Disclaimer: Don't own the characters. Etc. Etc.
Summary: Michael has a secret...
Category: After Hours
|"I'm doing the right thing...right?"
Max looks tired today. Staying away from Liz is hard for him, and thus, it's hard for all of them, because Max likes to talk, likes to share how he feels. Michael has never understood that, and certainly doesn't understand it now.
But he nods in Max's direction. "Hell, yes. It's easier this way." No attachments. Isn't that what he's always said? He sometimes wonder why Max chose to listen now, of all times, but doesn't question it too closely.
Isabel is relieved too. Oh sure, she liked Liz-but when push comes to shove, she wants off this rock too. He's glad about that. The first chance they get, he wants to leave.
The clock on the wall of Max's room says 10:15 PM. He should go soon. He's starting to get fidgety.
Isabel glances at him sharply. "Michael, what is your problem? You're even twitchier than usual, if such a thing is possible."
He laughs, to cover his sudden unease. "I'm just worried about lover boy over here, that's all. He's finally come to his senses-I'm just wondering what's up." That's good. Put everything off onto Max. His hands are sweating a little. It's worse than he thought, this need. But he can stave it off for a little while. Max is doing the right thing, and Michael can tell from the look on his face that he just needs a little more reassurance. He can do that. Ten minutes more, tops. Then he can go. His foot is tapping against the carpet, impatiently-a staccato sound-and he stops it when he realizes it. No tells, no tics. Addicts can hide their vices.
Twenty minutes. It's after 10:30. He wants to go, now. But Max has worked himself into a lather over Liz. "But I love her!"
He wants to scream. Love has nothing to do with it. If only Max could see that. But he can't, or he won't; Michael can't decide which.
Or maybe he's right. Maybe you're the one who's lying.
Oh no. He's not going down that road. He's different, he's not like Max. He knows what he's doing.
He glances towards the window. He could stand up, push Isabel out of the way and be outside in less than thirty seconds. It wouldn't take him long to get there, fifteen minutes tops. The thought of what waits for him makes his heart, the human heart that sits in his alien body, beat a little faster. He resents it even as he enjoys the sensations it brings.
He turns to look at Isabel and Max. "What?" he mutters. "Are we still talking about Liz?"
Isabel makes an exasperated noise and turns away from him. "God, Michael. You might as well go. You're no help at all."
Good. So he can go. He stands up and walks towards the window. He can smell the night that's right outside, waiting for him. Not long now, just a couple more seconds and then he's gone....
Max's voice stops him as he gets to the window, places his hand on the sill. "Where have you been going every night, anyway? You're not wandering around in the desert alone are you?"
It would be better if he was. He turns to face Max, willing himself not to twitch, willing himself not to fling himself out the window and just run towards what he wants. "No." He laughs. "I'm not doing much of anything."
With that, he goes out the window. His head turns in the direction he wants to go automatically. His body is ready-hell, it's been ready all night-it's been in a perpetual state of "ready" since that first time.
Isabel's voice stops him as he gets ready to leave her and Max behind. "Michael?"
He turns back again, impatience in his stance, his voice. He doesn't care at this point. Another glance at the clock has shown him it's 10:45. By the time he gets there, he'll only have six hours, at the most. He likes having more time. "What?"
"You haven't seen Liz recently, have you? You haven't been going to the Diner or anything-right? We all agreed-no more close contact with humans."
"No" he says. "I'm not like Max. I'm not some sort of pining Romeo. I don't need anyone...especially anyone human."
Her window is open. She leaves it open for him now, and he climbs inside easily. He sits down on the floor and watches her sleep. He has promised not to touch her a hundred, no, a thousand times. During the day, as he watches her, he swears that he won't touch, even as he thinks of the curve of her back and the shape of her hips. At night, when he sits with Max and Isabel, making plans, talking of the future that awaits them elsewhere-away- he pictures himself with her in every way he can think of, and then tells himself that he won't do any of it, that he doesn't want any of it. That it will all pass, that it's much better like this. Is guilt his friend after all?
He isn't used to feeling anything much, really. The first shock of it all, the emotions-the surprise at how easy it all was, the anger at her for giving in so quickly, the fear of being pulled into something he doesn't understand-the lust for her, which startledhim in its intensity-was that what sucked him in? Or was it simply her, the way she turned to him and asked him afterward how he felt? “Do you regret it?”
He doesn't know-he's not usually given to self-reflection of this sort. All he knows is that he craves her. When he looks at her and catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror he thinks of many things, but mostly of her. Maria. He thinks of her so often that he can't remember a recent moment where he didn't. Is she happy? Is she sad? Is she tired? Does he think of himself anymore?
His hands shakeat that thought of all of this and he thinks again of Max, standing outside Crashdown, beaten and worn. "You're right. It won't work, it will never work. Liz and I...we're too different." Finally, he'd thought. Max has come out of his stupor. No more mewling over a human. No more worthless attachments.
Now he wonders if the same is true for him. Is he in a stupor? He doesn't find it pleasant-Max did, but then he always had a penchant for melodrama, for angst, and Michael has always wanted to survive.To go home. That's why he feels so adrift now. The notion of caring for another thing, or worse, another person-it's foreign to him. But he feels the pull of it always now, he is compelled by a need to make sure that she is safe, that he won't hurt her more than he has to. He tells himself that the lies he's told everyone are for her own good, so no one will get hurt. He hears himself make that justification and becomes frightened. When has he had to lie to himself in order to live? Has it always been this way and he never noticed until now?
It's for her, because of her. She confuses him, she bewilders him-and he can't stop thinking about her. Wanting her. He looks at her watch, picks it up. Thirty seconds without a thought. Surely he can do that. Didn't he once have some sort of power over himself?
Ten seconds. At fifteen seconds, he notices the way her knee is folded. Her leg is curved against the sheet, the top of her knee faces him. It is white and gleaming-the streetlights are on in Roswell and one shines in softly, through part of the window. A corner of her skin is tinged a pinkish color from the light. She has no scars. He wonders if she ever fell off a bike, or even ever fell down and hurt herself. How can she have no scars? How can her knee, a simple piece of bone surrounded by tissue, covered by skin-how can that call to him? It's just tissue and sinew, ligaments and joints. He could take it apart and put it together again, maybe. The fact that he wants to touch her knee, just hold it in his hands-it alarms him. Just to have it in his possession, if only for a moment.
The second hand shows him that fifty seconds has passed. Not only has he failed-he spent more than thirty seconds thinking about her knee. He thinks again of Max, who is so hopeless and lost now. He can't get over Liz, and Michael doesn't think he will. Max has narrowed down to nothing, it's like looking at the negative of a photograph. Everything is shaded wrong, the only thing that stood out are Max's eyes, and eventhey have been turned into tiny pools of something dark. When he looks at you-when he tries to focus on you-you know he doesn't see you at all. It's as if he's already died, and looking at you is something he does from someplace far away.
Maria has kicked the covers off. He can see her legs, her hips, the curve of her waist. She sleeps in the same t-shirt she had on that first night he came to her; a connection, a memory of what they've done. How stupid. To award a thing with the nuances of a person,of an act. But he does the same damn thing-she likes baby shampoo, she told him that once when he asked about what makes her hair smell the way it does. And later that week, he'd gone to the store and bought a bottle of it. It sits in his house, in the shower, untouched. Sometimes he stands there, in the shower, staring at the bottle till he thinks he'll scream with the remembrance of her hair, the scent of it-grease and smoke and all the filth of where they live-the stench of the Earth-covered with the musk of manufactured innocence.
She is the same way. Knowing and not knowing in a way that irritates and arouses him. She doesn't try to change him, and the thought-the she might try-is both frightening and appealing. No one has ever noticed him long enough to know him. To know him well enough to change him, to want to change him.
He senses that he frightens her, and since she frightens him, they are stuck in a sort of stalemate. She only asks the vaguest of questions-what will you do, what will we do, are we safe? He can lie to answer these questions, he's familiar with them, he understands them. He can soothe her, and himself in the process as well, which makes it even better.
He reviews what he has to do in the morning. Pretend to go to school, go off to do some research. Isabel found something a few weeks ago. Maybe it's a clue on how to get home. Thoughts of this, of getting back to where he is from, they used to soothe him. But the only thing that he finds any comfort in now is thoughts of her. And even they frighten him because he wants them so much, wants her so much. He feels restless and caged and he decides that not thinking about her is worse than facing what he wants to do. So he moves over and sits on the bed.
He sits there on the bed and watches her. How she manages to sleep at night, every night-it amazes him. Sleep has never come easy for him. As a child, he would lie awake at night, trying to remember something, anything, about who he was and where he is from. Sometimes he thinks that it isn't so much her, her body, or what they do together that has him so lost-sometimes he thinks it's what happens afterwards, how he is able to sleep, really sleep-at times for hours. It's as addicting as the rest of it.
She has her legs curled up now, almost to her chest. It's a pose that speak of self-containment. Does she store things inside? He can't tell. The constant thinking about things like this worries him. Why should he care what she thinks? Isn't she a burdenthat he didn'twant? Why spend all this time thinking about her? Why agonize over her? He'd viewed Max's feelings for Liz with amusement-imagine getting so worked up over a fuck-and here he is now, doing the same damn thing. Enough thinking, he tells himself. Just stopit. He could...what? There's only one thing he wants now.
She looks at him sleepily when he pushes her legs down, one eye opening to regard him hazily. It certainly isn't attractive -- her hair is matted and she looks befuddled. But he feels a surge of lust anyway, for the sleepy scent of her, the warmth of her skin, the complicated inner self she holds that he owns none of. Is that why he can't get enough of her?
She must guess what he wants to do, the one eye opens more and the other one joins it, looking at him with a mixture of wariness and knowledge. Knowledge that he has put there. She is familiar with him in so many ways now. He rubs her foot with one hand, feeling the arch of it against his palm. Her feet are small, he can wrap a hand around her ankle. He does, feeling the protrusion of the bone against his palm. She shifts, rolling over to face him fully.
He runs his hand up higher, curving it over the knee that captured his gaze before. Her mouth is open a little, he can see the gleam of her teeth. She slides her hands up, resting them on his arms. Her feels the pass of her fingers over his shoulders, watches as her eyes slide shut again.
His hand moves upward, over the curve of her outer thigh and hip. He bends down and kisses her then, he's prepared for it.
He'd never thought much of kissing until her, but he thinks of it now. Often. Sometimes she opens her mouth for him right away, other times she drives him crazy with chaste kisses which seem obscene when he things about what their hands or other body parts are doing. Tonight she bites his bottom lip and pulls it into her mouth. He rubs his hand over her back, feeling the ridges of her spine. She doesn't eat much now, and he worries about that too.
He wants to change this need for her into something that he can control. He's tried, a thousand times, in a thousand ways. He's tried to think of other women, they are plenty out there after all, but their faces always turn back into hers, he's always pulled back by the hesitant touch of her hand on his side or his face, or...
She's aggressive tonight, sitting up and wrapping her arms around him. Her legs slide around his hips and she presses herself against him. The feel of her pressed against him, mostly naked and still sleepy, the languorousness of her body. It's almost enough to make him come. That's a rush too, the excitement to have her. It hasn't faded yet, he fears it won't.
She pulls his shirt over his head, bending to place a kiss on his chest. He stands up to take off his pants, watching as she pulls her shirt off. He comes back to her, kisses her, tells himself that he will go slow this time, that maybe if it's slow he'll have enough. But she whispers into his ear, a short plea of "hurry" that makes him forget.
When he's inside her, he looks down at her face, which is flushed. Her eyes are open, he can see nothing in them at all. What does he want to see? Her hips move up, against his, and he pushes them down with his hands, slides out of her and looks down at her. What is it about this, about her?
He moves onehand down off her hip, slides one finger, then two, inside her. She kisses him then, her tongue pushing inside his mouth. Is this it? He pulls away from her, slides his fingers out of her. She makes a noise, something that makes the hairs on his arms rise, and she pulls him down to her, grasping him in one hand and urging him inside her. He looks back at her again, sees that those eyes that confuse him are now unfocused. The look in them matches how he feels about her, lost and more than a little scared and he realizes that he's inside her, pushing into her over and over again and that they are both gasping.
She drapes her legs over his back, he slides his hands under her, lifting her up. He feels her contract around him, he feels the shock of it-it surprises him every time-and then he forgets about everything for a second, just forgets. Is this it? The way being with her wipes out everything for a moment? Does she feel this way too?
He feels himself falling asleep right away. He is still inside her, and he starts to pull out, he doesn't want to crush her. Why?
But she presses her nails into his back, just briefly. A warning. So he stops and rolls to his side, still inside her, still facing her. Shouldn't he have had his fill? Hasn't he had his fix? But it isn't enough, he doesn't have enough.
He thinks about this as he falls asleep, but the thought doesn't alarm him now. He's still drifting in the balm of surrender and inthat moment of clarity that comes right before sleep takes you, he realizes what it is, finally, hazily--that she offers him some sort of completion, a sense of being whole, that he didn't know he wanted until now--and then sleep comes. When he wakes up,he'll have forgotten everything but the knowledge that he has to have her again.
|Email Author | Back to FanFic Page
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours