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I Watched it Begin Again

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Isobel inhaled deeply and fought against her urge to scrunch her nose at the smell of bleach and other overly clean smells. She shifted uncomfortably in the chair and made a mental note to look through some catalogues for new ones. Her fingers tapped on the worn pleather.

After all these years of Liz poking at Max and every other alien they came across, she thought she could at least get over the nerves that came with walking into a hospital. She pulled her phone up again and sighed. Only a few minutes since the last time she checked.

The door handle shifted and the lock clicked open. Isobel all but jumped from her seat and crossed her arms. She put on her best questioning stare and waited. Kyle didn’t notice her until he had closed the door again. His dark circles were painfully visible. Guilt turned in her stomach.

“Again with the unlocking my door while I’m not here,” he said, sending a sweet smile at her. She pretended not to notice her stomach flipping for reasons that distinctly weren’t guilt or iatrophobia.

“Look, I’ve been sent by the powers that be. AKA Alex demanding you take a look at Michael who’s being a pain in the ass about some injury he got while working.” Kyle sighed and slipped out of his doctors coat, hanging it on a hook.

Isobel granted herself a lingering gaze over where his muscles disappeared under his t-shirt. At least until he turned back around.

“You know I’d never turn down Alex but I’d rather not have one of the most powerful aliens try to barbeque me because he’s scared of any kind of medical involvement.” Isobel chuckled and sat herself on his desk, crossing her legs.

“My dear brother won’t barbeque you. I won’t let him,” Isobel flirted. She mentally smacked herself. Just because Anatsa and her had split on friendly terms didn’t mean she should be jumping from partner to partner.

Kyle raised an eyebrow at her and shook his head. Isobel couldn’t be sure if she saw his cheeks turn pink. She watched him move around, getting ready to leave for the day. After everything he does for them, she really should take him out for a meal. Or at the very least a drink.

“How about I treat you to a meal? As a sort of… apology for running you around like our own personal practitioner?” Kyle laughed and looked back at her, a sparkle in his eye she couldn’t quite place. “Then I can give you some suggestions about better chairs because, honey, you need new ones.”

-

Isobel tapped her shot glass against Kyle’s, throwing him a look of pity and an awkward smile. Michael hadn’t tried to barbeque him but he certainly wasn’t in the mood for brain scans. Alex had managed to keep him calm but the death glares continued until well after Kyle had left to wait in the car for her.

“I’m sorry. I thought he’d be better about that now that he and Alex were together.” Kyle tossed his shot of tequila back and his grimace at the taste made her laugh.

“I walked into that situation knowing what to expect. It’s not your fault.” Isobel drank her own shot then grabbed the lemon on the small plate, placing it on her tongue. They were at a small bar on the edge of town. It was mostly filled with travelers just passing through but her and Kyle agreed that it was nice to get out of Roswell every once in a while.

“So McDreamy, what woes troubled you when you walked into your office earlier?” Kyle shook his head as he tried to fight the smile.

“I… uh. Had to leave a family with some bad news. I’ll be getting tests back tomorrow but, it looks like cancer.” He stared off at the bottles on the other side of the bar, though Isobel was sure he wasn’t looking at them at all. She reached out slowly, resting a hand on his arm.

Isobel focused on the feel of his skin under her fingers. The shimmering of a color manifested around Kyle like a bubble. Green like a pine tree seemed to catch the light from above them. She picked through the changing colors, looking for the most prominent one.

A knot formed in the back of her neck and the overwhelming urge to pull her hair out pulled her focus away from Kyle. A warmth radiated out from her heart just before she jerked her hand way from him. She blinked a few times to find Kyle watching her, concern etched onto his face.

“You… you’re not confident in your abilities. This cancer patient reminds you of your father?”

“Did you just read my emotions?” He turned away from her with a sigh. Isobel shook her head and grabbed for him again, worried he would leave.

“I’m sorry! I know it’s not fair but… I just want you to confide in me. It’s the least I can do for you after everything.” He didn’t say anything for a moment. Long enough that she noticed the light blush on his face.

“I appreciate that. It’s just more than a bit nerve wracking to have someone poke around in your head. Not to mention a question about consent,” he said the last sentence with a small smile. She smiled back and relaxed her shoulders.

“I promise to never make you undress in public.” Kyle scoffed and rolled his eyes. He ordered a beer and a side of some loaded fries.

Once they were placed in front of him, he pushed the basket of carbs toward her before taking one himself. She stared at the food, wondering what exactly she was supposed to do with it. She had been forced into a health focus ever since she was little so she didn’t usually get this kind of thing. It was always salads or wraps or some other thing. Whatever had the least amount of calories. Even with Noah… she didn’t know how to eat junk food like this. Kyle seemed to notice her shift in mood.

“Oh crap, sorry. I should have gotten something on the healthier side. This is just what I eat when I’m stressed, let me give you the cash—”

“No, no, no. It’s fine. I said I would take you out. This is my treat. I just…” She couldn’t even put words to what she was feeling. Yes she was hungry. And the food smelled amazing. But what would he think of her? Was she allowed to eat this kind of thing? As much as she wanted to believe she didn’t need a man’s approval…

“Iz, go ahead. If you’re worried about me eating enough, don’t be. I can easily just order more. Besides, I’m pretty sure aliens also need to eat.” He pushed the basket toward her again. This time she picked up a fry.

They avoided the alien topic as much as possible while they sat at the bar. The music playing over the speaker was some modern country about tractors and drinking. Isobel could mostly ignore it. Until a familiar guitar riff started playing instead.

The song that had been playing in the Wild Pony the night Anatsa had told her she would be in town for a while. The night she asked Kyle to dance but never got the chance. She turned toward the Wi-Fi enabled jukebox and saw a couple walk hand in hand to the middle of the bar where there was a small dance floor.

“Hey, Valenti,” she said, watching the couple wistfully.

“What’s up?”

“Wanna dance?” She glanced back at him and giggled at the surprise she found on his face. He opened his mouth before quickly closing it again. Instead of waiting for his answer, Isobel hopped up, smoothing her top and offered her hand. “No pressure,” she assured him.

He finally seemed to recover and shook his head. He laughed and stood with her, taking her hand gently and pulling her to the middle of the bar. She draped her arms over his shoulders as he seemed to hesitate about where he should put his hands. They landed firmly on her hips, almost keeping her at a distance.

She smiled and pulled him closer, forcing him to wrap his arms around her waist. His fingers brushed over the skin of her back and she mentally cursed at the crop-top style. A shiver ran up her spine and she leaned forward to hug him, hiding the blush she was sure was on her face. She felt his fingers twitch on her back and he held her tighter. Isobel couldn’t help but smile.

They swayed off beat and not at all in time with the song. Isobel could smell his cologne and she wanted nothing more than to smell it on her sheets in the mor—

No! We’re just dancing. We’re just friends. I’m simply helping him relax…

“You smell like rain too,” Kyle mumbled, breath tickling her neck. Rain. What Alex said he smelled on Michael. What Liz said she smelled on Max. Maybe it meant nothing.

Maybe it meant everything.

“You’re the first person to tell me that,” she said, turning her head to speak next to his ear. She felt him jump and tried to contain her laughter. She pulled back so she could look at him again. He swallowed and she was mesmerized by the way his throat moved and how badly she wanted to press her lips to the spot.

“Well it’s um… pretty obvious… this close.” Isobel tugged her lip between her teeth and pressed her forehead to his. His arms tightened around her waist as his breath danced over her lips. Not a single other person had ever told her what she smelled like. Not ever her long term partners. She couldn’t help but think that maybe this was a sign. The rain smell signaling a deeper connection.

She was pulled out of her trance by the song switching back to modern country. They practically jumped apart as Kyle cleared his throat. He let her lead the way back to the bar. They didn’t hang around much longer. The air had shifted between them. Isobel’s eyes tracked every movement of Kyle’s fingers. She noticed the way his leg bounced on the stool. The way he would glance at her before taking a sip of his drink to try and hide it.

The car ride wasn’t much better. The radio played softly as he drove her back to the hospital where she had left her car. The flickering street lights illuminated Kyle in short fragments. Every single time they [passed under a new light it was like seeing him again for the first time.

He pulled up next to her car in the almost empty lot. She tapped her fingers on her leg, waiting to see if he would say something. Really anything would be better than stewing in her nerves.

“Thank you for the drink. And food.” She turned to face him and smiled.

“No problem, Valenti.” Isobel stepped out of the car and pushed the door closed. She heard Kyle’s door shut just after and he met her behind the two cars. Isobel chuckled and nudged his shoulder with hers as she passed. “Always knew you were a gentleman. Walking delicate little me to my car that’s a total of two feet away.”

“Those are definitely not the words I would use to describe you Isobel Evans. You are more than capable of taking care of yourself. Though sometimes it might be nice to hand off that responsibility to someone else, don’t you think?”

She froze in her movements, staring at her car door. She could just see her reflection, as well as Kyle’s right behind her. He heart raced in her chest. He thought she was strong. He didn’t think she needed any help. But he offered it anyway.

Isobel straightened her shoulders and turned to face him again. That warmth in his eyes had returned and he had the sweetest smile on his face. It was all directed at her.

“Can I ask you something, Kyle?” He nodded as his eyebrows drew together. She took a deep breath as she stepped closer to him. “Can I kiss you?”

His face turned from confusion to shock. She waited patiently for the verbal rejection like he had given her at Planet 7 all that time ago. But it never came. They just watched each other for a moment.

Then Kyle was stepping closer to her, his hands grabbing her waist and pulling her against him. He leaned up and pressed his mouth to hers. Closed lips and soft. It lingered until Isobel wrapped her arms around his neck.

Their lips hovered close as Isobel noticed the way they swayed. There was no music, just the buzzing of the street light nearby. She closed the distance between them again and her heart soared at the sigh that escaped from Kyle’s lips. She didn’t try to deepen it more, though she wanted to. Taking this slow felt right. At least for tonight.

Kyle’s thumb rubbed over her skin as they parted. She couldn’t help but giggle as she traced a mindless pattern over the muscles on his back.

“As strong and beautiful and independent as you are. Will you let me take you out?” Isobel laughed and let her head slip down to her arms around his shoulders. She hugged him quickly then stepped away, fluttering her eyes.

“I would love it.”