Title: Time Immemorial (12/12)
Disclaimer: All the Roswellians belong to Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, Fox Productions, the WB, and UPN. Please don't sue me. Poem is by Robert Frost.
Rated: R for language, violence, content, character death
Spoilers: Up through and including "Departure," but especially for "The End of the World," and "Cry Your Name" and all events after "Cry Your Name." Also, some spoilers for my series, "Before I Knew You."
Summary: Unable to bare the guilt she feels, Liz uses the granolith to travel back in time in a desperate attempt to prevent Tess from wreaking havoc on her friends and killing Alex.
Distribution: Just let me know the link.
Feedback: Would be wonderful.
Author's Note: I realize that the timing for this story is probably somewhat confusing. I'm confused and I'm writing it. But trying to do a time-travel fic when the timelines of the show were confusing to start with, makes it even more confusing. So basically I apologize for the confusion. :) Let's just chalk up the tiny little different details of "Max in the City" in this fic to things changing slightly by Liz going back in time. One
Time Immemorial (Part Twelve--The Conclusion)
Alex could hear voices all around him.
"I think he's waking up."
Is that Maria? he wondered.
He groaned and opened his eyes slowly.
"Alex?" Isabel was on one side of him, her hands resting on his arm.
"What happened?" he mumbled.
"You passed out," she said gently.
He sat up slowly and found himself staring into a pair of familiar warm brown eyes. He was slammed by the memory of holding her in his arms as she slowly bled to death. "Liz?"
She couldn't be real. Everything logical and having to do with common sense told him that. He was either still asleep and dreaming or he was awake and she was a hallucination.
And yet, she spoke. "Alex, are you okay?" she asked in concern.
He blinked rapidly, trying to figure out how it was possible that she was right there in front of him when he had seen her die. "I..." He looked up at Max and Michael, who were standing behind Liz, and then he looked down at his hands that were still covered in her blood.
"Alex, where did all that blood come from?" Isabel asked quietly.
His gaze traveled to Liz again, but he found himself unable to speak.
"I'll answer that," Michael spoke up. "It's Liz's."
Everyone turned to look at him.
"Michael, that's impossible. I've been with Liz for the past two and a half hours," Max said. "She's not hurt."
Liz looked at Alex, appearing to be just as confused as he felt.
"No, you...you were shot. You...died in my arms," he managed to say.
"Alex, I'm fine. Until a few minutes ago, I hadn't seen you in days."
They stared at each other.
Max glanced from Alex to Michael. "I think you'd better tell us the whole story."
"First let's get rid of this," Isabel said, motioning to the dried blood all over him. She waved her hand and it disappeared.
"Thanks," he said quietly, not taking his eyes off Liz.
"I got a call from Maria. She said that Liz and Alex were at the pod chamber and that their lives were in danger. So I drove out there. When I got there, Tess was holding a gun on them."
"Tess? What?" Max stared at him.
"She told me that Liz had attacked her. When Alex made a move to get the gun away from her, she turned and fired at him, but--"
"Liz jumped in front of me," Alex finished, watching the shock register on Liz's face.
"Oh, my God," Maria whispered.
"She would have shot me, too, but then Isabel showed up and used her powers and Tess..." Michael hesitated for a moment. "She's dead, Max."
There was a long moment of silence.
"It's not possible," Isabel said, shaking her head vehemently. "I've been with Max and Liz. I wasn't at the pod chamber. I didn't kill Tess!"
"Well, then there's someone out there who looks just like you that did. But that's not the weirdest part." He took a deep breath. "You or...the girl who looks just like you and the girl who looks just like Liz...they both vanished."
The color drained from Liz's face. "Vanished?"
"Into thin air."
"This doesn't make any sense," Max said, rubbing his forehead as though he was getting a migraine.
"Actually, it does."
Alex looked up at Maria in surprise, and everyone else turned to stare at her. She simply lifted her gaze to meet Liz's.
"I have a pretty good idea of what's going on here. I'll be right back." Without another word, she turned around and walked down the hallway.
Liz hugged her arms across her stomach, her heart beating wildly. She had a feeling she knew what was going on, too. It sounded like what had happened when Future-Max had visited her and asked her to alter the present to change the future. He had simply disappeared when she'd succeeded. So a future version of herself and one of Isabel had shown up. She just didn't know why.
She cast a glance over at Max, Michael and Isabel, who were huddled together and talking softly amongst themselves.
Liz felt a hand on her arm and she turned around to face Alex, who was staring at her. "Hey."
He kept his hand on her arm. "I just...wanted to make sure you were real," he said quietly.
Something about the tone of his voice sent a flood of mixed emotions running through her. When was the last time she'd actually talked to Alex, really talked to him? They used to be so close, such good friends. Best friends. Alex, Maria and her. The Three Musketeers. Now they were worlds apart.
"I'm real," she answered, trying to reign in her emotions.
Alex suddenly pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.
Liz was surprised for a moment, caught off-guard. She'd been pushing him away--pushing all of them away really for quite awhile now. She had thought it would be easier for everyone if she just quietly faded into the background. That somehow if she just left them all alone she could deal with everything by herself.
But as Alex held her, she suddenly realized just how much she'd missed him, missed all of them. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back just as tightly, burying her face in his flannel shirt.
Maria returned to the room carrying a small box in her hands. She pulled the lid of the box and removed a video tape from the box.
Alex kept one arm around her and pulled her down to sit next to him on the sofa as Maria popped the tape into the VCR.
"This--uh--this will hopefully explain things," Maria said, sounding a bit apprehensive. She sat down on Liz's other side and gave her a brief smile.
Liz wasn't totally surprised when she saw herself on screen a moment later, staring directly into the camera, peering out at everyone through the tv screen.
Max, Michael and Isabel all turned to look at her, but she ignored them for the moment.
"What I'm about to say is probably going to sound crazy to all of you, but it's the truth."
Liz stared at herself on screen, struck by how haunted she appeared.
"I'm Liz Parker eight months from now."
She glanced at Maria, who didn't seem at all surprised.
"The granolith is an extremely powerful piece of technology. From what I know right now, it has two main purposes. There may be more. But right now I know that it's a craft that can take you back to where you come from, and it an be used to travel back in time."
Liz felt Alex's arm tighten around her slightly and she looked at the others for their reactions. Their eyes were all wide and fixated on the screen.
"When I decided to use it to come back, the only person I told was Isabel."
She met Isabel's gaze and they exchanged surprised looks. It wasn't like they hated each other or anything, they just weren't close.
"A little over a month ago in my time, something happened. Something awful." Her future-self hesitated, her eyes growing dark.
Liz felt a sudden pang of dread take hold of her.
"Tess murdered Alex and then set it up to make his death look like a suicide."
The air left her lungs. Maria reached over and squeezed her hand while Liz looked at Alex. He had gone pale.
"She mindwarped him for two months into going to the University of Las Cruces to decode that book for her. She arranged it so that all of us thought he had gone to Sweden as a foreign exchange student. Then she mindwarped him again into thinking that he had gone to Sweden. You see, the book contains the information on how to use the granolith to get home. She needed that information to complete a deal that Nasedo had made with Kivar 40 years ago. Tess was to get pregnant with Max's son and return home with the three of you and turn you over to Kivar for execution. Tess has been working with your enemies the whole time she's been in Roswell.
"Max, in my time, Tess did get pregnant. And Alex did decode the book for her. But something happened. Somehow Alex, you broke free of her mindwarp and you confronted her. She knew that you would go to Max and tell him what she had done and she used her powers to kill you. Kyle saw the whole thing happen. But she mindwarped him into forgetting it. She made him think that he was carrying a duffel bag out to your car, but it was really you. She made it look like you had intentionally driven into oncoming traffic. But as you guys, Max, Michael and Isabel, were getting ready to use the granolith to go home, Kyle remembered what Tess had done. Kyle, Maria and I drove to the pod chamber to tell you the truth about what happened.
"We got there just as Michael had decided not to return. He let us in the pod chamber and we told you guys what Tess had done. Max, you wouldn't hurt Tess because she was carrying your child. But you allowed her to use the granolith to return home to your planet."
"I came back here to stop her from killing Alex. I've told Maria who I am and what I'm doing here. I knew I couldn't do this alone, and I didn't want Alex anywhere near Tess and I knew he would insist on helping me to stop her."
Liz felt Alex's arm tighten around her and she reached up to wipe away tears that had streaked down her face. Across the room, Isabel was doing the same.
"There's a device in Brody's office that's shaped like a pentagon. The device is alien in origin and when it's turned on you guys can't use your powers."
"That's why Tess used a gun instead of just blowing people up," Michael said, shaking his head.
"But there's something else you have to hear." Future-Liz paused for a moment. "For the past several months we've been divided. All of us. And the more divided we became, the worse things got. Secrets were kept and lies were told. I'm a big cause of that division. But at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing."
Liz's eyes widened and she felt panic rise up within her. She knew...she just *knew* what her future-self was about to say.
"Max, I never slept with Kyle."
Max's gaze swung over to her immediately and she met his eyes for a second, then looked away, her heart hammering in her chest.
"You see, I knew the granolith could be used as a time machine because your future self visited me. You told me that because we were together, Tess had left town. And then years later your enemies attacked. You said that without Tess, you guys were weaker. You needed me to get your present self to fall out of love with me so that she wouldn't leave. Because when your enemies attacked, Max, the world was coming to an end. You told me that Isabel had already been killed, and that Michael had died just hours before you came to visit me."
Liz felt the tamped-down emotions inside of her burst and she started to cry in earnest. God, what did all this mean? Would the world end because her future self had screwed up by telling Max the truth?
Alex pulled her into his arms and she cried on his shoulder.
"I don't know what this means for the future. I don't understand it myself. But there is one thing that I know for sure. This division that's between us...that's among all of us...it has to be fixed. If you don't stick together, everything will fall apart. Because in my time it did. You all have to stop lying to each other and keeping secrets and with-holding the truth. Work together when things get bad. Stop bickering amongst yourselves, stop pushing each other away. You need one another. All of you. I didn't realize it until it was too late. You're all you've got. Please. Don't make the same mistakes I did...that we all did."
Liz looked up into her own pleading face on screen. Then her image flickered out and the tape turned to snow.
There was dead silence in the room.
She was sure she was going to go insane if someone didn't say something soon.
Max stared at her intently and took a step forward. "I'm sorry...that I didn't have more faith in you," he whispered.
She looked up at him, squeezed Maria's hand briefly and stood up. "It's not your fault, Max."
"We all lost faith in one another," Isabel said softly, wiping away the remainder of her own tears. "I didn't have enough faith in Max to tell him about things I learned about my past life. I betrayed my family. I was the one who got everyone killed...when I was Volandra."
"But it was your past life, Isabel. You're not the same person now," Alex reminded her gently.
Michael stood up and looked around the room. "We've all done things in the past few months that we're not proud of. Let's do what Liz...Future Liz said. Let's start being honest with each other."
"About everything," Maria agreed.
Liz looked at her and then gave her a hug. "I'm sorry I've been pushing you away," she whispered.
"Forgiven," Maria replied instantly. A moment later, Alex's arms wrapped around them both.
"Alex," Liz started.
"Don't apologize. You saved my life, remember?"
"It wasn't me...I mean it was, but..."
"Liz. It doesn't matter," Alex said quietly. "A little while ago I watched you...your future self die. I thought I'd lost my best friend forever. The only thing I care about is that you're alive, and I'm alive and everyone I care about is alive."
Liz pulled away from the group hug and looked at Max. "You know, there's something I don't understand. Earlier, it felt like I had been shot, but there was no wound. And when I blacked out, Alex, I heard you talking to me. You were telling me to hold on, to not go into the woods. But that...doesn't make any sense, does it?"
Alex's eyes widened. "Oh, my God. The poem." He left the room and returned a moment later, carrying a book of Robert Frost poems. He opened it to a page and held it out for her to read. "Your future self mentioned this poem when she...you were talking to me a couple days ago."
Liz took the book from him and looked at the poem. She read the last four lines aloud.
"...the woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep."
Then she looked up at Alex.
"When your future self was dying you said...that you always keep your promises." He shrugged. "I'm not sure what you...she meant."
"I guess some things will always be a mystery," Michael spoke up.
Liz looked over the words again. "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep," she whispered. She knew that it meant something, held some meaning of importance and the words almost felt like they could trigger some distant memory--but the memory was of a time beyond the realm of what she was actually capable of remembering. A memory that was, perhaps, her own, but in a different future, one that she was grateful she would never experience.
Maybe Michael was right. Some things would always remain a mystery.
And perhaps they were all better off not knowing anyway.
After all, she had learned from experience that you could not look into the future and see what it held and remain untouched.
She looked around the room at her friends. They had a lot of stuff to work through before things could return to the way they used to be. But right now the only thing that mattered was that at that moment, they were all together. They could deal with the future when it arrived.