Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Can't Find a Better Man"
Part 12
by Ariana
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Summary: Sequel to "Just Like Me"
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
"Do you want to order a pizza or get Chinese take-out?" Michael asked once they got back to his apartment.

Maria stood in front of the window looking out onto the street, "Whatever you want."

Michael went over to the windows and closed the blinds, "No free peepshow tonight."

"What makes you so sure you are going to get any?" Maria said as she sat down on the couch.

Michael decided not to press his luck, "Italian it is then."

Maria rolled her eyes and reached for her cell phone. It had been hours since she last spoke with Tess and she thought a status report was due. "Damn, no service," Maria cried out as she threw her phone down in frustration. "We need a serious upgrade."

"They will get a hold of us if anything is wrong," Michael tried to reassure her as he sat down at her side.

Maria wrapped her arms around herself, "God, I hope you're right Michael. You know I'm not really that hungry. I'm just going to go to bed."

Michael nodded his head in agreement; "I'll be there in a minute."

"Ok," she kissed him on the cheek before heading to his bed.

Michael turned off the lights and removed a pair of binoculars from a cupboard. He lifted up the blinds and focused on the building across the street wondering if Courtney was there looking back, but he didn't see anything.

When Michael woke up the next morning he found Maria's side of the bed empty. He searched around for a note, but there was none. "Courtney!" Michael thought. "Courtney kidnapped Maria." Maria was very resourceful and she could kick some serious ass, so Michael knew that Maria wouldn't be taken without a fight.

"Maria!" Michael called out as he rummaged around for some clothes. There was no answer, so he knew that Maria was gone.

"Where could she be?" Michael ran his hand through his hair.

"Michael," he heard her voice from the doorway. "I didn't think you would be up."

"Where were you?" Michael asked but judging by the grocery bags in her arms he knew where she had been.

"You only had only Tabasco sauce and pickles in your refrigerator, and I figured that this stakeout might take awhile, so I decided to stock up," Maria explained.

Michael warned, "Well leave a not next time."

"Hello!" Maria grabbed a piece of paper that was under a magnet on his fridge. "What do you think this is?"

They spent most of the day in front of the window hoping that Courtney would show her skin. "This isn't going to work," Maria said from her seat in front of the window. "She's not just gonna stroll up to her hideout while we're sitting here watching her."

"This was your idea," Michael replied.

Maria shook her head so hard she felt her blonde braids hit her face, "That's not the way I remember it."

"OK, so now it's my fault," Michael felt another round of bickering coming on.

"Yes," Maria didn't hesitate to say. "You know what? Just to make things simpler, from now on you should consider everything to be your fault, ok?"

Michael decided to let her win this round, "Well, I know one way to make the time go faster."

"Now is not the time pal-ly," she warned.

Michael smirked, "I know."

"But if we can talk reality here for a second," Maria told him. "I think she booked. Out of town."

Michael disagreed because he loved pushing her buttons, "No dice, she wouldn't do that. She's obsessed with me."

"Well, I guess that makes two of you, then, doesn't it?" Maria couldn't believe how aggravating he could be.

Michael declared, "She'll show up sooner or later."

"How 'bout sooner?" Michael and Maria jumped out of their seats at the sight of Courtney. Michael prepared to send a blast of power her way. "Whoa!" Courtney put her hands up. "Hey, truce."

Michael ordered her, "Don't move."

"Don't worry, I won't." Courtney seemed calm. "You're watching the building. You figured out where I'd be from the pictures. That's very good Mikey G. You're everything I'd thought you'd be and more."

Maria couldn't believe that Courtney was still trying to get at Michael, "Oh please! Do your lips not get chapped from all that ass-kissing?"

"Sit down," Michael commanded.

"Anything you say," Courtney obediently sat down on the nearest chair.

Michael began the questioning, "So you're a skin, like Whitaker."

"How'd you get on Whitaker?" Courtney asked curiously.

Maria jumped in; "We're asking the questions here, ok? Now why are you in Roswell? Where's the rest of your evil army? And most of all, why are you obsessed with my good-looking, if badly groomed boyfriend?"

"Thanks, honey," Michael told her.

Maria winked at him, "No problem."

Courtney replied, "I'm not obsessed with him, OK. We follow him in the political sense."

"We?" Maria raised her eyebrows.

"We're not with the other skins," Courtney tried to convince them. "We're renegades who believe that if you were in charge instead of Max in the first place, that none of this would have ever happened."

"What are you talking about? In charge of what?" Michael questioned because Courtney wasn't making any sense.

Courtney had a twinge of pride in her voice, "Our planet, Michael. You don't remember any of this, do you?"

"Suppose you tell me," Michael crossed his arms.

Maria added with impatience, "Yeah, the short version please."

Courtney threw Maria a look, "The short version…is that our planet was on the brink of a golden age, and then it all fell apart." Courtney looked directly at Michael, ignoring Maria's presence. "You were the one who could have united our planet, pulled together the warring factions, brought peace. But you weren't on the throne."

"Max," was all Michael said.

"You wouldn't betray him. That loyalty cost your lives and those of everyone you loved. Please, just don't let history repeat itself. You're the one we need. You're our leader, our salvation."

Maria knew Michael would never betray Max, but she couldn't help but warn him. She took the non subtle approach of yelling directly in his ear, "Michael, if you an hear me now over the sound of your rapidly inflating ego, could you please tell me that you do not believe what this…this Michael-worshipper has to say?"

"No…no…no way," Michael stuttered. "No, this is just part of your plan to divide and conquer."

"I knew you weren't ready to hear this," Courtney shot Maria a look of disgust.

Michael continued his questioning, "What's in Copper Summit, Arizona?"

"Copper Summit's just some old tourist trap," Courtney lied.

Michael didn't buy it, "What's there?"

"I'd stay away from there," Courtney warned.

"Why?" Michael asked.

"Yeah, why?" Maria wanted to know because her best friends and sister were already there.

Courtney finally confessed, "Let's just say there aren't any Michael-worshippers in Copper Summit."

"I'm calling Tess," Maria announced trying to find her cell phone.

"Yeah, what's the deal?" Courtney asked. "I know Maria and Tess aren't really sisters."

Maria shot a look at Michael as she tried to get a hold of Tess and the others. Michael decided that Courtney not knowing that Maria was half-alien could be used to their advantage. "Maria's family adopted Tess, and Tess told Maria everything about us."

"So it was convenient for you to fall for a human," Courtney seemed disappointed, but if only she knew.

"I still can't get a damn signal," Maria said in frustration. She didn't pause to think she just grabbed her purse and keys. "Let's roll."

Courtney asked when Michael began to follow Maria, "Where are we going?"

"Copper Summit," was all Michael said.

Courtney muttered under her breath, "I was afraid of that."

* * * "This is a huge mistake," Courtney felt uncomfortable in the backseat of Maria's Explorer. "You're gonna get yourself killed."

"Yeah, well that's my problem," Michael stated as he drove through the deserts of New Mexico.

Courtney went on, "I didn't spend 50 years finding you so that you could throw your life away out of misplaced loyalty."

Courtney was beginning to annoy Maria, "50 years."

"Yeah, we came here in 1950. Do the math," Courtney snapped at her.

"So what? That would make you 65, 70?" Maria pointed out that very interesting detail. "You're old enough to be Michael's grandmother. I just…I love that. I do."

Courtney defended, "Hey, husks don't age."

"Husks?" Maria wasn't sure she wanted to know.

"Yeah, me," Courtney explained. "My skin…this thing that I'm wearing. It never ages."

Maria couldn't resist, "Well a lot of thing we wear tend to go out of style."

"I've been a babe for 50 years. What are you gonna look like in 50 years from now?" Courtney responded.

Michael was tired of their bickering, "Would you two let it go? You're giving me a headache." Michael reverted back to the important task. "Yeah, what the hell is a husk?"

"It's basically a shell," Courtney described. "It protects us from the environment."

"Like a space suit," Michael thought he understood.

Courtney was glad he was interested, "Yeah, this planet's atmosphere is hostile to our race. The husks are a lifeform technology that we can genetically manipulate to resemble human bodies. Our relationship to it is essentially parasitic."

"You're skin is alive?" Maria was getting grossed out.

Courtney elaborated to make it less disgusting, "Like the trees are alive."

"So what's with the peeling?" Michael questioned.

"They're good for maybe 50 years," she went on. "But the husks are dying."

"Well, if all the skins in Copper Summit are about to die, then all we have to do is wait them out," Michael came to the conclusion. "If the husks die, we're home free, right?"

Maria read Courtney's silence, "OK, what are you not telling us?"

"The harvest," Courtney said in a deadpanned voice."

Maria tried to get more out of her, "I'm guessing we're not talking about corn here."

"The new husks will ensure our survival," Courtney declared.

Maria muttered, "And the possibility of world domination."

"We still have a long drive ahead of us," Michael reached over and gently stroked Maria's cheek. "Why don't you try and get some sleep?"

"I don't think I can, not while my family is in danger," she told him sincerely.

Courtney sarcastically said, "How touching."

"Kindly shut up," Michael snapped and Maria couldn't help but smile.

* * * Courtney luckily dozed off leaving Michael and Maria with content conversation all the way to Arizona. Maria came to the conclusion that something was wrong because neither Tess, Liz nor Isabel were answering their cell phones.

"Hey!" Maria poked Courtney's shoulder. "Wake up."

"What…what?" Courtney opened her eyes to find out that it was morning.

Maria informed her, "We are almost there."

"Oh great," she mumbled. "Let the fun begin."

Michael pulled in front of the Stagecoach Museum next to Max's empty Jeep, "This place looks deserted."

"Oh, believe me it's not," Courtney said.

As they got out of the car Maria felt a stabbing pain in her stomach. "Ow!" Maria braced herself against the hood of the car.

Michael rushed to her side, "What is it?"

"It's…" Maria felt fear coursing through her body. At first she thought it was Tess, but then she realized that it was coming from Liz. "It's Liz, they're in danger."

"Do you know where they are at?" he held onto her.

Maria shook her head, "Somewhere close. We have to split up, Michael."

Michael nodded in agreement, "You go to that building over there and I'll go into the museum."

"We'll meet back here when we find them," Maria added as she gave Michael one last hug before they parted.

Michael and Courtney went into the Stagecoach Museum while Maria headed to the United Friendship League. She found the outside strangely quiet, but the feeling she got from Liz began to grow stronger. The double door entrance was closed and locked tight, but when she grabbed the knob she felt strong vibrations coming from the inside.

Maria knew that her friends were in danger, so she heaved a burst of power and the doors flung open. She barely missed Liz's head when she did that, but at least they were alive. Max had put up his green shield to protect them with Tess helping him to keep it up. But they were both faltering. A whole congregation of people was on the other side and Maria could only guess they were the Skins.

"Maria!" Liz cried out.

Maria saw the shield give way, so she threw herself in front of Max, Tess and Liz and erected her force field in front of them. "Get out of here!" she shouted to Max.

Max pulled Tess and Liz by the hands just as the skins began to weaken on the other side of the force field. "Let's go," Max called, tugging at Maria's shirt.

They used the Skins weakened state to make an escape. "What are you doing here?" Max asked as they ran to their vehicles. "We gotta go now!"

"Way ahead of you, boss," Maria saw Courtney and Isabel emerge from the museum. "Michael…where's Michael?"

Michael then came out of the building holding something in his arms. "Open the trunk!" he ordered.

Maria found the keys in his pocket and opened the trunk, "Is that what I think it is?"

Michael placed Courtney's husk in the trunk, "Just drive."

Maria quickly unlocked the doors and started the car. As soon as they were all in she peeled out following Max's jeep out of Copper Summit and hopefully safely back to Roswell.

Part 11 | Index | Part 13
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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