Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Don't Let Go"
Part 12
by Ariana
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Summary: Second sequel to "Just Like Me" and "Can't Find a Better Man"
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
Author's Note: Takes place after Off the Menu and before Heart of Mine. I suggest reading the first two parts to get the feel of the story. I love feedback so e-mail me.
"Why aren't you coming with us?" Tess demanded with her hands firmly placed on her hips.

Maria quickly explained, "Someone has to stay behind and take care of things here."

"I'm going to really miss you," Isabel gave Maria a hug. "You are someone I can really relate to. I only wished I had the strength to do what you're doing."

"Take care of him, Iz," Maria said to her.

Isabel agreed, "I will."

Max hugged her next, "I know you were the one to always to make sacrifices, but are you sure you want to do this?"

Maria nodded, "Yes, I have to."

Max whispered into her ear, "Thank you."

Maria repeated what she said to Isabel, "Take care of her, she's going to need you."

They all watched as Michael used his powers to send the Jeep over a cliff. Isabel then handed Valenti videotape, "This is for our parents. Will you give it to them as soon as you're sure we're gone?"

Valenti took the tape from her, "I will."

"Thank you," Isabel sadly hugged him good-bye.

While Valenti was saying good-bye to the others, Maria pulled Tess away, "We've been through some real rough times you and I. And we always came out okay. And we are going to be okay Tessie, wherever we are."

"I'm very confident that it is, but I wish you would come with us," Tess gave a final plea.

Maria responded, "Take care of that baby and tell him about the wonderful aunt he has on Earth." "I'll do that, now put on your happy human face," Tess smiled as the two of them gave each other one last hug.

Maria turned to Michael, who guided her a short distance away, "God this is the hardest thing I ever had to do."

"Take care of yourself," Michael said.

Maria nodded, "Yeah, you too."

He cupped her face with his hands; "I can never love anyone else the way I love you. Your love has made me a better person."

Maria gave him a pained smile, "Ditto, and my love for you won't go away just because you do." She pressed her lips against his so she could taste him for the last time. "Can you do me a favor, Michael?"

"Anything," he replied.

Maria took a deep breath, "When you walk through that tunnel…don't look back."

Michael memorized her beautiful face; "I will love you for the rest of my life Maria."

"And I'll love you for the rest of mine," she answered.

"Time to go, Michael," Max announced. Michael took Maria's hand and brought it to his lips. They locked eyes for a second, but then he turned around and walked away.

Michael kept his promise to her and as he passed through the tunnel with Isabel, Tess and Max, he never looked back once. She finally allowed herself to completely breakdown, and she sobbed like a baby. Valenti came up and held her, because it was his way of showing her that she wasn't alone.

* * * Maria walked into Kyle's bedroom expecting to find Kyle, but instead Liz was lying on the bed. "What are you doing here?" Maria asked.

Liz sat up, "I knew you wouldn't leave without saying good-bye."

"Luckily, I don't have to," Maria flopped down next to her.

"Wait a minute, you're not leaving," Liz sounded surprised.

Maria smiled, "Sorry sweetie, you're stuck with me."

"Why did you stay?" Liz asked curiously.

Maria didn't want to go into enormous detail, "I had to take care of my family." "Hey," Kyle appeared in the doorway. "I thought I heard voices in here."

"Oh Kyle, about what I said earlier about you getting your room back, well I lied," Maria told him as she tried to ignore the pain in her heart.

Kyle joked as he walked over and leaned on the dresser, "Well we can always share."

"In your dreams," Maria replied as Kyle began tapping his fingers against the dresser surface. "And please don't start that tapping again, because that is annoying. Gosh you're just like Alex." Maria didn't know why she said it, but do to her photographic memory she remembered why.

On the night before Alex died he was doing the exact same thing. He was tapping his fingers rhythmically against his guitar.

"Alex," Kyle rubbed his head. "Poor Alex. I saw him."

Maria turned to Liz, "Am I missing something?" Liz shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.

Kyle began tapping his fingers more rapidly, "Alex and Tess."

Maria got to her feet and went over to him, "What about Alex and Tess? Kyle, do you remember something?"

He rubbed his head again and he seemed disoriented, "I don't know, I just can't…I just can't think straight. Everything is all jumbled."

"Kyle, do you trust me?" Maria asked.

Kyle nodded, "Yes, of course."

"Do you mind if I go into your head and try to see if I can find that memory?" Maria asked, not sure if he would let her.

"Have you done this before?" he questioned.

Maria said, "Sort of."

"Well that makes me more confident," Kyle teased. "Go ahead."

Maria placed her hands at the base of his face so that her fingers were touching behind his ears. "Just relax," she told him as he closed his eyes. Maria formed a connection between the two of them and the first thing she heard was Alex's voice.

"You did this to me, you sent me to Las Cruces!" Alex yelled and Maria realized that he was yelling at Tess.

Tess didn't raise her voice, "Okay, Alex, Alex let me fix your mind, you're not thinking straight."

Alex didn't calm down, "You mindwarped me for two months while I decoded that silly book for you and now there's nothing left for you to mindwarp. You destroyed my mind! How could you do this to me!"

"Kyle get out!" Tess didn't know he was there listening.

Kyle didn't know why Alex was there, "What's going on?"

"Kyle go!" Tess cried out.

"I have nothing, I might as well be dead," Alex continued to rant.

Kyle had never seen Alex so agitated, "Hey just calm down!"

"He's right okay," Tess's voice became steady again. "Calm down. Just calm down."

"No, you can't mindwarp me. No!" Kyle had never seen so much fear in Alex's face before.

Kyle remembered Tess closing her eyes and then almost instantly Alex collapsed to the floor. Kyle couldn't believe what had happened and before he knew it Tess had turned on him.

"Your duffel's all loaded," Kyle was unaware that he carried Alex's dead body into the car.

Tess followed him, "Thanks Kyle."

"Want me to come along?" Kyle offered.

"No, go in the house. I'll take care of everything from here," Tess told him before getting into Alex's car.

Maria's eyes snapped open, "Oh my God."

Kyle was trembling, "I carried his body. She made me think it was luggage. She killed him! Tess killed Alex!"

Maria dropped her hands and fell to her knees, "Oh, I'm going to be sick."

"Maria," Liz quickly jumped to her feet and turned to her friends. "Kyle, now is not the time to lose it. We have to tell the others. We have to stop Tess."

"She's my sister, I trusted her," Maria couldn't breathe. "She lied to me, she killed Alex. She's no sister of mine." * * * "There's the mile marker, Maria, how much further?" Liz asked eagerly.

Maria was driving as fast as she could to the pod chamber and the granolith; "It's just up ahead."

Michael's hands began to sweat as they waited for the granolith to warm up. He found he couldn't think straight because all his memories of Maria flooded his mind. Michael didn't know why he was there because his only reason for going was actually staying behind.

"Max," Michael announced. "I can't go. Ever since we came out of the pods I've been on some quest to figure out where I belong." Michael knew what he was doing was right, "I finally found home. The weird thing is, it's here, it's on Earth."

Max didn't seem surprised, "You of all people."

Max gave Michael one last hug. "Take care of yourself Michael. I love you."

"You're a great brother," Michael said to him.

Max whispered, "Take care of the others." He then turned to Isabel. "I would understand…"

Michael could see that Isabel was considering it but she decided, "What you said before, you're my home too."

Tess became impatient, "Well, whoever is coming, we have to go now."

Isabel gave him a quick hug, "Take care Michael, I love you."

"I love you too Iz," Michael held her tight. "It's been a great journey."

"Yeah," Isabel wiped away some tears.

Michael briefly told Tess, "Take care."

"Yeah, you too," Tess replied with little sincerity.

Michael waved good-bye before climbing into the pod chamber. When he opened the entrance to leave he found Maria, Liz and Kyle hiking up to the entrance. "Michael!" Maria yelled once she saw him and he expected her to throw her arms around his neck and give him the biggest hug and kiss. However, he wasn't prepared for what she said, "Tess killed Alex!"

He quickly ushered them inside and just prayed that they were in time. "Max, stop!" Liz cried out when they entered the granolith. "It was Tess. Tess killed Alex. She mindwarped Alex and sent him to Las Cruces to decode the book, but he broke out of the mindwarp and she killed him."

Kyle stepped forward, "It's true, I was there, I witnessed it."

"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Max demanded.

Kyle cried out in anger, "Because she mindwarped me!" Kyle turned to Tess; "You lived in my home you were like my sister!" Maria gently held onto Kyle, silently giving him support.

"How long?" Max questioned.

Michael looked on the wall, "About 5 minutes."

"Everyone out!" Max ordered.

Michael protested, "Max."

"Now!" Max sneered his anger thwarted at Tess.

Everyone obediently left except for Maria; "I want to chat with my dear sister." Max didn't say anything to her, because from her angry tone he knew she meant business. "Why did you do it Tess?"

Tess tried to sound apologetic; "I didn't want to. I wish I hadn't, but I did."

"We trusted you! He trusted you! And you killed him!" Maria didn't hide her emotion. "Why, Tess? Why?"

Tess looked to Max for support, "Look Max, the…the clock is ticking, we don't really have time."

"Tell us why!" Max exclaimed.

Tess was cornered, "He would have told you what I did and I couldn't let that happen."

"So you just, you just killed him?" Max looked at her with disgust.

"I didn't mean to," Tess declared. "His brain was just so weakened by the mindwarp, and…look, none of this matters now."

Maria's anger was still on the rise, "How can you say that?"

"Life matters Tess," Max pointed out to her blind face. "My life, Maria's life, your life, his…"

Tess cut him off, "What matters is getting home, but both of you could never understand that could you? I might have been able to teach you Max, but that stupid bitch had you wrapped around her…"

"Don't you ever call her that!" Max sneered at her.

"See! Look how fast you run to her defense!" Tess snapped back. "Why couldn't you ever feel that about me? I'm your wife, Max! I'm carrying your child!"

Max finally figured it out, "This was all some kind of plan to get pregnant and go home, wasn't it? Home to what, Tess? To Khivar? To our enemies?"

Tess said something that surprised them both; "They're not my enemies, Max."

"You made a deal with them, with Khivar," Maria couldn't believe that this was the same person she grew up with.

"No, Nasedo made a deal, 40 years ago," Tess stated.

Maria couldn't believe that Nasedo betrayed them as well, "What was the deal? Tell us!"

Tess finally spilled, "To return home with Zan's child, and deliver Zan, Rath and his precious Vilandra, and you, Maria to Khivar."

Maria wasn't expecting that, "What?"

"You were the icing on the cake, a surprise for Khivar, the bastard child of the commander of Antar's failed mission," Tess smirked as she went on. "Your father was one of Khivar's greatest enemies, and news of the successful assassination brought him much joy."

"What are you talking about? The Special Unit killed my parents," Maria reminded, there was no way Khivar could have a hand in that.

Tess threw her head back and let out a sick laugh; "You were always naïve Maria. Nasedo killed your parents. He always knew what he was going to do with you, and it wasn't to protect us."

Maria gasped on how much Tess had hidden from her all those years, "You knew, and you never told me."

"Why would I tell you? I'm the enemy, remember," Tess taunted with no emotion.

"You bitch!" Maria lifted her hand and slapped her across the face.

Tess was taken aback, but Max gave it to her, "How did I ever fall in love with someone like you? How could I ever marry you?"

"You were different, you were a king! Now you're just a boy," Tess spat out. Max raised his hand to Tess's neck. "You kill me, Max, you kill our son."

Maria softly touched his shoulder, "Max."

"Go," he warned Tess. "This isn't over, Tess." She saw her chance to escape.

Max took Maria's hand and pulled her to the exit. The last glimpse of Tess that she took was of Tess inside the granolith.

"Max! Maria!" Isabel cried out when they finally made it outside.

"Quick, go. Let's go!" Max ordered as they quickly made their way to the base of the rock fixture.

Maria managed to find Michael in all the commotion. He held her as they watched the granolith disintegrate. They held their breath as a ship shot out into the sky. Even though she was extremely anger at Tess, she found herself crying. She felt like she just lost her childhood.

Michael held her tighter, "Don't cry, baby."

"They lied to me, all my life," she sobbed. She looked up at him, "But I have you. You opened the door and you came out…you stayed for me."

"You're my home," Michael said as he wiped away her tears.

"What happens now, Max?" Isabel asked.

Max declared solemnly, "I have to save my son."

Part 11 | Index | Part 13
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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