Title: No Echo
Pairing: Zan/Liz (references to canon Max/Tess)
Category: UCw/aliens, AU
Summary: Everything Liz thought she knew is called into question from prom night on.
Author's Note: A little over a month ago, I stumbled onto the Roswell Ardor fanfic forum via twitter. Turns out the admin there is an incredibly kind, generous, encouraging and patient person (patient most of the time, lol she's human) and she happens to be a total Zan zealot. I knew next to nothing about Zan but I wanted to show her my appreciation for all she does around there and because she's just a really good person. I asked her to tell me all about Zan so I could write this story for her. She came through in spades. I'm a Candy shipper at heart, but from writing this story for her, I'm more than a little warmed up to Zan. :)
This is for you LiZan the Zan zealot! Thanks just for being you! :) coughficbannerart?cough???? BTW Disturbed - Meaning Of Life is a helpful song to write to. Just saying ... "Get psycho! I wanna get psycho!" :D
It was LiZan's idea for me to submit this for the 7 Deadly Sins Inferno fic challenge as an example of Lust. I wanted to participate but had nothing else ready or in mind to write, so I'm following her advice. :)
Liz remembered sobbing so hard that she could barely catch her breath. The words of a future version of Max had reverberated in her head, "The closer that you and I grew, the worse it got with Tess, and eventually she left Roswell because of how I treated her. Tess was critical to our survival. The four of us - Michael, Isabel, Tess, and I...we made a complete unit. We all had different gifts, and with one of us missing, we weren't as strong, and everything fell apart. Just twenty-five minutes before I came here, I held Michael in my arms...dead. Isabel died two weeks before that. I need you to help me fall out of love with you. I want you to help me and Tess get together. You have to find a way. All of our lives depend on it."
As she watched Max and Tess kissing at the prom and knew she had successfully accomplished her mission, her heart finished the breaking it had begun, at future Max's words. She ran away from the sight of them, blinded by fresh tears and feeling so broken and hollow inside that she couldn't rely on a future even five seconds ahead.
She had no real place to go. She didn't want to go home, Maria had made up with Michael and they were in the gym, in each others arms, being complete trash for each other, Alex and Isabel were revisiting their brief dalliance with romance together, Kyle only reminded her of the lengths she'd gone to, to accomplish the mission, and she felt utterly alone and friendless.
She wandered to the park and curled up on a park bench, hugging her knees to her chest. She looked up at the sky and remembered all of the times she'd thought the moon and stars were so romantic and beautiful and now they were just distant light, the stars already dead and cold like the inside of her heart. Her tears had dried up and she just felt numb and listless. One question echoed in her head in an endless loop, "Now, what do I do?"
Suddenly, she heard a heavily accented voice ask her, "Is this place always this dead? You're the first actual person I've even seen, since I got here."
Liz looked at the owner of the voice and simply could not process what her eyes were looking at. She wondered if it was an hallucination, or yet another visit from another future Max or more likely, if she had simply lost her mind along with her ability to feel.
An hysterical laugh bubbled up from inside of her and she wondered why she would ever hallucinate Max looking so badass. The hallucination spoke again, "Are you high?"
Liz laughed harder and assured the hallucination, "No. I'm low. I'm so, so low. I think I can't get any lower than this. You're not even real. Maybe you're my new imaginary friend. Just please don't look like him, anymore.", and she squeezed her eyes shut, tightly and opened them again. Seeing that he hadn't changed in appearance whatsoever, she squeezed her eyes shut, one more time, opened them and sighed dejectedly, still seeing no change. She mused in silent awe, "Did I know I liked piercings, goatees and tattoos? So odd that I'd ever picture him looking this way."
She laughed some more but it changed back into sobbing as she complained, "So now I can't even give myself a new friend, unless it can cause maximum pain. Max pain. Figures. So is that what I should name you? Max Pain? I can see it now oh hey, Mom, Dad, please set an extra place at the table for my new friend, Max Pain. Lizzy, there's nobody there. No, I know, that's why I invented him, because there's nobody there anymore; and there never will be again."
Max Pain was looking at her oddly. Liz briefly wondered if hallucinations should be that judgmental. She decided they shouldn't be and said so, "Don't you judge me, Max Pain. You have no idea what the other two Max's have put me through."
Max Pain's decidedly New York accented voice suggested, "So then tell me, Lizzy, what did the other two Max's put you through?"
Liz leveled him with a look, conveying she knew he was just being facetious, and she scolded, "You're in my head, so don't even try to pretend that you don't already know. They made me break my own heart. How cruel was that, Max Pain?"
Max Pain sat next to her, looked sideways at her and advised, "So then heal it. A looker like you, tough enough to break her own heart is definitely tough enough to fix it. Those other two Max's? Screw 'em."
Liz flippantly blurted out, "If you were real, I'd rather screw you instead. Maybe that'd heal my heart or at least make me feel something other than nothing or pain. Virginity is overrated, anyway, right?"
Max Pain suggested, "Since you invented me, you can do pretty much whatever you want to do to me, Lizzy."
Liz spoke forlornly, "I wish I knew what I wanted. I wish I knew why I invented you. Why would I imagine you this hot, Max? Is this mental masturbation? Is it so wrong that all I want is to be happy and to not hurt anymore? To have just one more moment of ecstatic bliss with you, Max?"
Max Pain reiterated, "Like I said before, you can do and have whatever you want, Lizzy."
Liz looked into the intense golden eyes of her fantasy bad boy version of Max. She pointed up at the stars and admitted, "I want you to kiss me and take me up there again. Can you do that?"
Max Pain leaned in and grazed her lips with the barest brush of his own lips and Liz gasped at the intense jolt of sexual awareness suddenly invading all her senses. She pulled back looking shocked and blurted out, "You're real! Why do you look like Max Evans? Who are you? Oh God please don't be from the future and ask me to do anything else that will make my life suck!"
The suddenly real hallucination chuckled and assured her, "I'm not from the future. I'm from right now. Are you okay, Lizzy?"
Liz blushed profusely and agonised out loud, "You must think I'm a complete psycho! Why did you let me keep rambling on like that?"
The edgier version of Max shrugged and admiited, "I almost backed away slowly but since it seemed like you weren't dangerous, I thought I'd stick around, instead. I was entertained."
Liz accused, "Oh, great! So you are just like the other two; you were enjoying my misery!"
He shook his head, chuckled again and refuted her allegations, "Naw, you got me all wrong. I was entertained by your mind. I never met anyone like you before, Lizzy. You fascinate me."
Liz touched her lips with her fingers and she accused him further, "You kissed me, when you knew that I thought you were just a figment of my imagination. You should have told me; made me realise sooner."
He flashed her a cocky half grin and stated, "That's why I kissed you; to show you I was for real. I didn't suppose I could reason with a psycho and just tell you I was real. You wouldn't have believed your invented Max Pain, and you know it."
Liz implored him suspiciously, " Who are you, really?"
He smirked and teased, "You tell me. You invented me. Who am I really?"
Liz searched his face and tried to make sense of another Max look alike. She reasoned it out loud, "So you aren't from in my head and you aren't from the future. Are you a shapeshifter, then? That doesn't make sense, either, though, shapeshifters usually either avoid us or attack us, they don't sit on park benches letting some girl humiliate herself at length. The only other Max look alike that I know about, died before I ever met him. I give up. I'm stumped. Who are you? And stop with the riddles."
He tapped the side of her head lightly with one index finger and said, "You aren't stumped, though. You know the only possibility is the one that you don't know for a fact. You didn't witness it yourself. Something tells me that Lizzy doesn't usually believe everything she's told without confirmation of some kind."
Liz's eyes lit in enlightenment and she asked rhetorically, "You're Ava's Zan? But she watched you die. Her devastation was no act."
Zan scoffed, "I belong to no one, and I know Ayvz thinks I'm dead. Rath and Lonnie should have learned a thing or two about confirming things. Left me laying in the street, unconscious. Did a ghost just kiss you? Do I look dead to you?"
Liz smiled slightly and shook her head as she answered, "Decidedly not, on both counts. So why are you here, now, all this time later?"
Zan shrugged and admitted, "I'm tracking Ayvz. I know she came through here. Guess I lucked out finding someone who actually knew her. Did she say where she was headed?"
Liz lifted her chin and asked suspiciously, "If you've tracked her this far, on your own, then why are you asking me where she went? Ava is my friend and for all I know, you blame her for what Rath and Lonnie did and I'm not interested in helping you or anyone else hurt her. Why are you looking for her?"
Zan shook his head and eased her suspicions as he explained, "I don't blame her for what happened but I know Ayvz, she is walking around alone out there somewhere, blaming herself and it's all for nothing, because I ain't dead. I got to tell her that. She's a good kid. I'm worried about her. She's family. I'm the man and I still gotta take care of my family."
Liz frowned and asked about what he hadn't said, "And what about Rath and Lonnie? Will you still take care of them, too?"
Zan scoffed, "I already did that. Permanently. I confirmed that as facts."
Liz exclaimed, "You killed them?"
Zan shrugged and defended, "I'm the man. I took care of business. Protected the family I got left. Ayvz needs to know it's safe to come home, now."
Liz implored him, "You promise me that you have no intention of harming her?"
Zan quietly stated, "I'd take out anyone ever foolish enough to try. Is that good enough? So where she at?"
Liz answered carefully, "I don't know yet but I do know someone who can find out; someone who can get a direct message to her, tell her to come back here. I just know that she will feel you tracking her. She'll think it's an enemy and only run faster and hide deeper. She doesn't know that you're alive, Zan. Are you confident you can find her, on your own, if she doesn't want to be found?"
Zan thought that over, looked sideways at Liz and bragged, "I taught her how to not get found. Even by me. So we couldn't be used against each other. Tell me how this person you know, will find her, when even I can't."
Liz sat up straighter. She had a thing to do again and it wasn't about Max this time. Life was continuing beyond Max. Liz breathed in deeply and let it out in relief.
She explained to Zan, "Well, she won't do it for you, but she will probably do it for me. Isabel, I mean. Lonnie's look alike. I promise that is where their similarities end. She can dreamwalk Ava and get her to come back here on her own. If she refuses to come, Isabel can at least tell her you're alive and that you're tracking her so that she'll let you find her. Will you let me help you find her?"
Zan nodded and answered, "A'ight. I'll stick around long enough to let you try. How long will it take?"
Liz assured, "I'll talk to Isabel tonight. Where can I find you to tell you how it goes? It's just if Isabel knows about you, she might reveal it to Ava and Ava will think it's a trick, because she saw you die or so she thought. News like this, seeing in person, is believing, Zan. If it becomes necessary, Isabel can pull you into Ava's dream with her but that's better as a last resort. This is going to be a total shock to Ava. She really loves you, you know."
Zan nodded and evaded discussing Ava's feelings, "Just come back here once you know if Ayvz is coming here or not and I'll find you."
Liz laughed uncertainly, "What? You mean you're gonna track me?"
Zan grinned, stood up, looked her up and down with appreciative eyes and then winked as he said, "Like I said, you fascinate me, Lizzy. I'll always find you. Later."
Liz watched him walk away and realised she was staring at his ass and the way his pants went taut on his muscular thighs with every step he took. She felt her face get hot and she touched her lips remembering his kiss and how it had felt unlike any kiss she'd ever experienced before. She realised she was clenching her thighs tightly together and she shook herself out of her reverie, to go find Isabel.
Isabel was only mildly annoyed by Liz's request and agreed to call Ava back to Roswell despite Liz's refusal to explain why. Liz gave Isabel a picture of Ava she kept in her wallet. Ava had consented to communication via dreamwalk in the event of an emergency and she had happily posed with Liz for a picture before she'd left for parts unknown.
Liz specifically wanted to know how far away Ava was and for Ava to know, that she was being called back for a good reason rather than a scary reason. Liz told Isabel to call her, as soon as she knew if Ava was coming back or not and if she was coming back, roughly how long it would take her to get there. Isabel agreed to Liz's specifications and shooed her away so she could continue her evening with Alex.
It was nearly three in the morning by the time Isabel callled Liz, "She was suspicious but agreed to come back. She's two states away and her ETA is day after tomorrow. Now will you explain to me why you want her to come back here?"
Liz cleared her throat and annnounced, "Her Zan didn't die, after all. He's here. I told him I'd help him find her. He's worried about her."
"How do you know you can even trust him? He's not Max, Liz, any more than Lonnie is me or Rath is Michael."
Liz quipped back smugly, "That's pretty much exactly how I know I can trust him; he's nothing like Max.", and she ended the call before Isabel could attempt to defend Max or remind Liz that she'd betrayed Max, first.
Liz tried to go back to sleep but she couldn't get Zan off of her mind. Thinking about him made her feel a restless energy she didn't know what to do with. She wondered if she went to the park at this time of night or rather in the wee hours of the morning, like this, if Zan actually would track her and find her like he'd claimed he would. She was eager to find out. She bolted out of bed and felt a bit foolish that she actually cared about what she would wear to go wait for Zan in the park.
She'd barely been waiting there five minutes when he showed up. She expressed her wonder before she could stop herself, "I sort of thought you were, I don't know, exaggerating? How did you do that, so fast, Zan?"
"I'm a tracker. It's one of my most honed abilities.", Zan explained as he sprawled on the bench beside her. Liz was struck by a notion that he had just turned the bench into a work of art. She realised she was staring again, blushed and looked away.
Zan grinned and informed her, "You ain't gotta look away, Lizzy. I like your eyes ... on me. "
Liz boldly demanded, "Do you automatically flirt with all girls or am I just special?"
Zan laughed and insisted, "Both. I suppose I do flirt with all girls and you are special. I already told you that. Are you here to check me out some more or do you have information for me about Ayvz?"
Before she could think it through Liz echoed his answer to her, "Both. Ava will be here day after tomorrow. She still doesn't know that you're alive."
Zan smirked, nodded and asked, "You get a good enough look at everything, yet?"
Liz felt her face get hot and she confessed, "Not even close. How many tattoos do you have? What do they mean? Are they umm all over your body?"
Zan looked at her, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He stood up, held his hand out to her and invited, "Come on. Let's go for a joyride. We can go some place real private-like and I'll give you your very own personal tour of all my ink."
Liz looked at his hand and briefly wondered how wise it would be to go somewhere private with him but her gut was telling her that he was someone to whom she could entrust her life, if not necessarily her virtue.
She took his hand and suddenly experienced a rush of lust more intense than anything she'd ever felt, even from making out for a long time. She tried to cover the hitch in her breathing and she coughed, as though her throat had a sudden slight tickle in it.
Zan approached a parked pick-up truck. He checked the flat bed and seeing it had camping gear in it, he nodded. He grinned at Liz and used his powers to recolor and then unlock the vehicle.
When he held the passenger door open for her, Liz looked around nervously but she knew she was still going to get in the vehicle with him. It was a big step up into the truck. Zan put his palm on her ass cheek to boost her up and in. Liz wasn't sure if she only imagined that his hand had lingered there for longer than necessary or if it actually had; either way she didn't protest verbally or otherwise but she did almost protest when he stopped touching her.
Zan changed the license plates and then got into the driver's seat of the truck cab. He checked the glove box for registration papers. He looked them over and then looked at her to ask, "Lizzy what?"
Liz answered without missing a beat, "Parker."
Zan smoothed his hand over the documents and shoved them back into the glove box. Then he used his powers to get the truck started. He put it into drive, grinned, winked at Liz and started to drive.
A few minutes later, Liz asked hesitantly, "So where are we going?"
Zan grinned and answered, "Camping."
Liz commented in amusement, "It's almost dawn. Isn't camping usually like for overnight?"
Zan looked at her sideways briefly, licked his lips and said, "We can stay overnight if you want, Lizzy."
Liz gasped as she realised too late how that had sounded, "I didn't .. I mean .. I wasn't. Really? But we don't know exactly when to expect Ava."
Zan looked at her in surprise, chuckled and said, "Endlessly fascinating."
Liz blurted out, "I don't understand the effect you have on me at all! I barely know you!"
Zan reached over and with the back of his index finger, he caressed her breast across her nipple over her shirt and bra, "You can change that as little or as much as you want to, Lizzy. I'm aching hot for you."
Liz was shocked at herself for not being alarmed or offended by his blatant sexual overtures. Her face was hot and she felt achy low in her groin and between her legs. She complained to him, "It almost feels like I've peed my pants."
Zan's composure faltered slightly and the wheel jerked in his hands briefly. He warned her, "You say things like that, makes me want to pull over and fuck you silly, right here on the side of the road."
Liz sucked in a shocked breath but she couldn't form a single word of protest. As soon as he'd said it, Liz realised that's exactly what she wanted him to do to her and she didn't recognise herself. Her brain was filled with reprimands, "What about love? And respect? And intimacy? And romance? And being in an actual relationship before anything ever goes there?" , and then a smaller, needy voice in her head countered, "You thought you had most of that before and what did any of it ever get you but a broken heart and shattered dreams? Maybe what you need, to even get yourself straightened out, is to actually let that hot guy in the driver's seat over there, fuck you silly? He's emanating in waves that he'll know exactly what to do."
Zan frowned and looked over at her a few times before finally saying quietly, "I didn't mean nothing bad what I said. I ain't like that; I wouldn't even unless you were into it, too. Are you okay, Lizzy?"
Liz nodded and she said a little breathlessly, "I'm fine, Zan. Just still feeling a little psycho, I think.", and she laughed self-consciously.
Zan let out a relieved breath and stole several glances at her as he drove them out to the middle of nowhere and then offroad besides. Liz started out just looking at him occasionally but he had already given her his consent for her to openly check him out, so she did.
Her eyes drank in every visible inch of skin, noticed every muscle twitch in his arms and back as he steered, or his thighs as he adjusted his pressure on the gas pedal. She could mentally acknowledge that he had the same jawline as Max but the confusion was gone. Every cell in her body knew that the man in the driver's seat beside her was not Max Evans and to her surprise she was beyond grateful for that; she was excited about it.
Zan finally brought the truck to a halt and killed the engine. He unfolded out of the truck with this air of confidence in the way he carried himself which Liz found to be extremely sexy and appealing. When he opened her door for her by some weird unspoken agreement, instead of holding her hand to help her out and down, she put her hands on his well-muscled shoulders and he picked her up by the waist and lifted her down. She slid down him flush against his upper body, her palms coming to rest flat against his chest and she looked up into his smouldering gaze in wonder.
Zan leaned in and kissed her softly on the lips, then he smiled at her and asked, "So you ready for that ink tour, Lizzy?"
Liz was so overwhelmed by the familiarity and ease in his kiss, that she couldn't form words and could only nod her head in agreement. He kept an arm around her shoulders, walked her to the back of the truck, folded down the tailgate and then his other arm was suddenly behind her thighs and he had lifted her up, and sat her atop the open tailgate.
Day was just about to break and the stars and moon in the sky had all but disappeared. Zan stood between Liz's knees and he took off his shirt. He tossed it behind her and then he invited, "Ask me anything. Tell me to move around so you can see all of them better. You can touch, too, if you want to."
Liz went for safe and obvious at first. She traced the pattern she knew depicted the Royal Four on his right forearm and she admitted, "This one I know about. I've seen it a lot. The Royal Four, right?"
He nodded and waited patiently. She slid her fingers in a caress up his arm and rubbed her thumb over the crown on his lower bicep, with his name under it. She smiled and said, "Okay this one is pretty obvious, too. Your Royal Highness, King Zan of Antar."
Zan looked briefly disconcerted hearing her speak his official title but then he regained his composure and only nodded again. Her fingers moved on, up his arm to his upper bicep and she requested, "Can you turn a bit more left and turn your elbow toward me so I can see this big one a bit better?"
Zan complied. Liz examined it closely, tracing different parts of the layered ink with her fingertip. She suddenly laughed in delight and said, "Oh! I see the v-shape of the five planets in your galaxy! But what are these vines and flowers, Zan? I've never seen anything like these before. They're really beautiful."
Zan pointed to the one at the top and explained, "That is a rare flower from my home. It is one of the ingredients in a ceremonial drink the King of Antar and his new Queen share when they are about to try to produce the first heir of their union. Commoners are forbidden from interacting with the flower whatsoever. It's called The Heir's Right.
The two flowers in the middle are known simply as wedding bliss. It grows in abundance on all five planets. See how it has a lot of petals with spoons on the end? Those are supposed to bring every bride and groom abundance in wealth, children, protection from enemies, and escapes from untimely death. At the wedding ceremony the bride and groom each have one wedding bliss and they put them together. They are kept together until the stems merge and continue to grow as one. It signifies a strength in unity.
The one on the very bottom there, is kind of like your roses here on Earth. They are called Divine Protocols. They symbolise the importance and the power of love. It also grows on all five planets but most abundantly on Antar.
I hear people talk about the power of love on this planet, too, but on Antar and the other planets in our galaxy, the power of love isn't some mythical thing that some believe in and some don't; it is a legitimate power that can do many things including but not limited to, reversing an unnatural or untimely death. It ties in with the wedding bliss in that regard.
The vines are meant to symbolise the connections amongst the five planets; the alliances, while the thorns acknowledge the differences and the respect we give to each planet for their differences."
Liz's eyes watered briefly upon hearing about the power of love reversing untimely death. It clarified a lot of things for her.
She shook off her emotional reaction to hearing about the power of love and she looked into Zan's eyes. The sun was coming up on her left, his right. The light was hitting his eyes and turning them a translucent dark amber. Liz exclaimed, "Wow. Your eyes, Zan. I've never seen eyes like yours. Maybe you're thinking I mean except for Max's but no. I've never even seen his eyes look like yours do right now. You're really beautiful, you know that?"
Zan smiled softly and stated quietly, "I promise you, I ain't got nothing on you, Lizzy. Wow."
Liz leaned in and kissed him, chastely at first but when he responded immediately with passion, Liz was glad she was sitting because she knew she was legitimately swooning in his arms and kissing him back just as hungrily, as he was kissing her.
When the flashes began between them, everything intensified one hundred fold. In the midst of it, Liz was stunned to her very soul. Words became obsolete between them. Everything they feared, everything they desired, everything they had become to each other in a few short hours was laid bare.
Where Liz and Max had built a slow burn over time and with much caution on both their parts, there was zero caution with Zan, or from him. Nothing was slow. Everything was urgent. Everything had to be right now or it felt like a cruel unnecessary agony.
Liz didn't know how they wound up naked together and she didn't much care. Zan was underneath her, encouraging her toward her ecstasy, with his hands and with his mouth. Liz was wantonly impatient to feel his hard cock inside her and she was seconds away from getting what she wanted, when a flash from Zan startled her.
They both held very still and she looked him steadily in the eye, as she said, "You couldn't be more wrong. You're no echo of the original, Zan. He was merely the teaser, the movie trailer to the full feature. If I'd only met you first, I'd never know what a broken heart even is. The reason I wasn't meant to be with Max isn't because of Tess, I wasn't meant to be with him because you are my destiny! I know you felt it! Come back to me, Zan. Don't shut me out. I love you. You said I could have anything I want. All I want, all I need is you. I know it's mutual. You can't take back what you already showed me."
Zan's eyes watered and he half sat up to wrap Liz in a near bone crushing embrace. He pressed his face against the side of her neck and confessed, "I thought this got left behind on Antar, Lizzy. The Royal Protectors they tried to say me and Ayvz were supposed to be, but the feelings just weren't there. I don't think Ayvz felt the destiny part either, she was just lonely enough to go along with it. I do love her and I know she loves me but it's because we were stuck in the same life together. We're family by circumstances we didn't choose. I love you like I've only ever dreamed about, Lizzy. Tell me this is real. Tell me you really did invent me. Whatever you tell me, I'll believe you."
Liz stroked the nape of his neck and she said, "You're no echo, Zan. I love you and only you. Now you do belong to someone. Also, I definitely invented you."
Zan laughed against her neck, lifted his head to look her in the eye and then kissed her. Passion flared back into life between them as if they hadn't paused. With a slight shift to his hips, Zan's cock was halfway inside her. They broke from their kiss to look into each others eyes, the fingers of one hand laced together and Liz pushed hard against her own barrier until he was fully seated in her. Her eyes teared up briefly and she winced a few times but as they moved together, passion overtook them again and the only things Liz was aware of were, Zan, the power of love and an all consuming pleasure like nothing she'd ever known before.
Ava walked into the Crashdown Cafe the next day and Isabel's face lit up. She greeted her warmly and invited her to sit with she, Alex, Michael and Maria. Ava looked expectantly around the table and asked, "So what am I doing here? Where's Liz?"
Isabel fidgeted awkwardly and then said a little too brightly, "It's a surprise! Liz wants to tell you herself, though."
Ava prompted, "Okay. Great. So where is she?"
Isabel admitted awkwardly, "We're not exactly sure, but I am sure she'll definitely be back today. She knows you were expected today."
Maria's break was over, she gave Michael a peck on the cheek and stood up, order pad poised and ready as she told Ava, "Order whatever you'd like, Liz is picking up the tab."
Ava shrugged and said, "Just a cherry coke, thanks. I'm going to go use the ladies. Be right back."
As soon as she had left the table, Michael asked Isabel, "Why didn't you just tell her? All this drama and build up is kind of cruel. She thinks he's dead and he isn't. If Liz was so hot to tell her herself then she should have been here. Oh great our Royal couple just walked in. I got stuff to do. I'm outta here."
Isabel asked suspiciously, "Stuff? What stuff?"
Michael shrugged and said, "I don't know but I'm sure I'll think of something.,
"Maria! I'm heading out. Come over when you're done here.", he hollered at her and then he left without waiting for her response, barely acknowledging Max and Tess on his way out.
Isabel took the opportunity to hold hands with Alex across the table and talk about their favourite moments of their prom date, together.
Not two minutes after Michael had walked out, Kyle walked in. He greeted Max and Tess casually and was about to join Isabel and Alex when he suddenly froze mid sit and his eyes widened. He backtracked his steps until he was beside Tess and he pointed at her and muttered, "Okay yes, that is definitely, Tess." and then he turned and stared at Ava who had also stopped in her tracks and was staring back at him.
She addressed him, "Is there a problem? Do I have something unpleasant on my face? Why are you staring at me, like that?"
Kyle turned uncertainly to Isabel and asked, "Did I know about this? I don't think I knew about this."
Isabel bit her lip and shrugged apologetically. Kyle turned back to Ava and smiled, stretching out his hand in greeting and he said, "Sorry about staring, Kyle Valenti, resident uninformed jock. I didn't know Tess had a ... twin?"
Ava shook her head and supplied, "Clone, actually. Well, that does explain the staring. Hi, Kyle, I'm Ava."
Kyle mumbled awkwardly, "Ava means life. Wow. I mean clones, so like obviously look alike, except you really, really don't."
Isabel shoved at Kyle and admonished him, "Close your mouth, Kyle, you're drooling!"
Ava looked at Kyle more closely and smiled in sudden understanding. She commented to Isabel, "He's kinda cute. Is he taken?"
Kyle answered quickly, "No! Not taken! Very, very single!"
Ava laughed appreciatively and then suddenly her jaw dropped and her eyes filled with tears. She whispered, "Zan? Zan is that really you?"
Zan and Liz had just walked in holding hands. Liz quickly let go of his hand and urged him forward to greet her. He nodded and said, "Yeah, Ayvz, it's me. I ain't dead. C'mere, girl."
Ava ran to him and sobbed in relief as she hugged him. While Zan caught Ava up to speed, Maria pulled Liz aside and whispered fiercely, "What the heck is going on Liz Parker? I saw that! Why were you two holding hands?"
Liz smiled at Maria and answered, "Because we're supposed to. I will fill you in properly later. All you need to know right now, is that everything is going to be okay for all of us, now. Oh and also - not a virgin anymore!", and Liz flounced over to greet Ava with a heartfelt hug, leaving Maria gaping at her incredulously.
Liz asked Ava hesitantly, "So, did Zan tell you about us, yet?"
Ava nodded and smiled reassuringly, "I'm happy for both of you, Liz. He was right in saying that he and I are not destined to be anything more than family in this life. Besides, it seems like things are about to get interesting in my own life. Do you think I could maybe stay in Roswell for a while? I really like the umm scenery.", and her eyes darted to Kyle who was looking decidedly forlorn watching her interactions with Zan.
Liz looked back and forth between her and Kyle and she laughed in surprised delight. She nodded her head and agreed, "Absolutely, you should totally stay for a while!"
Ava sobered and looked Liz in the eye, as she said, "Thanks for calling me back here. Best surprise ever.", and then Ava hugged Liz.
Max approached Zan and he offered an olive branch, "Glad to see that rumours of your death were greatly exaggerated. See ya around, Zan.", then he put money on his and Tess' table for their bill and he left with his arm around Tess' shoulders.
Ava excused herself from Liz and went to talk to Kyle, who perked up like a kid at Christmas when he saw her coming his way.
Liz slipped her arms around Zan's middle, and looked up at him adoringly. She invoked his edict that she could have whatever she wanted, "I want you to stay in Roswell."
Zan grinned and nodded, "Yeah. I figured. Zan's the man but Lizzy's the Boss."
Liz grinned and nodded as she praised him, "It's good that you know this. I love you, Zan."
Zan smiled at her and said, "I know you do. I love you, Lizzy Parker, even if you are a little psycho. I'm still fascinated by every little thing about you and I always will be."
He glanced around the room and asked, "Anyone in here not know what I am?"
Liz shook her head and assured him, "No, everyone here is in the loop. Why?"
Zan smiled and indicated his lonely heart tattoo on the inside of his left wrist, and he said, "Watch this."
Liz watched as he waved his hand over it and it changed from a barbed wire wrapped heart with daggers in it, to a heart with wings in a locked birdcage. Above the birdcage were a pair of strawberries forming a heart. Liz looked at him curiously and asked, "But what does it mean?"
He pointed to the strawberries and said, "That's you, and inside that cage is me belonging to you by my own choice."
Liz forgot they weren't alone and kissed him for that, for several very involved minutes.