FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Whisper Scream"
Part 5
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 5

The interior of the city looked like something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Maria watched with horror as small children ran screaming through the streets, eyes wild. Gaunt Flying Monkeys chased them like Harpies, eager for flesh. The brilliant emeralds that had formerly encrusted the towering buildings and winding streets were torn up and cracked-- just so much irridescent dust. A young girl dressed in a red bustiere stood beneath a lop-sided road sign, the two arms of which read Sapphire Street and Quartz Court. Maria realized with creeping shivers that the young prostitute was a member of the Lullabye League, albeit older than she had been in the movie. She looked about Maria's own age.

The valet seemed to take no notice of the desolation around him. He walked briskly past the short whore, who cast him a lascivious smile, only to stick her tongue out at him as he brushed past her. Maria tried not to look. It made her sick.

"Hurry up, hurry up!" the small man called over his shoulder to her. "The Wizard does not like to be kept waiting!"

"I'm coming as fast as I can!" she yelled back, as she hurried down the pitted street behind him. "I don't want to break my neck!"

"No chance of that, no chance of that!" he told her, his green coat-tails flickering as he seemed to fly through the desecrated streets. "Not enough bones!"

Maria had NO idea what THAT was supposed to mean, so she just ignored the comment and followed on in silence, saving her breath.

When the emerald palace finally came into view, Maria felt her stomach turn to jelly.

Because the dusty walls were bleeding.

"God," she thought, her stomach roiling, "what have I gotten myself into?"

The valet paid no attention to the blood, but cruised up the stairs and through the door, not so much as noticing the bone-thin horse cropping at the dirt in one of the potholes nearby, in search of non-existent grass. Maria cast it a sympathetic glance, only to feel her bile rise as it raised its head, and she realized that it wasn't cropping at nothing-- it's lips were red with blood, and a dead Flying Monkey lay in ruins in the bottom of the hole. Her feet picked up the pace and she ran up the steps after the valet, terrified.

They hurried down a long, dirty corridor, with tattered tapestries and ratty rugs. Maria kept her eyes on the valet's impeccable green coat, afraid to look around at what other perversions this quasi-Oz offered. Eventually, they arrived at a towering door that made Maria feel two inches tall. She wondered how it made the Munchkins feel.

A young Munchkin-- she recognized him as a member of the Lollipop Guild-- was standing guard at the door. Or rather, she GUESSED he was standing guard. He was really just leaning against the door jamb, one foot crossed over the other, smoking a crack pipe. Maria was sickened to realize it didn't even make her shudder. She'd seen too much already.

"Whaddaya want?" the young man slurred, eyeing the two of them suspiciously. His eyes raked over Maria, and she felt a cold shiver work down her spine at his lewd smile.

"Out of the way, my boy!" the valet intoned. "I have a visitor to see the Wizard."

"No one gets in," the young man replied, from rote. "Orders from the top man."

The valet leaned forward and held a hand to his mouth, as if to share a secret with the Guild member, who leaned in to listen. "This is Maria," the older Munchkin hissed.

The younger Munchkin's eyes widened, and he looked from his elder to Maria and back. "Really?"

The valet nodded sagely.

"Wow." The young Munchkin eyed her again, and chuckled. "The boss sure knows how to pick a looker."

Maria flushed, but was saved from having to respond by the valet. "None of that young man!" he scolded. "Or I shall tell the Wizard." The Guild member paled at that. "Now let us through."

The young Munchkin said nothing more, but stood out of the way as the valet pushed open the door.

"My lord!" he called as he entered the room, Maria following behind. "Your visitor has arrived!"


Maria's eyes swept the burnished interior of the throne room-- it was the only place in this godforsaken city that actually seemed to sparkle. But there were no furnishings, no tapestries-- only a curtained booth in one corner, and a lone figure dressed in black jeans and a t-shirt on the marble steps across the room from her.

"Your grace," the valet said, his tone softer and more respectful, "I've brought Maria to see you."

Michael was turned so that his back was to them, but she could just see his face-- if she'd known anything about theater, she'd have called it the three-quarter position. He made no move to turn as he responded, "They why are you still here?"

The valet made no comment. He simply took a flourishing bow and turned to leave. Maria heard the doors behind her begin to swing shut as he left, but she kept her eyes fixed on the dark figure across the room. "Boy," she heard the young Munchkin saying from the doorway, "I'd sure like to lick HER lolli-" But then the door slammed shut, and they were alone.

Silence reigned for a long second.

"All right!" Maria finally broke in, advancing on him. "If you're going to play Mr. Antisocial, then I guess it's up to ME to get the ball rolling."

"How'd you get in my head?" His voice was tight, pained. The question was asked so softly, Maria almost couldn't hear him.

She held up her hands, palms outward, and paused at the base of the stairs. He stood at the top. "Trust me," she said, "it's a LONG story, none of which is important right now. What I need to know is where you are and who took you. So spill." "HOW'D you get in my head?" Michael asked again, a little more insistent. He still hadn't turned to face her.

Maria stared at him in disbelief. "Hello?" she said, waving her hands in the air. "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to RESCUE you. Can we cut the third degree?"

"HOW'D YOU GET IN MY HEAD!?" He bellowed, finally rounding on her, face twisted in fury. Maria's jaw dropped open in horror.

His right arm hung limp by his side, drenched in blood.

"My God, Michael!" she cried reflexively, starting up the stairs. "Your arm!"

As she neared him, he reached out with his good hand and grabbed her by the shoulder. "TELL ME!" he roared, his other arm remaining motionless.

"WHAT?!" she yelled right back. "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW!?"



"What?" The change in volume was so extreme, Maria almost missed his reply.

"I said you linked us," she repeated, anger and fear still bubbling in her voice.

Michael released her arm, and stared at her, dazed. "How...?"

"That kiss in the Crashdown," she told him testily. "Remember that, spaceboy? Well, I guess your alien abilities were working on overdrive, because they decided to join your mind with mine, and look where it's gotten us." She made a sweeping gesture, as if to incorporate the entire dream. "In a big-time-fucked-up version of Oz, screaming at each other."

Michael looked around, as if for the first time realizing where he was. "I was WONDERING why I was in the Emerald City," he murmured. "I always hated that movie."

Maria glared at him. "That's MY dream you're messing with, buddy," she muttered. "I LIKE 'The Wizard of Oz.'" She threw up her hands in disgust. "God, why am I discussing this? None of this matters right now! I'm not going to ASK why there are demented Munchkins smoking crack in the Emerald Palace, or how come horses have suddenly become carnivores in the great country of Oz, because I DON'T CARE. That's an issue for you to take up with a good psychologist when we get out of this." She stared him dead in the eye. "Speaking of which, would you just tell me where the hell you are, so that we can get out of here and go save your worthless ass?"

Michael looked at her sharply. "We? Who else is here?"

"I came with Isabelle."

"ISABELLE is here?!"

"Relax, she's still outside. In NORMALville."

"Oh." He visibly relaxed, then shrugged. Maria wondered how come he didn't wince-- the blood was still flowing down his right arm, forming a dark, thick pool on the floor beside him. She tried not to look. "I don't know where I am."

Maria rolled her eyes. "Great!" she exclaimed. "I brave Flying Monkeys and potholes the size of Miami to find out you don't know where you are? Perfect!"

"But I know who took me."

It was her turn to give him a sharp look. "Who?"

"Topolsky," he whispered.

"Did you say TOPOLSKY?" she asked, shocked.

He just nodded.

Maria's head was swimming. "Why?"

He shrugged again, but didn't answer.

Maria moved closer to him, her anger from a moment before quickly dissipating. "Does it have something to do with this?" she asked as she reached out a hand towards his bloody arm.

Michael's clean hand lashed out to smack her's away. "Don't," he said quickly as she drew back in askance. "Don't touch me."

Maria was hurt. "Why not?"

His eyes looked pained. "Because I...I don't want you to feel know, if we're bonded or whatever...."

Maria's face softened, and she moved forward again. "I'll be all right, Michael," she told him. He looked like he was going to bolt, so she cupped his cheek-- his muscles immediately relaxed. "Let me look."

He didn't resist anymore, though he did watch her carefully when she began to examine his shoulder, as though expecting her to collapse in agony to the floor. She was pleased she could prove his worries unfounded.

Pulling back the tight-fitting cotton, made sticky and warm by his blood, she tried to examine the wound. But it was hidden higher up on his body, and she couldn't get to it without tearing his shirt. "I can't see," she told him softly. "Can I tear--"

She didn't get to finish her sentence, because before she could say anymore, Michael was tugging the t-shirt off over his head. He winced and sucked in a hissing breath, but made no other noise.

Maria stared at him, the blood coating his arm forgotten for a moment. God, he was CUT-- and she didn't mean in the violent way. His abs were so well defined, she felt as though she were looking at a sculpted angel. The smooth curves of his pecs arched up to his shoulders, where they met with the swells of his muscles. He was symmetry. "That works, too," she managed to say around her suddenly bone-dry tongue.

"It was pressing on it," he explained. "It hurt."

Sure. Simple. Like looking at his bare chest wasn't a distraction or anything. "Whatever," she said hurriedly. "Just let me look."

Fighting back her squeamishness, she leaned in to examine his shoulder. "This is dreamblood," she kept repeating to herself over and over. "Just dreamblood. Not real. Not real."

She sucked in a breath when she saw the wound. "Dear God," she whispered. "Michael, what did she do to you?"

A long incision had been made in his flesh, stretching from the hinge of his shoulder to well below the clavicle. "She wanted to examine my ligament structure," he said through gritted teeth. "So she did."

Maria's hands went reflexively to his arm, and he hissed in pain as she touched him. She immediately pulled back. "I'm sorry!" she exclaimed. "God, I didn't mean to... What was I thinking?!"

"No, it's okay," he told her quickly. "It...doesn't hurt as much in here as out there." He jerked his chin towards the door, as if beyond it lay the real world, and not this twisted vision.

Maria watched him carefully for a moment. Something was different in his eyes. He looked-- scared? Broken? She couldn't tell. But he needed someone to comfort him. And she was all she saw.

"Come here," she said softly, pulling him closer.

"What?" he asked, unsure.

"Shut up and let me work." Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she laid her hands on his shoulder, and THOUGHT.

"Hey, what are you...?" He trailed off when she shushed him.

Maria's hands thrummed as she skimmed them over his shoulder. At first, there was no difference. Then, slowly, a single layer of the blood disappeared. Then another. Bit by bit, in fine increments, the blood vanished, as the laceration knitted together beneath her gentle fingers.

"There," she said softly, pulling back a little. "All better. Well," she added, "at least in HERE it's all better."

Michael stared at his newly healed dreamshoulder. When his eyes went to hers, Maria had to swallow-- his gaze seemed to burn. "Thank you," he said gruffly.

She shrugged, uncomfortable. "Yeah, well, it's the least I can do," she told him. "I figured, this is half my dream, so why not give it a try?"

There was a long silence, as each searched for something to say.

"So you say we're linked?" Michael asked eventually.

Maria nodded.

"In what way?"

Maria turned and sat on the topmost step with a sigh. Michael sat beside her. "Emotions," she answered. "I can feel what you're feeling-- at least, when you're awake I can. Right now, I don't get anything." She brushed a gold lock of hair back from her forehead. "I used to be able REALLY feel you," she continued. "Like, physical stuff and all that. But then...then that happened," she said, gesturing to his shoulder, "and I couldn't anymore. You blocked me out."

"Oh," he said quietly. Then, "Why can't I feel you?"

Maria shrugged. "Maybe you can, but just don't realize it." At his puzzled expression, she went on. "All I've felt from you so far is nausea, agony, and panic. Those are pretty damn strong-- maybe you've just been too busy feeling on your own, without my added emotions fucking you up even more. So you kept me out."

He didn't say anything for a long time. Trademark Michael silence-- it meant either he was thinking deeply, or he'd fallen asleep. "Since we're in a dream, I'll go with answer A, Alex, for the Daily Double!"

"Maria?" he finally said.

"Yeah?" she replied.

"I'm glad you got in."

She smiled. "So am I." After a pause, she added, "Though the chick in the bustiere I could have lived without."

They both laughed at that for a moment, but the levity was shortlived as the reality of the situation hit home.

"We're going to find you, Michael," Maria assured him after a short pause. "We're going to find you and get you out of wherever you are, and we're going to make Topolsky pay for everything she's done to you."

"No, Maria," Michael answered her. "Don't look for me. Just get Max and Isabelle out of town, and keep yourself safe."


"No!" His voice was firm. "I...I can't let something happen to you. To any of you," he added hastily. "And these people-- you can't beat them. You just can't."

She turned to him and took his hand in hers. "Don't say that, Michael!" she countered emotionally. "Don't even THINK that! If you give up in here, then you will NEVER survive out there. And then Topolsky wins."

"I'll get you, my pretty; and your little dog, too!"

Maria and Michael both looked up sharply at the harsh new voice. Topolsky, clothed in a black pointed hat and flowing black silk dress, cackled at them from the base of the stairs. "I want my slippers!" she screeched at them, her usual buttercream tones traded in for the high pitched whine of the Wicked Witch. "I want my slippers and your little dog!" She began to climb the stairs towards them with a hitching gate.

Maria stood hastily, backing away from her. It was with a start of surprise that she realized Michael was gone. "Where is he?" she demanded of the advancing witch.

Topolsky cackled again. "The puppy dog is waking up," she screeched. "The puppy dog is waking up, and he's MINE now, like he should have been from the start! Now give me my slippers! I want my slippers!"

Everything was whirling, spinning, as the throne room dissolved into a roaring twister. Maria felt herself being picked up and spun, whipped around and around and around.... Glancing down at herself, she saw that her original clothing had changed, and she now wore the blue checked gingham of Dorothy, with a pair of ruby slippers on her feet. Her eyes flew frantically to Topolsky's face, as the witch managed to somehow still advance on her, slowly but surely. "LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU BITCH!" Maria cried, terrified.

"I want my slippers!" Topolsky shrieked. "Give me my slippers!"

"YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR DAMN SLIPPERS!" Maria screamed back.

"Then pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," Topolsky said, almost calmly, gesturing with a perfectly manicured finger towards the curtained booth that swirled in the violent eddies of the tornado with them. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

Maria suddenly found herself standing nose-to-curtain with the booth, Topolsky hovering behind her, one slim hand latched over Maria's shoulder, the other gripping a whisk broom. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" she shrieked in the slim girl's ear.

The curtain blew open as a powerful gust of wind caught hold of the billowing green material, and Maria sucked in a surprised gasp.

She saw Michael. Not the dream Michael-- the REAL Michael. He was laying on a hard cot in what looked like a cold, damp room. His head was snapping back and forth, as though he were fighting to conciousness. His right shoulder was red and bloody, the sutures torn due to his thrashing. He was bleeding, he was moaning, he was screaming her name. "MARIIIIIAAAA!"

"Michael," she whispered.

Then she was falling, as Topolsky's suddenly claw-like hand pushed her forward. "I want my slippers!" the witch screamed one last time, before her voice was swallowed by the roar of the twister.

Maria didn't have long to think about what was happening as she fell through the space between two molecules and landed with a hard THUMP on the other side of Reality.


She sat up slowly, one hand on her head. At first, she couldn't figure out what had happened. Then, she saw the damp walls, the cold stone floor, and the sweaty figure still thrashing in bed, and she KNEW. "Oh, God," she whispered. "God, no. No, please."

But no prayer could save her now. She was here. Somehow she was HERE-- the REAL here. The REAL her. And that was the REAL Michael, ready to scream himself into a frenzy if she didn't help him.

Standing quickly-- and steadying herself after the headrush-- Maria moved to his side quickly. "Michael? Michael!" she yelled sharply, taking his hand. "Wake up! Wake up NOW!"

His eyes snapped open, and for a second she knew he thought he was still dreaming. With a whollop that felt like a fist, his terror slammed into her, and she fell back onto the thin blanket beside him. The fear was paralyzing-- she couldn't move.

But slowly, his heartbeat slowed, and the terror backed off, replaced by disbelief. Woozily, she began to sit up, only to end up nose to nose with Michael. He stared into her eyes, unbelieving. "Maria?"

She smiled wanly. "Hey there, Spaceboy."


"Don't ask," she answered his unspoken question. "But next time you yank me through space and time, could you at least let me land on something soft?"

Michael was speechless.

The door picked that moment to open, and admitted Topolsky. The agent's eyes widened when she saw Maria, but she miraculously kept her cool. "Well, well," she said, and Maria was suddenly reminded of how much she hated the woman's voice, "Ms. Deluca. I must admit, this is a surprise. One I will be more than happy to question you about. But first." She turned to address Michael. "Mr. Guerin," she said. "I'm glad to see you've calmed down a bit. I was just coming to make sure you hadn't killed yourself."

Michael's voice was as hard as his eyes when he replied, "Gee, didn't know you cared."

Topolsky gave him a cold smile. "We can't have such a prized specimen dying from a simple panic attack, now can we?" She raised an amused eyebrow, then turned back to Maria. "Ms. Deluca, I trust you'll find the accomodations adequate. I'm sorry we can't get you your own room-- we didn't expect company quite this early in the testing. But this is most...fortunate." Her eyes ran over Maria's body, then Michael's, and she grinned wider. "MOST fortunate." Her eyes latched onto Michael's, and the hatred flowing from him through their bond made Maria shudder. "Get some rest, Mr. Guerin," Topolsky ordered. "We have a busy day ahead of us."

"Blow me," Michael growled.

"That can be arranged," Topolsky replied icily, before turning and slamming the door behind her. The lock clicked into place, and Maria was alone with Michael again.

They sat in silence for a long moment, as the reality of her situation sank slowly into the slim blonde's mind. "Guess Topolsky got her slippers after all," she thought grimly. "Now what's she going to do with me?" Then, glancing at Michael, "And Toto, too."

Finally, the alien in question collapsed back against his thin pillow, groaning, his left hand coming up to cover his eyes. "Maria?" he said softly.

She focused on him. "Yeah?"

He removed his hand, and gazed into her eyes. "Welcome to my nightmare."

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