|Disclaimer: Me no own-ie. Wish I did, but I don't. Sadness. Please don't
sue. All I have of value is my computer, and I reeeeeaaaally like it. I
also do not own the Lifehouse song I used, or any other songs I may have
Summary: It's been one month since Tess left Roswell (Departure), and the crew is trying to get back to a semi-normal state. But naturally, they find that impossible... especially when a familiar stranger returns to town with interesting (and disturbing) news...
Author's Note: This is my first fan fic, so I would appreciate feedback. I know we're pretty well into the third season already, but just bear with me, eh? ;-)
|"Would you catch me if I fall out of what I fell in?|
Don't be surprised if I collapse down at your feet again,
I don't want to run away from this,
I know that I just don't need this..."
A small figure, hidden by the shadows, waited in the alley behind the Crashdown Café. The figure had been watching the six teens from the shadows at the front window as they had run around, laughing and playing. As they had eaten their ice cream. As the tall boy, the dark-haired girl and the tiny blonde had cleaned the mess. And as that same tiny blonde had offered to take the trash out to the dumpster in the back alley.
The figure sat on their heels near that very dumpster, fiddling nervously with a small something that they held in their hand. They were having conflicted views about what they had to do. They weren't sure if it was the right thing... What if they were wrong?
The person in the shadows had felt twinges of sadness as they had watched the teens laughing and talking happily. They remembered a time when they lived a carefree life like that, full of friends and fun... Then their thoughts turned dark as they remembered how those same friends had changed. A few became power-mad, and they would stop at nothing to have their way, even if it meant murder...
The figure knew that one of the Royal Four had been corrupted as well, but they dared not guess which it was. But now it seemed the traitor had revealed herself. At least that's out of the way, the figure thought, chuckling quietly. But the threat that the traitor had presented was not over yet. That's why they had turned to the Prophecy.
The figure knew already that the dark-haired girl had been changed by Zan's reincarnate, and they sensed the change in the human boy that was now asleep in the upper levels of the building as well. But, according to the Prophecy, that left one more to be changed, and now that the traitor had been revealed, the figure knew it must be a female, but was this the right one?
She had to be, the figure decided, their resolve hardening. The only other human girl that knew about these reincarnations of the Royal Four had to be the right one. She had the favor of Rath's reincarnate, after all. All those that had known the original four had known that only Vilandra could open him up like that... Vilandra the way she was before, anyway.
The figure's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door creaking open. They tensed their legs and prepared to jump, flipping open the switchblade and clutching it firmly. They quickly chased any doubts from their mind, focusing on one thought: she's the right one, she's the right one...
Maria watched Liz turn to go up the stairs, and wished she could tell Liz the rest of the story. It was true that Michael's choice to stay had played a large part in their current behavior, but she knew it wasn't the real reason. She remembered the night before he left well. Those flashes of his painful childhood he had shown her; how he had opened up to her completely, even if it meant showing her all the things he didn't want her to see. And she remembered the hours that had followed well, too. Her whole body still flooded with heat at those memories.
She and Michael had not slept together again since that night; they hadn't really felt the need. They had just been so relieved to be able to see one another every day. There had been a few times, of course, where she had sensed that he wanted to, and she had, too, but years of her mother preaching about getting pregnant at seventeen had not fallen on deaf ears. The fact that she herself had preached to Liz about considering sleeping with Max less then a year ago also added an extra layer of guilt.
She sighed and pushed her way into the alley, and she began towards the dumpster. She was just beginning to lift the lid when she was overcome by a feeling of wrong-ness. She felt that something was not right, and her heart began to beat faster. She had just enough time to register these feelings when a dark figure pounced at her from the shadows.
Maria dropped the dumpster lid and stumbled back in shock. She turned to run, but the figure had her by the wrist. Her attacker pulled her around towards them, and Maria had just found her voice when she felt red-hot pain as the blade of a knife pierced her side, just below her ribcage. Her scream of panic was cut short by the pain, and her attacker immediately released her, pulling out their blade and bolting out of the alley.
Maria stood for a moment in shock, looking to her side where blood was rapidly saturating her light summer dress. Then she dropped the bags that she still carried and collapsed.
Liz, Max, and Michael were just finishing up with the last sleeping bags when they heard Maria's half-scream from the alley. Liz felt her heart jump to her throat, and she was already tearing down the stairs, Michael and Max hot on her heels, when Isabel and Kyle began to shake the sleep from their heads to try to figure out what had woken them.
The three of them burst into the alley to find Maria sprawled near the door, a growing puddle of blood surrounding her. Liz gave a strangled whimper, and she heard Michael do the same from where he stood beside her. Max was at her side even faster then the others, and he placed his hand under her head, lifting her eyes to where she could see them.
"Maria?" he asked, his voice shaking. "Can you understand me?"
Maria looked pale, and she seemed to be trying to focus on them. She took a breath and muttered, "Jumped out at me... knife... I'm bleeding, Michael..."
Michael surpressed a sob as he looked to Max. "She won't make it to the hospital, Max... She's losing so much blood..." His voice shook horribly, and Liz looked at him through her own tears and saw how scared he was. She took his hand, and to her surprise, he held hers tightly. "Please, Max..."
"I won't let her die, Michael," Max answered, placing his hand over the wound, and Liz thought that if he hadn't been so afraid for Maria, he would have sounded genuinely insulted. Liz knew that Max needed room, and, with some difficulty, pulled Michael back to a better distance.
Max tried to catch Maria's eye, but she was losing focus quickly. "Look at me, Maria..." he whispered. "Please look at me..." Maria, though she was fading, seemed to understand, and she turned to Max, gazing into his eyes. The healing was immediate. Maria's back arched off the cold concrete of the alley as stars danced before her eyes. Real stars. Maria realized that she was seeing flashes of Max's mind, just as Liz had seen when Max had healed her. She saw Liz as Max had seen her for the first time, felt the way he had when they kissed for the first time, felt his rage when he found out Tess had murdered Alex and manipulated them all. Then she saw a strange landscape, like an oasis with purple water in the middle of a barren red land, and the flashes ended.
Max sat back, sweat glistening on his face. Michael was at Maria's side in an instant, holding her close and weeping for joy. She was still pale and weak, she had lost a great deal of blood, but she would live. She hugged him back, and they sat, rocking back and forth. Liz crawled over to Max, brushing his wet hair from his eyes. She looked to the doorway, where Isabel and Kyle stood, both looking very ashen, yet very relieved. She hugged Max around the shoulders, crying and whispering her thank you's, and wondering briefly why he wasn't responding.
Max was still recovering from the shock of healing Maria, or rather, what he saw as he healed Maria. Just as she had, he had gotten flashes from Maria's mind. He had seen the day her father left, she and Liz painting each other's nails at age nine, and the day Michael had "abducted" her, and how she had discovered that he might not be so bad after all. Those thoughts weren't what worried him. What worried him was the tiny, rapid beat that was coming from Maria, not far from the spot the knife had entered. And what worried him even more was the fact that Maria had no idea that that beat was there, or what it was.
Maria had not noticed, in all the excitement of the past month, that she was late. Maria had no idea that she was pregnant.
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