posted on 23-Jul-2002 8:49:02 PM by Chrisken
Title: Tapping Fingers
Part: 1
Author: Chris Kenworthy
E-mail: chris⊕chriskweb.net
Homepage: http://www.fanficarchive.net/
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own the Roswell characters, though if I did I'd treat them better than Jason Katims.
Category: Sci-fi drama. CC, alt timeline
Spoilers: Up to 'ask not'
Author's note: If you ever got frustrated with my UC fics... try this on for size. I think you'll see what I mean very soon. ;-)


"Why does life have to be so wrong? Why does *EVERYTHING* have to be a lie??"

"Umm... I don't know dude."

Alex looked at the Thai food delivery guy and handed back the receipt he had just signed. The poor guy beat a hasty retreat, and Alex couldn't blame him. What was with him lately?? He'd been feeling so strange... but he couldn't but his finger on how and why. He picked up the picture of Leanna from Sweden and gave it a long hard look.

"Leanna is not Leanna." Where had that come from? It had popped into his head before - he'd even made it into a little loop program on his laptop. But why? Was it lingering guilt over taking Isabel to the prom?

"No!" The exclamation surprised Alex himself, but he was riding out the moment, not judging it. "Sweden is not Sweden!! Sweden is... where?" Alex noticed distantly that his fingers were tapping rapidly on the arm of the chair. "Sweden is... Las Crucis?!"

What the heck? "Las Crucis? What the hell does Sweden have to do with Las Crucis??"

Alex stepped up, his fingers tapping a mile a minute on his thigh. "You are the royal four. You are created from the genetic materials of your alien predecessors... What the hell is going on?" And a memory flashed into his mind - him snarling at Tess and pushing her against a drab orange wall, asking that same question of her.

Tess hadn't answered. She had just closed her eyes and concentrated hard, and Alex... Alex had forgotten. He'd forgotten so much...

Tess. She was the key to all of this. He had to talk to Tess... he wasn't quite sure why, but he knew he had to go to Tess.

Alex grabbed up his keys and headed for the door. It wouldn't open. Sighing, Alex fumbled with the key ring and brought out the house key. He hadn't locked the door after the Thai guy left, had he?? (He HATED Thai food - hated it with a passion. Why had he ordered it?) The key wouldn't go in the lock at first - he tried it this way, and that, and finally the sleek metal slid home into its slot. Tapping his spare fingers, he turned it open - there was no resistance, and the door still wouldn't open.

He tried it the other way - there was pressure this time, as the deadbolt slid across, and Alex lost his grip on the key for a second. The door still wouldn't open - of course. He unlocked the lock again.

It took Alex five tried to realize he hadn't been turning the doorknob.

Once the door finally swung open, Alex burst through it at a breakneck velocity, only to almost crash into someone else who had just been about to ring the doorbell.

Liz Parker. "What... what are you doing here?" he gasped in surprise. Liz and Maria had left to head to their job at the Crashdown Cafe.

"I, um..." Liz blushed prettily. I forgot my..." She made gestures drawing lines out of the top of her head, and finished somewhat uncertainly with, "uh, alien, ant-- enna. --- Alex, are you okay?"

"Liz, you have to help me," Alex heard himself say. "She's taken my brain!"

"Uh... huh??" were the first two sounds out of Liz's mouth as she looked at Alex with surprise. "What are you talking ab-- *who's* taken your brain?"

"She, she..." Alex shook his head furiously, but that didn't seem to help him regain any of his composure. "She set the whole thing up. There never *was* any Sweden exchange program. It was all just an excuse to... GOD, she *made* me do it, Liz. To feel her 'pushing' me towards the answer, day in and day out for weeks... makes AP english feel like a walk in the park, ohhh..." Alex looked up towards Liz and seemed to finally clue in that he hadn't answered her question. "Tess! That little monster... it was Tess!!"

Liz felt a huge flood of conflicting emotions in her when she heard the name, but shoved them down. "So it's *Tess* who stole your brain? C'mon Alex... it's a nice show you're putting on, but this really isn't the way to cheer me up..."

"Do you think I'm JOKING, Parker!!" Alex yelled, grabbing Liz's hand and glaring directly into her eyes. Then he caught himself again. "I... Liz! I'm sorry, I..." he turned away from her. "Never mind. I have to go to her. To Tess. She'll fix me again. I just have to get to Tess before..."

"No, wait a second!!" Liz said. "Something really *is* wrong, isn't it?" Alex turned away from her, heading back down the walk towards his dad's car. "Alex!!" Liz raced after him, (not hard since Alex didn't seem to be too steady on his feet,) and this time she was the one to catch him by the wrist. "Don't go to Tess, Alex. Not until we've figured out what's going on. Just come..." she started to gently lead him towards the door. "Come inside with me. What are you saying that Tess did to you?"

"Quantum... quantum computer," Alex babbled again. "Designed to analyze the logical structure underlying communication patterns - develop a touchstone pattern for it. Understand any language... even break codes. But no-one ever tried it on something as difficult as this..."

"Okay..." Liz agreed, closing the front door and taking Alex into the living room. Good thing his parents were away on a lecture tour - this could be *very* difficult to explain to the Whitmans. She didn't understand what Alex had just said or how it related, but it didn't seem worth it to pester him with more questions. Let him ramble on a bit more and see if she could get the gist of things.

"For days and nights I worked on it. Nothing to give me a break except a cot in that cramped little visitor's room, thai food and going out to let Tess take pictures. God, I *hate* thai food!!"

"Pictures?" Liz repeated softly. Supportively, she hoped. "Why was Tess taking pictures??"

"She could fake anything she wanted, but I guess it was easier with background material. God, the bitch is so thorough!! I didn't understand until she sent me home with all those slide carousels -- and then, of course, a few hours later I didn't understand anything, didn't remember anything but Sweden..."

"Sweden!!" Liz exclaimed, finally seeing the connection. "Are you saying that... while we all thought you were in Sweden, Tess had you using a computer to translate some..." The completion finally hit her. "To translate the destiny book!! And then she used her powers, somehow, to cover it up. But why? Why couldn't she have just proposed her plan straight out??"

Now that Liz had said it out loud, she could think of some reasons, none of which made her happy. But there were other things to worry about now. "Alex, Alex!!" She waited until Alex was looking at her, seeming reasonably coherent. "You said she'd stolen your brain, and you don't seem to be up to your usual charming self. Do you know what's happening to you??"

"The mindwarp..." Alex gasped out. "Occasional exposure is harmless, but on a prolonged or repetitive basis... I don't remember the rest. It hurts. Can you help me, Liz??"

Liz's face froze in panic. "I'll let you know in a second, bud." Quickly she ran over to the lving room phone and tapped off a number commited to heart many months ago.

"Hello?"

"Max? It's Liz. You've gotta come over here, I'm at Alex's house."

"What?! -- Sure, what is it??"

"Tess... she did something to Alex. Mindwarped him, kind of, though it sounds more complete than what we're used to. She had him under control the whole time we thought he was in Sweden, and it's killing him. Please, Max, you've got to hurr..."

"Liz?" Liz could hear Max sigh over the line. "C'mon, don't do this, okay?? I understand that you're upset..."

"WHAT!?" Liz shrieked into the receiver. "Maxwell Robinson Evans, this has NOTHING to do with you and me, or my feelings about that little blonde hussy. This is *real*, this is ALEX, and I'm telling you the truth, she *DID* something to him! Now, are you going to come and help out, or do you actually believe that I'd joke about something so serious just to spite Miz Harding??"

"...don't know -- huh??" Max muttered over the other end of the line. "Umm... okay, uh... you said Alex's house, right??"

"Yeah, Max," Liz whispered to him softly.

"I'll be over there as soon as I can."

"Thank you, Max," Liz said, but the connection had already cut off. Liz sighed, hung up, and turned straight into the angry glare that Maria was shooting at her from the Whitman's front hall.

"What's the holdup? If you wanted to call Maxxie-pooh, you coulda borrowed my cell," Maria reminded her. "You said you just had to get your antenn--"

"It's Alex," Liz explained, gesturing at Alex - and realizing at that second that her friend was lying face-down on the couch. As Maria watched, still a little confused, Liz hurried over to Alex. "Alex, Alex, are you okay? Don't slip away from us yet, buddy..."

Alex's eyes had been closed, but they opened as Liz carefully turned his face up towards hers. "I... you won't be rid of me *this* easily, Parker," he teased her. "Iz... Isabel..."

"Do you want to talk to Isabel??" Liz guessed. She thought Alex nodded, but she couldn't be sure. "I'll call her over here. Don't worry, just get some rest." She went back to the phone.

"What the hell happened?" Maria whispered, stepping close to her oldest friend.

"It's a long story," Liz stalled. "I'll... I'll try to tell you, once I've called Isabel, okay??"

* * * * *

Max sighed as he hurried down his front walk and towards the Jeep. Liz had sounded really upset with him on the phone. He wondered if she had found out about Tess kissing him at the dance. And what was all this about Alex being sick? Why did *he* need to go over to Alex's house??

As Max put his keys in the jeep door, he looked around - and his breath caught. There was Tess, walking down thesidewalk towards him, perky as ever. "Hey, you trying to run away from me, Max?" she called out in a teasing voice. "I just came over to hang out."

"Um, no, no..." Max stuttered, smiling back weakly. "I, uh, just remembered that, er, I mean, Brody just called me. There's something he needs me to do at the UFO center."

"Oh," Tess said after a second, the disappointment showing in her face. "Can I tag along??"

"I, uh, don't think so," Max mumbled in reply. "Um, Brody's off on one of his secrecy kicks again."

"C'mon, Max, Brody loves me," Tess reminded him, and caught Max's flinch. "Max, what's going on??"

Max didn't answer her this time - every exchange seemed to be making the little blonde alien more suspicious, so there didn't seem to be much point. He turned back to the car door, but the keys weren't in it anymore. He caught a glint of something shiny just under the car and bent down after it - but the keys weren't there. When he straightened up, they were in the car door after all, and the door was already unlocked. He opened it...

And noticed Tess standing on the other side of the car, holding the shotgun door ajar. "Coming baby?" she asked. The memory of the passionate kiss they had shared ran through Max's mind, and he almost got in the car.

**No!!** something inside Max screamed. **She's doing this - she's trying to manipulate you. And it's working!!**

Max rushed away from the car, dashing down Murray lane in the opposite direction from which Tess had come. He heard Tess trying to chase him, but she couldn't match his speed. He noticed the alleyway leading to Culvers avenue up ahead and cut across the street to get to it - it was a shortcut to Alex's neighborhood.

Just as he was getting to the sidewalk on the other side of the street, though, Max felt an invisible tug yanking his legs out from under him, making him lose his balance, and he stumbled against the concrete. Determinedly, he pulled himself back up, but Tess' fingers were touching the back of his neck and Max gasped in shock.

She was using some power that he'd never even dreamed of - no, it was a variation on his own healing ability, except instead of connecting to repair the normal processes of the body, Tess was interfering. She was constricting the blood flow as it left his heart, and already the feeling of weakness was starting to get to him.

Well, two could play this game. While Tess was connecting to Max, he was connected to her. Max didn't bother with her heart - he slowed the arteries flowing into Tess' brain. The reaction was gratifyingly quick. Even though Tess was still standing behind him, Max could feel her eyelids flutter closed, and the grip on his heart eased. Max forced his muscles to move away from Tess, and as soon as contact between their skin was broken, he was off and running again, charging down the alleyway like the armies of hell were behind him.

As Max reached Culvers avenue, a familiar desert-red Sunfire pulled up, and for once he was glad to see the guy getting out of the driver's seat. "Kyle, thank god you're here. Tess has gone psycho or something - we've gotta get up to Alex's place before..."

Max didn't notice the baseball bat that Kyle was holding at his side until much too late. WHOMPP!! As the pain blossomed in his left temple and he dropped to his knees, the words 'there are some slings and arrows that all human DNA is heir to,' ran unhelpfully through his mind.

"God, Kyle," Tess panted as she jogged up to the scene. "What kinda lazy knight in shining armor are you trying to be? I almost had to take him down myself."

Relatively mercifully, consciousness left Max at that point.

TO BE CONTINUED...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Oct-2002 6:22:20 PM ]
posted on 23-Oct-2002 6:21:39 PM by Chrisken
Title: Tapping Fingers
Part: 2
Author: Chris Kenworthy
E-mail: chris⊕chriskweb.net
Homepage: http://www.fanficarchive.net/
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own the Roswell characters, though if I did I'd treat them better than Jason Katims.
Category: Sci-fi drama. CC, alt timeline
Spoilers: Up to 'cry your name'

"Ahhh!!" With a half-strangled gasp, Isabel Evans' eyes flew open and she shot up straight on the couch. Liz and Maria's eyes were centered on her in an instant.

"What is it??" Maria asked, the worry evident in her voice. "Did you get in?"

Isabel looked reluctant to answer, but she evidently couldn't keep one of Alex's oldest friends in the dark. "Yeah, and I *really* wish I hadn't. I mean, I've seen some weird stuff walking around peoples' subconsciousses, obviously. But Alex's dream..." Isabel had to nerve herself, and when she did, it was in a very quiet, very frightened whisper. "I think he's going insane." Tears were falling down her usually flawless cheeks.

Seeing Isabel look so broken up about this chilled Liz to the very depths of her soul, but she had never been one to give in to panic reactions and *DAMN* if she was gonna start now. "Come on, Iz," she said supportively, grabbing the taller girl's hand in her own. "Alex is gonna be fine. There is a way to help him and we are *going* to find it. What about you, your powers? You can contact minds, can you affect them? Help him somehow, that way?"

"I've never been able to, yet," Isabel said softly. "I wouldn't know how to start. I can communicate, yes, but we're past that - I was staring Alex right in the face, in that last dream, and I don't think he recognized me. What we need..."

"...Is the healer," Maria finished for her. "Where the heck IS Max, anyways?"

"Only one way to find out, I guess," Liz said, picking up the telephone handset again. She called the Evans house for a second time, only to reach Isabel and Max's adoptive mother, who said that Max had left twenty minutes ago, and that he had indeed said he was going over to Alex's place. His jeep was gone from the driveway.

Next Liz called Max's cell phone, and it picked up on the second ring. A familiar voice. "Hello, Max Evans' pants."

*It was Tess.* Panicking, Liz hung the phone back up.

"What the heck?" Isabel asked her, staring in confusion.

"It... it was Tess," Liz managed to choke out. "SHE's got to him."

"We don't know that," Maria mumbled. "Far be it from me to defend the hussy, but they *were* pretty tight at the prom, by all accounts. We don't know..."

"We don't know - but we can't take any chances with Alex's safety either," Isabel decided suddenly. "Max is out, at least for now. What's our plan B??"

There was a dead silence as the three girls each looked at the others and at Alex's sleeping body. "Umm... was I supposed to bring one?" Maria deadpanned. Liz and Isabel each glared unappreciatively at her. "Sorry... trying to break some of the tension around here."

"The healing stones," Liz suggested tentatively, as if Maria hasn't spoken. "It's a bit of a long shot, I know, But what other choice do we have??"

Maria and Isabel considered that doubtfully, but didn't answer, which was answer enough. "I'll drive," Isabel announced at last, pulling out a key ring. She had been running errands in her mother's car when Liz had reached her on the cell phone, and apparently thought that meant the car was at her disposal for the duration of the emergency.

Liz nodded grimly. "Let's do this. Maria - can you help me get Alex out to the c..." Liz broke off because Isabel had gone over to Alex's sleeping body herself and gathered him up into her arms as easily and carefully as if the young man had been a delicate lace blanket.

"Uhh... okay, that works," Maria muttered as they followed the teen alien girl outside.

* * * * *

"C'mon, Max, wake up, everything's okay," The reassuring voice broke Max out of complete and total oblivion. "Don't worry, it was just a nightmare."

*WHAT* was a nightmare? And then it started to come back to him - Liz calling him, in trouble. No... it had been *Alex* that was in trouble, right? And Tess had tried to stop him and Kyle had bopped him in the head with a baseball bat...

"Don't worry about it," Tess reassured him. "Have something to drink - you're thirsty, aren't you??"

Max *was* thirsty - he just suddenly realized it. He could picture a tall, refreshing glass of the frosty pink lemonade his mom used to mix for himself and Isabel when they were younger. His mouth started to water. Someone placed a glass in his hands. beads of moisture lacing the smooth surface, and without any further urging Max brought it to his lips and drank.

It was nice - but also slightly strange. Sweet and fruity - but there was a faint and bitter aftertaste that was not exactly like anything Max had ever tasted before. "What is this?" he asked croakily - it was the first thing he had actually said aloud since waking up.

"Just drink it down." Max took another sip, and then a vague sense that something was wrong started to solidify. For one thing what he remembered WASN'T a nightmare, he was sure of that. And that meant...

All of a sudden another pair of hands had grabbed the glass and was trying to bring it to his mouth themselves. Max resisted, flailint out violently with enough force that he should have spilled the glass, but the other person carefully protected it and took it away. "What's going on here??"

His vision chose this moment to clear away its sleep-fogginess. He was in Tess' bedroom in the Valenti house - (the one that had used to be Kyle's bedroom.) And yes, Tess was the one who was putting the red glass, still nine-tenths full of a brilliantly red liquid down on the dresser.

Max stood up from the bed. He suddenly noticed that he wasn't wearing anything more than his boxers and undershirt, but he refused to feel and embarassment over that. "You won't get away with this, Tess."

"Maybe I will, Max," There was a peculiar quality to her voice. "Sit down again." And before Max could realize what was happening, he was sitting down on the bed again.

"Gooseberry juice," Tess commented aloud, indicating the glass, as Max sat there in confusion. "It has a chemical component that acts as a mind-affecting drug on individuals of our persuasion. Just one of the little tidbits that our protector let me in on during all those years that we were together. You might have been the king, Max, but his ultimate loyalties were to me. And mine to him, for that matter -- if only I'd been able to forsee that attack on him ahead of time."

Kyle appeared at the bedroom door. "The Jeep's in the garage and the door's down," he announced. "No-one noticed anything unusual."

Max didn't understand the significance of Kyle's words -- he was still mostly too frightened and confused to think straight. "Kyle! Kyle, man, it's me, Max. You've gotta help me out."

"You're wasting your time, Max," Tess told him coldly. "You may have saved his life, but Kyle will never work against me. You have Lonnie to thank for that - she knew an awful lot about how to control human minds. But she never expected me to be able to reverse her mind-warp, there in that cold New York sewer. I took everything of value out of her mind, and then I killed her and her little Rath too. You walked through the piles of dust that were left of their corpses and never even knew it."

"But to control one of *our* kind - well, that's a considerably tougher proposition, Max. I was making headway on conditioning you the subtle way, over the past few weeks, until whatever your little ex-girlfriend did to snap you out of it. Now it's gonna have to be the hard way."

Why is she telling me all this, Max thought. Why would Tess lay all of her cards out on the table like this? The question brought the answer. She was trying to psych him out - she believed that convincing him of how remarkable her powers were would make the next step easier.

"Look into my eyes, Max." He jerked his face away, closing his eyes. Suddenly there was a bright flash - as if a bolt of lightning had come down right in front of him, and as if his eyes weren't closed. Dazed, he instinctively waited a second, and then cracked his eyes back open.

Tess had his face in her hands and was lifting it up to meet her gaze. Max couldn't resist, didn't even think of resisting until he was staring into those eyes, as blue as the sky on a perfect summer day. And then he froze.

"You see me, you can only see me," Tess whispered to him softly. "You can hear my voice, you only hear me. My words are a whisper into your soul." She continued to gaze into his eyes.

After a few seconds of inactivity, Max roared into action. Powers forgotten, he struck Tess' arms away and shoved her down to the floor. Fear and concern for Liz and Alex upmost in his mind, he swung back a leg to deliver a punishing kick into the side of the girls' head... which should buy him enough time to get his Jeep out of the garage and take off.

"Stop that." Tess' voice was mildly scolding, and Max obediently dropped his foot back onto the ground, surprised with himself. "Good." Tess straightened herself out and stood up. "Now... take another drink of this." She picked up the glass of gooseberry juice again and offered it to Max. "Finish the glass."

Max's mind was consumed with the hatred he felt for Tess, but he couldn't think of disobeying her order. In his mind, the to do list was modified instantly - drink gooseberry juice, beat the crap out of Tess, go to help Liz and Alex. It had to be some kind of hypnotism thing, but he was helpless against it.

And it didn't consciously occur to Max that once he had drunk the juice, it would only give Tess more power to rearrange his agenda.

"You don't want to hurt me, Max," she said, as he was chugging down the last of the tangy beverage. "You trust me, don't you?"

Max wiped his mouth and looked at her. "Yes... I trust you." Something seemed so horribly wrong about that, but he couldn't remember it now.

"You have to let me in, Max," she said, drawing him over to the bed. Soon they were sitting down next to each other - thighs pressing against each other through two pairs of jeans. "Your mental shields. You need to let them down for me."

"I..." Max shook his head and looked up at her. "I don't know how."

"You do, Max," she assured him. "You just don't know that you know. Think of the force field that you've learned you can create."

"Okay," Max agreed. That was easy... to think of waving a hand and that green wall of wavy energy materializing. He'd had to use it so often to defend himself and his friends in the past year that it had almost become second nature... a reflex that had gotten him in trouble when Brody had gotten back Larek's memories and held them captive in the UFO center - because the shield had confirmed Brody's suspicions that Max was an alien.

Wait a second... the UFO center. Tess had... she'd done something at the end of that ordeal, hadn't she? Max had to remember... it was so important...

"There's another shield like that, around your mind," Tess said, driving whatever he had been thinking out of his head. "We all have it - it's part of our Antarian heritage. You already know how to raise and drop that shield instinctively, because otherwise Isabel would never have been able to dreamwalk you. You realize that it's her, that she's your sister and you trust her, and you let her in." Tess smiled over at Max, faint tears shining in her eyes. "I'm the one you love, your wife really. I'm closer to you than even a sister. Therefore..."

"Therefore... I trust you to," Max whispered. The logic seemed inescapable. And then he felt it - he felt Tess's touch on his mind, and he let her in.

And the cosmos changed in a subtle... horrifying... perfect way.

He *did* love Tess. The words that had before only gotten in because of the mind-dulling juice and Tess' mesmeric tricks now resonated throughout his being. She was his destiny, she was the best thing that had ever happened to him. She had saved him from... from... from *some* fate worse than death, and he was DEFINITELY grateful to her...

"Max??" Tess whispered, shuddering slightly with the mental effort she had made. Uncertainly.

"Yes, my darling?" Max replied. Tess looked up at him in relief and joy.

"My love." She leaned over and kissed him sweetly on the lips, once, a piece of perfect heaven, and then broke off. "Okay... you'd better call and tell Michael something to get him here. Tell him... tell him you were attacked by a shapeshifter who was impersonating Liz."

Max smiled. "Because we need him, but we can't afford to tell him yet how you liberated me."

Tess jumped in surprise. How much did he remember? "No, we can't," she agreed. "Not yet. Once we have time to convince him to let me in, I can help him forget that little shrew Maria and make him realize that he belongs with Isabel. But first things first."

"What about Isabel??" Max asked.

Tess thought. "Call Michael first. And then you're going to have to tell me what Liz told you." All of her strategy could depend on that information.

* * * * *

"Okay..." Maria rushed ahead of Isabel once the Pod Chamber door was open, and went straight to the 'UFO box' of alien-related odds and ends that Max and Michael had gathered up here. Liz followed her inside, and Isabel brought up the rear with Alex, closing the door mechanism so that the chamber would be once again undetectable and impregnable amongst the mountain rocks.

Impregnable - except with the touch of another of the Royal Four. Max, Michael, or Tess - any one of them could get in here too.

Isabel laid Alex down carefully on the smooth floor and helped Maria sort through the contents. "Healing stones... we only need three... River dog's wooden bowl... Water! Anybody got water??" Isabel looked around the pod chamber, peering through the secret passageway toward the Granolith, as if expecting to see a faucet tap sticking out of the wall somewhere.

Liz smiled faintly and swung her backpack around in front of her. It only took a few seconds to withdraw the large liter-and-a-half water bottle, three quarters full, and toss it over to Isabel.

"Okay..." Isabel hurried them along, passing out healing stones and looking at Alex for a second. "I'll sit over here," she said, positioning herself to Alex's right, "and the two of you can be on his other side." She filled the water bowl from Liz's bottle, and looked at the stone in her hands with frustration. "How did River Dog have us do this again??"

"Um... we drank from the bowl..." Maria said, closing her eyes really hard the way she did when she was trying to concentrate on a memory. "And focused on how we felt for Michael. Then we held the stones and chanted... and it happened."

"Hmm..." Isabel looked at Alex's unconscious face as she drank from the bowl, and passed it over. Maria took it. "Any idea what the chant was?"

"I don't think it matters," Liz said, then took the bowl when Maria was done, and drank from it. "It was just like a mantra, right? Something to focus our minds. So long as we pick something and say it together, I think the sounds themselves aren't important."

"Okay, how about..." Maria paused. "Ah-mah-nah-tah-lee?"

"Works for me," Liz agreed, focusing on her healing stone and Alex. Isabel nodded. "Ah-mah-nah-tah-lee... Ah-mah-nah-tah-lee..."

The others joined in the chant, and Liz noticed her healing stone start to glow faintly. It seemed to be taking much longer getting started than when the others were healing Michael -- did that mean that this wasn't going to work??

Suddenly Liz saw a sandy, desolate plain. Maria and Isabel were standing nearby. **This must be a healing vision, like the one Michael described. But the ones doing the healing that time didn't see anything, only Michael, who was the heal-ee.**

As Liz was thinking to herself, suddenly a huge storm arrived on the plain - torrents of rain, winds strong enough to blow down the dead trees and knock Liz off her feet. Lightning struck here and there and as Liz struggled to get up, she noticed a tornado funnel moving towards them!!

But it didn't move all the way to them. About twenty terrifying feet away the funnel paused -- and a huge monster stepped out of it!! Nine feet tall and almost that big across... with fists and claws and talons and tentacles, and a horribly ugly face right in the middle of what Liz had to assume was its chest. "Lunch delivery!!" the thing roared.

"Isabel?" Maria called out with fear in her voice.

Iz streched out her hand and delivered a blinding joly of energy to the beast, but that didn't seem to phaze it at all. It reached out and snatched Liz up into a claw. "Appetizer!"

Suddenly something *did* phaze the monster, and Liz looked around to see what it was. The sun was starting to shine weakly through the clouds, and the tornado funnel was wobbling precariously.

"Be back later!!" The monster dropped Liz back down onto the sandy ground. She picked herself up and tried to find the amber sun again. There was something familiar about... oh, of course. The 'sun' in this vision was a healing stone hanging in the sky. Liz belatedly realized that none of them had the stones that they had been holding in their hands.

"Liz, look!" Isabel called. Just before stepping back into the tornado, the monster seemed to have been taken by a coughing fit. As Liz watched, it retched Alex out of its huge mouth, (ewww!) and leapt for the tornado.

Liz and Isabel hurried over towards Alex... and then Liz realized that they were back in the pod chamber, leaning over his body with healing stones in hand.

Alex opened his eyes and screamed, a cry that shook Liz to the depths of her soul. She noticed that Alex was breathing - not labored breath but with a very deliberate and methodical rhythm, as if he was scared that if he didn't breathe consciously, his reflex would no longer take care of the task. Liz quickly reached out to check his pulse -- it was ragged but there, and getting stronger. Liz couldn't help but wonder whether he had gone into cardiac arrest for a second or two at the end of the healing ritual, but there was no way to tell.

"Alex, are you okay?" Isabel asked him.

"I... am not... okay," Alex gasped out between breaths, and then he paused. Looked up into Isabel's face. "I am having difficulty holding onto reality."

"What?" Maria asked hoarsely.

Alex sat up until he could get a look at Maria and shook himself. "Sorry... was'little confused." He took in his surroundings more clearly. "Healing stones??"

"Yeah," Liz agreed, looking into her old friends' eyes and searching for a clue as to whether he would be alright. "Did they do any good?"

"Some," Alex agreed, shaking his head, "but I don't think enough. You've bought me time, I suspect, no more. The stones can't fix what's wrong with me permanently, and you guys can't keep transfusing energy into me long."

"What... what happened to you, Alex?" Isabel broke in. "Did Tess... could she really have done this to you?"

"That's a long story, Isabel," Alex said, shuffling across the floor so his back was up against the pod chamber wall. "But the short answer is 'yes'."

* * * * *

posted on 24-Oct-2002 7:54:10 AM by Chrisken
quote:
Aussie_Dreamer originally wrote:
Evil Tess! I hope Max is okay (in fact, since this is a dreamer board he'd BETTER be).
Smart thinking of the healing stones, even if they didn't work completely. The sooner Max is snapped out of it, the better.
Update soon!


For the record, this is *not* really a dreamer board fic... I'm just waiting on the mods to move me off to CC. (hint, hint) :]

Glad youz guyz liked the update! *happy*
posted on 24-Oct-2002 8:29:29 PM by Chrisken
quote:
Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer! originally wrote:
I like your fic a lot! I just couldn't stand how Max and Liz grew apart those weeks after Alex' death, and right now, it seems like that isn't going to happen *happy* Like the idea of Liz and Maria finding out about Tess' evil plans before she can murder Alex. I just don't like Kyle being a bad guy *sad* Is he mindwarped by Tess or is he just plain evil? Anyways, keep up the good work, and update ASAP, kay? Oh, BTW, I thought this was a Dreamer Fic, that's why I started reading it, but that doesn't really matter, as long as Max will find out what Tess has been doing and he and Liz will get together again! Keep up the good work, kay?

Love,

Lizzie


No, Kyle isn't evil, and he is controlled:

>"You may have saved his life, but Kyle will never
> work against me. You have Lonnie to thank for
> that - she knew an awful lot about how to control
> human minds.

And as far as the dreamer thing... well, it's a *little* dreamer. *happy* But not totally dreamer - there's a lot of isabel/alex context here too of course. :D

Hope I can get an update out soon.