|posted on 2-Sep-2001 9:34:34 PM|
|Title : Destiny’s Child: The Second Son (sequel to Destiny’s Child)|
Author: C. Nicole
Rating: PG-13 for now
Category: Future Fic Includes all couples, but because I’m a huge dream girl, more of M/L
Summary: Its been five years since the gang abandoned their Destiny’s for normal lives. But the past comes back to haunt them and they are forced to reexamine what their alien side is all about.
Note: You should really read “Destiny’s Child” first. There are lots of things that carry over from the first story.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The lucky people at the WB own the characters. I’m only borrowing them. Except for the children, who are products of my overactive imagination.
Distribution: I would really love to post this and the first story on other boards, so if you have a site and you want this, just e-mail me.
Feedback: Please! I live on feedback. I have to know you like me (my work anyway)!
Dedication: This fic goes out to candy girl Kat, my bf. Here it is Kat, what you’ve been waiting for! Thanks for all your support and feedback. You ROCK!
Chapter 1 - Five years into “Normal”
“Daddy, will you help tie my shoes?” a small voice said. The child’s long chestnut hair fell haphazardly out of a pony tail. Her tongue stuck slightly out of her mouth as she concentrated on her shoe laces without success.
Max chuckled inwardly as he watched his three year old daughter, Zoe. “Of course I’ll help, angel,” he said bending down to her little feet.
When he was finished, Zoe jumped up and hugged him tightly around the neck. “Thanks, daddy,” she said smiling brightly.
Max sighed. He still found it hard to believe that it was possible to be so blissfully happy. His life was.... well it was pretty perfect. He was twenty-eight years old with a wonderful wife and family. Not really that uncommon to most, but to Max it was incredibly special. Five years ago he hadn’t had much of anything but a destiny that he didn’t want. Now though, he’d found his normal. He’d married the love of his life and they had settled down with their children. The thought of his kids made him smile even more. Three bright rays of light, two more to be added soon. He wasn’t sure if they realized just how special they were. Part of him hoped they wouldn’t have to find out.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of voices from the kitchen. Liz was in there, having breakfast with the boys.
Max could hear Jacob’s familiar whine even from the living room. He made his way to the doorway of the kitchen, careful to stay out of site for the time being.
“But, moooooom,” Jacob pleaded, “please, I wanted to go over to the park. The boys from my class are going to play soccer after school.”
There was a moments pause and Max realized too late just what Jacob was doing.
What he found as he looked into the kitchen was a staring contest between Jacob and Liz. Max watched as Liz’s eyes flickered first and she gave in.
“Alright, but you have to walk Braden home first. Then you can go. As soon as soccer’s done, though, you come straight home to clean your room.”
Max was relieved. Liz had given in, but obviously not because of Jacob’s little eye trick. That was made clear as she gave him the conditions of his request.
When Jacob saw Max he immediately looked guilty. “Mornin’ Dad,” the boy said as he sat back down in his chair. Max bit back a laugh.
“ Practicing your powers again, huh, Jacob?” Max asked teasing. “Either you’re getting worse or your mom’s getting better at resisting you.” He was answered by a smack from Liz and a half-smile from Jacob.
Another little voice spoke out then, “Momma, can I go play soccer too?”
Max smiled at his youngest son. He was so quiet and reserved, the request was odd. But then again, Braden liked to do everything Jacob did.
“Sorry, Brady, but you and Zoe are going to spend the afternoon with me.” Max told him as he ruffled the boy’s dark hair. A pair of dark eyes, shining with elation, met Max’s. Braden’s eyes traveled from his father to Jacob. He whispered loudly, “Dad’s better than soccer,”
Liz chuckled at this. She loved this, being together. Every day she thanked whichever providence had seen fit to bless her with this family. A family that would soon be expanding again, Liz thought as she got up slowly to clear the breakfast dishes away. She would be very glad when these babies came. Only two more months. Never in a million years had Liz thought that she would end up married to an alien and the mother of five children. She shrugged at this. Stranger things had probably happened...... or not.
“What time is your doctor’s appointment?” Max asked as he came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and resting his hands on her very protruding belly.
Liz smiled, “Its at ten am. After than I have to go give the midterm for one of my classes.”
“And then ... you’re going to come home and rest. Right?” Max prompted.
Liz’s smile grew, he was still so protective. He was always worried about her, always taking care of her.
“Yes, Mr. Evans. I’ll come straight home and go straight to bed.” Liz said in a teasing voice. Max turned her around to kiss her. They were interrupted by a familiar whine.
“Dad,” Jacob said, “you can kiss mom later. We’re going to be late for school.”
Max looked at Liz, “You heard him, we’ll continue this later.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively. Liz swatted at his chest playfully and laughed. They took off in different directions then with Max taking Jacob and Braden to school and Liz taking Zoe to day care.
Max tried to focus his mind on the piles of work that waited for him at the office. After everything had settled down with the whole destiny thing, Max had decided to take his FBI skills and put them to use working for the Chicago police department, helping them solve unusual cases. Liz had happily finished school and was now teaching biology part time at the local college. The others had gone off to do their own things as well. Isabel was still working in child psychology, while Alex was head of the Information Technology department of some large company. Michael and Maria had stuck around Roswell and taken over Amy Deluca’s alien novelty business. Michael sold his artwork on the side. Max hadn’t heard from Tess and Kyle for quite some time. They kept to themselves. He had heard from Isabel that Tess was pregnant.
Speaking of pregnant, Max reminded himself. He’d promised Liz to take some time off to be at the doctor’s with her.
By the time they’d pulled up to the school, Max had reorganized his whole day to fit in the doctor’s appointment. Of course, he’d failed to notice anything else that was going on, like the very unusual silence that had taken over the vehicle.
Max glanced at the boys as he pulled to a stop. Braden was the first out. “Bye dad,” he said softly with a familiar half-smile on his face, “see you after school.” Max watched as he made his way from the car over to where a pretty blonde haired girl stood waiting.
Max’s gaze traveled to Jacob. He didn’t move. He just sat there, his eyes fixed straight ahead, as though he were in some sort of trance. Jacob’s body jerked slightly and his eyes began to move about. He looked panicked.
“Jacob, buddy, what’s wrong?” Max asked as fear began to permeate every cell in his body.
“Dad, they’re here,” Jacob said in a choked whisper.
“ Who’s here Jake? What are you talking about?” Max knew the answer before Jacob even spoke the words.
“I.... I just got a .. flash. You’re people. They’ve come. Some were sent to find you and.....” Jacob’s voice cracked “ you and Braden. The other’s are here to replace aunt Isabel and uncle Michael. Dad, I’m scared, they’re close.” Jacob’s eyes were wide with fear as he spoke and he had gone ghostly pale.
Max felt the color drain from his own face and knew that his eyes mirrored those of his son.
“Stay here. I’m going to get your brother. You two won’t go to school today. I’ll call the principal and say you’ve got the chicken pox or something.” Max said absentmindedly as he made his way from the car to where he had seen Braden go off to.
For a moment he forgot himself as he watched Braden interact with the girl. They were holding hands and she was smiling. After a second she ran off to another group of girls. Braden’s eyes followed her until they landed on Max.
Max went to Braden and took his hand. Before he had a chance to speak, Braden was apologizing. “I’m sorry dad. I didn’t mean to do it. She’s my best friend though and its her birthday and I forgot so I took the penny and made a ring. I know it was wrong, but no one saw, Honest.”
Max sighed and quickly led Braden back to the car. He would worry about Braden’s powers later. There were more important things to deal with now. “It’s okay,” he finally told his anxious son. “But guess what, you and your brother are going to spend the whole day with me instead of just this afternoon.” Braden’s eyes lit up and he nodded.
Max went straight home with the boys and told them to go play out back while he made some phone calls. First he called Liz and instructed her to cancel her doctor’s appointment and midterm. “Why, Max, what’s going on?” Liz asked, the worry was evident in her voice.
“I’ll explain everything when you get here. Just pick up Zoe and come straight home okay?”
“Of course, I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
While Max waited for Liz, he made the one phone call he hoped he’d never have to make.
When the voice on the other end picked up, Max didn’t even bother with Hello.
“It’s starting. They’re here.” His words were met with silence. After a moment Max was afraid something had happened. “Tess, did you here me? They’ve come for Braden.”
A shaky voice finally responded. “ I’ll call everyone together. It’s time to explain.”
He replaced the receiver and calmly sat down. When Liz arrived a few minutes later, that’s how she found him. Just sitting in the chair, staring off into space.
“Max,” Liz said, “Max, what’s going on?”
She gasped and had to reach for the chair to steady herself when she saw his eyes. They were full of fear and sadness and pain. Liz knew then what was happening.
“Liz...” Max started, his voice cracking.
Liz shook her head at him. “No, its too soon. He’s not ready. They aren’t ready. They’re just children.....” she said trying to deny the changes that were going to come crashing down around their perfect family, their perfect life, their.... normal.
“Maya, sit still.” a frustrated Michael Guerin demanded. “Daddy can’t finish mommy’s present if you don’t sit still.”
Michael watched paint brush in hand as his six year old daughter began to squirm even more. He threw his hands up in frustration. “All right, go. Get out of here and go bug your mom,” he finally relented. He’d been trying all morning to finish Maria’s birthday present but it was not to be. The picture of Maya would have to wait until some other time.
Michael set to work cleaning up his studio, washing the brushes and then hiding the canvas of the work in progress.
He then went out in search of the rest of his family. He found Maria in the bathroom giving two year old Keegan a bath. He was laughing and splashing water and bubbles everywhere. Maria was laughing along with him as she tickled the little boys stomach. Michael stood back and watched the exchange with pleasure. A flash of movement flew past him and he held back a laugh of amusement as Maya streaked into the room, naked, and jumped into the bathtub with Keegan, sending water flying, soaking everything, especially Maria.
Maria’s shriek was enough to send him over the edge and he released the laughter he’d been holding in. Maria heard him and shot a glare in his direction. But he didn’t miss the little half smile she tried to hide as she turned away back towards Maya and Keegan
Michael left the bathroom and made his way to his and Maria’s bedroom. His life was ....... well it wasn’t what he had once thought it would be. He’d always been so sure that he would never have a real family, a place to call home, except for somewhere in the vast Universe. He knew now that he had been wrong. His life had led him to this exact place. He was home.
He laid on the bed, happily enjoying the feeling of contentment that he felt. Maria entered the room just then, peeling off her sopping wet clothing and searching for something new to wear.
“So, you want to tell me why Maya isn’t in school where she’s supposed to be?” Maria asked, pulling a new shirt over her head. Michael sat up and watched closely as Maria changed clothes. She was still so damn sexy sometimes that it surprised him he was able to keep his hands off her at all.
He cleared his throat and tried to focus on what Maria was asking him. “ She said she didn’t want to go. I understood the feeling. I figured why should she do something she doesn’t want to?” he shrugged. He didn’t think it was such a big deal.
“Because, she has to Michael. It isn’t about whether she wants to or not. Okay? We agreed when it was time for school to start that this is what she needed. She has to go, so she can make friends and adjust.”
She was getting angry now, as she tried to pull on her pants. She thrust her leg violently into the pant leg and and turned to face Michael, waiting for his response.
“We also agreed that if we noticed anything strange going on, that we wouldn’t ignore it. And this morning, she said she didn’t want to go. Now up to this point she’s always been excited about it. So, being the observant and sensitive father that I am, I decided that this odd behavior from her meant something....”
Maria cut him off. “Alright fine. But tomorrow she goes, whether she wants to or not. We can’t let on to the fact that things are different. You’re always stressing that. So we have to be strong and not give in, okay?”
Michael nodded his agreement and then got up and stood in front of Maria. He took her face in his hands and gently kissed her. For a second they lost themselves in the moment. They were interrupted by the sound of the phone. They pulled apart and Michael went to answer the phone while Maria finished dressing.
The phone had stopped ringing and Michael found Maya standing there in the living room talking, still naked and dripping wet.
Michael took the phone away from her. He gave her a stern look. “What is mom gonna say when she sees you running around like that? Go get dressed,” he ordered.
Maya nodded and ran. Michael took a deep breath. They were going to have their hands full with her. She was a spit fire like Maria and stubborn like him. The combination was going to be overwhelming but not impossible. He remembered the phone in his hands and finally lifted the receiver to his ear.
“Michael, its me, Tess.” the voice said.
“Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a long time. What’s going on? How are you doing?” He hadn’t spoken to Tess in over a month.
“Michael,” she said, her voice sounding strained, “ you have to let me talk and do exactly what I say okay?”
He recognized the seriousness in her voice. Fear began to set in. He felt a knot forming in his stomach.
“Talk.” was the only response he could form.
“Michael, you have to get Maria and the kids and go to Max and Liz’s. Pack whatever you’re going to need to stay for awhile. We have to talk. I can’t tell you anymore. You just have to trust me and come. How soon do you think you can be there?”
Michael wasn’t able to speak for a moment. Something was terribly wrong. His mind flashed briefly to his conversation with Maya this morning on their way to school “We’ll leave in an hour. We’ll drive overnight. If we do that we can be in Chicago mid afternoon.”
“Good, I’ll let Max know. I have to call Isabel now. I’ll see you tomorrow. Kyle and I will be there shortly after you.”
Michael wasn’t aware of when she’d hung up. He had dropped the phone and was running up the stairs to Maria. She had Keegan in her arms and was going into Maya’s room.
She stopped dead in her tracks.
“We have to pack. You get our stuff, I’ll take care of the kids. I can’t explain anything right now. We just have to hurry.” Michael took Keegan from her arms and started in to Maya’s room. Maya was standing there, a suitcase in front of her. She was piling books and toys into it.
“What are you doing?” Michael asked. His daughter’s piercing green eyes met his.
“Packing, Dad. We have to go, don’t we?” Michael could only nod. He let Maya finish packing whatever she wanted and got out another suitcase throwing in clothes for both her and Keegan. When he had finished that he packed a diaper bag for Keegan and then went to find Maria.
She was quickly packing two suitcases with clothes for both of them. Every few minutes she would stop and sniff a little vial. When Michael came into the room she didn’t even look at him or stop her task.
“So at least tell me where we’re going.” she said and she threw in a pair of her shoes.
“Chicago to Max and Liz’s.” he said. Maria’s face paled. She looked up.
“That’s all I know. Tess called and said we needed to be there. So we’re going. Driving straight through.”
Maria just nodded and kept packing. Michael sat Keegan down on the floor and moved toward the dresser. He pulled the bottom drawer all the way out. He waved his hand over the back panel and a hole appeared. He stuck his hand in and retrieved a small, plain wooden box.”
“What’s that?”Maria asked. Both suitcases were packed and she cradled Keegan protectively in her arms.
“I’ve been putting a little bit of money away for emergencies. In case something happened to me, you know.......Well I think that whatever is going on qualifies as an emergency.”
Maria looked a little hurt that he hadn’t bothered to tell her. He must have read her mind. “I wanted to tell you but I thought it would be better this way. Besides I thought that if we never used it, I would surprise you with a honeymoon. Since, you know, Elvis ruined the first one.” His attempt at humor went unnoticed.
“ So how much is there?” she asked. “How big of an emergency is this going to be?” her voice was a strained whisper.
“There’s enough here to start over somewhere new if we have to.” Maria only nodded in response. She turned on her heel and left the room. “Maya, hurry your little ass up,” she hollered. “We’re going on a road trip.” Maria hollered at her daughter.
They were on the road in fifteen minutes. Maya was singing to Keegan in the back seat. Maria sat quietly in the front tears streaming down her face.
“Maria?” Michael questioned softly. It broke his heart to see her like this.
“ I thought this was all over with.” was all she said.
“Alex, I told you. Stop worrying. I’ve got everything under control.” Isabel Whitman told her husband over the phone. “Seriously. I mean what could go wrong? I think that I can manage to take care of my own children.” The pause on the other end of the phone was enough to irritate Isabel into anger.
“Alex....” she started.
“Honey, I’m not worried. Not really. It’s just that this is the first time I’ll be gone for more than over night. I’m going to miss you all. That’s really what my problem is.” Alex said, trying to appease his wife before her temper got the best of her. “You’ll be great. I think the kids will be thrilled to have you all to themselves for the next week. And since you’re taking the week off from work, that will be even better. Maybe you can even get Charlie’s bedroom painted like you had wanted to.”
Isabel rolled her eyes. That would take her about two seconds. With a wave of her hand she could make it whatever color she desired. Of course if Alex knew that she was going to take the easy way out, he would give her a little speech about how good it would feel to do it on her own. But since he was gone, what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
At Isabel’s lackluster response, Alex decided to change the subject. “So what are you going to do this afternoon?”
“ Oh, I thought that I’d let Charlie play out in the street in the oncoming traffic and then I’m going to show Cassie how to set the house on fire.” Isabel said sarcastically.
“Okay, well I can see that we’re not going to get anywhere with this conversation. So I’m going to say goodbye for now. I’ll call you later okay?”
“I hope that the house is still standing,” she tells him.
“Bye Isabel.” Alex says and hangs up.
Isabel felt guilty the minute she heard the dial tone. She couldn’t believe she’d treated him that way.
“Mommy,” a voice called from the other room. It was Charlie.
“What sweetie?” Isabel said going in to join her four year old son. He was sitting at the dining room table, coloring. To Isabel’s complete horror he was without paper and was coloring directly onto her incredibly expensive table.
“Charles Matthew Whitman, what are you doing?” she asked.
“I drew you a picture mommy.” He said proudly, smiling his very goofy grin up at her.
Any anger Isabel felt quickly dissipated. Who cared about the table, she could easily fix it.
“Color with me mommy,” he said. Isabel couldn’t resist his little plea. So she sat herself next to him at the table and began coloring directly onto it, just like Charlie.
After an hour of coloring, Isabel and Charlie decided to make brownies. Isabel was proud of herself. She was enjoying this time just being a mom. She hadn’t been able to do that for awhile, she’d been so busy with work. Alex had been the one really taking care of the kids while she worked late. She knew that she’d been neglecting Cassie especially. She and Alex had adopted Cassie shortly after they’d gotten married. Cassie was the first child Isabel had encountered when they had their missions for their people. Cassie had been without parents. And if that wasn’t enough, she knew she was different than most other children. Isabel had taken to the girl, five at the time, and immediately wanted to bring her home. She’d had to wait until she and Alex had been married though. They’d been through a lot with Cassie. At first she hadn’t quite trusted either Isabel or Alex, but she had eventually grown to trust them both. Now she was eleven and even though she wasn’t Isabel’s child by birth, she was her child in her heart. That’s all that mattered. Alex, Isabel, Cassie and Charlie were one big happy family.
These thoughts immediately led to thoughts of guilt about her conversation with Alex earlier. But the guilt was replaced by hurt because she knew Alex didn’t think she could handle taking care of her own children.
It was midmorning when the phone call came. It was Cassie’s school.
“Mrs. Whitman, this is the school nurse. Your daughter Cassie is in here. She passed out in class this morning. She’d like for you to come pick her up.”
“Oh my gosh, is she okay?” Isabel asked, her heart rate speeding up.
“Oh, yes, she’s fine now. But I think it would be best for her to rest at home for today.”
An hour later, Isabel had retrieved Cassie from school and was mothering her like it was the 1950’s. Anything she wanted, Cassie got. Right now they were all curled up together on the couch watching soap operas on the TV and eating the brownies from earlier. Isabel had called and left a message for Alex to call. He needed to know about Cassie. So when the phone rang, she expected it to be him.
“Alex, I’m glad you called. Now don’t freak out but....” she started when she’d picked up the phone.
“Isabel, it’s me Tess. I have to talk to you about something.”
“Tess , Hi. Sorry about that I’m waiting for Alex to call....”
Tess cut her off again. “ Let me cut to the chase. You have to take the kids to Chicago to Max and Liz’s okay? It’s important. I can’t tell you anything else. Just get on the first plane out of Boston. Michael and Maria are going to be there tomorrow, so will Kyle and I. We’ll talk about everything then.”
“Tess, you have to tell me what’s going on!” Isabel demanded. She was starting to panic. Alex had only been gone a day and already things were starting to fall apart. She didn’t know what she was going to do.
“Isabel, you’ll just have to trust me. Max and Liz need us. That’s all I can say.”
Tess hung up then. Isabel stood there, the phone still in her trembling hand.
She had to pull it together. She had to be strong for the kids. When had she become so dependent on Alex? She could do this on her own. She didn’t need for him to baby her to get through this.
So it was a very calm Isabel Whitman, who called and made flight arrangements for three to Chicago. She also got all of the packing done. Everything was ready. She made one last phone call to Alex, leaving a message that she was taking the kids to see Max and Liz, and that he would probably want to join them as soon as possible.
And it was a strong Isabel Whitman that shut out all the horrible thoughts that were running through her mind as to what could possibly be wrong.
Chapter 2- Friend or Foe?
“Did you do it? Did they get the message?” An eager voice demanded.
The girl nodded slowly. She was small for her age. She didn’t look a day over 15, when in reality she was actually almost 20. Her companion loomed ominously over her slight frame. She cautioned a glance in his direction.
“ Doyle,” she said addressing the dark haired man, “I don’t think they’re ready yet. I..”
“Sondra, I really don’t care what you think. We have our orders, we must carry them out. The royal four chose to abandon their mission. We cannot let the people down and abandon ours. Max is out there somewhere, still alive. He thinks he can turn his back on destiny. He’s wrong. Once we find him, we can explain the urgency. But until then, the children are the only link we have.”
When she was sure he was finished with his impassioned speech she continued where she had left off before. “As I was saying, the children are too young. They can’t control the visions. What if they misinterpret them? We don’t want to alarm them.” Doyle appeared to ponder her words. Another deep voice spoke.
“It’s too late for that now, isn’t it? Maybe you should have considered things a little more before jumping right into them.” The comment appeared to be directed towards Doyle.
Doyle was immediately defensive. “You were taking too long to decide. We don’t have forever. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can go back and take Max with us.”
“Max Evans is of no use to us anymore. It’s the boy we want.”
Chapter 3- Twenty-four hours into Chaos
Maria yawned loudly and shifted in the uncomfortable seat. They had been on the road for six hours after stopping for a very short nights sleep. Maya and Keegan had both fallen asleep and Maria thanked god for small miracles. This morning they had been way too happy. Maya had been singing loudly and off key which had, in turned, caused Keegan to cry and given Maria a headache that would not go away.
Michael on the other hand seemed oblivious . He’d had his jaw clenched and his fingers gripped the steering wheel tightly. Maria could tell that he was focused on one thing, and one thing only and that was finding out what was going on. She desperately wished they knew more about what was so urgent. From what Michael had told her, Tess had been very cryptic on the phone. Right away he’d realized his mistake in saying that much and had warned her not to freak out and imagine all sorts of weird scenarios. So she’d been imagining good things. Things like a surprise baby shower for Liz or something like that. But it was really no use. Something like that wouldn’t have sent shock waves through their group.
Maria’s thoughts went to Maya. She’d been acting strange. Maybe she had known. It wouldn’t surprise Maria if Maya did know. After all, Jacob had known everything before. He had been the one to help the group, guiding them to make decisions. Her thoughts were interrupted by a wail from the back seat. Keegan was awake. Maria looked back their and raised her eyebrows at the innocent look that Maya gave her. Her eyes traveled to Maya’s hands and saw a stuffed bear clenched in them. Maya had probably taken it from him.
Maria groaned inwardly. She wasn’t sure if she was going to survive this car trip let alone whatever waited for them once she got there.
Isabel was sitting in the airport with two very restless children when Alex finally reached her on her cell phone.
“Izzy, what’s going on? I’ve been trying to call since last night? Where are you at?What are you going to Max and Liz’s for? Did something happen?” His voice rose an octave as his fears took over.
“Alex, calm down. Look, I can only tell you what I know all right? And so far that’s nothing. Tess called and said to bring the kids and head to Max and Liz’s. We’re sitting at the airport waiting for our flight now.” Isabel paused waiting for Alex’s response.
“Well as soon as I finish this presentation I’ll take the next flight out to join you. Just promise you’ll keep me updated,” Alex told her. His voice was now conveying the anxiety that Isabel herself felt.
“That’d be great Alex. I promise I’ll call the minute I find out anything.”
They talked for a while longer with Alex inquiring about Cassie.
“She seems to be feeling better. She won’t say anything about what was wrong this morning. I’ll wait until she’s ready to talk. Or maybe when you get here you can talk to her.”
Alex agreed and they said their goodbyes. Shortly thereafter, their flight to Chicago was called. Taking a deep breathe, Isabel grabbed both her children’s hands and lead them to the plane.
Charlie slept through most of the flight, while Isabel and Cassie discussed things like their next shopping trip. Cassie may not have been Isabel’s flesh and blood, but she was very much Isabel’s daughter. Some of their most recent bonding moments and included learning new “Czechoslovakian” methods for doing nails and fixing hair. The memory of those things, and the time with her daughter on the flight, almost let Isabel forget the foreboding feeling that had overwhelmed her since she’d gotten the phone call. Almost.
Max sat in the makeshift office that he and Liz shared and stared out the window, watching the sunrise. He hadn’t been able to sleep at all. Every time he closed his eyes, images invaded his mind, images that included Braden and Liz sobbing as other faceless beings pulled the boy from Liz’s protective grasp.
Throughout the night he’d been going back and forth between his bedroom, checking on Liz, then moving on to the bedrooms of their children. Both Zoe and Braden had appeared to be sleeping peacefully. Jacob had looked agitated, but Max didn’t dare wake him. Any dreams that Jacob had could be potential clues. And even though it was selfish of him to do that to Jacob, right now they needed anything they could get.
A little after 2 am, Max had started to drift off to sleep. The images had started coming, he could feel himself being pulled in. Something had jerked him from his false sleep and he’d gone running to his bedroom. Their bed was empty. Liz wasn’t there. He’d run down the hall to Braden’s room. There she’d been, laying there with Braden tightly encompassed in her arms. They were both whimpering.
Max made the connection easily. He found the same scene unfolding for them as he had seen earlier. He could only watch as Braden was completely taken from and Liz and she crumpled to the ground, her small body wracked with sobs. Max had quickly pulled himself from the dream and made every attempt to wake them.
Braden woke first, his brown eyes wide. Max saw the terror in them. Braden had quickly swiped at the tears that had started to form. He took his little hand and touched Liz’s face and then her hair. “Mommy,” he whispered, “mommy, wake up. I need you.”
Max watched in awe as Liz’s breathing changed and her eyes opened. She hugged Braden to her. “It’s okay, baby, mommy’s here. I won’t leave you.” Liz held him then, trying to soothe him. But Max knew that it was really Braden giving comfort to Liz. Maybe Liz knew it too.
Once Braden had fallen back to sleep, Liz had turned to Max. Her voice a cracked whisper. “I don’t know if I can handle this, Max. I love him so much. I love you so much. If I lost either of you.....” her voice broke off as she fell into his arms, crying silently. He’d let himself cry then as well, for the normal they’d once had and for whatever they were about to endure.
After awhile Liz’s breathing had slowed and her eyes had closed as she gave into her physical and emotional exhaustion. Max had picked her up and carried her back to their room. Even pregnant, she didn’t weigh much. He hadn’t even tried to go back to sleep then. He’d just laid there watching her and gently rubbing her swelled belly, trying to convey emotions of love and assurance to her and the two babies nestled inside her.
Now he sat there in his office, head in his hands, trying to call on any hidden reserves of strength he could find. He didn’t know what was coming, but one thing was certain. He had to protect his family at all costs.
Kyle lay in bed wide awake. Tess had been having dream, nightmares, whatever the hell they were, all night. She’d made him promise to wake her up every so often so she could write them down. She’d had six dreams so far. Once she had fallen back to sleep the last time, he had read her dream notes. Well, he had tried anyway. The only problem was that they weren’t written in English. They were just a series of about a hundred symbols.
He sighed loudly into his pillow. He had hoped that all the alien crap had ended years ago. Imagine his surprise when Tess called him home from work. Thinking she was in labor, he’d rushed there, breaking every law in the book. Only to find her sitting there on the couch with the baby no where closer to arriving than it had been that morning. Instead Tess had shoved two suitcases at him and pushed him toward his blazer.
“We’re driving to Chicago. To Max’s.” was all she had said. And like the whipped puppy that he was, he’d listened and obeyed. Now they were camped out in some cheesy motel and Tess was dreaming while he watched. It was crazy. It was insane. It was very... twilight zone. Tess was nothing but cryptic. Kyle was worried about her and the baby. The stress of whatever was happening couldn’t be good for either of them.
Max was desperately trying to formulate some kind of plan. So far, though, everything that he'd thought of had seemed to unreasonable. He didn’t have any idea what they were up against. He was going to have to wait for the others to arrive before he made any decisions. But he knew he couldn’t just do nothing while he waited. So he pulled out the old files from five years ago. He’d hidden them away, hoping to never see them again, at the same time knowing they might come in handy.
The files were full of all sorts of information. Most of it was things that he and Tess had spent years gathering when they had been focused solely on their mission. At the time he’d thought it only pertained to the constellation alignment and signal, but he was going over it all again anyway, on the off chance that something new would jump out at him.
It was almost eight am now. Liz hadn’t gotten up yet. At least he hadn’t heard her. He wasn’t going to wake her either, now that she was finally sleeping somewhat peacefully. Max felt a little hand touch his leg and looked down to the side of the table. There stood Zoe.
“Hey, angel, what are you doing up?” he asked, pulling her onto his lap.
“ I heard momma crying. She’s sad,” Zoe said. Her eyes were big and brown and she reminded Max very much of Liz as a little girl. The little girl that he’d seen in all those visions of her as a child.
Max nodded. “Yeah, Zoe, mommy’s sad right now. Daddy’s trying to fix it though. I’m going to make mommy happy again.” And make sure nothing happens to any of you, he added silently. He kissed Zoe’s forehead and put her down. “Go watch cartoons until your brother’s wake up. Then we’ll make breakfast.” Zoe ran off then, not a care in the world except which cartoon to pick. Max sighed and wished that life could be that easy. This was all his fault. It was a direct result of who he was, what he was. He shouldn’t have been selfish all those years ago. He should have know that any happiness he found would have to be taken away from him. He wasn’t human, he should have never tried to be normal.
“Don’t,” a voice said from behind him.
Max looked up and saw Liz standing in the doorway. Her eyes were red from crying, her skin was pale.
“Don’t what?” Max asked his voice hoarse.
“ Don’t put this all on yourself. You can’t. I won’t let you. I know what you’re doing. You’re going to blame yourself for whatever’s happening and try to fix it on your own. But you can’t. This is something that involves everyone and we’re all going to deal with it. You don’t have to carry this burden yourself, Max. We’ll do it together. You have to know that I love you. I’m going to stand by your side through everything.”
Tears were falling down both their faces as she spoke. She’d been moving towards him and now she was kneeling on the floor in front of him, clasping his hands in her own.
“Thank you,” Max said. He let go of one of her hands to caress her face, pulling it toward his own. Their lips met in a gentle kiss, reassuring each other of their commitment and love. When they pulled away, Max rested his forehead against hers. For a moment they just basked in the feelings that surround them, feeding off of each other’s presence, needing to be together.
The moment was broken when Liz gasped.
“What?” Max asked, immediately concerned.
Liz’s smile filled her face, taking away the tired lines. The weight of their situation forgotten. “The babies just kicked,” she said excitedly.
“Really?” Max moved his hand to Liz’s stomach and waited, anticipation and excitement written all over his face. After a moment, he felt it again. He looked up at Liz, her eyes were shining, and smile lit his own face. “It doesn’t matter how many times I feel that, it’s amazing every time.”
Liz returned his smile. He saw worry flash in her eyes though.
He brought his other hand to her cheek, one hand still on her stomach. “Hey, we’ll get through this. I promise.”
“I told you to take that first exit!” Maria exclaimed. It was mid afternoon now and they were lost. Michael had tried to get to Max and Liz’s on his own. Maria had been bothering him about his choice for the last fifteen minutes.
“Look, I don’t need an ‘I told you so” from you right now. What I need you to do is figure out where we are on the map and how we’re going to get to Max and Liz’s place from here. Do you think you can do that with out bitching at me?” Michael snapped. He immediately regretted saying anything when he saw her bottom lip start to quiver.
“Maria, honey....” he started “I’m sorry, please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.” But it was too late for an apology. Her tears disappeared quickly and Michael immediately recognized the anger that Maria was now exuding. He’d probably be sleeping alone on the floor tonight.
Maria ignored him for the rest of the drive, making him figure out where they were and how to get to where they needed to be. She only talked to Maya and Keegan. She couldn’t believe that Michael had the nerve to yell at her when he had dragged them across the country and gotten them lost.
After about an hour of back tracking, Michael made his way onto Fairlane Ave. and pulled into the driveway of the two story house with the white picket fence. “We’re here.” he said. He didn’t move to get out. He just sort of sat there, fingers gripping the wheel. Michael knew that the minute they walked through that front door everything was going to change. Hell, it had all changed with that phone call.
Maria started moving to get the kids. This set Michael into motion. He grabbed a sleeping Keegan from his car seat while Maria helped Maya out of her seat belt. Despite the earlier argument Maria grabbed Michael’s hand as they walked to the door. Michael hesitated to ring the doorbell. Before he could stop her, Maya reached up and did it for him. Michael gave her half a smile. At least she wasn’t afraid.
The response from the doorbell was somewhat startling. It sounded like a herd of elephants were going to come straight through the door. Maria’s eyes widened as the door opened revealing five very anxious children from the ages 11 to 3. Everything looked fine. The kids looked fine. In fact they were all smiling. Relief swept over her. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as she’d thought.
“All right, guys, let them through the door,” a voice said. A moment later Liz appeared. Maria noted the tiredness displayed in her best friend’s face.
Liz offered them a warm smile. “Come on in. We’ve been waiting. You guys are the last to arrive. Max is in the other room with Isabel, Tess and Kyle. The kids have the run of the upstairs for the afternoon.” Liz led them into the house. Max came out of the den a moment later. He too looked tired. He shook Michael’s hand and gave Maria a hug.
“ I wish we had time to catch up on things but.....” Michael interrupted Max.
“But I want to know what’s going on so let’s just get this started.” Max could only nod at this. He glanced over at Liz and she gave him an understanding nod.
“I’ll just take Maya and Keegan upstairs with the other kids. I’ll be down in a little bit.” Maya eagerly followed after Liz who had taken hold of Keegan’s hand and was leading them to the staircase.
Maria and Michael followed after Max and were greeted by a very solemn looking Isabel. Kyle looked anxious and Tess looked completely unaffected. They all eyed each other for a moment. Isabel moved first standing up to hug Michael and then Maria.
That done, Tess stood. She fairly glowed from her pregnancy. Unlike everyone else she looked happy. She was not letting herself get upset by any of this. “I think we should start,” she said looking toward Max for approval. He nodded.
“Wait, what about Liz?” Maria asked. “Don’t you think she needs to be in on this?”
Max shook his head. “Liz is already aware of the situation. Right now she’s better off staying with the kids. I want her involved with this as little as possible. She can’t handle this right now on top of the pregnancy. She won’t be able to think rationally.”
Max’s comment made Isabel's expression more fearful.
“I think you better tell us what’s going on and you better do it soon.” she said in a controlled voice.
“Let me Max.” Tess said. Kyle looked on, not sure what to make of anything. This was all just too weird. And his wife was just taking it all in stride, like this sort of alien crisis happened everyday.
“First of all, I want to apologize to the four of you, Kyle, Isabel, Michael and Maria. Max and I have been keeping something from you.” She paused as if trying to decide how to word things. “ When we decided to not send the signal we knew there were going to be consequences. We knew that others might possibly come looking for us. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Only they’re not really looking for us. Their looking for our children. More specifically Braden. He’s the one they’ve chosen.”
She eyed the other’s curiously. Maria spoke first. “Why do they want Braden? He’s just a little boy. And anyway, Jacob is the oldest. He’s the one that’s displayed powers. I don’t think that Braden would even know what to do with his powers.”
Max spoke up then. “This is the part we didn’t tell you. The last time we were all together in Roswell, when Jacob got so sick, he was having dreams. Dreams that Tess, Liz and I were sharing with him. They were dreams about a second son. In the dreams, the second son was the chosen one. We never quite understood them, but we figured out that the reason Jacob got sick and brought Liz and I back together was so that Braden could be born. Tess was able to figure that much out. Over the years, nothing has happened. I think we all just thought we could put it behind us and pretend that the dreams didn’t mean anything. But yesterday, I was taking Brady and Jake to school and Jake had a flash. He saw them. He knew that they were coming. I panicked. I went to get Brady and brought them home. And Maria, Brady does have powers. He used them yesterday.” Max smiled at this. “He made his little girlfriend a ring for her birthday. He can also heal.”
Maria chuckled at this. “Awwwe, it’s like you and Liz all over again.”
“ I don’t know what singles him out from the rest of the kids. All I know is that something is going to happen soon. And I wanted us all together again so we could figure out how to deal with whatever is coming our way.”
Isabel looked troubled. “So what about the other kids? Are they a part of all of this too?”
Tess looked troubled for a moment. Finally she nodded her head. “ I think that they are. Not all of them, but I think that this is going to involve Jacob and Maya as well. Maybe Cassie. I’ve been having dreams again. They didn’t mean anything to me until last night. I wrote them all down.” She pulled a piece of paper from her purse. Opening it up, she looked over it carefully. She turned the paper over and looked at the back and then looked at the front again. She turned her gaze to Kyle.
“Very funny, what did you do with the paper? I had six dreams last night and I wrote down each of them. Did you switch the paper on me or something?” she accused.
Kyle shook his head. “ I swear to god I didn’t. That’s what you wrote last night. I looked after one of the dreams. I couldn’t understand any of it. I thought that it must have been your language or something.”
Tess looked down and the paper that was now shaking in her hand. She handed it to Max. For a second he looked confused. “ I thought that if I wrote down the dreams we would have some kind of clue. But written like that, I can’t tell you anything but generalizations.”
The paper got passed around to Isabel and Michael and Maria. Michael studied it for a moment. “ I recognize some of these symbols, but I couldn’t tell you what they mean.” he finally said. “Tess, do you remember any of the dreams?”
“I remember the kids. They were standing in a four-square. Like us. They make up a complete unit when put together. I think that’s why our people want them. Braden is the youngest, maybe that has something to do with it.”
Isabel was starring out into nothing. Recognition flashed across her face.
“Yesterday, Cassie came home from school early. She passed out in the morning. Do you think it had something to do with Jacob’s flash?”
Now Michael looked startled. “Maya wouldn’t go to school yesterday. She kept saying how she needed to be at home when it started. I didn’t understand her, but I didn’t blame her for not wanting to go. Maybe she knew what was happening.” His voice was surprisingly calm.
“Maybe we need to get the kids together and find out what they know. We have to figure out what to do. I don’t think that putting our lives on hold indefinitely is going to do any good. My concern now is that whatever is coming will wait to catch us unprepared. I don’t want that to happen.” Max told them.
“ Are we sure that whatever’s happening is a bad thing? Maybe this is just how the kids come of age. They start to realize their alien potential. It could be something like that.” Maria suggested.
“The dreams seem pretty non-threatening.....” Tess started to say but she was cut off by an angry voice.
“Then you aren’t having the same ones. You’re not seeing the way they rip Braden from my arms and how he calls my name and I can’t do anything. I’m helpless. Does that seem non-threatening to you?” Liz’s voice shook with emotion as she stood in the doorway
“Liz...” Max started and went up to her. She shook off his hand attempting to comfort her and walked away. Max stared after her for a moment.
“She’s taking this pretty hard,” he finally managed to say.
The room was silent. They were all feeling the shock of what was happening. There was so much uncertainty. All they could do was feel helpless. They didn’t know what was going to happen. They were all surrounded by fear that resulted from a threat to their children.
Maria stood up. “I’ll go talk to Liz,” she said.
Tess stopped her. “Let me. I’m the one that upset her.”
The compassion Maria heard in Tess’ voice was enough to make her pause in her tracks and give Tess the opportunity to go after Liz.
Maria raised an eyebrow at Kyle, “Being with you has had a good influence.” she said.
Kyle shrugged, “It’s all in a days work. She sees how great I am and tries to live up to it.” Maria rolled her eyes.
Tess found Liz in the kitchen trying to reach a pan from the top shelf. Unfortunately for Liz, her large stomach was preventing this.
“It’s awful isn’t it? Not being able to reach things? It feels like years since I’ve been able to see my feet.” Tess joked.
Liz had stopped reaching for the pan when Tess started talking. She turned around slowly. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears.
Tess went on, “Throw in all this alien mumbo jumbo and it feels like nothing is ever going to go right, doesn’t it?”
Liz could see the sympathy and understanding in Tess’ eyes.
“I’m sorry for snapping at you in there.” she finally said. “ I ....it’s just so frustrating. The kids are all so little. It seems like yesterday, Max and I were bringing Brady home from the hospital, and now he has to face all of this stuff with.... destiny. And to top it all off, these babies started kicking this morning and have yet to stop. So I’m exhausted and scared and cranky..”
Tess laughed at this. She reached out a hand to touch Liz’s shoulder.
“We’re going to work things out. I promise. I’ll do whatever I can to help. I understand what you’re going through. My baby isn’t even born yet, but I love him so much already. If I knew that someone was going to try and take him to fulfill his so called destiny, I’d be scared too.”
A moment of acceptance and understanding passed between the two. Liz seemed to have calmed down considerably.
“So are you hungry? Because I’m starved...” Liz said as she turned back to the kitchen.
Tess nodded. “I’ve suddenly got a craving for...”
They both looked at each other and spoke simultaneously “chocolate cake and tobasco sauce.”
Max heard the laughter from the kitchen and went to investigate. What he found made his mouth drop open. Liz and Tess were sitting together at the kitchen table talking and laughing and eating chocolate cake, a bottle of tobasco sauce shared between them.
Liz looked up when she sensed Max’s presence. “Hey honey,” she said and then she turned her attention back to Tess.
“So then, Zoe, decides that she can do whatever Braden can, so she climbed up the tree house. She had almost made it to the top when she slipped and fell. Neither Max or I could get to her right away, but both Jacob and Braden were there. Her leg was broken. Brady put his hand on it and healed it. I made Max look at it too and when he concluded that Brady had fixed it completely we sat down and the kids got a long lecture on their powers. Then I made Max tear the tree house down.”
Max left them sit there. Liz seemed to need to talk to someone. It was odd to think that she would choose Tess. But they were both in similar situations. Pregnant and scared about what was going to happen.
Kyle looked up expectantly when Max reentered the room.
“Well, are they both still alive?” he asked.
Max shook his head. “Their eating cake and ....talking.” His voice conveyed the unbelieveability of the scene in the kitchen.
“Max....” Michael started. Max stopped him before he could get any further.
“Why don’t we just get you settled in okay? We can finish talking about all of this later. You have all had long trips to get here. You should try to relax as much as you can. Maybe once the kids are asleep we can try to make some plans.” Max was back in his commanding role with Michael receiving and obeying the orders. The others were all quiet now too, each deliberating over other dilemmas. Maria was sort of disturbed by the idea of Liz and Tess bonding. Isabel was worried about Alex and when he would be able to join them. And Kyle was wondering if the baby would come while all of this was going on. Whatever was happening, they all wanted it to be finished quickly, so they could go back to their normal.