posted on 20-Mar-2002 4:45:20 AM
Title: What Might Have Been(A question Roswell fans will ask until their dying day.)
Author: PGILLUM486(or c. mccoy{my fanforum name})
Rating: PG(like kids listen or give a damn)
Disclaimer: I don't own Jack
Distribution: Only if it increases my fame
Summary: Roswell fans have always said Liz's importance to the Royal Four runs deep. How deep? Maybe the man sending her mysterious notes knows the truth. Of course, he could just want her and the rest of them out of the way.


My story takes place after Viva Las Vegas and B.J.K.L.H.M(Before Jason Katims Lost His Mind). As far as the bunch of crap that happened at the end of Season 2 through Season 3: Forget it ever happened!(I know, I know: I'm not asking much.)
To understand where these ideas originated from read Liz's Importance To The Alien Mythology here http://ulink.net/plum/Roswell/LizMythology/intro.htm#background. {Thanks, Zero. You made Roswell fun even through the dark days.}These stories are not based solely on Max and Liz however. I plan on having something for all the characters.
I'll warn you now: I'm very ambitious when it comes to storytelling so this may get long if I can manage it. I'll try to clean up some of the mess JK made and come up with believable answers to questions he left unanswered. At some point, you'll see Nickolas, the Dupes and Khivar - just not in the first story. M&L come first!
So, dig in! And please tell me what you think. Feedback is good.



PROLOGUE


It had been a strange 2 months - even for them.
Micheal had found out where his human side had come from and discovered he actually had a sister. That's what he was calling her anyway. From what Maria had told her, they had bonded extremely well toward the end.
During that time, they had managed to stop a bunch of blue cystals from poisoning the earth and killing the entire population. The excitement hadn't stopped there. After being haunted by nightmares, Micheal had decided to go to Las Vegas to blow the 'dirty money' he had come across in that adventure which he believed to be the source of his dreams.
While she hadn't had much fun on the trip, she was glad it had done everybody else some good. Max and Micheal had even found time to bond. It had been in jail but it had still been good for them. That was all that mattered.
Everything had been quiet in the two weeks since they had been back. She knew she should be grateful and enjoy that fact but she couldn't.
Liz Parker felt....uneasy at best.
Things hadn't been quiet since she had fallen in love with an alien and had caused him to put everyone close to him in danger. This state of calmness could not be good.
Staring at her reflection in the mirror of the dresser beside her bed, she was glad to see she hadn't grown antennas or a third eye. She had been told only three months ago she had been 'changed' when Max had healed her from the fatal gunshot wound that had started all this.
Ava hadn't gone into any details but she already knew she had some kind of astral projection power. Would there be more 'changes' on the way? She didn't know if she necessarily wanted the answer to that question - not that she had any say in the matter.
But she hadn't stood in front of the mirror to look for changes. She stood there because something else was bothering her besides the quietness. She had been standing in this exact spot when that something had happened, when her life had dramatically changed for a third time.
She had been standing here when Future Max had materalized outside her window. She hadn't thought much about it since she had sacrifaced her future with Max to prevent The End of the World. It was too painful to think about in great detail but she had caught herself doing just that in the last week.
She had been standing for almost thirty minutes now, trying to recall every word he'd said. She didn't know what was bothering her but she would figure it out. She always did.

* * * * *

In the building next to the Crashdown, a figure stood in the dark, his eyes gazing intently out the window. He had occupied this room for almost ten years now, doing the same thing - watching Liz Parker. He’d only involved himself in The Royal Four’s life twice: once when he’d killed Micheal’s dad and again when he’d took the doctor’s form that night they’d ran off to meet Topolsky.
That fool Naesado had failed to completely sever the ties between the human girl and the once Antarian king. Naesado obviously hadn’t realized what he’d been dealing with - if he himself was correct about the girl.
He’d been within hearing distance when Naesado had heaped that bunch of garbage on the boy about destiny and not letting history repeat itself.
Naesado had been way too late to stop that from happening. As far as history went: the boy had no idea what his history was. He was about to give them a history lesson they wouldn‘t forget. Naesado had wanted off this planet so bad he’d made a deal with Khivar to keep the Royal Four running around in circles, never telling them enough to do any good.
Naesado had left the dupes to fend for themselves’ and had moved in on his four - the real four. He may have made a mistake when he’d let Naesado steal his kids away but, by that time, he’d already shifted most of his attention to the girl. Besides, he’d known Naesado wasn’t about to let anything happen to Max. He’d needed him. It really didn't matter now anyway.
Unless he missed his guess entirely, she was what‘s important now. Too many signs pointed to her. He’d been there that day Max had first laid eyes on Liz. He’d recognized the instant but faint recognition in the boy’s eyes - even at age six. He would find out soon enough. The Future Max situation had made it clear something had gone wrong. Something had interfered with his plans. He had to act now.
He had taken the last few months to finalize his plans. Everything was as ready as it was going to get. He had hoped to allow the girl to live in ignorance a little longer but it wasn't meant to be.
Liz Parker was strong. She had proven that many times over. Was she strong - or mature - enough to handle what was coming? He would have his answer soon enough.


Chapter One

Do you believe in destiny, Liz? Your grandmother did.
As she sat in her last class of the day, Liz held the note in her hands she had found in her locker that morning. Whoever had sent it hadn't signed it.
She had come to school in a good mood. The Future Max thing was still bothering her but she had pushed it to the back of her mind for the time being. This was their last day before they got out for Spring Break. She had planned on getting away from everything - and everyone - for a week. Someone had already put a wrinkle in her plans.
Even though she knew better, she hoped it was just someone's idea of a joke.
The sound of the bell signaling the end of the period almost made her jump out of her chair. It seemed like she had just sat down a moment ago. She hoped nobody had tried to get her attention.
She wound her way through the sea of students crowding the halls of Roswell High as quickly as possible. The sooner she could get out into the open air, away from the dozens and dozens of yammering voices, the better she'd feel.
"Where you off to so fast?", a voice from beside her said, startling her.
"Oh,", she said, recognizing the tall, lanky frame of her friend. "Hi, Alex. I've just got to get out of here."
She still couldn't get used to the change Alex Whitman had undergone during his trip to Paris. It was like an alien had taken possession of his body. He stood up straighter, a newfound confidence oozing from his every move. His voice was stronger, deeper: His words were no longer tinged with uncertainty.
"Yeah,", Alex said. "I know how you feel. I still haven't really gotten used to being home again. Spring Break will do me some good."
"You haven't heard about anybody pulling practical jokes lately, have you?"
Alex shook his head. "No, why?"
She handed him the note. "I found that in my locker this morning."
"It's definitely weird.", Alex agreed. "You don't think it's...you know."
Liz shrugged. "I don't know. It's been bothering me all day. I haven't heard a word any of my teachers have said."
"Maybe you should show it to Max.", Alex suggested.
"I might if something else weird happens. He and I haven't exactly been what you'd call close these days. I don't want to bother him with my paranoia."
"You seemed pretty close on the dance floor in Vegas."
"Yeah,", she said, smiling. "That was nice. We haven't said two words to each other since then, though. You and Isabel had a nice time too. You're right back to where you were before though, aren't you?"
"Ouch!", Alex mummered.
Instantly, she realized what she'd said and felt ashamed of herself. Poor Alex had been chasing after Isabel for years now without much luck. She had thrown him a bone ever so often, allowing his hopes to rise, before taking it away again. At least she had had her chance with Max. "I'm sorry, Alex."
"No, no,", he said. "You're right. Come to think of it, maybe I should go see where I really stand. See you later, Liz."
She watched him weave his way through the remaining students, looking for the apple of his eye. Nice going, Liz she thought as she opened her locker. Send him off for more punishment.
As the locker door swung open, she felt something hit her foot. Looking down, a sick feeling twisted itself through her stomach. A folded piece of paper - exactly like the one she'd found that morning - lay at her feet.
She quickly bent down to retrieve it. Unfolding it, she noticed the message was once again short and mysterious.
You're not following your heart, Liz. Your grandmother would be very disappointed in you.

Max's eyes went from one note to the other. None of this made sense.
He hadn't even got in the house when his mom told him Liz had called, wanting him to come over. She said it was urgent. He had hoped they could stay downstairs in The Crashdown. He still felt uncomfortable being in her bedroom. The image of her and Kyle in bed together was still burned into his memory. It would be for a long time.
Unfortunately, her parents were closing up. They couldn't talk down there. If he had thought about it, he would have told her to meet him on the balcony outside her window but that wouldn't be much better. That's the way he had come up that horrible night.
He forced those thoughts away. He had more pressing matters to worry about now. "It could be a stalker, I guess. A human one."
Turning away from the window she crawled through to reach her personal retreat, Liz repeated the familiar words - the words that were some of the precious last her grandmother had ever spoken to her. "'Follow your heart'. Max, you were the only one there when I madethat promise to my grandmother. No one else could know about that."
He glanced up at her, his eyes staring into hers. There was something she wasn’t telling him. He knew it. He just didn't know what. "What's your heart telling you to do that you're not doing? And how does this person know about it?"
"I-I'm not sure.", she stammered, tearing her eyes away from his intense gaze to stare at the floor.
That wasn't exactly a lie. She’d come to a few conclusions the other night regarding the Future Max situation. Her heart was indeed telling her something. It was telling her a bunch of something's, none of which fit together perfectly. She needed more time. "Anyway, how does this person know I've been struggling with feelings unless they have supernatural powers?"
"Liz!", came Nancy Parker's voice from the middle of the staircase leading down to the family-owned restaurant.
"Yeah, mom?", Liz answered.
"Telephone!"
Before she took two steps, the phone sailed across the room to land firmly in Max's hand. "Here.", he said, holding it out for her.
"Thank you, young Skywalker.", she said as she took the phone from him.
"No problem.", he said, flashing the smile that threatened to turn her legs to Jell-O. She rarely saw it anymore but, when she did, it still effected her - even these days when their relationship was less than stellar.
"I've got it, mom.", she called. "Hello."
"Hello, Ms. Parker." The voice on the other end was cold, emotionless. Liz was instantly reminded of Naesado. "I'm glad you received my notes."
"Who are you?", Liz asked, her voice faltering.
Max was instantly by her side. She held the phone away from her head to allow Max to listen to the conversation. "Who I am is of no importance at the moment. And how are you, Max Evans: Long dead King of Antar, ruler of nothing."
Max and Liz shot each other an alarmed glance. She nodded toward the window. He returned the nod and walked toward the window. He raised it slowly, looked outside in all directions, turned back to Liz and shook his head before climbing out onto the balcony.
The voice was silent the whole time. Finally, after Max had left the room, the voice spoke again. "He won't find anything. Neither will you if you decide to search your room for cameras or something silly like that. Listen carefully, Liz Parker. Your destiny awaits. Come to the cave where you recieved the healing stones. Oh, and bring Max. He'll need to be there too. No one else."
"It‘s been over a year since we‘ve been there. I’m for certain we can find it again."
"Follow your heart."
"How do you know my grandmother?", she asked quickly. "What does she have to do with any of this? What destiny?"
Click!

Max had prayed his sister would be too busy doing chores when he came home to ask any questions about why Liz had called. He was luckier than he had expected. Isabel was in her room - with Alex.
"Are you going to do it?", Alex asked as he sat down on the bed in front of her, crossing his long legs.
After his conversation with Liz that afternoon, He had looked for Isabel but she had already left school. He had gone home and sorted out his thoughts, planning his final approach. He had told her before he wasn't the lovesick puppy anymore. He wasn't going to break his neck for her anymore. He’d meant it too.
Isabel shrugged. "I don't know yet.", she admitted. "It depends on what happens in the next few weeks. Even though I have the credits to graduate, I don't know if I will. Getting into college early is great but I don't know if I want to leave everybody behind. I thought about graduating and just taking the year off."
"That's what I'd--"
"Take me to the prom.", Isabel blurted out.
Alex was momentarily stunned. Where had that come from? "O-Okay."
Scooting closer, Isabel took his hand into her's. The palm of her hands were sticky, her throat suddenly dry. She fought to keep her hands from trembling. "I know it's still a month or two away but I want to go with you. I know...I know I haven't been very nice to you, always pushing you away. I've had some really bad relationship experiences lately and it's made me appreciate the fact that you're always there - no matter how crazy my life is."
"I-I don't know, Isabel.", Alex said, suddenly aware of her nervousness. She was known as the Ice Princess around school, always in control, always distance. There hadn't been many times when she had let that persona melt away, certainly never with him - alone. "I don't want to get sucked back into the same ol' routine again."
"Please, Alex. Don't make me beg."
"What's wrong?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. I feel strange, like something's about to happen - something big. And I know I want to be with you when it happens. I can't explain it."
"Alright.", he agreed. "I'll take you to the prom but this is your last chance, Isabel. I need to move on with my life. Whether you're with me when I do is up to you.”
"Thank you, Alex.", she said, hugging him. "Thank you."
“Yeah.", he said, still taken aback by this sudden turn of attitude in the woman he had pined for all these years. "No problem."

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 8-Jan-2003 3:55:46 AM ]
posted on 20-Mar-2002 4:50:38 AM
Chapter Two

Ding......ding......ding......ding.
Michael Geurrin was jolted out of his state of boredom as Maria grabbed his hand before it came down on the bell again. "Will you please stop! My God, Michael, you're about to drive me crazy."
"Sorry.", he said. Sitting up from his crouched position on the couch, he stretched his sore muscles. He hadn't slept well the night before.
"What did you do,", she asked, reaching under the table for a dirty sock. "Steal the Crashdown's bell?" She couldn't believe she was cleaning up after a slob on her first day of freedom. An image of her mother picking up after her father sprang into her mind. What a frightening thought: She was turning into her mother.
"No, Jeff had another so I asked if I could have it. He said yes."
Spotting the clothesbasket in the corner, the one opposite from the week before, she started walking toward it with her arms full. "Why would you want a bell?"
Ding, ding! "Fix me a sandwich, Maria."
Maria stopped in mid-stride and, slowly, turned to face the man who had put her through so much, the one man who it often killed her to love, and fixed him with a stare.
They had been dating - more or less - for little more than a year now and he knew the meaning of the looks she threw at him. This one told him he had said something extremely sexist. A big stupid grin spread across his face. "I was joking.", he said, holding his breath the whole time.
She smiled sweetly at him. "I know you were, honey. After all, we wouldn't want you to come to work smelling like you just slept in the dumpster, would we?"
"No.", Michael said, shaking his head.
"And we were planning on spending more time together here in you apartment - alone - weren't we?"
Michael nodded. "Yes, we were."
"And you wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that, would you?"
"No."
"Un-huh." When she turned around and continued on to the clothesbasket, Michael let out a sigh of relief.
They had talked about spending more time alone together. With everything that had happened over the last four months - learning about the crash, the man who had risked his life to save his and learning about his human family - he had grown more attached to this world, allowing some of the walls around him to fall. In the last few days, he’d had the urge to be close to Maria, to make her a larger part of his life. It was weird. He had even thought of asking her to move in with him as soon as high school was over.
"Have you seen Max today?", he asked. "Tess called this morning and said he'd left before everyone else woke up. She was worried."
"I'll bet.", Maria muttered. Aloud she said: "No, I haven't seen him. Liz was gone early this morning too. Didn't tell anybody where she went or anything." After moment's thought: "I wonder where they went?"
Michael turned to look at Maria. "Weren't they supposed to be broken up or something?"
"It's complicated, Michael. Thinking about it will only give you a headache.", she assured him. She wasn't sure Liz understood it and she had lived through it. "Even if they stay broken up, they'll never be over each other."

Max and Liz had left at six that morning. They hadn't even planned to search for the cave until eleven but they hadn't wanted to give anyone the chance to ask questions about where they were going.
Liz had snatched enough food from the Crashdown for three meals. There was no telling when - or if - they would be returning. Max too had grabbed some things that would raise questions if certain people realized he had left his room with them.
They hadn't done much speculating on what they would be walking into. There were too many questions, too many possibilities. Instead, they had discussed trivial things and drove around, taking a last look at familiar places and discovering new ones as they traveled down unfamiliar roads. Even if they weren't walking into a trap, there was a chance they would learn something that would change things, never allowing them to look at the world the same again.
It had happened before.
They got lost twice searching for the cave: Once when Max convinced her he had memorized the correct path which ended up leading them to the highway and again when Liz second guessed herself and led them in a circle.
Finally, exactly at noon, they found what they sought.

Popping a tic-tac into his mouth, he watched as they approached. The torches he had lit barely cast enough light to see the outline of the cave. He didn't like a lot of light. He would've kept a better eye on the girl if there weren’t so much light on this planet.
His system had a sun like every other but the numerous gases polluting the air there dimmed the light it cast. All this sunlight gave him splitting headaches if he was exposed to it for long periods. He thought he'd get used to it the longer he was here but he never had.
"Glad you could make it.", he said as they neared him. "My name is...." He paused a moment. There was no way these two could pronounce his real name and he'd never had a reason to come up with another. He had always scrawled something unintelligible when he was forced to sign something. If doctors could get away with it so could he. Suddenly, an idea came to him. "Tic-Tac. My name is Tic-Tac and I'll be your host for the evening."
Max and Liz stopped several feet away, leaving plenty of distance between them. They were wary of him. Good. They‘d learned to be cautious. "Are you a shapeshifter?", Liz asked.
"Yes."
Even without the knowledge of his shapeshifter status, his current - and favorite - form was imposing enough to cause people pause. He looked very much like a mountain man. He was stocky; his arm as big around as some people's leg. He had a full beard and his stomach spilled over his belt by several inches. He wore a stocking cap on his head and had a large backpack strapped to his wide shoulders.
"Why do you want us here?", Max asked. "We've been here about three times already. There's nothing left to discover here."
An amused smile spread across Tic-Tac's face. Grabbing the nearest torch, he walked toward the back of the cave. "Let me show you something." Still keeping their distance, they followed.
As they approached the end of the cave, it appeared Max was right. Tic-Tac poked and prodded the wall for a minute, apparently searching for something. Finally, with a satisfied grunt, he pushed on a section of the cave wall.
Max and Liz looked on in astonishment as the entire back wall slid to the side, revealing two more passages. A thick wall divided them and a set of stone stairs led down to each. Tic-Tac turned to face them, pleased to find both tongue-tied. "Naesado wasn't the only one with tricks up his sleeve."
"Where do they lead?", Liz asked, finally finding her voice.
Tic-Tac shrugged. I don't know. This was the cave's original design. I'm the one who added the fake wall. Good thing too. Not long after I used the cave for my purposes, Naesado found it and used it for his."
He motioned toward the passages. "This is why I told you to bring Max. I need one of you on the right and the other on the left." He positioned both of them at the front of each passage. Max and Liz threw questioning looks at each other the entire time Tic-Tac was prodding them into place.
This alien was indeed different. None of the others had physically manhandled them. A tiny voice inside Liz screamed at her to turn and run. Fast. She quickly dismissed it. There was something calming about him. There was almost a spiritual sense of peace flowing outward from him. His voice wasn't cold and emotionless like it had been on the phone. It too was calming, soothing.
Satisfied, Tic-Tac took several steps back from the passages. "I need both of you to take ten steps forward." Again, they did as he asked. There was little else to do. "I'm sorry for what you may be about to go through,", he said, a note of true sorrow in his voice. "But you'll thank me later."
Max and Liz both turned around, a horrified expression on their faces. "Max!", Liz screamed, running back the way she had come.
"Liz!", Max yelled. He too made a beeline for the stairs.
Neither made it. The wall once again slid shut, sealing them in like a mummy in a crypt, totally alone.


Chapter Three

Tess paced the floor, berating herself. She had caught Alex when he stepped off the plane from Sweden about a month ago and had been mind-warpped him for several weeks, sending him to Las Crusas to the University of New Mexico. Using their computer lab, she hoped he could interpret the Destiny Book for her.
She knew the book was written in an old indian language. Naesado had told her that much. He had told her not to concern herself with the book. He’d already told her what the book said. She was only to show it to them. The pictures alone would tell them what they needed to know.
Naesado was dead now. The book would further prove to Max they were meant to be together, that their lives here were temporary, that Liz was of no concern. She was sure of it. They would go home - hopefully with a child - and rule once again. Khivar had already promised to allow her and Max to rule - at least in name. That would be a start. Max - she - was meant to rule.
She had hoped Alex could find the language at UNM without alerting anyone to her plans. She didn't know how much longer she could use Alex without his mind deteriorating.
She looked at the clock. It was past three now. All her plans would go down the drain if he went off and got himself killed. She had other problems too - like her growing attraction to Kyle and her overall feelings toward Earth in general. She was growing attached.
"Where are you, Max!"

For several minutes after the wall had slid back into place, Max had used his powers in every way he could think of to get to Liz. He tried forcing the wall to slide back, he had concentrated on gathering his strength into a powerful ball of energy and using it to strike the wall repeatedly until he broke through. That tactic had only made him collapse on the floor, his entire body drenched with sweat.
He had tried numerous other tactics too; things he'd known wouldn't work but he'd attempted them anyway. Forcing the wall open was as impossible as hopping on a ship and flying to his real planet. When he finally gathered enough strength, he rose to his feet and headed down the dark corridor.
After what seemed like hours of walking, occasionally calling Liz's name, a sudden sense of deja-vu crept over him. This seemed familiar somehow. The longer he walked, the stronger it became. He had been here before....but when?
This passage had to connect with the one Liz was in somewhere - didn't it? He hoped she had stayed put. There was no telling what was down here.
How could he have let this happen? Why did he trust another shapeshifter? Naesado had rarely done anything but get them into more trouble. He hadn't really shed any light on the hundreds of questions they’d had. They hadn't even got to ask most of them. He’d hid things from them too. Max knew he had. Why hadn't he demanded more answers? Once again he had put Liz in danger by being stupid! He had failed once again to do what he had been born to do!
Blood flowed from four marks on the palm of his hands where his nails dug into his skin. He felt nothing.

Liz hadn't stayed still.
Why didn't you listen to the voice when it told you to run? For the thirtieth time in the last hour, that thought ran through her mind. The answer was always the same: Because she had trusted Tic-Tac. She still did.
There was a reasonable explanation for all this. She was certain of it. She had never been comfortable around Naesado, never felt any sense of goodness emanating from him at all. The feeling she'd felt around Tic-Tac was the same one she expected to feel around a pope. He’d had a priestly feel about him - for lack of a better explanation.
They were supposed to do something down here - seperately. She just wished she knew what that something was. The least he could've done was give them something to light their way with. It was pitch black down here.
At least the ground was level. She had only tripped once and that had been over a log or something. She wished she could see. River Dog and his tribe might have used these passages for something. They could be covered with ancient writing or symbols and she was missing it.
It was still hard to think about indian tribes of any kind without thinking of Grandma Claudia. She still hadn't read all of her book. Every time she picked it up, she was forced to quit reading after a few pages. It had been a year and a half since she had passed away. Even though they had been close - as close as a granddaughter can be to her grandmother - she hadn't dreamed it would still be as painful as it was after so much time had passed.
Liz gasped. Why hadn't she asked him about Grandma Claudia? Had he mind warped her, made her forget why she'd been so intrigued to come here in the first place? She just couldn‘t imagine him being evil.
She suddenly stopped. Had she seen light? She waited a few moments to see if it would appear again, then shook her head. It must have been her eyes playing tricks on her. Taking a few more steps, she saw it again. This time she was sure she hadn't imagined it. Picking up her pace, she jogged onward. She rounded the corner and stopped, her eyes growing wide in amazement.
A shaft of light had found it's way through a large crack in the ceiling. Something up there was keeping the light from streaming through permanently. What it was she couldn't tell. She really wasn't interested at the moment either. Something else held her attention now - something beautiful.
Atop a tripod made of the shiniest quartz she'd ever seen, sat a huge crystal ball. It was easily the size of three basketballs. When a direct ray of light hit the artifact, it was nearly blinding. She could now hear soft voices, whispering to her. At first, she couldn't pinpoint where they were coming from. They seemed to be coming from the right, then the left, behind her and then from inside her head.
Finally, she pinpointed the voices' origins. They were coming from the crystal ball itself! "Come closer.", it urged her. "See what never was meant to be seen. Travel the River Of Time."
"Already did.", Liz said, feeling stupid talking to a glass ball. "I'm still paying for the last sneak preview."
The voices pressed on. "The key lies in the past - not the future. You must see - you must understand - for yourself."
Before she realized it, her legs were moving, carrying her closer to the crystal ball. She could see inside it now. What appeared to be gases of many different colors swirled madly inside, each one devouring the other over and over again. Warily, she reached out to touch the orb, placing her hands on both sides of it. She almost jerked them back when the swirling madness inside dissipated at her touch.
She suddenly had the feeling she was being sucked into the crystal ball, as if the orb was growing larger - or maybe she was shrinking. Without removing her hands, she glanced at her surroundings. She was relieved to find she was the appropriate size. Nothing had changed. Returning her gaze back to the orb, she saw a reddish-brown dot deep in the orb. Within seconds, the dot was ten times its original size, then fifty times...hundred times and then.....
"What is that?", she asked, not expecting an answer.
Antar., came the reply. "1165."

His legs felt like he had cinder blocks strapped to the bottom of them. His lungs were on fire and his throat was raw from screaming her name. Finally, he stumbled and fell.
He had stumbled and fell a dozen times already but he had gotten back up. This time he didn't have the strength.
As Max had continued down the dark corridor, the sense of having been here before had grown and grown. He still didn’t know where this scenerio had taken place at before but he knew Liz was in serious trouble. His fears were realized when he heard Liz's voice calling for him over and over, asking for help. He had started running and calling her name back.
He didn't know if his eyes had adjusted to the dark or what but he could actually see where he was going. He could see the outline of the cave now. At one point, the cave had been illumanated by a strange light. He hadn't known where it came from and he hadn't cared, especially when he had caught a glimpse of Liz as she rounded a corner ahead of him.
Her beauty took his breath away. He had forgotten how beautiful she was. He had called her name but she hadn't answered. That small glimpse had reenergized him and he had ran faster than he had ever thought possible.
He had never seen her again. The light was gone now too as he lay flat on his back, staring into the nothingness above him. He could still hear Liz calling for him but he had no strength to move.


Chapter Four

A dark-haired man roamed the halls of a palace. The entire building was made of some kind of shiny material. Marble? Quartz maybe. Liz couldn't quite tell.
She could start to make out more details about the man now. He was tall and muscular. He walked with confidence even though it was obvious he had no idea where he was going but it didn't appear he was looking for any room in particular - just looking. She noticed five dots; each connected by an unbroken line to form a V shape, embroidered on the breast of his fine, blue silk robe. Somehow she knew it was a symbol of royalty.
She had never seen this man before and yet....she knew him somehow. As her view shifted to give her a better view of his face, she gasped.
The chiseled facial features, the lines of worry marring what was an otherwise youthful face, the sad, soulful eyes.
It was Max!
While there were some differences, it was him. She knew it.
He walked down the flight of stairs around the corner he had just turned. He knew where he was now. He had ended up just where he'd wanted to be - even if he did take a round about way of getting there.
He could hear the sound of mining through the iron grate looking into the room at the bottom of the staircase. He also heard and smelled things very unpleasing to him: the sounds of whips cutting into flesh and the scent of sweat and waste.
He came here every time he was forced to meet his hated rival for political purposes even though it turned his stomach to do so. He wanted to remind himself of what evil was. Surrounded by the beauty of his own sector and by people who insisted he not worry over such trivial things, he needed reminded.
He looked through the grate, sorrow filling his heart. One day he would bring a stop to this. He would see to it personally. A sharp cry - a woman's cry - drew his attention to the left of the room. He instantly saw where the cry had come from. It was almost like a magnet drew his eyes straight to the scene.
The man's heart stopped beating in his heart for several seconds. The woman who had cried out was the most beautiful creature he'd ever layed eyes on. He had to force himself not to run to her rescue.
The woman was being dragged toward the door by two guards. She struggled for several seconds until she realized it was useless. The guards exchanged knowing glances, smiling and shaking their heads as if they went through this regularly and wasn't surprised at the fuss.
Stepping aside as they opened the door, the man watched as they brought the woman through and escorted her up the stairs. "Can I help you, Dhelmanex, sir?", came a voice from his elbow.
One of his rival's pompous attendents had snuck up on him like they always seemed to do. "Who is that?", Dhelmanex asked, nodding to the girl.
The attendent smiled. "Her name is Venus, your lordship. She is Lord Rhoul's entertainment for the night - as she is almost every night."
Liz had been watching all this from an almost third person point of view. Her eyes had seen everything as if she had been standing beside the man, Dhelmanex, but she had felt everything he had, as if she had been inside his head, his heart, his soul.
She hadn’t been able to see the woman who had brought out such intense feelings from this man who she took to be a powerful king.
She saw the woman now as she turned her dirty, tear-stained face to look at Dhelmanex as she was being led off and Liz's legs turned to water. Her stomach twisted around her spine. Only with sheer will did she remain standing.
She was staring into her own face!
The swirling gases returned, obscuring her vision once again. It didn't stay long. When it parted, night had fallen inside the orb. Like last time, it knew what it wanted to show her. Cutting around corners, over gates and through walls, it searched.
She could tell it was still inside Rhoul’s kingdom. She had the feeling more than a day had passed since her earlier look. The first words spoken confirmed her speculation.
"Six months.", Liz heard Venus say. "We've been sneaking around behind Rhoul's back for six months. We have to stop this, Dhel. I'll bring war upon you if he learns we're seeing each other."
Liz finally saw the orb's destination. She could see two shapes standing in the darkest shadow of the city. Dhel pulled Venus close to him. Moonlight shone quickly on the gold collar around Venus’s neck. "You will do nothing of the sort.", he told her firmly. "I will be the cause if we get caught.”
"I'm just a slave.", Venus said. "Why do you risk everything to be with me? I'm nothing but Rhoul's whore. Everyone knows. I'm--"
Dhel pressed his finger to her lips. "I risk everything because it's you. You're the one for me. I know it and I'll risk the universe ten times over for you."
Pulling her even closer, feeling her body against his, he kissed her. All thoughts of everything else vanished.
Liz felt everything. She knew how they felt. This was her life. Her's and Max's. She didn't understand why she had to see this. What was the point?
Breaking the kiss, Dhel knew it was that time again. She needed to be back in her cell before the guards made their nightly rounds. "In one week I will return and then I will pay whatever Rhoul wants and I will take you home and we will get married. I swear it."
"I wish there were some way to remove this stupid collar so we could just run away right now. Rhoul may not release me", Venus said.
Dhel smiled. "I'll be ready for that too."
Giving her one last kiss, he motioned for the guard he'd been paying handsomely for his help. He watched in agony as the guard led her around the corner. He then turned and crept slowly away, his heart thumping in his chest, his soul light and free.
He never saw the guard vanish in a ball of brilliant white light or hear Venus's scream.
Liz did.
In one second she was in a panic, wondering what had happened, in the next she was on her knees, crying out in pain, her trembling hands clutching the orb in a death-like grip. "Max!"

"Max!"
The cry of pain jolted Max from the deep sleep he had drifted into not half an hour before, causing him to sit straight up. There was no mistaking that voice. He had started to think he was crazy earlier. She was in danger this time. Forcing himself to his feet, he started off down the corridor again.
"I'm coming, Liz!", he yelled back.

Liz had never been in so much pain in her life.
Her throat was raw. It felt like someone had taken a wire brush and stuck it down her throat and pulled it back out fifty times. She felt bruised. Her stomach felt like it was on the Roller Coaster From Hell. Other parts of her hurt as well, parts that shouldn't.
A sickening thought made it's way through her brain. It was impossible but the feeling didn't disappear. She'd been raped! She had been abused and violated. She didn't know how but that's what her brain told her.
No. she thought. Not me. Venus! Rising up to look back into the orb, she saw Venus lying on a floor, curled into a ball in the corner, shaking like a leaf.
"What happened?", Liz demanded.
The orb showed her quick snapshots of what had transpired: Rhoul telling Venus he'd know about her meetings with Dhel for weeks, his anger over her not returning his love for her, the horrible things he'd done to her and the pleasure Rhoul took in his twisted game of show and tell with Dhel. He had forced Dhel to watch some of the horrible things he'd done to her.
Dhel had invaded that very week. She could hear the fighting now. The door to the room swung open. She curled up tighter, fearing Rhoul had come back for more. She felt herself being lifted up off the floor by her arms. "What's happening?", came her question through dry, cracked lips.
"We're here to take you away from here - by King Dhelmanex's orders.", one of her rescuers said.
"Where-" Her vocal cords no longer chose to cooperate.
"He's dead, ma'am.", the same guard said. "He didn't expect to win. He ordered us to save you - no matter what.”
The wave of grief that swept over Venus was more than Liz could take. Sobs began to tear Liz‘s body apart. She hoped there was no more to see. She needed to rest, to collapse, to cry more.
But there was more. The next sequences happened fast. It was almost as if The Powers That Be realized she'd had as much as she could take. She saw Venus being sent to Earth, using the power of the Granolith, and a series of faces, many of which Liz didn't recognize, starting with Venus and ending with Grandma Claudia. She felt like she did know them though - like family.
A face appeared before her. It, like Venus's, resembled Liz's. Next, Liz saw the same woman lying dead with Naesado kneeling over her, a silver handprint on her stomach.
"What does all this mean?", Liz asked, still sobbing. "What does it mean?"


Chapter Five

Michael stood at the door, staring out at the street, expecting Max to pull up any minute with a normal explanation about where he'd been all day.
Tess had called them all over to the Valenti's house in a panic. No one had seen Max or Liz all day. Their parents had learned of their disappearing act and were now waiting for them at the Crashdown. They were pretty mad from what Maria had said. This was about the fifth time they had disappeared together. Even though Valenti had explained one of those away, their patience was running out.
Michael opened the door, allowing Alex and Isabel to enter. Alex shook his head. "They weren't at Whitaker's office either. As a matter of fact, someone else is finally moving in there. All the congresswoman's stuff is gone."
They had been taking turns scouring the countryside looking everywhere Max and Liz could possibly have gone. They had finally run out of ideas. Michael punched the door. "Damn it!"
Maria put her hand on his shoulder. "They'll show up, Michael. Wherever they are, they have each other. They'll be fine."
Tess slammed the book she'd been reading to help take her mind off the situation down on the table. "This is Liz's fault. She probably has him running around looking for something. I mean, that's what she does. She's always leading Max around by his nose, always meddling with things beyond her comprehension."
"Beyond her comprehension?", Maria repeated incredulously. "If it wasn't for Liz, they would have never found out anything about themselves, meaning you’d still be on your own. They would probably be running from the law or, God forbid, being taken apart by Pierce right now."
Maria was eye-to-eye with Tess now, having stalked her the whole time until she had her against the wall, staring down at her. If Maria had thought about what she was doing, she probably would have shocked herself. "You know what your problem is? You're more human than you can stand. You're what's known as a gold digger. You're obsessed with being what you were in that other life - a queen. You want power and you don't have any down here." She shook her head. "God, I can't believe Liz sacrificed the world for you."
Maria instantly regretted losing her temper. Liz was going to kill her. "What did you say?", Tess asked.
Maria gave her a nervous smile. "Did I just say that?"

As he extended his hand further along the wall, Max almost cried out in joy. There was nothing there. He had found the end of the corridor. Better yet, he could see a faint light illuminating the way ahead.
He was forced to squint for a few minutes. After so much time in complete darkness, even the smallest source of light was blinding. His head was already pounding. Now that he could see, he studied the walls of the cave.
Something wasn't right. They seemed....almost transparent. He thought he could see glimpses of dimly burning torches and a heavy-set man watching him. As soon as he noticed it though, it was gone. It didn't matter. He had to find Liz.
Stumbling along, he forced himself to continue. Liz was near. He could feel it.

The inside of the orb was back to normal. The chaos had returned. It seemed worse now, the swirling multi-colored gases were noticeably more violent, converging on each other with a ferocious appetite.
Liz had quit crying now but only because she had no more tears to shed. Her entire body ached from the sobs that had torn her apart just moments before. Even though the link she'd shared with Venus was gone, she could still feel that awful pain.
Her pleas for the crystal ball to reveal more had gone unheeded. She had to have answers - now more than ever. Her only hope was to get Tic-Tac to answer her questions. She‘d make him tell her - somehow. Rising to her feet, she dusted herself off and wiped her face with her shirt.
A violent tremor shook the earth. Liz fought several seconds to stay on her feet. Finally regaining her balance, she looked around. "What was that?"
In answer, the tremors started again. This time it didn't stop.
Liz crashed to the ground, scrapping her arm on the ground. Roll-ing to the side as a chunk of the ceiling shattered where she'd been, she looked toward the way out. There was nothing but a solid rock wall. More pieces of the ceiling were starting to rain down upon her. The air around her was filling with dust, making it harder and harder to breathe.
"Max!"
"Liz!”
Looking through the dust, she saw Max running toward her. He didn't look like he had fared to well on his journey either. Sweat dripped down his body. Dirt had clung to his wet skin, making him look as if he had rolled around in a pigpen. His eyes were swollen and red-rimmed. He looked as if his legs would betray him any second and send him crashing to the ground.
"Liz!" Max took her into his arm, holding her close as the world fell apart around them. He kissed her: once, twice, three times.
“Max...", she said between kisses. "We...have...to get out of here."
"Right.", he said, taking her by the hand. He looked behind her, noticing for the first time the solid wall behind them. "Our choices are pretty limited."
"I don't know what happened, Max.", Liz said. "Oh, Max, I saw the most-"
A savage tremor ended all conversation, throwing them to the ground with Liz landing atop Max, knocking the air from his lungs. The horrible sound of the ground splitting like an egg filled their ears.
The next few seconds were like slow motion. As Liz started to roll off of him, Max's eyes grew wide. She didn't get to ask what was wrong. Max quickly rolled over, reversing their positions, covering her body with his.
The last thing Liz saw as she lost consciousness was the top of the cave that was suddenly way too close.


Chapter Six

Max and Liz blinked in confusion, as if waking from a nightmare that had seemed so real at the time that they were surprised to discover it wasn't.
But that had been real. It had been no nightmare.
They now stared at a solid rock wall. This had been where the double corridors had been. They had entered here and yet....
They turned to stare at each other. Max was suddenly aware of his death-grip on Liz's hand and relaxed it a little. But only a little. Understanding dawned on Liz as if a light bulb had been turned on inside her head. "An illusion.", she said, disgustedly. She whirled around to face Tic-Tac. "What is the meaning of this? Is this just your sick way of playing with us before you kill us?"
"It is not.", Tic-Tac replied coolly. He hadn't moved from the last time they had seen him. "You have just experienced what, roughly translated in your language, is known as The Pathfinder. The shaman of my people give individuals this....test to help them find their way through life when they have become lost. It shows them the past or future, whichever it deems will help the most, in hope that it will awaken a sense of purpose and direction within him or her. It also shows them some truths that they would do well to remember."
"Do you know what happened?", Liz asked.
Tic-Tac shook his head. "The shaman only performs the ritual. He has no more involvement after that. However, I may be able to answer some of the questions you might have."
Liz spilled everything: the crystal ball, the king and his relationship with the slave, Rhoul's anger and the consequences because of it. She also told him of the last visions of the faces she had been shown. "I recognized the last few. They were relatives of mine."
Tic-Tac had listened to the tale quietly. He wasn’t surprised by what he’d heard. He‘d guessed correctly about the girl. He just hadn‘t guessed at the scope of her importance. He fought with himself for a few seconds, unsure of how much to tell them. The decision was easy.
They - she - deserved to know everything.
"The events you were shown really happened many years ago just as you saw. The only difference was they were really aliens. They appeared human to you so you would understand."
"Was that really me?", Liz asked. "I mean, I know it's possible.. ..am I...."
"It’s my belief Liz Parker that, like the hybrids, your essence has been through life‘s cycle before.”, Tic-Tac explained. “You‘re not an alien or a clone. You just have an old soul, one that has been put through a great deal and will be put through a great deal more.
"I believe your coming - or return if you choose to look at it that way - was foreshadowed during Zan‘s rule. He and Ava were arranged to marry at birth and, while they did love each other, she was more in love than he was. Most felt he was always looking for someone specific the entire time he was alive.
"A month and a half before his wedding, Zan started having nightmares about a woman who was lost in a dark place, calling his name over and over. Every night for three weeks he wandered aimlessly in his dreams, searching for this woman. He finally found her. From there the mystery only deepened. He said her beauty took his breathe away. She wasn’t only beautiful, she was human. Strangely, he said he didn’t find that odd, didn’t think about it at all. He just knew he had to save her.
"After that, he couldn't concentrate on anything else. Finally, he had the Granolith prepared to transport him to Earth. He had to find that girl. Only after hours of convincing him what a stupid idea it was and how difficult it would be to find the girl he sought, Ava got him to give up on his mission. Of course, two weeks later, in the middle of the wedding, Khivar attacked and the Royal Four were killed.
"Of course, the rest is history. For several reasons, we chose Earth as the Foyal Four’s new home. Zan‘s dreams were one of those."
He looked at Liz and smiled. "It appears you are a very special young woman, Liz. I believe as you do that all those faces you saw were your relatives."
"That's impossible.", Liz argued, her words spilling out frantic-ally. "I mean, Venus was an alien. How did she....and how could...."
"That’s one of many advantages of possessing the Granolith. It enables us to adjust our complete make-up to suit any atmosphere.", he explained. "That's why it was hidden on Earth. If it fell into the wrong hands, there's no limits to the destruction it could help cause. The drawback to that is we lose a good deal of what makes us what we are. Venus, by being changed, became less alien and more human. I'm sure she, along with a few members of future generations, had some powers. After a few generations, that probably stopped too."
"Could that alien part be reawakened by....say....being healed by another alien?"
"You know the answer to that already, don't you?"
Liz nodded.
Tic-Tac turned his gaze to Max. "Now for you, my king."
Max had said nothing during the entire conversation. It was hard to tell he was still alive. His eyes stared straight ahead, seeing nothing. He had heard what had been said but was still trying to sort it all out. He was still shaken from the events in the cave.
He had been separated from Liz for hours, not sure if he'd ever see her again. He'd been completely lost without her. He had almost lost hold of reality for a while and that had been an illusion. What would happen if he really lost her?
"What did you learn?", Tic-Tac asked.
Max shook his head, clearing away the cobwebs, and drew Liz into his arms, holding her close to him. "Nothing I didn't already know."
"You never told me how Grandma Claudia fits into all this.", Liz reminded the shapeshifter. "How did you know she told me to trust my heart?"
"Your grandmother was a wise woman.", Tic-Tac said, bowing his head. "I knew her well and I knew she was a firm believer in listening to the best guide you have: your heart. I actually helped her with her book. As I matter of fact, you should find an old indian alphabet table in the back that should be quite useful in translating the Destiny Book."
"Does it really say me and Tess are meant to be together?", Max asked.
"It does.", Tic-Tac said. "But the last time I checked we didn‘t live our lives by a book. If you choose to live life as you did before, you may die like you did before. Naesado left that part out, didn‘t he?"
Max nodded.
"But why?", Liz asked.
"Because it suited his purpose for you to do so.", Tic-Tac said. "I think he planned on selling you out to Khivar."
“Why?!”, Max asked.
“In short, to get back home - permanently.”, Tic-Tac said. “It‘s been hard living here. I think Naesado took the first opportunity to earn a permanent passport home. Either that or Khivar got to him before we even left Antar.” He looked at his watch. “You need to go. It‘s been a long day. I need rest.”
"Thank you.", Liz said.
Tic-Tac shook his head. "Don't. I only did what I was supposed to." He looked at Max. “Just because you now know your life isn‘t written in stone doesn‘t mean your enemies want you any less dead. You may decide to leave Earth and return home one day and they won‘t want you to have that option.”

Epilogue

Tess stuffed more of her clothes into the bag on the bed. She was leaving. She didn't belong here. She had never belonged here.
When Max and Liz had finally showed up three hours ago, she had learned too much to feel comfortable in Roswell ever again. Naesado had played her - used her - for his own personal gain the whole time he had raised her. He had made her interject herself into a closely knit group of friends, made her spread lies - lies she herself had been naive enough to believe - and had clearly not told any of them half of what he knew.
Alex was already decoding the Destiny Book but she didn’t care what it said anymore. Now she knew why Naesado hadn't wanted anyone decoding it.
There was a chance the shapeshifter was lying - but only a small one. Nesado had been cold, mysterious. She’d thought it was because he was fully alien and because of the life he’d been forced to live. Now it appeared he had just been a coldblooded murderer and a traitor.
Max may have loved her in that other life but Maria was right: this wasn‘t the other life. Max was never again leaving Liz. She had seen it in the way he looked at her when they had walked through the door.
After hearing Maria’s tale of how Liz had surrendered everything to alter history, she wasn’t too sure they shouldn‘t be together. She couldn’t have done what Liz had. They hadn't told Liz about Maria's slip but she had seen the way Michael and Isabel had looked at Liz when she had returned. Their admiration of her shone in their eyes.
They hadn't been able to meet Tess's eyes. They blamed her for the entire situation - even if it wasn't completely her fault.
"Tess?", came a voice from behind her.
"Hi, Kyle.", she said quietly without turning around.
"Where are you going?", he asked, taking a seat on the bed.
"Anywhere but here.", she said, not meeting his eyes.
Kyle nodded. "I see."
Tess brought more stuff from the closet and stuffed it in her bag. "I can't stay, Kyle. I've caused enough trouble. After all my talk about being able to tap into my alien side, about being more intelligent because of that, I was deceived by a simple lie. I never once thought it could all be a lie, never once questioned it."
"That only proves your human like the b-"
"I don't want to be human!", Tess screamed, exasperated. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I've been told all my life how weak humans are, how stupid they are. I don't want to be weak like that, Kyle. I couldn't stand it!"
Kyle took her by the arm and, gently, made her sit down beside him. He turned to look her in the eyes. "Listen to me for a second. I want - I need - you to stay. I'm tired of it just being dad and me all the time. It's nice having you around and I would like that to continue."
"But they-"
"They will get over it.", he told her. "Trust me. I made their life difficult for a year. Things are good now though. If it hurts to be around them for a while, then stay locked in the house for a few weeks. Or you can just tag along with me. I'd like that."
She nodded. "I'd like that too. But if things don‘t get better I‘m leaving."
"Fair enough.”, Kyle said. “Hey, you wouldn't know anything about job hunting, would you?"

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 8-Jan-2003 3:03:27 AM ]
posted on 20-Mar-2002 4:57:33 AM
Title: Answers
Author: PGILLUM486(or c. mccoy{my fanforum name})
Rating: PG(like kids listen or give a damn)
Disclaimer: I don't own Jack
Distribution: Only if it increases my fame
Summary: Now that they have the key to interpret the Destiny Book, what will they learn about themselves? Will they ever know all the answers? Liz needs answers too. What else will she discover about the family she'd always thought of as being just a normal american family?

This is Book Two of the Roswell Chronicles - my own continuation of the Roswell story. Feedback is good.


Chapter One

Max looked up from the pages Alex had printed out for him that morning. There were only four of them but there was a lot to read.
He had never imagined there could be so much. The metal book hadn't been that big - only about ten pages - but those few had been crammed packed with information and Alex had only made it through two of them. Even though he emphasized he couldn't be sure, Alex had said it appeared the last page contained maps and directions. To what, he didn't know yet.
Max had thought Alex would be finished with it already but, evidently, it wasn't as easy as he had thought. It didn't help that the guy had been afflicted with severe headaches recently. Probably all that time staring at the computer screen Max thought as lay back on his bed.
The book still hadn‘t pressured them to do anything specific like leave Earth to save a star system they weren’t part of anymore or a race of people they no longer knew. Nothing.
Neither he nor Isabel had forgotten the message from their mother but, with the possibility Naesado was selling them out, could they trust that message? He didn‘t even know how long aliens lived. She could be dead by now, leaving them with no reason to go home.
He had been against Tess showing them the pod chamber and had warned them against setting the communicator off for fear of drawing unwanted attention to them. Then there was the fact the Skins had killed him. If they both were working for Khivar, why had Whittaker killed him.
He was starting to hate answers; they only brought up more questions. After they translated the book, he hoped to resume a somewhat normal life. He wasn’t going to worry about being a king or saving the universe until he was sure he was supposed to.
He could concentrate on his life. Part of that life was coming over the next afternoon. Their parents had been ready to ground them both for life after their recent disappearing act. Liz had saved them both - again. She had apologized for leaving without a word about where she had gone and for pulling Max along. She had explained that she had been in the mood to research her family's history and had gotten so involved they had lost track of time.
He wasn't sure they believed her completely but they had let them off the hook. To add more credibility to her story, she was going to spend the morning with her father and listen to him ramble about their relatives. She didn't expect to learn anything along the lines of what she wanted to know but it would ease Jeff's doubts about the validity of her story.
He pitied her for what he was sure she was going to be put through.


* * * * * *

Anyone who saw Liz's face would see one of pure boredom. She had been listening to her father give a long history of their family for almost an hour now. Having her teeth pulled was looking better and better by the minute.
Jeff Parker couldn't see her face but he had watched as his daughter gradually slouched farther and farther in the booth she sat in. He didn't believed she had lied to them - he almost didn't think she knew how - but he didn't think she was telling them everything either.
As long as Max Evans was involved, he didn't expect her to be completely honest. He still sure about Max Evans. During the time she'd been close to him, he and Nancy had seen her almost overflowing with excitement and than they'd seen her so miserable it broke their hearts - sometimes both in the span of twenty-four hours.
All relationships were like that but this one was more extreme than any he'd ever seen before. It wasn't a comforting feeling. He often wondered what she kept from them - and there was a lot.
"Your great-aunt used to fly around on a broomstick, Lizzie."
He watched her nod. "Mmmmm, is that right, dad?" After a second, he saw her sit up straight and turn to face him. "What did you say?"
"You haven't heard a word I've said in the past thirty minutes, have you?", he asked. "Did you lie to us, Liz?"
Liz got up and walked over to take a seat by her father at the counter. "No, dad, I didn't lie. I'm just not really interested in much you've had to say. It's all been very informative.", she added hurriedly. "I'm just looking for certain details; details that may go back farther than you might be familiar with."
"Like?"
"I don't know.", she said. "Like...weird stuff - of the unexplainable variety."
"Well, your great-great-grandmother had a pet raccoon that could say the alphabet.", he joked.
Liz smiled. "Forget it. Forget it."
"Look,", Jeff said. "The only thing I can tell you is the women in our family all share a lot of the same traits."
"Yeah,", Liz said, leaning forward, intrigued. This was what she'd been looking for. "Like what?"
"They share an uncanny sense of intuition, mom especially, that has served them well. They trust what their hearts tell them. They're also very intelligent. The men in the family have always made the comment that they married way over their heads. There are some traits that aren't so good too."
"Like?"
"They've all lost their husbands early. They’ve all gone through periods of sadness too. Sometimes long periods. I‘ve seen some of that in you already."
"Even grandma?", Liz asked. Her father nodded. "But she always seemed so happy."
"Well, she was most of her life.", Jeff explained. "This was right after dad died. I hope it's something our family grows out of."
"Was it always after their husbands died?"
Jeff nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah, I think so. Why do you want to know all this?”
Liz hopped of the stool and headed for the back of the store. “Just stuff I‘ve been wondering about the last couple of days.” She walked gingerly up the stairs to her room. She was still sore from her experience in the cave. She could still feel Venus's sorrow over losing the man who she had loved and the man who had loved her.
She remembered her own experiences with Max too. Each time she had lost him, it had hurt worse than the time before. If she lost him again, would it be the catalyst that brought about her own depression?
Losing him was still a possibility. Max expected them to get back together now that they knew the connection between them was more powerful than anybody would have guessed. There was still the matter of Tess. Future Max had made it clear Tess was not to go too far. They needed her to make a complete unit.
They had to make sure that happened.


Chapter Two

The noon sun filled Max's room as he sat in his desk chair. Isabel stood beside him, her eyes on Micheal, studying his reaction.
Michael sighed, sat up on the bed and set the sheets of paper down on Max's desk. "Not very helpful, is it?"
"No.", Max said. A year ago, Micheal would have been angry or at least disappointed about the lack of concrete information from something as important as the book had been believed to be. Now he appeared to just accept it.
"So,", Michael said, putting a voice to the facts he'd just read on paper. "The other set of pods - Zan, Rath, Lonnie and Ava - are duplicates, made to fool Khivar's goons in order to give us a normal life. Send them to New York, allow them to grow into loud mouth little twits and draw all the attention away from us."
"That was the plan.", Max said. "That would help explain why they were so....loud."
"And alien.", Isabel reminded them. "I mean, that's what they were. Every alien we've been introduced as been so cold, so heartless. According to the book - and Naesado - aliens are just humans who have evolved a few thousand years ahead of schedule. I wonder how they became so cold?"
Michael shook his head. "That doesn't make sense though. How can they be human? Their body structure is hardly anything like ours. You saw Naesado's form when we healed him. It was the form always talked about on TV shows and in alien books."
"Who said we used to look like Naesado?.", Max asked. "Who knows what how many forms of aliens there are. Whittaker told Isabel none of us looked like we used to but she didn’t say what we did look like. Maybe we lose something each time we evolve."
"Unless something went wrong.", Isabel pointed out.
Max leaned forward in his chair. "What do you mean?"
"What if a natural step of evolution was skipped, Max. There was an author who wrote a book about a group of humans who discovered the secret to Utopia or something. Anyway, they messed up because they skipped an important step in the natural order of evolution. That could've happened in real life."
Max nodded. "Makes sense. I imagine my healing Liz threw a wrench into that plan. Speaking of which, she'll be here in a few minutes so...."
He saw Michael and Isabel glance at each other. He'd seen that look at least a dozen times in the past few days when Liz or Tess's name was brought up. He hadn't even seen Tess but once since he and Liz had returned. She was avoiding him and his sister and best friend were hiding something from him.
It appeared he and Liz weren't the only ones to have an eventful evening that night. Michael rose and headed for the door, Isabel close behind him. "Yeah,", he said, avoiding Max's eyes. "You and Liz should have some time alone. It's been a long time since you two have had that."
"Yeah,", Isabel agreed. "I'll go see Alex and see if he's got anything else for us. Mom and dad won't be back for a few more hours. You and Liz can have the whole house."
Max walked them to the door. "You don't have to do this, Iz."
"It's no problem.", she said, rushing out the door. "Really."

Alex wrapped the blankets around his thin frame tighter. He wasn't cold. He didn't feel cold anyway but he couldn't stop shaking. Sweat cast a shiny glean over his face. He was no longer in control of his body. It trembled violently, his muscles twitched uncontrollably.
This was the second time this had happened. It would pass. The last one had. He wished he knew what it was. He’d had colds before and this was no cold. He had a feeling those headaches he'd been having were also part of this.
He was having strange flashes too. They were almost like memories but they couldn't be. He had no recollection of any of them. He didn't remember Tess meeting him when he stepped off the plane from Sweden, going to UNM or searching ancient languages. None of these things had happened to him.
A knock at the door brought him out of his reverie. "In-in a minute.", he said through chattering teeth.

Isabel waited at the door of Alex's house.
She had heard him answer. He had sounded weird. She hoped he was all right. Liz was the smart one among them but Alex was the brain when it came to the computer-type stuff. She had told Max that she thought they would be better off including him and she'd been right.
He was the only one who could interpret the book that held all the answers to their destiny. That wasn't all though. Since he had returned from his trip, she'd noticed a change in him - one that had drawn her attention.
She had treated him bad before, taken him for granted too many times. She knew that but she’d made a promise not to do that anymore. She still felt the urge to pull away but it was growing fainter.
The door opened.
"Isabel.", Alex said, obviously surprised to see her. "What are you doing here?"
She shrugged. "I figured Max and Liz could use some time alone so here I am."
Alex swung the door open wider. "Come on in."
Isabel walked by him, brushing up against him as she did. When he turned toward her, she noticed he looked a little pale. His legs didn't seem too sturdy either. "You okay? You don't look too good."
He waved her concern away. "I just didn't get much sleep."
"Alex,", she admonished him. "We want to know what the book says but we don't want you killing yourself over it."
"Hey, you guys aren't the only ones who want it decoded.", he said. "I'm pretty interested in it too. There's no telling what kind of secrets are in there."
Isabel followed as he motioned her to come to his room. "You think so?"
He nodded. "Sure. I mean, there has to be a few answers to the secrets of the universe in there. Maybe it‘ll teach us boring humans how to unlock the secret compartments in our brains."
"You could be right."
Alex took a seat at his computer desk and brought up the file that had the decoded alien book on it. "I'll show you how this works. Maybe you can help me and we'll get this done faster."
"Okay." Isabel quickly became fascinated with the difficult procedure required to break the alien code.
If she had looked at Alex's fingers as they flew across the keyboard, she would've noticed them tremble when a spasm streaked through them, causing his lips to twitch in a grimace of pain.

Chapter Three


"Hey, Max?", Liz asked as he walked into the living room, a glass of coke in each hand. "Why is part of this blacked out?"
He set the glasses down on the coffee table. "Well,", he said, blushing. "They're...kind of...personal."
"I thought all of this was-" Looking up, she noticed his embarrassment. Understanding dawned on her, causing her to blush too. "Oh." She quickly changed the subject. "So, what exactly have you learned?"
Max sat down beside Liz, setting the glasses on the table. “It tells us a lot we already know: we were killed, cloned, sent to Earth with a super powerful artifact and we would occasionally receive flashes of the past - and of things that could’ve been - during certain times of the year. It still leaves too many questions unaswered.
“But it also tells us a lot we didn't know. It talks about the abductions and how they repaid the humans for their help - or most of them do anyway. When this was written, they had just began to study humans.”
“Why would they want to study humans?”, Liz asked. “Didn‘t Micheal say Naesado hinted toward aliens having been humans thousands of years ago? And they‘re obviously highly intelligent. What could they possibly learn from us?”
When Liz stopped talking, she noticed Max was smiling at her. She smiled back sheepishly. “I’m doing that whole rapid fire questioning, aren‘t I?”
”Don’t worry about it.”, Max said. “Questions need to be asked before answers can be given.“
“Any answers on you and Tess?“, Liz asked.
Max shook his head. “It just mentions what was. It doesn't encourage or forbid us from hooking up with our former mates. As a matter of fact, it hardly talks about us at all. From what Tic-Tac says and from what we’ve learned about ourselves, it’s understandable why it wouldn’t. Besides, what if it did? It wouldn‘t change what happened in the cave.”
“No,”, she admitted. “It wouldn‘t.”
"I don't even know whether or not to trust the message from our mother or not.", Max said. "Naesado could've tampered with it or completely made it up. She may not even be alive anymore. My home is here, Liz."
He leaned closer to her. Liz could feel every fiber in her body awaken as he came near her. She knew this feeling. She had felt it when they were together with every look, embrace and kiss.
It was different this time though - stronger. His touch burned her skin with a white-hot intensity. They had been through so much. They deserved happiness. "Max..."
"Liz," Max swallowed hard. "When I was in that cave, away from you for so long, I thought...I thought I was going to lose my sanity. I could feel it slipping through my fingers, Liz. That wasn't even real. If I was ever truly separated from you, I...I don't know what would happen to me. I don't think I would make it. I need you."
Tears dimmed Liz's vision. "These past few months have so hard, Max."
"I know.”, he said, wiping away a tear as it slid down her face. "But it’s over now. We‘re here. Together."
Max leaned over and pressed his lips to hers. Liz hesitated only a moment before allowing his mouth to claim hers, his tongue drawing hers into the dance they had danced dozens of times before.
Visions instantly flooded Max's mind: the crystal ball, the romance between Dhelmanex and Venus and the awful pain and sorrow she had witnessed toward the end. The last vision caused tears to well up in his own eyes, the pain almost making him break the kiss they had waited so long to share.
More visions flashed through his mind. These weren't from the cave. These were older memories and yet....some seemed too impossible to have happened at all. Flashes of a broken planet - Earth - whirled by, millions of dead people laying everywhere, he and Liz - an older version - in the Granolith chamber, him warping through time and space to land outside Liz's window, asking for help. Flashes of Liz's attempt to severe the tie between them in order to save the world sent a painful jolt of guilt through his heart as he remembered how he'd treated her before he went to New York.
"Oh, Liz!", he whispered, finally breaking the kiss. "I'm so sorry."
Knowing what he'd just seen, Liz leaned forward, sobbing into his shoulder. "Me too, Max. Me too."

Michael stood at the entrance to Maria's room, staring at the mess covering most of the floor. He had seen disasters like this on television. His own apartment had looked similar when Topolsky had ransacked it looking for the orb.
"Maria!"
Her head popped up from the other side of the bed, her long, honey-blond hair covering most of her face. "Yeah?" She sounded like she'd just run a marathon.
"What are you doing?"
She took a deep breath. "Well, after our little trip with Laurie, mom bought an answering machine so I could check in if anything like that happens again - which she made clear better not. Anyway, dad called this morning when no one was here. I was going to call him back and I deleted the damn message. I have his number here somewhere. I just can't find it."
Michael waded through the mess, stepping only where he was sure he wouldn't break anything. Gingerly, he sat down on the bed. "Your dad? I didn't know you communicated with him anymore."
"We don't much.", she admitted. That was an understatement. She had only talked to him about ten times in the last ten years. She still blamed him for breaking up their family and leaving her and her mom to rot in Roswell. "He said it was important. I'd like to know what he was talking about."
"You think he's coming back to Roswell?"
"I don't know, Michael. I'd like to find out though."
Michael reached down on the floor, picked up a pair of jeans that looked to be two sizes smaller than the others and reached into the back pocket. Pulling out a piece of notebook paper, he handed it to her.
Maria unfolded it and, finding what she'd been searching for, started making her way through the mess she'd made. "Aliens.", she muttered as she left Michael sitting on the bed.
Sighing, Michael followed reluctantly. He didn't feel as happy as he should for Maria. After all, her dad might be coming home to be more involved in his daughter's life or maybe he was taking a job close by. Michael would believe it when he saw it and not a moment before. People sucked. He'd said it before and he'd continue until it became the exception rather than the rule.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, he watched as Maria dialed the number and then hung up a few seconds later. "Your call not be connected at this time. Please try again.", she said, mimicking the prissy operator's voice.
"Don't worry.", Michael said. "He'll probably call back."
She sighed. "Yeah. Probably. Hey, you talked to Liz today?"
"No,", he said. "Me and Isabel left before she got to Max's. Even though they're dealing with stuff important to all of us, we felt they needed some time alone, especially after what you told us."
Covering her face with her hands, she groaned. "I can't believe I said that. That was like super secret and I spilled it."
Michael hugged her, running his hands up and down her back, trying to soothe her worries. "No one's going to say anything.", he assured her.
"God, I hope not."

Chapter Four


Isabel and Alex sat on the porch steps of his house. The day had lived up to its billing as the warmest day of the young spring season - at least it did for Isabel.
A deep chill had set into Alex’s bones for the third time that day. She had noticed him shivering an hour ago and it had gotten worse as time had passed. Now sweat was starting to run down his face. His lips trembled and she thought his eyes were starting to become unfocused.
She tried to pay attention to what he was talking about. "--Believe I interpreted four pages in the last two hours. It's like I've been staring at that book for so long I've learned your people's language."
She had to agree with that. They had been working on the book for almost thirty minutes when he had started to mumble incessantly. His fingers had flown across the keyboard at a blistering pace. She had expected to see numerous mistakes in the document. She had been amazed to see every word had been spelled perfectly.
It still disturbed her to think about it. There was something about it that creeped her out. "Alex, maybe we should take you to see a doctor.", she suggested for the fourth time that afternoon.
"I'm fine, Isabel!", he snapped, causing her to jump. Seeing her eyes open wide, he quickly apologized. "I'm sorry. It's just a cold, Isabel. I'll be fine with a little rest." He handed her the copy of the pages he'd finished. "Take these to Max and tell him there's only two more pages left. If I'm lucky, he'll have them by Sunday."
Isabel nodded. "Okay. Just promise me you'll go see a doctor if you don't get any better. I feel bad enough leaving you here alone."
"Yes, mom.", he said, smiling.
She returned the smile and, still having second thoughts, got up and started down the driveway to Max's jeep.
As Alex rose to go back inside, he was forced to grab hold of guardrail to keep from falling down. He picked up his foot only to find it had suddenly grown too heavy to lift.
Isabel noticed his struggles and ran back up the driveway to assist him. Wrapping his arm around her neck, she supported him the best she could. "When I get you inside, I'm calling the doctor."
Struggling for breath, he managed to make it onto the porch. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea."
With that, he slid limply to the ground, dragging Isabel with him. "Alex! Alex!" There was no answer. Convulsions started to send shockwaves through his body. She turned him over on his back to find his eyes had rolled back in his head, his eyelids fluttering rapidly. Sweat seemed to roll off him in tiny rivers.
Shaking him by the shoulders, she called to him again. "Alex! Alex!" He didn't answer. Isabel reached up and ripped the screen door open, almost tearing it off its hinges. Using her powers, she bust through the door. Wasting no time, she rushed in and, frantically, searched the living room for the phone.
Please, let Max still be at home she thought as her trembling fingers dialed their number.

Max and Liz hadn't moved from the couch. They were afraid any motion, no matter how small, would disrupt this small taste of the way things used to be; not exactly peaceful but as close to it as they dared dream to get.
Max shook his head. The story he'd just heard was the toughest tale he'd ever had to sit through. "I can't believe I asked you to do that. Things must have gotten bad in that future."
Deep down, Max knew he did believe he had done that. There was no one he would’ve trusted with the fate of the world but Liz.
Liz nodded. "It did Max. You looked pretty beat up. You - the future you - told me you buried Michael and Isabel just before you came."
Max shivered at the thought of losing his sister and - related or not - his brother. “I believe it.", he said. "One of the flashes I had was one of complete devastation. I wonder what happened?"
Liz shrugged. "You said you couldn't tell me too much."
"Of course,", he said, mentally kicking himself. "That would've been too simple. And why change our relationship? Why have me fall in love with Tess?"
Again, Liz shrugged. Max sighed. "I definitely need to work on my communication skills."
"I keep coming back to a few things you said.", Liz said. "It's been bugging me for about three weeks now." She stopped a moment to make sure he was paying close attention. He nodded, signaling her to continue.
"Well, you made the comment that I 'wasn't allowing myself to change'. I have changed, Max. Ava even said that I've been changed. She was obviously talking about the result of you healing me but it's a change. What if I never went through those changes before. You said when we...." She blushed. "You said nothing came between us until The End Of The World. What if we became so wrapped up in each other, we lost touch with the world."
Could they have gotten so wrapped up in each other it had distracted them from missing something to cause that he wondered. They had gotten in pretty deep in the weeks leading up to Tess's appearance and they had been taken by surprise - more than once. "While I'd hate to think we became so shortsighted, I have to admit it's a possibility."
Liz squeezed his hand. "Max, I couldn't bear knowing I helped bring such pain to the world. We might've had blood on our hands."
"Maybe that's why I came back.", he suggested. "Maybe I didn't even know why I came back. Maybe I came to give us a wake-up call."
The ringing of the phone delayed any more discussion. "Hello.", Max answered as he picked up the phone. Liz saw an alarmed expression cross his face. “Slow down, Iz. I can't....sick? What do you mean?" Max's look of anxiety only increased as the conversation continued. "I'll tell Valenti to get over there right away."
Max turned to Liz who's own concern showed plainly on her face. "What's wrong?"
"Alex is sick."

Liz was the first one through the Valentis' door.
The rest of the group was already there. Jim, who stood watching Alex from behind the couch like a concerned parent, was the only one to look her in the eyes. The circle they had formed around the couch where the trembling, mummering form of Alex lay opened to allow her to reach her friend.
Placing her hand on his damp forehead, she quickly jerked it away. He was burning up! She tucked the quilts they had already wrapped him in tighter around him. "How long has he been like this?", she asked as calmly as possible. She didn't want to add more stress to the situation by freaking out. Maria would take care of that. "What happened? Isabel!?"
Hearing her name being called, Isabel shook herself out of the trance she'd been in since Valenti had arrived at Alex's house. "I don't know. Twenty minutes? As for what happened..." She shrugged. "He started sweating and having cold chills about an hour and a half ago. Just when I got ready to leave, he collapsed and started rambling incoherently. I don‘t even know what language it is he‘s speaking."
Numbly, she took a seat on the floor in front of the couch and grasped his hand in her's, not even feeling his burning skin pressing against her‘s. She looked up at the others, her eyes wide with fear. "We have to find out what's wrong with him."
Liz grabbed her by the shoulders and made her focus on her. "Has anything else strange happened today? We need to know anything that will help us."
Isabel nodded. "Yeah, when we were decoding the book it was like he was possessed or something. He went through four pages in two hours; it was almost like he suddenly understood how to read our language."
All of them glanced at each other uneasily. While four pages didn't sound like a lot, they knew from days of experience, contrary to appearance, each page of the alien book held insane amounts of information. It had taken days for Alex to interpret two pages; four in a couple of hours was incredible - and terrifying.
Liz turned to Max. “You didn‘t read anything in the book saying it would cause harm to anyone translating it not of alien blood, did you?”
Max shook his head. “No. That doesn‘t mean it couldn‘t though.”
Thinking she might learn something from his rambling, Liz leaned over the arm of the couch to listen carefully. It didn’t take long to learn he no longer spoke any language she’d ever heard before.
“Liz,” It was the first time Maria had spoken since arriving at the Valenti’s. “It-It sounds like he’s just getting steadily worse by the hour. We need to find someone who can help.”
“Like who?”, Kyle asked. “We can‘t exactly go ask a doctor his medical advice.”
“We know someone.”, Max said, looking at Liz.
No one noticed Tess sitting in the corner, biting her lower lip in nervous anticipation.

Tic-Tac closed the suitcase he’d just finished packing and latched it shut. He had stayed in the same place long enough. He was a cleric of the house Aurora; he had great patience but enough was enough. He had to get out of here.
The world had great beauty waiting to be seen. He had fulfilled his purpose in Roswell. He now knew he’d been right about the girl all this time. She was the key to everything. Unfortunately, he couldn’t tell her what they would facing in the years to come. They would learn the secrets of the universe in time. If they discovered them before they were ready, it would put them and everyone else in danger.
Knowledge was slowly learned for a reason. The alien book would overload their brains as it was. Those last two pages especially were doozies.
He was surprised they hadn’t come looking for help already. He’d told Max there were some other questions he would answer if he was asked but not many. He guessed they’d had their fill of answer for awhile.
A knock at his door brought a stop to his packing. He knew it was them before he even opened the door. A pair of worried faces awaited him.
“We need your help.”, Max said before Tic-Tac could even ask what was wrong.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Jan-2003 3:47:20 AM ]
posted on 20-Mar-2002 5:01:34 AM
Chapter Five


“How long has he been murmuring like this?”
“He started before he fell unconscious.”, Isabel said. “Do you know what he‘s saying?”
The shapeshifter nodded. “He‘s speaking about six different languages but I understand it. There‘s about two types of alien and four indian languages.”
A bluish-white light radiated from Tic-Tac’s hands as they slowly passed over the shivering form of Alex Whitman. Pulling them back, he shook his head, frowning. “It‘s not physical whatever it is.”
Placing his hands on both sides of Alex’s head, he closed his eyes, concentrating. “You can breathe.”, he told them after a few moments, noticing the complete silence around him. “My mental focus isn‘t easily broken.”
While they remained tense, Tic-Tic noticed they began to breathe easier. His eyes squinted tightly together. The glow, once again radiating from his hands, flared brightly and began to pulse as if having a life of it’s own. The shapeshifter brought his hands away and moved back.
“Well?”, Michael asked impatiently. “What‘s going on?”
Tic-Tac shook his head, trying to clear the horrible noises still echoing in his brain. “No wonder the kid’s sick. His brain waves are scrambled. It‘s like trying to listen to a bad reception on a radio in there.”
“What caused it?”, Max asked.
“He‘s been mindwarped - repeatedly.”
Still seated in the corner, her eyes on the floor, Tess felt all eyes turn upon her. Looking up, her face locked into a mask of indifference, she faced them.
“Why?”, Max demanded. “Why would you do this to someone who has done nothing but help make you feel welcome.”
“Welcome?”, Tess asked, a look of disbelief on her face. “None of you went out of your way to make me feel welcome - besides the Valentis‘. The rest of you don‘t want me around. You don‘t trust me.”
“Can you blame us?”, Maria asked.
“What did I ever do Max besides show you where the pod chamber were, help rescue you from Pierce & save us from the Skins?”, Tess demanded.
“You and Naesado - who may have been selling us out - also helped lead Pierce right to us.”, Michael said, growing tired of her incessant whining.
“Like you’re any better. You wanted to trust him too or have you forgotten. Aren‘t you the one who wanted find him so bad in the first place, to run to him everytime things got rough? We may have never found you if you hadn‘t contacted him.” Michael relapsed back into silence. “How was I supposed to know the truth? He raised me. I didn’t have a reason to doubt him. If you hadn’t left me in the first place I wouldn’t have needed him at all.“
She nodded towards Alex. “I used Alex in hopes that he could find a way to decode the book. How was I supposed to know Liz had it all along?” She looked at Isabel. “I figured Alex would be good for something besides being Isabel‘s lapdog.”
Isabel instantly jumped to her feet and attempted to throttle her alien kin. Max and Michael quickly grabbed her. “How dare you!”
“What‘s wrong, Vilondra", Tess asked, adding more fuel to the fire. “We all know it‘s true.” She turned her attention to Liz. “I‘m surprised Little Miss Save The World hasn‘t got on to you about it.”
The color drained from Maria’s face. Michael and Isabel’s eyes shifted nervously from Max to Liz. Maria hoped Liz had missed the remark. Her hopes were immediately dashed.
“What did you say?”, Liz asked.
Tess didn’t answer.
She didn’t have to. Liz saw Maria’s face and knew what Tess had referred to. “You told them.”
Maria swallowed hard and nodded, her eyes silently begged her friend not to be mad at her.
Michael looked at Tess with disgust. “Nice work.”
Tic-Tac watched silently as all this transpired before him, mentally taking notes. It appeared he should have put all of them through the test he‘d put Max and Liz through. There was way too much tension in their ranks. That would need to be fixed but not now.
Liz too knew they had more pressing matters. “Can you help him?”, she asked the shapeshifter.
“Yes.”, he said. “I‘ll need everyone‘s help though. Repairing damage done to the brain is difficult under the best circumstances but my power has been drained quite a bit after so many years in this foreign world.”
“What do we have to do?”, Isabel asked. She continued to stare daggers at Tess.
“Form a circle around your friend.” They did as he asked, each couple making sure their partner‘s hand was in one of their own.
Isabel noticed this and suddenly felt very alone. She was reminded of the time Max had been taken to The White Room and how alone Liz had been afterwards. She was forced to take one of Max’s and one of Tess’s. She started to protest touching Tess in any manner but changed her mind. All she cared about was making Alex better. If she needed Tess’s help then so be it.
Tic-Tac took only one person’s hand - Liz’s - and left the other free to minister to Alex. “I need you to close your eyes and concentrate. Clear your mind. Think only of helping your friend.” He placed his hand on the boy’s forehead and closed his eyes. He immediately felt the pull of Alex’s mind, trying to draw them into its madness.
He felt Liz’s grip tighten. She felt it too. He imagined they all did. He hadn’t told them the dangers involved in what they were doing. They had enough to worry about. They had dealt with surprises before and had come out whole. They could again.
Even being connected in such a simple manner, allowing him to draw on their life source, could have side effects. Most were mild; barely more than an inconvenience. Some were not, however.
He looked at Isabel. She seemed to be the most emotionally involved in helping the boy. He found this odd. From what Liz had said on the way over, she and Maria were the ones with the most to lose if they couldn’t help him. He wondered what had happened to cause this.
As he returned his attention to Alex, he heard the sound of a body hit the floor.

Isabel’s eyes flew open. She was no longer in the Valentis’ house. Was she? She couldn’t say for sure where she was. She couldn’t really say she was anywhere.
It was dark wherever she was and yet she could see fine - not that there was anything to see. The landscape was completely empty as far as the eye could see. The bleary tinge to this place reminded her of the many times she’d dream-walked someone but this was no one‘s dream. Picking a direction - north she guessed - she started walking.
She wasn’t sure how long she walked, her mind wandering, contemplating everything she had been through. Finally, she stopped. Wherever this bleak place was it didn’t seem to tire her to walk long distances like it would in the real world. As a matter of fact, she felt surprisingly fresh. She felt comfortable here too and would have liked to stay for awhile but Tic-Tac needed her help to heal Alex. She needed to get back to Alex.
“Where am I?”, she yelled, cringing as her voice echoed around her.
“Hello.”
Isabel whirled around at the sound of a voice behind her, her hand coming up reflexively, prepared to blast whatever it was with her power.
“Hey, hey! Easy.”
A woman stood before Isabel where, she was almost certain, no one had been only a second ago. The woman was older than she was. By how much she couldn’t tell; she had to be thirty at the least. Her straight, long hair was dark red. She was tall too, taller than Isabel herself. The woman was beautiful too. There didn’t appear to be a flaw anywhere.
“I take it you’re new here.”, she said, her thin lips curling into a smile.
“Am I in another world or something?”, Isabel asked, still weary of this stranger. This whole scenario had alien written all over it.
“Something like that.”, the redhead said, nodding. ”You’re in a place called Grea De Fallus: The World Of Dreams.”



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Jan-2003 12:07:23 AM ]
posted on 20-Mar-2002 5:08:30 AM
Chapter 5


Michael stood at the door, staring out at the street, expecting Max to pull up any minute with a normal explanation about where he'd been all day.

Tess had called them all over to the Valenti's house in a panic. No one had seen Max or Liz all day. Their parents had learned of their disappearing act and were now waiting for them at the Crashdown. They were pretty mad from what Maria had said. This was about the fifth time they had disappeared together. Even though Valenti had explained one of those away, their patience was running out.

Michael opened the door, allowing Alex and Isabel to enter. Alex shook his head. "They weren't at Whitaker's office either. As a matter of fact, someone else is finally moving in there. All the congresswoman's stuff is gone."

They had been taking turns scouring the countryside looking everywhere Max and Liz could possibly have gone. They still had had no luck and they had run out of ideas. Michael punched the door. "Damn it!"

Maria put her hand on his shoulder. "They'll show up, Michael. Wherever they are, they have each other. They'll be fine."

Tess slammed the book she'd been reading to help take her mind off the situation down on the table. "This is Liz's fault. She probably has running around looking for something. I mean, that's what she does. She's always leading Max around by his nose, always meddling with things beyond her comprehension."

"Beyond her comprehension?", Maria repeated incredulously. "If it wasn't for Liz, they would have never found out where they came from, they would probably be running from the law or, God forbid, being taken apart by Pierce right now. After all this, you think Liz has Max running around, putting him in needless danger."

Maria was eye-to-eye with Tess now, having stalked her the whole time until she had her against the wall, staring down at her. If Maria had thought about what she was doing, she probably would have shocked herself. "You know what your problem is? You're more human than you can stand. You're what's known as a gold digger. You're obsessed with being what you were in that other life - a queen. You want power and you don't have any down here." She shook her head. "God, I can't believe Liz sacrificed the world for you."

Maria instantly knew she had said something she shouldn't have. Liz was going to kill her. "What did you say?", Tess asked.

Maria gave her a nervous smile. "Did I just say that?"


As he extended his hand further along the wall, Max almost cried out in joy. There was nothing there. He had found the end of the corridor. Better yet, he could see a faint light illuminating the way ahead.

He was forced to squint for a few minutes. After so much time in complete darkness, even the smallest source of light was blinding. His head was already pounding. Now that he could see, he studied the walls of the cave.

Something wasn't right. They seemed....almost transparent. He thought he could see glimpses of dimly burning torches and a heavy-set man watching him. As soon as he noticed it though, it was gone. It didn't matter. He had to find Liz.

Stumbling along, he forced himself to continue. Liz was near. He could feel it.


The inside of the orb was back to normal. The chaos had returned. It seemed worse now, the swirling multi-colored gases were noticeably more violent, converging on each other with a ferocious appetite.

Liz had quit crying now but only because she had no more tears to shed. Her entire body ached from the sobs that had torn her apart just moments before. Even though the link she'd shared with Lilith was gone, she could still feel that awful pain.

She had to have answers - now more than ever. Your guide will know. Was Tic-Tac the one it spoke of? He had to be. That must be the reason she had sensed no evil emanating from him. He was her guide. That didn't make any sense though. From what she knew of shapeshifters, they were protectors - alien protectors.

She was human. Why would he be her guide? There was only one way to find out. Rising to her feet, she dusted herself off and wiped her face with her shirt.

A violent tremor shook the earth. Liz fought several seconds to stay on her feet. Finally regaining her balance, she looked around. "What was that?"

In answer, the tremors started again. This time it didn't stop.

Liz crashed to the ground, scrapping her arm on the ground. Rolling to the side as a chunk of the ceiling shattered where she'd been, she looked toward the way out. There was nothing but a solid rock wall. More pieces of the ceiling were starting to rain down upon her. The air around her was filling with dust, making it harder and harder to breathe.

"Max!"

"Liz!"

Looking through the dust, she saw Max running toward her. He didn't look like he had fared to well on his journey either. Sweat dripped down his body. Dirt had clung to his wet skin, making him look as if he had rolled around in a pigpen. His eyes were swollen and red-rimmed. He looked as if his legs would betray him any second and send him crashing to the ground.

"Liz!" Max took her into his arm, holding her close as the world fell apart around them. He kissed her: once, twice, three times.

"Max...", she said between kisses. "We...have...to get out of here."

"Right.", he said, taking her by the hand. He looked behind her, noticing for the first time the solid wall behind them. "Our choices are pretty limited."

"I don't know what happened, Max.", Liz said. "Oh, Max, I saw the most-"

A savage tremor ended all conversation, throwing them to the ground with Liz landing atop Max, knocking the air from his lungs. The horrible sound of the ground splitting like an egg filled their ears.

The next few seconds were like slow motion. As Liz started to roll off of him, Max's eyes grew wide. She didn't get to ask what was wrong. Max quickly rolled over, reversing their positions, covering her body with his.

The last thing Liz saw as she lost consciousness was the top of the cave that was suddenly way too close.


Chapter Six


Max and Liz blinked in confusion, as if waking from a nightmare that had seemed so real at the time that they were surprised to discover it wasn't.

But that had been real. It had been no nightmare.

They now stared at a solid rock wall. This had been where the double corridors had been. They had entered here and yet....

They turned to stare at each other. Max was suddenly aware of his death-grip on Liz's hand and relaxed it a little. But only a little. Understanding dawned on Liz as if a light bulb had been turned on inside her head. "An illusion.", she said, disgustedly. She whirled around to face Tic-Tac. "What is the meaning of this? Is this just your sick way of playing with us before you kill us?"

"It is not.", Tic-Tac replied coolly. He hadn't moved from the last time they had seen him. "You have just experienced what's known as Xum Tomeri-ki -- The Pathfinder in your language. The shaman of my people give individuals this....test, for lack of a better word, to help them find their way through life when they have become lost. It shows them the past or future, whichever it deems will help the most, in hope that it will awaken a sense of purpose and direction within him or her. It also shows them some truths that they would do well to remember."

"Do you know what happened?", Liz asked.

Tic-Tac shook his head. "The shaman only performs the ritual to start Xum Tomeri-ki. He has no more involvement after that."

"But I was told you would be able to answer my questions."

"Then it's aware I have the knowledge to answer them."

Liz spilled everything: the crystal ball, the king and his relationship with the slave, Rhoul's anger and the consequences because of it. She also told him of the last visions of the faces she had been shown. "I recognized the last few. They were relatives of mine."

Tic-Tac had listened to the tale quietly - barely. He had guessed she was important but only as the fifth element. Not like this. Prophesies were always impossible to figure out, always having unforeseen twists, but this was amazing. He fought with himself for a few seconds, unsure of how much to tell them. The decision was easy.

They - she - deserved to know everything.

"The events you saw really happened over three hundred years ago just as you saw. The only difference was they were really aliens. They appeared human to you so you would understand."

"Was that really me?", Liz asked. "I mean, I know it's possible....am I...."

"What do you know about soul mates?", he asked abruptly.

"What?", she asked, confused. "Soul mates? I think everyone has one somewhere."

"That's believed to be true and that they always find one another - eventually. Sometimes it takes a few lifetimes but it always happens. Just because two people marry and live happily afterwards doesn't mean they're soul mates. When soul mates find each other, something special, almost magical at times, results from it. It's believed Dhelmanex and Lilith were such an example but, because of the situation, it was never allowed to be.

"When Rhoul killed Dhelmanex, the king vowed he and Lilith would find each other again and destroy Rhoul's empire. About this same time, the shaman received a prophecy from the Granolith, telling of a time when a fifth element would join the royal family to restore the balance. The shaman studied and studied this prophecy, trying to discover its meaning. They finally gave up."

Tic-Tac stopped for several seconds to allow them to soak up what he was saying before continuing. "The prophecy would become clearer during Zan's reign as king. He and Ava were arranged to marry at birth but it was clear he didn't love her. Most felt he was always looking for someone the entire time he was alive.

"A month and a half before his wedding, Zan started having nightmares about a woman who was lost in a dark place and she called his name repeatedly. It went on for three weeks before the nightmare changed even a little. Then, he finally caught a glimpse of the woman. He said she took his breath away with her beauty. He was amazed to discover she was human but he couldn't shake the feeling he knew her and he had to save her.

"Finally, the nightmares got so bad he couldn't concentrate on anything else. He had the shaman prepare the Granolith to transport him to Earth. He had to find that girl. Only after hours of convincing him what a stupid idea it was and how difficult it would be to find the girl he sought, Ava got him to give up on his mission. Of course, two weeks later, in the middle of the wedding, Khivar attacked and the Royal Four were killed.

"Not long after, they were cloned and sent to Earth with the Granolith at my behest. I had always thought the fifth element spoken of was human. Humans by nature are unpredictable and threaten to change the natural order of things on a daily basis. When Zan's dreams started, I knew I was right."

He looked at Liz and smiled. "It appears I found it. In a way, it appears Dhelmanex found Lilith too. As for your question: No, you're not an alien, a clone or anything else like that - not exactly anyway. We always wondered what happened to Lilith after she was sent to Earth. I guess she lived a somewhat happy life here after all. I believe all those faces you saw were your relatives - and Lilith's."

"That's impossible.", Liz argued, her words spilling out frantically. "I mean, she was an alien. A little green alien. How did she....and how could...."

"One of the Granolith's powers is the ability to enable us to adjust our complete make-up to suit any atmosphere.", he explained. "That's one of the reasons I had it sent to Earth. If it fell into the wrong hands, there's no limit to the destruction it could help cause. There's a penalty to changing our make-up, of course. We lose a lot of what makes us what we are. Lilith, by being changed, became mostly human. I'm sure she, along with a few members of future generations, had some powers. After a few generations, that probably stopped too."

"Could that alien part be reawakened by....say....being healed by another alien?"

"You know the answer to that already, don't you?"

Liz nodded.

Tic-Tac turned his gaze to Max. "Now for you, my king."

Max had said nothing during the entire conversation. It was hard to tell he was still alive. His eyes stared straight ahead, seeing nothing. He had heard what had been said but was still trying to sort it all out. He was still shaken from the events in the cave.

He had been separated from Liz for hours, not sure if he'd ever see her again. He'd been completely lost without her. He had almost lost hold of reality for a while and that had been an illusion. What would happen if he really lost her?

"What did you learn?", Tic-Tac asked.

Max shook his head, clearing away the cobwebs, and drew Liz into his arms, holding her close to him. "Nothing I didn't already know."

"You never told me how Grandma Claudia fits into all this.", Liz reminded the shapeshifter. "How did you know she told me to trust my heart?"

"Your grandmother was a wise woman.", Tic-Tac said, bowing his head. "I knew her well and I knew she was a firm believer in listening to the best guide you have: your heart. I actually helped her with her book. I know Naesado gave the Royal Four a metal book and..."

Max's face hardened. "Naesado and Tess lied to us, didn't they?", he asked. "The book says something entirely different from what they said it does, doesn't it?"

"Tess doesn't know what it says either.", Tic-Tac said. "My guess is Naesado lied to her too."

"But why?", Liz asked.

"I don't know exactly.", Tic-Tac said. "Naesado always played by his own rules, not caring who got in his way. He was never supposed to be your shapeshifter. He wasn't supposed to be here at all. You should find an ancient 'Navajo' alphabet chart in your grandmother's book. It may just match the symbols in the book."

"Thank you.", Liz said.

Tic-Tac shook his head. "Don't. Your road will only become more difficult now that I have lit your way. You can see the path ahead more clearly now but the monsters in the shadows can see you better now too."


Epilogue


Tess stuffed more of her clothes into the bag on the bed. She was leaving. She didn't belong here. She had never belonged here.

When Max and Liz had finally showed up three hours ago, she had learned too much to feel comfortable in Roswell ever again. Naesado had played her - used her - for his own personal gain the whole time he had raised her. He had made her interject herself into a closely knit group of friends, made her spread lies - lies she herself had been naive enough to believe - and had clearly not told any of them half of what he knew.

Alex was already decoding the Destiny Book but she'd seen enough in the first two paragraphs to understand why Naesado didn't want anyone but him decoding it. Evidently, he had planned on altering the text before showing it to them.

The pictures they had seen hadn't meant what they had thought either. The book did indeed say her and Max were bethroned. It said the same about Michael and Isabel. It referred to them by their real names - Zan, Ava, Rath and Vilondra - but it confirmed what they already knew.

They had been killed, cloned and sent to Earth with a powerful artifact - the Granolith. It said they would receive flashes of their past during certain times of the year and of things that could have been. That explained why Michael and Isabel had thought she had been pregnant the spring before; maybe she had been pregnant at the time of their deaths or could have been if things had been different. There were still too many questions.

It also told them a lot they didn't know. The book made it clear they now had their own lives and were not to repeat the past. It didn't forbid them from hooking up with their former mates but only if they were truly in love.

They were free here.

They would know the translation progressed. She didn't want to know any more. She knew all she needed to. Max had never loved her and there was nothing keeping him from being with Liz. She had seen it in the way he looked at her when they had walked through the door: He was never again leaving her.

They still didn't know she had been mind-warping Alex to find the exact thing that had been under their noses the entire time. She wasn't going to tell them either.
So far, there had been no ill effects from it. No need to give them more reason to hate her.

Maria had already added enough fuel to that fire for the day with her tale of how Liz had surrendered everything to alter history. They hadn't told Liz about Maria's slip but she had seen the way Michael and Isabel had looked at Liz when she had returned. Their admiration of her shone in their eyes.

They hadn't been able to meet Tess's eyes. They blamed her for the entire situation - even if it wasn't her fault.

"Tess?", came a voice from behind her.

"Hi, Kyle.", she said quietly without turning around.

"Where are you going?", he asked, taking a seat on the bed.

"Anywhere but here.", she said, not meeting his eyes.

Kyle nodded. "I see."

Tess brought more stuff from the closet and stuffed it in her bag. "I can't stay, Kyle. I've caused enough trouble. After all my talk about being able to tap into my alien side, about being more intelligent because of that, I was deceived by a simple lie. I never once thought it could all be a lie, never once questioned what I was being told."

"That only proves your human like the b-"

"I don't want to be human!", Tess screamed, exasperated. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I've been told all my life how weak humans are, how stupid they are. I don't want to be weak like that, Kyle. I can't stand it!"

Kyle took her by the arm and, gently, made her sit down beside him. He turned to look her in the eyes. "Listen to me for a second. I want - I need - you to stay. I'm tired of it just being dad and me all the time. It's nice having you around and I would like that to continue."

"But they-"

"They will get over it.", he told her. "Trust me. I made their life difficult for a year. Things are good now though. If it hurts to be around them for a while, then stay locked in the house for a few weeks. Or you can just tag along with me. I'd like that."

She nodded. "I'd like that too."

"Hey,", he asked. "You wouldn't know anything about job hunting, would you?"


End of Book One.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Mar-2002 5:10:24 AM ]