© Copyright 2001-2016 WFTP RADIO NETWORK. All rights reserved. [REQUESTS: 702-601-4167]
Untitled Document
Navigate Our Site

Untitled Document


Get PlayOn!  Record From Netflix, Hulu and Amazon And Stream To Any Device!

“Discovery”

Story by Shira

Written by Jeslyn, Cole, Simon, Kristin, and Shira

Edited by Lisa, Lizzy, Mark, and Tiff

Playlist:

1. “This is Your Life” by Switchfoot

2. “This Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush

3. “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins

1.

Journal Entry: July 5, 2003

My name is Liz Parker and recently my life has been riddled with discoveries. Discoveries not only of myself, but about others around me. I remember writing not so long ago about how I, just a small town girl, held such a large secret. Now, I see that I’ve only begun to realize just how many people hold these huge secrets themselves.

Serena’s new powers are another discovery which I’m not sure I am ready to deal with. I can only imagine how she feels, having something so powerful within just all of a sudden unleashed without any warning.

And then there’s Isabel with her mindwarp. I know she’s been unsettled since she’s used it last; such a powerful gift that also carries an incredible propensity to abuse. It’s a huge burden that she’ll have to carry, no matter which way it’s used, if ever again.

Amy’s discovery about Maria was more of a natural one. She knew that her daughter had to eventually grow up and become a woman . . . I guess it’s just harder for her to accept since she hasn’t been able to be there for Maria and help her along the way.

After thinking about all of these discoveries that we have been going through, I’m left with one lingering thought. Are discoveries something that we, as a human race create, or are discoveries something that creates us, as a human race?

~.~.~.~.~

Six hours earlier. . .

Kyle checked his watch for what seemed like the fiftieth time before he turned back to his Sports Illustrated magazine. He had the television on and his feet up on the coffee table in an effort to relax, but it wasn’t working. He threw down the magazine in protest and looked down the hall. Serena had been alone in the bedroom for some time now, without making so much as a peep.

“Hey son,” Jim said, walking in the room and interrupting Kyle’s concentration.

“Hey, Dad.”

“Serena ready to go?”

Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno, haven’t seen her for some time.”

“Are you two still avoiding each other? You know son, if you keep giving each other the cold shoulder much longer, I’ll have to light a fire in the living room . . .” Jim chuckled, gesturing towards the closed door.

“Such a comedian,” Kyle said, glaring at his father and denying his request. Jim took a seat on the couch beside him.

“Kyle,” Jim shook his head. “Haven’t you learned anything from this whole experience?”

Kyle crossed his arms and sighed. “Never trust an alien? What exactly am I supposed to learn, dad? Buddha is fresh out of alien wisdom at this point.”

“Life,” Jim said simply, trying to formulate words with his hands but no sound forthcoming.

“I don’t understand,” Kyle said, rubbing his face in his hands wearily.

“Life is about not letting it pass you by. Life is short, sometimes too short,” Jim said, looking down at the carpet. “You are letting it go,” he added simply.

“Dad, I know that. It’s just . . . she lied to me . . . She’s an alien and she didn’t even bother to mention it to me; I trusted her,” Kyle tried reasoning.

“Maybe she was scared that you would react just like this,” Jim said quietly.

“Easy for you to say . . . easy for everyone to say. Just forgive and forget . . . it wouldn’t be so easy if they were in my shoes.”

“Kyle,” Jim said, gently putting his hand on Kyle’s shoulder.

Kyle tried to shrug out of his father’s grasp but to no avail. “No, don’t ‘Kyle’ me. She’s an alien and she’s a liar and--”

“She’s not Tess,” Jim interrupted.

“I, I know that,” Kyle said shakily. He began fiddling with the remote, tossing it between his fingers absently.

“Do you?” Jim asked, getting up from the couch.

“I’m scared,” Kyle said, his eyes beginning to water. “I’m scared of losing her.”

“Tell her how you feel Kyle, before it’s too late.” Jim put a comforting hand on his shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly.

“She won’t listen.”

Jim glanced down at his son and then the closed door down the hall. “Then make her.”

~.~.~.~.~

2.

Serena checked her watch for the millionth time. Jim said he would be giving her a ride to the Deluca residence at seven for an official ‘girls’ night out, and it was almost time to leave. She had never had a girls’ night before and the whole idea of it almost frightened her. She loved everyone, Liz, Maria, Isabel . . . but all together . . . doing girly things? What exactly were girly things, anyway?

Kyle opened the door a crack, peering in. Serena was inside and rummaging through a pile of clothing atop the bed, articles strewn everywhere. He took the opportunity while it existed.

“You are only going for one night, right? No need to peruse the entire closet.”

Serena whirled around to see Kyle standing in the doorway, a small smile playing tentatively on his lips. Standing there, he looked incredibly handsome, but she forced herself back to reality: the reality where the man that she loved didn’t trust her any longer.

“Maybe I’ll never come back . . . maybe that would make you happy,” she said defiantly.

“Serena . . .”

“You know what . . . maybe it would make us both happier . . . I mean lets face it, things have been really tense around here lately.”

“Serena, can we put down the barbs for just a second? Fighting is not the answer.”

“Oh as you so wonderfully displayed earlier this week?” Serena spit out bitterly. “Then what is? Tell me Kyle, because I would love to hear it. You’re mad at me because I’m a so-called alien, but no matter what I do, I can’t change what I am. I’m mad that you can’t understand it’s a part of me and yet it still doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”

“You lied to me,” Kyle said, raising his voice but only slightly. “You just led me to believe you were--”

“What, normal?” Serena said, finishing his sentence for him. “Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what life would be like if I were,” Serena said, grabbing her bag. She pushed past him and walked out into the living room, Kyle’s hopes crushed into bits.

~.~.~.~.~

“I’ve always loved this movie,” Amy sighed wistfully from her seat on the bed in the darkened room. “Look at him . . . how I’d like to grab his hulky form and grrrr!”

“Ms. D!” Liz cut in from the other side of the room where she sat, painting her nails by the light of the TV set. “That’s just disgusting! That guy must be sixty by now.”

“If I recall correctly, he’s only fifty-four,” Amy responded. “You girls just don’t understand, with all these pretty boys running around these days. Young people are so weird.”

“Mom, you don’t even know what his name is,” Maria cut in from behind, an amused tone edging her voice.

“Doesn’t matter, he’s still a hottie, so there,” Amy responded, sticking out her tongue. A wave of laughter spread through the group of girls assembled in the room. “Anyway, who’s the latest hottie these days? Anyone I should check out?”

“I don’t know . . .” Liz began thinking through a list of potential candidates as the movie droned on in the background.

“Orlando Bloom,” Raeve spoke up, keeping her eyes fixed on her toenails, which she was in the process of painting the blackest of black.

“For real?” Ava questioned. “He just don’t seem your type . . . in more ways than one,” she joked, laughter again spreading throughout the group. Raeve shot Ava an angry look but couldn’t help the smirk that broke through.

“What about you, Maria?” Amy asked, turning to face Maria. “Any celebs you’ve had your eye on?”

“Uh, I . . . don’t really know,” she spoke. “I haven’t really been paying attention to any TV or movies recently. Michael and I have been really wrapped up in each other I guess.” A slightly uncomfortable silence fell on the room as Maria stopped talking and descended into thought. A moment later she began talking again, looking around the room a little but being careful not to make eye contact with anyone and purposely avoiding Liz. “It feels strange without him; I mean, I’ve been with him almost every second since we moved out of Jesse’s; we haven’t spent a night apart since.”

“I know what you mean,” Isabel chimed in. “Jesse and I have been with each other every night. It feels so strange without him here.”

“Same with Max and I,” Liz added cautiously, noticing Maria’s refusal to look her way.

“Don’t we know it,” Ava joked. “You and him, hanging off each other like you’s joined at the hip or somethin’.”

Liz smiled, knowing it was true. She wouldn’t have it any other way, either. She looked around the room a bit and caught sight of Serena, seeming a bit distant as she watched the TV.

“Hey, you okay?” Liz questioned, trying to draw Serena’s attention away from whatever held it so firmly.

“Oh, uh, yeah.” Serena stumbled across her words, “Yeah, I was just thinking that it is sort of weird without . . . Kyle,” she smiled half-heartedly. “Not that we’d be a great pair to be around right now anyways.”

“You guys aren’t talking much?” Amy asked, trying to get Serena talking. “He didn’t take the news well?”

“You could put it that way,” Serena nodded. “He didn’t appreciate me not saying anything until now. I knew he would flip out, and that’s why I couldn’t tell him. I mean, what was I supposed to say? ‘Hi, I’m Serena, my mother was an alien, and how’s your day going?’ That just doesn’t seem the best way to start a relationship, and by the time introductions were over, it just didn’t feel as though it was the right time, you know? We just . . . clicked.”

“Good point,” Liz agreed. “I mean, I found out about Max and like Maria found out about three seconds after that,” she laughed. She cast a quick look over at Maria, who quickly averted her gaze, something that didn’t escape Amy’s attention. Liz carried on. “I guess it was easier for us to accept because . . . it seemed to make sense. I mean, Max never really seemed to have many friends even though he was, well, hot and all. He seemed to keep to himself; one of the things I thought was so alluring . . . but anyways. Apart from around Isabel and Michael of course and Maria, Alex and I got to know them as aliens from the start. Kyle found out after, a long time after, so it came as a huge shock to him. I guess he just didn’t expect to find out the same about you, you know?”

“Maybe . . . I should have told him, I know. But he didn’t have to get all angry about it, it wasn’t as if I betrayed him, or hurt him . . . I just didn’t have the courage to tell him because I knew what was going to happen.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Isabel spoke. “He’ll get over it. He just needs some time to get used to it . . .He always comes around or, almost always,” she laughed.

“Isabel’s right,” Liz agreed. “It won’t be long till you two are talking again. Besides, I’m probably part of why he reacted to badly. I mean, we meet you, just a girl from Fresno, and then you turn out to be my half-sister of all things. He’s bound to freak out about that alone,” she noted.

“Yeah, I can see how. But I hope you’re right about us working it out. That is, if I don’t bite his head off first,” Serena laughed back. “Thanks, though.”

“It’d be typical of him to say something like that, too.” Isabel laughed, “‘Argh, the aliens are coming! Evil beings from outer space!’”

“Yeah, he wasn’t exactly the first to leap into support when he found out,” Liz reflected. “But he definitely comes through, despite any paranoia. Speaking of paranoia . . .”

“Michael,” Isabel finished, nodding. “I know, he sure doesn’t like the idea of the FBI being so close, even if they’re gone for now. He’s always like that though. It’s either, ‘we can’t wait for them to find us’, or it’s ‘we have to take them out before they get us’. He needs to learn to relax.”

“I think he’s right to worry,” Maria spoke up in his defense. “I mean, we didn’t know that the FBI was onto us in Boston, so what’s to stop them from surprising us again here?”

“Me,” Raeve said simply. “If there’s anything to know about the FBI, I’ll know it. I mean, I have contacts in high places . . .” She reverted to painting her toes dutifully.

Maria threw Raeve a satirical glance. “I suppose . . . but even so, you can’t fault Michael for being so anxious about it,” Maria conceded. “Though maybe it would be nice to have a little time to relax,” she smiled.

“Duh, girl-time is now,” Ava said. “Besides, the FBI aroun’ here is gone . . . at least for the moment. Me and Iz made sure of that, remember? I mean, it took some doin’, but I think it worked out. Theys gonna be chasing their own tails for at least some weeks now.”

Serena laughed, remembering the two agents beating each other up. She also placed her hand on her chest, silently reflecting on the bullet she took.

“Yeah, it sure did take some doing alright,” Isabel agreed, her eyes turning downcast as she mulled it over in her brain.

The movie still droned on in the background. It was showing some woman lying unconscious in the arms of the big hero whom Amy liked so much.

“You okay about using your mind warp, right?” Ava asked. “’Cause you did great back there, ya know?”

“Yeah, I know . . .” Isabel said, though it was obvious she wasn’t so convinced. “It’s just . . . I don’t know, it’s just I swore to myself never to use it, ever. I mean, you know what Tess . . .” she paused as the name stumbled out of her mouth. Tess had been so important to Isabel, perhaps the first time she’d ever had a best friend and then she had turned out to be the typical murderous, clichéd evil alien. Isabel swallowed hard and continued. “You know what happened with Alex, and what the mind warp did to him . . .”

“You gotta let it go, girl. It ain’t a curse, Iz,” Ava said, becoming more serious. “It’s part of you now, an’ will be for the rest of your life. Don’t let what she did effect what you do wit’ it. It’s not an evil power. It mighta been used for bad, but it can be used for good, too. The same as all our powers, that ain’t no different.”

“She’s right, Isabel,” Amy spoke again, breaking the silence she had been under as she listened. “I mean, I’m not going to pretend to know what exactly happened with Alex or anything, because I wasn’t as aware as you guys were about what truly went on. But you used that power to get rid of the bad guys that threatened all of us . . .you can’t say that that isn’t a good thing.”

“And nobody got killed,” Ava added, nodding dutifully.

“Well almost no one,” Serena spoke up, the entire group chuckling somberly.

“I couldn’t have done it without ya, Isabel,” Ava assured her. “Besides, I haven’t turned out too bad, have I? I’m here to help out anytime if ya need it.” The rest of the group nodded in agreement, offering their support.

“Thanks Ava . . . and the rest of you, thanks,” Isabel smiled, “I really appreciate the support.”

A silence descended upon the group and the sound of the mushy music in the background droned on, filling the room.

“I love this movie,” Amy repeated.

“We’ve missed most of it,” Maria observed cynically, scratching her ear.

“Well, you want to rewind it then?” Amy spoke with a touch of sarcasm. “Anything else you’d like to add? How about a sniff of some eucalyptus?”

“NO,” Maria said shortly, irritated at the way Amy had just spoken to her. Part of her mind welcomed the familiar attitude Amy was giving her, but part of her disliked it with every fiber she had. She sighed, trying to block out the negative feelings. “No thanks, Mom, I’m fine. I’ve gone off the smells a little, anyway.”

Amy blinked. She knew people changed over time, but this was more than she had expected. Her Maria didn’t even look the same as she had just a few months ago. Maria had been known for coloring her hair and wearing clothes most would think unique, but . . .

“Well, that was . . . old,” Raeve stated cynically, interrupting Amy’s thoughts as the ending credits rolled up the screen. “Any more stunning films like that we can treat our nostalgia with?”

“Well, you girls can choose this next one, I’ve got an appointment with a certain high-ranking lawman from around these parts,” Amy informed gleefully. “But I want to hear everything about what goes on,” she added with a smirk. She got up and began making her way to the door. “Ah, youth, how I miss you.”

“See ya, Ms. D,” Liz said, followed by similar sayings from the others.

“See ya later, girls,” Amy spoke, closing the door behind her. It was so strange having them all back again, having Maria back home, even if she had changed. She sighed. It was just good to have everything the way it should be.

~.~.~.~.~

Max came into the room, carrying a large bowl of popcorn fresh from the kitchen. He sat on the couch in front of the television, which Michael just turned on.

“I can’t believe that my parents kept some of your stuff around, Michael,” Max said, eyeing the Playstation 2 and the foosball table curiously.

“No home is complete without the bare essentials,” Michael said with a smile, flipping through the channels happily. He wasted no time stretching out on the comfortable lazy-boy recliner, his feet perched up on the coffee table.

Max smiled at Michael’s remark . . . this home was plenty complete without them. His parent’s decorating style could definitely do without a foosball table as the lone eccentric eyesore. He chuckled, trying to picture his parents playing Playstation after work while listening to Michael’s Metallica CD’s, which sat alphabetized in their cases under the television. ‘Nope...’ he whispered to himself. ‘Definitely can’t picture that.’

“What’s that?” Michael asked, momentarily pausing from his channel surfing.

“Oh nothing,” Max said. “My parents . . . they must like you, or something.”

Michael smiled briefly. “Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Evans,” he said loudly before returning to his channel surfing, taking the bowl of popcorn with him.

“So what are we watching?” Kyle asked, jumping onto the couch and taking a seat next to Michael and Max.

“Hockey,” Michael said quickly, his eyes already glued to the screen, only briefly sharing the large popcorn bowl with the others.

“Might be the Three Stooges,” Max said with a smirk.

“Oh, wiseguy, eh? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” Kyle played into it, but Max wasn’t going there. And neither was Michael, whose ironclad gaze could have stopped the Energizer Bunny dead in his tracks.

“And my dad says I’m cold, sheesh!” Kyle said, brushing Michael’s frigid gaze away.

“It’s Bewitched or nothing man, get it straight!” Michael joked.

Max took a moment to pause and reflect on the scene. This was so serene . . . a little too serene, Max realized as he sat back, observing. There he was sitting on the end of the couch, next to his most loyal friends . . . kicking back and relaxing. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. He could totally get used to this . . . well if Liz was there then things would be perfect.

Somehow, he couldn’t help thinking that this was the calm before the storm. He shook his head of those thoughts quickly. This was not the time for bad thoughts. Tonight was about one thing and one thing only . . . hanging out and chillin’ with the guys. He opened his eyes to find Hanley and Jesse standing awkwardly in the doorway to the living room, watching the TV with blank stares.

“You guys just going to stand there all night, or are you going to join the fun?”

The two men slowly made their way over to the recliners which flanked the Evans’ huge sofa . . . both feeling a little outside the group.

“You guys need to relax,” Michael said, watching the two men sit down nervously as they stared at the television. “And here, have some Cheetos.”

Michael threw a freshly opened bag of snacks over to Jesse, some of the contents spilling out during their flight.

“I haven’t had a guys night out since college,” Jesse reminisced, still feeling a little uneasy about spending the whole night apart from his wife, especially with all of the drama that had unfolded. Still, it was a welcome change.

Jesse took a Cheeto out of the bag and examined it before taking a bite. “So, Kyle,.” he mumbled between chomps. “You okay with the whole Serena – alien thing?”

Jesse grabbed a handful of the snacks and tossed the bag to Hanley, who caught the parcel with the precision of a hawk.

“It is like Buddha says, the wind and the feather . . .”

“For the love of Pete, no more Buddha!” Max said, rolling his eyes. He grabbed the end chair pillow and launched it at Kyle, hitting him square in the chest.

“Fine!” Kyle retorted, scratching his head. “We had a talk, but we ended up fighting . . . she just doesn’t get it . . . I just feel conflicted, you know? I like her, but she lied to me. She’s an alien, and that’s that . . . So, how about some Playstation?”

Kyle walked over to the television and turned on the little black box, the screen going blue.

Michael loudly sighed. “Come on now, I was watching that!”

“Get over it,” Kyle said with a sly smile “You can catch the highlights on ESPN later.”

“That’s not the point . . . I want to watch it now!” Michael growled, eying Kyle dangerously. “What you need to do is apologize to Serena, move on, and let me watch the damn game!”

Max chuckled inwardly, trying not to let his amusement show. Kyle sighed and tried to bite his tongue, but to no avail.

“Like you did after you hurt Maria?” Kyle stated.

Michael turned to glare at Kyle and he immediately knew that he went too far. Michael sank back into the couch and crossed his arms. The once semi-happy Michael was now in full-time brooding mode.

“I’ll play,” Jesse said, moving closer to the television, trying to ease the newly created tension.

A cell phone rang shrilly, everyone checking their pockets.

“It’s mine,” Hanley said, answering it and quickly exiting the room.

“Wonder what that was all about?” Michael pondered.

Max shrugged his shoulders. “With him it could be anything from alien infestation to pizza delivery.”

Kyle put the Hockey disc into the Playstation and gave a short knowing chuckle. “Maybe Hanley is a bit of a player. At least someone should be getting some action around here.” He glanced back at Max’s expression. “Thought it was Liz, didn’t you Max?”

“I know we have only been away for each other for a few hours now, but we haven’t spent this much time apart in a long time . . . I just thought she would check in or something,” Max said quietly.

“Forget it,” Jesse said with a smile. “They’re too busy doing each other’s nails and gossiping about us, all giggly and what not.”

“Is that all girls really do at those things?” Kyle asked, staring off into space. “I always pictured slumber parties as being a bunch of half-naked girls all dressed in only their slinky, silky pajamas, having pillow fights and dancing around to cheesy 80’s music . . .”

The four other men looked off into the distance, each picturing their girls dancing around, deep in a pillow fight.

“Okay, okay . . . everyone needs to keep their eyes on the ball here,” Michael said, bringing everyone back into reality.

“Michael . . . give it a rest,” Max warned, only half paying attention to what he had said.

Michael pointed at the TV. “No, the game. You just lost Kyle, nice way to diss the Leafs like that . . .”

“Oh,” Max replied, scratching his eyebrow in confusion.

“But Hanley has been on that cell a lot lately . . . slinking off into other rooms to have his ‘private’ conversations. He knows something that he isn’t telling us,” Michael snuck in.

“That would be nothing new,” Max added.

“So what are you saying?” Jesse asked.

“That we need to be more prepared . . . instead of playing Playstation,” Michael paused to look at Kyle. “We need to be figuring out a plan.”

“What kind of plan?” Max asked. “Watching hockey?”

Michael glared at Max. “A contingency plan. I don’t know . . . I just know that the FBI isn’t just going to all of a sudden stop looking for us. I mean we’re here, back in Roswell, the most visible and obvious place on the planet. We’re out here, in the open, without a plan, like sitting ducks.”

“Everyone needs to relax,” Hanley said, making his entrance back into the room. “That is what tonight is about. Whether you believe me or not, this is what is best for all of us right now. I assure you my brother has everything under control.”

“Hanley is right,” Max said. “We are here to mellow out tonight.” He gave Michael a slight look, hoping he would understand.

“Yeah and after the last year we’ve had, we deserve a night to ourselves. After spending 24/7 straight with Isabel, Liz, and Maria always at our sides, need I mention the lack of bathroom space? Us guys deserve a night away,” Kyle said, trying to lighten the mood. “Man, Jesse, Max . . . I don’t know how you did it . . . sharing a bathroom with Isabel for so long . . . she is in there all the time.”

“But we need to know who we can trust and we need a plan if something happens,” Michael continued, completely ignoring Kyle’s efforts to lighten the atmosphere.

“No, what we need is to chill out tonight and think of a plan tomorrow. Michael, this is something on all of our minds, but we also need a break from the chaos, if only for one night,” Max pleaded as he wrung the pillow in his hands, silently pleading with Michael to drop it.

Michael nodded his head and got up from his position on the couch.

“Wait,” Max started, but Michael already beat him to it.

“Hey, make some room for me,” Michael said, sitting between Kyle and Jesse on the floor in front of the television.

“Maybe we should play some poker,” Jesse suggested.

“Maybe we should call the girls for some strip poker,” Kyle laughed, even Hanley managing a childish smile.

Max shook his head in disgust, once again throwing the pillow at Kyle and hitting him in the back of the head. “The last thing I want is to see my sister naked, you know how she is with card games,” he said firmly.

~.~.~.~.~

Liz lay quietly in her sleeping bag, using the light of a small flashlight to write in her journal. It was after the others had gone to sleep, and sleep was not becoming her without Max by her side. They had always slept next to each other ever since the night that they had left Roswell. One of the most calming things in life to Liz was the soft sound of Max’s rhythmic breathing beside her. Just knowing that Max was resting and peaceful was enough to calm Liz after any day, and not having that tonight was enough to leave her a little on edge. It was nice to have a break with the girls, to have her old friends around, but that didn’t ease her longing for Max.

Just as Liz was finishing up writing about her feelings, she heard a soft knock on the window above her head. Looking up slowly she was happy to see Max peering in. She motioned him to go to the front door so she wouldn’t wake the others in the room.

When Liz reached the front door, she immediately unlocked it, pulling Max inside and kissing him deeply.

“What are you doing here?” She asked as they finally separated.

“I missed you,” he whispered so as not to wake the rest of the sleeping household.

“I missed you too,” Liz admitted.

“I had a feeling,” Max said, with a smile hinting at their connection.

“Come on in . . . but be quiet,” Liz said, taking Max by the hand and pulling him with her onto the Deluca’s living room couch. Max fell softly on top of her, kissing her deeply. They continued kissing until both of them were out of breath, past memories of Utah and California flashing between them.

“Liz,” Max moaned deeply, pulling her closer. She closed her eyes, letting the feelings of the moment rush through and saturate her body, the sensations lifting and filling every pore. She felt a premonition starting to come on, and grabbed onto Max tightly, shuddering with each flash.

There he was, entering the Café . . . He stared at her longingly without even meaning to, every muscle, every hair screaming her name. He walked in slowly, enroute to their old familiar booth, the feelings and memories sending shivers of pleasure up her spine and all the way down to her fingertips. Nothing else mattered, all creation paled in comparison to this one moment. Time itself seemed to stop and the yield right-of-way to his Majesty, the royal King of Antar, who stood looking on her. Oh, how he could do that with just a simple glance . . . she could only hope he felt nearly the same way as she did.

As she opened her eyes, he was right there, looking into her radiant eyes with that same longing.

“Wha-” Max began, but Liz stopped him with a finger on his lips before he could ask. She wanted to cry from joy, but choked it down and instead engulfed him in a hug.

“I love you,” she managed simply, his confusion fading to understanding, his arms cuddling her in return. He didn’t have to ask what she saw; he could feel it.

They lay like that for some time, the seemingly unimportant and picayune dark living room and couch being the pinnacle of all sanctuaries as far as they were concerned.

Liz let up gently, motioning him to get up. “Thank you,” she said. “For everything. But you’d better be going before someone catches us here, and thinks we are copulating or something.”

Max smiled at her, placing one final kiss on her lips before slipping silently out the door.

After locking and shutting the door behind him, Liz slowly crept back into Maria’s old room where everyone else was still soundly asleep. Crawling back into her sleeping bag, she closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh of contentment. Now she would be able to sleep for sure.

~.~.~.~.~

When Maria opened her eyes the next morning, the entire ceiling was spinning. Not only was the ceiling spinning, but her stomach was matching it revolution for revolution.

“Oh god, not again,” she moaned as she fell out of bed and stumbled over to the bathroom. Pulling herself up to the counter, she opened the medicine cabinet in search of some Pamprin, thinking that the stomach pain and nausea were pre-menstrual like the previous days. That thought quickly vanished as she began to heave the contents of her stomach into the sink.

Hearing the sound from down the hall, Amy came upstairs and into the bathroom. “Maria honey, are you alright?” She asked, closing the door behind her. “Are you coming down with something?”

Pulling her hair up and to the side, Maria wiped her mouth with a wet washcloth and then plopped down onto the toilet. “Yeah, maybe so,” she said aloud. Or maybe it was another side effect from being . . . altered, she wasn’t sure. There were supposed to be changes, after all.

Kneeling down next to her, Amy rubbed a soothing hand over her back while resting Maria's head on her shoulder. While Amy loved having a moment to care for her daughter once again, she had to determine what was making her sick.

“What happened to you, Maria?” Amy asked, her voice full of worry. She took her daughter's face between her hands. “You're different somehow,” she said, getting a good look at her. “Your hair is darker than it’s ever been and your eyes . . .” She looked straight into them and didn't say anything.

“Yeah?” Maria prodded, her voice faraway and small.

Amy gave her a knowing look. “Maria, I birthed you, bathed you, the whole nine yards and so I think I know what color your eyes are supposed to be . . . and they're not this violet-green combo!” She cried. “Not to mention that you have absolutely no direction to anywhere or anyone save Michael. Do you even know what planet you are on?”

“Mom!” Maria complained. She started to rise and then plopped right back down, the nausea returning in force.

“Oh no, Maria. You're not getting away that easily . . . I want to know what's going on. You look like you're going to be sick again, let me get you a wet towel to put on your forehead,” Amy rattled. “It isn’t some alien bug, is it? If it is, I’m gonna kill that Guerin kid.”

“No mother . . .” Inhaling deep and then exhaling, Maria tried to explain. “Haven't you seen by now what it's like for us, all the anxiety and drama? Sheesh, we’d make a good soap opera. ‘The Young and the Alien,’ or how about ‘As the Worlds Churn,’ yeah that’s it. . .”

Amy shot her a disapproving look. “Well, Maria, honestly . . .none of it makes a whole lot of sense to me. All I know is that you’re sick, and I want to help.”

“Exactly,” Maria interrupted, leaning back as Amy laid a dampened towel across her forehead. “It makes no sense and sometimes it makes even less sense than no sense. It makes . . . non-sense, but the one thing through it all that does make any sense whatsoever is Michael.”

Amy gave her a disbelieving look. “Maria, that boy doesn't even make sense to himself half of the time.”

Maria gave a short laugh and a small smile. “Yes, I know. Can't you see that's why he needs me?”

“To help him make sense of himself?”

“Yes!”

“Alright,” Amy surrendered, sobering and asking seriously, “What's happened with you two anyways? You seem . . .” She searched for the right words. “Closer. Closer than ever.”

“Yeah, we are. We . . . we were living together in Boston. Alone, we had our own place, it was perfect,” Maria blurted out.

“You what?” Amy asked calmly, yet pointedly.

“We,” Maria gazed up, looking for the words, but her gaze suddenly fixated on a box of tampons on the shelf, all concentration lost.

“Hello?” Amy asked.

How long had it been? Calculations began to run through her mind. 7, 14, 21 days . . . it was all leading towards the one inevitable conclusion.

“I'm pregnant . . .” She breathed out wispily, standing up with eyes wide. Swallowing, she grabbed onto the sink for support. “Oh god, oh god, that's it... that's why I've been feeling sick, hungry, and crabby . . .”

Amy listened in dumb shock, trying mentally to keep up, mortal images of Michael flashing in her mind. Her jaw dropped open.

“And, god, I didn't even notice that I'm like two and a half months late, but with everything that's been going on . . .” She trailed off, slowly looking downward, gently placing her hands over her stomach. Suddenly, Maria started crying as she remembered from the dark and ever mysterious corners of her memory a time when she'd once felt and done the very same thing, at another time . . . in another place . . . on another planet.

It was a miracle.

And it was also a nightmare.

Maria looked up to her mother, her eyes swimming in tears. “What are we going to do Mom? I—We . . .”

“Oh, baby . . . it's going to be okay,” Amy breathed out as she came forward and pulled her daughter into her arms. She was surprisingly gentle now, when just seconds before, when she'd registered the words I'm pregnant from her daughter's lips, she'd been imagining how many different ways she could murder Michael Guerin.

“How long have you been sleeping together?” Amy suddenly asked.

Maria swallowed. “Do you really want to know?” She asked, somewhat meekly, still reeling from her discovery yet not completely aware of the implications.

“Yes, Maria, I really want to . . . no, never mind, I must be out of my mind. I don't want to know how long you've been lying to me.”

“I never lied to you,” Maria cried, pulling away. “Never,” She breathed. “And never once has it ever been just about sex between us. Never . . . it probably should have been at least once, but it never has been. And the first time . . .” She sighed. “If you must know, it wasn't even his idea.”

“Oh, Maria . . . don't tell me that!”

“He told me things . . . things he'd never told anyone . . . ever.” As Maria continued, she realized that she'd forgotten a lot of what she was now explaining. “And he made me Italian . . . although we never actually got around to eating any of it.” She stopped suddenly. “Never mind about that part, but it was a wonderful night. . . And you know what? I wouldn't change that memory for anything.”

Amy bit her tongue against the typical motherly saying, You're too young . . .Now, look what happened and simply said, “I'm happy that he's been treating you right, at least. But how could you let this happen . . . how did this happen, Maria?”

“Something happened to me and I can't really explain it,” Maria said, realizing that she didn't completely remember everything about how she'd gotten the way she was. She knew that it had been Michael, but that was about it. “I can't really explain it, because I don't remember everything. But, this . . .” She looked down towards her stomach. “Happened during that time. I wasn't myself . . . and I don't think Michael really was either, and it just must have happened.”

“What do you mean, you weren't yourself?” Amy asked suspiciously. “Were you drunk, or something? Was Michael drunk?”

“No,” Maria shook her head adamantly. “No, trust me . . . Michael has only gotten drunk once in his life and it ended up being, well a mess, and he was in a lot of pain . . . just trust that you'll never have to worry about Michael doing any more drinking.”

“Well then what happened, Maria?” Amy said, her patience quickly running thin.

Maria shook her head. “The best explanation I can give you . . . is that I don't know. But you can ask Michael, he knows. I need to ask him about a few things myself. I've just been putting it off, I guess.” She said with a shrug, looking up at her mother seriously. “But don't tell him about the . . . baby.”

“Are you going to?” Amy asked.

“Do I have a choice? Of course I will tell him. I just don’t know when or how,” Maria said, closing her eyes and laying her head to rest on her mother’s shoulder. Amy reached up and stroked her daughter’s hair, wondering what had happened to her baby.

~.~.~.~.~

Amy had been sitting there in silence holding her daughter’s head on her shoulder. A knock on the bathroom door startled her out of her thoughts. Glancing at her daughter, she noticed that Maria stared at the ceiling, her eyes narrowed as if in deep thought. The knocking grew more insistent and when Amy looked at the bathroom door, Liz’s voice reverberated on the other side.

“Hello? Is everything okay in there?”

Amy sighed, brushing a stray black hair away from her daughter’s face. She slowly lifted Maria’s head from her lap and stood up, walking over to the door. When she opened it, Liz glanced at her and then over her shoulder at Maria. Amy watched as the girl who had always been her daughter’s childhood best friend gasped and pushed herself into the small bathroom. She crouched in front of Maria and looked at her, her eyes narrowed with worry.

“She’s not feeling well,” Amy informed Liz, and then switched to questioning. “Liz, what happened to my daughter out there while all of you were away?”

“I’m okay now,” Maria insisted. “Really, it’s okay Liz. Nothing is wrong.”

Amy made her own mental check of her daughter’s health, noting the rosy color of her cheeks returning. Maria did look better now than she did when huddled over the toilet, and so she glanced at Liz as if to back her up. To her surprise, however, the way Liz was looking back at her with those wide doe brown eyes suggested that Maria indeed wasn’t fine and maybe indicated just a twinge of pity towards her for not really understanding the situation with her daughter.

“Something is wrong,” Amy told her daughter firmly, adding to both girls, “And I wish that one of you would explain it to me.”

“Maria,” Liz said, glancing down at her. “We have to tell your mom, she loves you.”

“No, and why are you so concerned anyways Liz?” Maria bit out in an annoyed tone.

“No fair,” Liz countered. “You might be different now, but I’m still your friend.”

They shared a brief stare until Liz turned around to face Maria’s mom. Amy looked at her and then at Maria.

“Ms. D,” Liz said, “Michael did something alien to her. I’m not sure what exactly and I don’t think he meant to do it . . . but it changed her. He spent every day afterwards trying to make her better and she is better, thanks to him.”

“What did he do to you, Maria?” Amy demanded, kneeling down and grasping her daughter gently by the shoulders. “Did he hurt you?”

“No!” Maria spat, yanking herself free from her mother’s grip as she stood up.

Amy kept her eyes on Maria, watching the tears well up in her daughter’s eyes. She tried to step forward, to comfort Maria, but Maria stepped back toward the bathroom door. Then Maria spoke up, her voice stubborn and weak from the emotions roaring inside her.

“You don’t understand, mom, and it’s too difficult. Just leave me alone!”

Amy opened her mouth to say something, but Maria left the bathroom and closed her bedroom door before any words ever had a chance to come out. Amy’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of bare feet on the tile floor, realizing Liz was still in the bathroom. She turned to Liz, hoping the girl would say more, but that look of compassion returned to Liz’s eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Liz told her softly.

Then she left the bathroom as well, leaving Amy alone and in shock. Amy set the lid down onto the toilet and sat on it, thinking about how she could figure out what that alien boy did to her daughter . . . besides getting her knocked up. Then a solution presented itself, clear as day.

“Michael,” she muttered to herself, and she knew. If anyone could explain what happened to her baby girl it would be him. He made her that way after all, and Amy would do whatever it took to figure out what he did to her and why she returned to Roswell so changed. She had to find out for her daughter’s sake because if she guessed right, Maria probably didn’t understand her situation and she had every right to know exactly what was happening. Amy would see to it that she did.

~.~.~.~.~

Looking up from the countertop she was cleaning, Liz smiled as Max entered the Café, remembering the moment they shared the night before. He glanced at her for a moment, returning a warm grin and joining his sister at their regular booth with Jesse short in tow. Hanley, she noticed, entered the restaurant soon after and picked a small table in the corner to sit at. While Raeve joined him at the small table, his cell phone rang again and he answered it with a scowl etched on his face.

Quickly discarding her washrag, Liz moved to greet her husband and take his food order until she noticed Sheriff Hanson sitting across from her at the counter.

“Hello, Liz,” he greeted her kindly.

“Good afternoon Sheriff,” Liz replied in her best waitress voice. “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, thank you,” he said with a small grin. “You know, I noticed that neither of your parents is around. Last minute vacation?”

“Yeah,” Liz said confidently, pouring the coffee into his mug. “First one in years. Everyone needs a break, once in a while.”

“Not that it’s really any of your business,” Serena spoke up, busily carting food out from the kitchen to the dining area.

Liz smiled at her half-sister. “It’s okay, really,” she told Serena. “Why don’t you go wait on table eight please, I’ll be right behind you.”

Serena rolled her eyes, but obeyed Liz anyway, grabbing the order pad and pencil. She watched Serena approach the booth where Max was sitting. Max looked up, expecting to see Liz. Seeing Serena instead, he looked back at Liz, silently wondering if she needed help with the sheriff. She hoped he wouldn’t come over, and he didn’t.

“New waitress in town?”

Liz jumped at Hanson’s words. She had been lost in Max’s eyes again and didn’t expect Hanson to say anything else and only caught part of it. Forcing a grin on her face she nodded and found what she hoped were the right words.

“Why, you interested?”

“No, I . . .” he stated quickly, trying to recompose himself while shelling out change for the coffee. “It’s nice to see that you have everything under control here, Ms. Parker. This place is like a permanent fixture in this town. Give my regards to your father and have a nice day.”

“Thanks for stopping by,” Liz told him cheerfully, but as soon he left, she ran her fingers over her face in frustration.

“So that’s the sheriff of this town?” Serena spoke up from behind the bar. “I hope he’s smarter than he looks. Hey, are you okay?”

“Fine,” she assured her softly. “It’s just the stress of running this place. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but--”

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing we can’t handle together,” Serena assured her before quickly getting down to business. “Now José just finished the order for some of our most favorite patrons. You wanna help me serve it? There’s a cute guy involved, and I think he’s been looking at you.”

“Sure,” Liz replied with a nod, a smile returning to her lips. They grabbed both trays, heading for table eight.

“One Crashdown combo and fries,” Serena stated, setting the plate in front of Jesse. “And a Mini-Me sundae for the missus.”

“And the usual of course, your Majesty,” Liz said to Max, her eyes fixated on his.

Serena rolled her eyes and dragged Liz over to Hanley’s table. As they approached, Hanley stood up and stalked into the men’s room, still talking away on his cellphone, even himself seemingly annoyed by it. Raeve gave Serena an apologetic look, with Liz grinning a reply. Raeve looked at the menu quickly.

“Let’s see, how about a couple of Will Smith burgers and a couple cherry cokes,” Raeve told her.

“Okay,” Liz said, taking the menus order and looking at Raeve while she added, “Is everything okay?”

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Raeve told her. “He’s been on his cell phone all day and from what I can tell, whatever it is doesn’t have to do with any of you just yet. If something comes up, we will let you know.”

“Okay,” Liz said, retreating toward the kitchen until Raeve spoke again.

“And Liz,” she said while Liz turned to face her, “I know my brothers. They will make sure that your parents return in one piece.”

“I know,” Liz assured herself, “I know.”

Liz didn’t mind that Raeve was concerned about her, since that was part of the protector’s job description. Still, there was nothing she could say that would make Liz relax.

Everyone was in the restaurant, except Michael, Maria, and Amy. An enemy would have every advantage to attack them in such a vulnerable position. The damage their weapons could inflict was astronomical, even if Max and the others could fix the people and building up again.

She placed the order on the turnstile and spun it, walking into the back room. The truth was that part of her blamed herself for her parents’ capture. Losing her parents for a while was one thing, but it would be quite another to loose the entire restaurant, since it remained her family’s sole source of income. She didn’t know if she could handle this new responsibility all by herself. She didn’t even understand any of the business math her father was so good at.

“Liz, that old waitress just went for another–” Serena began, barging into the backroom but stopping when she noticed the tears running down Liz’s face. Liz wiped at her eyes and plopped onto the break room couch, her eyes fixed on the floor.

“Hey, you know our dad and your mom are just fine. Hanley said so and this job we’re doing at their restaurant is probably the best way to pay them back for all that they have had to endure since all of us returned,” Serena told her, sitting beside her on the couch.

“Yeah, I know,” Liz said shakily. “It’s not just all this that’s bothering me though, you know. It’s everything combined. I haven’t had much time to vent.”

“Okay, so vent,” Serena suggested. “Go right ahead. I’m listening.”

“This place for starters. Agnes, José, getting Michael back into the kitchen. Maria, whatever changed her really threw me for a loop, and it is devastating Amy.”

“She was your best friend, I know.”

“Still is somehow, even though she doesn’t seem to remember, or care,” Liz rationalized. “And my parents . . . our dad, kidnapped by the Special Unit. That’s the icing on the cake,” Liz spat, plopping her hand down uselessly on the seat next to her.

“But, they are okay now Liz,” Serena reminded her.

“Yeah I know,” Liz agreed softly and added a few seconds later, “Oh one last thing. Kyle seems especially grumpy lately, which doesn’t help the group’s dynamics.”

“Oh?” Serena sat up straighter. She added nonchalantly, “Why the concern for Kyle?”

“He’s a good friend. Seeing him or anyone else unhappy is unnerving.”

“Well, don’t worry, okay? Kyle will be just fine,” Serena assured her. Liz nodded. Serena continued. “Like Max said, we’re strongest as a group so I don’t think we have to worry about being attacked while we’re all together.”

“Hey ladies!” José called to them from the kitchen. “Your orders are ready and getting cold. By the way, if you want lunch you better give me your order right now before I take my break.”

“Okay,” Liz shouted back, “I’ll have a Sigourney Weaver.”

“Will Smith for me please, and prepare that with table ten please,” Serena told him, adding to Liz, “We better serve that food and hope Agnes comes back sometime today.”

“She will,” Liz assured her with a small laugh, “This is her main source of income too.”

~.~.~.~.~

Tension hung thick in the air at the Deluca house as Maria, Michael, and Amy all sat eating a quiet dinner. Michael had noticed earlier that Maria was lost in her own thoughts and had barely taken a bite of her food. He hadn't had a real chance to ask her what was going on. And he had no clue why Amy suddenly invited him over for a family dinner. She'd been livid with him ever since he'd walked through the front door about an hour ago and he couldn't fathom what he'd done to set her off, especially since he hadn't even been around.

Maria suddenly rose from the table. “I--I'm . . . I'll be back,” she stuttered as she nearly ran down the hallway, holding her mouth. Michael heard the bathroom door slam shut.

He turned back to Amy. “Your cooking isn’t that bad. What’s up with that?”


Amy glared at him before tossing her napkin aside. “Maria's room, now!” Amy demanded and rose quickly from the table, knocking her chair over backwards in the process.

Michael watched the chair rattle to the floor with a raised eyebrow as Amy stormed down the hallway. Rising from the table he thought it best he follow her. Cautiously he looked around the corner into Maria's room, only to be yanked into the room and then pushed back up against the wall. He looked down into Amy's livid green eyes, so much like Maria's, as she stabbed a finger into his chest.

“I want to know what the hell happened to my daughter out there and you are going to tell me right now young man, or else so help me god they will never find your corpse!” Amy threatened.

Michael blinked, swallowing hard. “Ummm . . . what,” he cleared his throat. “What do you want to know?”


“Don't play dumb with me, Mister Guerin. I asked Maria and she said that she doesn't remember what happened to her, but she said that you would know so you better start doing some explaining!” Amy ranted, her eyes slowly filling with tears. “You're going to tell me why my daughter is so different, why her hair is different, why her eyes have a purple cast. Why she doesn't remember things that she should know by heart . . .”


“Mrs. Deluca,” Michael started. “You just found out about all of this and what happened to Maria, it's . . . it's complicated.”


“Michael,” She sounded a warning tone. “I don't care if it's rocket science in some alien language! Explain it to me now!”


“We don't have time to talk about this. Maria will be back in like ten sec--”

“Michael!” Amy demanded, grinding her finger into his chest

“Okay,” Michael exhaled, running a hand through his hair, trying to think of where to start. He stepped out from under Amy's bruising finger and walked halfway across the room before turning back.

“We got into a fight this one night when we first got on the road, and I did something to her,” Michael cut himself off as he turned away again and looked out the window. He couldn't even force the words out of his mouth, they hurt so much. He'd kept himself from even thinking about that night for so long.

“I'll show you what your love feels like!”

He squeezed his eyes shut. “It . . .I don't know, it like I short-circuited something inside her . . .”

The door suddenly opened behind Amy as Maria came into the room, taking deep breaths and wiping her face.

Michael turned and as he saw how pale she looked, and mixed in with the anxiety of the memories he was facing, he nearly crumbled. “Hey, what's wrong?” He asked, stepping forward and gently tipping her chin up between his fingers.

“I'm just not feeling well,” Maria explained, reasoning with herself that now wasn't the time. “I think I might be coming down with something, maybe the flu. Is there anything going around?” She asked innocently.

Michael shook his head and pulled her into his arms, taking a relaxing breath as he felt her arms close around him tightly. He looked up at Amy as she stood there watching them, and although she said nothing, the look she gave him spoke a thousand words.

She would find out the truth.

And then she'd probably kill him.

~.~.~.~.~

3.

“I’m starving,” Isabel spoke to Max between mouthfuls, sitting beside him and Jesse at the Crashdown. “It feels like a week since I ate last.”

“Yeah, cheetos and popcorn, what a dinner,” Jesse said, grabbing his drink, no response from Max. It wasn’t as if she had expected a verbal essay of an answer or anything, but Max wasn’t the type to blatantly ignore his sister’s presence. She turned to look at him, wondering what was so interesting that he hadn’t even heard her speak. “Max,” she spoke again, and, like before, got no response. “Max!” she almost shouted, and finally her brother’s head snapped to her direction.

“What?” he questioned, as if Isabel hadn’t just been trying to get his attention for the last five minutes.

“Aren’t you even going to wish your lovely sister a good morning?” she joked, pretending to be offended.

“Oh, yeah. Hi, Iz,” her brother replied, turning back to whatever it had been that had been sapping his attention moments before.

Isabel sighed and rolled her eyes. Typical, Max was always uptight about something. “You know, the least you can do is tell me what’s so interesting,” she almost demanded.

Max responded by lifting his finger and pointing at something close by. Isabel turned her head in the same direction his was looking and saw Hanley’s figure standing outside at the window, hurriedly buying a newspaper and talking on his cell phone yet again.

“Uh, okay Max. What’s so unusual about that?”

Her words finally prompted a response from her brother. “I know that he’s on that thing a lot. It’s just he was almost screaming down it last night also, and he hasn’t said a thing about what had him so worked up. Just look at the way he is talking . . . it says a lot.”

“Relationship troubles?” Isabel tried to joke again.

“I guess that’d explain why he looks so upset and why has kept to himself, except that Hanley isn’t exactly the type for that. At least not here on this planet anyways.”

“Max, I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. If it was, he would have said something already,” Isabel tried to assure him. “Now, about that lunch,” she began to speak again, but was interrupted by Raeve’s voice as she mumbled something to herself. She had been listening to Max and Isabel talking and knew, just as they did, something was up with her brother.

Isabel and Max both turned towards her as she finished speaking, curious to know what she had said. It took Raeve a few seconds to realize they were both looking expectantly in her direction.

“Nothing, just talking to myself. You know, just your typical one-person, single-sided Freudian conversation, nothing to worry about. Anyway, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” she said quickly, pretending not to have been paying attention to the previous communication. She made her way across the room to her brother, who had just walked back in and hung up the phone. He looked at the newspaper again and folded it quickly, tucking it under his arm.

“Right,” Max said, looking with bemusement back at Isabel, who shrugged slightly in a sign of agreement. “He’s not even telling her what’s going on.”

Hanley looked up to see his sister weaving her way across the restaurant towards him with purpose etched across her face. He watched her expectantly, knowing full well that she was about to demand to know what was going on.

“So, dearest brother, what’s a-happenin’?” she asked, eager to find out any news but not wanting to make it immediately obvious. Hanley, on the other hand, wasn’t so easily fooled.

“Stop it, Raeve,” he spoke sharply. “We both know that you came over here to ask what I was just talking about.”

“And you blame me why? I mean, it’s obvious that it’s something upsetting. I may not have the connection with you that I share with Xaedon, but I’m not blind you know. So what’s going on?”

Hanley sighed, rubbing his brow with his fingertips. Raeve knew he was trying to avoid telling her about the conversation on the phone.

“Hanley, you’re not getting out of this one. Tell me, now,” she made her demand more forceful.

“Fine,” Hanley spoke, still hesitant. “It’s about the other protectors . . .something’s going on. They’re disappearing . . . systematically.”

“What?” Raeve breathed out, stumbling over her own word slightly. “Who? You’re serious? How? By who?” the questions kept coming. “When did this start? Is Xae ok?”

“I don’t know, awhile back. Not long, but long enough. Xaedon’s fine.”

“And you’ve known for how long? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Raeve began to get angry. “I’m affected just as much as you William, even if they aren’t,” she signaled in the direction of the others. “We’re sure in the hell not in for any sunny weather, and you’re holding out on me.”

“Of course they’re going to be effected by this. Someone is aiming these attacks at weakening the resistance,” he said, quieting his voice. “It isn’t as though we’re the target, they are – he is,” Hanley stated, tilting his head towards Max. “We’re just a means to an end. Besides, we’re protectors, it’s what we’re born to do. If we get hurt, it’s all in the line of duty. Khivar knows that and to him, we’re just pawns.”

“I know,” Raeve sighed anxiously, “I know. It’s just . . . well, we protectors haven’t really faced anything like this before, Hanley. I mean, sure, we put ourselves in danger to keep them out of it and there have been deaths, but . . .we’ve never been hunted down before, never been killed to get to the Royal Four.”

“I’m fully aware of that,” Hanley responded. “But now that’s exactly what’s happening to us. We can’t do anything but deal with it now, because that’s the only option we’ve got. Have you been in contact with Xaedon over the past few days? Right now would be a good time to maintain contact with him because two more operatives were just lost.”

Now Raeve was massaging her brow, attempting to collect her thoughts in a more orderly manner.

“Ah, yeah, I have. Actually, he’s also got news, or rather, lack of it. He thinks the Chief Officer in the Special Unit may not be well, normal,” she said, lowering her voice as well. “He’s not sure whether the leader is. . .” Raeve thought for a second, looking at a patron just five feet away. “Czechoslovakian . . . or whether he’s being controlled by one.”

“Czechoslovakian?” Hanley asked.

“Complements of Michael,” Raeve added quickly. “You know…” she gestured.

“Either way, it doesn’t look good,” Hanley cut in. “He’s pretty sure?”

“He’s almost certain – unless he’s been watching too many B-rated movies again,” Raeve responded, trying to lighten the mood that had descended over the duo. “But that’s where the data ends. I haven’t heard anything more.”

Hanley wasn’t appreciative and made it clear by giving her one of the disapproving looks Raeve knew all so well.

“So-rry,” she said sarcastically, but adopted a more serious attitude sensing his tension. “Even if he’s wrong about that, Xaedon does know that the head cheese is pretty damn powerful; he’s not going to be easily pushed aside . . .” she trailed off, becoming aware as Hanley was, that one part of the restaurant was silent and that their conversation wasn’t quite as private as they had thought.

Both turned to face the rest of the group, who all shared the same expectant look on their faces. It was obvious that Max and Isabel wanted to know the rest of the story. Max cocked his head sideways, motioning for the entire group to follow him into the back room.

“Max, we weren’t keeping this a secret from you,” Hanley spoke quickly, shutting the door behind him. “We just didn’t want to set everybody’s nerves on edge until we knew for sure what was going on.”

“You mean, you didn’t want to tell anyone,” Raeve interjected, “Cause I didn’t know anything about this.”

“Enough, Raeve,” Hanley silenced her. “I suppose the rest of you heard everything we were talking about, right?”

“You weren’t standing in the least acoustically reverberant place of the restaurant, no,” Max said, giving Hanley along with Raeve his own version of the disapproving look. “But you can’t say that we didn’t have the right to know what was going on. This news isn’t only affecting you and it shouldn’t have been kept from us, or especially me, if you expect me to be an informed leader and make informed decisions.”

“I know, Max, and I’m sorry for keeping it from you,” Hanley responded, “Experience has taught me to seek as much of the truth as possible before causing a panic. I’ll let you know next time.”

“I’d appreciate it,” Max replied. “We all would.” He turned to Raeve. “Was there anything else Xaedon said?”

“Well, no,” she responded. “That was about it. He isn’t exactly the most talkative of people, no matter what medium you speak through; phone, Internet, thought-waves, you name it. I offered to go and help him of course,” she said, noting Hanley’s reaction. “But he adamantly refused. I hardly even know which part of the country he is in anyways and he isn’t going to tell me, just in case I decide to turn up there. He does quite well on his own, and seems to think that if anyone else pops out of the woodwork, it’d just give him away.”

“Typical,” Hanley remarked. “I suppose he thinks he’ll be bringing down the Special Unit all on his own then too?” He said, shifting his stance.

“That would be incredibly foolish,” Isabel managed to interject. “Even Michael wouldn’t try that.”

“With Michael, anything is possible,” Liz countered.

“We both know Xae prefers to work alone, but he isn’t stupid,” Raeve began to dispute, and then checked herself. Turning back to the group, she began again. “He’s going to keep tabs on the man-in-charge and if he encounters any trouble, or finds out we’re about to get into any, he’s going to contact me directly so we’ll have some advance intel. But for the time being at least, we’ve got nothing to worry about from the FBI. And if I find anything out . . . well you know the drill.”

“And what about protectors being killed?” Liz asked, her hand protectively at her throat. “My parents –“

“Your parents are fine,” Raeve reassured Liz. “Xaedon is making sure of that.”

“By the way, it was Crelic and Salein,” Hanley said quietly to Raeve, her gaze dropping to the floor. Raeve swallowed hard, her weak knees forcing her to sit down.

“Not only that,” Hanley said, a newfound strength in his voice. “But they are the sole reason we’re all standing here right now,” he threw the newspaper onto the table, the front page opening to show a nondescript building on fire.

“What is this?” Liz asked, looking at the printed document. “It says here there was some vandalism or possible terrorist acts taken out on the first federal building downtown?”

“I don’t get it,” Isabel said. “What would a terrorist want with the first federal--”

“Never mind the media,” Hanley broke in. “That building was the old Roswell FBI repository. Crelic and Salein burned it to the ground when they were discovered inside,” he added.

Raeve glanced up at her brother and then away, her mouth in a tight line.

Max gave them both a pointed look, nodding slightly if not only out of respect. “I think it’s probably a better idea to be prepared, even if we don’t believe we’re in any further danger,” he advised the group, making his opinion well known. “Like Raeve said, this news affects all of us and we aren’t in for any sunny weather.”

A wave of unsettled movement and tense reactions spread throughout the group. It was clear that they had only seen a few clouds compared with the storm that was yet to come.

© 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.