A/N: This is a oneshot cross with Terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles, another of my favorite shows that ended too soon, it's a bit angsty, and a bit hopeful, set post season three for Roswell, and not taking into account the finale of TSCC.
All Fall Down
As a child, fall had been her favorite season. The world turned red and gold, a wonderland that changed every day and crackled beneath her feet as she jumped from leaf pile to leaf pile. The air was crisp and cool, even in her desert home town, the perfect balance between the baking summer months and the frigid days of winter. In the fall, she got to go to school, she got to spend time with her beloved books without being considered a freak by the other kids, and she had the chance to learn new things every single day.
Fall was magical.
When she was sixteen, on the cusp of fall, she was shot, and her world began to change, faster than the leaves on the trees could keep up with. She fell in love, learned to lie, lost her grandmother, and heedlessly took her first steps down a dangerous, life altering path.
When she was seventeen, he showed up. He told her that the world would end, that all of the people she cared about would die, and that only she could fix it. So she pushed away her love, forgot the lessons of logic she had learned in school, and didn't notice the perfect temperature because she was always cold inside.
When she was eighteen, she changed, or rather, became aware of her changes, of just how far she'd gotten from the book loving, completely human girl who never would have dreamed she'd go to her best friend's funeral, or go against the FBI, or be stupid enough to push away friends and family for a boy who terrified and thrilled every fiber of her being, who she wasn't even supposed to love, for reasons she shouldn't have forgotten.
When she was nineteen, the boy died. The world stopped changing, stopped moving, and she stopped caring. She'd given up everything for him and he was gone and she didn't know what to do anymore.
When she was twenty, she decided to start living again. She changed her name, went back to school, and learned to appreciate fall again, and though she never forgot the danger of a world that changed, she chose to let that knowledge make life sweeter, instead of darker.
The next time her world stopped, the leaves were turning red, red to match the blood that was spilled in a shocking and senseless reign of terror. She was twenty-nine when the world ended, not because of aliens, but robots, unleashing an apocalyptic holocaust she'd never seen coming, and wondered deep down if she'd unwittingly been the cause of – would the Antarians have been so wantonly destructive? Would the humans have had a better chance?
The instincts she'd honed as a teenager with a deadly secret kept her alive in the new world, and before long she and her skills, both human, and other, were in high demand in the resistance. A resistance where she met a man, who used to be a boy, whose life had been less normal than hers, who knew what it was like to be told that the fate of the world rested on your shoulders, and who knew what it was like to know that you'd failed.
She loved him and this time it didn't scare her, because there was nothing left to be scared of. Until he told her that she could go back, go back to a world that could change, go back to a world with trees and books and hope, where she could have one more chance to stop the world from ending. She knew, and he knew, that if she went back, their best hope was for her to go to her first love, to use who he was, who he could have been, to give Earth an ally against Skynet, and that if she went to him, in that new world, he would be her only love.
That John and that Liz would never hold each other in the middle of the night, their hearts beating in time with each other, as they found the strength to fight another day, and that was a harder price to bear than she'd understood at seventeen. She listened to his plan, made it better, then crawled into his arms and wept for the first time since she was nineteen. Then she kissed him, kissed him like she was drowning, like she was Pandora and he was the bit of hope left in the box, and then she went back.
It was fall when she arrived, naked and shivering, the faint remnants of electricity crackling in the crisp cool air around her. She stared down at the pile of red and gold leaves she'd landed in, one of many on the homey, non-war-torn street, and smiled crookedly.
Maybe she could find the magic in Fall again.