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Along the Edge, Part Four
Reply to Trixie or visit her websitePosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list July 18, 2001
Title: Along the Edge (4/4)
Disclaimer: Joss and Jason and the unnamed author own all:) I reveal his/her name at the end
Rating: PG 15
Author's Notes: Feedback would be just delicious, thanks;)
AN2: Need to catch up?
Dedication: to Bennie, for writing such wonderful words- and for being a rabid Liz/Isabel shipper, just like me;)
Liz walked up to the cathedral with Anne, glancing at the girl's fall of thick blonde hair.
"Don't talk to any of the people in the church except me and the Priest," Anne cautioned her, her face pelted by raindrops that she didn't seem to feel.
"Just trust me. It would be better if you listen to me."
"Are Buffy and Angel real people?" Liz inquired, changing the subject abruptly. It was a question that had been bothering her for a while. She hoped they weren't. So much pain... for two people to have gone through.
"Together- yes. Apart... no," Anne replied, closing her eyes. She touched Liz's arm gently, and once more, the dark haired girl got the sensation of sunshine flooding her insides with pleasant warmth. Anne's caress seemed to make the pain recede.
As they walked through the gardens, the smell of millions of wildflowers reached Liz's nose, and she breathed, feeling it fill her with scent. For one moment she wished she could just lie down and let them wash over her- let them drown her. She was so tired. She knew she'd have to pull over soon at a hotel and sleep. There had been no sleep since Isabel had bit into her heart and split it down the middle. She stumbled, and pressed a shaking hand to her forehead. Her wrist was killing her. Her stomach was bubbling and hissing, like a cauldron of horrors. "I feel sick," she whispered to Anne, who gazed at her, helping her along.
"I know. But my father will help to ease it, if you'll let him."
"Is he really your father?"
"No," Anne responded, and smiled slightly. "But he is in my heart. He can help you, Liz."
"Why do I need help?" she asked as they entered an archway and came across a Catholic Mass in progress. Dozens of people shimmered in front of her, listening to the Priest thundering out his sermon. Anne led her to a small wooden confessional, and suddenly tugged Liz into her arms and hugged her.
"Open yourself to him, Liz," she murmured, stroking the girl's hair. "Let him know you- tell him everything. Don't be afraid. Be honest. Be brave."
Liz stared at her, and then turned, opening the door, and stepping inside the confessional. It was small, and filled with dim light. A small stained glass window embossed with a picture of Jesus let in a sliver of sunshine, which surprised Liz- she hadn't known the sun was coming up. The priest sat in a chair by the window, and he looked up as she sat across from him.
"Hello," he greeted her, his hair white and his eyes kind.
"Hello. Anne... she wanted me to come and talk to you. Truthfully, I don't know why. I don't want to waste your time."
His smile was faint as he responded, "Don't you want to talk to me, Liz?"
She was startled. "Did Anne call and tell you we were coming?"
"In a manner of speaking," he answered vaguely, and closed the thick tome he had been reading. His skin almost glowed- and she watched him as he moved a little closer to her. "But I know a lot about you. It's my business to know- so please don't be frightened."
She felt uneasy, but couldn't really let herself sink into it. The little room held such a warm and loving atmosphere that it was almost golden. She wasn't scared. "I don't know where to begin."
He folded his hands and nodded. "Let me help you. I understand you recently had a relationship end with a young woman. Why don't you tell me about that?"
Liz felt her eyes go wet and she cursed her weakness. When would the tears over Isabel end? "All right. Her name is Isabel- but I call her 'Bel." She paused and considered, "That's the first time I've told anyone that. She and I have known each other for a long time, but we fell in love a short while ago. Her brother took her away from me." She gulped back a sob and felt her chest squeeze. "That's about it."
"Why was her brother able to take her away?" he asked quietly.
"I..." Liz trailed off and bit her lip, tasting blood. "I don't know. Maybe because... he always had her heart. In a way I never did. Because they come from the same place- a place I know nothing about. But I loved her. I did. I still do."
"I don't doubt it," he answered sympathetically. "What did she do for you, Liz?"
It was an odd question, but what about this night wasn't odd? She thought for a moment, of Isabel, and their short relationship. She thought of the stars, and the rooftop, and the taste of her sweat. "She loved me," Liz replied. "She loved me and made me into something. Max always made me a part of him- an extension of his self... but Bel... she loved me for me. She loved me when I was just Liz. She gave me that, I suppose. And then... she took it away. She was always able to do that."
"Do what?" he asked gently.
"Take things away," she said blankly, her eyes far away, lost in dreams. "Isabel is the Queen of Restraint. Of denial. She just hides things away... and she hides away. She doesn't like reality. And I guess... maybe I was too much reality for her. She preferred the safety of Max."
The Priest gazed at her for a moment. "How did you feel when you found them?"
She placed a hand on her stomach, which was throbbing a vengeance. She felt faintly dizzy- a little blurry... like she was going to pass out. "I felt sick," she told him softly. "I felt like I wanted to kill them. But I... I realized I wasn't a killer. I got embarrassed. I dropped that knife and ran out."
"Are you running away from home?" he inquired.
"Yes," she said.
"Do you know where you're going?"
"No," she answered. "No, I don't."
"You're going nowhere," he stated, his eyes pinpricks of light.
She was surprised, and laughed shortly. "I suppose I'll end up somewhere. I just don't know where, yet."
"I don't think so, Liz," he shook his head. "You're in trouble, Liz. You've got nowhere to go."
She couldn't breathe. His head seemed to shrink in the line of her pupils, and she stared, watching his features wobble and melt. Her temples throbbed with the kind of angry pain she knew well- the same ache as her wrist. "What are you talking about?" she questioned, furious. "I dropped the knife and I ran away. I haven't done anything wrong."
"Are you sure you dropped the knife?" he asked her, his words ramming into her shaking skin.
"Yes," she informed him firmly. "I wouldn't lie. I dropped it."
He sighed, and touched the Bible with his strong fingers. "The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. We lie because we're scared- scared of what we've done, and where we're going. Don't lie to yourself, Liz."
"I'm not!" she cried, jumping up, and slamming her elbow into the hard wooden door. "I can't tell you what I don't remember!"
He looked interested. "What don't you remember?"
She felt as if she was going to throw up and panicked. "I can't remember what I did with the knife!"
"Let me tell you," he said urgently, but she held her stomach, shaking her head.
"No, no...I didn't do anything wrong. I'm leaving," she sobbed, and ran from the little gold room with the shining eyes and the dusty Bibles. Anne chased after her, through the flower strewn garden, to the car. Liz was focused on the vehicle. She needed to get away.
"What happened?" Anne gasped.
"Nothing. I just found out the road ahead is blocked. We'll be able to break through though."
"That's what they all think," Anne muttered, but followed her into the car.
It was pouring rain again. It tumbled over the windshield- yet Liz could see a faint hint of light up ahead. Dawn was coming, and she was glad. Let this night be over. They were driving faster now.
Anne smoked in the back, looking bored. Liam was silent, until he said, "We'll be there soon."
She turned onto a road- Bardos Lane. "Where are we going?"
"Your place," he responded, and she swallowed.
The road led nowhere, the Priest had said.
"I live the other way."
She was in trouble.
"We'll be there soon," he repeated.
Because she had done something wrong. With the knife.
"No," she protested weakly.
Who was really bleeding? Who had she cut with the knife?
"I live three hundred miles from here!" she yelled.
"Get real," Anne said softly, not maliciously.
Bardos Lane. Border Lane.
Liz felt her insides convulse. "I don't want to go home."
Border World. Bardos.
"Here we are," Liam said, and the car slowed.
Liam helped Liz out of the car, and Anne held her arm. She could barely walk. Her wrist didn't really hurt anymore, but her head did, as did her belly. She felt like she had swallowed cough syrup, and it was winding around her muscles, creamy and sweet and sick. Like blood.
"Where are we?" she coughed, as they lay her down on a couch in the familiar room.
Liam smiled slightly, although Anne's eyes looked as full of misery as a reddened sun- setting over a dying planet.
Water was running in the next room. "Turn that off, would you?" Liz muttered, her hand clutching her forehead. "it's giving me a headache. I need an aspirin."
"You need more than that," Anne murmured, as Liam broke in;
"Only you can turn the water off."
"What are you talking about?"
"I have something to show you," Liam replied, as Anne helped her sit up, although it was hard. Every movement felt as if it was done in slow motion. Liam popped a tape into the VCR and suddenly Liz saw herself.
Taking a bath. Naked.
She couldn't muster enough energy to be outraged. "What am I doing?"
"Just watch," Anne said tenderly, and brushed a kiss to her brow.
So much pain on the girl's face. She held a knife to her wrist. Blood started to gush as she lay back in the tub, her hair fanning around her like a dark halo. Water slopped over the sides of the bath, but it wasn't entirely clear. It ran slightly pink.
Suddenly it came to Liz. This whole night. There were no enchanted castles and cathedrals with priests who can tell the past. Those things didn't exist on planet earth. "I killed myself," she said.
"Yes," Anne acknowledged, her voice laden with agony.
"Am I dead?"
"Almost," Liam replied, regret evident in his tone. He motioned to the green garment bag he carried. "This is for you."
No wonder her wrist hurt. She remembered then- opening the vein and thinking of Isabel. Always Isabel. "Who are you two?" she asked weakly.
"My name is Buffy," Anne said. "Buffy Anne Summers. That's Angel- he was called Liam a long time ago."
"You're both dead?"
"Yes," Liam answered. "Buffy died saving her sister a few years ago. I died in a random fight- but I suppose..." he trailed off and eyed them both. "I suppose I gave up when she died. I didn't want to live anymore."
"Why are you here?" Liz inquired, lying back, her bones stinging. Her heart was running out of blood to pump, and she didn't think she'd be here long. No more skirting the edge- she'd be on the other side soon. Full of regrets. Full of Isabel.
"He was here to tempt you," Anne raised an eyebrow and smiled- the first genuine smile Liz had ever caught on her face. "Or so he likes to think. I was here to help you- to guide you. But you didn't really want help, Liz. I don't blame you- I never wanted it either."
"But I don't understand...how you could have helped me? Didn't I make the decision to die... isn't that the end?"
Liam sat down next to her. "Bardos is the realm between the living and the dead. "Sometimes people get caught in it- because they aren't meant to die, just yet. And you weren't, Liz. You have choices here. Tonight was for making them." He leaned close and whispered, "We didn't make love, you know. Just so you know."
She blushed and nodded. "I didn't think so."
Anne stood over them, her hands on her hips. "You made the wrong choices, Liz. But... everyone does. A long time ago... someone told us... Angel and I... that together we were strong, and alone we were dead. But he ignored that and in effect, he killed us both...so you see? How easy it is...?
Liam gripped Anne's arm, and shook her, spinning her around to face him. "I never wanted to leave you," he murmured.
She scowled. "Do you have to play the devil every night? Can't we... can't we let go... and go into whatever light together? Forgive yourself... I forgave you ages ago. I still love you, Angel. Do you love me?"
He stared down into her eyes, and then whispered, "Buffy, you know I love you."
Liz watched as they kissed, and it was beautiful. They were beautiful together- she wondered why she hadn't seen it before. Tears flowed past her eyes, and dripped like blood onto the carpet. "I'm going to die," she said blankly, and it sounded like gibberish.
"There's still time. You just have to forgive, Liz." Liam clasped Anne's hands in his, and they both touched her.
"Dream, darling," Anne soothed, and there was a glow. "Dream of things you don't want to leave behind, and we will try and bring you into the somewhere you are seeking."
"Thank you," Liz mumbled, and she closed her eyes.
Her wrist healed, but her heart never did. Every so often, she recalled the strangest of dreams... and wondered... was someone watching over her? Did a love shine so bright in the heavens that it could touch her down on earth? She wondered if she'd ever be able to get past Isabel, and Max, and Roswell.
She decided she would... because she knew- somehow she knew- that it was better to forgive, and to love- than to try and forget and be caught in a web of events she knew she'd be powerless to stop.
Years later, she travelled to a place called Sunnydale for work. Liz loved exploring, so she visited the burnt High School, the library, and the old archives. She found yearbooks, and was strangely drawn to one in particular. Class of '99. Inside, she found a picture of a young couple. Her hair was blonde, his dark. She was tanned, he was pale. Their eyes were sad, and they held onto each other as if nothing could ever separate them. But somehow she knew... something had.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" the librarian asked her.
She glanced at his nametag, and smiled. "Yes thank you, Mr. Giles. These people..."
He glanced down at the picture and his mouth tightened, as if he was in pain. "Yes... that would be Buffy and Angel. Did you... did you know them?"
"No," she responded. She was puzzled. Every curve of their bodies, every line of their misery spoke to her. "But they're familiar."
She smiled, wider this time. Their love had survived, she knew. Even if their bodies had died.
"They look like people I knew."
Feedback would be lovely;) email@example.com
The book is "Road to Nowhere" by Christopher Pike. If you read it, you'll find I left some stuff out, and kept a lot of it. I kept some original lines, and made some of my own. Remember, it's an excellent book! You must read it now. He gets all the credit!
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