Disclaimer: If they were mine, I would be the happiest
person on earth. But, sadly, they are not mine. I shall have to toil in the mires of life just like everybody else, rejoicing in the good as it comes along.
Summary: Michael is captured, but someone witnesses the kidnapping....from afar.
Authors Note: This story has sorta been evolving in my head for over a month now, and I'm not QUITE sure how it's going to go. But hopefully it will satisfy! Dedication: To bec, whose wonderful tale, "Bird in a Gilded Cage," has had me so tied in knots and doubled over into a pained agony of anticipation, that I just HAD to try my own take on the incarceration motif. Thank you, bec! MUSE-ic: Sarah Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye" CD. Especially "No One Like You."
|"And you know I see right through you
When the world gets in your way.
What's the point in all the screaming?
You're not listening anyway."
-Goo Goo Dolls "Acoustic #3"
He never slept deeply, as a general rule. But they got him anyway.
Michael Guerin's eyes snapped open as the chloroform-soaked cloth was forced over his face, and several pairs of hands took hold of his limbs. Reflex took over immediately as he tried to scream and jerk away from his captors. But the cloth muffled his voice, and no matter how hard he fought, he could not escape the hands that held him. They pinned him to the bed, and he'd never felt so trapped in his life. God, how many were there?
He continued to struggle for a few minutes longer, as his alien immune system fought off the chloroform that was invading his body. But it was too strong, too penetrating, and he found his brain already beginning to wander as it simmered in the sickly smell of the anesthesia. Muscles made lax by his failing conciousness no longer struggled so much as twitched. Slowly, he drifted away into the ether.
The kidnappers must have been wary about his true level of conciousness, because the rag was held over Michael's mouth and nose for a good five minutes after he'd stopped struggling before it was removed. Moving quickly but carefully, the ten masked intruders who surrounded the alien's bed lifted him-- with a fluent grace that comes from practice-- and carried him to the door. They walked almost nonchalantly past Hank, who was passed out at the kitchen table-- as if he were a non-existent problem. As if he could have cared a less that they were stealing his foster son in the dead of night.
Acting like it was the most natural thing in the world, the kidnappers carried their burden to an unmarked van parked on the scraggy grass of the lawn. Nine of the encroachers maneuvered Michael's limp form into the back of the van, while the tenth slipped into the driver's seat. There was the soft THUMP of doors slamming shut, followed by the low thrum of a well-tuned engine turning over. And quietly, as if it held no secrets, the van pulled away from the trailer, leaving little more than damp tire tracks to prove it had ever been there at all.
And in her bedroom half-way across town, Maria Deluca woke up screaming.
Max Evans opened his eyes to darkness, glanced at his clock, and decided he had the busiest window in Roswell.
It was three in the morning. Who on earth would need him at three in the morning? He groaned softly and buried his face in the pillow. As if being up till one o'clock studying for history hadn't been bad enough.... It could be Sheriff Valenti at his window just then, and he wouldn't have cared.
But the tapping on the glass was growing more incessant, and he came to the conclusion that he would have to face the music. "If it's Michael," he thought grimly as he rolled into a sitting position, "I'm going to kill him." Of course, there had been that time Liz had decided to visit him....
That thought alone helped him swing his feet over the edge of the bed to make contact with the cold floor. Rubbing his blurry eyes to try and make out his late-night visitor, Max made his way to the window, opening the latch more from memory and repitition than any awareness of the here and now. The figure that met his sleep-dazed gaze shocked him into wakefulness. "Maria?"
The blonde girl standing across from him looked terrified. "They got him, Max," she blurted.
Max's eyebrows furrowed. "What? Got who, Maria?"
Her answer made his blood run cold.
"Michael, Max," she answered, her eyes wide. "They got Michael, and I saw it happen."
"There's still no answer at his house," Isabelle hissed as Max handed Maria a cup of herbal tea. The petite blonde managed a small smile, but she held the mug in a white-knuckled grip and didn't take a sip.
Max gave his sister a worried look. "Try again," he said.
Isabelle shook her head and hung up the phone. "I've tried ten times," she argued. "Someone would have picked up the phone if they could. Which means Hank is...incapacitated, and so is Michael." Her eyes fixed on Max's. "And Michael never gets drunk."
"I told you," Maria cut in, desperation edging her voice with sharp tones, "he's been taken. I SAW it!"
Max put a hand on her shoulder to calm her even as he cast a worried glance at the closed door. It would do no good to wake his parents at this late hour. "What exactly do you mean, you SAW it?" he asked softly.
Maria looked at the ceiling in frustration. "I don't know," she said. "I just...Here." She tapped her temple. "I saw it here. In my head."
"You're sure it wasn't a dream?" Isabelle asked.
Maria shook her head furiously. "No. Not a dream. Definitely not a dream." Her eyes met Max's, and she looked panic stricken. "God, Max, I could FEEL it! He was so scared. Scared and alone. And they just took him!"
Max sat beside her on the bed. "How? HOW did you see this?" He'd never experienced anything like she was describing, and it didn't sound like dreamwalking.
Maria's eyes dimmed, and she stared down into her tea. "I don't know. I just did."
Max shared a confused glance with Isabelle. They had to figure this out before anything else-- if only to get a lead on where Michael might be. There was no doubt in either of their minds that he was truly taken.
Suddenly, Isabelle stood, crossing from her position beside the phone and kneeling before Maria.
The smaller blonde looked wary as Isabelle raised her hand and let it hover in the air beside Maria's cheek. "What are you doing?"
"Scanning," the taller girl replied, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world. Slowly, she moved her hand in a curve, coasting over Maria's cheek, temple, eyes, mouth....
Her hand froze, and her eyes widened. "Got it," she breathed, wonderstruck.
Max leaned in closer. "Got what? What did you find, Izzy?"
A small smile played at Isabelle's lips. "A bond."
Maria's forehead creased with confusion. "A what?"
"A bond," Isabelle answered, pulling her hand back and standing. "Somehow you and Michael have been linked-- psychically attached. I don't know how, but it's there."
Maria looked even more confused than ever. "A bond...But, why would it show itself now, and not earlier? I mean..." She trailed off.
Max shrugged. "Perhaps it needed something powerful to kickstart it. Something outside the normal span of emotion. And this...." His voice grew grim again. "This counts as beyond the norm."
They waited in silence for a moment.
"What I want to know," Isabelle said softly, almost to herself, "is how it happened. I never thought something like this was possible, though now I don't see why it shouldn't be-- it's really just an advanced form of dreamwalking, isn't it?" She tapped a finger against her lips. "I'm guessing it was an accident, because otherwise one of you would have been aware of it. Obviously you weren't, which leaves Michael. But I hadn't noticed any change in him that would have signalled he knew you were connected." She had to think about something-- ANYTHING-- besides the fact that one of her best friends on this alien world was gone. Stolen in the dead of night for God only knew what purpose. Anything besides the fact that Max, or herself, might be next.
"Michael never WAS good at controlling his powers," Max said thoughtfully. "They must have just...gotten out of hand one day."
"But contact would have to be involved," Isabelle countered, getting very into the conversation. "And the only time I've ever seen him come CLOSE to touching Maria was at the Crash Festival, when he pretended to heal her."
"Then why would the bond be focused around her face?"
"Don't ask me. Who knows how Michael's powers work?"
"He kissed me."
It was said so softly, Max and Isabelle almost blipped over it. But suddenly, it registered, and two sets of eyes focused on Maria's pale face.
"Come again?" Isabelle asked.
Maria looked up, and her eyes were wide. "He kissed me. At the Crashdown. When Max and Liz went to visit River Dog at the Reservation-- after you'd left, Isabelle." Her fingers went unconciously to her lips. "He said it was to calm me down," she murmured.
Max and Isabelle stared at her in amazement for a moment longer.
"Well, that answers THAT question," Isabelle finally said.
Max took Maria by the shoulders and turned the shocked girl to face him. "This is important, Maria," he said firmly. "Did you see who it was that took Michael? Any distinguishing features?"
She shook her head. "No. Just...just black masks and leather gloves. All black. It was all black."
Max nodded, his jaw set. Casting his eyes from Maria to his sister and back again, he said, "Then let's hope this psychic bond you two have gives us some clue as to where he is. Because right now, we're dead in the water."
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