FanFic - Michael/Maria
"By Definition "
Part 4
by Nes Petersen
Disclaimer: The characters of Roswell belong to Jason Katims, David Nutter, Melinda Metz, the WB and so many other lucky people. Geez, they're nearly as bad as Joss.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Feedback: Please! The more feedback I get, the faster I write. Truthfully. This one is formatted a little differently but it's for a reason.

Three weeks later.


Isabel Evans, Ice Queen Extraordinaire, could feel her heart race as she took a mental survey of her surroundings. When the footsteps faded behind her, she collapsed against the doorframe in relief.

"Gee, Is, chill. It was just my mom," Alex was lounging comfortably on his bed with a magazine.

"Exactly, Alex. Your mom. I've never met her before. I'm a girl. You're a boy. I'm coming to see you. You don't understand. Mothers have, like radar."

"Radar. I assure you my mother does not suspect that you're 'not of this earth.'"

"I'm not good enough for your son radar."

He smiled gently and took her hand. "Is, you're gorgeous, intelligent, the only thing my mom is thinking is, how I got you here."

"Well, no one else would give me guitar lessons," she purred coyly before leaning in for a kiss.

Alex's kiss was smooth and tender. She opened her mouth a fraction, letting his hot breath flow into her. He knew she'd been kissed by other guys before but not that she'd never really kissed back. Isabel thought she should tell him, did so, and was rewarded with another kiss.

"Minx," he whispered soft into her ear. "You are gorgeous -but where'd you hide the triangle?" He looked up and down her body, she was sheathed in a red sundress and her hair was down. She wore a lot more red now.

Isabel settled against him on the bed, idly fingering the strings of his guitar. Opening up to Alex had been so easy once the first spar was cast. True, wasn't open with everyone, but security was something new to her. He wasn't there because of urgent and dangerous obligation, but because he wanted to be...

"I don't understand how they did it."

Alex waited, knowing she had to work out the words.

"How they left Liz and Maria. Now that I know how things can be so right."

He hugged her tight to him, "Max and Liz haven't really left each other. They still love and make googly eyes, you know. Or would know if you weren't so busy making googly eyes at me."

She laughed, then sobered. "But what Maria, I've seen her maybe three times in the last few weeks. And that was at the Crashdown."

"She's coping. I was right about the dancing and singing, you know. She's at school right now. Sometimes, I hear her singing when she thinks no one is listening."

"God," Isabel said. "I don't understand why Michael refuses to be with her."

"She's not the only one he's refusing. I can't remember the last time I saw the brooding one."


Michael is in the dessert, near caves. The sun is at apex but he doesn't notice. He is concentrating on color. Closing his eyes, he sees her hair. Lemon, maybe a little darker. The strands vary in shade but never in softness. Smiling, he pulls out a folded pencil sketch. He remembers her mother's words, the same eyes. He is searching for pigments in the place that was, in a sense, his birthplace. He will search everywhere to find the perfect colors.


Maria is wearing a backless black leotard and stretching in an empty studio. These are motions her body knows from before heartache. Limbering slowly, her muscles respond vaguely to a tape she has not played in a year. Before heartache.


Eight coats of gesso were applied to the panel painstakingly. He has to be cautious. The panels were difficult to make, he cannot afford a mistake. And this painting must be perfect. Tacking the folded sketch to the wall, he begins the ink underpainting.


Maria closes her eyes to feel rhythm. She moves mechanically at first across the stage. Breathing steadily, her back is arched, moving on feet and hands. Slowly, it comes back to her. A third across the stage she rises up and remembers what it is to be absorbed by the dance. The music loves her if no one else does.


The strokes are coming now. Sunlight entering the studio in beams of gold. He steps back and corrects an ear. The painting must be perfect but not the man. He is, after all, human. He alternates glaze and paint, it must be perfect. There are no intrusions, nothing to mar his labor of love. Every line must be perfect.


Spinning and leaping, Maria does not realize her eyes are still closed. With each step and stretch, she becomes riverlike. Her body rolls and ebbs. She runs her hands through her hair. She can't stop. When Maria opens her eyes, she's broken clear.


He stares at panel. His arms are stiff from careful posturing. But it is worth it. The painting is perfect. Every shadow in its place. Afraid to leave it in the studio, but afraid to move it, the painting rises and lays flat on a nearby table. Michael blinks in surprise. Curious, he narrows his eyes. Cardboard egg cartons jump into the trashcan. He touches the palette, suddenly, it's clean of paint. Smiling now, he reaches for an x-acto knife and slices the palm of his right hand. He places his left hand over it, feels heat, and it is healed.

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