posted on 2-Dec-2002 3:00:15 PM
Author: Camille02

Title: Goodbye and Hello

Roswell/Buffy tVS Crossover (I reserve the right to throw other shows in along the way, but not any time soon. I’ll warn you. *wink*)

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from the shows, only want to borrow them for a little while. Please don't sue me, I have no money and nothing of significant value.

Spoilers: Well, none really as both the shows’ seasons I’m using are long gone anyway.

Rating: PG-13 to R occasionally (Nothing too bad, I promise.)

A/N: I realize the timelines don’t really mesh, but I’m just doing this for fun and I hope you’re reading it for the same reason. Hope I don’t disappoint you too much. This story picks up after the Mayor has been turned into a crispy critter and Xander has started his summer road trip in the Buffyverse. In Roswell-land it is the time of final events in Departure, with a twist. What if Liz and crew hadn’t made it to the pod chamber in time?
Just wanted to warn you, I've also taken a little literary license with things in canon, so please don't shoot me?

Dialogue in { } means thoughts


Chapter 1: Roswell or Bust

Xander’s eyes are starting to cross at all the open desert and the long straight line of pavement stretching out before him, heat waves dancing and shimmering over it. He thinks to himself, {Sure is a whole lot of nothing out here.}

As soon as he finished that thought, a figure stepped up to the side of the road and stuck out a thumb. “Where did he come from?” Looking around and seeing nothing for miles, Xander decides to play Good Samaritan. “What the hell, at least I know he’s not a vamp.” Slowing down, he manages to stop only a little way beyond the hitchhiker who runs to catch up to the car.

A little out of breath from running in this heat, “Thanks man!” The longhaired young man gets into the car and shuts the door. “I just need a lift back into Roswell.”

“I can handle that. I’ve wanted to check that place out for a while now. Is it as cheesy as the Travel Agencies make it look?” He asks as he pulls out onto the road again.

“Cheesier.” The stranger says with a smirk.

Xander grins from ear to ear, “Cool. My name’s Xander,” he sticks out his hand.

Laughing as he reaches across himself and takes the proffered hand, “Michael.”

“So, Roswell is home for you?” Xander asks, trying to be sociable.

Michael blinks and thinks, {That’s where Maria is, so,} “Yeah, Roswell is home.”

Glancing at his passenger and nodding his head sagely, “Uh huh, I know that expression. I’ve seen it in the mirror. What’s her name?” then grins ingratiatingly.

Michael is surprised to find himself answering this question, “Maria.”

"That's a very pretty na- What's going on up here?" Xander slows at the sight of a Sheriff's vehicle, stopped on the road ahead, lights flashing. A Deputy is out beside the car, waving them on. As they get closer they see a wrecked carjust beyond it, "Hope nobody's hurt," Xander mumbles as they go slowly past.

In the passenger seat, Michael is rigid with tension at sight of the officer. {That's not any Roswell Deputy I've ever seen. What's going on?} Then he sees the wrecked vehicle as they drive past. "Maria!" He gasps in shock at sight of the totalled Jetta. "Stop the car!"

Xander slams on the brakes.

Michael is out of the car before it can come to a complete stop. Turning back toward the fake deputy he raises his hand and a flash of light emanates from it, sending the man flying backward over thirty feet along the highway.

Seeing this in the rearview mirror, Xander's mouth drops open in shock. It drops open even further when he sees the "man" start to get up from the pavement.

Michael is down on his knees beside the overturned car, checking to make sure that his three friends inside it are all right.

Opening the door of his car, Xander steps out and stares in shock as the "deputy" gets up, looking very angry and starts running, straight toward Michael, very fast. "Uh oh."

Michael is working on trying to get the door open so he can get a better look at the people inside when he hears a warning shout from the guy who picked him up. Since he didn't look up immidiately, he got slammed into by the enraged man who had been impersonating a Sheriff's deputy and found himself pinned while the life is being throttled out of him. He can do nothing as his hands are being held down by his sides by the eney's knees.

Seeing the so called law officer trying to choke his new friend, Xander reaches inside his car, underneath the front seat and pulls out the tire iron he had hidden there. Taking it he hurries to the struggling pair and slams it into the "man's" small of his back. The resulting puff of air and floating debris startle him into backing up and looking at the sun again, then down at the tire iron in his hand.

Michael, still on the ground and grateful to finally be able to breathe again, lays there and watches the perplexed young man, wondering how to explain what just happened. Xander took him by surprise with his first question though.

Tossing the tire iron to one side and reaching a hand down to help his new friend up, "Why is it when the bad guys go poof their clothes do too? I've never understood that."

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Dec-2002 5:34:27 PM ]
posted on 2-Dec-2002 3:30:26 PM
I'll go ahead and tell you this won't be CC except for Michael and Maria. the rest of the podsters have left Earth already and won't be back for a loooong time.

If I say I plan to eventually make this a X/L fic, will it scare a lot of you away from reading? *sad* It's going to be a gradual thing, they'll be friends first.

I'm glad to have gotten responses already, that makes me really happy. I'll post another part tomorrow, okay? Right now I need to go do some work I've been ignoring. *tongue*
posted on 2-Dec-2002 5:32:33 PM
Oops! Kzinti_Killer I am so sorry! I'll go fix that UC warning right now.
(Where's a blushing smiley when you need one?)
posted on 3-Dec-2002 1:45:00 PM
I'm very glad to get so much feedback and such nice things you all say! You're making me blush. I hope you will all like this part too. It's not as long as I hoped, but I ran out of time to do more today. I'll try to make a longer one tomorrow. *happy*


Chapter 2 Xander Nightengale

As Michael reaches up to take Xander's hand, allowing the young man to pull him to his feet he marvels at the way they guy is handling killing a Skin.

Not waiting for an answer, Xander continues, "I'm gonna have a look at that cop car, see if it's real or as fake as it's driver. You go check out your friends and I'll see if I can find us some help."

Not needing to be told twice, Michel once more goes to the Jetta and climbs up on the driver's side which is the top at the moment. Using his powers, he rolls the window down and reaches inside to feel for Maria's pulse in her neck, "Thank God!" he breathes a huge sigh of relief at feeling the steady throb under his fingers. "Maria, wake up."

The car rocks slightly as Xander jumps up on it too. "It had a radio, so I called for help. Ambulances are on the way, but I don't like the look of that smoke under the hood there. Let me check them for injuries and see if it's safe to get them out of here." He reaches inside the broken rear window toward the blond haired girl and begins feeling for injuries to her neck. "No neck or spinal injuries, she's okay to move, let's get her out."

"How do you know, are you a paramedic or something?" Michael snaps, unable to restrain his tongue.

Ignoring the tone and answering the question, "Call it my gift and get her out of the car, okay? I'll explain later." That said, Xander lowers himself through the rear window and braces his legs on the seats, keeping himself off the young man in the back who is showing signs of stirring, he reaches to the front passenger side, checking the petite brunette next.

Michael is unable to get Maria out through the side window. She wakes up and starts to sob at the sight of him, "Hang on Maria, I'm gonna get you out of there." He hesitates only a moment before hopping down and moving to the front of the car. {Oh well, he's already seen me use my powers once.} Raising his hand toward the windshield it flies off the car as if on wings.

"Neat trick." Is Xander's only response as he lets the brunette's eye close again and gently feels her scalp, then moves his probing fingers down to her neck.

Shaking his head, Michael picks up his lover and carries her out and well away from the car. "Stay here, I'm gonna go get Liz" Coming back he looks at Xander's face for any hint as to his friend's condition.

"A concussion, definitely, but she's safe to move otherwise. Can you take her while I check him?" Jerking his thumb backward at the now moaning young man.

"No problem, I've got her. Come on Liz, let's get you over to Maria." Unbuckling her seatbelt he gently picks her up and carries her away.

Xander shifts positions so that he can assess the condition of the young man beneath him, "Hey, try not to move around too much. I need to check you for injuries. Can you tell me your name?"

The young man is mumbling at first, then gets louder, "Tess, damn her! Why did she have to kill Alex and use me, ME to get rid of the body like that? Like he was luggage!"

The anger, loathing and pain in his voice as he spoke sent Xander backward a foot or so. Knowing how head traumas can be, he decides to ignore what was said and tries again, "Hey buddy, I'm trying to help you. Can you wake up enough to tell me your name?"

Opening his eyes, "What? Kyle. My name is Kyle Valenti." Putting a hand to his right temple, "Ow!"

Quickly checking him over, Xander could discover nothing more serious than a few lacerations and nasty bump plus laceration on the head that had bled profusely but isn't bleeding now.

Finally looking at who is in the car with him, Kyle asks, "Who are you?"

"Just somebody trying to help. Do you think you can try to crawl out of here? The front windshield is off-"

"No! I don't know you! Somebody tried to run us off the road...they did and we crashed. Was it you? Where are Liz and Maria?" Kyle grabbed the stranger by the shirt and pushed him against the front seat.

Keeping his voice calm, "I didn't wreck you, I found you. As for the girls, they're with Michael, right over there and well away from this smoking car. I really think we should move, don't you?"

Kyle's grip loosened and he looked confused, "Michael? But, he left..."

At that moment, Michael stuck his head inside and shook it at what he saw. "Kyle, let Xander go and get out of the car, if you can move. If you can't, let him help you. He's a good guy. The girls are gonna be okay, but all of you need to be checked out at the hospital."

"Oh. Okay." He looks from Michael to Xander and lets go of the latter's shirt, "Sorry."

"That's okay. Strangely enough, stuff like this happens to me all the time, so I'm used to it." He grins before hoisting himself up toward the open rear window to allow the younger man room to move.

Kyle is crawling over the front seat and mumbles, "Should the fact you would admit that worry me?"

Seeing Kyle get out of the car, Xander crawls out the window and jumps down off the upturned side of the car. Landing near enough to him to help him to his feet and over to Michael and the others.

Michael studies Xander as he checks on Liz again, the only one who hasn't woken up yet. "Well?"

Looking up at his new friend, "I still say it's a concussion, but it worries me she hasn't woken up. Has she made any sounds at all since being moved?" he looks at Michael and Maria both. When they shake their heads he stands up and shades his eyes, moving away and looking down the road toward town, "Where are those ambulances?"

Maria looks worriedly at her friend, "Michael, where's Max?" Her tone pointed and meaning clear.

"He left with Isabel and Tess." Michael's voice is flat.

"What? Why didn't you go with them? What happened?" Maria is sidetracked from her worry for a moment.

Going down on one knee before her, "I couldn't leave. Home is where you are."

Maria melts, putting her arms around her boyfriend's neck and kissing him soundly.

Sitting on Liz's other side and turning away from this scene, Kyle remarks with a look of disgust, "I think I'm gonna be sick."

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 3-Dec-2002 2:10:46 PM ]
posted on 4-Dec-2002 1:02:59 PM
No post today after all. Some stupid idiot lost my ride home for me and I'm pissed off! I can't write when I'm mad! Sorry people, better luck tomorrow. For all of us!
posted on 4-Dec-2002 8:53:14 PM
Surfgirl02 originally wrote:
Want me to beat the stupid idiot up for you?*big*

Would you? I'd love to watch! Thank you for offering. *happy* I'm okay now, gonna try to post and I hope it makes sense.


Chapter 3 Sharing

Xander, still shading his eyes as he looks down the road, hears these things and thinks, {Aww} then has to fight off laughter at Kyle's comment.

Someone else doesn't bother to hide her reaction though. Liz opens her eyes and flings out her arm, connecting with the boy's bicep. "Shut up Kyle and let them have their romantic moment."

"Ow! You hit pretty hard for someone who was out cold a minute ago." He moves out of her reach.

Breaking away from Michael for a moment, but keeping his hand in hers, Maria shrieks happily, "Liz! You're finally awake. We were getting so worried!"

"Yes, I'm awake. Can somebody tell me what's going on?"

She tries to sit up, but Xander hurries back over and lays a restraining hand on her shoulder, "Maybe you shouldn't try that just yet. You took a nasty knock on the head."

"Who are you?" Liz asks, a slightly worried look on her face, but she stays prone.

Michael speaks up, "This is Xander. He was giving me a ride back into Roswell and helped out when we found you."

Kyle speaks up, "About that, was it a Sheriff's deputy that caused us to wreck? What was that about and where is he now?" Looking pointedly at the official vehicle, lights still flashing.

"That thing kinda vanished when I hit it in the back with a tire iron." Xander said to a stunned audience of three.

Looking up at Michael, Maria asks, "A Skin?" He nods.

"Is that what it was called?" Xander asks. "That's a relief! I was afraid it was some new kind of vampire." He grins, then stops, "Wait, it's not, is it?"

Kyle stares for a second and then looks at Michael, "I don't think this guy is playing with a full deck."

Looking at Kyle with a totally serious expression on his face, "I've sometimes wondered about that myself, especially after what just happened here a little while ago."

Kyle has the grace to blush.

Glancing up at Michael, Xander asks, "How many of these Skins have you had to kill and what are they after?"

No one says anything, just glancing at each other and finally at anything else.

Xander looks at Kyle and asks, "How do you kill these Skins?"

"Hit them in the small of the back hard enough and it breaks the seal on their-" Kyle trails off, nonplussed, glancing guiltily at his companions.

"What's the big problem with telling me? Okay, I'll share first. With Vamps it's a wooden stake through the heart. They really hate holy water and crosses too, but the stake is what kills them. You have your enemies, I have mine, but I'd be very surprised if there were no vampires in your town at all. They probably just keep a lower profile here than where I come from. I live on the Hellmouth, after all." Xander says all of this so matter of factly that no one can think of anything to say at first.

Maria raises her hand, "Uh, Hellmouth?"

Xander smiles, "It's best to explain all of that when one is not waiting on an ambulance to take one to the hospital. I promise I'll explain later. Right this second though, could somebody tell me how to spot a Skin from a normal human? Other than the, getting up after being magically thrown thirty feet, landing on asphalt, and then coming back to try and choke the life out of you, way. That was pretty obvious."

Maria and Kyle both start pelting Michael with questions, "Who got choked?" "What's he talking about?"

Liz puts two and two together and decides to speak up, "They shed." her tired voice loud enough to be heard over the others.

Xander looks down at the girl next to him, "Come again?"

"They peel layers of skin off themselves regularly, they have to. Oh and if you find a piece and pick it up, it disintegrates at your touch." She tells him with a perfectly straight face.

Xander blanches, "Okay, yuck!"

Maria grins, "My sentiments exactly."

At this point, the sirens of the ambulances can be heard and they finally come into sight.

posted on 12-Dec-2002 11:33:10 AM
So sorry I haven't posted more yet. Real life is stomping me hard. I hope to do more soon.

Thank you for all the feedback and bumps. You can't see me, but you've all made me smile.
posted on 13-Dec-2002 2:01:40 PM
Chapter 4 A nice little chat

The arrival of the ambulances and fire truck stops any more conversation about things weird and/or supernatural.

Maria has a fit about her mother's merchandise in the trunk of the Jetta when she notices the smoke coming from under the hood of the car. Michael restrains her so the paramedics can check her out by promising to get the stuff as soon as the fire department says it's safe to go near the vehicle.

When asked, Xander agrees to put the merchandise in his trunk for now. Maria and Liz go in the same ambulance, at their own insistence. Kyle goes in the other one, leaving Michael and Xander to follow.

On the way into Roswell, Michael studies the driver's profile surepticiously for a few minutes before getting up the courage to ask a question. "You were serious back there, weren't you?"

Xander, aware of the scrutiny and having a good idea why, still turns a puzzled expression toward the other teen anyway, wanting to force him to ask outright.

Taking a deep breath, "About the vampires. They're for real?"

Watching the road and nodding, "Yep." His guess that more is coming isn't wrong.

Looking decidedly uncomfortable and shifting in his seat, "Do they look like normal humans and then go all...deformed looking in the face and stuff?"

Giving his companion a half smile of understanding, "Thought you were going nuts, didn't you? Me too. Those things killed my best friend, made him into one and I had to Knowing my friend was long gone didn't stop it from bothering me pretty bad. I decided I could either go crazy, go back to pretending I didn't know that vampires existed or help fight them."

"You chose to fight them." Michael made that a statement, not a question, somehow sure.

Nodding decisively, "Yes, I did and found out that there are even worse things out there than vamps, but thankfully those are fewer. Right now, I'm on vacation."

Chuckling, "And you end up in the middle of our problem with the Skins. Sorry about that, man."

Xander just smiles ruefully, "Everybody has to have a hobby. Mine just seems to be getting into trouble."

Laughing, "I think my girlfriend would say we have something in common then."

Xander smirks and then joins in the laughter.

Michael looks over at him again, "I never told anyone, not even my best friend who was more like my brother to me, about the vampires. He fixed me up one night when one bit me, but I told him a neigbor's dog did it."

Hearing the past tense reference, Xander glances at him, wondering about that and why he hadn't noticed a scar since those are usually pretty obvious. Frowning, he decides to avoid the friend issue for now, "You got bit? How'd you get away, your hand thingy that you did to that Skin?"

Shaking his head and looking out the window for a second, making a decision before looking back, "No. It didn't like the way I tasted and let me go."

Xander's head whips around and he stares at his passenger in shock, "Huh?"

Grinning at this reaction, "That whole UFO crash back in '47, it wasn't a weather balloon."


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-Dec-2002 4:55:45 PM ]
posted on 17-Dec-2002 11:22:54 AM
Chapter 5 The rest of the ride

Shock gives way to a very big grin, "Cool." Xander looks back at the road, still grinning like a fool. "Fox Mulder, eat your heart out."

Shaking his head and chuckling, "You know, between the two of us, I think I'm the normal one." Michael tells him, jerking at thumb backward at his own chest.

Pretending to be hurt, "Why would you say that? Just because I think it's cool to meet a bonafide alien, in the flesh, and be one up on an FBI agent? I'm crushed!" He playfully grabbed at his heart, as if in pain.

Grin fading, "But that's just a tv show!" Michael stares, incredulous.

Looking innocently back, "So?" Xander winks

"Kyle was right." Laughing out loud for a full minute, Michael finally sobers and tells his new friend, "I'm only the first alien you've met today. The second one you killed with that handy tire iron of yours. Thanks for that, by the way."

Xander gulps, "Really?" Xander attempts to shrug nonchalantly, "Oh, you're welcome." Driving in silence for a minute, "So why was the Skin after your girlfriend and the other two? Are they aliens too?"

Michael scowls, "No, they're not. I have no idea why they went after our- my friends like that. Unless..."

"Maybe it has something to do with what Kyle said before he came to completely, back there in the Jetta and jumped me. He said something about a Tess murdering Alex and using him to get rid of the body. Know anything about that?" Xander turns to see Michael staring at him in horror.

"Are you sure that's what he said? Are you positive? Face a mask of fury, muscles standing out in his neck like cords as he gripped the armrest and the material under his hand starts to smoke.

Seeing this, Xander gets frightened, "Yes, I'm sure. Uh, you might want to watch what you're doing there, buddy. I don't have fire insurance on this baby."

Visibly trying to regain control of himself, Michael closes his eyes and a look of sorrow crosses his face, "Alex." he whispers, almost inaudibly. Opening his eyes again, he unclenches his hand from the armrest and passes it over the melted material, returning it to normal.

{Neat! Wish I could do that.} Xander thinks, then says aloud after a moment, "I'm sorry about your friend."

Looking out the window and fighting back tears, "Me too." Michael wonders if Tess plans on killing Max and Isabel too, cursing inwardly at not being able to warn them.

After a short silence, Xander tries to distract his new friend from what was bothering him, "So, about those Skins, hitting them in the back kills them, why?"

Looking at Xander again, "Oh, the small of the back is where the seal is on the human like husk. They can't live on this world without it, so you break the seal and they are no longer your problem."

"What? You mean they have to wear a human body like some sort of space suit?" He is obviously grossed out by this thought and trying to hide it.

Smirking a little, "That's not what I am. My people sent me here after I "died" and recreated me as mostly human. Before you ask, no, I don't remember my old life at all." Michael decides to keep his alien friends a secret for now.

"That's got to suck." Xander tactlessly states out loud. "Uh, sorry." He looks embarrassed.

Shaking his head, "Not as much as you might think. This way I feel better about choosing my own life."

Wondering about that last sentence, put it together with what he'd overheard, but realises there are still missing pieces to this puzzle. Xander shakes his head at the situation he finds himself in here.

"Oh, turn here. The hospital is just two blocks up, see it?" Michael leans forward in his seat.

Making the turn, "Yeah, I see it." Xander pulls into the nearly full parking lot and stops closest to the main building, "You go ahead, I'll find a spot and join you in a few minutes. We'll figure out what to do with the stuff in my trunk later."

"Thanks man." Michael grins at him as he get's out, "See you in a minute."

posted on 19-Dec-2002 2:27:22 PM
Chapter 6 More than he bargained for

A few hours later, Maria is seen and released, all injuries being minor. It's decided Kyle and Liz are to be kept overnight for observation.

On his way back from the cafeteria with sodas and snacks, Xander pauses at the desk, overhearing that Liz's parents haven't been reached yet. One nurse is telling another, "The Parker girl told the doctor her parents have gone out of town. They must not have checked into their hotel yet."

The other woman asks, "Where did they go?"

"To some restaurant owner's convention back east." The first one replied.

Xander walks back toward the waiting room and also overhears Michael and Maria talking about "The others" leaving. He gathers from what is whispered that Liz and Max had been a serious item, and had only just left town with his sister and present girlfriend who is pregnant. {Harsh!} Xander thinks, standing just around the corner.

In spite of her protests, Amy decides to take Maria home, insisting Michael go with them, ranting a bit about "Explanations, " or something that Xander can't quite catch.

"But Mom, we can't leave Liz alone here! Not only would it be mean, it might not be safe." Maria whines.

Walking into sight at that moment, arms loaded down and smiling at everyone, Xander comes into sight.

"He can stay with Liz." Amy points out.

Looking blank, Xanders stutters,"I-I can what?"

Amy smiles at him and looks back at Maria, "He's obvioulsy a very kindhearted boy. I'm sure he won't mind staying with Liz until her parents arrive." Turning to face him again, "Would you?"

Handing over drinks and snacks to the appropriate people, "Well, I guess I could. I'm in no hurry to get anywhere at the moment."

"See? It's all settled." Amy starts steering her daughter out. "Nice to meet you. Thanks again for helping the kids out." She smiles and waves.

Michael stops in front of the stunned young man, "Sorry you got drafted man. If you get out of here early enough, here's the key and directions to my place. You're welcome to crash there."

Looking puzzled as he accepts these things, "But none of you even know me. Why are you trusting me with so much?"

Smirking, "I'm following Liz's lead. She opened up to you back there in the desert and I have learned the hard way to trust her instincts."

Amy's voice can be heard from the down the corridor, "Are you coming, Michael?"

Making a face while looking in Xander's direction, "Yes Ma'am!" Waving quickly to Xander, he turns and hurries after the two women.

Later that evening Liz is put into a two patient room, but the other bed is empty. Xander settles in the reclining armchair on the side furthest away from the door, back in the shadows. He doesn’t want Liz feeling like he is hovering over her in her sleep.

Around two in the morning Xander finally admits he can’t sleep very well in the uncomfortable armchair, {At least it doesn’t broadcast my every move like the faux leather ones do in Sunnydale.) he thinks, squirming on the cloth seat while trying to find a less uncomfortable position. Finding one, he is about to close his eyes again when yet another nurse walks into the room. {It’s a wonder anyone ever gets any sleep in a place like this!} He grumbles inwardly, hoping this one won’t wake Liz.

Unlike the previous nurses who have come in to check vitals and make notes on the chart, this one pulls a picture out of her pocket and compares it to the occupant of the bed, nodding her head.

Xander freezes when he sees this, watching as if in slow motion while the nurse who isn’t a nurse puts the picture down on the bed, reaches back into her pocket and pulls out a syringe, uncapping it. Sitting up noisily, he yawns theatrically.

The woman gasps in surprise and drops the syringe.

Getting up and coming out of the shadows he asks in a quiet voice, “Did I startle you? I’m sorry.” Stooping to pick up the syringe which had rolled under the bed to his side of the room, “What’s with the shot?” pretending not to see the picture of Liz on the foot of the bed. He nonchalantly puts his free hand near the call button for the nurses’ station, keeping eye contact with the “nurse” the whole time.

Obviously flustered, she stammers, “Something the doctor ordered, to prep the patient for another test.”

Liz opens her eyes at this moment, looking from Xander to the nurse blearily, “What’s going on?”

Not answering Liz, Xander tells the woman, “Guess you’ll have to draw up another dose, since this needle got dirty.” He holds up the syringe where Liz can see it and bends the needle completely sideways while hitting the call button for the nurses' station at the same time with his other hand.

At this moment an orderly comes in behind the nurse, pushing a wheelchair that has restraints attached. He looks surprised and angry to see Xander standing there and his presence raises the tension in the room a hundred fold.

Liz comes fully awake, realizing something is horribly wrong and notices a peeling patch of skin on the woman’s upper arm, almost hidden by her short-sleeved smock. Her heart begins to hammer in her chest, wondering how she and Xander are going to get out of this.

A click on the wall above the bed distracts everyone, “May I help you?” The true nurse asks from the desk.

Xander shouts, “Call Security!” tosses the ruined syringe over his shoulder and grabs the release buttons for the side rail on Liz’s bed.

The fake nurse lunges for the girl who screams, “Get away from me!” Drawing up her knees, she kicks the woman backward into the fake orderly, buying time for Xander to remove the rail and separate it into two pieces. She jumps out of the bed to stand by his side.

Dropping one half of the rail, Xander grips the other with both hands; ready to swing at whichever Skin comes at them first. “Get behind me, Liz and keep your head down!”

Doing as she’s told, to a certain extent, she grabs the half rail he had discarded and stands well behind him, ready to defend herself if one of the Skins gets past him.

Xander notices this and has time to smile at her spunk before the fake orderly, throwing the nurse off and getting to his feet quickly, rushes him. Swinging his improvised weapon, he connects with the man’s chin, rocking him back on his heels a couple of steps. Stopping his backward motion he gives Xander a feral grin and cracks his knuckles.

The boy pales, “Oh crap!”

posted on 21-Dec-2002 2:54:37 PM
Chapter 7 Letting the cat out of the bag

At the nurses station the security guard just happens to be there already, chatting up the new redheaded P.A. when the call comes through. Hearing the yell and the ensuing commotion going on over the intercom, Deaver whips his head around and asks, “What room?”

Beverly, the charge nurse’s chair scrapes the floor as she quickly gets to her feet and comes around the desk, “614 and I’m coming with you.”

Taking off down the hallway at a run, the guard easily outdistances the nurse, skidding to a stop outside the room he shoulders the door open while drawing his pistol. Inside he sees a short, dark haired girl in a hospital gown swing part of a handrail at a nurse, connecting with the woman’s shoulder and knocking her toward the window, hitting her head on the glass with a loud crack. And a young man is forced to his knees by an orderly while being strangled, a very mangled looking bit of bed rail on the floor nearby.

Eyes darting back and forth between the pairs of antagonists, Deaver yells, “Nobody move!”

The nurse had caught herself on the windowsill and lowered herself to her knees, feigning pain. She looked surreptitiously from the guard to the orderly, not liking the situation. In a frightened tone of voice, “I only came in to check her vitals and she became violent. Help me!” She clutched at her head, as if in pain.

Beverly enters the room in time to hear this and pushes past Deaver to go to the nurse’s side, “Let me see how bad you’re hurt.”

Getting her breath back, Liz yells, “No!” She lets go of the rail with one hand, holding it palm up toward the real nurse. “Don’t go near her, she’s dangerous!”

Beverly pauses a moment at the vehemence in those words and looks at the girl, puzzled.

Xander waves an arm, trying to get someone to notice that he’s still being choked, “Ugh!” He can only grunt as he grabs at the viselike grip again.

Deaver is confused by everything, but he finally does see that the orderly hasn’t stopped choking the boy. Pointing his gun directly at the man’s back, “You there, let that boy go. Do it now!”

The man doesn’t say a word, just continues to throttle the kid.

Deaver cocks his pistol, an audible click in the suddenly silent room, “I’m warning you, let him go now!” When he doesn’t get a response, he has no choice but to fire the gun. What happens next leaves him in openmouthed astonishment.

Jerking with the impacts of the bullets, the orderly’s hands loosen their grip and Xander slides to the floor with thud and an audible attempt to resume breathing, wretching at the same time. His attacker turns to face the cop and is apparently not hurt, just severely pissed off.

Beverly backs up next to Deaver as he manages to gasp out, “Body armor?” Taking aim again, this time at the head he yells, “Stop! Don’t make me shoot you, man.”

Liz darts forward and swings her improvised weapon with all her might at the distracted Skin, connecting at just the right spot and with a muffled popping sound; he dissolves into nothing before everyone’s eyes.

The girl falls to her knees, exhausted and looks over at Xander who is starting to get some color back in his face now as he lays on his side, fighting to keep his eyes open.

Beverly gasps and steps behind Deaver and demands, “Where did he go?”

The nurse on the floor pretends to be shocked as well, “How did he do that?” She crawls away from the dusty remains of her cohort on the floor in faux fright, headed for the door.

Liz, head pounding like a jackhammer, looks up and around at the noise and gasps out, “Stop her, she was with the orderly!”

Deaver backs up as the woman skitters closer across the floor and his voice is harsh, “Freeze, bitch! You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Trapped, the Skin has no choice. Looking daggers at Liz and Xander, she reaches behind her back and pops the seal on her husk, killing herself.

Gun hand falling by his side, the man stands and stares at the empty spot where a woman had just crouched, unable to comprehend the events that have transpired in this room. Hearing a small squeak behind him, he turns in time to catch a fainting Beverly.

Jeff and Nancy Parker enter the room ahead of two more security guards, “What the hell is going on in here?” Jeff wants to know at sight of his daughter on the floor, looking much the worse for wear.

Nancy runs to her daughter’s side, “Liz, honey, are you all right?”

Hugging her mother tightly, “I am now, Mom.” Tears of exhaustion, pain and emotional turmoil spring from her eyes and begin rolling down her cheeks.

Seeing Liz safe, Xander succumbs to the enveloping darkness that has been trying to claim him for the last, eternally long, five minutes. With a ragged sigh, he rolls bonelessly onto his back and knows no more.

posted on 26-Dec-2002 10:05:56 PM
So sorry to have taken so long to post again, but the holidays do take precedence, don't they? Just for that, this part is a little longer than I usually make them. I hope you all enjoy it and thank you for the kind feedback and bumps. *happy*


Chapter 8 Acceptance

When Xander wakes his eyelids are too heavy to lift at first. He can hear female voices behind him, talking in low whispers.

“I’m so sorry. I really wish he had stayed for you, girlfriend.”

“Don’t be. At least one of us is happy.”

At first Xander assumes it’s probably Buffy and Willow and that the gang must have had another all night research session, but Giles’ couch isn’t this comfortable and his apartment isn’t so antiseptic smelling.

A low giggle penetrates the fog of sleep even further and he hears, “Who’d have thought Spaceboy and I would make a happy couple?”

{Spaceboy?} Opening his eyes, he realizes he’s on his side, facing a window and in a hospital bed. Recognition of the place takes him back to where he is and why and also helps him to identify the voices as Maria and Liz.

Before Liz can answer her friend, Michael walks in, “Is Sir Galahad awake yet?”

Both girls make shushing noises at him and Maria whispers, “No and keep your voice down.”

Chuckling, Xander rolls over and sees Liz in the other bed, Maria beside her in an armchair and Michael seated on the arm of it. All three are surprised to see him move. He tries to talk, but all that comes out of his abused throat is a croak. Putting a hand up to it, flinching at how sore it is to the touch, he tries again, “I’m awake now.”

The sound of Maria’s hand slapping Michael’s bare arm is heard, “Ow! What was that for?” He asks as she gets up from the chair and goes around Liz’s bed to Xander’s.

Shooting a cutting glance over her shoulder at her boyfriend while she pours Xander a cup of water, “You woke him up.”

Xander tries to come to Michael’s rescue by admitting he had woken up before Michael came in but Maria shushed him now, “You shouldn’t try to talk too much yet. That Skin did a number on your throat. You should see it, all purple and black with bruises.” She hands him to cup of water, urging him to drink it.

Xander catches Michael’s eye, trying to look sympathetic and shrugging at the situation as he drank. When he swallowed he screwed up his face in pain a little, realizing that his throat was really sore. Inwardly, he curses, biting his lip and trying not to touch his throat again.

Liz speaks up next, “My parents insisted you be allowed to stay in here where they could look after both of us. Knowing you defended me against those two and finding out you were the one who found us on the highway has made them both declare they’re in your debt forever.” She smiles a small smile at him, her head resting on the pillow.

This touches Xander more than he’s willing to admit, even to himself. He’s tried not to think about the lack of parental concern in his life and he can’t afford to start doing it now. To distract himself he hands the water back to Maria and glances around, asking, “Where-?”

Michael quickly tells him, “They just went to the cafeteria for some breakfast when Maria and I showed up.” Michael jerks his thumb back toward the door of the room.

Xander nods and then looks questioningly at Liz, pointing at her and then tapping the side of his own head, “Okay?”

She smiles again, “My head? It feels a lot better then it did last night, but still aches a little. I don’t think they’re going to let either of us go until this afternoon at the earliest.”

“Do you think you could eat something?” Maria asks, uncovering his tray. It has all soft foods, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and jello.

Xander sits up and nods, going for a sip of coffee first and then picks up the lime jello. “Mm.”

“Well, I’ll leave you to that,” Maria turns away and makes a face.

Michael smirks. He hadn’t liked Maria being so solicitous of their new friend, even if he had probably saved Liz’s life the night before. “Interesting combination there.”

Xander just nods, mouth full of jello and smiles.

~ ~ ~

In the cafeteria the Parkers have just sat down with their food and begun to eat. Both are exhausted from lack of sleep and worry about their only daughter.

Nancy is the first to say something, “What if that nice young man hadn’t been here? What did those people want with our baby?”

Resting a hand on his wife’s, “We can’t go down that road, Nance and you know it. We have to just be thankful he was. What ifs aren’t to even be considered.”

They pick at their food, mostly drinking the coffee because they need the caffeine to stay awake. Ten minutes pass in silence before Jeff asks, “Do you have Xander’s things? I thought we ought to call his parents, let them know where he is, in case they feel the need to come down here. What do you think?”

“Yes, I do and I think that’s a great idea.” Nancy smiles at her husband. She rummages in her purse and gets out a card and the cell phone, handing them to Jeff.

Consulting the card, Jeff dials and puts the phone to his ear, “It’s ringing.” He takes a breath, “Hello, is this Mr. Harris? My name is Jeff Parker and I’m calling about your son Xand-.”

He stops, obviously having been interrupted. “No, no, nothing like that. He actually did a good thing by saving our daughter’s life last night. I’m afraid he got hurt while doing it though and is in the hospital, but don’t worry, it’s not too serious. As a matter of fact, the doctor will probably let him go this afternoon sometime.”

He takes the phone away from his ear and looks at it as if it were a rattlesnake, an angry voice audible enough for Nancy to hear, “You tell that good or nothing tramp that he’s not running up MY insurance going off and getting himself put in the hospital. He’s an adult now and can take care of himself. If he can’t, I don’t care, but don’t come crying to me for money he won’t get!” Reluctantly putting the phone back to his ear, Jeff is just in time to hear it rudely slammed down on the other end.

The couple are more than a little chagrined over the reaction they got from Xander’s father. Nancy becomes indignant, “From what Liz, Maria and Michael told us, this young man is someone to be proud of. What is his problem?”

Jeff shakes his head, “I don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking maybe he and Michael have a lot in common. You heard what the doctor said about him, all those old injuries. Maybe we just confirmed his suspicions.”

Nancy’s eyes reflect the sympathy she feels for the young man, “He’s obviously trying hard to rise above what was done to him, helping others at the risk of his own life like he did last night. I want to help him, Jeff! Let’s pay his hospital bill and if he thinks he has to pay us back, he can take Jose’s shift as first shift short order cook.” She is referring to the employee who just gave his two-week notice. “What do you think?”

Smiling at his wife’s excited face, “I think you’re too good for words, Mrs. Parker.”

The two agree not to tell Xander they had called his parents, rightly thinking the reaction to the call would just hurt the boy more than he had been already.

~ ~ ~

It happened just like Nancy thought it would. They returned to the room to find the kids laughing at one of Maria’s jokes.

Introducing themselves, “I’m Jeff Parker and this is my wife, Nancy.” We can’t thank you enough for doing what you did for yesterday. Last night was above and beyond and we find ourselves owing you a debt we can never repay.”

Nancy hugs Xander at this point, making him blush.

He tries to talk, “It was noth-.”

Jeff interrupts, “Don’t try and tell us it was nothing. You did a good deed, son and my wife and I want to do a little toward paying you back by taking care of your hospital bill.”

All the teens are surprised by this, Xander swallows hard, his eyes shining with moisture he dares not shed, “That’s too generous of you sir, ma’am.” His voice is rough with emotion as well as the injury to his vocal cords.

Jeff places a hand on his daughter’s face, smiles at her and looks back to Xander, “You can’t put a price your loved one’s son. There’s not enough money in the world to pay you back for keeping our Lizzie safe.”

“Dad!” Liz blushes at the nickname.

Xander looks from one adult to the other, “You have to at least let me pay you back. I can’t do it all at once, but I’ll find a job and make payments.”

Jeff nods at Nancy who takes up the argument, “We thought you might say that. We just had an employee give his two-week notice yesterday and you can have his job at the Crashdown if you like. Liz, Maria and Michael all work there, so you’ll be among friends. Please say you’ll take the job?”

Michael pipes up, “Jose finally going to move?” When Jeff nods his head, the boy turns back to Xander, “You can stay with me and I’ll help train you so you don’t mess up my kitchen.”

Jeff looks at Michael and both grin, that last line being part of an old joke between them.

Xander is overwhelmed by the generosity being shown him. Jeff and Nancy are looking at him with such understanding and kindness that he almost breaks down. Nodding his head and blinking rapidly, “I’ll take it.”

Everybody claps and Nancy hugs him again, saying nothing about the moist tearstains he leaves on her shoulder when she finally releases him, but her heart takes note of it. {This boy needs mothering and I’m going to do it until he yells at me to stop!} She decides, trying not to cry herself at the desperate need for affection she sees in his eyes for a moment before he hides it again.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 26-Dec-2002 10:11:46 PM ]
posted on 24-Jan-2003 3:03:59 PM
I am so sorry I forgot to post this over here before I vanished. I remember now that I tried, but the board was down and then I forgot about it when real life started being so mean to me. Let's just say I had/have health issues and leave it at that, shall we?


Chapter 9 Another secret revealed

Two weeks later, Xander is recovered and settled in so thoroughly it’s as if he’s never lived anywhere else. Having picked up the routine in the kitchen at the Crashdown pretty quickly, he now handles the grill to both Jeff and Michael’s satisfaction. This gives him a sense of accomplishment he hasn’t felt in a while. And even though he sleeps on the couch in the apartment he shares with Michael, he still feels more at home there than he ever did at his parents’ house in Sunnydale.

Nancy and Jeff never miss an opportunity to show Xander their appreciation and always praise him for his efforts. If the two hadn’t informed Liz about what the doctor said and the phone call to his parents, she might have gotten jealous of all the attention and hugs they showered on the boy.

Instead of being jealous, she joined in it, treating Xander like the brother she never had. Not one to do things by halves, Liz also treats Michael the same way and her parents follow her lead, including both boys in family outings and picnics. Both of them feel so welcome, they know it isn’t just to act as Liz’s bodyguards.

One month after Xander’s arrival in Roswell…
Sitting on a blanket in the park, Jeff and Nancy watch Liz, Michael and Xander join some other teens in a game of flag football, after sharing a picnic one lazy Sunday afternoon,

Eyes shining with pride, “Our daughter is a genius.”

Looking up from sneaking a finger into the remainder of the banana pudding, “Hm, oh. Yes, I agree she is a genius, but what particular feat are you referring to now?” Jeff asks his wife with a grin, pretending he hadn’t touched the desert dish.

Nancy smiles and pretends not to notice her husband’s misbehavior, “Look over there and tell me what you see.” She points to the active and laughing teens a short distance away.

Jeff looks up and pretends to study the scene before him a moment, “I see Liz and-. Look, she’s gonna make it!” He gets up on his knees to watch closer, seeing Liz running with the football, Michael and Xander running interference for her right to the end. “Touchdown! Whoo hoo! All right Lizzie!” Jeff yells enthusiastically while Nancy claps and laughs at her husband’s exuberance.

Across the way, Liz shrieks with surprise and laughter at being picked up by Michael and Xander as the rest of their team crowds around them, yelling their triumph over the other team.

Nancy laughs and looks smug, “That is a scene we wouldn’t have been able to watch if she hadn’t had the bright idea of including Michael. I’ve wanted to reach him for so long, but until Xander came along, nothing I did seemed to touch him. Now look. It’s like he’s one of the family.”

Jeff puts an arm over his wife’s shoulders, “You’re a good role model for her, honey. I think she takes after you in every way.” He gives her an affectionate kiss as the kids come back toward them.

“Now, now, break it up. Do we need to tell you two to get a room?” Liz asks playfully before flopping down on a corner of the large blanket.

Jeff breaks off the kiss with a mock growl, “You keep a civil tongue in your head, missy. You’re not too big for me to put across my knee.” His laughing eyes belie the seriousness of his tone.

Nancy’s infectious giggle makes them all laugh as the boys sprawl on the grass nearby.

“Is there any banana pudding left?” Xander queries hopefully.

Michael and Liz promptly show interest when Nancy passes the dish over. Soon all three are dueling with their spoons to get the last bite out of the bowl.

Jeff and Nancy watch, amused and happy.

~ ~ ~

On the way back from the park, Xander and Michael stop off to get some things from the grocery store for Nancy. Laughing and joking, the guys take turns tossing cans and bags to each other and then placing them in the shopping cart.

They leave the store soon and head for the Parker’s residence, pulling up out back. Each grabbing armloads of bags, they go inside and find chaos.

Nancy is down on the floor, blood flowing from a cut above her hairline, obvious signs of a struggle abound. Both boys hurriedly shed their burdens and Xander quickly goes to the fallen woman’s side, relieved to see her breathing and feeling a pulse.

Quietly the two go upstairs, following the sounds of a fight, entering the Parker living room to see Jeff go down under two assailants. Liz screams in terror as she’s being dragged toward the stairs.

Michael wastes no time, raising his hand he blasts Liz’s captor, sending him backward through the air and into a chair. Hitting on his back, he vanishes into dust. “Skins. Better grab a weapon,” He mumbles to Xander as he goes after one of the men beating up Jeff.

Xander grabs Liz up from the floor where she’d fallen, “Get downstairs with your mother.”

He then picks up a wooden stool nearby and wades into the action.

Liz hurries down the stairs to her mother’s side. Hearing a noise, she grabs a mallet from the kitchen and stands guard over the prone woman.

From inside the dining room of the Crashdown comes another Skin. His surprise at seeing her there might have been funny if the situation weren’t so dangerous. He circles the girl warily.

“What do you want with me?” Liz screams at him in frustration.

~ ~ ~

Upstairs, Xander slams the stool in his hands down on the Skin’s head, breaking it into several pieces. In the oddly quiet moment following the blow, he hears Liz’s scream.
Abandoning Michael and Jeff he dashes for the stairs.

~ ~ ~

Keeping her mallet ready, Liz tries again, “Max, Isabel and Tess have gone back to Antar. Why are you after me now? What could you possibly want with me?”

Shrugging, the Skin replies, “Nikolas ordered us to bring you to him. We don’t question our orders.”

Grinding her teeth in frustration, afraid for her parents and herself, Liz has had enough. “That’s it! Come over here and eat this, you bastard!” She waves the mallet.

The Skin is amused and laughs at her, still circling, “Do you really think you can hurt me with that little thing?” He waves a hand and the weapon flies from her grip, landing at the foot of the stairs.

Liz’s eyes dart around, trying to spot something else to use in her defense and still keep an eye on the Skin before her. She backs up into the kitchen; the Skin follows slowly, his threats of possible futures taunting her all the while.

Just when she’s about to seize a pan from a wall rack the Skin lunges forward, grabbing her by the wrist, turning her around and yanking her arm behind her back.

Liz cries out in pain, but it’s short lived. As suddenly as he grabbed her he was gone. She looked behind her to see Xander with the mallet in his hand. She rushes into his arms, sobbing.

Hugging her tightly for a moment, Xander whispers into her hair, “They’re still dealing with two upstairs. Let’s do a quick check down here to make sure there aren’t any more surprises and then I’ll go up there to help ‘em out. Okay?”

Pulling herself together, Liz nods and grabs a hefty feeling frying pan off the wall.

Xander trades with her and the two do a fast search through the kitchen and dining area of the restaurant. All clear.

Returning to her mother’s side, Liz is relieved to see her sitting up. “Mom?” The girl throws herself into her mother’s arms.

~ ~ ~

Thanks to Xander’s distraction with the stool, Jeff is able to forget the pain of his wrenched knee and gain the upper hand over the Skin he’s contending with. After a couple of desperate minutes, he manages to wrestle him to the floor, one arm up behind his back.

Looking around for something to use on the thing, Jeff spots a piece of the broken stool laying nearby, grabs it and slams it into the small of it’s back. Knowing what to expect, it still stuns him when the so-called man disappears from underneath him.

Michael isn’t faring so well. Afraid to use his powers now that Jeff has an unrestricted view of the action, he’s losing the battle with his opponent. It doesn’t help when the Skin punches the teen in the gut and starts to use his powers on the boy, burning his arm.

“Son of a bitch!” Michael yells and looses a blast at the Skin that sends it sailing across the room to land in a heap in the hallway. At the moment, the boy is unable to follow up on his advantage, the pain in his arm is so great.

~ ~ ~

Nancy’s face lights up at sight of the two young people, “Are you okay, Baby?” She holds her trembling daughter tight and looks at Xander. Seeing he’s okay, but keeping the pan ready as a weapon warns her they aren’t out of the woods yet. “They’re still here? Where’s Jeff?”

Xander holds a finger up in front of his lips, “I’m going upstairs to see if he and Michael need my help. You two stay here.” Mother and daughter both nod.

He moves silently up the steps and heads for the living room in time to see the last Skin getting up from the floor. It looks around and sees it’s now outnumbered. Not being totally stupid, it beats a hasty retreat though Liz’s room window and down the ladder on the side of the building.

An out of breath Jeff asks from the floor, “Skins?” At both boys’ nods, he looks at Michael with a puzzled expression and asks, “So what does that make you?”

Michael opens and shuts his mouth like a fish out of water and wishes Maria were there instead of helping her mother and could come up with a decent reply to that for him. "Um...uh..."
posted on 26-Jan-2003 6:25:10 AM
What brat boy wants with Liz will become clear eventually. I promise. *happy*


Chapter 10 Keeping in touch

Xander stands in the doorway, watching and wondering how his friend is going to answer that one. Without realizing it, he holds his breath as he stops motionless, listening.

Slumping down even further, Michael almost looks as if he’s about to panic. In a quiet voice he asks, “Would it do me any good to beg you not to ask?”

Jeff appears to think about that a moment and then nods, “You’ve helped our Lizzie more than once and I know she loves you like a brother. I’ve got nothing to fault you for, so if it’s that hard a story to tell, go ahead and keep it to yourself until you’re ready to share it. I can wait.” A warm smile accompanies that last line. He doesn’t voice the guess that Michael must be like Max, and Isabel. Knowing that the young man has unusual powers just makes Jeff that much more reassured of Liz’s safety with such a friend around.

Grinning from ear to ear, Xander turns to go back downstairs and let the women know the coast is clear, but is brought up short to find them directly behind him. “Aaiii!” He puts his free hand over his heart, “Don’t do that! I thought I told you two to stay downstairs.”

“You did and we were going to, but then changed our minds.” Liz grinned impishly at him.

Is spite of the pain in his arm, Michael is fighting to repress a smile, “Man, you scream like a girl.” His tone is laced with equal parts disbelief and humor.

This comment hits everyone just right and all of them start to laugh. The petulant face Xander makes at them just keeps it going even longer than if he hadn’t. Privately Nancy suspects he does such things on purpose to relieve tension and keep up morale. She has no idea how right she is.

~ ~ ~

That night, the boys agree to sleep at the Parker residence. Liz is to sleep on the couch, not feeling safe isolated in her room, with both boys on the floor nearby in sleeping bags.

Xander gets permission to use the phone and calls Willow on her cell phone to find out how everyone is doing back in Sunnydale. He waits through three rings before a female voice answers, “Hello?”

“Wills, my bestest friend in the whole wide world, what news from the hellmouth, anything apocolypsy lately?”

Sounding excited, “Xander!” She happily tells whoever is in the room with her, “Hey, everybody it’s Xander.” Then she lowers her voice again to answer his question, “No, just the usual vamp dusting. We’re all here at Giles’ place, having a pre-patrol Pizza party. Xander when are you coming home? Everybody misses you. I miss you.”

Smiling into the phone at both the muted yells of “Hi” and “Hey Xander,” as well as what the young woman is saying, “I miss you too, Willow, but I can’t leave. I’m needed here right now and it’s just not a good time to hit the road.”

Sounding pouty, “What’s so important in Roswell, New Mexico anyway? Did you discover an alien life form that needs protecting from the big bad men in black or what?”

Sincerely glad she can’t see him, Xander tries hard not to laugh because he’s wondering what her reaction would be if he told her, {No, a human, but a good alien is helping me to protect her from some evil aliens that keep trying to abduct her.} “No, I haven’t. You know good and well that if any self respecting aliens were on Earth, Roswell would be the last place to look for them.” He snickers as Michael walks by making a face.

A little alarmed, “What you’re doing isn’t dangerous, is it? You’re not supposed to be doing dangerous things like patrolling without us, you know.”

“I get up in the mornings, go to work, hang out with a few friends afterward, go home and sleep. There’s nothing here that warrants a patrol, so there’s no danger like that for me to put myself in. Roswell doesn’t have an undead problem, so don’t worry.” Xander rolls his eyes

“Yeah, well what’s keeping you there then?” She goes from petulant to curious, “Is it a girl? You’ve met a girl, haven’t you? What’s her name? What does she look like?”

“There are lots of girls in Roswell, Will and I’ve met a few of them already. Very pretty ones too,” he winks at Liz where she’s sitting on the couch and she tries not to laugh. “But I’m not dating anyone.” Xander sighs trying to sound long suffering for his friend’s benefit.

Sounding disappointed, “Darn. I was really hoping I could tell Anya you were involved with someone.”

Puzzled, “Why would you need to tell Anya that I’m dating someone?”

“No reason. except for the fact she thinks the two of you are a couple just because you took her to the prom.” The disbelief and derision in her tone are clear. “She’s lived for a really long time, you’d think she’d be smarter than that.”

Xander smacks his own forehead, “Note to self, no more mercy dates with ex-demons. No matter how pretty and pitiful they are.”

Across the room, Michael is lying stretched out on a sleeping bag on the floor eating popcorn and watching tv. Hearing this makes him choke and splutter. Liz stares, openmouthed with astonishment.

Willow makes a face at the ‘pretty’ remark, but hears the ruckus in the background and is curious, “What’s that noise? Is someone there with you?”

Trying not to laugh at Michael’s expression of disbelief coupled with a glower for making him choke, “Nah, just some character on tv getting choked on something he ate.”

“Oh, okay.” Further attempts to get anything out of him about what is keeping him in Roswell are fruitless, so Willow begins to chatter about every little thing that’s been happening with the Scoobs since his last call the week before and Xander sits back, enjoying hearing it all. “And next week we can start getting all our stuff moved into our dorms on campus. It’s just so exciting!”

{Only Willow can get that worked up about school.} Xander shakes his head, amused at a very Buffy sounding groan in the background. “Hey Willow?” He breaks in on the chatty Wiccan. “I love catching up, but I work first shift in the Crashdown tomorrow so I should get some sleep.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I miss you and we don’t get to talk nearly as often as we used to anymore. Have a good night then, Xander.”

Smiling again, “You too, Wills. All of you be careful on Patrol tonight, okay?”

“We will.” She hangs up and then Xander does too. He leans against the wall for a moment, lost in thought.

Michael and Liz exchange glances, deciding not to question him about that earlier comment and the former asks him, “You miss them a lot, don’t you?”

Coming out of his reverie, “Yeah, but I don’t miss the bruises I got from vamp patrol. I can’t believe the vampires don’t attack people around here!” That line serves it’s purpose, steering conversation away from him.

Liz sees through this, but lets it pass. She had been very surprised to learn about Michael’s experience with vampires a few years ago.

“The only vamps that hang around are model citizens, getting their ‘food’ from the butcher shop or I kill ‘em. The one that attacked me years ago is their leader and he knows better than to tick me off.” Michael looks entirely too smug.

Liz and Xander exchange mischievous looks and simultaneously pelt the podster with pillows. This turns into an all out war, all three kids end up on the floor, disarranging the two sleeping bags and scattering popcorn everywhere.

~ ~ ~

Back in Sunnydale, Willow quietly puts her phone away and rejoins the group who are mock fighting over the biggest slices of the freshly arrived pizza.

Buffy spots the drooping corners of her best friend’s mouth and asks, “What’s the matter Willow?

Helping herself to some pizza, the redhead sits down with it next to the Slayer, “Xander’s not coming home any time soon. Says he has something important to do there and can’t leave, but he won’t say what.” She glares at the pizza in her hands as if it’s to blame before taking a bite.

Buffy drapes an arm across her friend’s shoulders, “Don’t worry Will, Roswell might be fascinating to him for a while, but it won’t keep him forever. He’ll be back eventually. He’ll miss us too much to stay away.” She smiles winningly at the Wiccan.

Allowing herself to be reassured, Willow smiles back.

Unnoticed by anyone inside the apartment, a blond watcher stands outside the window listening to this conversation, a dead pizza delivery boy at his feet. Wiping blood from the corner of his mouth, Spike addresses the corpse with a nudge of his boot, “Well well well, the gangs not all here. What took the wanker to Roswell, I wonder, hm? Think I should go pick him off while he’s away from the Slayer’s protection? I like that idea. Then I could bring his lifeless body back, lay it on her doorstep as a calling card to let her know the Big Bad is back.”

He laughs low, stoops to pick up the body of the boy and says with a light tone, "That makes your death a bit of a waste, doesn't it? Well, not totally. One should never start a long trip on an empty stomach, after all." He carries the corpse away, dumping it in the trunk of the pizza delivery car with thoughts of discarding it somewhere along the road to Roswell, New Mexico.

posted on 29-Jan-2003 11:29:53 PM
Yes you may and thank you. *happy*


Chapter 11 New diggs

The next day, Jeff calls and invites the entire “I know an alien” club to come over for an announcement. Everyone gathers in the Parker living room, sitting wherever they can find room when he raises his arms for attention, “Nancy and I have made the boys an offer they couldn’t refuse.” Groans sound throughout the room.

“Dad and his Godfather references,” Liz’s face is set in a pained expression, but her eyes twinkle with merriment at the rest of the kids who are sitting near her.

Jeff ignores the good natured chiding from his wife, echoed by Jim and Amy, and with a smile he continues, “They’ve agreed to move closer so that Lizzie won’t be without at least one bodyguard at all times. To that end, Nancy and I are allowing them to move into the apartment over the garage out back. It’s a bit bigger than the place they’re at now, with two bedrooms, so Xander won’t have to sleep on the couch anymore.”

This makes everyone look at The former Sunnydale teen, so he can’t help but beam his thousand-watt smile at them.

Jeff watches this with amusement, “I wanted to ask for volunteers to help get it cleaned out and it will be no easy task, I’ll go ahead and admit that. The place has been used for storage for the past twenty odd years now, at least, and there’s a lot of junk in there.”

Nancy chimes in with, “We realize this is a lot to ask, but we dare not hire anyone and Jeff’s knee being like it is,” A wave of her hand indicates her husband’s leg in a brace. “He’ll be unable to help. We never know whom we can trust anymore, so we decided to ask all of you. Liz will be safer with the boys close by, I think we can all agree on that.”

Emphatic nods greet that statement and Jim says, “I think that’s a great idea, Jeff, Nancy. Kyle and I would love to help.” The others all echo him.

“Hey! Don’t I get a say in this?” Kyle protests.

“What’s the matter, Kyle? Don’t you want to help keep Liz safe?” Jim is surprised into asking.

The boy is quick to make himself clear, “Of course I do, but Mr. Parker was asking for volunteers and you just drafted me without giving me a chance to say I wanted to help out.” He finished with a wink at Liz.

Everyone laughs or smiles and Amy halfway raises her hand to ask, “Has anyone figured out why the Skins are trying to kidnap Liz yet?”

Amidst the murmurs this causes, Michael clears his throat loud enough to get attention. Once he has it, “The only reason that makes any sense at all is that Max is still alive and they want to use Liz to hurt him in some way. Either as a method of torture, hurting her hurts him or, and I like this idea better, to draw him out of hiding if he’s escaped the trap they might have had waiting for him and Isabel when they arrived.”

Each and every face goes pale. Maria is the first one to voice a new thought that has only just occurred to them with Michael’s words, “Do we really know for a fact that Mr. And Mrs. Evans sold their law practice and moved to Colorado to retire?”

After a long pause Jim speaks up, “That was a cover story. Phillip told me in confidence that when the kids disappeared Diane had a breakdown. Last I heard they actually were in Colorado, but at a special facility where Diane is getting therapy. The doctor thought it would be best to treat her away from Roswell and all it’s memories. I’ll give him a call tonight, just to be sure they’re still there.”

Amy and Nancy exchange sympathetic looks, knowing they’d probably react the same way if their child had vanished like Max and Isabel had.

~ ~ ~

Later that same afternoon
All of the young people set to work on the project with a good will, but Liz is appalled at the amount of junk to be sorted through. Old clothes, furniture, novelty items like lava lamps, bean bags, aluminum beer and pop top tab curtains, hoola hoops, and even some old toys from Jeff’s own childhood.

Amy and Maria ooh and ahh over some of the toys, exclaiming that they could be valuable.

Sitting on a chair outside the apartment, Jeff promises to look into that eventually. “I think we need to concentrate on getting this place livable for right now. If you’ll just bring those over here, I can box ‘em up and we’ll store them in the basement till later.” He turns his head to look at Xander and Michael, “Is there anything in all this furniture and stuff you boys would like to have in the apartment?”

“Anything?” Xander asks eagerly.

Jeff nods, a knowing smile tugging on the corner of his mouth.

Exchanging grins, the boys point out the four large bean bags, while Maria and Liz try to get them to take the medium sized dining room table with six matching chairs. Kyle points out that the one of the aluminum tab curtains would be great in the doorway between the dining room and the living room.

Before all is said and done, the place is a mixture of things from Michael’s old place and a seventies retro look from all the vintage things previously stored there. The excess stuff is sent by moving van to a storage facility. This apartment is bigger than the other one, having two bedrooms, a dining room and a large bathroom. The kitchen is rather small though.

Nancy laughs when Maria comments on this, “It’s not like they won’t be over in our kitchen all the time anyway. I want them to feel free to graze through whenever they feel like it. Big, strapping young men like these guys need lots of feeding up.” She steps up behind them and puts an arm around each waist, “Don’t you, boys?”

“Yes Ma’am!” Xander is hasty to agree while Michael just smiles sheepishly.

Liz and Maria exchange looks, noticing how much more human Michael seems to have become in the past few weeks. They know it’s a result of the love he’s allowing himself to accept in his life now and it makes them both very happy.

~ ~ ~

Spike arrives in Roswell the next night and starts cruising the streets, looking for his quarry. He has no luck at first, so he grabs a teenage pickpocket in an alley where he is counting out his latest take.

Not one to waste time, Spike starts asking questions of his victim in a not so nice way, but doesn’t get the answers he seeks, so he nearly drains the boy and turns him. His intention is to create the help he needs to locate his quarry.

The next night, his childe gets lucky, finding a boy who admits to knowing Xander.

“Yeah, he lives in the apartment behind the Crashdown, works first shift as the short order cook.” The muscular young man says as he’s about to get into his red mustang.

“Thanks man, you’ve been a lot of help,” The new vampire tells him and reaches out as if to shake the young man’s hand.

Kyle nods, not suspecting anything as he’s seen this guy around school before and knows he’s not a Skin. He takes the offered hand, “You’re welco-.” Yanked forward and slammed against the hood of his car, his arm forced up behind his back, the young Valenti is surprised to feel cold lips on his neck followed quickly by a sharp pain.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Jan-2003 11:38:13 PM ]
posted on 5-Feb-2003 9:26:54 PM
Chapter 12 A familiar face

Blind panic sends a surge of adrenaline coursing through Kyle’s system. Curling as far forward and away from the teeth as he can he feels them rake down his neck and disappear momentarily. Feeling the vampire coming closer again he slouches down with his legs and slams his head backward, pushing off the car at the same time for more momentum and is gratified to hear a sickening crunch, followed quickly by a scream of pain. The grip on his arm slacks off enough for Kyle to turn and lash out with a knee to the groin of his captor who doubles over, inviting a kick to the head that sends him backward several yards.

Instead of wasting time gloating, Kyle jumps into his car chanting; “Gotta go, gotta go!” starts it and is peeling out of the dark parking lot faster than he ever has before. He’ll realize that later, but for now he’s just happy to put imminent danger behind him. Checking his mirrors for signs of pursuit and not finding any, “So long fang face.” He breathes in a relieved whisper.

Feeling something on his neck he reaches up and encounters wetness. Pulling his hand back into the light from a passing car he is stunned to see a lot of blood on his fingers and he nearly loses control of the car.

~ ~ ~

Xander and Michael are just starting across the alley, heading back to their apartment after dinner with the Parkers when Kyle’s car comes barreling toward them, screeching to a halt at the last second.

“Whoa! What’s your problem man?” Michael asks, irritated. His tone and expression change when Kyle opens the door and gets out, one hand clamped to his neck, but with blood all over his shirt and fingers. “Xander help me get him inside!”

Weakened from blood loss and the fatigue that comes after a bad scare, Kyle’s words are slightly slurred, “Vampire…asssking about Harrisss.” His voice gets a little stronger, “He was a guy I go to school with, Curt. I saw him just the other day…thought…not a Skin, so it’d be okay to tell.” His features twist with remorse, “I’m sorry.”

Grabbing the stumbling young man by his belt and holding him up on his right, Xander is startled by this news and does a double take, “A vamp asking about me?” He smiles reassuringly at Kyle, “Don’t worry about it. Everything will be all right, you’ll see.”

On the other side of the boy, Michael glances over the drooping head of their friend at Xander and the two exchange grim looks. {This does not bode well.} Echoing in both their minds as they get Kyle inside the Parker’s.

Nancy hears them and comes to see what’s going on. “Michael, Xander?” Catching sight of Kyle between them she gasps, rallies herself and orders, “Bring him to the bathroom.” She leads the way, pulling bandages and other first aid items out of the medicine cabinet as they settle the pale teen onto the closed commode.

Ordering the boys around some more gets Kyle’s shirt off, some towels and a couple of wet washcloths along with a basin of hot water ready in a short time. She begins to work on him before he can even start to tell his story, “Let me get you cleaned up a bit and see how bad you’re hurt before you start talking, okay Kyle?” She smiles at the obviously still frightened teen.

Following the commotion, Liz and Jeff come hurrying and stand still in the doorway in shock at the sight of so much blood. Liz is horrified, “Kyle! What happened?” She comes rushing in, crouching by the boy’s knees and looking up at him with sincere concern.

Xander frowns at the unbidden and unwelcome feeling of jealousy that flares in him at that moment. He squashes it without dwelling on the reason.

Michael is standing back against the wall, out of the way of a busy Nancy and Xander who is helping support the woozy victim. Frowning, “He said he was attacked by a vampire that used to be a guy he went to school with. The really weird thing is, it was asking about Xander.”

Liz’s concerned gaze switches to the eldest teen, “Why would a vampire from around here be asking about Xander?”

A look of confusion crosses his features and he shrugs, “Beats me. I don’t have much of a rep with the vamps in Sunnydale and none at all here.” Uncomfortable with the possibility Liz’s question brings to mind, he asks Nancy about Kyle, “How is he?”

Shaking her head, “Not as bad as I feared. These scratches aren’t quite deep enough for stitches, but they are long, hence all the blood. I just need you to hold still while I clean them out, okay?” The last remark is addressed to Kyle.

Nodding once, he hisses in pain at the hydrogen peroxide being poured over and bubbling in his wounds. Gritting his teeth, “I don’t remember this stuff burning like that, are you sure you aren’t using betadyne?” His tone is plaintive.

Nancy smiles reassuringly at him as she pours on some more, “Trust me, you’d know if I was. These are deeper and wider than the usual scratch you can get from a briar, so it’s normal for it to sting a bit.”

Michael is relieved that Kyle isn’t hurt worse, but he’s also angry that people are being attacked and it shows on his face.

Xander directs his comments at the podster, but he’s really thinking out loud, “It’s not your fault. The only thing that makes sense here is that there’s a new player in town. One who doesn’t know the rules yet, so he or she has set about recruiting more undead to the cause. And since his or her progeny is asking about me, it stands to reason it’s an enemy of mine or my friends’ back in Sunnydale…” The options running through his mind aren’t in the least reassuring.

Michael pushes away from the wall, “Well I think I’ll go pay a visit to the local vamps and ask them who it is.”

Jeff stops him at the bathroom door, “Do you think it’s wise of you to go alone?”

Michael smirks, “There’s only three of them and they’re afraid of me.”

“Still, Jeff is right. Why don’t you call Jim and have him go with you. He can bring his gun and even things out a bit.” Nancy suggests, worried for him.

Xander speaks up, “Tell him not to bother with a pistol, those just tick the vamps off. A shotgun at close quarters will do more damage and actually slow them down a bit. Remember, the only ways to kill a vamp are to stake it through the heart or cut it’s head off.”

When Jeff leaves the doorway to go make that call, “What about blowing their heads off with said shotgun, would that work?” Kyle asks in a vengeful tone.

Xander grins at him, “It’s certainly worth trying.”

Nancy squeezes her patient’s arm, “You aren’t going anywhere but to bed, young man. When Michael and your father get back he can drive you home. You need rest and fluids, do I make myself clear?”

Meekly, “Yes Ma’am.”

~ ~ ~

Almost two hours later:
When Jim and Michael get back, Xander goes out into the alley to meet them, “Well, what did they say?”

Michael chuckles, “They were a little reluctant to talk until Valenti used his shotgun to dust one of them and then held it on the leader. Kyle’s idea worked.”

Jim, shotgun over his shoulder, starts to say something but is slammed into and disarmed by a figure that jumped from the nearby roof. Before Michael can do anything he too, is hit, but from behind so he falls to the pavement, dazed. Standing just beyond where Michael had been is a blond haired vampire, dropping a broken two by four to the pavement.

Xander’s face is a mask of shock and he whispers in a voice full of dread, “Spike.”

“Hello there, mate. Did you miss me?” Spike voice is full of amusement and he grins.

posted on 6-Feb-2003 1:35:35 PM
*big* Just for you two, I'll go ahead and post another short bit, with no cliffhanger. I hope you like it. *happy*


Chapter 13 Defeat and retreat

Afraid to take his eyes off the vampire, Xander does anyway, looking to see if he can spot the shotgun, “Can’t say I did, Spike. Now that you know that, why don’t you just leave town again. It is what you do best, isn’t it?” He notices that Spike’s minion doesn’t try to feed on Jim or Michael, just watches over the two semiconscious forms. He’s grateful, but wonders what Spike has in mind.

The vamp chuckles, “I came back to Sunnydale and found out you’d left the protection of the Slayer and I decided I had to make you regret it. Thought I’d leave your cold corpse on her front doorstep. Be a nice surprise for her wouldn’t it?”

“You evil son of-!”

Moving too quickly for Xander to evade him, the vampire is suddenly right in front of him, hand clenching the teen’s throat in a viselike grip and lifting him into the air. “I really don’t think you’re in any position to be spouting lines like that, Shaggy.”

Even though most of his air supply is being cut off, Xander still manages to grate out, “Go to hell, Spike.” And kicks out at the vampire uselessly.

Snorting in amusement, “Grown a pair in my absence, have you?”

The boy’s only answer is to kick even more wildly and claw at the killer’s hand.

Spike laughs but cuts it short at a scream from behind him. Turning quickly he sees the formerly fallen teen with his hand up, palm facing Curt’s chest. The young vampire’s scream of pain ends when his body blasts apart and turns to dust as the pieces scatter. Snorting in disbelief, “What the hell was that?” He moves, putting Xander’s body between himself and the lethal teen whose palm is now facing him.

Blinking and wiping blood out of his eyes with his left, Michael holds his right hand steady in Spike’s direction. "Cowardly bloodsucker. Drop my friend now or you die."

Valenti crabs over to where his shotgun fell, picks it up, and points it in Spike’s direction from a kneeling position. “I suggest you let that boy go now,” Jim says in a calm and reasonable tone.

Afraid and trying hard not to show it, Spike speaks tersely to his captive, “Teamed up with some kind of wizard now, have you?” Speaking to Michael, “You’d better keep your hocus pocus to yourself or I’ll snap his neck before you can kill me.”

At that moment, six Skins show up at the end of the alley. Their leader is the one who got away last time, “Well what do we have here, Lord Rath," his tone is derisive. "Two puny humans and a vampire?” Motioning to the men with him, “Kill them all, then we’ll go inside and get the girl.”

“Girl? What girl?” Spike drops Xander as the aliens come at them slowly. “You want to kill him?” He jerks a thumb at the teen rubbing his throat and ignores the boy’s glare. “Fine, but why kill me?”

The leader snarls, “Because I hate vampires.”

Michael and Jim scramble up and stand beside their friend. Xander holds Michael’s hand down when he makes a move to use his powers on the vamp, "Wait."

Eyeing the approaching men, “Not a very friendly lot, are you?” The lead Skin lunges and Spike hits it hard, sending it crashing into a trash bin. It gets up again almost immediately, causing the bleached blond to stare, slack jawed for a moment before he has to fight off two more.

Using his powers, Michael is flinging attackers away as well. Xander manages to scoop up the broken two by four and uses it to fend off an attacker that gets through Spike and Michael.

Punching another Skin across the alley, “What the hell are these things and how do you kill them?” Spike growls, dropping one face down in front of himself and the teen.

“They’re evil aliens, bent on kidnapping a friend of mine.” Slamming the two by four into the small of the thing’s back, dispersing it into a cloud of tiny flakes Xander quips, “That’s how to kill them.”

Spike promptly whirls his next attacker around and punches it in the back, killing it. His lips twist into a feral smile, “Neat.”

Jeff hears the commotion outside, grabs a baseball bat and takes out a Skin that was headed back into the fray before it realizes he is there.

Michael edges closer to Xander, “Why is the vampire helping us?”

Xander answers in between swings, “Spike has a well developed sense of self preservation.”

As if to illustrate Xander’s point, Spike dusts his last attacker and leaves the humans to combat the remaining two alone. “Good luck mate. We’ll see each other again sometime.” He runs off into the night, vanishing in the shadows.

Jim and Michael dispatch the last of the Skins simultaneously, the weary defenders go back inside the Parker’s to check on the women and Kyle as well as to be safe from Spike and any more of his kind that could be lurking around.

Nancy is relieved to see them all relatively unscathed. Both Michael and Jim have bumps on their heads, minor scrapes, but otherwise they’re fine. Once these are tended to, “The way you boys keep turning back up here you might as well spend the night.” She smiles at their rueful chuckles and goes to get blankets.

~ ~ ~

Out in the night, Spike is still putting distance between himself and the fight he’s just left. Shaking his head, “Shaggy’s got himself a powerful friend here, so killing him is out for now. But aliens! That is just too weird, even for me.” Getting into Curt’s old car, he drives out of town, heading for Sunnydale and never looks back.

posted on 12-Feb-2003 5:41:03 PM
Chapter 14 Growth and Change

Three weeks and no more attacks by anything later...

It's Michael's turn to play bodyguard while Xander is out on a blind date. The hybrid teen doesn't envy his friend, considering the fact that Maria set him up and all but twisted his arm to make him go.

At the table, playing cards with Jeff while Liz is supposedly doing schoolwork, but in reality she's fallen asleep in the armchair, Michael glances over at the girl and smiles.

Jeff's eyes follow Michael's and he also smiles, "I can almost convice myself she's still my little girl when she's asleep like that. For as long as I can remember, Liz loved to curl up somewhere with a book and wouldn't lay it down until she either finished it or dropped it from sleepy fingers." Jeff turns back to the boy, "I imagine Xander is either having fun or looking for an escape route right about now."

Michael tries not to laugh out loud, snorting quietly instead as he nods. "Did you see the look on his face when he realized he couldn't get out of it?"

Jeff's grin threatens to split his face, "Yep. It was a real Kodak moment and I was sorry not to have a camera handy."

Michael gets a mischievous expression on his face, grabs a blank sheet of paper from the pad they've been keeping score on and passes his hand over it. He then hands it to Jeff with a flourish, "How's this?"

Grunting with surprise, "That's perfect! You really captured his, 'deer in the headlight' look. I must say I envy you the ability to do that little trick." He smiles winningly at Michael. "Now Nancy can see what she missed. I'll be right back."

Getting up from the table, he walks into the other room and shows the picture to his wife, who comes in and heads straight for Michael with a smile on her face, "This is great! Thank you for sharing your talents with us like this." She leans down and hugs the suddenly embarrassed boy.

As life becomes easier for the one remaining podster on Earth, he begins to realize how wrong he and the others had been to insist on never telling their loved ones the truth about themselves. The more Jeff and Nancy accept him, the more guilt Michael feels.

Jeff notices something is wrong when he sits back down. Michael’s eyes follow Nancy out of the room and a look of intense pain crosses his face for just a moment. It’s so fleeting; Jeff almost doubts what he's seen. He reaches out and touches the young man’s arm, “What is it, son?”

The look flits across his features again as Michael turns toward the older man, but he shrugs his shoulders. Shaking his head, “Nothing.” He looks at the table and pretends to concentrate on the game to forestall any more conversation.

Jeff isn’t buying it, “I saw that look. What’s bothering you, maybe I can help?”

Liz, hearing voices, begins to wake. Too tired to actually move or open her eyes, she can't help but listen to the conversation going on across the room.

Michael doesn’t like it, but he’s come to realize that hiding what he’s feeling is harmful to the relationships he has been building in recent months. So he gives in and opens up about it, but in typical Michael fashion, he isn’t perfectly clear, even to himself. Looking down, “It has to do with Max and Isabel and how, all our lives we kept everything about ourselves a secret, even from their parents, who were great to me and tried to make me feel welcome in their home.” He pauses, “A couple months ago, you and Nancy weren’t even as close to me as the Evans were at one time and yet you began to include me in everything your family has been doing lately…You even guessed my secret before I could bring myself to tell you and still you accept me.” He’s referring to the talk he had with the couple (after Spike and the Skins attacked) in which he admitted to them that he too, was an alien like Max and Isabel. The pain crosses his features again, along with some confusion, “I don’t know what I’m trying to say exactly.” He hangs his head in defeat.

Jeff grasps what the boy is trying to convey and nods, understanding now. “You feel like you helped to cheat Max and Isabel out of the acceptance you’re receiving now and your guilt over it is causing you pain. A pain so intense that it’s almost physical, right?”

Michael’s face is a study in astonishment mixed with relief, “Exactly. I know there's nothing I can do to change the past though, so how do I make it go away or at least deal with it so it doesn’t hurt so much?”

Jeff smiles, “With logic.”

Michael is obviously confused, "Huh?"

Jeff continues, “Think about it logically, Michael. Consider what we now know of Diane’s mental and emotional state. There’s every possibility she may have reacted the same way to the news her kids were alien royalty as she did to their disappearance. We’ll never know, but chances are she might have had a breakdown over that too. Since she never knew, she was able to enjoy having them with her as long as she did, without the burden of that truth. So keeping their origins secret might have done her and them a favor.”

Michael dwells on that a moment, his brow knit with concentration before he looks back up at Jeff, “I hadn’t thought about it like that. Thanks.”

Jeff nods, “You’re welcome. Anytime.”

The two get back to their card game and don't notice the way Liz smiles, as if at a good dream. {Michael is becoming more and more human all the time. I love it and wouldn't Max and Isabel just freak out?}

~ ~ ~

The next day at work Jeff asks his cook, "So how did it go last night? Think you'll be taking that girl out again? What was her name," He taps his chin with a finger. "China, right?"

Groaning, "Bad. No and yes, but please don't ever say it again where I can hear you? I just want to forget it ever happened!" Xander gripes while scraping the grill, taking out some of his frustration on the inanimate object.

Making a sympathetic face at the boy Jeff slaps him on the back gently, "Hm, sorry to hear it. Won't happen again." He pretends to seal his lips and throw away the key.

Sighing, Xander chuckles and leans on the edge of the grill. Shaking his head, "It wouldn't have been too bad if she hadn't kept asking me, over and over again, about my exes. It's like she was trying to build a case for jealousy on the first date!" Raising his hands in mock horror, "Way too intense, too quickly. After dinner I told her I thought she was nice enough, but not my type."

"Ouch! Then what happened?" Jeff is wants to know.

"I got a glass of ice water poured over my head." Xander ignores his boss' loud laugh and goes back to scraping the grill.

Liz is refilling some sugar jars and is near enough to hear all of that. Trying hard not to laugh out loud, like her Dad, she spills some of the white grains on the tray and has to wipe them up. {Poor Xander. I should have warned him about Maria's matchmaking tendencies.} Carefully schooling her expression to one of sympathy, the girl walks over to the window that opens into the kitchen, "Hey Xander?"

The dark haired teen looks over at Liz and smiles brightly, "Yeah?"

"I just thought I'd apologize for not warning you about Maria. You might want to know she's likely to try again too, since last night was such a disaster."

The trapped look on Xander's face makes Liz want to simultaneously hug him in reassurance and roll on the floor laughing. Xander stutters, "B-but she said just this once. She promised!" He seriously looks as if he might run away.

Liz shakes her head, "Doesn't matter what she says, she always finds a loophole. Just watch out, okay?"

Taking a deep, steadying breath, "Forewarned is forearmed, huh?"

Liz smiles brightly at him, "Something like that."

He half smiles back, "Okay, thanks." He turns back to the grill and mutters to himself while attacking the stuck-on mess with the scraper once more.

Conscience salved, Liz gets back to her own chores before tackling her homeschool work. Sighing, she really misses going to public school, interacting with the teachers and other students, but understands the necessity for the change.

Nancy pokes her head out of the swinging door to the back, "Liz, you almost ready?"

Glancing at the clock, the girl realizes she must have daydreamed for a while or something because half an hour has gone by, "Oh! Sorry, Mom. Just give me a few more minutes, okay? I'll be right there."

Putting things away and tidying up after herself, Liz wonders how she could have lost track of time like that. She doesn't notice the slightly melted look on the edge of the tray as she slides it back under the counter a few minutes later. She walks into the back and goes upstairs to get started on her school work.

posted on 18-Feb-2003 11:32:22 AM
A/N With that last paragraph there I made a mistake. I forgot the order of episodes, just looked them up last night and realized I’m months ahead of myself. So I’ll call it playing with Canon, capitalize on it and move on. :lol

* * *
Part 15: A different plan of attack

Nancy manages to convince Michael to home school along with Liz after she gets a look at one of his report cards. “You won’t regret this, Michael. I know you’re much smarter than these grades imply.” She hugs him and gets started on the paperwork required to make the change for him.

He blushes, smiles and goes on out the door to meet Maria for their date. As he starts up his bike he pauses for a moment, revving the engine. Having adults around who act like they really care about him is new, but he decides he likes it and nodding to himself, puts the motorcycle in gear and pulls out of the alley.

~ ~ ~

As the uneventful weeks pass, Liz manages to challenge Michael into a bit of rivalry for the best grades. They improve considerably and both quicken the pace of their studies.

Hearing the two banter knowledgably about one of their subjects while working in the Crashdown, Jeff listens with surprise, looks over at his wife’s smug smile where she stands in the doorway to the kitchen and laughs quietly. Walking up to her, “How did you know?”

With a twinkle in her eye, “Michael is at his best when challenged. I just encouraged Liz to brag a little and dare him to do better. She did a good job, don’t you think?”

“I’ll say!” Jeff agrees with enthusiasm, giving his wife a quick kiss and getting back to work.

~ ~ ~

Two weeks later…
A car pulls into Roswell and slows as it passes the Crashdown. One of the occupants in the back seat watches a blond waitress laugh with the cook at the pickup window behind the counter. He chuckles and pulls his petite companion close and tells her, "We'll start with those two. Right now." The girl with blond and black hair squirms in his grasp as he speaks to the driver, "Park somewhere close by, but out of sight."

~ ~ ~

It’s a Saturday afternoon; Michael and Maria are an hour away from finishing their shifts and she is contemplating their date with anticipation. Leaning into the kitchen she asks, “Hey Space Boy, where are you taking me later?”

Michael stops what he’s doing and looks up at her, “Jeff asked if we could take Liz with us because she’s been cooped up a lot lately and needs a chance to get out of the house. I told them it wouldn’t be a problem. Xander’s coming too, just to play it safe and we all decided to go see a movie.”

Normally, Maria wouldn’t have a problem with that, knowing the situation, but for some reason this time it bothers her. “All of us didn’t get a say in this decision.” She pouts, “I thought we could get in a little alone time,” She leans against him and finger walks her hand up his arm to his neck and twines her fingers in his hair. “Can’t Xander take Liz out by himself? It’s been months now since anything’s happened.”

Shaking his head, “That’s not a good idea and you know it. Besides, I already told the Parkers it wouldn’t be a problem and Liz is all excited about it. You don’t want to disappoint her, do you?” Michael asks, putting his arms around her and smiling down at her.

Turning away from him, Maria rolls her eyes, “Whatever.” She goes back to work in the dining room, leaving behind her a boyfriend who wonder if he’s ever gonna be able to figure her out.

~ ~ ~

Later that afternoon…
Even though Liz made sure that Maria got to pick the movie, she could tell her best friend wasn’t happy about the fact she sat in between the guys. Her efforts to talk in the ladies room after the movie are in vain as Maria simply refuses to answer even direct questions about the situation, only engaging in small talk.

All during dinner at the Pizza Pan, Xander does his best to lighten the mood, even getting up on stage and making a fool of himself. The others crack up, but Maria just seems to become more and more irritable.

When they leave the table, Liz is the last to walk away from it, so no one sees that the wooden tabletop where she’d sat has a melted wax look to it.

Due to the obvious discord, Liz claims to be tired and wants to be taken home instead of going bowling like they’d planned, making a point of asking Xander to stay with her. He agrees and when the two are dropped off he lets Michael know he can use the car as long as necessary.

Even now that they’re alone, Maria is still not acting like herself and finally Michael has had enough, “What is your problem? You’re acting like a bitch and I can’t figure out why.”

Eyes flashing in anger at that, “Maybe it’s because I wanted it to be just the two of us tonight. Did that thought never occur to you?” She asks, acidly.

“We’re alone now and you’re still pissy!” Michael retorts. “Is it that time of the month or what?”

Mouth open in shock and rage, “You did not just go there! I can’t believe you. Take me home!”

“Gladly!” The rest of the drive is made in angry silence, until he pulls up in front of her house.

“Goodnight!” Maria slams the car door after she gets out, not even waiting for a reply. As she stomps up to her front door she hears Michael squall the tires driving away. She glances at the receding taillights, when the car turns the corner noisily and disappears, she walks inside and goes straight to her room.

Starting to shake, she sits down on her bad and hugs a pillow to her chest, unable to fathom why she’s feeling and acting so jealous and hateful. {What is wrong with me?} The unnerved girl cries into her pillow until she falls asleep.

~ ~ ~

Outside on the street, a parked car starts up and drives away. In the backseat an evil voice says, “Very good, Ava. You’re doing an excellent job.”

The Duplicate of Tess looks daggers at her captor, “That was pointless and you know it. Tomorrow she’s going to call him up and apologize. Those two truly love each other, so nothing you make me do is going to keep them apart for long.”

Nicolas laughs, “You don’t understand. We’re laying the groundwork for the real plan here and that is to undermine Liz Parker’s support group from within. What we’re doing to Rath and his human girl toy is just the start. Besides, it’s fun to see him so mad. When he’s mad he does rash things that usually get him into trouble.”

“You’re right, I don’t understand. Why do this to any of them, especially to the human girl, Liz?”

“Khivar wants Zan’s beloved and his friends to suffer. He’s making sure his royal highness is informed of everything we do here.”

“Max is in Khivar’s hands?” Ava shudders at the thought.
The smile is wiped off Nicolas’ face and he snarls, “No, but Khivar knows who the spies are in his own camp and he makes sure they have access to the pertinent information.” Pulling a syringe out of his pocket, he yanks the girl’s arm up and jabs the needle in, ignoring her cry and depressing the plunger quickly. “Go to sleep now Ava, I won’t need you any more tonight.”

Slumping over in the seat, the girl’s head hits the window with a crack that she’ll feel when she wakes. Nicolas doesn’t care, he looks away from her, out the window at the passing houses in this suburb and sneers at his own reflection in the glass.

She had to remind him of Max, didn’t she? That traitorous little witch Tess had saved the dethroned king and his sister when the Granolith landed, steering them away from the trap that had been set and no one had a clue where they’d gone. Khivar had visited his displeasure on Nicolas when that happened, all because he hadn’t done a good enough job with Tess. “I’ll do a thorough job this time. None of them will survive!” He vows aloud.

The Skin who is his driver hears this, but knows better than to call attention to the fact. His master can be cruel to his own allies and he had no intention of being singled out for such.