Rating: PG-13 (can't even get through the disclaimer without gratuitous cussin')
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell. And screw everyone who does. Nyah!
Disclaimer Part 2: Without many wonderful writers and producers, this show would not exist and I wouldn't have this website. Thank you, Katims and co, for your brilliance.
Disclaimer Part 3: Brilliance?? You're kidding, right?
Disclaimer Part 4: Shut up, I'm trying to cover my ass.
Spoilers: all season two
Author's Notes: I wrote this (somehow... trust me) in response to Selkie's fifth wheeler challenge.
-inspired by Alex and Tess flashback scene in Departure
-turns out it was a lovers' quarrel
-Tess and Alex were working on translating the book together
-Alex's death was natural, caused by something unrecognized inside of him
-Tess freaked out and thought she had killed him
-feel free to totally change around Departure
-Tess's baby could turn out to be Alex's, writer's choice
Email me! Faith84@aol.com
The stars are watching me.
I'm disrupting the universe, ripping through their home, destroying their space. I'm going home no matter what they say.
Well, I know stars can't actually *say* anything. They don't talk, they just look. And the stars are watching me with blue eyes.
His. Sad and confused.
Why did you do it, Tess?
Well, look at that. They have something to say after all.
The baby moves and I'm tired. But if I sleep, the eyes are there. Sometimes I wake up and expect them to stay.
Or if not eyes, then maybe a smile, a hand, a kiss. A voice to answer me just once.
I want him to go away, stop haunting me. I want him to stay and not ever leave again. I'm feeling my hybrid-ness today.
The closer I get to the stars, they become suns, and they burn.
They burn with his eyes. Not with intention or violence or accusation, which I saw enough of in my last hours on Earth. They burn with comfort and warmth and hope. And love.
But they still ask the same questions they can't understand the answers to, any more than the stars know why I'm here in space instead of on the ground obeying the laws of gravity.
Why did you do it, Tess? they ask.
Why did you lie to them?
It's hard to tell a story when everyone knows the ending, or they think they do. Now we have to rewind ourselves all the way back to the Spring of 2000. Everyone hum "Girl" by Papas Fritas.... okay, fine, hum "All Star" by Smashmouth. There we go. It's like you've stepped into a time machine.
It's a warm, lovely day. I'm sitting in the Quad at W. Roswell High with Isabel Evans. Everybody hold your applause, she's not my girlfriend yet. We kissed exactly once. Life went on.
Just then, I get my very first glimpse of Tess. She's just like one of those small, perky girls you see on sitcoms. She interrupts and giggles and babbles in sex euphemisms and pop culture references. So my first general impression is:
What the hell is wrong with her and why is she sitting here and can she please go away so I can keep basking in the glory of Isabel?
Okay, that's three first impressions shoved together.
The point is, she does not go away and soon she and Isabel become friends. I'm the odd man out.
I do not understand girls. And this was just the beginning, the real omen didn't come yet. Jump ahead a day or two to the Crashdown. Again, there's me and Isabel, making some progress. And again, there's Tess getting in the way.
Within two minutes, she's playing with Isabel's hair. The two of them are in their own little world. I excuse myself, I go outside, and I am nearly kidnapped by evil government agents.
I should have known right then.
I'm smart, I've got a 3.8 average, I almost scored record high for my school on the P-SATs. I should I known then. I should have figured it out.
Maybe I'm not being all that fair. I know I can't blame anybody for that incident. Suppose Valenti hadn't shown up, and I had gotten dragged off to some military base to be electroshocked into submission. That wouldn't have been entirely Tess's fault.
But see, that was the omen. That was the moment a tiny Alex should have appeared on my shoulder, or a lightbulb should have flashed over my head. *STAY AWAY FROM TESS*
Do I listen? Of course not.
Move ahead a little in time. (Try humming "All the Small Things" by Blink) Everything went screwy after she came to town. For one thing, Isabel threw herself at me in the eraser room and then said she wasn't ready for a relationship. Once again, not entirely Tess's fault but a bad sign.
I do not understand alien girls.
Then there was a lot of junk about shapeshifting and handprints, and our pod squad of three become the Royal Four. By now it's summer and I'm getting pretty sick of it all. I'm especially sick of a certain little person who started all this when she shoved her way into our conversation one day.
I like to glare at Tess when she's not looking.
"Isabel, I really think you should come with me and Michael to practice your powers some time..."
"Do you think you could maybe get Max to come see me, because there was..."
Glare. I mean, "Hi." I mean, why the hell is she talking to me?
"Have you seen Isabel?" Oh.
"I have not," I say.
"Is that a poster for your band?"
I say, "Yeah it is." I imagine saying, "Iz isn't coming so stop stalling."
She looks at the poster again, and looks at me, and asks, "So this is like a show?"
It is not 'like' a show. It is a show. It happens to be a show for a friend of Ronny the Lead Guitar's dad, and we're getting $20 each to play four songs while he sells raffle tickets and promotes his new store. But it's still a show. So I say, "Uh huh."
And she looks at the poster again, and back at me, and back at the poster.
Glare. Friendly nod. Glare.
"Maybe I'll come if I'm not busy. This town bites."
She leaves and she doesn't even ask me to give a message to Isabel.
I will never understand alien girls.
Why was I put on this Earth? Oh, I remember, to hang around Roswell and slowly die of boredom while the members of my alien family gaze longingly at whiny humans.
I went to see Alex's show. *Someone* had to.
New Mexico is hot and dry, and I'm watching the singer - Wendy something - as she fails to enunciate. Pageboy haircut, plastic red skirt, yellow striped leggings, dark square-shaped glasses, no makeup except for atrociously loud lipstick - the girl actually puts Maria to shame. She's the type who *tries* to look like a geek because it makes her "cool". It doesn't work at all.
I hate this town.
Nasedo called again... it was this morning I think, or maybe the day before. He only calls His Royal Highness, but occasionally he says "say hello to Tess", so Max has to go through the agony of dialing my number to mumble his greeting. Or calling Michael and passing it on through him. Or not telling me at all until we bump into each other a week later, and he blurts it out to fill the awkward silence.
Nasedo said hi. Nothing else.
Where was I? The Whits play two songs and take a break. You can see just how professional this gig is.
Alex gets off the stage and scans the crowd. He's doing this because he saw me in the audience, and he sees me now, and he's hoping I'm not the only one he knows here. Dream on, honey. Your real friends couldn't care less about this stuff anymore. I'm the only masochist around. (If you want the less nasty truth, they didn't suck that badly. Being here's a lot better than being stuck at home alone, which is why I haven't left yet.)
Finally, Wonderboy comes over with a big fake smile. I wonder why he's not giving me dirty looks again.
"Have you seen Isabel?" Ohhhh.
I say, "Nope."
"Is anybody here with you?" he says because he's subtle.
"They'd all prefer to gauge their eyes out with rusty nails tonight," I say because I'm not subtle at all.
He gives me a weird look. He thinks that was directed at him, so I add, "I liked that song."
"The one you played twice."
I think I'm trying to piss him off, but he realizes I'm kidding and smiles. "Well, stick around. We do it again in - " he checks his watch - "eight minutes."
He sort of looks like a puppy when he smiles. I really don't mean that in a bad way.
He finds something else to do for eight minutes, and then some more identical-but-not-terrible music is played. I talked to Nasedo all of once since May, when I asked him too many questions and he told me to wait. I said "say hello to Max" before I hung up. I think I was trying to piss him off too.
The not-a-show ends and I didn't win the raffle, so I head for the exit.
"Have you seen her at all?"
I jump and then blush. I don't like people sneaking up on me.
"'Cause I haven't for a week or two now," Alex continues. He's carrying his bass in an uncomfortable-looking position that lets me know he came running after me. "I just thought maybe..."
He trails off. I think I feel sorry for him. "I'm not the person to ask."
He swallows and nods. I guess the great Isabel Evans isn't too big on company from either of us right now. At least he's still got some of his friends.
"Well, thanks for coming I guess."
"It was okay. The squeaky noises from the mike-"
"They gave me a headache."
"Sorry. You shouldn't have sat so close."
"Is this your girlfriend?" someone asks. It's Wendy Looks-Like-a-Geek, who came out of nowhere.
"Not exactly," says Alex. Exactly?
Wendy looks me up and down. This is the clothing you'd look better in, I try to send her, but she doesn't seem to hear. "Uh-huh. Is she coming for sundaes?"
There's a phrase for how Alex looks - "deer caught in the headlights".
"I have a headache," I explain.
"Give me a break," says Wendy Won't-Let-This-Go, "It'll be fun."
A Tylenol later, I'm at the Crashdown. Liz Parker is on vacation. Michael and Maria are off duty. Alex is not glaring. Wendy Still-Thinks-I'm-Dating-Him is less annoying than she seemed onstage. Overall, it's surprisingly much better than being stuck at home alone.
Eventually, the band members start talking softer amongst themselves and leaving, leaving with their friends or their dates or - the lamer ones - their parents. Alex and I are alone, of course.
We start talking softer and haltingly about other things. I figure we shared a prescription drug, so we've bonded sufficiently. I want to know about things that happened before I came, about people they contacted and all the stuff they found out. He's surprised I need to, because he didn't know about Nasedo's condescending ass and the 'wait' philosophy.
Things have a way of not turning out the way you thought they would. For example, I actually get some information from this time-killer. I get a story about an Indian cave with a map of symbols. No one ever thought to show it to me, yet even the band geek's been there.
They don't know what any of it means. There's a shock.
But Alex has this whole idea no one's ever given much thought to. If it's the alphabet of a real form of language, even an alien one, it wouldn't be impossible to translate. It's like ancient writings that don't look anything like English. Archeologists spend years working on them, but they solve them in the end. And now there are computers and all sorts of technology advances. So.
He tells me this and looks into my eyes for a minute. He laughs out of nowhere, the way people laugh when nobody said anything funny but you wish someone had.
I tell him I'm a screw-up because I'm supposed to look at a bunch of pictures in a book and remember things, and I can't sometimes. And I wonder how much longer I'm supposed to wait.
The thing you have to know is that this is all just talking. Talking in the summer when you don't have anything else to do. Skip ahead and we go home and time keeps moving and nothing seems to change one bit.
Except when he leaves, he says, "Thanks for listening."
He adds, "I mean to my band," even though we both know that's not what he meant.
On to Parts 4-6!
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