Author: Say

Rating: R (at the moment)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything Roswell (or otherwise) related. If you want to share my debt, feel free to sue me.

Summary: Another post Departure fic. It may not seem like it at first, but this is a CC (all CC) fic. I don't want to give anything away, but things are going to get interesting right after Kyle and Liz are left at the pod chamber. The prologue and Part 1 are Liz point of view's but that will change.

I wrote the prologue because the Liz in this fic is a little different from that on the show and I wanted to give that some background, hence the mentioning of events in S1 and S2.

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Prologue: Change for the Worse (Liz)
pov pre-Tess's Departure

Let's set the scene.

Change.

I love change as much as I hate it.

I love change because of what it has taught me, what it has brought me. I hate change because of what it has taught me, what it has brought me.

And if that doesn't make sense, I'm not going to apologize for it. If you haven't realized yet that the world is full of contradictions, then this story is not for you. It is contradiction.

I wasn't always so cynical, so bitter. That's change, moving in endless circles so you're trapped.

No saying: 'Stop. I want to get off the ride'.

The beauty of it, the horrifying thing about it, is that you can't get off, most of the time you don't even want too, not realizing until it's too late that you're heading towards a brick wall at break-neck speed.

My life began to change when Max healed me and I fell in love. It was all too simple, all too fairytale. My body changed, became alien in ways I could feel, but didn't yet know. I got drawn, unfortunately not kicking and screaming, but willingly, into a life of half-truths, sneaking off in the middle of the night and Destiny.

Ah Destiny, if there’s one thing I hate in this whole world, it’s Destiny. It was twisted and manipulated into something so dark that it scarred us all. It wasn’t Tess’s insistence that she was Max’s past and future, it wasn't even Max and Isabel’s mother, leaving a message that confirmed that Tess was speaking the truth. Nope, it wasn’t that which shattered my heart into tiny pieces.

It was the fact that Max never tried to stop me from walking away.

So I kept walking and the bitterness and cynicism began their insidious invasion, but I was only 17 and I had to come back eventually. I had no idea how bad it was going to get. Destiny was a walk in the park.

So, perhaps I began to really change, when, I was almost ready to let my love back into my life and he turned up at my window, fourteen years older and dressed in leather. As if it couldn't get more farcical, I had to save the world.

I’ll never forget the look on Max’s face when he saw Kyle and I together. It was the same way I looked walking down that hill away from him I'm sure. That's one of the circles I was talking about. He rips out my heart, and I rip out his. I died that day, I was supposed to die the day I was shot at the Crashdown, another circle.

The ride doesn't end there. You think it can't get worse, so it does. So, maybe it was when my best friend was cold bloodily murdered that did it. Or the fact that I was left alone the night of his death, standing there as the sobs raked my body and I sunk to the ground because I just couldn’t stand anymore. I had no one.

Well, no, I don’t really think it was any of those. It was after Alex’s death that it really happened. I became obsessed with finding his killer, it was the only way I could deal with his death, and no one would believe me when I said it couldn’t have been suicide. Max became a person I hardly recognized, a shell, just a boy. I got hard and I started saying bitter things that should have been said a lot earlier. No, it was the answer that I’d been searching for that sent me over.

Tess. It always seems to come back to Tess. Another circle. Tess, the other woman. Tess killed Alex. Tess, Max’s Destiny. Tess killed Alex. Tess, for whom I changed the future. Tess killed Alex. Tess, who is pregnant with my Max’s baby. Tess killed Alex.

And you wonder why I'm so bitter and pissed off.


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Part 1: What do we do now? I'll tell you what we do now! (Liz)

I barely register Max saying ‘I have to save my son' I’m too distracted by how right it feels to be back in his arms. No, no, no, that’s not right. The Max holding me isn’t my Max, my Max was a fantasy and I don’t want the burden of this lost looking little boy who’s clinging to me like a lifeline. No matter how much hurt I see in the depth of his eyes.

Realizing the implications of what he just said I find my tongue ‘Max, if you’re planning on going on some never-ending quest for a way to save him, wouldn’t it have been easier just to go with Tess ?!' I ask incredulously, my anger rising at his audacity. I'm surprisingly happy at the wounded look he gives me.

I turn to Michael and Maria, seeing as it’s her car that got us here and I can't stay here a moment longer. I can’t help the stabbing pain of jealousy I feel as I see how rapt they are in one another, the way Michael’s looking at my friend. I know that look; it’s home, peace, but most of all, love. The stonewall is a puddle of mush at Maria DeLuca’s feet. It’s then that I remember just how much Maria has gone through to get that look and the jealousy turns into a begrudged kind of admiration. Maria’s got guts, it’s one of the things I love most about her.

But right now I need to get out of here, or alternatively get everyone else to leave, so I make a suggestion. ‘Maria, perhaps you should take everyone back, I’ll stay here, you can pick me up after you’ve dropped the other’s off, seeing as we won’t all fit in the Jetta and there doesn’t seem to be any other car in sight. I need some time alone'.

‘We torched the jeep' is Isabel’s faint reply, she's uncharacteristically quiet and disheveled. Maria and Max’s versions of 'I’m not leaving you out here alone' almost over power her.

‘I’ll stay with Liz' Kyle turns to me and offers. It's the first time he's spoken since the Granilith left and I see empathy in his eyes, he knows what it’s like to be betrayed. Tess betrayed him, almost, the worst of all.

I nod in acceptance, he's the only one I could handle right now. ‘Kyle and I will stay here' I say, cutting off Max's protest by continuing ‘It’s the only way, I can’t be in the same vehicle as you right now Max, just not right now.' I tell him and I see his eyes cloud over even more. If I really want to hurt him, I really shouldn’t feel the tiniest bit guilty about that.

Fortunately it is Isabel’s comment that causes him to agree, ‘Max the tape, we have to get it back before our parent’s see it' she says and Max turns deathly pale.

‘You’re right, there’s things we have to discuss, but first we have to get the tape back' even in his decision there’s indecisiveness and I start for the first time to question his ability to lead.

They leave slowly, it’s like another funeral. After I reassure Maria I'll be ok and resolutely ignore Max's pleading looks, I watch Michael and Maria wander down, leaning into each other like they’re afraid to let each other go. Considering the track record of this group, it’s not such a silly idea. Isabel is barely managing to keep walking in a straight line; she’s a kindred spirit, alone like me. She’s always felt the weight of not quite belonging, that’s why she tries so hard to fit in. Now on top of that isolation, she’s lost Alex and Tess, who really was the only one who could come close to knowing how she feels, and for all intents and purposes her brother too. I don’t envy Isabel Evans anymore, not at all.

Kyle and I sit in silence. I’m thinking about Max and I'm pretty sure he's thinking about Tess. We make a great pair. It was because of the silence that we heard it. It wasn’t much, a crunching of ground underfoot, but it was enough to know that we were probably in trouble. Big trouble.

Kyle motions for me to be silent by placing two fingers over his lips, and in nervous tension I almost slap him. I know when to be quiet, I'm not quite that stupid. We turn around at the same time to run straight into a tall, dark, forbidding looking stranger. A stranger who does not seem the least bit surprised to see us there, a stranger who is smirking, a stranger who has the same aura of energy surrounding him that Max, Isabel and Michael do. Forget clichés, we’re not in big trouble. We’re screwed.

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Well I whipped this out as fast as I could, so excuse it if it's a little rough. This is where the fic starts diverging from more typical post Departure stuff.

This is for peanut and me and Choc 79, thanks for the FB!

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Part 2: Surprise! Buddha is not with me today (Kyle)

I'm not exactly a midget, but this guy is tall, at least as tall as Guerin is. I really don't need this right now, not with the shit Tess pulled. I'm still reeling, the girl who I thought of as my sister, killed our friend, betrayed us all. I know she's not worth the pain I'm feeling, but it hurts. It hurts really bad. I need time to process it all, so Buddha, please let this all too coincidental arrival be just that, a coincidence. My thoughts are interrupted when the new guy speaks, his smile widening into a full blown smirk 'Hello Liz, Kyle'.

Apparently Buddha is not on my side today.

'You know our names, but we don't know yours, that's hardly fair' Liz responds, while I'm still calculating whether I could take this guy or not. I've never known Liz to back down from anything, but really, Liz, I wouldn't aggravate the tall, ominous looking guy who may have freaky alien powers.

The guy, who, now that I've had time to get a better look at him, must be only a little over our age and has dirty blond colored hair and piercing blue eyes that remind me vaguely of Tess, the lying, murdering, bitch. Not a good sign. His grin and light chuckle at Liz's audacity is not what I expected. Seeing that Liz and I are still waiting for an answer he manages to reply 'I'm Ethan, and even though I know it's too soon to believe it, I'm a friend'.

'Then why didn't you show yourself before? We could have used some help you know' Liz retorts. Whoa, talk about backbone.

'Ah, she's right you know, help would've been nice' I add, I know it's lame, but I'm not about to let Liz be the only one confronting the guy.

'I'll tell you what I can, you should know by now that things are not always as they seem. There are more 'people' on Earth, loyal to restoring Antar's rightful ruler to the throne, than you'd think and I'm one of them. There are people waiting anxiously to see you, what happened today isn't what you think, but it was important to our cause. I need you to trust me enough to come with me' I see the look in his eye as he asks that, almost willing us to trust him, but I was taken in by that look once before and I won't be taken in again.

He can't think we're that naive 'What makes us so special, you want to take us so you can torture and then kill us?' I ask.

Rolling his eyes in exasperation he raises his right hand, directing it to the left of Liz and blows up a boulder at least three feet in diameter and thirty feet from us. At our startled gasps and after we almost fall over in shock, his tone is lightly mocking 'If I'd wanted to kill you, you'd already be dead'. That line isn't nearly as funny when you hear it for real.

Seeing the (understandably) large amount of skepticism Liz and I have for how much that particular reassurance is supposed to comfort us, he turns more towards Liz and speaks to her ' Liz, you've experienced the connection before, I don't want to show you my whole life or anything, but could I show you enough to know that I'm not here to kill you. We're not going to get anywhere standing here in the middle of the desert arguing'.

I'm about to protest when Liz nods and turns to face me 'It's the only way to know Kyle and he was telling the truth about being able to kill us' she says, sometimes I think Liz Parker is too brave for her own damn good, that and I wonder where she gets her logic from. She turns back to face him and I watch him hold out his hands so Liz can place her smaller ones into them, their eyes locking onto each other and their breathing becoming synchronized.

For an endless moment everything is still and then I see Liz recoil back, shaking her head as if to clear her vision, her voice is a little breathless in response to his raised eyebrow and pointed question 'Well?'.

I'm shocked by what she says next, 'We'll go with you, if you tell us where we're going and why this doesn't involve the others, if you know so much about us'.

'Um Liz is that a good idea, I mean, are you sure about what you saw?' I ask hurriedly, before 'Ethan' can reply.

'I feel like we can trust him Kyle, I didn't see flashes of his life, but I did get the feelings he was sending, mostly that he didn't want to harm us and that what he was saying was true, but, we can't be sure unless we go with him. So I need some questions answered' she answers.

'You don't need to talk about me like I'm not here' Ethan's mocking tone was back, 'I've told you just about all I can for now. The others don't know because it's not time for them to know, but they will soon. I know it sounds like I'm evading you're questions, but if you come with me, to the old soap factory, they'll be answered'

The old soap factory?! That's the final straw. 'You want to take us to the old soap factory? What is it with that place? Does it have 'alien hideout' above it in some kind of alien neon writing that us human's can't see? Isn't that just a little too convenient?' I ask in full on DeLuca like rant.

'Yes, the old soap factory, yes, because it is convenient and I can't tell you everything just yet because you just wouldn't believe me. Look, call the others if you have to, tell them something's come up and if you don't call they should be worried. You just can't tell them the truth just yet' Ethan snaps, running his hands through his hair in frustration and for the first time I wonder if we should believe him. His lack of composure doesn't seem like the personality of someone who's planned an ambush.

'I've got my cellphone, I'll ring Maria. They'll still be in the car' Liz is quick to accept. Pulling out the phone from her pocket, speed dialing, it's not long before she's answered. 'Maria, it's me. Look we've had a visitor out here who wants us to go with him. We thinks it's ok, but if I don't call you in twenty minutes come looking for us.' she says almost in one breath, not letting Maria get a word in, before hanging up and turning off the phone unceremoniously.

I realize, as I look at the determination in her eyes that she's already decided to do this and there's no way in hell I'm going to let her do this alone. 'I take it we're going?' I say, more as a statement than a question.

Her nod is met with a grin from Ethan as he answers 'You won't regret it'.

Fifteen minutes later, standing in the entrance of the old soap factory there is only one running through my mind: Tess didn't kill Alex.

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This Part is for: AngelsWing15, peanut and me, Tabasco Liz and sharistarlight (see you leave FB and get a dedication, I do stoop to bribery! ).

Tabasco Liz: it's nice to see you along for the ride with this new story. I got the idea for this new part from you, I had to agree with what you said about the look on Max's face!

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Part 3: Uh-oh, Liz is in Trouble (Max)

Numb.

That’s the only word to describe the disorder in my head right now, how I’m sitting here in stone silence. Tess was right; I am just a boy. How can I lead? Why do I have to lead? Nothing makes sense. I feel like it’s all my fault and well it probably is, but the only thing that’s real right now is the sting of betrayal. Liz betrayed me, Tess betrayed me. Was this how Zan felt when Vilandra betrayed him? Too many questions. I just want to curl up and try to forget it all, but I can’t, I’m supposed to be the leader, aren’t I?

The ringing of a phone is a welcome interruption, Michael is driving, surprisingly, so Maria answers it and barely manages to get out ‘Wait Liz, who?!….’ before she sighs in exaggerated exasperation and puts down the phone. I get a sudden rush of fear settling in my stomach. Why was Liz ringing, were they in trouble?

‘I think Liz is in trouble. She said they had a ‘visitor’ and that they were going with him. If she didn’t call back in twenty minutes, to come looking for them. She wouldn’t let me get a word in. Someone must have see something, or it could be evil aliens. Wait...evil aliens?! Oh. My. God. We have to do something!’ Maria burst out finally and I can feel my skin visibly pale and my eyes close over lightly in horror. My heart begins to pound as if it's going to explode, I can't let anything happen to Liz. Anything but that.

‘Maria, why would ‘evil aliens’ let Liz make a phone call? I’m sure they’ll be fine’ Michael is the first to respond and by the doubt and hint of fear in his voice you can tell he’s not used to comforting people in situations like this, at least he's trying. I’m just surprised he hasn’t already turned us around.

‘Valenti said he’d wait to give out parents the tape. I trust his word. If Liz and Kyle could be in danger, we have to find them’ I state in the first decisive decision I’ve made in a long time. It feels good to have back a little control. I need Liz. I can't lose her now.

‘Max is right, we can’t lose someone else’ Isabel is the first to quietly respond. She’s cut herself off completely, barely speaking, barely moving. Alex’s death hit her hard and this may just have sent her over the edge.

She might not be the only one.

Michael doesn’t need to be asked, he’s already heading back towards the pod chamber, we have nowhere else to start searching from. We arrive and my fear becomes a physically palpable thing when it’s obvious they are nowhere in sight. I may not believe in God, but that doesn't stop me from a silent plea that we find them. We split up, searching the barren, rocky outcrop so recently littered with debris.

I don’t quite know why but I feel a pull towards the pod chamber, releasing the door I step in letting my eyes adjust to the darkness. I hear a faint humming from where the Granilith is, no wait, used to be. Climbing through the faint stickiness of Isabel’s pod, the only way to reach the now empty chamber I stand up and hear my startled intake of breath at what I see in front of me, I barely manage to utter the only words I can think of ‘Holy shit ?!’.

Ok I know you’ve all been waiting patiently to find out what’s going on with Liz and Kyle, so here’s the next part. The last part and this one aren’t very long, but most of your questions will be answered in the next part so it's going to be quite a lot longer.

As always this part is for the great FB (in posting order): Tabasco Liz, AvengingAngelIQ, CRAZY 4 MAX and sutton31. Y’all rock.

NOTE: I’ve put in a time frame for the Prologue, but to avoid confusion the Prologue is Liz’s pov set in Departure after they find out Tess killed Alex, but before they confront her at the Granilith. It’s not written from a future point in time.

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Part 4: One Answer and More Questions. Who else? (Liz)

If you asked me thirty seconds ago if there was one thing I was certain of in this world, I would probably have said that Tess Harding killed Alex Whitman in cold blood.

It seems I was wrong.

I’ve been wrong about a lot of things lately, the two people sitting at a table in the far corner of the building, laughing with a tall dark haired girl, that happen to look remarkably like Tess Harding and Alex Whitman certainly prove that.

I’m stunned. Speechless. Kyle just stands there, his mouth opening and closing like they do in cartoons. I want to rush over there, to hug Alex and cry grateful tears that I have my friend back. I want to know what the hell is going on and how they ended up in the soap factory with a guy named Ethan. I want to know it’s really them.

I’m startled when Ethan clears his throat, laughter in his eyes at our shock, which catches ‘Alex’s’ attention. ‘Liz, my girl! It’s so good to see you’ Alex says, a grin a mile wide, rushing up and enveloping me in a bear hug.

‘Ah, Alex?! What the hell?!’ Kyle eloquently manages to express my exact thoughts.

‘Yeah, I don’t mean to be rude here but we had a funeral, Kyle saw Tess kill you, what are we all doing here? How? And is it really you?’ all my questions tumble out in a huge rush. I can’t help the hope beginning to swirl around inside me. I’d know a patented Whitman smile and hug anywhere.

‘Who else?’ is his wonderfully simplistic reply. Damn Alex’s dry sense of humour, if it really is him.

‘Well let’s see, there’s a husk, Skins, shapeshifter, mindwarp…’ Kyle begins before Alex cuts him off.

‘Ok Liz, Your full name is Elizabeth Anne Parker; you were born on January Thirty 1984, which makes you an Aquarian. Your favourite color is purple; your favourite ice cream is flavour is vanilla, with toppings. Your most embarrassing moment was when you had to wear a dress with cup cakes on it in grade school. We met in fourth grade when Tommy Banks pushed me over and I started crying, you offered me your cookie to make me feel better. I can continue to expose the embarrassing personal details of both our lives, or you could believe me, it’s up to you’ Alex emphasises his point by waving his arms around pointedly. It’s so typically Alex that I finally believe him.

‘Ok, ok, Alex I believe you. It’s really you, I thought I was never going to see you again.’ I give in to the overwhelming need to cry and let Alex support me as I sob my relief into his chest.

He just strokes my hear saying ‘It’s ok Lizzie, I’m not going anywhere.’

But how is this possible?

It’s then that I notice Tess standing awkwardly to the side of the group like she’s not sure how we’ll react to her. Damn right. It’s about time I got to tell her exactly how I fell about her…but wait. If Alex is here and she’s here does that mean none of it was real. Is she pregnant even though she didn’t kill Alex? Is she actually still on our side?

Dammit. More questions.

I step back from Alex, to look at everyone in turn. Alex is grinning at me and I can’t resist the slight tug of my lips in response. I’m so glad that he’s safe. Kyle is looking at Tess stricken, like he doesn’t quite know what to believe and even if he finds out, maybe he doesn’t want to know. What surprises me, is that Tess is returning his look, her eyes filled with so much sadness I almost feel sorry for her. Almost.

What is going on here? I turn to Ethan, the only one I think I’ll be able to get any answers from, to see his amused expression, watching us from where he's wrapped around the brunette Tess and Alex were with. They're both facing us, him behind her, resting his chin on the crown of her head, his arms around her waist and his hand resting absently on her partially bared stomach. My curiosity is piqued about these two mysterious strangers who have wormed their way into Alex and Tess’s lives.

I need answers.