FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Desert Ice"
Part 1
by chrysophyta
Disclaimer: I have only borrowed the Roswell characters for this story. I returned them safely and tucked them into their beds. They are the property of Jason Katims and the WB, etc. No infringement intended. Only extraneous characters are mine.
Summary: Isabel has a secret, and Maria discovers a new threat.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: This takes place after "Destiny" and started as a what if question. for Ailis
Isabel was determined to have a good day. A good, normal day where all she had to worry about was her calculus quiz sixth period. She wore her favorite outfit with her favorite knee-high, black leather boots. She felt great. She looked great. She always looked great.

But her determination deflated quickly as she dragged her feet down the hall. She didnít feel right. She couldnít be sick, but she felt an indefinable sense of uneasiness. She felt queasy. Icky. There was no other word for it.

If only she could catch a cold. She would like to feel miserable. Her head all stopped up; sheíd sneeze and cough. Her mother would tuck the blankets around her, fix her a bowl of hot chicken soup. They'd sit on the couch and watch The Young and the Restless.

Isabel could fake a fever like the best of them. But having to lie dampened her enjoyment. On her way to World History, she bumped into Michael. He was less than enthusiastic about staying in school.

"Buy me a donut," he said.

Isabel considered it. How important could calculus be in the grand scheme of things? Max would probably say that calculus was the basis for science, for discovering unknowns. What could be more applicable to their life? But compared to a glazed donut, the choice was clear.

The Flying Donut was bright and warm and smelled sweet. Isabel felt oddly comforted by it. Ovens opened and closed, blenders whirred, and from somewhere in the back she could hear the slap of dough on a counter. She and Michael were the only customers. Michael was wolfing down a raspberry-filled donut. The raspberry filling spilled onto his fingers. Like blood.

Isabel swallowed thickly. It looked an awful lot like blood. She picked at her donut. But with one bite, she gagged. She spit it back out into the napkin.

"What's with you?" Michael said.

Where to begin, she thought. My destiny is to save the world. Two worlds. Not to mention that she didnít understand the first thing about calculating derivatives. Instead, she said, "It was too sweet."

He looked at her. He scooped a dollop of filling with his index finger and licked it off.

"I feel...not right," she said.

"Not right how?"

She didnít know. "I don't hurt," she said, which was all she knew for certain.

"Then what?" His voice was stern, almost annoyed. Which Isabel knew meant that Michael was worried. He just wanted to keep everyone safe.

"Ever since--" and then Isabel knew what was wrong. Knew it instinctively. "Tess," she said.

"What about her?" Michael said.

Michael's face moved in and out of focus. Darkness clouded her vision. And before she slid to the floor into darkness, she said softly, "Tess is a liar."

Maria used to have a life. Used to, as in the past, the distant past. She just went to school and went to work. She used to go to movies with Alex and Liz. Alex would get a big tub of popcorn with lots of butter; she'd get Twizzlers, and Liz would get Snowcaps. They'd share each otherís snacks make fun of the movie and then afterwards go get something to eat. They spoke a special language of friends whoíd grown up with each other. It had always been the three of them. Since forever. Always.

Except, now, she was living some bizarro version of a Beach Boys song: an alien for everyone.

Her life was ridiculous. She knew this even as she lurked outside The Flying Donut. But here she was, behind a tree, watching Michael and Isabel.

She had seen them slip out before fourth period. She had felt a moment of intense jealousy. Isabel, Isabel, Isabel: she formed the syllables in her mouth, punctuating them with venom. But it soon passed. She liked Isabel. Sometimes, anyway. Besides, there wasn't anything going on between them. They were more like brother and sister.

But Maria had been compelled to follow them anyway. And by doing so she promoted herself to the prestigious title of stalker.

She shouldn't be here. She should be in Spanish class daydreaming about Toby Thompson. He was tall and played baseball in tight white pants. She should be writing notes to Liz about how cute he was sleeping at his desk, with his mouth open, lips in a relaxed pucker, cheeks smushed against his arm.

Instead, she was watching Michael and Isabel through the window like a television program. A special episode in which the misunderstood, brooding outcast from the wrong side of the tracks bonds with the beautiful and popular girl. The brooding boy leans forward with a look of concern on his face. The beautiful girl shrugs. Deep down she's an outcast, too. And they realize as the music swells with the new hit single, that they are really in love.

Typical, Maria thought. For once, why can't the zany sidekick get the boy?

The scene suddenly changed. The beautiful girl in a slow, graceful--always graceful--movement drifted to the floor. One moment the girl was sitting up, and in the next she was on the floor. Maaria squeaked in surprise at this sudden turn before realizing that she wasn't watching television.

She dashed across the street into the donut shop. The warm air enveloped her. Isabel was on the floor. Her body was twisted awkwardly, legs and torso in opposite directions. Her skirt had bunched dangerously high on her legs.

Michael was kneeling beside Isabel. He didn't seem to know what to do with his hands, as though he couldn't decide whether to hold her hand or her head or if it would be better not to touch her at all. He kept repeating her name, stressing different syllables as though if he got the right one, she'd wake up: "Isabel, Isabel, Isabel." And finally just "Is."

He looked up at Maria; he almost looked relieved.

"She just--I don't know. Do something."

The old donut baker hovered over Michael. "Should I call the ambulance? Is she all right? I should call the ambulance." "No hospitals," Michael barked.

Maria knelt down and quickly said, "No, no, she's fine. She's uh, diabetic. How about a glass of juice?" Maria straightened the hem of Isabelís skirt.

The old donut baker seemed relieved to have a something to do and disappeared into the kitchen.

"I guess she fainted," Michael said. He looked at Isabel's empty chair as though he couldn't quite connect the moments between then and now.

"Don't freak out on me Michael. You should be used to girls swooning over you." Maria reached into her backpack and pulled out a vial of cedar oil. "Not quite smelling salts, but," Maria shrugged. She waved the vial under Isabel's nose.

"I think you'll have to do better than your smelly oils. It's a little more complicated--"

Isabel opened her eyes.

They both stared at Isabel as she tried to sit up in stages, testing each new level until she was finally upright. So far so good. Maria was the only one to move. She kept her hands on Isabel's back, worried Isabel might fall back down.

Isabel tried to shrug Maria off. She was fine. She didn't need anyone hovering over her. But instead of letting go, Maria brushed the dirt off of Isabel's shirt.

The donut baker handed Isabel a glass of juice. "You're okay, now?"

Isabel stared at the glass.

Maria nodded, "She's fine, thank you."

Maria looked expectantly at Isabel so she took a few sips.

A big mistake. She felt something. Something she had never felt before. Something not good.

"Isabel, you just went white," Maria said.

Isabel kept swallowing. "I feel--I feel..."

Maria's eyes went wide. "Uh-oh" was all she said as she pulled Isabel unsteadily towards the bathroom.

Maria pushed her hand on Michaelís chest to block him. "Stay out here, Michael," she said. She pointed to the sign that indicated that it was a woman's bathroom. He looked at it, then followed Isabel inside.

"Donít say I didnít warn you," Maria said.

Maria pushed Isabel to the toilet. "You're about to throw up, just stick your head in."

Isabel was about to say, that's not possible, when her body seemed to turn itself inside out in an acidic explosion.

When it was over, she was still alive--much to her surprise. She noticed two things: the ceiling fan rattled and Maria was rubbing Isabel's back in slow, warm circcles.

"Done?" Maria asked.

"I feel better," she said.

"Then let's get you up."

"What do you mean, you feel better?" Michael said. He had backed himself into the corner.

His hand was pressed against the wall. The paint was melting and the plaster crumbling. Soon theyíd be able to see right into the menís bathroom.

Isabel felt hot and cold at the same time. Her legs wobbled underneath her.

"Rinse your mouth out," Maria said, turning on the faucet.

Isabel did as she was told. She was hardly in a position to argue anything, and Maria kept rubbing Isabel's back.

"What was that?" Michael sputtered. When no one answered him, he said, "We should get Max."

"No," Isabel said with more force than she had intended. "You know how he gets." Michael rolled his eyes. "Right. No, Max. What then?"

"I can't go home," Isabel said. Her mom would be there. Her mom would tell Max. Max would overreact.

"Well, we can't stay in the bathroom forever," Maria said. She opened the door. Isabel and Michael emerged slowly , as though that had been a viable option.

Maria grumbled, "Great decision makers. The future of the world rests with these two. It's just sad. Very sad. Come to my house. My mom's in Hondo. Michael, take the jeep."

Michael leaned down as though he intended to pick Isabel up.

"What are you doing?" Isabel said.

"You shouldn't be walking."

Isabel shook her head. "I think I'll be okay."

Michael shrugged. Maria smiled. When he wasn't trying so hard to be a complete jerk, Michael could be charming. Or at least civil. Which was the Michael equivalent to charm.

Upstairs in her room, Maria coaxed Isabel into bed "In you go," Maria said. She spoke to Isabel with a combination of concern and condescension.

"Nice boots," Maria commented. She made a pile of Isabel's clothes on her desk chair. Isabel was wearing Mariaís T-shirt with the Las Vegas skyline across the chest. It smelled of lemons.

Maria pulled the blankets up to Isabel's neck. She placed her hand on Isabel's forehead, felt her neck. Maria didn't know what she was looking for, but her mother had always done that when Maria was sick. It always made Maria feel better, cared for.

"Go to sleep and later I'll fix some elderberry tea." Maria smiled her best reassuring smile.

Isabel watched Maria leave and waited for the door to close before she closed her eyes. A wave of weightlessness creep up from her toes. If she could sleep for a few hours, maybe things would be different when she awoke. Maybe is she slept for a few days. Or years. She didnít know how, but no matter what Tess had said, Isabel was pregnant and nothing would ever be the same again.

Index | Part 2
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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