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Going Home Again”

Story by Annie

Written by Annie, Cole, Jeslyn, Kristin, and Liz

Edited by Lisa, Lizzy, Mark, and Tiff

 

 

 

Playlist:

1. “Trouble” by Coldplay

2. “So Far Away” by Staind

3. “Feels Like Home” by Chantel Kreviazuk

 

 

 

 

Ava watched as more desert road flashed by – mostly because that was the only thing to do for the past six hours.  “Scenic,” she muttered loosely to herself, giggling slightly at her own sarcasm.  Isabel glanced over the seat at her for a moment, both boredom and tension edging her features. 

 

Ava flashed a shrug.  “Just amusing myself,” she commented plainly, turning her attention back to the road.

 

Isabel turned back, sighing.  One thing was certain: they all needed to get out of this van something fierce.  Tension had been building ever since Max had announced the plan and gave little recourse.  Things only got worse when they picked up Raeve, her incessant nagging about FBI and danger even tiring Max.  Raeve’s presence made everything hit home – this was real.  They needed to get to Roswell . . .  and the sooner, the better.

 

So, it has been non-stop driving since then.  Max has drove the most as usual, with Liz always at his side.  Isabel and Jesse occupied the bench seat behind them, chatting over things that Ava couldn’t quite hear, nor really cared much about hearing.

 

And then, of course, there was Hanley and Raeve.  The shape-shifting duo was currently wedged into the back seat with Ava, and when not ignoring one another, they bickered about anything and everything under the sun.  Ava felt like stopping them on several occasions, but just tuned them out instead.  It was no secret what they discussed, or rather, argued about.  And they were about to start again.

 

“Have you even tried to get into contact with him?” Raeve asked heatedly.  “How do you know that something hasn’t happened?”

 

“Because one of us would know,” Hanley replied testily.  “And until we do, you need to stop freaking out.  We already have plenty of other tangible problems at hand.”

 

“Oh,” Raeve exclaimed.  “Is that so?  I don’t know about you, but last time I received any information from my twin, psychic or otherwise, was over two months ago.  He also belongs to our group, which is being targeted!  You’re not elaborating on any key information you might have on that front, so I think that I am justified in my ‘freak out’, as you so put it.”

 

Ava couldn’t help the snicker that escaped her lips; it was just too much.

 

Hanley shot a dry glare over at her.  “Something you want to add, Ava?”

 

Tossing up her hands in defense, Ava turned to look back out the window.  “Innocent bystander,” she muttered under her breath.

 

At the same time, Raeve came to her defense.  “Leave her alone, Hanley.  Right now, you have more than enough to deal with in this argument.”

 

“No, I don’t,” he stated simply.  With that, he turned his head to match Ava’s, watching the road fly by.

 

“You are not giving me the brush off,” Raeve informed him.  “Talk to me, Hanley.”

 

However, no response came.

 

“He seems to be really good at that,” Ava said, turning her attention to the new girl.

 

Raeve simply smiled.  “Not as good as I am at this,” she remarked.  A second later, she burst out into a chorus of her brother’s name, repeating ‘Hanley’ over and over again, in different tones and pitches.

 

As all of this was going on, Liz’s cell phone rang.  Quickly, she picked it up, motioning the others to be quiet.  “Hello,” she answered tentatively.  “Oh hey, Michael.  No, we should be . . .” Liz thought a moment before giving her location, knowing the FBI could be listening.  “We should be home any minute now.  Okay you still have about an hour to go . . .  Well, we talked to Jim.  Everyone is going to meet out by the pod chamber, so . . .  Yeah, I’ll tell them.  Bye.”

 

Max glanced over at her.  “How are they?” 

 

Liz shrugged.  “He thinks that they’ll be in Roswell in about an hour.  He took a different route just in case they were being followed.”

 

“That makes sense,” Max agreed.  He opened his mouth to say something else, but a vigorous commotion from the back cut him off.

 

“Hanley Hanley Hanley Hanley . . . ” Raeve began again.

 

“I’m so not listening,” Hanley growled, covering his ears.

 

Raeve smirked, knowing that she was finally getting to her brother.  “Hanley, Hanley, Hanley,” she taunted, raising her voice to match his.

 

“Little sisters are such a pain,” Hanley grumbled.

 

Max started to laugh, until he caught Isabel’s look in the rearview mirror.  She was less than pleased.  Deciding it was time to put an end to the commotion, Max cleared his throat.  “Okay guys . . . that’s enough.”  Thinking aloud he added, “And Isabel says I act like a child,” before returning his attention back to the road ahead.

 

“What?” Isabel snapped.

 

“Oh nothing,” Max replied with a smirk.

 

“Uh-huh,” Isabel replied, skeptical.

 

Silence fell throughout the van.  Ava shifted her attention back to the road, just in time to see a sign flash by, a very familiar sign.

 

Welcome To Roswell.

 

Looking around the van, she noticed that the others saw it too.  “Welcome home,” she announced.

 

~.~.~.~

 

Kyle looked around at the multitude of rocks situated in front of him.  It looked the same as he had remembered; a normal person could walk by this outcrop and never know how much of an impact it had made on his life, his father’s, and so many others in Roswell.  Out of this rock formation came four alien children, alone and scared, looking for help, love, and a little understanding. He smiled as he thought about the time when he and Alex were trapped by the gandarium crystals. Alex had been right . . . life was a lot better knowing that aliens did exist, no matter how much it had gotten screwed up by the knowledge. By being on the right side, he had the opportunity to help not only the people of this planet, but also the people of two worlds.  He was grateful for that, despite the cost.

 

‘Alex . . . you will not be forgotten,’ he reflected silently.

 

Whatcha thinkin’ about?” Serena asked, rocking back and forth on her feet aimlessly.

 

“Alex,” Kyle said softly, picking up a stone from the ground.

 

“Oh,” Serena said, not really knowing how to react.

 

“I used to feel so guilty about his death,” he said, throwing the rock far out into the distance.  “For a long time I beat myself up over it, beat myself up so much that it would make me sick to my stomach.”

 

“Then?”

 

Kyle caught Serena’s concerned gaze and gave her a half smile.  “Then I remembered this conversation we had before he died.  This crazy alien stuff, gandarium or whatever, had leaked into the water table out in Frazier woods.  At the time, Alex and I, we were digging there and were trapped in an underground cavern by the damn things.  After awhile, we started running out of air and were scared we were going to suffocate.  It wasn’t like I was anxious to die.  Truth was, I really hated being a part of the ‘I-Know-an-Alien-Club.’”

 

Kyle took a deep breath. “But Alex said that he would rather die knowing aliens than live without knowing the truth.  I had never looked at it that way.  Even after he died, I still didn’t believe he was right.  Not until just now.”

 

“What made you think of that?” Serena inquired.

 

“This is where it all started.  This rock formation . . . the pod chamber. We’ve come full circle.”

 

Serena nodded her head as Kyle looked around, catching sight of the group about ten feet away from them.  “Looks like the natives are getting restless,” he commented empathetically.

 

Serena glanced over at the group.  The Evanses and the Parkers were making half-hearted attempts at conversation, but none of them could stop the periodic lapses into silence as the four of them stared worriedly out into the desert.  Amy Deluca was sitting close to Jim, and neither of them was talking.  Amy, it seemed, could do nothing but stare into space. Jim was rubbing a comforting hand on her back in silent reassurance.

 

“What do you expect?  They haven’t seen their children in a year,” Serena said solemnly.  “I can’t even begin to imagine how they’re feeling, you know?  Every day, wondering if their children were hurt, sick, dead, or worse . . .”

 

“Yeah,” Kyle said quietly, glancing at his watch, his face growing paler with each breath.

 

“Did I say something wrong?”

 

“Oh, uh no.”

 

“What’s your problem then?” Serena continued rocking back and forth, starting to chew her fingernails at the same time.

 

Kyle showed her his watch, “They’ll be here soon.”

 

“Yeah?” Serena questioned, trying to hide her nervousness.

 

“Stop trying to act like you’re not nervous.  You know there’s going to be hell to pay when King Spaceman gets here,” Kyle snorted.

 

An indignant look spread across Serena’s face.  “I’m not nervous,” she said adamantly.

 

“Whatever,” he stated, bringing Serena’s bitten nails up to her face.

 

“This is all your fault,” Serena retorted, her face falling into a childish pout.  “Max is so going to eat us alive.”

 

 “So, what? We went AWOL,” Kyle played nonchalantly, shrugging. “Or M.I.A. or something.”

 

 “We went M.I.A. on an alien King, his second in command, and a princess who can invade our dreams!  Don’t tell me you’re not nervous,” she scoffed.  “I know you better than that, Kyle.”

 

“Come here,” he said as he took Serena is his arms, holding her securely while running his left hand through her long, beautiful amber-red hair.  “You’re amazing, you know that?

 

“Kyle!” she exclaimed into his shoulder “No getting off the subject . . . but thank you.”

 

“I know they will probably be upset, but they aren’t going to go all FUBAR on us,” he thought aloud.  “They just care about us, AWOL or not.”

 

“Okay first question . . . why do you keep using military words and acronyms? AWOL, M.I.A, FUBAR?”

 

“Sorry,” Kyle said, scratching his eyebrow.  “There was a good war movie on last night and I guess it kinda went straight to my head.”

 

Serena simply nodded.  “Interesting,” she laughed, giving him a half-hearted attempt at a salute.

 

“Second question?” Kyle asked, smiling.

 

Serena looked into Kyle’s deep blue eyes. “Do you regret it?  I mean coming here, with me?”

 

“Now that I think about it, it was incredibly dangerous going off by ourselves,” Kyle said as he brought his hands up to cup her face.  “It’s in the running for being one of the twenty stupidest things I’ve ever done.  But, I wouldn’t have traded our road trip and stay here in Roswell for anything else in the world,” he added, keeping hold on her face when she tried to turn away.  “I love spending time with you, Serena, that’s more valuable than anything else I can think of.”

 

The two inched forward, closing the small gap instantly, forgetting that anyone else was even there.

 

“Young love,” Philip said nostalgically, catching a glimpse of Kyle and Serena before looking the other way.   

 

The adults turned to see what he was referring to and couldn’t help but smile sadly, thinking of when they’d thought that the simple reality of first loves was the most traumatic thing their children were dealing with . . . and how wrong they’d been in thinking it.

 

“Can you believe that it has almost been a year since we got together out here, just after the kids sent us Liz’s diary to read?” Jeff asked no one in particular.

 

“It seems like an eternity,” Diane stated, “Not a day has gone by that I haven’t worried about them.”

 

“How long did we stand out here, going over that diary?” Amy interjected.  “Must have been six hours at least . . .”

 

“Things will be different now, they’ll be different,” Jim said, looking at his son.

 

“Liz and Max are married,” Jeff said, shaking his head, not knowing what to think of his little girl and Max Evans, an alien hybrid, tying the knot – especially since he missed the wedding and wasn’t there to give his little girl away.

 

As if reading his mind, Nancy gently took his hand.  “Liz isn’t a little girl anymore, Jeff.  She hasn’t been a girl since that day Max healed her in the Crashdown.”

 

Jeff nodded slowly, at first wishing that fateful day never happened.  Nevertheless, there had to come a time when he would let go . . . and that time has been long in the making.

 

“I just can’t believe they pulled the wool over our eyes for that long.  I mean, we had no idea,” Amy said, chipping in.  “Reading everything that had happened to them was like reading some kind of science fiction novel . . . the ups, the downs, the triumphs, the falls.  Oh, and not to mention the FBI, the alien hunters, and the truth about Alex,” she choked out.

 

“I still don’t understand the whole Nasedo-thing,” Philip thought aloud.  “They needed alien protectors because we weren’t doing the job, was that it?”

 

Jeff turned to face him.  “Not true Philip.  They couldn’t tell us.  We didn’t have any way to protect ourselves.  Look what happened to Alex . . . God rest his soul.”

 

Jim stared out over the distance.  “They had to lie.  It was the only way for them to survive and keep all of you safe.” 

 

“I still think you should have told us earlier,” Philip stated, looking for his wife‘s approval.

 

“Philip . . . you know I couldn’t do that,” Jim said, dusting off his hat and squinting into the distance.

 

“You could have,” Philip contested, not really pushing the issue, but still curious what Jim had to say. “We could have helped.”

 

“At one time, I would have done anything to uncover the truth about the illustrious Max Evans and the incident at the Crashdown that started it all . . . no matter what the cost.  Then the truth fell into my lap and it was nothing like what I envisioned,” Jim continued, replacing his headgear sternly.  “Max is simply a good kid, who happens to be in a very tough position.  I cannot fathom what it must be like for him.”

 

Philip nodded, his curiosity sufficiently sated.

 

“I just can’t believe they are coming home,” Nancy said excitedly, attempting to change the tune.

 

Jim shook his head.  “I just don’t know if it’s such a good thing – I mean the FBI is still a significant threat here.”

 

“Jim, “Amy started, playfully slapping him on the arm. “Stop being so pessimistic.”

 

“I can’t help it,” he shrugged.

 

“Why?” she asked.

 

“With all respect, I have been a part of this a lot longer than you all have.  I just get the feeling that things are still sketchy around here.  Them coming back,” he shook his head, glancing at all of them. “It’s just not a good idea, and we all know it.  I mean sure, Roswell was their home, where they grew up.  But they will also be easily noticed here, and the one thing they definitely don’t need is any more attention drawn to them.  That is why the whole thing just doesn’t seem right.”

 

“What do you think is going on?” Philip asked, crossing his arms unconsciously. 

 

“A lot more than we think,” Jim said, looking out into the distance and quickly turning back to the group.  “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they are coming back.  I miss them too: Max, Michael, Liz, Maria, and Isabel.  They’ve all been like children to me.  All I’m saying is, don’t expect them to stay long.”

 

“Thank you, Jim, for being there for our kids when we couldn’t be,” Jeff said, finally getting that off his chest.  It was something he had wanted to say for a long time.

 

Jim smiled lightly, and returned to peering off in the distance.

 

“Well, looking on the bright side, we get to see children again . . .” Philip said, smiling wryly.

 

“Look!” Amy yelled, pointing to the vehicle coming into view in the distance.

 

“That must be them,” Philip exclaimed.

 

Everyone watched with anticipation as the van came down the dusty road, the vehicle slowly inching to a stop. It looked just as Jim had remembered it that fateful day last fall - well perhaps a little more beat-up - only this time the feeling was different… much different.

 

Their children were home.

 

~.~.~.~

 

1.

 

Slowly, Max inched the van across the desert terrain, watching as the faces in the group ahead grew increasingly focused.  Deep down, his stomach was doing flip-flops, apprehension and fear fueling them.  The truth was that he didn’t know what sort of reaction to expect from their parents, after letting them in on the secret in such a dramatic way.  After all, most of them had no idea why their children disappeared into the night over a year ago.  Not until Liz had sent her journal back.

 

The closer the van got, the worse the feeling became, to the point were Max was almost apprehensive about stopping the van.  That is, until he felt a small hand on his arm.  Glancing over to the passenger side, he saw Liz giving him a small smile, and that was all he needed.

 

“It will be okay,” Liz reassured him.  “They know we had no choice, Max.  They would rather have us leave before they found out the truth than see us get killed and never know why.”  She gave his arm a squeeze.  “It will be okay.”

 

Max smiled inwardly.  How she could be so strong, he didn’t know.

 

As the van crept to a stop, Max got his first good look at the group, and he knew Liz was right.  The first person he saw was his father, a slight smile on his face and eyes squinting in the bright desert sunlight.  On one side was his mother, practically jumping up and down with joy at seeing her children again. 

 

Then came Jim Valenti.  The man who had become a surrogate father to the group was grinning, but behind it Max could see the understanding that this wasn’t simply a pleasure call.  Jim knew better.  Nothing was ever simple in their world.

 

The instant the car was in park, Liz leapt out, running over to her parents.  “My baby!” Nancy cried as she pulled Liz into a hug.  Jeff wrapped his arms around both of them, his existence finally feeling whole again.

 

“I’m sorry,” Liz whispered.  “I just couldn’t tell you.”

 

Shhh,” Jeff muttered, running a hand down his daughter’s long brown hair, taking in the sight of her again.  “We understand.  We’re just glad that you’re home and safe.”  Tears started to fill his eyes.  “My little girl.”

 

Liz shifted slightly to face her father completely.  “Not quite,” she smiled.

 

Jeff shook his head.  “Always.”

 

“Mom!” Isabel bounded from the van also, running to her parents arms. Jesse followed, not too far behind, shaking hands with Philip.

 

“Oh my gosh, look at you!” Diane exclaimed, pulling back to see Isabel. “You’re so much more beautiful than this past Christmas.”

 

“Been taking good care of my girl, Jesse?” Philip asked, gently prying apart the two women to give Isabel a hug.

 

“Of course he has, daddy,” Isabel smiled, reaching a hand across to connect her family with Jesse.

 

“Jim,” Max slowly approached him, squinting in the sun.

 

“Max,” Jim nodded, taking a few tentative steps forward. “It’s good to see you again.”

 

“Same here,” Max finally closed the gap between them and hugged the man he’d come to known as a second father over the years.

 

“Well,” Jim pulled back, looking at the ground and then back up at Max. “There are some more people that are here to see you.” He gestured to where the Evanses and Parkers were clustered, nodding at Max. Max glanced up at his parents and in-laws, before turning to Jim again.

 

“Thank you for everything,” he said moving to hug his parents. Liz met him halfway, smiling at him as she made her way to Jim and Amy.

 

“Good news for today, Max,” Liz turned to grin at him as they passed each other. “You’re not dying by the hands of my father . . . yet.” Her smile widened before she turned to hug Amy.

 

Hanley made his way over to where Kyle and Serena were standing, trying to be inconspicuous and failing. He could tell that Serena was nervous by the way she was shifting and Kyle was trying to be strong for the both of him by his stance. He smiled inwardly. Sometimes humans really fascinated him.

 

“Kyle,” he stated, nodding at him and Serena. “Serena,” he added.

 

Serena began chewing her nails.

 

“Stop that,” Kyle hissed. “You’re just making it worse!”

 

“What if I like biting my nails?” Serena hissed back.

 

“I like honey in my tea,” Hanley announced.

 

Kyle and Serena looked at him blankly, not sure how to react.

 

“What?” Hanley shrugged. “I do . . . oh and add a touch of lemon.”

 

Serena snorted, not able to hold it in any longer. She began laughing quietly, her shoulders shaking.

 

“It’s not funny,” Hanley said, his face impassive. He paused for a dramatic effect. “And neither is you two taking off from Boston alone.” Serena immediately stopped laughing.

 

“I told--” Kyle leaned over but Serena elbowed him in the side, effectively shutting him up.

 

“You two are going to be my personal assistants for the next few months while we go over again and again the hows and whys of you leaving,” Hanley added, smiling. “I hope you know how to make tea.”

 

“Forget King Spaceman,” Kyle muttered as Hanley walked away. “Try Anal Spaceman.”

 

~.~.~.~

 

 “Wow.  Look at that,” Maria exclaimed, pointing towards the Crashdown.  “Mr. P. finally changed that light that had burned out in the spaceship.”

 

Michael eased his bike forward as the light changed to green.  “It wasn’t out that long,” he yelled over the engine’s noise back to her.  “Only a couple of months, when we left.”

 

“Wrong, Spaceboy.  That light burned out just after that blind date radio fiasco,” she corrected him. 

 

“You mean when Max got drunk?” Michael questioned.

 

Maria nodded against his shoulder.  “Yup,” she confirmed, holding on to him tighter as the bike started to go faster.

 

Michael shook his head.  “You’re kidding,” he scoffed.

 

Rolling her eyes, Maria gave his stomach a little pinch.  “Why would I feel the need to lie about that?”

 

Shrugging, Michael decided to let the whole thing drop and turned his attention back to the road.  But he filed away the fact that she’d remembered something that was purely Maria, something that had happened before her change.  It was oddly comforting.  He pushed the odd thoughts away, and the constant hum of the engine was the only break in the silence as the last part of town flashed by.

 

Pulling the bike to a stop just down the highway from the pod chamber, Michael took a deep breath as he pulled off his helmet.

 

“They'll all be there, just up the road . . . they'll be able to see us coming just as soon as we go under that overpass,” he stated.

 

“Yep . . .” Maria trailed, realizing her voice was muffled by her own helmet and pulled it off as well. “My mom will be there.”

 

Michael suddenly turned a little in his seat, giving her an inquiring look. “We never really talked about how much you remember about her . . .”

 

“I remember everything.” Maria said with conviction. “She's my mother, Michael. I could never forget her.”

 

Michael eyed her, knowing that there was more to it than this.  “I know, but with . . .” he started and then shook his head.  “Never mind.”  He turned back around and moved to put his helmet back on.

 

“I am nervous, Michael,” she finally admitted.  “I haven’t seen my mom in a year.  A YEAR.  A lot has happened in that time . . . I don’t think we had ever gone more than a day without talking until we left.  In fact, I’d be willing to wager money that was the actual reason she bought me my first cell phone.”

 

Michael could definitely get behind that reasoning.  Maria and her mom were always close.  Hell, you’d have to be blind, deaf, and stupid not to see it.  “None of that is going to change, Maria.  You know that your mom loves you.  That will always be true.”

 

Maria rested a hand between his shoulder blades. “I know.  And as far as my mom goes, let’s not forget what happened on Antar and why she's so important to me.”

 

Nodding slowly, Michael added, “Because Calypso lost her mother so young . . .”

 

“Exactly,” Maria nodded. “Because of her, I know what it feels like to lose a mother.  It's almost like that song . . . 'You don't know what you've got until it's gone.'  Except I haven't lost her in this life.”

 

Michael shifted his helmet nervously in his hands.

 

“Now she knows everything,” Maria sighed in his ear. 

 

“Except for Calypso,” Michael hastily added, surveying the area ahead of them.

 

“There’s that . . . but the most important thing is that she knows that there was this whole big, huge part of my life that I kept from her for three years.  The big downside is that when she did find out, I wasn’t even there for her to yell at.  I’m not looking forward to the year of interest that is going to be tacked onto that conversation.”

 

“Well, think of it this way.  Kyle’s been here for over a week. Your mom probably took a bit of the edge off when she saw him,” Michael offered, trying to cheer her up.

 

It worked a bit.  Maria chuckled slightly and let out another deep sigh.  “God, my stomach is all tied in knots over this.”

 

Steering the bike down the dusty desert path that lead to the pod chamber, Michael slowed down until he was practically inching along.  “Look at it this way, Maria.  Your mom knows... everything.  About you, about me, about us.  There is nothing between you guys now. No more lies.”

 

Slowly, but surely, a smile crept across her face.

 

“Thank you, Michael,” she said, pressing her lips to his shoulder.  “Thank you so much,” she repeated in a whisper.

 

“No problem,” Michael told her, reaching down to give one of the hands wrapped around him a little squeeze.  “Besides, you’re not the one who should be afraid.  Your mom is going to go off on me, I just know it.  First I’m an alien, then I take away her baby girl, third we arrive on a motorcycle . . .”

 

“Oh yeah,” Maria quickly agreed.  “You’re a dead man.  Any last requests?”

 

“Love me,” Michael said simply.

 

“Always.”

 

Michael nodded in understanding, and put his helmet back on his head.

 

“Alright then . . . let's get going to this little family reunion.  Sound good, Bonnie?”

 

Maria replied with a smile, “Sounds great, Clyde.”

 

 

~.~.~.~

2.

 

 

“Shouldn't they be here by now?” Amy nearly growled, pacing back and forth.  She had been staring out over the barren highway for an hour, and there was still no sign of the others.  “Didn't you say they’d be here soon, Max?”

 

Max nodded and looked down at his watch.  “Yeah, but it’s only eight past ten.  I think we should maybe wait a few more before we send out a search party,” Max jested, looking over to Liz.  She merely shook her head at him then turned her attention to Amy.

 

“They'll be here any minute Ms. Deluca, I prom–”

 

“There they are!” Amy nearly screamed.  “And they're on a damn motorcycle!”

 

Kyle moved up next to Max and Liz.  “They took the bike all the way from Boston?  Maria actually agreed to that?”

 

“I guess,” Liz said quietly, shrugging her shoulders as she watched Amy make her way down the rock face to where Michael and Maria were getting off the bike.  For a moment, she wondered how Maria would react to her mother.

 

“Mom!” Maria cried out over the sound of the bike, just as Michael turned it off.

 

Ahhhhh . . . permanent hearing damage, Maria,” Michael mumbled.  He felt Maria scramble behind him to get off the bike, but Michael didn't move a muscle.  Instead, he decided to watch as Maria ran to her mother, throwing her arms around her the second she reached her.  He listened to Amy tell Maria just how much she loved her, and then nearly broke into tears when he saw it.  The smile.  A patented Maria smile.  She'd smiled many times since she'd been changed, but nothing as radiant as the carefree smile the Maria of the past used to come up with.  However, there it was . . . the smile displayed for all to see.  Michael suddenly felt a lot better about being back in Roswell.

 

Climbing off the bike, he slowly strolled up to both of the Deluca women.  “Great day to be back in Roswell,” he said with a nod.

 

Amy backed away from Maria, just slightly enough to be able to glare at him.  “Michael,” she acknowledged, then took a few tentative steps forward.

 

At that moment, Michael suddenly tried to remind himself of what they used to tell the kids in elementary school about snakes.  Something about no sudden movements and show no fear.  Or was it run the other way?  ‘Dammit,’ he thought as Amy came closer. ‘Too late to back out now.’

 

“You cut your hair,” Amy noticed and reached a hand around to the back of his head, where only short strands were now present.  “I like it,” she said simply, giving him a small smile as tears began cascading down her cheeks.

 

“Thank you.”  Michael said softly.  “Did you do something with yours? It looks a little diff–”

 

“Oh, shut up and come here,” Amy said, almost laughing as she pulled Michael into a hug, and whispered next to his ear.  “I know you took good care of her, thank you.”

 

Michael's eyes drifted up towards Maria, and for a moment, his heart stopped cold.  He wondered if he had taken good care of her at all . . . but regardless of the things that happened in the past, the future was yet to be seen.  He whispered in reply, “Always,” and then let her pull away as the others came down to join them.

 

Max came to a stop beside Michael.  “I didn't realize you would be on the bike . . .” he began, concern edging his voice.  “All the way from Boston?”

 

“Yeah,” Michael mumbled and nodded.

 

Max narrowed his eyes in confusion.  “That must have been one uncomfortable cross-country trip.”

 

“It seemed like the logical thing . . .” Michael began, only to find himself cut of by another line of questioning.

 

“Are we really here to talk about Mr. Guerin's methods of transportation, or are we here to get some answers?” Nancy interrupted.  “I, for one, would like to know what's been going on the past year.  All we got from you was a journal and a note, both of which I've read cover to cover and I still don't understand a tenth of what it all means.”

 

“Exactly,” Amy chimed in.  “I think it's time for a Q & A.”  She nodded sharply for emphasis.

 

“It might be useful,” Diane nodded.  “You kids have no idea how worried we've been.”

 

Liz looked up to Max before looking back to the fretful parents. 

 

“What do you want to know?”  Liz offered, trying her best to not feel interrogated.

 

All three mothers began to speak at once, and Michael had to raise his hand.  “Hey, whoa, wait a minute,” he glared over at Liz.  “You’re unleashing the Dogs of War here, Liz.  What's the matter with you?”  Turning to look at Max, he continued.  “Maxwell, why don't you introduce Hanley and,” he started, gesturing towards Hanley and Raeve and then stopped as he noticed Raeve for the first time.  “Who the hell is this?” He squinted at her standing in front of the rising sun.  “Never mind.  Why don't you just explain a few things first and then we can open the class to questions.”

 

Maria tried not to laugh as Michael came back to her side, wrapping an arm around her waist.  “Well done,” She whispered sarcastically.

 

“Thanks. I try.”

 

“Anyway,” Max snapped with a slight grin.  “I guess the best place to start is to sum up what we've been through the last year, or if you want, Liz has been keeping another journal.”

 

“Which I have with me, by the way,” Liz piped in. “But I don’t think it’s enough.  The past year has been, well . . .” She broke off, unable to put her amalgamation of feelings into words.

 

Hanley stepped in. “It's been rough.  The FBI has been breathing down our necks, which is why we had to leave Boston.  However, I don’t think it is enough to stop them.  The threat will follow us wherever we go, regardless of whether it’s the FBI or other enemies.”

 

“That's right.” Raeve affirmed.  “Something is coming.  Something big.  That is the only explanation for the protectors being killed left and right.  And judging from the reports I’ve been getting, it’s coming soon.”

 

“Protectors?”  Amy asked in confusion.  “I'm sorry, but I missed the chapter about alien lingo.”

 

“We,” Raeve said, pointing to herself and Hanley, “are protectors.  Several of us have been sent here to make sure that the royal four were kept out of harm's way.  We tried to do this by keeping a low profile – sometimes watching them from afar, sometimes getting directly involved, as we are right now.  In other words, we’ve done whatever is necessary to keep them safe.”

 

Jeff eyed the group from off to the side, his eyes settling on Serena for an instant before moving over to Hanley. He spoke up.  “I read in Lizzie’s journal that each one of you has had another life before this and were sent here.  I can understand that whole aspect.  I even understand why Maria, Kyle, Jesse, and my daughter are standing by them.  But then there are you two and her over there, with the purple hair...” He gestured towards Ava.  “...and Serena,” He pointed towards Serena.  “What I want to know is why are they here?  I guess I'm just wondering why you keep pulling so many people into something so dangerous. Especially with what happened with Nasedo.”

 

Raeve glanced over Ava, Liz, Maria, and Serena before speaking.  “Some people don't just happen upon us . . . some people were never meant to be separated from us. As for Nasedo . . . let’s just say he got what he deserved. ”

 

Amy settled her hands on her hips.  “I really don't like the way you looked at my daughter when you said that.  What in the hell is that supposed to mean anyway?”

 

“Mom . . .” Maria set a gentle hand on her mother's shoulder.  “I'll explain it to you later okay? Please?”

 

Amy glanced up at Michael.  “Both of you are to come home with me tonight, you understand me?”

 

Michael nodded.  “Of course.”

 

Max stepped into the center of the circle. “What we need to know right now, right here, is if you'll help us.”  He looked to all of the parents.  “We need your support.  But if you're in . . . you're in, and there's no backing out. Ask my parents . . .” He gave them a helpless smile.

 

“Or ask my dad,” Kyle added.  “He's been shot at by Skins and FBI agents, and has lied and lost his job . . .” he trailed and sighed.  “It's not a part time gig, this alien business.”

 

“Exactly,” Max agreed.  “You have to be ready for anything at anytime, especially now when we don't really know what to expect.  But . . . we need the help.”

 

For a moment, everyone was silent as they looked at each other, eyes traveling from one person to the next.

 

“I'll help,” Amy said, breaking the silence by wrapping her arms around both Maria and Michael.  “This is my family, after all.”

 

“Max.  Isabel, Jesse . . .  You know that we're here for you, no matter what,” Diane said.  Isabel came forward and wrapped her mom in a tight hug. “Thank you, mom.”

 

Nancy and Jeff exchanged glances before Jeff spoke up.  “We'll help . . . in any way we can.”  Nancy nodded.  “Any way, at all.”

 

Liz smiled. “I knew you guys would.”

 

“Well, it's been awhile since I've grilled a hamburger at the Crashdown, so why don't we go and eat something?”  Michael suggested.

 

“Yeah, all of this drama has made me hungry, let's go,” Amy mumbled.

 

“All right,” Max said with a short laugh.

 

But as everyone started to filter down the rock face and towards their cars, Jeff and Nancy hung back, watching as Serena and Liz laughed in happiness and relief.

 

“We have to tell them,” Nancy breathed.

 

“Maybe we don't,” Jeff replied.

 

“We do,” Nancy said firmly.  “They have to know the truth.  They need to know about Yamine.”

 

 

~.~.~.~

 

3.

 

Dinner at the Crashdown was interesting to say the least.  Jeff had actually closed the restaurant down early, much to everyone’s surprise.  He simply reasoned that nothing should interrupt their reunion.  He’d be damned if he were going to be denied relishing this time he had been given with his ever-growing family.

 

The meal consisted of burgers and fries which Michael cooked, much to the shock of everyone.  While they ate, it was quiet.  Everyone had wanted to say something, but no one knew where to start.  In the end, all of the tough questions were forgone.  When a conversation did start up, most of the topics stay on the safe side of ‘what did you see,’ and ‘how was the weather?’ 

 

It was simply enough that they were together.

 

By the time everyone decided to part ways, it was almost midnight.  Amy was the first to leave, dragging Maria and Michael along behind her.  And they followed without a fight.  Well, almost.  In typical Michael fashion of old, he demanded that they have a plan for getting together in the morning.  Max agreed, and they made plans to meet back at the restaurant early for breakfast.

 

The Valenti’s were the next to head out, Serena in tow.  However, Hanley was a bit wary about leaving the two alone to chance another flight.  In the end, he decided to go with them. 

 

Jim took this in stride, walking out of the restaurant first.  Hanley went out behind him, only after glancing over his shoulder to make sure Kyle and Serena were coming. They both shuffled out of the restaurant knowing that it would be a long time before they would be allowed to live that one down.

 

“That’s my brother for you,” Raeve laughed.  “He can make a grown adult feel like they are two years old.”

 

“Tell me ‘bout it,” Ava chimed in.  “I still have nightmares about the lecture he gave after he managed to track me down.  We’re talkin’ scary.  Every good reason I had for goin’ and hidin’ was completely turned against me.”

 

Liz glanced over at her.  “That bad?”

 

“Oh yeah,” Ava agreed, wincing slightly as she remembered it.

 

“Bad . . . very bad.  Granted I don’t have much to compare it to, but thinkin’ of it sure gives me the wiggins.”

 

Max started to laugh.  “If he’s that intimidating then maybe I’ll just use him as the first line of defense against our enemies.  He just might be able to change their minds about whatever it is they have planned...”

 

His voice trailed off as he noticed the look Liz was giving him.  Both she and Ava had grown quiet and wide-eyed, glancing back and forth between him and Raeve.

 

Even Isabel and Jesse stopped their side conversation at his words, also looking over at the shapeshifter

 

For her part, Raeve wasn’t saying a word.  Her eyes were downcast, even growing a bit pale.  Then it dawned on Max what he had just said.

 

“Raeve, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean . . . I would never . . .” he apologized.  All of a sudden he realized just how much being a real king was going to change him – he’d even have to watch out what kind of jokes he made.

 

She turned to him, forcing a weak smile.  “Max, you don’t have to be sorry.  In fact, you shouldn’t be.  Whether you like it or not, you’re our King and all of this comes with the territory.  I knew what I was getting into when I came, so did Xaedon.  And, of course Hanley did.”

 

A nervous laugh emanated from everyone in an attempt to lighten the mood, but Raeve decided to up it on more notch.  “Besides, it’s not a bad plan.  Hanley could nag anyone to death.  Trust me, I’ve wished for death several times during his lectures.  I wouldn’t trade places with Kyle and Serena for anything right now.”

 

This earned an honest to goodness laughter out of everyone.

 

Glancing over from where she was standing with the remaining parents, Diane smiled.  Excusing herself, she made her way over to group.  “What’s so funny?” 

 

“Just my know-it-all brother,” Raeve joked.

 

“I know what those are like,” Isabel taunted, turning to look at Max.

 

“Hey, I resent that,” he countered.

 

“Or resemble it,” she retorted immediately.

 

“Abuse,” Max called out, good-naturedly.  “Abuse.  I’m being repressed!  Do you see her repressing me?  I’m wounded.  Liz, my wonderful wife, save me.”

 

Liz leaned over and kissed him.  “That better, honey?” 

 

“Oh yeah,” Max sighed, pulling her close for another kiss.

 

Ava wadded up a napkin and threw it at them.  “PDA’s man.  Enough.”

 

Everyone laughed, poking fun at each other. Diane silently watched the interaction between the group.  Deep down, seeing it helped soothe a part of her worried mind.  It made her happy to see them be so close to each other.  And while she still wasn’t too sure about the new . . .  aliens . . . in the group, Diane did have to give credit to Raeve.  She was really trying her best to lighten situation.  Wanting to protect her children also added points.

 

“So, are we ready to go, Mom?” Isabel asked, breaking Diane out of her thoughts.

 

“Yeah,” she admitted.  I was just coming over to get you guys.  Plus, I am sure that Mr. and Mrs. Parker would like to say goodnight to Liz.”

 

Nodding, Liz was the first to get up out of the booth, hurrying over to her parents to say goodnight.  Max wasn’t more than a few steps behind.

 

Hugging her parents, Liz promised to see them in the morning.  Max even shook Jeff’s hand and then gave Nancy a small hug.

 

At the same time, Isabel and Jesse finished picking up a few items that were scattered on the table and walked over to the trashcan to throw them away.

 

Within a matter of minutes, the Evans’ were heading out the door.

 

The Parkers watched them go, seeing them all get into their cars and driving off.  Finally though, they turned their attention back to their guests.

 

“I bet you both are tired,” Nancy sighed.

 

Ava and Raeve nodded in unison, admitting that the long day had gotten to them.

 

“Well, you both will be staying in Liz’s old room,” Jeff told them.  “I pulled out a cot so neither of you will have to sleep on the floor.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Parker,” Raeve said.

 

“Thanks,” Ava added.  “Much betta than the alley,” she added dryly.

 

Nancy squinted for a second, but let it drop.  Both Jeff and Nancy moved towards the back room.  “Well, this way you two,” Jeff offered.

 

Ava and Raeve followed quietly.

 

 

~.~.~.~

 

In the shadows across the street from the Crashdown, a passerby happened to stumble on what could be a very lucrative proposition.

 

“Yes, that’s what I said.  All of them are in Roswell.  I just watched them leave the Crashdown Café,” the nondescript woman whispered into the receiver of the payphone.  She was standing just outside the UFO Museum. 

 

Her eyes followed the beat-up van as it pulled out and made its way down Main Street.

 

“Massachusetts license plate, Sigma-Delta-Bravo 1564 . . .  Yep, I’m sure . . . ”

 

The van’s lights disappeared into the distance.

 

“Most definitely.  And there are others with them.  Now, tell me again, how much was that reward for?”

 

Barely able to hold in a squeal when the man on the other end repeated the amount, she watched as the Crashdown Café’s lights quietly went out. 

 

“Oh, my name!  Pam.  Pam Troy.”

 

~.~.~.~

 

Journal Entry, June 10th 2003

 

Going home again.  I once read a saying that it was the one thing people could never do.  Well, we have, and there is no doubt that it is affecting us each differently.  Some find comfort in being here in Roswell again.  After all, we grew up and found each other here.  Roswell definitely holds a special place in our hearts . . .  But it’s not the same anymore.

 

Just as the town has evolved over the past year, so have we.  I know that I’ve grown, changed – got married, for goodness sake.  In short, I am simply a very different person from the one that hopped in the van, heading for nowhere on Graduation night.  I just hope that my parents can understand that.  Actually, not just mine, but everyone’s.

 

In that way, this homecoming was different for the Jim and the Evans’.  They knew the reason why we left.  My parents, Amy… they had no clue.  I can’t even imagine how they felt before reading my journal.  And then afterwards, we weren’t there to fill in the blanks or answer the millions of other questions I’m sure they had.

 

Now, add ten months of worry on to that.

 

In other words, were all stuck with this big cloud of tension hovering over us.  It’s almost too large to just jump in and deal with it, but it’s going to still be there until we talk.  Therefore, the group is sort of at a standstill.  Something will happen to bring it to a head and I’m curious about who is going to be the first to charge in.  I think that’s what makes me nervous.

 

They say you can’t ever go home again.  I’m beginning to think that whoever “they” are . . . they might be right.

 

 

 

© 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.