FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Whisper Scream"
Part 4
by Mnemosyne
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.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: R
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."
Chapter 4

As Maria fell asleep that night, her stomach was twisting again, but she knew this time that it was all her own doing. Her nerves were getting to her and it wasn't just because of her soon-to-begin crash course in dreamwalking.

It was because the bond had changed.

Thinking about it kept her eyes open and staring into the darkness, much as she knew she needed to fall asleep-- Isabelle would meet her in her dream. Maria had suggested the other girl simply sleep over her house, but Isabelle had refused. "You're supposed to be sick," she'd said. "You don't have sleepovers when the other person is ill." Still, she hadn't looked happy about it.

So Maria knew she should close her eyes and drift off; but she couldn't. The change in her link with Michael worried her. It had happened earlier that night, while she was eating dinner in bed. A simple turkey sandwich-- her still delicate stomach couldn't handle more-- while listening to soft rock on her radio.

Then there was a searing pain in her shoulder and the sandwich was falling from her limp fingers and she was burying her face in her pillow to muffle the scream that ripped from her lips like the howl of a banshee.

Then it had simply stopped.

The memory of the pain still made Maria stiffen-- the excruciating agony of it. But it was this silent aftermath that scared her. As if a curtain had been drawn across her connection with Michael. The physical was cut off-- she no longer felt his illness, nor whatever it was that had hurt him so badly. She shuddered to think what might have caused him that much pain. She didn't think it would be a good idea to think too much about it.

What if this sudden lack of contact made it even HARDER to get into his dreams? And what had caused it in the first place? She had a theory about that part, at least. Michael didn't know about their connection, but some part of him MUST have realized it was there-- it was that part which had broadcast his fear to her, along with the pictures of his kidnapping, the night he was taken. And it was that part of him which had snapped off the connection when the pain grew too intense. To protect her. Some latent part of Michael's psyche wanted to guard her. The thought made her blush, even as it terrified her.

Of course, the bond wasn't gone. It had simply changed. The protection mechanism made it so there was no physical anymore, but there was EMOTION. His feelings seemed to flow to her like water over Niagara. She'd spent the next several hours huddled in her bed, as wave after wave of panic swept over her. If her mother had walked in, she would have called an ambulance.

Right now, thankfully, Maria felt little, and she took that as a good sign. If he wasn't feeling, then maybe he was asleep. It was past one in the morning-- he SHOULD be asleep.

She sighed loudly, and buried her face in her pillow. "So should you," she thought angrily. "Now fall asleep, dammit!"

But it was no good. Maria could yell at herself as much as she wanted, but she would never fall asleep that way. "I just need to calm down," she thought rationally.

The idea made her smile, and she let her eyes drift closed as she took herself to the place she ALWAYS went when she couldn't fall asleep-- that night weeks ago in the Crashdown. Her and Michael, alone, annoyed. God, he could be so infuriating! But she wasn't going to think about that right now. She wanted to concentrate on her favorite part.

####He turned her quickly, almost forcefully, and Maria found her lips suddenly angling up against his as he kissed her. It didn't take long for her own mouth to respond, as she explored the contours of his lips, the gentle maneuverings of his mouth against hers. One hand slid up his chest, and she thrilled at the feeling of his smooth muscles moving beneath her fingertips. Michael's hands slipped around her waist, drifting across her lower back, then down a little lower, cupping her supple derrier, and making her move a little closer.

Then it was over, and he pulled away from her. The loss of contact made Maria dizzy, but the memory of his kiss steadied her. "That was to calm you down," he said, his own eyes slightly dazed.####

Maria smiled lazily against the pillow. "It worked," she mumbled, even as she drifted off to sleep, to find Isabelle already waiting for her. ******

"It's about damn time!" Isabelle exclaimed as Maria found herself materialized in a foggy world of white mist.

She looked around appraisingly. "This is my dream?" she asked.

Isabelle nodded. "Sorta. This is the pre-dream haze. We don't really have the time to hang around here, though, so let's go." She grabbed Maria's hand.

"How?" Maria asked, truly puzzled. "Do you have a picture of him?"

Isabelle rolled her eyes. "No, but we don't need one."

"Why not?"

"Because we have YOU, braniac," Izzy replied. "You and that connection of yours."

Maria cocked her head, annoyed. "And just how do you intend to follow a CONNECTION, Ice Queen? It's not exactly TANGIBLE, you know."

Isabelle raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Instead, she gestured beyond Maria's shoulder. The smaller girl turned, and her eyes widened.

A long, straight road made of bright yellow bricks stretched out behind her. "Wow," she said.

Isabelle nodded. "Yeah. Real cute." She began tugging Maria down the path. "Gotta love the subconcious. Now, let's go find our Emerald City."


Isabelle was more correct than she knew. Maria didn't know how long they walked-- time seemed to move funny in this dreamworld-- but soon, they found themselves standing outside the towering gates of the Emerald City.

Isabelle turned on her with a glare, and Maria shrugged her shoulders. "What? The power of suggestion is strong! It's not MY fault."

The taller girl just rolled her eyes, and reached out to knock on the gate.

A small window in the middle of the door opened, and a tiny face peered back at them. "No admittance without proper identification!" the Munchkin intoned, then slammed the little door.

Isabelle fumed for a moment.

"See what I mean?" she finally said. "Most people-- like you and Liz and Max-- have open dreams. But Michael... He must have some weird shit going on in his head to throw up all this." She made a vague gesture to incorporate the entire city.

"Or maybe he's just afraid someone will see who he really is," Maria murmured, still staring at the emerald gate. Shaking herself, she turned to Isabelle. "So what do we do now?"

The other girl shrugged. "I have no idea. You're the one with the whole psychic thing going on. The yellow brick road leads inside. What do YOU think we should do?"

Maria thought for a moment, then reached out to rap on the door a second time.

The little portal whisked open again, and the same Munchkin appeared. "No admittance without--!"

"Proper identification, yeah, I know," Maria cut him off. Leaning down a bit so she could peer through the little window, she smiled. "So, what counts as proper identification?"

The Munchkin opened his mouth, and froze. A puzzled expression crossed his face, and he scratched his head. "I... I don't rightly know," he said, consternation lining his voice. Giving her a suspicious look, he hissed. "You got a name?"

"Maria," she replied. Then, gesturing behind her, "And this is Isabelle."

He held up one finger. "Wait here," he said quickly. "I'll nip in back and check." Shuttling the little window closed, he disappeared.

Maria straightened up, and turned to see Isabelle staring at her in shock. She shrugged. "What?" she asked innocently. "I've always been told the quickest way to get somewhere is to find out exactly where you're going."

Before Isabelle could reply, the window opened again. "YOU can come in," the Munchkin told Maria, "but SHE has to stay out here."

Maria ignored Isabelle's indignant gasp. "Sure! No problem. Right, Izzy?" She turned to the other girl, grinning around clenched teeth.

Isabelle didn't look happy, but she nodded stiffly. "Right," she agreed, forcing a smile.

The Munchkin nodded tersely, and closed the window. There was the sound of a ponderous lock being unlatched, and then the heavy door was swinging open.

Maria started forward, but Isabelle grabbed her arm. "Be careful," the taller girl warned softly when Maria turned back to her. "Whatever Michael has going on in there... Well, just be careful."

Maria nodded. "Don't worry, Izzy. I'm a big girl." She gave the other young woman a reassuring smile, then followed the Munchkin valet through the doors and into the Emerald City. Briefly she wondered if she should have told the taller girl about the agonizing pain she'd felt earlier that night.

But then she was through the door, and Isabelle was left behind, and all hell had broken loose, so little else really seemed to matter.

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