posted on 23-Sep-2001 5:23:04 PM by not applicable
okay, so admittedly this gets a little corny with the riverdog/liz dialogue, but I thought my universe had ended with the cliffhanger and since I set that up ending with liz walking off into death with riverdog, I couldn't just ignore at the time, this was the best I could do...

another huge thanks to those offering such wonderful feedback...

angela - the e-mail offer stands're always an e-mail away to the answers to any questions...

connie - you are soooo close with the chess 3 title. but I think you'll kill me when you actually read it. you know I love max and liz, but things just have to get (seriously) worse for them before they can get better...this is the scenic route to happily ever after. I think they (all six main characters) have to really explore what it means to be "alien". the show took the unforgivable easy way out by making them hybrids. not that being genetically engineered doesn't have it's issues, but the essence of the show, in my mind, was at its simplest - identity and acceptance. how do three aliens get along with three do aliens define themselves in this human exploring what is alien you have to also look at what it is to be human, and I think the different perspectives each character has on that is interesting and worth looking at...I don't know, just something I've been thinking about lately...maybe we should discuss it over tea*happy*

emilyluvsroswell - okay, I've been reading your stories for like two years now and I don't think I've ever given you the feedback you on the off chance that you're going to read this post I'll just say a little bit when you write that book, novella, whatever it is you are so clearly destined to write, you better stop in colorado on your coast to coast promotional tour, cuz I'll be waiting in line for an autographed copy! oh, how different the world of roswell would be if you had been writing want to just wring jk's scrawny little neck screaming "why, why couldn't you have hired her" least we have fanfiction... you go...for those still following along...

Title: “!” (Choices trilogy, Part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: Alright. So the saga continues…Again, the Apache word used in this fic is Western Apache not Mescalero Apache…you work with what you can…sorry.

(Scene: Somewhere between living and dying. Liz and River Dog are sitting on two rocks, in a circle of rocks, across from each other. A fire burns between them and they are surrounded by complete darkness.)

Liz (staring at the fire, and very hesitantly): Am I dead?

River Dog (looking intently at her): No.

Liz (looking up at him): But you are.

River Dog (nodding his head): Yes.

Liz (looking down at the fire again): He killed you.

River Dog (shaking his head): No.

Liz (confused): But the handprint?

River Dog (looking at the fire): It was my time to die.

(Scene: Hospital Waiting Room. The Parker’s are huddled together comforting each other near the entrance to the waiting room. Nancy is crying and Jeff is trying to calm her down. Maria is crying, sitting in the middle of the room, Michael is trying to calm her down. And over in the corner is Max. He’s just staring blankly in front of him with tears gently streaming down his cheeks. The Sheriff walks into the room and everyone – but Max – looks up and over to him, the Parker’s stand as he enters the room.)

Jeff Parker: Jim.

Sheriff (walking to them): How is she?

Jeff: They haven’t told us anything.

Nancy Parker (through tears to the Sheriff): If you hadn’t been there…

Jeff: Do you have any idea…

Sheriff (shaking his head): We’re still looking for witnesses.

Nancy (getting physically upset again): Who would hurt my baby? (Mr. Parker hugs his wife and the Sheriff looks between them.)

Sheriff: I’m going to do everything I can to find out. You just worry about your little girl.

Jeff: Thank you Jim. (The Sheriff nods. Jeff turns with Nancy and tries to get her to sit down again. The Sheriff looks around the room and spots Max over in the corner. He walks toward Max under the watchful gaze of Michael.)

Sheriff (looking sympathetically down at Max): Son, I need to ask you some questions. (Max doesn’t respond to him…his mind completely frozen in time and slowly replaying the horrors of the night. The Sheriff rests his hand on Max’s shoulder and sounding more like a concerned father than a sheriff) Son? (Max flinches, acknowledging the Sheriff, and then continues to stare at nothing.) I need to know if you saw anything…the car…the driver.

Max (lost in his own thoughts): Her face…I…I saw…her…her face…

Sheriff (looking down at Max with a mixture of sympathy and shame): I’m sorry…

(He lets his hand linger on Max’s shoulder for just a second, and then turns to leave the waiting room. With one last look in the direction of the Parker’s he exits. The Parker’s continue to struggle with remaining calm. Michael continues to comfort Maria while giving Max the occasional concerned look. And Max remains lost in his own thoughts. A few minutes after the Sheriff leaves the waiting room doors open again as Alex and Isabel enter together. Maria and Michael immediately stand up when they enter. Isabel scans the room looking for Max, and Alex freezes when he sees the Parker’s and Maria.)

Isabel (letting out a gasp of relief upon seeing Max in the corner): Max! (She heads toward him but Michael grabs her arm.)

Maria: ALEX! (She runs to him and hugs him.)

Alex (under his breath and returning Maria’s hug): Liz.

Isabel (irritated): Michael let go.

Michael (shaking his head and looking at Isabel): He’s somewhere else right now.

Isabel: What happened Michael?

Michael: I don’t know. They went outside to wait for us…I heard a shot…and when I turned she was on the ground.

Isabel (hushed): He didn’t…

Michael: He couldn’t…Valenti showed up as he was opening her shirt. I tell you Isabel…I never thought I’d say this but I was glad he was there.

Isabel (shocked and questioningly): Michael!?

Michael: It was wrong Isabel…something about it was…wrong.

Isabel: You think someone did this on purpose?

Michael: Nothing would surprise me. But I don’t think the Sheriff was part of it.

Isabel (looking over at Max again): Does Max…

Michael (nodding and finishing her thought): I think he knows. (Michael turns his head slightly to look at Alex and Maria hugging near the entrance.) This wasn’t an accident…(Isabel looks at Michael and then follows his gaze to Alex and Maria)

Maria (looking up at Alex): How did you know?

Alex: Isabel felt something…she thought it was Max.

Maria: It might as well’ve been. (She turns and both Alex and Maria look in Max’s direction.)

Alex: Is she…

Maria: The doctor hasn’t told us anything yet. Oh Alex…what if…

Alex (pulling Maria back into a hug): Shhhhh. It’s gonna be okay…she’s gonna be okay. (He looks up from Maria to meet the worried gaze of Isabel, but the moment is interrupted when the doctor enters the room. Everyone but Max reacts to his entrance.)

Jeff (standing with Nancy): Doctor Sanchez.

Doctor (looking between them): Jeff…Nancy.

Nancy (fighting back tears): How’s my baby?

Doctor (slowly and cautiously): Elizabeth is extremely lucky. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs…but she lost a lot of blood…and…

Jeff (semi-interrupting him): Is she’s going to be okay?

Doctor (continuing in the same precautionary manner): Her body’s response to the shock has been to ‘shut down.’ (The Parker’s give him blank looks) Elizabeth has lapsed into a coma.

Nancy (gasping): A coma? How…

Doctor: It isn’t common but sometimes a shock to the system can induce a coma. We’re monitoring her right now and can only hope that this is a very short-term response.

Jeff (holding a very emotional Nancy close to him): Can we see her?

Doctor: Soon. We have some more x-rays to do and then we’ll move her to her room. (He rests his hand on Jeff’s arm)

Jeff: Thank you.

Doctor: I’ll be back soon…She’s a very lucky girl Jeff.

(Scene: A Hotel Room. Agent Cooper is sitting on the bed talking on the cell phone.)

Cooper: 9-0-3-6-1. Negative…Complications arouse. Sheriff Valenti…No, No witnesses. Yes…The area was contained. Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. 7-5-4-9-1 has the room wired…audio and visual…Yes…I know…It will be taken care of...Yes…Yes, I know…he’ll be monitored.

(Scene: Hospital Waiting Room, some time later. The Parker’s remain seated by the doorway comforting one another. Alex and Maria are sitting next to each other in the middle of the room. Alex tries to comfort himself by comforting Maria while Michael and Isabel sit across from them. Max continues to sit in the corner unaware of the constant worried gazes of Isabel and Michael.)

Maria (looking up at Alex): She’ll come out if right? I mean it’s not like she’ll be…um…(choking back tears) a…

Alex (reassuring himself along with Maria): She’ll wake up…you know Sleeping Beauty was always her favorite movie…She just didn’t have to be so dramatic about it.

Maria (smiling through tears up at him): That’s my job.

Alex (leaning his head against hers): And we love you for it.

Maria (closing her eyes and snuggling closer to Alex for comfort, softly through tears): Thank you Alex.

(Alex gazes over Maria’s head to Max, looking around the room he notices he’s not the only one watching Max. In fact Isabel looks even more concerned now than before they arrived at the hospital. He’s about to get her attention when the doors swing open and the doctor re-enters. Everyone stands up except Max at his entrance.)

Doctor (looking at the Parker’s): Jeff…Nancy…You can see her now.

Nancy (as she starts to follow the doctor out the door she turns to Alex and Maria): Maria, Alex…I know she’d…

Alex: We’re coming.

(Mrs. Parker gives him as warm a smile as she can muster. She looks over to Max with a sympathetic and tender look but before she can say anything Jeff leads her out of the room. Maria and Alex look at each other, taking deep breaths and then move toward the door. Just as they’re about to exit Maria looks over to Max and stops. She motions for Alex to go ahead and then she walks over to Max. Standing in front of him she places one hand on each of the armrests of Max’s chair and leans over to stare him directly in the face – only inches away from him.)

Maria (as calmly as she can but forcefully): This is how this works Max. You’re gonna get out of this chair, walk through those doors, and into her room. You’re gonna sit down next to her, hold her hand, and tell her that you’re there for her…and if you don’t…so help me god Max…

Max (choking on tears): I…I put her there…

Maria: No Max, a man with a gun put her there…but if you don’t get out of this chair and into her room…you’re gonna be the one who keeps her there. She doesn’t need anybody in that room, except you.

Max (meeting Maria’s fierce gaze and quickly looking away he pushes her out of the way as he gets up from the chair and dejectedly): I can’t…

(He quickly strides across the room and out the doors. Maria stares at his empty chair for a moment as another wave of tears hits her. She turns around looking straight at Isabel. Shaking her head she goes to leave the room. Michael reaches out to her as she passes him but she waves him off and exits. Isabel looks at Michael quickly and then follows after Max. Michael sinks in the chair behind him, crushed by the weight of two worlds on his shoulders and the sound of his heavy breathing echoes in the empty waiting room.)

(Scene: Back to Liz and River Dog sitting across a fire.)

Liz (confused): I…I don’t understand…

River Dog: We leave one world when our purpose is served…moving to the next where we are needed…

Liz (again confused): But why me? Why are you here?

River Dog (looking at her intently): This is your nadzeel. And the question is why are you here? It is not your time…your purpose has yet to be…

Liz (looking at the fire deep in thought): I…I don’t know.

River Dig (smiling at her): You must know…a bullet will put you in the hospital…but only you can bring yourself here.

Liz (meeting his gaze confused): I don’t even know where here is.

River Dog: The dream between living and dying…where choices – decisions must be made.

Liz: Choices?

River Dog (looking at the fire): We are the same…you know. (Liz continues to look at him puzzled) I was younger than you…true…when this burden was given me. (Liz looks away as he looks up at her, instinctively knowing what he’s talking about) I assume that is why you wanted me here.

Liz (startled): I…wanted you here?

River Dog: This is your dream…

Liz (in disbelief): And I wanted…you…here?

River Dog: You see what you want to see here.

Liz (totally confused and looking around to the darkness surrounding them): I can’t see anything here.

River Dog: It is there, but you don’t want to see it.

Liz: But you just said I see what I want.

River Dog: Here (out-stretching his arms to indicate the circle created by the rocks they are sitting on) But out there (indicating outside the circle of rocks to the darkness surrounding them) is what you’re running from…is the reason you are here…the choices.

Liz (looking confused at River Dog): I don’t understand…there’s nothing out there.

River Dog (looking down at the fire…and somehow it grows brighter): Look again. (Liz slowly looks away from River Dog to her surroundings and she gasps when she sees the silvery symbols from the desert cave all around her, looking up she sees the ‘v’ shaped constellation directly overhead. Lowering her eyes she meets River Dog’s intent gaze.) Choices.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz’s parents are sitting on either side of her holding her hands and just lovingly whispering to her through tears and smiles of remembrances. Alex and Maria are standing outside the room looking in, holding each other. Maria turns to see her mother coming down the hallway. When she reaches them Maria breaks down in her mother’s arms. Amy DeLuca looks through the window to Jeff and Nancy. Maria pulls away and her mom goes into the room immediately hugging Nancy. After a few moments Amy comes out of the room and looking at her daughter, puts her arm around her, holding her tightly and kissing the top of her head. Maria breaks away to give Alex a hug, say goodnight and then quickly returns to her mom’s embrace and they walk down the hallway to the elevator. Michael hiding in an unnoticeable corner watches them leave.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom…looking down on Max lying on his bed staring up at the ceiling blankly. Outside his door Diane Evans is about to knock when Isabel comes up behind her and gently touches her shoulder.)

Isabel (softly): Let me.

(Diane looks from the door to Isabel and nods. Isabel reaches for the doorknob and gently opens the door. She walks over to the bed and sits down next to Max. Diane watches them from the doorway for a moment and then shuts the door.)

Isabel (in a soft comforting tone): Talk to me Max…tell me what happened.

Max (not moving and sounding like a lost little boy): They shot her Izzy…they shot her.

Isabel: Who Max? Who shot her?

Max: I don’t know.

Isabel (affectionately): Max…

Max: What have I done to her?

Isabel: Max, you haven’t done anything to her.

Max (turning his head to look at Isabel): They shot her because of me, Isabel…because of me she could have died.

Isabel: You can’t blame yourself Max.

Max: Why not?

Isabel: She needs you now…

Max (getting angry with himself): She needed me to stay away from her…I needed to be stronger…(under his breath) why didn’t I listen to you.

Isabel (shaking her head and letting out a sigh): To me Max…

Max: I should have stayed away…you and Michael…you were right…

Isabel (interrupting him): Michael and I were scared…(looking away from Max) and jealous. (Max surprised turns to look at Isabel and she looks down at the floor) Do you know how lucky you are Max? Don’t try and deny it…you’ve been in love with Liz from the moment you saw her. Michael laughed at you and I…I felt sorry for you…but…(sounding amazed at the fact) but she loved you back. (Shaking her head and enviously) After everything…she loved you back.

Max (angry with himself): And look where it got her…what good it was.

Isabel (quickly looking over him): She chose it Max, she chose you…she knew what she was getting into…

Max: And I should have stopped her. I was selfish…I wanted her…(closing his eyes to fight back tears) god, I wanted her…I should’ve known better…I should’ve been thinking about her and not…(angrily) me…

Isabel (looking down at him): That’s what you should be doing now…thinking about her and not you.

Max (sitting up defiantly and angrily): And you think I’m not!

Isabel (calmly): Maria was right Max, the only person she needs right now is you.

Max (looking at Isabel with a frightening intensity): You don’t think I want go to her. (Looking away from her and shaking his head angrily) But I can’t…I can’t…being with me will kill her…(He looks back at Isabel) I can’t…it’s better this way…for her…she’ll be alive…with me she’ll (he looks away unable to finish the thought)…it’s better this way…for her…

Isabel (taking a deep breath and gently): Only she can tell you what’s better for her Max. And she won’t be able to do that if you don’t go to her and help her through this.

Max (shaking his head as tears fill his eyes and turning to Isabel): I can’t…I can’t see her in that room…knowing I’m the reason she’s there. (He finally breaks down, lowering his head and letting tears flow freely, and Isabel pulls her brother into a loving hug.)

Isabel (softly, lovingly): She’d do anything for you Max…she already has…and she needs you to do this for her…and you need to do it…you have to. (Max just continues to cry and Isabel continues to try and comfort him.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom. Maria has finally fallen asleep curled up with her teddy bear. Her mother gently strokes back her hair looking lovingly down at her. She gets up from the bed, takes one last look at her sleeping daughter and then closes the door. Michael watches her sleep through the window and is about to leave when Maria stirs in bed, starting to softly cry. Michael touches the window while staring at Maria and it unlocks and lifts up slightly. His vision refocus from Maria to his hand on the window and what he subconsciously did. A soft cry from Maria brings him back to what he was doing and he pushes up the window and climbs through, quietly shutting it behind him. He walks to the bed and gently lies down next to Maria. Maria almost immediately reacts to Michael’s arm around her. Her crying stops and her breathing becomes steady…

(Scene switches to Max’s Bedroom. Max is restlessly sleeping on his bed. He jolts up looks down at the floor and tries to steady his breathing. He looks over to see Isabel sleeping on the far edge of his bed. He brings his hands to his face and lets out a deep sigh. Getting off the bed he grabs his coat and keys…Scene fast forwards…Max is slowly walking down a hospital hallway. He stops short of the window to a room. He looks around the empty hallway not sure if he can look through the window. He turns and leans his back against the wall, closes his eyes and takes a series of deep breaths. After a moment he turns to face the window. He looks in and sees Liz. He catches his breath at the sight of her – so small…so fragile…with tubes leading from her delicate arms to the machines surrounding her bed. He quickly closes his eyes and lowers his head. Breathing slowly and deeply, his tears gently fall to the floor. He raises his desperate eyes to look at her again. Gently pressing his hand to the window he stares at her, focusing on her peaceful face. ‘I did that’ softly escapes his lips.)
Music: Lyle Lovett – If I Needed You

(Scene: Hospital, early morning. Jeff Parker, carrying two cups of coffee, exits an elevator and turns to walk down a hallway. As he’s passing the waiting room he looks through the windows and stops. Stepping toward the doors he takes a closer look. He lets a small smile escape his lips and then turns the way he came and heads to the pay phone. After setting the coffees on top of the phone he starts flipping through the phone book. Finding the number he needs he dials and puts in his 35 cents.)

(Scene switches to the Evans home. Phillip is reading an article about the shooting in the paper sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. The phone rings, he puts down the paper shakes his head and then picks up the phone.)

Phillip: Hello.

(Back to the Hospital)

Jeff: Phillip it’s Jeff Parker.

(Back to the Evans House)

Phillip: Jeff…how is she?

Jeff: There’s still no change…Listen I wanted to let you know that Max is here.

Phillip: Max?

Jeff: He’s in the waiting room…I just passed by and saw him.

Phillip (thinking aloud): I don’t remember hearing him leave this morning.

Jeff: I think he’s been here for awhile…he’s sleeping.

Phillip: Sleeping?

Jeff: I’ll take care of him…just didn’t want you to worry.

Phillip: Thank you…Jeff, if there’s anything Diane and I can do for you and Nancy…please don’t hesitate to ask.

Jeff: Thank you Phillip…right now we just need a lot of prayers.

(Jeff hangs up the phone and then heads back to the waiting room. As he sits down next to Max, Max begins to stir. He wakes up confused about where he is. Sitting up he sees Mr. Parker and quickly looks away and down at the ground.)

Max (quietly): How is she?

Jeff: Her condition hasn’t changed.

Max (willing himself to speak through the pain and guilt he feels): I’m sorry.

Jeff (looking over at Max): This isn’t your fault.

Max: I should’ve done something…if I…

Jeff (very fatherly): Lizzie wouldn’t want you to blame yourself. I know she doesn’t blame you.

Max (looking at Mr. Parker and then quickly returning his gaze to the floor – very softly under his breath): She should.

Jeff: I was hoping to convince Nancy to get some air…if you want to sit with Liz…

Max (standing up abruptly and looking anywhere but at Jeff): I should be getting home…I didn’t tell my parents…

Jeff: I talked to your father this morning and told him you were here.

Max (quickly trying to think of another way out): Oh…still they’re probably worried (he walks toward the door.)

Jeff (looking after Max puzzled by his obvious retreat): We’ll let you know if anything changes.

Max (stopping at the doors and looking back at Mr. Parker): Thank you. (He ducks his head down and exits.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom, early morning. Michael – on top of the covers – is asleep with his arm around a sleeping – covered – Maria. The bedroom door opens gently as Amy quietly enters. She almost drops the coffee she’s holding when she sees Michael…about to rant and wake them up her eyes fall on the plethora of Kleenex on the floor and remembers the events of the previous evening. Looking back at the bed she notices that Michael is fully dressed – even with shoes – and on top of the covers. She let’s out a sigh and backs out of the room shutting the door…a little louder than she needed to. Michael stirs as a result of the door being shut and takes in his surroundings. He gently gets off the bed, grabs his coat and heads for the window. With one last, hesitant look to Maria he exits through the window. Michael walks home deep in thought. He turns the corner to his apartment building and looking up sees Max sitting on the curb. Michael pauses, letting out a sigh, and then heads towards Max. Back in the DeLuca kitchen Amy is drinking her coffee and trying to figure out what to do. After a few moments her thoughts are interrupted by a sleepy Maria entering the kitchen.)

Amy: Honey before you say anything I want you to know that it’s okay.

Maria (confused): What?

Amy: I know how upset you were last night…and it helped that he still had his shoes on.

Maria (very confused): Mom what are you talking about?

Amy: Michael, honey, it’s okay that he stayed with you last night…I just…I just don’t want it happening again.

Maria: Michael?

Amy: Again, it helped that he was still fully clothed and on top of the covers…

Maria (talking to herself and a little lost): Michael?

(Scene: Del Norte Twin Theater. The Sheriff is talking with the Manager in the empty lobby of the theater.)

Sheriff: …credit cards or checks?

Manager: Sorry Sheriff…we’re a cash only business. Look how long will this be a crime scene?

Sheriff (letting out a frustrated sigh): As long as we need it to be…I need a list of all your employees.

Manager: I thought my night manager took care of this already.

Sheriff (irritated): Do I need to ask you again?

Manager (sheepishly): Let me get that for you. (The Manager leaves and the Sheriff turns and walks over to the window staring at the bloodstain on the cement. As the Manager returns the Sheriff gets a call on his radio.)

Deputy Blackwood: Sheriff.

Sheriff (talking into his radio): Go ahead.

Deputy: We’ve got a homicide on County Rd. 82.

Sheriff: I’m on my way. (The Sheriff turns to the Manager grabs the sheet from his hand and then exits the theater.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. Michael, shutting his bedroom door he heads for the couch. Sitting down he puts his head in his hands and lets out a sigh. There’s a knock at his door. He reluctantly gets up and opens the door.)

Michael (startled): Maria!

Maria: Hey.

Michael (curtly): What are you doing here?

Maria: I wanted to thank you. (She steps toward him and he backs up. She looks at him a little confused) My mom told me that you stayed with me last night.

Michael (nonchalantly and turning away from her): Oh.

Maria (starting to sense that something’s up): Why did you go…without waking me?

Michael (coldly): Didn’t want to.

Maria (pausing to survey the scene): What’s going on?

Michael (defensively and walking away from her): What are you talkin’ about?

Maria: Would you look at me please? (He doesn’t. She squints at the back of his head and starts to get a little angry): What the hell is this?

Michael: What the hell is what?

Maria (after a pause): What was last night…a goodbye?

Michael (looking at her and then quickly away): You can call it whatever you want.

Maria (now officially angry): Oh no…don’t even think you’re getting out of explaining yourself. Liz gets shot and we’re back to the asshole alien…bullshit!

Michael (getting frustrated): Damn it! That could be you in that hospital room.

Maria: It could be any of us Michael – it’s a violent world – you could get hit by a bus or if the gods had been listening to my prayers struck by lightening.

Michael: This wasn’t an accident.

Maria: What?

Michael: Liz getting wasn’t an accident.

Maria (confused): What?

Michael: We think somebody shot her on purpose…to force Max to save her.

Maria (sitting down): Oh my god. (She stares in front of her at nothing for a few moments and then looking out of the corner of her eye at Michael she has a small revelation) That’s what this is about.

Michael: What?

Maria (motioning between the two of them): This…the alien-retreat-when-intense response.

Michael: Did you hear what I said?

Maria: Oh yea…and everything you didn’t say.

Michael (desperately): That could be you in that hospital…

Maria (standing up forcefully): I don’t care if I’m in that hospital if I know you’ll be there when I wake up. (She startles herself, and Michael, with her words and is a little frightened by the fact that she truly means them. Looking away from Michael and talking more to herself than him) That’s why she’s in a coma. She knew…

Michael: What?

Maria (looking at him): She knew he’d run…she knew it. He didn’t put her in the hospital but he put her in that coma…it’s a test and he’s failing like the bastard he is.

Michael: This isn’t a fuckin’ test it’s life and death.

Maria: That’s right…we risk our lives for you and your gratitude is what? Run away…thanks for nothin’!

Michael: We’ve put your lives in danger for the last time…we can’t do it anymore…(yelling) Not anymore!

Maria: It’s too late for that Michael. Five months ago maybe…but not now…not after everything that’s happened between us.

Michael (excessively cold and ugly): There’s nothing between us.

Maria (…hell hath no fury…): You tell yourself that lie Michael and you raise whatever noncommittal-chicken-shit alien defense mechanisms you have to…because I will see you in HELL before I let you and Max run away from this. Do you even think about including us in on these life-changing decisions or is that one of your alien tricks – knowing what’s best for everyone else. I’m standing right here – you’re the one who’s running. Do you see Liz running…

Michael (interrupting her): You’re the one who said she’s in a self-induced coma. (He regrets it as soon as it comes out of his mouth and can tell by the look on Maria’s face that if he was standing anywhere near her she would have slapped him.)

Maria (staring at him for seconds that seem like hours…Music starts: Sheryl Crow – Strong Enough): She’s a stronger person than you will ever be. (She turns and walks out of the apartment – slamming the door. Michael looks after her in considerable pain. He turns to walk to the bathroom but stops when he sees Max standing in his bedroom doorway.)

(Scene: Somewhere along County Rd. 82. The Sheriff is driving along in his truck. He sees the Deputy’s car with the lights flashing and pulls off the road and gets out. He puts his hat on and steps away from the truck. As he is putting on a pair of gloves Deputy Blackwood approaches him.)

Sheriff: What’ve we got?

Deputy (hesitates a little and hands a wallet to the Sheriff): Federal Agent sir.

Sheriff (furrowing his brow and grabbing the wallet. He looks at it and then up and over to the black sedan): Cause of death?

Deputy (as they begin to walk over to the car): Appears to be a broken neck...(hesitantly) but there are signs of…torture.

Sheriff (surprised): Torture?

Deputy: He was cuts and puncture wounds on the upper body.

Sheriff (reaching the car and looking at Agent Cooper in the front seat with some nasty cuts on his chest, under his breath): Shit.

Deputy: There’s more.

Sheriff: More?

Deputy: We found a gun with him…same caliber as the shooting last night…one bullet missing and it appears to be recently fired.

Sheriff: I want ballistics on that immediately.

Deputy: I sent it in with Harry.

Sheriff (looking over the rest of the car): What’s in the trunk?

Deputy: Haven’t looked yet.

Sheriff (walking to the back of the car): Pop her open. (The Deputy reaches down in the front seat and pops the trunk. As it raises the Sheriff flinches slightly and then reaches down. Inside the trunk is another man with what looks like a broken neck. Lying on his chest is a videotape and a wallet. The Sheriff picks up the wallet, flips it open and then looks back down at the body, grabbing the videotape with the other hand. Deputy Blackwood walks around the car and sees the FBI identification badge in the open wallet. The Sheriff looks up at him – dead pan face.) Not a word of this to anyone until the ballistics report comes back. You understand. (Deputy Blackwood just nods and the Sheriff looks down at the videotape in his hand.)

posted on 23-Sep-2001 5:30:34 PM by not applicable
Title: “?” (Choices trilogy, Part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: All books referenced in this fic are used only out of love and admiration for the authors (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Shel Silverstein, and William Goldman) and their stories.

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. Maria exits the elevator carrying a small paper bag and Liz’s backpack over her shoulder. She heads down the hallway and enters a room. Jeff and Nancy Parker look up from their daughter as Maria enters. Maria walks over to Nancy and they share a hug. After a few moments Jeff puts his arm around Nancy and they exit the room. Maria settles down into a chair next to Liz’s bed. She looks at Liz and lets out a deep sigh. After looking around the room to make sure that her parent’s are gone, Maria starts…)
Music: Indigo Girls – The Girl With The Weight Of The World In Her Hands

Maria: Okay, babe, we need to do some major talking…I mean Alex is great and all but…first he’s a guy, and second, well…he’s a guy. And you and me…we have some serious ass kicking to do…So I really, really need you to wake up and help me out here – I can’t do this by myself Lizzie…(letting out a sigh) I need you. I mean you’re the one who got me into this in the first place…okay, okay, technically I got myself into this but still…you can’t just leave me here…(she leans forward and with an added tinge of desperation) I don’t know what to do.

(Maria, slowly lets her gaze fall, then quickly looks up Liz.)

Maria: If you wake up now I promise to forgive you for doing this to me…after I give you a piece of my mind for doing this to me. I mean, (standing up and holding her hands – palms up, fingers splayed – to Liz) have you forgotten who you are…you’re Liz Parker – calm, collected, scientifically minded, always practical and very rational. I’m the wacky sidekick who suffers from serious bouts of questionable sanity and is prone to overly dramatic moments.

(She abruptly ends her trek around the perimeter of the hospital bed and focuses on Liz again).

Maria: Don’t you think this coma is a little much for you? And if you’re the one doing the dramatics that means I have to be rational – we’re talking about me – I don’t do rational and I really don’t do calm in situations like this…so I really need you to snap out of this…(tears brimming)…so I can be me. (She stares at Liz for a few moments and then brushes the tears away with her hand.) We’ve been friends for so long that I don’t know who I would be without you – and I don’t ever want to know. Please, I need to talk to you…I need to hear you tell me that this is going to be okay…god, I need you to wake up. I’m begging you…

(Catching sight of the paper bag on the table next to the bed, Maria walks back to the chair and sitting down reaches for it)

Maria: You know I’m not above blackmail…(taking a half-pint of ice cream out of the bag) or bribery. It’s your favorite…you’re not gonna make me eat all this myself, are you?

(She looks away from Liz to the window, lets out a sigh, and then opens up the vanilla ice cream and takes a couple of bites.)

Maria: Do you remember the first time we had sundaes? (Smiling at remembering) I’ll never forget it. It was the first day of second grade and Paulie was terrorizing…who was it…Cynthia Ramsey…trying to lift up her skirt or something…like I’m gonna let him get away with that…and when I came out of the principal’s office you, you were waiting for me. And you took my hand and told your dad that I was the defender of all the girls in school and that I deserved to be rewarded instead of punished. So he took us to the Crashdown for sundaes.

(Fighting back tears Maria returns her gaze to Liz)

Maria: You were a gift you know that…’cuz…um…then my dad left and I…I don’t know what I would have done without you…just like I don’t know what to do now…I need you…I really need you Lizzie. (She pauses taking several deep breaths while fighting back tears) I brought you somethings…(reaching into Liz’s backpack she pulls out a bunch of books of varying sizes)…they’re your favorites…and of course you know which one we’re gonna read first.

(Maria sets the books down on the table next to the bed and then takes the top one…getting comfortable in the chair she looks over at Liz and then begins reading.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Station, random room. Sheriff Valenti puts a videotape into the VCR attached to a large screen television. Sitting down he pushes play on the remote. It’s fuzzy for a few seconds and then what comes on the screen is the Del Norte Twin Theater lobby and entrance. The Sheriff furrows his brow and leans forward in his chair. After a few moments of nothing, a small group of people walk into the lobby followed by Maria, Michael, Liz, and Max. Liz and Max exit the theater…the Sheriff puts the tape into slow motion and scoots closer to the t.v. In slow motion the back end of a car drives into the left-hand corner of the t.v., a shot is fired and then Liz falls to the ground. The camera refocuses for a close up of Max opening Liz’s shirt. The Sheriff hits the rewind button and watches the scene right before the shot again. He rewinds the tape again, pushing pause he gets up and leaves the room quickly. He promptly returns with a folder. Sitting down he takes out some pictures from the folder and quickly flips through them. Holding up a picture of the back end of Agent Cooper’s black sedan, he looks from the picture to the television and then back at the picture. Pushing play he watches as the license plate of the car comes into view in the left-hand corner of the t.v. screen. He pushes pause again and looks down at the picture he’s holding.)

Valenti: I’ll be damned.

(The door opens and Deputy Blackwood enters)

Deputy: Ballistics report is here.

Valenti (not looking away from the television): And I bet I know what it says.

(Scene: UFO Center. Max looking like shit is putting on his name badge and is about to walk up the stairs to the main office when Milton stops him, coming down the stairs.)

Milton (surprised): Evans! What are you doing here?

Max (sounding very tired): Work…I still work here right?

Milton: Not today you don’t.

Max (confused): Is it Sunday?

Milton: Max, I read about the shooting in the paper. Didn’t you get my message? I don’t expect you to work at all this week.

Max (letting out a sigh): I was just looking for something to…do.

Milton (looks at him intently): Evans…your focus and determination is constantly reminding me of myself when I was your age. But Max, you don’t want to be me when you’re my age. It’s a lonely world out there. Now get out of here and over to the hospital…I don’t want to see you for at least a week.

Max (realizing there is no way Milton will relent): Thanks Milton.

Milton: Just take good care of her.

(Max turns to leave. Milton furrows his brow and watches very intently as Max makes his way out of the Center. Milton turns around and heads back up the stairs to the office. Quickly entering he heads to the computer and begins shutting it down. He grabs his coat, and a few things from the printer. As he’s about to leave he makes a sweeping glance back over the room. His eyes stop and focus on the sleeping form of another Milton in the corner of the room. Nasedo Milton leaves and walks down the stairs. He rounds an isolated corner of the museum looking like a totally different person and heads for a back exit.)

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom. Alex is at his computer researching ‘comas’ on the internet. Behind him on his bed are stacks of papers – printed out from his computer…a real mess. There’s a knock on his door.)
Music (on Alex’s stereo): Foo Fighters – Big Me

Alex (not looking up from the computer): Mom, I really can’t handle another cry-fest right now…yesterday wiped me out. (He looks up to see Isabel standing in the doorway – under his breath) Rewind and erase. (She comes into the room and shuts the door) I don’t suppose there’s any chance you didn’t hear that?

Isabel: Alex my brother’s a walking box of Kleenex, you can’t possibly cry more than he has.

Alex: Right.

Isabel (looking a little uncomfortable): I need to ask you something.

Alex (looking at her a little surprised): Shoot…(cringing at what he just said)…never mind.

Isabel (looking over at the bed): Can I sit down?

Alex (starting out of the chair he’s sitting in): Yea, sorry…(he picks up piles of papers off the bed. Isabel helps him by grabbing a few and pauses to look at them. They are printouts of adoption agencies and lawyers that handle adoptions in the Albuquerque area. She furrows her brow a little but Alex grabs the sheets from her hands) Thanks…here…have a seat.

Isabel (coming back to where she is and what she’s here for): Oh, thanks. (She sits down and Alex is sitting in the computer chair in front of her looking at her intently) Um…you said something to me a while ago…when you first took me to ‘the spot.’ (Alex nods like he’s trying to remember) It’s sort of been bugging me and I wanted you to explain it.

Alex (hesitantly, still not knowing what this is about): Okay.

Isabel (hesitantly herself): We were talking about Liz and Max and I said…I said that at least Max chose well…and you said it wasn’t a choice. What did you mean by that?

Alex (letting out a sigh of relief): I’m a firm fate believer Isabel. There are things that happen for reasons that we just can’t explain or understand. We choose a lot of things in life…but I think the really big things…they choose us. And I think that’s what happened to Max and Liz…and really all of us.

Isabel: So you think it was fate.

Alex: What are the odds of Max being in the Crashdown that day?

Isabel: Considering his attraction to the staff…pretty good.

Alex: But even that…of all the people for Max to be drawn to…he chooses Liz – I don’t think so. I mean, can you imagine Pam Troy’s reaction to your secret?

Isabel (smiling at the thought): No but I can imagine what my reaction to him saving her would’ve been.

Alex (smiles): I’m just saying that there’s a reason that the three of you found the three of us.

Isabel: Alex, you know we can’t be anything…

Alex: I’m not talking about coupling convenience…(smiling) though you have to admit it is oddly (Isabel gives him a ‘look’ – abruptly cutting him off)…well it is…but…I’m talking about everything we’ve been able to help you find out about yourselves.

Isabel: But what’s in it for you?

Alex: I can’t speak for Liz and Maria – not that I think I couldn’t…it’s pretty clear what they get…well it was…

Isabel: And you?

Alex: Me? I get about 4 felony convictions…and…uh…I get to know you.

Isabel: Alex…

Alex: Look Isabel…I’m not kidding myself…I’m me and you’re you and never the twain shall meet. But I do get to know you and see you in a way that no one else does. And that’s what I get out of this…doing what I can to help you…to help my friends.

Isabel (looking away from him): Alex, there’s something I need to tell you…about the shooting.

Alex (matter-of-factly): It wasn’t an accident.

Isabel (looks over at him surprised): How’d you know?

Alex: I had my suspicions at the hospital…the way Max reacted made me think he knew something I didn’t…and then yesterday Maria told me that’s what Michael thought. (Shaking his head) It makes sense when you think about it…I guess…

Isabel: Look Alex, now’s the time to get out.

Alex: What?

Isabel: I don’t know how much more dangerous this is going to get and I can’t guarantee your safety…If you want out, I won’t be mad…I can’t really blame you…

Alex (interrupting her): Isabel…Isabel…if I wanted out I’d be gone by now. I sort of forced my way into this secret…threatening Liz in jail may have gotten me in…but I decided to stay. And besides…by my calculations I’m already due to serve 25 years in a state prison…what’s a few more.

Isabel: This is serious Alex.

Alex: You don’t think I know that every time I look at Liz in that hospital bed.

Isabel (looking away from him): I’m sorry.

Alex: It’s too late to turn back now…I just hope Max realizes that…or she’s never gonna wake up. (Alex looks over at the clock) Which reminds me…duty calls.

Isabel: Duty?

Alex: Maria and I are reading some of Liz’s favorite books to her…she’s gotta work at the Crashdown tonight so I’m taking over for her in…about five minutes ago. (He gets up and starts getting some things together.)

Isabel (standing up and thoughtfully): Maria has to work?

Alex: Yea, the Parker’s can’t afford to close the Crashdown so she’s helping them out with some extra shifts…You aren’t going by the hospital are you?

Isabel (distracted): Um no…I mean, yea if you need a lift.

Alex: Beats bikin’ it. (They make their way to the door)

Isabel (before they exit the room): Alex.

Alex (turning to look back at her): Yea?

Isabel: Thank you.

Alex (he pauses): No need…come on…I fear the wrath of DeLuca. (Isabel smiles at him and leaves the room.)

(Scene: The dream between living and dying. Liz and River Dog are sitting around a fire and surrounded by hundreds of silvery ‘alien’ symbols shinning in the darkness. Liz is just taking them all in while River Dog watches her intently.)

Liz (not looking at River Dog, softly): He hasn’t come yet…

River Dog: Did you think he would?

Liz (sounding a little hurt): No…I guess I didn’t.

River Dog: Was he deserving?

Liz (looking at him confused): Deserving?

River Dog: Your trust…it shouldn’t be given lightly…I warned you.

Liz (looking away): Are you speaking from experience?

River Dog (smiling at her): Ah…this is not about me…I’ve made my choices you must make yours.

Liz (shaking her head and getting frustrated): What choices…to live or die…to let go or hold on…what am I here for?

River Dog (looking around at the symbols): Do you want this…(motioning with his hand to the symbols)…this burden, this obligation…this…secret?

Liz (frustrated): I don’t have a choice. (Her face falls as soon as she says it. She quickly looks over at River Dog who raises his eyebrow and slightly nods his head. She sort of chokes on her breath and looks away, not really knowing what to say.)

River Dog: Here…everything is a choice. What you take with you when you wake from this place…is up to you.

Liz (looking at the symbols, hesitantly and shaky): I…I could forget…him?

River Dog: You can leave here with what you want.

Liz: I don’t…understand.

River Dog: You brought yourself here because within you there are doubts. Only you know what those doubts are and only you can decide if you want to leave them here. (Looking at her intently) Are you waiting for him to come…to make the choice for you? (Liz shifts nervously and avoids his eyes) He cannot help you. He won’t come until you choose…and even then, he still may not come.

Liz (surprised): What?

River Dog (after staring at her, almost staring through her, for a while): You’re afraid of what these mean…(indicating the symbols)…of where they may lead…(after another long pause) And you’re afraid that he’s left you…and so you wonder if you shouldn’t leave him…here. (She meets his gaze and they just stare at each other.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Maria has finished the ice cream and is sitting comfortably in the chair reading aloud to Liz. Alex quietly opens the door and enters the room.)

Alex: How’s Sleeping Beauty?

Maria (looking up from the book and then over to Liz): Sleeping beautifully…(adding under her breath)…and still waiting for Prince Charming to get his sorry ass here and wake her up.

Alex (let’s out a soft laugh but it’s short-lived as he reflects on the truth of Maria’s comment. Maria shifts in her chair and Alex notices the book she’s holding): Whatcha reading?

Maria: Anne of Green Gables.

Alex: I’m not reading that.

Maria: This isn’t about you Alex, this is about Liz…and besides we know you like it.

Alex: Do you know what kind of damage that could do if somebody saw me reading that…and I do not like it.

Maria: Yea, how many times have we watched the miniseries together?

Alex: That’s just because you make me…okay…and because Anne’s a babe.

Maria (getting out of the chair and handing the book to him): Please…you’re not fooling anybody…sit.

Alex (taking the book and then sitting in the chair): Well what part are you at?

Maria (smiling at him): Lady of the Lake.

Alex (looking at the book and then over at Liz): She’s gonna get it when she wakes up.

Maria (standing at he door): From me and you both…

Alex (looking at Maria): You doin’ okay?

Maria (letting out a sigh): I’m trying…I just really need her to wake up.

Alex: I know…she will.

(Scene: Crashdown, a little later that night. Maria walks into the back room and puts on her uniform. When she turns around Isabel is standing there, wearing a long black coat and looking a little fidgety.)

Maria: Isabel? What are you doing here…isn’t there some sort of ‘no contact’ rule being enforced?

Isabel: Look, I’m not my brother…and frankly I don’t know what to think about his behavior lately. I just thought that…(looking away from Maria)…you might need some help here. (She looks back over at Maria’s surprised face) And besides, I still have these (she pulls out a pair of antennae from behind her back).

Maria (slightly surprised): You’re here to help?

Isabel: It’s a limited offer…good for possibly the next five seconds.

Maria: I’ll take it – let me get you a uniform.

Isabel (taking off her long coat): Yea, I still had that too.

Maria (pausing and touched): Thank you.

Isabel: You better save that – there’s a few guys out there who deserve to be wearing their food.

Maria: Well then, let’s go give it to them. (She grabs Isabel’s arm and they walk through the doors to the front.)

-------Fast forward about an hour or so. Music: Sara Hickman – Bowl Full of Stars ---------

Guy at table (to Isabel): I ordered onion rings not fries.

Isabel (looking down at the plate): Do you have a problem with fries?

Guy (taken aback by Isabel): No…I…uh…just didn’t want them tonight.

Isabel: Did you see the sign in the window…‘voted best burger and fries in Roswell’.

Guy: I just really wanted onion rings.

Isabel (letting out a frustrated sigh): Fine. (She grabs the plate away a little forcefully and walks to the order window…Maria watching the exchange walks past the guy’s table)

Maria (to the guy): She’s new…(She walks over to Isabel) Are you like trying for the smallest tips award or something?

Isabel: No…people are just so damn picky…fries, onion rings…the body doesn’t distinguish which fatty fried foods clog its arteries.

Maria (looking at her with a raised eyebrow): If I remember correctly…you eat here too.

Isabel (grabbing the plate from the counter): Yes, but I look like this…and he looks like that. (Giving Maria a classic ‘look’ and then walking over to the table. Maria shakes her head at Isabel and then notices Kyle walking toward her.)

Maria: Hey Kyle.

Kyle (clearly upset): How is she?

Maria (softening her tone and face): I don’t really know Kyle. The bullet didn’t do much damage but she’s still in a coma.

Kyle: Oh.

Maria: You can see her you know…I’m sure she’d like someone other than me and Alex harassing her to wake up.

Kyle (looking a little surprised): What about Max?

Maria: It’s a seriously twisted version of a ‘hit and run’…(Kyle just looks at her blankly)…you know, she gets hit and…uh…he runs.

Isabel (over hearing Maria’s comment, under her breath): Ouch.

Maria: If you want to visit her you should…I’m sure she’d like that.

Kyle (still puzzled over Max not visiting Liz): Uh, thanks Maria. (He turns and walks out of the café.)

(Scene: High-tech Video Electronics Store. The Sheriff walks in and heads for the counter. Seeing the Sheriff enter the man behind the counter goes into the back room and returns holding a couple of videotapes.)

Video Man: Here you go Sheriff.

Sheriff: You did as I asked?

Video Man: Copied without viewing – just as you asked.

Sheriff (eyeing the Video Man carefully): Which one’s the original?

Video Man (shaking his right hand): This one…it has it written on the label.

Sheriff: No way to tell the difference?

Video Man: Nope…should be identical copies. If you notice any discrepancies bring it back.

Sheriff (taking the tapes): Will do.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Alex, sitting in the chair next to Liz’s bed, is reading Anne of Green Gables aloud – not quite fighting it. He’s caught up in the story and doesn’t hear the door open as Kyle sticks his head into the room.)

Kyle: Whitman.

Alex (stops reading and whips his head to the door): Kyle. (He looks down at the book and then quickly throws it behind his back into the chair) What are you doing here?

Kyle (looking at Liz): How is she?

Alex (looks from Liz to Kyle): The doctor says that her wound is healing but they don’t understand why she’s still in the coma.

Kyle: Is she gonna be okay?

Alex (looking sympathetically at Kyle): I think so…she just needs to wake up.

Kyle (looking from Liz to Alex): Where’s Evans? (Alex shoots a concerned look at Liz and then gets out of the chair and walks to Kyle – who’s now just inside the door) Maria said he hasn’t been to visit her.

Alex (in a slightly hushed voice): I think it’s an overactive guilty conscience.

Kyle (in disbelief): So he really hasn’t visited?

Alex (letting out a sigh): Yea.

Kyle (staring at Liz and under his breath): Son of a bitch.

Alex (watching Kyle’s intent gaze on Liz): Hey look…I’m starting to get hungry here do you want to sit with her while I get some food?

Kyle: Where are her parents?

Alex: Church.

Kyle (looks at Alex and then back at Liz, a little reluctantly): Sure…I guess.

Alex (grabbing money from his coat that’s hanging up): You can read to her if you want.

Kyle: What?

Alex (nodding to the pile of books on the table next to the bed): Her favorites…(he smiles at Kyle as he leaves the room) should be something there you’ve read.

(Kyle watches Alex leave and then returns his gaze to Liz. He hesitantly walks over to the chair and sits down. Feeling something he reaches behind his back and pulls out the copy of Anne of Green Gables. He looks at the book and then back at the door and shakes his head.)

Kyle: Whitman, we really need to get you some guy friends. (He looks back at Liz holding the book in his hand) I was never very good at this stuff was I? Not that I didn’t sit through enough of these movies with you…but I…I just wasn’t able to (he looks away from her)…share them with you. (He sets the book down on the table and starts perusing the stack of books) The Giving Tree, that’s a good one…my mom used to read that to me. (He finds one and pulls it out holding it in his hand) The Princess Bride…we saw that movie together…do you remember (he looks up at Liz)…I gave you this book…(shaking his head) I don’t even know why I did…I’d never done anything like that before. But that’s how you were…you know…making me do things or say things that I’d never done before. Maybe if I’d…(he pauses) who am I kidding…you never looked at me the way you do Evans…you want me to kick his ass for not being here…I’d do it. (He flips through the pages of the book looking for one in particular, he finds it and the page is rabbit eared.) Here you liked this part…

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment, later that evening. Max is sitting on the couch still wearing his work uniform, looking miserable. Michael sitting in a chair doesn’t look much better. Isabel, still wearing the Crashdown uniform, comes through the front door.)

Michael (sarcastically): That’s a nice look for you. (Max looks up surprised at Isabel’s outfit.)

Isabel (looking classically ‘Isabel’): I’ve just spent four hours cleaning up other peoples disgusting messes…do you really think I’m in the mood for your shit? (Michael and Max both tense up realizing that they’re in for something.) And besides one of us needed to show a little compassion…you two haven’t been the best ambassadors for our people lately.

Michael (standing up really not in the mood for this): Isabel…

Isabel (cutting him off abruptly and very pissy): Shut up Michael…and sit down. (He complies reluctantly.)

Max: Isabel…

Isabel (whipping around to look at Max): Save it! Who made you the leader of us? And who made you the leader of them too? We need to decide what we’re doing…and we need to decide it together. I’m sorry Max that I’ve made you feel like you always have to be in charge – that you’re responsible for taking care of me. It stops now. (Looking over at Michael) And that goes for you too. Running around doing stupid careless things makes him think he’s gotta run after you and fix them. We’ve created that (pointing at Max) and it stops right here…right now.

Max (not sure what to think): I…

Isabel (cutting him off before he can think): Do I look like I’m done?

Michael (defensive): And who made you leader?

Isabel (raising her eyebrow at Michael): Process of elimination Michael…you two have seriously diminished mental capacity.

Max (finding his tongue again): We have to think about them.

Isabel: HELLO, what the hell do you think I’m doing! You two are the ones who aren’t thinking…

Michael/Max (at the same time): What!

Isabel (looking at Max intently): The girl you’ve been in love with for…ever…has been shot, is sitting in the hospital in a COMA and you haven’t been to visit her! (Clenching her fists and looking like she wants to scream) Do have any idea how…(searching for a word) unbelievably…repulsive your behavior is…

Max (painfully): Isabel…

Isabel: No Max…do you hear me…she’s in a coma with a gunshot wound to her stomach…

Max (on the edge): Because of me!

Isabel (shaking her head in frustration): She’s alive in the first place because of you…do you remember how this whole thing got started? Do you wish you’d have run away from her then?

Max (looks at Isabel furious at the question): Don’t even…

Isabel: Don’t even what Max? Can you replay that moment in your mind and instead of running up to Liz…instead can you turn and run away from her? If you couldn’t do it then why the hell are you doing it now?

(Max collapses his head into his hands and Michael saves him)

Michael: Because now they’re shooting at her on purpose…because of us.

Isabel: No Michael…because of them. (Both Michael and Max look up at her angrily) The last time I checked ‘mind control’ wasn’t one of our powers. Everything they’ve done…they’ve done of their own free will. If they wanted to run…they could have, a long time ago…instead you two are running. And Alex is right – it’s too late. (Michael and Max look away from her and she looks between them.) You know what I think…this is the easiest out for you. (Looking at Max) Liz is a part of you and you’re scared shitless at the thought of losing her…so what better way to not have to think about it, to not have to deal with even the thought of that then to run away from her now. (Looking at Michael) And you…just follow the leader. It’s the perfect out…and you even get to sound noble when you say it’s for their safety…that it’s because you love them so much. (Looking back at Max) You’re lucky Liz’s in a coma and can’t kick your ass for being so selfish…(quickly turning to face Michael) and I’m just waiting for the fireworks to fly from Maria. You two are unbelievable. This is not about you…not about what you want. This is about what they want. And right now…(looking at Max)…Liz wants you sitting in that damn chair beside her bed and Maria…(turning to face Michael)…wants you to support her through this.

Michael (quietly): They have Alex.

Isabel (at the end of her rope): Do you hear yourself? Do you intentionally say incredibly stupid things or do they accidentally find their way out of your mouth Michael? I’m done with you two. We stick together because we have to…they stick with us because they want to…and it’s their choice if they don’t want to anymore – not yours…neither of yours. (She let’s out an exasperated sigh, spins on her heels, and slams the door on her way out. Michael and Max look briefly at each other and then Max gets up and leaves the apartment.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway, sometime later. Maria exits the elevator wearing her uniform and looking beat. She walks down the hallway and enters a room. She gives Nancy a hug and hands Jeff some papers from the café. She gives Liz a kiss on the forehead and then leaves the room heading back to the elevator. When passing the waiting room she looks in the windows and stops walking. Letting out a deep breath she pushes the doors open and enters. Max sitting with his head in his hands looks up when the doors open. He quickly looks away from Maria.)

Max: Maria I really don’t want…

Maria (coming farther into the room and sitting down across from Max): I don’t really care about what you want do I Max? I’m not here for you…I’m here for her…like you should be.

Max (letting out a sigh): You don’t understand.

Maria: No, I don’t think you understand. (Max just looks over at her) You wanna take a step back…then you take a step back Max. But you think about this…and I mean think about it. Because if you do this…that’s it buddy…the end. I don’t want to see your face at the Crashdown…I don’t want to see you talk to Liz – ever…and don’t even think about looking at her like you have any right to care about her. Do you get me? Can you do that Max? Can you walk away?

Max (resting his head in his hands again): I don’t know…I need to do what’s best for her.

Maria (shaking her head): No, you need to do what’s best for you and let Liz worry about what’s best for her. Do you think she’s stupid? (Max quickly looks up at her) She knew what she was getting into…she’s had a lot of chances to back out of this. For a while there…I thought she was stupid – I mean pining away for a guy who’s been proven to break your heart…but she said you were worth it. Are you? Prove me wrong here Max.

Max: I can’t let her get hurt anymore.

Maria: Look…I know you love her…and I know you think by doing this you’re protecting her…but you forget...she doesn’t need your protection – she just needs you…but as much as she needs you…you need her more. (Getting up from the chair and walking over to the door) Think about it Max…this is your last chance – you don’t get any more. (She walks through the doors and Max returns his head to his hands.)

(Scene: Returns to Liz and River Dog sitting across the fire.)

Liz (looking at the fire): He thinks this is helping…that he’s protecting me…but it’s only hurting.

River Dog (said as a statement not a question): So you’re here to make him hurt.

Liz: I want him to see.

River Dog: See?

Liz: That this isn’t a burden, an obligation for me…that he isn’t those things…and that I shouldn’t be those things to him. He can’t see that…he sees only this obligation to protect me and…and I don’t want it…I don’t need it.

River Dog (smiling at her, knowing what she’s not saying): So you came here to show him. (She doesn’t look at him) No…you came here to make him chose. (She slowly raises her eyes to River Dog’s smiling ones)

Liz: He needs time. (River Dog smiles and nods at her impressed by her thinking) And I need to know what I’m going back to.

River Dog: Does it matter?

Liz: Yes…and no.

River Dog: You’ll leave here with everything you came with.

Liz (softly): Almost everything…I think…I think I’d leave my love…

River Dog: Is that your choice?

Liz (almost panicky): Do I have to choose now? (River Dog smiles at her and then slowly vanishes from the dream…music starts: Plumb – Stranded. She becomes officially panicky, stands up and looks around her. As soon as she steps out of the circle of rocks they – along with the fire – disappear and she’s left in the dark with only the bright silvery light from the symbols. She looks around breathing heavily. All of a sudden she stops and turning around quickly, she sees him standing a few yards away from her. They stare at each other for what seems like hours. Liz’s closes her eyes and takes in several deep breaths. She hesitantly re-opens them and he’s still standing in the dream…in a whisper of raw emotion) Max.

posted on 23-Sep-2001 5:34:37 PM by not applicable
Title: “…” (Choices trilogy, Part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: The wisdom of Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki is borrowed in this fic briefly by Alex, with only the greatest respect for the man and his words. And for anyone interested/curious I will gladly explain Nasedo and his motivations in my little world…just ask and I promise to share.

(Scene: The Dream. Liz is standing in darkness illuminated only by the glowing silvery light from the cave symbols. She’s staring at Max – who’s just entered the dream five or so yards away from her. She takes a step toward him but stops and looks away.)

Liz (with disgust): You’re not Max. (Nasedo Max smiles as he watches her turn away from him with disappointment. After a moment he morphs into the man she saw in the Crashdown and takes a step toward her.)

Nasedo: Fooled once but not twice. (She looks back at him with hate in her eyes and he holds her gaze for a moment before turning his attention to the symbols surrounding them.) Poor Max, his little Liz…almost dies…again…

Liz (coldly): Are you here to finish the job?

Nasedo (looking at Liz): You think I did this to you?

Liz (holding his gaze with all the strength she has left): Did you?

Nasedo (casually): Partially. (He looks away from her and for a second her face betrays her and the fear she’s feeling shows) You’re a lucky lady Miss Parker…(he starts to walk around looking at the symbols) shot by a man in a moving vehicle and not a vital organ hit…tell me the odds. (A hint of confusion crosses Liz’s face as she tries to process what he’s implying) What? (He turns to her) Need a calculator?

Liz (hesitantly): You saved me?

Nasedo: And said with so much feeling of appreciation.

Liz (trying desperately hard to remain calm and in control): I thought you would’ve wanted me dead?

Nasedo (matter-of factly, but with a hint of something else): I did.

Liz (confused): What do you mean, did? What changed? (He glances at her briefly but then returns to the symbols – avoiding her question.)

(Scene: Sheriff Valenti’s Office, early morning. Valenti is sitting at his desk – which is covered with photos taken from the crime scene of Agent Cooper’s car. A corner of the ballistics report is visible underneath some of the pictures. Valenti is flipping through a rolodex of business cards. He stops on Agent Stevens’ card, picking up his phone he dials the number on the card.)

Valenti: Agent Stevens…Sheriff Valenti.

(Scene cuts to Agent Stevens sitting in his office)

Stevens: Sheriff. I hear you’ve got your hands full down there.

Valenti: Keepin’ busy for a small town.

Stevens: Seems one resident keeps you busy…poor girl…the victim of two random acts of violence in less than a year.

Valenti: Random acts? Come on now Agent Stevens…we both know this wasn’t an accident.

Stevens (hesitantly): I don’t know what you think you know Sheriff…

Valenti (cutting him off): When’s the last time you heard from Agent Cooper?

Stevens (after a pause, not sure where the Sheriff is going with this – but definitely not liking it): My agents aren’t any concern of yours Sheriff.

Valenti: Well now, then it seems we’ve got a problem. I’ve got a girl in the hospital and a ballistics report that says your Agent’s gun put her there.

Stevens (very defensively): You’re on shaky ground Sheriff…making accusations…

Valenti (interrupting him again): Accusations…Agent Stevens I’ve got enough evidence here to bury you in a scandal that’ll reach Washington and the front page of every paper in the country.

Stevens (threateningly): Pretty bold words Sheriff…I’ve got a scandal of my own, maybe you know something about it…Sheriff loses job and mind over the crazy search for e.t. – and I don’t need to fabricate any evidence.

Valenti: You wanna talk evidence Agent…I’ve got a bullet retrieved from a girl lucky to be alive, the gun it was fired from with the only set of fingerprints on it belonging to a Federal Agent Dale Cooper. And your Agent Cooper…well, somebody sure didn’t like what he did to Miss Parker because he’s lying in the morgue with his fellow Federal Agent Kevin Olsen…cause of death a broken neck and a bad case of torture….

Stevens (sitting up in his chair): Did I hear you correctly Sheriff?

Valenti: Thought that might get your attention.

Stevens (with a sense of urgency): Do you know what you’re dealing with Sheriff? If you’ve got two downed Federal Agents then this conversation is over and so is your investigation…it’s in our hands now and I’ll have someone there in a matter of minutes.

Valenti: You can take the investigation away from me but it won’t change the evidence I’ve got.

Stevens: Are you threatening me Sheriff?

Valenti (toying with him): Now why would you think a thing like that?

Stevens: You’re not talking to some small town deputy Sheriff. I can ruin you like your father.

Valenti: Now that sounds like a threat. Come and get me Agent Stevens…I’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain when I turn this videotape of the shooting over to the local news. (The phone clicks and Sheriff Valenti pulls the receiver away from his ear smiles at it and then hangs it up.)

(Scene: Various ones from School. Before school…Maria and Alex walk into the main hallway – share a lingering hug and then walk in separate directions. Maria gets to her locker and is accosted by girls wanting to know about Liz. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Michael watching her and ignoring the girls she turns her head to stare at him with all the disgust she has in her. Michael quickly walks away. First class…Max is the last one to walk in. As soon as he enters everyone looks at him, and the whispering begins. He hangs his head and slowly walks over to his seat. Second class…Maria’s already seated at her desk, waiting for Michael to come to class. He enters and avoids her eyes…with squinting eyes she watches him take his seat. Hallway after class…Michael can’t seem to escape Maria…he turns a corner only to look up at her. He looks away from her and walks in another direction – but can definitely feel her gaze following him. Third class…Michael hides in the bathroom. Fourth class…Max walks into Biology and hesitantly sits down looking at Liz’s empty seat. Everyone is watching him – including Michael from the window. Max tries not to be affected by the absence of Liz…but he’s not very good at hiding the pain in his eyes and the sadness that creeps over his face. Michael shakes his head and takes off for the parking lot.)
Music: Catherine Wheel – Pain

(Scene: Bank. Sheriff Valenti enters the bank carrying a briefcase/bag – nothing fancy and definitely not leather…you know what I’m talking about…something you’d get at REI or L.L. Bean. Anyway…he enters with the bag and heads for the counter. We’ll call the bank teller Marcy.)

Marcy: Sheriff…how can I help you today?

Sheriff: Need to visit a safety deposit box.

Marcy: Right this way. (They walk toward the left corner of the bank – separated by the counter. Marcy reaches a swinging half door and steps through it.) You’ve been awfully busy lately haven’t you Sheriff…with the shooting on Friday...Poor girl…

Sheriff: Just trying to find who’s responsible. (They continue to walk in the same direction, heading for an oversized door.)

Marcy: It’s just a shame…she’s so young…(they reach the door and Marcy unlocks it with a key and opens it)…The Parker girl, right? (The Sheriff nods and enters the room followed by Marcy. Upon entering, he pulls out his key and hands it to her.) Just a shame… (She finds the box and then puts both her key and the Sheriff’s into the appropriate holes, turns them and then removes the box from its slot.)…It’s not even safe for kids to go to the movies anymore…what is the world coming to? (She hands the box to the Sheriff. He nods in agreement and then walks over to the table, setting the box and the bag he’s been carrying down.) You just let me know when you’re done Sheriff.

Sheriff: Thank you Marcy.

(She nods and then leaves the room. Valenti opens the bag and pulls out a folder. He flips through it, making sure that it has copies of all the photos taken from Agent Cooper’s crime scene, the negatives of the pictures, and copies of the ballistics and forensics reports. Satisfied he sets the folder down on the table and pulls out a videotape from the bag. He sets the tape on top of the folder – it has ‘original’ written on the label. He slowly opens the lid to the safety deposit box. The only item in the box is hidden inside a black bag. He gently pulls it out of the box and holds it for a moment – looking intently at it and then finally setting it down gently on the table. He then places the folder in the box followed by the tape and the black bag. He closes the lid to the box and carries it back to its slot in the wall. He pushes it in and lets his hand linger on the front of it once it’s securely in place. He looks at the box like it holds his life and then turns and exits the room.)

(Scene: The Dream. Liz is watching Nasedo look and ‘touch’ the symbols around them. She’s not really sure what to make of Nasedo. Figuring she’s got nothing left to lose she might as well push his buttons and try and get something out of him.)

Liz: Going soft?

Nasedo (quickly looking over at her): What one gives one can easily take away.

Liz (shaking her head): You would’ve already. (They stare at each other for a few moments and then Nasedo smiles that slightly sinister smile of his and Liz’s confidence wavers.)

Nasedo: Are you this feisty with Max…I’d expect it from your friend…Maria…(he shakes his head)…but you Liz…

Liz: You don’t know me.

Nasedo (smiling and looking at her intently): Don’t I? I know everything about you Liz. I can feel your feelings…see your dreams. Every thought that crosses your mind – I hear. You see, Liz, it’s you…you who doesn’t know me.

Liz (taking in a slow deep breath and with whatever strength she’s got left, shakily): I know more about you than Max, Isabel, and Michael…why? Why me?

Nasedo: “It was you”…isn’t that the phrase? (Liz sucks in her breath at the familiar words) Young Max seems to think that you…(he looks her up and down – giving her a once over)…are worth death…which is what awaits him should the right people find out ‘what’ he is…(shaking his head and under his breath)…stupid romantic fool. (He looks back at Liz, scrutinizingly)…But you’re not very good with secrets are you Liz…what started out as one quickly turned to three. (She looks away from him) So I had to see for myself what was so special about Liz Parker…that would make Max so foolishly risk everything for. (He pauses and returns to admiring the cave symbols) You know it can’t lead to anything?

Liz (not looking at him): I don’t know anything except how I feel.

Nasedo (smiles and looks at her out of the corner of his eye): And how would you feel if he left you here in this hospital bed. Oh wait…he has…what’s it been three days and still not a visit. What does that say about his feelings for you?

Liz (defiantly): More love than you will ever know. What do you want from me?

Nasedo (smiling to himself): What do I want? There’s plenty of time for that…I’m here for you Liz…what do you want?

Liz (doubtful): Me?

Nasedo (looking around at the symbols): Don’t you want to know what they mean? Or maybe not…maybe you’re not ready for what they mean. (Liz just looks at him. He looks over at her and smirks) To know or not to know…tough choice isn’t it?

(Scene: School Quad, lunchtime. Max is sitting alone at a table. He’s so lost in his thoughts and staring at his uneaten food that he doesn’t notice Kyle sit down opposite him. Kyle watches Max for a few moments.)

Kyle: You know…(Max jerks his head up at the sound of Kyle’s voice)…the thing about Liz was that I could talk to her…about anything (he looks away)…and she wouldn’t laugh. (Max nods slightly, knowingly) She was different…she is different. (He looks back at Max seriously) Look Evans…I don’t know what’s goin’ on between you and Liz…but it’s something to her…and if you’re just fuckin’ around with her – it’s time to move on…‘cause we both know she doesn’t deserve it. (They stare at each other for a few moments) And we were making such progress…(He gets up from the table not breaking his gaze with Max)…don’t give me any more reasons to wanna kick your ass. (He turns and leaves. Max watches him walk across the quad, finally releasing the breath he was holding. He returns to staring at his lunch and doesn’t look up when moments later he hears someone sit down across from him.)

Max (not looking up): What am I doing here?

Alex: My guess…(Max looks up surprised) some sort of intergalactic plan to take over Earth – under the guise of getting a public education.

Max (letting out a sigh): I thought you were Michael.

Alex: He left. (Max looks at him confused) I think the death-rays from Maria were starting to dent his force field. I saw him head off campus around 4th period.

Max (under his breath): I think he’s got the right idea.

Alex (watching Max closely): What’d Valenti want?

Max: What everyone wants…(he shakes his head and looks at Alex expectantly)…your turn?

Alex: Who me? Not my thing…besides when we divvied up the friendship Maria got all the threatening and ass kicking duties. I mean, come on, she’s got a knack for that just can’t be…learned.

Max (relaxes a bit with a small smile and looks away): I don’t know what to do.

Alex: Look Max. I can’t tell you what you should do – no one can. But I can tell you what I know. (Max looks over at him) You’re a long way from home…and you can use all the friends you have – ‘cause I’m thinking, you’re not gonna get too many more. Someone once said, “life is like getting on a boat that is going to set sail and sink.” (He pauses) The question is…do you want to sink with her…or without her? “You always have just enough problems” Max…you don’t need to make more for yourself. (Alex pauses and then looks down at his sack lunch) Ah…peanut butter and banana…is it a sandwich or dessert in disguise…(Max doesn’t hear Alex as he retreats into his thoughts – reflecting on what he said.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Bed. Nancy is sitting in the chair next to her reading from the book Anne of Avonlea. Amy DeLuca lightly taps on the room’s open door and Nancy looks up from her daughter.)

Amy (as she enters the room carrying a paper bag): How’s she doing?

Nancy (looking back at her daughter, softly shaking her head): I don’t really know. The doctor says that the wound is healing fine…but they can’t explain the coma. If she was awake she might even be able to go home on Friday. (She pauses and both women look loving down on Liz) Alex calls her Sleeping Beauty.

Amy (smiling): Well that she is.

Nancy (looking across the bed to Amy): How’s Maria?

Amy: It comes and goes…I think keeping busy at the Crashdown helps her.

Nancy: I don’t know what we’d do without her.

Amy (looking down at Liz and gently touching her arm): I can say the same thing. You know I’ve always thought of Liz as a…I don’t know…blessing. They became friends right before Maria’s dad left and as much as I tried to be there for her…I wasn’t…(She trails off)

Nancy (looking at Amy): It’s a hard thing for anyone to handle…you are a wonderful mother Amy. Maria’s a beautiful girl.

Amy (looking at Nancy affectionately): I’ve been lucky (looking back at Liz) and I’ve had a lot of help.

Nancy: They’ve always been so close…like sisters.

Amy (letting out a chuckle): Don’t forget Alex.

Nancy (smiling): The three musketeers…(shaking her head as the memories flood through her mind) they’ve always been inseparable. I used to wonder if he might decide friendship wasn’t enough one day…(Nancy and Amy smile at one another.)

Amy: I used to hope it would be for my Maria…but I’m afraid she’s got too much of me in her – she appears to go for the dangerous mysterious type. If I can just get her to graduation…she’s already thinking about sleepovers with boys – other than Alex – I even caught her.

Nancy (smiles at remembering catching Max and Liz): It must be in the water at the Crashdown.

Amy (shocked): Liz?

Nancy (nodding): Max Evans…(she looks down at her daughter) They grow up so fast don’t they? One minute you’re changing your baby’s diapers and then the next…your baby’s not a baby anymore.

Amy (shaking her head): Max Evans, well who would’ve…It’s always the shy ones isn’t it?

Nancy: Or the rebel loners with unruly hair, among other things.

Amy (laughs): Michael Guerin…what’s a mother to do?

Nancy (looking down at Liz): Trust their better judgment…(gently stroking Liz’s arm) and hope they take good care of our baby girls. (Amy lets out a sigh and then remembering the bag she opens it up and pulls out a couple of take-out boxes and two soda cans. She hands Nancy the drink and then the lunch and the two ladies begin eating.)

(Scene: Roswell Public Library. Alex is sitting at a microfiche machine. He’s constantly checking from the screen of the machine to his watch. Looking a little frustrated he keeps scanning through the microfiche film, looking for something in particular. He looks at his watch again – 4:30 – he lets out a sigh and shakes his head. He rewinds the film and puts it way. Grabbing the stack of papers from the desk he quickly exits the library.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. He’s lying on his couch listening to random ‘metal’ music really loudly. Max goes to ring the doorbell but hearing the music he lowers his hand to the knob and just opens the door. Michael doesn’t hear him enter or even realize he’s there until the music is abruptly cut off.)

Michael (opening his eyes and slightly irritated): I was listening to that.

Max: The whole neighborhood was listening to that. (Michael sits up on the couch and Max falls down into the chair letting out a sigh. They sit in silence for a while. Max staring at nothing and Michael closely watching Max.)

Michael (finally speaking): You can’t Max. (Max looks over at him) You can’t.

Max: What if she’s not waking up because of me…what if Maria’s right?

Michael (frustrated): Maxwell…

Max: She’s not even supposed to be in a coma Michael…

Michael: She’s not even supposed to be in the hospital Maxwell. (Max looks over to him and lets out another sigh as he looks away. Michael looks at Max scrutinizingly) You want to don’t you?

Max (seriously irritated with the question): I’ve never not wanted to Michael – what the hell kind of question is that?

Michael: Max…

Max: Everyone looks at me like I’m a…(for lack of a better word) ‘alien’…(disgusted with himself) I mean, what kind of…person…watches his…girlfriend get shot and then…leave her.

Michael (coldly): Hate to break it to you but you are an alien Maxwell…and the kind of guy who gets his ‘girlfriend’ shot.

Max (shakes his head at Michael): How do you do it?

Michael (confused): What?

Max (reproachful): This. Tell yourself that you don’t care – that you never cared. How do you close your eyes and not see her…feel her. Detach yourself so completely…so (it rolls off his tongue before he can stop it) effortlessly.

Michael (defiantly and angrily getting off the couch): I do what I have to Maxwell. Go to your little Liz, you know you will eventually…but when something worse than this happens – don’t look at me…cause all I’ll say is…I told you so. (He turns the corner and enters the bathroom, slamming the door. He places his hands on the sink and leans over it – head down. The sound of the front door slamming shut causes him to flinch. He lets out a deep breath and then looks at himself in the mirror and then rubs his hand over his eyes – pressing them shut to keep the tears from flowing out. After a moment he leaves the bathroom and heads toward the radio. Before he can turn the music back on the phone rings. He stares at it and on the third ring decides to pick it up.) What?

(Scene: Outside the Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Valenti pulls up in his truck and notices the white sedan with government plates parked out front. He lets out a deep breath and exits the car. He takes off his sunglasses as he enters the front door – immediately making eye contact with a gentleman standing off to the side – the gentleman is the same man who was following Liz, Max, Michael and Maria the night of the shooting.)

Valenti (under his breath): Well, well. (Deputy Blackwood approaches him)

Deputy (quietly): He’s been here since eight this morning Sheriff.

Valenti: Well that’s quite a wait isn’t it. (He walks toward the gentleman standing off to the side) Sheriff Valenti and you would be?

Gentleman: Federal Agent Banks Sheriff…(sounding irritated) must have been some day you’ve been having.

Valenti: Well, as you know, we keep pretty busy for a small town. (He looks around the station) Where’s Agent Stevens?

Agent Banks: On his way. (He looks at his watch) Should be arriving any minute. I’d like to see the case files.

Valenti: Right this way Agent…Banks you said…right this way. (He leads the Agent to a random room and then leaves, returning with a pile of folders. He tosses them on the table.) Now you let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

(He gives the Agent a smile and then closes the door. He walks over to the counter where Deputy Blackwood is doing paperwork. Walking behind the counter he begins a hushed conversation with the Deputy. The Deputy looks at Valenti a little wary but the seriousness on Valenti’s face quells his doubts. He nods and then leaves. Valenti sits down in a chair behind the counter, putting his feet on the desk and his hands behind his head. He stares at the clock. After a few minutes tick by the front door opens and Agent Stevens walks to the counter – taking off his sunglasses to look at the Sheriff.)

Stevens: I hear you’ve had a busy day Sheriff…making my Agent wait (he looks at the clock) nine hours.

Valenti: It just never seems to end Agent Stevens…you ever have one of those days? (Deputy Blackwood returns to the counter area and proceeds to continue with his paperwork.)

Stevens: I’d like to see Agent Banks, and have a word with you (looking at the Deputy)…in private. (Valenti takes his feet off the desk in front of him and stands up.)

Valenti: Right this way Agent Stevens. (They walk to the room where Agent Banks is at. Agent Stevens enters and Valenti remains in the hallway.) I’ll be in my office if you need me…you remember where that is Agent Stevens? (He smiles and then leaves. Agent Stevens watches him with an unreadable look and then shuts the door. In his office Valenti is sitting with his back to the door, looking out the window with his hands behind his head. After a few moments the door opens and Agent Stevens enters…the Sheriff just continues to stare out the window.) You gonna tell me what an FBI Agent is doing shooting a sixteen year old girl or am I gonna have to read about it in the trial transcripts.

Stevens: You’re a desperate man aren’t you Sheriff?

Valenti: Oh, not as desperate as you are I imagine.

Stevens: What do you want?

Valenti (turning the chair to look at Stevens): The truth.

Stevens: Do you want the truth Sheriff or a validation of the ‘truth’ you’ve created in your head.

Valenti: I was never very good at making things up Agent Stevens…creative writing…I just never was very good at. You can lie to the people of Roswell all you want, you can look in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Parker and feed them some bullshit story about how their daughter was shot. But don’t think you can come in my office and tell me the same bullshit story. I’ve seen the evidence. I have the shooting on tape with your Agent on it.

Stevens: Had the tape Sheriff. That’s our property now. And do you think people will believe you with your family history.

Valenti (smiles): Do you know where you are Agent? This is the land of conspiracy and governmental cover-ups…and you know what makes this so beautiful. (Leaning forward in his chair) We’re not talking about aliens here…we’re talking about a sixteen year old, straight A high school student, and daughter of a well known Roswell family. I don’t think it’ll take much to get people riled up…do you?

Stevens: You know what I think Sheriff?

Valenti: No but I’m just dying to hear it.

Stevens: I think this Parker girl did a number on you Sheriff. First, you think she’s shot and magically healed. Now, you think she’s been shot by the FBI.

Valenti: You know what I think Agent? (He pulls out a picture taken off of the video of Max and Liz standing out front of the movie theater and pushes it across his desk to Agent Stevens) I think this shooting has nothing to do with Liz Parker and everything to do with Max Evans. (Agent Stevens picks up the picture, looks at it and then over to the Sheriff.)

Stevens: I think this conversation is over Sheriff. The FBI thanks you for your hard work on the case, and it reminds you that your part of this investigation is over. Should any…complications arise that disrupt our investigation we’ll take whatever means are necessary to handle them swiftly and quietly. (He stares down at Sheriff Valenti and then exits the office and returns to the room where Agent Banks is.)

Valenti (to himself): Well now…we’ll just see about that. (He gets up from his chair and walks out to the front counter. While he’s standing there Deputy Blackwood comes through the front door and nods to the Sheriff. The Sheriff smiles and under his breath) We will see.

(Scene: Crashdown not very busy. Maria and Isabel are working, well attempting to. Maria is wiping down the same spot on the counter repetitively and Isabel is seriously struggling to make the milkshake machine work. Her frustration explodes as the machine has a ‘power’ induced surge causing milk and ice cream to go everywhere and the machine to burst into ‘smallish’ flames. She completely freaks and tries to throw what’s left from the milkshake container over the fire to put it out. Maria, seriously freaking out quickly turns to stands next to her blocking the view.)

Maria (whispering in pure panic): DO SOMETHING! (Isabel looks over to her frazzled) You know (she waves her hands in front of her frantically and looks at Isabel with wide eyes) something. (Isabel quickly glances past Maria to notice if the two customers are watching and then waves her hand over the machine – putting out the fire. They both stare at the machine for a few moments. Isabel reaches out to touch it and Maria grabs her hand.) I don’t think so. (Isabel attempts to give Maria one of her ‘looks’ but Maria just breaks down into hysterical laughter. Isabel looks at Maria then herself – covered in ice cream and starts laughing too – seriously side wrenching laughter. After a few moment there’s a pause and Maria looks over to Isabel, pointing to her hair and through tears) What flavor is that?

Isabel (choking on laughter): I can’t remember. (They breakdown again. The two customers in the café look at the girls and then at each other from across the restaurant.)

Maria (now leaning over the counter to try and stop the pain in her side): Wait ‘til I tell Liz…(she stops and her laughing sobs become pained ones, choking on her tears)…and I was doing so good...(Hearing the change in Maria’s voice and realizing that she isn’t laughing anymore, Isabel stops laughing and raises her hand to her mouth. She looks at Maria, now sobbing, not really sure what to do for her. She notices the customers watching Maria curiously and gently puts her arm around her and walks her through the backroom door and sets her on the couch. Maria releases what’s been building up all day and Isabel just watches a little overwhelmed by the intensity of Maria’s feelings for Liz. After a while Maria starts to regain her composer. She looks over to Isabel) Isn’t there something you can do?

Isabel (looking at Maria): I’ve tried.

Maria (shaking her head and staring out in front of her): I’m gonna kill him.

Isabel (looking away from Maria): He’s killing himself.

Maria (after a pause, looking over at Isabel and inspecting her ‘dirty’ appearance): She wouldn’t have believed me anyway.

Isabel: What? (Maria points to her outfit of ice cream. Isabel waves her hand over herself removing the mess) Our little secret.

Maria: To be used and reused as a form of blackmail. (Isabel shoots her a glare and before she can say anything Alex comes through the back door)

Alex: Ah ladies, you have customers…(seeing Maria’s tear stained face) Are you okay…what happened?

Maria: I’m fine Alex…wait…what are you doing here, you’re supposed to be with Liz.

Alex: I was relieved…are you sure you’re okay?

Maria: Alex, technically am I ever really okay?

Alex (realizing she’s fine he lets out a smile): Why does the café smell like smoke? (Maria and Isabel share a glance and then get off of the couch failing to suppress their laughter as they pass a confused Alex on their way through the door.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. Max exits the elevator and slowly walks down the familiar hallway. He gets to the window and stops in his tracks. He steps closer to the window and after a moment lowers his head. He looks up again and stares at Kyle sitting in the chair next to Liz’s bed reading to her. He closes his eyes and lets out a painful sigh as he leans forward into the wall.)

(Scene: Back to the Crashdown, still pretty quite. The milkshake machine has now been ‘fixed’ and Maria, Isabel and Alex are sitting at the back booth. Maria and Isabel sit facing the front door for easy viewing of the few customers that are in the café.)
Music: Golden Smog – To Call My Own

Isabel: What’s this about Alex?

Alex (going through his backpack and pulling out some papers): Not yet…

Isabel (slightly irritated): Not yet?

Alex (now busy organizing the papers): Waiting for someone. (The bells on the front door jingle and Maria looks over toward the door to see who’s entered.)

Maria (under her breath): Or something. (She looks back over to Alex) What’s he doing here?

Alex (looking over his shoulder to see Michael approaching the table): I asked him to come.

Maria (choking on her surprise): You asked him to come? (Looking toward Michael) And he came? (Looking back at Alex) What’d you do – threaten him?

Alex (giving Maria a ‘be on your best behavior look’): Maria…(She looks at him innocently and Michael slides into the booth – not looking at Maria in anyway what so ever).

Michael (annoyed with himself that he actually came): So what…(looking at Alex) what’d you find?

Isabel/Maria (at roughly the same time): Find?

Alex (looks around the table, lets out a sigh and hesitantly begins): Okay. Liz has been researching…the fourth (leaning in and whispering)…‘one’.

Isabel (confused): Nasedo?

Alex (shaking his head): No, the fourth pod…you know – the fourth one like your age (pointing between Michael and Isabel – who look at each other and then back to Alex).

Michael (disbelief): You found them?

Alex: Not yet. But Liz was having a hard time finding anything. She looked through the Roswell Daily Record from 1984 to 1994…and couldn’t find any article mentioning another child left out there. So I went back to look for myself, and…I couldn’t even find an article about (he looks over at Michael) you.

Michael: Me?

Alex: Yea, you weren’t in the news. (Looking to Isabel) You and Max and a little blurb – I’m guessing because the Evan’s wanted to adopt you and needed to…maybe see if your parents were out there. But you (looking back to Michael) went straight from being found to the Children Youth and Families Department without a notice.

Michael (irritated): Figures…thanks for pointing that out. (He looks like he wants to leave and Alex quickly catches that’s what he’s about to do)

Alex: Well, not a notice in the Roswell newspaper. (Everybody just looks at him) You guys ‘hatched’ in the spring of ‘89…the same time as the whole cattle scandal. (They just look at him blankly) You know…cows were being killed and ranches vandalized and the whole town was taking sides and completely preoccupied with it…it was udder chaos (nobody gets his joke and he quickly moves on). Anyway, from about March to the beginning of June that’s all the newspaper really covered except for small stories here and there about the usual stuff.

Maria: So what…Michael got overlooked because of a cattle killing crisis? (Michael turns his head and glares at her and she shrugs it off.)

Alex: Here but not in Albuquerque. (He takes the top paper off the stack in front of him and tosses it in the middle of the table.)

Michael (grabbing the paper): What’s this?

Alex: A letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Tribune…about you guys.

Isabel: What?

Alex: Not directly…it’s just this guy who wants to know why kids are being dropped off in the middle of the desert and what it says about the society we’re now living in…

Maria: He could be talking about Max and Isabel…

Michael (reading from the letter): “On multiple occasions children have been found naked wandering the desert south of Corona.”

Isabel (stunned): Multiple.

Michael (looks up from the paper to Isabel. Maria grabs it from him and her and Isabel start reading it. He looks from them to Alex): Who is this guy?

Alex (handing him a couple of pieces of papers): Steve Gratreaks, he was a rancher north of Corona and on the city council.

Michael: Was?

Alex: He moved about five years ago.

Michael (sounding desperate): To where?

Alex: Well, lucky for us it wasn’t Florida. He just relocated to Santa Fe. (Michael lets out a sigh and Alex leans over and points to a highlighted section on one of the papers he had handed him. It’s a print out from an Internet search engine with the address and phone number of a Steven Gratreaks in Santa Fe, NM.)

Isabel (still stunned by the information): So what now?

Maria/Alex (looking at one another): Road trip.

(Scene: An unknown road. Agent Stevens is driving alone in his car talking on the phone very, very angrily.)

Stevens: ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME AGENT JONES! I WANT EVANS AND I WANT HIM NOW! If I don’t get something from you and Agent Banks…(seriously irritated) What do I want? Anything…his blood, his DNA, his body…something besides a hunch and a girl in the goddamn hospital! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?! The next time I hear your voice it better be telling me you’ve got something…and that something better be on my desk by next FRIDAY! And if it isn’t…

(The scene quickly cuts to Sheriff Valenti sitting in a random room with a bunch of audio equipment on the wall in front of him, apparently recording something. He’s wearing a pair of headphones. The volume is so loud that what he’s listening to fills the small room)

…You’ll be sorry you ever thought about being a Federal Agent! DO YOU HEAR ME? (The loud banging noise of the phone being thrown against the dashboard causes the Sheriff to flinch and reach up to lower the volume. Agent Stevens lets out a sigh) God damnit if I have to, I’ll get this kid myself and rip the truth from him!

(Scene: The Dream. Nasedo and Liz are staring at each other.)

Liz (suspiciously): Why tell me? Why not Max or Michael or Isabel…Why me?

Nasedo: I have to tell someone…why not you.

Liz: This doesn’t make any sense…

Nasedo (almost meanly): What? You don’t want to help Max and be a part of the scientific discovery of a lifetime Liz?

Liz (disgusted by the implication): How can you say that…how can you do this to them…why don’t you just tell them…why play these games…

Nasedo (angrily interrupting her): Games, Miss Parker. This is no game…(he slowly begins to walk toward her) You see L-I-z…you’ve altered my plans and now…well now I need to know what I’m dealing with…I need to know what Max is willing to do for his past. (He gets closer and closer to her) How far do you think he’ll go to find the key to unlock these (motioning to the symbols)? (He’s standing inches in front of her, just louder than a whisper) How far will you let him go…

(He looks into her eyes and then leans down like he’s going to kiss her but at the last second he tilts his head and whispers the rest of the sentence in her ear. At the feel of his breath on her ear and neck, Liz closes her eyes – tightly – and clenches her hands into fists at her sides. She uses all the strength she has just to breathe and remain standing. When she can feel him step away from her she slightly relaxes. But before she can fully recover she feels something lightly touch her lips…her body tenses immediately and she jerks open her eyes. She squints slightly as the dull light from the hospital room momentarily blinds her. She sucks in her breath as Max’s wide-eyes come into focus, looking down at her. Music: Sheryl Crow – I Shall Believe***

Max (ever so tenderly and softly): Hey.

Liz (overwhelmed): Max? (She closes her eyes and rolls her head to the side, away from him. He’s about to stand up but sees a tear gently creep out from under her eyelid. He leans down and kisses it away and whispers in her ear.)

Max (as soft as a kiss): I’m sorry. (He stands up and takes a step away from the hospital bed toward the door. Liz feels him moving away and she rolls her head back to face him.)

Liz (panicky): You’re leaving?

Max (smiling down at her softly): To tell your parents.

Liz (shakes her head softly, pleadingly): Not yet. (She twists her arm, lying at her side, so the palm of her hand is facing up, and curls her fingers, inviting him back to the bed. Max notices the gesture and he steps forward. He gently takes her hand in his and kisses it as he sits down on the bed. Their eyes meet and he starts to say something but she stops him with a finger, from the hand he’s still holding close to his lips, and closes her eyes. He watches her for a moment and then leans forward kissing her forehead. He rests his forehead on hers and closes his eyes. Liz gently squeezes his hand as she feels a tear softly land on her cheek.)

***and just to clarify, I used this song way before the show and I quess I can't totally complain at how they used it, at least they didn't ruin it like mazzy star's "fade into you"...I need the go-gone to wipe that visual from my brain...