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“The Past Comes Alive”

Story by Liz

Written by Liz, Annie, Jeslyn and Kristin

Edited by Lisa, Mark and Tiff

 

 

Playlist:

1. “Glycerine” by Bush

2. “Angels or Devils” by Dishwalla

3. “Not Afraid” by Earshot

 

 

 

 

Two weeks later

 

 

“I’m not sure how I should start this.”

 

Liz looked up at Max, who stood by her side, his arm held reassuringly across the small of her back.  He nodded slowly at her; urging her to continue.

 

“Something’s wrong with Michael.”

 

Four pairs of eyes stared back at her from the kitchen of Jesse’s apartment.  It was a Friday morning and the sun was shining brightly through the window, creating prisms of light.  Normally Liz would have sat at the counter, eating a bowl of cereal while watching the rainbows move along the counter… but not today.

 

“Yeah, he’s being moody, distant and distracted,” Isabel named off.  “Welcome to Michael–on–a–mission.  Please secure all overhead luggage and make sure your trays are in their full, upright positions.”

 

“It’s not just that,” Liz countered quietly, her gaze shifting downward.

 

“Well, what is it then?” Kyle asked, standing to the left of Isabel.  They had begun repairing their friendship in tiny spurts not long after Christmas, coming to a common understanding that if Isabel wanted help, she would ask him for it.

 

“I think Michael may be seeing someone else.”

 

“What? Wait, you mean like someone else as in someone other than Maria?” Isabel asked.

 

Liz just nodded.  “We all know that he’s been spending more and more time at the library, but he’s coming home way past the library closing time.  I checked.  The library he goes to closes at nine every night.  Michael usually doesn’t get home until after midnight.” Liz stated, then raised her hand and started eliminating possible scenarios on her fingers. “He can’t drink alcohol, he doesn’t like to dance, he has no new friends we’ve been hearing about – I mean, what other explanation is there?”

 

“Strip club?” Kyle asked, rubbing his hands together eagerly.

 

Max rolled his eyes.  “What Liz is trying to say is that Michael has been acting kind of abnormal, even for Michael.  Like someone or something else is on his mind.  Someone we think is important to him.” He looked down at Liz.  “Someone other than Maria.”

 

“Well, who would it be?” Jesse spoke up, downing a cup of coffee hurriedly while listening to their conversation.

 

“We don’t know.” Liz crossed her arms, shaking her head with a small shrug.

 

“You don’t know?” Isabel repeated, annoyed that she got up two hours earlier just to shower before everyone else.  “You called this meeting and you don’t even know who this person is? God, and the fact that you’re just mentioning this now is–”

 

“We wanted to be sure,” Max interrupted before Isabel went any further.  “We had to be positive that Michael was doing what we suspected.”

 

Suddenly the front door swung open and all five turned to see Michael standing in the doorway.  He wore dark pants, with a silver chain dangling from the buckles, and a stylish see-through black shirt. Just barely visible through the shirt on the upper left side of his chest was a small tattoo of a motorcycle. His hair had even been cut and was dyed a darker shade of brown. Not saying a word, he moved from the doorway, grabbed an apple from a bowl on the kitchen counter, and walked down the hallway to his room. He shut the door behind him slowly, making the shocked silence almost unbearable for those left in the kitchen looking on.

 

“Okay,” Kyle said slowly.  “Is he trying to look like a bad-ass version of David Duchovney? Because all he needs is the FBI badge and a trench coat.”

 

Jesse shook his head. "No, it was more like a 'Pimp-Master-Michael' look--"

 

“I was thinking more along the lines of that guy from ‘Blade,’” Serena piped in for the first time.  “You know that guy?”

 

“Yeah, ‘that guy,’ really helpful, Serena,” Kyle nodded and hopped up on the counter.

 

“Get off the counter, Kyle,” Isabel automatically said.  Kyle gave her puppy dog eyes and then jumped down.

 

“Stephen Dorf!” Serena suddenly exclaimed.

 

“And he would be...?” Max asked.

 

“Oh, c’mon Max, you work in a video store, you should know this,” Kyle spouted knowingly. “He was the vampire head cheese, all–around evil bad guy who wanted to take over the world and make it all his own ‘cause he believed that the vampires were superior to the humans.   Not to mention he got all the hot vampire babes to do whatever he wanted and...”  Kyle stopped talking and noticed that no one in the room was sharing his vivid memory of the movie.   He shrugged.  “Sorry, but you gotta’ love the vampire babes.”

 

“I now fully believe you’ve watched way too many juvenile movies in your lifetime Kyle,” Isabel said, shaking her head.

 

“Okay, guys, can we just focus here?” Liz broke through the clamor, subduing the volume to a whisper.  “We’re talking about Michael cheating on Maria here.  He’s acting really strange.  I mean it is–” she looked at the clock.  “Eight fifteen in the morning and he’s just coming home – and not to mention he looks totally different.”

 

"Maybe it's just Boston." Kyle suggested with a shrug. "The city calls to you - it changes you. Face it – we’re not in Roswell anymore Totos."

 

“Which reminds me, I need to get going,” Jesse rinsed out his mug and gave Isabel a quick kiss on the lips. “I’ll be back after six,” he informed her, shrugging on his business jacket and grabbing his briefcase.

 

“Okay honey, be safe.”  Isabel waved as the door closed, then immediately changed tactics.  “So what do you suggest we do? ‘Cause I agree with Liz. Michael looks to be about a hop, skip, and jump away from an eyebrow piercing.”

 

“We have to try bringing Maria back again,” Liz stated.  “I think the only reason Michael is going to someone else is because Maria isn’t herself anymore, being void and all, it’s tearing him up inside.”

 

“So, he’s like going to someone else to…” Isabel made a gesture and gave Liz a knowing look.

 

“I don’t know.  But it’s a possibility I suppose.” A disgusted look overcame Isabel’s features.

 

“So, what’s the plan?” Kyle asked, whistling the X-Files theme song and looking around eerily, much to his amusement.  “And don’t give me any of that ‘aliens–only’ bull, cause if Michael turns all vampire, FBI agent, alien hybrid on our asses, I'm getting my Buddha out of here.”

 

"Shut up, Kyle."

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

1.

 

The room was dark as he walked in, the shades drawn tightly closed.  Maria was sleeping again – something she’d been doing a lot of lately.

 

Something else that had been happening with more frequency was Calypso.  Michael had seen more and more of her over the past two weeks since he had found out who she was.  He’d sworn she’d been in the bar one night and saw a glimpse of her walking down the street.  But whenever he took another look, the mirage was gone.  She was playing with him and he didn’t enjoy one bit of it.  A part of him was losing control, a part of him wanted to be with her, but his other half… The longer she stayed around him, the more he lost his grip on reality.

 

He looked over at Maria.  Her hair was thrown all over the pillow and she was breathing lightly, almost hesitantly.  It was amazing how much alike they looked.  Sometimes he just couldn’t understand how she could sleep so much.  Was she really that bored, that uninterested in life?  It was such a contrast to Calypso’s vibrance, the energy that radiated off of her whenever he felt her near.

 

Maria was someone who wasn’t playing with him.  She didn’t have a choice – he’d made her this way.  Her dreams had been getting stronger and more frequent lately, allowing him vivid glimpses into what had happened on Antar.

 

The only problem was, he didn’t want to know what had happened on Antar.  He just wanted his old Maria back.  All the images of Antar were distant and cold, mechanical in their own twisted way.  And coming from Maria – that was spooky in itself.

 

Rubbing his eyes, he lied down and stared at the ceiling, willing himself to sleep.  It didn’t come easy.

 

 

*Flash*

 

“Rath, it's going to happen, you can't stop it.   Training like this isn't going to help anything, it's our destiny!” Calypso exclaimed as she thrust her sword through the air at him.  “Deal with it like the leader you are!” She parried again, and her flamberge was knocked from her hand. A golden–laced arm reached out, pulling her body almost violently up against his.

 

“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.

 

 

*Flash*

 

Rath grasped her hands in his.  “I must stop it.”

 

“No,” Calypso urged.  “You can’t stop any of what you saw in that vision.  It has to happen or who knows what will become of us.  We must die and then live.” Rath swallowed. 

 

“Yes, yes we will.”

 

 

*Flash*

 

“My lady, Khivar’s troops have broken through the palace gates.  Rath sent me to tell you as soon as possible.”

 

Calypso didn’t pay any attention to the messenger.  She watched the war raging on in the mountains above the palace.  It was dark and windy, the perfect night for hiding movements and strange sounds. 

 

The perfect night for an attack.

 

“How many?” she asked casually, watching the dull golden metal uniforms of Khivar’s army slowly march unopposed into the palace walls.  Khivar and several aids had taken the underground passage, just as the servant girl had predicted. 

 

“Five-thousand strong, maybe more,” Lysé replied, still out of breath. 

 

Calypso maneuvered around him, taking a better angle to view the attack.  “Where is my sword?”

 

“My lady–”

 

“Where is my sword?!” Calypso demanded, shooting a dangerous look at Lysé.  His eyes dropped and he went to the trees.  Pulling the bark open, he revealed a glittering array of swords, daggers and cross arrows – her weaponry. 

 

She didn’t even ask, knowing that Rath had hid them for her days ago.  She picked up her sword from the stash, testing its weight, its length.  She swung it through the air, slicing it, the radiant crystalline blade causing a whirling, piercing sound to linger long after her. 

 

Lysé watched her with wide eyes.  “Lady Calypso, Rath wished–”

 

Calypso whirled on him, bringing the tip of the sword to his jugular vein, pressing lightly.  “I do not care what Rath wishes,” she said slowly and quietly.  “I only know my duty, and that is to die tonight with him.” She pulled the sword back, allowing him to breathe once more. 

 

Grabbing a warrior’s sash from the pile, she strapped it on.  “Lysé, I want you to stay here.  The troops won’t be coming this way.  The forest is unimportant to them right now.  Anyone who comes this way, help them to safety.  You may have to cross the Kulerc Sea to C’avare in order to obtain this.” She glanced up at him, sliding her sword into its sheath.  “Please do this, Lysé.  I cannot afford to lose my most trusted advisor.”

 

He nodded, his dark hair falling gravely in his face.  “As you wish, my lady.”

 

She smiled, placing a kiss on his forehead.  “I will see you again.  In our next life, perhaps?”

 

She didn’t wait for an answer.  She turned and sprinted down the mountainside, towards her fate.

 

 

*Flash*

 

“I'm dying,” Rath choked, gazing up at Calypso.

 

Calypso pressed her hand to the bleeding wound that would eventually drain her beloved to his death as she leaned down closer to him, trying to ignore the doomed war that raged around them.  She whispered softly against his lips, words of hope.  “We will live again–”

 

 

*Flash*

 

It was dark.  He looked up to the sky, a million stars littered the night; none of which he could recognize by memory.  Three moons pierced the darkness overhead, giving off a dull orange glow.

 

Michael looked around.  He was by the lake where Calypso had given him the dagger, this much he remembered.  The night sky reflected off the smooth surface, leaving inky black spots mixed with midnight blue.

 

Almost as if on cue, she appeared, wearing a dress made out of a thin and smooth material, which accentuated every curve and move she made.

 

She glided towards him stealthily, but he put up a hand to stop her.  She did so immediately.

 

“Where am I?”

 

She seemed to smile.  “You’re on Antar, Rath.  Surely you–”

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, you brought yourself here.”

 

Michael’s eyes narrowed.  “Who are you?”

 

“You know who I am, Rath,” she paused and took a step closer.  She looked at him again, but Michael did not budge.  When she spoke again, she sounded almost hurt.

 

“You promised you would remember me!”

 

Michael looked at her for a second and then blinked.  “No.”

 

“No what?”

 

“This is a trick.  You’re just like Tess.”

 

“Tess?” Her forehead scrunched up in confusion.  “Who’s Tess?”


“Tess.  Ava.”

 

“You mean Avan’ya?”

 

“Whatever,” Michael barked, getting angry, waving her question away with his hand.  “You’re just another plot to get us to come back to Antar, to divide and conquer.  You couldn’t get through the first time so you are trying again.” He turned his back on her.  “So how much of this is a mindwarp?”

 

Calypso’s features drooped as she pondered his words for a few seconds before speaking again.  “Rath–”

 

“It’s Michael.”

 

Calypso closed her eyes, lowering her head in defeat.  “Michael.” She paused before speaking again.  “You already know the answers to the questions you’re asking.  You’ve known them all along, in your heart.  Because in your heart, you are Rath and you still love and remember me, as I do you.  I’ve never forgotten you, Ra–” she faltered and caught herself.  “Michael.”

 

He didn’t answer, keeping his back to her.  He didn’t want to believe her; this had to be just another trick.  But a part of him had been calling out to her for months.  He just didn’t know who or what it was – until now.

 

Calypso touched his shoulder, gently turning him around.  Tears were in her eyes, threatening to spill.

 

“Please, Rath.  You promised.  You’ve only broken your promise once and that was to protect me, I understand that now.  Please come back to me.  I miss you so much.”

 

Michael finally looked at her, grasping her arms at the elbows, removing them from his body entirely.  She watched him do it, a look of utter disbelief on her face.  “Rath…”

 

“I’m not Rath.”

 

 

Michael awoke, startled, his hands clenched tightly, pushing the sheets away from himself.

 

The first thing he did was look over at Maria.  She was still sleeping soundly, still looking peaceful.  She didn’t know, didn’t understand anything about Calypso.  But Michael was starting to.

 

He knew.  Calypso was trying to get Rath back through her somehow.  The only thing is, he didn’t want to go.  He wanted to stay here with Maria.  He owed her that much, he had to find a way to make amends.  He wanted to love her and only her.

 

Michael shifted and moved a little closer.  “Maria,” he whispered.  He drew an arm around her, drawing himself flush with her body.  He ran his fingers through her hair – it was still soft and beautiful and vibrant as ever, even if she wasn’t.  He started to place a kiss below her ear, where she always liked it, but suddenly, she moved.  And it wasn’t towards him.

 

She was moving away.

 

Michael tried to gently pull her back into his embrace, but she was stubborn.  “Maria,” he whispered again, trying to get her to come back.  “Maria, please.”

 

After a few minutes, he gave up.  Turning onto his side, he allowed his emotions to finally break, tears spilling down his face.

 

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Later on, that same day

 

Liz heard the door open and a wave of warmth came over her.   “Max,” she whispered, turning to look at him.

 

“Hi,” he sighed, slipping quietly into the room.

 

A look of sympathy graced Liz’s features.   “Bad day?” she asked.

 

Max collapsed down beside her on the bed.   “Long,” he commented. “The Davis family was back… again… with all 9 children. Second time today, even. You think they’d get tired of watching movies.” 

 

Liz leaned against him, raising a hand to his head.   Gently, she started to comb her fingers thought his dark hair, trying to offer some comfort.   “Poor baby,” she mocked slightly.

 

Slowly trailing his hands up her arms, Max moaned softly, his shoulders visibly relaxing.   “How do you do that?” he questioned, complete amazement hinting his thick voice.

 

A smile inched across her lips.   “Do what?”

 

Max brought his hands down lower, resting them along her waist.   “Manage to calm me so quickly.”

 

Liz bent down, brushing her lips lightly against his.   “Practice,” she murmured. 

 

The second the word left her mouth, she felt the rumble of laughter under her fingertips.   “Practice?” he teased, pulling her closer.

 

Nodding her head with a smile, Liz dipped her head down.   “Lots and lots of practice.”

 

“I like the sound of that,” he muttered, his lips grazing hers. 

 

However, that was too passive for Liz.   She pressed harder against him, fully covering his mouth with hers.   Max answered her eagerly, hands roaming from her waist up, resting against her back and cupping the back of her head urging her forward. Liz opened her end of the connection wide, yet no flashes came.

 

Feeling its absence, Liz pulled back.   “What’s the matter, Max?”

 

Blinking a couple of times, Max met her gaze.   “I don’t know what you mean.”

 

“Don’t try to hide it,” Liz cooed, reaching over to brush a strand of hair out of his face.   “Something’s bugging you; you’re holding back.”

 

She felt his hand lightly start to caress her back.   “Maria,” Max admitted.

 

Liz stiffened.   “Is something wrong?” she asked.   “Did something happen when you connected with her?”

 

“It’s not what you’re thinking,” Max reassured her.

 

“Then what?” Liz implored.   “I need to know.   Please.”

 

Max swallowed hard.   “When I connected with her I… saw things.   Things about the past.”

 

Her eyes widened as realization hit her.   “About Antar,” she gasped in disbelief.   “Wait, how can Maria know anything about Antar?  Why would any of that be in her head?”

 

“I don’t know,” Max told her, shrugging innocently.

 

“Tell me,” she probed.   “Tell me what you saw.”

 

Max dropped back on the bed.   “Me,” he admitted, taking a deep and heavy breath. 

 

“Max,” Liz whispered.   “You’re not Zan.”

 

“But he’s in me, Liz,” he blurted out.   “And from what I saw, nobody is going to want any part of him still around.”

 

“I don’t believe that for one minute,” Liz uttered, moving to lie down beside him.   She curled in towards him, resting her head against his chest.   “Believe me, Max Evans.   I’ve seen into your soul, and I know what kind of man you are.   What kind of king you will become.”

 

Max let out a slight snort of disbelief.   “Sure.”

 

“I don’t want to hear any of that,” Liz ordered, poking him in the side.   “Or don’t you trust me?”

 

Max rolled up on his side, turning to face her fully.   “More than anything.”

 

“Then trust this.   Someday, you are going to make a great king, better than Zan ever was,” Liz told him.

 

“Hopefully sooner rather than later,” he commented, looking down at the end of the bed. He was not ready to be a king, there was so much more to learn yet.

 

Liz studied his face.   “What do you mean?”

 

“I think Hanley believes we’ll have to go back soon,” he confessed.  “Back to Antar, that is.”

 

“How soon?” Liz asked, shocked.   She immediately sat up, looking down into his face.

 

Max winced.   “Soon.   A few months, weeks, maybe days, I’m not sure.”

 

A long pause fell on them. 

 

Finally, Liz cleared her throat to speak.   “Then we will do it together.”

 

Max began to raise his hand to stop her, but caught himself.  Liz wasn’t just some innocent girl anymore - she was his queen.  With that thought, he dropped his hand.  He knew there was no way he could say no.

 

“I love you so much,” Max declared, drawing Liz back down to him.   “So much.”

 

Liz kissed him gently.   “I love you too, Max.”

 

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

2.

 

         “Siddhartha?”

 

Kyle looked up from his seat in the recliner, seeing Serena glancing down at him.   He watched as a lock of her long red hair fell in front of her face.   It was then that he noticed that her hair was a lot longer than he remembered.

 

That day in the restaurant seemed like years ago instead of months.   Serena had managed to change that fast, that much.   She encompassed so much of his mind, so much so it seemed he hadn’t really lived before she joined the group.

 

“Are you going all spacey on me here?” Serena teased, breaking him out of his thoughts.

 

Kyle laughed.   “Not anytime soon, I hope.”

 

Serena smiled.   “That’s good.” She sighed, plopping herself down in his lap.   “So tell me, where did you get the book?”

 

Leaning back into the chair, Kyle smiled and shifted, allowing Serena to rest against him comfortably.   “Isabel gave it to me for Christmas.   Pretty ironic, considering…”

 

“That it was the Christmas Nazi giving Buddha Boy a book?” She finished for him. 

 

“Yeah,” Kyle agreed.   “That about sums it up.”

 

Laying her head on his shoulder, her forehead finding the crook of his neck, Serena grew quiet.   After a moment or two, she opened her mouth to speak. 

 

“What did you mean by that?”

 

“By what?” Kyle asked, a hint of contentment in his voice.   He liked it like this, holding her, having her breath tickle the nape of his neck, her athletic body resting on his.  “Isabel and I have been working on our friendship.”

 

“No, the ‘not anytime soon’ remark,” she reminded him.

 

“Oh,” Kyle said, putting the book on the coffee table.   “Just that I’m not snappin’, cracklin’, and poppin’ yet, which is an upside in my way of thinking.”

 

Serena reached out, linking her fingers with his.   “Would that be such a bad thing?”  She could feel him shrug slightly underneath her head, and she turned her head to look up at him.

 

“It’s just I’m not really a part of it,” Kyle admitted.   “Never have been.   Hell, I just wanted normal. The alien stuff is downright scary.”

 

“But is abnormal so bad,” Serena teased, hoping she would like the answer.   “After all, it’s just a little prefix.”

 

“Yeah,” Kyle muttered, his tone serious.   “One that caused me to lose my dad, my home, and my friends, some forever.”

 

Serena could hear the loss and hurt in his voice.   She hated that any part of her could add to that.   What is he going to do when he finds out that I’m part of this alien abyss that is causing his pain, she wondered. 

 

As the silent seconds ticked by, Kyle regretted that he had sort-of snapped at her.   It wasn’t her fault. 

 

“I’m sorry,” he apologized. 

 

Nodding against his neck, Serena tried to keep her emotions in check.   “Haven’t you gained anything though it,” she whispered.  “Anything at all?” There was a long pause.

 

“You.”

 

The word slipped simply from his mouth and hung in the air around them.   And Serena knew that she had to tell him.   Even though she didn’t have any powers that she knew of, he deserved to know what he was getting into before he fell in too deep.   He needs the option of getting away before it’s too late, she thought to herself. 

 

Serena started to speak, the words getting caught in her throat. As if on cue, Kyle started placing light kisses against her forehead – like he was reassuring her things would be okay.

 

Serena found bits of strength within them.   She sat up, needed to look at him completely, to see his reaction.   “Kyle, I have to tell you something.”

 

Kyle sat up a bit too.   “Can I say something first?” he blurted out at the same time. 

 

“What?”

 

“Well,” he started, eyes darting around the room a bit.   “See… it’s like this.   I like you… a lot.   Traditionally, when that happens, the guy asks the girl to go…” He fumbled for words.

 

“To go,” Serena questioned, anticipation crossing her features.

 

Kyle took a deep breath.   “Out… steady – you know.   Girlfriend–boyfriend kind of thing.”

 

“Steady,” Serena repeated, like she didn’t know the meaning of the word.

 

Nodding, Kyle searched her face for an answer, fearing the worst.   In those long seconds, he waited for her to flee or laugh or give him some sort of rejection.

 

However, Serena flung her arms around him, both falling back into the chair.   She knew that later she would despise herself for not telling him, but it was too perfect.   She had been forced to give up so many of these kinds of memories in the past that she was not going to let this moment go to waste.

 

“Of course!” Serena exclaimed.   She begun pressing her lips to his neck, chin, cheeks, any skin she could find.

 

Kyle brought his hands to her face, cupping it gently and stilling her motions at the same time.   “That’s not how you do it,” he teased, just before capturing her lips within his.

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Is it cheating to be attracted to someone who looks exactly like your girlfriend? Michael thought this over and over as he aimlessly wiped down the counter in the Paradise club.  He'd put in his application here and started working a week ago, exactly one week after he'd found Calypso there.

 

For the past week he'd watched her, taking extra late shifts so he could stay close and observe; late shifts that he used to avoid so he could be home with Maria, or at the library searching for a way to revive her.

 

Maria.  Michael's wiping slowed as he thought of her and of the night they'd had together two weeks ago.  It meant absolutely nothing to her.

 

He shook his head, turning and opening a few bottles to pour the contents into cool decanters.  He didn’t believe that she was his anymore; not after what he did to her, not after the state he'd put her in.  It was his worst fear come to life, and then he'd used her on top of it– or, at least, that's what it felt like now.  It was that which had kept him from looking her in the eyes or even from getting too close since.

 

The maddening guilt constantly held his heart in a critical condition and made his life a living hell – just as Calypso was doing as well.  Without ever having said a word to him, she'd made him feel guiltier than O.J.  Simpson and Ted Bundy combined.  Michael didn't know exactly what it was about her. Was it just because she looked like Maria? Or was it something else, something stronger?

 

One thing was sure: there definitely was something different about Calypso.

 

And he'd been paying close attention, trying to figure out what it was all week.  It was something that Michael found intimately familiar, he knew that, but it was also something in the way she moved, spoke, and even sang which was nothing like Maria – this was darker than Maria, yet more elegant and refined.  She looked –

 

She looked directly at him, her curious gaze rousing his attention and breaking his daze.  She flashed him a small knowing smile from where she stood on the opposite side of the bar.  How he hadn't seen her approach, he didn't know, but there she was, no more than two feet away, leaning her hands down onto the bar as she stood there, looking straight into his eyes. 

 

“Calypso,” Michael rasped, taking in her appearance, which consisted of a skin–tight leather look–alike dress, which was seamed with safety pins along the sides.  She looked like every man's fantasy.  Calypso was just like Maria, and then, at the same time, completely different.

 

“I'm not her,” Calypso stated simply.  “And it is leather, not some rip–off,” She scoffed and then smiled defiantly, continuing.  “And I'm not every man's fantasy.  Just yours.” She moved over and sat down on a stool, reaching for a stirring stick, twirling it skillfully between her fingers.

 

Michael swallowed at having his thoughts vocalized and then narrowed his eyes at her.  “So, what, can you read minds or something?” He asked.

 

Calypso shrugged.  “Or something.”

 

“Are you always this straight forward?” Michael asked sarcastically.

 

Calypso smirked as her features turned thoughtful.  “Maybe you haven't changed so much,” she said and then explained, “It's not one of my gifts – mind reading.  It was a gift that I only had with Rath – you.”

 

Michael threw down his rag onto the counter and then glared across it at her.  “I'm not him.”

 

Calypso raised a defiant eyebrow and chewed on the end of her stirring stick.

 

“I'm not.  Obviously I'm not,” Michael argued, but Calypso didn't budge.  And that pushed Michael's final buttons.  “Alright! I want to know a few things then, since you seem to know me oh-so well, or Rath or whoever the hell–” Michael growled, leaning his hands down onto the bar.  “Who are you? Why are you here? What’s happened to Maria? What does it mean that you're here? How do I know you? Why am I attracted to you? Why – ”

 

Calypso's wicked laughter pierced through his interrogation.  “Easy, soldier!” She laughed and took a deep breath, sobering.  “Now, would you like me to answer those questions in any particular order?

 

“Just answer them,” Michael replied curtly, his patience growing shorter by the nanosecond.

 

Smirking, Calypso purred, “Yes, sir.” She put the swizzle stick down, looking around to make sure nobody was watching.

 

Looking straight into his eyes, she began with her answers.  “I, am Calypso A'Rian Morgania, and I was once your most trusted companion, confidant, and lover.  What does that mean? It means that we were, and will always be, destined to be together, for–”

 

Michael interrupted.  “I was destined to be with Isabel.”

 

“You were not destined to be with anyone except for me,” Calypso ground out between clenched teeth.  “It is the only reason why I've sacrificed everything to find my way back to you now.  Now, as far as being attracted to me, well that's Rath.  And whatever of him is still left in you does recognize me,” She explained as an amused smile crept across her lips.  “So if you're attracted to me, then one can deduce that Rath must still have some influence on your, let's say...  lower anatomy?”

 

Michael leaned his elbows down onto the bar and massaged his temples with the tips of his fingers.  “You're not helping.”

 

Growing a sympathetic look, Calypso stood up and walked around the bar, laying her hand against his arm.  The contact sent a lightening bolt shiver down Michael's spine and he jerked away, but she pulled him to face her.  Laying her hands against his cheeks, she raked her fingers back through his hair in a gentle caress.  “Your hair is longer than it used to be.” Her fingers grazed over his eyebrows, her thumbs brushing against his cheekbones.  “And your eyes are much darker.” Licking her lips, her gaze dropped to his lips as she leaned in to kiss him, but Michael turned his head and Calypso sighed with a slight smile against the side of his neck.  Raising her hands against the sides of his head again, she moved his head sideways, almost roughly, so she could speak into his ear.  “This would go a lot more smoothly if you'd just give into it, Rath.”

 

Michael didn't move but quipped, “Sorry if I'm not used to being man–handled.  And my name, is Michael.”

 

“Michael.” Calypso let the name roll off her tongue as she brushed imaginary dust off his shoulder.  “It doesn't suit you.” She trailed as she took a small step back, but not far enough back that she couldn't comb her fingers into his hair again.  “It doesn't suit you at all, but I suppose you haven't the slightest idea of who you really are, of what you were, of who you could be.  A man of such strength and character.  To me, you will always be that man.  You will always be Rathmé D’Mian, and I'll show you why.”

 

She placed her fingers on his temples.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Giving you what you've always wanted,” Her voice turned deep.  “Your beloved answers.”

 

 

*Flash*

 

Calypso sighed in defeat, “Alright, well in that case.” She stood stoically and walked over to a stone bench a few feet away.   Lifting a small box off of it, she stared down at the last gift she was ever going to give him, at least in this life. 

 

Stepping up behind her, Rath ran his hands down her arms.   “Callie?”

 

Calypso turned suddenly, tears pooling in her eyes as she held up the long, narrow box between them.   Instead of taking the box, Rath watched the tears cascade down her rosy cheeks.   He didn't need her to tell him what was wrong, he knew.

 

Swiping away her tears, Calypso pushed the box into his hands.   “Here, just open it.”

 

Taking the box, Rath pushed the lid off and stared down at a beautifully crafted, gold runed and sapphire–bejeweled dagger.  

 

“This is a dagger of the ancients, Cam, I –”

 

“I remembered how much you used to obsess about every new dagger your father would get when we were little,” Calypso explained, the light coming back into her eyes.

 

“How could you possibly afford this? Zan's too cheap to be paying you this much,” Rath speculated.   He carefully took it out of the box and turned it over in his hand, its weight comfortable in his grasp.   The light from the setting sun hit the jewels embedded in the metal and bounced off, creating tiny reflections of light.

 

Calypso shrugged.   “My father helped me out some.   He's getting paid major credits for some big project Zan's administration is putting together.   Highly classified he says,” she added.

 

At the mentioning of the project, Rath wondered how much she knew about it.   He had planned to tell her, but the timing was not right, it was never right, it would never be right.

 

 

*Flash*

 

“I will fight with the king one day! My mother says it is so.  I will fight for the throne as she did!” An eight–year–old version of Rath yelled into the wind as he thrust his makeshift sword out into the air at the edge of the cliff he stood at.

 

“Ya! Iyah!” He yelled as he fought as invisible opponent, just feet away from a certain death.

 

Calypso swung her little sword out at Rath's legs, knocking him to the ground with a satisfying thump.

 

Standing over him, her dress and hair flowing in the wind, Rath stared up at her, thinking how much she looked like an angel. 

 

“You? A little country boy like you?” Calypso said with a soft innocent smile as she threw her sword aside and then plopped down on the ground next to him.  She laid with him in the grass at the edge of the cliff, then said after a quiet, peaceful moment, “I think you should stay here with me.” 

 

Rath smirked slightly up at the sky as he combed his fingers through her dark tresses.  He'd always thought them soft, like his mother's.  “Maybe you could come with me. It would be great!”

 

Calypso hummed for a moment then replied softly.  “Maybe.”

 

 

*Flash*

 

“I told you back in mid–school that you should have gone to the Military Academy Lonnie–”

 

Vilandra grimaced.  “I hate it when you call me that and why would I go to this school with barbarians such as you and my brother?”

 

“I resemble that remark!” Rath quipped, and Vilandra rolled her eyes as Zan approached.

 

“Me too,” Zan said, and then turned a serious look on Rath.  “I need you to come with me, I've found something.”

 

Rath's brow furrowed in confusion.  “Found something?”

 

“Someone, to be more precise,” Zan clarified, and nodded towards his sister as he took Rath by the arm and proceeded to lead him up a ramp and out onto the training floor.  “Someone who's essence I recognized from when we used to practice our gifts on each other and we'd pick up on things–”

 

“You always said you didn't see anything…”

 

“Yeah, about that, well I kinda lied,” Zan said with a shrug then continued before Rath could protest.  “Anyway I brought her here.”

 

Her?” Rath questioned, then his eyes widened.  “It's not that one girl with those green laser type eyes is it? Because I honestly tried sparring with her, but those things could melt the hide off of a skulkbeast…”

 

“Rathmé?” came a weak voice.

 

Rath stopped cold, his eyes connecting with Zan's as the voice he'd been hearing in his dreams for ten years pierced through his conscious thought.

 

Zan whispered quickly, “I found her at a street match, she's in bad shape, and from what I've gotten out of her, she's completely on her own, without anything, but she's unbeatable with a–”

 

“With a sword,” Rath finished for him, taking a deep breath.  “I know.  I taught her.” He then closed his eyes as she spoke again.

 

“Rathmé D'Mian Pavé.” Calypso spoke his name slowly.  “Is that my country boy?”

 

A small smirk crept across his lips.  “My angel,” he whispered, and in that moment he forgot about all the years that had separated them.  He turned towards her just as she came running into his arms. 

 

*Flash*

 

As Calypso stared down into the water, she silently damned fate.  Rubbing her palm back and forth across her lower abdomen, she nearly cried at the thought that her child was growing there.  Rath's child.  Their child.

 

It was even harder to think of the decision she'd made to tell him.  They were going to die, she reasoned with herself.  They all were.  And that alone was upsetting to him enough… this… this would destroy him.

 

 

*Flash*

 

Rath walked down the massive hallway in the palace that led to his quarters.  Tomorrow was the day it would happen.  Tomorrow he would die and Calypso would live – although she thought otherwise, because he had told her otherwise.  He'd wanted to tell her the truth tonight, when they'd met at the secret place just beyond the palace gates, but he hadn't.  He couldn't bring himself to do it.

 

She would stay here on Antar.  And he would live again… somewhere else.

 

But with only a copy of her that he had already arranged to be created, just as he would be created.  He couldn't tell her that. How could anyone?

 

Stepping into his rooms, he didn't bother with the light, but as he shut the door he felt an undeniable presence and turned abruptly on his heel. 

 

“You shouldn't be here,” he whispered into the darkness and then closed his eyes tightly as she wrapped her arms around his waist and slid up to his neck and pressed her lips to the exposed skin of his chest at the “V” of his shirt.

 

“This is our last night together,” she whispered as she undid the button down his shirt.  “Who really gives a damn about propriety and rules?”

 

Rath smirked softly and then turned her up against the door.  “Not me,” He rasped before leaning into her soft body and taking a kiss from her lips.  Staring down into her eyes, even through the darkness of the room, he couldn't fathom that it was the last time.  It could never be the last time. 

 

“I love you, Calypso,” he whispered, leaning his forehead against hers as his heart clenched.  “And I will always love you, no matter what happens.”

 

*Flash*

 

 

As Michael suddenly stumbled back and away from Calypso, he noticed that the sun had set and there were a dozen people outside already waiting to get in.

 

An hour had passed.

 

“What in the hell was that?” Michael bit out the question as he turned back at her, and then softened when he saw tears glistening on her cheeks.

 

“Our memories,” Calypso replied softly.

 

“Ours?” Michael asked in a fierce tone as he stalked up to her, looking down at her with an accusing stare.  “If they are ours then why don't I remember them!? Huh!? Why!?”

 

Calypso shook her head back and forth and then yelled back.  “I don't know! I thought you would once I showed you!”

 

For a moment neither spoke, Michael simply stared down at her, and then broke the silence.  “There was a baby,” he stated in a slightly calmer tone.

 

Calypso looked up at him, and then nodded.  “Yes.”

 

“What...what...” Michael stumbled over the question.

 

Calypso swallowed, “She's dead.”

 

Michael let out a long breath and closed his eyes tight.  She...

 

“How?” He asked.

 

Calypso took a deep breath.  “Khivar found out that I used to work for the palace and held me for questioning.  It got worse once he found out that my father was the scientist behind the project to reincarnate the royal four.  He wanted to know what I knew about this project.” She closed her eyes as more tears splashed down her cheeks.  “I wouldn't talk,” She said, her voice unsteady.  “So he took her.  I had no idea what he had done until several months later when he told me that if I didn't talk he would kill her.  But I wouldn’t betray you.”

 

Michael's eyes widened as he listened intently.  “Not even after...” He trailed as she shook her head.

 

“I would never betray you.  But I also didn't think that I had to, because I had a plan to escape.  And I did.”

 

Michael clung to hope.  “So she – “

 

“No.” Calypso shook her head as she swiped away her tears.  “He'd killed her a month before all the way out in Que’lan.  She was only 5 years old – the same age I was when I met you.  She hadn't even developed her gifts yet, or else– maybe she would have been able to defend herself.”

 

Michael swallowed down tears over a daughter he'd never known he'd had, from a life he didn’t remember, that he wasn't even sure was his.

 

“I'm sorry.”

 

Calypso raised her eyes to his.  “You're all I have left.” Her eyes suddenly became dark violet, defensive.  “And I refuse to lose you to a genetic copy that was never meant to exist,” She bit out, her eyes flashing.

 

         Michael flinched.  “Maria?”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

“Is this such a good idea?” Jesse questioned as he and Isabel made their way down the hall towards Maria’s room.

 

Isabel slowly twisted the knob on the bedroom door.   “We have to try something.   Maria doesn’t deserve to be like this, Jesse.   Besides, Michael is getting more and more distant.   He needs her.  Somebody has to do something.”

 

Jesse nodded.   “I know that.   But you said you tried this once.   It didn’t work then.”

 

Stopping her movements, Isabel turned to face her husband.   “What are you afraid of?” she asked quietly.

 

“This,” Jesse admitted in a low whisper, matching her tone.   “I don’t understand how this works, what it can do to you.   I don’t like it.”

 

Isabel reached out, pressing her warm palm to his cheek.   “I’ll be fine.   I’ve been dreamwalking for years.”

 

“Then why did you ask me to come,” Jesse challenged.   “You’ve never asked me to do anything like this before.”

 

Looking down, Isabel let out a deep sigh.   “The last time I tried to dreamwalk Maria, it was right after she had changed.  Michael didn’t know – I did it late at night and things were… mixed up in there.   Sort of made it hard to pull out.   I wanted you here just in case… to anchor me.”

 

Jesse could see how difficult it was for her to ask him, but he had to know what she was going to put herself through.   “Is it that hard to come back?”

 

“Sometimes,” Isabel muttered, starting to chew on her lower lip.   “It can get confusing, almost like getting lost in the dark.   I need you to give me direction.”

 

“Did you ever have someone else with you?” he asked. 

 

Isabel swallowed hard.   “Just once.” A tear started to roll down the side of her face at the thought of him.

 

Jesse wiped it away with the back of his hand.   “Who,” he asked gently, already suspecting the answer.

 

“Alex,” Isabel whispered, confirming his suspicions.   “Once when Max had been taken by the FBI.   He kept me grounded.   He always did.”

 

He pulled her close.   “Shhhh,” he cooed, running his hand through her hair.   “I’ll always be here for you, Isabel.   I’m not going anywhere.”

 

Isabel wrapped her arm around him, so happy to have that same kind of reassurance back in her life.  “I need you so much,” she chocked out, pressing her face into his shoulder.   “I need you to keep me grounded.”

 

Moments passed as they stood there like that.   Jesse soothed Isabel, and she tried to calm herself.   Finally, she pulled away a bit.   “If I’m going to do this, I have to do it now,” she sniffled.   “Before Michael gets back.”

 

Slowly, Jesse drew back the rest of the way.   “Okay.”

 

Moving towards the door, Isabel pushed it open quietly.   Silently, she walked over to the bed, Jesse just a few paces behind her.   Isabel sat on the edge of the bed, looking down at Maria’s face, peaceful and calm in her sleep.

 

With a trembling hand, she grabbed hold of Maria’s hand.   Instantly, the connection flared to life.   It was almost as if Maria had been waiting for someone to connect with.   However, nothing could have prepared Isabel for the world of chaos she would be entering as she stepped into the dream world.

 

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

         “Yes, Maria.  She's nothing but a piece of who I am.  A genetic puzzle piece that was taken from my DNA by my father who was under orders from you to do so,” Calypso ranted.

 

“What?”

 

“You knew that we were going to die, or rather, that you were going to die and I was going to live.  You never told me that, but that's irrelevant now.  It was destiny.  By the way, do you know what ‘destiny’ means yet, because you sure as hell didn't then!”

 

“I...destiny...” Michael stuttered, confused by her ranting.

 

“You never had any respect for it and so you had to screw with it.  You went to my father and put him under orders to find a way to recreate me as he would the rest of you.”

 

“Wait a minute, this makes no sense!” Michael interrupted.  “Maria couldn't have been made like I was! I've seen her baby pictures! Hell, I've met her mother; they're two of a kind!”

 

“I never said that it worked.”

 

Michael blinked, slowly processing the information.  “What do you mean?”

 

“The DNA he took from me wouldn't mix with the human DNA the way that all of the rest of yours did.  I'm not the same race, but when you're under orders from a royal, it's like mind control, so my father had to find a way...  and he did.” Calypso paused to take a breath.  “He stowed away on your ship to earth, found a human subject at the right time so that the ages would match up, and somehow...  I'm not exactly sure but he found a way to mix my DNA with that of a pregnant human female, therefore altering the offspring's genetic material.”

 

The pieces started to form in Michael's head.  “The human female?”

 

“Amy Deluca.” Calypso finished, some resentment showing. “My little genetic twin was born naturally, but she is in no way natural... far from it.”

 

“But there would have been blood tests–”

 

“Blood tests that my father would have found a way to doctor or get around in some way,” She explained.

 

Michael took a step back and anchored both hands down on the counter, trying to process the situation, when something occurred to him.  “How did I – how did Rath – know all of this would happen?”

 

Calypso collapsed onto a stool.  “Amíle.” She growled out.  “She had the rare gift to see the future, and gave you a glimpse of what was going to happen in a vision of some kind.”

            Michael's head snapped up.  “Liz?”

            Calypso crept forward and leaned onto the bar next to him, looking him straight in the eyes.  “Something you should learn and learn well, soldier,” She said, snapping the last word.  “Our lives are never simple, and nothing – and I do mean nothing – is ever what it seems to be.”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Swirling black fog greeted her, its tendrils wrapping wispily around her legs like some angry kind of insubstantial presence, trying to grab a hold of her but with no physical means to do so.

 

Muted sounds of shouting voices and metal upon metal pierced the stillness of the air.

 

The fog thinned, showing first twinkling stars, then torches glittering along a pathway.  People were running past her, obviously in a panic.

 

Isabel gasped.  Right in front of her, a man lay dying.  He lifted his head and his amber eyes looked right at her.  Suddenly a form ran past her, its long raven colored hair flowing behind.

 

“Rath!” she shouted.

 

So this man lying on the ground was Rath.  He looked panicked as the girl came closer.  His hand held his chest wound, as he tried to rise.

 

“Calypso, you must get out of here.” The raven-haired girl named Calypso knelt beside him, placing a hand over his.

 

“No,” she said firmly, leaning close.  Isabel didn’t hear her next words.

 

Rath lifted his head and nodded in Isabel’s direction.  She stiffened, glancing warily around her.

 

“Vilandra,” he choked out, dark blood tainting the side of his lips.

 

Isabel prepared to sprint, to leave the dream when Calypso looked up at her.

 

Calypso looked exactly like Maria.  Isabel couldn’t believe her eyes.  Why hadn’t she seen it before? She had the same build, the same hair –

 

Suddenly it hit her.  This was the girl that Michael had been spending time with.  Her name was Calypso.  Liz had been right all along.

 

Calypso rose, ignoring the fighting around her, kneeling at Isabel’s feet.  Isabel glanced down and for the first time, realized she was standing next to another crumpled someone.

 

Vilandra.

 

Isabel looked nothing like her predecessor. She had similar light hair, but her eyes, which were now unseeing, were a light shade of gray.  Her body was twisted in an odd shape, blood pooling out and staining the gown she wore – a fitted light green piece with trimming and silver edging.  Her delicate features had settled – making it look like her death had been peaceful.

 

            Calypso leaned down, checking for any minute sign of life and Isabel almost fell backwards when Vilandra blinked and took in a deep breath. She reached over with her other hand, grasping Calypso’s hand, struggling to rise.

 

“Calypso, you must –“ she fell back down, swallowing hard. Calypso began smoothing her hair back from her face. “I’m so sorry, Callie. I didn’t know.” She gasped, struggling to hold on past the pain.

 

            Calypso silenced her. “Vi, I –“ Vilandra’s body convulsed one last time and then lay still, unmoving. Calypso took a deep shuddering breath.

 

“I saw it from the mountainside,” Calypso hung her head low, addressing Rath.  “I saw it happening and I tried to get here in time to stop it – to see that she didn’t die by his hands.” She closed Vilandra’s eyes.  “I was too late.”

 

“Cam,” Rath struggled, trying to rise again.

 

“Shhhhh,” Calypso rose and went to his side again.  “Rest.  You knew it was going to happen.  We both knew.  You can’t stop it now.” She took one of his hands and cradled it, offering comfort.  She leaned down and smoothed his hair from his forehead.  Suddenly his body convulsed, and Calypso reached to calm him.

 

“I’m dying,” Rath said, more blood spilling from his mouth.

 

Calypso leaned close, tears threatening to fall from her lashes.  “We will live again. Remember that, always remember.”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Jesse paced the room.  He was tense, and rightfully so.  His wife was using her powers to find out what was wrong with Maria and there was a chance she could get lost in there.  He couldn’t let that happen, but he knew that this was important as well.

 

They needed answers.  Someone had to help Maria.

 

He rubbed his face and moved a chair next to Isabel, careful not to disturb her.  He wanted to touch her but didn’t know if that would disturb her dream walk.  He wanted to touch her hand, her hair, anything to comfort the pained look that was on her face.

 

He sensed another presence in the room.  Turning, he saw Max was at the door.

 

“Dreamwalk?” he simply asked.

 

“Uh yeah,” Jesse replied.  He didn’t know what else to say.  What else was there to say? Max knew it all.

 

“How – how long do they usually take?” he suddenly asked, nervous.

 

Max took the invitation and came in the room.  “It depends.  How long has she been in?”

 

“I don’t know.  Five, ten minutes?”

 

Max took a deep breath, looking wary.

 

“Is that not a good thing?”

 

“I’m not sure,” Max replied honestly.  “I’ve never really been around during her dreamwalks.  She usually does it by herself.”

 

“So she’s had practice getting in and out of these things?”

 

A smile tugged at the corner of Max’s mouth.  “Yeah, she’s had practice.”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

She felt a tug.  The dreamwalk was ending.

 

The only problem was she needed to stay in.  Isabel struggled with the black fog that once again descended.  She needed answers.

 

“Damn it,” Isabel silently cursed.  And then, it happened again.

 

“I’ll meet you later,” Rath said hurriedly, glancing up at the balcony where the Queen was about to appear any second.

 

“Okay,” Calypso replied, accepting the brief brush of his lips against her forehead before disappearing into the forest.

 

“We can’t keep meeting like this,” Vilandra said, stepping close to Rath, pointedly watching Calypso’s retreating back.  “You can’t keep pretending to meet with me and then meet with Calypso.  If we keep doing this, my father is going to betroth us.  And that’s just… that’s just disgusting.”

 

“I know, Vi.  I just – I need to see her as much as possible.  If your father were to betroth us, I’ll just say you’re a frog and I was only amusing you.” He grinned.

 

Vilandra groaned.  “That’s not funny, Rath.  Rumors like that spread and I have to marry someday.  Father said – “

 

“You shouldn’t listen to your parents so much, Vilandra,” Rath interrupted.  “They’re not always right.”

 

“They’re the only parents I have, the only people I have in my life.  Whom else am I supposed to listen to?”

 

“Zan?” Rath offered.


Vilandra rolled her eyes.  “Right, the great king to be.  He’s always gone, always busy, lost in himself and his grandiose ideas.  Mostly training to be the next big, great king.” Vilandra looked at Rath.  “And you – you’re always with Calypso or training for a war which will never happen.”

 

Rath drew himself up.  “It’s going to happen, Vilandra.  I know it.”

 

“And how would you know?” Vilandra inquired.  “You are not the one with the gift of foresight.”

 

Rath shrugged her question off like it was of little importance.

 

“There you are, Vilandra!” The Queen stated, gliding across the grounds.  “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

 

“I was just talking to Rath, mother,” Vilandra explained, giving her mother a huge smile.  Vilandra snared an envious look at her figure in a fitted white bodice with a flaring pale yellow skirt.

 

Isabel choked at the sight of her mother. She looked exquisite.

 

“I see that,” the Queen stated quickly, taking Vilandra’s arm and leading her back into the palace.  “Do you wish to join us, Rathmé?” she asked.

 

“No, that’s quite all right m’lady, but I’m grateful for the invitation.  I have business to attend to.  Perhaps at a later date?”

 

“Very well then,” the Queen replied.  “And do I have to keep reminding you, Rathmé, it’s Malarthe, not ‘m’lady’?”

 

Rath blushed, caught in his err.  “I’m very sorry about that Malarthe.  I’ll try to remember that for next time.” He bowed and walked swiftly in the opposite direction, careful not to look back at Vilandra. 

 

“Rathmé seems awfully fond of you these days,” Malarthe noted as she and Vilandra made their way up the stairs.

 

“He’s just trying to make friends, mother,” Vilandra attempted to explain.  “He’s not the least bit interested in me romantically.”

 

“That’s what they all said about your father,” Malarthe said, a twinkle in her eye.  “And then he kissed me.”

 

“Mother!” They both laughed, caught up in the moment.  Suddenly, Malarthe quieted and turned to face Vilandra.

 

“Vi, there’s going to be a meeting tonight.” Vilandra groaned and opened her mouth to protest.  “Now, Vi, I know.  It’s important that you stay out of the palace and in disguise.  We can’t lose our princess now.”

 

Vilandra leveled her gaze at her mother.  “Why do you all keep meeting and trying to make peace? We’ve been at peace for forty years!”

 

“An uneasy peace,” Malarthe corrected.

 

“But it’s still peace,” Vilandra argued.  At her mother’s look she backed down a bit.  “It’s been an uneasy peace, like you’ve said mother, but no one has attacked from the Antarvé camp.  No one.  Not in forty years.”

 

Malarthe sighed.  “I wasn’t planning on telling you so soon Vilandra, but we have spies implanted in their camp.  We’ve been informed that the Antarvés are planning an attack.  They’ve been biding their time for forty years, Vi, building up their resources and their troops.  It’s only a matter of time.  And you know your father.  He doesn’t want another war on this planet.  He wants peace.”

 

“Then let me sit in on the talk, let me show them that we all want peace.”

 

“I already told you no, Vilandra.  What if they come here and attack? What happens to you?”

 

“I fight beside my father,” Vilandra replied, raising her chin to show her strength.

 

“You are a novice with a sword, Vi.  You refused to go to the academy with Zan.  And you have no defensive abilities.  We can’t risk it.  You must hide, for the welfare of the kingdom.”

 

She spent the day in her room, grumbling, and when the time came, she headed to the forest in her servant’s clothes – one of the many servants she didn’t need.  She could dress herself perfectly fine, thank you.

 

It was night when she finally made her way to the other end of the Árme Lake. She had taken a small boat, paddling her way through the thick water.  It was hard, but she relished the challenge, something her mother would never let her do otherwise.

 

Her mother was her greatest confidant and ally, and Vilandra loved her more than anything in the world, but she was smothering some days.  And today was one of those days.

 

*Flash*

 

It was half past the morning hour.  On the other bank of the lake, Vilandra could see torches moving across the windows, showing that the guards were keeping their watch.  She had instructed her and Rath’s mutual protector, Lysé to go to bed hours before, under much protest from him.  But she wanted to be alone.  She wanted to watch the stars move and the moons shift from one end of the motley sky to the other, something she rarely got to do these days.

 

The wind picked up, lifting her hair, moving it from the back of her neck.  It was an unusually hot night, humid with the lingering scent of razenberry.  Then again, since the last war, it had always been humid and acrid.  Vilandra couldn’t remember what it was like to have the atmosphere cool and light.

 

“It’s a beautiful night,” came an unfamiliar voice from behind.

 

Vilandra whirled around, hastily standing up.  A man stood not twenty feet away.  He was tall and thin with dark brown hair.  She squinted, trying to make out his eyes, but the way his brow sat over them and the lighting from the moons prevented her from seeing past his shadow.

 

“Who are you? What are you doing here? You’re trespassing–”

 

“Trespassing?” The man asked, scoffing.  “This is public land.” Vilandra didn’t reply and he went on, gesturing to the lake.  “Didn’t you know? The lake divides the royalty from the common folk.  This is our land, we share it equally.”

 

Vilandra started.  “Our land?”

 

“Well, of course.  You are of Antarian lower class, are you not?” He began taking steps towards her and Vilandra backed away, putting a hand on her side where her dagger was sheathed.

 

His eyes followed her every movement.  “Don’t come any closer,” Vilandra warned in a low tone.  He didn’t pay any attention.  He kept coming towards her until he was standing right in front of her.

 

He glanced down at her dagger, thinking.

 

“It’s too fine to be of lower class,” he noted.  “All those jewels embedded in the handle.  And it is heavy – made of pure s’ilme.”

 

“And you would know?” Vilandra withdrew the dagger from its sheath, swinging quickly and skillfully to bring it home.

 

His trained reflexes caught her arm midair with little difficulty.  His eyes narrowed as he got a closer look at her.  “You’re Princess Vilandra.”

 

Vilandra attempted to stab him again, but he held her arm fast.  “What are you doing out here all alone?”

 

Knowing it was futile to struggle with this obviously skilled man, she resigned herself to more devious methods of getting what she wanted.  “I should ask you the same question.  But since I’m royalty, I get to go first.  Tell me your name.”

 

*Flash*

 

The ceremony was complete. Another fifteen years and it would happen again.  She watched Zan and Rath clasp hands and laugh about something they had said.

 

The only problem was she wasn’t laughing.

 

Vilandra narrowed her eyes, watching Rath walk out of the room, knowing exactly where he was going – to Calypso. And Zan, he’d be meeting up with Amíle for sure.

 

Rath had promised her long ago that he’d fend off any betrothal, but now he was too busy playing with Calypso.  Too busy training with her for a war that would never come.  And all the while, she had to keep her affair with Khivar an utter secret, lest she be tried for blasphemy before marriage.

 

And Rath and Zan were free to peruse and prowl to their heart’s content.

 

At that moment, Vilandra hated them more than anything in the world.

 

*Flash*

 

“M’les.” Khivar leaned over and whispered in her ear.  “Les m’leaté.”

 

Vilandra smiled and turned to face him.  “I love it when you say that.” He had such a charm about him, an almost irresistible badness which captivated her. It was such excitement, sneaking out of the palace to meet up with the enemy.

 

“I know you do.” He propped his head on his hand, gazing down at her.  She swallowed hard.  Even after all these years, he still made her weak in the knees with that look.

 

The grin on his face slowly faded.  “About later on this week, Vi–”

 

“I know.  You’re coming for peace.  I won’t be alarmed.  I know you – you would never lie to me, my love.”

 

“Of course,” he said.

 

*Flash*

 

It was a windy night.  Vilandra stood on the small knoll just inside the palace gates, watching the dozen or so torches approach.  Inside she was ecstatic – finally her family and Khivar’s were going to make peace and all the wars would be over forever.  The Antarians and the Antarvés would be united once more, despite her mother’s unjustified mistrust.

 

And she would no longer have to hide their affair.

 

She laid down, looking up at the stars.  It was a dark night and so many of them shone, each one winking as if just for her.  Her eyes drifted over to the moons, their waning crescent slivers hung low in the sky.  She reached out a hand, wanting to be able to touch them.

 

A low whistle shot her hand back down.  She sat up, looking at the gate.  It was time.

 

Khivar stood just outside the gate.  She opened it quietly, smiling at him.  He smiled back.

 

“Lady Vilandra,” he bowed his head slightly.  “How are you tonight?”

 

“Just fine, thank you,” Vilandra replied, tilting her head in return.  Khivar took a step closer, his body barely brushing up against hers.  He gazed into her eyes, deep and possessing.  For the first time, Vilandra felt a slight tremor of alarm.  What was he doing? Where was the council of Antarvé elders?

 

“You’re so beautiful,” he brushed a lock of hair away from her face.  “I always knew you would be.”

 

“Thank you,” Vilandra whispered, unable to say anything else.  “Khivar, is every–”

 

“I’m sorry, Vi,” he leaned close, a slight irregularity in his voice.  He brushed his lips dryly against hers, right before she saw a flash of silver glinting off the moonlight. A pain reverberated deep throughout her abdomen. “I’m sorry, m’leaté, that it had to be… like this.”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Isabel slowly opened her eyes, not sure which reality she would find before her next.

 

“What is it? What did you see?” Max asked.

 

“Max, I saw home… I saw… all of it,” Isabel said slowly, not quite sure if what she was speaking made sense, to herself or anyone around her.

 

“What? That’s impossible,” Max retorted, looking at Maria.

 

“Isabel, are you okay?” Jesse asked, showing genuine concern.

 

“It’s okay,” Isabel said sitting up on the bed.  “I’m fine, I am fine.  I saw, I saw something.  It’s not what I expected – at all.”  There came a sound from elsewhere in the house, and Max looked at the others, going for the door, but it opened just as he reached for it.

 

Michael stood in the doorway, transfixed upon seeing Isabel sitting next to Maria.  His eyes moved back and forth between the two as though he were processing the information in slow motion.

 

A strange look overtook him.

 

“What the hell is going on here?” he growled, looking directly at Max for answers.

 

“Michael you need to calm down,” Max said, reaching his arm out to place it on his shoulder.  Michael quickly swatted his arm away and met Max’s steadfast gaze with his own.

 

“Michael...your eyes,” Isabel breathed, standing up, trying to get a better look at him. His eyes a vibrant amber color, swirling with colors of the rainbow.

 

Michael pushed them away, turning to walk out of the room, but sparks jumped from him to Max.

 

Max was flooded with images as Michael touched him, flashes of Michael and Maria on that fateful night at the strip club.

 

Max watched as Michael had grabbed her head between his hands.  He could feel the scenes being forced painfully into her mind; he could see Michael’s face contorted with anger and it made him almost sick.

 

Then he saw Michael, picking her limp body up off the damp shower floor, his hands so gentle on her fragile form.  Michael tried to help her; really he did, the desperation leaving Max breathless.

 

“Michael!” Max said.  But it was no use.  Michael shot him an angry look over his shoulder, quickly disappearing down the hall.

 

“What was that?” Isabel said, rushing to steady Max.

 

“Maria, and Michael, and when I healed her,” Max whispered, catching his breath. “Isabel, what did you see in your dreamwalk?”

 

“Michael, err, Rath… and Maria – that’s what I saw. Only it wasn’t Maria.”

 

“We have to stop him,” he said, standing up weakly and starting out the door after Michael.

 

“What’s going on?” Liz asked, coming to a stop in the doorway.

 

“Get everyone, we have to stop Michael, he’s gone all Rath on us,” Max explained, grabbing Liz by the elbow and steering her out the door, Isabel and Jesse in tow.

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

3.

 

“Why do you think he came here?” Liz asked as they watched Michael disappear into the club Paradise. It was filled to the brim with drunks and bar hoppers.

 

“Yeah, he just got off his shift, why the hell would he go back to work?” Kyle asked, drawing a few curious glances from the rest.

 

“Work?” Isabel asked.

 

Max picked up on her inquiry.  “Michael works at a bar two blocks from here, right?”

 

Kyle shook his head.  “No, not exactly.  He got a job here at this bar about a week ago.  I dropped him off a few times because he thought his bike would get stolen around here.”

 

“I don't blame him,” Isabel commented, looking around.

 

Kyle nodded.  “Yeah, but he also told me that this place is impossible to get into on the nights that Calypso sings.”

 

“Calypso.” Isabel breathed and turned to Max.  “That name –”

 

“It's familiar.” Max stated and started to say something else, but stopped when Liz left his side and started slowly walking towards the glass windows of the club.

 

Everyone stepped up to the window behind Liz. “Maria?” she whispered.

 

As everyone else saw Calypso, Isabel stepped up a little closer to the glass, laying a hand on its cold, foggy surface.

 

“That's not Maria.”

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

He'd never felt as alive as he did at that moment.

 

As Michael cut through the crowds of the club, he walked with a confident stride, the stride of a soldier – the stride of someone who knew exactly where he was going, or rather, who he was going to.

 

Calypso sat at the edge of the stage. She was on her break and talking to random people, but when she saw Michael, she hoped down casually and started to walk towards him.  When her gaze caught his, she stopped cold, her violet eyes colliding with his amber ones.

 

“Rath?”

 

Michael stopped in front of her, and stared for a moment.  Why did it feel like he hadn't seen her in years, when it had only been maybe an hour? Taking a step closer he fingered a few midnight strands of her hair that hung alongside her almost pale skin ivory skin.  “I can't trust any of them,” he growled out, his voice in complete contrast to his gentle touch.  “All they ever do is betray me, go behind my back. You’re the only one I could ever trust, I remember that now.”

 

Outside, Kyle stepped forward beside Max.  “I can't believe it, do you think he–”

 

“I don't know.”

 

Michael continued. “It felt just as it did when I found out that my father and your mother were having an affair… on that boat that brought them to their deaths,” he said, his eyes flashing golden yellow specks.

 

Calypso inhaled quickly.  “You remember that?” She asked, pressing closer to him, her delicate fingers brushing against his jaw as she stared up at him, smiling slightly.

 

Michael traced his thumb down the side of her face.  “Of course I do.  I shouldn't have blamed you for it the way I did.”

 

Calypso swallowed. “I always wanted you to tell me that,” she said, then shook away the past.  “So, what – what happened?”

 

Shaking his head, Michael slid his arms around her waist.  “It doesn't matter,” he replied softly, resting his forehead against hers.  “Nothing else matters now,” He trailed, brushing his lips fervently across hers.  “Except you… and me.”

 

And then he kissed her deeply, right there, in the middle of the crowded club.  He kissed her, slowly and thoroughly.  It had been years since he'd felt this alive, and nothing could stop him.

 

~.~.~.~.~

 

Liz let out a helpless cry. The display meant the ultimate betrayal of her best friend. But what truly made her feel horrible was that she could almost sympathize with Michael, with his need to be with someone… and having this someone look exactly like Maria.

 

Liz could only imagine what she would have done if put in the same situation.

 

Would she have been able to resist that kind of temptation? The temptation to replace not only someone you love with an exact replica, but someone only the other half of you loves?

 

She didn't know.

 

The ground started shaking slightly, a worried look crossing Max’s face. The lights in the bar started popping out one by one, shooting arrays of sparks into the crowd, which began rushing out the doors in a panic. Stools started levitating by themselves and the music stopped, the amps onstage beginning to smoke… yet Rath and Calypso didn’t notice a single thing going on around them – they were completely consumed in the heat of passion.

 

All Liz could do was stare.

 

She just didn't know.

 

 

  

 

 

© 2002–2003 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.