FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Crash Down"
Part 3
by Gyro
Disclaimer: Those darned characters are still there…in my head! But I don't want Jason Katims et al to take them away!
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Calling for reader patience: this is post 'Wipe Out' but, readers, please appreciate that, unlike you lucky Americans, I am not privileged to see the second series yet. My gratitude to, Joan's Roswell Guide and the enthusiastic writers of the transcripts. Otherwise, I'd still be in the dark. Hope that WB 'movers and shakers' realize that there are ROSWELL fanatics all over the world. . even though we never knew about the Tobasco drive. And some of us want Michael to stop being a sh..t and for Maria to wake up and smell someone else's coffee. I'm aiming for the latter. My heroine has suffered enough!
It was eight-thirty when Tess arrived, fresh and primped, in a skimpy top in some violent pink which showed off her cleavage and the ultra-blonde hair.

Michael's gratitude showed itself in gentleness.

"Hi, Tess."

"Hel-loo to you, Michael. Seems that human celebrations are not our thing, right? On the outside yet again."

* Oh, yeah. She was bitter that Kyle had chosen some cheesy Whitman gathering over a night with her.*

"Do I need a night of Alex Whitman 'whittering ' on about his original compositions?" Michael sneered cynically at his own joke and Tess responded, all too willingly.

"And do I need a night of Maria, with the oh-so-plunging neckline and the vi-o-lent lipstick on those oh-so-generous-let-me-kiss-you lips, crooning down a microphone to do her song THREE times at least!" Michael inwardly winced: he would have liked it. But he played the game for Tess's sake and because lashing out felt better than feeling down.

He tried honesty with himself by changing the subject.

"You were great yesterday. You saved our lives…and those of every other human punk in Roswell." For some odd reason he thought of the young male studs ogling Maria in her underwear through the glass; then he thought only of Maria in her underwear.

Tess grimaced and gestured for a beer in the fridge behind the counter. Michael slid over to oblige her, cracking one open for himself at the same time.

They leaned companionably towards each other.

"No big deal," sighed Tess. "At least someone has said 'Thank you'."

This harmless remark did not make Michael feel better. Tess was not the one he should be thanking tonight for putting his world right and he knew it. Left to his own devices he seemed to have messed all that up.

"Just give Kyle a night off," said Michael sympathetically. "He'll be bringing you orange juice in bed tomorrow morning."

Tess looked at him frankly. "I wish." She said. " He's done nothing else but talk about Mar-ii-a all day today. I was going absolutely mad. I'm oh-so grateful that I wasn't invited tonight to see 'the fearless leader' in action."

Michael was startled. Somehow he had heard that idea before. "Whaddya mean?" Somehow he had never pictured Maria as a leader; she did not even make a good follower in his book. Too mouthy.

" The human divinity must tell us that one. I can't. Can you imagine Maria as any kind of leader? Turns our situation into a joke, not so? " Tess grimaced and took a gulp of her beer. Michael followed suit. Fortunately it was quiet, so extreme focus on the hamburgers would not be needed for the rest of the evening.

Tess continued with her theme, which obviously ran close to her heart. " Maria? A leader? What a laugh! Kyle must be as beserk in that idea as he is about Buddha! Christ! These humans!" Another gusty gulp of beer followed this remark.

Michael smiled slowly. "Tess. I do believe that you're jealous. And of little Maria, too! Now that is a joke!" He despised himself for scorning Maria; he hated himself with a passion but he was lashing out against Fate in the only way he ever learned how. Michael was much better at fighting than he was at giving in with grace. And shame was his punishment.

Tess gave him a beery smile and placed a firm hand on his arm. For a moment he convinced himself it was Courtney - a blonde female figure leering towards him confidingly. But he wanted a shy, insecure blonde with green eyes who would have laid her hand in hesitation, waiting for one sign from him before throwing himself into her arms. Lust was a misleading thing.

"Michael. Let me tell you a joke. Kyle and Maria. They're so heady about yesterday that…do you know what? They've BOTH signed up for Advanced Science next semester. Now isn't THAT a joke?"

She warmed to her theme. "I can just see it. Maria…studying. Looking down at book. ' Now where was I? Am I learning Einstein's Theory of Relativity or are these just the words for Sheryl Crowe's latest number? I must get this right.'" She whined in falsetto with blatant satisfaction.

Tess leaned further on the counter and breathed beer gently, "Kyle…studying. Looking down at football pads." A gruff confused bass tone. " ' Now which one do I need? Which one is important? How does Einstein help me reach the goal-line? It's real important to remember!" She barked a laugh and launched her lips towards the beer again - or would have done if Michael hadn't stopped her.

"Don't do this," he said gently. " You're just…torturing yourself. You don't really despise Kyle…just like I don't really feel that way about Maria. We're just…hurting." He took the beer glass out of her hand.

He glanced around the diner. An old guy, a world-weary expert of the streets, was lifting chips, one by one, and dipping them into tomato sauce. He nursed a glass of water. Two girls, too young to be of interest to Michael, were chatting animatedly in the corner, and binging out on cherry colas and cheesecake. Tonight was a dead night, not just for him, it would seem.

This had been a long day.

Tess's face crumpled suddenly. "I just wanna be liked, ya know? I thought that Kyle…" she broke off and sniffed violently before groping for a tissue in her purse, " I thought that Kyle was different… physically human…very…but at least he gave me time…I thought he cared. Bloody Maria." She broke down then, and pushed the Kleenex aimlessly about her face to wipe away the tears.

Bloody Maria. * Was that how he felt? * Michael pondered. 'Bloody Maria' conjured up other visions for him - of the fragile blonde, in some dark place far away from him with human blood, dripping, dripping…dripping her life away in a place where he could not help. And she would be in that dark place on some mad impulse to save him…from himself. He wanted to howl with pain at the thought. Maria would have taken days, months, to die for him. He knew that now. But it was all too late.

She had given up on him. There were so many tell-tale signs. Her hair - hanging loosely these days. He knew that she didn't spend the hours styling it as she had done before they knew each other. Her face, always tired, sometimes without make-up, always care-worn: the legendary smile somehow wiped away, as if some ammonia-based cleaning material had obliterated it forever. He had done this. And today. The cool indifference was a new strategy for her: his greatest fear that it was NOT a strategy but just a symptom of her feelings. Once… she had showed him her heart - every blip of happiness or fear. Today she had chilled out her happiness to hide it from him. The realization made him bleed internally. He had lost her.

The old street guy waved a hand for the bill and Michael looked left and right for the young waitresses. He sighed. They were taking a cigarette break in the back again. He left Tess blubbering into her Kleenex and took the yellow slip.

" That'll be four dollars, sir."

The old guy perked up at the 'sir'. No-one had bothered with that civility for years now. He fumbled in a tattered pocket in a purposeless kind of way. Michael kinda knew how he felt.

"No problem, sir." Said Michael gently, "It's on the house. Just don't tell the Management."

The old man was grateful and Michael felt good - for the first time today.

He ushered the old guy to the door and watched him weave his way aimlessly down the yellowed street, bobbing from side to side under the artificial glare of streetlights. It could have been Hank. Or himself in fifty years' time if some human, a special human, had not shown him that he was worthy, had talents, was loveable.

A jeep roared to a stop outside the door. Michael looked through the glass dispassionately to watch Kyle bounce out of the vehicle as if he were preparing for a home run. Or something.

Kyle bounded for the door, and crashed into Michael as if he were a worthy member of the opposition team.

"Hey!… Michael! Is Tess here?" Before Michael had a chance to reply, Kyle had barged his way past him and was burying himself all over Tess.

"Baby. You're here."

"Kyle, you've been drinking again!" Tess managed to instil reproof into her tone, over-riding her relief to see him. Her own words were slurring.

He sank down on the adjoining bar stool and Michael drifted up to them, interested to see where this would go.

" You gotta forgive me, Tess. Just tonight. Yesterday, I helped to save the human race. Doesn't that count for somethin'?"

Kyle grinned, boyishly, and reached for the dregs of Tess's beer glass. Michael and Tess simultaneously reached out their hands to stop him.

"Spoilsports." Kyle was clearly intoxicated.

Michael gently prised the beer glass out of Kyle's needy fingers as Kyle lifted his head with difficulty to look at him. "O.K. So I'm drunk. Is that a crime?"

Kyle looked up at them with eyes which were not quite focused. "It's a legal drug, right? That's what my dad tells me. And I ALWAYS believe my dad."

Michael despised himself, but he went to fetch a beer for Kyle and poured it slowly, foaming, into a clean glass.

"What did you mean, Kyle? I mean, about saving the human race?"

Kyle reached for the beer and downed half of it in a single gulp. He looked straight at Michael, with…something…in his eyes. It wasn't dislike…it wasn't affection…it was some contradictory feeling that lay in-between.

" You won't want to hear this, Michael," Kyle slurred his words, although he was trying desperately to be precise. "Listen, buddy," Kyle was on a beery roll of thought. Tess lifted her eyes to the ceiling but Michael could tell she was relieved, even happy.

" Listen, buddy," Kyle steeled himself for a great thought, " You may not know it but yesterday.. Maria and I…Mar-i-a and I - we saved the world. Sav-ed - the- world, my bro. Get that?" He rested his head on his hands, like Atlas, holding up the world.

Tess jerked into awareness. Michael understood her response. As they understood it, Tess had saved the world yesterday, to make it a safe place for today.

Michael offered him the glass, but Tess waved it away, and eventually seized it from Michael's grasp. She shook her head.

"Sooo…you saved the world, Kyle?" Michael said slowly. "Tell me, MY BRO. And just how did you do that?"

Kyle looked secretive and guilty all at the same time before he buried his face in folded arms. He sighed deeply then lifted his head. " No. I gotta be truthful. Wasn't me. Tried…and failed. Was wiped out. Ya know? Wipe out?"

He grinned at them, suddenly and unexpectedly, flushed with success and self-confidence. Despite the jock act, Kyle was never really secure. * Like Maria* thought Michael with a pang. * and maybe…maybe…me, too." Too many life dramas. Too much hurt.

Tess was prickly. After all, she was the one to use the alien force successfully, wasn't she? "Soo, Kyle. Tell us. Who saved the world, then? I mean, like yesterday?"

Kyle lifted only his head; his arms stayed firmly glued to the counter. He leered at them through a haze of intoxication.

"You'd never guess," he giggled. "You'd never, ever guess even in a million years."

"So. Tell us." Michael made the point quietly and patiently.

A beery giggle. "Maria. SHE did it. Remedial Science. We were such dorks. But it paid off, didn't it? I mean, you're here' I'm here; everyone else is here. Miracle."

* Maria, Maria, I've just met a girl called MARIA… * The stupid song that Diane Evans played in sentimental moments punctured the confused haze of Michael's thoughts.

" What about Maria…exact -ly?" Michael propelled the words through tight lips.

Kyle wanted to retch. They could both see it. But he didn't. He waved away Michael's proferred plastic bowl, half-filled with massacred tomatoes, and coughed energetically instead.

He crowed triumphantly.. "Maria and I. We killed the surge field. Well, let me be truthful. She did it on her own. But…but I reminded her HOW! Remedial Science. It killed us at the time and saved us yesterday. Isn't that just…too ironic?"

"Little dorky Maria. Bubbly de Luca. I lusted after that girl when she wa' ten. Did I ever confess that? No? Probably as well. Her mother would have killed me. Tried to kiss her once. By the swings. PUSHED my tongue into her mouth…but…didn't switch her on. She retched and pushed me away. Never tried again. Thought she'd be easy. Wasn't though. Sur-prise!"

Eventually a beery Kyle ran out of steam and sank into a melting mass on the counter top.

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