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Dark Epiphany: Rot

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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive July 8, 2001

Title: Rot Author: Bennie
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell.
Character Focus: Liz/Isabel; Liz POV
Spoilers: Well, no.
Author's Note: Yet another unplanned addition to Cure and Malignant. Ready to kill me yet? Go for it. But first, read about Liz's reaction to Isabel's dark epiphany.

       Isabel is preoccupied with death.

       I never realized it before. Of course, she always avoided me before, first because we ran in different social circles, and then because she hated that Max saved me. Still, sometimes I thought we were making progress. I thought that if I could just make her comfortable enough, she'd talk about whatever it was that put that peculiar expression on her face.

       Well, it happened. We had our moment. It wasn't what I expected.

* * *

       I had been putting away the last of the mops. Maria and Michael had already gone home or wherever it is they go when they get that look in their eyes, and Max and Tess had never actually come inside. After talking for a few minutes outside the front door, they had turned and walked off, his hand lightly touching her lower back. Casually, but … not.

       I don't think he even knew he was doing it.

       I know he didn't know that I knew he was.

       It sounds like an old comedy routine, doesn't it? But somehow I couldn't bring myself to laugh.

       "Well, what do you know?" I'd asked, not really expecting an answer. The only person nearby was Isabel, and as far as I knew, the fact of my existence completely escaped her notice. Unless she wanted an Alien Blast during our busiest time of day, of course. Then wasn't I suddenly the very person in the world she wanted?

       But I guess she'd heard me, because I heard her call my name, and I looked at her reflexively.

       You know, I'd never really noticed Isabel Evans' eyes. I don't think it was just me; I think a lot of people find themselves distracted by other, more … prominent … features. But for some reason I ended up looking right into them, and for the first time I realised that she had brown eyes, like me.

       I wondered if she saw as much pain in my eyes as I saw in hers.

       I tried half-heartedly to back away from such intimacy, to joke, to remind her that she didn't want anything to do with me, that she never had. But she persisted, and I found myself asking to talk to her. To confess things to her.

       And she agreed.

       To this day I don't know why she followed me upstairs. But she did, and I talked, and she listened. She was shocked, and she reacted so strongly I had to apologise mentally for ever thinking her cold.

       Before she left that afternoon, she ended up in my arms, crying. When she left, a look of bemused relief on her beautiful face, I asked if she wanted to wash up before going. She smirked then, and I feared the return of the Ice Princess, but her eyes were twinkling as she ran one magic hand returned raw, tear-stained features to their original smoothness.

       When she came back that night, it was her turn to hold me as I cried, as the enormity of everything seemed to crash down over me. I stammered something about dust in my eye but she looked at me knowingly and wrapped long arms around me.

       I remember resting my head just under the crook of her neck. I closed my eyes as she made soothing noise and stroked my hair until I had it out of my system.

       She told me about her theory. About the cancer.

       We rocked gently for some time while we each thought about it.

       "Do you think I have it?" I asked suddenly, and her hand froze. "Do you think it's inside me, rotting away at me from the inside? Is that why I feel like this?"

       Slowly, gently, she forced me to turn, to look into dark, searching eyes. "What if it is, Liz?" she asked evenly.

       I had to think about that.

       "I'd say the only chance we have of beating it is together, Isabel," I replied.

       I don't know why I said it, but it must have been the right answer because she didn't pull away, she didn't make some cutting remark, and she didn't leave.

       Instead she leaned closer, as if reading me. And she kissed me, on the forehead. Comforting me, but also branding me, and I felt something change, something shift. The very air around us was still with anticipation.

       But nothing else happened that night.

       No, it took months to happen. It was a week before it occurred to her not to let me avoid her in school, another week beyond that for her friends to accept that I was by her side to stay. A week beyond that, my friends did too.

       Slowly, quietly, we became accustomed to the everyday reality of our intimacy. The looks we exchanged that no one else understood, the way I would wait for her after school and she would stay after the end of my shift so that Maria and Michael could go home early.

       The way we both learned to accept Max and Tess together, although I no longer understood Max and she no longer understood Tess, not really.

       But it did happen. One moment we were sitting on my bed while she played with my hair and I drew idle circles on her knee. The next thing I knew, she was grasping at my hair, not caring if she mussed it, using it to pull me to her. And my hands snaked about her neck, pulling her to me in turn.

       There was something glorious about the way our bodies stretched along each other. Something unbearably sweet.

       Together, we are soft and ripe, swollen, like fruit that looks most beautiful before the skin splits, before the darkness inside spills out.

       But I've discovered something. I like her darkness.

       I think she likes mine.

       And so we sit in the dark, and we rot.


       The End

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