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Along the Edge, Part One

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list July 14, 2001

Title: Along the Edge (1/4)
Author: trixie
Disclaimer: Ah, Joss and Jason own them. We know it. Everyone knows it.
Rating: R
Author's Notes: This is a Roswell/Buffy crossover- based on one of my favourite books- which I'll reveal at the end
Cate: B/A, L/I, crossover
Timeline: It's five years in the future- Liz is now 22
Summary: Liz is running away from home- when she meets two hitchhikers. Together, they tell stories- as an even darker story unfolds around them
Dedication: To Shayla, who loves B/A as much as me, and L/I *almost* as much as me! *g* Love you, darling! And to all my chicas... you guys rock- Ducks, Deb, Dru, Sara-Lee, Margot, Erin, Doc, Sarah Anne, and to all the rest who send feedback without fail. You're priceless.



        Rain lashed Liz Parker's face as she threw her bag into the back of the car. Glancing up at the sky, her brow furrowed as she watched the clouds go black as pitch. It was a shitty night, matching her mood. She could barely feel the cold, her white-hot anger was so acute. She hated this town. Hated it. And she hated her too. Her belly rumbled as she got into the red and black vehicle, turning the key in the ignition and hearing the engine turn over. At least one thing was right. If her car had refused to start she didn't know what she would have done. It stalled sometimes- she suspected the battery was fried. But she figured it would last along the coast road. She'd just have to be careful.

        Her skin crawled and she felt the burning itch to leave California as far behind as possible. She rolled down the window as she drove. The rain seeped into her flesh, but she was already shivering. Pain did that. As Liz approached the on-ramp to the freeway, she spotted two hitchhikers standing beside the road. Ordinarily she wouldn't stop, but they looked so forlorn without umbrellas, that she came to a halt beside them and cracked open her window. They were a beautiful couple- from what she could see. The guy was tall, dark, wearing a duster that the rain was probably ruining. Tiny beside him, the girl had blonde hair and wore tight pants and a long coat.

        "Where are you heading?" the guy asked, his face pale in the rain washed night.

        "North," she answered obliquely and inquired, "Want a ride?"

        They nodded and the guy held up a big green garment bag. "Can I stow this in the back?"

        She glanced in her rear-view mirror and said, "Yeah. But be quick."

        As she tossed it on the seat, the girl climbed into the back and Liz glanced at her, thinking with how beautiful she was. Completely California girl pretty in a way she would never be. In the way Isabel is... she thought and felt the stab of agony in her lower belly.

        Ignoring it, she smiled at them weakly as she pulled away from the curb and got on the freeway. Traffic was light. The rain made it near impossible to see. But she could. She didn't know how- but she could. "I'm Liz," she introduced herself and the guy, who sat next to her, smiled faintly.

        "I'm Liam."

        She wondered if he was of Irish descent as he nodded to the girl in the back, who was staring out into the night with her strange cat eyes. They reminded Liz of Isabel's and she felt sick. "That's Anne."

        "Nice to meet you," Liz replied and the girl glanced at her for a moment.

        "Do you mind if I smoke?"

        "No," Liz said reluctantly, rolling down her window a little more, so the wind would rush against her skin. "I don't mind."

        The glowing tip of the cigarette shone briefly in the dim light and then faded as Anne breathed in and blew the smoke at the back of Liz's head. "Where are you headed?"

        "North," Liam answered for her. "It's the way we're headed to, which is convenient."

        "What do you to do?"

        "We're musicians," Anne said with a glint of anger in her tone. She grinned mockingly around the smoke. "Ever heard of the Bard's Club? We're booked into it- it's in San Francisco."

        Liz thought hard and then lied, "Yeah sure." She was silent for a moment. Her face was stinging from all the salt her eyes had wept over the last night. For a moment she pictured Isabel's face - how it would look when she found out that Liz was gone and felt glad. She hoped the blonde girl suffered. Suffered for a long time. After all, Liz thought as her vision blurred slightly, I will. Why shouldn't she?

        "I'm hungry," Liam announced, and gazed at Liz. His eyes made her feel open- and she didn't like it. They reminded her of Max, and that was reason enough for hate. "Can we stop at a mini-mart or something?"

        She nodded, not really caring. "Sure. But I'll have to get off the free-way. Of course, I can always get back on."

        "There's no always," Anne coughed, and then inhaled again. "But feel free."

        Liz shifted, uncomfortable, and steered the vehicle off to the next exit, pulling into a small gas station. She had over half a tank and didn't fill up, instead, climbed out of the car to follow Liam inside. She felt kind of hungry herself, and immediately grabbed some milk and vanilla cookies. A distant memory- a pin prick of remembrance, really, tickled her brain—

        your favourite flavour is—vanilla?

        Shaking her head, she rubbed her arm and brought the food up to the counter. A bored looking woman with blue sky eyes stood in front of the cash register. Her hair looked as wilted as she obviously felt, and Liz had the urge to say- "Are you ok?" but she didn't.

        "That'll be 3.45", the woman murmured with a voice that was all anger and no softness. She was like a lot of women in California, and Liz nodded, handing her some crumpled bills and leaving the spill of change on the counter. What were coins now? Nothing. She couldn't breathe for a moment and pressed her forehead to the cool window, watching Liam buy beer and doughnuts and cigarettes, presumably for Anne- who sat in the car, motionless, except for the shifting stick of nicotine in her slim hand.

        "Ready to go?"

        The soft question from behind her made Liz's throat work with convulsive tremors. She touched her arm again. It ached just slightly. "Yes, I'm ready."

~~~

        They reached the coast in an hour, and the air felt salty and fresh. Liz drank it in and felt her belly hollow—

        (You taste like salt, love...)

        "Want to turn on the radio?" Liz inquired politely, although she did actually want to crank the music. It might drown out the roar of the past, and that was something she could do with right now.

        Liam shrugged, his muscled shoulders moving beneath the duster. He really was beautiful. His skin was pale like marble and he had eyes like a panther's. Her gaze met Anne's in the rear-view mirror and the other girl blew smoke at her. She wished she would stop doing that- it would take an entire bottle of shampoo just to get the smell out of her hair. "So?" she muttered, her fingers hovering over the dial.

        Liam shook his head. "No. Music is canned. Let's tell stories."

        "Stories?" she felt a chill crawling down her spine as if Death was stalking her. "I don't have any to tell."

        "I think you do," Anne murmured. "I want to hear the story of Liz Parker."

        Liz laughed nervously. "I told you. I don't have a story."

        "Yeah you do. Everyone does." Liam said carelessly. "Like why you're running away for example. Did you kill someone?"

        She gaped at him, astonished and then giggled. He was strange. "No." She paused and then considered. "But I wish I had."

        "Who do you wish you killed?" he inquired blandly.

        "A girl," she muttered, a bitter taste flooding her teeth. "This girl I know."

        "Tell us, Liz." Anne said her name with such love, such warmth, that Liz's insides felt as if they'd been exposed to sunshine. She gazed into the rainy night, the road stretching ahead of her like a ribbon into nowhere. There was a long way to go before they reached San Francisco. She had all night.

        "Ok," she responded softly. "I'll tell you the story. Isabel and I met a long time ago. It wasn't really us that met. Her brother and I did, and we fell in love. It was that fairy tale thing- we thought we were soul mates." She paused and choked back a laugh. "How wrong we were. He had this whole other future- a destiny, that didn't involve me. This girl came to town a year after we met. She was blonde. Pretty. Little and cute and nothing like me. I guess I should have known it would be a case of out with the old and in with the new, but I never really did. Max- he kissed her and said it didn't mean anything. He dreamt about her and said it didn't mean anything. But it did. I knew it... so I let him- let him go. We were caught, in some sort of suffocating non-relationship for a year. Until he slept with her- her name was Tess."

        Saying that name still made Liz's tongue recoil, but she had learned to bore it- and swallowed back the sting of tears. She hadn't wept over Tess and Max in years. She had had more important things to worry about. Taking a long sip of milk, she wiped the excess from her lips and continued, "She got pregnant and I... I messed around with Sean, and I tried to forget Max and I made everything worse. He wanted to get back together with me when Tess left- but I couldn't. I guess I just couldn't forget the facts- that he had sex with her- after I saved myself for him. I did so many things for her and he just ran off to be with Tess." Liz's lips twisted. "After that I moved to California. I got accepted to UCLA and it seemed like a good enough idea at the time. Get away from Roswell, get away from everyone. But Isabel... she followed me. I guess she wanted to get away to. I tried to avoid her. I didn't want anyone around that reminded me of Max. But when we all got together for Michael and Maria's wedding... we talked."

        Liz could still recall it so vividly. Funny, the memories of her time with Max- those brief months full of shining eyes and soft teeth- they were a blur. None of the images seemed to connect in her brain. But with Isabel- every second spent with that women was carved on her heart. The markings burned every time she breathed.

        ("I thought you'd find it hard to be here tonight," Isabel said softly, drinking her vodka and lime with an absent mouth.

        Liz's answering smile was more a reflex than an expression of any happiness or humour. "I don't. I'm here for Maria. That's all that's important to me."

        "I don't notice her taking much notice of you," Isabel noted, glancing off with wry amusement at the newlyweds, who were cuddled together on a single chair, kissing and laughing. It hurt Liz's whole body just to look at them. Of course she was glad for them- she had said so in the card she penned that morning- so why did she feel so nauseous?

        "She doesn't have to," the dark haired girl answered defensively. "This is her day, for crissakes. Give her a break, Isabel."

        Isabel raised her perfectly curved eyebrows. "I didn't know I wasn't. Aren't you being a little sensitive."

        She felt the tears in her eyes before she saw them clouding her vision, and cursed Max Evans and his stupid stupid need for the blonde alien. She felt a hand on her back. "Let's get out of here," Isabel whispered, as if they were sharing a naughty secret. "We'll get something fattening and drink and stay out late.")

        "I was already in love with her by then," Liz admitted, smiling unwittingly at the recollection. "I just didn't know it myself until later."

        Silence fell in the car, broken only by the pounding off the rain which sounded oddly far away. Liz stared out into the endless road and forest, trying to see what the signs were saying that they passed.

        "Aren't you going to tell us more?" Liam asked curiously.

        "When you guys return the favour. Tell me a story," Liz invited. "I need to concentrate on driving a little. The rain is getting bad." So was her arm. It throbbed in an angry beat down her wrist, as if men with drums were stationed just below her flesh. Wondering if they could stop for some Tylenol, she listened as Liam spoke.

        "We'll tell you about our friends, right Anne?"

        "Which friends?" Anne replied in a bored tone, blowing smoke out the window. Her blonde hair glistened in the rain.

        "Buffy and Angel," Liam said, his half smile slight. "Let's tell her about them."

        End of part one. Please send some feedback- I'm such a whore for it;) trixiefirecra16@hotmail.com (And tell me if you know what book this is based on!)

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