly... about Tess, given everything--"

"I, um..." Liz paused to try to put her thoughts in order. "I don't think it's a good idea to rub her nose immediately in the fact that we've gotten back together," she said slowly. "I realize that in a perfect world, we shouldn't have to worry so much about her feelings that we have to tiptoe around the subject, but New Mexico isn't in a perfect world. She's still kinda invested in her idea of you being her destiny, and I don't think it's the best thing to upset her a whole bunch. She's a part of your family, and as callous as this sounds, you'll probably need her help in at least one of the next few big crises to hit."

Max weighed that for a moment. "That's... that's probably better than what I was about to say," he admitted with a small sigh. "I don't like having to hide my true feelings or dance around to avoid pissing her off, but you're probably right about the practical delicacy of the situation. Maybe we could try doing something subtle to feel her out about her reaction??"

"Maybe better to leave that for a little bit, but in the abstract you're right, it's a good idea."

"Leave it for a little bit why??" Max asked slowly. "Is there something that you expect to change over the next few weeks? Or maybe... something that's already changing??"

"I probably shouldn't say anything about it yet," Liz whispered, making a face that was halfway between 'sorry' and teasing.

"In other words, 'yes,'" Max interpreted. "Well, I can live with the secret for a bit. Okay, time for a new subject I guess, something completely low angst, ummm..." He paused in thought for a long moment. "Oh, did you see the news article about that analysis they did on Beethoven's hair??"

"Ummm..." Liz blinked in surprise. "No, don't think so. When was it?"

"A little over a week ago, I think... I remember seeing it and thinking that I wanted to mention it to you, and then Michael kinda pulled me away in the corridor that day before I could. Remember??"

"Umm, a little, yes," Liz said. "So what did they find out??"

"High concentrated lead deposits... not really sure how it got into his system," Max reported. "Theories ranging from eating off lead plates, polluted fish, deliberate poisoning -- but it looks like the exposure was high enough to have contributed to his death."

"Hmm." Liz thought. "Ohh, I think we're here... maybe."

Sure enough, they seemed to have arrived at the small town of Rencona. Liz handed Max a small slip of paper from the glove compartment, which he was able to use to find the doctor's office where he was supposed to pick Isabel up.

"She's probably waiting inside," Max said after a moment, undoing his belt and getting out of the Jeep. "I'll go get her."

"Wait a second," Liz said, leaving the vehicle. "I just, umm..." He had turned to see what the problem was, and Liz ran over to him, or very nearly into him, wrapping her arms around his chest in a definite but soft tackle, and kissing him quickly and hot, pressing her tongue between Max's lips to rub his own.

"Whh, wow," Max stammered once she was through with him. "Umm, uhhh..."

"Just wanted to do that before..."

"Before we weren't alone together any longer??" Max finished, and she blush-smiled. "Truly excellent idea, I have to say. Ummm... I'm going to have to get some sleep once we finally get back to Roswell, but... do you want to do something else this weekend? Late omorrow afternoon maybe??"

Liz thought. "Yeah... in fact, this may not be quite what you had in mind, but do you want to go out to Hondo to see a fortune teller??"

Max's face showed his surprise. "No, actually, I'd planned to stick in town, actually. What made you think of that??"

"I... I can't really explain the whole thing, but there's this place, Madam Vivian's, that Maria showed me, and --- well, I was going to go anyway. If you'd like to come, I'll appreciate the company, but if not..."

"I will be there," he promised, kissing her one more time, more chastely, and then hurried off to the office door. Liz was hit with a fit of giggling when she realized that he couldn't *quite* walk straight.

"Come on girl, keep the dirty mind on a leash. Probably he's just got a little kink in his leg from driving." She couldn't quite convince herself though.


3:11 am.
Just past Vaughn.

"Max, you can barely keep your eyes open," Isabel announced out loud. "Pull over and you can come back here and try to get some sleep. I'll take a turn driving, and Liz and I can get some girl talk in."

"I'm not tiii-yiiii..." Max didn't even get the word 'tired' out because of a really loud and clear yawn. "Okay, guess I can't protest that I'm not kinda sleepy." He turned to Liz. "You don't mind??"

"Nah, are you kidding??" She giggled. "We've been on this date for nearly twelve hours now!! If you want to go and take a rest, by all means go ahead, I'm not offended or anything." Max smiled.

"Well, there's a Lottaburger about two miles down the road," Max suggested. "We can pull in there, switch seats and you can grab some food or a coffee if you want." He yawned again. "Nothing for me I guess, if I'm going to try to get any sleep."

So soon, Max and Isabel had switched places and she was driving them back down the highway to Roswell. Max was curled up in one of the back seats, his eyes closed though it was hard for Liz to tell if he was asleep already or only trying (or maybe faking it,) and the girls had gotten coffees and an order of onion rings to share, and there was a small cheeseburger still wrapped up that Liz might tackle later on.

"So, what's been going on at home while I've been gone?" Isabel asked after a bit. "I called Max a few times, but he never seemed that talkative, and I felt too weird to call anyone else collect."

Liz laughed. "Umm, well, it's been a weird week for me, for reasons that I don't want to get into at the moment..." she sighed. "And Michael and Maria have been having problems too. He was trying to investigate that waitress girl Courtney, and Maria didn't like or trust some of his 'tactics.'" Liz shook her head sadly. "I hope they work it out."

Isabel shook her head. "The poor boy just can't seem to manage any kind of a relationship without constant cue cards."

Liz stifled a snicker. "And... Alex has been out of sorts too. Missing you, I think."

She caught a hint of blush on Isabel's face as they went past a highway lamp. "Well... I've been thinking about him too, and about the way I left things. But the situation with Alex and me is complicated, and I think I'd thank you not to butt into our business."

"I wasn't trying to," Liz assured her. "That comment just kind of slipped out, and I wasn't meaning to take it any further." She hoped that Alex and Isabel would find their way back together too, though.

"So," Liz said, grasping mentally to change the subject. "Are you going to have a whole bunch of catch-up work when you get back to school, or did your teachers give you a heads up on the material to study while you were on candystriper duty?"

Isabel snorted a little. "Candystriper?? Well anyway, I got a study guide for one or two of my classes, and I was kind of ahead on schoolwork anyway. Shouldn't take too long to sort things out." She sighed contentedly.

"What was it like, helping out at the scene of a minor disease outbreak??"


Saturday, October 28th, 2000. 4:28 pm.
East side, Hondo, NM.

"Umm... this is it??" Max asked as Liz pulled into the parking lot next to the small building. Despite the neon signs in front, turned off now in the daylight, it looked like nothing as much as a run-down three bedroom house.

"Oh, yeah," Liz agreed. "Why, were you expecting something... flashier??"

"Not really." Max paused a moment. "I dunno, I guess I'm just having a bit of trouble seeing you as someone who'd actually WANT to go and consult a psychic."

She shrugged. "Live with it." A sunny and playful grin followed those words a few seconds later. She looked around... the closest building in the opposite direction from Madam Vivians was some sort of small factory or warehouse, maybe a hundred feet away. She could see other small houses across the street, and from her last trip here, with Maria and Alex, she knew that there was a diner and a general store down the road.

"You don't really mind coming, do you??" she asked softly.

"Nah, not since you drove," Max quipped, getting out of the passenger side. "I mean, I don't really understand it, but... just spending time with you is amazing, no matter how silly I think what we're doing is."

"Um, cool I guess." Liz got out too and slipped Max a quick french kiss. "Okay... how about we pretend like we've arrived seperately, ans see if Madam Vivian can tell that we're really a couple if we come in seperately??" That sounded like fun... it was also a way to make sure that Max wouldn't come in with her, because she wasn't sure she wanted him to hear.

"Um, all right. You wanna go in first??"

"Okay." There wasn't anyone in the waiting room, and the last customer came out before Max walked in. Madam Viv put the cards away and folded her arms as soon as she saw Liz.

"I have a policy of no repeat readings within three weeks for new customers."

Liz blinked in surprise. "Come on, this is important!! I drove half an hour on four hours' sleep last night -- you HAVE to give me another go!! It's really important."

Vivian seemed quite dubious. "Why?? I mean, it's not like I gave you a bad reading the other day. Why can't you just be satisfied with it?"

"Ummm..." Liz shook her head, sitting down, even though Vivian hadn't asked her to and seemed to not appreciate it. "This may sound confusing, but I know what that last reading was about, and things have changed. Really. I mean, it's possible to change someone's future, isn't it??"

"Umm..." She thought about that. "Yes it is, but it's not easy or common. How can you be sure that your fate has changed... maybe you didn't even understand the ultimate course of destiny yet yourself."

"I guess I can't be sure, but call it a strong hunch," Liz said. "Come on, I'll pay you triple the usual fee, with no refunds. Just give it your best shot; I'd *really* like to know what your cards say."

She considered that. "Okay, if you're sure. But, even if nothing has changed, the reading won't be the same as it was before - it never is. The cards will tell you about some different aspect of your situation or problem. Most people don't really understand that, which is why I have the policy."

"I think I know what you mean," Liz said. "Alright??" She peeled out the bills and set them down, then reached out to touch the deck of tarot cards when Vivian offered them. Liz couldn't seem to stop staring at the cards as Vivian shuffled them, and then started to deal out in a pattern that she remembered before. "Okay, there's your significator again, the Princess of swords, in the second pile, which means that this is an air reading, a thinking problem. Last time it came up water, for an emotional reading." She set the deck down for a moment and snatched Liz's money, stuffing it into a pocket of her long black dress.

"Alright, go on," Liz muttered. A transition from the domain of emotions to the realm of logical thought made sense... she had dealt with Future Max, not just by trusting her heart, but by trusting her head and figuring out the logic of the situation. But she had to wait for more to figure out if this divination stuff was actually relevant or just a bunch of nonsense.

"Covering the princess, representing the root of the issue you wanted to consult the ethers about..." she dealt out the next card and placed it squarely on top of Liz's significator, having cleared the others away first. It looked to Liz like a compass surrounded by clouds and fantasy beasts. "The wheel of fortune, representing destiny." Liz gasped in shock. "The way that the threads of lives weave about you, a turning point altering the course of events. Given your sense of change, and the way you were concerned about the last reading suddenly not applying any more, I can't say I'm surprised that this is your primary factor, your present environment. The cards understand what you want to ask."

"Umm, okay," Liz said, a little doubtfully. Despite the term that Vivian had used, this didn't seem to represent what she'd feared at first... maybe it was even relevant in the way she said. On the other hand, as a working psychic she had to be very good at gauging what her client wanted to hear and slanting her interpretations to reflect that, (if not to accomodate it necessarily.)

"Next... crossing the wheel is the nine of swords, representing guilt of anguish. You are worried... worried about something that you've done perhaps?? Something that you tried to change the course of the wheel, to impose your own vision on the future??" Liz carefully kept her face as neutral as possible.

"In your foundation... the king of cups. Now that's interesting!! I recognize him from your last reading, where he was in your future, the leader who chose love with you, the man you were going to marry. Here he is instead your root cause, the deep unconscious influence that permeates everything you brood about so. I imagine you have quite a complicated history with him."

"Umm... that card showing up there, instead of my future or somewhere else in the reading -- is that bad??" Liz had to ask.

"Hard to say until the spread is complete. That he lands here indicates that he is part of your soul, but he may or not be part of your future. Should I continue on??" Liz nodded, and the next card was dealt to the left of the initial formation. "In your past... is the hermit. Another major arcanum, which will certainly have a strong influence. Normally, he represents introspection and guidance, but landing here, and inverted..." She looked up at Liz, startled. "There's an alternate interpretation of the origin of this card that it is Chronos bearing the hourglass of time. Maybe... maybe someone *did* change history. Someone or something who could... who could step outside history as we know it, who relates to time in a different way than we do??"

Liz was starting to get spooked. "You... are you serious?"

"I... I think so, why? It's not how I'd normally interpret that card, just something that kind of popped into my head."

"Keep going," Liz insisted.

"Crowning you, representing your attitudes, your goal... well, no big surprise here, it's the nine of cups. Represents achieving a goal or obtaining your heart's desire, which is almost redundant in the topmost position of the cross. More specifically, it can represent getting results that you have hoped for... or, well, making love." Liz blushed. "In your future position, the three of coins... teamwork, functioning well as a unit, getting a job done through co-operation. Also, getting a job done competently."

"Nice to know," Liz muttered. Now, as last time, Vivian moved aside slightly from the 'cross' of cards that had been laid out on the table.

"The card representing you at the base of the 'staff' is the tower, which fits with what you said, and what the wheel of fortune indicated, about being in turmoil since you saw me last. You have gone through a sudden change and all of your plans have been disrupted, possibly made at least one very emotional outburst lately. Things have happened which you might have seen as a negative turn of your fortune, but this is more than overbalanced by the value of a blinding revelation... suddenly realizing a great truth and seeing an answer."

Another card, above the last. "The point of view of others, though, is the four of swords -- rest and quiet preparation. Those around you have no idea of the dangerous forces you have been struggling with... if you'll take my advice -- find someone who you can confide in, by the way. Keeping events as momentous as these inside and secret isn't healthy. But that's not specifically relevant to your question."

"The key factor in your staff is..." Vivian started with a spiel for the next card, but Liz interrupted her.

"That's the lovers again!!" It was almost a squeal of delight, but Vivian's face fell.

"Actually, the card is inverted here, and so I don't think it means love in quite the same was as before. This time, I would tend to interpret it as... choice, which many people seem to think is a dirty word. Choice is usually thought of in terms of difficult dilemmas that have no good alternative, but..."

"All of living is making choices," Liz breathed.

"Actually, that's a very good way to put it."

"So... this card here... does it suggest that I'll be able to make my choices well?? That they'll help with the co-operation and competence, and lead me to my satisfaction??" Liz reeled off, pointing to other cards in the layout in quick succession. "Help me to change the course of the wheel of life?"

"I would tend to say so, though it's not as clear as it could be," Vivian hedged. "And the final card, your overall outcome, is... ahh, there, the Star of Hope. That would help to confirm it as well. "If you think positively and have faith in your blessings, you can look forward to great success." She paused, contemplating the reading as a whole. "Yes, this confirms what you said about many things changing just over the past few days, but the outlook is positive. The anguish and guilt you feel is probably not justified, if it was intended to keep the hermit Time from interfering with your crown. Do you have any questions -- I might be able to subdefine a card or two meaningfully, if it will help."

"Hmmm..." Liz thought about that. "What about the king??"

Vivian laughed. "Okay. Covering him is... the ten of cups. Radiant love, delight in good fortune... possibly working for peace in his family. Crossing him as a complicating influence is... the judge in session. He is taking on difficult responsibilities, trying to do what's right."

"Yeah, that sounds like him," Liz muttered before she could stop herself. "Umm... could I get a little more info on these choices that I'm going to be making??" she asked, tapping the upside-down lovers card.

"I think it might be better not." Vivian started to gather up the cards. "On the other hand... do you want some of your money back?? I feel a little bad keeping it all, since you were really right - you needed to know."

"Umm..." Liz thought about that. "Well, if you feel that way, you could give me half of it back. That works out well for me, and it comes out to a fifty percent tip on your usual fee, which I think you deserve."

"Alright." She sorted through the bills and passed some of them back. "If there's someone in the waiting room, could you tell them to come on in??"

Liz waited for Max out in the Jeep until he left the building, which didn't seem to take too long. "Well??"

"Well yes, a few cards into the reading she asked me if I knew the girl who had been in before, and when I admitted that, she said I was your 'prince charming,'" Max said, smiling.

"Okay. What about the rest of the reading??"

"Oh, the usual canned tripe. Great challenges, passionate love, the importance of friends, knowledge is power... I gotta tell you, Liz, I really don't believe in this stuff. Nobody can shuffle a deck of cards and tell you what your life is going to be like." He leaned in over the door frame and kissed her on the arm. "I keep telling you, Liz -- we make our own destinies."

She smiled. "I guess you're right. So, should I drive on the way back too?"

"Why don't you start," Max said, going over to the passenger door, "and maybe I'll take over at Highway Mill, after we're across the country line??"

She kissed him one more time, and started the motor.


Hey, Chris K here. I hope you really liked it, and I will be starting the next fic in this series, "Kismet Unchained" very soon!!! 'Til then - keep believing!!
Read my other roswell stories!

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it. If the Rowan tree's roots are shallow, it bears no crown." From 'the farthest shore', Ursula LeGuin.