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A Journey to the Center of the World, Part 1: The Travelers

Reply to Dane

Sent to the RoswellSlash mailing list January 4, 2003

TITLE: The Travelers (Part 1 of Journey to the Center of the World)›
AUTHOR: Dane ›
FANDOM: Roswell/ Smallville›
ARCHIVE: Roswell Slash, Smallville Slash›
PAIRING: Max/ Kyle, Clark/ Lex›
SUMMARY: Our heroes converge in a strange place.›
NOTES: I've been a fan of Roswell like forever but only gotten around to writing a story for it when I started watching Smallville. It seems fitting somehow that this story combines both my favorite shows. Hope you guys like this.
DISCLAIMER: Roswell belongs to Mertz and Katims. Smallville belongs to Tollin/Robbins and Millar/Gough Inc. ›
FEEDBACK: As welcome as hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.

        Max Evans thought ruefully about the past few months since graduating high school as the Greyhound Bus he was on approached Metropolis, Kansas. He couldn't believe just how much emotional pain a person, okay, an alien can get. Without a reason to stay, Isabel and Jesse left for Texas to raise a family. Maria and Michael eloped to Las Vegas and then went to U of NM for the summer semester. Kyle disappeared immediately after getting his diploma, so no one has heard from him. Liz, the only one that really matters among his friends, ended their relationship by accepting an internship in Seattle.

        For the first time in his entire life, he was alone.

        Not that he hadn't be alone before, but this time it's worse for it felt more like his greatest fear; abandonment. When he was younger, he used to dream that people he cared about would suddenly stop caring and leave him behind. One by one, they would leave him and as they left, the world grew darker and darker. It was because of those dreams that Max grew up introspective and insulated. Unlike Isabel, who is aloof and openly cold to the most people, Max felt the need to be open with people, but not too much just in case they do eventually go away from his life. After Liz left, the nightmares came back full force. It came to a point when Max would avoid sleep at all cost so he wouldn't feel the enveloping darkness and the bitter cold it brought with it. Sensing the change in their son, the Evans' decided to send Max to Kansas for a change of scenery.

        So here's Max now, fighting the lure of sleep by sheer force of will and waiting patiently to arrive at Metropolis. After meeting his relatives, they would take him to the nearby town where they lived and he would stay with them for a month. Things could be worse. He could go to sleep.

        But for now, his only comfort was a CD burnt especially for Max by Liz. Placing on his headphones, he set the Discman on the fifth track and allowed the pleading strain of Sheryl Crow repeat.

        "I shall believe. I shall believe. I shall believe...."

* * *

        Lex Luthor felt like throttling his father. Being blind didn't stop Lionel from making hell on earth for Lex. Not when he made a multi-million dollar company that was fast rising up the Fortune 500. Not when he finally gained independence when he announced his resignation from LuthorCorp. And not even when he told him that he was dating Clark Kent, the son of his enemy.

        Sometimes, being a Luthor wasn't worth the effort, thought Lex as he swirled the Scotch glass.

        Earlier today, he found out that Lionel fired yet another nurse and secretary, so Lex was forced to hire new ones in a hurry. Yesterday, he tried to ride one of the horses in the stables and nearly gotten himself trampled upon. Lex swore that if the next incident doesn't kill his father, he would do it himself.

        Sighing again for what felt to be the hundredth time today, Lex sank to the leather couch of his Metropolis office and tried to relax. His only comfort at the moment was that Clark called him before he heard from his father just to tell him about his day and to remind Lex about dinner this coming Sunday. He also mentioned that he was in the bus station downtown to pick up some cousin of his, but he wouldn't have the time to see him, and that he loved him.

        Lex smiled, knowing that at least someone out there loves him that much. Besides him, only his mother had provided him with such affection. Everyone else regarded him with false sincerity or open disdain.

        To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, it's not easy being a freak.

        Looking at the wall clock, Lex realized that he'd been ranting for the past four hours and he had yet to finish the spread sheets that his secretary brought in for him. Sighing again, he pushed back his irritation at his father and continued with his work. If he ended this tonight, he may get back home in time for the reruns of ŚXena: Warrior Princess'. Decidedly, he used his remote to play something relaxing on his stereo.

        "Turn out the lights. Just say good night to yourself...."

* * *

        Kyle Valenti never felt such contentment. He didn't tell anyone that he planned to leave Roswell so he could leave all the craziness behind. He could imagine that his Dad is pretty pissed at him for leaving but he did say on the note that he left that he was coming back someday once he figured out his life. First Liz broke his heart, then Alex died, and then Tess' betrayal; a guy can only take so much. He could actually empathize with Max, since he is the king with the fate of his home planet on his shoulders. The problems he must have could probably break a lesser man, he admitted to himself. It's only no wonder Liz stayed with him for this long.

        So now, Kyle spent his days as a farm hand on the Kent Organic Farm in Smallville, Kansas. Traveling for the past month has taught Kyle a lot about living and existing. One thing Max Evans ever did for him was to point him in the direction of Buddhism which is pretty much about living, existing, and shit. Existing, in Kyle's mind at the moment, felt like being one of the billions of stars that he was looking up at from the telescope that Clark, the son of the farm's owner, has set up on the barn loft. By the time he finished with Smallville after a month and earned his money, he would like to hope he would be existing in some place with a beach like Florida or California.

        How strange that he left a town famous for its alien UFO crash for a town famous for its meteor crash. Maybe his destiny is to be forever connected with aliens and space. He snorted mentally. The moment he believed that would be the day that he would kiss an alien. Come to think of it, that's not saying much since he knew a lot of aliens.

        As much as he loved the way he was living his life now, he knew there was something missing. He wasn't going to rush it though. If there was one lesson that Sheriff Jim Valenti had taught his son was that patience has its own rewards or some platitude like that.

        Shucking off any pretense of wanting to stay awake, Kyle went to the couch and bound his body to the blankets. Sleeping in a barn wasn't Kyle's idea of a place to stay but since he had limited funds, well, beggars can't be choosers. Not that he was complaining since it was cool at night and breezy during the day. Growing up, he always wanted more space in his room, if only to give an illusion that his own private domain was more than four walls. At night, he would dream about flying because it meant being free and carefree; fatalism without the bad outcome. Abandoning the sky for the lumpy couch, Kyle looked forward to dreaming about floating over wide open spaces.

        Maybe, if he had more than enough money, he would splurge some of it on a B&B somewhere and bask in the feeling of a comfy bed and a well-made breakfast. It felt good to know that the next day would be wonderful, just like a stupid Disney song. Out of the blue, Kyle started to whistle the same song until sleep took over.

        "Zippaty-do-dah Zippaty-yeh! My oh my! What a wonderful day!........"

* * *

        Clark Kent wished that he could see the stars right about now. Being in the city at the moment, any light coming from the sky would be cancelled out by the harsh brightness of the buildings and the constant air pollution. Not that he was disappointed, or anything. He could always go to Lex's office in the Business District, knowing that his boyfriend would most probably need some distraction from his paperwork. Clark could do that, but his parents would kill him about ditching his cousin. Just thinking about blowing him off proves just how much of an influence Lex's spontaneous wild side can be on him. He smirked to himself at that idea.

        His thoughts then drifted to his visiting cousin. As far as he knew, Max Evans was adopted, like him, and that he lives in Roswell, New Mexico with his parents and older sister. Other than that, his Dad was pretty vague about his relatives. Apparently, they used to be close until about the time of Max and his sister's adoption. It was only from recent mending of fences did Jonathan Kent and Philip Evans started talking again.

        He sighed heavily as the muggy air of Metropolis began to feel oppressive on his skin and he started to sweat. Peeling off his favorite flannel to his white t-shirt, he heard a few giggling responses from a few girls nearby. Clark smiled at them and they blushed away, embarrassed at being caught. From his back pocket, he got a print out picture of Max and sat down on one of the waiting chairs.

        Clark studied the picture intently. There were three things that drew Clark's attention to the image; the soulful dark eyes, the elf-like ears, and the air of quiet sadness that Clark sensed from the face's expression. If he was as fanciful as Lex during all the tales he told about Greek myth, he would probably say that Max looked ethereal, otherworldly, and undeniably beautiful. What puzzled him was the sadness that the picture emanated. Hopefully, Max wasn't like that in real life.

        The radio from a nearby source played some Sarah McLachlan and his thoughts contemplated the Mona Lisa like expression of Max.

        "You were born from the wreckage of your silent reverie..."

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