|"This Ordinary Life"
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Bad luck and circumstance lead two people to a place they never expected to be.
Authors Note: Spoilers: Through rumors and spoilers for episodes up to Heat Wave. Thanks: I have a lot of people to thank. First, thanks to Brandi, whose suggestion finally got me on the right track to finish this story instead of starting over for the 4000th time! Also thanks to Melissa for reading it for me and giving me feedback on all my wacky ideas and for letting me spoil the story for her in the name of helping out. And thanks as always to the RAC members for all the fanfic, conversation, and encouragement that I couldn’t live without. Thanks! You guys are all the greatest!
She walked into the kitchen to find him sitting at the table drinking coffee. It was Sunday morning and the one day he didn’t have to work that week so she had assumed he’d try to sleep in. He hadn’t though; it was just barely seven in the morning.
“Hey, did you eat?” she asked as she walked past him and over to the coffeepot to pour herself a cup. She still wore the flannel nightshirt she’d slept in and a pair of bright red slipper socks.
“Yeah, I had some toast,” he replied.
“Toast isn’t breakfast,” she replied. “You want me to make you some eggs? I got some more hot sauce at the store yesterday,” she offered.
“I’m fine,” he replied. She looked over at him and nodded. He was sitting there in his sweatpants, a worn-through T-shirt and socks, reading the morning paper. She poured a fair amount of half-and-half into her coffee cup, and then leaned back against the counter to sip at the hot liquid as he returned to his reading.
He looked different now than he had in their other life. So much about him had changed. His physique for one thing. Working at the factory was pretty strenuous and he’d gained a lot of muscle since starting his job there. He also looked older now, more tormented than he had even during his brooding high school days. But now, the shadows that covered his eyes were not from his singular focus on finding a way home. She knew that the thought of returning to where he had come from was now all but lost to him. Instead, the darkness that followed him was more about guilt than anything else. He tortured himself daily for the fact that he felt he’d ruined her perfect life. The truth was, though, she didn’t blame him at all.
If he’d left her back in that desert town and gone on his own, she’d have surely been a hundred times more miserable than she was here with him. At least now she knew he was okay; she knew he was making it from one day to the next. While life here in this low rent apartment in Camden, West Virginia was far from easy, a life of not knowing would have been far worse.
She sighed as she turned to refill her empty cup. She seemed to drink a lot more coffee these days. Caffeine helped to calm her in an odd way.
“So,” she said as she walked over and sat across from him at the table. He looked up quizzically at the woman whom he called his wife. “What are you going to do today?”
He shrugged. “Not really sure. What are you going to do?” he asked.
She hadn’t thought about it. Today was the first day off for both of them in weeks and neither could get very motivated to even leave the apartment, much less make plans for the day. “I’m really not sure,” she admitted.
“Well, we could, um . . . we could go do . . . something,” he stammered.
He seemed so nervous, like a high school freshman asking a girl to the big homecoming dance. She smiled. “I’d like that.”
“What about a movie, can we afford it?” he asked.
She thought for a moment, then replied, “Well, I don’t know. Probably, but what is there to see?”
“You know, I don’t even have a clue,” he said with a chuckle. “Well, we could just go see the first thing playing,” he suggested.
“Sure,” she nodded, “Sounds like fun.” Fun. There was a concept she hadn’t considered in a long while. The thought of going on a date seemed positively foreign. She hated that; she hated that their youth was being spent this way when they should just be out living; out making the most of life while they still had the chance.
“We’re going to have fun today,” he told her and for a second she thought that maybe he’d read her mind. That was impossible, though. He no longer had the ability to do anything supernatural or otherworldly. He was just like everyone else now. Just like her. Danny Martin; ordinary guy.
He’d never be ordinary to her.
* * * * *
“Michael, how’re you doing over there?” Maria asked as she tried to keep her eyes on the road and on him at the same time.
“Okay . . . my head just hurts pretty bad,” he replied. She didn’t like the sound of his voice. It was weak, like he could pass out at any minute. She knew she needed to get him as far away from Roswell as possible, but she also knew he needed help. She just wondered where she’d find that.
“I have to get word to Max and Iz . . . I’m gonna need them to help,” he said.
“How are we going to do that, Michael?” she asked. Calling Max and Isabel right now would be just as effective as sending the police a color-coded map to their hideout. They’d be tracked down in no time flat.
“It’s late, they’ll be asleep,” he replied.
She knew what he was thinking and she knew instantly that it was a bad idea. “No, wait, Michael. You can’t go to sleep, not with a head wound like that. It’s . . . it’s very dangerous,” she told him.
“Maria,” he answered, “I have to. They’re the only ones who can heal me.”
She looked over at her passenger again and let her eyes linger on him a moment before she finally nodded in reply. He was right, there was really no place else they could turn. Max or Isabel would have to help him . . . or he’d have little hope of surviving.
Maria watched helplessly from the driver’s seat as Michael’s eyes slid shut. She just hoped she’d get the chance to see them open back up very soon.
* * * * *
“Roman Holiday is showing in about half an hour,” he said as he walked back over from the box office to where she waited on the sidewalk outside the theater. They couldn’t decide on a new movie because they hadn’t heard anything about any of them, so instead they were at the town’s other theater. It was the dollar theater basically, but they also had a classic movie showing every night and tonight it was Roman Holiday.
“My mom made me watch that movie when I was a kid,” she told him.
“Well, we don’t have to see it if you don’t want,” he said.
“No, it’s okay. I actually liked it a lot. It’s very romantic.” At that word their eyes met and for a split second she wondered if that was what she thought it was shining in his eyes. Could it be . . . but no. That was silly. Things weren’t like that with them and one night at a sappy old movie was not going to change anything.
“I’ll go get the tickets,” he replied and turned to hurry quickly back to the box office. She watched him go, all the while wishing that somehow things could be different for them.
He returned a few moments later with the movie tickets and the two walked into the theater together. She went to find them some seats while he headed to the concession stand for popcorn. The lights were just going down when he entered the theater and found the seat next to hers.
“I got you some Snowcaps,” he said as he handed her the box of candy.
“Thanks,” she said as she took the box.
The theater was fairly empty, only a few other people were there and they were all sitting well away from them. “So,” he whispered as the previews started, “What’s this movie about anyway?”
“Well, there’s this woman, a princess. That’s Audrey Hepburn. Anyway, her life seems perfect. She’s loved by her people and she’s beautiful and rich and respected . . . but something is missing. She’s bored in her life. She needs something exciting to happen, something to make her feel like she’s really living.
“So, she runs away. She leaves the life she’s always known for a chance at the adventure she craves. And that’s when she meets the newspaper writer played by Gregory Peck. He’s just your average joe, no one special. But there’s something about him.
“Anyway, he figures out who she is but doesn’t let on. And she doesn’t tell him. They end up spending a few days together in Rome and eventually fall in love.” She smiled as she remembered the movie that she had seen so long ago. He was watching her, enjoying her description much more than he’d ever enjoy the real thing. Then, she sighed.
“What?” he asked.
“Well, the ending is pretty sad,” she whispered back.
“What do you mean? What happens?”
“I can’t tell you, then you won’t want to watch it,” she replied.
“Trust me, I’m not going anywhere,” he told her and the look in his eyes made her stomach do flip-flops. Was she imagining things, or was that familiar spark in his eyes what she thought it was? For the second time that evening she felt an electricity between them that she had long forgotten. It felt almost like she remembered . . . almost like it used to feel between them.
She shook her head slightly as she moved her eyes from his. This was not going to happen. They were not in a place in their lives to let this happen. Besides, she still couldn’t let herself take that risk with him. Not again; not after all that had happened before.
“So?” she heard him say.
“So what?” she asked in confusion.
“The ending, are you going to ell me or do I have to wait?”
“Oh, that . . . yeah if you really want to know. Um, well she has to go back. I mean, she loves him and she wants to stay, but they both know that she can’t. They come from different worlds and--” She stopped when she heard herself say that. A sudden realization washed over her as she thought of how similar the characters on that screen were to herself and this man beside her. They belonged to each other . . . but they couldn’t be together. It was at once wonderful and heart wrenching.
“Let’s just watch the movie,” she whispered as she turned back to the screen. He nodded. And she was suddenly glad for the silence.
* * * * *
‘Please wake up, please wake up, please wake up,’ Maria chanted to herself as she continued to steal glances at the sleeping alien to her right. What was he doing anyway? Was he breathing? Should she pull over and try to wake him up? ‘God, what if he dies in my car. What will I tell my mother!’ she thought. Then, ‘God, what if he dies? What will I do.’ She was overcome with sadness at the thought of losing Michael forever. Yes, a part of her still hated him for rejecting her. And yes, he could be the world’s biggest pain in the ass sometimes . . . but she loved him. She hated herself for it, but he would never leave her heart. She supposed she had known all along that, once he found his way in, he’d never leave.
“Michael, please be okay,” she said softly as she reached over to him. She took his hand in hers. It felt limp and heavy at his side and tears leapt to her eyes. She needed him to be okay. She needed him to pull through. Not only did she hate the thought of losing someone who meant so much to her, she also couldn’t live with the fact that he might die before she forgave him. She needed to forgive him. It was the only way she could ever really be happy again.
* * * * *
She sat in the living room and stared blankly at the television screen. It was turned off and she was all alone. He was taking a shower; she could hear the water running through the paper-thin wall that divided the living room and bathroom.
She needed to forgive him.
The thought kept running through her mind as if it were stuck on some monotonous, continuing loop of filmed that played over and over and over until finally it drove her completely insane.
She wondered what made her think of this. Probably the movie, she thought. It was the first time they’d been out anywhere together since moving to this town six months earlier and, though she was accustomed to sleeping beside him in bed, she was not used to sitting beside him in a dark movie theater and wondering just what it was she kept seeing in his eyes when he looked at her.
She knew it was hopeless now. She’d never be able to detach herself from the situation like she had up till now. There would be no way to sleep beside him without feeling the faint heat that radiated from him against her back. She’d hear his low, even breathing all night and it would become an endless call that beckoned her into his arms. When the sun rose and peeked through the thin window sheers, it would be all she could do not to watch as he was bathed in early morning light. She knew what it was to watch him sleep; she knew that she couldn’t resist her urge to love him at those times.
Shaking her head violently, she wondered why this had to be so hard. She could change her name and her hair and her life . . . but she couldn’t get over something said nearly two year before. Something that she knew now that he didn’t really mean.
And she had forgiven him, at least partially. She was here with him. That was definitely a first step. And she was the one who had been there during that whole awful month after they’d left Roswell. That month where she thought she was losing him for good; a month that never seemed to want to end.
* * * * *
He woke up with a start and she gasped as she saw him moving out of the corner of her eye. Her hand was still holding his and she clasped it tightly and smiled. “Oh Michael, thank God,” she said happily.
“I talked to them,” he said in a hoarse voice.
“Max and Isabel? What happened?” she asked. She was still driving, getting further and further from Roswell by the second.
“They . . . they tried to heal me in the dream. They tried to help, but . . .” he trailed off and her heart was struck with an overwhelming fear.
“But what?” she dared to ask.
“I dunno,” he replied. “I’m just . . . I’m not sure it worked.”
“Because . . . something about the way that Isabel was looking at me. Something wasn’t right. Max said he thought I’d be okay, that he got the bullet and stopped the bleeding, but . . . something in Izzy’s face . . .”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” she told him.
“I hope so, Maria,” he said weakly, “I really do.” When she met his eyes this time she saw his fear more clearly than ever before. She made a vow at that moment that she would protect him from whatever came next . . . and she’d never let him go.
* * * * *
He stepped out of the shower and onto the little white rug that covered the floor. Grabbing his towel that sat atop the sink, he quickly dried his body then ran the towel roughly through his hair. It was lighter now, but still stood up everywhere. No matter what he did it never seemed to want to stay down.
He dropped the towel onto the closed lid of the toilet and moved to the sink to brush his teeth. He knelt to spit into the sink and, upon rising again, caught a glimpse of himself in the foggy mirror. For all the months that they’d been gone, he had not been able to really look closely in the mirror. He was still afraid that he’d see something he didn’t want to see; something that reminded him of his other life and of all he’d lost on that one stupid night.
But now, he had to look. He had to see. He’d been settled into this fake life that they were living together and it had been going very smoothly for the past few months. But then, last night, he’d pulled her into his arms and all of that had been lost. All the times he’d told himself that they couldn’t get too close, that they needed to keep things as they were for both of their sakes . . . all that suddenly evaporated into her scent, her heat, her body. All he wanted was to crawl inside her and never come out again. He loved her, and he could finally deny it no more.
There had been a lot of times since they’d left when he had wondered why he had gone to her. Sure, she’d been closer than anyone else and the easiest house to get to, but there was a time in his life when he’d have walked barefoot for a hundred miles over the desert sand rather than involve one of her kind in his life. They were the enemy. They were the ones who were out to get him.
How had he let himself love one of them?
He sighed as he turned from the mirror. It was no use. Telling himself that his feelings were wrong was never going to change things. He’d never be able to stop feeling this way. She was a part of him now and he couldn’t change that fact, even if it would be the best thing he could do for her.
Stepping out of the bathroom, he went into the bedroom to get dressed. He’d left his towel so he walked into the room naked and headed straight for the dresser. He pulled out a clean pair of boxer shorts and quickly stooped to put them on. Then, he walked to the closet to find a T-shirt. As he opened the door, he was met with another mirror.
The mirror on the inside of the closet door was full-length and he could see his entire body in its reflection. He could get a good look at the man he’d become. He wasn’t happy with what he saw.
Though his physique had filled out quite a bit since they’d left, he still looked unhealthy to his own eyes. It was something in the way his eyes looked. They were dull and sunken back, like he’d completely given up on happiness. Maybe he had.
What was there to be happy for anyway? He’d lost all that he’d ever held precious. First his two best friends . . . he still missed them every day. They had been his only family for so long that it was strange to live without them now. Then, there was her. He’d lost her long before they left Roswell. He’d lost her before he ever really had her . . . but she had him. She would always have him.
He sighed again. He seemed to do that a lot these days; sigh with resignation. It was a gesture of surrender, a sign that he had given up on things ever being they way they once were. Just one more way that his heart had of telling him that he could never go back.
He took one more look in the mirror and his thoughts were again on something he’d lost. This was something he couldn’t see, though; something that had never been quite able to focus on even when he had it. It was the one thing that connected him to the family he’d never known. The one thing that had kept him going all of those years . . . his link to the people that really and truly loved him. And now it was gone. He’d lost something precious to him, something that could never be replaced.
Again he knew that his life would never be the same.
* * * * *
“No! No, no, no, no!” he screamed. She rushed over to the bed and sat beside him, shaking him gently.
“Michael, wake up,” she said softly. “It’s just a dream, it’s only a dream.”
His eyes flew opened and looked wildly about the motel room. They’d been there for a week and it seemed like all he ever did was sleep. Sleep and scream. He seemed to be plagued with nightmares and he’d wake several times a night in a cold sweat. All she knew to do at those times was to hold him and to tell him that things would be alright. They would just have to be.
“You’re okay, Michael, you’re okay,” she assured him as she held him close. He put his arms around her tightly and held on for dear life. She could feel his fear after these dreams and it completely terrified her. What was he dreaming about? She always wondered, but she could never get him to say.
“They took it,” he said softly and she wasn’t sure she’d really heard him speak at all.
“What?” she replied as she pulled back a little to look at the frightened man in her arms.
“They took it,” he repeated.
“Who took what?” she asked in confusion.
His response was to place his hands on her face and look deeply into her eyes. He was so close, his face mere centimeters from her own, and she wondered if he was getting ready to kiss her. Then she wondered, if he did, would she even try to stop him?
But a kiss was not what he had in mind. His hands dropped from her face and he looked down sadly at the worn through comforter on the bed of the cheap motel they were holed up in.
“I can’t see inside,” he said dejectedly.
“You can’t . . .” she started, but then she realized what he was saying and finally his words fell into place. “Are you saying that you’ve lost your powers?” she asked.
He looked up and stared at her sadly for a moment, then gave a slight nod and turned his eyes down again.
“Oh Michael,” she said softly as she placed a hand on his shoulder in comfort. “But who? How?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess the gunshot . . . and then . . . Oh, I don’t know what happened. I just know that I keep having this dream and . . . and I know that everything I have of myself is taken from me. And I can’t see who took it . . . but I think that it’s all my fault. Actually, I know that it is. All of this is my fault.”
“No it isn’t,” she said determinedly.
“I brought this on myself,” he said morosely. “Now it’s all gone. It’s all gone forever . . .” She heard his voice catch and felt his sharp intake of breath as he tried to hold his emotions in. “That’s what she saw,” he said. “Isabel . . . that’s what she saw. That I was no longer one of them, that I was a stranger . . . just an ordinary person like everyone else.”
She hated the way his voice sounded. She could hear how lost and alone he felt as his words poured forth. It broke her heart to see him in such a broken state.
“C’mere,” she said softly and took him into her arms. He didn’t fight her off, just let her hold him. “I’m sorry,” she said as she gently stroked his back. “I know this is hard for you and I’m so, so sorry.” Her words seemed to open the floodgates in his soul and suddenly he was sobbing. She felt him shudder against her and felt his tears soaking through her shirt. His arms were wrapped around her waist in a vise-like grip and she could feel him shaking with his continued sobs.
“It’s okay . . . shh, it’s okay,” she uttered reassurances, but she wasn’t sure how much they would or could help in this situation. What he was losing she could never replace and what he was feeling she could never understand. All she could do was hold him that night . . . and hope they’d make it through this together.
* * * * *
“Gina . . . Gina, wake up,” she heard him say. She opened her eyes and looked up to see him standing over her. “You feel asleep on the couch,” he offered as way of explanation.
“Oh, ok,” she replied groggily. She’d been dreaming . . . dreaming of him. She’d dreamed of that night in the motel room in Forest City, Arkansas. Once again she had felt his tears and his pain washing over her in waves as his sobs continued into the night. She’s felt so helpless then, like there was nothing she could ever do for him to make his life right.
“I’m sorry,” she heard herself say. She hadn’t meant to say it out loud. He turned back and gave her a questioning look.
“I . . . I . . .” she stammered.
He moved back to the couch and sat beside her. “Are you okay?” he asked in concern. She was acting very strange all of the sudden and it worried him.
“Fine, fine, just . . . I forgive you. I want you to know that. I’m not sure why, but it’s important that you know.” She looked at him and awaited his response.
“Well . . . I don’t deserve it,” he finally said.
“No, don’t say that,” he warned. He was very adamant that they never use those names. They had to be Gina and Danny Martin. They had to live as if Michael Guerin and Maria DeLuca had never existed.
“Danny,” she corrected herself. “I do forgive you,” she said again.
His attempt at a smile tugged at the corners of his eyes. “Thank you,” he said softly.
There was a silence between them as they both wondered what came next. Was this the beginning of something new . . . or were they just finally laying to rest some old demons so that they could get them out of their minds? She finally decided that this was enough for one night.
“I’m going to bed,” she told him.
He nodded. “I think I’ll sleep out here tonight.”
“Are you sure? You don’t have to,” she said.
“No . . . this is best,” he said and she just nodded.
That night as she fell asleep by herself for the first time in ages, she wondered how she could feel so alone and so united with him at the same time.
* * * * *
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