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“Distraction”

Story by Shira

Written by Roswell the Final Chapter

Edited by Roswell the Final Chapter

Liz's Journal Entry- October 10, 2003

Three months have passed since we returned to Roswell.  I had to take over the Crash Down after my parents were taken by the FBI.  They are fine now, but in hiding with another protector called Xaedon in Washington D.C. because it isn't safe for them to return.  Xaedon is Hanley and Raeve’s brother who is still undercover in the FBI.  I don’t like that they can’t come back to Roswell yet, but I’m dealing with the situation as best I can.

Actually that would be a lie. 

I’ve been putting most of my time and energy into running the Crash Down and we‘re just barely making ends meet.  I really don’t know how my parents managed it so well.  Maybe after twenty years of trying their best, they worked out most the kinks.  After all the work I’ve put in over there one would think that 3 months would feel like 5 minutes.  I found that idea to be blatantly ridiculous.  All that work seems to drag on and on … and there is always something I have to tend to during dining hours.  It’s driving me … well … to distraction.  Lately I’ve been looking for ways to make the hours less monotonous.  I know, I know- how can life as a hybrid alien residing in Roswell with others like her being living a monotonous life when there are enemies planning to pounce on her?

Simple really.  Neither the FBI special Unit or Kivar’s spies have tried to attack us yet.  We sense them everywhere we go.  We know they are watching us no matter how many surveillance bugs and tracking devices we destroy.  We could have tried to attack them by now, but Hanley persuaded Max not to act too rashly.  He said that we should let them come to us on our own turf if we aren’t leaving.  Since my parents aren’t back here yet, I doubt we have any intention of going anywhere.

The point is, I’m not the only one looking for a distraction from all the stress and waiting we’ve been going through over the last three months.  Max and Hanley have been doing some spying of their own on the FBI special unit and Kivar‘s spies.  Serena spends a lot more time with Kyle when she‘s not helping me at the Crashdown.  Michael is focusing on his education and Maria has been spending a lot of time reliving her past with her mom.  Isabel is already making plans for Thanksgiving and Jesse is busy working at the Evans law firm again.  Even Raeve and Ava find distraction in their own way.  I’m a little worried that we are becoming too distracted though … that the enemies are just waiting in the shadows until they can catch us off guard.  I don’t think we will lose sight of the situation though.  Besides, a little distraction from time to time eases the stress of our everyday lives. 

~.~.~.~

Liz glanced around the Crash Down and breathed a heavy sigh.  Three months had passed without her parents around and the café just wasn’t the same for her anymore.  Without the help of her friends and family, she was sure she would have died from the stress of managing the place.  She had no idea just how much work her dad put into the family business until he wasn’t there to take care of it anymore since he and her mom were stuck in another state with Xaedon.  After the lunch rush she was hoping for a distraction from the few customers that lingered. 

Usually, Max was there, but that day he was out helping Hanley with something.  Raeve sat in her usual spot, hidden away in the corner booth near the back room behind a newspaper.  Sometimes Liz sought Serena out for distraction because she was the best person to share her science curiosities with, but not at the moment.  Kyle was distracting her while she ate lunch at the bar and Liz didn‘t want to interrupt.  Serena deserved a distraction just as much as she did.

Desperate, Liz thought about calling Max on her cell phone.  She didn’t want to bother him while he was busy because he was probably in a position where the sound of his ringer might be a bad thing.  He and Hanley had been talking about spying on the enemies who continued surveillance on them whenever possible.  She was certain that Michael would have wormed his way into their plans, so she was surprised when he burst into the Crash Down with a stack of books cradled in his arms.  Immediately, she felt concerned that something was wrong with Maria.  The only other time she ever saw him carrying so many books was because of her- or rather what he had done to her.  Quietly, he slipped into Max’s usual booth and set the books on the table before him.

Intrigued, she approached him.  He was so busy dividing the books into piles that he didn’t seem to notice her at first.  She looked down at the books while he sorted them and read the titles to herself.  Math, English, Biology 101, and others all categorized by subject.

“Hey, Liz you mind?” he spoke up, pointing out in his own way that he knew she was standing there and distracting him.

“Sorry,” she said quickly, “I just thought I’d ask if you want anything to drink.  Restaurant policy and all that.”

“You know what I drink,” he reminded her.

“What’s this?” Raeve spoke up suddenly.  Liz spotted the lopsided grin of amusement on her face and quietly waited for Michael’s reply.

“It’s nothing,” he said, “now shoo.  I’d really like to start studying here.”

“For what? SATs?” Raeve replied teasingly, “you’re out of high school aren’t you?”

Liz realized in that moment what was going on, but decided to remain quiet.  If Raeve could get Michael to start ranting about something, it would be distracting enough for her.  Sad, she knew, but true nonetheless.  She was just that desperate.

“Tell that to Amy Deluca,” he began, “I may never forgive myself for what I did to Maria, but she obviously sees this as some strange kind of revenge.”

Silently, Liz chuckled to herself.  The Deluca women were really rubbing off on Michael Guerin if he was starting to talk like Maria used to before he changed her.  Alex used to say he needed a Maria filter.  At that moment, Liz thought the same thing for Michael.

“You lost me,” Raeve said, while she sat across from the booth and looked at him inquisitively while she continued, “please go on.”

“I thought she moved on from what I did, but no.  She just suddenly erupts out of nowhere during dinner last week that I’m not good enough for her daughter.”

“What?” Raeve gasped sarcastically, urging him to continue.  He seemed offended for a moment, but continued anyway.

“Yeah, she says that no future son-in law of hers is going to have less than a high school diploma.”

“You didn’t graduate high school?” Raeve commented unimpressed, “why?”

Liz chuckled to herself again and glanced at the door when the bell jingled.  Isabel walked inside with Jesse in tow.  She smiled at them when they glanced at her and then returned her attention to Michael’s ranting.

“It wasn’t for lack of trying,” Michael insisted defensively.

“More like lack of attending,” Isabel spoke up teasingly.

Both Michael and Raeve glanced up at her.  Michael narrowed his eyes at her unhappily and Raeve simply grinned with amusement.  Liz couldn’t blame her.  She knew that even Raeve needed a distraction from time to time.

“Look, the point is Amy insisted that I earn my GED,” he told them, “so I renewed my library card, used it and came here to study.”

“Oh, come on you didn’t just give in,” Isabel tempted him, “although it’s probably a good idea if we’re going to be here a while.”

“I refused, we argued and I caved reluctantly,” he informed her, “she just wouldn’t listen to me.  I kept telling her that people with GEDs don’t get good jobs and that I may not be around long enough to get one anyway, but-”

“That’s not true you know,” Raeve interrupted him, “I heard that Bill Cosby got a GED.”

“Yeah, and Mary Lou Retton, oh and Dave Thomas,” Isabel pointed out.

“I heard there are a couple senators who have GEDs,” Liz spoke up.

“Not to mention Tommy Neunez,” Kyle added, from his spot by the bar, “or so I’ve heard.”

“Who’s Tommy Neunez?” Serena nudged him teasingly.

“Okay guys,  I get the picture,” Michael insisted, “can I study now please?”

Serena took her plate to the kitchen and Kyle followed her into the backroom.  Raeve and Isabel nodded their heads while Jesse turned his attention to the newspaper he carried inside with him.  Liz brought Michael his usual cherry coke and gave him a small grin before turning her attention toward the door again when the bell jingled once more.  A couple entered and sat down at a table.  Liz moved to go attend to them, but paused for a moment when Jesse spoke up almost out of nowhere.

“So Michael, when’s the big test?”

“November third,” he muttered while he tried to focus on the English book he opened up.

“Funny thing is,” Isabel told Raeve, “you‘re sitting across from a first class genius.  If only he had the common sense to apply himself.”

“It’s just too bad,” Raeve sighed teasingly.

“Hey,” Michael said frustratedly, “I heard that.”

More giggles erupted and Liz grinned at him while she took down the food order from the couple whose table she was waiting on.  She was glad that through all the tension and chaos, they still found something to laugh about.  The second she felt the tension ease, however, it came back full force when Serena poked her head through the backroom doorway and held the phone receiver in her hand.  Liz realized quickly that Serena’s eyes weren’t on her in that moment, but on Michael.  Everything she wanted to be distracted from came back when Serena spoke up.

“Michael, you have a phone call,” she said seriously, “it sounds important.”

~.~.~.~

“Agent Dobson.”

Xaedon glanced up and acknowledged his fellow agent, a young man named Agent Martinski.  He just joined the special unit in the last month and remained on paper-pusher duty until Head Agent Dimitri decided to promote him.  Xaedon didn’t have to be initiated when he started.  He immobilized Agent Dobson one day while the guy was isolated and took his place.

“What is it Martinski?” Xaedon prodded calmly while pushed his paperwork aside.

“Agent Dimitri wants a word with you in his office,” Martinski replied urgently, “now.”

“Thanks,” Xaedon replied while he stood up, “tell him that I’m on my way.”

“Yes sir,” Martinski replied and added anxiously, “you think it’s about the-”

“Now agent,” Xaedon insisted slowly.

Agent Martinski nodded his head, but spoke one more time before he walked away from Xaedon’s desk. “Sir, Agent Colton is in there with him,” he said, “thought you’d want to know.”

Xaedon nodded his head and mentally prepared himself for the encounter.  Agent Colton stole alien artifacts from the royals- objects that Xaedon needed to retrieve.  He was working on finding them when the other agents kidnapped the Parkers and now he had the chance to complete that mission before taking the Parkers back to Roswell. 

Calmly and confidently, Xaedon entered Agent Dimitri’s office.  Dimitri glanced up at him from his comfortable leather desk chair before turning his gaze toward Agent Colton who sat in a chair across the desk just in front of him.  He barely took note of Agent Colton’s presence before Agent Dimitri spoke up.

“Agent Dobson,” he said with a smirk, “how nice of you to join us.  Agent Colton and I were just talking about how worthless his agents are over in Roswell, New Mexico.  I just convinced him that he needs a pair of fresh eyes on the case- yours.”

“What do you know about these two people who seem to have joined Max Evans recently?” Agent Colton prodded, holding up two pictures for him to see, “None of my people seem to be able to put a name to their faces, but the man seems to be glued to Max Evans’ shadow and the other one seems to be living in the Crashdown Café.”

Xaedon looked at the pictures, already aware that the agent was talking about his family.  Mentally he mumbled a few curse words.  Will and Rae were becoming too predictable.  They let the wrong people notice their presence.  He quickly searched his brain for an adequate response.

“They seem to be protecting the subjects, sir,” he told Agent Colton, “you’re agents saw that during the assault at the cabin.  I don‘t think their names matter all that much.”

He watched the two men share a glance while he fought to remain calm.  So far he managed not to break a sweat and he wanted to keep it that way.  After a moment of silence, Agent Dimitri spoke again.

“The Parkers have yet to return to Roswell and your mission has been for the past three months to bring them back here.  Do you have any leads yet Agent Dobson?” he demanded.

“Yes,” he told them, “and I will bring them back here on one condition.”

“You are in no position to be making demands agent Dobson,” Dimitri prodded further, “You will bring them back here- that is an order.”

“But sir,” he told them, “I am the only agent you have who knows the exact location of the Parker couple at this time.  Unless you'd like me to have a convenient loss of memory I suggest you grant me this one request."

"Interesting," Agent Colton spoke to Dimitri, impressed though his eyes remained on Xaedon, "I would like to hear the agent's one condition."

“Fine,” Dimitri bellowed unhappily, “name your condition agent.”

“I am told that Agent Colton has obtained artifacts of alien importance from the Roswellian subjects while they were in Boston sir," Xaedon explained, "I would like full security clearance to those artifacts in order to complete my paperwork on the capture of the Parker couple.  You yourself said that we need a complete understanding of what these creatures want and why they came here.  I believe that my access to said objects will help me to better the quality of my report and any further investigation you order me to do on the subjects in this case."

When Xaedon finished his explanation, he watched the agents glance knowingly at each other.  The request wasn't too far out of line, he knew, but he was sure that the artifacts were in the kind of vault that aliens couldn't sneak into without being captured.  He also knew that his colleagues only wanted to keep the Parker couple around as bait for the royals to save.  There would be no need to inflict anymore pain upon them if he brought them back to the FBI compound, he thought quietly.  Yet, reacquiring the Parker couple seemed to be a top priority to Agent Dimitri and Xaedon was sure that his superiors had better bait for Max Evans than his in-laws.  He simply wasn't sure and too preoccupied with other matters to think about it further once Dimitri turned to look him in the eye.

“No one outside of this office has been allowed to access those artifacts,” Dimitri informed him, “and I want it to stay that way.”

"Yes sir," both Xaedon and Agent Colton replied.

"Agent Colton will add you to the security clearance list the second the Parker couple returns to our custody," Agent Dimitri declared, "and I expect them back here by the end of the day.  Understood?"

"Yes sir," Xaedon replied firmly, "thank you sir."

Xaedon left the room hoping he did the right thing.  The last thing he wanted to do was bring the Parkers back to the people he saved them from.  He didn't even know if they would understand, but he was pretty sure they would be angry with him for even suggesting it.  Max and the others would be even more upset just to make things even worse.  After three months of baby-sitting them for Max Evans, he wasn’t about to let them down.  Still, he needed a decent plan.  What he was asking for, however, would be a miracle.

~.~.~.~

Liz stared at the blank page of her journal, her pen poised.  Whole sentences formed in her head, but in the last ten minutes none of those words transpired on the page. Thoughts of the day's events buzzed erratically through her mind.  Managing the Crashdown, it seemed, left her little time to write and lately she didn't like the words she put on the page.  Hours of writing food orders in shorthand and calculating inventory could do that, she knew.  She exercised her right brain so often since she had to take over her parents' restaurant that the verbal creativity of her left brain seemed inept.  After all, when she wasn't working  at the Crash Down, she was resting with the others or honing her abilities.  Little time was left for the journal writing that used to soothe her nerves every night and the lack thereof frustrated her greatly.  She missed the way her fingers used to ache with the urge to write her thoughts down on paper.  Now she simply gazed at an empty page; too tired to do anything, but imagine what she wanted to write with a pen clenched firmly in her right hand.

If a pair of strong hands hadn't gently squeezed her shoulders in that moment, her determination to actually write something in her journal might have lasted longer.  Oh, how she wanted to put words on paper, but Max's fingers worked magically against her tense muscles.  The tips rubbing firm circles along her skin while the lengths of them moved up and down.  Sometimes, she could lose herself in that feeling of total bliss and for a moment she really wanted to let him ease her into that heavenly state.  Her body began to relax completely.  The pen fell out of her right hand and she barely registered the rattling noise of it rolling off the desk and onto the carpet below.  Part of her sensed a premonition unfolding and she wanted to tell him to stop only she was too relaxed to make her mouth work correctly at that point.  That is, until she felt his lips pressed gingerly against the nape of her neck.  Something about the moist cool feeling his kiss left behind sent a small jolt of energy down her spine.  She gasped from the sensation and forced herself to sit up straight.

"Something wrong?" Max spoke up while she turned to face him.

"No," she replied, "that felt really good actually."

"But you-" he started until she interrupted him.

"It's okay Max," she said while she closed her journal, "I nearly fell asleep there for a second and then-"

"Oh," he said as though he understood, "still having writers block?"

"It's probably a good thing at this point," she told him, "all consequences considered, but I miss it all the same.  I mean, this should be the least of my worries.  Speaking of, have you heard anything about my parents?"

"Just that it's not safe enough yet," Max began, but Liz didn't want to hear the same old excuses anymore.

"Max, it will never be safe enough," she pointed out heatedly, "not by your standards anyway.  They need to be back here running the restaurant so I can concentrate on helping us fight our enemies.  I need them back here Max, I can't feel that they are really safe from harm until they are back here with the rest of us; I don't care how skilled and powerful Xaedon might be."

"I know," Max assured her, "Hanley says that everything is being done to help them return home and-"

"You say that, but you know I'm right about this," Liz countered annoyedly while she stood up and looked him in the eye, "and now you're abandoning their cause to take a flyer on some book Laurie Dupree found among her grandpa's things."

"Liz, I," he tried and added frustratedly, "what do you want me to do?"

Frustrated, Liz looked away for a moment and heaved a heavy sigh.  She wanted to see that book as much as everyone else, but she wanted her parents back home even more.  Every fiber of her being told her that her parents were still in danger even after two uneventful months in D.C. according to Xaedon.  She knew they couldn't risk sending anyone else to retrieve her parents, but she knew that a better solution would present itself.  Until then, she really couldn't ask Max to do anything else in that regard, but she was in no mood to let the argument subside.

"Go to Tucson," she told him unemotionally, "just be careful.  Promise me you guys will just grab the book and come straight back."

"I promise," he said firmly while she wrapped her arms around his neck, "I love you."

"I love you too," she told him while she pulled away just enough to look at his face.

She kissed him passionately before he left.  In her heart she knew that he would return home safely.  When the time came for her to go back to work that day, she would be ready to deal with the responsibility once more.  Writers block and all, she had to keep focused on what was important.  She needed to return to the restaurant since Raeve and Serena were on their way to Tucson with Max, Michael and Maria to see that book.  The regular customers and employees would be arriving soon for the breakfast shift and she was the only one left in town with a key.  At least she could be with Max a little while longer until he would meet up with the others at the Crash Down before the long drive to Tucson.  She already missed him.

~.~.~.~

"What's going on?" Mr. Parker demanded.

Xaedon glanced at him undeterred while he closed the apartment's front door behind him.  Mrs. Parker clapped eyes on him the second the door closed, her eyes hoping for good news.  Both of them hoped to hear that they could return home soon.  Xaedon hated the idea of disappointing them.  After nearly three months of spending time with them, they were starting to trust him.  The thought of betrayal didn't bother him as much as the idea of successfully stealing those alien artifacts back from the FBI special unit.  He couldn't help it really.  He was simply made that way.  He protected out of duty and loyalty, but not out of love.  His loyalty to Max outweighed his loyalty to the Parker couple.  He just hoped to make the change as painless and guilt-free as possible.

"I'm sorry, but you both have to go back to the FBI before I can take you back to Roswell," he informed them.

"What?" Mrs. Parker gasped angrily, "are you crazy?  They nearly killed Jeff the last time-"

"They won't be hurting you again," he assured her as though that fact made all the difference, "they just want you back as collateral, you know, bait.  Look, no one said they were smart okay, just really determined."

"Look, all I know is we are not going back there under any circumstances," Mr. Parker insisted, "You have to-"

"I had no intention of doing this, but it's the only way," Xaedon tried patiently, "You could just leave if it suits you better, but you won't get far without my help."

"I think we'll take our chances," Jeff informed him, "than being back there again."

Mr. Parker opened the door and gestured for his wife to follow him.  He stood by while they left the apartment in a huff, a small smirk on his face.  The second the door slammed shut behind them, he called the rest of his team to extract them.  He expected the Parkers to leave angrily and he was glad for their reaction.  If the FBI believed that he wasn't helping the Parkers all along then it was one more point in his favor.

Jeff and Nancy Parker didn't know they were captured until they climbed into a yellow cab they couldn't climb out of.  The agent at the steering wheel installed the kind of locks on the fake taxi that not even an alien could unlock.  All Xaedon heard was a shrill scream of horror from Mrs. Parker echoing through the breeze.  the sound sent chills down his spine and a quick prayer out through his lips.  If he could get himself and the Parkers out of the compound with the artifacts he would be one of the luckiest royal protectors on the planet.  If not ... he didn't want to think about the consequences.

~.~.~.~

Max laid in bed overly aware of the kinds of changes that could soon take place in his life.  He would have been asleep, but he found the task to be difficult without Liz beside him.  He was away in Tucson with Serena, Michael, Maria and Raeve to collect a book from Laurie Dupree.  Well, none of them said straight out that Laurie called Michael, but Liz knew.  Liz told him that Laurie found the book and that it could be a great use to them in the fight against their enemies.  He hoped that he would come home to find her safe from the second she left his warm embrace.  In truth, he hadn’t been separated from his wife since the night they left Roswell after graduation was rudely interrupted by the FBI and that was two weeks before they married.

Suddenly unable to rest any further, Max climbed out of bed and headed for the kitchen.  He thought a glass of warm milk might calm his nerves.  Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Raeve glancing up at him from her spot at the kitchen table.  He returned the glance when he realized that there was no milk in the refrigerator.

“Hey, I thought we just bought more milk,” he told her, “didn’t we?”

“Guess not,” Raeve sighed, “I had to settle for this herbal tea that Michael and Maria brought up here from Amy Deluca.  It’s not bad if you want to give it a try.”

“Can’t sleep either,” he prodded gently while he joined her at the table.

“Well, it’s not easy knowing that we’re being watched and that the enemy could pounce on us any second when I‘m in charge of protecting you.  Besides, I’m not exactly thrilled about the idea that half of us are here in Tucson to get that book from Laurie,” Raeve complained, “I thought we all agreed to never split up.”

“That was before the phone call about the book that might hold the key to Kivar’s undoing,” Max reminded her, “and everything has been relatively quiet on that front ever since Xaedon said he would help Mr. and Mrs. Parker.”

“Yeah, well,” Raeve said matter-of-factly, “the situation still sucks.”

Max sighed while he poured some tea into a mug he found in one of the kitchen cabinets.  She knew him better than that by now and he knew that she still kept a few secrets from him about the enemy.  Hoping for some answers, he sat down across from Raeve and narrowed his eyes at her in confusion when she stood up seconds later.

“I‘m going back to bed,” she told him while she carried her mug to the kitchen sink, “just remember my vote for us to go back to Roswell as soon as we get this book from Laurie tomorrow morning.”

“Wait,” Max responded urgently, “Rae, is there something you know about the situation with Liz’s parents that you aren’t telling me?”

“Xaedon is stuck Max,” Raeve told him, “he won’t admit it, but he is.  If he tries to go back undercover they might corner him and if he takes the Parkers back to Roswell then his cover is definitely blown.”

“How can that be true if he’s a shape shifter?” Max pressed matter-of-factly.

“It is if he’s right about the head of the special unit being an alien,” Raeve explained, “because an alien that powerful could have the power to sense his enemies … or their spies.  If this book belonged to a protector then it could hold secrets that will help us get all three of them out of there alive without any damaging consequences.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to try to contact him again before I fall asleep.”

“He’ll be okay,” Max assured her while she stalked out of the kitchen, “we all will.”

Raeve didn’t respond, but she didn’t have to say anything.  She already told him everything he wanted to hear.  The silence that followed her absence seemed to grow so he concentrated on his mug of hot tea.  The tea slid down his throat like hot water scalding his mouth, but it calmed his nerves slightly nonetheless.  He let out a few deep breaths knowing in his gut that Liz would be safe until his return and that the book he planned to bring back with them would be as useful as everyone had hoped.  A little help from a book they could understand would go a long way.

~.~.~.~

Michael gently rolled over and glanced out the window so as not to wake Maria.  Not that he had to worry.  Ever since her morning sickness ended, she seemed to be able to sleep through anything.  He was the one who had trouble sleeping without her beside him and he wasn‘t sleeping much lately anyway.   The more Maria’s pregnancy progressed, the more he worried about her and what giving birth to his child would do to her body let alone her mind.  He felt bad enough just knowing how much he already messed up her mental state less than a year ago.

He worried more about the fact that both enemies had eyes on them all the time.  He sensed them everywhere he went … well, when he was outside and not distracted by Maria’s needs.  In that moment, however, he still sensed those watchful eyes on the back of his head and his anger of the situation simmered inside him.  He really was a magnet for the intergalactic trouble and he hated the idea of putting Laurie Dupree in danger along with everyone else already known to be involved by the enemies on their tails.

Laurie, who called mysteriously to tell him about a book she discovered among her grandpa’s old things that she insisted had alien handwriting on it, was happy to see him again.  He wanted to see the book as soon as they arrived, but it was late and Maria was exhausted.  Reluctantly, they all agreed to wait until morning to see the book when they would all have fresh minds.  Michael chuckled softly thinking back on that agreement.  Those who needed sleep- besides Maria and Laurie- probably weren’t getting any.  Raeve was too busy being the protector as usual.  Max missed Liz  and he and Serena were too intrigued by the idea of looking at the book to get any sleep from what Michael noticed before he and Maria went to bed.   

Michael was surprised that he slept as much as he had, given the circumstances.  He spent a lot of time eradicating the bugs that the FBI special unit hid in their homes, looking for those spies who seemed to keep a constant vigil on him and the others and studying for his GED no matter how distracted he felt.  In fact, the idea that someone he cared about could be attacked at any time plagued his mind so much that he sometimes wished for something to happen so he wouldn‘t feel so paranoid.  He hated the waiting game. 

A soft knocking sounded at the bedroom door and he opened it a hair just to see who was waiting for an answer.  He was so tense he could have launched an attack right then.  When he saw Raeve standing there with a smirk on her face, he forced himself to calm down.

“They can’t wait any longer,” she told him, “Maria or not we are going to see that book now.  You coming?”

“Yeah, just a minute,” he replied quietly, “I’ll be right there.”

He would be coming with Maria even if it meant carrying her into the room.  They made a rule and he stuck to it- especially where Maria was concerned.  No one goes anywhere alone even in the most secure of places.

~.~.~.~

The vault.  A huge silvery metal door kept Xaedon and everyone else from entering it without the right keys.  Six different key pads and scanning devices lined the wall to the right of the vault door.  Xaedon couldn't help wondering what else could be in there that required so much security.  He glanced at the young female security officer while she unlocked each of them one by one.

"Paranoid?" he suggested sarcastically, "I mean, this seems like overkill for a few alien artifacts."

"It's a vault sir," she informed him as though he was stupid, "only items of the highest security clearance are stored in there."

"Yes, but three key pads, a retina scan, hand print identification and a voice recognition test," he pointed out, "I bet you have no idea what you're really protecting."

"It's not my job to ask questions sir," she reminded him, "I'm just the only security guard with all the current access codes to the vault.  One more test and then you may enter.  You'll have ten minutes before the vault automatically locks itself and if you're caught inside sir, an alarm goes off and I get canned."

"Yeah well, fell free to pull me out before then," he countered before he entered the vault, "and thanks for opening up the vault."

The guard did not reply, but Xaedon was too busy counting the artifacts to think about it.  The orbs, the protector's device that Brody Davis gave the royals, the alien book and one vial each of Max's and Tess's blood rested on the shelf at the back wall of the vault.  Inconspicuously, he replaced each one with a fake and put the real items in his jacket.  He lined it especially for this occasion so he could carry away the artifacts without anyone noticing.  He turned to leave, putting one foot confidently in front of the other.  Half-way out of the vault, however, the plan changed.  An alarm sounded and the door began to close.  He hurried toward it and tried to hold it open to no avail.

"Hey!" he shouted, hoping to alert the guard, "what's going on? Help me out here!"

No one responded and as much as Xaedon fought it, he found himself stuck inside the vault.  He kept telling himself that someone else must have breached the system.  One hour turned into three and he started to realize what was happening.  Somehow, his cover had been blown and the FBI special unit trapped him in the one place he couldn't escape from.  A vault made of titanium metal that only one guard could open on only the most superior of orders.  Max would probably kill him if Will and Rae didn't get to him first.  Then they would kill him.  First, however, he hoped to get Rae to hear it from him first.  After putting the Parkers and himself in trouble, the least he could do was warn the others.

~.~.~.~

Six hours later, Serena sat on the bed in Kyle's room.  Her eyes glued to the book once more.  She looked through all of her things, but found no key to open up her mom's journal.  Yet, she knew she had the key.  After a moment, she floated deep in thought, her left hand grasping the locket she always wore around her neck.  It didn't look like much because she hardly every polished the silver piece.  She opened it up and stared longingly at the picture of her mother inside it. 

"Oh mom," she sighed to herself, "how did you open the book huh?"

No answer came, as Serena expected.  She began to remember what her mom told her, however, when she gave her the locket.  The locket was a present from her mother for her twelfth birthday.  At the time, Serena loved the locket until she saw the alien writing on the outside.  Her mom wanted so badly for her to follow in her footsteps and be a royal protector.  Serena simply wanted to follow her own dreams and be normal because she grew up on earth with the desire to be just like everyone else.  She knew her mother gave up everything to protect the royals on Earth, but she already told her mom of her plans to be normal.  The locket was her mom's last chance to make her change her mind- literally.  Her mom died only a month later.  There was a lot of arguing after Serena received the locket from her mom that evening, but she remembered one thing her mom said quite clearly.

~.~.~.~

Ava stirred her coffee absently while she scanned the street for suspicious people.  Max and the others knew that they were being watched.  They concentrated mainly on FBI special unit; destroying bugs and tracking devices.  She focused on the more formidable threat ever since she joined them.  Destroying Kivar and his plans became her mission in life ever since she watched Rath and Lonnie kill Zan on the streets of New York City.  She felt certain that Kivar knew she would have sensed what was left of her sorry excuse for a family spying on her and the others.  Rath and Lonnie would be easy bait for him, she knew.  They were desperate to find a way back to Antar no matter what the cost.  At least as far as she knew.

In less than a heartbeat she could have given their position away.  Telling Max about them would be easy, although she wouldn‘t be surprised if he had sensed them as well.  Unfortunately for Max, he wasn’t skilled enough to differentiate them from Michael and Isabel.  Kivar was probably counting on that and Ava knew he would have no intention of letting Rath and Lonnie spy on them forever.  Soon, they would stop waiting and she would have to make sure that Max knew when the time came.  After all, his spies would do anything in their power to return to Antar and there seemed to be very little they were incapable of.  Their powers were much more refined as well, but Ava wasn’t worried.

“I’ll be ready,” she said softly to herself, hoping that the spies could read her lips, “no foolin‘ around this time.”

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.