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Episode 404:

“Pressure and Uncertainty”

Written by: Shira, Britt, Jeslyn, Julie, Kristin, Liz, and Mark

Edited by: Liz, Katie, Lisa, and Mark

Song Playlist:

1. “I Wonder” by Issak

2. “Get Over It” by Okay Go

3. “Tomorrow” by Avril Lavigne

4. “The Egg” by Windsor for the Derby

5. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leopard

6. “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne

1.

~.~.~.~

Outside Yosemite CA, heading to Fresno – Journal Entry

Today we almost succumbed to the FBI. Luckily, we had our wits about us, else we would probably be dead or locked away in some small room somewhere, strapped to a table with creepy men in white suits poking and prodding us. The whole thing is so backwards, you know? I mean, aren’t the aliens supposed to be doing the abducting and experimenting?

We still don’t know how the FBI found us at Yosemite. Max seems to think there was no way the FBI could have known where we were, unless someone got careless and left evidence behind. I don’t think any of us would be that careless – not after everything we’ve been through together. This means that someone has been following us.

Fresno is not too far southwest from Yosemite, perhaps two hundred miles or so, but the FBI has already implemented roadblocks and air surveillance on many of the roads. Unfortunately, we are being forced to drive the back roads and take some other routes that are not even listed on our maps. Note to self – our next vehicle should be a Humvee – with sleeping accommodations for six.

There has been so much going on lately and everyone is so tense… I don’t know how much longer we all can keep going like this. Actually, I’m amazed we came this far without killing one another, but still; the FBI is really getting to everyone.

I look around at the people around me, my family now, and wonder what the future holds for us. I can only hope that at the end of the tunnel lies a hint of light. I know that we always said that everything would be okay as long as we were all together, but being on the run - being scared all the time - can surely take its toll.

I love Max. Maria is like my sister, and Kyle is like my brother now. But I have to admit that putting up with Michael and Maria can be tiring from time to time. How long can we expect Kyle to put his life on hold? How long will it take Isabel to adjust to her new life away from the love of her life? I just have to truly admit that I am not sure how much more of this running - the hiding - we can take.

Michael got into it with Max today, after yelling at me. That was a shock. I guess I have always tolerated Michael and never thought too much about how rash and cruel he really can be - but to be on the receiving end of it, him telling me the “honeymoon was over” – like he were my keeper or something. I don’t deserve that from him or anyone else. Max and I have been to hell and back, and this time we are here to stay.

The ironic thing is despite how upset I am with Michael, that somehow I can’t help but feel like he has a point. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the honeymoon – it was the best time of my life, but I also think perhaps we should be moving on, for our own good. We have got to figure out a way to get the FBI off our tail, and we just can’t do that if Max and I are too busy with our personal lives.

Well, moving on. Isabel: everyone is worried about her more than ever. She still hasn’t talked to anyone, not even Max. She is starting to scare all of us – not because she has Tess’ mind warping ability, but because we have no idea what she plans on doing with it. She’s so quiet and withdrawn.

I assumed Isabel would want that mentally hazardous alien skill gone from her body immediately, but so far she hasn’t said a word. She has the power that killed Alex inside of her. It’s likely part of Tess’ soul or seal or whatever, and Isabel doesn’t seem to care. I don’t understand. I would be freaking out – but maybe that’s just me.

I overheard Kyle suggest she try dreamwalking Jesse, but she had already tried. It didn’t work. This only added to Isabel’s frustration, because now either Jesse was dead, or Isabel was losing her dreamwalking ability altogether. I’m worried that she’s turning more and more into Tess every day.

I look at the person Isabel is still becoming and it scares me. I see a woman torn away from the one thing that matters most to her in life: the comfort and love of her husband. And she pushed him away to keep him safe. It frightens me - I see similarities between Isabel and myself that I would have never thought possible before. She would do anything to protect Jesse, just as I would, and have done anything to protect Max, even if it meant losing him.

Max suggested she could mail Jesse a letter, but what good would that do? She wouldn’t be able to get a reply and we aren’t even sure if Jesse is even still in Roswell. He could be in Boston starting his life over for all we know.

Then there’s this new woman, the one who I can’t seem to get out of my head. Her childhood image is even there when I go to sleep; it’s getting spooky. I don’t know if we’ll even be able to find Serena once we get to Fresno. It’s a big city and there are lots of people there. It would take a miracle to find her; we don’t know what university she attends and the map we have shows that the city has three, but there could be more. This could take weeks and we may not have that long.

I understand that this is frightening for the others, especially those who don’t understand who Serena is, but to tell you the truth I don’t exactly understand who she is either. I just know that I can’t walk away from someone who was so important to me in an alternate timeline. A person so important in another version of my life, someone who helped to save so many people that I cared about, yet took away the one man that I loved only because I asked her to help me.

Of course, just when it seems like answers of some sort are forthcoming, something always seems to get in the way. I never thought that I would actually get this close to Serena. After Future Max left, I always assumed that she existed in a different lifetime – just like the alternate future that Max and I had shared, and the end of the world that Future Max had told me about. Now that I know that she is real, I can’t just walk away without knowing more, who she is, why she is here, and what her connection is to me – and more importantly to Max and the others.

At this point in my life I can’t imagine letting another person know our deadly secret – just look at how many people that it has put in danger already. We are struggling to hold it together as is. Several of my closest friends have lost their lives because of this secret, and it almost ripped the love of my life away from me. I can’t imagine putting that burden on anyone else. I still have nights where I wonder if I did the right thing in telling Alex, or even Maria. This is why it seems so strange to me that I could have trusted someone as much as I supposedly trusted Serena. This is why I know that we need to follow her to Fresno and find out the truth. Actually, this is why I need to follow her to Fresno.

I am scared for Isabel, for Kyle, for myself, for all of us. I wish that there was some way that I could tell everyone that we are going to be all right, and really know for sure that we will be. I know that all that I can do for now is convince the others that the best thing to do is to follow Serena. Somehow I just know this inside. Serena has a connection to all of us, and I won’t stop until I know what that is.

I am not going to try and fool myself or anyone else, this is going to be dangerous; this isn’t going to be a vacation, none of this is. We are not high school kids anymore. But then again, I don’t think that any of us have been for quite some time. We all grew up pretty fast once we met our first alien.

It’s late, very late, another long day come to a close. Sorry for rambling, but there is so much to tell. Times are changing, people are changing - and nothing has made much sense of late.

Well I am exhausted, so exhausted… time for sleep.

Dad, Mom, Grandma… wherever you are, I love you.

~.~.~.~

2.

Tension hung in the air within the van while Michael continued to drive down the highway. No one, except Kyle perhaps, knew why the FBI had been only seconds behind them at Yosemite. Truth be told, none of them really wanted to bring up the topic. Traveling seemed so much easier if they didn’t have to feel like the FBI was right behind them, watching their every move…waiting for them to make a mistake.

Max stared out of the back window for a moment, signs of concern etched on his face, and finally sighed in relief. The noise of the tires on the road was just one more thing that could only mean they would be somewhat safer – until the next time. Isabel, who was still staring out of the back window, broke the silence, the sound of her voice bringing everyone back to reality.

“How exactly did they suddenly get so close to capturing us?” She demanded angrily.

“We’ve all been very careful,” Liz spoke up. “All this time we’ve been away from Roswell and nothing - suddenly they were practically on top of us.”

“They were definitely way too close,” Max pointed out.

“Someone got sloppy,” Michael quipped, his voice exposing how tired he felt.

“Obviously,” Maria retorted.

“So who got sloppy? Who messed up?” Isabel demanded, now looking around at everyone in the van, scrutinizing them all with a hard look.

Her eyes landed on Kyle. He was the only one who hadn’t said anything yet. When he realized she was looking at him, he averted his gaze to the window and quickly spoke up.

“Why are you accusing me?”

“Iz, just drop it,” Michael insisted, slamming one of his fists against the steering wheel. “Does it really matter anymore?”

Isabel rolled her eyes, but didn’t say anything before returning her gaze to the back window. She no longer had the energy to continue the tirade. Besides, there were other topics that she wanted to avoid – ones that could come up if she tried to push the subject any further.

The tension let up slightly, enough that Liz was comfortable closing eyes in hopes of taking a nap against Max’s shoulder. Kyle closed his eyes as well. He was about to fall asleep when Maria began to bug Michael again.

“You look tired. Why don’t you let someone else drive?”

His lips remained pressed together in silence causing Maria to sigh, irritated. Everyone in the van mentally prepared for the next argument.

“Michael!” Maria scoffed impatiently.

“I’m fine,” he snapped irritated.

“Don’t lie,” Maria quipped mimicking his tone.

Liz groaned unhappily, a pout playing on lips when she looked at Max. She was quickly becoming tired of hearing Michael and Maria banter without having an escape from the two of them. She sighed and gave Maria a look that she hoped would calm her best friend enough to defer the argument until at least the next pit stop.

Maria might have remained quiet too- if Michael hadn’t picked that moment to misjudge the middle line in the road and cause the van to swerve into the oncoming lane. Liz saw Maria grimace, her ears picking up on the mumbled curses coming from her friends in the back seats. Maria crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes narrowed in anger.

“That’s it. You officially suck at driving,” Maria mouthed off at Michael.

Michael looked at her for a moment as if he was offended, his mouth falling open, before returning his eyes to the road. Nothing more was said, at least, not until a couple hours later. By then most of them finally felt a little more rested.

~.~.~.~

“Michael, slow down!” Maria practically shouted from her woken slumber. “If you’re going to take that turn, at least do it so we all don’t fly out the window and become Roswell Roadburger.”

“All right, I’d like to see you dodge that car,” Michael retorted.

“At least I can drive,” Maria huffed.

“And who put a new bumper on your Jetta?” Michael said, smiling tiredly.

It was the next day and Michael was still at the wheel. Max and Liz were cuddled together in back, reading a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry. Kyle was trying to talk to Isabel, reading her various phrases from one of his Buddhism books. Maria was… attempting to navigate.

Michael pulled up to the “fuel ‘n food” gas station off the state highway, bringing the van to a jittery stop next to the lone gas pump.

“The gas tank is on the other side, hello,” Maria said, rolling her eyes.

“Hey! Who’s driving?” Michael exclaimed, climbing out of the van.

“Hey! Who’s driving,” mimicked Maria in a high-pitched voice reeking with sarcasm as she got out of the passenger side.

The rest of the gang climbed out, stretching their bodies and yawning practically in unison. This was their morning ritual - wake, stop, stretch, and yawn.

Looking around, they were at a seldom-used gas station far away from their intended position. The quaint little place provided gas, food, and a spot to eat breakfast, everything they needed.

Michael had purposely driven this route, knowing that there would be no cops if they came in on the other side of Fresno. It made for a longer drive, but who was counting?

“I’ve really got to go to the bathroom,” Liz said, squinting in the bright morning sun. “Think they have one in there?”

“Well, if not we can always pee with the wolves out back,” Maria remarked, taking off for the building. The rest of the gang followed, Kyle giving Max a pointed look and then shifting his gaze to Isabel, who was standing next to the van. Max took the hint and stopped walking.

“You might want to try talking to her,” Kyle pointed out quietly.

Max nodded his head.

“Isabel – are you coming?” Max asked, looking back at his sister. She shook her head no, ducking her head down and moving behind the van. He saw her swing open the door and sit down.

“Come on Iz, you’ve gotta eat something,” Max tried again.

But there was no reply.

At a loss for words, Max stopped his pursuit and turned around, following the rest of the gang inside the store. Now just wasn’t the time.

Isabel sighed and ran her hands through her hair. It had been a long couple of days. Everyone was tense from the sudden appearance of the FBI, and it showed in how low everyone kept his or her profile. Sunglasses, baseball caps, changes in hairstyle… And Kyle – he just wouldn’t stop being a pest. “I have no interest in Buddhism,” she thought to herself.

3.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Isabel’s head shot up.

Alex.

He was sitting right next to her on the edge of the van, rocking his legs back and forth, his feet brushing the dusty earth. He was wearing a gray shirt and jeans, black sneakers and his goofy grin. When Isabel didn’t reply, he turned his head to look at Michael and Maria discussing the van outside the convenience store entrance.

Isabel couldn’t believe her eyes. What is he doing here?

“You know, if she didn’t love him, I probably would’ve beaten him to a pulp by now.”

Isabel gave him an incredulous look.

“What?” Alex exclaimed, looking surprised. “You don’t think I could do it?”

“Alex,” Isabel finally said. “I’m really not in the mood to joke around.” She straightened her back and looked off to the side.

Alex didn’t say anything for awhile, watching the rest of the gang eat at the old picnic table outside the store.

“Isabel,” Alex finally said softly. “You’re not a horrible person. You’re not. And I’m not mad at you and I don’t blame you for anything. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be sitting next to you right now.”

“I almost killed a girl, Alex,” Isabel shot back, looking over at him coldly. “You don’t have to blame me. I blame myself.”

Alex examined her closely. “There is something else bothering you, isn’t there?”

Isabel sighed. “I’m not sure if I like this new version of Alex Whitman. He seems to know everything.”

“Would you rather I didn’t?”

“Yes!”

Alex tried another tactic, turning so that he was facing her. He took her hand- funny how it felt so real, as if she could almost sense the warmth in it as well. And when she tried to resist, he held on tighter.

“Isabel, you were right to leave Jesse in Roswell. If you had brought him with you, he wouldn’t have taken that job offer in Boston–“

Isabel looked at him, her mouth agape. “He took the job in Boston?”

“Well, uhh, I don’t know, I was just saying hypothetically.”

“Thanks a lot, Alex,” Isabel muttered. She looked over at the rest of the gang who were eating, laughing, and throwing french fries at each other. Kyle glanced over his shoulder at Isabel, almost instinctively, and she quickly turned her head the other way.

Looking at Alex, she straightened her head. She had thought it a million times, but it always felt so good to say it aloud. “You know, for just once – just one day – I’d like to be normal. You know? Have all normal things. Live in Roswell like a normal human being with normal friends and have a normal life with a normal family. Have dinner with my normal parents. Go shopping with my mother without lying to her...” She paused, bowing her head so that her hair shielded her face. “Sleep next to my husband. I want to have the things that I don’t have anymore because now – now I really appreciate them.”

She looked up at Alex again; her eyes dangerously close to shedding tears. “I miss him, Alex. I really do. I wish – I wish that I had stayed with him and said “screw you” to the FBI. I wish that he could have known me, the real me, the one who doesn’t have to look over my shoulder all the time.” She paused and tilted her head. “Granted, I’d like to do a lot of things without looking over my shoulder, but my point is –“

“Woah woah woah,” Alex said, placing a finger against her lips. “I come here to comfort you and you’ve gone off on a rant.” Isabel smiled. “I have something to say and then I have to go, okay?” Isabel nodded and Alex removed his finger, the sensation of warmth fleeting with it.

“You’re strong Isabel, and I know you’re going to make it though this. Whatever is separating you and Jesse now – it’s only temporary. Look at Max and Liz and Michael and Maria. They keep losing each other and then finding each other again. That’s because they’re meant to be together. And I believe that you and Jesse are meant to be together.”

Isabel clutched his hand tighter. “Thank you, Alex.”

The comfort of feeling his hand in her own disappeared completely when an unexpected voice brought her back to reality.

“Isabel?”

Isabel jumped and looked behind her. Liz was watching her with startled eyes, her hand dangling the Walt Whitman book that her and Max had been reading earlier.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Isabel replied hurriedly. She wiped her eyes with her fingertips, attempting to get rid of some of the moisture that accumulated there. Liz began to slide the side door shut.

“Okay, well, I’m going to get– oof!” Liz said, stumbling on the uneven concrete and suddenly disappearing from Isabel’s view.

“Liz?” Isabel asked, concerned. She got up and rounded the van. “Liz, are you okay?”

“Yeah!” Liz said, brushing her hair out of her face and scrambling for the papers that had fluttered loose from the pages her and Max had marked. “I just dropped my book.”

“Here, let me help.” Isabel sank to her knees and began picking up the various pieces of paper. One piece was thicker than the rest. Curious, she turned it over.

By now, Liz had finished gathering the papers that were around her and was standing over Isabel’s shoulder when she turned the picture over.

Isabel couldn’t help but stare at it. It was the first time she had seen a picture of Alex in a long time.

Liz carefully took the picture and leaned back against the van. “When I was around seven or eight I had this beautiful porcelain doll. I carried it around with me everywhere. One day I took it into school for show and tell and this boy ran into me and knocked it out of my hands. It shattered into tiny little pieces, and I was devastated. That’s when I met Alex.”

Isabel, who had stood silently by listening, moved so that she was standing closer to Liz.

“He came up to me when I was crying in the hall and gave me a hug. We were friends after that. Around three weeks later Alex gave me another doll. He said that he knew it wasn’t the same one or as nice as the one I had but I loved it anyways. He was always doing sweet things like that. He could never stand to see Maria or I cry. He was the kindest person I have ever met. Completely selfless,” Liz finished, her face going blank.

Isabel blinked back the tears that had formed in her eyes while listening to the story.

“I miss him everyday Isabel. He was my friend also. Always there for me and ‘Ria. I will never forget him.”

“Neither will I,” Isabel whispered, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“What Tess did to Alex…” Liz trailed off, straightening her back. “You’re not her Isabel, and you’re not Vilandra either.”

“But I have her powers, I-” Isabel choked.

“I’m not even going to try to guess how that must feel, but still you’re not her. She was evil Isabel, and you’re not evil.”

Isabel didn’t say anything, just looked down at her shoes. Eventually she slowly took the picture back from Liz.

“I know we’re not the best of friends,” Liz continued. “I think in a way you believe I stole your brother from you, but that’s not true. Isabel you’re like my sister now, and I will always be here for you. I want to help - talk to me please,” Liz pleaded.

“I’m so sorry,” Isabel whispered. “I know how good you are for Max, and I’m sorry for ruining your honeymoon -”

“You didn’t ruin our honeymoon,” Liz assured her.

“It’s just that...I miss Jesse and I miss Alex and it seems like everyone I love is taken away from me one way or another - even Max! He’s completely yours now Liz,” Isabel cried, her ice princess façade melting away. “He has spent no time with me at all since the wedding.”

“Isabel, Max may be my husband but he will always be your brother. And when I married Max, you got me as well - we’re a package deal. I know I’m a poor substitute for him, but I will be here for you as well.”

Isabel nodded “It’s just that...I’m scared, and lonely. I see you and Max, Maria and Michael, and I realize once again what I left behind in Roswell. I’m so sick of everyone I love being taken away from me because of who I am or what I am. First Grant, then Alex, and now Jesse.”

“Isabel we were all fooled by Tess. There was nothing we could have done to prevent it. All I know is that those last few days Alex was alive, I had never seen him so happy, and I know that it was because of you.” Liz smiled. “What happened with Grant wasn’t because of you either. And who knows… when we get all this sorted through, we may be able to go back to Roswell. Don’t give up on Jesse just yet.”

Isabel smiled weakly. “Thanks Liz,” she said, handing the picture back. “This is the first picture I have seen of him in a long time,” Isabel admitted, wiping her face.

“Keep it,” Liz said. “I have others.”

“Thanks,” Isabel said gratefully, placing the picture in her back pocket. She hesitated for a moment, deciding whether or not to say what it was she wanted to say.

“About the mindwarp. I tried to kill that girl, Liz.”

Liz nodded.

“I was scared. I was sick of people trying to kill us, and I just wanted to go home. We have enough trouble with the FBI. The threat of aliens coming after us too – I guess I just panicked,” Isabel said quietly. “That’s what scares me the most Liz. I almost killed someone, with no remorse. That would make me no better than Tess.”

“But you didn’t Isabel.”

“I would have! If Kyle hadn’t pushed her out of the way, I would have.”

“You were scared. You don’t have to use that ability the same way Tess did. You can use it for good. You have to face it, running away isn’t going to help. It’s just something you’ll have to deal with, but we’ll all be here for you to help you through it.”

“You all don’t know what it’s like… having part of Tess inside of you.”

“You’re right, but I know what its like to run away. When future -“ Liz dropped that sentence, starting over. “When I pretended to sleep with Kyle, I was running away. It did nothing other than hurt people, badly. Tess still left with Max’s baby. Alex still died. And Max and I were miserable. Running away from your problems only makes them worse.”

“Liz, why are you being so nice? I’ve done nothing to deserve this.”

“You were hurt and confused, and besides, we’re sisters now.” Liz smiled.

Isabel smiled back. “I’m glad.”

“I should be getting back,” Liz said. “There’s a group of people who are very worried about you, right over there. I bet they would love it if you showed up with me,” Liz said, trying to raise one eyebrow unsuccessfully.

Isabel waved her off, smiling for once in what seemed like forever. “No, I have to fix my hair and face first. I’m an absolute mess,” She laughed, rolling her eyes. Funny, she had almost completely forgotten what it felt like to smile. It was invigorating.

“Never mind, it’s not like anyone important is going to see me here anyway... let’s go eat,” Isabel said, swallowing hard.

~.~.~.~

About twenty minutes away from Yosemite, a team of FBI agents had set up an emergency field command post.

"And you lost them again!"

The room was a dull white. Various storage boxes full of miscellaneous files littered the area, the contents dating back to 1999. These files occupied quite a bit of the small space they had available, which was shared with two desks, four chairs, and a bathroom. The 'odd' thing was the seven telephones. On the far wall were various electronic devices including miniature cameras, five TV’s, a satellite receiver, three computers, and a set of wireless bugs.

"They tricked us!" The other agent explained, his face turning pale.

They weren't near any town. This was almost in the middle of nowhere, except for the other two or three buildings next door. Everything seemed deserted, like an old-western ghost town.

"As they have for how long? Huh?" Windler was losing his patience, not only with the other agents, but also with himself. "They're a bunch of KIDS, for Christ’s sake!" He yelled, picking up a glass from the table and throwing it against the wall. A picture on the wall received it, tearing a bit more, the frame now lopsided.

Suddenly, an agent stormed into the room gripping a stack of papers in hand. He quickly approached the others and handed the papers to Windler. There was an unmistakable confidence and stoicism when he spoke.

"The kids are going to Fresno."

"Well, luckily we do have some competent agents, and competent spies," Windler said, checking the papers that had just been handed to him. After a moment he looked at the agent.

"Status - Alpha team!" he barked.

"We’re still having some trouble with the equipment, but Alpha picked up a conversation detailing movement towards Fresno. A recorded discussion, more precisely."

It was well known that each of the aliens had a role in the group, as a command or strategic tactic. The agents knew from experience that their best chance to capture the group was when their members were apart. They had missed all opportunities to capture even one member so far, but there would be no more wasting time – now they knew where the kids were heading – they were literally walking into the FBI’s outstretched hands.

"And there's more. Our assumptions were right, they've been looking for someone," the agent continued, pointing out the information the Alpha team had given.

"It is not the reason they went to Yosemite, or even California, but it's why they're going to Fresno,” the agent stated, knowingly. “When the Sheriff’s son called Roswell, we only had one operative in position, taking pictures of the café. The Sheriff’s son looked startled to see this one particular girl sitting at the bar on her cellular phone. The Alpha operative called in for a wireless phone tap and forwarded us the photo and conversation – the rest is here,” the agent continued, tapping the papers in hand.

“This girl," the agent gave Windler the black-and-white photo of a girl. "Was the one on the phone, and based on what she said, she is going to Fresno. The Valenti kid and the DeLuca girl acted very suspicious after seeing her and almost went out after her."

Checking the woman's picture, she didn't look like she was neither calm nor secure. In fact, she looked almost frightened. So much could be seen in the picture, but the context depended entirely on who was observing it. What really mattered at the time was that the aliens were going after her, so there was something important about the girl, whatever it was.

"We have to work with all the possibilities. We have got to find her, and find out what they want with her," Windler said, rising from where he was sitting, the gears turning almost visibly in his mind.

"It's not just about exterminating those who may put our lives and our people's lives in danger. We must do everything in our power to capture these violators and murderers and stop them. We have to keep them alive until we have all the information needed to prevent an upcoming attack or invasion."

The truth of that last statement was very unjustified, yet every agent seemed to accept it as fact. The patriotism, the apparent love for their world and way of life – it was used as a weapon, used for ‘righting’ their cause, their crusade. Agents always have some kind of personal credo, no matter what the situation calls for. Windler was barking this particular credo more for his own reasons than the security of the country.

"Phyllis, update – target position," Windler ordered.

Phyllis was a middle-aged brunette agent, with her long hair rolled up into two silly-looking buns on each side of her head. She had just brought in the latest round of information. “The aliens are being followed by three of our cars with 7 of our Beta men, sir."

Staring at the other agents with the mysterious and potent look he had, Windler stood straighter, and spoke even more seriously.

"Get everything packed. We're going to Fresno. Right now."

“But the package sir -”

“It will be here shortly,” Windler concluded.

He got his suitcase and threw the material he'd just been handed into it, and walked to the door. Turning around, he gave the other agents a threatening look.

"I won't accept any failure this time," Windler said, leaving the small office.

Fresno: the next town to be visited by the aliens; the last town aliens would ever set foot in.

~.~.~.~

The neon sign for "The Kat's Meow" flickered annoyingly just outside the office window in Serena's peripheral vision. Her gaze, however, focused on the short, burly man sitting at the desk in front of her, reading her résumé no less. As if you really needed a résumé to be a stripper... please.

“Look, I only need employment for a few days,” Serena said matter-of-factly, hating this place increasingly with every passing second.

"Okay, so you have 8 years dance experience... where from?" The slimy little man asked as his gaze surveyed her every inch from top to bottom, his mind obviously wandering. Serena watched his eyes travel from her tone calves, up her firm thighs, to her rock-hard abs, over her voluptuous chest, and beyond her well-built arms.

Rolling her eyes, Serena replied sarcastically, "Julliard." And the man raised an eyebrow, so she continued. "What does it matter really? We're not talking ballet here...it's stripping."

"Yes,” the man said, stopping on the age column. ”But that doesn't change the fact that you're underage missy. Seek employment elsewhere." The man said, handing over her resume. "I'm sure they all miss you at Julliard."

Serena shook her head in disbelief. She grabbed the resume and shoved it in her bag, standing up and heading towards the door. Stopping just before the threshold, she turned back and said, "You know, half those girls out there are under 21."

The man nodded. "But half of those girls aren't trailer trash with a smart ass mouth, now get out of here!"

Serena's features darkened ominously, but she refrained from skinning this creep alive and didn't say another word. She just made her way out of the club, silently cursing "Kat"-o, owner of the “Kat's meow.” What a joke.

Of course, no amount of cursing in the world would change the fact that she was completely out of money, and once again trekking down the empty highway, alone.

~.~.~.~

As Max pulled the van into the small parking lot, Maria instantly grimaced as she peered out the window. There was a sleazy neon sign that flickered erratically in the distance. It looked to be dangling against the dirty white building by only a few wires that kept it up and in view. Turning in her seat, Maria cast an incredulous look in Kyle’s direction, who seemed to have already realized that they had stopped at a strip club. Needless to say, he looked excited. Then Maria gave the same look to Max, who caught her gaze evenly. Max could tell just by looking at her that Maria was about to spew.

"Maria, we have to stop somewhere and there hasn’t been anywhere else for miles." Max said hurriedly in his defense, looking to Liz with an apologetic shrug. A stop at a strip club wasn't exactly honeymoon trip material.

Maria's eyes narrowed down at Max. "Just tell me that this isn't the plan."

"The..." Max said slowly, shaking his head in confusion. "Plan?"

"Yeah, you know...Isabel, Liz, and me..." Maria said and then nodded her head suggestively towards the club.

Max only looked more confused. "I don't follow."

Exhaling with exasperation, Maria finally blurted, "We're not stripping for money, you know that right?!"

The shocked silence allowed everyone to hear the sound of Isabel laughing quietly in the back.

"Hey it would be good money." replied Michael.

“Typical bastard.” Maria thought as she sent him an icy glare.

"Maria, come on." Liz pleaded, turning in her seat towards Maria.

"Yeah, Maria. This is Max we're talking about here.” Kyle said. "He'd get up there and strip for the whole world if he had to." This earned a blush from Liz at the thought.

Not amused, Maria turned back to Liz. "I'm just making sure, Liz. Desperation can twist even the most normal of minds. Look at us! Every one of us is a big, bright, shiny example of that very conception."

"Yeah, well, I'm desperate for fresh air," Michael quirked as he pushed past Maria and out of the van before throwing Max a glance over his shoulder. "I'm taking a walk."

Maria looked astounded, Michael dissing her yet again.

"Be back in 30 minutes." Max yelled and Michael merely nodded in reply as he walked away.

Everything in the van went silent except for the drumming of Kyle's fingertips on the seat in front of him. "So are we getting out or what?" He asked impatiently. "There's about a total of 15 feet between me and a dozen half-naked chicks, my patience can only take so much."

Maria slid open the van door again. "Go...be free." She said as Kyle jumped out like a kid who just pulled up at a new toy store. "Liz, I'm gonna go try and talk to Michael...you know, try at least."

Liz nodded as Max, Isabel, and herself got out of the van. Nearly everyone else said in unison, "Good luck."

It was a rare moment; Max saw a crack of a smile on Isabel’s face. However, it quickly disappeared once she caught him looking in her direction.

Suppressing a laugh Maria mumbled, "We really have spent way too much time together," and then walked in the direction that Michael had gone.

4.

When Maria found Michael, he was standing on the other side of the highway staring at the setting sun, which rapidly sank in the western sky. For a brief moment, he looked more at peace than she'd seen him in a long time. His back and shoulder muscles weren't as visibly tight and irritated as they usually were, but relaxed as they moved rhythmically with his breathing. Of course, just as soon as he sensed her presence they knotted back into their usual position and the sight nearly made Maria scream with frustration.

"What do you want, Maria?" There was obvious irritation in his voice, but Maria wasn't going to give up that easily.

"I just wanted to, you know, talk." Maria replied as she stepped up next to him, her eyes squinting against the bright sunset.

"Well, I don't." Michael stated, coldly. “Why don't you just go inside?"

Maria didn't budge.

"Gross. You know what's kind of interesting?" Maria asked and then answered her own question, Michael giving her an uninterested look. "We're no where near home and yet we can still see the same sunset." She took a step closer, placed her hand on his upper arm, saying, "Do you remember sunsets back home, Michael?"

And he did...

The setting sun burned through the makeshift drapes over Michael's windows, but the sheets wrapped around Maria and him were cool.

Maria cuddled into Michael’s side as she leaned up to kiss his shoulder. "I'm glad you got the security job, Michael."

"I could tell."

"Shutup, Spaceboy."

...but that was a long time ago.

"That was a long time ago, Maria." Michael said, speaking his thoughts, as he shook off her hand and began to turn back towards the club.

Maria stopped him with both hands on his shoulders. "It wasn't that long ago, Michael."

"Yeah, maybe not in years or months it wasn't, but a lot has happened since then and I can't just go back," Michael said forcibly as he once again shook free of Maria's grasp and started towards the club.

Feeling him slip away, Maria cried. "No matter what's happened, I never stopped loving you!"

Michael stopped dead cold, halfway across the street, visual anger written all over his features, his eyes turning an almost eerie black.

“Love. What does she know about love?”' Michael thought as a hundred scenes of emotional turmoil he had suffered because of her played before his eyes.

And before Michael realized what he was doing, he had Maria in his grasp, her temples between his palms, as he forced those scenes into her mind, his eyes piercing through hers.

"This is what your love feels like..."

*Flash*

Billy & Maria singing and Michael walking in on them together.

*Flash*

"I want to break up."

*Flash*

Michael staring at the ceiling, in his apartment, tears in his eyes.

*Flash*

"Didn't we just sleep together?"

"We did."

"But it doesn't mean anything."

*Flash*

"I could tell you to stay, because that's what I want, but I don't want to be the guy you blame for ruining your life."

"Michael..."

"I think you should leave now."

*Flash*

“Santa and Snowflake are Kissing! Ewwww!!!”

*Flash*

"I just feel like I'm trapped and I'm never going to get out..."

*Flash*

Never going to get out…

Never going to get out…

~.~.~.~

5.

"If there's one good thing that comes out of this alien road trip, it'll be this," Kyle said as he rubbed his hands together and headed straight for the main stage with Max, Liz, and Isabel coming in slowly behind him.

"Bathroom." Isabel briefed as she walked off towards the right, past Liz...who, to say the least, looked a little out of place.

"Um, Max, let's just go sit at the bar." Liz suggested with a slight nod.

No reply.

"Max!" Liz called effectively snapping Max to attention.

"What?! Oh, yeah, sure...a table would be fine." Max said with a nod and innocent smile that nearly made Liz laugh out loud. She was about to comment on his little mishap, until she realized what it actually meant. He was just being human... an alien hybrid with human tendencies, but human nonetheless. And with all of the stellar drama that had encompassed their lives of late...a little humanity was a refreshing change.

"Yeah, a table would be ok...but hey, why don't we sit at the bar. That way we can keep an eye on Kyle." Liz said.

Max smirked. "How very efficient..." He drifted as he wrapped an arm around her waist. "Mrs. Evans."

Liz smiled. "I love the way you say that," She said with a laugh as she pulled Max over to the bar.

Sitting up on a stool, she glanced over at Max as he laid his arms on the cool marble surface and laid his head down.

"So, what are we going to do when we get to Fresno?" she asked.

Yawning, Max lifted his head and replied, "Find Serena." Another yawn. "Find out what she knows." He laid his head back down again.

Running her fingers gently through his hair Liz said, "You're too tired to talk about this... we don’t have to, you know."

"No, no... I am fine. We can talk --" Max yawned “--About it."

Liz shook her head and stood up, placing both hands on Max' shoulders. "Max as your wife I demand that you let Kyle drive the rest of the way to Fresno so he can cool off, while you..." She leaned up farther and wrapped her arms around his neck, "...stay with me in the back of the mystery mobile."

"You don't have to tell me twice!" Max quirked as he leaned down to kiss his beautiful bride, but Liz’s gaze was distracted by something over by the door. Max followed her gaze and saw a dangerous-looking man sneak out the door with what looked like a knife in his hand.

"Max, you know, Maria is still outside--"

"Say no more," Max interrupted, "I'll do my husbandly duty and go check up on her for you," He said pompously, seeing Isabel coming towards them at the same time. "Here comes Isabel, just stay with her ok?"

Liz nodded. "Of course, my -"

"Are we leaving yet?" Isabel asked in a rather aggravated tone. “This place sucks.”

Max sighed. "Yeah, I'm just going to go find Michael and Maria. I'll be right back." He said and then headed for the door.

"Great." Isabel mumbled and then leaned against the bar next to Liz, catching sight of Kyle. He was having a grand old time, stuffing their alien $10 bills into various nooks and crannies on the dancers’ skimpy apparel. Isabel shook her head with a small laugh. Liz decided to use the moment to her advantage.

"Hey Isabel?"

"Yeah?" She replied.

"Look at Kyle." Liz stated and Isabel looked again just in time to see Kyle doing the Macarena. "Do you think he might be gay?"

Isabel laughed loudly, covering her mouth with her hand and shaking her head, a smile forming. Liz considered her mission complete.

~.~.~.~

Standing by the van outside the club, Max was notably annoyed when he found Michael and Maria nowhere in sight.

“They're probably just making out somewhere,” he thought cynically as he started towards the side of the club. Remembering a time he had done the same thing, memories clouded his brain...

Liz smiled at him as she backed towards the bed, Max following close behind her. "So, Max, what do you think we're supposed to do on our wedding night?" She said, glancing back towards the bed. "Lay on the bed and make out, or what?" Liz asked with a smirk and playful laugh.

Max leaned her back onto the soft surface. "Actually, I think there's more." He said, playing along.

Liz's eyes widened. "Oh really?"

"Ye.." Max replied as he kissed her. "Really."

As the memory faded from his mind, so did the smile on his face. He caught sight of Michael and Maria, and they definitely were not making out.

"What the hell?" Max questioned, trying to figure out why Michael had Maria's head gripped between his hands.

"Michael!" He called out, reaching to separate the two.

Max's voice broke through the haze of twisted emotions and scenes of emotional turmoil enough for Michael to break free and take a few steps back. His eyesight was blurred by tears, but Michael could tell that Maria was also crying... no, sobbing. It was too much. He turned away and started across the street, nearly running Max over.

"Michael, stop!" But Michael kept walking, no words registering. "Michael!"

Max turned back to Maria, who faced the other way. "What happened?"

Maria didn't reply, but he could hear her soft crying. Michael had done himself in again, apparently.

Running a hand through his hair, Max tried to assess how to best approach the situation. With Liz, he knew exactly what to do with this sort of thing... with Maria... well she was a whole other case altogether.

Max took a few steps closer. "Maria, you know how he is, especially with everything going on." Max tried. "Do you want me to go get Liz, so you can talk about it?"

Maria shook her head. "No, there’s nothing to talk about," She said weakly, using a stiff and ratty voice that Max hardly even recognized as her own. She turned and collided weakly into him, her eyes suddenly going wide as her mind began to spin.

"No, not again..."

*Flash*

"You're our leader, why don't you lead us!"

"Fine! Crack some more rocks!"

*Flash*

“That’s not going to work this time, The honeymoon is over.”

“Don’t ever talk to her that way again!”

*Flash*

“Oh! Give me a break. This isn't about friendship. This is about your irresponsible, reckless behavior.”

“Hey! I've been going through some heavy stuff the last couple of weeks. In case you missed it, I got shot.”

“I know, I healed you!”

“You put your hand over my shoulder and you did your little trick like a robot. You're a machine, Max. You wouldn't know the first thing about what it takes to heal me. To really heal me.”

*Flash*

“No, really. What gave you that impression?”

“Don’t give me that Maxwell! I’m not the one who pissed her off.”

“You brought up breakfast,”

“I was concerned.”

“So was I.”

“About time.”

“What is that suppose to mean?”

“Maxwell, this entire set up sucks! We have been sitting here, doing nothing, while an alien is wandering around the woods. Or possible informing more about our location. And what have you done about it? Played house with Liz.”

*Flash*

Maria's eyes dimmed slightly as she glanced up at Max. "You're part of the reason why he is the way he is."

Max shook his head in confusion. "What?"

Shaking her head, Maria broke free. "You..." She trailed off as she walked away, Max just barely hearing the last of her statement. "And me."

~.~.~.~

"You know, Liz, I'm really terrified at the notion that Kyle will eventually have powers. Just from what he's tried to get me to do with mine, I can't imagine what he will do with his," Isabel said with a shake of her head.

Liz nodded in agreement. "Oh, I know, I mean look at him." They both looked his way. "What if he develops X-ray vision or something?"

"Oh, what a horrid thought!" Isabel exclaimed. "I mean, he doesn't resemble Clark Kent in the least. At least Clark has class."

Throwing her head back to laugh, Liz didn't see the buxom blonde waitress pushing by until the woman stumbled right into Liz' side.

"Oh, damn sweetheart, I'm sorry...it's the heels, they --"

"Let me go!" The waitress yelled as she was slammed up against a brick wall, a knife held to her throat. "Please don't kill me..."

"Liz, are you ok?"

Liz' shook her head. "Wh...what?"

"You kind of just spaced out there on that waitress. She apologized and then you just--" Isabel stopped suddenly in realization. "Did you see something?"

Liz was silent for a moment while her eyes scanned the club for the woman she had just witnessed. "Yeah I saw..." She trailed off as she caught sight of the flame-haired waitress slipping through the back door, her cigarettes in hand. "Oh god, Isabel, we have to help her! Come on!" Liz exclaimed as she grabbed a hold of Isabel's arm and started pulling her in the direction of the door.

"What, Liz--"

"Just come on! We have to hurry before he kills her!" Liz exclaimed just as they brushed past Kyle, whose look suddenly turned to stone.

"Oh, this doesn't sound good." Kyle said before turning and running after them.

Liz and Isabel, in their haste nearly bowled over Max and Maria, but like a woman possessed, Liz dragged Isabel right by them and yelled to Max to follow.

"What's going on?" Maria asked, rubbing her temples tenderly.

Max shook his head and then caught Kyle by the arm as he was running by. "Kyle, what happened?"

"I'm not sure. Liz said something about somebody killing someone and then took off like a bat outta hell,” Kyle explained as he raced to catch up with Liz. Max and Maria following close in stride.

Michael caught sight of all the commotion from where he sat in the van and quickly dried his eyes on his shirt. There would be no time for reflection, so he jumped out of the van, also running to catch up.

"Max, what's going on?"

Max shook his head. "Liz saw something, I don't know."

Liz stopped cold suddenly, and then turned and waved for Max to come up by her. "Over there." She whispered.

Pushing through everyone, Max came up beside her. "What is it?"

Liz leaned up close to Max. "I saw this waitress get murdered in this alley." Liz looked slowly over to the alleyway. "She's walking right over there."

Max looked down at Liz and then took a step forward just in time to see the waitress get pulled around and slammed up against the back wall of the club, the attacker demanding all her money.

"Hey! Stop!" Max yelled, seeing the light reflecting off the blade of the attacker's knife. Lifting his hand, Max used his powers to knock the attacker off his feet resulting in the waitress turning and running around the other side of the club.

Walking forward, Max picked up the attacker’s knife as he slowly came to. "Let's --" Max started, but then was suddenly flat on his back, the attacker knocking Max' feet out from under him.

Michael instantly came forward, as the attacker got to his feet and took a powerful swing. Pushing back and then swinging in turn, Michael got him solidly in the jaw, but didn't see the attacker’s hand reach for his boot and jab upwards, a knife he had hidden there now planted squarely in Michael’s side.

"Michael!" Maria and Isabel both cried, his shocked face looking down at the object protruding from his side.

"Isabel, do something!" Maria exclaimed and Isabel raised her hand and sent the attacker reeling backwards. Obviously not understanding what just happened to him, he turned and ran.

Michael pulled the knife out of his side, and fell to his knees, then to the ground.

Maria dropped down by Michael's side and then looked up to Max. "Max." She whispered painfully. He nodded and quickly leaned over Michael, carefully placing his hand on Michael's wound.

Michael's quick intake of air caused Maria's eyes to snap back to his, and the pain in them reflected the pain that had been apparent in all the flashes he had shown her earlier. Her eyes filled with tears again, and a sob escaped her pursed lips as she felt Liz pulling her away.

"Come on, Maria." Liz said softly, hugging Maria to her. "You don't need to watch that." She stroked her hair softly. "He'll be okay...see? Now look."

Maria turned her head slightly and saw that Max was indeed already helping Michael back up to his feet, but she no longer wanted to look at him and she turned her head back into Liz' shoulder.

Liz sympathized with her. If anything ever happened to Max..."Come on, I'll take you back to the van." She said, wrapping an arm around her best friend and leading her in that direction. She could hear the others following close behind in silence.

Silence until they rounded the building and saw a mob of people standing just outside the front doors, the waitress leading the group. "There they are! They're the ones that helped me!"

Utter chaos.

"How did you knock him down from 10 feet away?"

“What was that glow? Radiation poisonin’?”

“Are you guys demons or somethin’?”

“Witches, I bet!”

“Naw, them there’s space aliens…”


Everyone looked at Max. Turning around, Max silently mouthed, “Run." and they all took off for the van, cramming themselves in.

~.~.~.~

Liz looked from person to person from where she sat in the far back seat. Her hand twirled Maria’s hair gently. Her best friend was lying across the seat, her head in Liz' lap. She looked first to Max, whose shoulder was being used by Isabel as a pillow. It was good to see them close again. Then her gaze shifted to Kyle, who was driving and looked just a little stressed out, but then again, they all were. And finally, to Michael, whose eyes she met in the mirror, him turning to face her.

"How is she?" Michael asked quietly.

Liz shrugged and glanced down to Maria. "She's asleep."

Michael nodded, something in his eyes told Liz that there was much more going on... but his eyes also looked tired, probably from being wounded and all, so she decided not to push the issue just yet. Her tolerance for Michael had hit an all-time low.

“My eyes probably look tired too,” she thought. It had been quite a night. Going to a strip club and all... everything else had seemed comparatively... normal.

Normal...what was normal anyways?

Normal wasn't Maria, Liz mused as she thought of her best friend’s relationship with Michael. Looking down at her, Liz was shocked to see Maria's eyes slowly open, revealing a dim glow that looked almost ethereal in the darkness of the van.

And normal certainly wasn't Kyle, Liz thought, remembering the flash she got when everyone was rushing to enter the van. His only thoughts now - with just himself and the road – would invariably be of Serena.

~.~.~.~.~

Hanley surveyed the room. It was small, mostly gray – the only color being the green, red or blue blips that scattered themselves across the screens. He noted one agent sitting at one of the larger computers, marking down location points. Another agent walked past him, out the way Hanley had come in. He turned to make sure he was really gone, then he sat down at the computer across the room.

Pulling up the personal files, he noted a new entry.

Name: Jesse Esteban Ramirez

Age: 26

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 226

Occupation: Lawyer, Roswell, New Mexico

Notes: Brought in because of his connection to Isabel Amanda Ramirez-Evans and her brother, Max Evans. Other persons in contact with them include Elizabeth Parker, Michael Guerin and Maria DeLuca.

Other: Not considered armed or dangerous.

Arrived: July 15, 2002

Departed: ------

Hanley leaned back in his chair, tipping off his fingers. He knew the time had been coming but he didn’t know it would’ve been so soon.

“Jesse Esteban Ramirez,” he rolled the name off his tongue quietly.

Suddenly, he stood up and left the room, drawing a look from the other agent. He strode down the winding hallways to the holding facility. Bringing out his identification card, he slid it through the slot, giving his fingerprint and voice identification.

He slithered through the doors and quickly reached his destination. They were just pulling up. He stood on the other side of the three-inch pane of glass, watching the van approach.

His breath fogged the glass as he spoke.

“It has begun.”

~.~.~.~

6.

Rain pattered against the windshield, consistently moving aside with the assistance of the windshield wipers. It was nearing three in the morning and Kyle was still at the wheel. He had the radio on low – some pop station – the only station that would come in decently from where they were. He didn’t mind driving and was purposefully driving way out of the way to avoid any major roads.

He tapped his fingers on the wheel rhythmically, and blankly watched the darkness unfold out in front of him. The past few days had been strange, to say the least. Even after doing the Macarena in a strip club full of topless women, still all he could think about was the girl who he had saved a couple of nights before.

Her eyes… they kept haunting his thoughts. All he could think of was her green eyes looking so lost and confused, staring at him, through him – right down to his very soul.

Kyle shook his head to clear it. He needed to focus on more important things. Like making sure Isabel, now asleep with the others in the back of the van, didn’t kill anyone or herself. More important things like making sure Michael didn’t take off alone and follow his latest theories on the FBI. Like making sure he didn’t develop any powers that would make him semi-related to his three-feet-tall, green, Martian friends.

He sighed. It wasn’t working. His mind kept drifting back to Serena – or whatever her name was. Serena. He whispered the name aloud. Then he caught himself and quickly looked in the rear-view mirror. Everyone was asleep. Liz and Max were coiled up together in a large blanket while Maria was dozing comfortable next to Liz. Michael slept alone in the corner. Isabel, she lay curled up against a window with her head still on Max’s arm, this being the first time in a long time she had solid, uninterrupted sleep. His heart stopped when he caught the brief glimpse of her so peaceful and relaxed. He had to admit that she still invoked feelings in him, but not like before. She had changed. He could feel himself shifting, changing too. He knew in the back of his mind that it was caused by practically mowing down the mysterious redhead, but he wasn’t ready to admit that to anyone, not even himself.

Kyle squinted. He could see something on the side of the road about two hundred yards ahead. He gauged the intensity of the rain and glanced at the time. Downpour, 3:14. It was too cold, too dark, and too wet outside for anyone to be walking alone alongside the road. He slowed down. It was just too cold. He glanced nervously in the rear-view mirror. If he got the person in and out before anyone woke up, specifically Max or Michael, it would be okay. Besides, he needed someone to talk to.

~.~.~.~

Walking in the rain sucked. But she had nowhere else to go. Those… people probably had her apartment wired, her phones tapped, her movements plotted out on radar twenty-four hours a day.

It was absurd. They looked like they were the same age as her, maybe even a little younger. She shouldn’t be afraid of them, but she was. There was something about them… the way they all stood together, the way they seemed to speak to each other without saying a word.

The way that a certain pair of gray-blue eyes skipped right over her entire facade and grazed her very core.

She shivered, but it wasn’t from the cold. It was from the intensity of those eyes. And she was leaving the owner of them behind forever, so she could get away from the whole… mess.

“Great,” She thought aloud. The rain had picked up. She burrowed deeper into her soggy windbreaker, pulling the navy blue nylon hood closer to her face. Faintly she could see headlights from behind. She quickly moved off to the side of the road, slipping on the loose gravel there.

“Damnit,” she muttered, regaining her balance. She tested out her ankle. It hurt, but was tolerable. She gingerly took a step. At the same time, she heard the engine of the car behind her begin to slow. It was stopping.

The last thing she needed was some horny fifty-something pervert trying to pick her up on the side of the road at three in the morning. She contemplated running, but with her ankle hurting, she’d have to just smile and decline as politely as possible. She had to remind herself of the polite part.

“Just keep walking, keep walking,” she reassured herself.

“Hey,” a male voice called out softly, almost inaudible over the rain. “You need a ride?”

~.~.~.~

Kyle didn’t know what came over him. He had raged an inner battle with himself for a moment there, trying to decide if he would stop or keep on going… and he finally concluded that he wasn’t about to disgrace Buddha by not helping this unfortunate person -especially when it was raining, cold, and desolate outside. The fact that the passenger seat next to him was void to any physical body and he really needed the distraction didn’t hurt either.

So he slowed down, turning the radio down even lower then it already was. He began to mentally prepare himself for the consequences. He had no idea what would happen next

Reaching across the seat, he opened the window and called out a friendly invitation. He swore he recognized the form before the person even turned around, and before he caught the full glimpse of their face, he knew that it was her. Kyle almost put his foot on the gas and floored it out of there, but something stopped him. Those innocent eyes…

The last person she was expecting to see was him. She stood still for a second, the rain pounding off her jacket, making quick patter patter sounds that all of a sudden sounded quite loud. He looked just a surprised as she did. She opened her mouth to speak but what was there to say? He was one of them – one of those people after her.

So she turned and tried to run.

~.~.~.~

“What the hell?” He muttered, narrowing his eyes. Did he always have to chase after her? He scrambled with the door handle and then he was out in the pouring rain with her. The rain sounded louder once he was out in it, the thought ran through his mind quickly. In seconds, his shirt was soaked through, his hair dripping with wetness, down into his eyes.

He ran after her, not realizing that his legs automatically followed hers into the darkness. He caught up to her easily and grabbed a hold of her arm. But she slipped through, her coat make a popping sound as his hand lost its hold.

“Wait,” he called out. The word was drowned in the rain’s music. He tried again. “Wait!”

She stopped and turned, looking at him warily – her eyes full of undeniable anger. He almost ran into her again but stopped short a few feet in front of her. The lights on the van illuminated the left side of her head, throwing her face into darkness when it hit her hood.

“What do you want?” she asked. Her words could barely be heard above the rain.

“I don’t know,” Kyle replied honestly, his breath coming hard.

“Why can’t you all just leave me alone? I never did anything to you!” Her hood slipped a little and made her eyes more visible to him. They were like red coals, burning his skin.

“Serena,” Kyle began.

She gasped, suddenly wary. “How do you know my name?”

Kyle didn’t answer. He just stepped closer to her. He was only a foot away now. He could feel the heat from her skin radiating off her, splashing off with the drops of rain. She didn’t step back. Instead, she seemed to take a tiny step closer to him.


”How – how,” she tried again. She was still breathing hard, looking deep into his eyes.

“I just do,” Kyle said. He reached up and cupped her face in his right hand. “I just do,” he repeated. He brushed her hair out of her eyes with his other hand, dropping it onto her own hand. They laced their fingers together automatically, naturally.

“Come with me, Serena,” he said. His eyes raked her face. “Please?”

©2002 Roswell: The Final Chapter. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Any similarities to events, real or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. Roswell: The Final Chapter is in no way affiliated with UPN, the WB, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox, Jason Katims Productions, or Melinda Metz.

© 2004-2005 Roswell: The Final Chapter. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Any similarities to events, real or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. Roswell: The Final Chapter is in no way affiliated with UPN, the WB, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox, or Jason Katims Productions.

© 2006-2007 Roswell: The Final Chapter. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Any similarities to events, real or imaginary, are strictly coincidental. Roswell: The Final Chapter is in no way affiliated with UPN, the WB, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox, or Jason Katims Productions.