Memorex by Nicole Anell

Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Um, hello? Do you think I own Roswell? I was a Fifth-Wheeler, for God's sake!
Disclaimer #2: It's "Now To War" by Guided By Voices. It's "American Pie" by Don McLean.
Spoilers: Departure
Author's Notes: I vowed to myself that I would try to forget that "Departure" ever happened (except for the M&M parts). I promised I would stick to foof. I promised I wouldn't write a tag. And yet, here it is.
Email me! Faith84@aol.com

******************

There is no boy in me now
There is no time and I'm alone
But I am only breathing, breathing around
I get involved with your crowd
They make me feel so alone
If you could only see me when I'm around

But this is you and this is war
It makes me drink even more
And I'll have fun then
I'll make a mark on you
I'll tell you all that I am
How simple feet will walk for free
Until you injure me again
~Guided By Voices, "Now To War"

You died in a car accident. How fitting. What I used to call "ironic" before I got a dictionary.

It was crazy, everyone must have thought. First Alex and then you. One swerves into a semi, the other goes off a cliff in flames in her boyfriend's Jeep. Rumors were absolutely flooding the school that you two had some kind of suicide pact, but that explanation was quickly tossed away, seeing as it's been common knowledge since Prom that you guys were both in other relationships. Each of you with an Evans, in fact. The guidance office had a fucking field day with our little group this year, let me tell you.

But you did die too soon to get a yearbook collage in your name. Not that anybody would've made one. Anyone who cared enough knows that you aren't really dead. And with that knowledge comes another fact that prevents us from caring anyway.

After about two days, we all stopped talking about you. I'm sure you're still brought up in the secret alien meetings I don't attend anymore, but never in our everyday social gatherings. And when someone does say "Tess", they say it in the tone my grandma used to say "cancer". And everyone drops their voice to the patented Somber Whisper Of Alien Brooding, and eventually the subject is changed. This is appropriate too. See, we're taking a page from your book, erasing our own memories of you.

But I do think my dad wants to talk to me.

He never says anything, which bothers me even more. He just sits there sometimes, watching me, waiting for me to start talking and sharing. He's always waiting for me to start. And I realize that it's because he has no idea what to say. That scares me. I have a sneaking suspicion that he - Dad, the omniscient bearer of all wisdom and guidance - is 100% clueless. It's a harder thing to deal with than you'd know. You used to tell me that the man who raised you (you refused to call him your father, hated it) was all things alien and mine was all things human. I think you meant it in a nice way. Or maybe you didn't mean it any way at all, it was just another random silly thing you felt like saying.

Sometimes I don't want my dad to be human. I want him to be Dad.

A few days ago, he wouldn't leave me alone, and I finally said one thing. I pitched my voice a little high and whined, "I don't wanna play with the aliens anymore, 'k Dad?" And he said "Okay." and left.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I take anything out on your Martian friends (or enemies or whatever now). Isabel and I still get along, or we would if I ever really stopped to talk to her. We give each other enough signals to know we're cool. And Max I still want to punch, so nothing new there. I used to want to punch him because he gave everybody weird looks and didn't talk. Then I wanted to punch him because he stole Liz from me. Then I wanted to punch him because he was an alien. Then I wanted to punch him because he was mean to you. Then I wanted to punch him because he knocked you up. So by now, it's a habit really.

Liz and Maria knew all along that you were a total Bitch, and they have this semi-smug attitude about it, when they aren't clinging to their boyfriends and wailing for their friend. You would've found it hilarious, this I-told-you-so air to the two of them now. Maria especially pities me. That's why I avoid her like a plague.

They think you really did a number on us, the poor simple folk that is the Valenti family line. You must have. I mean, my father was mad about you. I think he still might be.

It's a little early to tell, but I don't think we're celebrating Christmas next year. I'm just saying because I don't know where the hell Dad put the tree, but it's no longer in the garage.

You know what's funny? I get drunk easier now. It could be the hybrid thing. Who knew? It only takes me a few to pass out. At least then I sleep. It's nice to sleep.

february made me shiver with every paper i delivered

Oh, but you don't know about the insomnia, right? It's a bad thing you did. I know you've got quite a list going, but here's another to jot down - I can't sleep. I can't sleep in your room, which is my room now again. I can't sleep at all sometimes, but especially in my room, in my bed. You know why. You know what I see in there.

So I go out. I go out with my old friends, or at least I try to. They aren't so close to me anymore, they trade little glances around me like I'm some depressing nutjob or a Math Club boy they don't know how to get rid of.

This is the part Maria doesn't get though - right now I would gladly get wasted with a bunch of assholes I can't stand before I hear her talk about sympathy sessions and herbal remedies and inner peace. Like I haven't already been there. Like I didn't try the meditation crap after I got shot. Like it ever really helped.

You helped.

You helped because you wouldn't let me bitch about my problems. I told you my life was upside down and my world was inside out, and you rolled your eyes and told me to get over it. You said stop whining, everyone's got their issues.

God, I remember you in the beginning. You were always so innocently hated, and then you would push people away, starting with me. The first few days here with you were hell, when you teased me and invaded my privacy and dared me to dislike you like everyone else. You did your little things to try to give me a hard-on, and if it worked you laughed your Superior Martian Laugh, like I didn't have feelings so blatantly evidenced in front of you.

I guess you never really stopped doing that. You still ran up behind me in the school hallway and tried to give me cooties. You still went to sleep in my room every night, tossing around my covers and flipping through my personal belongings. You still made jokes about why I should be nice to you, because one day you could narrow your eyes, twitch your nose and - ZAP! - I'd be a pile of ashes on the floor.

That was just a joke, though. They don't always become ashes.

Anyway, I was just saying you weren't like the rest of them. That was my favorite thing about you. And you had those massive contradictions. Sweet and cynical, miserable and giddy, personality changing with the weather. I found that amazing. I found you amazing.

You were the first real female friend I ever had. Even that's an understatement. I think for a while you were my first real friend, period. I used to hang out with shallow hallway overlords and chicks who wanted my status to rub off on them. High school bullshit. You understood that. You understood me, I think. Or maybe I'm going too deep and melodramatic. I don't know.

I know you made me laugh.

I wonder now if I ever really made you laugh. I wonder if maybe you faked it all that time, just to play me, own me, make me think I knew the real you. I hate this. My world is upside down all over again. Do you see that? Do you care?

I just- I get so pissed at you. How? Why? I don't know... I don't know who you were. I don't know what to think.

Tell me what to think, Tess.

You are the expert at that, aren't you?

I'd like to ask you about some things. For one, you didn't leave your flowery shit in my house. You know, the girly stuff, the pink things, the bedspread, the extra chair you begged us for? I thought it would still be there. I know you didn't take it back Home with you. So where did it go? Is this another unsolved mystery? Do I have to wonder now if it was ever really there?

Was all this what you wanted from day one? Was it part of the big evil plan? And here I thought you were spontaneous.

Did you ever care about us at all? Do you still? Or were we just easy?

I remember when we first met a little over a year ago. It was because I was easy. You spent five minutes with me and you knew you could lead me around the library by my dick. That's all I was to you then, some stupid human boy you could play with and discard, use as a pawn to flirt with Max and get that stupid book of yours.

You told me this a month ago, over Doritos, and you wondered why it upset me.

"Because that's - Tess, that's terrible!"

"Oh come on, Kyle, I'm sorry. I know you better now."

You didn't say you were sorry for what you did, you were just sorry that you did it to me. And did you even mean that? Are you ever sorry at all?

I remembered that you got into my head once. Maybe you need me to elaborate, now that I know it was really more than once. This was the time at the station, when you made me and that FBI woman see my report card. It scared the hell out of me, seeing words that suddenly faded and vanished when you let go. I yelled. I told you to never do that to me ever again. My mind is off limits to you.

I wish I could say that you promised something that day. I almost wish you had told me you would never use your powers on me again, just so I could accuse you of lying.

But the truth is, you didn't promise anything that day. You barely even apologized. You wanted gratitude, you said.

Thanks, Tess.

I can't sleep. I don't go grocery shopping anymore. I don't put Tabasco on anything, even if my taste buds beg for it. I don't read porno mags. Alright, fine, I still do that - but not on my bed, not in my jersey. Not where you read them.

I was just wondering - did you like Amy DeLuca? 'Cause I know you were really nice to her once, you two did your goofy giggly bonding thing the few times you met her. She liked you a lot.

I just mentioned her because she came over last night to have some drinks. I think she's upset about a lot of things she doesn't understand. I also think I would have gone insane if I hadn't bolted out for a walk when her fingers started drumming our table for the 50th consecutive time.

Actually, I haven't gone back yet.

i can't remember if i cried when i read about his widowed bride but something touched me deep inside the day the music died

I have to get out of here. I have to leave this whole stupid town.

You hated to be hurt. Do you understand it when other people are hurting?

He was suffering, he was crying. And then I remember - this is the part I hate, I think, more than any other memory - you were crying a little too. When he was there, out of his misery, on the floor, you looked so desperate and terrified. I remember that now. That was the second where some idiot part of me truly wanted to... I don't even know. First I wanted to run. Then my next instinct was to rush over and tell you everything would be fine. We'd call my dad, we'd call Max, we'd explain everything. I wanted to wrap my strong shaking arms around your tiny calm body and carry you out of the room. I didn't carry you out of the room. I carried Alex.

I think I hate you. I know I do. I hate you.

I hate you.

I hate you.

I hate you.

I wish you had gone down in flames in your boyfriend's Jeep. I'd feel better. I don't need you anymore. I don't need anything but my car and some of my sanity and a few morons I used to be friends with and an FM radio.

bye bye miss american pie drove my chevy to the levy but the levy was

Or screw radios, whatever. I don't even need that.

I have to get out of here.

This whole stupid fucking town.

To think I worried so much when I first found out you were going Home. I worried for you, of course, because space travel and all that tends to freak me out. Hopefully your people can handle those things, 'cause ours can't even always get a plane to land right. Oh, and on top of that, you've got your intergalactic warring planets backstory that hurts my head, and you guys didn't even know if you were just handing yourselves over to get killed.

And also, admittedly, I was worried for myself. I needed you, because - well, because I need you. I know that's selfish, but I wanted you around a little longer. I remember now, a time when I held you and I didn't want to let go.

I wanted to see your baby. I was a little upset it was a boy actually, pitying the poor world that you would unleash a Mini Max Evans unto. A girl, though... she would have had blond hair that changed straight to curly like yours, slave to her mood on any given day. She would have been gorgeous without make-up, but insist too young on wearing too much. She would have never grown up without understanding the finer points of bad pop culture - you and your dance CD collection would see to that.

Sometimes I see a little reminder now, a funky shirt I think you would have liked. And suddenly you're there, standing right next to me. No way, that top is too slutty. Do you think I'm a slut? Oh, no, not in the least. You play-hit me and try to hide a smirk.

And later I'd see you sprawled out on the couch, mocking some lame TV show. And over the sink washing your glass and (You don't have to- No, I got it, honey) mine.

I don't know, I always thought that somehow you'd be a kickass mom, a better one than either of us ever had.

You used to go all Happy Homemaker on us at the weirdest times, making dinners and fixing things and knowing just when someone needs compassion or humoring or a good verbal bitch-slap.

I wanted you to know once how much I cared about you. I wanted you to know you were the only thing that got me through this insane Star Trek stuff - the thought that, no matter what, every day I would go home to you and have something approaching a happy family life.

Hey, everyone's got their issues.... But that's not the real saying. It's demons, everyone's got demons.

Mine is that I still want to go home to you.

Oh my God, you'd love this. I just remembered - just remembered now - that I killed someone. I hit a guy in the back and he disintegrated into ashes and smoke like on Buffy.

It's kind of a gray area... I mean, he wasn't human and he was in the middle of friggin' attacking us, maybe it was no worse than shooting a rabid dog. But in a Zen way, that would even be wrong. Also, if I start rationalizing killing aliens, then what's to stop you from rationalizing killing a human? See, I don't really need you. I could have this argument all by myself.

The point is, I remember not feeling too bad after I killed it. In a way, I knew it was wrong and I prayed my ass off to Buddha afterwards. But he was only some dipshit Skin trying to dissolve my planet or something. Friend of yours?

Come on, you can't feign innocence anymore. I think I can see you as Evil, and it looks pretty good on you. You've finally got quite a little niche for yourself, right along with the peeling prepubescents and the punked-out clones and the shiny blue crystals of death. You fit in nicely, you do. That's a compliment, Tess. Don't I get one back? Did I already get it?

You told me to dance with you. That must've been... that was Vegas, that was long after Alex came back from his little trip. Did you like me just a little then? Did you hate me, like, a lot? I want to know sometime, it's only fair. I think you know what I thought of you then.

I think... I think about why you didn't use me. Or maybe you were using me, for a whole year. But you didn't use me like you did him. You didn't fuck with my head for your own selfish purposes. You didn't destroy me. You didn't kill me.

Who are you? Sweet funny angel chicka? Evil mind-erasing murderer from outer space?

There's this one theory in my head - this horribly sad and hopeless theory - and it won't go away, no matter how much alcohol I try to drown it with. Maybe you were both. Maybe that's your other contradiction.

Maybe when you held me, you didn't want to let go either. Maybe you were that desperate, terrified girl I hate to remember was crying a little. Maybe you liked holidays. Maybe you just wanted to dance.

Maybe you cared enough about me to move a little cloud into my brain and take away what I didn't want to know. Maybe the only other option would've been to, like, put me in the passenger seat. And you didn't.

I know what my dad meant about dark places now. I hope you're happy.

No, really, Tess, I'm not being nasty or sarcastic. I do hope you're happy. A very large portion of my heart still wants you to be, and I don't care if that makes me pathetic. I still want you to be a kickass mom. I want you to enjoy the Home you wanted so badly. I want you to figure out who the hell you are and clue the rest of us in someday. I want...

You.

I want you.

I want a hug. I want my sister.

And then I see it, Tess. I understand. I lied.

You did destroy me. You did kill me.

They hate you. I'm the one crazy, naive, gullible loser who still loves you.

-------

Have you emailed me yet?

Back to Fic Index | Home 1