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New Beginnings, Chapter 10
Reply to Alex ParrishPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list October 6, 2003
Part:10/19 "New Beginnings"
Author: Alex Parrish
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. I own nothing, Trust me. Suing is futile!
Distribution: Roswell Slash Archive/Others Ask
Rating: X? Explicit sex and language
Spoilers: Nothing in particular and seasons 1,2,3 in general
Thanks: To aunty_mib, Beta extraodinaire, eh!
Summary/General: The lives of the 7 primary characters for 9 months after they leave season 3.
Michael Just Kills Me, or, The Wrath of Rath
In the few years that I have been sentenced to planet Earth, I have developed the understanding that, if you expect the worst of people, they will usually deliver; unfortunately, you never know when. Every once-in-a-long-while, someone will surprise you; unfortunately, you never know who.
I've spent the last three-and-a-half months walking on eggshells around Guerin, looking out to never be alone with him, and thanking Buddha every morning when I didnžt wake up dead. All this as a response to Michael's, or Rath's, threat to re-claim Zan, or Max. I wasn't sure whether I was fearing the wrath of Rath, or murder by Michael. The words "Not right now" echoed in my brain and even showed up in my nightmares.
Every day, I checked Michael's expression for any signs of murderous tendencies. Occasionally, Michael noticed that I was watching him, and he would stare at me and slowly, slowly morph his face into the most evil grin with a sort-of Hannibal Lechter sweetness behind it. It terrified me. This always sent me running to find Max. Only by being in Max's presence could I ward off the dangerous, blood-red dahrma which I felt in Michael's presence. When I couldnžt be with Max, I hid out in my room, carefully locking the door in a comic effort to lock Michael out. Now there's an exercise in futility; for Michael, any lock was a mere minor inconvenience and he had enough power to obliterate any door in the lodge with almost no effort at all. Most of the time I thought that was awesome, but not when I was the one hiding. I guess I thought or hoped that someone would hear the door explode and come to my rescue. I don't mean to say that I lived in terror 24/7, but it happened often enough for me to take precautions. Bummer.
In September, it already began to get cold, and we knew that we needed to stock-up on provisions. The real estate agent repeatedly warned us that the lodge would become snowbound early and stay that way until late. The clothes we wore on our backs were all that we brought from Roswell, and what we bought along the way was just not going to cut it in the cold weather we had heard about. From what I read, it's soon going to be colder than a 'witches' tit in a brass bra' and I, for one, have no intention of freezing to death. We each made a list of clothes and things we thought we would personally need, and cooperated on a common list of needs and provisions. After picking a date to go into the nearest city, we realized that it would probably take two days, including a lengthy van trip. As soon as I heard that, I blew it off. I had had my fill of the road in the summer. The last thing I needed was to be cooped-up in a van with the pod-squad for two more days.
I trusted my list of clothing and personal items to Isabel, the 'shop-aholic.' I was sure that whatever she picked-out would be cool. Isabel can be a pain-in-the-ass; as Jesse puts it, she is "high maintenance," but no one can deny that she has a fashion-sense; more of that than common-sense, I sometimes think, and shopping is her world, her domain. Everyone else seemed eager to go to (the city.) That was fine with me. I welcomed the thought of a day or two absolutely alone.
The lists were divided-up and the men were assigned to find most of the provisions, while the women got to take care of clothing and personal items. Call me a sexist pig, if you will, but I think there is something completely natural in that arrangement. Boys do boy things and girls do girlie things and never the twain shall meet. Everyone else seemed happy with the arrangement, so, for a change, I kept my mouth shut, so as not to cause any more problems between the genders than necessary.
The day for the 'great shopping trip' arrived and I slept late, mostly to keep out of the way, but also to avoid the women nagging me to come along. I could hear the familiar activity that goes with hitting-the-road all around the lodge, but this time it was followed by an uncharacteristic type of silence. It was a type of silence that you won't notice if it is just a case of everyone being quiet; no, this type of silence requires some kind of absence. The change of atmosphere definitely felt good, and when I got out of bed I felt energized and unusually peaceful, knowing that I would have two Michael-free days.
Believe it or not, I planned to spend a good chunk of the time at hard physical labor. However much I had resented in Roswell, I missed having to do it at the lodge. It seems like, at home, there was always work around the house, and I was continually in training for one sport after another. I know that 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,' but all play and no work makes Jack a fat jerk. Here, nearly all of our "work" was mental and spiritual. We tried to keep in-shape with regular workouts (except Michael, of course) but the problem with a workout is that, in the end, nothing is actually accomplished. Sure, calories and energy have been burned, and you're a little stronger, but, why bother? Why have a buff body if you never intended to use it? Of course, there's always the challenge of looking hot; I don't deny that has advantages, but that wasn't enough for me right then. I felt I needed to touch, lift, feel, push, move, carry, and at the end of the day, I needed to stand back and behold my accomplishment. It's a guy thing.
The challenge I set for myself was a huge pile of firewood -- probably three or four full cords of it -- behind the lodge. It had been cut, dried and seasoned, but needed to be split if it were to be used efficiently, and the jock in me immediately thought, "swinging an ax is good for the upper-body -- youžll have 'pecs-to-die-for,' and it'll be good for your triceps too." I planned to split and stack the entire pile in two days and maybe get in some heavy-duty thinking while I was working.
I ate a light breakfast and spent more time than I expected, scrounging around in the grungy basement of the lodge, looking for the ax I was sure I would find. I found it. It was dull. With a little more digging-around, and more time lost, I found a grinding wheel and a whetstone and set to work honing a keen edge which would have made Paul Bunyan proud. I was feeling manly pride in an 'I-can- be-self-sufficient-and-survive-the-wilderness' way. Give me a big blue ox and I would be the stuff of legends.
The day was warmer than I had expected, and just five minutes after I attacked the pile of wood, I had worked up a good sweat, and stripped off my shirt. It felt wonderful having the warm sun shining directly on my body and I liked the feel of the sweat rolling down my chest and off my forehead. Today I was a man, doing manly things. I worked for about an hour, splitting and stacking; it would have been easier with a wedge and mallet, but the ax was still sharp and I was making good progress. I rested for a few minutes, enjoying the stillness around me, and then set back to work.
What I saw next, stopped me mid-swing. Sauntering around the corner of the lodge, and ambling in my direction was -- Michael! Even the way the guy walked had a smart-ass look to it. I closed my eyes and shook my head, hoping that I was only having an illusion, brought on by the strain on my body. When I opened my eyes, he was still there, but even closer. He was real. Too real.
He was real enough to walk up to me, but I couldn't read any expression at all on his face.
I opened with, " 'Morning, Guerin!" trying to sound matter-of-fact and hoping it was not too cheery; anything might set him off.
OK, let's try something else. "What are you doing here; I thought you went to town with the others?"
He tilted his head a little and stared at me as though I were a bug or rodent and he hadn't expected that I could speak.
He spoke. "I had a ... headache ... and told the others to go on without me."
"How's your headache now?" I ventured.
"He's still here." His expression changed , but I couldn't read whether he was smiling or leering.
He continued, "I heard you out here working and decided that this would be a good day for you and me to spend some ... uh ... quality time together."
The words 'quality time' were about a '10' on the sarcasm scale.
"Let me see the ax" He commanded as he held out his hand.
My knees went weak, but I was determined not to let him see me squirm. I handed him my still-rather-sharp ax and he went right for the edge, testing it with his finger.
"Good! Nice and sharp; itžll cut nice and clean. I hate a dull ax blade; you have to go chopping and hacking over and over before you get the cut."
I swallowed at the image.
He just stood there, smiling and holding the ax with both hands in a relaxed position in front of him.
More silence. I thought I could hear my heart beating and wondered if he could.
He produced that 'tilted-head' 'Hannibal-the Cannibal' smile again.
I closed my eyes, as though, if I couldn't see, I couldn't hear the answer to my next question. The words came out of my mouth completely on their own.
"Are you going to kill me now?"
Still silent, his expression got serious and he kind-of pursed his lips. He took a step towards me, and I took a step back.
"Michael, if you are planning on killing me now, I can understand it -- I REALLY can, but I wish you would reconsider. For one thing, Max will be really pissed at you."
He stepped towards me again as he quietly said, "Max isn't here."
I stepped back. "True, true, but he'll be back tomorrow and he'll be very angry with you. And think about the mess -- who'll clean it up?"
Step. "I can handle Max."
I withdrew another step. "Michael, this is so-o-o not cool; I really wish you wouldn't do this."
One more step back and I found my back pressing into the wall of the Lodge --no more retreat.
"OK can you just chill? How about this; you put down the ax and we can duke-it-out mano-a-mano, no alien voodoo, and you can beat the living crap out of me and take your revenge."
"Ok, Michael, I can see that you're determined to do this, and we both know that I can't stop you. Do what you have to do, but I have one last request. Please? Would you please find a way to let my dad know that I'm dead? He helped you guys out time after time in Roswell, and you owe him --not that you should let that influence your plans. I just don't want him spending the rest of his life worrying about me, or searching for me. When you tell him, it will probably break his heart, and he'll probably never recover, but, maybe he'll be able go on and still have some kind of a life. Could you just at least do that for me? Please?"
Michael just stood there silently for a good thirty seconds and then shook his head and announced, "Valenti, You're a fucking moron. Do you know that?"
Then he dropped the head of the ax and leaned on the handle as though it were some deadly cane, with his other hand on his hip.
I knew what was coming. I could feel it just starting to rumble in my gut and I knew that it was beyond the point of stopping by force-of-will. It gained in strength and power, and then, it was there. I hurled. It was projectile vomiting and Michael jumped out of the way, barely escaping the putrid onslaught.
"Jesus Christ, Valenti! You're not only a moron, you're a fucking menace! Finish your puking and get your sorry ass over onto that bench. I want to talk to you."
I did as he commanded, wiping myself with a tissue on the way over to the bench. He was already seated and slid over a fraction to give me room. I sat. We both sat in silence for a few moments.
He turned to me, face-to-face. "Valenti, you really believed that I was going to kill you, didn't you?"
"Fucking moron!" He seemed particularly fond of that epithet. "I never planned to kill you, never, ever. Not once did I seriously even consider it. Do you know why, Valenti, do you KNOW why?"
"I'm guessing you're about to tell me."
"Because IžM NOT A KILLER, you fucking moron!"
A moment passed, and, true to form, knowing I risked enraging him, I opened my mouth and spoke anyway. "Yeah, Right. Like, you've never killed anyone before."
He was more calm now. He waited a beat and then said, "Yes. Yes, I've killed, but always in self-defense or in defense of Max or Isabel, but not out of jealousy or revenge, and not for sport. I'm NOT a killer"
I fear I probably won't live long enough to learn to keep my mouth shut -- especially when I'm ahead. My moron mouth countered, all on its own, "You wanted to kill Tess."
"Damn straight! I wanted to kill Tess; and if I remember correctly, so did you at first; so did half the group! But I didn't kill her. I didn't, did I?"
I wasn't sure if I was supposed to answer; He tried again.
"No, because Ižm not a killer. Besides that, I have other reasons not to kill you."
"OK, what reasons?"
"Do you really not know? Look, moron,"
(At least he dropped the 'fucking' part)
"Max is my best friend in the universe -- probably the only person I completely trust -- Oh, I know we have our moments, and sometimes he pisses me off royally; no pun intended -- but I love him like a brother; no, MORE than a brother. For some odd reason -- and it is a complete mystery to me -- out of all the people in the universe, Max thinks he needs you, and even more than that, he wants you. You're his reason for getting up in the morning and going on; and I don't think you even realize that, you fucking moron. And, I would never ever do anything to hurt MAX; never."
As if something snapped in my brain, I found myself saying something I had never said out loud, something so terrible and frightening to me that I couldn't form the words until now. "Yeah, but Max has Liz. Oh, I know he loves me, but sometimes I think everything would be better all around if I were just not part of the picture."
Michael stood, hands in pockets and towered above me. "Valenti, you ARE a fucking moron; you're much dumber than I thought." He squatted so that we were again face-to-face. "You don't have a clue just how much he loves you and needs you."
He sighed and then continued, "I'm going to tell you something now that I've never told anyone, not even Maria, not anyone, and if I ever find out that you told Liz or Max, I'm gonna reconsider my decision not to kill you. Do you understand me?
"That day in the Crashdown, the day Liz was shot ... Max had been, I guess you could say, stalking you for about two years, and you were still treating him like he was invisible. He went to the Crashdown that day looking for YOU, because he knew that Liz was your girlfriend and you sometimes hung out there. When he got up and rushed over and saved Liz's life, he thought he was saving her for YOU! He was so crazy-in-love with you, he thought that, somehow, if he could get closer to Liz, he could get closer to you. He never intended to have a relationship with her; it was all about you. His stupid plan backfired, of course, and that started the train-wreck that eventually included Liz, and Maria, and Alex and the Sheriff and, finally, you. He was actually relieved the first time Liz called-off the relationship, because he knew that his plan had failed, but by then, he realized that he had fallen in love with Liz as well. The rest is history."
He continued, "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Max doesn't really love Liz; I believe, no, I KNOW that he is deeply in love with her, and always will be, but I also believe that Max is just barely a bisexual -- one inch farther over the line on the Kinsey scale and he would be totally gay. It's all about you, Kyle; you're the one that floats his boat; Liz was just a lucky coincidence. Think about that."
I was stunned. Not even Max's 'vulcan mind-meld' had revealed this to me. There was nothing I could say.
"Here's just one small example," He went on, "You know that Max has never been a 'rah-rah school-spirit' kind of guy; he refuses to play on any teams and couldn't care less about the games and the pep-rallies. Did you know that Max can name every touchdown, every basket, every pin you've made while you were in High School -- even for the games he didn't attend?"
"Wow, I can't even do that."
"Yeah, 'Wow', and that's just one example of the goofy lengths to which he will go -- just for YOU. How could you ever have doubts or feel insecure about a guy who loves you that much?"
"I guess Ižd have to be a fucking moron."
"Damn straight, Valenti." Michael finally smiled -- a genuine smile.
He stood up and said, "Come on moron, I'll help you with this woodpile. How about, I split and you stack?"
I found the strength to stand and answered, "Great, I could use the help."
"Just a minute, stay where you are," he held out his hand like a crossing-guard.
There was a lightning flash, and when the smoke cleared, the entire pile of wood was split -- all of it, and spread over what had to be three acres of land.
He stood with his hands on his hips and a very self-satisfied grin on his face and said, "That was a lot of wood! I'm kind-of tired now; I think I'll take a nap. See you later." He headed for the lodge.
I called after him, "Guerin, you're a bastard!"
"I know," he laughed, giving me a one-finger salute as he disappeared around the corner.
It took me until 4:00 the next day to stack all that wood. It felt good. I slept more peacefully than I had since we left Roswell; for a few days, anyway.
Continue to Chapter 11
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