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Lure of the Siren (AKA Just a Girl)
Reply to Sobia HelenPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list January 2, 2001
Title: Lure of the Siren (AKA: Just a Girl)
Author: Sobia Helen
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Category: Slash (L/T)
Rating: U, PG
Spoilers: Post Destiny
Distribution: Want. Take. Have. Just ask first: email@example.com
Summary: Liz POV, Liz finds out the truth about Tess...
Dedications: To Jess, who made the wonderful banner. To Tzippy for editting it for me. And to the b-club, 'cause "Evil doth prevail." LoL.
"Aleph am I,
From mine unfathomable will
The Universe hath its beginning.
In my boundless wisdom
Are the types and patterns
Of all things."
----From The Book of Tokens
There was something about Tess. Well, OK, she was an alien, but there was more to it than just that. She had a glow about her. Everything seemed more illuminated in her presence. It was as if every star in heaven shined through her. She had grace and beauty, power and mystery. It was as if she was the center of the universe and the rest of us just merely revolved around her. It was just a thought. But it was closer to the truth than I would've expected.
"Guys can be such jerks! I wish Kyle would fall off a chair and break his neck."
Those were the words that came out of Tess' mouth the day her and Kyle broke up. And the amazing thing was that the next day, it happened. Yes, the very next day, Kyle Valenti fell off a chair and broke his neck.
That wasn't the first time something like that had happened. But it was definitely the first time I had noticed. That was the beginning of my quest to solve the puzzle called Tess Harding.
Sometimes, I wondered if Tess really was who she said she was. She did have the incredible ability to make the impossible seem possible. There were lots of things I wondered about her. And I wasn't sure that I wanted the answers to all my questions about Tess.
I was a science person all the way. I wanted answers to everything. In my quest for knowledge, I had lost the innocence of my childhood. I had forgotten how to appreciate the mystery of the creation. Until Tess came along.
Tess made me feel things I never had before. She made me want to wonder and be glad when I didn't know something. She was a mystery to me, and I liked it that way.
She made me want to know the joy of wonderment. And I loved her for it.
Our first encounter had been brief but revolutionizing. It had been in a school hallway where she had bumped into me. She had apologized and was gone before I had recovered. I had stood there, staring after her, for what seemed like hours.
I had always hated mythology; it was too unscientific for me. Nevertheless, my mind had gone back to the tale of Medusa as I stood there frozen. I had remembered reading that in the original myth, it was the beauty of Medusa's face, rather than her hedious hair that made men and beasts alike turn to stone.
She made me wonder about things I didn't believe in. And I feared her for it.
The next day, she had seemed to have quite the same effect on Max. He had stood there, staring at her, unaware to the fact that his flesh was burning. Again, my thoughts had gone back to mythology. This time, I had wondered if Psyche had looked anything like Tess.
Even then I knew that Tess had a hold over Max. Over everyone, it seemed. And suddenly, I wasn't so sure about what Max and I had.
She made me doubt in things I knew were real. And I hated her for it.
Tess. Tess. Tess. Just the name stirred so much emotions in me that I almost felt nothing. I feared her, I hated her. I envied her, I loved her. I wanted her, I wanted to be her.
Tess and Kyle had gotten together the day after Max and I got back together. And they had broken up just as abruptly. It had been almost a year since the aliens had found and forsaken their destiny. Maria and Michael were currently on the off stage of their on-off relationship, and had been for some time now. Alex and Isabel had never really gotten past the 'taking it slow' stage. Max and I were move in love than ever.
But that was about to change, I feared.
In the last year, Tess had became somewhat a part of our group. She had stayed on the outside, yet still involved. Only Tess could have done that. Some might have called her indifferent; I knew otherwise. She had a compassion for everyone, at the same time, she stayed curiously unattached. That was another thing that I loved and envied in her.
To say that things got strange following Kyle's death would be an understatement. Reality itself went to hell after that.
Tess and I had came to a mutual understanding since the days of the destiny persuasion. We had even became friends. Yet still I feared and anticipated the day Tess would want Max again. I was afraid that this time around, Max would realize what he was missing.
I didn't, for a second, doubt in the love Max and I had for each other. But there was just something about Tess. One could hate her and still can't help being drawn to her. I knew how that felt.
Two weeks had gone by since Kyle's funeral. Everything was back to normal. Hardly anyone remembered the tragedy anymore. Of course it had been devastating when it had happened, but life went on.
It was a Friday night and almost the time to close down the cafe. Maria and I worked as the few last customers finished up.
After closing down most of the front part, I headed back to the kitchen. I was stopped short by Isabel's presence though. She sat on the counter and talked softly as Michael cleaned up. I stood there, not knowing what was stopping me from going in any further. Maybe it was the rarely seen smile on Michael's face as he listened to Isabel. Or the look of contentment on her face. Michael paused in his activities and reached to caress her face, running his hand gently through her hair. For some reason, I wasn't surprised at this display of affection, nor was I shocked when Isabel leaned in to kiss Michael. I felt bad for prying, but I was unable to move. I felt a smile tugging at my lips as I forgot about Maria and Alex for a second.
Then I heard a soft in take of breath and turned around to see Maria. She turned around and left before I had a chance to say anything. I threw a glance toward Michael and Isabel to find them oblivious to everything but each other.
I sighed and went after Maria. I left the cafe to find Tess sitting outside with papers and pastles. She looked up and smiled at me, and I froze. I wondered if Tess had anything to do with what had just happened. I doubted what I had seen.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, glancing at Maria as she drove away.
Tess held up the paper she had been drawing on. "Art project," she said.
The paper had an accurate drawing of the Crashdown Cafe. But something was off. In the painting, the Crashdown was on fire.
Tess smiled apologetically, when I met her gaze. "Part of the assignment," she stated.
The painting was sickening, but I didn't say anything. I nodded and left to see Maria. I thought I heard Tess chuckle; I did not turn to look.
My parents had gone away for the weekend, and I was staying at Maria's Saturday night. Maria seemed to have recovered from the Michael thing, for which I was glad. After all, it wasn't like they had been together.
Around 3 a.m. that night, Maria woke me up to tell me that Crashdown had caught on fire. She told me that the fire had been put out and there wasn't much damage done. I could only be grateful that my parents were away. Curiously enough, it wasn't until much later that I remembered Tess' painting.
Tess was an amazing storyteller. Not only could she make up great stories, but she also made one believe that the tales were happening somewhere in time. We were all spending the night at Isabel's that night when she told us the tale of a knight named Alex Witterson, who fell in love with the king's illegitimate daughter. The story had a rather brutal ending, with the girl ending up becoming the queen, while the knight killed himself. For some reason, the end really disturbed me. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just fiction. Or so I thought.
The next day brought the shocking news that Alex had tried to kill himself. Sure, Alex had been upset over the Michael-Isabel thing, but he hadn't been *that* upset. There was something else at work here, I knew.
My mind went back to Tess's tale from last night. Alec Witterson. Alex Whitman. I couldn't imagine Tess having anything to do with it, but she had definitely known this would happened. And I knew that she had wanted me to know that she knew.
I went to see Tess that night. I didn't know what I hoped to accomplish, but I had to know. I found her sitting outside on the porch. She looked up as I approached. "I knew you'd come," she said.
"Yeah, that and everything else." I replied.
She smiled slightly. "So you know," she observed, not denying anything.
"Alex was with you last, wasn't he?" I asked, dreading the answer.
She shrugged. "Does it matter?"
"What did you do to him?" I asked.
"*I* did nothing..." she said.
I started to contradict that, but Tess stood up and walked to me. And I had to force myself to not step back.
"Sometimes..." she started thoughtfully. "...bad things happen to people when they are alone with me."
A chill ran down my spine at her tone. "What do you mean?" I asked.
She gestured to our surroundings. "We are alone, Liz," she stated.
I blacked out seconds later.
I came to in the Pod Chamber, which was illuminated with an eerie light. I sat up and took in my surroundings. There were paintings everywhere. Paintings of events that I had seen. Somehow, I knew that the paintings were drawn before the events took place.
I stood and walked over to where the light was coming from. Tess sat by the pods, in front of an unfinished painting as she worked to finish it. I dreaded looking at what it was.
She turned towards me and I noticed that Tess was painting the incident at the Crashdown that had started it all. Yet there was something off about it. "You are awake." She observed.
I shook my head. "This is a dream." I said.
Tess smiled and reassumed her activity. "You are only half right." She informed me.
I frowned, waiting for her to go on.
Tess sighed. "What happens in dreams can follow you into reality. Dreams can be as real as anything."
I shook my head again, willing myself to wake up.
Tess went on. "This dream is a figment of your imagination. This world is a figment of mine." Once again, she turned to me. "In me lies the pattern of everything; I am all possibilities."
That sounded so impossible. "W-what *are* you?" I asked finally.
She smiled a smile that shone with all the light of the sun. And suddenly, I believed everything she had said; she was a jewel that could only have been created in heaven.
"I am just a girl." She said to my disappointment. "But a girl can be anything; she can be a god."
I gasped at her words, fearing that she *was* God.
She turned back to her painting, ignoring me and I desperately tried to wake up in vain.
"You ruined it all, you know," she said finally. "Max was supposed to fall in love with me. He was made for me."
I smiled. So she was not all-powerful, after all. She stopped painting and she looked so lost that I felt for her.
"You can't control our emotions. You are not God." I stated.
Tess laughed, the sadness gone from her eyes. "No, Liz, I'm not God, but I am so close it's scary."
I wasn't liking the direction this conversation was taking. "Why did you kill Kyle? Alex?"
A look of regret crossed her face. "Oh, but I didn't. The time of death is decided before one's birth. I don't control the frame of destiny, but I can alter what goes into it. Alex and Kyle would have died a much worse death if I hadn't intervened. They had to fulfill their destiny either way." She paused. "It's time for you to fulfill yours."
Destiny again. "Max will love me even after I am gone. He won't love you," I said.
"He will...the next time around." She added a last stroke to her painting and stood up, finished with it. And I saw what was wrong with it. The waitress who was shot lay on the floor, bleeding. While Max tried healing her. The waitress was Tess, not me.
"I-I don't understand," I said.
"It doesn't matter," Tess said and walked to me.
She looked at me and I froze, staring into her eyes. I hated her more than anything and yet I was still drawn to her. And I knew that Tess wasn't lying. In her own way, she was doing what was best for everyone.
She reached out and caressed my face. "I really don't want to do this. But it'll be much worse if I don't interfere." A look of genuine compassion crossed her face, followed by that of anguish. And once again, I believed her.
She ran a hand through my hair and slowly brought her mouth to mine. She kissed me and I felt life being sucked out of me. I began to die, yet I had no regrets. This was what I wanted. It was better this way.
Tess Harding threw an annoyed look toward the tourists in one of the booths as they argued loudly. She looked at the clock impatiently. Two more hours before her shift at the Crashdown would end.
"You are so bad, girl" Her best friend, Maria Deluca informed her as she returned to the counter after playing with the heads of two particularly naive tourists. "Oh, and Max Evans is staring at you again.", added Maria.
Tess looked over at Max's table and then proceeded to deny the obvious.
Max Evans glanced away when Tess looked at him, and pretended to listen to his best friend Michael. He didn't particularly liked to hang out at the Crashdown. Too crowded for his taste. But Tess's parents owned the place and she worked there and he had had a thing for her since forever.
As he waited for his food to arrive, an argument broke out and one of the men pulled out a gun and shot at the other. Except that the bullet ended up in Tess. Max stood and ran to her despite Michael's protests. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't let her die.
Max healed her and was out the cafe before the Sheriff arrived. He turned back to look at her just before he left. She looked bewildered but smiled. Max smiled back, knowing that he would be seeing a lot more of her in the days to come.
*Some mysteries are better left unsolved...*
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