Waking Up

I couldn't believe we'd found him.

My fingertips slid over the twig in my hands, peeling back the bark, tossing the tiny chips to the curb. I glanced up at the night sky, looming huge over the abandoned industrial complex.

It wasn't FBI or alien hunters in that house.

It was Nasedo. I'd been searching for him for months. And now we'd found him -

That should make me feel better, I thought.

The twig was smooth under my fingertips, stripped bare. I tossed it aside and reached down for another one, a leaf, some pebbles to throw.

Anything to get my mind off this feeling in my gut -


I turned around. Liz closed the warehouse door behind her.

"They're gonna miss you," I said quietly.

She nodded, walking toward me. "I know," She said, looking up at the sky. "Not too many stars out."

I stared at her for a second. "Yeah," I said, pursing my lips and clearing my throat. "It's cloudy." I glanced at her and then down at my jacket.

"Here," I said, slipping it off my shoulders. "It's getting cold -"

"That's okay, Michael," She whispered, looking at the ground. I glanced at her face.

She'd rather freeze than risk Max getting suspicious.

I shrugged my shoulders, both to squash the cold feeling of rejection in my stomach and to slide the jacket around my shoulders again. I shoved my hands in the pockets, my fingers twisting and flipping the rings on my hand.

"How are you doing?" She asked quietly.

I shrugged and twisted my head back toward the warehouse. "Oh, you know, great," I muttered. "We've finally found Nasedo, and everyone's freaking out. Not to mention -"

Not to mention I'd been scared to death when she was in that house and I couldn't reach her. Not to mention I'd sent her in.

Not to mention she called Max.

Why couldn't I communicate with her when she was in there?

"I'm fine, Michael," She said, stepping closer to me. "You know that... right?"

I looked down at her.

"Yeah," I said, not believing it. "I know."

I glanced back at the warehouse. "So what're they doing now?"

She licked her lips. "They're, um -" She cleared her throat. "They're talking about splitting up for a stakeout. Groups of three, you know, following her tomorrow."

I snorted and looked up at the clouds again. Three guesses who the groups would be, and the first two didn't count. The clouds were starting to separate, letting the moonlight filter through.

"I want to tell you why I called Max," She whispered.

I pursed my lips and let my gaze drop from the sky. "You don't have to explain anything to me," I started.

"Michael." She stepped closer to me. "That's nice of you to say, but - I'm sure it must have hurt, when I called him."

I didn't say anything.

"I was just -" She licked her lips and looked down at the ground. "I was just worried, you know? I mean, I - I couldn't reach you." Her voice was almost a whisper.

"And I thought, what if she's doing something to you, manipulating you somehow? I can't - I couldn't bring you into that." Her eyes were on the ground, her arms wrapped around her for warmth.

I waited for her to continue. She didn't.

It was tough to judge her sometimes. You had to watch carefully. She controlled a lot of what she let others see, keeping her own judgement, thinking her all of her options through before she said anything.

She wasn't telling me something.

"What if she wasn't doing anything to me?" I asked quietly.

Her eyes closed. Gotcha, I thought.

She took a breath and raised her head, looking at me evenly.

"If she wasn't doing anything to you, then I didn't want you in danger," She said.

I licked my lips and folded my arms over my chest, staring at her. That wasn't all of it.

Her eyes narrowed slightly as she stared back.

Still nothing. Fine.

"I'm assuming this tell-the-whole-truth thing goes both ways," I said in a low voice.

She kept her gaze even for a second. Then she took a deep breath, looking away from me.

"Alright," She mumbled. "I was afraid you'd come in and do something drastic to get me out, and that the camera'd be found, and..." Her voice trailed off.

"So you called Max," I said. "Because he's the calm one."

"No, Michael, I called Max because I thought he would follow my lead," She said. "And he did."

We stared at each other for a second. I hadn't thought of it that way.

She was looking at me evenly. Not defiant, not anxious, just straightforward. Honest.

I felt my posture relax and heard her exhale softly, relieved.

"I've followed your lead before," I muttered, picking up a pebble from the street.

"That's true," She said. I think she was smiling. "I just thought that this time you might just barrel in, grab me and get out."

"Yeah, well," I snorted, sending one of the pebbles sailing across the complex. "You say that like it was a bad idea."

She didn't reply.

I brought one of my hands up, running it through my hair. The other one rested on my hip. "Alright, so -" I took a deep breath. The cold night air was a shock to my lungs. "So what're you saying, that you want me to be okay when you're in trouble?"

"No, Michael," She whispered. "But if you had charged in there, then we wouldn't know anything. I mean - I'm not comparing you to Max, and I don't want to give you a hard time, but - you know, he -"

"Max doesn't have as much too lose," I said, cutting her off and staring at her.

I must've taken her by surprise. She stared at me, her lips parted slightly.

"I'm not mad," I said quietly. "And yeah, it all worked out okay. But maybe someday you'll be the one worried, Liz."

She blinked twice. She hadn't thought of it that way. Her turn.

"And then," I said quietly, "maybe you'll understand."

"Understand what?" Max said.

Our heads twisted around to the warehouse.

He was standing in the doorway, looking at us.

I fought the instinct to step away from her. Act like you've got nothing to hide -

"Um - understand how, um, dangerous Nasedo is," Liz said quickly.

His eyes flickered over to me briefly and went back to Liz. "I was looking for you," He said softly.

I turned my back and stared up at the sky. My teeth caught the inner flesh of my cheek.

"It's cold," He said, his voice coming closer. "Here, take my jacket."

"I - okay," Liz said. I heard the sound of her arms sliding through the sleeves.

"Maria's asking about you," He said.

"Oh," She said. "I guess I'd better go in, then." There was a pause. "Aren't you guys coming?"

"We'll be there in a sec," Max said.

I rolled my eyes and pursed my lips. Great. Now I had to take heat from him.

"Okay," She said quietly. There was a pause, and then I heard the sound of the door closing.

"So what's up, Maxwell?" I asked, turning to look at him.

"Do me a favor, Michael," He said, looking out over the complex. "Next time you get the urge to do something crazy, do it yourself. Leave Liz out of it."

My eyes narrowed. "She can make up her own mind, Maxwell."

"Does everything have to be an argument with you?" He asked, looking at me. "I'm telling you to leave her out of this. I don't want her getting hurt -"

"Oh, and I do?" I demanded, stepping closer to him. "Is that what you think?"

"I don't think you think at all, Michael," He snapped. "I think you do whatever you want, and you don't care about the consequences."

"Maybe that's because I'm not in complete delusion about who I am. And I'm not paralyzed by consequences," I shot back. "Max, you're alien, alright? Get over it."

"Michael, every time you do something like this, we all have to bail you out," He said. "It's exhausting, but -" He shook his head. "At least leave her out of it, Michael. Liz can't be a casualty in this."

A thousand replies flew through my mind, a dozen barbs hung on my lips.

I didn't say any of them.

"Fine," I said, my voice tense. "Whatever. What's next?"

"I'm serious, Michael -"

"Just for a change of pace," I muttered, looking away from him.


"Nothing. Message received. Liz doesn't get involved. Fine. What's next?"

He stared at me evenly before he told me.

"We're setting up a stakeout. Alex and Isabel stay here, watching the videotape. You and Maria wait for her to leave the house and follow her to school. Liz and I'll take over when she gets there."

I pursed my lips and looked up. Liz and I. No surprises there.

What did you expect, Guerin?

"Fine," I muttered, glancing at him and moving for the door. "Good."

"He's dangerous, Michael," He called after me. I stopped and turned around, my hand on the door.

"He's a killer," Max said. "We don't contact him. Got it?"

"Are you ordering me around, Maxwell?"

He sighed in exasperation and shook his head. "I'm trying to protect everybody, Michael. You, me, Isabel - everyone. We have to know what we're dealing with first -"

Two weeks ago I might have argued with him. Or ignored him.

That was before the connection with Liz was shattered.

"Fine," I interrupted, cutting him off.

He stopped in mid-sentence and looked at me closely. "What?"

"I said fine," I said, shrugging my shoulders. "So we wait."

His eyes narrowed. "Are you feeling alright?"

"Never better, Maxwell," I said, stepping through the doorway. "Let's do this."


It was freezing in the Jetta. We couldn't run the heat because we'd run down the battery, and I was wrestling with the driver's seat.

"You have to jiggle it a little," Maria said from the passenger seat. I looked over at her. "Watch."

Her hand slipped between the seat and her door and her forearm tugged on the lever once, sharply, up and a little to the left. She leaned back and reclined all the way back. "See?" She said, a slow smile spreading across her face. She raised her arms over her head. "Easy."

I rolled my eyes and grabbed the lever, yanking hard. Nothing. I jerked again, pushing all my weight against the seat. It slammed down all at once.


"You don't have to break it," Maria said.

I ignored her and glanced over at the house. I could barely see it through the side window.

It was dark. No movement. I felt Maria's arm wrap across my chest and her head rested on my shoulder. "You alright?" She asked.

"Yeah," I mumbled, staring at the house, my arm coming up to rest on her shoulders. "I'm great."

I missed Liz.

We'd decided against linking up tonight. She was worried that Nasedo might be able to sense the connection between the two of us and would come out to investigate, finding me and Maria in the car.

I couldn't argue with that. She was probably right. We'd just been linked up so much since I'd come back to Roswell -

God, Guerin, it's just one night. Relax.

Maria's breathing was even. I looked down at her. She was out.

I reached up and stroked her hair. She was exhausted. No wonder, I thought. It was her best friend in danger. She was probably worried sick when Liz was in there -

I looked back at the house. Nothing suspicious. Looked like every other house on the drive.

I was dreaming a few minutes later.


I was in the desert, walking among the symbols. The ones I'd seen when they'd taken me to Riverdog. I reached down to touch one of them, wishing my touch would help me to understand what my mind couldn't comprehend.

I should be able to read them, I thought, frustrated and confused. Why can't I -

"Michael," Liz whispered.

I stood up and looked behind me. She was standing just outside the symbols, wearing a dark blue dress, her hair loose and spilling over her shoulders. Her right hand floated up, reaching out to me. I closed my eyes and when I opened them again she was in front of me.

The symbols were gone. It was just the two of us. Her eyes were downcast, a smile playing across her lips.

"You're beautiful," I whispered. It always took me by surprise.

The memories didn't do her justice.

She smiled before she looked up at me. "I love you," She whispered, rising up on tiptoe to kiss me, her hands sliding up my arms and over my shoulders, snaking through my hair, soft lips on mine, sweet, slow, soft and then her lips parted and I almost moaned she tasted so sweet, so soft, so good, my fingers tangling up in her long hair, the cool silk drifting over and under and through my fingertips and I can't lose her, I thought fiercely, pulling away from her to tell her that, feeling her breath warm on my lips, reluctant to let me go but I wanted to tell her and I opened my eyes -

Brown eyes looked up at me.

Eyes the wrong color.

I leaned back. Isabel stared up at me.

What the hell -

"Michael," She whispered, leaning in to kiss me again, "It's time to wake up."


My body jackknifed up. "Wake up, Michael -"

I opened my eyes. Maria was staring at me.

"What," I said, my tongue thick in my mouth. "What did you -" "You were having a nightmare," She said, her eyes worried. "Are you alright?"

I looked over at the house. It was still dark. No change.

I'd dreamt of Isabel. Isabel. That was crazy. We'd never - she was like my sister -

"Are you okay?" Maria asked behind me.

I licked my lips. "Yeah, I'm - I'm fine," I said. "Go back to sleep."

"You want to talk about it?"

I bit down on my lip. "No, it's - nothing," I said quickly, turning to look at her. "It's just a dream."

"You're sure."

"It's just a dream," I muttered, lying back down, my face turned toward the house. "It doesn't mean anything."

I said it until I fell asleep and dreamt only of Liz, the two of us in her room, in my apartment, driving out to the desert, out of Roswell, out of New Mexico. It was the first thing I thought when I woke up, the first thing I thought when Liz stopped me in the hallway at school the next day, after Tess had confronted her about all of us following her, after Max gave us the usual 'lie low, trust no one' game plan. The plan that was no plan.

"Michael," She asked, a little breathless. "Is everything alright?"

"Yeah," I said. "Why?"

"Well - I don't know," She said quickly. "I just - I thought -"

I stared at her. We had to be more careful. Max could be looking for her -

"Never mind," She whispered. "It's nothing. I missed you."

{Liz. We have to be more careful -}

{I know.} She smiled, a little self-conscious. {I just wanted to say it.}

I tried to smile back.

"I better go," She said, her eyes slipping down. I nodded and watched her walk away.

It was just a dream. It didn't mean anything.

I said it until I almost believed it.


Chapter Index

Main Authors Offsite Recs
DC Slash Harry Potter Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other