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[October 17, 2003]
Max stood firmly in the dry New Mexico desert. The sunrise ushered warmth into the crisp leftovers of cold night air. He welcomed the sensation while a breeze brushed his tan skin of his arms. In his haste to meet his protector that morning, he forgot to grab his jacket. Autumn brought cooler northerly winds to the desert at night, but the days were remained warm enough still to wear short sleeves. Max berated himself momentarily while he rubbed his arms with his hands and watched his protector who seemed to have other matters filling his mind. He hated being unprepared and Xaedon seemed to have that unfortunate effect on him.
Xaedon paced back and forth, deep in thought Max knew. The mannerism and impatience seemed to run in the family. When options grew thin and the need to protect seemed dire, the royal protectors definitely liked to dig a track beneath them. On the upside, however, Max could see that it did keep his protectors warm.
“Well,” Max urged him, “I thought we were done with the secret meetings. I don‘t like this.”
“Then why did you come?” Xaedon countered impatiently.
“You said you need my help and you have protected me so far,” Max pointed out, “other than that, I have no idea.”
Max watched Xaedon pause momentarily and glance at him for a before continuing his earlier movement. He sensed that Xaedon wanted to ask something of him that he might turn down. Such a request, of course, meant more danger and possibly more lies. Max wanted neither, but since he came once again to his protector’s aid he figured he would hear him out.
“In my position and as a protector I had a specific task to perform in order to keep the royals protected. I need to sneak back inside Dimitri’s vault without him suspecting that it’s me. I need your help again,” Xaedon explained while he paced, “if you don‘t mind.”
“Can’t someone else take care of it,” Max suggested, “why should you-”
“Because it’s my job,” Xaedon responded obstinately, “my responsibility and your information that I need to secure. They have documents, artifacts and even blood samples. I know where they are and I need to go now before they take them to the secret testing facility in Los Alamos. If those items are not returned to us they will find a way to use them against us. Isn’t it enough that Kivar knows your weakness? Do you really want Dimitri to learn them too?”
“No,” Max admitted firmly and paused momentarily before continuing when he realized what Xaedon just said, “wait, how do you know what Kivar knows about us?”
“My sister spied on them for nearly a year before she decided to find you,” Xaedon explained impatiently and continued, “but, that’s- look, will you help me or not?”
“That depends,” Max said thoughtfully, “what exactly do you have in mind?”
Ava leaned back in her chair and glanced at Raeve from across the table while she sipped her cup of coffee. Her friend sighed deeply while she leaned against the table top with her elbows. Her right hand held up her head from the base of her chin and her eyes focused on the newspaper she rested on the table below. Although Raeve seemed heavily distracted by whatever she was reading, Ava had a feeling that she was actually very in tune with her environment with the hope that she might sense her twin brother approaching. Beneath Raeve’s calm exterior, Ava knew that she was impatiently waiting for Xaedon to finally show himself. Ava heard very little about what Max did the night before, but had a feeling that Xaedon might be trying to avoid the Parkers after what he put them through. The Parkers did not seem eager to see him again, she noticed, when Liz asked them about him earlier that morning while they were opening the cafe.
Hanley, as Ava expected, wasn't waiting. He was probably pacing a hole in the backroom floor with his phone pressed to his ear; waiting impatiently for Xaedon to answer his phone. Since Hanley disappeared for the last half hour, Ava could only imagine how far he got with his plan. Something in her gut told her that Xaedon wouldn't answer his phone to talk to Hanley this morning. She overheard a pretty heated conversation from Hanley's end between the two of them right after they learned that the FBI special unit re-captured the Parkers.
The tension mounted and Ava glanced at Liz who still hadn't left her father's side for her power-honing session with the impatient Hanley who remained in the backroom. She glanced at Raeve again and wanted to say something reassuring only she lacked the words.
Frustrated, she glanced toward the outside windows of the Crashdown. A young man around her age distracted her. His short dark brown wavy hair caught her eye first. Zan used to wear his hair like that before he cut it really short and she missed the hairdo once it changed. His eyes caught her attention too, but the deep chocolate brown depths weren't looking at her. Rather, they seemed to look right through her. He glanced downward at his cell phone which rested conveniently attached to his belt clip and smirked as though it amused him. Ava held back a soft chuckle. Seconds later, he entered the Cafe and she felt her heart beat speed up a little. He stopped just beyond the threshold and seemed to be looking right through her again. She could have lost herself in his presence if she hadn't been distracted by the low creaking sound of a nearby chair. A realization clicked in her brain and she glanced briefly behind her to find Raeve standing up with a blank look on her face. A few seconds passed before she realized why Raeve moved and that her gaze was on the guy who just walked in.
The same guy seemed to be staring at Raeve too. Ava envied her and then felt like a complete fool. The guy she was gazing at wasn't just some stranger and in that moment she no longer wanted to swoon over him like some avid Ricky Martin fan. She thought about saying something when both of them moved. Raeve slipped into the backroom and the guy followed her seconds later. Ava decided to follow out of boredom and intrigue.
"You're insane," she heard Raeve say happily while she wrapped her arms around the guy, "you know that right?"
"Nice to see you too Rae," he gasped.
"Finally," Hanley spoke up, waving his phone at him. He seemed to think about what he was doing for a second, put his phone down and continued, "when I call you, I expect you to answer your phone."
"Not now Will," Raeve insisted, "he's actually back."
"Rae, as much as we wanted this," Hanley reminded her, "he's not supposed to be back."
Raeve opened her mouth, but the guy spoke first while he pried himself from Rae's embrace.
"He's right Rae and you know it," he told her, "my purpose is better served elsewhere."
"Where?" Ava heard herself speak up.
The guy barely acknowledged her and frowned before he glanced distractedly around the room. Raeve seemed unsure and Hanley just extremely frustrated. After a few seconds, the guy sighed disappointedly and glanced at Hanley.
"You didn't tell me you brought her here," he told Hanley.
"Xae, if you would answer your phone more often you would have known," Hanley spat angrily at him.
"Sure, and then you would have yelled at me for something else," Xaedon countered sarcastically and mimicked him while he added, "what's wrong with you Xae, can't you do anything right? I could say the same thing to you after what I've learned from taking your place in the special unit."
Hanley lunged, but Raeve stepped in between them before he could actually make contact. Xaedon didn't even try to protect himself, Ava noticed, and he didn't seem to want to fight his brother in the first place. Hanley calmed down slightly and Xaedon looked at both of his siblings.
"I can't stay. I just stopped by to make sure that the Parkers are okay. Max will fill you in on the rest," he said and for the first time since he entered the cafe he turned his full attention to Ava for a moment and her heart skipped a beat before he looked away.
"No, we need you there at the meeting," Raeve insisted, "in case Max leaves out any important details. You are staying until we figure this out."
Xaedon returned his gaze to his siblings, nodded and added uncomfortably, "I need to go."
Xaedon hurried out of the room and Raeve ran after him once he disappeared. Ava looked at Hanley, certain that he was keeping an important piece of information away from her. He looked at her and sighed impatiently before walking quickly toward the doorway. He stopped before he left, however, and turned to face her one more time.
"Sorry about him," Hanley said quickly.
"s'okay," she replied, but he already left. Her eyes narrowed in confusion while she analyzed what just happened in her mind. She couldn't figure out why Hanley was so sorry and decided to make it her business to figure out what he meant.
Liz’s Journal entry
Some people- upon regaining an important soul that was once lost to them- would be overjoyed. I have found that I am not like those people. My parents have finally been returned to me and the happiness I should be exuding through every pore of my body just isn't completely there. I am overjoyed to have my parents back- believe me- it's just that the joy I should be feeling is overshadowed. Having my parents safe and sound- and back at the Crashdown- it was just part of a much larger picture created by a more menacing threat to our way of life.
One might think that it would be easy to pretend. If I just hug them long enough or smile with enough emotion I could convince them that I'm completely thrilled with their return. I really did think that they would be safer here with us- and they are- but, with us they are still in danger. It's no use to me to try to pretend that we've found a slice of heaven in a world of chaotic disorder no matter how many times I envision it when I look into Max's soulful brown eyes.
I'm frustrated by the realization really. Here I am, up to my neck in reality and subconsciously avoiding the facts. I preach, plead, hem and haw ... and part of me is still pretending. I can say this because part of me is changing and I have been fighting it every step of the way. Avoiding it was easy while my parents were captured. I could worry about them and keeping the Crash Down Cafe afloat. Now, I- Liz Parker Evans- am out of excuses and I'm not the only one. Serena spends all of her time either working at the cafe or translating her mother's journal. Kyle has been more reclusive and Serena seems to know why, although she won't tell me anything. Isabel hasn't visited Maria in the last two months and Jesse spends most of his time either at work or with her. Michael puts his mind to work on anything at all just to stop thinking about the fact that we're still waiting for our enemies to do something. Max is back to worrying about everyone else's well being and my parents are happily re-immersing themselves in the Crash Down Cafe. We may not be pretending, but we're avoiding the truth. We're delaying inevitable change.
That said, however, I still haven't faced the truth head-on. It's easier to continue living in the present and concentrating on everything I had on my agenda while my parents were away. Now I have to face my future. We have to actually act on the plans we’ve been making for the past four months. We have to remember what’s coming our way and what we want for ourselves after that impending threat attacks. Because it’s much too easy to find yourself in a rut when it’s more important to always push yourself and plan for better days ahead. I think it’s the only way we can really know who we are and what we are truly made of. Some of us are closer to that realization with others. I- as it turns out- have a long way to go. It’s time for me to continue where I left off. At least I won’t be alone…
Isabel stood beside Jesse while she examined Amy Deluca’s living room. The place had been a bit of a mess before she showed up. Now, Jesse and Amy were putting the finishing touch on the decorations for Maria’s baby shower. The idea was actually hers, to Jesse’s surprise. Isabel had been looking for something to do that would help the group and realized that if she didn’t act fast Maria would be without what she thought to be an essential step into motherhood.
“Wow, Isabel,” Amy said while she stood back to admire the work they had done so far, “this looks really nice. It’s so sweet of you to arrange a baby shower for Maria.”
“Oh, it’s nothing really,” Isabel replied, “just some streamers and balloons. Thanks though- now Jesse remember to make that streamer sag slightly in the middle just like the others. I want everything to match.”
Jesse sighed while he nodded his head and probably rolled his eyes as well. Isabel didn’t mind so much at the moment. She was trying to be more relaxed about planning this party since it had to be a surprise for Maria.
“Very nice, thank you Jesse,” Amy told him happily, “the others should be here any minute and I have a couple pies to check on in the oven. Feel free to let them in if I‘m still in the kitchen when they arrive.”
“Okay,” Isabel responded just as happily, “thanks again for your help, Amy.”
“No problem!” Amy shouted from the kitchen.
Isabel smiled, clapped her hands together and plopped gleefully onto the living room couch. Jesse sat beside her and gently clasped one of her hands in his own. She glanced at him briefly before adjusting a bowl of salsa with her free hand.
“You’re taking this really well,” he said, a bit of concern in his voice.
“I want Maria to have the best,” Isabel insisted.
“I mean considering … you know,” he prodded gently.
“Jesse,” Isabel began, but her cell phone interrupted her. She rolled her eyes at Jesse apologetically and answered the call.
“Hi Max,” she sighed, wishing he hadn’t interrupted her conversation with her husband and brushed a strand of hair off of her forehead while she added, “what’s up?”
“I’m calling an emergency meeting,” he announced, “meet me at the Crashdown.”
Isabel opened her mouth to ask for his reason, but he already hung up the phone. She flipped her phone shut and looked at Jesse again. He nodded and stood up as if he knew what she was about to tell him.
“What?” he said to her when she glanced at him inquisitively while she stood up as well, “I’ve heard that phone call so many times lately, I don’t even think twice anymore.”
“Yeah,” Isabel replied uneasily, “let’s go to that meeting.”
After the meeting ended, Liz went with Ava to the secret cave to work on her powers. Ava let Liz work on her own at first before dispensing advise, but all the words in the world didn’t seem to help Liz improve. After ten long minutes, Ava gently pushed her aside and took aim at the pile of rocks Liz was going to aim at a few feet away from them.
"Look, just watch," Ava spoke softly, "think about it and then give it a try."
Liz watched nervously. She hadn't practiced using her powers for almost a year and from what she remembered Max was generally the one who seemed to bring them out from within her. For lack of control and understanding, she couldn't help feeling afraid of her "alien" potential. Her powers, from what she could tell, always resulted in something foreboding for her friends and family- or at least in a discovery that would alter their existence. Still, she finally had an opportunity to hone her abilities and to understand them better than she had before. Besides that, she now had Ava to help her out.
Ava, stretched out her hand and squinted slightly at a pile of rocks several feet in front of her. Liz glanced from Ava to the rocks which crumbled into dust only seconds later. Her heart beat picked up speed, pounding fiercely in her chest, despite the calm she seemed to be exuding. Ava looked at her expectantly. Liz turned her attention to the pile of rocks Ava set up for her. For her, things melted or accidentally exploded or she would receive a premonition of someone's doom. She wasn't sure how to confine one action to the pile of rocks and the frustration threatened to break her calm exterior.
Seconds felt like minutes. For a moment, she thought of Max and imagined his face in her mind. A brief moment of calm swept over her and she extended her hand toward the rock pile. She concentrated on the rocks and the idea of them exploding into dust particles. She felt the energy build up in her hand, but everything seemed to go wrong the second she unleashed it. The rocks flew in every direction and she turned toward Ava before lowering her hand, which she quickly lowered when Ava ducked as if to avoid her range.
"I'm sorry," Liz said breathlessly.
"You havta concentrate," Ava demanded, "You havta believe that you can do it and you havta focus the energy in one place. Try again."
“What about my premonitions?” Liz prodded her.
“You get premonitions?” Ava countered while she looked Liz over momentarily, impressed, “that’s sweet.”
“It’s the reason we left Roswell during our graduation. I received flashes- visions- of our deaths. I saw that Max, Michael, Isabel and I were going to be assassinated by the FBI special unit. I kept having different visions since then until after the ones that led us to Serena,” Liz explained.
“How do you get these visions?” Ava replied, “touch, sound, smell?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s through touch and I’ve been touching lots of people without any visions for at least four months now,” Liz said.
“Some of our abilities can be repressed,” Ava informed her, “You’ve probably been so busy with the café that you suppressed any visions you would’ve seen. Now that you won‘t be stressing over the café as much, your abilities should come to you more easy-like. Now, try again. You havta learn to control what you can do.”
Liz nodded and raised her hand toward another pile of rocks. Slowly, she took a deep breath and reminded herself to concentrate. She felt her energy release itself gently while she exhaled. Seconds later she flinched involuntarily and realized that the rocks she aimed at moments before became dust. Triumphant, she grinned at her accomplishment and prepared to try again.
Suddenly- and before Liz could take aim at the next pile of rocks Ava set up for her- a cell phone started to ring. Liz pulled her phone out of her back pocket and noticed Serena’s name flashing on the screen. She glanced at Ava, pushed the ‘talk’ button and greeted her sister.
“Hey Serena, what’s up?”
“Oh hi,” Serena said, her voice breathy as though she were in a rush, “I just heard that Max called an emergency meeting.”
“What for?” Ava responded before Liz could say anything. Liz simply glanced at Ava, smirked knowingly and took a deep breath. She had a pretty good idea as to why Max called a meeting. He still had to explain is behavior from the night before. She repeated Serena’s next few words to Ava nonetheless.
“It probably has to do with last night,” Serena said, “doesn’t it bother you that he did something incredibly dangerous on his own even though the result was saving two very important lives?”
“Yeah,” Ava assured them, “but the timing feels off. Weren‘t we supposed to meet later on this afternoon?”
Liz found that she agreed with Ava. Her parents were neck-deep in their work and likely unable to find time for the meeting until the lunch rush simmered down later on in the day. Of course, he did call an emergency meeting. By definition, no one really had the time to get away to find out what Max needed to tell them.
“That’s why it’s an emergency meeting,” Liz pointed out after she told Serena ‘good bye’ and hung up her phone, “let’s just find out what he wants to tell us.”
“Can’t wait,” Ava informed them, “this should be interesting.”
Commotion filled the Parkers’ living room. Michael watched the scene from his perch in Mr. Parker’s brown armchair. He couldn’t figure out what Max wanted to say in the middle of a day that seemed relatively normal.
Max approached Serena the second she entered the room with Liz and Ava in tow. Michael couldn’t hear the conversation, but he felt certain that Max’s words involved the book that Serena was still translating. She shook her head and pushed past him toward Kyle. Michael smirked and took a silent head count. He noticed that most of the parents were absent and he couldn’t locate any of the protectors. Maria couldn’t be there either because Michael dropped her off at the Evans so Isabel could decorate Amy’s house for the baby shower. She no longer had the energy to climb the stairs anyway and made him promise to reiterate the entire meeting upon his return, word for word.
“Okay Max, what’s going on?” Isabel spoke up, “where’s Hanley, Raeve and Xaedon?”
“We’re here,” Raeve spoke up while she entered the room from the direction of Liz’s old room; Hanley in tow, “Where‘s Xaedon? He told me he would be here.”
“I can’t wait for him since we all need to get back to work,” Max said apologetically and continued calmly, “this meeting is largely about last night. If anyone has any questions, now is a good time.”
“I know we’re all glad to have the Parkers back safe and sound,” Michael spoke up, “but that plan bit it big time. Never under any circumstances are any of us supposed to do anything remotely like what you did on our own. You initiated the rule yourself, Maxwell, what exactly were you trying to pull last night?”
“I didn’t know Dimitri’s intentions,” Max replied, “I couldn’t get everyone involved. I know I asked you to help, Michael, but it just happened that I didn‘t have time to call you first.”
“Besides that,” Raeve reminded everyone, “he had Xaedon there who obviously protected him.”
“Ouch Rae,” Hanley bit out angrily, “I guess we know which one of your brothers you favor more.”
“What?” Raeve gasped, offended and would have continued if Liz hadn’t interrupted her.
“Max, the problem isn’t what you did,” Liz told him gently, “but some of us seem quite angry with how…and for all you knew Dimitri would have captured you. It‘s not like you to brave danger alone like that and take that kind of risk.”
“Where is Xaedon anyway?” Isabel spoke up.
“He has something else he wants to finish,” Max sighed, “some artifacts of ours that he wants to take back from the special unit. He wanted my help again, but I hesitated. He probably went on his own.”
Hanley muttered a couple curse words and stormed out of the room. Raeve rolled her eyes and sat down with a look of deep concentration on her face. Michael felt certain that she was trying to contact Xaedon and he wondered if either of them knew what their brother’s mission could be regarding.
“Did Agent Dimitri ask you for anything,” Serena uttered uneasily, “in exchange for letting Nancy and my Father get back to work here at home?”
“Information,” Max replied.
“What kind?” Michael spoke up unhappily.
Max took a deep breath and thought about his next answer. He would never give Dimitri any information that would be harmful to his family. Xaedon wouldn’t let him even if he wanted to. His new somewhat crazy protector seemed to have wilder plans than even Michael could concoct.
“It doesn’t matter what he asked for because I didn’t tell him anything. Xaedon helped me out of there before too many complications arose,” Max explained.
“and now he’s on some kind of mission,” Isabel replied as if she was still trying to understand the situation.
Michael understood why Isabel raised the question. He sensed danger and wanted to know how to avoid it. Xaedon seem to bare a vague resemblance to a loose cannon and made Michael feel a bit uneasy. If this protector failed their danger would double in strength.
“Maxwell, we have to stop him,” Michael spoke up, “if they capture him again we could all be in danger.”
“We’re already in danger,” Raeve reminded everyone, “we always have been. He wouldn’t intentionally put us in more danger.”
“But, he still could,” Hanley spoke up uncomfortably, “and if we can stop him, we should go now.”
“Let him go,” Max insisted, “I don’t like what he’s doing, but for some reason I can’t help trusting him. Now, Brody is waiting for me at the UFO center. I have to go. Meeting adjourned.”
Max put on his jacket, grabbed his keys, glanced reassuringly around the room and quickly exited the room. Hanley followed soon after and Michael simply watched the scene, bewildered by the silence in the room. He wanted to follow, but he knew that he needed to pick up Maria from the Evans home and take her to her surprise baby shower. He moved the leave until Liz spoke up.
“Michael, maybe you should follow them,” she suggested, “this bothers me. We can take Maria home for you. The baby shower is a girl thing anyway.”
“Yeah, it would save you an awkward moment,” Serena pointed out.
“Isabel?” Michael responded, knowing that her response would be of great importance in the scheme of things. She was the one who ordered him to take Maria to the baby shower.
“It’s fine Michael, just go,” Isabel replied, “and keep us informed.”
“Will do,” Michael assured them while he walked toward the door.
With that, Michael was gone.
“Maxwell, wait up,” Michael called to him.
Max stopped walking and tried to keep his calm. Hanley hovered over him and Xaedon’s behavior seemed to threaten the semi-peaceful state of living they were in and Michael wanted to be included. The frustration of the whole situation irked him to no end.
“No,” he told them, “Xaedon insisted on going back there and he seems more stubborn than any other protector I’ve known. He has a responsibility he wants to fulfill and that’s it. Hanley, you can go and try to help him if you want … but I’m the guy in charge here. Michael, the rest of us are the ones with the information that Dimitri hasn’t gained yet and that’s why we’ve gained protection. What Xaedon is doing- it happens to be a protector’s issue. I will leave it to Hanley, Raeve and the other protectors to solve. So go take Maria to her baby shower.”
Max took a deep breath and turned to leave. Michael watched him curiously and Hanley’s phone began to ring. Although he stopped to answer it, Max kept walking. Hanley seemed to notice because he too stared at Max, bewildered at the latest development.
“Wherever you’re going,” Michael said to Hanley, “can I come?”
Isabel returned to the Deluca house after the meeting to finish preparations for Maria’s baby shower. She helped Amy put out a few more bowls of snack food and vacuumed the carpet one more time just to be sure the floor was clean. Moments before the guests were supposed to arrive, she stood near the front door and surveyed living room. Before she could find anything else to perfect, the doorbell rang and she turned around to answer it. Liz, Ava, and Raeve stood on the front porch; smiles and presents in their hands.
“Hi,” Isabel greeted them with a grin, “come on in and put the presents on the empty end of the coffee table while you settle in. Serena should be arriving with Maria at any second now.”
“Hey this is a girl thing right?” Raeve said, “I mean, I’ve never been to one of these things before and I don‘t think I‘ve ever seen so much pink and baby blue in one room before.”
“Isabel,” Liz spoke up, “I thought you weren‘t going to go all out on decorations this time?”
“Oh, it was nothing,” Isabel insisted, “I just had some extra time on my hands after the meeting earlier and thought I would make this extra special for Maria. Do you think she‘ll like it? I‘ve never planned one of these before, but I went to one once for a cousin a long time ago.”
Several heads nodded while the girls settled around the living room. Ava found the salsa and decided to dig in with Liz in tow. Isabel pushed some napkins toward them and glanced toward the door when she heard it open. Serena and Maria entered and their eyes widened. Serena’s mouth fell open.
“Oh my god,” Maria spoke up excitedly, “is this a baby shower? For me?”
“Surprise!” everyone shouted happily except for Serena who seemed to be recovering from the scene in front of her.
Maria smiled and grabbed Serena by the arm as if to get her attention. Serena grinned at her before looking around some more. Maria simply shrugged before leaving Serena to continue her amazement while she scoured the coffee table for any food she felt like eating.
“Hey Serena,” Raeve spoke up, “it‘s okay. I‘m told it‘s supposed to look this way.”
“I know, it’s just,” Serena said while she sat down beside Liz on the couch, “Isabel the decorations are really something.”
“Hello girls,” Amy greeted them while she entered the room with an apple pie in her hands, “I think Maria will enjoy a slice of this. She’s had a big craving for anything apple the last few days.”
“Thanks mom,” Maria said while she licked her lips excitedly and added jokingly, “did you bring forks and plates or am I just supposed to dig in?”
“Of course,” Amy assured her in the same happy tone, “here, hold this plate and I’ll put your piece on it. Now, Isabel, did you plan any games?”
“Yes,” Isabel said excitedly while she pulled out fabric measuring tape, “who would like to guess how big Maria is now?”
“Do you have to?” Maria responded uncomfortably, “because I’m sure that I’m as big as a house.”
“Oh come on,” Amy told her gently, “it’s just for fun and it won’t take long.”
“Yeah,” Liz encouraged her, “besides it’s probably better than that game I heard about where you smell diapers.”
“Okay,” Maria relented as if she was thoroughly convinced. She stood up, posed in profile toward the others and added, “guess away.”
Max sighed impatiently and glanced at the digital clock on his bedside table. After meeting with Brody, he returned home to think, with very little success and mounting frustration. Anxiety, he thought would be gone with the return of Liz's parents coursed through him once again. Xaedon, one of his protectors, was probably in trouble again and his family resented his decision to let said protector put himself back in harm's way. Hanley seemed angry in general since the other night when Max managed to escape from his vigilant protection to help Xaedon. Max let out a frustrated sigh at the thought that Hanley remained upset even after he apologized.
Part of him thought he shouldn't care because Liz was happy again. Well, happy until she learned how he helped her parents become free again. The events from the night before didn't thrill him either. He wasn't the type of guy who would knock out somebody who only wanted to protect him through thick and thin. He wasn't supposed to be the type of leader who would single-handedly help one of his protectors. A king would have sent a soldier or a general- not that Max was ready to accept his high authority over a people he still knew little about. He still had trouble leading his own family because he didn't feel an overwhelming need to take that kind of role in the gang even though he knew he needed to try.
The glowing green numbers on the clock read 4:00pm. Max stood up from his desk chair and moved to look out the window. He was hoping that Xaedon would be early. He did say he would meet him at his bedroom window after completing his mission. For the moment, however, no one appeared and Max grew increasingly impatient.
"He's always been the wildcard," Hanley spoke up. Max turned to find him leaning against his doorframe and listened while Hanley continued, "stubborn, persistent and persuasive. I had hoped he would have grown up looking to our father as a role-model like me, but ... look, he is still one of the best protectors I know."
"I thought you were still angry with me?" Max prodded gently.
"You asked me not to be and you're the King," Hanley said half-heartedly and added seriously when Max remained skeptical, "Look, I know you didn't want to do it. If I recall, you also promised never to do it again. I think I can put it aside for now."
Max nodded and gazed out the window again. His mind still raced, however, and he thought about what Hanley just said about Xaedon. He wanted to know more.
"Who did Xaedon look up to?"
"Surprisingly," Hanley replied calmly, "General Rathme. He has always supported your leadership ... he just really seemed to love how the general would do anything and everything to protect King Zan ... that's what Raeve says anyway. I think it's because General Rathme seemed to fit in just outside the mold that the other royals were born into. Xae never has liked to feel limited or contained within his job for too long. He likes to feel free to do whatever he can to protect the royal family."
"Do you think he's doing the right thing?" Max said skeptically.
"Well, we're talking about Xaedon. He doesn't know how to fail ... even if he causes more harm than good," Hanley informed him.
"And you don't have a lot of confidence in him," Max sighed unhappily, "so he's going to screw up, isn't he."
"I don't know," Hanley said thoughtfully, "like I said, Xae is a wild card. Still, we need to be prepared for the worst."
Serena lost count of the hours she spent working to translate her mother’s journal. Her knowledge of the Antarian language was not improving much and everything she could understand in the latest chapters came across to her in riddle form. The gaps left by her inept ability left her frustrated and made it easy for her to thrust the book aside when Kyle entered the room.
“Not working too well huh,” he said calmly.
“It’s just my mother,” she began unhappily, but he interrupted her.
“Yeah,” he sighed as though he already understood, “I’ve been wanting to ask you something about that.”
He sat beside her and she looked at him with curious narrowed eyes. She didn’t like to talk about her mother and he knew that. Last she checked, he understood that concept. Discussing her mother’s past always seemed to upset her in ways nothing else ever could.
“Before you joined us, you were studying the science of time travel,” he said, “quantum physics and all that. I don’t think it would be too farfetched to conclude that you want to find a way to go back in time to save your mom. Now, you’ve been reading her thoughts and her feelings up until that time. I think you want to understand her state of mind around that time because she died for a cause that you‘re not sure you believe in.”
“I know more about the cause than you do,” Serena informed him, “she dragged me around the country with her for twelve years gathering intelligence on our enemies. She taught me all about the cause, the Royals, Antar and everything else she thought I needed to know. If anything, I didn’t believe in her part against our enemies.”
“Because it took her from you?” he prodded.
“No,” she insisted, paused for a moment to think and continued, “and yes. I was born into this cause and I saw the pain it inflicted on my mother. I- wait, why are you bugging me about this now?”
“I’ve been reading what you translated so far,” Kyle explained, “and I know why she left you with the key to open it.”
“Yeah, to remind me how unfair I was to her and how difficult our life was together,” she blurted hoping he would drop the subject.
“No,” he insisted, “I think she gave you the key because she hoped you would follow in her shoes and somehow end up with us to protect them.”
“I’m not a protector,” Serena insisted, “I didn’t even let her train me.”
“Yeah, but I’m betting that she tried,” he replied, “even if only to be able to defend yourself if she couldn’t for some reason. Hanley or Raeve would help you with the rest of your training if you-”
“I am not a protector Kyle,” she bit out angrily, “it’s not the life I choose. It is not who I am.”
“Okay,” he relented, “but I think it’s what you were born to be. At the very least, you could work on that time traveling technology. Even if you don‘t travel back in time, one of us might need to. You never know.”
Serena sighed frustrated, crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. She wasn’t in the mood to let Kyle win the discussion, but she was too tired to debate the issue any further. He stood to leave and she turned to look at him while he left. She thought it odd that he suddenly needed to bug her about time traveling and what he thought about her mother. She wondered if he knew something that was unaware of for the moment.
“Wait,” she said right after he crossed the doorway, “is there something you’re not telling me that might be important in the near future?”
“No,” he assured her while he turned to look at her one last time before leaving the room, “I’m just saying you never know.”
After the baby shower ended and her mom went to sleep, Maria lugged a trash bag out of the house to the trash cans in the alley near her house. Most hugely pregnant women wouldn’t be taking anything so heavy anywhere without experiencing premature labor pains, but she somehow knew she wouldn’t have to worry about that. Her strongest desire of the day was to spend some time out of the house and if fifteen minutes by the dumpsters with their putrid stench was all she could manage without anyone worrying about her then she wouldn’t hesitate. She loved Michael and her mother more than anyone else in the world, but after four months with them, she found herself just as imbalanced as she had been when she arrived. More than that, there was a presence she had been sensing near the dumpsters lately … and it was more familiar than she wanted to admit. Rather than cause anyone else any worry, she decided to check it out while she disposed of the hefty kitchen trash bag.
“I know you’re here,” she spoke softly while she flung the trash bag clumsily into the aluminum trash can she found, “and I find your presence very confusing. If you want to explain yourself, I’m all ears.”
Silence filled her ears and she sighed unhappily. The presence had yet to regain form or identity, but she knew without a doubt as to who was there. Actually, it was the Calypso part of her who felt certain and the Maria part who- having the same knowledge- was ready to admit the same truth to herself. She hoped for a sign of certainty, but realized that she wasn’t going to get one yet.
“Fine,” she relented, “you don’t have to say anything. In fact, I won’t even expect you to show yourself. Just know this. Part of me is upset that you are watching me and wants you to go away. The other part of me- the part that always senses when you’re near- never wants you to leave.”
She thought about him for a moment- Calypso’s love for him felt strong. She wondered what he was thinking; innocently hoping his mind was on simple inane things like hockey or what he would eat later. Her intuition knew better though, and Calypso didn’t want her to leave his presence. Calypso- if it were possible- spoke next.
“I remember us as if it was just yesterday and I’m sorry that I didn’t find you first. I found the other ‘you’ instead and Maria … she was injured. Michael did something to her brain when … well it was completely unintentional. He loves Maria as strongly as I love you. Their child is like mine. I wish you had known our daughter. Of course, lately I wish many things. One day, I promise I’ll-”
“You’ll what?” Michael’s voice interrupted her.
Her eyes widened and the violet hue within them became more emerald. She turned toward Michael, although her mind searched for that other presence momentarily. Michael was the only presence she sensed. She took a deep breath and chuckled as if she had just been thinking something silly and was embarrassed to be interrupted by him.
“Nothing,” she insisted, “just that … well, maybe one day the trash cans will be a little closer to the house.”
“Could happen,” Michael replied thoughtfully, but she could tell that he didn’t believe her. His eyes narrowed again as if he wanted to see into her soul and she averted her gaze at his attempt. He opened his mouth to say something, but Maria wasn’t in the mood for more banter- friendly or otherwise.
“I’m sorry,” she told him quickly while she tried to move toward the house, “I need to go back inside.”
She returned to the house knowing that Michael kept his eyes on her the whole way. He followed her inside a few seconds later and she closed the bedroom door before he could try to enter. Part of her wanted to melt the lock shut behind her, but the other part of her pleaded for the lock to be left alone. Eventually, he would confront her about the proposal he made … but she knew that he wouldn’t bother her yet. It was her turn to make things right with him and she knew he would wait until she was ready to talk. For that, she felt eternally grateful.
Xaedon walked into the FBI Special Unit headquarters in Utah without a second thought. He felt fairly certain that none of the guards suspected his real identity, but he spotted them while he walked along, ready to take the necessary measures if one of them did say something suspicious. Still, excitement rushed through his veins at the thought that he would succeed in his mission … and that he picked the best disguise he could think of. As long as he avoided the offices on the second floor where Agent Dimitri worked, he figured he would be able to leave unscathed and relatively unnoticed.
He traveled down an elevator to the basement and turned right at the first big hallway he encountered. Quietly, he walked past several cubicles where new agents and a few secretaries glanced at him while he passed. The two guards at the vault spotted him and stood at attention when he approached. The female guard with the codes looked at him with wide eyes as though she hadn’t expected his arrival.
“Do you need access sir?” she said hesitantly, “you usually give us warning.”
“I know, but this is an emergency,” he told the guard, “I need to be sure that something vital to our operation has not left this vault- personally.”
“Yes sir,” she said.
“Agent Dimitri, sir,” a familiar male voice spoke up from behind him.
Xaedon turned and held back a smirk when he realized that Agent Martinski just spoke to him. He held a familiar looking file in his hands. Xaedon grew concerned.
“Yes agent Martinski,” he replied, “what is it?”
“Sir, we’ve just received word that Agent Colton and his men have gone AWOL,” Martinski informed him nervously, “we think he has his own plans sir, for the subjects in this file.”
“What?” Xaedon gasped angrily, “send some agents to drag him back here, Martinski. Do we know what his plans are?”
“Best case kidnapping, worst case hostile take-over,” Martinski said calmly, “Agent Delmar sent me to tell you sir. Shall I tell him to send his best two agents after Colton?”
“Yes,” Xaedon said seriously, “I don’t care if he comes back dead or alive this time. He should know better than to disobey direct orders.”
“Sir, the vault,” the female guard spoke up.
“Thank you,” Xaedon said to the guard and added to Martinski before he entered the vault, “go to Agent Delmar now and tell him what I said.”
“Yes, sir,” agent Martinski replied before he walked quickly back from where he came from.
Xaedon headed into the vault, quickly replaced the real artifacts with fake ones, and did not waste time leaving the place that had once been his jail cell. Before he could get far from it, however, the female guard spoke up again.
“Everything okay in there sir?” she said with hope in her voice.
“Yes, make sure no one enters that vault without my permission,” he told her.
She nodded and he returned the gesture before leaving the room the way he came. He needed to leave the facility before anyone there could become suspicious. He needed to tell Max what he heard about Agent Colton. For all he knew, Colton was already putting his plan into motion. Xaedon hoped that he wouldn’t be too late to warn the others. Their current state of safety depended on him and he refused to let them down.
Rath crouched behind some bushes, his binoculars pressed against his eyes with his hands. He was supposed to be hiding out with Lonnie and Nicholas that night as usual, but he couldn’t sleep. He had a bad feeling about what would happen to the people in the house that he was watching.
The lights in the house were off and a nearby street lamp solely illuminated the building. Usually the moon shed a bit of light on the place as well, but that night there was a new moon. If he ever wanted to ambush a place, he would pick, without a doubt, the night of a new moon. Such a surprised worked best in the black of night … the blacker the better and the night of a new moon was the darkest.
The night was so silent that the sound grass crunching under quiet footprints seemed audible. He looked at the house, straining to see the intruders who seemed to be blanketed by the darkness. Suddenly, he spotted one on the side of the house that remained faintly lit from the street lamp. Someone wearing black … someone armed … scaling quietly down the side of the house just above a window.
Seconds later, a light turned on in the house. Rath could almost hear a woman-not his beloved-screaming from within. He cringed and put down his binoculars. He knew who was in that house and he wrestled with the idea of racing inside to help them. Well, to help her … his beloved. A window shattered and he heard the same woman scream again. The painful traumatizing noise resonated in his ears for a moment and the sound was one he did not want to hear again. His mind decided, he stood up with determination and ran toward the house. He had to save her.
© 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.