FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Not Even the Rain"
Part 3
by loki
Disclaimer: The characters… not mine, well except for the two I made up. The poem at the end is not mine, it's by e.e. cummings.
Summary: It's a future-fic, set when they are all about 25. While it's primarily a M/M fic, there are lotsa people and issues popping up.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
The next morning came without incident, and Maria sat up feeling well-rested and content – not remembering anything from the night before. Her memory was jarred by the small pile of tear-soaked tissues on the floor by her bed. Immediately, she felt her stomach drop as the image of Michael flashed in her head. Michael. In her store. With his girlfriend. She shook her head, trying to erase the memory, but it was still there.

‘Maybe a shower will help. A cold, cold shower.’

After her morning ritual of yoga and tea, Maria dragged herself downstairs to the studio. The shop wouldn’t be open for another hour and she could use the time to call in some orders. She leaned against the counter and flipped through the mail from the day before. ‘Bills, Bills, more bills. At least now I actually have the money to pay them.’ As she ripped open the first envelope, she heard a slight rapping at the glass door.

Maria peeked out from behind the door, ready to inform the over-eager shopper that the store wasn’t open yet. “Wonderful,” she grumbled to herself. “This is just what I need.” She stomped over to the door and unlocked it in a huff, turning around just as brusquely. “Lock it behind you, thank you very much,” she sniped.

Michael wordlessly locked the door and followed her into the back room. Maria sat down in a chair and looked up at him, her eyes burning, making his skin tingle.

“What do you want Michael? Oh, and before you answer that – let me just say that we suddenly had a rush on engagement rings, and I don’t think that I’ll be able to help you out in that department.” She sneered.

“What?” He asked, confused. “Oh, no. Not that. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“Fine, then why are you here?”

“I came by… to see you.” He glanced away from her.

“Oh, you came by to see me. Because…?” She waited for an answer. Sucking her teeth angrily, Maria continued. “Because you have been so concerned about me and how I’ve been doing for the past five years? Because you couldn’t drop anyone a line – not even Isabel or Max – all this time? Because, because, because…” Narrowing her eyes, she watched him study the poster on the opposite wall. “What are you even doing around here, anyway?”

Finally, he looked back at her. “Her grandfather died and we’re here to settle some estate stuff. Well, Lydia’s here to settle estate stuff. I just came along for the ride.”

“Lydia.” Maria smirked to herself.

“Yes, Lydia. And?” He asked, a little annoyed.

“Oh, nothing. I just watched ‘The Fisher King’ last night.” Michael stared at her blankly. “It’s a movie. Robin Williams? Of course you’ve never seen it.” Maria rolled her eyes. “Anyway, there’s this song that he sings: ‘Have you seen Lydia? Lydia, Lydia, Lydia – Lydia the tattooed lady…’” She waved her hand quickly, in an attempt to dispel the thought that she was mocking him. “Not that I’m making any comment on your girlfriend. It’s just a song…”

“Sure.” Michael nodded. Then something small caught his attention. A glint of silver between Maria’s fingers. “You still wear the ring?” he asked in wonder.

Spreading her fingers wide, she glanced over them. “Which ring? The silver one? Of course I still have it – Max gave it to me for my birthday.”

“Max gave it to you.” Michael repeated, his voice a bit shaky. “From him?”

“Um, yes.” Maria answered, raising her eyebrows. There was something odd in his tone, something that she hadn’t heard in a long time. “Why? Is there something about this ring that I should know about?”

Michael didn’t respond. He stared at the floor, as if he were trying to bore a hole into it with his gaze.

“Michael?” Silence. “Fine, you know, I have a lot of things to do today – and it would be a whole lot easier to get them done if you would leave.”

He nodded, and left the room.

Watching him go, a feeling of guilt swept over Maria. “Wait!” She called out, scribbling on a piece of paper. He stopped at the front door and dug his hands into his pockets. Maria held the paper out to him. “It’s Max’s numbers – work and home. He wanted me to give them to you.”

Taking the number from her, Michael smiled weakly at her. “Thanks, Maria.” He then opened the door and walked away.


Michael trudged back to the Bed and Breakfast where they were staying. It was Lydia’s idea – she thought it was ‘quaint.’ Frankly, he was a little unnerved by the place. There were always people milling about and he was expected to be somewhat social. Being social was never something that Michael had ever strived to be.

Still, it was what she wanted, and he acquiesced - it was much easier than arguing. Michael didn’t have the strength or desire to debate every little point anymore. Plus, Lydia usually let him get his way. She didn’t like fighting, either – not like Maria.

Maria. That was something that he wasn’t ready for. He always had the feeling that he’d see Max and Isabel again, but not Maria. Never Maria. She caused him too much stress, made him think things he didn’t want to, made him feel things he wasn’t prepared for. Even the few minutes in her presence annoyed him. Just her tone made him want to snap back at her, but he didn’t. When Maria argued, she would bring up things that echoed in his head for days after. Echoed in his heart for months after.

Michael sat down on the patchwork quilt that covered the soft, squishy bed. The entire night, he tossed and turned, longing for the sturdiness of the floor. But that would have upset Lydia – she was already acting strange after leaving Maria’s shop. So, he stayed in the bed, grateful for the moment when his body gave up and just slept.

He stared down at the piece of paper in his hands. Tracing over the scrawled name with his finger, Michael thought about Max. He missed Max, more than he thought he would. It was hard to be on his own, to be without another soul that understood – understood everything. Michael glanced at the phone, then back to the paper.

‘Why didn’t he tell her? Why did he say it was from him?’ Michael wondered, anger brewing. He had explained to Max how important it was to give to her. Okay, maybe not *explained* - but words were never necessary between them. Max just seemed to know – and he always sensed what Michael was feeling. That ring was the one thing that Michael wanted Maria to have from him, the one thing that could even come close to being worthy of her. He sure as hell wasn’t.

Crumpling up the scrap in his hand, Michael lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. His head hurt again, and he needed to think. Think about what to say to Max, what to tell him, how to let him know that the trip was basically a failure. In all his travels, Michael only came across one real truth, and it was burning a hole into him. Maybe it would hurt less if he told someone, if he could sit down and talk to Max and Isabel about it. His body let the bed conform to his shape, and before he could reach for the phone, Michael was asleep.

** The morning had been a waste – nothing had been paid, no calls had been made, no work done on any impending project. Maria had done little more than sit on the stool behind the counter, sipping tea. When Lucy came in four hours later, she found her boss sitting stiffly and staring blankly at the opposite wall.

“Maria,” Lucy giggled, snapping her fingers. “Earth to Maria.”

The blonde shook herself out of her daze and looked at the clock. “Oh good, you’re here.” Suddenly filled with energy, Maria jumped off the seat and grabbed her bag. “I have to go run an errand, I’ll be back soon.” She shuffled out to her car and pulled out with a distinct destination in mind. She was going to get answers.


“Hey Maria.” Max looked up from his desk. “What brings you here in the middle of the day?” His smile faded as he saw the look of utter seriousness on her face. “Did he, uh, did you see Michael?”

Maria closed the door behind her and stepped forward to sit down across from him. “Where’s the ring from, Max?”

Max gulped. “The ring?”

“Don’t Max, Don’t.” She warned. “I know that there is something about the ring you brought back. I want to know what you haven’t told me.”

Max studied her carefully. He could tell by every clenched muscle in her body that she wasn’t leaving until she got the truth. “The ring,” he said quietly, “The ring is from Michael. He asked me to give it to you.”

“*You* told me that it was a birthday present. *You* said that you bought it on your travels. *You* had it for months and didn’t say a word.” Her tone was accusatory, but its volume stayed level. “Were you ever going to tell me that it was from him?”

He looked down, then met her eyes again. “It was more complicated than that.”

“How, Max?” Maria yelled. “We are *friends.* We have an agreement, remember? No secrets. I can tell you things that I can’t tell anyone else, and you tell me things that I have never repeated to another soul. You know things that *Liz* doesn’t know. I have *never* kept anything from you.” Her eyes turned cold. “So, what other things have you been keeping from me? What else have you lied about?”

Frustrated, Max jumped out of his chair and leaned over his desk. “Dammit, Maria – just stop.” He was deeply wounded by her lack of trust in him. She was right, they shared almost everything. That night flashed in his head - a few years ago, after a party, they found themselves separated from everyone else. That night things changed, certain boundaries were crossed, and they realized that their loneliness and confusion was mirrored in the other. Alone and depressed, that was the night that Max and Maria became friends.

And, as a friend, Max had to be honest with her, no matter how much it might hurt. “You want to know why I didn’t tell you? The look on your face when we drove up. I watched your heart break as you realized that there were only two of us in the car. I knew right then and right there that I couldn’t tell you.”


He walked around and stood in front of her. “Seriously, Maria. How would you have reacted if I said, ‘Hey, Michael said that he can’t ever see you again, but here’s a ring to remember him by’?”

There was something about Max’s face that told her that he was still holding something back. Her eyes scanned over it, and she jerked slightly at the realization. “Not *couldn’t.* *Didn’t want* to. He *didn’t want* to see me ever again.”

“He didn’t want to see you ever again,” Max repeated, almost whispering.

Tears filled Maria’s eyes and she immediately dropped her head down. Max stroked her hair and murmured, “I’m so sorry, Maria. I didn’t want you to find out, especially not like this.”

“It’s okay,” Maria pulled away, wiping her eyes. “ I needed to hear it. I needed to know.” She sighed, then asked, “Why did you give it to me, anyway?”

Max returned to his seat. He furrowed his eyebrows and thought about Michael and the ring. “Because it was important to him. It was important to him that you have it. The night before we had taken peyote.” He paused. “A lot of peyote. Anyway, Michael disappeared with White Eagle - we didn’t see him until the next morning. When he got back, Michael, Isabel and I just sat around what was left of the fire. We all just knew… it was in our eyes, it was in his. Is and I were coming back to Roswell, and he was staying – moving on, whatever. He just wasn’t coming home.”

Under Maria’s intent scrutiny, Max continued. “So, as Isabel started to pack up the car, he pulled me aside and we went for a walk. He gave me the ring and asked that I give it to you. Before he handed it over, he just stared at it for a long time, then pressed it into my hand. Then with a painful smile, he added, ‘Please.’’ Max met Maria’s eyes straight on. “It’s a rare occasion that Michael has ever said ‘please.’ I don’t even know if I can think of another time I heard that word come from his mouth.”

Maria laughed and nodded. The short burst of noise seemed to relieve some of the pressure that was building up in her chest. That was Michael all right. Short on words, long on implications. She took a deep breath and got out of the chair, grabbing her bag.

“Are we ok?” Max asked, obviously concerned and worried.

“We’re ok, Max.” Maria smiled. “I wish you would have told me, but I understand. I do. I probably wouldn’t have listened, anyway.” She reached over and touched his hand. “But I should go. I’ve learned not to leave Lucy alone for any extended period of time.”

Max chuckled, “Ok. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Of course.” Maria’s voice trailed behind her.

Part 2 | Index | Part 4
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