by Criss Moody
Disclaimer: Ha, ha. I don’t own them. If I did, they’d
have more fun.
Summary: Maria can’t hate Michael. Michael can’t stay away from Maria. Not much as changed in 15 years. Part of the “Deviations in Destiny” series.
Authors Note: Sorry this has been so slow in coming, if you care. There will be more.
Max looked up from the chessboard to see his "niece," for want of a better term, grinning madly at him.
"That's the third time you've beat me. Take pity on an old man." He leaned back in his chair, watching his son, bent over a history textbook. Though he hadn't managed to persuade Seth to do more than stare at him, Jo had leapt at the opportunity to talk. Granted, Max had mostly nodded at the energetic girl, trying to move his head and make generally understanding noises at the right times.
Jo's face grew serious. "You know, you've been here almost an hour." She turned her face to include Michael, sitting in a chair next to Seth, in the conversation. "Why don't you guys just go do what you want to do?"
Michael stood up so fast his chair went flying. He paced the small space, wiping his palms against his jeans. "What do you mean? This is fine, this is good. Hey, you're our kids, right? Why shouldn't we want to talk to you?"
Jo arched an eyebrow as she considered her father. If he wasn't careful, he'd have a stroke. If aliens could have strokes, that is. He had a human body after all…and her thoughts were way drifting off topic.
"Please. Credit me with some intelligence. As if you want to be talking to two fourteen year olds when you could be talking to some very available foxy ladies."
Michael snorted at the foxy ladies comment and Max hid a grin behind his hand. So much for pretending.
"Well, I have my honor to reclaim, so I'm not going anywhere." Max took the high road of the coward and retreated into his lame excuse. Jo looked mildly disgusted at his response but turned to her father with hope glowing on her face. The cocky alien crumpled at the sight. She looked exactly like Maria used to when that chick wanted something.
"What about you? So engrossed in watching me cream Max that you can't face up to Mom?"
He tried to defend himself, but barely got words formed when he abandoned all hope and just got up. Stiffly, Michael crawled through the window, managing to not break an ankle on the small hope chest beneath the window. He blinked nervously in the dim room, lit only by a small glass lamp beside the bed. Once he got to the hallway, he hesitated, gripping the doorframe with one hand.
He could still turn back. The slim hope of getting away from this whole 'let's return to Roswell and make nice with the humans we abandoned' plan concocted by Izzie and Maxwell still remained. Michael didn't have to join in on the general fuzzy warmness surrounding his fellow aliens. So, he had a kid. So what? That didn't mean he had to get cozy with Maria. People have kids together all the time and barely talk to each other, right?
The thought of being in a room alone with Maria made his palms sweat, and he rubbed them hard against his jeans, furiously trying to dry them. He had to remain cool, he had to look absolutely calm, and untouched.
He'd die for Maria…but she really didn't need to know that.
As Michael dawdled half in and half out of the hallway, a small shadow came from the far side of the hall. It shuffled slowly into the light from the room Michael stood before and revealed itself as a rumpled, half-asleep Maria, carefully pausing every few shuffles to take a long drag on what smelled like coffee. She walked just past Michael's frozen form, then backtracked to stare up into his face. The alien held his breath, wondering if Maria was even awake enough to actually notice his presence.
His one-time girlfriend and mother of his only child grabbed his arm with her free hand and dragged him into a bedroom at the end of the hall. Shutting the door and setting her almost empty cup down on a dark walnut finish dresser, Maria turned to face him. If Michael had been totally honest and expressive about his inner feelings, the stalwart alien would have gulped and cried for help. As it was, he crossed his arms over his chest and got ready for the storm.
A tempest that appeared to be slow in coming. Maria stood there, mimicking his defensive posture, finishing off her drink in two calm gulps. She didn't even look upset. Her face held the remnants of a troubled sleep, but other than heavy eye-lids and creases in her cheek from her pillow, Maria looked just damn fine. Well, if he'd known it would be this easy, he'd have walked in on his own, rather than dragged by his sister and his best friend.
After almost ten minutes of staring at a freakily placid Maria, however, Michael started to sweat. What the hell was up with her? She had to be mad at him. If the events of last night, or earlier that evening, were any indication, Maria'd like to fillet him and serve him up on a nice bed of rice. She had to have some kind of plan, some devious, perverse reason for her silence.
Finally, Michael blurted out his confused trepidation. "Come on, DeLuca, yell at me, I know you want to."
A pause, and Maria replied. "Why would I want to yell at you?"
"Uh, gee, maybe 'cause I got you pregnant, abandoned you, and then walked back into your life fifteen years later?"
Maria looked thoughtful for a moment before replying. “Okay, strike the first one off the list. I love my daughter. I love my life. You gave me a gift when you gave me Jo. As for abandonment…well, you had your reasons. I think they stink, but that’s just my biased opinion. Walking back into my life, that’s a tough one.” She crawled up on her bed, pulling the cream sheets over her body. “You’re not in my life Space-Man. If you’re lucky, Jo will let you be in hers. There’s no you and me.”
Michael shivered. Maria cool and collected at this hour of the morning was downright creepy. Pissed off and resentful, he slumped down into a beige chair across from the bed. It wasn’t fair of Maria to just jump in and make decisions, it wasn’t fair for her to be so…so…damned logical.
Ignoring the fuming alien, Maria burrowed under the covers and closed her eyes. If she tried hard enough, she could ignore him. First, she worked out the lyrics to a song she and Alex had been tinkering with for a few months now. Then she moved on to planning out the trip to Italy Jo wanted to take next year. From there she started thinking about where Jo would go to college…and realized that Michael was still sitting in the chair, staring at her.
((No, no, don’t give in, push him out of your mind, De Luca, come on, you can do it.))
Maybe Jo would like new curtains for her room. Something shimmery, or a cloth shot through with silver thread. Oh, Seth needed new shoes. They had to remember to go shopping this weekend. Kid had remarkably big feet for someone who was only 5’9’’. Maria bit into her lip, puncturing the skin and drawing the copper sweet tang into her mouth. This really wasn’t going to work. Ready to verbally blast Michael out of her room, she sat up in bed and pointed at the chair.
Only to find Michael asleep, drooling on the khaki jacket he wore. Something long forgotten squished in Maria’s chest. This was the Michael she’d fallen in love with. Fragile and needy, alone on a world full of billions of living breathing creatures. Gods, she didn’t want to do this. She hated thinking about the past. Here and now had a firm grip on her reality. Maria liked her life. She liked owning The Crashdown, she liked jamming with Alex when he came into town, she loved her daughter, and she cherished the family they had with Seth, Liz, and Alex. Max, Isabel, Tess, and Michael just represented complications, ripples in an otherwise calm existence.
Stupid aliens. She crept out of bed and draped a spare blanket over her sleeping ex-lover. Couldn’t have him freezing to death in the 80 degree heat…he was her daughter’s father, even if Maria herself could take him or leave him. She kneeled at his feet, feeling exhaustion sweep through her body. Wow, she was so very tired. Yawning, Maria swore to get right up, after she rested her head for a moment.
An hour later, Jo knocked at her mom’s door. “Ma?” The young girl looked back at Seth and Max. Seth itched at his head before answering his best friend’s silent question. “Open the door, she’s probably just crashed in the middle of the floor.” Maria had a habit of waking early, consuming large amounts of coffee, then not quite making it back to bed before her body literally fell asleep. They tripped over her in her in the hallway frequently.
Jo opened the door slowly, wincing at the slight squeak of the hinges. Then, her mouth dropped open. She backed out slowly, closing the door with her. Turning to face her friend and Max, Jo fought back the giggle in her throat.
“Uh, she’s, um…occupied.” Seth’s eyebrows shot up.
Jo hit Seth’s arm, looking disgusted. “Not like that.” Holding her finger to her lips, Jo opened the door again and gestured at her mother’s bedroom chair, where Michael sat asleep, Maria curled at his feet, head on his lap, Michael’s arm curved around the honey blonde’s head.
Again, the door closed. By silent and mutual agreement, Seth and Jo passed through the living room, pointed at the closet of blankets and sheets, and left Max there. Max settled onto the couch, at turns comforted and unnerved by how close he slept to Liz Parker. Better to leave thoughts like that to later. As his eyes drifted shut, Max smiled.
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours