posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:51:38 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Okay, I've finally come to a point where I'm openly admitting that I started a K/L story. LOL I hid it on the Boardello and De discovered me a few days ago. So, here I am coming out of the closet and posting it over here. I know there's less of a chance I'll be strung up by rabid dreamers on this forum. LOL Though I still love Max and Liz. I just love Kyle more. Call this one the story idea that just wouldn't go away. Stupid inspiration.

Illusions
Part 1

It was time.

The plane had already touched down on the runway, the gentle vibrations of the last few hours were dying down as the plane approached the terminal. The whirring engines were already cooling from the long flight. And Liz Parker had never been more anxious in her life.

It was time to go home. She was certain of it, felt the pull deep in the core of her gut. She felt it in that place she rarely allowed herself to listen to anymore. She’d tried to ignore it at first, uncertain as to why after all this time she was being called home. But it had only grown stronger, more insistent until it was keeping her up at night.

So, Liz had carefully risen from her bed during that long, quiet stretch of morning before the sun rose. She had carefully packed a few belongings in her bag, and had driven to the airport. No reservations, no waiting. She’d been afraid it would be too easy to postpone or cancel. She’d jumped on the first plane to Roswell and had accepted that the coil of nerves in her stomach would grow with each mile. It had been twelve years after all.

Around her, the first class passengers were unbuckling their seat belts and gathering their belongings. She stayed in her seat a moment, gathering the courage that was present in every part of her life but this one. But then she always had been a coward when it came to Max.

Then it was her turn to exit. Mechanically, she rose and pulled her laptop from the overhead bin, and she began the long walk down the carpet. Had she ever been to this airport before? She could remember dozens of others clearly, but only one vague memory of this one. She had been bouncing, anxiously waiting for her grandmother to arrive. She had been six, maybe seven then and hadn’t returned since. She’d chosen the bus when she’d fled to Florida all those years ago, having had enough of the sky.

Liz wasn’t sure what she’d expected as she stepped off the plane, fanfare perhaps. She was returning after a self-induced exile from her home. But she hadn’t told anyone she was coming, hadn’t even known she would do it for sure until the plane had taken off.

Jack was going to kill her when he found out she’d picked up and left in the middle of the night.

Around her, loved ones met, hugging and crying. To her left, a couple embraced passionately. Another time, she would have paused to watch them for a second, wondering at their story. What made them fit? Why did they work when so many others failed? But she didn’t have time for that now.

Hefting her shoulder strap, Liz decided to rent a car first. It was a simple matter of signing her name, waiting in line to collect her bag. Then she was sitting in her newly rented Mustang. It had been foolish to be swayed by the gleaming red car, but she had felt the need for something foolish. And somehow, she knew she would want the freedom of the open air soon.

Sitting in her car, she tried to decide what to do next. There was really no logical place for her to go, except one. So, she headed there. Night had fallen around her, carrying with it a chill that Liz had forgotten. The air wasn’t crisp and biting as it was in Vermont before a snowstorm. It didn’t carry the rush of excitement and activity that New York did. And it certainly didn’t hold the heavy spray of salt that she’d grown accustomed to in Florida. But she found the air here to be welcoming and familiar in a way that none of the others could ever be.

As with all things in Roswell, the drive was short. In less time than she would have preferred, she was parked across the street from the Crashdown Café, the only home she’d ever known. Only it wasn’t home anymore. The Café was still full and there was something comforting in the fact that the waitresses still wore the tacky teal uniforms. But Liz didn’t see the faceless patrons. She saw their booth, untouched by age, filled with teenagers who were wise beyond their years as they planned how best to escape the newest threat against the aliens.

A chill passed through Liz and she climbed out of the car. She tugged on her jacket, a long suede coat that she’d bought herself last winter. But it didn’t do much to take away the chill. She knew she should go inside where it would be warm and alive, but she stood where she was. Tucking her hands into her pockets, she fumbled for the pack of cigarettes she’d picked up at the airport. She found her lighter in her left pocket, but she made no move to light it. Instead, she gazed openly at the one place that had the power to bring her to her knees, and she remembered.

*~*~

Kyle sighed and rubbed his hands wearily over his face. It had been the longest day ever. At one point, he’d been absolutely convinced that time had begun to move backwards. But that could have just been the result of spending two hours with Mrs. Foster. The woman called the station at least three times a week with a list of complaints against her neighbors. And he’d drawn the short straw that afternoon.

Another glance at his watch told him his shift was over in fifteen minutes, but he didn’t think he could manage to pretend to be busy for even that long. He turned to grab his jacket, and caught his reflection in the shine of the file cabinets that lined the wall. His badge gleamed against his chest, shiny and new. It gave him the same quick thrill he’d experienced every day for the last year. Only, he didn’t feel the harsh stab of guilt as heavily has he used to. Some wounds simply needed time to heal.

“Hey, Sheriff. You going home early?”

Kyle shrugged his jacket on and grinned at his newest deputy, Hanson's brother. “Yep. I was thinking I’d grab something to eat on the way home. I taped the game this morning and I’m looking forward to catching up.”

“Oh, so you don’t want to know that the Knicks-“

Kyle pointed a finger at him. “If you finish that statement, you’re fired.” The deputy laughed and waved him away as he kept walking.

Locking his drawers, Kyle slipped out of his office and secured it behind him. Not that it mattered really. Nothing of importance was kept in there. The real files were locked away and sealed by powers that no government agency could ever get into. Not unless they happened to have an alien lying around to open it for them.

Waving to the passerby’s as he left, he headed for his car. It was easy to remember the first time he’d been assigned a squad car and the rush of adrenaline when he’d turned the lights on for the first time. He’d been such a rookie then, his father had laughed when he’d come to show it off.

He’d been doing a lot of that lately, remembering obscure things. The memories had seemed clearer than ever and it surprised him. On a good day, his memory was screwy. Just yesterday, he’d spent an hour trying to find his keys. Isabel had rescued him when she’d found them in his fridge. She’d smiled in that funny way of hers, struggling not to ask why he’d put his keys in the fridge.

Maria's theory was that he’d been a bachelor too long. And he secretly agreed with her. Isn’t that why he was on his way home from working a double shift? No, not even on his way home, on his way to pick up the usual meal the Crashdown had waiting for him. He never stayed anymore, always taking his food with him, but pausing long enough to exchange words with any locals that wanted a minute of the Sheriff’s time. It was what his father would have done.

Maria still tried to get him to join their Sunday brunch every week, but he never had felt quite right about it. He knew he was only a member because of the secrets he held, and he was okay with that. Isabel and Maria were the only two that actively sought him out anyway unless there was trouble. Thankfully though there hadn’t been trouble in years and the cop in him itched when things were too quiet.

If Kyle were to be honest with himself though, he would have to admit that he knew why he wouldn’t join them despite the numerous offers. Sunday brunch used to be his tradition with Liz, way back in the days before the aliens had invaded their lives. And if Liz wasn’t there, then he didn’t feel as if he should be either.

Kyle almost laughed aloud when he found his thoughts taking their strange path. How long had it been since he’d thought about the days after Liz had left town? Kyle had discovered the truth that his father had known all along. After being healed by Max, Kyle had awoken to find a glowing handprint on his skin, and he hadn’t needed his father to fill in most of the gaps. Pieces of the puzzle had begun to fit together already, and his first thought had been of Liz. He knew he’d acted like a jealous lunatic, following them wherever they went, but he’d been unable to let go of her.

Only, by the time he’d been able to get up and go to the Crashdown, Liz had already left for Florida. And she’d never come back. There were a lot of things he regretted in his life, but the one he regretted most was not being able to say goodbye to Liz before she’d left town, to apologize for the way he'd acted towards her.

Pulling to a stop outside the entrance to the Crashdown, he climbed out of the squad car and went inside. It never failed to amuse him to see bobbing antennae on the heads of the waitresses and had been glad when the new owners had kept at least that small bit of the dress code intact.

“Hey, Sheriff. Your usual?”

Kyle grinned at the high school senior. She always had a smile for him and managed to get his orders perfect. “I feel daring tonight actually, Cindy. Can you grill me the biggest steak back there? Oh, and a baked potato?”

“You got it.” She winked at him before she slid behind the counter.

Taking a seat at the counter to wait, Kyle felt his age. He knew Cindy had a crush on him, and she was exactly the kind of girl he used to go for. When had he turned into an old man?

“Hey, Kyle.”

Kyle turned to see a red head approaching him. “Hey, Tammy. What are you doing here?”

She rolled her eyes and gestured back to the booth where two boys were making a large mess with a hot fudge sundae. “Progress report reward,” she answered.

“How old are they now?” It gave him a quick stab of regret to see an old classmate with children, as if he’d wasted the second chance at life Max had given him. He’d dated Tammy years and years ago, had enjoyed a very hot and heavy summer with her, then watched as Dan Gordon stole her out from under him. It hadn’t stopped Kyle from dancing with her at their wedding though.

“Alan is five and Paul is going to be eight next month. You’re invited to the party of course.”

“They’ve grown,” Kyle replied, carefully sidestepping the invitation. He’d didn’t like to make plans that far ahead.

“You should get one of your own,” Tammy teased.

“Oh, I see. So you came over here to try to rob me of my bachelor status. Sorry, but I like my life.”

Tammy made a noise, but smiled. “Actually, I wanted to let you know that there’s been someone sitting outside for an hour now across the street. I thought you might check on your way out the door.”

Kyle swiveled in his seat and saw the red flash of a car in the darkness. It was a testament to his state of mind that he’d missed it on his way in. “Don’t recognize the car. Probably a lost tourist, but I’ll check it out anyway.”

Tammy patted his cheeks affectionately. “You give me a call if you want me to fix you up. I still have that friend that’s dying to meet you.”

Graciously, Cindy appeared at his elbow with his order and he was sure to dig up an especially large tip for her timing. “I’ve got to go, Tammy. But I’ll see you soon.” He was already backing through the door, offering her his grin of apology. She wouldn’t take offense. He knew her well enough not to be worried.

With a whistle on his lips, Kyle tossed his dinner on the passenger seat of his car and headed across the street towards the Mustang. He could barely make out a figure sitting on the curb in the dark, and he vowed to remember to have the streetlights in the area checked out.

“Hey,” he called out. “I’m Sheriff Valenti, and I heard that you might-“ Kyle paused mid-sentence and found that he could only stare. He had to be seeing things, because this couldn’t be real. “Liz? Is that you?”

Surprised by the voice, Liz raised her eyes and found herself looking at an old friend. For a moment, she thought he had stepped out of one of her memories, but she came back to reality quickly.

“Kyle?” She shook her head, trying to shake off the bleak memories she’d allowed to surface, and she smiled. “Look at you.” He was in uniform, and though it was dark, she could still catch the glitter of his badge. He looked head to toe like his father. “Wow.”

Kyle’s grin widened further and something in his heart jumped at the way she looked at him. “I could say the same thing. You look amazing.” She was groomed to perfection, looking calm and composed in a pair of tan slacks and a white blouse. They were expensive, he knew that much from dating Valerie, his last doomed relationship. She was wearing a soft looking trench coat that pooled around her feet. The wind had picked up, blowing her hair out of its clip and into her face. And she looked amazing. “What are you doing here?”

Liz shrugged, but her eyes began to glaze over again as she turned towards the Crashdown. “I was remembering.”

Kyle knew that look. He might not have seen Liz in over ten years, but he recognized it. She was thinking of Max and it burned a slow hole in his heart. “When did you get into town?”

“Just now.” Liz forced her attention away from the restaurant and she stood up slowly. “I didn’t know where else to go.”

“You know, I hear they allow people inside now. So they don’t freeze to death out here waiting for their food.” He leaned against the Mustang and followed her gaze to the restaurant. “Nice wheels.”

“It’s a rental.” Liz looked him over again, and found that of all things in Roswell, she was most surprised to see Kyle. The last time she’d seen him was after Max healed the gunshot wound that had threatened to kill him. And she was sorry she hadn’t been there to help him deal with that. “Kyle, are we…I mean…”

“We’re good, Liz.” He smiled at her. “My dad told me everything after I was shot. I tried to come to see you, but you were already gone.”

Liz lowered her head and fiddled with the pack of cigarettes she had yet to open. “I couldn’t stay, not after…”

How much did Kyle know? Max’s status as King? His destiny with Tess? His escape from the White Room? Kyle probably knew more than she did now. She knew she should ask him how everyone was, but she couldn’t form the words. She’d been drawn to this town by the connection she had to Max and she was terrified of seeing him again. Nothing in her life made sense anymore. She needed a change of subject fast. “How’s your father?”

“He died last year.” He tried to offer Liz a reassuring smile when her face crumpled. “It’s okay, Liz. You didn’t know. He was killed in the line of duty, exactly the way he wanted to go.”

Liz reached out and put a hand on Kyle’s arm. “I’m sorry. He was a good man.”

“The best,” Kyle agreed, trying to ignore the way Liz’s hand remained on his wrist. “So, what about your parents? I haven’t heard anything in years.” He could remember that day clearly as well. The Parkers had sold the Crashdown and had moved to Florida when it had become apparent that Liz had no intention of returning to New Mexico. Maria had wept as she’d said her good-byes and Max had seemed to crumble a bit more that day. Kyle cursed his selective memory. Couldn't remember where his keys were or what day it was, but he could remember that day clearly.

“They’re good, still in Tampa and loving it.” She shivered as the wind picked up again. Tightening the belt on her coat, she leaned against the car with Kyle and found that she hadn’t expected anything to be this easy. Kyle had always made her feel safe, except in the days when he’d followed her every move. But she could hardly blame him for that. She had been acting like a lunatic.

Kyle saw the shiver. “Do you want to go inside? It really is cold out here and I think it’s suppose to rain.”

She shook her head quickly. Standing here had been enough for one day. “No, I should go though.”

“Where are you staying?” He saw her subtle move to leave and he panicked. He wasn’t ready to let her out of his sight yet. “Maria and Michael won’t be back until next Friday, so I know you’re not staying with them.”

Liz tilted her head curiously. “They’re still together?”

Kyle looked at her with a carefully blank face. He knew she hadn’t talked to Maria in years, but was it possible that she didn’t know anything? “You haven’t spoken to anyone?”

Liz felt something race up her spine. Kyle was too calm, trying to decide if she knew some key piece of information. “Maria and I lost touch.” More like reluctantly cut off communication with each other when they’d discovered that they couldn’t really talk about anything. Phone lines and email accounts weren’t secure enough to talk about what Liz could only suspect had been going on in Roswell. And so the calls and letters had been fewer and more far between until they stopped altogether.

But Kyle knew. Whatever it was that had pulled her to this town after all this time was swirling in his eyes. Was Max okay? Had he been hurt? Or was Kyle trying to save her the pain of discovering that Max had indeed fallen in love with Tess as he was destined to do? It was too much, and she wasn’t sure if she was ready for it. “Just tell me if everyone is okay.”

Kyle carefully clamped down on the last bit of emotion inside of him and nodded. He even managed to force a smile. “Sure they are. Why wouldn’t they be?”

He was lying to her. Kyle always had been a terrible liar. But it was enough to let it go for now. If Max were dying or hurt, Kyle would tell her. But still, she knew she wouldn’t believe things were okay until she saw him for herself. All she had to do was find the courage to face him first. “You said Maria and Michael were out of town?”

“Max is too,” Kyle answered her unspoken question softly. “Vacation, Liz. Nothing serious.”

She nodded, accepting the information. But if everyone was fine, why had she felt that sense of urgency? “Then I guess I came here for nothing.”

“Why did you come, Liz? Why now?”

He seemed to be looking for some answer from her, but she didn’t know what to give him. The man in front of her wasn’t the same boy she’d dated. He was stiffer now, not as open as she remembered. Yet, she could still see the same softness behind his eyes. “I don’t know. It was time,” she answered without thinking.

Accepting her answer, Kyle’s grin returned. “Well, you can’t just turn around and go back to wherever you live now. You have to at least stay a few days. And you’re staying with me. Don’t bother arguing. I’m trained in the ways of hostage negotiation. I can outthink you any day of the week. Plus, I already have dinner in my car.”

Liz found herself grinning again unable to resist Kyle. “I am hungry.”

“See? It’s like fate. You can follow me, I’m not far from here.” He pushed her into her car before she could change her mind then headed for his own. And within the safety of his squad car, he cursed himself. He hadn’t missed the way her face had fallen when he’d mentioned fate and he supposed it was too closely tied to destiny in her book. It had just been so very long since the word had come up, he hadn’t thought about it. But he supposed the word was still a ball of pain for Liz. After all, isn’t that why she’d left Max behind?

He couldn’t deny that he was beyond excited that Liz was back. Maria would be livid of course that she wasn’t here. And Max would be…Kyle wasn’t sure what Max would be. How would Liz’s arrival impact his life?

Even more important and pressing was the question of how Liz’s arrival would impact his life. She didn’t know anything that had happened over the last twelve years, didn’t know the decisions they’d made and the relationships that had formed. She had no way of knowing that he still thought about her all the time. The memory of the time he’d spent with her had been a slow, burning ache over the years that wouldn’t go away.

But as much as he was overjoyed to see her again, he couldn’t help but wonder why she had shown up now of all times. And though he knew he should shuffle her off to wherever she lived, he couldn’t. It had been too long since he’d felt this kind of excitement. He would just have to be careful what he told her and it would be fine. She would get what she needed from Max, and leave again. He would have a week alone with her to bask in her presence, then let her go back to her world.

She never had to know the truth before she left. What good would it do? Liz’s eyes were already filled with enough sadness and pain, and he’d be damned if he was going to add to it. It wouldn’t change anything anyway, and she wouldn’t look at him with the same pity that the others looked at him with. He could be normal for a few days, and then he would let her go.



[ edited 4 time(s), last at 1-Feb-2003 3:56:14 PM ]
posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:53:53 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Illusions
Part 2

“Well, here it is. Casa Valenti.” Kyle swung the door to his house open and ushered Liz inside. As she stepped through the doorway, Kyle found himself examining his own house for the first time. He’d never needed much and he spent most of his time at the station anyway. In all the years he’d lived there, he’d never noticed how spartan it was, not until Liz stepped inside and brightened the room. “It’s not much,” he admitted, feeling suddenly anxious about what Liz thought of it.

Liz grinned at him, instantly charmed by the house. “No, it’s great. It’s a home, Kyle, something that’s yours.” She knew she must sound crazy, but she hadn’t been in one place long enough to set down roots in years. It had been her choice, but it still gave her moments of regret. Laying her laptop bag down, she took in the whole room. It was an old house and the living room at least looked lived in.

An overstuffed armchair sat perfectly in front of the large television in the middle of the room, where she imagined he spent countless hours watching sports. Kyle couldn’t have changed that much over the years. A couch that looked as if it had seen better days was pushed against one side of the room. The walls might have been bare, but there were curtains in the window that were too girly for Kyle to have hung himself. Did Kyle have a girlfriend or a wife? She didn’t see a ring on his finger, but it didn’t mean he hadn’t ever been married.

Kyle could feel the weight of Liz’s gaze as she looked around the room. She was so different from the girl he’d spent two weeks trying to ask on a first date. The woman before him now was more confident, and yet still scared. He could see the rigid line of her back through the tan coat and he wondered where her mind wandered to in moments like this. Did she still think of Max after all these years? Did she think of him at all? Kyle shook off the thought, knowing the odds weren’t likely that he was anything more than an old boyfriend to her.

But Kyle always had been a glutton for punishment, and he couldn’t resist asking what she saw when she looked at his threadbare carpet and white walls. “Okay I give up. What are you so quiet?”

She didn’t answer at first, choosing her words carefully. “I was just thinking that I don’t really know you. Not anymore.”

“Oh.” Uncomfortable with the unexpected comment, Kyle moved to the kitchen. “Well, we can start with dinner. You do eat meat, right?”

“Of course.” Unable to resist, Liz peeked down one hallway. She might not know much about the man Kyle had grown to be, but it was a surprise to discover that she really did want to know.

“And you’re not adverse to potatoes?”

Liz halted her wanderings and turned toward the kitchen. “Doesn’t everyone like potatoes?”

Kyle shrugged as he pulled the lid off the take out plate. He was rambling and he knew it, but it was oddly disconcerting to have Liz this close after so long. It was almost as if her presence was unsettling the air in the room and making it harder to breathe. But then if he recalled, she had always had that affect on him.

“I don’t know. You might meet the occasional rogue potato hater. I hear they exist and they’re boycotting the state of Idaho.” He frowned when he saw that they hadn’t given him silverware, then he inwardly cursed. He had given up on finding anything in his kitchen a year ago. Even if he could remember where he last put things, Isabel was sure to have changed it to make it more efficient. “If I were a fork, where would I be?” he murmured more to himself than Liz.

Liz watched Kyle pull open the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. She narrowed her eyes as she observed him. It was something she had learned to do, reading body language, and Kyle’s was screaming that something was off. How could he not know where he kept his own silverware? “Do you need help?”

“No, I’ll have it in a second.” Kyle cursed Isabel’s nurturing instincts. Once a month, she came over and moved his things around in an effort to organize his life for him. He let her mainly because he’d learned it was easier than resisting. When he resisted, she just brought Maria for back up.

He could feel Liz’s eyes on him, boring holes into his back just like she always had. She’d always known him too well. But she didn’t know him now, and he could tell it bothered her. It was only a matter of time before she started trying to pry his secrets out of him. Luckily, he’d picked up a few tricks of his own over the years.

As he searched through his drawers, Kyle struggled to find some topic of conversation that was safe enough. She had been jittery when he’d brought up Maria earlier, so it stood to reason that bringing up anyone in their group would illicit the same reaction. She was settling herself on a barstool, digging into her pocket for the pack of cigarettes he’d seen her carry earlier. And he was struck with the notion that wherever Liz had been, life hadn’t been as kind as he’d hoped. She was leaner than he remembered, though she was impeccably dressed. She obviously had money, whatever she was doing. Weariness lined her face and he knew she didn’t altogether trust him. Or maybe it was the world in general. He couldn’t be certain without asking, but he didn’t think she would actually tell him anything. “So, what about you? Do you have a house of your own? Or should I start off by asking what state you call your home these days?”

Liz watched Kyle for another minute before she shook off the feeling that something was wrong. If she didn’t want to talk about the last few years, why should she expect Kyle to confide anything to her? “Vermont.” At least that was where she kept an apartment. “But I travel a lot. Are you sure you don’t need help?”

“Nope. Found them.” Kyle produced two forks and a knife with a flourish and offered Liz a grin. “So, what do you do that lets you jet set around the globe?”

Her first impulse had been to lie, to make something up or to avoid the question. But hadn’t she expected personal questions when she’d come back to Roswell? These people used to be her friends. It was only natural that they would want to know what she had been doing. “I’m a writer actually.”

“Really?” Kyle sat at the counter beside her and offered her a fork. That wasn’t an answer he’d expected. If she’d said doctor, he would have believed it. If she’d said Brain Surgeon, he wouldn’t have batted an eye. And it only reaffirmed that he didn’t know this Liz Parker.

He pulled the unlit cigarette from her hand and set it aside. She hardly registered that he had plucked it from her fingers. Then he set about cutting up the steak. “What do you write? No, let me guess. You write those horribly cheesy romance novels with pirates on the cover.”

Liz couldn’t help but grin. She wanted to fight it, but Kyle was hard to resist when he was trying to be charming. And she remembered enough to recognize the Valenti Charm. “What do you know about those?”

“Ex-girlfriend,” he explained as he popped a bite of steak in his mouth. Rolling his eyes dramatically, he tried to remember when he’d had a steak last. Had it been at Michael and Maria’s last summer? He couldn’t remember and he chose not to dwell on it. Liz was eating quickly and he wondered if she even realized she was doing it. As long as he could keep up the conversation, maybe she would finish off the dinner. She needed a bit of weight anyway. “Carly used to curl up on the couch with one while I watched sports.”

“Carly? Not Carly Peterson?” Liz had a memory of the very perky, very blonde Carly from high school. “You two dated?”

“Oh, yeah.” Kyle couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. Carly had been memorable to say the least. But she had only stuck around for a few short weeks before his secrets had come between them.

“I can’t imagine what you two had in common.” Liz sliced open the potato and took a bite, realizing how hungry she was. She’d been too nervous to eat on the plane and she hadn’t stopped for anything that morning.

“Relationship based on sex.” When Liz raised an eyebrow in question, he grinned. “What? Did you think I was going to wait around forever for you to come back to town?” He’d meant it as a joke, but when he saw how her face fell, he set his fork down carefully. “Liz, obviously we have a whole lot of…stuff between us here. You left all those years ago and never came back. And I’m sure you had reasons for that. I’m not going to push you for those. But I’m also not going to casually mention anything you obviously aren’t read to hear. If you want to know about something, ask. If you don’t ask, I won’t bring it up.”

Liz hung her head, hearing what he was really saying. If she wanted to know about Max, he would only tell her if she asked. In a way, it was both a relief and a burden. It was why she had been jumpy since stepping into his house, afraid she would hear or see something she couldn’t handle. Had Max and Tess become involved? Did he love her now? She wasn’t sure how she felt about it. They were separated by years of distance and she didn’t yearn for Max the way she once did. But she couldn’t deny that she had felt pulled back to Roswell.

She forced herself to meet his eyes. “Thanks, Kyle. Today’s been…”

“Weird,” he offered. “Tell me about it. When I woke up this morning, I never thought you’d be staying with me tonight. But it’s good to see you, Liz.” He wanted to touch her, place his hand over hers. But he knew the simple gesture would be too much. Her nerves were jangled and she looked spooked enough just sitting with him.

“Believe me, this is the last place I thought I’d end up.” There was such warmth on Kyle’s face that she found herself relaxing. Maybe it hadn’t been such a bad idea for her to come back after all. She’d been too out of touch with the small world they’d created so long ago.

A shrill ring pierced the silence and Liz closed her eyes with a sigh. She resisted the urge to check her watch and see how long it had taken Jack to try to find her.

“I think that’s you,” Kyle offered. He noted that she didn’t jump up and bolt for the phone, worried the call might escape her. Rather, she took her time crossing the room and pulling the small device out of her coat pocket, resigning herself to her fate.

“Hello?”

Kyle rose from the table to clean off the now empty dishes and then moved into the kitchen to pour himself a drink of water. He told himself he wouldn’t eavesdrop, but he found that he couldn’t help himself. Liz had sunk down on his couch, and she cradled her head in her hand as she spoke in low tones.

Jealousy curled in his stomach before he could stop it. Of course Liz was seeing someone. She was Liz, perfection made flesh. Who wouldn’t want her? She wasn’t wearing a wedding band, so he assumed she wasn’t married. There was no telltale band of pale flesh on her finger to show that she had ever worn one. Kyle couldn’t help but wonder why.

He tried to tell himself that it was none of his business, but he wasn’t very convincing. So, he tried to rationalize it out that he needed to know if she was seeing someone solely to cover himself. He needed to know if a jealous boyfriend was going to come knocking on his door. Of course, that implied there would be a reason for said boyfriend to be jealous.

Kyle snatched his glass of water off the counter and drank half of it in gulping mouthfuls. He needed to snap out of it. Liz was back in town for all of an hour and already he was slipping back into the role of the jealous ex-boyfriend, angry at the world for taking his…his what?

What was Liz to him anyway? Lowering the glass, he studied her profile from the kitchen. She was still the most beautiful girl he’d ever known. She still had the shy undertones to everything she did, and he remembered how easy it had been to fall for her. She was smart and logical and had completely enthralled him in high school. It had taken two weeks of rehearsing his speech in the mirror to ask her out. But it had been worth it.

Was Liz the one great love of his life? He wasn’t mushy enough to think so. The One That Got Away? That one seemed to fit, so Kyle ran with it. It was fine to pine for the one that got away. It didn’t necessarily mean anything, just that circumstances had come between the possibility of what could have been. It was only natural that he still thought about her every once and a while, and how his life could have been different if Liz had never been shot in the Crashdown that day. Would she have left him for Max still? Or would they be happily married now with two kids and a dog? The image came to him with such startling clarity that Kyle picked up his glass of water and finished it off.

Liz hung up the phone and struggled not to sigh. She had the beginnings of a headache and all she wanted to do was sleep for a week. Of course, she was in someone else’s house and she didn’t want to seem rude. No, she corrected herself, she wasn’t in someone else’s house, she was in Kyle Valenti’s house and it made all the difference.

“Everything okay?”

Liz turned to find Kyle watching her in that odd way he used to and her heart beat a bit quicker than normal. “Yeah. Everything’s fine. I just left town pretty quick this morning. Loose ends,” she explained.

He looked as if he wanted to ask her something, but she wasn’t sure what it could be that would put that fierce look in his eye. It made her uneasy, and she resolved to work on that. There was no reason for Kyle to make her nervous. Just when it looked like he had found the words to form his question, a phone rang from somewhere in the house.

Kyle sighed, seeing the potential moment gone. He vowed to strangle whoever was on the other end of the phone line, but he made no move to answer it.

“Aren’t you going to get that?”

Kyle shook his head and grinned. “There’s no one else I want to talk to tonight.”

The answering machine picked up and Liz recognized Kyle’s voice on the recording. A second later, the room echoed with the sound of a voice that she hadn’t heard in years and it brought tears to her eyes.

“Kyle? Hey, man. Look, Isabel wanted me to call you to make sure you were still coming for lunch tomorrow. She…What? Isabel, do you want to talk to him?” Alex’s voice was muffled as he yelled back to Isabel. “Sorry. She thinks you’re home and just not picking up. Anyway, it’ll just be the three of us, so don’t be late. Game starts at one, and make sure you bring cash with you for when I win our bet. I’d hate to have to send Guido after you to collect. Talk to you later, man.”

Liz found her legs rubbery again as the answering machine clicked off. She could still hear Alex’s voice in her head and it was enough to shatter the illusion of control she had been clinging to. She’d known Alex for twenty-three years and hadn’t spoken to him in almost half that time. How was he ever going to forgive her for that?

Kyle saw the despair on her face and he moved into the living room to sit beside her on the couch. “I’m sorry, Liz. I forgot all about it. Look, I’ll just call and cancel. We can do something completely unrelated to this whole city if you want.”

Liz smiled weakly at Kyle. “Why would you cancel? You should go. They’re expecting you.” A smile crossed her face when she replayed the message in her mind. Were Alex and Isabel together? Had her friend finally melted the infamous ice queen? “You don’t have to rearrange your life just because I had some crazy notion that I was needed here.”

Cocking his head to the side, Kyle examined her thoughtfully. “Liz, you were always needed here. We just found a way to muddle through somehow.” Liz didn’t say anything, but she held his gaze. “You could always come with me. I’m sure Alex and Isabel would love to see you. In fact, it would make me a hero.”

Shaking her head, Liz felt trapped by the idea. “I don’t know. It just seems so fast.”

“Look, why don’t you get a good night’s sleep and put things into perspective. And maybe in the morning, you’ll want to come with me. If not, we’ll do something else. Okay? No pressure, but I think they’ll be overjoyed to see you. Isn’t that why you came back? To see everyone?”

“I’m not sure why I’m here,” Liz answered honestly. “I just felt like I was being called, like I was needed here now."” She shrugged, realizing how ridiculous she sounded. “Maybe you’re right and I do just need to sleep.”

Kyle’s eyes sharpened, trying to make sense of Liz’s statement. Someone had called her back? He had a sneaking suspicion of why Liz had unexpectedly arrived in town. “Liz, can I ask you a question? Are you okay? I mean, after Max…healed you…nothing strange ever happened?”

Liz shook her head carefully, wanting to understand. “No. Why?” There was a shadow in Kyle’s eyes, something she couldn’t quite pin down and describe. And it left her feeling hollow.

“No reason.” He forced a smile back onto his face. “Just wanting to make sure. I’ll show you where the guest room is and you can get settled in.” Kyle rose and picked up Liz’s bag from the floor.

Liz followed Kyle down the hall, and her brain scrambled to figure out what she had seen in Kyle’s eyes. Her earlier suspicions came back to her now. Something was going on in Roswell.

“Here is your room. Bathroom is down the hall and my room is on the other end.” Kyle placed her bag on the bed and tucked his hands into his pockets. “I’m going to go take a shower if you’re not going to need the bathroom for a couple of minutes.”

Kyle turned to leave and Liz reached out on impulse and laid a hand on his arm to stop him. “Kyle, is everything okay? Is everyone okay?”

Kyle’s smile was tight. “Of course. Now get some sleep and if you’re lucky I’ll make you breakfast in the morning. I make a mean pop tart. Good night, Liz.” Reluctantly, he pulled his arm from her grip and left her alone in the room.

When Liz could hear the sound of the shower, she lowered herself to her new bed slowly. Things weren’t as good as she’d hoped they would be in Roswell. In fact, she had a feeling that things were on a precipice, and her presence might just be what could tip the scales.

Kyle was lying to her, and she was going to find out why.


posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:55:54 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?


Illusions
Part 3

Kyle frowned in concentration as he studied the frying pans in front of him. Two of them were blackened beyond recognition and a third was resting in the sink from where he’d attempted to put out the minor fire that had broken out. Cooking really wasn’t his specialty.

“Good morning.”

Turning quickly, Kyle offered her a smile. “Hey, Liz. Sleep okay?”

Liz raised an eyebrow and examined the state of the kitchen, but she chose not to say anything. “Like a rock. I guess I was more exhausted than I thought.” She settled herself at the small kitchen table.

“I hear returning pariahs often suffer from jet lag.” Trying to make light of it, Kyle eyed the frying pans and the charred contents. “I made breakfast.” He’d wanted to do something special for Liz. He had no way of knowing what her state of mind would be when she woke up, and he had wanted to put her at ease. Unfortunately, he’d forgotten that he couldn’t cook.

Liz found herself grinning when she saw the boyish charm on his face. “I see.”

“It’s not the most edible food ever.” His lips twitched and he dumped the frying pans in the trash can. “So, do you like your pop tarts with or without coffee?”

“With, please.”

Kyle poured her a cup of coffee and handed it to her black. She took a sip and sighed in contentment. As Kyle moved to toss the pop tarts in the toaster, he wondered how it was possible for her to look more beautiful every time he saw her. She looked more relaxed today, though she was still on edge. Her hair was down, falling softly against her face as she stared at her coffee thoughtfully. She was still considering going to see Alex and Isabel later. And as much as he wanted to keep her far away from everyone she’d ever known in Roswell, he knew that her friends needed her.

“So…I was thinking about catching some cartoons on television.” Kyle realized he sounded like a moron, but he couldn’t think of a single topic that wouldn’t hurt her. He wanted to know if she had made up her mind about that afternoon, but he didn’t want to ask. There were hours left until that decision had to be made.

When had she last done something as frivolous as watching cartoons all morning? Her life was usually full of activities. If she had been at home, she already would have gone for her morning jog, eaten whatever fruit for breakfast that was seasonal, and would be hip deep in answering correspondences by now.

“Cartoons could be fun.” Liz looked up from her coffee and smiled gratefully at Kyle. She’d been half-afraid he would have tried to push her. But she should have known Kyle better than that. He was dressed in civilian clothes this morning and he looked completely at ease in the faded jeans and T-shirt. If she could ignore the hard lines around his eyes, she could almost pretend the last twelve years hadn’t happened and he was merely lounging, killing time between games.

Allowing herself to be led from the kitchen, Liz settled on the worn couch with Kyle and curled her hands around the mug of coffee. She allowed herself to be lost in the simple world before her, and when Kyle sheepishly brought back two slightly burned pop tarts, she managed to eat them. It was comfortable sitting on the couch with Kyle, blocking out the world beyond his four walls. She hadn’t felt so at peace in more years than she could remember. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that the last time she had been happy had been in the Crashdown, surrounded by her friends, listening to their laughter. And the memory of that morning brought a sudden and crashing halt to the peace she’d found.

Kyle felt Liz shift beside him and he inclined his head in her direction. She was chewing on her bottom lip and staring blankly at the television. “The antics of Tom and Jerry aren’t funny enough for you anymore?”

Liz sighed and turned to Kyle. “It’s almost twelve.”

Kyle nodded. “Yeah. It is.”

“You know, this would be so much easier if you’d just tell me what I should do.”

Picking up the remote, Kyle turned the television off and the room fell into silence. “Do you want me to tell you that Alex misses you? Because he does. Do I think that it’s too soon for you to see him again? I can’t answer that. Like I told you last night, Liz. If you don’t want to go, just say so.”

Liz considered it. He would change his plans and not tell them why if she asked him to. It was tempting to hide her head in the sand until it was unavoidable. But it was time she stopped taking the cowards’ way out. The cowards’ way had cost her everyone she had ever loved. “If it’s too much, we can leave, right?”

He could see the decision had already been made. “Yeah. We can even come up with some sort of funny hand signal if you want and I can make an excuse and we can leave.”

Letting out a deep breath, Liz nodded. “Let’s go now then. I’m afraid I won’t do it if we wait.”

“Give me two minutes.”

It took Kyle five minutes to deposit their dishes in the sink and find where he had left his coat the night before, and another three to locate his keys. Not bothering to wonder why they’d been in the pantry, he locked the front door and found Liz leaning against his car. She had a lit cigarette in her hand, though she was making no attempt to finish it.

“Do you actually smoke?” He couldn’t resist the question as he climbed into the drivers’ seat and watched her stub out the cigarette. She tucked the pack in the pocket of her coat and fastened her seat belt mechanically.

“Used to. It’s a nervous habit.” It had been the one bad habit she’d picked up while in the Vermont boarding school.

Kyle swung his car onto the streets of Roswell and forced himself not to speed. Now that Liz was in the car, he wanted to get her to Alex and Isabel’s before she changed her mind. In the house, he’d thought briefly about calling the couple to warn them, but he hadn’t wanted to do it and have Liz change her mind at the last minute.

They wound through the streets, occasionally slowing so Kyle could wave to someone. Every time the car slowed, Liz found herself wondering if they had arrived and the burnt pop tarts in her stomach threatened to come up.

By the time Kyle pulled his car to a stop outside of a two-story brick house, Liz was sure that she’d made the wrong decision. She remained in her seat as Kyle climbed out of the car and rounded to her side. When he opened her door and leaned over her to unfasten her seatbelt, she turned pleading eyes on him. “Kyle, maybe we should talk this through again. I don’t think it’s fair to just show up like this. Maybe we should go back to your house and we can call and set up another day and time to meet.”

“Uh huh.” Kyle personally thought she was crazy if she thought Alex wouldn’t sprout wings and fly to his house once he found out Liz was there. He held out a hand to her and she reluctantly placed her hand in his. He did his best to ignore the heat against his skin where she touched him, but it was close to impossible. Sometime around three that morning, he’d come to terms with the fact that Liz would always have the power to drive him into a sexual frenzy with no more than a tilt of her head. It was simply the way things had always been and always would be.

Liz let Kyle pull her down the sidewalk and up the three steps leading to the front door. Butterflies were dancing Irish jigs in her stomach and she watched in horror as Kyle knocked heavily on the front door. Frantic, Liz tugged at his hand.

“Kyle, this was a mistake.” She pulled, but he didn’t loosen his grip on her hand. And before she could worry about escape, the door opened and Alex stood in the frame.

“Kyle. You’re early, aren’t you?” Alex checked his watch. “Or is my watch not working?”

Kyle wanted to smile at Alex, but he was gripped with the fear that he was making a mistake by forcing Liz to stay on the sidewalk. He knew Alex hadn’t seen her yet, figured he was blocking Liz from view. “No, we’re early.”

“We?” Alex tilted his head to the side and examined Kyle curiously. “I don’t-“

Liz stepped out from behind Kyle, her head hung low. She had abandoned her friends, disappeared without a word for a dozen years, and she knew that she deserved whatever greeting awaited her. “Hey, Alex.”

“Liz?” Alex felt tears filling his vision, blocking the impossible view in front of him. He was gripping the doorknob in one hand, his knuckles turning white from the tension. If he took a step forward, would she vanish? He decided to risk it and moved closer. “Is it really you?”

Tightening her grip on Kyle’s hand, Liz clung to him. She offered Alex a wobbly smile. Before she could even come up with a response, she found herself crushed against Alex’s chest, his arms locked around her shoulders. Kyle released her hand and she returned Alex’s hug. She felt the warm tears slide down her cheeks, and she held her old friend tighter. With a sniffle, she pulled away marginally. “You look exactly the same.”

Alex offered her a lopsided grin. “So do you. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe you’re standing here.” He looked at Kyle. “She’s real, right? This isn’t some sort of crazy illusion?”

Kyle knew the feeling. It was still unreal to have Liz this close and he’d had hours to get used to it. “She’s real enough.”

“This is great.” Alex pulled Liz into another hug, delighted when he heard her laugh. “Isabel! You have to come out here!”

Isabel followed the sound of Alex’s voice and walked through the doorway curiously. “Alex, why are you – Liz?”

Kyle watched Isabel carefully, and noted that while it took Isabel a second to register what Alex was yelling about, she didn’t seem as surprised to see Liz on her doorstep. And his eyes narrowed in anger. “Isn’t is shocking, Isabel? Imagine after all these years, Liz just showing up like this.”

Something about Kyle’s tone caught Isabel’s attention and she met his eyes. She recognized the anger there and she knew she’d been caught. There was going to be hell to pay later, but she hoped that maybe if she could put a little bit of time between now and the inevitable argument, maybe his temper would cool off. “It certainly is.” She pasted a smile on her face and walked forward to meet her. “Liz, you look amazing.” She pulled Liz into a hug, or as much of one she could manage with Alex still clinging to Liz’s side.

“Let’s go inside and get comfortable.” Alex wrapped an arm around Liz’s shoulder and guided her inside. “Let me show you around. You’ll have to excuse the mess. We just moved in a few weeks ago and we haven’t put everything up yet. In fact, we have furniture and that’s about it.”

Liz looked back to make sure Kyle was following them, and noted that he was glaring at Isabel. She frowned in thought, but wasn’t able to figure out what was going on between them as Alex pulled her forward into the living room.

“This is the living room, and over here is the dining room. The kitchen is a mess, so don’t look at it.” Alex wanted to show her everything, to pull her in a thousand directions at once, but she already had weariness on her face. It was Liz standing in front of him, but he suspected that it had been a long time since she’d been the naïve girl that believed in true love and happily ever after. “Do you have any idea how good it is to see you?”

Liz smiled at the genuine tenderness in his voice and she was transported back to a simpler time when he had been the only boy she’d ever loved. “I’ve missed you too.” She could feel the tears welling up again and she laughed when Alex wiped at them hurriedly.

“Don’t cry, Liz. I’d hate to have to cry with you and ruin my manly image.”

“You don’t have a manly image.” Kyle clapped a hand on Alex’s shoulder and smiled briefly at Liz.

Alex rolled his eyes. “Oh, and I suppose we should have a talk. How long have you been hiding her from us?” He looked at Liz quickly. “Has he had you locked away in a closet all this time? I’ve always had my suspicions, because the Liz I know wouldn’t just disappear off the face of the planet like that. No pun intended.”

“I’m sorry, Alex. I owe you an apology. You and Maria both. I know I shouldn’t have just disappeared like that, but –“

“Say no more.” He held up a hand to stop her apology. “You did what you had to do. Things were rough, and it was rough, but I understood. So did Maria.” His eyes gleamed suddenly. “Oh man, she’s going to go crazy when she finds out you’re in town while she’s unreachable.” Alex looked up at Kyle suddenly. “Have you told her –“

Kyle interrupted Alex’s statement smoothly, afraid of what he might say. “I thought it would be better if we let everyone talk to Liz personally and share news. Don’t you?”

Alex’s eyes darkened for a minute and he nodded solemnly. “Yeah. I suppose you’re right.” He turned back to Liz with a smile, but it was a bit more forced. “Well, I have news of my own then.”

Liz had the distinct feeling that she was being kept out of the loop, and she wasn’t sure if she would like the truth when it finally came out. Alex and Kyle had exchanged an odd look, but before she had the chance to question it, Alex had gestured for Isabel to come closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.

“Liz, this is the most unbelievable timing ever. Isabel and I are getting married in a few weeks. We wanted to find you to tell you, but we didn’t think that…” He shook his head and laughed. “Never mind what we thought. You’re here now and consider this your official invitation to the wedding. And you can’t say no because I won’t let you.”

“Married?” Liz softened, thinking of the long, hard days that Alex had spent pursuing the girl of his dreams. Apparently, the years after she had left hadn’t been any easier between the two of them. Pulling him into another hug, Liz felt sappy and sentimental in a way that she hadn’t felt in years. “I wouldn’t miss that wedding for the world.”

“How long are you in town for, Liz?” Isabel asked politely.

“Ah, I’m really not too sure.” She turned and looked at Kyle. “I really just hopped on a plane on a whim yesterday and ran into Kyle outside the Crashdown. He’s been kind enough to take me in for a day or two.”

Alex’s eyes widened in shock. “No, you can’t leave before next weekend. If Maria comes back and finds out you left without seeing her, she’ll kill me. Then she’ll hunt you down and kill you too. They’ll be back Friday night, and Max…”

Liz watched Alex as he suddenly remembered that Max was out of town as well. Filled with the same dread, Liz knew then that there was something she didn’t know. “What about Max? Is he okay?” She had to know why she’d been drawn so forcefully back to Roswell. She told herself that whatever it was, she could handle it. Kyle had said he wasn’t hurt, just on vacation, but that wasn’t all.

With a shake of his head, Alex pursed his lips together. “Nope. We’re not talking about Max today. Just promise you’ll stay until Maria comes back Friday.”

“Oh, and you have to stay for Saturday night.” Isabel twined her hand through Alex’s and smiled at Liz. “I mean, you can’t miss the ten year reunion. It’s going to be great. I’m on the board and it is going to be fantastic.”

Kyle wanted to shake Isabel when he saw the way Liz’s face fell. He’d purposefully avoided mentioning the reunion, and he put it on his running list of reasons to kill Isabel when he had the chance. “Isabel – “

“It’s okay, Kyle.” She turned to Isabel with a smile. “Isabel, I didn’t graduate from here, so I can hardly go to the reunion.”

“Nonsense.” Alex picked up on the tension between Kyle and Isabel and wondered at it. “We can get you in. You can come with me.”

“Or she could go with Kyle,” Isabel suggested. “I mean, we all know Kyle doesn’t have a date, and he has an extra ticket and everything.”

Kyle glared at Isabel, already devising ways to torture her to death. He was envisioning different ways of paying her back when Alex excused them and pulled Isabel aside. Trying to erase some of his anger, he turned to Liz with an apologetic grin. “Maybe you were right and we should have run for it before they answered the door.”

Liz laughed. It was a bit of a shock to hear that Kyle was obviously single, and if she hadn’t known better, she would have thought that Isabel was trying to set them up. But that seemed impossibly ridiculous. “I’m glad you didn’t let me go.”

Kyle licked his lips and felt a bolt of desire roll through his body when she threw her head back and laughed. The air was heavier and he wanted desperately to tell her that he never wanted to let her go, that he hadn’t wanted to thirteen years ago, and he hadn’t wanted to on the doorstep five minutes ago. Only the memory of the her relationship with Max kept him from saying anything now. Liz had come back to Roswell to face her past with Max, not with him. He was just someone that had gone in and out of her life briefly and he would do well to remember that.

“Hey, listen. Don’t feel pressured about this reunion thing. Isabel is just sticking her big, fat nose where it doesn’t belong as usual. She’s appointed herself my personal dating service and she swore she would find me someone to go with. That said, I feel like I should tell you that I have arguments for both going and not going to the reunion. Which would you like to hear?”

“In fairness to Isabel, I guess I should hear them both out.”

Kyle placed a hand on her back and let her to the living room. “Well, if we’re arguing not to go to the reunion, I should tell you that I had no intention of going at all. We could shun the entire event together and go out and paint the town red in defiance.”

Liz nodded with mock seriousness. “Very good argument. What about for going?”

“Well, as town Sheriff, I need to be there to regulate any number of activities that might be going on. We could go together and we would be the talk of the event. We could sit in a corner and make fun of everyone around us, including Pam Troy who has gained a bit of weight since you saw her last.”

With a raise of her eyebrows, Liz found herself smiling at the image. If she went with Kyle, he would make sure she had fun, that no one ambushed her or asked her uncomfortable questions. “Two very good arguments.”

Shrugging, Kyle watched Alex and Isabel for a second. “Your choice. And you don’t have to make it now or anything. Take your time and think about it.” It looked as though the brief conversation between Alex and Isabel was drawing to a close and Kyle watched as Alex moved to rejoin them. “Hey, Liz. I need to talk to Isabel for a second.” Without waiting for her response, he moved from her side and followed Isabel into the kitchen.

Stepping around boxes, he caught her arm before she could sneak out through the other side of the kitchen. “Isabel, we need to talk.”

“I’m actually kind of busy right now, Kyle. You didn’t exactly tell us we had an extra guest coming.”

“Yeah, you seemed so surprised when she showed up.”

Isabel stopped trying to get away and sighed. With a frown, she turned to face Kyle. “I did it for a good reason.”

“I knew it.” Kyle’s eyes lit up in anger. “I knew you had something to do with this. Isabel, did you call her? I didn’t even think you could do something that advanced yet.”

“I’ve been practicing. Look, Kyle. I had reasons.”

“I know your reasons.”

Isabel had expected no less than the hard set of his jaw. “Kyle, Alex would have died inside if Liz wasn’t there for the wedding, and Maria…you know how much she’s wanted Liz around now of all times. And then there’s you-“

“Isabel, we are not having this conversation. How many times do I have to tell you that I’m fine?”

“I don’t know, at least twice as many times as you get sick.” Isabel forced her stance to soften and she linked her fingers through Kyle’s. “Kyle, I’m just worried about everyone. Things haven’t been the same since Liz left, and if there’s a chance she can help –“

“She can’t.” Kyle looked away from Isabel, realizing that he wasn’t angry with her anymore. She hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, and she did love him. His eyes settled on Liz and Alex talking in the living room. “I asked her last night. She never developed any powers.”

Isabel’s eyes filled with worry. She rubbed Kyle’s arm comfortingly. Deep down, they’d always hoped that Liz possessed some sort of power that could help. She had been their last hope. “We’ll find a way, Kyle.”

Kyle pushed away from the counter and from Isabel, not wanting her comfort. “I’m fine, Isabel. I know you mean well, but I don’t want Liz to know anything about this.”

“Kyle –“

“Promise me, Isabel. You won’t mention anything about it to her. She came all this way and…” He couldn’t even think about what was going to happen when Max came back to Roswell. There were so many uncertain variables, he didn’t know where everyone was going to land when the dust settled down. “You didn’t promise.”

Isabel nodded. “I promise, Kyle. But you should tell her. She’d want to know.”

“Maybe. But she’s going to have enough to deal with when Max comes back.”

Kyle started moving out of the kitchen and Isabel watched him go. She’d seen the way Kyle had watched Liz and she wondered if Kyle knew the real reason she’d taken it upon herself to use her powers and called Liz back to Roswell. They’d all dealt with Liz’s disappearance in their own ways and the years had been hard. Isabel had been plagued with a sense of urgency for weeks now and something within her said that Liz was the key to it all. It was only a matter of time now before the group was reunited. And the voice within her warned that something terrible was going to happen.

posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:59:12 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Illusions
Part 4

Liz settled herself more comfortably on the floor and leaned back against Kyle’s couch. They’d just gotten back from Alex and Isabel’s house. Lunch had turned into dinner and it still brought a smile to her face to think about Alex. He hadn’t wanted to let her leave and though he hadn’t said it, she knew he was afraid she would be on the next plane out of town as soon as she was out of his sight.

Only Kyle’s reassurances that he would keep an eye on her had enabled them to slip out the door just after eleven o’clock. It had been a good day, one she hadn’t known she needed. Alex’s love affair with life was something she’d missed. But as much as she’d missed her old friend, she was strangely glad to be back at Kyle’s house. It was easier here with him.

The clattering of pots and pans brought her out of her daydream and made her grimace. Kyle was in the kitchen, trying to make them hot chocolate. She’d offered to help, but he’d merely scoffed at her offer. So she had curled up on the floor with a blanket to ward off the chill in the air. After all this time, she’d forgotten how cold the night air could be. And unless she was mistaken, this blanket was the same one that had graced the back of the Valenti sofa years and years ago, a tightly woven Native American design that made her nostalgic. Ordinarily, the nostalgia would have made her cringe, but today was the sort of day that made it okay.

Another loud clatter of pots and pans brought a small giggle.

“Are you sure you don’t need any help?”

Kyle bit back the string of curses and took a breath. “How many times do I have to tell you that I’ve got this?” He couldn’t see her in the living room, but just the thought of her in there waiting for him brought a giddy feeling. It softened him. “Why don’t you put on music or something? Or even better, I still have the Knicks game on tape.”

“You mean the one they lost yesterday?”

“Liz!” Kyle poked his head out of the kitchen door, feeling for all the world like a kid that had just been told the truth about Santa Claus. He tried to glare at her, but she had such a look of horror on her face that he couldn’t follow through with it. He ended up shaking his head. “Just go. I’ll be out in a minute. And nothing Classical!”

Liz managed to flash him an apologetic grin before he vanished into the kitchen again. She wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and padded to Kyle’s stereo. She pushed the buttons randomly until the radio sprang to life, blaring an old hard rock song.

Shaking her head, she turned down the volume and flipped through the stations until she heard the soft strains of a Billy Holiday song. It complimented her mood, so she left it.

“Interesting choice.” Kyle managed to simply raise an eyebrow at her music choice as he fumbled to turn off the kitchen light without spilling the drinks in his hands.

Liz took one that was offered to her and curled up on the couch with her blanket. Kyle joined her and tugged on the blanket, fighting for a corner of it.

“Sorry I don’t have any wine.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t drink.”

Kyle blinked. “You too, huh?” Damn alien tolerance levels. Kyle could still remember the first time he’d had a beer after Max had healed him. He’d been drunk for a full day though he could still remember Tess and Isabel trying to hide the fact from his father. Not that it had mattered in the long run, but the foggy memories were still enough to call up a ghost of a smile.

He tried to relax against the couch, but his nerves were still coiled tight from sitting so close to Liz. He supposed he should start a fire to ward off the chill, but he didn’t think either of them would be awake long enough to appreciate it. Plus, he wouldn’t have an excuse to sit close enough to share a blanket. “So, Liz Parker, tell me something about yourself.”

“Like what?” Liz sipped at her hot chocolate and thanked the modern day technology that had developed instant cocoa. Kyle didn’t have much of a track record in the kitchen.

“Like anything. You’ve popped back into town like a ghost and all I know about you is that you’re not opposed to steak and potatoes and you live in Vermont.” She was unapproachable in a way she’d never been thirteen years ago either. She was sad, tired enough that no amount of sleep could fix. Her life had been rough, full of unspoken regrets. And she was afraid. Kyle knew those things about her too, but he couldn’t voice them.

Liz frowned into her mug. “I talked all day.”

“Ah, but you sidestepped more questions than you answered. What’s with the vow of secrecy? You’re not in the espionage business are you? Do you write the secret dossiers that explode after they’re read?”

“Very funny.” Liz let the chocolate warm her and she considered his question. She’d gotten out of the habit of telling people about herself. “I lived in Florida for a year then I went to a private boarding school in Vermont.” She’d needed distance, structure in a way that living with her aunt hadn’t been able to provide.

“An all girls’ boarding school?” Kyle offered her his best leer.

“You know you haven’t changed?”

“Why improve on perfection? Go ahead and finish your story.”

Liz grinned at him. “I made it to Harvard. Graduated with a degree in Molecular Biology.” It had been a proud day that had ended when she’d cried herself to sleep alone.

Kyle smiled at her fondly, remembering the girl with the ambitious dreams. She’d had the most promise of them all. Listening to her, he was suddenly glad she’d left them all behind. If she’d stayed, she would have had her dreams crushed in the alien crap that had ruled them so long ago. Still ruled them really. “So, you made it after all. I used to wonder.”

Liz caught the note in his voice and she shrugged it off. “Yeah. It wasn’t all I thought it would be.”

“Well, obviously since you’ve been writing.” Kyle took a sip from his mug and forced himself not to wince at the heat. He’d put that sad, reflective look on her face so he deserved a bit of pain.

“Apparently, I have a creative side.”

“I never doubted you did.”

There was a tone in Kyle’s voice that finally caught Liz’s attention. She turned toward him and studied his profile. He was staring at the cold fireplace, seeing something that wasn’t there. The far off look in his eyes told her he wasn’t in the room with her anymore.

Who was Kyle Valenti? Did she really know? She thought she’d known once. Sheriff’s son. Local sports hero. Big man on campus. All names that seemed to define who he had been. But he’d been so much more. He’d been her first date, her first kiss. He’d been the first person she’d felt safe with. When she’d been with Kyle, she’d felt as if he’d really listened to her. Somehow, she’d forgotten all that when she’d been shown the magic of Max’s love. She’d been awed by the way Max had felt about her, awed that he would risk so much for her, awed by the sheer love she’d felt for him. And Kyle had been left behind to watch their relationship crumble without knowing the real reason why.

She’d watched him today, bantering with Alex, teasing Isabel. He was a part of the group in a way she hadn’t been in a long time. Not for the first time, she wondered what long road had led them there. And it wasn’t so hard to believe that here, snuggled under the same blanket she’d shared with him a hundred times in their youth, in the old house with no personal items, here she was safe for the first time maybe ever.

It made her pause, her heart aching in a way that it simply didn’t anymore. Something inside of her had shifted when she’d looked up to see Kyle the night before. She hadn’t wanted to come back to this town, but with Kyle silently supporting her, it wasn’t as frightening as it could have been. If he hadn’t forced her into his house, would she even still be here? Or would she have fled the memories before anyone had even seen her?

And what was that odd feeling in the pit of her stomach whenever Kyle threw her one of his lopsided grins?

Kyle could feel the heat of Liz’s gaze and he fought not to look at her. She was working something out and if he moved, it would only break the moment. He had the feeling that she didn’t have enough opportunities for reflection on her own life. There was enough regret and longing swimming in her eyes to fill an ocean.

Had he called her the one that got away last night? In the near silence of the living room, it suddenly seemed like the most lacking description ever. He’d pined for her when she’d left him for Max. He’d missed her when she’d left Roswell. He’d thought about her in some way for most of his life. Isabel seemed to know that. Maria probably did too, she was just a bit more tactful about mentioning it.

When warm fingers closed over his arm, Kyle was just shocked enough to glance down at them. A quick glance at Liz’s face told him the contact hadn’t been accidental. Something swam in her eyes and he couldn’t identify it.

Liz wanted to apologize, she wanted to find words to tell Kyle how sorry she was for the way she’d treated him. They might not have been best friends, but they had still been friends. And she’d treated him horribly. She’d known it for years. Distance had given her that perspective. So, she’d reached out to him. Something she hadn’t done to anyone in years. Her personal bubble had grown thicker and more impenetrable with each year and Kyle must have sensed it too. She’d caught him reaching out to touch her a dozen times only to pull back. But she’d needed that touch to ground her.

She hadn’t expected to see the desire burning in his eyes when he turned toward her though. It caught her off guard, freezing the words of apology on her lips. Kyle was looking at her as if her simple touch was a thousand times more intimate and seductive than it really was. He was looking at her in a way that no one had in years. It was warm and heady, drawing her in before she even knew it.

Kyle caught the gentle sway of Liz’s body, knew she was caught in the same moment he was feeling. He wanted to kiss her, wanted to pull her down to the couch and hold her there until she promised never to leave him again. He wanted to make love to her, to hold her in the dark and whisper promises in her ear. He wanted her to move in, breath life into the house that hadn’t ever held any before she graced the walls with her presence. He wanted forever, wanted to etch every moment of it to memory.

But it would never happen.

Kyle gave himself one more second to live in that world where things like that were possible, where moments like this were a prelude to a happily ever after ending. He tried to memorize the exact shade of her eyes, the zing of electricity that jolted his skin, the warm pressure of her leg pressed firmly against his. And he prayed that he wouldn’t lose the memories in the morning the way he seemed to forget so many things these days.

If he had to give up this moment, he at least wanted the memory of what could have been.

With a soft smile curving his lips, Kyle leaned back against the couch and turned his gaze from Liz’s face to the stereo across the room. “What the hell is this crap anyway?”

Liz blinked, startled out of the moment. She looked at Kyle, recognizing the mischievous grin on his face that was meant to soften the question. But she also recognized the sadness lurking under the surface, the loneliness. It left her spinning. For one second, it had seemed like Kyle was going to kiss her. She’d been prepared for it, anticipating it. And as quickly as the moment had arrived, it had fled. Liz was sitting with Kyle, the old friend with the quickest retort in the west. Whoever he’d been a moment ago was gone. And it left her sad.

Feeling more in control, Kyle rolled his head to look at Liz again. “You do know that my state of the art stereo has never been subjected to this kind of torture, right?”

Liz smiled, the corner of her lips tugging upward before she realized it. It was Kyle’s secret weapon and it still worked. “It’s good music.”

“It’s crap, Liz. Why are you torturing me? Haven’t I been a good friend?” The ball in Kyle’s throat was subsiding a bit, enough for him to breath again. He could do this. He could be her friend, be the shoulder that she cried on this week. Maybe if he played his cards right, he could capture her on film so he wouldn’t have to rely on his faulty memory to screw him over again.

“Always.” Liz settled back on the couch, wrapping her hands around the mug more securely. She seemed to be incapable of the lighthearted banter that Kyle wrapped himself in. She turned and let her gaze linger on the cold fireplace, wondering what Kyle had seen there earlier. “And I like it.”

And that seemed to settle it. Kyle made no move to change the station and Liz didn’t seem to be going anywhere either. He had a dozen comebacks but none of them seemed to fit the mood, so he left them be. Silence settled around them and when Kyle turned his eyes back to his fireplace, it didn’t escape his attention that the coffee mug in his hands and the blanket draped over his lap had less to do with the warmth in the room than the girl sitting beside him.

It might not have escaped his attention, but it did surprise him. After years of trying to figure out why he’d always felt alone, he was finally beginning to understand.

He would always be alone without Liz sitting beside him.

*~*~

Alex grinned as he watched Liz lope across the grass towards him. Automatically, he rose from the picnic bench he’d been waiting on and tucked his hands in his pockets to keep from running to her. He’d seen the way she’d barely been able to restrain herself from flinching the day before when he’d hugged her. It had hurt, but he’d reminded himself that this Liz Parker wasn’t the same one he’d known.

“Do you have any idea how great it feels to see you walk across the park towards me?” Alex might be able to contain the urge to grab her but the words seemed to be a different matter.

Liz found the grin spreading across her face before she could help it. Alex had always been able to do that though, make her feel better when she hadn’t even known she was feeling low. “Believe me, I know.”

She’d missed him, missed this and vowed that no matter what else happened this week, she wouldn’t run from her friends again. Taking a seat beside Alex on the bench, she automatically turned her body towards him. He hadn’t reached for her though she knew his fingers itched for the contact. It was both a relief and a disappointment.

“So…” Alex drew the word out, resisting the urge to dive into the million questions he’d thought of since last night. Isabel had all but kicked him out of their bed after the fourth time he’d turned the lights on to talk about Liz. “Not that I didn’t appreciate the phone call, because I did. But I was a bit surprised to get the sudden call to meet in the middle of the park.”

Liz caught the tilt of his head, the one that asked what was wrong. It made her sigh. “Kyle was called to the station on an emergency and I thought it would be a good chance to catch up.” She’d thought about staying in Kyle’s house, hiding, but it hadn’t appealed to her. The promise of Alex’s easy grin had been too much to resist.

“Oh.” The grin widened again. “Why didn’t you just say so? I was worried it was something serious we were talking about here.” He took in her appearance, noting the soft grey pants and the white shirt. Did that pass for casual in Liz’s world these days? It was just another clue to the mystery.

“So, are you and Kyle settling in okay? I mean, is everything-“

“Everything’s fine, Alex.” Liz recognized where he was trying to go. “Kyle and I might not have been on the best of terms when I left, but we’re okay now.” Better than okay really if you counted the nearly disastrous kiss that never was.

Liz had spent the entire night replaying it in her mind. What has she been thinking? There had been warmth and the soft music in the air and Kyle had been looking at her with such…There weren’t even words for it. But she’d been certain that he’d wanted to kiss her. It had thrown her, confused the game plan in her mind. When she’d jumped on the first plane to Roswell, she hadn’t thought the visit would be anything more than reunions with Alex and Maria, and of course helping Max. There hadn’t been room for a complication like this.

They hadn’t spoken about it. And the morning had been as normal as the previous one. Kyle had already been up and burning toast, offering her a lopsided grin as if he’d forgotten the whole thing. She would have been able to dismiss the entire night had it not been for one simple fact. Liz felt safer, more comfortable in Kyle’s presence than she could ever remember feeling. It said something she wasn’t entirely sure she was ready to hear.

“Well, good. I’m glad you two are okay. But you know you’re welcome to stay with Isabel and I too. We’ll even put a bed together for you and build you a cubby hole out of boxes. You can’t ask for more privacy than that.”

“You make it hard to turn down the offer.” Liz grinned at him. “Thanks, but you two should have some time to yourselves. I mean, you have waited for this since the third grade.”

“I’m a patient man, Liz. More than any sane person should be.”

“You love her.” Liz could see it shining in his eyes. It was different than the adoration she’d once been used to. She could remember a day when Alex had been leaning against the locker next to hers, talking about nothing important. But he’d stopped mid-sentence, tongue all but hanging out of his mouth and eyes glazed over. And Liz had known that Isabel Evans had turned the corner into Alex’s line of sight.

Whatever had happened in the years in between, Alex truly loved who Isabel Evans was. It made her jealous and weepy at the same time.

“Yeah. She’s it for me, Liz. It’s true love and not to be a cliché, but it conquers all.” Alex winced almost immediately, catching his own words. “God, Liz. I’m sorry. My brain isn’t connected to my mouth anymore.”

“It’s okay.” It surprised her how okay it really was. She’d once thought she was meant to be with Max, had fought for it beyond all reason. But she’d fled, run from the only home she’d ever known and the only people she’d ever loved. Because she’d been afraid to discover that love wasn’t able to conquer all. She tried on a smile for Alex, wanting to erase the tension from his brow. “How is he? Just…is he okay? Happy?” She didn’t want details, but she needed to know that. She needed suddenly to know that it hadn’t all been for nothing.

Alex nodded, his smile soft and sad. “He’s good, Liz. Now. It was hard. For the longest time…” Alex took a deep breath, choosing his words carefully. He’d talked to Isabel and had decided it was best for Liz to talk to Max and get the story for herself. “He’s okay.”

Liz nodded, but a frown was tugging at the corners of her lips. Something had drawn her back to this town. She was needed. She’d felt it deep down. But around her, everyone was telling her that Max was okay. Then they clammed up and wouldn’t say more. It was becoming alarming in its own way.

“Say, not that I don’t enjoy a good stiff breeze, but what do you say we take this inside somewhere. I’ll spring for the hot chocolate.”

Images of warm couches and a shared blanket flitted through Liz’s mind. She wondered what had been so special about last night that it had carved itself into her memory. “Actually, I’m still hiding out from most of the town. I don’t think I’m ready yet.” Not for the people, nor for the questions. And eventually someone would start talking about Max. It was too much too soon considering she still wasn’t convinced she was going to last the week without running for the airport.

“Okay. Well, how about lunch at my place then? I think we have enough utensils unpacked for a meal. Maybe.”

“Can I take a rain check? Kyle said he was going to meet me here when he was done. It didn’t sound like a big emergency at the station, so it shouldn’t be long.”

“Sure.” Alex settled back on the cold bench, picking his words carefully. “So, how is Kyle?”

“What do you mean? He’s fine. Don’t you see him all the time?”

“Sure. Of course I do. He’s just been…a little busy.” Alex could see the gears turning Liz’s head already and he knew he’d blown it. Isabel had warned him not to say anything to Liz and he’d just tipped his hand. “Forget I asked.”

Alex caught movement on the path and saw Kyle walking briskly through the trees. There was a hint of a scowl on his face and a slip of paper was clutched in his hand. “Kyle! Just in time.” Rescued from his own slip of the tongue, Alex gladly turned toward Kyle. Only, the look on Kyle’s face made him want to swear.

He knew that look. They all did. It was one they were trained to look for and cover swiftly. And Alex slipped into the role effortlessly, rising from the bench to stand beside his friend. “Did you take care of the emergency at the station?”

“Emergency?” Kyle’s voice was flat, lifeless as he turned eyes on Liz. It was hard to think through the fog and he knew something was wrong by the way Alex was clutching at his elbow. Liz was looking at him with worried eyes and that made him pause. When had Liz come back to town? How had he missed it? He turned to Alex, questioning him silently.

“You know, the emergency you told Liz about this morning?” Alex tried to slip an easy smile on his face, but it felt strained. They shouldn’t have to do this with Liz, shouldn’t have to lie to her. But Kyle was as stubborn as they came. He could see the confusion in Kyle’s eyes and tried to determine just what Kyle had forgotten this time and how best to jog his memory. “Liz and I were just catching up. She was telling me how good you two have been getting along since she came back to town a few days ago.”

Kyle’s eyes widened. Liz was staying with him? Had been staying with him for days now? It didn’t seem like the sort of thing it was possible for him to forget, but at least the note he’d written himself about a meeting in the park made more sense now. “Of course we’re getting along. Why wouldn’t we be?” But it made him pause. Were they getting along? It had been a long time since he’d seen Liz. And what did she know?

“That’s just what I was telling Alex.” Liz rose from the bench, moving towards the two men. Something was wrong with the situation, horribly wrong. She just couldn’t put her finger on it. Kyle was looking at her as if he were seeing her for the first time. Which was odd to say the least. It reminded her of that morning when she’d cautiously approached Kyle to see how their friendship had fared the near kiss. And he’d smiled as if the whole thing hadn’t happened.

“Well.” Alex cleared his throat, wishing Kyle would stop staring at Liz like she was ghost. Another thirty seconds and Liz was going to know for sure something was up. “I don’t know about you two, but I’m starving. I could go for lunch and since my house is still a maze of boxes, I say we try out the deli that just opened. It’s not far from here.” And he doubted anyone Liz knew would be there. Plus, he didn’t want to leave Kyle with Liz until his mind cleared. Sometimes it took minutes, other times it took hours. It all depended on the kind of day Kyle was having. “I’ll drive and Liz can navigate since she’s prettier than you are, Kyle.”

“What? Sure.” Alex had jabbed Kyle in the ribs and it jolted him to attention. Had he been staring at Liz? He supposed he had been. But he couldn’t seem to be able to help it. She really was beautiful, soft and welcome. And her eyes still had the ability to call to him. Why couldn’t he remember any of this?

“Well, then it’s settled.” Alex offered Liz his arm and made sure to stay between his two friends. He hoped that he could drive slow enough that Kyle would be himself before they made it to the restaurant. Hopefully, Kyle would be able to shake off the memory lapse before it was too noticeable. But if the last three episodes were anything to go by, Alex was in for a long afternoon. He would have to tell Isabel when he got home. The others weren’t reachable by phone and the last thing he wanted to do was interrupt their vacation anyway.

With a heavy heart, Alex pulled his friends in the direction of his car, chattering the whole way to fill the odd silence. As soon as Kyle was feeling up to it, they were going to have a long talk. Liz deserved to know the truth.

posted on 23-Nov-2002 8:42:08 PM
LOL

Anya, I haven't posted this over here, but it's been on two other sites for a couple of months now. More than likely, you read it at one of them. Possibly De's board or the Boardello? But I'm updating it now, so I figured it's okay to post it over here.

~Stacey
posted on 18-Dec-2002 6:37:24 AM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Only have ten seconds here, people. Sorry for disappearing, but to make up for it, how about two parts today? Yes? Okay, just for you.

Illusions
Part 5

It had been four days since the incident in the park. Or at least that’s how Liz was beginning to refer to it in her mind. The whole afternoon had been just too strange to ignore. Everything had been fine until Kyle had wandered into the park and looked at her with confused eyes. It had felt almost as if it had been a surprise to see her there and not at all like they’d planned to meet.

As if that hadn’t been strange enough, for a moment, it had even felt as if Alex had been trying to cover something. Though what he would have been trying to cover she didn’t have the slightest idea.

They’d gone to the deli Alex had recommended and the whole thing had been odd enough for her to have forgotten her fear of running into someone she knew. Lunch had been filled with strange comments and one sided conversations while Kyle had simply stared at Liz. And then as if a light bulb had gone off in his head, Liz had been looking at the Kyle she’d been sharing breathing space with for the previous two days. His eyes had gone from glazed to sharp and alert. And there had been fear in them ever since then.

Kyle had been working long hours at the station every night after that and Liz had felt his absence physically. He was gone before she woke up no matter how early she tried to catch him, but there was always the lingering scent of burnt toast to let her know he’d been there. It was almost a comforting smell, something she knew she would always associate with Kyle now.

He would come home late at night and Liz was always sure to be awake and curled up on the couch. Usually, she was watching television or something else that allowed her to look busy. Sometimes she could even convince herself that she wasn’t waiting for him.

If Kyle was sure to keep physical distance between them, the emotional distance was twice as deep and murky. Their conversations had been simple and short and if it had been anyone else, Liz would have convinced herself that he didn’t want her there. As it was, she’d had to talk herself out of leaving twice already. She would mentally be packing her bags and Kyle would look at her and for the briefest fraction of a second, there was something more there. Something she couldn’t put her finger on, but if she had to she could almost call it hope and despair all mixed together. And a bolt of lust that sizzled.

It never lasted. The curtain always came down and Kyle always had a quick retort to shake them out of any moment that had the chance of forming. It left her dizzy and cold, two sensations she’d never experienced at once but were heady.

The first night she’d lain awake and restless thinking about it, she’d dismissed it. By the third night, it had been impossible to ignore the thought growing in the back of her mind. Kyle wanted her. She didn’t deserve it after everything she’d put him through and he didn’t seem to want to do anything about it, but it was there. He sometimes reached out for her the same way Alex did, pulling back at the last second when he remembered that she didn’t care for the act. But there was always an air of regret in the action.

It hurt to watch. He would pull inward, always moving away as if to stop the temptation from forming. It made Liz wonder why. It was easy to blame it on his status as the ex-boyfriend. But it was more. It was the same despair she’d seen in the restaurant four days ago when his eyes had cleared. And maybe analyzing Kyle was easier than sitting back and waiting for Max to come back and confirm her worst fears.

Maybe the reason Liz hadn’t followed through on the packing of her bags had something to do with the conclusion she’d come to at four in the morning.

She wanted Kyle too.

It had been hard to admit to herself, even harder to examine since Kyle didn’t seem to want to be in the same room with her for more than ten minutes. But it was there and growing. It had been years since she’d even felt anything close to desire. She’d even begun to question her own sexuality. No one had appealed to her in the slightest until Kyle had found her sitting on a curb and she’d met tired, concerned eyes that saw her.

Something had been bothering her about it from the start though, something she couldn’t name. Kyle was handsome and funny. He was loyal and dependable. He was everything she’d stopped looking for since she left this town behind. So, why did she feel guilty for being attracted to him? It was the thought that plagued her in the early hours of the morning when she listened for the sounds of stirring life in the house.

But even as she asked herself the question, she already knew the answer. She felt guilty because of Max. Which was ridiculous. She hadn’t been involved with Max in over a decade. She’d begun and ended numerous relationships since Max. And yet she still felt guilty.

She supposed it was the town. Roswell automatically equaled Max in her mind, though it shouldn’t. Roswell was home first and foremost. Roswell was her friends.

Roswell was Kyle’s sad eyes as he looked at her as if she were his salvation.

Liz couldn’t deny that she’d been called back to this town. Logic told her that it was Max somehow needing her. And yet…Kyle wanted her. There was a remarkable difference.

She supposed it was why she was sitting on Kyle’s couch at midnight, pretending to read the book spread open on her lap. They had to talk. He was later than usual tonight. She’d been awake at seven that morning and the smell of burnt toast had already been fading from the air. Which meant he was working himself to death. Or avoiding her. Neither possibility was a good one.

Even as she frowned at the door, she heard the rattle of keys against the lock. Straightening, she turned her eyes down toward the book and tried to look absorbed.

Kyle froze in the doorway, not really surprised to see Liz curled under a blanket on his couch. It was the sort of welcome sight that he’d become used to. In fact, he couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been sitting there. Despite the fatigue in his shoulders, despite the aching headache that wouldn’t go away, he found himself smiling at the sight and closed the door behind him.

“Good reading?”

“Mmm.” Liz looked up from the book and offered him a smile. There was something reassuring in the comfortable way he smiled at her. It made her heart beat a bit faster than usual.

Kyle dropped his hat on the table by the door and pulled off his jacket. “I wouldn’t have thought you were interested in The Legends of Baseball.” It had been a Christmas present from Maria last year and something that Liz would never, in any dimension, find interesting.

Liz glanced down at the book for the first time and narrowed her eyes at the title. A smile wanted to tug at her lips, but she wouldn’t give Kyle the satisfaction. “I have all sort of interests. Did you eat?” Kyle looked tired, years older than he was and it killed any chance of a smile from forming.

“We ordered out earlier.” He neglected to tell her that he hadn’t eaten a bite. Loss of appetite was just a bonus that came with the headaches. Though these headaches were lasting longer than the last time he’d blanked out.

“How’s your head?”

Kyle struggled not to sigh. He wanted to slip past her and climb into bed, pull the covers over his head and try to sleep for an hour or two. But she was looking at him with a pair of the most concerned eyes he’d ever seen and sitting in her presence was more soothing than the dark, cold bed.

“You mean the one the freight train ran over? It’s fine.” He gave in and collapsed on the couch beside Liz. He hadn’t been able to hide the headaches from her, even if he could hide the cause.

“Have you had those checked out by a doctor? There has to be something you can take.”

He considered telling her that he’d tried everything on the market at least twice. He even considered telling her that his new genetic makeup didn’t make it easy to schedule regular doctor checkups. But he figured he didn’t need to tell her that last one. “I’ll be okay in a day or two. I’m sorry I haven’t been much fun to be around lately. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for you to spend some time with Alex and Isabel. I know they’d love to have you.” He wanted to bite his own tongue off before suggesting it, but it wasn’t fair to her to have to sit and watch him be sick. And it was only a matter of time before her keen brain fit the pieces together.

Liz frowned, ignoring the comment for now. “It’s because Max healed you, isn’t it?”

Kyle froze, his eyes widening in fear. “What?”

“You won’t go to the doctor because you’re afraid of the…changes.”

“Oh.” For a terrifying second, he’d thought she’d known. He let his eyes drift closed. “They’re just migraines, Liz. I overdo it sometimes and it catches up with me.”

“Obviously the cure is to keep overworking yourself.” Liz shook her head in frustration. “Kyle, you need to take better care of yourself.”

“So says the girl that picked up smoking.”

“Don’t try to sidetrack me.” She saw the beginnings of an argument and relented. “Fine. If I quit smoking, will you stop working yourself to death?”

The corners of Kyle’s lips rose. “Deal. Though I think I’m getting the rough end of that bargain. You want me to be around more to watch you go through withdrawal?”

Liz pulled her legs against her chest and watched as Kyle dropped his head back on the couch and rolled his shoulders. She supposed it was silly of her not to offer to help him if he was in pain. It was her own confusing feelings that were holding her back from helping a friend and it was wrong.

“Come here.” Liz reached out and closed a hand over his arm. His eyes snapped open and met hers. It was another of those brief seconds when the emotions swirled in his eyes. She almost pulled back, almost left them alone. But the quick motion seemed to have been too much for Kyle’s sore brain and he winced. Taking advantage, Liz tugged on his arm until he turned pliantly and offered his back to her.

Only pausing for a second, Liz laid her hands on Kyle’s shoulders, kneading the muscles. He all but whimpered at the first contact and it made her smile.

“If I told you I was close to crying, would you hold it against me?” Kyle closed his eyes and relaxed against Liz’s hands. He hadn’t realized how tired he was until that moment. His brain throbbed and his shoulders ached. But his biggest problem was what Liz’s hands were doing to his self-control. When Liz shifted behind him and stretched her legs out around him, Kyle almost choked on his own tongue.

It was easy for Liz to compartmentalize and detach her emotions from her actions. She had years of practice to help. Kyle’s shoulders were tight from tension and she tried to work it out. “I won’t think you any less of a man.”

The shirt beneath her fingertips was crisp even after a full day’s work. She could almost see Kyle standing at an ironing board with a can of starch to get it that way. It was the sort of thing his father would have taught him and it made her sad to know she wouldn’t see him again. “Tell me something about your father I don’t know.”

Kyle’s smile was slow and sad. It was a far cry from the stab of guilt in his heart he’d felt every time he’d thought about his father for months after his death. After the shooting, no one had mentioned his father’s name, tiptoeing around the subject entirely. And he hadn’t had anyone to tell his stories to.

“He loved Cheez Wiz.” When Liz laughed from behind him, Kyle found his own grin widening. “He put it on damn near everything. He loved the Knicks and I was planning to buy him courtside seats for his birthday. He volunteered at the hospital on Fourth Street on Sundays, played with the kids all day. Though he didn’t know I knew that.”

“How did you know?” Kyle was relaxing beneath her fingertips and she worked her way down his back and sides.

“I followed him one weekend. Thought he was seeing someone he didn’t want to tell me about. You should have seen him with those kids, Liz. They loved him. He would sit and play with them for hours, reading books and letting them climb all over him. I think he was disappointed he didn’t have any grandchildren.”

Liz heard the frown in his voice and she instinctively pulled him closer. “I’m sure he would have loved them, but I find it hard to believe he was disappointed in you.” Liz remembered the times she’d spent at the Valenti house, always welcome. Jim had been hard on Kyle sometimes, pushing him to be more than he was, but Liz had always trusted him. It had made everything a hundred times harder when he’d begun hunting down Max.

“Maybe.” They were good times to look back on. It brought a smile to his lips. “You know, I can still remember the night of the Spring Formal.”

“Our first date?” It was surprising to Liz that she could remember the butterflies in her stomach that night. Maria had curled her hair while Alex ironed her dress. There had been laughter and love. Hope.

“Yeah. Dad and I hadn’t been getting along so well. We’d been fighting a lot. But that night, he came into my room and we talked. He told me about the night he met Mom.” Kyle could close his eyes and still hear his father’s voice, could still feel the bed dip beside him as his father sat down and dropped an arm around his shoulders. “I’d never heard that story before.”

“Your dad never stopped loving her.” In all the time she’d lived in Roswell, Liz had known Jim to be alone. He hadn’t dated, hadn’t ever so much as looked at another woman. Jim Valenti had loved one woman his entire life.

“No, he never did.” Kyle kept his eyes closed, content to let that long ago night replay itself in his mind. “Do you remember that night?”

Liz returned the grin she heard in his voice. Things might have been awkward between them this week, but they were at ease now. “How could I forget? You were a half hour late. Maria had almost convinced me you weren’t coming.”

“Most badly timed flat tire ever.” But the memory brought a smile. “I thought Maria was going to kill me in your name when she opened the door.”

“Giving her my flowers was probably a good idea.”

“That reminds me that I still owe you flowers.” It was easy to slip back to those times, when his biggest fears had been how to work up the courage to hold Liz’s hand.

“You were so nervous. You kept asking what I wanted to do, if you could get me anything. We never even danced. But we talked all night.” He’d been fidgety and nervous. She’d known it even then with her lack of knowledge about such things. And he’d even stood on her doorstep for an hour talking, working up the courage to kiss her goodnight.

Little things Liz had taken for granted in her life were suddenly more important than she could have guessed them to be.

Kyle became aware for the first time that Liz’s hands were working their way down the muscles over his ribcage. “You know I really am going to lock you in my closet if you try to leave again, right? Why didn’t you tell me you were good at this years ago?”

“It’s something I picked up.” She worked her way back up to his shoulder blades and rubbed the tension away. “Did you mean what you said earlier?”

“What did I say earlier?” It was becoming harder to think with Liz touching him. He was alternating between fantasies of turning and kissing her and just falling asleep with her hands on him.

“About me staying with Alex and Isabel.” Liz felt the tension stiffen his shoulders as soon as the words were out and it spoke volumes.

Kyle swallowed around the lump in his throat. It would be easier on both of them if she wasn’t around, especially since he couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t wake up and forget any of this had happened. But his house had more life in it now than it ever had. Liz was a part of it now, as warm as the fireplace and as vital as the remote control on the recliner. She was a fixture and he didn’t like to think about a time when she would pack up her bags and go back to her life. He licked his lips. “Liz-“

“Because I’m not going unless you kick me out.” The tension ebbed and she resumed her rubbing. After all this time, she knew a thing or two about stubborn men that tried to do things for her own good.

“Kind of presumptuous of you, isn’t it? What if I like my bachelor pad?” But he was grinning. Hell would freeze over before he kicked Liz out of his house. They both knew it.

“Feel free to bring home girls anytime you like. Don’t let me get in your way.”

Kyle snorted at the cheerful tone of her voice. “I can see that happening. No offense, Liz, but that would be kind of like making out on the couch with Dad cheerfully offering lemonade from the kitchen.” Or more than likely, it would be nothing like that at all. He couldn’t imagine wanting anyone’s touch more than Liz’s.

“I’m just offering it as a suggestion.” But her fingers faltered to think about Kyle making out on the couch with anyone. It was where she spent her time waiting for him, or curled up under a blanket with hot chocolate. The couch was theirs.

A possessive streak wasn’t something Liz was used to, and the tenacity of it surprised her. Kyle’s muscles were pliant now, yielding to her touch. He trusted her. It was heady to discover and did nothing for the ball of nerves in her stomach. She tried to remind herself that complications like this were bound to end badly. She’d come to Roswell for a reason and it had nothing to do with earning Kyle’s trust and claiming his couch. And it certainly had nothing to do with kissing him. No matter how easy it was becoming to argue the point.

“Liz?” Her fingers had stilled and he’d ticked the seconds mentally. She had moments where she disappeared inside her mind and he always knew she was thinking about Max. It frustrated him and sliced something deep inside. He wanted to tell her the truth, to tell her everything they’d been holding back. But it wouldn’t do anything but hurt her if he flung it to the ground like a dead fish. And she would probably be on the next flight out of town.

Biting his own tongue, Kyle turned on the couch to face Liz. She was lost in thought, nibbling on her bottom lip and for no particular reason, it turned him on. He wanted her full attention for just a minute. It was selfish he knew. But from the recesses of his memory, he pulled out a moment in time when she used to look at him as if he were the most important person on the planet. He missed it.

Unable to help himself, he raised a hand to the curve of her jaw. Liz turned sharp eyes on him and…there was the look he’d wanted. Her full attention had been gained by the hand at her cheek. Kyle was suddenly desperately afraid, terrified that he’d crossed an unspoken line. Liz didn’t like to be touched under the best of circumstances, but that rule didn’t seem to apply to him.

“Liz.” He felt as if he needed to offer her some explanation, some reason for the soft caress he was incapable of stopping. He didn’t think she wanted to hear how beautiful she was, or how soft. He couldn’t tell her that he’d forgotten the exact texture of her skin. He couldn’t tell her any of the things struggling inside of him. He’d tried to keep his distance but it was impossible. He needed her.

Liz was captivated by the look in Kyle’s eyes. It was the emotion that she’d only seen in fleeting glimpses that spanned mere seconds of time. Only, it wasn’t going anywhere this time. Kyle either didn’t know she could see it, or he didn’t care anymore. It left her heart racing.

Kyle had turned on the couch, his body still firmly between her legs, effectively trapping her against the arm of the couch. She knew she should break the moment, but it was hard to remember why when Kyle was looking at her as if she were the key to his salvation.

The moment dragged into an impossibly long one and Kyle seemed content to look at her, his thumb still dragging across her jaw. And it occurred to Liz suddenly that there would be no first move unless she made it. She could tiptoe around her own desires only so long, and it was shocking to discover that the decision had really already been made.

Slowly, hesitantly, she raised her hand to his shoulder. His eyes traced the movement and she expected him to move away from the contact. But he stayed and her palm smoothed across the breast pocket of his shirt. Sliding up his collar to the warm skin of his neck, Liz pulled him through the last of the space that separated them.

Kyle bit back a sigh as Liz’s lips closed over his. He’d been terrified that she would take the decision out of his hands and kiss him. He’d been terrified that she wouldn’t.

It was everything he remembered and more. The kiss started hesitantly, a lazy brush of lips as if they had all the time in the world and this wasn’t the single most destructive thing they could ever do. He held back, wanting to give her time to work out whatever was running through her mind. He’d kissed Liz Parker on more than one occasion and he remembered enough to know when her whole attention was focused on what she was doing and when it wasn’t. She was making up her mind still, waiting to decide if it was what she wanted. And he was willing to give her as much time as she needed to discover it wouldn’t work.

Only, her lips became less hesitant and more demanding, bolder. The hand at the base of his neck tightened and pulled until he was lying across her on the couch. Of their own accord, his hands snaked around Liz’s waist, the safest place for them under the circumstances. When she bit his lower lip, demanding entrance, Kyle pulled away from her.

“Liz, this is-“

“Crazy? I know.” She’d known he would try to pull away from her. She’d anticipated it. She’d known Kyle a long time and it was easy to recognize when someone was trying to do something for her own good. Kyle wanted her. She knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt now. But he was holding back. So, she’d held on tight, not allowing to move any further than the circle of her arms.

Kyle dropped his forehead to hers when her arms didn’t unlock from his neck. Drawing in ragged breaths, he wondered how she could make his heart pound quicker than anything he’d ever experienced. He’d run headfirst into dark rooms he shouldn’t have come out of alive and his heart hadn’t raced half as fast as it was at the moment. It was hard to realize that he had more to lose in this moment than he ever had against armed gunmen.

“I was going to go with deranged, but yours works too.” Her mouth had latched on to his throat, seeking his pulse point. “That’s…” He didn’t have words for it. He knew he should be stopping her, that it would be a mistake to let things go any further. But her hands were slipping beneath his shirt, tugging it from the waist of his pants and his control was paper thin.

He made a last ditch effort and grabbed at her hands before they met skin. “Liz, stop.”

Liz pulled back far enough to meet Kyle’s eyes and her heart pounded in her ears. His eyes were dark with desire and he looked like he was on the edge of sanity. Her grin was slow and steady.

Her grin confused him and excited him all at once. She was looking at him like her next meal and he couldn’t remember what was so important that he’d stopped her. His conscience choose a hell of a time to announce its presence.

“Liz, we can’t do this.”

Liz knew all the arguments. She knew all the reasons why it was crazy and potentially the end of a friendship that was just beginning. But the heat in Kyle’s eyes was something she couldn’t deny any more than the desire rolling in her belly. She wanted him.

Pushing up just enough to meet his lips, Liz pressed against Kyle slowly, taking her time again. When the grip on her hips tightened, she pulled back. “Kyle, I know this is crazy. I know we shouldn’t do this. I can’t even promise you anything. I can’t promise that I’ll even be here tomorrow, much less a year from now. And…god, I know how horrible that sounds. Really, I do. But I want you. Now. Tonight. It’s all I have. I don’t want to lie to you, but I don’t want to use you either. I just-“

Kyle closed the distance between them easily, claiming her lips. It was enough. Just hearing that she wanted him was enough to shatter the illusion of control. She didn’t want promises. She wasn’t looking for a future. She wanted now. And that was something he could give her.

Slowly, not wanting to rush anything, Kyle eased her back on the couch. She sighed against his lips when she realized he was done fighting her. The hands at her hips itched to touch but he held them in place.

Recognizing Kyle’s need to savor the night, Liz breathed out a sigh. The collar of Kyle’s uniform was crisp against her palm. Her fingers smoothed over his neck and dipped into the soft hair curling against his skin.

Needing more, needing everything, Kyle broke the soft kiss. He tasted the line of her jaw, tracing the length of her neck with teeth and tongue.

Liz let her hands slide down Kyle’s chest, reaching for the buttons of his shirt. Undoing the small buttons was more difficult than she wanted to admit. With a sound like a sigh of triumph, she slid Kyle’s shirt off, leaving her with only the aging white t-shirt to grapple with.

Kyle tasted Liz’s new urgency. He could feel it in the tension of her nerves. And his control failed him. He’d wanted to take things slow, to taste every inch of her and go back for seconds. He wanted to map every curve of her body, commit it to memory so that his brain had no choice but to remember it. But one touch of Liz’s hands on his skin was all it took to make him crave. He would crawl for one more touch, beg for her to never stop. And he couldn’t even be sure he wasn’t already.

“So soft.” The words spilled from Liz even as her hands found the warm skin beneath his shirt. Kyle was leaner than she remembered, more muscular than he looked in the brown Sheriff’s uniform. But he was also softer than anything she’d expected.

His teeth were nipping at the juncture of neck and shoulder and those clever hands were tugging at her shirt. It slid from her waistband easily and then wide palms were smoothing over her stomach. She gasped and dragged his mouth back to hers.

Kyle fumbled with Liz’s shirt, hands slipping as he fought with buttons. His hands were shaking and he couldn’t bring himself to care. His elbows hit the back of the couch and reminded him of where they were. He wanted to take her to his bed, wanted to peel the clothes from her layer by layer. But he was afraid that even so small a pause would give enough room for doubt. Her doubts. His doubts. Between the two of them, there was a mile long list why this was the craziest idea ever. Except, Liz’s fingernails were clawing at his back, pulling him ever closer, and he didn’t have the strength to pull away from that.

Liz needed more. Kyle’s scent was all around her, invading her senses. His hands were hovering at her stomach as if deciding which direction to turn next. Up won out apparently as Kyle’s fingers ghosted over her breasts.

“God, Liz.” Had he thought his hands were trembling before? It was uncontrollable now and there was no way she didn’t notice it. Liz was arching into him, forcing the contact he hadn’t known how to start. It was exhilarating how perfectly she fit against him. She was whispering against his skin, reverent words like now and please. Or at least that’s how Kyle chose to interpret them.

Hands scraping their way to his belt buckle made breathing impossible. She was tugging at it, swearing lightly under her breath when it didn’t undo any easier than her shirt had. A chuckle escaped before Kyle could stop it. It was muffled against her lips, but he knew she caught it just the same.

Liz narrowed her eyes at him then let the smile curve her lips. “You think you can do better?”

“No, that’s why it’s funny.” And humbling to discover that Liz could be as nervous as he could. Pressing another firm kiss against her lips, Kyle trapped Liz’s hands between their bodies.

“I don’t think that…ah…this is going to work.” Kyle was nibbling on her bottom lip as his hands tugged at her bra strap.

“You don’t think so?” Kyle found himself fascinated by the light sprinkling of freckles on Liz’s left shoulder. He’d never noticed them before, but then he’d never really had the occasion to worship her body.

“I think…I think that-“

“Liz, your brain is sexy as hell, but this is no place for it.”

Liz chuckled. “Too many clothes.”

Kyle tried for an exasperated sigh, rolling his eyes. “I’m working on it.”

Liz worked her hands up Kyle’s chest and gave him a hard shove. It jarred him long enough to sit back. Taking full advantage of the situation, Liz reached for the buckle of her own pants. Her fingers fumbled, but nowhere near as badly as they had on Kyle’s skin. She risked a glance at Kyle and found his eyes riveted on her actions. Sliding her eyes up to his, she pinned him, saw the sparks dance in his eyes and then he was moving.

Clothes were scattered, shimmied off and thrown out of the way. It was a race, their limbs a blur of movement. And then they were back together, skin pressed against slick skin.

Kyle aligned his body with Liz’s, holding himself up on his elbows. Beneath him, Liz’s breathing was erratic and her eyes were shades darker than he’d ever seen them. But there was no regret, no panic. Still, he had to check.

“Are you sure?”

Liz nodded, feeling the ache burning her skin. He was close, she could feel it in the twitch of his muscles as he held back. Neither of them was going to last long. There had been too much build up to this moment for anything else.

His breath caught in his throat as he pushed forward, filling Liz. He wanted to go slow, to savor the moment and make it last as long as he could. But Liz’s patience had already run out. Her hands were clawing at his back, pulling him closer and he found himself sheathed inside her before he could hold back.

Liz gasped and Kyle could only hold onto her as she moved beneath him. He tried to reign in his control, but the sensations were too much. Liz’s breath was warm on his neck and the soft sounds sounded too encouraging to ignore.

Kyle finally took Liz’s hint and he rocked against her. Liz arched against him, taking him deeper and finding herself on the edge. She was powerless to do anything but chant his name, needing more of him.

“Let go, Liz. Let go.”

And she did, sure that Kyle was with her every step of the way. They fell back against the force of desire stoked between them and their cries mingled together until they were unidentifiable.

In the last few coherent moments Kyle had, he would have sworn that he’d seen sparks of light dancing in the air and across their skin where their limbs met.



posted on 18-Dec-2002 6:38:56 AM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn¡¦t exist anymore, so who¡¦s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle¡¦s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I¡¦m a Dreamer. But guess what? I¡¦m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don¡¦t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won¡¦t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won¡¦t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I¡¦m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post ¡§Destiny¡¨. That would help, right?

In case any of you missed it, I just posted another part before this one. I¡¦m going to do my hardest not to disappear again though. ƒº

Illusions
Part 6

Liz woke slowly, reluctant to open her eyes. Her limbs were heavy from sleep and she wasn¡¦t ready to stretch them out yet. But the rational side of her brain finally gained consciousness and pried her eyes open.

And she remembered.

Discovering she wasn¡¦t in her own bed, or even her borrowed bed, was more of a shock than she¡¦d thought it would have been. It was Kyle¡¦s bed, Kyle¡¦s room, Kyle¡¦s everything. She couldn¡¦t even remember them climbing into the bed, which proved just how tired she must have been.

It brought a smile to her face before her brain could examine what it meant.

Liz knew she was alone long before she rolled over. Kyle¡¦s side of the bed wasn¡¦t just empty, but it was cold. A quick glance at his alarm clock told her it was long past the time of day when he snuck out of the house and gave himself to the police force. It might have bothered her. It should have given her reason to doubt everything they had done the night before. And maybe she would have if the scent burnt toast wasn¡¦t lingering heavily in the air.

With a lopsided grin, Liz noted that Kyle had laid a plate of toast on his pillow for her. A single daisy held the small note in place beside it.

Finally stretching her limbs, Liz reached for the note.

Liz,

Had to go into the station. Apparently, the town doesn¡¦t run itself. Have dinner with me?

Kyle


Sniffing at the toast, Liz decided that coffee might be more in her best interests. But as she rose from the bed and reached for Kyle¡¦s robe, Liz tucked the daisy in the pocket. Kyle¡¦s note had been friendly. Impersonal. It might as well have been written the first day she¡¦d come back to Roswell. And she understood it.

Kyle had insecurity issues on a good day. She could admit that a lot of it was her own fault. The note was his way of offering her an out, letting her decide the tone of their relationship.

Liz measured out coffee grinds and leaned against the counter as the coffee brewed. It would be smarter to leave last night alone, push it aside and forget it had happened. Now that she was back, she had no intention of ignoring her friends again. And that meant she would be seeing Kyle a lot. They needed to be able to find a way to be the friends they¡¦d once been. Sleeping together wasn¡¦t the best way to ensure a lasting friendship.

Pulling a mug from the counter, Liz was surprised by the force of her own anger as she slammed the cup down. It was crazy really. She hadn¡¦t seen Kyle in years, but even the last week in his house had changed her perspective on so many things.

She was lonely. She could see that now. There was no one really that would miss her, no one that would care enough to make her hot chocolate on cold nights, no one that would ever think to bring her breakfast in bed. Even if it was burnt toast. It didn¡¦t even bother her that Kyle was gone, only that he was surely spending the morning trying to find a way to put them back on an even keel. It did bother her to think that Max and Maria would be back in town in a matter of hours and when she¡¦d done everything she had set out to do, she would leave Roswell behind again. Leave Kyle behind.

It made her frown. Frown and blink back tears, which was crazy because Liz didn¡¦t cry. Not anymore. Confused, Liz yanked the coffee pot from the brewer and poured as much as she could into her mug. Hot liquid spilled onto her hand and she could feel it burning her skin. Wiping it with a hand towel, Liz scowled at the reddening skin.

She told herself that brooding was pointless. It wouldn¡¦t solve anything. She¡¦d promised herself that she¡¦d get some work done today and since it wasn¡¦t likely that she was going back to bed anytime soon, the sooner she started working the better.

Before Liz could even make it across the room towards her laptop though, the thought of work depressed her. Kyle was a friend and they needed to talk about what had happened last night. She needed to find a way to explain to him that she didn¡¦t believe in happily ever after romances anymore. She wasn¡¦t ready to lose him, but she didn¡¦t have any claim on him either. With a sigh, Liz cradled her coffee mug in her hands and headed in the direction of Kyle¡¦s shower.

~*~*

Kyle pushed back from his desk and scrubbed his hands over his face. He¡¦d been there three hours already and around him, the station was just coming to life.

¡§Apparently the town doesn¡¦t run itself.¡¨ Kyle mimicked his own words under his breath, barely resisting the urge to throw something across the room. Was it possible for him to have picked out and strung together any other six words that could have sounded stupider?

There had been a dozen things he¡¦d wanted to say to her. He¡¦d wanted to tell her how much last night had meant to him, that he didn¡¦t ever remember feeling more at peace than when Liz fell asleep in his arms. He hadn¡¦t slept at all for fear he would have woken and forgotten any piece of the night. And while his body was tired, his mind was sharp and alert.

Liz had fallen asleep in his bed, naked limbs curled against him. Her breath had been warm on his chest, her hair tickling with ever breath. He¡¦d wanted to wake her up and touch her again, to see her eyes open and to see that she wanted him every bit as much as he wanted her. No, needed her.

This time, Kyle did throw something across the room. It was just a pencil and didn¡¦t give him any sense of satisfaction. So, he calmed his mind the way his father had taught him years ago, and he thought the situation through.

Things would progress one of two ways. Liz would either wake up regretting the entire night and see his letter as a way to ease out of things. Or she would decide that she wanted more from him. Neither option left his stomach anything but queasy.

If Liz decided to write off the night before as a one time event, their burgeoning friendship stood a chance. He could still have her in his life, but it would be with a price. He would have to make sure not to stare at her too long or too hard. He would have to find a way to forget.

On the other hand, if Liz decided she wanted more from him, he would have to find a way to tell her no. His life was screwed up enough without dragging someone else into it. Liz had left Roswell and the aliens behind once. She didn¡¦t deserve to be pulled back in. Not like this. He didn¡¦t have a future to offer her. And Liz was the kind of girl that needed romance and promises. She deserved to have someone that loved her with everything in him and wouldn¡¦t hold anything back. Kyle¡¦s life was none of that. There could never be a future for them.

The sound of his desk lamp shattering against the far wall didn¡¦t help his mood any more than the pencil had.

¡§I never did like that lamp.¡¨

Kyle turned in his chair to find Liz leaning against the doorway.

¡§Liz.¡¨ He rose, sidestepping the damage to move closer to her automatically. Almost too late, he realized what he¡¦d been doing, that he¡¦d been in the process of kissing her good morning. And his smile faded as he tucked his hands in his pockets.

Liz caught the movement and saw the exact moment when Kyle reigned in his emotions. But there had been a second when Kyle¡¦s face had lit up. It had mesmerized her, warmed her, and made her forget the carefully rehearsed speech she¡¦d put together in the car.

Going on instinct, Liz stepped around Kyle and began to scoop up the larger pieces on the ground.

Kyle pushed away from his desk and batted Liz¡¦s hands away from the shards of glass. ¡§Don¡¦t touch it. You¡¦ll cut yourself.¡¨ He¡¦d made the mess, the least he could do was pick it up, even if he had looked forward to leaving the shards on the floor for a while still.

¡§Rough case?¡¨ Liz didn¡¦t let Kyle push her away as easily as he would have liked. She picked up the largest of the shards and began stacking them.

¡§Something like that.¡¨

Hearing the frustration in Kyle¡¦s voice, Liz set the glass down and reached for Kyle¡¦s hands.

Warm fingers stopped Kyle¡¦s clean up job and for one brief moment, he took the cowards¡¦ way out and closed his eyes. He¡¦d been hoping to put this moment off for a bit longer, but it looked as though Liz was ready to talk.

¡§I missed you this morning.¡¨ It was far from what she¡¦d planned to say, and it surprised her to hear the words. It didn¡¦t, unfortunately, make them any less true.

Kyle opened his eyes and turned to meet Liz with a thin smile. So, it was going to be like that. He would have to be the bad guy. ¡§I really am sorry about that. But there was work.¡¨

Liz nodded. ¡§You¡¦re important to this town.¡¨ She really did understand that he had to work.

¡§Liz-¡§

¡§I can¡¦t promise you anything.¡¨

¡§What?¡¨ Kyle turned to face Liz fully, confused to find her eyes pressed shut.

Never one to be a coward, Liz opened her eyes. ¡§I don¡¦t know what we are or what we¡¦re going to be, and I can¡¦t offer you any promises. But I don¡¦t want to forget last night either.¡¨

It was light years from anything Kyle had expected to hear, but a spark of hope rose up in him. ¡§Liz, you don¡¦t have to do this.¡¨

¡§I know.¡¨ She offered him a smile, not sure if she was going crazy or not. ¡§I wasn¡¦t even planning to tell you any of this.¡¨ Fighting the urge to laugh, Liz turned her hand until their palms met. ¡§Something pulled me back to this town, Kyle. Max and Maria are coming home sometime today and your high school reunion is tonight. I can¡¦t even promise I¡¦ll be here this time tomorrow much less a week or a year from now. I know how terrible that sounds and you should tell me to leave now. But I was sitting in your house thinking how quiet it was without you there and it made me realize that there isn¡¦t anything more that I want to do with today than spend it with you.¡¨

Kyle tried to absorb Liz¡¦s words, tried to comprehend what he was hearing. But it was hard to hear anything over the beat of his own heart. It was wrong to even harbor this much hope, but he couldn¡¦t help it. Liz was telling him that she didn¡¦t want promises. She didn¡¦t want any of the things he couldn¡¦t give her. She wanted today. Now. And that he could give her. The rest could sort itself out later.

¡§Who¡¦s Jack?¡¨

Liz looked puzzled for a minute before remembering Jack¡¦s phone call a few days ago. The jealous tone of Kyle¡¦s voice brought a small smile to her face. ¡§He¡¦s my partner.¡¨

¡§Platonic partner?¡¨ He sounded so much like a jealous ass that he wanted to kick himself.

Moving on instinct, Liz pressed her lips against Kyle¡¦s in the way she¡¦d been wanting to do since she¡¦d woken up. ¡§As platonic as they come.¡¨

Kyle registered the soft press of Liz¡¦s lips against his, but it was gone as quick as it had come. Before he could follow through with the ridiculous urge to pull her to the ground for a follow up kiss, Liz was standing and holding out a hand to help him off the ground. Without hesitation, Kyle placed his hand in hers and found himself standing just inside Liz¡¦s personal space.

Her heart pounding twice as hard as it usually did, Liz let go of the confusion and allowed herself to enjoy the emotion for what it was. ¡§What would it take to get the good Sheriff to play hooky with me today?¡¨

Kyle narrowed his eyes as his overactive imagination answered the question. And his grin was suspiciously close to wolfish. ¡§I¡¦m sure I can think of one or two things.¡¨

¡§I¡¦ll bet.¡¨ Liz¡¦s grin matched Kyle¡¦s and she reached down to thread their fingers together. ¡§But I need breakfast first.¡¨

¡§What? The feast I prepared for you wasn¡¦t enough?¡¨

¡§Not quite.¡¨ Liz tugged Kyle toward the doorway, careful to step over the glass. ¡§What about this mess?¡¨

Kyle glanced at it and winced at the destruction. The only saving grace was that the lamp really had been the ugliest thing his father had ever owned. ¡§That¡¦s why I have lackeys.¡¨

Outside Kyle¡¦s office, Liz could hear the stirrings of life. Officers were arriving for work and laughter mixed with the drone of conversation. Liz knew she was going to have to announce her presence to the town soon. And with Kyle¡¦s hand holding her tight, it didn¡¦t seem as scary as it had once been.

¡§Kyle? Is that invitation to the reunion tomorrow still open?¡¨

Surprised by the question, Kyle nodded.

¡§If you still feel the need to regulate activities, I¡¦d be willing to lend my services.¡¨

¡§There¡¦s nothing I¡¦d like more.¡¨ Companionably, Kyle swung his arm around Liz¡¦s shoulders. ¡§Come on. I know this place that serves an amazing breakfast special. And the uniforms are to die for.¡¨

Liz¡¦s laugh was loud enough to echo down the hall.



posted on 17-Jan-2003 12:27:54 AM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Still alive and kicking. And writing again. Look at that. I may even get the next part out this weekend if things keep up.

Illusions
Part 7

“I don’t think this was such a good idea.”

Isabel beamed a smile at Liz and continued to apply her mascara. Liz had been saying something along those lines for the better part of an hour now and she hadn’t run from the house yet. Isabel had chosen to take that as a good sign.

Staring at her reflection in the mirror, Liz took deep breathes to calm her nerves. She’d already showered and though her hair was still hanging half-damp on her shoulders, her make up was applied already. She just couldn’t escape the nagging voice in her head that kept listing all the reasons why this was the worst idea in the world.

Such a bad idea, in fact, that it was becoming harder to convince herself that she really did have to go to the reunion. And how hard could it be really to pick up her things and drive to the airport? Flights left Roswell at all hours of the day and night. She could be on the next one in under an hour.

“So, do you think Kyle will manage to make it on time to pick us up?” It wasn’t hard to sense the panic in Liz’s movements. It had been something Isabel had anticipated when Liz had finally decided to go to the reunion with Kyle. As if there had been any doubt in Isabel’s mind that she would go, but it had seemed like a choice to Liz, so she hadn’t said anything. And if the twinkle in Kyle’s eyes was anything to go by, things had progressed beautifully in Isabel’s absence.

“I don’t know.” Liz forced herself to calm down and picked up her eyeliner again. “When I left, he had already taken over the bathroom counter. Plus, he kept giving me these looks whenever it looked like I might use his blow dryer.”

Isabel grinned. “Yeah, I accidentally used it once. You’d have thought I’d contaminated it or something. His eyes were so wide, I thought he was going to hurt himself.” That had been back in the early days when Kyle had needed someone to watch him for most of the day and night. Isabel had taken on the job gladly and they had become better friends for it.

Applying another coat of mascara, Isabel tried to make her next words sound more casual than they felt. “So, Max left a message on my machine earlier. They were held up by a storm, but they’ll be back in town for the reunion for sure.”

Liz had expected the butterflies in her stomach to pick up speed again, but they stayed suspiciously silent. It made her frown. “I’m glad they’re okay.” There were still glaring pieces of information that no one was willing to tell her about her absent friends. In fact, they all clammed up whenever the topic was even broached. “They are okay, aren’t they?”

Isabel pasted on her most cheerfully reassuring grin. “Of course they are.”

Liz struggled not to sigh and turned to face Isabel fully. “This is crazy. Isabel, if you know something, I really wish you’d just tell me.”

Trying out her most exasperated sigh, Isabel capped her tube of mascara. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

But Liz wasn’t buying it. She pressed forward as if she hadn’t heard Isabel at all. “It would just be easier to sit and wait if I had some idea what was going on. Do you have any idea how hard it’s been to not know why I’m even here? I was on a plane the first time the impulse hit me. Soaring at three thousand feet and I just knew that I had to go back to Roswell, that I was needed. Now I’m here and I don’t even know why.”

Sheer frustration colored Liz’s words and Isabel relented. “And you assume it has something to do with Max?”

“Yes.” Liz frowned at Isabel, confused by the question. “It always comes back to that day in the Crashdown and the connection we shared.”

Very carefully, Isabel arranged the array of tubes and pots on the vanity. “You’re right, Liz. It does come back to the connection you and Max shared. The alien connection. But maybe whoever called you back to Roswell didn’t call you back to help Max.”

A nugget of an idea started forming in Liz’s brain. There was no mistaking the knowing gleam in Isabel’s eyes. “Whoever called me back to Roswell, Isabel?”

“Are the two most beautiful women in Roswell still trying to improve on perfection?” Alex strode through the bathroom door and grinned at his two women.

Isabel turned to look at Alex and offered him a warm smile. His tie was lying unknotted against his dress shirt and one side had already been untucked from his pants. His grin was crooked and her heart simply fluttered. Rising from the small chair in front of the mirror, she slid her arms around Alex’s waist. With a quick slide of her lips across his, she did a mental note to herself to grab her lipstick on her way out. “All done.”

Alex could only grin back at her. “Good because Kyle is downstairs.”

“Then I guess I’ll have to keep him busy.” Isabel let her arms drop from Alex’s waist and inclined her head toward Liz, knowing that the brunette always had seen through them too easily. “You might want to hurry and finish, Liz. You don’t want to keep Kyle waiting.”

Liz watched Isabel slide out the bathroom door and felt the final gear bolt into place. It all made a certain kind of sense now that all the pieces had been laid at her feet. She found herself revisiting every conversation she’d had since returning to Roswell. And she didn’t like what she heard.

“Earth to Liz. You planning to finish getting ready or sit in a daze in my bathroom all night? Because as much as Kyle likes you, I doubt even he could convince the reunion committee to relocate the party here.”

Slowly, Liz turned to Alex and found him grinning at her. It was enough to shelve her suspicions for the moment and grin back. His grin was positively too knowing for her tastes. “What do you know and who told you?”

Taking a step further into the room, Alex picked up Liz’s brush and began running it through her hair. It was a familiar gesture. Being best friends with two girls had taught him a thing or two about getting ready for important events. “I know that you and Kyle have gotten…friendlier.”

“Is that a nice way of accusing us of sleeping together?”

Alex winced. “Please. To me, you’re always going to be the eight year old girl that swore off boys all together when Sean Deluca put bubble gum in your hair and I had to help you cut it out. I don’t like to think about you and sex.”

Liz found herself applying makeup again as Alex began piling her hair atop her head for a twist. Which was odd because she was almost convinced that she wasn’t going to the reunion. “So I guess you and Isabel play checkers all night in this house?”

“Isabel and I are two grown, soon to be married, adults. We can have sex if we want. We’re almost legal. And is that your way of avoiding the accusation?”

“I guess maybe it is. I was wondering why we weren’t getting daily phone calls or knocks to the door. It seemed a bit odd that we were left alone so suddenly.”

“Yeah well, call that Isabel’s great plan. She happened to have mentioned that you two seemed…close. And when she recommended that we leave you alone for a few days, I very wisely agreed with her.” It had been one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. Knowing Liz was in town and having to stay away from her had been almost impossible. But Alex knew Liz better than she knew herself. Coming back might have been scary, but now that she was here, she wanted to stay. She only needed a reason. And they hadn’t seen Kyle this happy in years.

Sometimes, two plus two really could equal a well balanced four that made everyone happy.

Liz watched Alex silently pin her hair atop her head. She recognized the sadness in his eyes for what it was and when their gazes met in the mirror, she held him there. “I’m not going to disappear again, Alex. No matter what happens. When I leave this time, I’ll keep in touch. And there’s still your wedding in a few weeks. I’ll be here for that.”

Alex nodded, forcing a smile to his lips. “Of course you will.” She wouldn’t leave the city limits again if he had anything to say about it.

Watching their reflection for a moment, Liz found Isabel’s words rattling around in her head. She tried to block the sudden thoughts of Kyle but nothing was working. Isabel had surely meant nothing by the comment. Liz had learned years ago to find a hidden angle to a story and run with it until something produced itself.

And yet, every odd conversation she’d had in the last few days came back to remind her that she’d known Kyle was hiding something from her. They all were. The question though was whether it could be something as big as Isabel had implied.

“I’m glad you’re happy, Liz.”

The sudden words reminded her that she was supposed to be talking to her friend, not picking apart sentences for hidden meaning. But Alex’s words struck a different nerve.

“What do you mean?”

Alex realized the potential mistake he’d made and tried to backpedal. “Well, nothing. Just that, well…you know, since you and Kyle have…you’ve been happier since I first saw you. Calmer.” At home in her own skin. But Alex was smart enough to keep that to himself.

The look on Liz’s face told him his hasty attempt to fix his words were in vain. Liz was already thinking, already working to decide if it was true. Alex figures he may as well give her everything he had. “Being in love suits you.”

“What?” Liz almost snapped her eyeliner pencil in half. “Kyle and I…we’re not…it’s not like that, Alex.” It was weak and lame but it was all she had.

Alex watched her set her makeup carefully on the vanity and he had the sudden urge to strangle her. Because not even nine years of absence could change the fact that Alex knew Liz better than anyone on the planet. “It doesn’t have to be like it was with Max.”

Liz sighed, not wanting to have anything remotely resembling this conversation, but knew Alex well enough to turn and face him anyway. “I know. Alex, I ‘m not the same girl that fell head over heels for Max. I gave him a piece of myself and it took me a long time to get it back. I can’t risk it again. Not for Max. Not for Kyle. I’m never losing myself like that again. And I know you think I’m crazy because you’re in love and you got the girl of your dreams. You get to live that life and it’s what you deserve. But it’s not like that for the rest of us.”

Alex ran a hand down the side of Liz’s face and offered her a smile. The new Liz seemed to wrap herself in a blanket of control, never losing it. But now he could hear the emotion just beneath the surface of her words and it was the first time all week she hadn’t been in control. He considered it to be a good sign. “Do you think I wanted to love Isabel? Do you think I enjoyed all those years of heartache and misery? If we could choose who we loved, I would have fallen in love with someone like you or Maria.” Alex tilted his head to the side in thought. “Well, maybe not someone like Maria. I lived with her for six months after high school and I almost smothered her with a pillow one night.”

Waiting for Liz’s smile, Alex dropped to his knees on the floor. “The point is that you can’t choose who you love or when it happens. It simply is. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Loving Kyle doesn’t make you weak. It makes you stronger. And if you’re lucky enough to have him love you back, there’s no stopping either of you.”

Emotion crept into Liz’s throat before she could bite it back. Part of her wanted to believe, wanted to take his words at face value and hope that it really could be that simple. You love who you love and eventually it would all work out for the best. She could barely remember a time when she’d believed that true love really could conquer all. But she was years away from the stubborn determination that had pushed her to Max time and time again. And she’d been through enough to know that in the end, love was the biggest deception of all.

Lowering her forehead to Alex’s, she committed the moment to memory. There were too few images she could cling to that had this kind of warmth, and she wanted to remember this one. Be able to pull it out on the day she watched him beaming a smile at his bride to be as she walked down the aisle towards him. So, she said nothing that would spoil the moment.

Alex knew he hadn’t convinced her, but there was a definite crack in the shield she cloaked herself in. It was enough for now. Kyle would have to convince her to shed it all the way. “So, do you think you’re ready to face your former peers and make up impressive stories about your life?”

Liz took a deep breath. “Let the reunion begin.”

*~*~

It had been over an hour since they had arrived at the reunion. Over an hour of standing around in the crepe paper decorated high school gym, offering plastic smiles and trying to fit memories with name tags. It was exhausting.

Kyle for his part had been the only saving grace of the evening. He’d whisked her inside so quickly, she hadn’t had time to have second thoughts about going in. He’d fastened himself at her elbow and had pointed out people she was just beginning to remember. There had been a story for everyone and it had taken twenty whole minutes before Liz had realized that his stories had pushed out the fear of running into these people again.

What hadn’t escaped her attention though had been the momentary pauses when Kyle had seemed to go blank. His head would tilt to the side for a minute as if he were searching for something and then the smile would return and a story would follow. Sometimes though, a frown had marred his face and he’d changed the topic quickly.

It was subtle in a way that she probably wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t been looking. Or if she hadn’t known him so well. But it was there, blinding and terrifyingly real and it made Isabel’s words come screaming back to her.

From the first moment she’d felt the need to return to Roswell, she’d known something was horribly wrong. She’d known it then and she knew it now. The only difference was that she was starting to figure out that Isabel had been right. Max hadn’t called her back. He hadn’t needed her enough to call out over a connection that would never really be severed.

But it didn’t mean she wasn’t needed.

The sharp jab of an elbow between her shoulder blades knocked Liz off balance. She turned to find herself facing yet another unfamiliar face. But this one had wide, apologetic eyes and a firm grip on her arm as she fought to regain her balance.

“God, I’m sorry. Are you okay?”

Liz found herself smiling reassuringly. The warm fingers gripped her arm tightly and she had the sudden feeling that she was about to be searched for injuries and mothered. “I’m fine. Really.”

“Well, I’m still sorry.” With a frown, she released her grip on Liz’s arm, not at all convinced. “I was looking for my daughter and I swear I saw her fly by here.”

Liz sneaked a glance at the woman’s name tag and struggled to put a memory to the name. Her hair was cut into a short bob of dark black hair, framing the high cheekbones Liz would have killed for a few years ago. But the features weren’t familiar. “No harm done. I’ve seen a few kids run through here in the last couple of minutes. I think they’ve formed a small gang. I’m Liz.”

“Julie.” She held her hand out for Liz and offered her a smile with the handshake even as she scanned the room for the familiar blur of her daughter. “And don’t worry. We haven’t met. Did you go to school here?”

“A million years ago.” Liz couldn’t say why, but she felt comfortable with the stranger. She didn’t shift away from the close contact as she automatically had with everyone else that night. But her eyes did float across the room to seek out Kyle, still waiting in line to pick up drinks.

“I know what you mean. High school feels like it happened in another life, doesn’t it? I had to go to one of these last year and I felt overweight, inadequate and generally lacking.”

Knowing the feeling, Liz grinned. “They are pretty horrifying.”

“And yet we still come. It’s some twisted thing you can’t help but do, like smelling a carton of milk even though you know it’s days past the expiration date.” Running a hand through her hair, Julie eyed the crowd. And noticed that Liz was doing the same. “Do you have children?”

The pain was brief, and surprising. Liz had never regretted her single status, but found herself faced with it now. “No. There just hasn’t…no.” She had been asked the question a hundred times that night already and she’d fallen back on the excuse of career demands each time. But it felt wrong to use it now. And it puzzled her. Instinct was driving her somewhere odd and it bothered her not to know why.

“There’s still plenty of time. Besides, you’re probably saner that way. I have twenty seven of them and there are days I’m ready to commit myself.”

“So, you’re a teacher then?”

Julie beamed proudly, her smile warm and wide. “First grade, though I do have one that’s legitimately mine. Emma. She’ll be six this winter. If she lives that long. Her goal tonight seems to be to drive me crazy. She’s disappeared twice already and we’ve only been here fifteen minutes.”

Over the heads of the crowd, Liz watched Kyle talk to someone in line beside him at the drink table. He was wearing a wide grin, his head thrown back in laughter. As if he could feel her eyes on him, Liz watched his head lift ever so slightly in her direction. His grin turned into the lopsided one reserved just for her and her heart turned over in her chest of its own accord. Beside her, Julie was still talking, but Liz continued to hold Kyle’s gaze. Something passed between them, a silent communication that they shouldn’t have been capable of so soon.

Liz caught the lilting end of one of Julie’s sentences and figured that she’d missed a question. It didn’t seem to matter though. Not when Kyle was looking at her as if she were the only person in the room, worshipping her with his eyes. She needed to go to him, to wrap her arms around him regardless of who was watching and just know he was there.

Not wanting to lose Kyle’s gaze, Liz shifted a bit closer to Julie, intending to excuse herself politely. And that was when Kyle’s eyes slid from Liz to Julie. With complete fascination and more than a bit concern, Liz watched as the color drained from Kyle’s face.

Knowing that she was missing something vital, Liz turned back to Julie. She was still smiling, all innocence and warmth and Liz didn’t know what would have caused Kyle’s reaction. Old instincts had her sizing the woman up for potential danger. But if she was FBI or something equally menacing, Liz knew she would feel more unsettled.

A small bundle of energy streaked past Liz’s legs and almost succeeded in knocking her down again. She regained her footing in time to see Julie catch the bundle and swing her into the air with a laugh.

Liz formed an automatic smile for the little girl with the long black pigtails that giggled against her mother’s neck. And she knew that whatever had upset Kyle couldn’t be too bad. There was love here, captured in the simple embrace.

Julie laughed, digging her fingers into her daughters ribs to elicit a soft giggle. “Liz, this wild child is my daughter Emma. Emma, this is Liz. Can you say hello?”

With a shy lift of her head, Emma turned and peered at Liz through heavy eyelashes. “Hello.”

Liz’s breath caught in her throat and tears threatened her vision. And even if she’d known it was coming, she still would have been stunned speechless. Because there was simply no mistaking the eyes that peered at her curiously. They were wider and held an innocence that should never be lost, but they were familiar all the same.

If there was one thing Liz knew, it was Max’s Evan’s eyes.

“You’re…” The words swam in her brain, but they simply wouldn’t take shape on her lips.

“Liz!”

Liz turned to find Kyle pushing through the crowd towards her. Panic was etched into the fine lines of his face and Liz finally understood his reaction. Slowly, feeling each second drag out around her, Liz turned back to the mother and daughter. Julie was looking at her in puzzlement now, shifting her daughter higher on her hip and glancing up to see Kyle pushing through the crowd.

But Liz felt her eyes drawn upward still, past the all knowing eyes of the small girl. And even before her vision had a chance to focus on the still figure a few steps away, Liz knew what she would find.

Max stood frozen in place, his eyes wide with disbelief. A heartbeat turned into two and neither of them made a move. Shock had taken hold of Liz’s body, but she was still able to see the subtle change when it happened. Max’s mouth quivered, the corners lifting upward in a smile she hadn’t seen in years. Without question, she returned it and released the breath she hadn’t even known she had been holding.

When the closure came, it was nothing like what she’d expected and everything she’d once hoped it could be.

posted on 20-Jan-2003 11:51:10 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

Should I apologize in advace for this part? Maybe. But I'm not going to. The Muses are being kind to me again, so look. An update. And I promise not to leave you guys hanging for long. Not just because I fear for my life. *happy* Enjoy!

Illusions
Part 8

“Liz?” Max took a half step forward, his eyes narrowing in confusion as he took in the scene before him. Liz was standing in the middle of a small crowd though not more than ten feet of space separated them. Kyle was hovering a step behind Liz’s left elbow and glaring at him in a way Max hadn’t been subjected to in years. And even more importantly, his wife was looking back and forth between him and Liz with a dawning recognition.

“Max.” Liz stepped forward before common sense could stop her. She knew it might have looked inappropriate, but in that moment she didn’t care. For close to twelve years, she’d wondered what it would be like to see Max Evans again, to stand in the same room with him and feel the intensity of those eyes turned toward her.

Discovering that her heart didn’t beat for Max anymore was a most welcome breath of fresh air. And it had her wrapping her arms around him in a friendly embrace. Max returned the embrace, holding her close for the briefest of moments and Liz knew that if she had come back any sooner, it would have been easy to fall back into the arms that had once guided her through so much.

Sliding out of his arms, Liz caught his gaze and was pleased to find a genuine smile stretched across his lips. There was no regret, no guilt, no burning passion. And it made her smile even wider.

“Oh. You’re…Liz.”

Liz had to smile at the way Julie said her name, almost with hushed reverence. She could only imagine the sort of stories she’d been subjected to over the years to have earned that sort of greeting. Releasing her grip on Max, Liz turned back toward Julie but her eyes never made it that far.

Kyle was standing on the edge of the crowd, looking in. His face was tight, drawn in, and showed signs of aging that he shouldn’t have been capable of yet. Kyle looked tired, truly bone weary and beaten.

Around them, laughter rang out as friends reunited and caught up. To the casual observer, their group wouldn’t have looked like anything more than the dozen other reunions around them. But as ever, more was spoken in the silences than words could ever do justice.

Kyle was standing still, just looking at Liz. Looking at her as if he didn’t know her, as if they hadn’t spent the last week relearning each other. Looking at her as if she were still the same girl that had turned her back on him to explore the newfound connection with Max Evans.

Her heart broke for him.

Liz knew that she needed to go to him. If nothing else, she needed to tell him what she’d discovered in the last thirty seconds. No matter what happened between them, Max wouldn’t be a factor.

A sharp squeal drew Liz’s attention before she could force her feet forward and she suddenly found herself settled tightly in another embrace. The sheer force of the body thrown against her was all the identity Liz needed and she returned the embrace warmly, holding her second oldest friend close.

“Liz! God, I can’t believe it. I mean, Alex tried to tell me, but I just didn’t believe him. And here you are.” Maria hugged her again, holding Liz tight.

Torn between her desire to give Maria her whole attention and still needing to talk to Kyle, Liz settled into Maria’s arms and tried to catch Kyle’s eye over Maria’s shoulder. Alex had moved to stand beside Kyle and the two were firmly engrossed in conversation. It was easier to believe that something important was going on rather than thinking that Kyle was avoiding her.

“So, I want to hear everything. Where have you been? When did you get back? How long are you here?”

Maria was throwing questions at Liz faster than she could even comprehend them, much less answer. She’d forgotten what it felt like to be on the receiving end of Maria’s enthusiasm. She was being pulled into a hug that was more contact than she’d been used to in years. It was almost overwhelming, panicking her before she knew what hit her. Kyle had been the only person she’d felt remotely comfortable being around, much less touched by.

Surprisingly, her salvation came in an unexpected form.

“Maria, let her breathe.” Michael tugged on one of Maria’s arms and offered Liz a grin. “Welcome home, Liz.”

For one terrifying moment, Liz was afraid Michael was going to take Maria’s place and hug her. It would have been her undoing. Enough had changed in her absence and a touchy feely moment with Michael would have been enough to propel her to the airport. He seemed to know this and kept distance between them, settling for a head nod and a smile. Forcing her muscles to relax, Liz took calm breaths. She could do this.

Maria shifted in Michael’s arms and something in the protective way Michael seemed to shield her from the rest of the room caught Liz’s eye. She’d once spent hour after hour in their company and had considered herself a good judge of their body language. Enough at least to know when to steer clear of both of them. But there was something in the way Michael held Maria to his side. It was something instinctive and it made her blink, speaking before the words had a chance to run checked by her brain first. “You’re pregnant.”

Maria’s eyes widened and she looked at Michael before glancing back at Liz. “I’m not even going to ask how you knew that. And if you say anything about my weight, I’ll have to kill you. Or cry on you. I’m dangerously close to both right now.”

It was in that moment that something in Liz settled. She’d been desperately afraid that she’d come face to face with the people that knew her best and they would end up strangers with nothing to talk about. But seeing Maria and Michael interact, being able to just know something that the ordinary person wouldn’t have known, it made her feel that maybe she wasn’t as estranged as she’d felt.

“Are you kidding?” Alex stepped forward, wrapping an arm around Maria’s waist and kept her rooted to her spot. He’d seen the flicker of panic in Liz’s eyes and knew it would be hard for Maria to understand. “Didn’t I know before you told me? That’s what best friends are for.”

Something large and hot lodged itself in Liz’s throat, making it impossible for her to breathe. The beginnings of tears were forming in her eyes and she vowed silently and swiftly that she would not fall apart in front of them. She wouldn’t show that weakness. Even if Kyle would tell her that it wasn’t weakness to be overwhelmed or to miss her family. Liz knew it was nonetheless.

And it was beginning to sink in that if she didn’t leave the room in the next ten seconds, a whole roomful of people were going to become privy to a crying jag the likes of which she hadn’t succumbed to since she’d run down the mountainside of the Granolith Chamber.

A hand flew up to cover her mouth as she choked back a sob. Turning on her heels, Liz pushed past the crowd and headed for the nearest exit.

Her own mind called her a coward with every step, the voice impossible to ignore, and sounding surprisingly like Kyle. Her heels clicked on the gymnasium floor and she pushed through the double doors that led into the hallway.

She wasn’t foolish enough to think no one would follow her. Realistically, she knew she’d only bought herself some time. She could only hope it was enough to pull herself together.

Stepping out into the courtyard, Liz was faced with more ghosts than she’d been prepared to handle. Nothing had been moved in her absence. The picnic benches still sat in the same places. The same flowers grew in the same pots. It was dark without any of the lights from inside to light her way, but the darkness fitted Liz’s mood and could be the only thing to offer her a moment to herself.

Slowly, she sunk onto one of the benches, letting herself remember for the first time all week. She could see herself at sixteen, roaming the halls with an armful of books while Maria related some story and Alex mimicked her behind her back. They’d eaten lunch at the same table everyday, making room later to include the entire gang. They’d held meetings at those wooden tables, deciding the fates of too many lives. They’d fallen in and out of love.

As lost in her thoughts as she was, it didn’t surprise her in the slightest when the leaves rustled on the ground behind her. A selfish part of her hoped it was Kyle. Maria was more apt to talk and not listen, and Alex always seemed to hear too much. But Kyle seemed to know the balance. He knew how to look at her and judge her mood. And she refused to consider how pathetic it was that she was needing him in that moment.

“Do you mind if I sit?”

Max’s voice did surprise her, and she wasn’t sure why it didn’t even occur to her that Max would follow her. Confused, Liz found herself nodding.

Slipping into the seat across from her, Liz was content to watch Max for a moment. For his part, he eyed her with the same intense concentration she knew she would always remember him for. It was a bit like being put under a microscope and she’d forgotten how tired she could sometimes be after spending time with him.

“So, that was quite a circus inside.”

“Just a reunion.” Liz fought the urge to dig into her pockets for the cigarettes she’d grabbed when Kyle hadn’t been looking. She’d promised to try to give up smoking, but she hadn’t been sure she would be able to make it through the night without one. Or a dozen the way things were shaping up.

“We’re just happy to see you, Liz. It’s been a long time.”

Max’s voice was soft, cajoling, and it made Liz feel like a wounded puppy. “I know that, Max. I didn’t mean to run. It was just…” Liz sighed, not wanting to expose herself any more than she already had. “So, you’re married.”

“Yeah.” The smile that lit Max’s face was small, but still blinding.

“She seems nice. I was talking to her before you and Maria came. You have a daughter.” It was hard to believe, easier to think of him as the boy who didn’t know what to do with the power thrust upon him.

“Emma. She’s…there aren’t words, Liz.” Max paused, unsure how much to say. “I waited for you, you know.”

Liz closed her eyes against the soft words. She didn’t want them, didn’t know what to do with them. Words of apology were on her lips, but she kept them there.

“Those first few years after you left, we didn’t know what to do. Maria was the only one that knew where you were and talked to you and she said you were fine. I had to tell myself every day that if you wanted to see me, you’d come back. But you never did.”

“I’m sorry, Max.” Liz frowned at the table, tracing the woodwork with her fingertips. “I shouldn’t have just left the way I did, but I was afraid that if I told anyone ahead of time I wouldn’t have the courage to leave.”

“You were wrong to leave the way you did. We were your friends.” Max let his eyes wander, seeking out a point in the darkness. “But I know why you had to. It took me a long time to figure it out, but I did. I’m just sorry you felt like you couldn’t come back.”

Fingering the lighter in her pocket, Liz forced herself to think back to the days when she’d been living in Florida. “I would go out onto the beach at night and just sit. The waves would break on the rocks and I always brought my journal with me but I never wrote anything. I didn’t even cry. I just sat out there night after night. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t even know who I was. And if I couldn’t even figure it out, I knew it had to be a thousand times harder on you. Then with everything I heard about you and Tess…” Liz let the sentence go unfinished. She wanted to ask what had happened, but was afraid of the answer.

“She’s gone. She left just before graduation. It wasn’t until later that we found out-“

Liz looked up from the table and found Max’s eyes hard. She’d never seen anger like that from him and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what Tess had done to put it there. But he seemed to shake himself out of the daze and found his spot on the horizon again. She understood the gesture for what it was. He had a story to tell and Tess wasn’t a part of it.

“After graduation, I realized that you might not be coming back. I hadn’t even realized that I’d been waiting until that day. Every time I heard a noise or saw something move, I expected to see your face in the crowd. I sat through the whole ceremony waiting. But you never showed up. I drove out to the desert that night to brood and Michael found me. We drank our weight in liquor and in the morning, Isabel showed up to drive us home. She never said anything, but I think she knew I was going to be okay.”

The image was so startling, Liz could almost see it in her mind. Michael, always the most unexpected of friends, had known his brother needed him. And Isabel, as always, hadn’t been far behind. They were family in a way no one could ever touch. “You met Julie.”

“I met Julie,” Max confirmed with a smile. “We were friends first, for years really before we were anything more.”

It hurt to hear the tale, but in a sweet way. Liz sensed that Max needed to purge some of the guilt he’d been carrying around these years and she couldn’t deny him that. “I like her.”

Max’s eyes came up sharply, judging her words carefully for sharp edges. “That means a lot.”

“You love her, Max.” Liz drew in a deep breath and forced her lips into a smile. “She knows.”

Max nodded. “I didn’t want to tell her at first, not after everything…I didn’t tell her for a long time.”

Despite the fact that Liz knew she was over Max, there was one final thing she needed to know, one final piece of information she needed to brace herself against before she witnessed it firsthand and it destroyed her. “Do you two…you know what? It’s none of my business.”

Liz rose from the bench, emotion clogging her throat again. It was when she realized that while she wasn’t in love with Max, a part of her loved him still. Maybe always would in a way that didn’t make sense. She’d seen into his soul, knew things about him that no other living person did. And to think that the bond they’d once shared could be duplicated was crushing.

“It was only ever with you, Liz.”

Liz stopped in the middle of the courtyard. She hated it when Max could read her mind so easily. And the irritation made the knot in her throat ease. She turned to look at him and caught the smirk on his face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Jealousy isn’t a good color on you.” Max rose from the picnic bench and moved to stand in front of her. Taking her hands in his, he squeezed. “I love Julie with everything I have. She and Emma are my life. But Julie and I don’t have that same connection. And I don’t want it with her, Liz.” Reaching out, Max tucked a strand of hair behind Liz’s ear and tried to take the sting out of his words. “I think it was too much with us, part of the problem that killed what you and I had. It was too intense sometimes, drawing us in when we didn’t want it to. The bond I have with Julie is just as deep, but different. Calmer. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, just like I wouldn’t trade any of the time I spent with you.”

Liz sniffled, but she attributed it to the cold more than anything else. “I really am glad you’re happy, Max.”

“I know. And I wish you were. But I don’t think you’re hopeless yet.”

With a glance back at the lighted gym, Liz grimaced. “I guess I should apologize for running out. Again.”

“I think they understand.” Max wrapped an arm around her waist and Liz let her head fall against his chest as he steered them through the courtyard. “Come on. Everyone went back to Kyle’s house. We can have a real reunion there.”

Liz let Max guide her to the parking lot and when he raised an eyebrow at her rental car, she let out a laugh and climbed in. “What can I say? Kyle taught me well.”

The drive back to Kyle’s house was short but gave Max time enough to relate several stories involving Emma and Maria getting into trouble together. By the time they pulled up in front of the house, they were laughing over an incident earlier that month when Maria had tried to teach Emma to bake a cake.

“And there was frosting on the ceiling. Do you have any idea how close Isabel was to killing them both?”

“Well, it served her right for leaving them alone in her kitchen.” Liz had climbed out of the car and led Max up the front steps. The lights were all on in the house and several cars were parked in the street.

Reaching into her purse, Liz pulled out her keys and fumbled until she found the one that fit Kyle’s door.

“You already have a key?”

Liz glared at Max when he raised an eyebrow at her. “Don’t start with me too.”

Max grinned at her. “I wouldn’t dare.”

With a chuckle, Liz pushed the door open and stepped inside. Automatically, she sought out Kyle, wanting to find a way to talk to him before they started reminiscing. It only took her a second to determine that something was wrong.

The living room was empty, but one of the arm chairs was overturned. The blankets that were usually draped over the back of the couch, their couch, were lying haphazardly on the floor.

“Isabel?” Max saw the destruction the same time Liz did and he pushed past her.

Isabel rushed out from one of the hallways and sighed when she saw them. “Thank god. We didn’t know how to find you.”

“What’s wrong?” Liz’s voice sounded strange to her own ears, as if a fog had invaded the room, making her slower. “Where is everyone? Where’s Kyle?”

Isabel glanced at Max, then back to Liz. “I don’t…”

“Isabel, enough is enough. What the hell is going on?”

Max looked at Liz, frowning when he heard the anger in her voice. “Isabel?”

With a sigh, Isabel gave in. “He wouldn’t let us say anything, Max. Alex and I tried to talk to him, but you know how he gets.”

Liz glanced up sharply when Max swore viciously. Narrowing her eyes, Liz latched onto Max. “What’s going on? And don’t even try to lie to me, Max. I need the truth.”

“Isabel? Where did you – Liz! Max! Thank god you’re here. We can’t snap him out of it.” Maria twisted her hands nervously, glancing between the room’s occupants. “Can you try to something?”

Sensing that she wasn’t going to get any answers, Liz pushed past Max and headed down the hallway. Her heart thudded dully in her ears and Liz had never known what it was to taste fear before that moment.

She pushed open Kyle’s bedroom door and could only stand frozen. Kyle was lying motionless in the middle of his bed. Alex was sitting on one side, trying to measure Kyle’s pulse. Michael was pacing the length of the room and Julie was bouncing Emma gently in her arms.

Max pushed into the room behind Liz and she was forced to stumble forward a step. Drawing attention to themselves, all heads whipped in their direction. Emma squirmed out of her mothers’ grip and headed for Max. Sweeping her up in his arms, he moved into the room.

“How long so far?”

“Ten minutes.” Isabel followed Max into the room. “He started convulsing and we couldn’t get him to stop.”

“Has he been sleeping?” Max handed Emma to Isabel and lifted Kyle’s eyelids.

Isabel turned to Liz. “Liz? Has he been sleeping?”

”What?” None of what she was seeing or hearing made sense. They were all acting together. The room held a twinge of fear, but none of panic. And Liz realized that whatever she was seeing, it wasn’t the first time it had happened.

Max turned to look at Liz. “Has he seemed strange at all to you over the last few days?”

Anger was fiercely held in check as Liz regained control of her senses and took several steps deeper into the room to perch on the side of the bed. “Forget it. You want to know if he’s been eating and sleeping? I want to know what the hell is going on. What’s wrong with him and why isn’t he on his way to the hospital?” She saw the silent glances around the room and it made her blood boil. “Fine. Don’t tell me. The emergency room might treat me more like I have a right to know what’s wrong with him than any of you are.”

“Liz, wait.” Isabel grabbed hold of Liz’s arm when she reached for the phone. “Kyle’s sick.”

“Sick? I got that much, Isabel. What the hell is wrong with him? Max, why aren’t you healing him?”

“I can’t, Liz. I’ve tried before.” Max sagged against the bed and Emma crawled back into his lap the minute he did. He let her wrap her small arms around his neck and he held onto her for a moment.

“Tell me.” Her voice wasn’t more than a hoarse whisper now. There was a tug in the pit of her stomach, instinct telling her that finally this was the reason she’d been pulled to this town. And she was afraid to find out why.

“There’s nothing I can do, Liz.” Max pleaded with her to understand even as he ran a hand down Emma’s back soothingly.

“You’re not…you’re saying…” Liz tore her gaze away from Max and settled it on Kyle. His skin was pale, sickly, and there were dark circles under his eyes that hadn’t looked so deep earlier that day.

Alex set a gentle hand on Liz’s shoulder, offering her the only amount of comfort she would accept. “He’s dying, Liz.”

posted on 1-Feb-2003 3:54:55 PM
Illusions
Author: Cookieman aka Stacey
Email: Cookieman123⊕go.com
Category: K/L
Rating: PG 13 to R for language mostly
Disclaimer: I own nothing. You know this, I know this. But you know what? The show doesn’t exist anymore, so who’s going to care if I claim them anyway? So, yeah. Kyle’s mine.
Summary: Okay, duckies. Try not to kill me here, but this is a Kyle/Liz story. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a Dreamer. But guess what? I’m in love with Kyle. There I said it. Are any of you really surprised to see me come out of the closet on that one? In fact, I don’t know why this story would come as any great surprise. It was only a matter of time before Kyle got his own story. So, I won’t hold it against any of you if you decide not to read this one. But I can offer you one promise. This won’t be a K/L story where Max turns out to be some great bastard that everyone hates for stalking Liz. I’m not in the mood for that, so Max is safe here at least. Or at least as safe as he can be in my hands. Oh, and I should probably mention that this is a couple of years post “Destiny”. That would help, right?

A short little part with some answers for a change. I just wanted to get something out for you guys. So, enjoy.

Illusions
Part 9

“What do you mean he’s dying?”

Alex told himself not to be offended when Liz wrenched her shoulder away from his touch. It was easy really to let the emotion go when he’d seen the naked terror in her eyes. “He’s sick, Liz.”

“I understood that much, Alex.” Liz turned away from the soft voice of her friend and faced Kyle instead. The concern in Alex’s voice only managed to hit on a nerve she hadn’t even known existed. The panic had been blinding for a moment and in the space of a breath, something inside of Liz had started bleeding.

It was too much too soon. She wasn’t ready.

Maria narrowed her eyes at the tension in the room and saw the way Emma was burrowing as close to Max as she could get. She was still unclear as to what was going on, but she had a feeling it was going to get worse before it got better.

“Julie, why don’t we take Emma in the other room and see what we can find on telelvision?”

Julie glanced at Max, then back to Maria. With a nod of her head, she plucked Emma from Max’s arms. “We’ll be in the next room if you need us. Michael? Are you coming?”

Michael considered the options and followed Julie and Maria to the door. He nodded in Max’s direction. “If you need me…”

Liz waited until the others had cleared out of the room before turning back to Max.

“How is he sick?” Logic was, as always, her best friend. Anything could be overcome with the use of logic. It was simply a matter of gathering the facts and using them to come to a logical conclusion.

Silence greeted her and Liz forced her gaze away from the smooth skin of Kyle’s face. The room’s occupants were looking at each other, not wanting to offer information. Liz felt the last threads of her temper snap and turned to Max.

“What the hell is going on, Max?”

Isabel took a step forward to put herself between Max and Liz. “It’s complicated, Liz.”

“Complicated?” Liz caught the protective gleam in Isabel’s eye and wondered who it was for, Max or Kyle. “Uncomplicate it for me, Isabel. He’s sick and no one seems to be willing to take him to the hospital. So, that means it’s alien related. Am I right?”

“Liz, don’t.”

“Don’t what? Get worked up? How can I not?” Her temper was flaring, burning hot and fast inside of her. She’d come back to town, come back to the one place that had the power to terrify her. And everyone had been lying to her from the beginning. It hurt, cut her deeper than she was willing to examine. She felt like a fool. “You all knew. You knew and you lied to me.”

“It wasn’t that easy, Liz.” Alex stepped closer to Isabel. He understood Liz’s frustrations, but Isabel automatically had his allegiance.

Remembering Alex was there and a part of the lies, Liz could only look at him blankly. Tears swam in her vision for the second time that night and she couldn’t remember crying this much in all the years since she’d left Roswell behind. “You knew. You knew about all of this and you didn’t say anything.”

“Kyle wouldn’t let us.”

Wiping angrily at her tears, Liz gestured to Kyle’s prone form on the bed. “Kyle is in no shape to decide anything. You’re his friends. You’re supposed to be my friends. You knew I’d been pulled back to this town, knew it and wouldn’t tell me why. You let me move in with Kyle. You let me…we…” Liz ran out of words when she remembered the night she’d spent with Kyle. Had it really been a short twenty four hours ago? It seemed impossible.

Her anger spent, Liz sunk down on the bed again. Everything hurt and she wrapped her arms around her waist to keep from reaching out to Kyle again. To her surprise, it was Isabel that settled beside her and reached a hand to cover Liz’s shoulder.

“We tried to reason with him, Liz. But you know how Kyle is. He wouldn’t change his mind.”

Liz ignored the comfort, ignored the pleading tone in Isabel’s voice, even ignored the stab of pain in her heart when she glanced back at Kyle. “What’s wrong with him that Max can’t fix?”

“His brain.” Max took a step back when Liz pinned him with a hard stare. He saw the unasked questions in her eyes and knew it was going to be his job to answer them. “Specifically, his memory.”

Finding a place where she had the most experience of them all, Isabel stepped in. “It’s usually worse when he first wakes up. I think it takes his brain longer to…work right. Sometimes it’s little things, like where his keys are. Sometimes though he wakes up and doesn’t remember large chunks of time.”

“His memory.” Liz frowned as moments from the past week came rushing back to her. Kyle had been acting strange since the moment she’d first run into him. It was in the small things, the length of time it took him to find ordinary household items, the fact that he always seemed to burn everything as if he didn’t remember they were there until the smell assaulted him. It had been with them last night, when she’d fallen asleep in Kyle’s arms and had sworn that he hadn’t slept for even a moment all night. Now she knew it had been because he hadn’t wanted to risk forgetting.

The proof was in every conversation they’d had since she’d come home, the conversations they’d had more than once. And in the day she’d seen firsthand the confusion in his eyes as he struggled to remember. “The park.”

Alex nodded when Liz glanced at him. With a glance at the others, Alex explained. “Kyle had a relapse last week. Liz and I found him in the park. He hadn’t remembered anything about Liz’s return.”

Max swore. “How long did it take him to remember?”

Alex shook his head. “A few hours. We went to lunch and by the time we finished he was okay again.”

“How long has this been going on?” Liz couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Everyone was accepting this as a fact, not questioning how Kyle could forget weeks of his life at a time.

“Years, Liz. Since high school, but it’s been getting worse the last few years. Usually when he pushes himself too hard. Sometimes he’ll stop eating and sleeping. He just forgets when he did it last.” Isabel wanted to explain to Liz, to make up for the half-truths she’d had to settle for. She’d been the one over the years to keep the closest eye on Kyle, watching out for him when he couldn’t be trusted to do it for himself.

“Why didn’t someone tell me?” Liz didn’t recognize the whisper as her own. “I could have-“

“What? What could you have done, Liz, that we haven’t been doing for years? Max tried to force his way into Kyle’s mind to heal it last year and it almost killed them both. There are walls in there that we can’t break.” Isabel glanced down where Kyle’s hand lay on the blue comforter.

“The healing stones then.”

“Tried and failed.” Isabel watched Liz, waited for the truth to sink in. “When Max couldn’t get in, we knew there wasn’t anything left we could do. Our only hope was that maybe you could do something. That’s why I called you.”

Liz, can I ask you a question? Are you okay? I mean, after Max…healed you…nothing strange ever happened?

Kyle’s words from that first night in town came rushing back to Liz. He’d been fishing for information, looking to see if she possessed the key to helping him.

“He asked me.” Liz shook her head in disbelief. “That night. He asked me if I…I told him no.”

Isabel nodded her head. “He told us. Liz, it’s not your fault. We weren’t really expecting you to be able to do anything, but we had to try.”

“No. You don’t understand. He asked me, and I said no, but…” Liz pressed her eyes shut and shook her head. It was too much, more than she’d been prepared to reveal about herself. But it was Kyle’s life that was being held in the balance.

“But?”

Liz opened her eyes and held Max’s gaze. In it she saw all the things she’d hoped never to see, wonder, awe. Hope. “I can do things.”

“What kind of things, Liz?” Excitement laced Isabel’s words.

“I don’t know. Things. I’ve always tried to ignore them, but every so often something pops up, clothes that change colors. Once, after an argument with my editor, I blew every light bulb in my apartment. I’ve short-circuited my stereo before. And when I touch people…”

“What?” Max gently nudged Liz, knowing what she was holding back. “You just know things?”

Liz nodded. “The first few times it happened, I was working on a story. Do you know what it’s like to be objective when you know you can read your subjects mind to see if they’re lying or not?”

“I’m sorry.”

Isabel sighed and slapped the back of Max’s head lightly. “Don’t be stupid. She’d be dead if it wasn’t for you.” With a sympathetic smile, Isabel met Liz’s eyes and they shared a moment of humor amidst the chaos.

“So, what does this mean?” Alex looked back and forth between the rooms’ occupants for answers. “Can you two heal him?”

Max shook his head. “I can’t. I’ve tried. Whatever Tess did to him was-“

“Tess?”

“Yeah.” Max shook his head. “You were right about her. She was working with our enemies. We didn’t know for years, but she’d been using Kyle to help her. Eventually, the mindwarps were too much for Kyle’s brain. His memory lapses were the first thing that told us something was wrong.”

It should have made her angry, should have surprised and shocked her. But it didn’t. And there was no room for anger at the moment. The time would come later when she could afford to lock herself in a room and destroy things until the rage subsided. But for now, she had to face what was inside of her and see how it could help.

“You said there were blocks in his mind?”

Max nodded. “Walls, really. I’d tried to heal him before, but without forming a connection. Tess had forced herself into Kyle’s mind so many times, he wouldn’t let me in willingly. Not even to heal him. Last year, he was sicker than we’d ever seen him. He was out for a solid week.” Max ran a hand through his hair, frustrated with the memory of it still. “I…we…didn’t know what to do. So, I tried to force a connection and heal him. It didn’t work.”

Liz remembered Isabel’s words. Both he and Kyle had almost died from the experience. Kyle’s mind had been invaded so many times, he wasn’t willing to let anyone in to fix the damage. Even if it cost him his own life.

“It didn’t work because he didn’t trust you enough to let you in.” If there was anything about alien connections Liz understood, it was that. “When you healed me, Max, even back then you knew it had to be willingly. Kyle won’t let you in.”

Max nodded, seeing that she understood. “But he might let you in.”

“Can you even do this?” Alex lingered near the foot of the bed. Max and Liz were sharing some sort of moment, different from the ones they’d shared in the old days. But he recognized it all the same. It made him wonder if they would ever really lose that bond, almost as powerful as the one he and Maria shared with her.

“I don’t know.” Liz broke the gaze she had with Max and glanced back down at Kyle. Max knew about her and Kyle, knew in some strange way she wasn’t sure she wanted to examine. And he understood that if there was anyone that might be able to get through to him and convince him what had to be done, it was her. It made her wish that their hope could be placed in someone else, someone that didn’t have a history of running when things were too complicated or difficult.

Lightly, Liz ran a hand down the length of Kyle’s arm. The muscles beneath her fingertips were coiled tightly, stressed even in his condition. And she knew that she had to at least try.

“Will you tell me what I need to do?”

Max nodded. “We should talk before he wakes up. He’ll fight you, you know.”

“I know.” Liz was ready for it. Or she would be by the time he woke up. Kyle could be stubborn when he wanted to be. But they’d forgotten over the years that she could be just as stubborn. “And when he tries, he’ll lose.”