Alex stood in front of the mirror and slowly took off his uniform for the last time. Michael wanted to burn it, probably had a fire waiting.
But it wasn't so simple for Alex. He was happy to put the Air Force behind him, uniform included. He’d lost his leg in this uniform. And every day he struggled with what he’d seen and done while wearing it.
But it had also given him an identity when he couldn’t face himself, the illusion of strength until he was strong. So he folded it neatly and tucked away, unseen but not forgotten.
Rosa didn’t know why she agreed to go shopping with Isobel of all people. But when Isobel showed up and said she was sick of Rosa dressing in whatever clothes Liz left behind, Rosa couldn’t argue with her.
Still, she wasn't looking forward to feeling out of place at some fancy boutique where everyone waited for her to stuff a dress in her bag.
She couldn’t hide her surprise when they walked into a reasonably priced vintage clothing shop that could have been stocked from her old closet.
“Congrats,” Isobel smirked. “You’ve been dead long enough to be fashionable again.”
Kyle opened the latest box from his mother. While packing for her move to a condo, she kept dropping off anything she thought he might want for himself, or for his children, she always added with a wink.
He pulled out his letterman’s jacket, and just seeing it made his stomach drop. He hated remembering what an arrogant, cruel, selfish person he’d been. He should throw it away, forget about the asshole who wore it.
But at the last minute, he put it back. He’d never reminisce about the good old days, but maybe it could serve as a warning.
“Almost ready?” Alex yelled from the kitchen.
“Yeah,” Michael answered as he reached for a bandana.
He looked at the smooth skin on his hand and paused. The lack of scars didn’t hurt like it once did. He’d relied on them for so long as proof that what he had with Alex was real. But also as a reminder that he didn’t get a happy ending.
Michael was done living in the past. He was loved now, and he and Alex were working on their happy ending together.
“All set,” Michael put the bandana in the drawer and closed it.
Isobel found the T-shirt in the back of her lingerie drawer. An old shirt of Noah’s she used to wear to tease him. The material so worn, her nipples showed clearly through the fabric and the hem hit just under the curve of her ass. Noah always left it on while he fucked her, letting the shirt rub between their bodies.
She was so sick of tripping over memories of him. Noah had been gone for years, but she still couldn’t escape him. Isobel balled up the shirt and threw it away before calling a realtor. Time to move on.
Liz picked up the tube of Ruby Passion lipstick and set it down. She’d run out last week, but had put off replacing it. Red had been her armor ever since she lost Rosa. But it didn’t feel right anymore.
Wearing it used to make her feel powerful and fearless. Now she felt that way every time she put on her lab coat and walked into her lab. Where she was in charge and couldn't be dismissed or underestimated. Liz didn’t need Rosa's armor anymore, she had her own.
Ruby Passion wasn’t her color. Maybe Prickly Pear Pink could be.
Maria took her new black dress off the hanger, but couldn’t bring herself to put it on. She hated it; Mimi would hate it. And if today was supposed to be about her mother, why was she dressing for everyone else?
She grabbed the sunshine yellow blouse and colorful patchwork skirt she’d bought the last time they went shopping together and texted everyone: No black! Wear your brightest colors for Mimi.
Maria looked in the mirror and almost managed a smile. She wasn’t ready to say goodbye, she never would be, but at least she would do it in style.
Arturo took off his apron, locking the Crashdown for the last time. He was proud of what he’d done here, the life he provided so his girls could follow their dreams. The Crashdown was Javier’s dream now, his turn to do good things.
Instead of sadness, Arturo felt relief. Now he could sleep in and play with his grandchildren. He could help with the fundraisers at St. John’s. Arturo was free to enjoy his life in a country that was finally kinder to immigrants. And the next time he walked into the Crashdown, he would let someone else serve him.
As soon as Isobel opened the door, her mom pulled her into a hug. “It will be okay, baby,” she whispered into Isobel’s hair. Then she held up her bag and smiled, “I brought ice cream.”
Later, when they cuddled on the couch watching movies, ice cream long gone, Isobel wrapped a blanket around them. She bought it at the reservation because the pattern matched the coat Louise wore in the only picture Isobel had of her mother.
She rested her head on Ann’s shoulder and tightened the blanket, feeling for a moment like both her mothers were hugging her.
Jenna fastened her holster and started braiding her hair. She couldn’t believe she was back in this drab, brown uniform. But no matter how many times she swore she’d left Roswell behind for good, she kept coming back. Sheriff Valenti didn’t even bother replacing her anymore, just left her position open.
Maybe it was time to admit Roswell had become her home and stay put instead of constantly chasing after Charlie. She was ready to settle down, and Charlie knew where to find her.
If she stayed, she needed to convince the Sheriff it was time to order nicer uniforms.
Alex checked his piercing pleased it was finally free of pain and swelling. Done with the military, Alex let his hair grow and wore eyeliner to open mic night, but decided against repiercing his ears or nose.
Michael stepped out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. “All healed?”
“Thank fuck,” Michael tossed the towel aside and launched himself at Alex. He immediately closed his mouth around Alex’s nipple, tonguing the ring. “So fucking hot,” he breathed before pulling gently at the piercing, both of them moaning loudly at the new sensations.
Definitely better than a nose ring.
The first Christmas he had Rosa back, Arturo went all out. He cooked for days making tamales, posole and biscochitos along with his famous Christmas enchiladas.
After Christmas Eve dinner, he smiled widely when Liz and Rosa opened their one present and revealed long flannel plaid nightgowns with fuzzy red socks. “Christmas pajamas, just like when you were small,” he teased. “Change for pictures or Santa won’t come.”
They came back, giggling and rolling their eyes and giving each other bunny ears as they posed smiling to “Churro Pancakes.” It felt like Christmas for the first time in a decade.
“How do I look?” Max adjusted his tie again.
“Very handsome,” Liz reassured him as she kissed his cheek and fixed his tie.
“Book jacket handsome?” Max asked nervously.
“More like blown-up book jacket poster at a book signing handsome,” Liz teased. “They’ll be lined up around the block just to look at you.”
“You really think so?” Max knew Liz was trying to help him relax, but he hated having his picture taken, and he needed everything about this book to be perfect.
“I know so,” Liz answered seriously. “Because I will be the first in line every time.”
Maria twisted and turned in front of the mirror. Her jeans fit just the way she liked, and her boots hit at the perfect spot on her calves. She adjusted her blouse, making sure it was tight where she wanted to be and loose everywhere else.
“Stop fussing, you look hot. Now let me do your eyes.”
Maria sat next to Rosa on the bed and closed her eyes. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been on a first date, let alone felt this nervous. She took a breath and relaxed; she had a good feeling about this one.
Michael never cared about clothes. Cheap and durable were the only qualities he looked for. But seeing the different suits displayed for him, he felt like the wrong choice could ruin everything.
Alex wrapped his arms around him from behind and kissed neck. “I don’t care what you pick. I’d marry you naked.”
Michael felt all the tension drain out of him. “Let’s save that for the honeymoon.”
“You two are gross,” Isobel complained as she held another jacket up against Michael. “I think this goes best with Alex’s suit.”
“Sure,” Michael agreed. It was just a suit after all.
Managing Isobel’s pregnancy was the most stressful thing Kyle had ever done. Louise already proved an alien could carry a half human baby, but they had no idea what might show up on an ultrasound or bloodwork, and Kyle was too paranoid to forgo those things. So he spent hours studying the latest Obstetrics research and prayed he’d notice if something was wrong.
When he arrived for Isobel and Starr’s postnatal checkup, Isobel handed him a gift. He laughed at the lab coat embroidered with “Chief of Extraterrestrial Medicine” but quickly choked up when he noticed “Godfather” written underneath it.
Greg watched the students on stage, standing nervously in their red caps and gowns. His first class, the first kids to call him Mr. Manes, ready to accept their diplomas. They weren’t all there, and every missing face made his chest ache. But he would keep fighting for them.
As each name was called, he cheered as loud as he could. He promised to celebrate at every single graduation. His part may be small, but it gave him more joy than any medal ever had. When their caps flew into the air, he didn’t even try to hide his tears.
“School supplies are done, now clothes,” Alex walked into the boys section, but Daniel didn’t follow.
He hung back, and Michael could see he was overwhelmed. Choices were new to him. Michael remembered what it was like to dig through a pile of donations hoping for something that fit and wasn’t stained. And then to lose it all when you changed families again. It would take time for Daniel to trust them.
“Hey,” he said gently. “You can pick what you want and keep it no matter what.”
Alex took Daniel’s hand, “I see a Transformers shirt. Let’s start there.”
Liz’s hands shook as she adjusted Louisa’s veil before the ceremony. Her baby, making her first communion. There were so few children at the church, not like when Liz took her vows. It seemed old fashioned now. Liz wasn’t even sure she believed in God. Not when science had become her religion.
But science still couldn’t tell her how Max traveled across galaxies only to wait for decades, safe and unaging, to find her. It couldn’t explain Louisa, their beautiful daughter, a perfect blend of both of them. So today, she let herself believe, embracing the miracles in her life.
Walt checked his clip-on tie for stains. He couldn’t remember the last time he wore a suit, probably for some idiot’s funeral. But Michael asked him to come to the adoption hearing, and he wanted to look nice.
He might not have been able to save Michael, but the kid turned out alright. Now he and Alex were doing what he couldn’t, giving kids who had no one a loving family. Miss Nora would be so proud.
Walt might not have been good enough to be a father, but he was doing his best to be a damn fine grandfather.