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Camelot Part One

Reply to Janine

Posted to the Roswell Slash list August 15,2000

TITLE: "Camelot", part one
AUTHOR: Janine
EMAIL: jbstories@hotmail.com
SUMMARY: There's more to Isabel's relationship with the 'new girl' than meets the eye.
RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe herein are the property of Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, and all the other wonderful people and companies associated with the production of "Roswell". This is a piece of fan fiction and no infringement upon any legal bindings they may hold is intended.



If there is anything worse in this world than being miserable, it's being miserable while everyone around you is insanely happy. It's like having lemon juice squeezed into an open cut; it not only hurts, it's malicious. For weeks that unimaginable hell had been my life. Max and Liz, Maria and Michael, all of the time, hugging, kissing, all over each other seemingly every moment of everyday.

And then there was Alex. He was there every time I turned around, with his dippy smile, furtive gaze and fidgeting hands, looking at me expectantly. He wanted what they had and he wanted it with me. I couldn't really fault him for that, I wanted what they had too and if you did the addition the two of us together would have been a logical product. But there was just one problem, I didn't want what they had with him. I'd never been in love before, and I usually scorned it when I saw it in others yet I knew it was inevitable and I knew that when I found it I'd know and I would grudgingly except it, because I'm like that. And I was right-though I should note that I usually am.

We were sitting in the quad, Alex and I, talking about, well Alex and I. MaxandLiz and MariaandMichael-and that is how you have to say it, in one breath-were off sucking face which left Alex and I alone, at least for a while.

"Yeah. But, umälisten, Isabel. I've been thinking," Alex was saying to me from across the table. That's one of the problems with Alex, he's always thinking, always, it dulls your instincts and drowns out your heart and your common sense, and it leads you to believe that you want things you don't need. He was thinking about us, and there wasn't and could never be an us, not really. We could play house, we could dress up and read our lines, but it would never be real. It would always be an off Broadway production. "I mean, face sucking aside, it'd be kind of nice to have someoneäsomeone to hang out with, one on one. You know, someone who you understand, and you share common bonds with," he went on. Common bonds with, I had thought to myself. Now that was amusing. We didn't even share a common genetic code! Then again if we were using the others as our template I really had no grounds to be amused. "I mean, like a friend, butä"

"Can I join you?"

The question came from our side, the voice was feminine and sweet. I turned my head to the side and looked up to see a halo of golden ringlets and a tentative smile. She was new to the school, I knew because I didn't recognize her and I would have remembered a face like that. "Actually we're in the mämiddle of something," Alex responded haltingly seemingly unnerved by her sudden presence. I on the other hand was glad for the distraction and didn't want her to go away.

"You're the new girl, right?" I asked entering the conversation before Alex could further alienate her.

"If you're busy, I couldä" she left the sentence hanging and allowed her gaze to flitter around the quad. 'I could go' was what she was saying but not saying. And she was saying but not saying it because words make things so much more final and if she had said the words she would have had to leave, but she didn't want to leave, I could tell she didn't and I didn't want her leave.

"No. Have a seat. Join us. Sit down," I said smiling at her friendly which was unusual enough for me. It was probably overkill, but I wanted to make sure she got the message.

"Thanks," she replied softly sitting down. "I'm Tess."

Tess, I liked it, short and sweet. Kind of like her.

"Isabel. This is Alex," I responded gesturing towards Alex who was now stewing but trying not to appear as if he was.

"Hi," Tess said turning her attention to him for the first time since I spoke.

"Hi," Alex responded gamely giving a little wave. "So, welcome to Roswell." I had to give him credit he was being a real sport about it all.

"I always hate the first day at a new school," Tess said her attention focused mostly on me, but shooting over to Alex briefly near the end of her sentence.

"Done this before?" I asked completely unnecessarily. She obviously had done it before, but it was a way to further the conversation.

"Only about a hundred times," she responded good naturedly. "Everyone's always so nice," she continued in a tone that was difficult to identify.

"Is that a bad thing?" This inquiry came from Alex.

"Well," Tess said drawing out the word and turning her attention fully towards me, "the guys are usually nice because they want to find out if I want to jump their boyfriends' bones. You must get that a lot." I had to assume that was directed at me.

"Yeah. How about the girls who hang out with you to meet a better class of guys?"

"Or the guys who say they understand you and really just want to be your friend, but all they really want is fifteen minutes alone with you in the janitor's closet," she added with a sarcastic half smile on her face.

"We have an eraser room," I told her clandestinely. I managed not to look over at Alex after she said that, but I have to admit that the comment stuck out in my mind particularly clearly because of the conversation we had been having before Tess' arrival.

"Thanks for the warning," she replied glancing up at me before returning to the sugar packet whose contents she was pouring into a cup of yogurt.

"Oh my god. I do that too," I exclaimed excitedly.

"Good," Tess responded decisively. "I can't stand people who use fake sugar," she paused for a moment after that then added, "Nothing can ever be too sweet, don't you think?" as her eyes captured mine.

I held her gaze for a moment after she said that, studying her trying to figure out if she had any idea how suggestive that last comment was. For all I knew she could have taken it directly out of porn movie. I could almost see an ice-cream parlor attendant sucking on her finger uttering that line as she gazed seductively at someone in front of her.

"Let me see your schedule. I wonder if we have any classes together," was what I said in response. I decided that I really didn't want to know if she was making a play on me or not. At least not right then.

"I don't know," she said glancing at the schedule. "I've got English."

"Phys. Ed. together," I pointed out to her. She looked up at me and smiled and I felt myself returning it. Suddenly the day wasn't looking like a total disaster anymore.

I ended up spending the rest of the school day with Tess-which wasn't really saying much considering the rest of the school was gym class-and it was good. I found her to be genuinely good company. I didn't merely force myself to tolerate her I actually liked her. We had what I think I'll call 'an instant rapport' with each other. I found that I could talk to her and, with the exception of Max and Michael, and occasionally those other three, that was a very rare thing indeed. This would probably seem surprising to the other people at school, because whereas Max had chosen-or been forced-into the background, I ran with the in crowd. Being tall, buxom and blond there really wasn't any other choice for me. My friends-no, I can't really in good conscience call them that-the people that I spent time around were shallow. They thought about nothing, cared about shoes, and were concerned only with themselves. I both loved and loathed them all for this. You see, they're safe, they would neither ask to many questions nor think too much about the answers. This is what I required and because of it they had never been real friends, and would never be real friends. I'm different and in Roswell, like everywhere else if you're different then you're alone. That was the proposition as I understood it, and I had always thought that it sucked. And then came Tess, who I liked and could speak with easily, and who I was beginning to feel I could possibly think about being able to trust. And I wanted that, I wanted to trust her.

I invited her over to my house after school that day.

I could hear Max and Michael in the kitchen as we approached. They were talking about love. It was aggravatingly predictable and I planned on ignoring them but for some unfathomable reason Tess seemed to take interest in the conversation.

"How do you know women so well?" she asked as we walked into the room. Her question seemed to shut them up faster than any arrangements or threats ever had. "Don't let me stop you. This is fascinating." It was her tone that really sold that line, all scientific curiosity. I loved it.

"Who are you?" Max asked looking at her wide-eyed as if he couldn't comprehend how she had gotten there.

"She's my friend," I responded moving further into the kitchen.

"How come we've never met her before?" This question was voiced with a suspicion that only Michael could muster. He was acting as if he had just found a scorpion in his pocket, but then again it was Michael so I felt I had no real right to act surprised. That didn't mean I couldn't be indignant however.

"God, Michael. Could you be any more rude?"

"Actually, it's kind of refreshing," Tess said speaking up and neatly diffusing what was likely to become a full out bitch fest. "I'm Tess."

"This is my brother Max and our friend Michael," I responded pointing to each of them respectively. I didn't trust them to speak again in her presence.

"Nice to meet you," Tess replied in a friendly tone.

"Here," I said turning away from the fridge and handing her two pops. "You go, I'll meet you back in my room."

"Don't forget the extra sugar," she called out behind her as she made her way out of the room. I nodded then turned my attention to 'the boys'.

"Ok. What's wrong with you guys?" I started, laying into them immediately. "She just moved here. I'm helping her catch up."

"She looked pretty caught up to me," Michael responded in his usually tone: brash and blunt. "Topolsky was a plant when she showed up at school. This girl could be, too."

I rolled my eyes. "She's a transfer student, Michael."

"She's a stranger, Isabel," Max responded softly. I turned to look at him, I was completely irritated with this conversation and especially bugged by his comment. I don't know why it angered me so much since what he was completely true, I had after all only met her that day, but I found myself being insulted on her behalf. Being angered that they would call her virtue into question. After all, what had she ever done to them?

"Well, it's not like I'm going to fall in love with her, tell her our secret and compromise our very existence. I thought we were supposed to be acting normal, right? Heck of a job you two just did." And with that I turned and walked out of the room.

****************************************

It had been a week since Tess had first approached Alex and I in the quad. It had been a week since we had barely averted another disaster with Topolsky, Valenti and the government-which I have to say we weren't entirely certain we had actually averted. It had been a week where I had been content. And it had been a week of being fond of someone who wasn't related to me in one way or another. It had, all in all, been a pretty good week.

The term 'kindred spirits' often popped into my mind as a way to describe the rapid friendship that had formed between Tess and I. I found that I was comfortable around her in a way that I hadn't been with anyone other Max and Michael and the feeling was as alien to me as I am to this planet.

Tess and I were on my bed that night a week later. We were having a sleep over and were barefoot in our pajamas. I was sitting near the end of the bed with my legs dangling over the edge and she was sitting in the center of the bed with her legs drawn up. Her feet and an open bottle of nail polish were resting by my hand.

"You have very elegant feet," I commented reaching out and tracing the line of her foot.

She laughed softly and pulled her foot away jiggling the bed and causing me to scramble to make sure none of the nail polish spilt.

"Sorry," she said looking down at me, a sheepish grin spreading across her lips. "You really think so?" she asked once I had settled back into my former position. I looked back down at her feet then and nodded slowly. She had small feet, delicate, just like her. The were graceful, yet cuteäonce again, just like her.

"No one's ever told you that before?" I asked looking up at her through my eyelashes.

She was quiet for a moment, her eyes drifted away from mine and I could tell that she was thinking. We remained that way for a few seconds, me gazing up at her and her deep in thought, but then her eyes flittered back to me and a mysterious smile appeared on her face. If the Mona Lisa had seen this expression she would have eaten her liver, it was that lovely.

"Once," she finally said, her voice a whisper. "His name was Nick Stewart, we were on a class trip. He was trying to get me in his bed."

"I've already got you in my bed, so I must be telling the truth," I responded before turning my attention back to her feet.

We were silent for a while after that, as I diligently applied the sparkly liquid to her toes and she diligently stared at the top of my head. This had become our routine since the first day we met, and I still didn't have any idea whether we were joking or not. It was never talked about, and after a comment was made a grace period was given. We would say something to each other that could be taken one way or another and then we would sit in silence for a moment and reflect on how we wanted the comment to be taken before eventually deciding that we didn't want to know.

I had been concentrating on the task at hand so much that I nearly jumped out of my skin when I felt her place her hand on my cheek. Or at least I think that's why I almost jumped out of my skin. I looked up at her. She wasn't smiling, in fact she looked downright serious. Her blue eyes were almost clear and her gaze was unwavering.

"I'll do you next," was all she said. I blinked at her dumbly a few times then nodded my agreement.

"I can't help but feel we're forgetting something," she said contemplatively a moment later. The silence had begun to become oppressive when she said this and I looked up at her gratefully.

"The homework," I responded grinning.

"Right," she said nodding along gamely. "The hip bones connected to theä" she paused and looked down at me. "What is it connected to Is?"

"You should have started with an easier bone," I replied capping the nail polish bottle.

"You don't know do you?" she asked grinning happily.

"Of course I do," I replied looking at her seriously. "But since you don't know maybe we should actuallyäI don't knowästudy?"

"You don't know," she said again. "If ever, of ever a wiz there was, Isabel Evans is not because, because, because, because, becauseä" she started to sing. I glared at her when I figured out where this was going but it didn't deter her. Thankfully there was a knock at the door that shut her up beforeäwell, before nothing. I would have endured it, but I wouldn't have liked it so I was glad that there was a knock at the door.

"Come in," I called out. A moment later the door opened and Max poked his head in. His gaze traveled from me to Tess were it lay for a second then it drifted back over to me.

"Can I talk to you for a minute? In the hall."

"I'll be back in a sec. You'd do well to edify yourself while I'm gone," I said gesturing towards the books that were at the foot of my bed but hadn't been looked at since they were dumped there.

"Right," she said drawing out the word as long as humanly possible. "I'll make a note of the page for you."

Once we were out in the hallway Max shut the door behind us then proceeded to stare at me in a most annoying fashion.

"What?" I asked a little peevishly. He had been acting very strange lately and I didn't like being on the receiving end of it. He was staring at people blankly all the time, he had set himself on fire at school, and he was generally just acting like a spaz.

"Why's she here?" he asked.

"We're studying."

"Yeah, I could see that. I didn't know you were taking Show Tunes 101."

"My god Max, was that sarcasm? Has the world gone mad?" I asked bringing my hands up to my face to show my utter and complete shock.

"I don't think you should spend so much time around her," he said a moment later choosing to ignore my comment. "She's always around."

"Don't even think about preaching to me," I said my eyes narrowing. "At least I haven't been out all night fogging up the windows with her."

"Can we please keep this civil?" he asked holding up his hands.

"Why is that you and Michael think that you can dictate who I'm friends with, and I stress the word 'friends' with, but the two of you can 'befriend'-and I hope you noted the heavily sarcastic tone I used there-whoever you want to?"

"Isabel, all I'm saying is that we don't know anything about her."

"What did we know about Liz Parker before you sucked a bullet out of her gut and exposed us to her band of merry men?"

"That's not fair," Max protested.

"No, it's not. Life isn't fair. Having to hide isn't fair. Being alone, and afraid twenty-four seven isn't fair. Something aren't fair Max, they just are," I responded.

"I think she's dangerous. There's something about her Is, there's something off about her. I don't like her," he said talking a step towards we. I took a step back.

"I like her Max. For the first time in sixteen years I've got a friend who didn't come out of a pod, and I'm not going to stop seeing her because you've got some antacid build up that's giving you 'feelings'."

"It's not just a feeling," Max said reaching out to me desperately.

"Then what is it? Has she done something? Said something?"

"No. Butä"

"But nothing. Listen, I can't do this now," I said moving around him and back towards my door.

"Isabelä"

"Later," I called back to him and then I disappeared back inside of my room.

Tess was sitting on the bed in virtually the same position I had left her only now there was an open textbook beside her. I had to smile at that. She always seemed to be able to make me do that.

"Is everything alright?" Tess asked as I moved over to the bed.

"Yeah," I responded, but I knew that I sounded distracted.

She patted the spot on the bed beside her.

"Come on," she said urging me to sit down. "It's my turn," she continued holding up the nail polish bottle.

***********************************************

End of Part One

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