And So It Goes

Author: Rilla
Rating: PG-13 for language
Disclaimer: Roswell? Mine? Oh, would that it were... ( know you ain't mine either.)
Author's Note: Those left behind after the 'departure' are also left to wonder, "what now?"
A 6-person POV song-fic set to "And So It Goes" by the amazing Billy Joel. Should my friend, Bryce, ever, for some reason, stumble across this in his surfing (fat chance) -- this song is for you.

In every heart there is a room, a sanctuary safe and strong.
To heal the wounds from lovers past until a new one comes along.

I don't know how we'll explain the jeep.

I need to get the video back from Valenti.

I'm not sure what I should have said, standing beside Kyle, watching Max and Liz find their way back. Watching Maria look up at Michael like he'd just given her the world. I'm not sure what I could have said to Kyle to make us feel a part of that celebration.

This is the first time I've been in Alex's room since the day of the funeral. His parents are out of town. Escaping through miles and state lines. So I let myself in.

There's the candle that I gave him after he came home from Sweden. Not Sweden. Not anywhere. God…nothing is what it seems.

I light it with a match, even though I could snap my fingers to the same affect, and I inhale the smoke. I breathe deeper and I can smell him. His scent still clings to clothes and carpet and every object in his room. The candle smells like vanilla and has moons and stars on it. I bought it on sale and I remember thinking it might be something to jog his memory…to remind him that I was around. He seemed to have forgotten.

Was everything after Sweden…Not Sweden…was it all Tess' doing? Was it all a lie, then? Was it some kind of residual mind-warp affect? Everything surrounding the people she warped…did it turn into a lie? Which was the Alex who loved me? Oh God…I'd give anything to be pointing out constellations with him again. Him before Tess…before the book…before everything. If only I'd known I'd lose him…I would have loved him earlier. I know I would have. I know.

 So I sit in the window seat where I asked him to ask me to prom and the only light is from the candle and I have to believe that what we felt in those last days…that it was real. It has to be real. Because if it wasn't…

I think I'll stay in his room a little while longer. I don't want to go back to my room just yet.

I spoke to you in cautious tones. You answered me with no pretense.
And still I feel I said too much. My silence is my self-defense.

The bed still smells like her. Hours later. It still smells like her.

She's staying close to her mom tonight. She's worried. She asked Max to heal her mom like he healed Brody, to make sure what happened to Alex wouldn't happen to her mom. Over her shoulder I saw Kyle turn white and then red. I'm not a genius at reading people's expressions, but if I had to guess, I'd call it fear and anger. Tess did a number on him. I mean, she screwed with all of us, but Max and Kyle…

So I'm in my bed and my heart's still pounding and the bed smells like her. And not just her skin. But her. And me. And us. And I'm never going to get to sleep tonight.

I stayed for Maria. I opened myself to her. And now I wonder…will knowing how much I love her…will that only hurt her in the end anyway?

I didn't stay for her. I stayed for us. And that scares the hell out me. I've got to be careful now. Because I'm not just staying for us, I'm living for us. I'm living for a hope that even though my life is fucked up most of the time and I can't promise her a happily-ever-after, I can maybe give her something better than that. Trouble is, now that I've given her my first time and my feelings, I don't think there's anything left that's pure enough to make her happy.

Maybe I never should have said anything.

And every time I've held a rose, it seems I only felt the thorns.
And so it goes and so it goes. And so will you soon I suppose.

If you love something and let it go and it doesn't come back, you were never meant to have it in the first place.

I think that's how the saying goes. But Michael came back. So that means I'm meant to have him. Forever. Right?

Mom's sleeping. Before we all split up, Max healed her. She's sleeping on my bed and I'm lying beside her. And it never occurred to me until tonight, how much we're alike. Skinny and nutty and funny and protective and scared. When my father left, I remember hearing her crying when she thought I was asleep. I don't remember her letting him go. I remember her holding on. I remember me holding on, too. And he left anyway.

I think the best thing I've ever done for love was let Michael go.

But I don't think I can do it again. Not after everything that's happened since last night. And not since he came back to me. Next time, I think I just might have to hold on. I don't think I'll be strong enough to let go a second time.

But maybe I'll never have to make that decision again.

Maybe he will.

But if my silence made you leave, then that would be my worst mistake.
So I will share this room with you and you can have this heart to break.

I just saw a shooting star. I saw one the night Future Max vanished and left me with my silence. Sitting on my roof tonight, it means something much different. It's not an end. Maybe it's a new beginning. Or maybe it's just a shooting star. Regardless, I'm not entirely silent anymore.

Max knows. Just enough to get by, for now. But still…he knows. And now I know, too. I know he had sex with Tess. Maybe he even made love to her. Is this what my silence bought me? Betrayal I'm not allowed to feel? Because after all, I remained silent. I slept with Kyle, right? I nodded 'yes' and kept my mouth shut. What did I expect?

And so last night, I nodded 'no' but I still kept silent. I wonder if that was a mistake. I wonder if everything that I made happen, that I forced to happen, after Future Max came and left…was that all a mistake, too? Was that Tess controlling my mind like she controlled Alex's…to make me push Max toward her? Have I just played the fool?

I look up into the night sky as if that will answer my questions. And I think of the tears in his eyes when he told me about Isabel and Michael, dead. I remember the earnest look on his face as he assured me we had a beautiful wedding. And not only can I remember…I can feel his arms around me as we danced just a few feet from where I'm sitting right now. I can still smell the leather and skin and I can still hear his breath so close to my ear as his chest rose and fell.

I don't bother to brush away the tears that fall. I just whisper into the night this promise: One more time. Max gets one more chance to break my heart. And then that's it. I can't break that many times and still find all the pieces to put myself back together.

And this is why my eyes are closed. It's just as well for all I've seen.
And so it goes and so it goes. And you're the only one who knows.

There are candles and flowers on his grave. But no lighter, so they just look dark and lonely, and I can't do anything about it.

I don't know why I came here. It's just the way I headed after I dropped Maria and Max off at her house. I told her I'd bring her car back in the morning. And I drove straight here.

I carried his body. Jesus. I drug him like a sack and tossed him into his car and then I smiled at her and asked if she wanted me to come along. Was she protecting me that night? She screamed at me to go away but I didn't listen, so was she trying to shield me from what she was about to do? Or from what she was?

The grass by his grave is trampled down in circles and I wonder what it's from.

Isabel. That would make sense. How am I ever going to be able to look her in the eyes again. I'm a co-conspirator. I helped Tess cover up the killing of Isabel's boyfriend.

I helped Tess kill Alex.

God, I would have done anything to help her before all this. When she was like my sister. When she was family. My favorite martian. I protected her. How could she have done this to me? To my dad? How can I tell him the girl he loved as a daughter betrayed us? How the hell am I going to tell my dad that?

I don't care if anyone can see me crying. My eyes are closed against this world right now. I'm not the man I was before I met her. And I'm not the man I was 24 hours ago. Twenty-four hours to change a world, a life. That's all it took.

I'm sorry Alex. You'll never know how sorry I am.

So I would choose to be with you. That's if the choice were mine to make.
But you can make decisions too. And you can have this heart to break.

I don't have to look where I'm going. My feet take me there automatically. Even without my jeep, I know my way. It's a familiar feeling. I've never passed this part of town and not been drawn like there's some kind of magnet in the pit of my stomach pulling me to her.

It's just that, for a long time now, I've been pulling the other way.

Our kiss from last night was a 'goodbye.' It happened because there was nothing left to say and there were too many emotions left to control. But that was last night and this is now. This is a night that wasn't supposed to happen. I was supposed to be on a rocket ride to 'home' with my sister, my brother, my wife and my unborn baby. What a difference a day makes.

I can't think about Tess right now. The anger hurts too much. And I need to be one-minded when it comes to this. I have a choice to make. Last night was goodbye. Tonight needs to be something much different.

I place my hands on the cool rungs of the ladder that leads to Liz and just as I'm about to pull myself up, I stop. I wonder if Sean has ever climbed this ladder. I've been separate from her for too long to know. Jealousy, familiar jealousy, creeps in but what can I do about it? She's blameless. She didn't sleep with Kyle and I don't understand any of it except to know that she's blameless. That much I have to admit.

And I have one more thing I have to own up to. I can choose her tonight. I can tell her that I'm sorry and that I love her and want to try it again. I want to do everything right this time. I want to spend the rest of my life making it up to her…making up for the fact that I gave myself to Tess. That I gave up making love to her for my first time. Her first time.

But I know, no matter what choice I make tonight, she has a choice to make, too.

I only know the part I'm hoping for.

But it's not something I can face tonight. Not if her answer is the one I'm afraid of. So I take my hands from the ladder and walk away. And I tell myself, it's just for tonight. And I shudder, because this is a familiar feeling as well.

And so it goes and so it goes.
And you're the only one who knows.

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