FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Leaving Home"
Part 1
by Isis
Disclaimer: Not mine, will never be mine… I’ve accepted this. Sort of.
Summary: Maria finds the strength she needs to do something she knows she has to do.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Grab a box of tissues. As anyone who’s ever read my writing knows, I just don’t write happy things. Trust me… get… the…tissues.
It was a brisk September morning when she found the strength she’d never thought she’d have. Maybe it was the faint bite in the air, stinging her cheeks. Maybe it was the haze of a fog her breath made, hanging in the air. But, she started to run. She’d found her courage and if she slowed down she knew she’s lose it. And, she knew it would never find it again.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she said to him, out of breath and near tears as soon as she burst through their front door. “I can’t stay with you.”

“What?” he asked, taken aback.

Things had been going well for them for a while, actually. He’d gotten a job as a repair mechanic at an auto shop and she’d gotten a raise at the bar. More money didn’t solve all their problems, but it did make the day-to-day debates as to whether they should buy Tabasco sauce or milk disappear.

“I can’t,” she whispered, tugging at the ends of her short, blonde hair. She was unable to look him in the eyes. He looked at her for a second with confusion and a hint of pain written across his face. Most people would never have seen it. Most who would have seen it wouldn’t have cared. She did both.

“Why?” He asked.

It seemed so simple as she’d run home, her uncomfortable work shoes dangling from her hand. Now, she couldn’t even begin to find the words to explain.

“Because I love you,” she said, staring at his lips in an effort to avoid eye contact. She soon realized that his lips were a terrible choice. They made her think of countless, incredibly intense and passionate kisses she’d never feel from him again.

“What the hell does that mean, Maria?” He asked, frustrated and annoyed.

“It means a lot of things,” she said slowly, trying to settle on another spot to stare. She’d tried his ears, but those too brought back fond memories.

“It means I’m afraid, Michael,” she said, crying.

“Of what? Would you stop talking in circles and try to work this out?” He asked, moving towards her. She held up her hand, a silent plea for him to stop. She didn’t think she could do this if she smelt his shampoo or his breath or anything remotely him.

“I’m afraid you won’t love me enough to stay, when you find a way home. And I’m afraid you’ll love me too much to go. I don’t know which idea scares me more,” she whispered, finally settling her stare on a painting he’d done that hung just behind him.

“What is it you want from me, Maria? How am I supposed to do both?” He demanded.

“I don’t know,” she yelled. “Maybe that’s the problem. May you can’t and I resent that I’ll always be in question in your life. Maybe I hate that I’ve spent four years living with you and I know that I will always, always love you more than you will ever love me. Maybe I’m scared of losing something I never really had, but convinced myself was real.”

He paused for a moment, sat down and stared at her trying so hard to stay strong. “I do love you,” he said. She looked at him then, straight into his eyes. It wasn’t something he said often.

“I know,” she smiled through drippy mascara. “But, love can’t solve everything, Michael. It just can’t.” He nodded, “So you’re leaving me because of things I may or may not do one day? That’s crazy, Maria.”

“No,” she smiled, “I’m leaving you because no matter what you do, I don’t think I could handle it. I can’t let myself love you even more and have to let you go suddenly one day. And I can’t be responsible for keeping you from finding out who you are, where you come from. This isn’t about you, Michael, it’s about me. It’s selfish and painful and I will regret it the moment I walk out that door, but it’s something I have to do.”

“You’re really doing this,” he said, shocked.

“I am,” she told him, though she didn’t need to. He knew. And, like it or not, he understood. He’d wanted to kiss her, to grab her and beg her not to go. He’d wanted to drown her in passions she could never escape from or want to. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t do that to her. He loved her enough to let her go.

He didn’t say another word to her after that. He wasn’t angry at her, not really. Surprised, yes. He was surprised she’d found enough strength to break it off. He was sure he’d never have been able to leave her and, though she didn’t know it, he’d already decided years before that he wouldn’t even leave her for his home.

She’d packed a bag and left as soon as she could. She didn’t say goodbye and she didn’t look at him again.

Years later, she’d look back and wonder if she really was right, if she had loved him more than he’d loved her.

He hadn’t disputed it at the time, but she couldn’t help but think that if their situations had been reversed she wouldn’t have loved him enough to let him go.

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