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Fighting Fire

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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive January 24, 2001


Looking back after all this time, I wonder what I was thinking. Max Evans, my soulmate? The words that used to be so meaningful now seem like the desperate whinings of teenager who'd been watching too much Dawson's Creek. I understand why I felt what I did, but looking back there are things I regret. I wish I hadn't been so quick to fall, and I wish I hadn't let myself feel so strongly about another person that it clouded my judgement But I guess everything happens for a reason. And I now realise that Max was just a stepping stone. Merely another detour in the road that led to my true destiny.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. Max saved me, we fell in love, I found out the truth...but no. That isn't what really happened here. At least that's not the important part. The important part really began that summer. The summer my heart was broken, and then put back together again, stronger than before...

I'm Liz Parker, and I have a story to tell.

* * *

Summer, 2000

I walked away from Max. I had to. I couldn't handle it. Him, Tess, the whole destiny issue. I was so sick of the whole situation. Sick, and...scared. I was feeling things for the first time, strange, foreign feelings like jealousy, and lust, and confusion.

I hate being confused. I'm the scientific type. I like to know everything that's going on, and why it's going on, and exactly how to control it. This situation was one I had absolutely no control over.

And at this point, I was not thinking of the destiny situation. I was thinking, to put it simply, of myself. And...Tess.

Not in the die-bitch way I'd been thinking of her ever since she moved to Roswell, but in a different way. An...alarming way. You see, after I saw the two of them kissing in the rain that night, I felt jealous in a way I never had before. Oh, sure, I felt anger, and disappoinment, and betrayal, but above all that I felt pure, unadulterated jealousy.

Of Max.

Which terrified me more than anything. Sure, Maria and I had...experimented when we were younger. I mean, junior high is a confusing time, right? And it felt good. It did. I don't regret it at all. But the Tess thing was different. Even when Max and I were still together, I would find myself thinking about her. At night, when I closed my eyes, it was her face I pictured. But it's not like I could tell anyone. Hey Max, you know the girl you're destined to be with? Yeah, I think I might be too.

So I did the only thing I could. I kept up the facade, acted like I hated her to all who knew me, cried over Max's betrayal, and told Max I loved him. And I kissed him, trying desperately not to picture her face. What else could I do?

And so it ended. I walked away from Max, leaving him to his destiny. That day, I walked away from the two people I loved the most...and I never looked back.

Until July. I had successfully survived most of the summer without seeing them. Not much had changed in my life, except that Maria was hanging out a lot with Isabel. Two blondes with attitude, I guess. No wonder they like each other so much. They've actually managed to drag me out of the house for a few Girl's Night Out things. And sure, I go along and have fun. But I always feel like I'm intruding on something, like I'm tagging along on a date. Is that weird? I don't know. Anyways, so I was working diligently at the Crashdown, serving up some Alien Blasts, when Maria came barreling through the door like, well - Maria.

"Liz, Liz, ohmygod," she gasped out, clutching the edge of the counter.

"What is it?" I asked, concerned. She looked like she had ran halfway across town to get here. Which isn't much, but you get the idea.

"Tess, Tess is leaving," Maria said breathlessly. "You're free to have Max again!!! Liz, are you listening?!" She waved a hand in front of my face.

I stared at her. "Tess is leaving?" I asked stupidly, unable to process the information. "Why?"

Maria looked at me like I'd grown another head. "Who cares why? The playing field is clear, Liz. Max is all yours."

It was like someone had punched me in the stomach. I couldn't breathe, and the world was spinning. "I-I have to get some air," I muttered, and ran outside. I vaguely heard Maria calling after me, but chose to ignore it.

After about two minutes of gasping and holding back tears, I felt composed enough to go back inside. Then Isabel came out of nowhere. She looked upset. "Liz, have you heard?"

"Yeah," I answered her. "Why is she leaving?"

"I don't know," Isabel replied. "Max told me, but he didn't know either. Do you know where Maria is?"

I pointed to a booth, where Maria was sitting, looking lost. "She's over there."

"Thanks," she said, as she walked away.

The numb feeling was returning to my body.

Tess was leaving?!

* * *

I finished work in a daze, serving food I barely saw to customers that didn't even register in my mind. After work, I sat on my balcony and wrote.

It's July 14th. I'm Liz Parker, and I've never felt so alone. It seems like things are changing so suddenly. Tess is leaving. I don't know where she's going, or why she chose now to get out of Roswell. This is what I do know: I don't want her to leave. Now, ordinarily, I'd write this off as fear- I'm upset that Tess is leaving because I'll have to deal with the Max situation, and I'm not sure I'm ready to do that again. But I can't lie anymore. My reasons for not wanting Tess to leave are much more selfish than that.

I like her. In fact, I think I'm in love with her. And I have no idea what I'm going to do.

A harsh whisper caught my attention down below. "Liz!" a voice range out, in a sort of hushed stage whisper. "Liz, are you up there?"

It couldn't be. Life just doesn't work that way. I walked to the edge and peered down. "Tess?!"

She stood down there, looking up at me, the streetlights making shadows bounce off of her hair. "Can I come up?"

I looked toward my window, wondering if my parents were still up. Ah, screw it. "Hold on," I called back. "I'll come down."

Tess looked at me expectantly as I hopped off the last rung of the ladder. "So you've heard." She said it simply, with no identifiable feeling in her words.

"Yeah." I answered her, going through a mental list of why she might be here. "So why are you doing it?"

She looked away, avoiding the question. "Let's walk."

We had been walking for a few minutes before she spoke again. "I never loved him you know. It was never about love."

"I know." And somehow, I did. She was telling me the truth. After all, she was leaving, she didn't have a reason to lie. "Where are you going to go?"

She looked at me then. "It's not important."

Torn between exasperation and longing, I turned to her. "Then why are we here? Tess, if there's something you want to say, then say it. I can't take this any longer."

"Liz..." she trailed off, then held up her hand to me. We locked eyes, and I slowly pressed my palm to hers.

A rush of images invaded my brain instantly, and through that simple touch I learned more about her than I had ever known about anyone. Pictures exploded behind my eyelids: Tess as a young girl, trying to make a friend; Tess huddled in a corner of a new bed in an unfamiliar town; Tess crying as Nacedo made her get rid of a stray kitten she had found. Then more recent images: her first glimpse of Max and I together, which came with an overwhelming feeling of jealousy; her fear of getting exposed for who she really was; a familiar looking square symbol; and finally, me. Dozens of flashes of me, looking happy, sad, angry, possessive. Tess's mind was filled with thoughts of me.

I pulled my hand from hers, and her face immediately fell. "I'm sorry," she stumbled out, desperate to assuage my apparent confusion. "I just, I had to see you, to know. I thought it would make things clearer."

"Did-did you see me?" I asked haltingly, alternately wishing for and dreading a positive response.

She looked me straight in the eye. "Yes."

"What did you see?" I asked, involuntarily stepping closer.

"I saw myself. All your recent thoughts...have been about me," Tess answered, the slightest note of hope creeping into her voice.

Our lips were inches apart now, was this really happening to me? "What do you think that means?"

"I think it means I should rethink my descision to leave." And she kissed me. Without the slightest hint of hesitation. She pressed her lips to mine, and my world ended and began again in the space of those few seconds. But still I pulled back.

"Are you sure? I mean, what about destiny?" I whispered, unwilling to lose any contact with her.

She was quite the picture in front of me, eyes dark with desire, hair tousled from where I'd ran my fingers through it. And the words made it all come together. With a look of utmost seriousness, she looked me up and down. "Screw destiny," she said, and kissed me again.

* * *

Summer 2010

Has it really been that long? All these years later, the memories still make me smile. I've been meaning to write down this story for awhile, in fact I think it's going to be my anniversary gift to her. We've stayed together all these years, been living together for three of them. Despite the difference in our careers, we always manage to take our yearly vacation back to Roswell for a family reunion of sorts. I take off time from my job at Harvard, as head of molecular biology, and she takes a week or two off from her teaching job at U. Mass. She's an English professor, can you believe it? Plus we can have lunch together once in awhile because we're so close.

And now here we are again, back where it all started. We're staying with Alex and Isabel this time, and Tess and I can't wait to see the gang again. Maria and Kyle have a new baby daughter they've named Sunshine (that was Maria's idea), and Max is engaged to a punk rock singer named Genie. Yeah okay, I didn't see that one coming either. Michael is still floating from girlfriend to girlfriend, and we'll be meeting his current one tonight. So most of us have found happiness, and that's all one can ask for right?

It's getting late, I should go help Alex prepare dinner for all of us while Isabel compulsively straightens every piece of furniture in the house. Even after all this time I still adore my friends, and I've never been happier. I've learned that sometimes you can't fight the fire inside you- it's better to just let it burn.

END

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