Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Can't Find a Better Man"
Part 13
by Ariana
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Summary: Sequel to "Just Like Me"
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
Maria was surprised that the days following their escape from Copper Summit were relatively normal, well as normal as they could get. Maria was ecstatic to learn that Liz was coming back to the Crashdown after her job at Whitaker's office fell through.

She thought the day would be laid back and uneventful, but the first thing Mr. Parker did was send her and Liz off to Dexter to pick up some supplies.

"Would you step on it, please?" Liz pleaded playfully. "My dad is gonna implode if we don't get this thing back by the lunch rush."

"It's your first day back in uniform. We have one break in an 8 hour shift, and the man sends us 30 miles out of town on an errand," Maria started to babble.

Liz reminded, "Well, he let us stay on the clock."

"I'm sorry Liz. I love your father dearly. He's like the one I never had, but this is totally Kathie Lee," Maria continued as she drove her Explorer back to Roswell. "Besides if he does implode you can just tell him that waitressing isn't like riding a bike and you need to relearn the ropes."

Liz laughed, "Yeah, like he would really buy that."

Maria drove into town and she noticed how completely deserted it looked, "Why are all these cars stopped?"

"What's going on?" Liz's eyes grew wide when she noticed that empty cars were scattered throughout the streets. "Maria, w-what's going on-Maria!" Liz spotted a baby stroller directly in Maria's path and she didn't know if Maria saw it. "Maria!"

Maria tried to swerve but it was too late, "Oh, God! I didn't see it! It was just…it was there, and I was going to fast." They quickly climbed out of the car and quickly ran to inspect the turned over stroller. "It's empty," she found.

"What? What? Oh my God, look!" Liz pointed to an unattended lawn mower going around in circles.

"What?" Maria didn't understand what was going on.

"Where is everybody?" Liz questioned the situation.

Maria declared, "It's like the whole town disappeared."

"We have to find the others," Liz declared.

Maria shrugged her shoulders; "We don't know where they or even if they are here."

"Well, where's Michael?" Liz asked hoping to find a ray of light.

Maria remembered, "He wasn't on the schedule today, he should be at home."

"Good idea!" Liz announced.

Maria gave her a weird look, "Huh."

"Home," Liz repeated. "We're too much out in the open we should go back to the Crashdown."

"OK," Maria agreed as she took Liz's hand. They kept to the sidewalk hoping to find any sign of life, but as far as they knew it was just the two of them.

"Wait!" Liz bent down and examined something on the ground. Maria saw that it was a piece of skin. "This is not good."

"We gotta get out of here," Maria pulled Liz up and guided her into the Crashdown.

"Well, there goes that theory," they heard Courtney say.

Maria was happy to see the familiar faces of Max and Isabel, but especially Tess and Michael. She ran into his waiting arms, "Michael!"

"Max, what…what happened?" Liz was confused. "We…we just got back from Dexter."

Max told her what he knew; "Our parents disappeared. It seems like the whole town is gone. All the humans, at least."

"Well, why not me?" Liz asked in a small voice.

Isabel couldn't hear her, "I'm sorry."

"What is going on here?" Liz spoke more clearly. "Everyone's gone? They're gone, like dead?"

"We don't know that," Max tried to comfort but Liz just shook him away.

"But they could be," Maria thought to herself. Maria looked at all their faces and realized who was missing. She grabbed her cell phone from the pocket of her alien apron. "Pick up the phone Alex." She hoped he had gotten out of town in time.

"All we can do right now is focus on the fact that we have each other," she heard Max say but she wasn't really paying attention as she put her phone away.

Something on the counter caught her eye and her spirits sank when she saw that it was a CD. "Alex's band just burned a new CD, and he couldn't wait to show me," Maria held the CD in one hand while the other covered her eyes.

Michael came up to her; "We'll bring them back."

"I hope so," Maria said as Michael wrapped his arms around her.

Isabel paced around, "First thing we need to do is figure out who did this."

"We know who did this," Liz stated the obvious. "The Skins."

"Yeah," Maria agreed sharing their information. "We found one of those snake skin things off of Elm Street."

Courtney realized who was behind all of this, "Nicholas."

"This is our fault," Isabel felt that they lured the Skins to Roswell.

"No, it's hers," Tess pointed to Courtney with disgust. "You led the Skins straight to Roswell, Courtney!"

Michael reminded, "She's with us, Tess."

Tess didn't buy that, "What did your people do to the town?"

"They're not my people," Courtney defended herself.

Max took control of the situation before it got out of hand, "Stop pointing fingers. We're the ones who destroyed their harvest. They're here to settle the score with all of us."

Isabel had been nervously peering out the window, and she freaked out when she saw Nicholas and Ida from Copper Summit approaching. "Into the bathroom! They're coming! Now!" The whole group ran into the small bathroom of the Crashdown as Isabel instructed Tess. "There's two of them…Nicholas and Ida. Hide us."

Tess nodded as she closed her eyes. "Oh, please don't let me die like Elvis," Maria knew that Tess could only hold the mindwarp for a short period of time, and there was a chance they could get caught. Maria began feeling a little claustrophobic; with her heart pounding she found Michael's hand and squeezed it tight.

After a few minutes of waiting in the bathroom Max finally declared, "I think it's safe to come out."

Tess was the first to stumble out of the bathroom and she staggered to the counter clutching her head. "Oh my God. Tessie, what's wrong?" Maria rushed over to her side.

"I've never come up against power like that before," Tess massaged her temple. "It feels like…someone took a sledge hammer to my head."

Maria offered, "I'll go get you some water."

Tess shook her head, "No, that's okay. I'll be fine."

"Are you sure?" Maria asked.

Tess gave her a weak smile, "Yeah, I'm okay Ria."

Maria felt a surge of confidence, "We're going to make it aren't we?"

"We've come this far," Tess shared Maria's optimism.

"Oh my God! Max!" Isabel cried, as Courtney lay crumpled on the floor.

"Oops," Maria told her sister. "I think I spoke too soon." Maria observed that Courtney's skin looked as wrinkled as a raisin. "Well she is over sixty years old."

Max and Liz came bursting out to the serving floor from the back. "She just collapsed," Isabel briefly explained.

Michael looked a little worried, "Max, you gotta help her."

"Let's get her upstairs," Max ordered.

Michael and Maria worked together to get Courtney upstairs and into Liz's bathroom. "Um…ok, maybe we should taker her clothes off?"

Liz took over for Michael, "I got her." Tess helped Liz and Maria remove Courtney's clothing just as Isabel kept the boys from gawking by using her powers to shut the door. "Ok," Liz said.

Isabel turned on the water to the bathtub, "What now?"

"Um…you know, from what…from what she said, the husk is starving," Liz tried to think but the weight of Courtney in her arms was becoming a problem. "Her thighs are looking like they're two canned hams."

"I heard that, you bitch," Courtney responded as Liz, Tess and Maria lowered her into the tub in only her bra and underwear.

"Uhh!" Liz felt relieved to drop the extra weight from her shoulder.

Isabel had an idea that might work, "Well…what if we tempt it with food from outside the membrane…sort of like an all-you-can-eat buffet or something?"

"Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's worth a try," the science whiz in Liz began to waken. "We need, like, some vitamins and minerals and…and nutrients."

Maria pulled out a small pill box from her pocket, "OK, we've got ginko, bee pollen, echinacea, C, D, E, calcium, St. John's wort, and Pamprin." She dropped each pill into the water and noticed that all the girls were looking at her weird. "What? I'm dating Michael Guerin."

* * * "Main Street looks clear," Max told Michael as he checked out the town through Liz's telescope. "I just wish I knew where they were hiding."

"You think she'll be okay?" Michael asked wanting to know his opinion.

Max replied, "I don't know. You and Courtney have gotten close."

"Not exactly," Michael looked away.

"How's Maria feel about that?" Max was concerned about his friend's feelings.

"Why do you care?" Michael spat out. "You've never been interested in my social circles before."

Max didn't falter after Michael's outburst. "You were never sleeping with the enemy before."

Michael couldn't believe he thought that about him, "And I'm not now. I would never do that to Maria."

"Then why was she at your apartment this morning?" Max was still being protective.

Michael confessed, " 'Cause she wanted to show me how the husk fit. That's it."

"Good," Max decided to let it go.

However Michael continued, "The way I feel for Maria is like nothing I ever felt before especially for another girl."

"Yeah, I know what you mean," Max said in a low voice.

"She's the one Max," Michael declared with no hesitation and complete sincerity. "I know she is."

"Just don't mess it up like you do with everything else," Max warned with a little edge to his voice.

Michael pushed him out of the way, "Let me take a look."

* * * "Pretty quick recovery, don't you think?" Tess said with distrust as they hovered over Courtney who made a speedy recovery in the nutrient bath. "This 'I've fallen and I can't get up routine seems a little too convenient." Tess shot Maria a look before continuing, "I think it's time for a Q and A. what exactly did the Skins do?"

"I don't know," Courtney replied.

Tess wanted answers, so she eyed the chain that connected to the drain plug. In one swift movement Tess grabbed the chain and pulled. "No," Courtney responded.

"What happened to our families?" Isabel took over the questioning.

Courtney started talking, "Time exists in multiple subset dimensions on our planet. Nicholas must have a technology to impose one or more of these here."

"Speak English," Isabel demanded.

Courtney could hear the water gurgling down the drain, "It's like being on Pacific and Eastern and Central and Mountain time all at once. Human bodies can't function. They simply disappear."

"To where?" Liz pressured. "Where are our parents, our friends…Alex? Where is everyone? Are they dead?"

"Water's getting low, where are they?" Maria gave Courtney a stern look.

"Somewhere!" Courtney exclaimed. "Another dimension, another plane of existence! I don't know where! They seem to have just…shifted."

"Well, can we get 'em back?" Maria asked cutting Courtney a little slack.

Courtney confessed, "I don't know." She pleaded to Maria with her eyes, "Please." Maria took pity on her; she nodded to Tess who put the drain plug back into place.

Isabel continued to question, "Why hasn't Liz disappeared?"

"I don't…I don't know," Courtney said.

Maria reminded, "We were out of town this morning, thank God."

Courtney could see that Liz looked worried, "It probably bought you guys some time."

"Maria's not going to disappear," Tess declared.

Courtney raised her eyebrows, "And why is that?"

Maria realized Tess's mistake, "Well, congratulations. You caught me. I'm not completely human."

"I thought there was only the Royal Four," Courtney seemed confused.

Maria added, "Plus one."

"But you are still part human," Courtney wanted to make sure.

Maria nodded, "Yeah."

"So there is still a chance you can disappear," Courtney threw out which made Tess angry.

Tess sneered at her; "You are more likely to disappear first."

"I can't take anymore of this," Liz stormed out of the bathroom.

Maria knew that it wasn't safe for them to be alone, so she ran after her. "Liz, wait up!" Maria called after her.

Liz was on her way downstairs, "So what did she mean by 'buy us some time'?"

"Don't worry about it," Maria comforted as they found their way back to the serving floor of the Crashdown. "She said we slipped through a window, we'll be fine." Just as Maria said that a man they recognized as a Skin entered the café.

"Oh," Liz was caught by surprise.

"Run!" Maria told her but Liz just stood there in complete horror.

Part 12 | Index | Part 14
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