Disclaimer: Roswell belongs to Metz/Katims and, as of now, UPN.
Summary: Michael/Liz, Liz POV, AU. Acts of kindness in the past come full circle in the future.
Feedback: Yes please!
This won Best AU in the Summer 2001 Roswell Undercover Awards.
"Now, Lizzie, you have to hold on to Mommy and Daddy's hands while we're at the carnival, okay, honey? We don't want to lose you in the crowd."
Lizzie nodded at her mommy's words, but all the while she was looking around. There were lots and lots of people here. Big people and little people like her. And balloons and stuffed animals and and cotton candy!
"Oh, Daddy, can I have some cotton candy? Pretty, pretty please?" Lizzie gave her daddy her biggest smile. Cotton candy was her favorite.
Her daddy dropped to one knee in front of her. His finger tweaked the end of her nose and she giggled. "I think we can get some cotton candy for my Lizzie-girl. What color do you want, sweetie?"
Lizzie thought about it for a minute. "Purple." It was such a pretty color.
"Okay, I'll be right back with some purple cotton candy. You stay with your mommy, Lizzie."
Lizzie and her mommy walked over to the side of the big road to wait for Daddy. While they waited, Lizzie saw a french fry on the ground that had ants crawling all over it. "Ooh, Mommy, look." She bent over to touch it but her mommy stopped it.
"Lizzie, don't touch that. It's dirty."
"But I just wanted to look at the ants, Mommy."
"You can look at them, Lizzie, but don't touch them."
Lizzie dropped to her knees and watched the ants carry away pieces of the french fry. She was glad her mommy had told her she couldn't wear her pretty blue sundress today. She couldn't watch the ants in her sundress.
"Lizzie," her mommy said, "Daddy's back and he's got your cotton candy."
Lizzie jumped up from the ground and hugged her daddy as he bent over to give her the cotton candy. It was so pretty. Like purple clouds. "Oh, thank you, Daddy!"
Lizzie lifted the whole cloud to her mouth and tried to take a bite. But it was so big she only got a little in her mouth. It stuck to her nose and it got in her hair, too. "Mommy, Daddy, wait" she said as she stopped to pull it out of her hair. But when she looked up, she couldn't see her mommy or daddy anywhere.
She looked left and right and at all the people that passed by but she couldn't see her mommy and daddy. Lizzie started to get scared. And then she remembered what her mommy and daddy always told her. "The policeman is your friend, Lizzie. If you ever get in trouble, find a policeman."
Lizzie tried to remember what a policeman looked like. Sheriff Valenti was a policeman. She liked him; he was nice. And he had a little boy who was in her class. But she didn't like Kyle. He was always loud and he hogged the slide and always tried to scare the girls with worms. But he didn't scare Lizzie cuz she like worms.
A man walked by wearing blue jeans. And a blue jean shirt, just like the sheriff. Maybe he was a policeman. "Are you a policeman?" she said in a little voice. But he didn't hear her. So Lizzie followed him and tried to get his attention.
Lizzie almost lost sight of the man when he turned a corner. But she saw him and ran a little faster. He walked into a tent and Lizzie yelled, "Wait!" But the man didn't hear her. So Lizzie followed him into the tent.
It was really dark inside and smelled funny. Lizzie felt scared again.
Liz lifted the last empty glass from the table and with her free hand scrubbed the surface with a rag. She shoved the rag back into her pocket and followed it with the couple of bills that had been left as a tip. She'd developed a ritual since she'd started working at her parent's restaurant. She didn't look at the tips when she picked them up; she waited until she got back to the register. That way she had a few minutes to forget how truly awful a table had been. And no one except the other waitresses saw her disappointment if it was a lousy tip.
She dumped the dirty glasses in the bus tub and counted her money. Six bucks. She could live with that. By the end of the summer she'd have enough saved up for a car. She couldn't believe that at the end of the summer she'd be driving herself to college. College?! She and Alex and Maria had graduated two weeks ago and all three of them were still stumbling around in amazement. Their whole futures were ahead of them. Liz couldn't wait to face her destiny.
"Hey, girlfriend! What put that grin on your face? Good money?" Maria stepped behind the counter and gave Liz a nudge with her hip.
Liz smiled at her best friend in the world. "Fifteen percent. Not bad. But that's not why I was smiling. Can you believe we graduated from high school?"
"Liz! Like there was ever any doubt you would graduate. Top of the class, no less." Maria stopped for a minute. And then she squealed. "Oh my god! We're really out of high school!" She grabbed Liz by the shoulders and swung her into a dance.
They were both laughing when Liz's dad walked up to the counter. "Let me guess. You're still excited about graduation?" He watched the two of them dance again with a smile on his face. He'd seen the same scene, sometimes with Alex included, too many times to count in the last two weeks.
"Okay, okay. I know you're happy, but I do have a restaurant to run here. Lizzie, you have a dinner break now. Maria, there's someone at the door; would you go seat him, please?"
Liz hugged Maria and then tugged off the antennae headband that was part of her uniform. "Be back in an hour," she said as she pushed open the double doors and walked into the back room.
After Lizzie stood inside the tent for a minute, the darkness seemed to go away. She didn't see the man anywhere. She looked around trying to find him. She didn't see the man, but Lizzie saw other things. They looked liked cages.
Cages? Lizzie wanted to know what was in them. She walked slowly towards them. Inside were Wild animals!
Lizzie loved wild animals. Her mommy and daddy had bought her Zoobooks and she loved looking at the pictures. And she could even read some of the words now, Lizzie thought proudly. She walked slowly by all the cages. There were lions and monkeys and an elephant and and and a little boy?
Lizzie looked at the last cage again. There was a little boy in there. She wondered if his mommy and daddy had put him there because he was bad. But even if he was really, really bad, it was mean to put him in a cage.
The little boy huddled in the corner as Lizzie got closer. His eyes were really dark and really big. And he looked scared.
"Hi, my name is Lizzie. What's your name?" The little boy didn't answer her. He just stayed curled up in a little ball, like Lizzie did when she had a bad dream.
She didn't like to see him look so sad. "Do you like cotton candy? I have lots. We could share."
The little boy looked at her purple cotton candy and then looked away. He still didn't answer.
Now Lizzie was more mad than scared. She had offered to share, just like her mommy had taught her. And it was cotton candy, her favorite. He could at least answer. But then she remembered boys could be mean. Still, she tried again.
"Do you want to come out and play with me?" This time the little boy looked at her. And then he looked past her with his big scared eyes. Up at the cage door.
Lizzie looked up too. There was a lock on his cage. But the key was in it. Lizzie tried to reach it but she couldn't. Next she tried to jump. She still couldn't reach it *and* she almost dropped her cotton candy. Lizzie looked around the tent. There had to be a way. She saw a box not too far away. She could stand on it and reach the key.
Lizzie leaned her cotton candy very carefully against the cage and walked to the box. It was big and Lizzie fell twice as she dragged it over to the cage. When she got there, the little boy jumped away from the cotton candy. Lizzie smiled, she *knew* he wanted some of her cotton candy.
Lizzie stepped onto the box, holding on to the cage so she wouldn't fall. She had to stand on tip-toe to reach the key. She concentrated really hard and turned the key. The lock opened and fell to the ground with a thud. The little boy looked around, scared again.
Lizzie jumped off the box and pushed it out of the way. The door of the cage opened up. "Come out and play with me."
The little boy looked wildly around. And then he slowly crept towards the open door. One ratty sneaker touched the dirt, then the other. He grabbed Lizzie's hand and tugged.
"I don't understand."
The boy tugged again and pointed towards the way she came.
"You want to go play outside?"
The boy nodded. Lizzie grabbed her cotton candy and let the boy lead her towards the door. Then Lizzie heard voices and remembered the man. She had to find her mommy and daddy. "Wait," she said, "I hafta talk to the policeman."
The boy looked at her and shook his head. He began to run, pulling Lizzie along with him.
They ran and ran until they reached the door. Then Lizzie tripped. Her hands and knees hit the ground hard and it hurt. She dropped her cotton candy and it got all dirty. Lizzie started to cry. She wanted her mommy and daddy.
Maria walked up to the boy who waited by the door of the Crashdown. He looked about her age; she looked him up and down. Man, she corrected herself. This was all man, from the tips of his worn hiking boots to the leather jacket he wore like a second skin. There was something kind of wild about him that sent tingles up Maria's spine.
"Can I help you?"
The figure looked over the top of her head, scanning the restaurant. "Are you meeting someone?" she asked.
"Huh? Oh, um, no. It's just me." Woohoo! Maria thought, just before he continued. "There's a girl who works here. Dark hair, about this tall." His hand hovered about shoulder height.
Maria's heart sunk. Liz. He was looking for Liz. Why did Liz always get the good ones? Kyle, the captain of the football team. Mark, the incredibly hot head of the chess team. Argh! "I'm sorry. She's on her dinner break. Did you want to stay?"
"Yeah, please." Maria seated him in her section. If nothing else, she could admire the view. "Ready to order?"
"Gimme a burger."
"Which would you like? The MIB burger, the Sigourney Weaver?" Maria rattled off the list of theme burgers the café offered.
"Don't you have any regular burgers? Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese you know, that kind of thing?"
"That would be the Alien Abduction burger," Maria said, as she turned and walked away. Smart-ass. Liz could have him.
When she delivered his burger, she asked if she could bring him anything else. He asked for Tabasco, just like those Evans kids. Maria rolled her eyes. The two of them went through the spicy stuff like it was going out of style. She had to admit, it was nice to know that the beautiful people had freaky habits like everyone else.
After she delivered the condiment, Maria turned her attention to other tables. He was an odd one; she'd known that from the moment he'd walked in.
Lizzie rolled over and sat up, the tears running down her cheeks. The little boy hovered over her, whispering, "No, no."
His hands brushed over her cheeks, wiping away her tears. Lizzie looked up at him in wonder. None of the boys in her school would ever do that. Her crying stopped and the boy gave her a shy smile.
"Thank you," she said. Then she looked at her hands. They were all scraped and bloody. Her lip began to tremble again.
The little boy took her hands in his. He squeezed his eyes shut and Lizzie saw blue light coming from both their hands. She tried to pull away but he wouldn't let her.
When he finally let her hands go, Lizzie looked at them. They were all better. Even when Mommy kissed her hurts better, it never worked that fast.
"Wow," Lizzie said. She would've said more but then they heard the man again. The little boy jumped up. He grabbed the cotton candy and looked at Lizzie. She nodded. "You can have it, if you want it. But it's dirty."
The boy smiled again. He stepped forward and awkwardly pressed his lips to hers. "Bye," he said and ran around the tent.
Lizzie watched him as he ran away. The boys at school tried to kiss the girls but those boys were icky and gross and they had cooties. But that one had been nice.
Lizzie heard the man again. "Who left the door open? Where the hell is that kid?" Lizzie decided she didn't like the man, even if he was a policeman. He used bad words and put little boys in cages. She was glad she had opened it.
He stormed out of the tent. Lizzie stepped in front of him. "Can you help me find my mommy and daddy?"
"Damned kid." Lizzie still didn't like him but she smiled anyway. The man looked over her head and grumbled. Then he took her hand and led her back to where all the people were.
Her mommy and daddy found her. They yelled at her and then hugged her really tight. They thanked the man for finding her. He wasn't a policeman and Lizzie was glad. Lizzie told them she got lost and dropped her cotton candy. She didn't tell them about the little boy. She didn't want him to get in trouble.
Liz raced down the steps from her room. She had less than a minute before she was supposed to be at work. She'd been upstairs reading the welcome packet from college. She was an official freshman now. She just knew her life was going to begin this summer.
She grabbed her headband off the counter where she'd left it and settled it on her head with a practiced hand. Then she pushed through the double doors.
Maria was waiting for her. "Liz. There's some guy over on table four who came in here looking for you. He isn't anyone I know, and he seems a little, I don't know, wild. But I thought you should know."
Liz looked past her friend to the table. Her breath caught in her throat. There was something about him. "Thanks, Maria," she said absently, and walked towards him.
He slid out from the booth before she reached him and took a tentative step forward.
Liz's heart started to pound. No one had called her Lizzie in years. Except for her dad, when he was feeling emotional.
She stopped in front of him. She took in his rough clothes, ragged hair, and the wild and free aura he radiated. And then her eyes met his deep brown ones. "I know you. But how?" Her voice held wonder.
He took her hand in his. Liz felt a jolt of recognition run through her.
"I'm Michael. I've been looking for you for years. You saved my life. Thank you."
And then, to Liz's surprise and Maria's total shock, he leaned closer and kissed her.
When Michael finally ended the kiss, Liz stepped back and pressed her fingers to her lips. He tasted like cotton candy, her favorite. Liz looked into his eyes and smiled. She'd been right; her life had just begun.
|DC Slash||Harry Potter||Ros. Hetero||Ros. Slash||Ros. Other|