Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Chasing Hope"
Part 24
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: &
Maria lay back on her bed and closed her eyes. She felt as though she’d run a marathon. Her eyes were droopy and her arms and legs felt heavy. She decided to rest for just a moment while waiting for the nurse to bring Hope to her room.

With the aid of the pain medication dripping through her IV, Maria drifted to sleep. Images filled her head. She saw Hope descending the stairs at their apartment. Her daughter was beautiful in her new dress. Hope was smiling and showing Maria the locket Alex had given her. “Look,” she heard Hope say. “It’s a picture of you and me, Mommy!!!” Hope smiled.

Michael returned to Maria’s hospital room after learning the cardiac arrest in room 743 was a false alarm due to the patient’s heart monitor being disconnected when he attempted a trip across his room to the restroom. Michael stood just inside Maria’s door watching her sleep. He wanted to be near her…needed to be near her. He'd found himself being pulled back to her room. Michael sighed as he watched a smile creep across Maria’s face. He moved closer to her and took a seat next to her bed. He leaned back in his chair and simply watched her peaceful face.

Maria’s images of her daughter suddenly changed to back-to-back flashes of moments from her life. She sniffled as her Dalmatian licked away the tears that flowed uncontrollably when her father left. Maria rubbed her sleepy ten-year-old eyes while staying up late waiting for her father to come home as he’d promised her on the telephone the night before. She and Liz fell onto her bed in a fit of giggles when they tried on the uniforms for their first day of work at The Crashdown. Maria struggled to catch her breath when a shot rang out and Liz fell to the floor. She instinctually wrapped her arms around Michael when he kissed her to calm her during one of her outrages. Maria hung her head and, for the first time since her father had left, she felt inadequacy when Michael told her he wanted to be with Isabel because she could give him all he’d ever hoped for. Maria hung her arms out the car window in attempt to feel the winds of change as she stared at her face a license baring the name Marianna. She reached for a pearl-lined barrette and slid it into Hope’s hair while the pair got dressed for the Grammy’s. Maria felt helpless to protect Hope in the backseat of a black limousine as a heavy-duty truck barreled through the stoplight and headed directly for her door. The images slowed and a painfully bright light blinded her eyes from the left. She experienced an unmistakable emotion she'd become less familiar with in the past few years - utter fear. A terrifying silence hung in the evening air as the headlights came closer and closer. Finally, in desperation, Maria screamed into the silence. "Hope!" She looked to her right and saw Hope’s tiny body sitting next to her in the back seat.

“Mommy?” Maria heard Hope asking not understanding Maria’s fear. Maria lunged her own body over Hope’s and pushed her daughter’s head into the seat cushion.

Michael watched as Maria’s face changed expressions. He wondered what she was dreaming. He wondered if she dreamed of him the way he dreamed of her. Michael shook his head with disappointment at all the time wasted. "We could have been happy together. I know it. Sure, we fought...we fought a lot. But, I loved her. And I know she loved me," he thought. The thought of what could have been struck him intensely. "We would have been married by now." Michael laughed at himself. "Who would have ever thought that? But I would have married. No doubt." Michael smiled fantasizing the reaction Maria would have had when he popped the question. "I would undoubtedly owe Isabel my life for helping me pick out the perfect ring, arrange the perfect evening with dinner and a quiet walk. And then, I'd get down on one knee...and a few years later...well, Hope would have been mine," he imagined. "How could she do this to us? How could she just throw away any chance we...because she didn't know," Michael answered his own question.

Night became day the moment the truck collided with her car. "Mommy, it's fine. I'm okay," Maria heard Hope say. She watched as Hope opened the limo's door and ran across the street.

"Hope! Where are you going?" Maria called.

"To the park, Mommy!" Hope giggled.

Maria looked ahead of Hope and saw a bright green field surrounded by tall pine trees. In the middle of the field, the sun shown grandly on a giant slide. Maria got out of the car and ran behind Hope to the park. Maria and Hope laughed and joked as they made their way up the endless stairway to the top of the slide.

"Will you push me down the slide, Mommy?" Hope asked excitedly.

"Sure," Maria answered her daughter.

Maria helped Hope to get situated and ready to slide.

"Give me a big shove to the bottom, Mommy!" Hope said.

Just as Maria gave Hope a shove, she saw a man standing at the bottom of the slide. Immediately, she recognized the man as Agent Pierce. "No!" Maria screamed and flung her body forward to grab the back of Hope's shirt.

"Mommy, let me go!" Hope cried.

"No!" Maria shouted. "I won't let you hurt her!"

"Mommy, let go of me!" Hope shouted again and again.

Maria's grip on Hope's shirt weakened. "Give me your hand, Hope! Give me your hand!" Maria frantically screamed.

"No, Mommy! Let me go!" Hope cried.

Maria lost her hold on Hope's shirt. Maria cried Hope's name and watched as she slid down the forever-winding slide. The only thing Maria kept of Hope as she fell to her destiny was the locket Hope wore around her neck.

Michael watched Maria squirm in her hospital bed. Her forehead wrinkled and her eyebrows pointed inward. He could tell her dreams were not comforting. He knew that when patients of traumatic experiences slept, they often dreamed in horrifying drama. She looked uncomfortable, almost afraid. Michael loved her still and hated to see her in pain. He looked at her chart only to find that she was already receiving the maximum dosage of pain medicine. He wanted to help her. He wanted to ease her pain. He moved closer and sat next to her on the bed. He stroked her soft hair and mentally begged for her comfort.

Maria frantically made her way back down the steps of the giant slide. She was crying so hard she could barely see her feet as she felt for each step. When she found the bright green grass at the bottom of the steps, she took off running for the end of the slide. She prayed with all her might that she would make it to the bottom before Hope did. With each step Maria took, the end of the slide grew further and further away. The faster she ran and more the distance grew.

When she could run no more, Maria fell to her knees. She buried her face in her hands and cried Hope's name. Her worst nightmare had come true. The FBI had found Hope and had taken her away. Horrible images filled her thoughts as she fought to consider what incredible tests and experiments might be performed on her daughter by the heartless drive for knowledge. In the distance, Maria could see a figure dressed in white approaching her. Maria again placed her face in her hands refusing to look at the man. The person came closer and closer. Maria feared Agent Pierce was returning for her as well. "Bring her back!" Maria screamed still refusing to look at the man. "Bring her back!"

A soothing voice spoke to Maria. "You never lost her." The warm voice brought comfort to Maria and an instant sense of relief spread throughout her body. She knew the voice. It was the voice of the only man she'd ever truly loved. The voice of the only man she could ever love. The voice of the only man she held on to night after night despite his leaving her.

Maria raised her face to look at the man in white. Michael stood before her holding Hope in his arms.

Michael watched Maria tossing and turning in her hospital bed. He wanted desperately to comfort her. "It's gonna be okay," he whispered and moved in to gently kiss her forehead and kiss away her pain.

"Michael?" Maria spoke.

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