Title: Time After Time
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Author's note: This is the sequel to This Brilliant Dance, and it helps if you've read the other story first. However, if you haven't, I've summarized the main points of the story below. It might be worthwhile to read over the summary even if you have readThis Brilliant Dance, just to refresh your memory.
Summary of This Brilliant Dance
The crash happened in 1947. Nasedo was thrown from the ship and captured immediately by Agent Pierce Sr. of the FBI. He stayed in the white room for almost forty years. The skins, who followed the ship to Earth, were interested in finding and acquiring the Granolith before it could fall into the hands of the Royal Four, so they searched for any signs of alien life.
Atherton, a conspiracy theorist nut, found one of the signaling orbs from the ship that had crashed. It projected images of the Four Square (the four ovals with spirals inside them connected by the x), so Atherton concluded that it was a sign of alien life, and wrote a book about it. The skins killed him and tried to hide the orb so that the Royal Four would not find it.
The skins then returned to New Mexico, where they met Riverdog and demanded answers from him. He couldn't help them because he didn't know anything about the Granolith, but before they left they drew symbols on the wall of his cave. After they left, the skins killed several FBI agents who were hunting them, including Agent Pierce Sr. His son, Agent Donald Pierce, began a vendetta against aliens in response to his father's murder.
Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess all hatched at relatively the same time. Max and Isabel were adopted by the Evans, and Michael ended up in foster care with Hank. Tess somehow made it into an adoption agency in Los Angeles, where she was adopted by Andrew and Jessica Harding. The skins found Tess in Los Angeles about a year after she was adopted, and killed both the Hardings in a 'car accident.' Tess was taken in by Jim Valenti, who was a friend of Andrew Harding's. A year later, Tess accidentally used her mind-warp abilities to 'convince' Valenti to adopt her.
And everything stayed relatively normal for the four of them for the next several years. During that time, Tess started hanging out with Kyle and the popular group, leaving the other three hybrids by themselves. Max continued to silently obsess over Liz, and Isabel expressed some secret interest in Alex, while Michael dealt mostly with problems concerning Hank. Mr. and Mrs. Evans took an active role in Michael's life as well, inviting him over as much as possible so that he did not need to rely on Hank as often.
Then Liz gets shot (which is where my story begins), and Max heals her. She eventually tells Alex and Maria, and they join in the attempts to keep the secret safe. Jim Valenti begins investigating the shooting, and Tess does her best to lead him astray, finally mind-warping him. Liz is forced to lie to Kyle, whom she is dating at the time, and Kyle believes that she cheated on him, and is understandably upset. After Kyle and Liz break up, Liz and Max start dating, and Liz receives flashes of Max's previous life.
Just as things are about to calm down again, Nasedo breaks out of the white room. Amy DeLuca is in a car crash that puts her into a coma, and it is revealed to Maria that her parents never divorced. Jim, who is secretly dating Amy, is angry about this, but still calls Maria's father and asks him to come to Roswell. Nasedo learns of this, kills the real Sean Everett (Maria's father), and impersonates him to get close to Maria and the aliens. It is then discovered that Sean is not Maria's real father, but pretended to be her father to hide the fact that Amy was raped.
Michael starts getting visions of Atherton's home, and he eventually goes to investigate, dragging Maria along with him. Max and Tess follow, and Max is drawn to the orb hidden in the home. They take it back to Roswell.
Agent Topolski comes to the high school as a guidance counselor. She defects sometime later, and disappears. Brody Davis and his daughter Sydney come to town, and Max starts working for him. At the same time, Hank discovers Michael's gifts, and when they get into a fight, Michael accidentally severely injures him. Although Max and Tess save Hank's life, Nasedo kills him to keep him from revealing the aliens' secret. Michael sues for emancipation with help from Mr. Evans.
Nasedo also kills the doctor that helped save Amy, prompting one of the doctor's friends, a reporter, to investigate. He kills the reporter, something that Michael and Maria discover.
In the middle of all this, Maria and Michael start dating, as do Alex and Isabel. But Isabel starts hanging out more and more with Tess and her friends, who don't think Alex is a good enough boyfriend for herm causing some tension. Kyle starts dating Trudy McIntire, and Tess starts dating a jock named Chris.
Pierce contacts Valenti and tries to get him interested in the investigation again, so the Sheriff breaks out of Tess' mind-warp. Although Valenti is interested, he refuses to work with Pierce. The group debates telling him the truth, but decides they still can't trust him.
During the annual father-child camping trip, Michael goes to investigate an alien sign he saw in the woods, and Max and Maria chase after him. In the process, Maria gets kidnapped by Agent Topolski, who confides in her about Pierce and the Special Unit. Pierce shows up and kills Agent Topolski, but Michael saves Maria, and they meet Riverdog. While Michael is talking to Riverdog, Max is contacted by Nasedo, who informs him that their enemies are drawing near.
Isabel gets very sick, and the group is forced to ask Nasedo for help. He helps her, gaining some of their trust. But then Isabel realizes that he is impersonating Sean, who he had murdered, and Maria is heartbroken. No one wants to trust Nasedo, but when Max fails in his attempt to heal Sydney Davis' cancer, he turns to the shape-shifter for answers. The shape-shifter tells them all who they are and explains about past lives. He also gives them the Destiny Book and the matching orb, and they are able to receive the message from Max and Isabel's mother.
Sean then kidnaps Maria and takes her to a carnival. He modifies her memory so that she thinks she was kidnapped by the FBI, who have followed him there. Michael discovers that she is missing and rallies the others, and they rush to her rescue. Valenti follows them, and realizes that Tess is involved in this conspiracy.
At the carnival, they rescue Maria, but when Valenti is put in danger, Tess risks her own life to save him. He escapes, but the FBI catches Tess and puts her in the white room.
When Valenti demands answers from Max, he refuses to tell the Sheriff anything. Valenti leaves, and Max goes to Nasedo for help because Maria does not remember that it was really him who kidnapped her. He leads the rescue mission, and they save Tess and recover an alien device that is part of the Granolith. Valenti, who forces answers from Liz, shows up in time to help them escape from the base. Nasedo blows up the base as the others flee. But Pierce follows them back to Roswell, interrogates Kyle, and attacks the others. Max is forced to kill him to save their own lives.
Tess tells Valenti the entire truth, but then convinces Kyle to let her mind-warp him into forgetting everything he knows. Max, withdrawn because he killed someone, breaks up with Liz. Michael, with Nasedo's help, engineers a plan to destroy the Special Unit by discrediting Pierce. Nasedo tells the hybrid General that he must lead the group until Max can deal with what happened and move forward. Maria and Michael break up so that Michael can focus on his new duties, but he tells her that he loves her. Isabel breaks up with Alex so that she can focus on helping Max and Tess deal with the repercussions of everything.
Max, in the pod chamber, discovers the Granolith and calls for the other three aliens. They place the alien device from the white room on the Granolith, unknowingly activating a homing beacon, and the story ends with the skins discovering the location of the Granolith.
Chapter One: Three Months Later
My name is Liz Parker, and three months ago, my life fell apart. This isn't just the melodramatic angst of a self-centered teenager… this is real. Tess has reverted back to her Ice Queen ways, and she's giving everyone, even Isabel, the cold shoulder. Maria and Michael broke up while Michael tries to figure out how to take over for Max, and it's left Maria heartbroken. Alex and Isabel dance around each other, never getting to close but so obviously attracted to the other that it is a wonder they haven't just hooked up yet. And Max…
The psychologist leaned back in his seat and stared at Max thoughtfully, his chin resting on the tips of his interlocked fingers. His wavy brown hair and soft green eyes gave him a sort of comforting and welcoming appearance, as though he would be willing to listen to anyone's problems for as long as they needed, and not pass too harsh of a judgment.
But Max Evans was not looking for a confidant.
"Max, your parents are concerned about you," he said finally, sitting up fully. "They're worried that something has happened, something that has forced you into this cocoon of negative thoughts and demeanors."
"I'm fine," Max answered quickly, sharply. He folded his arms over his chest defiantly, but then dropped them suddenly into his lap and glanced in the direction of the window. "Nothing I can't handle. Just, you know… normal teenage stuff."
"Would you like to share any of it with me?" the psychologist prompted.
Max shook his head woodenly. "No, I'm fine. It's fine." He rose in his chair. "I think this has been a waste of your time… I'm sorry. I didn't want to come, I only agreed to make my parents happy. I… I should go." He glanced almost diffidently at the door, still a little unsure.
"Max, please, let me help," the psychologist replied, rising to his feet as well. "I want to help." Max stared blankly back, and he pressed on, "School starts again in a few days. Do you really want to begin your junior year with these burdens hanging over you, unresolved?"
Max refrained from rolling his eyes with some difficulty. It would be a long time before these issues could be resolved. It was necessary, he had no other choice, it was to save all their lives. But Pierce's death still weighed heavily upon him, and he wondered, over and over, if there hadn't been a better way to fight the FBI, a way that didn't end with Pierce's death.
"It is really nothing," Max said with finality. "I'm sorry for wasting your time."
When he had left the room, the psychologist sank back into his chair and sighed. Running a hand through his hair, he silently tried to detangle the bits and pieces he had picked up during the brief session. Maxwell Evans was hiding something, something that was currently eating away at his very soul. It could be something small, like an unrequited crush, or something huge, like a repressed murder.
As a psychologist, he ethically could not discuss his patients with anyone, which meant that he would not be able to interview any of Max's friends, teachers, or acquaintances. But he couldn't shake the feeling that whatever Max was hiding, sooner or later, it would destroy him.
His thoughts were interrupted by the opening of the door, and a young woman stepped into the room. She had pale skin and straight blonde hair and a friendly smile. But he didn't have any appointments scheduled for this time.
"Can I help you?"
The blonde's smile grew, her arms folded across her chest as she walked forward. "I certainly hope so," she said politely. "I understand that you are treating Max Evans?"
"Due to privacy laws, I can neither confirm nor deny that comment, Ms…. Uh, I don't believe I caught your name?"
The woman's smile turned into a frown, and she reached forward and placed her hand on the side of his head. He felt a strange heat seeping from her fingers, and then several images flashed through his mind, followed by a flurry of emotions and impressions.
He pushed away from her and jumped to his feet, knocking his chair over in his haste. "What did you do to me?" he demanded harshly, taking two steps backwards.
The woman walked around the desk towards him, her expression placid and blank. She stopped right in front of him, and pressed her fingertips to the side of his throat. His eyes rolled up into the back of his head, and he collapsed forward to his knees.
The woman righted the chair and struggled to move the psychologist back to his seat. She arranged his arms so that they were crossed over the desk, and rested his head forward as though he had just been taking a short nap.
"I apologize for the headache you will undoubtedly feel when you wake," she said sarcastically, "but then, you won't actually remember any of my visit, anyway."
She left the room, shutting the door behind her. Reaching into her pocket, she withdrew a thin cell phone. Glancing left and right to make sure she was alone, she quickly dialed a number.
It was answered on the third ring.
"The psychologist had some interesting ideas about Maxwell Evans," the woman said softly, her eyes lighting up with triumph.
"Is he, or isn't he?" the voice snapped, irritated.
"Oh, he most certainly is." The woman hesitated, then added with smooth sarcasm, "Our beloved king."
There was a pause, then the voice said, "Good work, Courtney."
Liz watched as Maria began to refill the ketchup bottles and cleared the last of the plates into the sink. The brunette was sitting on a bar stool that she had dragged into the back room, and she was playing nervously with a few strands of hair. Occasionally, Maria would paused and give her a long look, but Liz always quickly averted her eyes, not wanting to meet Maria's probing stare.
Finally, Maria threw her hands up in the air and said in exasperation, "You know, Lizzie, you're supposed to be working tonight, too. You could lend a hand with the cleanup."
Liz flushed and slid off the stool. "Sorry," she said quickly. "Here, let me finish loading the dishwashers." She took the stack of plates that Maria was holding and scurried over to the dishwasher.
"So, where was that head of yours?" Maria asked knowingly as she wiped down the grimy stovetop and the counter around the grill. "With a certain soulful king?"
Liz gave Maria a sharp look. "I don't want to talk about it," she said firmly.
Maria rolled her eyes. "Right," she drawled, clearly not believing Liz. "So, how many times have you called him today?"
"I didn't call him," Liz retorted. "I'm not the needy type." Giving Maria a playful glare, she added softly, "I don't call my ex-boyfriend five times a day."
Maria raised an eyebrow questioningly, "Do you have something you want to say, chica?" she asked with a mock glare.
Liz shrugged. "I just… I just wish I could somehow make this easier for them…for him. I wish I could help, you know?"
"Look," Maria said finally, "he's going to come to his senses eventually and want you back. You don't want to call him all the time. Hold off. Be aloof. Let him come to you. Make him beg."
Liz tilted her head to the side and asked pointedly, "And this is coming from the girl who left five messages for Michael today?"
"So?" Maria asked. "What's your point?"
Before Liz had a chance to answer, the door was flung open and Isabel stalked into the room, nearly shaking with rage. "I am going to kill her," the statuesque teen snarled, eyes narrowed into thin slits. "I am going to strangle Tess and bury her body deep in the desert where no one will ever find her!"
"Not that I don't fully applaud that idea," Maria said quickly, "but do you think maybe she might be a bit difficult to kill? I mean… she is powerful."
Isabel flopped down on the stool that Liz had been sitting on previously and pouted. "I suppose," she admitted. "But still, she's been completely unbearable."
"Izzy, she's been unbearable for the past three months," Maria retorted. "Why are you still friends with her?"
"She's my family," Isabel answered with a grimace. "I'm trying to be… understanding."
Maria rolled her eyes and then said suddenly as another thought occurred to her, "How did you get in here? The diner's closed for the night, I already locked the front door."
Isabel gave Maria a slight smirk and lifted one eyebrow as though to ask if she really needed that question answered. Maria frowned, a little disturbed by the Isabel's use of her gifts, but didn't press the issue. Instead, she turned back to Liz and handed her another stack of dirty dishes.
"Is that the last one?" Liz asked, shifting the plates from one arm to the other. "Because I don't think there's much more room in the dishwasher."
"Yeah, that's it," Maria replied. "I'm going to make sure everything's finished in the diner." And she walked out of the back room, leaving Liz and Isabel alone.
"So," Liz said softly, "how's Max?"
Isabel's expression immediately became much more sympathetic. She gave Liz a gentle look, the type a teacher might bestow on a young student when she informs them that there are no more blue crayons left in the box. "Give him some space, Liz."
"And let him self-destruct?" Liz asked pointedly. "It's been three months, and he's still…" She gestured helplessly, trying to convey her frustration. "I just want to… be there for him."
"There is a difference between being there for someone and crowding them," Isabel replied pointedly. "You can't always help him with everything."
"So you aren't worried about him?" Liz shot back, her tone daring Isabel to deny the truth. "You don't wish you could someone help him? You're just willing to let this continue?"
Isabel was silent for a moment, thinking. Then she said regretfully, "He's my brother. I love him, and I… I want to help. But I've never killed anyone before, and I don't know what he is going through, so it isn't like I can give him advice on how to cope."
Liz closed the dishwasher and turned it on, then yanked the antenna headband off of her head and tossed it on the counter. She pulled her dark hair into a ponytail and watched Isabel silently for a moment. Finally, she asked, "How are your parents?"
Isabel wrinkled her nose. "Still concerned as ever, although more focused on Max than on me. They made him talk to a therapist, but," she gave a bittersweet smile, "it isn't like he can say, 'well, I'm having some trouble because I'm the reincarnation of an alien king and I had to kill one of our enemies to protect myself and my family.' He can't confide in anyone who doesn't already know."
Liz lapsed into silence as Isabel ran a hand through her hair and stared blankly into space, both contemplating the complicated lives they were leading.
Alex frowned intently at the screen as he scrolled through the website. Michael stood behind him, studying every detail of the site, his eyes practically glued to the screen. Finally, Alex gave up and released the mouse, letting the curser slide across the screen, and turning his attention to the tall alien looming over him.
"Nothing yet, Michael."
Michael began to pace back and forth across the floor, his footsteps loud and angry. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and spun around to face Alex. "There has to be something."
"Well, there isn't," Alex answered calmly. He stood, pushing the chair away from him. "We just need to wait. It is going to take some time."
"Yeah, well, we've been waiting," Michael retorted. He nodded to the computer. "How long can you stay in?"
Alex shook his head, "I'm getting out now," he answered, already turning around and placing his hands on the keyboard. "There's nothing here, and I…"
"No, just wait. There might be something," Michael instructed, his words short and curt.
"Michael, I hacked into a very well protected site," Alex retorted reasonably. "I can't just stay there. They'll know."
"Just wait," Michael ordered coldly. "Nasedo said it would be soon."
"I'm not waiting," Alex answered, refusing to back down. "I'm not taking the chance of having the FBI on my tail." He clicked his fingers over the keys, and the website began to close, shutting down piece by piece.
"No!" Michael spat. "I said wait." The light on the table next to Alex exploded, sending shards of porcelain and glass flying through the air and falling on the carpeted floor. Alex jumped away from the computer, wide eyes turning to Michael in shock and incredulity.
"What was that?" Alex asked.
Michael waved his hand at the lamp, causing the pieces to reform into the lamp and meld together. He carefully lifted it from the floor and replaced it on the table next to the bed. Taking a deep breath, he turned to Alex and said, "We need to know."
Alex gave Michael a nervous look. "I know," he answered, hesitantly returning to the computer and quickly logging off of his account. He turned off the power and looked back at Michael. "I know."
Michael gave Alex a long, hard look, then stormed out of the room.
Alex sank wearily onto his bed, resting his head in his hands. Nasedo, disguised as Pierce, had initiated a shut-down of the Special Unit by convincing most of the Senate and the rest of the FBI that he was paranoid and delusional. He had secured access to one of the FBI websites that tracked the status of various programs, and had supplied Alex with the necessary information to keep a watch on the proceedings. Unfortunately, the site's security measures allowed the FBI to track who was on it for an extended period of time, so Alex could only check for updates for a few minutes at a time.
It was a safety precaution that Michael did not appreciate, especially now that they were so close to succeeding in the endeavor. Today was the day, Nasedo had said, that the Senate would permanently shut down the Special Unit, and Michael was impatiently waiting the end of all their hard work. The taciturn hybrid had grown more and more short-tempered over the summer as the pressures of leadership began to wear on his already exhausted psyche.
Alex rubbed his eyes and wondered how much longer he would have to endure Michael's erratic and uncontrollable mood swings.
Amy DeLuca opened the door and stepped aside, letting Jim Valenti into her home. Maria was still at the Crashdown, so they had the place to themselves, and it was time they had a very long overdue talk. Amy's divorce papers had finally gone through, which had only made Jim more concerned. The real Sean Everett was dead, so how could he have signed the divorce papers?
"I'm glad you could come over today," Amy said, gesturing for Jim to take a seat on the sofa in the living room. "I know you've been busy lately."
"Yes, well… I keep losing deputies," Jim replied, referring to the murder of Deputy Hannigan earlier in the previous year and then the sudden departure of deputy Fisher… who had really been Agent Pierce. "It takes a while to get a sheriff's office running smoothly again after losing such integral members."
"I'm sure," Amy agreed with a smile. "And how are Kyle and Tess?"
"They're fine," Jim said, thinking briefly about each of them. Thanks to Tess' mind-warp, Kyle had no idea that anything strange was happening in their family, and it galled Jim to have to lie to his son every day. Just the knowledge of what he was doing had put a strain of his relationship with both his children, particularly Tess. He barely said more than two words to her at a time anymore, and she kept her distance.
"That's good," Amy muttered.
"And how is Maria?"
"Doing well," Amy replied, pleased at any opportunity to talk about her daughter. "She's still working at the Crashdown, of course, and will be busy with classes when school starts up again soon." Her expression dropped slightly, and she added, "Although she and Michael are having some problems, and it's bothering her. Even if she doesn't say it, I can tell. Mother's intuition and all that." She tapped her forehead knowingly. "And, likewise, Sean's appearance and departure have had a lasting impression…"
Knowing that Amy would be liable to continue talking about her daughter endlessly, Jim took that opportunity to switch the topic of conversation to one that interested him a little more. "So you and Sean are truly divorced now?"
"Yes," Amy said slowly, "and I have full custody of Maria. He didn't even fight me on that one." Even thought Maria wasn't technically his daughter, because he and Amy had been married when Maria was born, he could have claimed de-facto paternal status. But since he hadn't seen Maria in all those years, she knew it would have been a difficult case for him to win. Either way, she was simply glad that the divorce had not turned ugly in anyway, and she didn't need to take him to court.
"Are you glad that it is over?" Jim asked delicately, unsure how else to broach the subject.
Amy stared at him, then sighed and said, "I should have told you before. I never should have gotten that serious with you without telling you about Sean, that I was still married to him. I am sorry."
"You don't owe me an explanation, Amy," Jim said, although, of course, he thought quite differently about the subject. They had been dating for a long time, and she should have told him the truth, even though he knew it was painful for her.
"But I do," Amy insisted. She frowned slightly, regarding Jim with a confused look. "And I don't understand why you don't feel that way as well."
"I am trying to be understanding of everything," Jim protested. "I just want… I want you to be happy."
Amy rolled her eyes and said pointedly, "You want us to be happy. Do you really think pretending this isn't important will make it unimportant?" She had tried, on more than one occasion, to start this particular conversation with Jim. But for the past three months, he had seemed uninterested in her reasons, and kept talking about putting the past behind them and moving forward.
And Jim knew how difficult it was for her to grasp the fact that his reticence to discuss this had nothing to do with their relationship. After all, it wasn't as though he could tell her that he didn't want to talk to her about Sean because he knew so much more than she ever would, and every time he saw her he lied to her face while Maria put herself in danger over and over. She wasn't the only one who wasn't completely truthful. Would she ever forgive him if she knew the secrets he was keeping?
"If Mr. Everett simply gave you the divorce without any squabbles, than I don't see how this is such a big problem for us," Jim reasoned. "It is over, and I respect your decision not to tell me about it in the past because of how painful it was for you." He, of course, had heard from her own lips about the truth to Maria's conception and the way in which her relationship with Sean had ended.
Amy snorted. "He gave in without question. Emailed me to say that it was all over and he was going to move on and not look back. I guess he thought it was time to cut his losses."
"That seems abrupt. He was so much kinder when he came last year," Jim remarked casually. "Did you speak to him in person?"
"No. I spoke on the phone once, when he called me. After that, he changed his number, emailed me to say it was over, and even switched apartments. I guess he really jus wanted to let the past be forgotten."
Jim nodded absently. Was this mysterious shape-shifter still playing the role of Sean Everett, tying up loose ends? Had Max or Michael asked him to do that? Or was someone else, human or otherwise, intervening to make sure the truth stayed buried?
"I am sorry that it ended so quickly," he said finally. "It doesn't sound like you had any real closure."
"That part of my life got its closure sixteen years ago," Amy said softly, "but I just never admitted it. I loved Sean at the time, and perhaps part of me loves him still. But it is over, and I am ready to move forward."
"With me?" Jim asked, lips quirking into a smile.
"We'd have to make a fresh start," Amy explained, "because I don't want any of this hanging over me. And I do owe you an explanation, whether you will admit that or not."
"How about this," Jims suggested, "you buy me a dinner instead, and we will call it even."
Amy laughed. "Deal," she agreed, but part of her wondered why Jim didn't care at all about her lies or the life she had lead prior to Maria's birth. He didn't even seem that upset by any of it, and had the situation been reversed, she knew she would have been livid.
Jim, for his part, had learned that the truth is not always pleasant and never particularly easy to accept, and he no longer felt a burning desire to have answers to all his questions. All he really wanted now was to find a way to live with the answers he already had.
Next Chapter: The Senate Speaks
Due: Sun 1/13