Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Chasing Hope"
Part 17
by Candy Doris
Disclaimer: The characters are not ours, just the creative circumstances in this particular fanfic came from our minds.
Summary: All our favorite characters are chasing every sense of the word. When the aliens leave to follow destiny, their earthling counterparts are forced to follow a destiny of their own with Hope being their only guidance. But what happens when the past and future, destiny and hope blend together and the future becomes past and the hope becomes destiny?
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: R
Author's Note: There are two imaginations behind this fanfic. One in California, one in Florida. A chance meeting empowered us to work together, each using our individual talents of editing and writing, respectively, and ultimately taking the first steps in achieving our dreams. Please let us know what you think. (Your conscious will eat you alive until you do!) Please copy both of us at the following email address: &
Two Days Later

“So, how’s Marianna doing?” Max asked as soon as Michael came in the door.

Only minutes earlier Isabel called to let Max and Michael know that her photo shoot was running later than expected and she wouldn't be able to make their February get-together. She told Max to let Michael know he would be at the hospital later to check in on Marianna and bring Alex some dinner since she was certain he was quickly tiring of cafeteria food.

“She’ll make it,” Michael said with certainty about Marianna's condition.

“You sound so sure. Two days ago you didn’t believe she would make it through the night,” Max said reaching across the table for a bottle of Tabasco to douce his fries.

“Two days was practically centuries ago, Max. She’ll live. Trust me.”

Michael spoke with such confidence that Max began to worry he might be fooling himself. He knew Michael hated the idea of losing a patient, but Max also knew the consequences of false hope. “Michael, I’ve never seen you like this. Since the day she came in you’ve been acting strange.”

“Strange?” Michael asked.

“Yes, Michael. You’ve seemed sort of…out of it." Max tried to explain. "You get really tense every time that someone mentions that Marianna might not make it. I mean, I understand you feel responsible for your patients, but I‘ve never seen you so…worked up.

You're more worked up over Marianna that I've ever known you to be over any of your patients.” Max knew how desperate Michael always felt about saving the lives of his patients, but he never saw Michael to be this unrealistic about a patient with such severe head injuries. Max knew most of the other hospital staff were prepared for the worse. The news headlines told the story nightly.

“I don’t know how to explain what I feel, Max. Since the first time I saw her, I felt something. Something...” Michael struggled to find the words. "Something..."

“Something like…” Max tried prompting Michael share more of his feelings. But as Michael began stumbling over words, Max realized Michael wasn't even sure how to explain to himself what he was truly feeling.

“Something...weird,” Michael said shrugging his shoulders to signify he couldn't find the right words and was finished searching.

“Weird?” Max knew Michael didn’t want to talk about it anymore, but he had to keep trying.

“She is one of those vibrators," Michael said looking down at the plate of lunch he didn't feel like eating.

"She's a...she's a what?" Max said completely confused.

"I don’t know, Max," Michael began. "It’s like my own life depends on whether or not I can save her's. There is just this unexplainable force that's moving me when I am operating on her, a force that's telling me I MUST save her!”

Max stuffed another fry into his mouth and nodded his head as he thought he'd finally seen the light. “Would the whole fame thing have anything to do with this...force?” Max asked thinking he'd nailed Michael's strange behavior. He reasoned to himself that the fame was the only possible explanation for why Michael would feel so strongly about Marianna. After all, Michael barely knew her. In fact, he didn't know her at all. They'd never been formally introduced and, considering the circumstance, they likely would never be introduced. The only other person Max had ever known Michael to be attracted to without a proper introduction was Maria. And that introduction did eventually happen, even if it took Liz being shot to make it happen. "Huh," Max thought. "Seems it takes near fatal situations for Michael to get interested in a girl."

“No. Definitely not," Michael argued. "Marianna's fame has nothing to do with it. There's something more. It’s almost like I know her,” Michael said raising his eyebrows expecting Max to understand.

“Michael, the whole world knows her,” Max said being what he thought was the only voice of reason present at the table.

“Max, this is real." Michael said raising his voice in an attempt to make Max take him seriously. "I mean, it's like I REALLY know her," Michael said trying to further emphasize his point.

"Oh, well if you REALLY know her..." Max began sarcastically.

"Max!" Michael practically yelled surprising Max and everyone else in the crowded cafe. He looked around at all the faces that were staring at him. He lowered his head and looked up at Max with only his eyes. He whispered, "I...I think…I think I’m falling in love with her.”

“WHAT?” Max shouted and coughed as he choked on the fry he'd just popped into his mouth. He glanced around the cafe at everyone who was again staring at their table. He smiled as if to say, "Nothing to see, people."

Max knew that if Michael, the emotional stone, was actually using the "L" word, then something way beyond strange was definitely going on. Though Michael had proved on more than one occasion that he was a changed man since the whole Maria thing, Max never expected he would fall in love again this easily. And with a perfect stranger? The fact that Marianna was famous didn’t make her any less of a stranger. "And where did this leave Maria?" Max wondered. Ever since Liz informed them about Maria’s fatal car accident, Michael had been depressed. In fact, Michael chose to be a surgeon so that he would be able to save people’s lives, especially those who had been in car accidents. Though Max didn't feel it was healthy, Michael's entire life practically revolved around righting a wrong. Michael felt he owed that much to Maria. Regardless of how much Max and Isabel argued with Michael, he forever blamed himself for Maria’s death. He believed that his desire to follow destiny was the soul reason Maria died. Life outside of the hospital had seemed to lose all meaning for Michael. He swore that he would never love anyone else again. Max knew that Michael had spent countless nights locked in his house refusing to go out. The only place Michael felt needed was at the hospital working on critical patients. Considering all of that, Max wasn't sure whether he should be worried that his friend was acting so abnormal or if he should be happy that his friend finally found a reason to love again.

“Maxwell, I know what you’re going to say. But I can’t help it. I must save her,” Michael said in a stern voice.

“Michael, I’m not telling you to let her die. I would never do that. I just think you should be careful."

"Carfeul?" Michael questioned.

"We can't be sure of exactly who it is you are falling for. Besides, sorry for asking, but what about Maria?” Max asked.

“Maria? What about her?” Michael was more confused than ever.

Max watched Michael's expression change. It didn’t take a genius to see that just the mention of Maria’s name still had enormous effects on Michael. Regardless of how much he tried to hide it, Michael still loved Maria. And it still hurt him to think about her. As much as he wanted him to be able to move on, Max knew Michael would always have an empty spot in his heart that only Maria could fill. Not that Max could blame him. Max knew that Liz would forever have her hands around his heart.

“Weren’t you in love with her?” Max asked knowing the answer. He was hoping his question would remind Michael that true love, the kind of love he had for Maria, takes a lot more than the Nightingale Syndrome could ever begin to muster.

“Of course, I was! I am. I'll always be. But...well...okay, here's the part where she comes in,” Michael spoke stumbling over his thoughts.

“Confusion!" Max said waving a hand in the air to stop Michael. "Michael, can you please choose a topic and stay with it for more than ten seconds?”

“Max, when I was performing surgery on her, I had...visions. And I saw things.”

“Visions? What kind of visions? What things are you talking about?” Max was concerned why Michael would get visions from a person he'd never met before.

“It was like the visions I had of Maria a long ago. I saw parts of her life. I felt her emotions. She's so much like Maria,” Michael smiled excitedly.

“What did you see exactly?” Max worried the visions he got from Marianna might not be such a good sign.

“I don't know. I can't pinpoint exactly what I saw," Michael scrunched his eyebrows trying to remember. "…What I do remember seeing a little girl...she had bouncy blonde hair. Max she was beautiful," Michael face changed and he smiled remembering the little girl in his vision. "And I felt…something. Something toward the girl. I can’t explain it, Max, but there’s something definitely about them! I felt what Marianna was feeling when she gave birth, Max." Michael shook his head in awe. "She felt a little sad, but mostly she felt content. Call me crazy, Max; but when I'm so much as even in the same room with her, I…I…it’s like I feel the same feeling as whenever I was with Maria."

"Michael," Max stalled looking for the right words.

"She sends the same vibes I got from Maria," Michael continued as he stared into space searching desperately to find the phrase that would tell Max exactly what he felt coming from Marianna. "She’s another one of those vibrators.”

“Michael," Max shook his head. Everything Michael shared with him made Max worry that perhaps Marianna wasn't what she seemed on the surface. "Maybe they weren’t really visions. Maybe you were just hallucinating...recalling memories.”

“No, the visions were real. They weren’t just memories. I saw things...things I’ve never seen before. I felt things, Maxwell. And the visions were pretty intense. It couldn’t have been my imagination,” Michael spoke looking down at the table hoping Max was wrong. He couldn't bear the idea that the first real feelings he'd had since Maria were false.

“Michael, I...I think she might be one of us,” Max finally admitted his suspicions.

“What?" Michael laughed. "Max, are you out of you mind?”

“Remember when we first met Tess?" Max began explaining. "Remember the way she could to trick minds? She could make people see things that weren’t actually there.”

“Max, she's not an alien," Michael smiled and shook his head in disbelief. "No. She can’t be. And don’t ask me how I know because I can't explain. I just know. Besides, how in the world would she be able to know Maria? How could she show me visions of things that happened with me and Maria?”

Max knew convincing Michael that Marianna could be anything less than perfect was going to be difficult. “Michael, who knows what powers she may have? For all we know, she could be ripping those images from your mind. We’ve seen it happen already. How can we be so sure that she is not like that?”

“Max, I thought you were the mind of reasoning. I figured you'd's like you and Liz. She can’t be an alien. Those images were real. I saw things that I’ve never seen before. You saw stuff with Liz you'd never seen before. Besides, must I remind you that she was in a coma? She still is! How could a person in a coma have enough brain activity to reach into my mind, find memories I've pushed to the very back, and pull them out and show them to me like they were a movie on the big screen? Max, this is ridiculous.”

“You’re right," Max accepted defeat. He knew Michael had his heart set on a miracle connection and would not open his eyes to any other possibility. "Listen, I guess I'm just overreacting. But we can't take anything for granted. And you have to promise not to mention the visions to anyone."

"What, do you think I'm nuts? The hospital would institutionalize me in the blink of an eye. They wouldn't want some nutcase working on the heads of their patients," Michael assured Max he'd not lost his mind.

"I know," Max confirmed. "I just can't believe that the FBI has closed our case. All I am saying is that we should always be on the lookout when it comes to the strange and unusual.”

“I understand what you're saying, Maxwell. But it's not like that. At least not with her. I will save her, Max. I need to find out what all this means.”

Part 16 | Index | Part 18
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