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Under My Roof

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"Dad! Dad no! Dad please."

Jesse Manes stared at the drink in his hand. The cries of his youngest son echoed in his head. But he had had to do it. It was what was best for Alex. Everything he did was to help his son, was to keep him safe. But what could Jesse do when his son was reaching an age to make decisions for himself? He was running out of time to protect his son, and his only option to keep him safe from one danger would mean putting him in a different kind of danger.

Alex had always been different than his brothers. Where they were loud and fussy as babies, he was quiet. Jesse would find him sitting in his crib just looking around, as if he didn't want to disturb anyone.
The differences between the boys continued well into childhood. The oldest were into team sports like football and baseball. Alex seemed to want to avoid those sports for more independent activities like skateboarding. He was also the only child that Jesse wasn't called into the principal's office for.
It was around the age of ten or so that Jesse began to have his suspicions about his youngest boy and another more drastic way that he differed from his brothers.
He hadn't said anything. Not at first. After all Alex hadn't quite figured it out himself yet, Jesse knew by the looks of confusion on his face, especially when it came to his friend Kyle Valenti.
Then when his son was twelve there was an attack. Not in Roswell, but another town nearby. The 21 year old man had been tortured and killed. An openly gay man had been tortured and killed.
A tendril of fear settled in Jesse Mane's stomach as he stared at the picture in the paper. For a second he wasn't seeing the 21 year old, no he was seeing his twelve year old. That was the night he decided he needed to make sure his son could defend himself.
The first few years Alex went along with his father's demands. But then he turned fifteen and it went to hell. Alex would scream at his father, who screamed back. And yes he would discipline his son the way his father disciplined him. This was also the year that Alex's best friend figured out the truth and became his worst enemy.
A part of Jesse wanted to step in and deal with Kyle, but another part told him that Alex would be dealing with people like Kyle his whole life. Jesse at least knew with Kyle it would stay name calling and maybe a few bruises. Valenti would make sure of that, would keep his son in line. At heart Kyle was no killer.

Jesse Manes let the bartender know he wanted another drink as his mind wandered back to the scene from a few hours before. Let the memory of the hammer in his hand take him back. The good part of that was that at least it wasn't Max or Isobel Evans that he had found, because they had parents. Michael had nobody.

He shuddered. He knew that eventually Alex would figure out that he was gay. Knew that he would find a boy he liked. He had hoped that a small town like Roswell would limit his options. And yes, a small part of him had hoped that Alex would have pushed that side down and find a girl to be with, he would admit that.
Jesse could feel the bile rise up in his throat. Michael Guerin. Of all the people in the town, why him?
Jesse could only wonder if there was some force somewhere laughing at him. This was one of the two boys who had been found wandering on a road. Who couldn't tell anyone anything about where he had been before.
Valenti had several theories about that, but he hesitated when Jesse had told him his theory that with every passing day he knew in his gut to be true. Valenti had shook his head and laughed.
"You're seeing E. T. everywhere Manes," he had told him. But that didn't stop Jesse from watching the trio. He could never get any evidence to prove what he knew to be true. But still he watched and waited. It was only a matter of time. Someone would show up with a handprint and he would use that handprint to link it to one of them.
But then he had walked in to the shed. And it was Michael Guerin who was standing there shirtless with his son. He wasn't sure what the boy would do, but he had to get to Alex, had to get his son out of the shed. And then the boy, the alien had come after him, and well Jesse was going to make sure he would never see a handprint on his son's face. He smashed the offending appendage even as his son screamed and cried and begged him not to.
But Jesse knew he couldn't tell Alex. Could never tell Alex the truth. Let his son go on thinking he was homophobic when really it was just he was scared for his baby boy. Scared of the people and aliens who would attack him. Scared of Michael Guerin.
Jesse set his empty glass down. He threw down some money and made his way out of the bar. He knew he had to get Alex to enlist. It would get him out of Roswell and away from Michael Guerin. At least in war he'd have a chance. Against the alien Michael, Jesse knew Alex didn't have any chance.
The next 24 hours would prove that.