Disclaimer: Roswell and all the characters belong to Jason Katims and the WB. I do not have anything to do with them. I am merely borrowing them.
Setting: AU ... the Polar Universe
Please let us know if you need anything further, Dr. Parker. Liz ignored the soft, even voice and the sound of the door swooshing closed behind her. She clutched the worn satchel containing her most precious memories close to her chest and looked around the room. She couldn´t believe she was actually here, back where it all began. Well, not this room. But here, in Roswell.
She continued to peruse the room. It was clean and white and totally lacked personality; Liz hated it. But she knew she was incredibly lucky to have gotten it. For that she had to thank her name, her reputation as a doctor of bio-genetic-technology. And, if she was honest, the status as one of the first to know. A large window on the other side of the room looked out over the city of Roswell. Liz moved towards it slowly, her step uneven as she favored her right hip. Even with the new genetic manipulations, she just didn´t move as quickly as she had at sixteen.
The going was slow but she made it to the window. She wanted to breathe in the familiar air of Roswell, the heat and dryness of an afternoon in New Mexico. Liz looked for a minute for a way to open the window before realizing it was impossible. The room was climate-controlled; the builders had never forseen a need, a reason, for it to be opened. In frustration, Liz leaned her forehead against the smooth, cool, glass. Twenty stories below lay the city of Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell, circa 2065 AD. Booming metropolis, one of five spaceports on Earth.
Liz looked down upon it with a feeling of sadness. It was not the Roswell of her childhood. Of her youth. Of the early years of her womanhood. What had once been a small town was now a major metropolis. What had once been treated as joke of a tourist attraction was now acknowledged as the site of first contact. Even the haunts of her teenage years were now registered historical landmarks. The Crashdown, the UFO Museum. Even the granilith and the pod chambers were listed.
The sight from the window depressed Liz, made her feel old. Which she was, if she admitted it. She was eighty-one but most days she didn´t feel it. Most days she looked into the mirror and wondered who that old woman was who stared out at her. But other days other days she felt the weight of every one of those years. Liz pushed herself away from the window and shuffled over to the center of the room.
Still favoring her right side, Liz lowered herself to the plain, utilitarian couch in the center of the room. She pulled the satchel onto her lap. Her hands shook as she opened it and reached inside.
Liz pulled out a small framed photograph and set it on the table. Her younger self, and Michael, peered out at her. Her fingers traced lovingly over his strong features before she set it on the steel-framed coffee table. Next she pulled out a hand-carved wooden box. Alien symbols and Native American designs interlocked on the cover. It had been a gift from Michael, one he had made himself. She treasured the box as much as she did the contents. Every letter, ever vid-disk, every holo-greeting he had ever sent her had been lovingly tucked away inside.
The leather bag was nearly empty, except for one item. The one piece of her past which Liz sought, which she feared. Liz pulled out a book, a large one, with a worn blue faux-leather cover. Faded gold letters across the cover spelled out West Roswell High, 2002. Her senior yearbook. A book of memories, both good and bad. It seemed only fitting to sit here -- to open the worn cover, to read the inscriptions -- here in Roswell, where it all began.
Her hands trembled as she lifted the cover. Liz stared at the mix of messages. Writing sprawled every which way over the once white pages. She fumbled in her pocket for her glasses, slid them up her nose. She didn´t really need them; she knew every word of the inscriptions by heart. Every word, at least, of the ones that mattered.
Liz had printed her name boldly in black ink in the upper left corner. Just below that Maria had signed her yearbook. It had seemed only right that her best friend had been the first to mark the blank pages.
Liz, Maria had written in bright purple ink. The color had faded over the years to a pale lavender, but the hand-writing remained the same. As bold and brash as the woman it belonged to. We did it, girlfriend!! We are out of school and free to do whatever we want! Here´s to many more years of good times and the wild life with the Czechoslovakians! Best friends forever! XOXOXO, Love, Maria
Liz traced the signature with her index finger. Maria had signed this the day before graduation. The day before everything had changed.
The graduation party at the Crashdown had been where it all began. Maria had been the first to find out. She had confronted Michael and Liz in the back room of the cafe during the party. Neither of them had been able to find a good answer and Maria had watched them struggle to find something, anything to tell her. Maria´s face had crumbled, a sight which haunted Liz still. She had slapped Michael, a blow he withstood without flinching, his face stoic as always, his eyes the only hint of his pain. Liz had braced herself for a slap but what Maria had done was worse. She had only stared at Liz, tears streaming down her face, her eyes filled with a hundred emotions. Liz had recognized most of them. Pain, horror, embarrassment, anger. Maria had just stared at Liz. And then run from the café, the door slamming behind her.
Liz had been sick after Maria had left. Physically sick. Michael had held her, stroked her hair, as she threw up, time and again. He had comforted her and stood by her as the others had filed into the back room, wondering what had upset Maria. And then they all had known. It was the end of everything. And where it all began.
Maria had never spoken to her again. Liz hadn´t blamed her, not really. But she had missed her best friend every day of her life. Alex had kept her posted. As had the news and some of the tabloids. Maria had made it as a singer. At first, in the smoky lounges of Vegas. Later, on the small club circuit. After first contact, when her role in the early years had been revealed, Maria finally had made the big leagues -- air play, radio time. She´d been a hit. After a few years Maria had dropped out of the limelight. Liz had heard she married Brody -- who had never quite gotten over her -- and raised a family.
Liz wiped the tears from her eyes, using the sleeve of her black dress, and forced herself to look further down the page. Alex had signed the bottom of the page. Upside-down, of course, a very Alex thing to do. His message was in neat black letters.
Liz -- thanks for being my friend all these years. And for including me in this great adventure of the past couple. Good luck in everything you do. I´ll always be here if you need me. Alex
Alex had been true to his word after the scene in the Crashdown. He had gone chasing after Maria that night, but Liz hadn´t blamed him. Maria had needed him more at that moment than Liz had. But he hadn´t cut off his friendship with her as Maria had done. Alex had been there as a support to Liz, and to Michael, in those long days after graduation. He had never asked questions, accepting whatever bits of information Liz chose to share. Eventually she had told him the whole story, her heart breaking at how she had hurt people she loved. Alex had pulled her into his arms afterwards and held her as she cried.
Liz brushed another tear from her eye. Alex had thought the adventure had ended at graduation but he couldn´t have been more wrong. The day he had hacked into Miss Topolsky´s computer was where it all began. Towards the end of his college career, he had been approached by the FBI, who wanted to recruit him. It turned out they had had their eye on his computer skills for years. He had accepted their position and for several years had been a key player on their cyber-crime unit. Eventually, he had retired and gone into business for himself as a computer security expert. Like herself and Maria, Alex too had benefited from the notoriety of being there during the early years. She still kept in touch with him, a note at the holidays, a meeting every couple years. Alex had been the one who kept them updated on the others who had been there where it all began.
Her fingers fumbled a moment as Liz tried to grasp the page´s edge. She finally managed to turn it and focused her sight on the inscription in the upper right corner. It was Max´s message. Another one that threatened to overwhelm her with old feelings every time she read it.
Liz Parker, Max had written in his calm, controlled handwriting. Since the moment I stepped off the bus, I knew you were an important piece of my life. I never started to live until that day in the Crashdown. The thought of my world without you scares me. You make me who I am. Love, Max
Her heart clenched as she read and re-read Max´s inscription. She couldn´t think about him without feelings of pain and guilt assaulting her. The day he had saved her life at the Crashdown had been where it all began. She could never, ever repay him. But some days, days when the pain threatened to overwhelm her, she wondered if maybe it would have been better for everyone if he hadn´t.
Liz shook away that thought; it wasn´t one she wanted to dwell on today. Instead she thought about Max. He was a good man, one she could have, would have, loved if she hadn´t gotten to know Michael.
After the scene in the Crashdown, after she and Michael had devastated Maria, Liz had braced herself for an equally painful scene with Max. It hadn´t happened. Instead of erupting, Max had shut down, sealed all his feelings within himself. He said that he understood. Said he forgave Liz for loving someone else. Said he forgave Michael for loving Liz. He didn´t rage or fight or cry or scream. He had become cool and controlled and entirely focused on fulfilling his destiny.
Instead of college, Max had taken to the road. He had used the resources available to him at the UFO Center and followed up on every lead, every scrap of information he could find. His perseverance had paid off, five years after graduation. Max had discovered a way home, negotiated a peace with the usurper and set himself to rebuilding his people´s civilization in that far off corner of the universe where it all began.
God, what a crazy time that had been. Max had gone public with his identity, as well as those of Michael, Isabel and Tess. He wanted to set up contact between the two societies. And to take an advisor from Earth with him. Part of the condition of his return was to abolish the monarchy. Instead he planned to institute a democracy. The country, no, the planet had been thrown into an uproar; Roswell suddenly became more than a tourist trap to be visited and laughed at. Actually aliens had lived there. First contact had been achieved. And the Royal Four finally had gone home.
Liz fought the memories of how difficult those years without Michael had been. She had just started graduate school when Max made his announcement. Only the Royal Four had been invited back. Their homecoming had been awaited for decades. Michael had been torn between his love for her and his sense of duty to the home he had always searched for. Liz had kissed him and promised him she would be fine, that she would be so busy working on her doctorate that it was the perfect time for him to go. She knew she had no right to try to keep Michael from discovering his destiny. So Michael had left with Max and Isabel and Tess. And Liz had studied harder than usual.
Liz turned her attention back to the yearbook. Her fingers found the page she wanted easily; the spine was cracked and worn in certain places. During their senior year, Isabel had been named Homecoming Queen, securing a full-page color photo of herself in the yearbook. This is where Isabel had chosen to sign Liz´s yearbook. Liz smiled at the reminder of the other woman´s often stunning vanity. But her passage was entirely heartfelt.
Liz Parker I don´t think we would ever have been friends except for my brother but I´m glad we are now. Having friends who know the truth make this seem so much more like home to me. It is home, wherever we came from originally. Thank you for being there, when we, I, have needed you. Isabel
Isabel had taken the plans to return harder than anyone else. She had been as desperate as the others to know more about where it all began but when the chance to find out more finally had occurred, her greatest fear had been whether the Evanses would still love her. They had, though Mrs. Evans had been sad to realize her children had thought it necessary to hide from her. It was a tearful leave-taking, according to the news reports, which Liz had been unable to escape.
Isabel had stayed for only as long as necessary. For all that she had loved popularity in high school, she found herself shying away from it on the new world. Hailed as either returning royalty or the cause of the bitter civil war, she had been followed constantly by the media. When offered the chance to return to Earth, Isabel had jumped at it.
She had returned to Roswell determined to spend time with the people she considered her true family. She had moved in next door to the Evans, and had spent time there nearly every day. Back where it all began. Isabel had still tried to avoid the publicity. When that proved impossible, she had resolved to tell the story her way. Her book, An Alien Among You, had become an international best-seller. Liz had an autographed copy somewhere. She and Isabel had remained on speaking terms, more, Liz was sure, because of Michael than anything else. Michael was a part of Isabel´s life and she, Liz, was a part of his.
Liz skipped through the rest of the yearbook until she came to the next to last page. She smiled through the tears that blurred her eyes. The one true happy ending in all this. Tess and Kyle had both signed this page. A more unlikely couple Liz could never have imagined but a couple they were. Where it all began, no one was ever really sure. It seemed to be sometime after Christmas during their junior year. Kyle and Tess had circled around each other for months; and then, one morning, it was different. They were holding hands, smiling into each others eyes, showing their love in a million little ways that Liz and Michael had never been able to.
Liz, Tess had written, her handwriting as bouncy as her curls, I know things started off really badly between us and for that I´ll always be sorry. You have to know by now that I´m not competition for Max. I´m glad we had a chance to be friends. Love, Tess
Kyle´s inscription was just below Tess´. Parker I still think we would´ve been a great pair. But now I´ve got Tess. Good luck with everything. And remember, Buddha says, party hard. Haha Kyle
Liz smiled as she remembered the times she and Michael had joined Tess and Kyle for dinner. The other couple had stood by them when everything was falling apart. Tess had supported Liz, reminding her that she had to follow her heart, while Kyle had made comments about never understanding what she had seen in Max anyway.
Kyle and Tess. Tess and Kyle. They had married right after high school, to the consternation and then the great delight of Sheriff Valenti. At the wedding, a lovely Buddhist ceremony, he had been proud father, foster-father, and father-in-law, all rolled into one. Tess and Kyle had been separated briefly while she journeyed home but she hadn´t been far behind in following Isabel back. Tess, though, hadn´t been running from the publicity. Max had appointed her, with Kyle at her side, as ambassador to Earth. The two worked perfectly together. Tess, the alien who was a little human and Kyle, the human who was a little alien.
The marriage was still going strong. Tess and Kyle were surrounded by loving children and grandchildren. The birth of their first child, a son, James Michael Valenti, had been a newsworthy event on both worlds. The first child born of a human and an alien. The start of a new wave of evolution. Where it all began.
Finally Liz turned to the last page. The page she´d been awaiting. Dreading. The one page in the yearbook that truly meant everything to her. The last page was Michael´s page. He had signed it last, after everyone else at school, because he didn´t want anyone else to see it.
Before she had gotten to know Michael, to love Michael, she would´ve expected him to write the first to sign your crack or something equally juvenile, if he had signed it at all. But he hadn´t done that. His page didn´t even have writing. The last page was filled with a simple line drawing of two hands. Their hands. Fingers entwined, locked together for eternity. It was one of the most moving pictures she had ever seen. But it didn´t stop there. Michael had done something to the paper, something at the molecular level, so where their hands touched, it glowed. Just like they did when they were together.
Liz traced her fingers gently over the drawing, watching as the soft glow reflected off her fingers. Michael. Her friend, her lover, her husband. She had never been quite sure where it all began. Her missing diary, Ulysses, his mysterious illness. All Liz knew was that she had never wanted it to end.
They had married just before he left for the home planet, a quiet ceremony but one that tied them together irrevocably. Michael had taken her name, Parker, because Guerin was just a name the system had given him. Parker made him feel like he belonged, like he was part of a family. Her parents had accepted him, and hadn´t asked any questions. And while he was gone, Liz had thrown herself into her studies.
Michael had been gone with Max for five long years. He had communicated with her through technology more advanced than anything on Earth. Technology that hadn´t required taking over the bodies of unsuspecting conduits, Liz thought with a faint smile, remembering the early days with Brody.
Michael had returned in time to see Liz graduate with her doctorate, a degree in the new field of bio-genetic-technology. It was a field that had fascinated her since their encounter with the glowing blue crystals of the gandarium in high school. Michael had swept her off her feet after the ceremony and told her how proud he was of her and how much he loved her. And then he had asked her to come back with him to the homeworld. There were still a few things there which required his attention and he had secured for her the opportunity to work and study at the finest university they had. Liz had jumped at the chance.
Because of who Michael was, because of who she was, they had attended state functions with a surprising regularity. While she had been studying on Earth, Michael and Max had slowly been rebuilding the respect they used to have for each other. When Liz arrived, old tensions had seemed to resurface. The three of them had ignored the tensions the best they could. And, over time, it had become easier.
And, after a few years, after most of the rebuilding had been completed, Liz and Michael had returned to Earth. Max alone had remained behind. Drawn, driven, focused Max. Savior to a world. Liz had settled into a choice position at a research university while Michael had continued to trouble-shoot for Max, on and off planet.
Liz had never been able to imagine the pressures Michael and Max, all the hybrids had been under at their homecoming. Add to that the horrors of decades long civil war and the tensions between the group and it must have been awful. Michael had never spoken of what had happened in those first years apart. And Liz had never pried. She had learned to accept this side of him early in their relationship. The quiet side. The side which was driven to know the truth, to find the answer, to atone. So Liz had said nothing, had merely held him tight and tried to lend him the strength to fight his demons whenever he had let her.
Liz traced the linked hands one more time and closed the yearbook. Tears now ran unchecked down her face as she remembered the last demon Michael had faced. His body, his poor worn body, had failed. He had lived a long life, eighty-one years, and Liz had spent most of that time with him. And still she had railed against the fates, had struggled to develop new techniques that might halt his slow decline. But she had failed. No one, not even she, the celebrated Dr. Liz Parker, had been able to stop him from slipping away.
Michael -- her friend , her lover, her husband -- had been the first of the Royal Four to die. He was mourned by two worlds and one wife. Yesterday´s memorial had been a grand affair of state, covered by all the news stations, watched by millions. This afternoon Liz would bury him with the rest of her family. Bury him here in Roswell. Where it all began.
|DC Slash||Harry Potter||Ros. Hetero||Ros. Slash||Ros. Other|