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Lost

Reply to Jess

Posted to the Roswell Slash list October 18, 2000

Title: Lost
Author: Jess
Disclaimer: I'm not a man. Nor am I Sarah McL (ha, I WISH!)
Summary: Um, it's kinda umm ... it's T/I. There. That's a summary.
Other crap: Jenn made me do it. BLAME HER! Love ya.


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By the shadows of the night I go
I move away from the crowded room
That sea of shallow faces masked in warm regret
They don't know how to feel
They don't know what is lost

Lost in the darkness of a land
Where all hope that's offered is
Memories of being taken by the hand
And we are led into the sea
But I don't have a hold on what is real
Though we can only try
And what is there to give or to believe

I want it all to go away
I want to be alone
Sympathies wasted on my hollow shell
I feel there's nothing left to fight for
No reason for a cause
And I can't hear your voice
And I can't feel you near

Lost in the darkness of a land
Where all the hope that's offered is
Memories of being taken by the hand
And we are led into the sea
But I don't have a hold on what is real
Though we can only try
And what is there to give or to believe?

I wanted a change
Knowing all I could do was try
I was looking for someone

*

Isabel was swaying seductively to the music, moving against the bodies of men and women alike as the rock music swished through the mist and heat of the overcrowded dance floor. Her halter-dress moved against her sweaty body, blond tendrils sticking to her face.

"Izzy." Tess slithered up to her lover, her slight body fitting easily against Isabel's back as she slid her arms around the taller girl; she rested her cheek against her bare back with a sigh.

Isabel jumped at the feeling of skin-against-skin and turned around. "Tess. Hey. I thought you'd run off on me."

Tess looked up at her girlfriend, her blue eyes sparkling. "Never. It's just not easy," she drawled, "For a little girl like me to stay above the masses."

"Oh, I see," Isabel agreed, her voice serious but her eyes twinkling. "You'll have to stay close to me, then."

"How close?" Tess teased, moving towards Isabel.

"Closer," Isabel whispered breathily, ignoring the stares of the dancers around them, her eyes boring into Tess' intensely.

Tess didn't wait for Isabel to continue, closing the gap between them with with a single step, kissing her soundly. Isabel's lips parted, leaving Tess room to slip her tongue in to play with her partner's. After several moments of the intimate game, Tess pulled back, smiling. "Close enough?"

Isabel nodded, her glossy lips curving into a smile. "Did you run off and rob Hershey's or something? You taste like chocolate."

Tess licked her lips soundly. "Wouldn't you like to know - we have an audience," she suddenly realized.

Isabel shrugged nonchalantly. They had hid their relationship for so long, now that they were out she couldn't care less who saw. Flipping her hair back, she smiled sweetly at the group. "Hi, guys. Show's over. Dance, dance," she made a shooing motion with her hand.

Tess giggled. "Are you ready to go? I'm getting a headache from all this ... this." She motioned around to her surroundings, choking on a bout of mist sprayed in their general direction.

"Anything for you," Isabel agreed, giggling. "Let's go."

Tess smiled her thanks, taking her keys from her pocket. "Do you want me to just give you a ride, we can come back for your car tomorrow ..."

"I'm good," Isabel smiled, running her hand across Tess' hair. "Love you, babe."

"Love you," Tess echoed, hopping behind the wheel of her car. She waited until Isabel pulled her SUV in front and then stepped on the gas and followed her.

Isabel flipped on the radio, bouncing gleefully in her seat when one of her favorite Matchbox 20 songs came on the radio. "Can you help me, I'm bent ..." she sang along with the radio, waving at Tess in the mirror. She was so wrapped up in the song and the giddy feeling she always got from spending time with Tess that she never saw the swerving truck until it was on top of her.

And then, it was too late.

*

"Oh, JESUS!" Tess shrieked, slamming on the brakes and careening off the road as a truck going to wrong way slammed right into Isabel's Jeep. It all happened so fast that she didn't have time to think.

Her car stopped just short of a tree, but Tess wasn't even paying attention. She was smashing the window and crawling through the broken glass to get to her lover's car, flipped over and completely smashed inwards.

"Man, I didn't see her coming, she was going the wrong way," a drunken man who Tess could only guess was the truck driver drawled as a crowd gathered.

Tess' eyes blazed and she sent him backwards with a hard kick to the groin. "Fuck you." She turned back to the twisted mess that was Isabel's car, holding Isabel somewhere inside the blood and metal that was everywhere.

"Miss, stand back, I've called an ambulance," one man requested, grasping Tess' arm sharply.

She threw him off bitterly, trying desperately to pull open the Jeep door. She had only a few minutes to get Isabel out and save her, otherwise she'd die like Nasaedo had. "Come on, Izzy," she mumbled, using her powers to unlock the door and not caring who saw. She pulled what was left of the door open and nearly hurled.

The thin cloth top of the Jeep was completely ripped open, leaving Isabel's upper half sliding out of the seat belt and lying on the cold pavement. She was bleeding, everywhere, swimming in it, Tess couldn't even see where the cuts were through the blood. Her eyes were rolled back in her head, her face bruised and skull bleeding. Her leg was twisted to an abnormally sharp angle.

"Oh, God, Isabel," Tess whispered, trying to tear Isabel from the wreck. She was twisted in well, metal stuck into her stomach and sides. "I can save you, please, Isabel, I just have to get you out of here ..." It became increasingly apparent that she wasn't going to be able to pull her out. Tess gasped, placing a hand on Isabel's stomach and closing her eyes, trying to force healing powers into her.

"Please, Is, I love you," Tess choked, pressing harder.

"Stand back!" she heard someone yell, someone she could only hope was a paramedic. "She's gonna blow!"

Tess turned sharply at the voice, not moving her hand, only to see the same man who had told her not to go to Isabel hovering over her. "Get away," she hissed, turning back to her lover.

This time, the man didn't listen, grabbing her by the arm and tossing her onto a grass embankment with him just as the car erupted into flames.

Tess watched the scene play out in slow motion, like something out of a terrible horror movie. "No," she whispered, the shrieked, "NO!!!!!!" She tried to run, but the man held her down.

"You can't go over there."

"You don't understand, that's Isabel, oh God, someone save her, someone save her, ISABEL! ISABEL! Oh, God, do something, DO SOMETHING! YOU IDIOTS, DO SOMETHING!" She shrieked hysterically, choking to breathe, tears streaming down her face.

"It's all over," the man told her softly, holding her away from the fire.

"NO! ISABEL, NO!" Tess collapsed onto the grass, her body wracked with sobs. "Oh, God, please no ..."

*

Tess didn't attend Isabel's funeral. She laid in her makeshift bed at the Evans', curled under the blanket in ratty sweatclothes, dry-heave sobs wracking her body.

"Are you sure you don't want to come, Tessy?" Max asked. Ever since she had begun dating Isabel, Max had become like a brother to her, and since Isabel's death they had only grown closer. Despite his grief, he had seen to it that Tess was taken care of. "I think Isabel would like to have you there."

"Isabel is dead, Max," Tess snapped, wrapping herself tighter in the swarm of purple sheets. "She doesn't have any 'likes' anymore."

Max nodded, leaning forward and kissing her on the forehead. "Stay safe, Tess." He tugged a strand of flat blond hair and turned to leave the room. "And Tess?"

"Yeah?" Tess sniffled, wiping her tears on the back of her hand.

"We love you."

*

The whole house smelled like her. When Max and the rest of the Evans' family was around, Tess was too busy wallowing in her grief with them to think about it, but now the house was empty and all she could smell was that God damn cinnamon.

She rolled over, pressing her face into the red cottony pillowcase.

Red had been Isabel's favorite color, practically everything she owned was red. Tess cursed allowed, rolling off the bed. She stood up sharply, pushing her knotted hair out of her face.

Her legs were shaky, she had barely walked in days. A quick look (rather, a crash) into the hallway mirror confirmed that she looked as bad as she felt. Slowly, she drew her eyes away from the mirror, moving them across the hallway until they unwillingly fell on the closed door across the hall.

Her mind told her to go back into the guest room, but her heart pushed her into the memory-laced room, and her feet followed.

The room was just how she and Isabel had left it the night they went dancing. Unmade, comforter on the floor, about twenty outfits spread out across the desk and chair and floor, tubes of lipstick and blusher in Isabel's opened make-up bag on the windowsill ... and that overwhelming aroma of cinnamon.

Tess' heart hurt so bad she was sure she was going to die, collapsing onto the floor on top of a discarded outfit in a fit of tears. She had cried so much in the past few days that she barely had anything left, and after a few minutes she was choking and heaving and coughing on the floor, trying to catch her breath and failing.

The course dark denim of the jeans she laid on was rough against her legs, she noted suddenly, and the silky white top brushed smoothly against her hands.

Memories assaulted her suddenly, sucking up her sobs but catapulting her heart through her throat. She remembered the outfit so well, too well. She remember working the button on the jeans, trying to get it to pop open, though she couldn't see what she was doing in the darkness of the room, her tongue playing with Isabel's.

She remembered teasing Isabel, slowly pulling the string that fastened the top until the bow dissolved and the shirt loosened. Most of all, she remembered kissing every nuance of skin underneath the outfit as it was exposed.

Hot pain slammed into Tess, she shrieked in agony. Something that had once seemed so precious and wonderful, undestroyable, was coming back to haunt her in the worst way.

The room felt like it was closing in on her. She felt like she was going to fade into the walls when the room pressed it's sides together and formed one big, thick wall. And she felt like she was going crazy.

Everything held a memory. The bed, where they had made love. The desk, where they had sat, side-by-side on a single chair, dutifully doing their homework, chewing their pencil erasers, all the while sneaking glances at the other and pretending they felt nothing. The closest, where they secretly kissed when they didn't want to risk someone walking in.

Tess had been taught to be strong. Taught to deal, to surpass the humans. But now she was weak, just like one of them. And for the first time in her life, she didn't care. All she cared about was Isabel, the only thing that had ever truly mattered to her in her short, twisted life.

She felt like she was being carried as she floated over to the boom box, her eyes now dry and her face solemn. She flipped the little black switch, an eerily serene smile passing across her face as Sarah McLachlan's soft, desperate voice filled the room.

Tess immediately began to sing along, her cracked voice matching the notes all too well. "Little white flowers, won't ever awaken you ... not where the black coach of sorrow has taken you." Her eyes glazed over as she reached over and grabbed a pill bottle from Isabel's nighttable. Simple asprin, but it would work. Max wouldn't know how to revive her alone, anyway.

Slowly, their numbers were dwindling. They were dying out. There would be no more, for without the girls reproduction of their kind would be impossible. At one time, that would have been the first and foremost thing on Tess' mind. Now, it was the last.

She lay down on Isabel's bed, taking comfort in the surroundings and warmth she knew so well. She pulled the sheet tightly around her body and closed her eyes, and then slowly, she began to choke down the pills, waterless, two at a time.

Pretty soon, the entire bottle was gone and Tess was nearly asleep. With a weak, nearly silent breath, she mumbled, "I love you, Isabel."

And then, it was over.

*

Max could feel that something was wrong the minute he opened the door. He had left the dinner early, he wasn't a big roast beef fan anyway. "Tess?" he called, quickly ascending the stairs. "Tess ... I'm home ... why don't we watch a movie?" Inside, he was shaking hard, his stomach ready to throw itself back up - he could barely believe he had just attended his sister's funeral.

But if there was one thing he had learned over the years, it was that Tess could be weak and that she needed support. And so did he. He only hoped they would be enough for each other.

"Tess ... are you awake?" He stopped in front of the guest bedroom and peeked in through the open door. The room was exactly the same as when he had left it ... except there was no Tess.

Next stop, bathroom, he thought mentally, pulling together all his strength. He needed to be strong for her, and for himself. He hurried down the hall and was about to check the bathroom when he noticed Isabel's open door.

It had been closed when he left. It had been closed ever since.

Gritting his teeth, he stepped into the room, prepared for the memories to knock him to his knees. But he never got that far, because as soon as he looked up, he saw something far more horrifying then anything he had seen before.

Tess. Asleep. Not asleep. Pale as a ghost, lying limp on the bed, an empty aspirin bottle in her outstretched hand ... a dark ballad playing on the radio.

"Tess," he tried to shout, but his voice came out a mere whisper. He tripped over his dead sister's clothes and collapsed at the side of the bed, overcome by the intense horror of this morbid situation he was in. Max shakily placed two fingers on her wrist, and bit down on his tongue when he felt nothing. Her hand was icy cold.

He shook her violently, cursing. "TESS! GET UP!" The loss of Isabel had hit him hard, but it hadn't sunk in. He hadn't seen the accident, hadn't seen her until she was all made up and looked like she was sleeping. And she was his sister, it didn't seem like she could be gone.

But Tess being gone was very real and very now. She was dead in front of him. And it was his fault for leaving her there alone when he knew she wasn't stable.

"TESS!" he yelled again, his voice harsher than he intended, tears welling in his eyes. "DAMN IT TESS, DAMN YOU! GET UP! GET UP! DON'T DO THIS AGAIN! DON'T DO THIS!" He dropped her arm and fell onto the floor, sobbing against the dusty carpet, taking in Isabel's quickly fading cinnamon smell and Tess' lemony one. The room smelled of her, of both of them, of their love, of everything it could and Max was sure at that moment that he was going to die.

His sister was dead. His friend was lifeless on her bed. They were together. He was alone, and he had to do something.

He stood up slowly, not able to look at the body. Everything felt surreal as he dialed 911 and slowly gave them the information. He knew his mother's cell phone number, but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to call. She'd find out soon enough, anyway.

The paramedics and coroner came at record speed, and before Max knew it Tess was being zipped into a body bag, taken away on a stretcher. It was final, she was gone. They both were. He could vaguely hear the paramedics asking him if he was all right, could they call someone, and finally the police showed up to question him with Valenti pulling the reigns.

After a few one-word-answer questions, Valenti shooed away the surrounding squad and put his arm around Max. "Can I get you something? Call your mother? Make you some coffee? Do you want to come over and stay with me until your mother comes home? Would you like to talk to Kyle?" Max didn't even hear the specifics, all he knew was that he didn't want anything anyone could offer.

All he wanted was his sister and his friend back. All he wanted was for them to be happy.

When the house finally cleared, Max's family notified and on their way home, he fell to his knees, sobbing, pressing his face into the sheets on Isabel's bed.

"Dear God," he cried, "Help us."

*

"She looks very ... peaceful," Liz stammered, looking down in Tess' casket. She inhaled sharply, looking up at Max. "Do you think they're in another life already? Do you think they're together?"

"I don't know," Max whispered. "But they'll find a way. They're strong."

"Someone could have just been born. Hatched. Something. It could have been them," Liz whispered. "They were destined for each other, in their hearts ..."

Max nodded hard, brushing Tess' wavy hair from her face, though it immediately fell back. "She'll find Isabel. Izzy will find her." He kissed Liz's forehead gently. "Come on, it's starting."

Max barely heard the funeral service. Tess' death had sunk in immediately, and at the same time it had brought to face the reality of the loss of Isabel. He kept one hand in his pants pocket, on the folded white paper with his speech, the other threaded through Liz's. At Isabel's funeral, he had been too nerve-wrecked and dazed to speak, so only his parents had, but now he was ready. Someone had to speak for Tess, for she had no family.

Before he knew it, it was his turn, and he was at the front, leaning over the altar and the microphone, pouring out a speech entirely different from the clipped, basic one in his pocket. This one came from his heart, not his head. This one didn't care what anyone thought as long as it was true, as long as it was in the name of Isabel and Tess.

"Tess Harding came into our life suddenly, and her arrival was filled with uncertainty," Max began, his voice monotone and careful to begin with, but then it changed. "She took to Isabel. Isabel took to her. They saw something in each, something none of us had seen in years of knowing Isabel ... I don't think we ever saw it.

"They were each other's light. They didn't care who knew about them. Who thought they were weird or queer or dykes or any other bigoted word you could think of, because they had each other and that was enough. I believe even in death, they are together.

"We were told of our destinies. Tess pushed it the most. If there was anything we learned from those two, it was that you chose your own destiny, with your heart." His eyes shone, he looked lovingly at Liz, then to Michael and Maria. "They were in love. Truly, madly, deeply in love. Isabel was killed after an evening they spent together. Tess died because she couldn't live without her lover.

"Isabel was a sister to me. Tess was a best friend. They could have been that to each other. They tried to be that to each other. But they were more. They were everything to each other. Once they realized that ... came to terms with it ... they fell more deeply in love then any two people I have ever seen.

"I'm so glad they were happy. They were both scared they would never find that, and they found it in each other. It didn't matter that they were both women, that it wasn't supposed to be, none of it mattered. What mattered was each other, right to the end."

Max took a deep breath, blinking quickly as a tear rolled down his cheek. "I bet you've never seen two people shining with so much happiness. I know I'll never see anything that can match that. When you look up at the sun, the cloud, the moon, the stars ... remember them. See them. They're there, they're in everything now. I know it because I can feel it ... I can feel them as a part of everything. As a part of me, of all of us. They're part of all of us now ... they always were.

Max stared heavenwards, no longer speaking to the audience. "We loved you in life ... we'll love you in death. Forever," he vowed, then kissed a small framed photo of the couple before placing it in Tess' casket, in her arms. He leaned forward, kissing her cold forehead. "I love you, Isabel," he whispered to the cold air, "I love you, Tess."

And somewhere in the distance, laughter echoed, the laughter of lovers gone, laughter that said "we love you too". Somewhere, they were together and happy, Max knew, and that was the only important thing.

He turned and walked down the steps, away from the funeral, away from the casket, away from the gloomy air of death, and into the breezy, clear day, a smile presenting itself on his face, for he could feel them in the cool air, smiling at him, telling him they were happy.

In his heart, there was no doubt. Though both had died horribly tragic deaths, those had led to a peace they couldn't find in life. A peace and happiness that had them together. Forever.

Always.

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