The end of high school sucked, and Alex Manes would be the first one to tell you all about it but what sucked, even more, is that he couldn’t be what he wanted in life. He wanted to create music, but in the end, he was being forced to join the Air Force like all of his brothers were.
Sure, it worked out for them but they weren’t Alex; nobody in Roswell was quite like Alex, and he’d fallen in love with an alien.
An alien who, at the time, hadn’t exactly told him he was an alien, to begin with.
It took Alex several months to realize Guerin was an alien after they’d made love in the toolshed for the first time.
That was Alex’s first and last mistake where Michael Guerin was concerned as he’d shipped off to Colorado Springs just a month after graduating.
They hadn’t hung out in the interim of his signing up and his subsequent shipping out. They hadn’t even looked for each other around town due to how painful it would be to see the other, and Alex can only guess that the rumors that had started about Michael becoming the newest town drunk weren’t actual lies when he’d glimpsed him being thrown out on his ass from the Wild Pony one night.
Alex had chosen to ignore that image in favor of just getting home.
But he couldn’t ignore what his eyes saw forever, and he can’t ignore what had happened the first night they decided to be together.
The sex had been, in a word, epic but that epicness came with an unknown consequence when, while in basic training, Alex stopped gaining muscle and started gaining weight around his stomach instead.
He tried to get a physical to tell him what was wrong, but the doctors had told him that his hormones were off-balance and that only a specialist would know what is really wrong with him, but he shrugged it off saying it must be his body combating the exercise he wasn’t used to getting so it’s upping his estrogen levels.
It didn’t make sense at all, but the doctor seemed to accept it over him trying to transition to a woman mid-training in the Air Force.
A week later, Alex went to a pharmacy and picked up the one thing he never thought he, a human male, would need to pick up ever in his life.
He paid with cash to hide his tracks from Master Sergeant Dad, and he used it in the bathroom of a coffee shop a few blocks away which, surprise, surprise, came out positive. If a doctor says his hormone levels are high and a pregnancy test also tells him his hormone levels are high then something very odd is happening, and he can’t be sure going to another doctor would be safe.
He doesn’t want to become some...science experiment for people to poke and prod while whatever is happening to him happens.
That night he drops out of the Air Force Academy and goes off the grid disappearing completely.
Master Sergeant Jesse Manes has a coronary two weeks after hearing Alex had released himself from basic training and, anything he tries to do to find him ends in failure so he’s forced to accept that Alex was smarter than he’d ever given his son credit for.
Alex, however, makes his way back to New Mexico in order to get on familiar turf. If he could get to Santa Fe or Albuquerque, he’s as good as disappeared, and he does after hitchhiking in the beds of peoples trucks; he’s not stupid enough to get into the cab with people he doesn’t know.
He gets to Santa Fe without any incidents, and that’s where his new life starts. Just three hours away from everything he’s ever known, but he doesn’t dare go back to the one place his father knew he’d return to so soon; add the fact he’s carrying around an alien baby, and that’s a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.
He never notifies Michael that he’s become a father, he never tries to get in touch with Liz or any of his old friends, in all intents and purposes, Alex is alone in this and it’s just the way he needs it to be.
He gets a back-alley abortionist to help him deliver the baby via c-section without any drugs to clog his system which causes him blinding pain, yes, but it also seems to make the abortionist fall in love with giving life rather than taking it away. Alex, wishing he didn’t have too, shoots the man after he carefully sews him back up.
The babies a boy he names Adrian Charles Guerin, making sure that everyone will know whose child he really is, and the baby boy grows up fast and is smarter than a whip; Adrian can state facts about the most random things as soon as he’s mastered the English language well enough to state them, and Alex knows that he has to foster his sons brain so he starts taking on more work at the garage he’s being paid under-the-table at just to get him into the best private school in Santa Fe.
By the time Adrian is seven, Alex has grown his facial hair out into a goatee and he sports the messy look that Guerin always sported when he was doing his grease monkey work down at the junkyard and Sanders Garage.
It looks like time changes everyone, even the ones that used to swear up and down they’d make something of themselves, but Alex doesn’t care about any of that anymore. All he cares about is Adrian’s future, and whatever he’ll have to deal with whenever his son's second nature decides to rear its head but, so far, Adrian hasn’t shown anything unusual besides his smarts which are all Alex hopes he got from his father.
At the age of seventeen, Alex decides they need to make the three-hour trip to Roswell just to show Adrian where he and his Father had fallen in love once upon a time ago.
“Alright, you packed?” Alex asks his son as he got the last few bits of things he needed put together in his backpack. They were traveling light since they were only planning to spend the weekend there before driving back to Santa Fe; Alex was thankful that Adrian had graduated already otherwise they wouldn’t be making this trip as easily.
Adrian was already accepted into UNM so it was only a matter of him accepting UNM as his chosen college and finishing his enrollment. He’s got a full ride which is a blessing for the Guerin household as every little bit helps them in the long run with whatever expenses that going to college comes with.
If you are wondering if you read that right, you did. Alex changed his last name to Guerin to reflect Adrian’s so there were no questions asked when he went to enroll his son into Somerset Private School when he was five, and he’s just never changed it back since; he didn’t want the Manes line to continue on with his son so he cut all ties with his past to the extent of it being permanent.
Now, Alex is looking out the windshield at the passing scenery as he drives himself and his son the three hours it takes to get to Roswell, but his sons’ curly hair keeps trying to distract him from the impending knowledge of wondering if Michael is even still in Roswell, to begin with.
Alex hates to admit it, but over the years his love has only gotten stronger for Adrian’s father, and it’s never been fair to the men he’s tried to date as they never measured up to the ruggedly handsome man that is one Michael Guerin. It was always their hair not being curly enough, they didn’t have the grease and cinnamon smell he had, or they just never showed interest in any of the scientific facts that Alex pulled out of himself that Adrian had told him that seemed so fascinating at the time.
They all lacked anything that made Michael who he is or was when they were kids in high school.
Seeing the “Welcome to Roswell” sign that had a UFO on it made Alex feel a sense of deja vu that he knew would come when he least expected it.
“Hey, kid, we’re here” Alex said shaking his sleeping son whose entire six-foot frame did not fit into the cab, but they both made do with any room they could give him; not his fault that his parents were similar in height so he got the tall genes beaten into him during puberty.
Still, Adrian has yet to let on what other characteristics he’d gotten from his father, and by now, they no longer matter as he was a grown man who could make decisions for himself and keep any secrets he may have about himself. Alex loved him from the second he was born to now, and that would never change.
He killed for him once, and he’d do it again just to protect him.
“I’m up, I’m up” Adrian commented as he stretched out as much as he could in his limited space.
“Want to get lunch first or go see if the UFO Emporium is open?” Alex asked him as he started driving the familiar streets of his hometown waiting for him to decide.
“Crashdown, I need coffee” Adrian answered like it was the most natural thing in the world to talk about a cafe in a town he’s only ever heard of from his Dad. If there had ever been a question that Adrian wanted answering about Roswell, Alex always gave it to him without hesitation and question because he wanted his son to know about his roots as much as possible.
As they pulled into a parking space outside the cafe, Alex’s sees a familiar face inside sitting at one of the booths, and it makes him smile to see him.
“I’ll wait inside for you, Adrian,” Alex tells his son as he makes his way to the doors of the cafe.
“Well, well, if it isn’t my favorite cafe owner” he comments as he sees the older man with papers sitting on the table in front of him.
Arturo Ortecho looks up from what he is doing and looks confused at him for a few seconds before recognition seems to overtake his face, “Alex Manes? Is that you? You look different with that fur on your face” he says to Alex who just rolls his eyes when his facial hair is commented on.
“Yeah, it’s me. How’ve you been?” Alex asks going over to him as Adrian finally decides to roll out of the truck and come into the restaurant.
“I’ve been good, and who’s this young man behind you? I hope you aren’t robbing cradles” Arturo asks in a joking yet serious tone of voice as he gets up from his booth to greet the newest customer.
“Arturo Ortecho meet Adrian Guerin, my son,” Alex says introducing the both of them.
“Nice to meet you” Adrian greets holding his hand out to Arturo who says the sentiment back before the old man seems to get confused once more.
“Guerin? You and Michael didn’t shack up without the town knowing, did you?” Arturo asked Alex like an exasperated father would his youngest child who’d gone off to get married in Vegas and just now is informing their parents.
“If anything was happening with him, you and Maria would be the first to know about it. Can’t keep anything from you two. No, I changed my last name almost seventeen years ago to get out of my father's shadow, and the first one I thought of was Michael’s” Alex told him as he sat down beside his son at the bar.
“Might want to inform Michael about that decision, he might not like it?” Arturo tells him as he puts in Alex’s old order while Adrian peruses the menu.
“Chest Burster, a Vulcan Milkshake, and some Saturn Rings” Adrian orders before getting in on the conversation the two were having, “What Pops can’t control, can’t hurt him.”
“Be that as it may, I wouldn’t hide this from him. He’s become the town drunk, and as belligerent as they come but somewhere in that man is still a smart kid that should’ve gone places” Arturo says before he goes back to the paperwork he’d been working on after their orders come through.
Alex and Andrian sit in silence just enjoying their meals while letting the new and old information settle into their brains and, all too soon, Deputy Max Evans walks into the cafe disrupting Alex’s peace and quiet.
“Hey Arturo” Max greets as he takes a place at the bar beside Adrian who just continues eating while Alex has to stop himself from freaking out. Adrian is sitting beside one of his father’s best friends and he doesn’t even know it
“Look who’s back in town Max, it’s Alex Manes,” Arturo told the Deputy immediately outing Alex’s presence right away like letting Max Evans know Alex was back was something to be celebrated rather than just nodded at.
Max, leaning forward, sees Alex’s face from around Adrian’s giganto form and says, “Well I’ll be damned, never thought I’d see the day you’d return.”
“You and me both” was Alex’s immediate quip back to him as he looked down at his plate avoiding eye contact with him at all costs.
Maybe Alex wasn’t ready to see his ex and all his old friends after all.
Wiping his hands with his napkin, he stands up and pats Adrian on the back to let him know they needed to get going, “Arturo, thanks for the meal but we got places to be” Alex tells the Mexican as he puts down the money for both of their orders.
“Yeah, it was nice meeting you! The food was great!” Adrian shouted to him as he followed Alex out of the cafe.
Once they got in the truck, Adrian opted to ride in the bed since there was more leg room while Alex drove them towards Foster Ranch which was where he and Michael went a lot just to escape the town and be able to be together.
Pulling up, he was surprised at how empty it was, but then again, it’s said to be Air Force land now so Alex isn’t entirely surprised.
“Alright, come on kiddo, we’re going to do some hiking around before nightfall,” he tells his son as he gets out of the truck and Adrian immediately knows to get a couple of water bottles for both of them; Alex isn’t exactly out of shape but he hasn’t hiked in the desert for as long as Adrian’s been alive so it’ll take some getting used too.
The late afternoon was spent exploring around where the alien spaceship had crashed back in 1947 before Alex finally calls their little excursion to a close so they could head back to the truck in order to pull their sleeping bags out and start a fire to have a night of camping out where no lights penetrate the view of the magnificent galaxy that would be shown above them.
That night, as they cooked hotdogs over the fire, Adrian opens up to Alex about something that has always bothered him, “Dad, I’ve always wondered...Do I have a Mom? I know you’ve always said I have a Father out there, but what about a Mom?”
Alex leaned back in his seat for a second before coming forward again in order to respond, “You know I’ve always been honest with you to a fault, right?”
At Adrian’s nod, he sits there for a second to gather his thoughts before he continues, “You’ve...never had a traditional Mother. When I say you’re my son, I mean it in the most literal sense possible. I carried you in my stomach for nine months, I had you in a back alley abortion room where the man who helped me deliver you had no choice but to comply with what I wanted him to do, and after he sewed me up, I shot him. I didn’t want him to go talk to any of his friends or cohorts or whatever they are to him about the man that he had helped deliver a baby for.”
Before Adrian could interject, Alex continued on explaining to him what happened, “Throughout your entire life, I’ve always done everything I had to do to keep you safe. I didn’t want your Grandfather to find us so I gave you your Father’s surname, and I got mine changed to hide any suspicion that our different last names could bring. When you started talking about algorithms and string theory, I knew I had to work harder than ever for you to get the best education that money could buy so, as you know, I took more hours at the Garage and got paid under-the-table for any overtime I did. I love you more than this life, and I would kill for you again in order to continue keeping you safe. From your Grandfather or otherwise.”
Adrian looked like he was trying to process all the new information that his Dad had just unloaded onto him so Alex gave him the peace and quiet he needed in order to wrap his head around the fact that Alex had, not only committed first-degree murder for him but was also his Mom throughout the years.
“My head hurts” Adrian whines as his hands go to his eyes in order to rub them to try and soothe the weariness in them.
“I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’s all true” Alex tells him as he sets aside his hotdog in order to go to his son and hold him to his chest.
Soon after, the temptation of sleep takes hold so they use dirt to extinguish the fire before getting into the bed of the truck to settle down to sleep, and that’s when Alex opens up about Adrian’s Father.
“You know, Michael, your Father, and I used to come here all the time back in high school in order to just be alone together. We’d come out just to look at the stars and, well, be alone with one another.”
“You loved him even then? He wasn’t just some...summer fling or whatever?”
Alex huffed in silent laughter, “More like End-Of-Senior-Year fling, we got together right after prom.”
“So you had a month together, at least.”
“Yeah, but that was all it took for either of us to see what we needed in the other.”
“What did you need in Pops?”
Alex turned his head away from Adrian and looked to the stars in the night sky as he thought on his answer, “I needed someone...who wouldn’t judge me based on who I was and how I acted; someone who could look beneath the surface, and find the person who I was meant and wanted to be. He saw my potential and tried to drag it out of me, but at the time I was still scared of your Grandfather.”
“Did he make the two of you break up in the end? Grandpa, I mean.”
Alex looked back to Adrian in order to let his son know he was serious in what he was about to say, “Your Grandfather was the cause and effect to Michael being driven away, and my subsequent departure from Roswell.”
“What did he do?”
“He broke your Father’s hand with a hammer when Michael tried to protect me from him. Michael was in so much pain when he left that I knew nothing I could say or do would help him in any way. I just helped him get his shirt and coat on before he left, and that’s the last time I ever saw him. A month later I was shipped out to Colorado Springs in order to attend the Air Force Academy, and that’s also the place I found out I was pregnant with you.”
“I wanna kill him” Adrian growled out as the very idea seemed to upset him something fierce and the very earth under the truck seemed to shake with his emotions which alarmed Alex before Adrian took a deep breath to calm himself and the shaking stopped.
Turning to look at his son, he comments, “That’s new.”
“No, I’ve been hiding that I can do that for years. I just never wanted you to think I was some sort of freak of nature.”
“I just told you I found out I was pregnant with you are your age, and you’re scared that I’d think you were a freak? Kid, I’d never think you are a freak or unusual or...some word that’d hurt you in some way because all I know is that I love you no matter what.”
“I love you too, Daddy,” Adrian said in a vulnerable tone of voice that had Alex pulling his son into the cradle of his arms once more that night.
As he stroked his son’s curly hair, he whispered reassurances of love, acceptance, and calm as he felt his son start to drift off in his arms. He lies awake for a few more hours just listening to the bit of wind, the calm, even breaths of his son as he slept, and thought back on memories when he’d hold Michael just like this when he’d had a particularly rough day and all he’d want is for Alex to hold him.
Whispering to his sleeping son before he himself fell asleep, he gave him one last reassurance, “Alien or half-alien, it makes no matter to me, you are my son forever and always, and I will love you until I die and into the afterlife, whatever it may hold for me. I will always love you.”