The priest just sat there for a minute, desperately committing the incredible story he’d just heard to memory. He had an appointment with the bishop this very evening, which was good because now he felt a need to talk to someone, a superior, himself. And the bishop would know what to do. He always did.
Rubbing his temples and pressure points, he rose and stepped out of his side of the confessional, wincing as the bright sunlight hit his eyes.
Quietly he made his way among the pews and through an unobtrusive door nearby. As the door swung shut behind him he heard something and turned reflexively.
A small figure had followed him into the shadows. Her dark hair caught what little light permeated the thick air in this rarely used passageway, and he was suddenly reminded of an image of an avenging angel from one of his seminary texts.
“What can I do for you, child? Did you forget something?”
She hesitated. “I wanted to thank you for listening to me,” she said, sincerely. “It really helps to get this kind of stuff off your chest, you know? So you can move on.”
He nodded. “I know.”
“Also … I wanted to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“How did you know we call them ‘Skins’?”
He paused. “You told me.”
“No I didn’t.”
He didn’t make it ten feet.
She coughed a little, waving the dust away from her face with her hand in some irritation.
“It’s not like I *want * a body to deal with, but I still don’t know how she does it.”
She sighed and turned to make her way out of the church, muttering to herself.
“What can I say? I’m no Buffy.”
Liz looked both ways as she crossed the street, but her attention was elsewhere.
She giggled when two strong arms embraced her from behind, partially lifting her off her feet and making her feel like a schoolgirl again.
“Mission a success?” a low voice whispered in her ear.
“Uh huh,” she said breathily, and nuzzled into a strong shoulder, enveloping herself in the warmth and masculine scent of her other half.
“Going to report on that, soldier?” he teased, allowing his hands to roam along her trim figure, mapping out every sensitive point with practiced ease.
The blaring of a horn interrupted their reunion, and both looked towards the waiting convoy of vehicles in mild irritation.
Liz could see Michael in the driver’s seat of a van, looking exceedingly harried. He saw her watching, mouth “c’mon!” and hit the horn again. Giggling, she pulled Max over to a compact sedan beside the van and they hopped into the back seat.
“What, you don’t feel like riding with the DeLuca-Guerin Brigade today?” Alex quipped from the passenger seat, and they all laughed, knowing full well that while Michael doted on his rowdy offspring as passionately as he did his energetic wife, even he had to admit they were a handful.
Before putting on her seatbelt, Liz leaned forward to hug Isabel, who had decided early in her own pregnancy that letting anyone else drive simply made her even more nervous than she already was about protecting the life inside of her.
“How’d your visit go? Are Diane and Philip thrilled to be grandparents?”
“They are,” Isabel grinned, hugging her back in shared delight. “They insist on coming out for the delivery, too!”
“Iz, that’s great,” Liz said sincerely, blinking back tears. The Evans had taken the news of their adopted children’s heritage in stride (well, relatively speaking) but until now they’d balked at interplanetary travel. Turning to Max, she saw the same intensity of emotion play over his stoic features. It had taken him a long time to overcome his fear of rejection, and his adopted parents’ unconditional love still overwhelmed him at times.
Snapping on her seatbelt, she reached out for his hand as she continued the conversation. “So, any more thoughts about names?”
“Xandria,” Isabel said immediately, even as Alex called out “Anne!”
Liz couldn’t help but laugh as the ongoing argument dominated the conversation for the rest of the trip. Ever since they’d found out they were expecting a daughter, the two of them had brought up at least one new name a day for consideration – and usually to the abject horror of the other.
“You had to bring it up, didn’t you?” Max asked, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly. “At the rate they’re going, ‘Isabel Jr.’ is going to be able to choose her own name.”
“I think it’s sweet,” Liz said, and punched his arm jokingly.
He opened his mouth to say something else, but just then the car began to slow.
“Okay! We’re here. Let’s get this show on the road!” Isabel called, unbuckling herself and then laughing when Alex waited for her to open his door for him.
“My mother told me not to date anyone without manners!” he insisted primly, and Liz and Max grinned at his goofiness. They walked ahead as Isabel walked around the vehicle, opened the door, and proffered some flowers that “magically” appeared out of nowhere. And when her husband pretended to have to think about whether to accept her offered arm, she whacked him over the head with the now slightly-bedraggled bouquet until he kissed her and all was forgiven.
They found Kyle and Tess by Jim’s SUV in equally high spirits. Amy had come along to drive the van back to town, and the four of them were exchanging hugs, calling Maria over to complete the family circle. Maria was only too happy to leave her son Robin and daughter Jozefa with their father, who was staggering under the combined onslaught of his own children and their equally rambunctious cousins, Ben Wyndham-Valenti and Jami Harding-Wyndham.
Ever punctual, Liz checked her watch and sure enough, their transport arrived precisely on time. She nodded in satisfaction and approval at the captain who emerged to greet them, recognizing a one-time student of hers.
“Be right there,” she called over, and stopped only to hug Jim and Amy before heading on board for the pre-flight check, a tradition among Max’s people but for Liz, more of an excuse to exchange intelligence with other military personnel. She quickly assigned a surveillance detail to take the third car back to Roswell and monitor the neighbourhood around a certain church, and in turn received updates about troop movements and other strategic matters.
To her relief, the current situation was more of an uneasy détente than open battle, and she felt her spirits rise at the prospect of a little more time with her husband before either was obliged to put in an appearance away from home.
She also took the opportunity to tuck away a small package she had picked up before meeting him this afternoon.
“Oh yeah, this is nice,” he moaned, stretching luxuriously. “Finally, some privacy.”
“Rank has its privileges,” she laughed, and jumped lightly in his direction, careful not to overshoot her goal. “I could only secure a couple hours in here though, so we should make it count.” She streamlined her approach, twisting neatly as she neared him.
“Nice form,” he said, leering so she couldn’t miss his double meaning, and launching himself to meet her partway. He, however, did put too much force into his push-off, and started to careen out of control.
Liz adeptly flipped mid-air to touch one foot against the wall of the anti-gravity training chamber, catching him neatly on the rebound.
“Rookie mistake,” she chuckled in his ear, and he took the opportunity to pull her to him for a kiss. “Who said it was a mistake?” he teased, and their kiss soon deepened with passion. Lost in each other, they just let themselves float, enjoying the simplicity of touch and taste and sensation.
But soon, very soon, it wasn’t enough.
“Where’re Max and Liz?” Maria asked, throwing herself down on a chair. “Are they meeting us for dinner?”
Isabel and Alex exchanged amused glances. “I don’t think so,” Isabel said.
“Neither do I,” Alex said, but then raised one eyebrow cryptically, “You’re definitely sure, Izzy?”
When she nodded he picked up her hand and kissed it. Maria looked on in utter bewilderment, but before she could ask, the door opened and Michael, Tess and Kyle entered. She frowned. “Where are the children?”
Tess grinned mischievously. “Working off some excess energy.”
“In other words, Jay and Justine decided to take them for a little workout, hoping it might tire them out,” Kyle explained.
Michael just collapsed next to Maria and promptly fell asleep with his head in her lap. She smiled tenderly as she played with his hair. “Looks like he was the one who got the workout,” she joked quietly, and everyone else nodded good-naturedly.
They shared their first meal onboard in companionable silence, waking up Michael long enough to put a plate in his hands but not long enough for him to fill it. With a shrug, Maria just said she’d make sure he got something later.
“I bet he will,” Alex winked exaggeratedly and everyone had to laugh, even Maria – because of course, it was true.
“Where are Max and Liz?” Kyle thought to ask, and looked wounded when Tess elbowed him sharply in the side. “What did I say?”
“Nothing,” she said, exchanging knowing glances with Isabel. “But they’re going to want some time alone right now.”
“Why?” he persisted innocently, and Maria perked up too.
Alex just smiled and said in a strangely serious voice, “Our little circle is a little more complete now. That’s all.”
She marvelled at the way her small hand fit into his larger one, the way his long fingers wrapped gently around her palm and explored it in painstaking detail.
“Max,” she said quietly, so as not to break the spell.
“Uh huh?” he responded, contentedly switching to her other hand.
“I brought something back for you, from Roswell,” she said.
He looked up then, meeting her eyes curiously.
“Just a moment, it’s in my pocket,” she said, but instead of relinquishing his hold on her he simply flicked his hand and the clothes leapt into her waiting arms. He smirked as her body shook with laughter, enjoying the way it fit against his, in motion or in stillness.
“Well, that’s convenient,” she commented. He just nodded and waited, his interest piqued as she rummaged through the material and finally came up with a package the size of thin paperback novel.
He held his breath as she held it between them, and slowly, unwrapped a flat box, which she then handed to him.
“I realized earlier that it’s time to put the past behind me, behind us,” she said. “To look to the future. And this seemed like a really good way to – to welcome it.”
Hands trembling slightly, he opened the lid. Inside was a silver picture frame, empty.
But engraved. He read the words in awe, looking up and into shining eyes.
“Mommy, Daddy and Me.”
“Really?” he asked, his voice hoarse with emotion.
Liz nodded, unable to speak. They just held each other and welcomed the future together.
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|DC Slash||Harry Potter||Ros. Hetero||Ros. Slash||Ros. Other|