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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive December 31, 2000

Title: Irony
Author/pseudonym: sjr
Fandom: Roswell
Pairing: Jim Valenti/original character
Rating: VERY G - nuthin' happens onscreen, merely implied - sorry. ;O
Status: new, complete
Archive: Yes to CkoS and WWMoB
E-mail address for feedback:
Series/Sequel: I REALLY doubt it; this is only the second thing I've finished in about 15 years of trying and the other piece is only a little longer than this.
Other websites: none
Disclaimers: I don't own anyone you'll recognize, but I will take credit for the original character, such as it is. No money being made.
Notes: Spell checked; not beta'd. No definite timeline break here, could take place any time after Valenti (the elder) becomes convinced that the aliens he's looking for are at the local high school.
Summary: Jim Valenti reflects on his life choices and makes an important decision.
Warnings: AU

I know who I'm looking for, now. And, at last, I know why.

After figuring out about Isabel, Max, and Michael it was an easy step to make. But what proof could I possibly get, now, that another little boy who'd been found wandering in the desert so many years before, but so strangely close to the place where our three present day tots had been found and just happened to also be addicted to Tobasco Sauce was an alien as well. This discovery looked like it was a step backwards, not forwards.

Until I saw the news tonight; the news that had coverage of the assassination of the dictator of some small country, somewhere. The tape that showed him pulling the trigger and running away; the tape that showed the up-and-down-motion of someone carrying a camera and running flat out to catch up with the assassin; that turned the same corner and ran right past the old man sitting on the park bench, in search of the assassin. The tape that showed that the old man was wearing clothes identical the assassin.

And I knew both faces, was intimately familiar with both the young man who'd pulled the trigger and the old one sitting in the sun letting the chase pass him by.

Then, as the camera operator returned from his fruitless chase, there was the third man, older than the assassin and younger than the sunbather, yet still wearing the others' clothes and wearing yet a third face I could never mistake for anyone else. And I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that the mysterious alien that I've been chasing for so long had been under my nose practically my whole life, and if I'd had any courage at all, I could've had the answers to so many questions.

I could've known what it was like tohave the courage to stand up for what you want despite the ridicule of the unenlightened; I could've had a life of love instead of one of loneliness. And least important of all, I could've had some of the alien questions answered. Because the three men were, of course, all the same man; it was the shapeshifter I'd heard of in my investigations.

The shapeshifter who was sending me a message; you see he used my son's face to assassinate with, my father's face to escape by blending into the background, and my lover's face to drive home his message. He knows that I'm looking for him, he's even been in town recently enough that he's seen my father since his stroke two months ago. It feels like he's taunting me with what might have been, but I know that he's really telling me to back off; that I'm getting too close and I'm liable to get hurt.

I'm not surprised that he's been close; he always keeps his promises.

The day we met, when my father brought home this boy found wandering in the desert; this interloper for his attention that my father missed my sixth birthday party for; this upstart promised that he'd stomp me into the ground if I didn't quit teasing Susie Rhodes about being afraid of spiders; I didn't and he did.

When we were 8, he promised that he'd be my best friend forever and he always was, even when I wasn't.

When we turned 13, he promised that he'd protect me always and he never let me down, even managing to deflect the worst of my father's rage when he'd go on a tear after the taunts and ridicule got too much for him.

At 15, he promised that he'd be in love with me forever, and I guess that he still is, because he's still sticking close, he's still protecting me; he sent me this warning.

And at 18, when I decided that I couldn't take the stigma of a relationship with a man, he promised that he'd never tell anyone that we'd been lovers, and to this day, no one knows.

So now, he's being my friend, protecting and loving me and warning me in the only way he can without revealing our secret. And I'll heed his warning; I'll back off on the search and the investigation of the kids; after all, they could be his brothers and sisters, or maybe his children and I meant it when I promised to always love him and to look after his family when he left; and even though I'd meant the adopted one, I know, NOW, that these kids were part of the deal, too.

I just wish, more than I've ever wanted anything, that, way back when, I'd gotten him to promise to never let me leave him and to not keep important secrets from me.

Well, I think it's time to face up to what I want, to find some way to get the life I wish I'd had the courage to go after, all those years ago.

I'll leave a message in our old hiding place and hope he checks it, soon. Ironic, huh? To go chasing after the thing I threw away so carelessly? I was never satisfied with the ordinary, always chasing the mysterious. It serves me right to suddenly realize that the best, most mysterious mystery was already mine, if I'd just stood up for it.

I'll photocopy this journal page and take it to the hiding place tonight and hope that my dreams come true. Pray that we'll find some way to work this out. I don't know what they've got on him to turn my kind, sweet lover into a killer, but I have to believe that, somehow, we'll be able to fix it. That I'll be able to make up for my cowardice and what all these years apart have done to him. Somehow.

He sighed, read over the entry one last time and went to make his copy, then sat at his desk again, briefly; just long enough to hide his journal away again and to scrawl one last message across the photocopy:

I love you, Tom. I always will.



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