I stared at Max. He was looking at Tess. What the hell -

"What do you mean, she's one of us?"

He didn't answer me. Just stared at her.

Maybe she was doing it again. Controlling him. Giving him visions -

He moved quickly, walking away from us and then running, past the car, moving towards the cliff. He didn't stop when Is and I called him.

We did the only thing we could. We followed him.

He stopped suddenly, turning to face the wall of rock. We stopped behind him and he looked at us before moving his hand over the stone, and a handprint appeared. A silver one -

Just like the one Max had left on Liz -


I immediately felt guilty. I hadn't talked to her since last night. I hadn't told her about the dream, about the baby -

It doesn't mean anything. You don't wind up with Isabel, they told you that -

But I had to tell her Tess was doing something to him again. I felt my mind open, reaching out to make the connection to her -

Max pressed his hand against the silver print, and I broke off the connection before it even started.

And then all hell broke loose.


I stared at Max. "How did you -?"

"I just knew," He whispered, his eyes flickering to me and then back around the room.

We were in a room. In the cliff. In the rock. He'd put his hand against the stone, and it - it just opened.

Max went first, entering the room, looking all around him.

My eyes scanned the little I could see -

Four orbs were up against the wall, stacked two upon two. I narrowed my eyes. Each of them empty, slit in the front. Strips and webs hung from the openings -

Not orbs. Pods.

"What is this place, Max?" Isabel whispered.

"It's where we were all born," Tess said behind us.

We all turned to look at her. What was she -

"No," Isabel whispered. She was terrified, backing up.

"No," She whispered, moving faster now. "No, I don't believe this -" She was running outside, into the light.

Max called after her, but she kept going.

"We can't leave her alone, Michael," He said, standing in the sunlight. "Come on-"

I stared at the pods. There were four of them.

Four. Not three. Four.

Be careful around Nasedo. Don't forget about Tess -

They were talking about them like they were two different people -

Max. Isabel. Me.

And Tess.

"You want to know, don't you?" Tess whispered behind me.

I looked at her.

"You want all the answers. I can give them to you, but first you have to convince them that I'm not your enemy." She held out a book - metallic, I think, with a symbol on it. The same symbol I'd burned into the ground, outside the library -

That felt like a million years ago.

"Max didn't tell you about this, did he?"

I didn't answer.

"Take it. It will prove to them that I don't want to hurt you."

She's indirectly responsible for the dreams. She can't help it -

"If you convince them then I can explain everything."

The alien side of you, Michael.

It's time to wake up -

I looked back at the pods.

She was one of us.

I grabbed the book and ran.


Isabel had run down to the car. She was shaking her head at Max. He was trying to hold her, to comfort her. I stared at both of them.

There are times, I realized, when who you are is inescapable. When you can't hide from it or run from it anymore.

It's what you've been looking for, Michael -

All my life I'd wanted answers. Who were we, why were we here - where did we come from?

Why did they leave us?

Max pulled Isabel into a hug, wrapping his arms around her tightly. She was crying. She held on to him for a second and then pushed him away, hard, her hands pushing her hair back, out of her face, her eyes wild and frightened -

She was standing in the sunlight, smiling, happy -

With me. She was my wife, the mother of my child -

I blinked, staring down at the book, flipping through the pages.

You want all the answers. I can give them to you -

I opened it, staring at the page.

I couldn't read it.

My eyes narrowed. Maybe I didn't know I could. Focus, Guerin -

Nothing. My hands flew over the pages. Just strange letters I couldn't read, symbols that meant nothing -

I stopped.

Four faces stared up at me. Max and Tess...

Me and Isabel.

I looked back at the two of them. She was pacing back and forth next to the car. He was standing close, giving her space, trying to calm her down.

There are times when your priorities become obvious.

She never thought we'd find out, I realized.

Isabel was an alien like I was a human.

It was a quirk. A coincidence. It made her different, but she spent all her energies blending in, hiding the truth, ignoring it, hoping it wouldn't ever matter, that it would almost go away...

And now she could be pregnant. With my child.

Her world was unraveling. She wasn't ready to be a mother, much less an alien one -

She was smiling. Happy. Unbelievably happy -

My teeth clenched against the inside of my mouth.

She's not Liz.

No. She's not.

But I wasn't going to abandon her. Or my child.

I took a breath and walked down to them.


Isabel's eyes flew up to meet mine, wide, terrified. "Michael -"

"It's okay," I said quietly. "It'll be okay."

Her lips pressed together. She was trembling and shaking her head. I held out the book to her.

"Here," I said. "Take it."

"Where'd you get that?" Max asked.

I stared at him. "Tess gave it to me," I said. "It's the book from the library, isn't it?"

Isabel stared at him. "The what?" She stopped, opening the book and flipping through the pages.

He didn't say anything. Just looked out at the desert.

"You knew about this all along," I said.

He squinted in the sunlight. "Liz and I saw Tess take it from the library."

"It's some kind of strange language," Isabel whispered, turning the pages quickly.

"Why would you keep something like this from us?" I demanded. He wouldn't answer.

It's what you've been looking for. It's waking up -

Isabel jumped. "Oh my God -"


She pointed at the book. "This is - this is me!"

I looked over her shoulder.

Two men, two women. Paired together -

What's wrong, honey?

"It's all of us," I whispered.

"How did they know what we would look like?" She demanded. Her voice was shaking.

Four pods. It's where we were born, Michael -

We weren't born.

We had no parents.

We came out of the pods -

"We were designed," I whispered.


"That's impossible, Michael," Max snapped.

"Whether you want to face it or not, Maxwell, we weren't born, we were engineered." The pods proved that. All four of them -

"Do you understand what you're saying? What that means we are?" He said, his face controlled anger. "I won't believe that."

I didn't answer him. Just because you don't believe something doesn't mean it's not true.

"I think he's right," Isabel whispered. "I mean, we're paired - we're paired just like in the pods." Her voice was shaking. "Max and Tess, me and Michael -"

"No," Max said sharply, starting to pace. "I belong with Liz."

My eyes narrowed. "Not according to this, Maxwell."

"All that stuff Tess was talking about: signals and destiny, that's what this is," Isabel said, turning to me. "You and me and the baby, that what this is."

Max stopped pacing. I closed my eyes.

"The what?"

I took a breath and looked at him. "Isabel thinks she's having a kid," I said, turning away from them, my hands coming up to my face.

It was my picture. My picture next to Isabel's -

You don't wind up with Isabel.

It's up to you -

"Yours?" Max snapped, following me. "Now who's keeping things from who?"

"It's not what you think," Isabel interrupted. "We were never really together. It all happened in those dreams we were having -"

"You can't get pregnant from a dream," Max insisted.

"How do you know?" She demanded, clutching the book. "We don't know how we get pregnant. All I know is that something is happening inside of my body, and we don't know what it is."

He stared at us, not moving. Somebody had to do something -

"I'm going to Tess," I said, taking the book back. "She's the one person who could tell us what the hell is going on -"

"No. You can't just go asking her things," Max said evenly. "We can't trust her any more than we can trust Nasedo."

He's trying to protect you, Michael. All of you -

"They may be the only ones who can help us," I said, staring at him. What did he want to do? Nothing? We couldn't ignore this -

"I'll go," He said, turning to the book. "Look at the pictures. If she is going to talk to anyone, it'll be me."

"I thought you just said we can't trust her," Isabel said.

"Who said anything about trusting her?"

Isabel blinked. "Max, what are you saying?"

"I'm going to get her to tell me what's happening to you," He said, his voice low. "No matter what."


I was in second period when Michael finally contacted me.

{Michael, are you alright?}

{...Yeah. I'm alright, Liz.}

{Where are you?}

{I'm -} He took a breath. {I'm with Max and Isabel.}

Isabel. My heart constricted. {What - what happened?}

He sighed. {Liz, we should talk about it in person -}

I tried to breathe. My knuckles were white on the desk in front of me.

{Liz. It's okay. Nothing's changed -}

I bit down on my lip. I didn't believe that. Something had happened. Otherwise, he would just tell me.

{Liz. Don't freak out. I need you to trust me -}

He sounded desperate. Anxious.

{Liz, just trust me.}

I need you to have faith. In us -

{Tell me you didn't kiss her, Michael.} My voice was a ragged whisper. {Please tell me you didn't -}

He laughed. I think it was a laugh. {No. I didn't kiss anyone, Liz.}

Something was wrong. Something was wrong -

I looked down at my desk. It started to blur.

{I'm sorry.} He was whispering. {Liz, I'm sorry. Nothing's -} He stopped and took a deep breath. {Can I just talk to you at the crashdown?}

I was silent for a second. {I should be there this afternoon, Michael.}

{Okay.} He paused. {Did you - sleep well, last night?}

He hesitated for just a second.

It spoke volumes.

I couldn't remember anything between taking the pill and waking up this morning. You'll open it when you need it -

He'd had another dream. One with Isabel.

{No. I didn't dream at all, Michael.}

{I tried to reach you last night, and I couldn't -}

{I have to go, Michael. I'll talk to you later.}

{- Okay. But Liz - } I severed the connection, my eyes focusing on the desk in front of me. He'd had another dream.

It's not his fault, Liz, he doesn't want her -

Something was different.

Trust me, Liz -

I stared at the papers in front of me, watching the words blur together, the ink bleeding together, blotting out the white lines, forming a dark mass in front of me.


Liz severed the connection fast. I sighed, blinking, my eyes focusing on the desert. Max was driving Isabel and me back to town.

"You alright?" Isabel asked, twisting around in the front passenger seat.

"Yeah," I muttered, rubbing my eyes. "Why?"

She shook her head. "Nothing," She said. "I just thought..."

She didn't finish. I stared at her. "What?"

She blinked, her mouth slightly open. "Nothing," She said, shaking her head and turning around to face the road.

I stared at the back of her head. Max was watching me in the rear view mirror. His eyes flickered back to the road when I stared at him.

I sighed and fell back against the back of the seat, staring at the wasteland around us.


Isabel went with me to the crashdown, and Max went to school to talk to Tess. Is was too upset to be around anyone else.

To tell the truth, she was a nervous wreck.

"What if Max doesn't find anything out," She whispered, biting her nails. "Or what if he does and it's worse than we thought?"

"Let's not go there until we know something."

"Oh god, Michael," She whispered. "I'm so scared -"

I looked over at her. "Isabel. You have Max," I said. "You have me -"

"I don't even know who you are anymore," She whispered.

I swallowed and looked away from her.

"I mean, are you my brother or my mate? I can't forget that dream, can you? You were -"

She was smiling. Happy, with a child, a son -

Our son.

"You were so happy, Michael," She whispered. "I've never seen you that happy."

I stared at the counter. In the dream I was a father. I had a wife. I had a family.

I knew where I belonged.

"Well, I've never been that happy before," I said quietly.

"Is that what you want?" She asked.

I looked up at her.

She was so scared, her eyes pleading, hopeful, terrified -

She's not Liz.

"I don't know," I whispered.

"Well, what -" She paused, waving her hands. "Michael, what's this going to do to everyone else?"

I looked down.

Me being with Maria was one thing, but having a child with Isabel... I didn't think she could stand that. I couldn't blame her -

She could be pregnant -

"Let's not think about that right now," I said, pushing the thought away, drowning it, burying it deep. I turned to look at her.

"I'm not going to let you go through this alone. It's my baby too," I said.

"Maybe -" I looked down, swallowing. "Maybe this is the way things are meant to be. Okay?"

She nodded, looking at me for a second. I pulled her into a hug. Her embrace was light, superficial, and she tried to pull away almost immediately. I wrapped my arms around her tighter and held her until I felt her body start to relax.

I won't screw this up, I thought, I won't.


I was coming down the steps when I saw them in the kitchen. He was holding her, his arms wrapped around her -

We should talk in person -

Nothing's changed, Liz -

I turned and climbed the stairs. It didn't mean anything. It didn't mean anything -

I crumpled up and put my head in my hands.


I relaxed my arms when I was convinced she was alright. She stepped back and smiled a little.


"I -" She shook her head. "Nothing."

I suddenly realized how close I was to her, and stepped back.

"Okay. Well, uhm -" I looked away from her. "Wait out front, alright? I'll bring you some food."

"I don't think I can eat anything," She said, looking away.

"Maybe you should anyway," I said deliberately.

Her eyes flew up to mine. We locked eyes for a few seconds.

She can't risk the baby, I thought, even if it's not what we wanted, we can't risk the baby -

She nodded quietly, tears welling up in her eyes.

"I'll be at the counter," She whispered, moving for the door.

"Isabel -"

She broke into a run, pushing the door open, turning at the counter to go to the restroom.

Damnit. Damnit.

Maxwell, where are you?

I turned to the stove and tried to concentrate on cooking. I had to focus. Liz was going to be here soon.

What was I going to tell her?


I took a few deep breaths and stood up, my hands tight around the railing as I descended the stairs.

Smile. You don't know anything's wrong yet. Just relax -

I moved to my locker when Max came in.

"Liz, let's go," He said quickly, his eyes flickering to the door.

"Max, what - what's going on?"

"I'll tell you later. I'll tell you everything," He said, his eyes pleading.

"But we've got to go. Now."

"Max, I'm -" I glanced at the kitchen, wondering if they were still there. "I'm just about to start my shift, I -"

"It's important," He said.

I looked up at him. He was serious.

"Okay," I said slowly. "Well, I guess- I guess I could leave for just a little while." I looked back at the kitchen. "Let me just go tell Maria -"

He grabbed my arm. "No," He said in a low voice. "Don't. I'm tired of reporting to everybody. It's always been the six of us no matter what we do. This time I want it to be just me and you," He whispered, leaning in to me.

"We need this, Liz."

I stared up at him, trying to erase the image of Michael with Isabel, holding on to her, kissing her in the desert -

I'll tell you everything -

"Okay," I whispered. "Okay."


"What's up with the jeep?"

"Transmission needs some work so they gave me this rental," He said, smiling. He seemed happier now that he knew we were going.

I sat down, pulling the seat belt over my body. Maybe a drive was what I needed to clear my head.

"Where are we going?"

He grinned, turning the key in the ignition.

"It's a surprise," He said.


We were about ten miles out of town before either of us spoke.

"So tell me," I said.

"Tell you what?"

"Tell me everything," I said, confused. "Isn't that what you said you were going to tell me?"

He looked over at me and smiled a little. "I just wanted you to know, Liz, that nobody will ever come between us. Nobody."

I closed my eyes, trying to block out the image of Michael and Isabel, their arms around each other, moving to kiss each other, his hands sliding up her body -

Oh, God. I was so scared, and I missed Michael -

Think, Liz. You can trust Michael. You're bonded with him -

My eyes opened. I looked over with Max.

When you're with someone else, you'll still be able to feel each other's touch -

"Tell me something I don't know," I whispered, leaning over to kiss him. He turned toward me, his lips warm on my mouth, and -

I could feel Michael, his hands gentle and soft on my neck, whispering softly that he loved me, feeling the glow of his hands on my cheek, my fingers, my mouth -

"Well, if you keep that up, I'm going to have to pull over," Max murmured.

I opened my eyes and looked up at him.

"Is that a threat, or is that a promise?" I whispered.

He pulled over, off the road and I pulled myself over to him quickly, almost on top of him, wanting Michael's touch back, feeling the light on my skin, the warmth of his mouth moving over my body, his touch urgent, electric and I love him, I thought, I can't lose him and-

A swirl of blackness.

A lightning strike.

A woman on the ground. A dark-haired woman. She was dead -

I pulled away from him, staring at his eyes. He arched up to kiss me again and I moved back.

"What?" He asked.

I moved back to the passenger seat. "Nothing," I whispered, moving to the far side of the seat.

He shrugged and pulled back onto the road quickly, a smile played at his lips.

I stared at him. Something was wrong. I'd never seen anything like that when I kissed Max before.

I opened up my mind to reach Michael, and -

Nothing. I couldn't reach him.

I stared at Max. He was smiling.

Maybe I was just too far away. Maybe I was just too far -

I tried to kill the scream in my throat.


I dumped the garbage out back. Liz still wasn't here. I'd checked the schedule and she was late for her shift. I just wanted to talk to her, tell her everything, try to figure all this out -

I pursed my lips and started dragging the can back to the kitchen. Maria walked out, her hands on her hips.

"Look, I heard something, and I gotta ask you about it," She said, waving her hands. "And I hope that the answer is some alien thing, 'cause I can't imagine any other explanation that you could give-"

"What are you talking about?" I interrupted.

"The baby, Michael."

I stared at her. How did she - "I can't talk about that."

"Wait. You owe me an explanation, Michael -"

"It's not what you think, Maria."

"Okay, I thought that you and Isabel were brother and sister. I mean, isn't that what you've always said? Now suddenly, you're sleeping together?"

"No, we're not sleeping together."

"Really. Then how is there a baby?" She demanded.

I stared at her. "I don't know."

She almost laughed. "How do you not know?"

"I just don't know," I snapped. "I don't know anything anymore. I mean I don't know what the hell it means; I don't know what I'm feeling -"

"Wait a minute," She said, waving her hands. "Feeling? Now you have feelings for her?"

She's not Liz -

"Maria, this isn't about you or me or our stupid relationship," I snapped.

"This is about Isabel. Something is happening to her, and that's all I care about."

She stared at me, her mouth open. She walked past me quickly, walking into the kitchen, slamming the door behind her.

Damnit. I didn't want to hurt her -

I threw the garbage can to the street and ran my hand over my hair.

Focus, Guerin. One crisis at a time.

I went back into the kitchen, pulling the refrigerator door open to get a glass of milk for Isabel.


I was sitting out front with Isabel when Max finally came in.

"Isabel, you're not pregnant."

She blinked, looking at me, then him.

"Are you sure?" She whispered.

"Tess says the dreams are just to guide us in our destinies," Max said. "She says the constellations have aligned and awakened our biological drives..."

I looked at the counter.

No baby.

No family.

"...It's good news," Max finished, looking at the two of us. "Right?"

Isabel looked at me. "Yeah," She whispered. Her voice didn't match her words.

Maybe I was wrong.

Maybe Isabel felt like she didn't belong, either.

"Really good news," I muttered. "What about this destiny thing? I mean are we still meant to pair up? You and Tess, me and Isabel?"

"That's our choice," Max said, staring at me evenly.

I pursed my lips and shook my head.

"Michael -"

"I saw the book, Max," I said, glancing at Isabel. "I'm not sure we have much to say about it."

"We control our own lives," Max said. "I won't let any book tell me what to do."

Don't let anyone tell you who you are or what you're supposed to be -

They knew, I thought. They knew about this.

"Well at least it's all over for now," Isabel whispered. "Right?"

"Yeah," I said, looking up at a loud noise.

Maria was slamming silverware into a drawer.

"...Umm, I got someone to talk to," I said, getting up from the counter and walking over to her. "Hey. Um - false alarm," I said. "No baby."

"Is Isabel all right?" She asked, slamming another utensil into the drawer.

I stared at her for a second. "Yeah," I said, looking down. "Yeah."

"Thank God," She said. She still hadn't looked at me.

"Listen..." I chewed on my lip for a second. "That thing I said about our relationship being stupid, I - I, uh, didn't mean it."

"Well, then," She said, slamming something else down and looking up at me, "You shouldn't have said it."

Max appeared next to me. "What, so everyone knows?" He asked. "Even Liz?"

"You didn't tell Liz?" Maria asked.

Max frowned and looked at me. "I haven't seen her since this morning."

"What are you talking about? You picked her up an hour ago. I saw you guys leave."

"I didn't pick her up," Max insisted. "I just got here."

"Max, I saw you -"

I looked at Max. Liz wasn't here. She was supposed to be here over an hour ago -

I can't agree with some of the things he's done. Or what he's going to do -

I reached out to Liz.

Nothing. I couldn't find her.

"He's got her," I said. They both looked at me. "Nasedo."


"Michael, that's crazy -"

"Look, he's got her. Let's go."

"Go where? Michael, stop," Maria said, her hands out. "Stop. We have to think about this -"

"What's there to think about?" I demanded. "He's got her. Let's go."

"Wait," Max said. "I can call her cell phone. Wait."


"So, how -" I looked around at the desert. "How long are we going to be gone, anyway?"

"How long do you want to be gone?" He asked, grinning at me.

I shifted in my seat, pushing hair back from my face. "I really shouldn't miss too much more of my shift."

He snorted. "That's the least of our worries."

I stared at him more closely. "Max, did - did Tess do something to you?"

He pulled sharply, veering off the road. Dust swirled around us as he stopped the car and got out, heading for the back of the car.

I could get out, I thought. I could just get out, and -

I looked at the desert. And do what, Liz? Hide behind a cactus?

My cell phone rang suddenly and I almost jumped. I fished it out of my jacket. "Hello?"

"Liz, it's me."

I blinked. It sounded like -

"Who is this?"

"It's me," The voice said. "Max. I don't know who you're with, but we're at the Crashdown."

I looked in the side view mirror. Max was staring at me.

Oh God. Oh my God -

"- Tell us where you are. Liz? Liz -"

He walked over to me, nonchalantly, taking the phone out of my hand and listening for a second before tossing it out on the road.

"Now you know," He grinned.

I looked out at the desert again. I could run. I could -

My eyes fell to a body right next to the car.

A man in a suit - with a silver handprint -

"Oh, my God," I whispered. I was in the car with Nasedo.

He pulled away quickly, leaving skid marks on the road.

I reached out to Michael -

{Oh, no, Liz.}

I looked at Nasedo. He was grinning at me.

{I don't think that's going to work, Miss Parker. Do you?}


"What do you want," I whispered.

"I want them to be safe," He said. "That's all I care about."

I stared at the scenery flying by us. "So why me," I whispered. "Why'd you take me -"

"Several reasons, really," He said, smirking. "The top reason was this way you can talk to Michael."

I stared at him. He knew. He knew about me and Michael -

"Oh, I know a lot, Liz," He said, laughing at me. "But right now, you're going to tell Michael that they're all going to stay in Roswell until you and I come back."

I blinked. "He wouldn't believe me," I whispered, my voice choked in my throat. "They know you have me, he'll come after me. He'd never leave me with you."

His head rolled around to stare at me, his eyes rolling. "He will if he thinks it'll keep you alive," He said evenly.


"Michael's right," Max said, putting down the phone. "I think it's Nasedo."

"Let's go," I snapped. "Maxwell, you drive."

"Michael, wait," Maria said. "How are we gonna find them?"

It was Liz. I could link up with her. I could find her -

{- Michael -}

{Liz. Where are you.}

{Don't come after me, Michael.}

What? {Liz, where are you-}

She was crying. {Michael, don't. Please don't -}

{We're coming after you. Right now. Just tell me -}

A voice slammed into my head, cold, dark, piercing through the communication with Liz, shattering my connection with her.

{Not if you want her to stay alive, you don't.}

My breath caught. What the hell -

{Don't follow us. Don't test me, Michael.}

The connection severed and was gone.


Nothing. {Liz-}

Nothing. It was gone. I couldn't reach her.

Nasedo had her, and if I went after her, he was going to kill her.


"I can't believe this," Maria said. "I can't believe Nasedo has her -"

"We've got to find out where they are," Max said.

"How are we going to do that?" Alex demanded.

"We've got to go to Valenti," Max said.

Not if you want her to stay alive -

"And tell him what?" I said sharply. They all looked at me.

"What, that there's two Maxes?" I asked. "The good one's right here, but please help us catch his evil twin?"

"That's not what he means," Alex started.

"Then what are we going to say?" I demanded.

"I don't care what we say. Liz's life is at stake," Max said.

Don't test me, Michael -

"Valenti is the only one with the resources," Max said. "He could put out and APB, he can contact other towns -"

"If we tell him, he'll know everything," Isabel interrupted.

"I don't care anymore," Max said.

Just take what he says seriously, Michael -

"You can't make this decision by yourself, Max," I said, moving closer to him. "Not this time."

"We all have to agree," Isabel said.

"Since when?" Max snapped. "Weren't you the one who went off with Topolsky by yourself? Liz's life is in danger, and suddenly we've got rules."

I felt the light in my hands. My jaw clenched tight. "No, there's always been rules," I said, trying to keep my voice even. "Tell no one."

If you want her to stay alive-

"You're the one who broke that," I said, glaring at Max. "You're not going to do that again."

"Wait, wait, maybe we don't," Maria interrupted. "Okay, look. As far as Valenti knows, there's only one Max. That's you. So as far as he knows," She said, turning to Max, "you've taken Liz."

I looked at Maria, then Max.

Valenti could put out an APB. Maybe they'd stop Nasedo before he got any further with Liz.

Don't test me, Michael -

He would kill her if he knew. But he'd probably kill her anyway.

So he did kill them. All those people -

"Alright," I said, "I'm in. Let's go."


Chapter Index

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