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Sweet Bird of Prey: Tree/Bay Reflection

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list July 29, 2001

Title: Tree/Bay Reflection
Author: Scynneh
Disclaimer: Funny things happen when Ideas take shape. That does not happen on cable television.
Distribution: Uh, sure.
Rating: Maybe R so that no one is too offended.
Author's Notes: The first parts of this series are at:
Spoilers: You should know who Nick is from 'The Forsaken', and have some knowledge about 'Roswell.'

        Michael lay on the seat, his legs open akimbo, his head tipped to the side, one wrist secured to the door handle. His hair had been pushed away from his temples, and he looked older. Rath liked that.

        He was chewing on his fingers, sort of mouthing them, and it seemed to Rath an endearing sign of mental instability. Normal people, or aliens didn't stare out the window, while unbuckled in a car with companions who they knew had committed murder, and not complain, or try and get away.

        Maybe he needed more help than Rath could offer- like some nice pills. But he knew that Michael didn't believe in charity, and he respected that, a life such as his, either of their pasts weren't conducive to trusting folks that they couldn't open up and shine a flashlight inside to check out all of the corners and edges kept hidden.

        Michael was silently amused at all the fuss made over him, but as was typical, he didn't show it, and continued to blink at the blur of landscape in his window.

        Tess was curled up beside him, doing something with some yarn, he thought that it might be cat's cradle, but he felt no need to move and discover the truth for himself. There was no need to learn more now, the purpose had been snuffed out surely, like that song- moths, girls and flames. Never good, and he had played into all three like a novice. Time to reinvent his agenda.

        There was no reason that they couldn't enjoy this deviation from what they called normal, and when they got onto the open road, he hoped that they would. Tess was subservient that he thought Ava might have been teleported in to take her place, though there was no constant complaining, so that was out.

        And Michael persisted in humming and kicking the door handle at odd intervals- thank God for those automatic locks and the fact that the other man hadn't figured out how to undo them yet.

        Though, he wondered if the idea hadn't occurred to him, and that was a bit disturbing- usually his double was planning, thinking about things in ways that would have scandalized Max, but they were ways to stay alive. Impulsive, yes, but necessary. He respected that, and knew that while there seemed to be nothing wrong with their current arrangement, he had better find something very convincing to make this man his partner, and to get him to completely trust the way he seemed to trust few people.

        He looked so unassuming that one either overlooked him, or decided that he was the greatest threat in the area. He could be both- at once, and didn't affect modesty, he faded into the curtains instead. The roads were slick with sweaty death and the failings of men. They ignored the suffering; it was always on the periphery, and time would not change that- only a dramatic raising in consciousness would do any good, and as that didn't appear too likely to be happening, there was no use in whimpering about 'lamentable states' or 'avoidable tragedies.' All despair could be bypassed; one only had to refuse to be born.

        But when clawing out of a cocoon, breathing is more essential than contemplations of future emotional hurts. And for Michael, that night on the road must have been just the first wounding.

        No way to measure the slide downwards, factors were too muddled - Max's death, and Maria's, how quickly those events had followed each other

        Maria's 'wham, bam,' there went Michael's sanity.

        Not likely that it would be missed, sane Michael was brash, confrontational, and prone to argue with everyone. Now he was much quieter but Tess thought that the silence was the more dangerous state.

        Michael was always thinking, planning out strategies, floor plans, and constellations, whatever. It was never 'blank look, nothing at home.' That absence of operator only sped up the cogs of his mind. He considered and discarded thoughts as rapidly as they came into being.

        One foot was braced against the seat in front of him, and Tess lightly slapped his leg. Get off. He didn't move, so she leaned on loose khaki and a truce was declared with one large hand on the seat between them, resting there.

        Nick didn't partake in any of the threats of contests that the two other men had briefly squared off in- he seemed absorbed in counting the scratches in the upholstery.

        She hadn't really understood how there could be three of the same boy, but they weren't identical, nope, as strange in their own ways as any trio could be. And she amongst the fallen fruit. And Nick wasn't deadened, like Michael, just ill, body and mind, had lost someone too, but the cutting of the bonds had not stopped him. Tess respected that, but wondered if he was going to drop over as a corpse one morning. She wasn't about to haul him out of the front seat.

        She and Rath had decided to have her beside Michael until everyone got to know one another better. And they'd confirmed that Guerin wasn't about to go off and attack them all.

        "A big, fluffy bundle of fun," Tess murmured and saw Rath's head tilt to one side, thinking about it.

        "Non-fun at this point," she amended and poked Michael decisively in the knee. Knobby she thought and palmed the bone, feeling it quiver as he reacted to being touched.

        Interesting, she thought, fingers spinning over worn pockets, up past the waistband to the arm lying on the seat.

        Brush of her hand had him aware, eyes too wide for pleasure, breath fast, and anger in that curled lip.

        Didn't like to be touched she realized, them recalled Rath kissing him- submitting. It must have been girls that he had a problem with- since Maria's death at least. Thoughts of teasing and pushing to the point of 'stop or else' whispered to her before she set them aside for a later time.


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