AUTHOR NOTE:

This is a completed Roswell fanfiction that I penned some years ago (Good grief, has it been...12 years?) I dusted it off because it stil stands the test of time, and I believe was one of my very best fanfics prior to turning to writing what are now 16 published novels with Penguin, St Martins and Samhain. I thought of adapting this work into a publishable format, but the backstory would require too much toggling and I think the narrative quality--which is more spare and kind of mystical--would lose something. So I'm posting it here in the hope that a few folks may enjoy taking a peek. Eager to hear from new friends here on Wattpad as I'm brand new here. Thanks! XO Deidre

CHAPTER ONE

Nothing could have prepared me for this. No amount of hospice counseling, or advice, or even steely-willed notions of self. In the end, there’s only Liz and me, and I’m the one losing the battle here, not her, despite what the doctors say. Her eyes flutter shut against the late afternoon sun, the rays filtering across the floor like a beacon, listless and sure. We’ve been sitting this way for hours, poised on the brink of something we both know is unavoidable, but unwilling to speak of it. When we came home earlier today, I carried her in my arms up the apartment stairs, my boots echoing hollowly off the concrete, as I took the careful steps one at a time.

We’d arrived in the ambulance, and the paramedics had insisted on using a stretcher, until finally I pulled the senior guy aside, Jose I think his name was, and explained things to him. We stood in the parking lot, shivering in the December cold, as I told him how it was going to be. That nobody would carry Liz home for this last time except for me. By God, she deserved to be cradled in the arms of someone who loved her, not strapped and hoisted and awkwardly toted up two solid flights of stairs.

Jose had stared at me blankly, clearly unconvinced, until in a very uncharacteristic show of diplomacy I added the word, “Please.” Something in his expression softened then, and I think it was maybe the first time he let either of us become real to him. Maybe that’s how you survive a job like that, the kind where you’re barely more than a liaison to the dying.

He nodded solemnly, indicating the backdoors of the ambulance, and I scrambled inside. Jose gestured silently to the two other medics who sat beside Liz, and they slowly freed her from the straps, as I squatted gingerly next to the gurney.

“I’m going to carry you up,” I explained, and I saw Liz swallow hard, her gaze darting around the ambulance fearfully. The dark hollows beneath her eyes seemed suddenly even more pronounced, and I pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Just me, baby,” I promised, as she gazed at the men around her.

“Good.” She nodded, and I reached for her hand, giving it a slight squeeze, as she whispered, “I’m tired of doctors.”

I stared at the paramedics, who continued adjusting her oxygen and tubes methodically. “Don’t worry about them,” I said, glancing at them pointedly.

But Jose had to assert his authority. “We’ll follow you up. Get things situated.”

“Of course,” I assured him, but behind his back, I rolled my eyes dramatically for Liz’s benefit. I wanted to make her smile, since we’d both learned one thing after a year’s worth of hospitals. Medical people craved their designated authority; otherwise they might feel less than necessary in the universe that had created them.

“Hospice regulations require us to show you everything,” he continued, and I nodded without speaking.

So they freed her, and I pulled her into my arms, cradling her close, her head tucked perfectly against my shoulder, my arm braced within the crook of her legs. She was shockingly easy to carry, not that she’d ever been heavy anyway, but she fit far too effortlessly within my large arms now.

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