Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Can't Find a Better Man"
Part 11
by Ariana
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Summary: Sequel to "Just Like Me"
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
"Hey Max," Maria greeted sadly as she saw their dark-haired leader enter the now empty Crashdown.

"Hey," Max muttered obviously grief-stricken by something.

Maria pulled up a stool across from him, "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

"How can you tell?" he asked solemnly.

"Dude, it's written all over your face," she told him without her usual humor.

Max ran his hand through his hair a gesture that reminded her of Michael, "It's Liz, she told me that she can't do this anymore. She doesn't want her life to be in danger and that she isn't willing to die for me."

Normally Maria would have given an optimistic response, but her heart was still hurting over Michael. "You just want me to tell you that it's all gonna work out right?"

"No, I want to hear what you have to say," Max said.

"OK, here's what I think," Maria knew that Max wasn't going to like what she was about to say. "Give Liz up. Leave her alone. All this is leading nowhere. None of us belong with any of you. And I'm really sick of how much it's screwing us up. I mean, look at us. We're pathetic."

"Did something happen between you and Michael?" Max never heard Maria sound so bitter.

Maria gave a look of disgust, "One word, Courtney."

"You mean Michael and Courtney," Max didn't dare finish his sentence.

Maria groaned, "God, you don't have to say it out loud. Can't you see you and Liz, me and Michael, we don't belong with each other." Max just wore a dazed look on his face. "You're not there, are you?"

"I can't help it," Max told her. "I love her. What can I say?"

"You're hopeless," Maria shook her head.

Max asked, "Why am I hopeless?"

"Because you just won't give up," she replied honestly.

"Like you did on Michael," Max stated bluntly.

Maria looked down at her hands on the counter top, "I didn't give up on Michael, he gave up on me."

"Have you even talked to Michael? You know, heard his side of the story," Max wondered.

Maria confessed looking away, "Not exactly, I guess he tried but I was basking in my stubbornness."

"Well, I guess you know what to do then," Max declared.

Maria disagreed, "No way, Michael is in the wrong here. He has to do the apologizing because he is the one who messed up."

Max shook his head; "You're hopeless."

Maria had to finish cleaning up, so Max left and she thought that their conversation wasn't exactly helpful to her. She was ready to go home as she walked through the double doors into the break room where she found Liz looking pretty glum. "What's wrong?" Maria sat down next to her on the couch.

Liz seemed distracted, "Uh…nothing."

"You look upset, Liz," Maria was now concerned.

"I…I just can't talk about it," Liz was hiding something so she changed the subject. "Oh, I heard about Michael and Courtney."

Maria rolled her eyes, "What gets me is that…that Madame Vivian bitch was wrong. Granted, Michael isn't the world's perfect boyfriend, I know that. You know that. America knows that. But when I caught them together…that look of guilt on his face…I've never felt so awful, Liz."

"Oh my God," Liz spoke as a light bulb went off in her head, but Maria didn't notice.

"I know, I mean, I guess it's a good thing, you know," Maria continued. " 'Cause…when I saw that, I realized there was nothing he could do to make up for it. I know it's over." Liz looked deep in thought as Maria pondered what she said to Liz and what she said to Max.

Liz jumped off the couch; "I gotta go." Liz was out the door before Maria could question her. As Maria sat there alone she had begun to realize how much she missed Michael.

* * * Michael hated sitting around and just waiting for his life to begin, but he had decided to give Maria what she wanted. He had been waiting all day for Maria to come to him, but so far nothing.

His hope peaked when there was a knock on the door, but he was disappointed to find out that it was only Alex. "What's up?" he said.

"Nothing," Alex strolled in as if he did this all the time. "Nothing at all."

"Well, I was kinda watching the game, so if you got something on your mind," Michael wasn't expecting Alex to grab the remote out of his hand and turn off the TV.

Alex started in on him; "Do you have any idea what you've done to Maria?"

"Dude, it was a misunderstanding," Michael defended.

Alex got in his face, "Look, I don't care that you've got 30 pounds on me…or that you can kill me with some…some twisted alien power. I will not let you treat her like that." Michael was all ears. "I…I don't care that Isabel treats me like crap, but no one does that to Maria, all right? She's not just some girl!"

"You gotta believe me…I have nothing," Michael tried to explain but an unexpected visitor ruined his chance.

"Knock, knock," Courtney appeared in the doorway.

Alex turned around and decked Michael in the face. "Ow!" Alex cried out as his fist throbbed with pain.

Michael couldn't believe that Alex punched him, "You realize you just risked your life."

Alex held his injured hand by the wrist, "Yeah."

Michael had a newfound respect for Alex; "You're a really good friend, man."

"Call me that again, and I'll really kick your ass," Alex warned as he left.

"Are you OK?" Courtney asked as Michael nursed his sore face.

Michael nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine."

Courtney moved in closer to get a closer look but instead started kissing Michael. Michael was caught by surprise, but then he saw movement in the corner of his eye. "Maria!" he pushed Courtney away but Maria was already gone.

"What's the big deal? You two are broken up anyway," Courtney snaked her arms around Michael's neck, but he resisted by holding her shoulders. As he did this he peeled a piece of skin from her back.

"You're a Skin," Michael discovered. Courtney began walking away. "Stop!" Michael threw a bolt of power at her but all it did was shatter the TV and Courtney escaped through the window.

* * * Michael tried to get a hold of Maria through out the night, but she was nowhere to be found. He called her cell phone but she wasn't answering and he had talked to Kyle, Tess and Valenti and all of them were useless in giving him the information he needed. He hoped that she would turn up at school, but she didn't the previous day.

"You, OK?" Maria went up to Liz in the hallway at school.

Liz replied, "Oh, I didn't get much sleep last night."

"You look like you got your heart stomped out," Maria was surprisingly calm. "No, wait…that would be me. Well, if it's possible, you look worse."

"Have you seen Max today?" Liz asked.

Maria raised her eyebrows; "He did this to you?"

"No, uh…well, yeah," Liz seemed confused. "I just…I can't even explain it."

Maria gave her a weird look, "You can't explain? This is me you're talking to here."

"I just want to make sure that he's ok. But, if you see him, just don't tell him I asked," Liz to Maria was making no sense.

Michael was not mistaken he did hear Maria's voice. "Hey," Michael said as Liz left.

"Whatever dude," Maria started to walk away.

"No, I have something to tell you," Michael pleaded with her.

Maria shook her head; "I'm not interested."

"Hey, it's about Courtney," Michael started.

Maria tried to push past him; "I am so not interested."

"Hey, will you just listen to me?" Michael really hated to beg.

Maria pointed her finger at him as she sneered, "You listen to me here. She made a play for you, and you went for it. So, what? Now she's screwed you over and you've come to realize she's a cheap, manipulative tramp? Well, this is not news to me."

Michael blurted out to stop her ramble; "She's an alien. A Skin like Whitaker." Maria was stunned and Michael used that to his advantage. "I found that out after Courtney kissed me last night."

"OK, I'm listening," Maria allowed him to continue.

Michael saw a glimmer of hope, "I was stupid I should have told you what I was planning, I didn't mean to do what I did, but I swear to you that nothing happened. I love you Maria, and only you."

Michael didn't know what she was thinking, but he sought out an answer in her eyes. Finally she spoke to him, "You made me distrust you…don't ever do it again."

"Oh baby," Michael was welcomed into her arms, as they became familiar with each other again.

"We have to tell Max and the others," Maria told him and he agreed.

They gathered Max, Tess, and Isabel into a classroom where Michael explained to him what happened between him and Courtney.

"I knew there was something wrong about her, even before I found her picture in Whitaker's office," Michael included.

Max questioned, "Where's Courtney now?"

Michael shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know. She went out the window."

"If Courtney's a skin, it means she was working with Whitaker," Tess figured out.

Isabel chimed in, "You're right. There's no way two skins would just happen to be in Roswell at the same time. They were working together, which means Courtney knows everything about us."

Michael noticed that Max didn't seem to be paying attention, "Maxwell, are we disturbing you?"

"Leave him alone. He had a rough night," Tess came to his defense.

"Really, something you wanna share with the class?" Michael challenged.

"No," Max answered. "Look, if Courtney is a skin, and she was working with Whitaker, the first question is, does she know that Whitaker's dead?"

"If she didn't before, she does now," Maria turned the volume louder on the television in the classroom.

"We have this story just in," the TV anchor began. "A controversial New Mexico congresswoman is dead. We'll have that story in just a minute."

"How did they find out?" Isabel asked no one in particular.

"Widowed just six months before her husband John Whitaker's upcoming election," the anchor continued. "Congresswoman Vanessa Whitaker took his place on the ballot and won the election by a higher margin than any Democrat in 15 years. But all that ended yesterday, just outside her hometown of Copper Summit, Arizona, where a tragic single car accident cut short a life of public service."

Tess raised her eyebrows, "A car crash?"

"In other national news, the Department of Transportation took…" Maria shut off the TV after the report was over.

Isabel said, "She died two weeks ago. I was there."

"We were all there," Max pointed out.

"How could she be in a car accident if she's dust?" Michael didn't understand.

Tess added to their list of questions, "So who's conveniently covering up her death for us?"

"Nasedo said the Skins were among us," Isabel remembered what he said to Max the night he died. "Skins, plural. Maybe other skins created a fake car accident to keep the Feds from looking too closely into Whitaker's background."

"Max," Tess said in a controlled voice. "What do we do?"

Michael groaned before Max could answer, "Uh, let me guess. Nothing."

Max surprised them all, "Liz."

Maria realized, "Her connection with Whitaker."

"Do you think she'll help us?" Isabel wondered.

"Has she ever let us down before?" Maria replied but for some reason she couldn't look Max in the eye.

* * * "Call if you need us," Maria said to Liz, Max, Isabel and Tess before they left for Copper Summit, Arizona.

Tess gave her sister a hug, "We don't exactly know what we are looking for, but you'll be the first to know when we find it."

Michael and Maria stayed behind in Roswell to find and interrogate Courtney, but so far they had no luck. As they watched their friends take off in the Jeep, Maria and Michael headed to Courtney's duplex for a little investigating.

"Michael! I feel like we're Scully and Mulder or something," Maria couldn't help saying.

Michael ordered, "Shh! She could be inside."

"OK, sorry," Maria whispered.

Michael peered inside the window, "Nobody's home."

Maria used her powers to open the door where they were greeted by total darkness. They flipped on the flashlights they brought and started looking around.

"Culture Club, Wham, the Backstreet Boys. God, she really is an alien, this one," Maria looked through Courtney's CD collection.

Michael snapped, "A little help here."

"Fine," Maria retorted tersely. "What exactly are we looking for?"

Michael looked inside some cupboards, "Clues, you know an address book or a calendar somewhere."

"Of course," Maria's voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Like she's gonna write her hideout in an address book, and the day she is planning world domination on her calendar."

"Hey, are you just gonna help?" Michael knew that Maria was still hurt to some degree.

Maria ignored him as she stumbled upon a piece of skin, "Michael…is this what I think it is?"

Michael saw her holding the skin, "That's why they call 'em skins. She's shedding."

"Eww, it's so gross! Eww!" Maria immediately dropped the skin. "How did you figure out she was a skin, anyway?"

Michael knew he was still in hot water with her, "I saw part of her skin come off."

"Which part?" Maria questioned.

"When are you gonna get off this?" he asked her.

"Not for a very, very long time, Mikey G," Maria turned her back and walked towards the closet.

Michael wanted to convince her, "There's nothing going on between me and Courtney."

Maria opened the closet and screamed, "Ohh! Ohh!"

Michael rushed over to where she was standing and he saw what freaked her out. Courtney had constructed a shrine dedicated to Michael. It consisted of pictures and numerous items belonging to Michael which were obvious stolen.

The eerie thing on Maria's part was that she was cut out of most of the pictures. "That's the shirt I bought you a couple months ago."

"I thought I lost it at work. What the hell is this?" Michael had to admit it freaked him out too.

"It's Graceland," Maria declared in simple terms. "And you're Elvis."

"Wow," Michael let slip.

Maria grew annoyed, "Wow? Is that all you can say right now, is 'Wow'? She's obsessed with you. She's like an alien stalker." Maria hoped she was getting through to him. "She's been spying on you for weeks. She's been dreaming about you, fantasizing about you…"

Michael noticed something familiar about the pictures, "Hey, be quiet for a second. Take a look at the pictures. They were all shot from the apartment across the street from my building."

Maria understood, "So that's where she goes to spy on you."

"Yep," he replied.

"Oh," but then that eerie feeling came back. "Do you think that she has seen us…together at your place?"

That thought never occurred to Michael, and he saw that Maria looked very uncomfortable. "I don't know."

"I think I'm going to be sick," Maria groaned.

Michael put his arm around her, "Come on let's get out of here."

Part 10 | Index | Part 12
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.