A fan fiction story by Melpomene based on the characters and backstory of "Roswell" and composed without permission. No copyright infringement is intended and no monies have been earned.

Perils of Self-Involvement

They come in here nearly every day, the seven of them, eight if you include our illustrious sheriff. They always sit either at that same damned booth or at the counter. You guess you can't bitch about it too much, after all, three of them do work here, if you want to call what they do work, but still... talk about a group of people needing a life.

There used to be one more of them but he died in a car wreck not so long ago. That, in and of itself, was strange and seemed to drag up way too many questions if anyone had bothered to ask you, which of course they didn't.

Nope, no one cares to ask you anything other than "can you cover for me tonight," or "you wanna pick up an extra shift over the weekend," or "hey, you wouldn't mind taking that table that just came in, would you." All you are is the money-desperate girl Mr. Parker hired to replace the last waitress who just up and disappeared, you think her name was Courtney or something, it sure wasn't Constance.

Actually you don't mind the extra shifts so much or even the extra tables you get every time Maria or Liz suddenly dash out of the cafe mid-shift; after all, more customers and longer hours means more money, but you sometimes wonder if they even stop long enough to realize that you're a living breathing person and not just some super-robot-waitress hired to do their jobs for them. You, bitter? Never.

You tried talking to them once or twice when you were first scheduled together and you were new to the job. It was about as stimulating as talking to a brick wall, less so even. You finally wizened up and decided to spend my breaks in the alley out back, at least you could get in a cigarette out there and the wall was interesting to look at with all the graffiti spray painted on it. The cook Jose responds occasionally when you ask him a question, and with more than the grunts and glares that are reciprocal of any words spoken to Michael. It's companionship of a sort.

You don't like Roswell, New Mexico. You tried to keep an open mind about it when you first got here, but sheesh, could Travis have possibly picked a worse place to run to? Jenna keeps saying that you'll be safer here than you were in DC but you have your doubts. At least in DC you didn't have to face these creepy little alien reproductions at every turn.

Do they really think that's what aliens actually look like? You'd love to expound on your opinion to someone but who could you complain to? Jenna and Travis have heard it all before, repeatedly, so often in fact that they've got the whole speech memorized now. Travis just smiles and tries to convince you to lighten up a little, to be able to laugh at yourself a bit as well as at their misconceived ideas about what alien life forms look like. Jenna just hugs you and tells you that maybe you'll be able to leave soon.

Yeah, you'll leave alright. You'll leave in one of two ways. Either you'll finally discover where the Fibbies have been holding Jack and break him out or they'll find you here and you'll be taken in too. Jenna keeps telling you to think positive, to envision Jack alive and well, but you're finding that harder to do lately. The FBI has had him for two years now; how could you possibly wish him two years of pain, suffering, and torture? You love him too much to wish that on him.

So, where do you find myself on such a beautiful sunny Sunday morning? Are you happily lounging on the fold-out couch watching syndicated sitcoms on our crappy little black and white TV set? Are you hacking into government databases on the ridiculously expensive laptop computer you bought expressly to help search for your missing friend? Are you sitting with Jenna on the fuzzy carpeting, trying fruitlessly to join your thoughts with Jack, where ever he is? No, you're standing beside a table of squabbling children and pleased looking grandparent types all dressed up for church and trying to decide between the Man in the Moon Griddlecakes or the Martian omelets.

You weren't even supposed to be on the clock today. Mr. Parker had promised you the day off, the whole weekend off as a matter of fact, after noticing that there hasn't been a day in the last three months that you haven't been here, disgusting antennae in place and a smile plastered on your face. But wouldn't you know it, Maria and Lizzie-kins went off somewhere and who gets called in to cover for their sorry asses? To be fair, Mr. Parker sounded extremely unhappy about calling the apartment Friday morning, so unhappy that he offered you triple pay if you'd agree to please come in and work.

They just got back, Maria and Liz and apparently Michael too, which would explain Jose's presence in the kitchen this morning, back from Los Cruces of all places. Maria and Liz whirled through the cafe without a word to you or anyone else for that matter. They just dashed through to take care of their oh so important lives. It was rather entertaining to see Mr. Parker march them both back downstairs to explain where they'd been.

You snuck out the back door to get a drag or two from my cigarette when you overheard part of their conversation. Man, was he mad. It made you glad you don't have parents; at least you don't have any anywhere nearby. It was funny, the change in their attitude. Liz started out all full of righteous indignation and ire until her father pointed out exactly how many shifts you'd been covering for them both. She changed her tune pretty quick after that, so quick that you almost started laughing before you caught myself.

The truth is, you don't begrudge them their ability to become so self-involved; you wish you had the same opportunity. It's all Jenna, Travis and you can do to keep your accounts in the black, even with all the over-time you've been putting in recently.

The work keeps my mind occupied too; while you're dealing with my ridiculously picky customers you can forget the nightmares you have about what's happening to Jack. You can forget that you're running for our very survival. And at times you can even manage to forget that you're not who everyone thinks you are, that you're not even what they think you are. And for all those things you are grateful.

So let Liz and Maria and all their secretive little friends rush around and act all-important. In the realm of the universe it won't matter anyway. None of this will. Sometimes you wish you could tell them that; tell them that they're fighting a losing battle that's already set in stone regardless of what they think their destinies are.

You told Jenna something similar just the other day and she started giggling. She's right, how would you be able to explain myself, prove myself to these incredibly young kids.

"Yeah, we know all about Zan and Vilandra and Kivar and even your home planet and the Skins and all, but hey, it doesn't matter. This quest you're on is severely out of date, the war is over, your enemies were defeated and your people have completely forgotten that they ever sent you to Earth in the first place. Just chill out and live your lives the way you want to, avoid the feds as much as you can and try to be human because you'll never be accepted back home. But hey, if you want to help us fight our own losing battle with this incredibly nasty alien race that's determined to destroy all of humanity, be my guest."

Pretty lame even to your own ears.

You smile benignly at the grandparents who have finally decided on the griddlecakes and walk back across the cafe to chat with Jose for a moment as you turn in the order.

Sometimes what we want and what we have bear no resemblance to one another. All you want is to have Jack back safe and sound and be allowed to forget the eminent destruction of the planet you've come to love. All those kids want is to find out the truth.

You've come to realize that truth is greatly over-rated; they can give you a nice lie any day of the week.

the end

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