Author's Notes: I had to tape this episode and fast-forward through most
of the icky parts. Still, there were a few scenes that blipped on my psychological
radar. I didn't want to write a paper, so I wrote these teeny tags instead. It's
in my usual vignette style. Spoiler warnings for "Baby, It's You" and references
made to "Cry Your Name."

"Duties Beyond Needs"

It had taken him a moment to remember where he was. The concrete was rough against
his bare skin, and he shifted irritably against the grit. Suddenly, the girl next to him
shifted and her hair brushed against his skin. He remembered then and he wished that
he didn't. Everytime he had pictured this moment, it had been incredibly different.
Different place, different setting, and definitely a different girl. His life had
completely changed from the way he had wanted it.

The point had only been underscored when he sat on the park bench and listened
to Tess tell him that she was pregnant. It hadn't sunk in at first, and then hit
him like a ton of bricks, square on his chest. He couldn't breathe, his throat
tightening nearly to the point of close. Too fast, it was all too fast. It
had only been this morning he had woken up besides this woman, and now she was
telling him that he had created a child.

When he had strode through the door, had found the two of them standing there
together, something inside of him had snapped. The sight of his past and future
standing there united, it was just too much for him. He'd been cruel and vicious,
causing Liz to run from him. Liz had been running from him a lot lately. In his
more lucid moments, he thought about he'd always pictured Liz in his arms and
Tess avoiding them.

This thing with Tess was so new, it was hard for him to grasp. Added to
the pressures he was facing with Isabel, everything was practically unbearable.
His insides were a swirling mass of confusion and he no longer knew how he
was supposed to feel or what he was supposed to do. It was too different, too
much, too fast. But it was also his life. He had to survive. For Tess, for
Michael & Isabel, for a whole race of people he didn't he even know. He
had to survive. It was the only way. No matter what he wanted.

"Needs Beyond Duties"

Lying to Max had been something he had perfected over the years. Back
when Hank was still beating up on him, he had often attributed a nasty bruise
to a fall or a collision. He was very good at spinning a lie. However, Max
was just as good at realizing when he was lying. Just because he could do it
didn't mean he was believed. But he kept lying.

This time he was lying because he needed to know the truth. He needed
to know if they had anything to do with Alex's death. He could still remember
looking up at Alex, after a well-placed, surprisingly strong punch from the
wiry boy sent him flying to the dingy carpet. He was sure that the manual for
being a good soldier said that you weren't supposed to lie to your King, but he
had to know.

He let his girlfriend and her best friend travel to Santa Fe, by themselves,
his only comfort the promise Maria made to him. And because Maria was his girlfriend,
he knew exactly how much that promise was worth and hightailed it to Santa Fe as
soon as he could. At one point, he was ready to drag them both home. Yet Liz
had looked up at him with unexpected fire in her eyes, and he knew that she
also needed the truth.

A second's hesitation on his part would have resulted in Liz being toasted
into ashes. Reflexes he barely knew he had kicked in to save Liz's life. A pure
shot of relief had coursed through his veins as he stared into Liz's eyes. Before
he would have been afraid because Max would have killed him if he let anything
happen to Liz. Now, he did it because he needed to. Because she was his friend
and he couldn't stand to lose another person.

Roaring down the street, his legs clasped tightly against the bike, he
was highly conscious of the stack of paper tucked inside his jacket. All the
answers he ever needed, they were in his possession. He had done what he had to,
in order to get what he needed. He needed the truth. About himself, about their
race, about their mission and about Alex's death. He had needed the truth and
now he was one step away from finding out about it all.


It was one of his more sicker impulses as he laid there, that made him keep
watching them kiss. He had been waiting up for her, wondering where she was.
Seeing the two of them make out like that, observing the way Max's hands wound
through her hair, it did something to him. Maybe he did only view Tess as a sister,
but he had tasted those lips, knew how silky those curls were. He had been debating
on whether to keep torturing himself or to risk embarassment by telling them he was awake.
Luckily, his father made the decision for him.

Later, he had saw Isabel sitting isolated on the bleachers, and had picked
up an extra coffee from the cafeteria for her. Isabel was alone a lot lately, her
usual group of followers nowhere to be seen. He climbed up the metal steps and
sat down besides her, following her gaze to the weatherworn picture of Alex. From
this one incident, a friendship of sorts had formed between them, a relationship
solely devoted to driving Max Evans insane. Max had saved his life and in return,
had taken everything else away. For Isabel, Max was robbing her of her future.

He'd told Isabel that his motivation was the desire to see a Playmate scantily
clad, up close and personal. The truth was that he needed to make Max pay. He needed
to cause Max pain. As petty and vindictive as it was, he couldn't continue watching
Max prance around as King of the Galaxy, when he was hurting so many other people.
Liz walked around these days like a woman possessed and Maria's fire was noticably
dimmed. Isabel was miserable and Michael was trapped between the human woman he loved
and his people. He was just waiting to see what torment the alien boy would inflict
on Tess.

These people were his friends and he had a duty to them. He had a duty to
keep them safe and he needed to see them happy. He knew that only a year ago, they
were the farthest thing from his mind. But his life had changed, and he was smart
enough to realize that he had to change with it. They were all broken inside now,
thanks to Max Evans, and he knew that he had to be the strong one. It went
beyond duty and need. It was simply the right thing to do.