A/N: This is my first Roswell story. I just recently watched the show online in its entirety (or, at least, what is available, for there are a few missing episodes), and, once I finished, I was struck by how little sense the whole Tess debacle made. Someone should have realized the holes to her story, and I hated the fact that Max and Isabel's mother agreed with it. So, taking my objections, I wrote a little one shot where Maria recognizes that things with the fourth alien don't add up the way they're supposed to, long before Tess has enough time to do any real damage. Let's just say that this is my attempt to right some wrongs and to retell the final episode of season one. Thanks and enjoy! ~Charlynn~
Marple, Maria Marple
A One Shot
Czechoslovakians were weird. It was a commonly accepted and known fact… amongst those who knew what Czechoslovakians were. But Tess… Well, she was more than just weird. There was something about the girl that bothered Maria, and it was more than just the fact that she was sprouting off about the aliens' destiny and trying to come between both she and Michael and Max and Liz.
Frankly, the girl pissed her off.
Typically, she was a laid back sixteen year old. She went to school, she went to work, she made out with her not-so-human, alien boyfriend, just like any other normal teenager. Sure, there were the occasional patches of danger, but they did live in Roswell, and she did hang out with extraterrestrials. Wasn't a little risk to be expected? And, yes, Michael could annoy more than what was commonly accepted as healthy, but Maria was convinced that was all just a part of some crazy, kind of hot alien mating ritual. However, it was different – the annoyance she felt towards her boyfriend and the sheer animosity that the newly arrived Czechoslovakian inspired within her. What she felt towards Tess was deeper, harsher, not put upon, and there was something about the blonde that set her radar off. Something wasn't right about her.
Sitting off with Alex, separated by both distance and DNA from Isabel and Tess, the diner waitress observed the girl who bothered her so much. If she could just put her finger on what it was that made the other alien so… well, alien, then she knew that she would be figuring out a pretty significant piece to the whole crazy puzzle they were all working together to solve. She was missing something, though, something key, but, maybe if she talked her way through the problem, maybe if she bounced her ideas around and off of someone else, someone more objective, then she would be able to crack the case.
"Hey," she started, elbowing her best friend in the ribs, and that's what Alex was – her best friend, because Liz was more than that. To the only child, Liz was more like the sister she didn't have and had never particularly wanted while growing up. "Pss!"
"What," the brunette beside her asked, sounding exhausted, aggravated, and slightly perturbed. Although his voice wasn't elevated, it still echoed throughout the hollow salt mine, and the reverberations of his response drew both of the female aliens' attentions towards their direction. Quickly, though, both Isabel and Tess looked away, evidently too worried about other matters to concern themselves with mere human issues, but that suited her purposes just fine.
"I want to talk to you about something."
"Well, did you have to resort to physical violence to do so," Alex complained. "That hurt."
"And you're a wimp," Maria countered, rolling her eyes. She knew that her soft elbow to the ribs hadn't really done any damage. Her friend was merely whining for the sake of whining… kind of like Michael. Were all boys that exasperating, even the ones she didn't date?
Lowering her voice several notches, she asked, "so, what do you think about Tess?"
The teenager beside her fixed her with a pointed stare. "You really want to have this discussion now?"
Snapping, the waitress replied, "just answer my question. I have a point here, you know."
"I'm sure you think you do, but you probably don't, so just do us both a favor, and…"
"And would you just listen to me for a minute," she beseeched him. When he still held his stern glare, she added, "please? This isn't about me; this is about Tess, and Max… and Liz."
"Alright, fine," her best friend agreed, "but, for the record…"
"You don't think now is the appropriate time," Maria mocked, waving away his concerns. "Yeah, yeah, I heard you. Whatever. Anyway," she segued, "like I asked, what do you think of her, of Tess?"
"She's… nice, I guess."
"Alex, come on, that's a Michael response, and it tells me absolutely nothing."
"Well, I don't know," the brunette wavered, running a distracted hand through his close cropped hair only to stop and rub the back of his skull as if he had a headache. "She kind of makes me feel… uncomfortable."
"Exactly," the waitress exclaimed, throwing her hands up in animated agreement. When she received curious glances from the Czechoslovakian in question and her more humanized counterpart, she grinned sheepishly as a silent form of apology. Soon, both Tess and Isabel returned to ignoring both she and Alex. Once they did, she looked again towards the teen beside her. "She's just so blonde, right? I mean, Max is this dark and dangerous, brooding kind of guy, and here comes his supposed mate, and she's all blonde with bright eyes and curly hair, and she's perky. It just doesn't make any sense."
Standing up, her best friend glowered down upon her. "I thought you were being serious, Maria."
"I was," she protested. "Have you looked at the two of them lately? They just don't fit. I mean, like, at all!"
"No," Alex whispered harshly, ending her rant. "I thought you were really worried about Liz, that you found out something about Tess that could potentially put our friend in jeopardy, but all you're worried about is the fact that Tess and Max don't look good as a couple. What's wrong with you?"
"Oh, come on," she hissed back, standing up to meet his gaze… or, at least, come as close to meeting his gaze as she possibly could. Even with heels on, compared to the brunette, she was still vertically challenged. "She's always going on, sprouting off at the mouth about how they're destined to be together. Well, if that's true, don't you think that destiny would have, at least, made them look good together? I mean, he's a Czechoslovakian king, for crying out loud! His queen should look the part."
"Maria, this isn't some movie you're casting; this is real life… with a freaky Roswell twist. So what if Tess and Max don't match up well together. We have more important things to worry about right now. Oh, say, I don't know – surviving! You know what," the brunette said, holding his hands out before him and moving several steps away from her. "I can't talk to you right now. Take your crazy conspiracies to someone else, and leave me alone. I've had enough."
"Fine," the waitress shouted at his retreating form. "That's just fine. I'll do that."
But Alex didn't respond. He just shook his head in dismissal, in disappointment, and looked away from her. If he wouldn't help her, though, somebody would. She just had to find a sympathetic ear. Already, the sixteen year old knew that she couldn't talk to her boyfriend about the matter. Michael was too… Michael to understand. Plus, he was gone, off risking his life to save Max and Liz, which she both appreciated and resented at the same time. Obviously, she wouldn't talk to Tess, Max hardly talked at all, and Liz was too close to the issue. Roving her narrowed, intense gaze around the salt mine, Maria stopped upon Isabel.
If a human couldn't understand her qualms, then maybe a Czechoslovakian would. After all, they had all those weird, creepy powers. Maybe it was time Isabel put her supernatural abilities to good use, helping her to expose the traitor amongst them. The more she thought about the matter, the more she was convinced that there just wasn't something right about Tess, and, in Roswell, something not being right often translated to disturbing, wrong, and just plain dangerous. One way or another, with or without Alex's help, she was going to figure this out. Her next stop for help: female alien intuition.
~ & ~
"Doesn't it bother you?"
They were in position at the UFO Center, lying in wait for Pierce to come waltzing… or, more accurately, investigating his way into their trap. Max had gone after Kyle and the agent stationed at the Valenti's, Liz and Tess were handling the second suit, and Michael was busy as well, leaving Maria with both Isabel and Alex, only her best friend was still mad at her and off pouting somewhere. Boys could be such big babies.
"Tess," the waitress expanded upon her previous question, eyeing the extraterrestrial beside her closely. They were kneeled down, out of sight, and whispering. "And how she always sides with Max, doesn't that just annoy the crap out of you?"
The natural blonde beside her narrowed her gaze in consideration. "What do you mean?"
"Well, she's just so damn simpering. I swear, she's like one of those cheesy, 50's housewives who live to please their husbands. Can you say, 'Hello, Donna Reed?' Seriously!"
Isabel just stared at her, confused. "I have no idea what you just said."
"Okay, it's like this," she laid it out there for her. "You and Michael, while you typically will eventually follow Max's decisions, you'll stand up to him, too. You're not afraid to speak your peace and tell him that he's full of crap when he's wrong, but Tess isn't like that." Noticing that her Czechoslovakian counterpart was following along, Maria pressed on. "She agrees with anything and everything your brother says. I swear, if he told her to cover herself in peanut butter, roll herself in feathers, and then walk around clucking like a chicken, she'd do it. It's freaky."
"It's maddening is what it is," the alien argued. "And you're right. Tess never stands up to Max."
"And it's more than just that, too," the waitress continued. "Have you noticed how she always tries to stand as close to him as possible. She's way too touchy feely in my opinion, especially since he is still Liz's boyfriend, not hers, no matter what sort of weird Martian mind tricks she tries to pull on him." Recognizing the less than pleased glower washing over the natural blonde's features, she added, "no offense."
"Aside from your choice of words, you do have a point."
"Thank you," Maria cried out, nodding her head in self-recognition. "It's about damn time somebody realized that."
However, her victory was short lived. "But that probably has something to do with the fact that they're supposed to be together, that she is… or was… or will be, I don't know, his wife."
"Says Tess," she argued vehemently. "Do we have any proof that what she is telling us is more than just a big, stinking load of bull?"
"There's the book," Isabel pointed out.
"What, that piece of carved tin? Yeah, whatever," the sixteen year old human dismissed. "How do we even know if that thing is legit? Tess could have carved it herself. Besides, back to your original argument, if she really is your… kind's queen, shouldn't she be strong enough to stand up for herself? God, grow a backbone already. Old Queen Elizabeth's rolling around in her grave right this very minute at the thought."
At first, the alien adjacent to her just looked perplexed, overwhelmed, then realization and acknowledgement started to set in, but it was quickly ignored, pushed aside, disregarded. "Maybe you have a point, maybe you don't. I don't know. But what I do know," Isabel stated, standing to move away from her, "is that now is not the time to be talking about this. We have more important things to be worried about, and I can't waste my time coming up with conspiracy theories with you. I need to stay focused, and, if you're going to help us, Maria, you need to do the same thing."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard this speech already once before," the waitress grumbled. When the challenging Czechoslovakian raised a single brow in opposition, she relented… momentarily. "Fine, I'll let it go – for now."
Satisfied, the natural blonde walked off, calling out softly for Alex and leaving Maria, once again, on her own – to think, to plan, to sort through the very few pieces of true knowledge that they had about the extraterrestrial in question. When Tess got back, she was going to be watching her closely, looking for clues. For some reason, it felt as though time was running out, and she didn't want to be too late. In fact, she had a feeling that she couldn't be, because, if she was, well… Some thoughts were better off not expressed. After all, once they were put out there into the universe, they couldn't be taken back, and, if growing up in Roswell had taught her anything, it was not to tempt fate, for it was such a fickle bitch.
~ & ~
"So, check this out," Maria began, sliding into the booth seat opposite her best friend. "I have the ultimate skinny on Tess."
Sighing, Alex begged in a hushed tone, "would you please just let this bias you have against the Czechoslovakian rest already? I'm a little distracted with what… oh, I don't know – worrying about whether or not the girl I like is going to live or stay on this planet long enough for us to figure out what exactly is going on between us."
She just ignored him. "Alright, forget about earlier. I still stand by what I said – she and Max don't make any sense together look wise, but whatever. And forget about the whole Donna Reed impersonation thing, too."
Sitting back stunned, the brunette observed, "oh, you're totally right about that. She does have that freaky, simpering 50's housewife routine down pat, doesn't she?"
"Exactly, that's what I told Isabel!"
Appearing interested, Alex asked, "and what did she say?"
"Oh, she agreed with me, too, and we both find Tess' whole submissive routine to be quite irritating… and disgusting, for that matter, but I have something even more enlightening to tell you." Taking a deep breath, she spread her hands out on the Formica tabletop before her and lowered her voice conspiratorially. "She has the ability to make people see things, things they either don't want to see or can't."
Her best friend's gaze widened, appropriately shocked. "Whoa. Can they all… can all Czechoslovakians do that?"
"No, just Tess."
"Talk about trippy," the human teen remarked, sounding slightly dazed. "Do you think she's ever pulled it on one of us?"
"Oh, I have no doubt," Maria answered. "And just think about what that means. Basically, she has the power to control our minds. In her hands, we're mere puppets. 'Love me, Max.' 'No, I love Liz.' Bam! Presto! Bibbity, bobbity, boo! She makes him see himself loving her, and he all of a sudden does. It's classic Czechoslovakian relationship manipulation. Liz has absolutely no shot whatsoever.
"And, what's more," the waitress continued, "she could make us turn against each other; she could make us physically hurt each other. She could even make Michael do her homework for her, and I think we all know just what kind of miracle that would be."
"Yeah, and high school career suicide, too," Alex quipped.
"So, you see my point, right? There's something… off about her, about Tess."
Nodding in affirmation, her best friend stated, "I see your point, and I agree with you. My only question is: what are we supposed to do about it? In case you've forgotten, we're just your every day, run of the mill humans. We don't stand a chance against a mind controlling Czechoslovakian. We'll just have to sit here and wait for them to come back, and, when they do…"
Standing up, Maria interrupted him. "If you want to stay here, sitting on your hands, then fine. Do that. But I can't."
Following her out of his seat, the brunette protested, "but you have no idea where they would take Nasedo if they did manage to find him."
"Duh, they'd take him to the pods. It's the safest place." Realization dawning, she stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh my god – the pods!"
"What, what," Alex queried, sounding slightly panicked. "What about the pods?"
"Why didn't I think of it before," the sixteen year old mentally berated herself. "It's so simple, and it's been right there, staring us smack-dab in the face this whole time."
Feeling herself being spun around by the elbow, she stood facing her best friend right outside of the Crashdown's doors. With his dark eyes boring into hers, the human teenager repeated, "what about the pods?"
"I'll tell you on the way," the waitress promised, "but we don't have time right now. We have to get to them… like yesterday!"
"What," Alex objected, his voice rising several octaves. "Are you insane?" Shaking his head no, he stated, "I'm staying right here. When it's safe, Max, Michael, Isabel, and Liz will come back, and we'll tell them… whatever it is that you've thought of then."
"Sorry, no can do," she disagreed. "I'm going. You can either come with me, or you can stay here. It's up to you, but you can't stop me." After waiting several seconds during which her best friend simply dropped her arm, Maria nodded in acknowledgment of his decision. "Wish me luck," she yelled out before jumping into her car. Before she even had the door shut, the engine was already turned on, and she was pulling out of her parking spot.
It was so simple, so obvious! She couldn't believe that she hadn't thought of it before, but better late than ever and all that other corny mumbo-jumbo. At least she knew it now, and Tess was going down!
~ & ~
Out of breath (seriously, did Czechoslovakians really need to make their top secret, hidden hideouts on the very tippy-top of a freaking cliff?), sweaty, and pissed off, Maria arrived at the pods just in time to see a partially solid, pretty much normal looking figure appear… if you ignored the whole glowing thing… and start to speak to the alien-human assembly present. The woman's tone was mechanical, almost robotic, and she found herself realizing where the extraterrestrial trio she knew so well got their sometimes cardboard speaking habits from.
"My son," the blonde image greeted Max before turning towards Isabel and Michael, "my daughter, my son's second-in-command." When her gaze stopped upon Tess, the woman paused, and her brow wrinkled. "Who are you? Are you Michael's girlfriend?"
"Nope," the waitress revealed herself, stepping out of the shadows and into the center of the pod room. "That would be me. Tess is, well, I was hoping you could tell us who she is exactly."
Whispering harshly, Liz attempted to chastise her. "Maria, what do you think you're doing? Shut up!"
However, she ignored her almost-sister and the glowers coming from the aliens surrounding her and pushed on. "You see," the sixteen year old explained, "Tess claims that she's destined to be with Max here, that she's his former Martian bride, and that they'll someday be together again."
The image laughed, the sound both melodious and amused. "That's preposterous. Smiling serenely, the physical representation of Max and Isabel's mother stated unequivocally, "Liz is my son's destiny – here, on earth. They will together guide and protect our kind and welcome new generations to this world."
"I couldn't have said it better myself," Maria agreed. Leaning comfortably against one of the cavern's walls she continued on. "Everything about her has been bothering me for a while now – her looks, her attitude, her freaking mind controlling abilities."
"Well, it's the first you've mentioned it to me," Michael griped. He was so cute when he was pouting, but she couldn't get distracted, not now.
"However, none of that proved anything," the waitress admitted, "especially since all Czechoslovakians have creepy powers. But that was before I remembered the pods."
"What about them," Tess challenged. "They are where we were born – all four of us."
"Oh, I know, but let's return to that adorable birthing story, shall we?" Folding her hands in front of her, the human sixteen year old smirked. "Max, Isabel, and Michael, they were all born at about the same time, but you were still stuck inside your pod, blowing bubbles. If you and Max were so destined to be together, why'd he leave you here? He felt such a strong connection to Isabel, his sister, that they were fold holding hands, wandering around the desert together, and their connection with Michael is so strong, they eventually found him again, too, but they forgot about your imposter ass."
Standing up to her full height and pushing away from the wall, Maria advanced towards the alien in question. "You're not his destiny, you're not his Martian bride, and you're sure as hell not going to come into my town and break us all up. So, go back to Uranus… or whatver the hell planet you came from, Tess, because you're not welcome here."
For several seconds, time seemed to stand still, but, once the fog lifted, Maria realized that Tess was gone. Despite the action being useless, she glanced around the small, enclosed space, but the blonde had magically gone poof… almost literally. "Ugh, sometimes your stupid powers are really inconvenient!"
"Do not worry," the image reassured them. "She will not be able to hide forever. I do not know who she is, or why she is here, but she is not your destiny, Max, and I have faith that between you, your sister, your second in command, your bride, Maria here…" Pausing long enough to bestow the waitress with a warm grin, the glowing blonde finished, "and whomever you choose to be with, my daughter, that you will stop this threat. After all, it has been written; it is fate."
The image continued to speak for several more minutes, but she found herself zoning out. Really, what she had to say didn't particularly concern her. After all, she wasn't the one phoning home. Besides, if there was anything that she did need to know, Michael would fill her in later. Instead, the sixteen year old was basking in the knowledge that she had been right all along. That would show those Czechoslovakians! While she might be human, and while she might not be a junior scientist like Liz or a computer expert like Alex, she was still pretty damn smart, too.
Eventually, they made their way back outside to the two parked vehicles. Splitting up, she took her clueless boyfriend and Isabel with her so that Max and Liz could have some alone time together on the way back to town, and, as she and the two aliens riding with her settled into her mom's trusty if not beat up sedan, Maria found herself grinning from ear to ear.
"I think I'm going to officially change my name. From now on, just call me Maria Marple."
Rolling his eyes, Michael complained, "that's the most ridiculous name I've ever heard of. And where did you get it from anyway?"
She shook her head in frustration. "What, don't you not read like at all?" When the alien in question just stared at her, she replied, "it's from a famous literally detective, Miss Marple. You know, Agatha Christie… None of this is ringing a bell, is it?"
"You're hopeless. You're practically illiterate!"
He tossed the tin book Tess had given them onto her lap. "Yeah, well, I'm not from around here, remember? When you learn to read my book, I'll consider reading one of yours. Now, let's get a move on. I'm hungry."
Grumbling under her breath, the waitress started the car and began the trip back to the Crashdown. Here, she had pretty much saved the day, the Czechoslovakians, and maybe even the fate of the entire world, and, still, her boyfriend refused to give her any credit. Female humans got absolutely no respect!