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2179 Miles

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list June 29, 2003

Title: 2179 Miles
Author: Ender
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. They belong to Jason Katims, WB, Melinda Metz and other people who aren't me.
Category: Other with some slash
Author's Notes: Set during "Panacea."
Rating: PG-13.
Feedback: Yes, please. Good, bad, constructive. It's all welcome.

        2179 miles.

        She looked up the distance on the net when her dad bought the bus ticket.

        It sounded good. Even riding in the Greyhound didn't sound bad. It would give her time to sleep and to study for her AP Bio and Chem exams.

        She hadn't thought about how cramped she'd feel in the narrow, crammed-in seats. That it would be like being stuck in an airplane for the better part of a week. And she was short compared with most people. She had no idea how someone who was six feet tall could stand it. She kept trying to stretch her feet under the seat in front of her and then moving them from one side to the other to try to relieve the ache in her knees.

        But when she looked out the window at the desert scrub passing in a blur she felt it. Freedom. All the aches and pains were worth it. And when she looked down at her hands she saw pinkish brown skin, no green sparks crawling over them.

        When they stopped in Oklahoma City to get gas and food she bought an Atlas. She worked out how many miles she'd traveled and wrote it down in her journal. And with each major city they passed through she added on more miles, marking the distance in miles away instead of miles to.

        Winnamore Academy was everything she'd thought it would be. Brick buildings covered with ivy. Girls running around in their knee-length skirts and blazers. She smiled when she walked over to the mailbox and dropped the letter to Maria into its slot, the final proof that she wasn't in Roswell anymore. 2179 miles and she didn't know how many days separating this mailbox from Maria's house.

        She sat quietly while listening to Dean Hackett drone on about the rules and requirements of the school. Confident. She knew this game, had always been good at telling adults what they wanted to hear, showing them the things that they wanted to see. Before Max, that is. But Max wasn't there and it was so easy, comfortable, to slip back into that old persona. Elizabeth Parker, reliable and responsible student.

        Meeting her roommate Eileen gave her the first real question she had about whether she could fit in. Eileen with her cigarettes and attitude. Eileen had questions that Liz really didn't want to answer, about where she was from, whether she had a boyfriend. Liz made up lies as fast as the questions came. She lived near Disneyland. No, there was no boyfriend back home. When Eileen asked her what she was called, Liz said Beth, quick and sure. It was then that Liz began to see the real possibilities of this place. Even her name could be refitted into her new life. Beth Parker, no past, no aliens.

        Eileen remained cool the entire time, only seeming to crack when Liz thought Eileen might be hitting on her, but she quickly recovered, blowing smoke at Liz, trying to be intimidating. It didn't work. Eileen was just too blonde and perky. Plus she had the cheeks of a chipmunk. Liz could sympathize, though. People always thought they could push her over because she looked so small and laid back.

        Dean Hackett's knock on the door cemented her position. While Eileen stubbed out her cigarette and hid her pack, Liz whipped off her shirt and started lighting candles. When she opened the door, Dean Hackett barely questioned Liz about the smell of smoke. And that was it. Eileen was sold. She didn't even question where Liz had learned to be such a quick thinker, just appreciated the possibilities it presented. Hiding from the sheriff and the FBI back home had never been this easy.

        Her classes were what she expected. The bio lab was fantastic. They each had their own equipment. No sharing and scrunching five people aournd the same dissection tray. She researched colleges in the library and started pulling applications together. She had been planning to go to college in Las Cruces to stay close to home. Didn't want to be too far away in case of interplanetary crisis. Now she started looking at applications for University of Arizona, Penn State, and University of Michigan. She had let things slide too much the last year for Harvard to be a possibility but maybe if she really focused her freshman and sophomore years, she could transfer. That head research job didn't look like such an impossibility anymore.

        The illusion started to crack with a phone call for Liz Parker.

        She heard Eileen from down the hall. "There is no Liz Parker on this floor." After she handed the phone to Liz, Eileen's heels made angry clunking sounds on the linoleum floor as she hurried away.

        It was Max, of course, sounding worried. Liz felt fine talking with him about school and her classes, but as soon as he started talking about her coming home, she felt the change. Green electrical currents running over her hands, melting the phone handle. She covered with Max, told him she'd call later, hung up the phone as fast as possible.

        Back in her dorm room, the damage was done. As soon as she saw Eileen's face, she knew she had to come clean. With a minimum of details, Liz admitted to her name and Roswell and the boyfriend. To her relief, Eileen accepted it without any further questions.

        "See? Just be yourself. We'll get along just fine."

        Liz smiled and shook her head. Even telling the truth, she was telling a lie. Because she could never show Eileen everything. How could Eileen ever understand alien pods, powers, and crazy green sparks?

        But she did tell her about being arrested, being in jail. In a weird way, talking about all the crazy things that had happened over the last six months made her feel more connected, more human. She felt more herself than she had in a long time. It didn't make any sense with all the things she wasn't saying, but there it was. She was being herself. Liz Parker.

        They snuck up to the Rat, sipping booze from Eileen's flask, giggling and talking, gossiping about boys. Leaning back against an old stripped mattress, she tried to explain to Eileen about Max, Tess, the baby. Eileen was outraged that Liz would still be with someone who cheated on her, even if they weren't together at the time. Eileen made it sound so simple. Men and the reasons we stick by them. Why were we so afraid to let them leave?

        So they screamed out of the window that they weren't afraid. Screw boys who cheat. Liz was fine on her own. In that moment, Liz believed it. This could be her life.

        Looking at Eileen, with her face flushed from the wind and her hair blowing around her face, Liz saw something that she wanted, someone who she wanted to be.

        Later, she looked over at Eileen and heard the words pop out of her mouth before she had a chance to think about them.

        "Have you ever kissed a girl?"

        Eileen jerked a little and blushed, shifting her eyes and scrunching her nose before answering.

        "Why would you ask that?" Eileen eyed her warily. Liz wondered for a second. Why was she asking, exactly? But it was stupid to ask herself that. She knew why she was asking. The question was whether Eileen was willing to give her the answer she was looking for.

        "I don't know. You mentioned that some of the girls here were into it and I just wondered..." Liz broke off then, feeling the heat spread across her cheeks and burning her face. Avoiding Eileen's eyes now. Not sure if this was the right thing to be doing.

        "Wondered what?" Eileen just looked puzzled then. And now her eyebrows were puckered together and she really was pretty. And innocent looking. Of course people always thought Liz looked innocent, too.

        Liz hesitated for a moment and then let the rest of the words come tumbling out.

        "What it feels like."

        Eileen looked even more confused. "And you wanted to ask me what it feels like?"

        Liz pushed her head back up then and looked Eileen straight in the eye. "No."

        Eileen just stared at her, not seeming to understand at first. Then realization dawned in her eyes.


        "Is it okay?" Liz heard the hoarseness in her voice and wondered if Eileen could hear it too. "Because if it's not, I'll totally understand. It's not like I'm a lesbian or anything. I'm just curious." She stammered through the last part, feeling ridiculous. What the hell was she doing? Eileen probably thought she was nuts.

        But Eileen didn't look upset. She looked...interested? Liz watched as Eileen licked her lips and then bit them, gnawing slightly on her lower lip like she was thinking about it. Then she shrugged.



        "Sure, why not." She looked at Liz and grinned. "How disappointed would I be if I looked back on this whole boarding school thing and had missed out on the cliched lesbian schoolgirl experience?"

        Liz laughed then and moved closer to her. She reached out her fingers and touched Eileen's face, spreading her fingers across her cheek and rubbing her thumb over Eileen's bottom lip where Eileen had been chewing on it a minute before. She felt the moistness of Eileen's mouth on her thumb, the hardness of Eileen's teeth as Eileen's lips parted slightly and her thumb slipped just slightly in between them. She glanced up from Eileen's mouth and caught her gaze, noticed how dilated Eileen's eyes were, her eyelids drooping slightly. She felt a tightening in her stomach and down between her legs. She was really going to do this. Her. Liz Parker. No one in Roswell would believe it.

        Then it struck her. What if she kissed Eileen and she saw stuff? Like Eileen when she was 5 years old wearing some lame dress Eileen's mother had made for her? There hadn't been anything when she kissed Sean, but that was before she started melting stuff with her bare hands.

        Carefully, Liz brushed her lips over Eileen's and waited for the flash of memories to come. Sighing in relief when the only thing that happened was the quickening of Eileen's breathing and her own heartbeat. She pressed her lips on Eileen's again, longer this time, feeling the hardness of those teeth with her lips and then with her tongue. Tangling her finger in Eileen's hair before sliding her fingers down Eileen's neck and down her top. Pushing Eileen back on the floor and unbuttoning her top and her pants.

        When they were both naked and spent, they curled up on the dirty mattress together and told each other stories about their hometowns. Liz even managed to slide in some real alien stories disguised as Roswell mythology.

        She and Eileen walked back to their room, fingers brushing against each other's, not quite holding hands but not not holding hands. She would have thought that this would feel awkward, but it didn't. When Eileen decided to go meet some of the other girls to party later, she kissed Liz on the cheek and smiled before she left.

        Liz was studying and listening to a CD when she heard the knock on the door. She thought it had to be Eileen. They'd only been rooming together for a few days and Eileen had locked herself out of their room a total of eight times already.

        When she saw Maria standing outside her door, it seemed so perfect. Maria could become part of this world. Maybe she wouldn't have to give up everything from her old life. Maria understood what it was like to hide from Roswell. She took Maria up to the Rat and pitched to her the joys of normal teen-aged life, sneaking around drinking and spring break. She toyed with telling Maria about Eileen but thought Maria would definitely freak out on her. Maybe after they'd had a few more drinks.

        She fell asleep to the sound of Maria's voice telling her about New York and limo rides and the recording studio and how Maria was definitely going to make it there some day but on her own terms not some lousy record exec's.

        And as she drifted off she thought about how nice it was to hear Maria talk about something that wasn't Michael...or the latest alien threat...

        She bolted upright, eyes open unseeing. Knowledge flooding her unwanted.

        From a distance she heard Maria ask her, "What is it?"

        She heard herself say the words, understanding and denying at the same time.

        "Max is dead."

        Two thousand, one hundred and seventy-nine miles.

        It wasn't far enough.

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