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House of Exile, Part Two
Reply to DM or visit her websitePosted to the Roswell Slash list September 4,2000
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. Rating: PG-13
Summary: In the House Of Exile people are forced to rely only on each other for what's important. Friendship.
Max and Kyle let themselves be ushered to seats near the front of the chapel. Liz and Michael soon joined them. Alex turned from his place at the altar to smile at them and mouth a 'thank you'.
Max glanced over at the people his sister had invited. Immediately his eyes caught the frizzy-haired blonde. Tess Harding. The cause of all his problems. Kyle felt him tense up and followed his gaze. "What is she doing here?"
"Obviously someone still believes Tess is completely innocent." Max seethed.
"Calm down, babe." Kyle took his hand. "If she were a man I'd take her down... Hell, if she were just human I'd take her down."
"I can't stay." Max started to get up.
"Sit your ass down Evans." Kyle hissed. "You came to watch your sister get married and that's what you're gonna do. We'll deal with Tess later."
Isabel smiled brightly as she walked down the aisle with her father to meet her future husband. A future that was only minutes from completion. She could feel her brothers in the room but her smile never faltered. They were not going to ruin this for her.
The reception was held at a local country club. It was filled with lots of people for Isabel to show off for. The foursome from the house on Destierro St watched from their table. Max shook his head and watched his sister work the lawn. "I'm going to go congratulate her."
"I'll be here." Kyle nodded.
"We're going to go dance." Liz took Michael's hand and left.
Kyle sipped his drink and kept his eye on Max and Isabel's exchange. Curt and solemn. He barely noticed the shadow that fell over him.
"Well, well... if it isn't Kyle Valenti. I would have thought you'd be in prison for what you did." Tess's voice, with its saccharine sweetness, irked Kyle to say the least.
"Shouldn't you be in Hell with a pitchfork up your ass?" Kyle returned calmly. He refused to look up at her.
"Didn't you miss me?"
"Like I'd miss having a root canal... I take that back. I'd rather have a root canal than to be in your presence." Kyle stood to face her.
"Have you been treating my Max good?"
"If you say so but I wouldn't count on you keeping him long." Tess winked. It took Kyle all his self-control not to slap that smirk off her face. "So... mistrial was it? Hung jury?"
"Innocence people don't go to prison... but then it seems guilty people don't either." He glared.
"Why who would that be?" She shrugged her shoulders.
"What do you want Tess?" Kyle clenched his fists.
"Not a thing. Not a thing." Tess turned to walk away only to come face to chest with Max. "Hello Max."
"Tess." He bit out.
"Come now, don't you miss me?" She ran a hand down his chest.
"Don't touch me. I know what you did. I want you to stay away from me and my family." Max growled.
"What did I do? You have proof Counselor Evans?" Tess smirked and walked off.
"I hate her." Max spat after her.
"You and me both." Kyle whispered.
"You ok?" Max took his hand, not caring who was watching.
"I'm fine. She's just trying to get a rise out of me." Kyle squeezed his hand back and sat. "We're here for the food so where is it?"
The toast was given and cake passed around. Isabel had seen the exchange earlier between Max, Kyle and Tess. She just didn't get it. Max had chosen Kyle over Tess time and time again. She wondered what exactly they knew about that night that she didn't.
Alex smiled at his bride, Mrs. Isabel Whitman. Then he saw the clouds in her eyes. She was thinking about them again. He took her hand and raised it to his lips. She returned to her reception and her new husband. "It wasn't so horrible was it?"
"No, I guess not. I ever tell you how much I love you?" Isabel tilted her head at him.
"Even if you don't say it, I know." His blue eyes beamed. "Don't worry about them. It was just important they were all here."
"But they aren't all here... are they?"
"Demon, 9 o'clock." Liz hissed to the table. Michael clutched her hand tight. Max and Kyle locked hands as Tess made her way over.
"Calm down. Meeting in the private room with the man and woman of the hour." Tess sighed and kept moving.
"What do you think it's about?" Liz whispered.
"Only one possible thing." Max murmured. "If anyone else has noted the date. It's nearing the hour..."
Max leaned against the wall of the private room. Kyle sat in the chair beside him. Liz and Michael on the couch across the way. Isabel and Alex stood in the center of the room. Tess was the only one relaxing in her seat.
Before anyone could speak, the door opened. Philip stepped in then looked over the contents of the room. "People are looking for you sweetie."
"Ok, Dad. I'll be out soon." Isabel nodded. When the door shut they all had the same day in their minds. The night exactly three years ago.
The cops had just left the Evans house with Kyle in handcuffs. Max had watched in shock. With all the grief in the house and then cops. Max grabbed his jacket to follow them.
"Where are you going?" Philip demanded.
"To get him out." Max said.
"After what he did?" Isabel nearly screamed at him. All Alex's attempts to get her to settle down came to naught.
"He didn't DO anything." Max yelled back. Michael barely registered the argument about to get out of hand. Liz was in a similar state.
"Didn't DO anything? She's dead!" Isabel finally reached the loudness she wanted.
"He didn't kill her. Tess did!" He shot right back. Tess didn't say a word, she barely had the grace to look upset.
"How dare you come into my house with him, defend him and accuse innocent people?" Philip roared.
"Innocent until proven guilty... isn't that what we do?" Max stepped to his father.
"Yes, it is. Just because he's your lover doesn't make him innocent."
"Philip please." Diane whispered trying to calm them down.
"It has nothing to do with that!" Max yelled. "He didn't do it. Tess did!"
"No!" Isabel shrieked. "He took away my best friend and now to defend him you're accusing my other best friend. It doesn't work Max!"
"Since when is she your best friend? You can't stand her." Max pulled on his jacket.
"If you leave to go after him... don't come back." Philip said quietly, taking his daughter into his arms.
"If that's the way you want it." Max stormed out of the house.
"I hate you!" Isabel screamed after him.
"Dad, you have to believe me." Kyle pleaded. Valenti crossed his arms.
"There's no one in the other room." His dad said softly. "Did he do it?"
"What?" Kyle sat back in his chair as if he'd been pushed.
"Did he do it? Did he kill her? Are you covering for him?" Jim started pacing.
"What? What are you saying? You think Max did it?" Kyle felt like he'd just been punched over and over in the gut. It was so hard to breathe. There was a knock on the door. Jim ran over to open it.
"No, not yet." He slammed the door shut. "If you didn't, then he must have. Tell me what happened."
"I don't know what happened. I didn't do it. Neither did Max. One minute she was crouching a few feet from the edge and the next she was falling over." Kyle started crying. "It wasn't my fault."
Liz burst into tears on the other side of the glass. Michael's tears fell silently. They didn't know what to believe. They had been too far away. Once they realized what was going on... it was too late. Suddenly Liz found herself hugging Michael. They had both lost her. Maria was dead.
They listened to the Sheriff and Kyle's voices while they held on to each other.
"Just tell me what happened."
"I was getting the fire ready, Max was fixing the poles in the tent a few feet away. Maria was looking at something near the edge. Tess was pulling the food out of the cooler on the other side of the firepit. Isabel and Alex were inside their tent. Liz was writing in her journal and Michael was setting up his tent."
"The air felt like it was alive. Charged with energy. I heard the scuffling sound. I looked up just as she fell over and I dove for the edge. I caught her hands... but I only had her fingers and she slipped. I couldn't hold on to her. She was screaming." Kyle's breathing came fast with his sobs. "I couldn't keep her from falling. I almost followed her over but Max pulled me back."
"Isabel says you pushed her over."
"What? Why would I do that? She was my sister."
"I can't get involved in this case Kyle. When you talk to the investigators you know what to leave out... I want to know. Did Max do it?"
"No! Why don't you believe me?" Kyle yelled. "Wait... Isabel was in her tent. She couldn't have seen a thing."
"Tess says you pushed her too."
"What? How could she say that? She was right there."
"You said there was energy in the air. Maybe Max..."
"I said it *felt* like there was energy in the air. It didn't feel the way it does when Max uses his powers. It was different."
"You can't cover for him. If he did it..."
"Don't you hear a thing I'm telling you? It was an accident. No one pushed her. She didn't jump either."
"Then what happened?"
"I don't know." No matter how many times he said that it was an accident or it wasn't his fault, none of it seemed true.
Isabel spoke first. "Thank you all for coming. It really means alot to Alex and me."
"Wouldn't have missed it." Tess smiled sweetly.
"Why don't you just get to it Isabel?" Michael stared up at the ceiling before meeting her eye.
"I can't accept this, the way things are. You guys should just come clean." Isabel finally said.
"Come clean about what?" Liz whispered.
"About all the things that have happened."
"I haven't done anything." Michael wrapped an arm around his wife.
"Me either." Liz leaned into him.
"Me either." Max crossed his arms.
"Me either." Kyle joined in and looked at Tess pointedly.
"Don't look at me. I'm innocent." She crossed her legs.
"Something happened that night." Alex finally spoke. "Whether she wants to admit it or not, Isabel is not entirely sure about what she thinks she knows about that night."
"None of us are." Kyle whispered. Silence filled the room.
"Things were so confusing then." Isabel started talking. "First I walked in on my brother and his lover... outing them to our parents. A month later we all went camping and my best friend goes over a cliff and takes a week to die from her injuries. She couldn't even let us know what happened. She's probably still the only one who knows. Kyle gets charged with murder, Max defends him. Hung jury. Liz moved away for a year. When she comes back, she starts dating Michael, who has moved in with my gay brother and his lover. Now it's Mr. and Mrs. Guerin and Mr. and Mr. whatever living in the one house on Destierro." Isabel drew in a ragged breath. "I just want things to be normal again."
"Things were never normal Iz." Max said softly. "Whether you want to believe it or not... Maria's death was not our fault."
"In ten minutes... ten minutes it'll be exactly three years since she died." Isabel whispered. "I just want to know what happened."
"She's tired of being angry." Alex summed up for his friends. "She wants to know why Liz and Michael got married. Why Max and Kyle are together. Why Maria died..."
"God! You guys are pathetic." Tess muttered then her eyes went wide as Alex's blue eyes turned steel on hers.
"I heard that." Alex growled. "It was you wasn't it?"
Tess's mouth opened and shut. She hadn't meant for anyone to hear her. Before she could move, Max was practically on top of her, holding her head straight so he could look into her eyes to make a connection.
** Tess glared at the cute couple that Max and Liz made in high school.
She danced when they broke up in college.
She cried when Max and Kyle announced to their families that they were gay and together.
She plotted and then the perfect situation arose. Maria was examining a pretty rock near the edge of the cliff. It was simple. Kyle was the closest. Tess gave Maria a little shove with her powers and she flew over the edge. Kyle dove for her and she slipped out of his fingers. Kyle almost went over but Max saved him.
It was perfect. Tess told Valenti that Kyle had pushed her. She planted the image in Isabel's head. Isabel told Valenti the same thing.
It was beautiful. Maria was dead. Michael would turn to Isabel. Kyle did it. Max would turn to her.
She fumed after hearing about the mistrial.
Max pulled himself away from Tess in disgust. Kyle caught the expression. "Max, what did you see?"
He didn't answer. Max's eyes were still locked on Tess's as he backed into the wall. Michael and Isabel watched how both alien's faces were fixed in determination. Then they felt it. Energy building. Isabel couldn't distinguish whose it was. It wasn't until Kyle dove for Max that she figured it out. The window next to where Max had been standing shattered.
"Tess?" She whispered. The smaller woman turned to her, her eyes were empty.
"What the hell was that?" Michael yelled as he jumped to his feet. Placing his body in front of his wife. "What do you think you're trying to do?"
"I've only felt energy like that once before." Kyle said getting to his feet.
"Why did you do that? You could have killed him." Isabel turned to Tess, gathering her own energy just in case.
"What are you doing Tess?" Michael started gathering his as well. Tess remained silent and stared past Isabel. Max was struggling to get to his feet.
"None of you ever listen." Was the small woman's only sentence as the static in the air grew. Kyle pulled Max to his feet and moved him out of the broken glass. The noise from the reception outside had drifted in. No one had heard the explosion. Max shook his head and glanced around. Alex was edging his way around to Liz, also edging her way toward him. "I'm right, dammit. I'm always right."
Kyle felt Max push him away towards the other. Then the familiar tingle of Max's energy building reached him. Max shoved him this time. "Tess, what made you think you could just push her like that?"
"She was in the way." Tess turned her attention back to Max.
"You're such a damn bitch." Isabel hissed. The importance of this conversation wasn't lost on the others in the room.
"First Liz, then Kyle. Maria was just a pawn. She died, Kyle should have been out of the picture. I didn't figure on Liz coming back into it. Really making the rounds, huh Liz? Alex would never be too hard to get rid of. That's why I was saving him for last." Tess's eyes got even darker. The energy in the room started moving out, shaking the room.
"Damn bitch." Michael muttered. He raised his hand and got ready. Isabel narrowed her eyes. Max knew what he had to do. He tossed his energy at Tess. She reacted immediately against it and threw out her own to block it. Isabel shot hers out next, catching her off guard and knocking her to the ground. Michael approached, his energy holding her to the floor. He knelt down and locked eyes with her. His hand met her chest and he connected.
Tess screamed as her body heated up. Michael never wavered. He whispered to the troublemaker. "This is for Maria."
Her body went limp.
Michael stood up, shaking. The remaining five gathered around. No one knew what to say or who to say it to.
The room was silent except for the music still drifting into the room through the broken window. The wedding reception was still going strong outside the country club, totally oblivious to the supernatural events that had taken place inside.
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