Mindwarper/Stargazer Fic; Alternate "Four Square"
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Part 1

Alex noted Isabel's smile, and definitely he didn't begrudge her his shoulder to sleep on, but regretfully Alex nudged her awake anyway. "Isabel. Tess is awake, she's leaving."

"I know," Isabel muttered drowsily. "She was dreaming about... something nice." Isabel scowled at Alex. "I wasn't asleep. Just checking on Tess."

"You can see people's dreams?" Alex blushed furiously, thinking of what Isabel might have seen in his head, and Isabel smiled.

"I thought you knew, I explained it to Maria." Isabel sighed. "Don't worry Alex. I love your dreams. Now don't we have an Alien to follow?"

***

The six of them regrouped in the school hallway. Their trailing had produced absolutely nothing; Tess had gone straight to school, as far as they could tell hadn't made contact with anyone. Now they were standing around trying to look casual as they waited for Tess to emerge from the bathroom.

"She's spending forever in there," Michael muttered.

"Or she shapeshifted and already left," Maria pointed out.

"I'll get close to her," Alex volunteered. "I'm the one least connected. She won't suspect me."

"No!" Isabel protested. "Stay away from her!"

Alex nodded, not unhappy his offer had been refused... especially with Isabel acting so protective. Maybe even jealous.

"I'll go," Isabel continued. "I can defend myself if I have to, and anyway I don't have to wait around for her to emerge. I can make sure she's still in there." Isabel forestalled all objections - Max and Michael both had their mouths open - by simply walking forward and pushing open the bathroom door.

Tess alone inside, washing her hands, and she didn't seem surprised at Isabel's appearance. "You've all been watching me. I spotted you last night and again this morning."

Isabel considered denying it, decided that was pointless. "We saw something interesting last night. You fixed that statue."

Tess shut off the sink and turned to face Isabel. Tess' hands glowed briefly, then the shorter girl raised her dry hands for Isabel to examine. "I'm one of you."

Isabel struggled to contain her excitement. "We can change shapes?" She loved the possibilities.

"No." Tess shrugged. "It would be so much fun if we could... but no. Shapeshifters are a different species. Anyway, we've got a lot of human DNA. Still, what we're capable of is still pretty incredible."

"Tell me... us," Isabel corrected herself. "Start with what you're doing to my brother."

"Max?" I'm not doing anything to him."

Isabel let her skepticism show. "Really? He thinks you are. And I know that he hasn't looked at another girl since he"

"Healed Liz," Tess finished for her. "That was a mistake... led us right to you, and probably not just us."

"So what's going on?"

"I'm not using any Alien voodoo on your brother, Isabel." Tess snorted. "Does your brother really think he's that hot? Do you think I can't snag a date the normal way?"

"Well, I guess you wouldn't have too much trouble," Isabel admitted, "and my brother has never suffered from excessive humility, but I still have a lot of questions."

"I'll talk to you tonight. You can come over, or..."

"Come to my place." Isabel would feel safer at home."

"Just you. Unlike you I didn't grow up with two other people like me... I'm not used to crowds. I'll explain everything tonight."

"Great." Isabel wasn't afraid to be alone with Tess. And she'd get a chance to ask the questions she wanted answered, Max and Michael would get their turns later.

"Great," Tess repeated, flashing a stunning smile.

Isabel blinked, and she was alone. She quickly redid her shirt which had come unbuttoned somehow and hastened out of the bathroom. The halls were empty as if the bells for first period had already rung.

*****

Part 2

Isabel got home ahead of Max, going inside to find Tess already perched on her living room couch watching home videos with her (Isabel's) mother. Videos of a young Isabel and Max. Isabel hid her anger as she said hello to her mother, grabbed pop, Tabasco and sugar, and took Tess to her room. Once the door was shut she let it out. "Are you spying on us?" she demanded angrily. "Why were you looking at those videos?"

Tess turned away. "No," she answered softly, turning back to face Isabel. "I've been alone so long, I just wanted to know what it would have been like to have you three as my friends back when we were all children."

Isabel softened. She'd felt so alone so many times, despite loving parents who'd adopted her, despite Max and Michael. She sat down on her bed, watching Tess sit next to her. "I didn't know... we've been so scared lately. Being hunted makes you paranoid."

"It's all right. You aren't even close to paranoid, not next to our protector. He, well usually it's a he, raised me. We were always moving, looking for the three of you, staying one step ahead of the FBI, and he was never the same person twice."

Isabel looked at Tess, who seemed so small and vulnerable. She'd kicked off her shoes and was sitting with her legs tucked under her. "You aren't alone anymore. Everything's easier when you aren't alone." Alex had said that... so strange that he could understand that so well.

Tess smiled in response. "That's sweet." She poured cherry cola and Tabasco into the glasses Isabel had brought.

"It isn't mine. A... a friend of mine said that." Isabel accepted her glass, plopped in a sugar cube before passing the sugar.

"Must be a good friend. And smart." Tess' fingers brushed Isabel's as she accepted the small box of sugar.

"Yeah, he is." Isabel watched as Tess laid out four sugar cubes on the mattress, trying to capture the faint memory they evoked. Something long ago, primal, Alien. She leaned forward to study them more closely, moving closer to Tess.

Their mouths met. Isabel was still for a moment in surprise, then she began kissing Tess back.

Tess' mouth tasted sweet.

And spicy.

plop

Isabel blinked as Tess dropped the sugar cubes into her cola, one by one.

"Nothing can ever be too spicy or too sweet, don't you think?" Tess smiled innocently.

"Of course not," Isabel answered faintly, feeling confused. She glanced at her mirror. She looked flushed. Unless it was just her imagination, so did Tess.

*****

Part 3

"Learn anything?" Max asked curiously.

His sister sighed. "She's just a frightened, lonely girl."

"An Alien girl."

"Yeah. Like me."

Max said nothing.

"I'm going to bed."

"It isn't even eight yet."

"I'm tired, Max. Good night."

"Been staying up dreamwalking people too much?" He retreated from his sister's glare. "Good night."

***

Isabel stood near the edge of the cliff, looking out over the desert.

"Pretty, isn't it?"

Isabel turned slowly, her black dress swirling in the breeze. "Not as pretty as you."

Tess moved closer. Isabel realized they were both in ballroom gowns, hers black, Tess in sky blue. "You're utterly beautiful, Isabel."

Isabel suddenly realized this was a dream, but before she could decide what that meant Tess was in her arms and they were kissing. They stumbled backwards together, falling to the ground at the edge of the drop off. They kissed again, and then more.

***

Isabel sat bolt upright in bed, her heart racing, her red pajamas soaked with sweat. It had been a wonderful dream, but like no dream she'd ever had before. She'd dreamt, on occasion, of kissing Alex. Once or twice Michael. Never more. Never about another girl.

"Did Tess do something to Max?" she whispered to herself.

"Is Tess doing this to me?"

Isabel turned on the light next to her bed by hand, trying to deny both her fear and how very much a part of her wanted to return to that dream. She reached for her yearbook, her usual sleep-aid, only now she was using it to fight the temptation to just role over and seek sleep - and that dream - again. The yearbook fell open among the freshmen (this year's sophomore) W's. Isael gently touched Alex's picture with onefinger. It would be too dangerous, for him, to date him, to let him take away her loneliness... but visiting his dreams always made her feel better.

Not tonight. Alex dreamt of her, he almost always did, but every time she watched him approach dream-Isabel, dream-Isabel was whisked away on Alien business by Michael, they were interrupted by Tess or worst of all, dream-Isabel was arrested by the Sheriff as Alex ran towards them, locked in place by the strange alogic of dreams.

Isabel wondered at the intensity of his frustration, but she was as touched as the first time she had dreamwalked him. She just wished he understood... Okay, Tess had a bad tendency to interrupt, and Isabel had to give Alien stuff first priority, but Alex was wrong. She wasn't waiting for Michael to forget Maria and sweep her off her feet. Isabel still wasn't sure she had the right to get Alex even more involved, but there was no doubting any longer his choice, if it were up to him. There never has been except that I was scared and wanted to pretend I didn't know how he felt. What did I do to deserve his devotion?