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Reply to Meri or visit her websitePosted to the Roswell Slash list June 10,2000
Title: 20/20 (1/1)
Author: Meri Lomelindi
Date: June 10, 2000
Contact: email@example.com; any and all feedback adored. Flames welcomed for my own amusement.
Distribute: anywhere, as long as you e-mail me first.
Spoilers: Uh, the first season, specifically "Destiny," and "Blind Date." BD is important, but it's set several weeks post-Destiny.
Rating: R, I think. Cursing and groping.
Summary: Max's vision is fogged up and Kyle is obliged to help him clear it.
Warnings: Slash -- that's men with men in a romantic/ sexual way. If it bothers you, bug off.
Disclaimer: Roswell -- the series, anyway -- is owned by Jason Katims and the WB, lucky bastards that they are. I intend no infringement.
Note: If someone read your thoughts without your knowledge, wouldn't you be pretty fucking pissed off at them?
Note 2: Thanks oodles to Trela for beta.
"The truth is where the sculptor's chisel chipped away the lie." -- They Might Be Giants
It had seemed like a good idea. At first, it had been a very good idea, perfectly in keeping with his wary, trademarked distrust. But now that he was here at the door with fingers flitting to and fro over the bell like manic lovebugs, he had to wonder -- what the fuck did he think he was doing?
He wondered -- was he even thinking at all?
The lovebugs struck out in mid-ring as the door swung open, splattering against an imaginary windshield; his hand had a similar amount of grace as it jerked to an abrupt halt. Automatically his head tilted down to lock eyes with the doorway's occupant and then, seeing who it was, flickered over to the safer monotony of the driveway.
"Evans," said Kyle, who sounded calmer than any person whose life had recently been saved by an alien had any right to be. "What are you doing here?" Max glanced up, caught a vivid glimpse of snug jeans and sleep-tousled hair, eyelids drowsily slitted, and let his own eyes dart back to the front yard of their own accord.
"I need to talk to you." He waited for the inevitable comeback -- why *now*, when we haven't spoken in the three weeks since it happened -- but there was nothing, not even a barbed comment about the obvious catch in his throat. No thanks, either, though those had already been conveyed by the Sheriff a thousand times over. Jesus, this was awkward. "How are... things?"
Shoulders rolled back, carelessly languid, as the door opened wide to admit Max. With trepidation he stalked into the living room, Kyle's voice trailing after him in a steady drone. "Same old shit. Friends on vacation and there's nothing to do here. Nothing on TV, either." An odd note of contempt had crept into the last statement. When Max turned back there were eyes on him, glued to his movements, pupils narrowed into sharp grains of salt. They were anything but weary.
"But I guess you wouldn't know about that, would you, Evans?" Arms brushed and Kyle ambled past him to plop down into the center of the couch, legs splayed and hands settling over the upholstered back in idle complacency. It was entirely at odds with the hostility that he projected, drawn tightly over the wrinkled football jersey. "You just snap the stations in with your fingers, right?"
"It isn't like that." But the note rang false with him as well, and next he knew he'd fallen onto the chair opposite Kyle, perched on its corner as he teetered on an identical edge of -- something. Something dark. Something hazy and virile that stole into his thoughts whenever he wasn't paying attention, and the very notion of it had him recoiling in abject terror, sinking back into the stiff cushions and away from its source.
"So," Kyle said, rolling his eyes up to regard the paint chips that drifted from the ceiling, "what's up?"
He wasn't sure what to do, to say, to feel; imitating a frozen ice sculpture was his forte, and yet the need to fidget was nibbling at the edges of his mind. Without much thought his nails dug into the fabric of the chair, poking and tugging. When he looked down, there were bits of fuzz clinging to his fingertips.
So he brushed them off, still longing for Kyle's rough nonchalance instead of his robotic deadpan. But it was hooked just as tight as the fuzz, which he was now eager to remove. By the time he was done Kyle had noticed his silence; he was beginning to stare, and the mask was stone against Max's skin as he invented another brilliant gem of Evans wit:
"So, um, Liz has been talking to you."
He couldn't even look Kyle in the eye. Shit, this was nerve-wracking. It had been so easy with Liz, so utterly natural and right. And wasn't he supposed to look mildly grateful, or even happy to be alive?
Lounging further, Kyle rested socked feet on the dented coffee table and allowed his hands to dangle aimlessly. He said, "Yeah, she brought me a basket of fruit. Told me about you."
Once Max had ceased fidgeting for good, having thrown himself flat against the back of the chair like a statue, he could think again. He still couldn't feel, but he could think again. It had really been too easy with Liz. "I thought that maybe -- that it -- that one of us should talk to you. Just to make sure, you know, that you understood everything. What we're doing."
"What's to understand? You're the infamous aliens of Roswell, crashed down -- " said with a decided curl of the lip, "and trying to find your people. Or species. Or whatever the hell you guys call them -- "
"Parents," Max murmured, and then stopped as he glanced up to catch the twitching around Kyle's eyes. The subtle crinkling of skin, just so, that reminded him of the conspicuous absence of a Mrs. Valenti. It wasn't supposed to, he knew, but the faint twinge of pity carried with it elation, bitter and raisin-dried but oddly satisfying. Exhilarating. He remembered what he'd come for, then, and he remembered that it had nothing to do with *Max*. That it was Kyle's dark, murky weakness and it was Kyle who had cracks laced through his armor, that he was ready to shatter at any moment and that Max knowing it gave him the edge of power that he needed. If he didn't lose himself, he could pull the strings.
It wasn't hard at all to remember that it had been Kyle's blood welling up beneath his hands and not his own. Kyle was exposed and vulnerable, not Max.
Knowledge affirmed, reality fashioned to his liking, he leaned forward and offered as close as he ever came to a smile. "Kyle, we're not monsters. We aren't even that different when it comes to genetics. Isabel, Michael, and I just want to exist without being locked up in some government lab."
Kyle had shifted too, forward to meet him, not quite facing and not quite looking away. There was enough tension corded in the muscled calf made bare by a rumpled pant leg to fuel his jeep for a day. The exhilaration spread, tingling, whispering a welcome into his bones in some kind of alien language and dancing across his flesh in mercurial flares. He stared at the exposed skin until embarrassment molded itself to Kyle's features, clear as day and obviously as foreign to him as the voice that called to Max. Jeans were straightened carefully, painstakingly, and Kyle had conducted a thorough study of the wall before daring to make his next entreaty.
"Evans -- " another pause here, pupils narrowing and flashing to the side before zeroing in on Max's face, "you know I won't tell anyone. Your secret's safe. I mean, you did save my life."
The voice spread its wings in lilting song, cloying and bright. Sparkling on his eyelids, parching his throat, it was a thirst that begged to be quenched with each passing moment. But he simply stood, muttered something under his breath -- something like "good," -- and moved as if to go. Kyle rose in unison with him; perhaps he was pulling the other boy's strings already.
"Evans," Kyle began, the odd hint of shame still thick on his tongue, "I didn't say I wouldn't ask for something in return." Fingers flew out, latching onto Max's shirt sleeve and yanking it close, and with the tugs the balance of power was tossed at Kyle's feet.
Now that Max's full attention was also trained on Kyle's feet, the Sheriff's son warped into business mode. Voice low and grainy, eyes boring 18-inch drill holes into Max's head, he didn't allow Max time to disagree. "Liz told me that when you healed her, it gave you visions. Of her childhood. What she thought, what she dreamed."
It took a few moments, but Max managed to scrape a "yes," past his gritted teeth.
"And she said you gave her some of yours, too, so that you wouldn't be such an asshole."
"Liz wouldn't say that," he said, with only a feeble attempt at protest. Kyle's grip drew tighter on his sleeve, gathering a fistful of muscle with it.
"You did do that, Evans. Anything to oblige your little lady love, right? Anything for Liz Parker. She's your *soulmate.* But it's perfectly okay to take knowledge from old Kyle Valenti's head and keep it to yourself and not give him a single fucking thing back, isn't it? You don't even have to tell him what happened.
You got them, didn't you? You got my thoughts."
Now Kyle had pushed him back, back against the edge of the chair so that his legs pressed against it and he was staring down at the top of Kyle's head whenever he looked down, wondering why he didn't melt into the floor. His breath fell quick and fast against Kyle's hair, ruffling it as he tried to look away and failed. Still the tingling remained, piercing deep into his flesh with a bitter tang.
"I saw a few things..."
Rougher now -- he could feel the callouses -- the hands gripped his shirt collar, tried to cut him down to size. "Tell me what you saw, Evans. Tell me what you took from my head. This is my goddamned mind, not some fucking alien playground."
It was just like it was with Pierce, really, pressed up against each other, breath pounding in his ears, hands at collars and the bulge in Pierce's surgical scrubs needling his leg -- no, it was him. Jesus fucking Christ, he himself was the demon, and it was Max Evans whose arousal spread through his veins and heated his skin and spilled out to stain the air. And he fell, deflated. Desperation poured into his voice, blind acquiescence; just like it had been with Pierce. He wondered if Kyle could feel it. He wondered, briefly, if Kyle knew he was begging; if it was possible that Kyle realized he was about to break into hysterical hiccups.
"I don't know, I don't know..."
Not so; Kyle's grip was still steel and his voice hard against Max's throat. "All right, do it to me, then. Give me exactly what you took, Evans."
"I don't know. I don't know if it will work. You're not, you know -- "
"I'm not Liz. I don't care. It's not fair. Even if you were saving me, it's *not* fair."
Since it wasn't Liz, he didn't bother to ask if he could touch Kyle. They were so close together anyway; there were no delicate flowers here, and he just snaked his hands up to cover Kyle's temples. Matched gazes; little earthquakes marred his grip, made his fingers tremor, but they were soon forgotten under the haze of vision.
Max stared until he thought he'd go blind, and then the flashes came so harsh and biting, so rapid in succession that he could barely stay on his feet. Dark of night, stars winking in and out of existence, and flashes of desert vista; they flitted and vanished so quickly that he was awash in wildly dramatic metaphors. It was joy; it was wonder, and he was frolicking in the sand and there was really no time to wonder why he was seeing what he'd offered to Kyle -- why he didn't recognize the images that were pouring into his mind. What he was seeing was the voice that had called to him, twining in the vision-clouds overhead as he made overtures to Liz in the desert.
When it was dark, the voice rode on the New Mexico wind and hid in the crevices of roof above Max Evans as he walked. The voice remembered that he had been drunk; it remembered that he had stood on the streets with his enemy and swallowed just enough alcohol to overload an alien's brain. Just enough to overload; not enough to keep it from remembering. Memories were as bright and everlasting as the intermittent flash of sun through the living room blinds.
He stared at Kyle's nose, a scant two inches away from him, and remembered seeing several forms of it from his inebriated vantage point. He remembered wanting to plant sloppy kisses over all of them to figure out which face belonged to the real Kyle Valenti.
But Max didn't have a problem with that. That was just the alcohol talking; he would have kissed anything even remotely attractive when drunk. Everyone did that. He could deal with that, and it was easy to explain away. After all, he'd gone and planted a good one on Liz just a few hours later.
The real problem was that he *didn't* remember kissing Kyle, that he had no recollection of Kyle's tongue being thrust into his mouth, damp with salt and softness. He couldn't conjure a memory of tossing frenzied arms around Kyle's shoulders, either, of digging hot hands into the muscled back with his body writhing against another's in the kind of wanton fervor that Liz's doe-eyed compliance had never elicited. There was nothing in his past to suggest that he'd ever felt someone else's erection against his jeans and not wanted to smack them into oblivion. There was certainly nothing to explain why he had a sudden, unrelenting image of jack-knifing his hand down to press in between the other's legs.
That was why, when he tore his eyes away from Kyle's to glance down, his hand was nowhere to be seen and his lips were crushed velvet against a nearby face. A *real* problem, because this was real, and he wasn't having any sort of vision anymore other than what was in front of his own blurring eyes.
He ripped his mouth away, too, wiped it clean with the hand that he hadn't sullied groping at Kyle's groin, and trembled. He backed off, shaking, and darted furtive glances up, but he couldn't look into those dark eyes. For the first time he really *did* look at the rest of it, the rumpled shirt and the compact frame and the smoothly styled hair; the pseudo-macho football player -- and he thought, fuck, Kyle could be the poster boy for queerdom.
"When you healed me, you saw what I wanted," said Kyle, who stood still with eyes trained on his guest. His voice was hoarse and the heat was collecting oppressively, eddies of warmth swirling in the air. Max said nothing; his twitching brows were enough to make it clear that he had known all along -- had lived with the imprint of his mouth on Kyle's branded onto his eyelids for weeks, tiptoeing along the line between smugness and fear and the stirring of something deep in his bones.
Out of the blue, he remembered that Tess was waiting for him at the Crashdown. They were supposed to discuss things, or something -- Tess always wanted to do that. She liked to survey him with lip-gloss shining carnation pink on her mouth, eyes sooty with shadowed mascara, and make sure that he was gawking at her instead of pining at Liz's balcony. When he turned to leave, to meet her there, Kyle had already slid past him through the hall and was locking the door. Once the bolt had been set, he swung the screen open with a creak and gestured vaguely.
"Shut it on your way out. My dad won't be home for another four hours."
Max stepped through the doorway with a sigh of relief, considering the two girls that awaited him at the Crashdown with cat-claws outstretched in silent plea. 'Pick me, Max, pick me...' It was with muted terror that he fled the musk of Kyle, strong and masculine and impossibly wrong; instead, he allowed the ruddy blaze of the sun to seep into his skin. Squinting up at the sky, things almost seemed tolerable.
Then he stopped in mid-stride; he'd forgotten to shut the door.
Moments later Max was on the wrong side of the deadbolt, limp and sweaty on Kyle's couch. Hands laced in his lap, he was endeavoring to watch a M*A*S*H rerun without catching a glimpse of Kyle's flushed cheeks and having only marginal success. Onscreen, Hawkeye and Trapper huddled in Hotlips' bed together while she screeched at their insolence. Offscreen, Max told Kyle that the cable at his house was out and they lapsed into an awkward silence.
Through it they shifted, fiddled; he reached for the remote at the same time that Kyle did and caught the flicker of astonishment as he switched channels with his own bare fingers. How wrong it was, he thought, to relish this, to still feel the flavor of Kyle on his lips, taunting him -- and how impossibly wrong it would have been to refuse when Kyle leaned in for another go.
* * * * *
Finis and whatever.
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