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“Truths Exposed”

Written by Shira, Annie, Bri, Jeslyn, and Liz
Edited by Liz, Katie, Lisa, Mark, and Tiff

Playlist:

1. “Lucky” by Bif Naked

2. “Closer” by Better then Ezra

3. “Intro to Silent Hill” by Smart Fellow Finger (not available online yet)

1.

~.~.~.~.~

"This is it," Isabel breathed as she approached the steps leading up. The door in front of her towered ominously in the distance, a man inside that she never thought she would ever see again. Her heart beat so fast, she was sure the people walking past her on the street could hear it or at least feel the ground shake.

"Is it anticipation?" Isabel wondered to herself. She had accepted the fact that this day would never come. Maybe it was the way things were meant to be - maybe it was fate punishing her for what she did in her past life, again.

Jesse was one of the few people who could make all these feelings go away. Everyday she longed to look on his face just one more time. Isabel could close her eyes at any moment and find images of the times she shared with him waiting there for her. She never wanted that to go away despite the recent events. She knew he was a good man.

Kissing Hanley when he posed as Jesse did not help the unsettling feeling and Isabel felt incredibly guilty that she could not tell the difference. She was so convinced it was him. Still, there was the other part of her mind - the part that constantly screamed at her for not knowing the difference then.

She looked back at the others, who were waiting by the van. A pause came after each slow step she climbed, deep breaths accompanying them. The risers of the impressive new-England apartment house were made of aged limestone, the nondescript neutral gray color seeming somehow fitting for the moment. Reaching the top, Isabel held out her hand to ring the doorbell. "Just press the button already," she told herself, squeezing her eyes shut.

The tip of her finger collided haphazardly with the plastic cover of the button, and Isabel could hear a chime behind the door. Holding the air in her lungs, she strained to make out movements on the other side.

After a moment, faint noises could be heard approaching, becoming louder with each passing second. It was a sound that she would know anywhere. Isabel remembered it; the consistent thumps that used to ring on the hardwood floor after a long day at work.

A strong, dark-skinned man opened the door quickly, his chest stretching his tight athletic shirt. Jesse blinked once, then twice at the person standing before him. "Isabel," he strained, his voice cracking with emotion at seeing her after so long.

Isabel's eyes flew open. He was standing there, staring at her, but it wasn't enough. She had to touch him, to confirm that it was really him standing there.

Gently, her fingers reached out, tenderly caressing his cheek. "Jesse," she whispered, the tears falling before she had the chance to contain them. When he mimicked her movements, she broke down, unable to stop them from stumbling down her cheeks.

“You came back, I never thought…” Jesse said, gently wiping away the tears from under Isabel’s eyes.

"Oh God, Jesse," she cried, leaping forward to close the last bit of distance between them with a tight embrace. "I found you. I finally found my way back to you."

After a moment, Jesse pulled back, getting another good look at her. Isabel felt it. She didn’t know how to describe it, was it a feeling? An urge? Every minute of the day, she felt this undeniable attraction, a longing, for Jesse. Not just for the person Jesse, but also for what his person stood for, the honor, the bravery, the tenderness that was the real him – he was the missing link that completed her chain. That need was what had sustained her whenever she needed him. The only thing she had felt when she saw Hanley posing as Jesse was blind hope. That gave her what she needed at the moment, but it wasn’t enough in the end – this was the real Jesse.

Now, there was only one last thing she needed. Letting him draw her in, she felt his lips gently caress hers. The kiss started out reverently, reaffirming what they were, what they had been though together, what they meant to one another. Love took over, igniting passion; and the kiss grew deeper, wisps of flame curling around the edges of their heated embrace.

For the first time in months, Isabel’s heart soared, and she finally felt at home.

~.~.~.~.~

Liz’s Journal Entry – Boston, 2 months later

There’s a chill in the air, not exactly cold, but a chill that makes everyone zip up their coats a few extra inches. I wouldn’t call it autumn, but it’s getting there. Summer has passed, who knows what a winter in Boston will bring, if we even stay here. In the short-term, Boston is a wonderful place for us to stay. It is crowded, busy, and anonymous. Everyone blends into everyone else; no one stands out from the crowd. A simple pleasure, but a release nonetheless. Fresno was just too hot after the recent events, with all the media crews nosing around and whatnot. Serena’s apartment was ransacked, and she fled with us for fear of her life. Somehow we all made it out alive again – perhaps we really are miracles.

Jesse’s apartment is amazing, and it’s taken some time to get used to it. Still, as nice as it is, I guess I was hoping to walk back into a home, not somebody else’s home, but the one I left behind in Roswell; the ones we all had to part with. I’m still finding it hard to deal with the fact that we live where we land – we have no real homes anymore, at least, none that we can go back to.

It’s still strange and uncomfortable having Hanley with us, he still doesn’t feel like one of us yet. He doesn’t fit. There’s just a sensation about him. We know he’s supposed to be here, but the doubts Nasedo put into our minds still lurk in the background, a fear of everyone. Isabel seemed the worst around him; she’s bitter and relentless about it. She hates the fact that Hanley pretended to be Jesse. She sees him as someone who played with her mind in order to gain false trust, but then again, who can blame her? All the trust she has put in people over the years has all been lost or misplaced. But she’s with Jesse again, the real Jesse, the one who she loves more than anything, the one who she’s married to and the one she’d do anything for. Hanley is going to have a real problem making Isabel understand or believe that what he did was in her best interest, despite her life experiences. He’ll probably argue again that she still can’t see past her own blinding human desires.

Maria, well, Maria’s condition hasn’t changed too much, although she is starting to behave a little more human now. I’m still not sure if she realizes exactly who Hanley is or why he’s here. It’s like she’s new to everything but herself, and at times even that’s not a certainty. She knows who we are, but not why we are. It’s hard to explain. Like a blank Maria canvas waiting to be painted upon. Michael knows what he’s done, even if the rest of us don’t. But he’s really trying to make amends for it. We’ve talked about ways to help her – even medically. The most frightening thing is seeing him watch her sleep. His face is contorted with such pain and grief; it makes me want to reach out and hold him. But that wouldn’t help. I feel bad for Maria, but I just can’t bring myself to be around her at the moment - because of guilt. My own guilt for not noticing her sooner, too busy being involved with myself to notice my best friend. Only now, she doesn’t seem to mind, or even care. It’s heartbreaking, and not just for Michael.

Kyle, oh Kyle, I wish we could trust you. Honesty has always been one of your best policies regarding this whole situation; Kyle’s never held anything back from us, me. I can’t begin to understand what is going through his mind, besides Serena probably. Can he not see, while she’s with us, we still don’t know how or why she’s here? She could be up to all sorts while our backs are turned even for a second. I just don’t know. Serena seems to hold some sort of power over Kyle, I keep coming back to Tess and the power she held over him. But she’s nothing like Tess, is she? She’s on our side, I can feel it, but I can’t prove it to myself and it causes me to doubt. Doubts which keep surfacing, doubts I can’t control or understand.

Besides, even if Serena is good and here to help us, what effect will she and Kyle have upon each other? Nothing is ever that simple with us; nothing has been or will be. Kyle of all people should know that getting involved with Serena is probably not the best idea. But how am I supposed to tell him? What am I supposed to say? In his eyes Serena is a vision, literally.

No one else seems to understand the things I’m seeing. Serena and Kyle are both jeopardizing our lives. Kyle is unpredictable when she’s around her. I don’t believe he would do anything bad intentionally, but his struggle to keep some kind of normality in the situation makes him unstable. Let’s not bring up the phone call-thing in Yosemite.

We know there’s still a threat out there and that Serena may or may not have anything to do with it. Whether she’s aware of it or not I’m not exactly sure, none of us are. But we will be ready. I’ve assured myself that so much I’m beginning to believe it. Will we ever be ready? Max thinks so and I guess I have to believe in him. He keeps saying that he feels things will be changing soon. I wonder what he means by that.

On a lighter note, if they even exist anymore, it’s my birthday soon, it seems so unimportant compared to what’s been going on around us, I know. What does it matter that Liz Parker-Evans is one year older, when we have to deal with the fact that none of us could be alive tomorrow? Still, I can’t help wishing for a normal birthday, like the ones I used to have when I was a kid. With silly party hats, Jell-O, and goody bags to take home afterwards. Things have changed so much. I miss my parents like mad – no new bike or chemistry set from them this year. Knowing they are thinking of me, still loving me, despite everything else – that would be enough at the moment.

Being “grown-up” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, having my parents around was a luxury I took for granted; because when you have to do everything for yourself you suddenly realize how much you depend on them. With Christmas only a few months away and the money running out, we’ve all had to force ourselves to get jobs. Easy? You might think so in a city like Boston, but it’s not easy when you can’t give any past references or an explanation of why you have no proper home address. Employers generally shy away from these kinds of people.

I don’t know how Kyle and Max managed it, probably some swindling on their part, but they’ve managed to swing Christmas sales jobs in a video store. Personally, I think putting two hormonal teenagers in a shop that rents out free blue movies is a horrible idea, but, it brings home some bucks. Regular bucks, of the non-alien and guiltless variety.

I’ve been making an effort to get a job, really I have, it’s just nothing seems to attract me. I don’t want to be stuck in a job doing god knows what. I don’t know if the diner thing is much my forté any longer. I’m grudgingly going to go and ask around a few of the cafés near Jesse’s work, it can’t hurt to stay close. Can it?

~.~.~.~.~

Jesse’s apartment, Boston

Liz sat curled up on one end of the plush brown couch, reading over the long journal entry she had just composed. Since the day they arrived at Jesse’s apartment, being in one place with the hope that they could stay there for awhile was almost surreal to her. They had been moving around so frequently since they left Roswell that she almost missed the familiar vibrations and noise of the van where they spent the last few months. Being married to Max on the road suddenly felt so much different than being his wife in the big metropolis of Boston, Massachusetts.

Living in any one place with Max was different for Liz than all the time they spent living in the rusty old van. She chalked it up as a reminder of the commitment they made to each other on that perfect day, the memories still very fresh in her mind despite everything that had happened since then.

Since arriving a week ago, everyone appeared to be settling in nicely. The three-bedroom apartment was so spacious and comfortable compared to the previous living conditions; everyone was reveling in the newfound freedom and privacy. Job ads from the newspaper littered the coffee table however, a sign that the group wasn’t planning on staying in Jesse’s living space forever.

She looked up as Max walked in the front door, the sight of him breaking her train of thought. She gave him a warm smile.

“Hey,” he greeted her softly, taking his coat off and sharing a brief kiss before plopping onto the couch beside her. It was suddenly such a change to see Max walk in the door without some pressing alien matter to attend to, or any worry of the FBI. He was so relaxed and radiating vitality, a grin spreading across his lips.

“Seems to be quiet here,” he said.

“Yeah, everyone left except for Hanley, who disappeared into the bathroom a few minutes ago,” she told him, setting her journal on the coffee table as she continued. “How was work, honey?”

“Uneventful,” he said, returning the grin. “They’re short-staffed at the Video Buzz, Kyle picked up an extra half-shift. He seems to really like it.”

Liz nodded and watched Max for a moment while he leaned back into the couch and closed his eyes. He was content, happy, and safe. He seemed relieved to be off the road for a while and finally in touch with something resembling normal. After a moment of seeing him so content, she shifted her body on the couch so she was leaning herself against him slightly and almost reflexively, Max wrapped an arm around her.

She, however, was not as content as she would have liked. Although she was very happy to have helped rid the gang of the FBI threat, her gut screamed that it was not over - the worst was yet to come. Lately she had been dreaming about those few days she dealt with Future Max, reliving the pain of forcing Max to be with Tess just to save the world over and over again. Now with Tess dead, Liz had a terrible feeling. Without the royal four as a unit, there was no way they could stop Khivar and the end of the world. Her greatest fear, without a doubt, would be to lose Max or anyone else again. Khivar must be stopped. Somehow.

Max must have sensed her uneasiness because he opened one eye and narrowed it at her in concern. She glanced at him for a moment and looked away, not wanting to take that contentment away from him. Seeing him happy made her feel so good inside, she just couldn’t bear to upset him with these thoughts.

“Liz, honey, what’s wrong?” he said, concern lining his voice. And the pain in her heart grew when he spoke again. “Did you see something? Another premonition?”

She shook her head and wiped at her eyes even though no tears had spilled over. She didn’t have to say anything. Through their connection, Max could feel exactly what she was worried about. And she knew he would have said something comforting at that moment, if Michael hadn’t just barged in, carrying a large box with Maria not far behind him.

“Any luck, Michael?” Max asked tiredly.

Liz was wondering the same question as well. Michael would be the one to find the riskiest job, just as he had gotten himself into at Meta-Chem back in Roswell. Although the job at Meta-Chem was partly due to Maria’s persuasion so she wouldn’t have to pay his bills all the time, he did end up putting the people closest to him in a lot of danger, intentionally or not.

Michael unloaded a case of Snapple into the fridge, giving one to Maria before saying anything. Liz figured that Michael hadn’t found anything yet, but the look on Max’s face told her otherwise. Michael’s smirk didn’t make her feel any better.

“Yeah, I found a job,” he told them. “This bar a couple blocks away was hiring bartending trainees, no experience necessary. Ten dollars an hour to start.”

“You’re not old enough to drink alcohol legally, how were they able to hire a minor?” Liz said, glancing at Max to see his reaction to the news.

“He did something to his driver’s license and told me to wait for him outside,” Maria spoke up. “That’s all I know.”

“It’s not like I don’t have any experience with mixed drinks,” Michael pointed out wryly. Liz rolled her eyes, reminded of Enigma and the party night from hell. Michael likely would have ranted further except he saw the worried look on her face.

“Something wrong here?”

“Liz is just worried,” Max began, but quieted when Liz spoke up.

“And it is more important than your new job.”

“Okay, so what’s the problem?” Michael prompted, taking another swig of his choice drink.

“You don’t have a fourth,” she blurted out, and then immediately realized how weird that sounded coming out of her mouth. Since the others remained quiet she continued, “And we found Serena. The end of the world could still be coming. You would need a fourth to stop it and … she died.”

“We will find a way,” Max assured her, “You’ll see that we can fight it and with Michael involved you know we’ll all be prepared.”

“At least I will be,” Michael assured her.

“If the time comes,” Max added.

"Liz was not convinced, but she had been thinking about the topic ever since she learned of it. She wanted to help; she would do anything to save Max and the others. She -

“What do you mean, if the time comes?” Michael spoke up, raising an eyebrow. “We don’t have a fourth and you know eventually aliens will come for us. Tess is dead.”

In that moment, something revolting flopped in her stomach and she had to get out of there. That name - Tess… she was still so offended by it. Even when Tess had sacrificed herself for the good of the others - the only respectable thing she’d ever done - for all they knew that was an act as well. All Liz knew was that she couldn’t sit there another minute. She jumped off the couch, out of Max’s arms, grabbed her coat, and ran out of the apartment before anyone could say a word.

A blur of thoughts were racing though her mind as she bolted out the door and met up with the sidewalk for a brisk encounter. Suddenly the realization hit her- a fact that had sat on the tip of her tongue yet eluded her for longer than she would ever know - and although it didn’t register entirely in that short moment, it did start the process rolling. Liz lost sight of everything else as her mind began filling in the blanks and focusing on this new realization, her feet matching pace with her thoughts.

Back in the apartment, Hanley came quietly out of the bathroom. He glanced at Max and Michael, who seemed to be staring at the door. Maria was sitting on the couch. She looked at him blankly and turned on the television. Now was not the time – Hanley made a quick exit, they weren’t ready to learn what he had come to tell them - not yet. Besides, there was someone else whom he needed to tell first.

~.~.~.~.~

Liz was sitting by the window of a small café about a mile from Jesse’s apartment. She was so lost in her murky puddle of thoughts, that she didn’t even notice Serena walk in.

Serena had seen Liz leave the apartment, she didn’t know what was going on as usual, but Liz was really in a hurry. Serena knew something was up, and followed. She had poked and prodded Kyle for information, and despite her best efforts at being both forceful and gentle, he would not spill a word. Michael – well there was no use talking to that ogre, he wanted her dead. Maria was a walking zombie, incapable of any useful information, and Max and the others all dodged Serena’s questions. She figured talking to Liz alone might be the best way to get some answers. Besides, she actually liked the girl, not exactly her first choice for a confidant, but still. Serena was the only one who didn’t understand this whole situation fully, aside from the freaky Maria, and she was damned if she wasn’t going to find out eventually.

“Liz!” Serena practically yelled into her ear.

Liz was disturbed from her train of thoughts and glanced up suddenly from her cup of coffee to find Serena standing next to her, a little of her drink spilling on the table. “What? Who? Oh… hey, Serena.” Liz said, wiping up the spill with waitress-style precision. The redhead had obviously followed her here, but she didn’t mind.

“Since when did you become deaf anyways, you may as well have been in a coma. I’ve been trying to catch your attention for like the past five minutes.” Serena stared flatly.

“Sorry…” Liz stammered, “I was just… thinking about a lot of stuff.”

“You and me both.” Serena plunked herself down on the stool opposite from Liz, and attempted to attract the attention of the waitress. Liz drifted back to her thoughts.

Serena was eventually noticed and ordered a hot chocolate. She had never been one for coffee.

The beverage arrived, and Serena looked up at Liz, who was still deep in thought.

“So…” Serena smiled, blowing into her cup, cooling the steamy liquid inside.

“Yeah… hmm.” Liz mumbled, distracted.

“Liz, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve been traveling and basically spending all of my time with you and the pod squad for the past two months, and still, you all keep silent when I’m around. Do you not trust me?” Serena enquired, trying not to look as hurt as she felt.

“I’m sorry Serena; it’s just… hang on, did you say ‘the pod squad’?” Liz raised her eyebrows.

“C’mon Liz, I’m not stupid, I do have ears and they tend to hear things when people are speaking.”

“Oh…” Liz trailed off. She didn’t know what to say.

Serena raised her eyebrows. “Well?”

“I guess... I don’t know how it could do any more harm than what you already know has done. You have to find out eventually, right? But not a word of this to the others, it’s not just my secret to share, and I value my life with them.” Liz didn’t waver, a very serious look in her eye. “You do understand that once I tell you, there is no going back, right?”

“Do you guys always have to talk in riddles? What could possibly be so bad about telling me a secret? I’ve thought numerous things about you guys but nothing makes any sense – are you bank robbers- no, secret agents? No, stolen car ring- no, Mafia? No –“

“No, no, you’re way off base. Look, do you agree to just keep quiet, not flip out, and not tell anyone, ever, what I’m about to tell you?”

“Deal.”

“Good.” Liz gave out a heavy sigh, as if unloading a burden from her chest. “So what is it you want to know exactly,” she asked, looking around discreetly and bracing herself for what she new was coming next.

“Everything….” Serena whispered quietly, “from the beginning.”

Liz sighed, nodding slowly. This was it. No more secrets, Serena would have to know. Liz was sick of lying to her, and as much danger knowing the secret would put her in, it was also just as dangerous not knowing. She knew that Serena must be told, and now was as good a time as any.

“It started just over 3 years ago...”

Serena leaned back, sipping eagerly on her hot chocolate.

“I was shot in a café, bullet though the center of my abdomen, but I was brought back to life by a very special man,” Liz recalled wistfully. “A king.”

Serena shot Liz a disbelieving look. “Get real…” But she rescinded. The look in Liz’s eyes was true and unwavering, and Serena warily questioned what she had said. “You’re not kidding, are you?”

“No.”

“Okay well you’ve got my attention, go on.”

“I can still remember lying there on the ground, looking up into his eyes. He put his hand on my chest, and after a moment the wound was healed.”

“Whoa, really?” Serena said, sipping on her hot chocolate as if she were being told an old wife’s tale.

“Yes. And the next day, I had this mark on my chest. And whenever I confronted him about it, he would always find an excuse to leave. Finally one day, I cornered him and demanded to know what the silver handprint was from.”

“Did you just say ‘silver handprint?’ That’s impossible.” Serena said, her mind visibly wandering, an annoyed look threatening to expose itself.

“I confronted him about it, and that’s when he told me the truth,” Liz said, thinking carefully.

“What truth,” Serena said, nearing the end of her drink and beginning to wish she hadn’t brought the subject up.

“That he was not from this earth.”

“Let me guess, he was a space-alien?”

“Yes, well, more or less.”

“Aaah. I understand now,” Serena said, standing up defiantly and stalking off to the restroom. That’s all she wanted to hear, more garbage about aliens, UFO’s, and everything else that reminded her of her mother. “Not funny at all,” she said quietly to herself, shoving the door open and looking distractedly for her compact. Liz got up from the table and followed her in.

“Are you alright?” Liz queried, looking at Serena quizzically.

“Do you expect me to be alright? You start spouting off this crap about aliens - that’s not a funny joke at all, Liz. My mother was psychotic about them, almost committed to the mental institution by the men in white coats – and you’re making fun of this?”

“Who ever said I was joking? I’m not joking Serena – look I don’t have time to joke around.”

“Oh? Then prove it!” Serena said, regretting the harshness of the words as they cannon balled out of her mouth.

“Fine,” Liz said, grabbing Serena’s arm forcibly.

*Flash*

Images of Liz as a child, playing with the other kids at a playground…the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, the weight of the jump rope on her hand. The new kid at school, his gentle eyes staring back at her.

*Flash*

Running into the same young man in seventh grade, her books falling to the ground haphazardly. She looks up at the young man she ran into, so lost in thought she almost forgets to thank him for picking up her books.

*Flash*

“What’ll it be today, Max?” Liz said, giving him a wry smile.

“I’ll have the usual, please,” he said, sitting down for breakfast again at the quaint little diner.

“You come here every day just to see her, don’t you Maxwell?” Michael teased.

*Flash*

A gunshot; excruciating pain; the ceiling spinning. Max coming up beside her, ripping her shirt open and putting his hand on her throbbing chest, the strangest sensation imaginable. “You spilled ketchup all over yourself – please don’t tell anyone…”

*Flash*

“Oh my God… what did you just do?” Came Serena’s voice, bringing Liz back to earth. She was bracing herself with both hands against the wall.

“I showed you the truth,” Liz said quietly.

Serena just stood there, holding on to Liz and the wall, her world thrust upside-down.

After a moment, she looked back up at Liz. Her eyes were brimming with wetness and threatening to overflow, yet she was not about to let that happen. “She was right all along.” Serena spoke to herself, shaking her head.

“Who was right?” Liz asked.

“Never mind, you’ve got to tell me everything – this is so – I had no idea… all true…” Liz was about to say something, but Serena cut her off. “Oh my god, Jesse, Isabel, Kyle, you – you are all… you know, aliens?”

Liz gave her a partial smile. “No. Well, not quite. Jesse, Kyle, Maria and I are human. Or supposed to be, anyways.”

“Supposed to be?”

“Well yes, but ever since Max healed me, I’ve been, different,” Liz said.

“And what about Maria? She’s like a walking zombie – what’s going on there?”

“Well,” Liz sighed to herself. “That was an accident. A terrible accident.”

“I’ve got to sit down,” Serena said, picking up her things and stammering haphazardly back into the café.

Liz looked at herself in the mirror and said, “Well. That went better than I thought.”

~.~.~.~.~

“So….” Serena stammered, unable to take it all in, or even process the major parts without mental overflow. “The FBI… they want to… and you… damn…”

“I know, it is a lot to take in. We… the rest and myself – we weren’t sure whether to tell you or not. You could have been a threat, and for all we know, you still could be,” Liz breathed.

“I’m not… I mean, I don’t think I am. I’m definitely not working for the FBI,” Serena muttered. “I could never do what they had planned, that’s just evil.”

Liz noticed how Serena spat the word ‘they’ out like it was an unbearable disease. She definitely was on their side.

“It’s… wow…” Serena couldn’t decide whether she was in awe of the truth, or scared of it.

“It’s a lot to take in Serena; I wouldn’t blame you if you ran screaming for the hills.” Liz smiled and added. “But I hope you don’t.”

“I’m not… I don’t think… but hey, I want to. If I could actually make my feet move I’d have been gone as soon as you said the word… what was it, Antar? But I’m not gone, and I don’t think I intend to go anywhere either. I don’t think.” Serena blurted out the words so fast that they stumbled over each other and ended up in a jumbled mess.

“Aliens!” Serena mouthed silently, the shock hitting her again.

Liz smiled and left Serena to her thoughts for a moment, the two sitting in a comfortable yet surreal silence before Serena spoke again.

“The evil, the one that’s coming, can you – err, us – can we beat it?”

Liz tensed; she knew this was coming, she still didn’t know how to answer it. She chose the honest approach.

“I… we don’t know.”

“Oh…” Serena trailed off, the excitement diminishing from her features as she tried to comprehend this new and bleak idea.

“Was that not what you wanted to hear?” Liz questioned, all traces of hope gone from her face.

Serena shook her head; she couldn’t find the right words. It was only beginning to sink in. Her hopes had all just been crushed by one little thought – in a matter of weeks, days, or hours, she and everyone she knew could be dead, annihilated by aliens.

“Is there nothing? Nothing we, as in you and I, can do?” Serena questioned.

Liz jerked, she’d never thought about it like that. They were both scientists, and if her intuition were anything to go by, Serena was at least as good as she was at logical thinking, probably better.

“Maybe.” A plan was forming in Liz’s mind. “If only we could…”

“What?!” Serena nearly yelled, halfway between fear and enthusiasm.

“If we could find out exactly what the FBI wanted from us… Max, Isabel, Michael and I. Maybe then, we could work out how to stop the end of the world.”

“How would that work?” Serena looked blank.

“Well, of course the FBI knows more than they lead on. Organizations like that always do- they work with science and logic just as much as we do,” Liz pointed to Serena and herself. “They were obviously looking for something in particular, the way they act around us; it’s gone past fear and into desperation. They are desperate… for us. They are looking for something.”

“Aaah,” Serena said.

Liz was bursting. She had it, she knew she did. It was buried inside her brain, deep inside, in a part she’d never dared to explore for fear of what it might bring.

“I think I’ve got it!” Liz exclaimed, “I finally understand!” and everything faded to white.

“Liz!” said a voice. “Liz, are you okay, can you hear me?”

“Mmm….” came Liz’s distorted reply. “Wh-Whoa what happened?”

“Thank goodness… you were all excited and about to tell me your brilliant idea and then…wham, you passed out – I grabbed you so you didn’t fall off your chair,” Serena said, her voice reverberating with concern which Liz had never heard before.

“I’m sorry. I’m fine.” Liz slowly shook her senses back to life. “Thanks.”

“People were looking, Liz,” Serena whispered, glancing around the café.

“Get your stuff, time to go…” Liz said, standing up and motioning for Serena to speed things up. Public questioning was not on the menu.

Serena didn’t hesitate and threw down some pocket change, and then quickly and quietly began walking out of the café. She looked back to see Liz a ways behind her. Life had suddenly become so much more important and complex, and yet she surprised herself how well she reacted under this pressure.

~.~.~.~.~

“I’m sorry,” Liz apologized, rushing to catch up with Serena’s massive strides. Liz had never noticed how tall she was until now. She felt very small and fragile in comparison.

Serena shrugged. “As long as you’re alright…” She trailed off.

“I mean it,” Liz continued, “This must be a lot for you to deal with all in one go. I remember when I –“

“When you what?” Serena spun on her heel, “When you found the love of your life and you knew you’d never be alone again?” Serena cynically spat.

“No…” Liz was stunned by Serena’s sudden outburst, mainly because she found herself being yelled at in the middle of the street. Not to mention Serena’s mood had suddenly taken a one-eighty.

Serena turned and ran off, desperate to hide herself in the hustle and bustle of Boston rush hour. No such luck.

“You can’t hide Serena…” Liz began running to catch up.

Serena took off running at full speed. She didn’t want to run from Liz, but her feet wouldn’t stop. She ran across a car filled road, dodging the honking cars, and ran through a small park. She rounded a corner where she was hidden by a bush and collapsed on a small bench. She sat there in a crumpled heap and tried to forget everything Liz had just told her. None of it was real, it was just not logical. Serena closed her eyes to try and clear her head and then…

*flash*

Serena couldn’t breathe, she was struggling for air.

*flash*

Liz and Serena in a science lab, smiling and…

*flash*

Liz at Graduation. A familiar male face.

*flash*

A wedding. Not her own.

*flash*

Liz.

“Serena…?” Liz panted. She had run as fast as her legs could carry her through the Boston city streets without being killed. She had almost given up hope of catching Serena until she’d spotted Serena’s red hair fly into the park.

Serena didn’t answer; she had to remember to breathe.

After what seemed like endless hours, Serena looked up at Liz.

“I want to help.”

~.~.~.~

Maria, Dreaming

With emotional turmoil beyond Maria's capability, she was able to sleep more peacefully than ever. There were no worries of the future, or FBI, or Khivar, which tended to keep everyone else's nights restless. However, now that she had such a free mind, other elements have been found to easily take root there. Each night as Michael held her hand and cuddled with her, she was being exposed to memories and events that aren’t entirely her own...

"Rath, it's going to happen, you can't stop it," the beautiful vixen breathed in a rasp, and then parried to block his sword thrust. "Training like this isn't going to help anything, it's our destiny!" She exclaimed as she thrust her sword through the air at him. "Deal with it like the leader you are!" She parried again, her flamberge knocked from her hand and a golden-laced arm reaching out, pulling her body almost violently up against his.

For a moment all he did was stare down at her with those amber-filled eyes. Eyes that had never quite stared down at her with the same intensity that burned into her at that moment. That was passion.

"I, will not leave you behind," Rath ground out, gripping her arms more tightly between his hands, raising them up and over his muscular neck.

Calypso blinked in confusion. "Why would you have to?" she asked, suspiciously. "From your vision I shall come back too, right? I come back too." She said those last words as a statement, but there was question in her eyes.

Abruptly he let her go, so quickly that she nearly toppled backwards. Rath turned and stalked heavily to the window. Staring out at the light purple sky of near dusk, he closed his eyes and said quietly, "Yes, you'll come back." He opened them again and turned back to her. "I'll make certain of it."

"Make certain of destiny?" Calypso asked in obvious relief, but she still rolled her eyes with sarcasm. Shaking her head, she eyed her sword lying on the ground by his feet and applied her mind to the task of sending it flying through the air and back to her hand, an effortless task of telekinesis.

Extending the sword, she brought the very tip up against his jugular and stared down the shiny silver surface, his reflection glinting off of it as she drew back and twitched it back and forth teasingly. "When will you learn that you don't control the world around you? That’s Zan’s job."

A small smirk dusted across his lips and he shrugged a little. "Maybe in the next life."

Both smiled then.

Maria's dream shifted to another time and another place, fierce images of violent death and ultimate betrayal dashed away the pleasant hope for the new beginning which this dream portrayed. Maria was always sent back to the same place every night. No matter what scene out of Rath and Calypso's fate she saw, it always ended the same way.

With bloodshed…

…and the words…

"We will live again."

~.~.~.~

Closing the apartment door behind him at three am, Michael flipped on the light.

"You're late tonight," Max said from behind him.

Startled, Michael dropped the books he was holding. "Crap Maxwell, give a guy a heart attack why don't you!"

"Sorry," Max said with a smirk as he came out from behind the bar and knelt down to help pickup the books. His brow creased. "Are these...books? Like...actual reading books?"

"Yes, Maxwell, I can read. Now, give it –“

Max stood up with one of the books in his hand, and read the cover out loud. "The Mysteries of the Limbic System."

"It's ah..." Michael started, reaching for the book.

"It's what Liz was talking about," Max finished, turning the book over in his hands.

Michael nodded. "Yeah, she was saying that it is what’s probably wrong with Maria."

"Her limbic system?" Max inquired.

"Yeah, it controls emotions...feelings. Sounded right to me," Michael explained as he tried to snatch the book and, defeated, walked past Max into the kitchen.

Max thought about this as Michael got a Snapple out of the fridge and poured a glass of water for Maria.

"Sure, but Michael, what exactly are you hoping to get from these books?" Max asked with doubt in his voice. "I mean, obviously whatever happened to Maria's mind has to do with her limbic system being…"

"What, fried?" Michael offered and then dropped his head slightly with a sigh. "Look, I understand that the answers probably won't be in these books, in fact, I don't think there's a library on the entire planet that has the answers I need. But Maria...she's been asking a lot of questions lately and I... I have to give her something."

Max nodded and set the book back down on the counter. "Okay, do what you have to do; I wouldn't do any less personally, just..."

"Yes, Maxwell?"

"Don't get your hopes up. She might not... get better." Max could see Michael didn't agree. "Michael... you have to consider that we might not be able to…"

"No, Max. I haven't considered that, because I refuse to believe that. Call it denial, call it avoidance, call it whatever the hell you want – but I'm going to find a way to help her. I owe her at least that much," Michael said as he picked up the drinks and books. He finally grabbed the last book off the counter and headed off to his new bedroom, leaving Max behind to mull over Michael’s newfound determination.

Opening the door to their room, Michael heard her moaning and whimpering again, and knew that she was having another bad dream. She always forgot them before she woke, but in the process of trying to calm her down he’d caught a glimpse or two. Those few glimpses, alone, had raised even bigger questions, which he wasn't prepared to ask Maria was his first priority- his only priority.

Kneeling down on the bed beside her, she woke suddenly and sat up onto her elbows, looking around. "Michael?" She breathed with a searching voice, into the darkness.

Stretching out next to her, Michael whispered, "Shhh, I'm right here." The moment the words left his mouth she curled up into his side, just like she'd gotten into the habit of doing over the past two months. It was a change that Michael welcomed queasily because she didn’t fully understand what she was doing. When they'd slept together before, in Roswell, she had usually wanted her space… her space away from him. Sometimes he wondered if he was just as lost as she was.

Curling her fingers into his shirt she whispered, "Will you turn on the light?"

Michael wondered for a brief moment if perhaps she was afraid, but then banished the idea as quickly as it came. She knew no fear. "Yeah," he replied, with some slight disappointment apparent in his voice. Reaching over to switch on the lamp, it turned on with a click.

2

The light flooded the room a soft yellow. Maria looked up at him, her eyes squinting softly with the side of her head resting against his chest. "Thank you," she said, her eyes opening a little wider. They were still an unnatural grayish-blue. It served as a constant reminder to Michael that she wasn't as vibrant as she used to be. She wasn't as alive, she wasn't as… Michael stopped his train of thought before the guilt set in too deep.

"Did you have another bad dream?”

Maria nodded as she reached for his hand and brought it up into her hair. She'd been doing that lately as well. At night, after the dreams, she'd ask him to stroke her hair. She said it tingled her head. Michael didn't really think anything of it, just merely suspected that she needed to feel, something, maybe anything.

"Do you remember anything from your dream?" Michael asked, continuing to comb and weave his fingers through her auburn tresses.

To his surprise however, she nodded yes.

"You do?"

Maria sighed softly and almost whispered the one word that had been the bain of everyone’s existence since back when Tess first graced them with her presence.

"Destiny," she whispered. "I remember something about destiny and that it...was changed?" She looked up at him with an inquiring expression. "Changed somehow?"

Michael, curious, raised his eyebrows. "Changed?"

With a nod and a long yawn, Maria settled back down against him then caught sight of the books Michael had dropped at the end of the bed.

"What are those?" she asked, leaning up slightly to reach one of them and dragging it back to Michael and her.

Taking the book from her fingers, he studied it for a moment before replying, "Books about the limbic system, I was hoping to find something that might help with you."

"Limbic system? You mean my head?" Maria asked with what could have been a slight smirk. "Liz told me about her theory too, but I...don't know what to make of it," she said with a shake of her head. “I don’t understand what the big deal is, I’m fine.”

"We just..." Michael trailed, as she turned towards him, half lying chest to chest with him, her fingers curling into his shirt again, sending shivers up and down his spine.

"Is it, because you love me?" Maria asked innocently, but she couldn't have known what kind of weight it put on Michael's heart. "I heard you say something about it once to me," She continued, "When you thought I was asleep. I didn't understand what it was so I looked it up in the mini-dictionary Liz gave me."

Every word hurt.

Michael had tried like hell to conveniently forget that with Maria's current state of mind, came the undeniable fact that she didn't remember loving him, or even him loving her. He wouldn't ever be able to forget, he couldn't even fathom not knowing what it was like to not love her.

"It said 'strong affection for another, arising out of kinship or personal ties'," She recited, "and it also said that it was 'unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another'.” She turned her face up towards him. "Is that what it is?"

Michael swallowed hard. "It's a little more than that," he said, thinking of the irony of the situation. The very person who showed him love, was now asking what it meant.

"I had already figured that," Maria stated. "The others all love me I think, but you..." She trailed.

Michael pulled her closer, taking her hand and unclasping the fingers from his shirt and threading his fingers through them. "What about me?" he asked, brushing his lips across the back of her hand clasped in his.

"That."

"What?"

Maria looked at him blankly, pointing at his hand. "You touch me. The others don't do things like that... but you do," she explained. "You also say that I can't feel things, which I don't understand, because when you touch me, I always feel it."

Releasing her hand, he chased two fingers lightly down her cheek. "That's physical. You can feel touch. It's emotions that you can't understand or feel. If I understand what I've been reading in these books, you shouldn't gain any feeling really from touching. It won't feel good or bad or...anything."

“I don’t understand. How can touch feel good or bad?”

Michael swallowed and reached out again, brushing his thumb across her bottom lip. "You used to love it when I'd do that, but it doesn't feel like anything to you now, does it? It’s just a touch, no meaning behind it."

Maria paused thoughtfully and then simply shook her head.

Sighing in defeat, Michael dropped his hand. "Well, as long as you don't tell me that you feel nothing when I touch you, I think my ego will remain intact."

Maria pulled herself up a little closer to him and Michael somehow knew what she was going to ask. He always obliged her, but it wasn't the same as it had once been. What used to be an act of mutual love was now just simply...

"Will you kiss me?"

...a kiss. The words rang like a double-edged sword – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Michael wanted so much for her to feel something, even a small spark, or uncertainty, or even anger – anything would be fine, as long as it was something. Seeing her like this was wearing on him, the guilt building deeper and deeper.

“Liz does it all the time, with Max,” Maria’s said, looking at him expectantly, waiting for him to do something.

“Okay,” he said, reluctantly reaching out for her and pulling her close. He could feel the warmth of her face near his, the soft touch of her skin on his hands reminding him of times long past. He moved in close, feeling her breath on his face, his lips gently pressing against hers, the response being completely unnatural and inexperienced.

Before he had a chance to completely pull away and open his eyes, there came an unexpected reply.

“I’m thirsty.”

It hurt, and Michael had to look away. But as he recalled, she had been asking for water every night after the dreams, and she always asked for water when anything remotely emotional started to happen. It was almost as if her subconscious was tripping over some roadblock whenever she was close to a breakthrough. Michael sat up and turned on the bed to grab her glass of water, and nearly collided with it as it hovered there, right next to his head.

"What the –“ Michael jumped from the bed and stood there, staring in awe at the hovering glass, then looked to Maria to see her eyes slightly narrowed as she seemed to focus in on the wobbling container. Michael shook his head in disbelief. "Telekinesis." he said.

The word seemed to jog something from Maria’s memory, and her eyes shot up to him, the glass suddenly falling to the carpeted floor and rolling to Michael's feet with a slosh. Maria looked almost accusingly at the glass.

"I didn't do that," she said. "Did you?"

Shaking his head, Michael replied, "No, I would know if I did that. I don't even think I can do things like that." Kneeling, he picked the glass up off the floor, and then looked back up to Maria.

"I think you did it."

Maria' eyebrows rose a tiny bit.

"Welcome to the club," Michael quirked.

~.~.~.~.~

“Wait a minute, Guerin is a bartender?” Kyle asked Liz, not quite believing what she had told him.

Liz nodded and glanced at Maria, hoping she would be smiling, but her face remained expressionless.

After leaving Serena at the park, Liz almost collided with Michael and Maria, who were going to the small supermarket on the corner. Hoping that some time with her best friend might help her somehow, she managed to talk Michael into letting Maria spend some time with her for a while. Together, the two passed the video store just as Kyle was getting off work, so now the three of them were back in the van, hiding out from everyone for a while. Even though they weren’t going anywhere, being inside almost felt like being home again.

“Hey, how come you’re not with Max?” Kyle spoke to Liz again.

“I needed some time away, to think,” she told him. “Something has been bothering me and it just … I couldn’t stay there in the apartment a moment longer. You see… It’s all to do with the fourth alien, our family, and the end of the world. I’m not convinced it’s over with, yet.”

Looking over at Maria, she realized that so very little of conversation anymore had anything to do with her lost friend. How nice it would be, to just go back to the way things were three years ago. She missed her best friend, and put her arm around her.

Maria gave her a funny look.

“What do you think it means?” Kyle asked her.

“I’m not sure, but I’ve developed this power to receive premonitions. If I’m really becoming like them then I should have other powers,” she pointed out. “But…”

“Have you tried the kinds of things the others can do?” Kyle interrupted her, “If you are turning into one of them then you should have other abilities. I wonder if I am going to…”

He kept talking, but Liz knew where he was going and tuned him out. Testing the idea, she focused on an old book that rested on the floor of the van. She stretched out her hand ever so slightly toward the object and concentrated on pushing it away. Her attention was so focused that she didn’t see anyone else.

No one saw how Maria stared at the book, unblinking. She remembered what Michael told her when his glass of water floated through the air and nearly hit him on the head. She didn’t really know what he meant by it, but he seemed to think that she was supposed to have a different reaction than the one she had.

I think you did it … Welcome to the club…

All she could think to do was to try it again to see if he was right. She didn’t know that Liz was trying to use her powers on the same book. Kyle hadn’t noticed either because he was still busy talking.

Liz gasped when the book floated off of the floor, and spun slowly. It then hurled mysteriously through the air and slammed against the back door of the van before falling onto the floor again, lifeless. She looked at Kyle, who put his hands up as if to distance himself from what just happened.

“Hey hey, chill with the alien funny-business already,” he reminded her.

“But,” Liz said, glancing momentarily at Maria, “I didn’t do that either.”

Maria blinked a couple times, but said nothing about what happened. Did she do that? Maria wasn’t sure. She only knew that somehow it had happened and that she must have been responsible for it. Making the book move, to her, was simply something that happened. She had no idea what it truly meant and she had no idea what to feel about it.

“That had to be you Liz,” Kyle insisted, “Maria and I are both purebred human.”

Liz was going to protest again, but the van door slid open and Max poked his head inside. She smiled nervously at him and he grinned, extending one of his arms to help her out of the van. Kyle spoke up again as Liz grabbed Max’s hand.

“Hey Max, what’s going on?”

“We have a surprise for Liz,” he announced.

At that moment Liz put what had just happened in the back of her mind, intrigued about the surprise Max had waiting for her. She couldn’t wait to find out what he had planned for her birthday. Anything from Max on her birthday had to be really great, and Liz couldn’t wait to see what it was.

~.~.~.~.~

Liz followed Max out of the van, leaving Maria and Kyle to climb out behind her. "What surprise?" Liz asked as Max abruptly stopped and turned towards her right before they entered the apartment.

"You'll see," Max replied, smiling, as he walked around her to stand behind her, raising his hands to cover her eyes.

"Oh, okay. It's one of those kinds of surprises," Liz started with a small smirk as Max led her into the dimmed living room. "I hope that you're wearing those red silk boxers again I really like…"

"Surprise!"

Suddenly the lights were on and Max's hands were no longer covering her eyes, and Liz could see all of her friends gathered around a table of presents under a huge banner hanging from the ceiling which read: ‘Happy Birthday, Liz!’

"Wow," was all Liz could say.

"Yeah, wow, red silk boxers Maxwell? That's…" Came Michael’s voice from the back of the room.

"Not another word," Max said quickly.

Isabel stood holding up a decorated cake with 19 candles lit across it, "Yes, let's not talk about that and blow out these candles, birthday girl."

Voice-Over

As the fire from the candles danced before my eyes, I realized that I was home. I wasn't in Roswell, but I was home, because I was with my family. Old friends and new friends, these people are my family. And, of course, the newest member, Hanley... who I think will be with us for a while. But all in all, I had my family, who I all loved in some way or another.

Michael, almost like a brother. Perhaps a cranky brother.

Isabel, like the sister I never had.

Maria, in any condition, would always be my best friend and a kindred spirit.

Kyle, like a best friend and companion.

Serena, in a way that I can't yet define.

Jesse, for his love for Isabel and trust in all of us.

And then, there's Max - and no words can possibly define how much I love and cherish him. He is my whole world and when the world fades away or become too clouded for me to rationally predict the future. Max is and will always be my guiding light.

As Liz thought those very last thoughts, Max leaned down close to her ear and whispered softly, "Make a wish."

And although all of these wonderful people were Liz's family, without a doubt, she couldn't help but think about her other family back in Roswell, the ones who were wishing she were home.

So, blowing out the candles, Liz made her wish.

'I wish my family back home could see how happy I am.'

Everyone cheered and began digging into the cake, but Liz's wish still lingered in her mind.

"Alright, how about we start slicing through this mountain of gifts?" Kyle suggested, taking a seat next to Serena.

Serena quipped, "Are the gifts all bread? How thoughtful."

Kyle gave her a grin.

Liz stepped forward, brushing her chin thoughtfully before sitting in a chair before the presents. "Who are all these from?" she asked.

"Max." Everyone said in unison.

Max kneeled down next to Liz's chair, blushing slightly. "I might have gotten a little carried away," he admitted.

Isabel gave a shocked gasp as she sat on the floor next to the table, "You? Never."

Rolling her eyes, Liz turned back to Max. "I happen to like how you over do things." She leaned in closer so only he could hear. "And I'll show you how much, later," she whispered and placed a soft kiss on his lips.

"Alright, alright, that's enough." Michael complained, but pulled Maria in closer to his side while doing so. She looked at him quizzically, but didn’t say a word. He reached for one of the presents and tossed it to Liz saying, "Here, start with this one."

Liz caught the gift and flipped up the tag attached. She looked up slightly, "It's from Michael and Maria." She donned a smile and then started tearing through the paper to reveal a small photo album. "What's this?"

"It's some of the pictures from the wedding and some from while we were on the road," Michael explained, and then glanced towards Maria who looked almost blankly up at him. “Remember the disposable camera in Mexico?” he asked, looking back at Liz, "If there's one thing that I've learned lately, it's that memories are everything… and we should cherish them while they...last."

Liz smiled. "Thank you, Michael. That's really thoughtful."

"I picked out the pictures that I thought you'd..." Maria trailed, obviously looking for a specific word, looking up to Michael for help.

"Like." Michael filled in.

"Right, like. I picked out the pictures that I thought you'd like." Maria finished with a nod for emphasis.

Liz nodded with a small smile. "Thank you ‘Ria."

Kyle lifted a big, heavy present off the table and handed it to Liz. "Here, here's another, careful it’s heavy."

Liz took it and turned it over on all sides. She lifted the wrapped package in both hands and began to shake it next to her ear when Serena spoke up.

“No no! Don’t shake it,” Serena said, her eyes cringing.

She grabbed the present to keep Liz from moving it. Liz smirked gleefully at her and pulled the present away from Serena, resting it on the floor beside the pictures. Inspecting it closer she realized that it was missing something on top of the wrapping paper.

"There's no card." Liz stated then turned towards Max. "Is this one of your mystery gifts?"

Max looked curiously at the package as Liz unwrapped it. "No, I didn't use that paper."

As the present was revealed, it was found to be a professional biology lab kit, with glass slides, microscope... chemicals, the works. Not some cheap toy but the real thing.

Liz, to say the least, was excited. "This is awesome! Who's it from?"

Everyone stayed silent, looking around at each other. Serena eyed Hanley, who was putting on his coat.

"Someone?" Liz tried. "Anyone?" She tried again. She glanced at Serena. “Serena?”

Kyle spotted a small card from the package on the floor, which had apparently been attached inside the wrapping. "Going once, going twice. Sold to..." Kyle read the card, "Hanley911@hotmail.com?"

Everyone looked curiously at Hanley, who had his coat on and stood next to the doorway. He merely said, "Happy birthday. I’m sure you’ll find it useful."

Liz's brow creased. "Useful for what exactly?" she asked.

Hanley had opened the door, but looked back and replied, "To seek out the answers to seemingly unanswerable questions." And with that, he winked and closed the door.

"You know, is it just me, or does that guy talk in riddles?" Kyle asked, breaking the silence Hanley had left.

Staring off in the direction Hanley had gone, silently pondering his words, Liz replied, "It's definitely not just you."

Serena broke the silence and handed Liz another present.

“I got you these to go with it,” Serena said, handing her another package, grinning from ear to ear. “E-Bay is a poor scientist’s best friend … and we spent forever finding just the right combination of scope and genetic profiling tools.”

~.~.~.~.~

“Max.”

“Max, are you awake?”

Liz rolled over and looked at Max’s face. He was snoring lightly, blowing air all over the place. She sighed. She felt so restless tonight. And then her gaze fell over his shoulder.

Her new microscope kit.

Man, that thing must have cost five-hundred dollars or more.

She snuck a quick glance back to her husband, placed a lingering kiss on his nose and slipped out from underneath the covers. She padded softly over to the table where her microscope sat, the moonlight casting exotic shadows everywhere around it. On the table next to it were her new boxes of slides, slipcovers, and other impressive research goodies. And the best part - was there a best part? - was that it all folded up into one suitcase-sized travel case.

She carefully reached down and took off the cover while sliding into the desk chair. She leaned forward and turned on the small light that was there, glancing for a second over her shoulder towards Max who was sound asleep. Turning back to her microscope she moved stealthily, not wanting to drop a slide or smash a cover and wake anyone up.

Earlier that day she had “accidentally” scraped her nails across Max’s forearm while pretending to fall into him on the steps. She felt bad about it, but had to know. She excused herself to the bathroom, and deposited his cells on a slide. She’d done the same to Jesse right before everyone had retired for bed.

“Two down, six to go,” she said quietly.

It was a suspicion that had been gnawing at her for a while now and the fact that Serena had given her the rest of the materials to complete her lab helped more then she’d ever know. How coincidental, but nice nonetheless. Liz felt queasy about resorting to these extremes, but… the end justifies the means.

Liz carefully placed a slipcover on top of Max’s and Jesse’s cells and slowly slipped Max’s sample into the tray. Focusing in on the cells, she noted the appearance and shape of them on a random scrap of paper. Then she switched the samples, keeping Max’s nearby just in case she needed to refer to it again.

Honing in on Jesse’s sample, she focused until a cluster of regular cells came into view.

Something didn’t seem right.

Shaking her head, she leaned back and took a deep breath. Settling her mind for a few seconds, she leaned forward again and looked through the lens. Unless her memory was foggy, her cells did not look like these – either of these.

Glancing around for something blunt, she spied a letter opener in a tray at the bottom of the lamp stand. Grabbing it, she wiped it off on her shirt and hesitated for a second before slowly running it along the inside of her cheek. Snatching a fresh slide and slipcover, she deposited the cells and placed them on the tray.

Taking a deep breath she leaned forward, slowly focusing the image until it was crystal clear.

There was no question. Her cells were different then Jesse’s. In fact, they were closer to matching Max’s.

Calming her nerves, Liz tried to rationalize with herself.

She wasn’t an alien, was she?

It was the same question she had asked Max three years ago in the band room of West Roswell High after being told she was healed by someone from another world. Except this time, the question was directed at herself.

If she was an alien that meant that her mother…

Shaking her heard again, she focused on the microscope.

Serena.

Hanley had given her the microscope, but it was Serena that said “We spent forever finding just the right combination of scope and genetic profiling tools…”

We. That meant Serena knew something – something she was hiding, and so did Hanley.

Trying to keep her emotions in check, Liz leaned forward and turned off the desk lamp, shrouding herself in moonlight.

She had to find Serena.

~.~.~.~.~

“Hey Serena,” Liz called out when she saw her sitting on the couch in the living room. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

Serena looked up, drawing her shoulder length red hair into a ponytail. “Sure. What’s up?”

Liz moved, sitting down on the couch next to her. “I want to talk about your mother.”

“Okay…” Serena trailed off, looking ahead blankly.

“I know,” Liz said, apologetically. “I hate to bring it up. I understand what it is like to lose someone.”

Serena shook her head. “This is different. I watched… saw what happened. The one person meant to protect you, your mother, your guardian… and I had to watch her die at my feet, helpless.”

Silence fell over the room; even the television seemed to yield right-of-way. Liz searched for the right words. She needed to confirm her suspicions, to find the answers to her questions. Serena was the only one able to give them to her, but that didn’t mean she wanted her to go through this. Still, there was no choice.

“Why do you hate it?” Liz asked.

“Hate what?” Serena questioned, her head snapping back up.

Liz met her gaze. “What you are.”

After a pause, Serena looked back down.

“So you know?”

Liz had her suspicions, but played along.

“Yes.”

Nodding her head in understanding, Serena stood up and begun pacing the room. “I know that my mom loved me, but do you have any idea what it’s like when the very person who is supposed to love you the most in the world puts you second?”

“Yes,” Liz told her, thinking about how much searching for Max’s son put a strain on their relationship. She didn’t blame him, never had, but it still hurt.

That was exactly what Serena had felt. Watching Liz’s expression when she spoke that one word… the understanding behind her eyes, laced with a hint of guilt – it mirrored Serena’s feelings every time she thought about her mother.

“I was always second in my mother’s life,” Serena said dryly. “But now I know why.”

Leaning back against the couch, she decided that it was time Liz learned about her mother’s suspicions; the ones that were quickly growing to be her own – the ones she had thought all her life were just psycho ramblings.

“I’ve not been entirely honest with you, Liz,” Serena admitted.

“I know, but it’s okay. It’s your turn now – tell me what you know,” Liz said quietly, looking up at her expectantly.

“I thought they were just stories, you know? I thought she was crazy, spouting all of that alien nonsense. I…” she trailed off, holding her mouth, eyes becoming glassy. “My mother said she knew the four, what they were called, the Royal Four – Zen, Vilandra, Rat, and Ava.”

“Uhh, that’s Zan and Rath,” Liz added.

Serena shook her head, not really wanting to remember. “Oh, okay. Well anyways, she didn’t like to talk about them much, probably because it was too painful. I have a feeling now that she must have been close to them. She said her name was Yamine back then, she always insisted her name was Yamine – and I just assumed she was crazy.”

“It’s okay Serena… please, go on, what else do you know?”

“After they were killed, my mother said she helped clone them. She was the deciding vote on sending them to Earth. Then, something went wrong. I suppose you know, the ship crashed and all.”

“Yes it did,” Liz added reassuringly.

“Back on the home world, they had no clue what was going on. The ‘protectors’ made no effort to contact them, and my mother knew something was wrong, so she was adamant in finding the pods herself.”

Liz just nodded in agreement.

“Once she got here, she searched everywhere for them, but then something else entirely unexpected happened. I guess that I was the result because she would never talk about it.”

“You don’t even know who your father is?” Liz questioned in amazement. Liz knew exactly was it was like to not know where you came from; she had dealt with uncertainties and missing pasts for the last three years of her life. That’s when the annoying voice in the back of her head began nagging again. ”I’m not entirely sure of my own father,” she thought to herself.

“Nope,” Serena confessed. “It was sort of a forbidden subject in my house. I figured out that he was human, but after awhile I knew not to ask.”

Liz blinked a couple of times. “So then, you’re half-alien?”

Serena sighed. “I don’t know. Mother always said I was, but… I never believed her.”

She never knew it was so hard for Serena, but had to press on. “What happened next?”

“My mother threw herself into her theories. She had so many ideas about what happened to the pods. Sometimes we would take road trips, following leads or just start driving around aimlessly, looking for clues. She knew the ship had crashed in Roswell, but the rest was a mystery. See, the pods were designed to house the royal four until they were able to survive on the planet, but there was no specific time frame on how long that would take. ‘Very new technology,’ she would always say.”

“By the time I was twelve, she had formed her final hypothesis on what happened. My mother believed that maybe one or more of the pods had been damaged in the crash and that the alien essence might have been recombined even further with human DNA. This would cause the alien side to be more suppressed and do an even better job of hiding them than originally designed.

“So this alien side would have all but disappeared, dormant,” Liz rambled, her mind adding everything together.

“Yeah, so she said,” Serena sighed. “Unless something triggered it awake I suppose,” she commented absentmindedly.

Liz’s eyes grew wide. “Like what?” she whispered.

“Contact or something, I don’t know,” Serena said, turning to finally take a look at how the words she was saying were affecting Liz. “Maybe like healing a gunshot wound.”

“The cells,” Liz gasped. “My cells. They are changing.”

“They’re demulsifying,” a man’s voice came from the doorway.

3

Both Liz and Serena turned their heads around to look at the intruder.

Hanley stood there, making no overture to join them or leave. “Your mother was a smart woman,” he told Serena. “I’m sorry.”

“Did you know her… from before?” Serena choked out.

“Yamine is known on Antar for the many great things she had done,” Hanley said with admiration. “I never met her, but I have always wanted to. And she was right about the pods. They weren’t made strong enough.”

“Does this mean that I,” Liz started, then stopped for a moment, a sickness forming in the pit of her stomach. “Does that mean I’m really a… an alien?”

A small smirk grew across Hanley’s lips. “Is anything really surprising anymore?”

“And me too – I’m part alien also?” Serena said, fear showing in her expression.

Hanley stared at them both for a second before slowly nodding in Serena’s direction.

Serena fell back on the couch next to Liz. “My mother was right all along,” she thought aloud, squirming in her seat. “What are we going to do?”

It was now up to Liz. Everything falling back into her hands; the fate of the world seemingly resting on her shoulders.

Liz just stared ahead, processing. Her skin crawled, the thought of another being somehow hidden inside her body…

“I have to tell him – we have to tell Max everything.”

©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, or Jason Katims Productions.

© 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.