FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Desert Ice"
Part 3
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
The Crashdown was finally closed. Maria only had to mop and then she could go home. Max sat in his regular booth working on his fifth or sixth glass of cherry coke. The boy must have the bladder of a superhero, Maria thought. Liz was trying her best to ignore him as she filled the salt and pepper shakers. "Later, she will dazzle your eyes by pouring ketchup. Oooh, aaah," Maria said, wringing out the mop. "You can stay until I'm done mopping, but then you have to go home, or go bother someone else." Max bobbed his head in response. Maria slapped the mop on the floor. "You know, there's a fine line between romance and creepiness. You're dangerously close to the creepy." She made small half moons with the mop, and thought about going home, peeling off her uniform, taking a hot shower, and crawling under her covers. Her revery was broken by Michael pounding on the front door. "We're closed," she shouted. He motioned to Max. Maria rolled her eyes. She unlocked the door. "This better be quick. And if you leave any footprints on my clean floor, then you're history, buddy." He brushed past her and slid in across from Max. "Have you seen Isabel recently?" Michael asked. When Max didn't respond, Michael snapped his fingers a few times in front of Max’s face. Maria heard the kitchen door swinging, back and forth, signaling Liz's departure. Smart girl, Maria thought. No doubt Maria would regret not doing the same thing. "Not since this morning," Max said. "But I haven't been home, why?" "She's not home. And it looked like she hasn't been home all day." "She's probably out with Alex." "Alex is at home," Maria interrupted. She had conveniently drifted towards their booth. "He usually makes it well-known if Isabel is going to grace him with her presence. He has a special dance." She should’ve just kept on mopping, but she blurted out, "Tess's house." She didn't want to tell Max about this afternoon. "Well, Tess isn't here chasing after you, Max. She must be at home." "Tess doesn't chase after me," Max mumbled. "Yeah, whatever," Maria said, rolling her eyes. Michael stood up. "Come on," he said to Maria, "let’s go." "Don't give me orders," Maria said. "I'm not one of you." Maria huffed past him although her exit lost a bit of the drama with the mop and bucket in tow. Liz was standing in the middle of the back room, mid hand wringing. "You're going with them," Liz said, more of a statement than a question. Maria could tell that despite everything Liz wanted to get involved. "Who can resist a wacky caper?" Maria said, flinging her antennae into her locker. "If only there were some oils for that. Like an appetite suppressant. I seem to check my backbone at the door when Michael is in the room." "You call my cellphone if anything, you know, happens. I’ll be your back-up." "I'm sure it's nothing," Maria shrugged. "With Michael and Isabel--" Liz started to say, no doubt trying to warn Maria not to get herself hurt again. But Maria couldn't help herself so she pushed through the double doors. The door, or lack of one, wasn't a good sign. Michael and Max jumped through the open doorway, calling for Isabel. Michael bounded up the stairs. Max darted to the back of the house. Maria gingerly stepped over the pile of dust that used to be the door. "Michael?" Maria heard it, although it was a quiet, small voice. In the darkened living room, she watched Isabel sit up and look blearily around the room, like a fairy tale character who had finally found the right bed. Isabel looked so vulnerable, and Isabel never looked vulnerable. She seemed uncertain, scared. "Boys," Maria called. "She's in here." Maria stayed in the foyer and stared at Isabel. Maria's life was no picnic, but at least she knew that her mother was her mother. Maria knew she could tell her mom anything. And her destiny was her choice, not engineered. Max brushed past Maria and sat next to Isabel on the couch. He didn't say anything. Isabel scooted away from him, closer to the arm of the couch. Michael thundered into the room. "What are you doing here?" "She's okay, Michael," Maria said. Maybe if she kept repeating it, he would believe her. "She was supposed to be home. Why aren't you home?" "We were worried, Is," Max said calmly. Maria could almost see the transformation in Isabel. From vulnerable and scared girl to cut-you-down-where-you-stand-Isabel. And people didn't take on that Isabel. "I don't have to check in with you every time I decide to go somewhere." "After this afternoon you do," Michael said. "What happened this afternoon?" Max said. "Do I need to be here for this because this seems like an alien thing?" Maria said, although no one seemed to be paying much attention to her. Maria sat down on a box by the wall. She picked at the crusts of dried food on the hem of her uniform. She really should be home by now. She would've been. What had she hoped to accomplish by tagging along? That Michael would say, Maria, you're so understanding and wonderful. I take you for granted. I don't know what I ever did to deserve you, but I promise that you'll never be alone again. "That's right buck-o, you don't deserve me," Maria said out loud. Michael, Max, and Isabel looked at her. "Sorry, um, I'm having an imaginary argument. Please, by all means, proceed with your real one." Isabel scooted off of the couch. "I needed to talk to Tess," she said. "She wasn't here so I decided to wait. I fell asleep on the couch. The end. Certainly no reason to mobilize the troops, fearless leader." "What happened this afternoon?" Max repeated calmly. Isabel answered him. Oh, boy, Maria thought. Here we go. It was like witnessing some strange farce. They just kept repeating the same questions: What do you mean, you were sick? I was sick. What do you mean? As though they didn't speak the same language. The three knew so little about their history, Maria realized, that any clue or new development garnered all their attention and energy. And now all that energy was focused on Isabel. Maria thought she should just slip out. No one would even notice. But then she saw Isabel’s face. They were advancing on her as she retreated into the corner of the room. Isabel’s face was reddening, crumbling. Her eyes were swimming in tears. "I need to talk to Tess," Isabel kept repeating. "Why?" Isabel just shook her head. "Okay, time-out." Maria wormed her way between the three of them, forming a barrier between Michael and Max and Isabel. "Back-off," she said more forcefully, shoving Michael back with her shoulder. She grabbed Isabel's hand. "You stay," she told them. Maria led Isabel into the backyard. They stood at the edge of the grass, staring. It was cooler, now, and Maria rubbed her arms. She could see the lights from the other houses surrounding them, the blue flicker of televisions. She imagined the families sitting on the couch, feet up on the coffee table, with moms who weren't in Hondo. These families didn't know anything about aliens in Roswell besides the oval-eyed stuffed green dolls that her mother sold. "Thank you," Isabel said quietly, as though it cost her a lot to say it. "That's the second time you've come to my rescue today." "Third, actually," Maria said. "But who's counting." Isabel didn't say anything, but Maria knew that Michael had been right to be worried. Maria realized that Isabel knew what was wrong, and Maria didn't want to know. "I'm pregnant," Isabel said. Maria sucked in her breath. She thought about Michael. About how he would never have room in his life for Maria now. It was all over for them. Then Maria hugged Isabel. She was stiff, but in a moment, she softened, and her fingers clutched Maria's shirt. And Maria squeezed her tightly and kept repeating that it was okay. Over and over again. There was nothing else to tell her. What a lie that was. Maria looked up. Michael was watching from the kitchen window. His mouth twitched into a smile. And his face, for only a split second, lost its shape. The lines around his eyes and mouth blurred. And then he was Michael again. "Michael?" she said. Maria stepped back and stared at the window. "He doesn't know yet," Isabel said. "No one knows." Maria shook her head. She backed away. This was a dream she’d had before. She’d be eating at the Crashdown with Liz and then suddenly Liz changed into a green insect with feelers and antennae. Maria reassured herself that she would soon wake up. She’d light some lavender and sandalwood. "What's wrong?" Isabel turned to where Maria was watching, but she didn’t see anything. The shadows in the yard seemed to be moving. Like arms unfurling, reaching towards Maria. Michael bounded through the back door, long purposeful strides. He yanked Isabel back by the arm, hard. "Hey!" Maria screamed. It was the only thing she could think of. Michael turned towards her. He flicked his wrist, and she flew across the yard. Maria slid across the grass until she hit the wooden fence with a loud clunk. She dimly recognized the clunk as her head hitting wood. The sharp blades of grass prickled against the palms of her hands. There was a soft rustle of feet on grass. Maria watched as two hands reached for her. She could only blink as she was lifted into the air and pulled away from the house. The lights blurred into nothing.
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