FanFic - Michael/Maria
"By Definition "
Part 7
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. "Dancer" quote is from The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I would like everyone reading this to send cosmic vibes to my Lit teacher. I just handed in an essay (Which delayed the fic! Bad teacher, I know…) and these vibes need to be saying, “Nes deserves an A+. And a gold star.”

Two days later


“Sugar?” Ms. Clarke held her hand out, “Michael? Sugar?”


“The sugar, you kooky child. Two cups.”

“Oh, sorry.” Michael handed the librarian the measuring cup. “I’m just kinda tired.” He cracked his neck, “I’m here though. Look, flour.”

Ms. Clarke smiled, “This was a really good idea, Michael. I’m sure your friends will like it.”

“If I can get it, right, I’ve never baked before. Thanks for helping me.”

“But are you sure they’ll like tabasco?”

“Oh, it’ll be great. We like it, don’t we?” Michael had decided to make a tabasco tunnel cake. He’d gotten the idea for a chocolate bundt cake with a ring of equal parts fudge pudding and tabasco sauce from the Flying Saucer cakes they served at the Crashdown. Originally, he’d planned on using cake mix, jell-o, and the bottle, but Ms. Clarke had been so enthusiastic he asked for her help. When the day’s errands and various other duties had been accomplished, she'd marched him of to the home ec lab.

Michael figured it for a peace making gesture. Max was still a little mad for looking like a jerk in the library.

“Maybe you should ease off on the painting for a while, if you’re tired. It takes a lot out of you. Emotionally, I mean, it’s exhausting. Here,” she put the spatula in his hands. “Pour half the batter in the pan, then the pudding and tabasco. Yes, you’re doing it right. Now, put the rest of the batter on top. Great, now we’ll pop it in the over and voila!”

Michael held the pan gingerly and tried not to burn himself. He stifled a yawn. “Hmmm, maybe I should take a nap.”

“Yes, you should. The cake will still rise if you’re sleeping.” Ms. Clarke rummaged in a trunk by the sewing machine and pulled out a red and green patched quilt. Leading Michael to the Family Like part of the room, she laid him and the quilt down on an old orange couch.

“I feel like I’m in kindergarten,” he mumbled. Secretly, he relished the attention. Hank had never tucked Michael in. He could admit to himself, sometimes he wished Ms. Clarke was his mother or even his grandmother. When he was with her, he didn’t feel an unsteady or discarded. Alone, he could admit that he liked who he was when she was around. Maybe he could have been that person if someone had loved him.

“Then I guess I’ll have to tell you a story,” she ran her fingers through his spiky hair. Ms. Clarke smiled, she had a knack for choosing the special children. She conceded that all children were special, but her helpers tended to the incredible. Insightful, talented, good-natured. She knew how to pick them. Michael Guerin could go far, if he wanted. If, when his senior year rolled around, he was interested, she would bring up art school.

Her grandfather, great-grandmother, and several other relatives for the last hundred years had attended the Corcoran school in Washington DC. He could get there on his own merits, assuredly, but recommendations from alumni would assure they would come begging after him.

“This is the story of a family, the Grijalvas. The Grijalvas were limners, painters, and they lived in the duchy of Tira Virte. But they were not just painters, they were special. The art ran in their blood, but more than that, some of the males of their line possessed magic. What they painted, came to be...”

A soft rumble interrupted her. Michael could hear the story later. She pulled the covers up to his chin and rearranged them to cover his feet before standing up. The frosting would not make itself.


Isabel rolled her eyes, "You know, Max, you could have just said, 'I want to go make googly eyes at Liz' and it'd be okay."

“I was hungry.” The dark boy smiled sheepishly.

“But we could have waited for Michael. You peeled out of the parking lot.”

“Oh, he’ll find a ride.”

“You’re still upset, huh.” It was a statement.

Max was saved from further embarassment by the appearance of their waitress.

“Hey, guys, what can I get for you?” Liz leaned towards Max. Isabel wondered what it would take to push Liz into her brother’s lap. By accident, of course.

“No dessert.” Michael slid into the booth carrying a white cardboard box.

“No outside food, Michael.” Liz pointed to a sign on the wall.

“Aw, c’mon, Liz. I baked it myself.” He lifted up the cover to reveal the fudge glazed bundt cake sitting daintily on a doily. He’d been so refreshed from his nap he’d even made little chocolate leaves.

Liz was practically drooling, “I’ll cut you a deal. If you share, I won’t confiscate it.”

“Sure, Liz,” he looked up slyly, “didn’t know you liked tabasco tunnel cake.”

“Nevermind. Ugh.”

Isabel looked into the box, “How’d you manage that? I didn’t know you baked.”

“I’m a Renaissance man. Did you know, little sister, that I am also a proficient airplane pilot, fashionista, and-”

"Liz!" The blonde's shriek was head splitting. Maria was standing ten feet away, at the door. And she had a new haircut. She had a bang now, and it slanted across her forehead. The back had been shorn and leveled as well. Michael noticed the way it exposed her unblemished neck. He remembered the time she'd had to wear that ridiculous turtleneck in the middle of a heatwave...

Maria ran to her friend's side, "Guess what! No, you'll never guess! He called me! Again!"

The two girls let out another joyous shriek and jumped up and down.

"What's up, Maria," Isabel asked. Though she had grown closer to Maria and Liz, she knew nothing about the new development. She flashed a look at Michael, who looked like he was caving in on himself.

"Oh, hey, Isabel, Max." Maria waved and glanced at her watch, "Look at the time! I gotta change into uniform. Duty calls."

As the door swung shut behind Maria, Michael looked inquiringly at Liz.

"It's not my secret to tell."

"Liz?" Max was a little hurt. They had no secrets between them. Or at least, not on his side.

She nearly crumbled, "It's between Maria and her…her god."

Isabel didn't like the tension, "Hey, Max, let me up," she pushed Max out of the booth and into Liz. "Order for me, I'm gonna call Alex."

Looking back, she saw Max hold his arms out to Liz for balance. Touching, they stared into each other's eyes. "Just friends," Isabel snorted.


Michael watched his best friend make googly eyes at Liz. Thinking maybe, if he had deep brown eyes the soulful stare thing might’ve worked on Maria. Did brown even do Max’s eyes justice? He thought of them critically. They were sorta girly, all delicate long lashes. And they weren’t really brown, they were more earthy. Like a furry, woodland creature. Max had Bambi eyes. Yeh, earthy -which was funny, considering. Max and Liz wrenched there eyes apart when Michael began to heckle them because what was a soulful stare, really. Trite nonsense, people! Okay, he was being just a little harsh. Maybe. But the symmetry of their relationship bothered him. Happy families, looks, smarts -not an ounce of dissidence between them. He respected, but could not understand how they got worked up over each other.

They probably agreed on everything. And then he smiled, remembering Liz’s Xena imitation. He wondered if Max would like to hear about it.

Liz was okay, but give him a good Maria fight anyday.

Except for the fact that Maria wasn’t even acknowledging him anymore. Sometimes he thought that it was good that way. He’d probably end up just like her dad anyhow, abandoning…

At least, that bastard would at least get in Maria’s slapping distance before she turned her back on him.

“Michael, hey, man, you there?” Max was shaking him.

“Uh, yeh.”

“You wanna go somewhere?”

“Done staring already? That was quick.”


“Isabel, grab my hand and I’ll pull you up. Did you really have to wear those shoes?”

“Play nice, Maximilian.”

“I don’t see you helping me.”

Isabel grunted as her two brothers helped her up the rock, “No one told me we were coming up here. Did you think I wanted to ruin my new shoes?”

“I forgot how beautiful it is up here,” she looked around and began to spin. Michael and Max watched as her golden hair wrapped around her body. Their sister: the whirlwind, the brat, the Elle McPherson of the sophomore class.

“Uh, dizzy.” They laughed and helped her lie down between them on the rock.

This was a good place for them, where the chinks in their armor become rifts. Yawning gulfs. This rock in the middle of the desert, away from the highway, laden with their memories. It was almost a tie to home. Every time they visited they’d say, “We will come back soon.” But they don’t. They cannot allow these chasms.

A good place, and deep.

“Sometimes I feel so porous. Like honeycomb, you know?” Michael spoke up. He is neither whispering, nor speaking. The three are connected by more than love and species, they are linked by survival instincts. They don’t like to talk about it, though. “That things are happening all around me, but they wash right through. I don’t know sometimes. I don’t want to think about it. I want to think about going home and I feel guilty if I think about other things. Because, maybe, I’m being punished. They, I don’t know who, won’t let us come home because I don’t want it bad enough. So I gotta focus.”

Isabel grabbed his hand, she is shivering. “That’s not true. We all want it. Our whole lives, there has been nothing else.”

“No, Isabel. He’s right, sometimes, when I look at Liz I can’t keep home in my mind. She’s all I want.”

Isabel pursed her lips, “Then how come you’re not with her? That’s they way I feel about Alex and if I ever lost him-”

“That’s exactly why. I can’t be with Liz until I can be sure I can stay. She deserves better. That’s why we need answers. If we could just find our planet-” The three hushed, the words were coming too fast now. Too hard. And so, for a while, they drew inside themselves for calm. Each concentrating on the starscape, but trying not to think, “Which one is home?”

Michael broke the silence, “What if I could paint us there? Home, I mean.”

“What are you talking about?” Max asked.

“There’s this book, “The Golden Key,” where when some people paint certain things, they come true. I know it sounds crazy, but-”

“Was this a fairy tale, a children’s book?”

“Just listen, Isabel. Okay, just listen.” Michael stood up and paced while Max and Is leaned against each other. “I researched. It’s not an entirely new concept. There are lots of stories where life imitates art. Like the story where everything written on a magic typewriter comes true. There are movies, too.”

“A John Candy movie,” Isabel cut in. “You’re going on pop culture, Michael.”

“Look, just hear me out. Our species, our people aren’t like humans.”

“Yeh, super powers. No kidding, Captain Deduction.” Max gently squeezed Isabel’s hand, urging her to be quiet. If Michael was going to start sharing his plans -actually planning- before acting, Max was willing to give it a chance.

“I mean. Look at all our clues and powers: visions, dreamwalking, glyphs. They’re all highly visual. The molecular structure and the healing aren’t here nor there but they don’t require chanting or words or anything, you know.”

“I guess.”

“Think about it. None is very good at talking. We can’t sing a note. Did you ever think it’s because our people don’t talk? When we came out of our pods, we couldn’t talk.”

“You’re right. Isabel, remember, I understood you, but we couldn’t talk. Mom and Dad thought we might be deaf.”

“Exactly, Maximilian! Maybe in our original bodies, we don’t have the equipment to talk.”

“I still don’t know,” Isabel’s brow was furrowed, “it sounds like a fantasy or something.”

Max spoke up, “Aren’t we? A fantasy. Aliens, dreamwalking, telekinesis. Is, we’re livin’ la vida fantasy here. I don’t see why Michael can’t try.”

“We don’t even know what home looks like!”

“We could start small. Paint ourselves into Valenti’s office and get his files or something.”

Isabel gave in, “I guess, you could at least try. I mean, it wouldn’t be dangerous if it didn’t work. You’d just have a painting.”

Michael hugged her, “Thank you. Your approval does mean something to me, Is.”

Max joined in the hug, figuring Michael hugs were rare and not to be missed, “Like you wouldn’t have done it, anyway. But this way, Isabel gets cake.”


“...topic may not be an event or a person. It must be relevant in throughout the history of the world. Not just the seventies or the Middle Ages, throughout the history of the world...

Michael shook himself, wondering why he’d even bothered to come to class. Mr. Sommers was in full Ben Stein monotone mode. He wanted to fall asleep, like most of the class, but he couldn’t. He’d slept so much in the last few days it was almost like he was hibernating, but the dreams hurt.

His dreams were usually safe. But now they hurt.

So he stayed awake.

He tried to think about his new project and the approach. In the Grijalva story, the painters had to use items from their body. Hair for brushes. Bodily fluids mixed in the paint. All of the fluids, or just one? Sweat, spit, tears, urine, semen. And just how were they to be mixed?

“Michael? Hey, man, its lunchtime.” Max stood at Michael’s shoulder with his books. “Is it cool if we eat here? I gotta stop by locker first and dump all this stuff.”

“Whatever.” Michael grabbed his pencil and jacket before heading for the quad, “I’ll meet you in the quad.”

When Michael reached their usual group of benches, he stopped. Maria was there, chewing on a cucumber sandwich. They hadn’t spoken since the night in the dance studio. He could understand, now, why she hated him. And, it wasn’t like he made her life shine any brighter. So he left it all up to her. And she had moved on to some guy who actually called her.

Michael sat down and stuck his hands in his pockets, “So, uh, hi.”

“Hi.” She was aloof and her voice rang with finality.

“Good sandwich?”

She chewed.

He pulled his hands of his pockets and stared at them. “Yeh, uh, dance much lately?”

She swallowed, “Look, since you obviously are not possessed of the necessary social acumen, I’m going to spell this out for you. I’m not your friend. I don’t like you. I don’t like your hair. Now, go sit over there, far away from me, and return to whatever you were doing with your hands in your pockets.”

Michael knew what he should have done. He should have offered her a head-snapping retort on the way her shirt emphasized her more salient features. Or lack thereof. He should have attacked her anything, her blondeness, her waitresness, her humanity. This was the time to for a killing blow. But he could do nothing but try not to touch her.

Maria looked away from him, her eyes heavy with loathing until she spotted Isabel and Alex. They sat down at roughly the same time as Max and Liz; the girls began to chatter. Accustomed to Michael’s distanced look, Max and Alex discussed the history assignment.

Michael watched Maria unwrap another cucumber sandwich. Her hands unfolded the wax paper without tearing it.

“So,” Isabel started, “who’s been calling you? I want details!”

Michael looked up. She was glowing.

She was inaccessible.

“Oh, my gawd,” Queen Isabel’s friend Sienna ran up to them. “A limo just pulled up to the school.”

“A limo?” Alex asked.

“Yes, a limo, you...nice boy,” Sienna was too much the follower to insult the chosen consort. “I think it’s an actor. He was so totally hot.”


“The guy in the limo. Armani suit. Not old, but more like, aged. Robert Redford, Paul Newman aged.” She sighed, “Total hottie.”

The steady babble of the quad became frenzied as news of the limo seeped in. Those swift of mind had already taken into account that there were no limosines in Roswell, this person had been driven in a limo through the desert highway.

And then it all stopped. The proclaimed hottie appeared on the quad in his proclaimed Armani suit wearing a visitor’s pass.

He looked at the students, a little anxious. His eyes fell on their little group and Sienna let out another sigh.



Maria ran into her father’s arms. As he swung her up into his embrace, Liz was explaining everything to Alex, Is, and Max.

“It’s her dad. He first called her a few days ago, he said he’d been looking for her all these years. She wasn’t sure how she felt, but after a few phone calls, she asked him to come out here. That’s what I couldn’t tell you. Sorry.”

Maria was crying and laughing and smiling. Amy DeLuca was right, they had the same laugh, same eyes.

But, Michael reflected, this was no surprise. That was how he had painted Maria’s father.

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