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The Secrets That You Keep, Part One

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list April 16, 2001

TITLE: The Secrets That You Keep - Ch. 1
AUTHOR: Jen'fr (anmchara@graffiti.net)
RATING: PG
CATEGORY: Slashy. Boys thinking about doing boys not your thing? Please move along, then - nothing to see here.
PAIRINGS: Kyle/Riley, Kyle/Max implied.
SPOILERS: Roswell season 1, especially "Destiny"; BtVS season 4. Takes place during the summer after these seasons.
DISTRIBUTION: List archives; if anyone else, just ask!
FEEDBACK: Definitely welcome, if you're so inclined.
DISCLAIMERS: I'm only borrowing the characters from "Roswell," which are the legal property of Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, Jason Katims Productions, Regency Television, 20th Century Fox Television and The WB Network; and from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which are the legal property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, Fox Television and The WB Network. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.
SUMMARY: Attempting to escape Max Evans and the events of "Destiny," Kyle Valenti goes on a college recruitment visit to Sunnydale U. - and runs smack into Riley Finn.

DEDICATION: for my fellow Roswellian Finnatics, Becca and Mike



        Kyle Valenti stepped off the Greyhound bus and looked around. Well, this was familiar: no one was here to meet him. No big deal. He wasn't a little kid; he'd made it this far and he could certainly find the university on his own.

        He was supposed to be at football camp at the University of New Mexico right now. Usually his dad drove him up the week before camp started, and they'd kick around Albuquerque for a few days, go camping in the Sandias. Not this year, though: what with aliens and alien hunters descending on Roswell and his own son almost dying and all, the Sheriff couldn't afford to be away for even a few hours, let alone a whole week.

        That being the case, Kyle thought this would be his year to go to UCLA. He'd California-dreamin' for a few years now. But Dad said no before he even finished the question, and *once again* Kyle had ended up at UNM. When he got the weekend invitation from the University of California at Sunnydale, even though he'd never heard of it, he jumped at the chance and snuck away.

        Now he was here in Californ-I-A. And no one was here to meet him. Well, so this guy - Kyle consulted the well-worn letter before putting it back in his pocket - so this guy Finn wasn't here to meet him. So what.

        He asked for directions at the ticket window and started walking to the campus. It was late afternoon, but still light out because it was summer. He could have taken a cab, but this way he'd get to see Sunnydale. As he walked through the streets, though, a wave of disappointment surged in him. Damn, it looked duller and more dead-end than Roswell, if such a thing was possible! But, he consoled himself, at least there was no danger of running into anything weird like aliens here.

        It took all of ten minutes to reach the university, and by then he was pretty sure he'd seen the entire town. As he was approaching the building that, according to his map, was his dorm, he heard footsteps and someone calling his name. "Valenti?" He turned as a tall blond jogged up to him.

        Tall blond? he asked himself. What the hell, when did you start describing *guys* like that?

        Jesus Christ, Kyle, don't answer that! he ordered himself. That was exactly what he was here to NOT think about.

        "You Valenti?" the guy asked, pulling up beside him.

        "Yeah," Kyle said.

        "Sorry, I was supposed to meet you at the bus. Riley Finn," the guy said, offering his hand.

        "Kyle Valenti," Kyle replied, shaking it. Finn's hands were considerably bigger than his own, his grip nice and firm.

        Don't think of a man's hands, Kyle.

        "Sorry, something came up," Riley apologized. "And actually, I've got to go now. But we're definitely on for a tour of the facilities tomorrow, right?"

        "Sure."

        "Hey, if you're not too worn out, come by the Bronze later. It's *the* place to be."

        "Sure," Kyle said again. He was pretty sure he remembered passing it - it was the only thing that had looked interesting.

        "So I'll see you there?" Riley asked. Kyle nodded, and Riley scribbled something down on a piece of paper for him. Kyle glanced at the address; should be easy to find. "Okay, I'll let you get settled in. Later!" Riley called over his shoulder as he took off running.

        The man is dedicated to his training, Kyle thought as he watched Riley go and went inside. He climbed the stairs to his assigned room and was a little surprised to find they'd given him a single. He was used to having roommates at camp. Recruitment must be different. He tossed his bag in a corner and plunked himself onto the bed, bouncing a little to test it. Unbidden, the man he'd just met popped into his head and Kyle found himself wondering - was it just his imagination, or had Finn kinda been looking at him?

        Oh god, Kyle, just stop, he told himself.

        Hey, at least I wasn't thinking about Max Evans, he replied to himself.

        Kyle groaned and buried his head under a pillow, clutching it against his ears as if that could stop his inner voices. He'd need a shower before heading to that place Finn had mentioned. A shower, but maybe a quick workout first....


+++

        It was "Totally 80s Night" at the Bronze. And that was okay by Kyle. No songs to remind him of Liz; she didn't listen to that crap - though, alarmingly, his dad did on occasion. But if there was one person Kyle wanted to think about even less than Max and Liz right now, it was his dad.

        So he leaned against the bar and took a casual swig from his third beer. He'd been here an hour or so. He'd been a little self-conscious at first, but it was kind of cool to be standing at a bar, drinking a beer. He'd never done this in Roswell. No way; everyone knew the Sheriff's son there. But here, no one knew he was the Sheriff's son. No one knew anything about him.

        He grinned to himself. No one knew him. Oh, the possibilities of the anonymous! He made short work of the beer and started on his fourth, deciding to be adventurous and try a microbrew this time. Oh yeah, he was a real man of the world now! That made him giggle: Kyle Valenti, Man of the World. He tried to stop himself from giggling, aware that people were looking at him laughing to himself. Being drunk and giddy was way better with someone else to share it, he decided. This was the first time he'd been drunk alone. It was the first time he'd been drunk since Valentine's Day and Max.

        Oh god! Did he just say Max and Valentine's Day in the same sentence? Kyle shook his head a little to clear it, and as he did, his eye caught sight of the guy who was supposed to show him around. What was his name? He seemed to be looking at Kyle, but when Kyle turned to look at him directly, he was turned away, talking to his friend. Kyle drifted in a little closer, trying to overhear the conversation. Finn? Yeah, that was it.

        Just as he remembered the guy's name, Riley seemed to notice him suddenly. "Hey, Valenti! Glad to see you made it." Riley turned and indicated his friend. "This is Graham Miller."

        "Kyle Valenti," Kyle said, shaking Miller's proffered hand and carefully not noticing anything about it. Kyle tipped his beer bottle all the way back, and discovered it was empty. "You boys want anything?" he asked, looking from one to the other.

        "It's on me," Riley said, leaning his elbows on the bar and signaling the bar tender. "What are you drinking?" he asked Kyle.

        Kyle held the beer bottle up so he could read the label. "Flat Tire," he announced. He laughed at himself and carefully enunciated, "*Fat* Tire. Fat."

        Before his mind could wander too far off in the direction of "fat" and "flat" metaphors, he was distracted by the bottle he found in his hand. He thanked Riley for the drink and turned to watch the action on the dance floor. When he glanced over to comment on one of the particularly hot chicks, he noticed that Finn and Miller were engaged in conversation, heads close together. His cousin had once told him that when girls had their heads close together like that, they were either gossiping or lesbians. He wondered if it was true for guys as well. That was just too funny, and Kyle fought himself not to giggle in front of Finn and Miller. He covered by making his move to the dance floor. "I love this song!" he announced loudly in explanation. As he got to the dance floor, he realized it was the dance mix of "I Want Your Sex," and that was enough to make him almost collapse in laughter. But he turned the near-collapse into a new dance move. He really didn't dance very much at home. It was kind of a girly thing, and even though a lot of the girls he knew liked guys who would dance with them, Kyle felt he had other qualities to offer them and didn't need to dance for them. But now that he was out here on the floor, it was kind of fun - and he was pretty good at it! People were watching him and everything. He even sang along. Oh man, how had anyone ever thought this guy was straight? "There's boys that you trust, and girls that you don't"? Right.

        Kyle glanced over and caught Riley watching him, too. Riley looked away quickly when he realized Kyle was looking at him. Oh, you are *so* checking me out! As soon as the song was finished, Kyle made his way over to Riley, now alone at the bar. He leaned in confidentially. "Whatcha looking at, Finn?"

        "Nothing," Riley grinned and took a pull from his beer.

        "Ri-ight," Kyle replied, drawing out the vowel slightly. He ordered another drink himself and returned to the dance floor with it. As he danced and drank the night away, Kyle found himself wondering whether Finn was a boy to trust.

        He couldn't read his watch by the end of the night, but he assumed it must be pretty late if they were kicking everyone out. Kyle had lost track of Riley, but knew he'd see him the next day. No worries. Now all he had to do was find his way back. He stood on the street looking in both directions, and finally set off to his right.

        He'd been walking for awhile when he realized he didn't know where he was going. He soldiered on, hoping to run into someone - though he didn't really have much hope of that; podunk town like this, probably everyone was in bed by now! Well, hell, it was a small enough place; if he kept walking long enough, he was bound to run into the campus eventually.

        Then to his relief, he saw a figure coming his way on the opposite side of the street.

        "Hey!" Kyle called out. "Hey, you know where the campus is?"

        The man didn't reply, but started crossing the street. Kyle leaned against the street lamp while he waited. When the man was closer, Kyle repeated his question: "UC-Sunnydale? You know where that is?"

        In reply, the man smiled and Kyle was momentarily fascinated by his teeth, freakishly long and sharp - and then he realized the man's whole face was freakish.

        Kyle's daddy raised him right, so he chose to be polite about it and pretend he noticed nothing out of the ordinary. "I'm trying to get back to the college," he began - and got no further as the man grabbed him roughly and drew him in.

        Kyle was too surprised to struggle at first, though when he felt something sharp against his neck he yelled and struck out, hitting -

        Nothing. He'd been abruptly released... and now, if his eyes didn't deceive him, Riley Finn was standing there putting something in his pocket and looking off to his left. When he shook his head slightly, Kyle followed his line of sight, and saw a little blonde girl at the mouth of an alley way. As soon as he caught sight of her, though, she disappeared into the dark.

        Kyle turned back to Riley. "What the hell was that?"

        "That?" Riley asked, dusting himself off for some reason. "That was, ah, just some guy from a rival school. Trying to scare the new recruits, you know how it is."

        "No. That was a - whaddayacallit." Kyle hooked his index and middle fingers in imitation of fangs. "A vampire!"

        "No, it wasn't."

        "Yes, it was. I saw his teeth." Kyle held up his finger-fangs and made a "biting" gesture towards Riley. "So what does that make you - a vampire hunter? Vampire Hunter F?" Riley's mouth twitched up in a smile and Kyle grinned, too. "Do you have superpowers? Are you, like, some kind of superpowered vampire hunter dude?"

        "No, I'm the regular kind," Riley joked.

        Kyle cocked his head. "Ah. Well, I was just wondering, because the last guy who saved my life was an alien."

        "I didn't save your life," Riley said.

        "Yes, you did. And now you have to touch me." Kyle giggled uncontrollably. "Just like Max. He stole my girlfriend, and then he saved my life. And he - he touched me." Kyle giggled some more. "So now you have to, too." Without thinking about it, he took Riley's hand and held it against his neck, just where he'd felt the sharp pricks. And just as suddenly as he'd started, Kyle wasn't laughing anymore. "Hey, you can't tell anyone about this, because it's a big secret."

        "OK," Riley humored him, letting his hand drop to his side as Kyle released it.

        But Kyle was insistent. "Promise!" he demanded seriously, chagrined at what he'd let slip.

        "OK, I promise."

        Kyle looked at him intently a moment longer. "Okay then," he said. He looked up and down the street. "Now, which way is campus?"

        "Come on," Riley said, steering him in the right direction. "I better walk you back."

        "Were you following me?" Kyle asked as they went along.

        "Nope, just passing by," Riley replied. "Right time, right place, I guess - and lucky for you, because I don't think anyone else was around to save your life!" He elbowed Kyle playfully in the ribs. Kyle grinned and they walked in companionable silence the rest of the way. When they got to Kyle's dorm, Riley asked, "Will you be alright now?"

        "You mean can I climb up the stairs without falling over and cracking my skull open? Yeah, Finn, I can manage."

        "Aspirin and lots of water," Riley advised with a grin.

        Kyle knew the preventative tricks; he'd been drunk once or twice in his life... but as giggly and giddy as he'd been tonight, he didn't think he was as drunk as Riley seemed to think he was. He just nodded.

        "I'll see you tomorrow morning. Show you the joys of Sunnydale Athletics." Riley grinned at him again. "Busy day - tours and interviews starting at eleven. I'll meet you here at ten and we can get something to eat first, okay?"

        "Sure," Kyle agreed.

        "Night, Valenti."

        "Good night." Kyle stayed at the door another moment, watching Riley walk away. "Hey, Finn!" he called suddenly. "Was that your girlfriend?"

        Riley was caught off-guard. "What?"

        "Little blonde girl, back on the street. You gave her a pretty meaningful look. She your girlfriend?"

        "Yeah," Riley admitted.

        "Cute," was Kyle's simple response as he turned and entered the building. As he pulled himself up the stairs, clutching the rail hand-over-hand, he thought triumphantly, I'm not crazy: That little blonde girl was real. And so was the vampire.


+++

        Light was coming from under Buffy's door, so he knew she was waiting up for him. Riley knocked lightly to announce himself as he turned the doorknob and entered.

        "Was that him?" Buffy asked as he started undressing.

        "Yeah."

        After the collapse of the Initiative, Riley had been directionless for awhile. He'd taken to patrolling regularly with Buffy, and that was fun in its own way... but it didn't really satisfy him all the way. So when the government had come to him with another assignment, he'd listened eagerly.

        After he'd heard the details, he was a little less eager. They wanted him to work with a secret alien hunter unit, tracking HETs. He'd been dubious at first. But then he considered: if HSTs - subterrestrials - could exist, why couldn't extraterrestrials? So he'd listened a little more, and he'd gotten a little intrigued. He'd heard the stories about Roswell and Area 51 just like everyone else, and couldn't help but want to find out which parts were true....

        He and Graham had joined this new unit. Part of what they were doing was watching the old unit. The guy in charge of it, an Agent Pierce, had gone missing. That is, he was still walking around - but something was wrong. They didn't think Pierce was really Pierce anymore. He'd gone to Roswell and sent back reports that he'd found a bona fide alien...

        But the government compound where he'd supposedly taken the alien for testing had been destroyed, leaving Pierce the only survivor. When he returned to Washington, he claimed the communiqués had been an error and that he hadn't been able to confirm anything. In fact, as fervent a believer as he'd been when he left for Roswell, he was not equally skeptical of all reports. Pierce's superiors had kept quiet about their suspicions and set up this second unit. Their primary objective was to find out what was going on. The Roswell sheriff was suspected to be involved in a cover up, and it was likely his boy was mixed up in something, too: Kyle Valenti's name had come up in association with the group Pierce had mentioned. So Riley's mission, once they lured the kid to Sunnydale, was to find out what Kyle knew, if anything.

        And from what had just happened, it seemed Kyle did, indeed, have a secret.

        "He said you're cute," Riley told her with a grin, slipping into bed beside her and kissing her. Time enough to think of Kyle tomorrow....


+++

        TO BE CONTINUED

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