Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. The characters all belong to their respective studios and creators. I am just borrowing them for my story.
Author's Note: This story is set after the end of season 2 of Roswell (after Tess has already left) and in the beginning of season 6 of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer- after Buffy and Spike have gotten together, but before Willow was addicted to magic and before Willow and Tara broke up. Also, Giles hasn't left yet. Sorry for the confusing time lines, but this worked best for my story.
A/N 2: Thanks for all the feedback- to all the new readers and the old- especially the ones who've stuck with me for so long! You guys are the best!
Chapter 20- A Time to Talk
After Ava's unexpected, but timely, arrival, the group decided to take a break, even though they hadn't even started what they were going to do for the day yet, thanks to the Council's visit. Both sets needed to digest all the information they had learned and the atmosphere had become a little emotionally charged.
Xander and Anya went out for food for the group, bringing Dawn with them at Buffy's request (she intended to have a talk with Spike and didn't want her getting in the way). The others all just sprawled in different clusters around the Magic Shop, thinking and talking quietly.
Michael and Maria were sitting together in a corner, talking solemnly about his earlier lack of control. Both were afraid of what would have happened if he had totally lost control and had bitten her. Both were afraid that it would happen again, and neither really knew what to do about it. The only thing they could really agree on, was that the sooner they had gotten them changed back the better, especially if there was an alien battle coming up, as he didn't really know the extent of his new body and how to best protect the group.
Giles was sitting in his office, mentally berating himself for having been so hasty with the Council. He had been so irritated with them that he hadn't stopped to think. What if they had been holding something back from them? Something crucial that could help them win the upcoming battle? It must be a serious situation indeed if they had been willing to go to them with information- the last time that had happened had been with the Glory situation and look how that had turned out. He also hadn't asked if they had any information about how to switch the two back, though Travers had said they were wasting their time with that. On the other hand, the Council were still arrogant bastards and having them out of the way would probably only help them- at least that way they couldn't interfere.
Buffy had pulled Spike into the back room and was angrily asking him why he hadn't told her about the powers. The two were arguing until Spike settled the matter by grabbing her and kissing her passionately. Even while kissing him back, she resolved to get some answers out of him later. She wouldn't always let him silence her that way.
Kyle and Jim had sat down with Ava. As they had been the closest in the group to Tess, they felt they should get to know the possible newest member of the group. They both were still wary of her and felt that the best way to figure her out would be to get to know her. So the three sat quietly talking.
Max and Liz sat in a separate corner of the shop talking to each other. Liz had decided that it was finally time to come clean about the whole 'Future Max' episode. Ava's arrival had only cemented the decision in her mind. She had been thinking about telling him before that, ever since their talk the previous day. After she and Max had talked about Tess and his betrayal, she knew she couldn't keep him in the dark any longer about why she had turned him away in the first place. She was just as guilty for this whole mess and Max deserved to know, as did everyone else. She knew she needed to tell the whole group, but figured she would tell Max privately first, as he deserved to hear it first.
Before Liz started talking, however, she looked at Ava and resolved to have a talk with her later, as Ava might be able to help her understand just what it was she had become and what she could do. But first she was going to have to work on her issues with Max and then with the group, which was going to be painful. She opened her mouth and the whole sordid tale spilled out, with Max just looking at her in astonishment.
When it was over, he just held her and murmured against her hair how sorry he was. Even his future self had decided to bring pain to Liz, maybe he really didn't deserve the girl in his arms- the girl who had given up her own happiness to ensure life- theirs and everyone else's.
Liz knew what he was thinking and knew that it didn't matter anymore. What was done was done and she just wanted to be back with him, back where she felt she belonged. As she had been the one to push him away, she knew she was going to have to be the one to bridge the gap between them. She reached up and kissed him, silencing his self doubts, at least for the moment. Though they still had a lot of work to do on their relationship, including moving past all the hurts they had caused each other and the whole Tess confusion, the fact that they were both willing to try was a giant step forward. Max leaned into the kiss and they both poured their love for each other into it.
Isabel watched this with some satisfaction as she sat by herself in another part of the shop. 'Way to go guys,' she thought. She was glad that her brother and Liz finally seemed to be working past all of the roadblocks they had been facing- roadblocks of their own making- but roadblocks none the less. They were good for each other and she was happy for them.
She looked over to where Willow and Tara were sitting together, looking very 'get a roomy' as Xander would have put it. She had been mulling over in her head just what to say to them about Alex. She knew that if they had brought someone back from the dead once, they might be able to do it again. Sure, Alex had been dead for a while now, but from what Buffy had said earlier it sounded as if she had been dead a while herself before they brought her back, maybe even buried and everything like Alex was. She had said something about how when Xander brought her back, she had only been gone for a few minutes but was still technically dead, but her lack of info on her other death had made it seem like it had been much longer. Whatever the case, Isabel was going to do whatever she could to get Willow to bring Alex back- she didn't know how much longer she could live without him, now that she had finally realized how she felt about him and he was gone.
She took a deep breath and approached the pair. "Hi, mind if I sit?"
Willow looked at her and smiled, "Go right ahead." Tara nodded her assent as well.
Isabel just sat there looking at them, trying to work out what she was going to say. She sat there for so long that Tara, not liking the uncomfortable silence, blurted out, "What do you want?"
Isabel looked at her and then nodded to herself. The best way would be to just come out and say it. "I want you to bring Alex back to life. No, I need you to."
Willow and Tara just looked at each other, 'uh oh' was plain in both their expressions. "Who is Alex," Willow asked gently.
"He's the one that Tess murdered," Isabel explained briefly and both could see the tortured expression on her face.
"Who was he to you," Tara asked just as gently as Willow had before, both could sense that this was very important to the young woman sitting in front of them.
"I love him," Isabel replied simply, "And I need you to bring him back." A tear slipped down her cheek as she said this.
"It's not that simple," Willow said, "This is not something you can just rush into-"
She was cut off by Isabel. "It's simple for me. I need him. Please," She was begging and she didn't care- she would do anything for Alex. "You can do it- I know you can. You brought Buffy back, you can bring Alex back."
Willow sighed. She knew she was going to have to tell her about Buffy and what had happened with her botched attempt to save her from 'hell.' Buffy wouldn't like it, she didn't like talking about it, but it was necessary that this girl understand. So she began filling Isabel in on Buffy's death, the strain on the group, the thought that Buffy was in hell, the decision to bring her back, where Buffy had really been- everything.
When she was done, Isabel just sat there with a horrified expression on her face. She didn't want to do that to Alex. If Alex was in Heaven, which he surely was, as you couldn't ask for a better example of goodness in her opinion, did she really want to rip him out of it? If she truly loved him, didn't she want what was best for him and if that was staying where he was, well... She didn't want to put him through what Buffy went through, she loved him too much for that. But what is he wasn't happy there? What if he wanted to come back to her, to them?
She looked back at Willow and Tara. "Is there any way we can talk to him, ask him what he wants?"
"I guess so," Tara replied hesitantly, aware of where Isabel was leading her.
"And if he wants to come back, you will bring him back right? Right?" Isabel pleaded once more.
'Why don't we just talk to him first, and then we can go from there. I can do a summoning spell tonight, at the house. Why don't you come over around eight, and then we can talk to him." Willow answered her.
"Oh thank you!" Isabel hugged them both. She would get to talk to Alex that night! He would be back with her! And if he didn't want to come back... After all, she hadn't been exactly blameless for his death, she had led Tess right to him... But then she pushed those thoughts aside. If it came to that, she would deal with it. But for now, she had hope- she was going to see Alex!
It was around that time that Xander, Anya and Dawn arrived back with the food. Everybody dug in and chatted, some in much better moods than they were that morning. It was at that point that Giles stopped eating and turned to Willow and Tara.
"What about the Katra? Is it finished? I completely forgot about it, what with the Council's 'visit' and all. Is it ready," he asked them.
"Oh yeah," Willow exclaimed. "I totally forgot about that too." And reaching into her bag, she pulled out the small object. "It's ready, so we can try it whenever."
Everybody just looked at each other.