FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Perfectly Flawed"
Part 4
by Stephanie A.
Disclaimer: "Me no own"
Summary: Sequel to "De Veritas".
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: R
Authors Note: To everyone who actually read "De Veritas"... I wouldn't have written this if you hadn't been so great to me. :) The following lyrics are from a song by Third Eye Blind called "I Want You"- a friend sent them to me after I posted part 3. I swear I had never read them before.... what a coincidence, mmm?
"And I can't get enough.
After we did it by the window sill,
Smoke rings drift into the night sky,
Presently on the quilt that your mother made,
And a candle burns to fight off the gloom,
I said to live in this way is not for the meek-
But you talk real soft and kiss my cheek
And like a jazz DJ you talk me into sleep."


It was nighttime when he woke up.

The first sound he became aware of was her heartbeat. She had slept on his shoulder, and drifted down over his breast in the layered, long fall of waking up after a sweet dream. Maria had never opened her eyes.

He didn't blink, didn't try to stir the settling dark in back of his eyelids, half-afraid that he'd lose her, and the arms that cradled him and fasted him to the ground would disappear, leaving him shivering like a newly born soul on a bed of cold ashes. In the fluid moonlight their smooth, hairless bodies mended to each other, bending where one bent, clasped to the other, interlocking like two forgotten pieces of a puzzle.


Michael thought that if he put his mind to it, he might be able to lull his pulse into matching hers. He nudged his chin one fractional inch, and buried his lips in the fine, tangled curls of her hair. He placed his hands possessively on her back and sighed, soaking her into him, thinking that he could stay awake forever if it meant watching her dream.

Somewhere in the hazy realm of her unconscious, she must have heard his irregular breathing, and she moved her lips languidly, whispering something to herself, stretching against the length of his body.

He had never felt so vulnerable, or, by the same token, as powerful as when she woke up, her eyes opening to him, in his bed, with a slow, tentative smile that somehow mirrored the amazement he found in her arms. Unadulterated and pure, with no trace smudges of deceit- it was a new feeling for him, which may have been realized at the second he decided, silently, that anything good or worthwhile or beautiful in the world must have had something to do with her.

It haunted him, for a while, whether to tell her that or not.

The silver sliver through the sheer curtains on the windows fell over her face, and she squinted.

"What happened?" she asked. "Am I still dreaming?"

"No" he said. "I'm pretty sure this is reality."

She took a moment to absorb that, pulling the sheet up around her neck.

"Michael..." she started to say, when he stopped her.

"Don't say you have to go" he told her, quietly. "Just stay here... a little while."

Maria craned her neck to look up at him.

"It must be close to midnight" she reminded him reluctantly. "And your dad.."

"Foster father"

"..Will be coming home soon."

He played with an errant lock of her hair.

"He's gone for the weekend" he said. "Likely drinking himself into a stupor somewhere near Reno."

Her forehead wrinkled in consternation.

"So" he concluded, "There's no reason why you can't sleep here."

"Sleep?" she asked, as if he was speaking an ancient dead language.

"Sleep" he confirmed. "That thing you do when you close your eyes and dream."

"The problem is" she said softly. "Is that I can't be sure I'm not just dreaming that I'm awake."

"Why would you be dreaming?" He wanted to know.

She bit her full lower lip.

"You" she said. "Not moving. Lying here next to me, and, as far as I can tell, not bolting for the door or a lame excuse. Kissing me."

He turned his head away from where their fair hair blended on the pillow.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I shouldn't be" he mumbled.

"What?" Maria sat straight up in the dark, the blankets pooling around her slim stomach as she glared in his direction.

"Lying here. Kissing you." He repeated. "It makes it... it makes it so easy to let go."

Silence took over in the time it took her to swim through the garbled logic of that, and in the shadows, she saw him looking up at her, her upper body shrouded in only translucent, shimmering moonlight and a blush, like a sinner at the gates of Heaven waiting for repentance for a sin he knew he'd likely just commit again.

"I don't get it" she said clearly. "You ask me to sleep here, and then you say it's too easy. What's so wrong with easy, Michael? And damn it..." She wrapped her arms around herself shyly. "Why is letting go such a bad thing?"

He propped himself up, beside her. For a second, he just tilted his head and watched her exist, which was something oddly fascinating and soothing to him. When her blush started to spread, over her ears and down her shoulders, he gently reached out and took hold of her wrists, pulling her tensely wrapped arms away from her body carefully.

"You're so beautiful" he said quietly.

She trembled, and put a hand up as if she wanted to cover herself again, but instead she touched her own face, cradling her chin in silhouette, and he could see the midnight stars between her fingers.

"That doesn't answer my question" she whispered.

"It does" he replied. "Whether you know it or not."

Rather than look at her a minute longer, he turned his back to her, and swung his long legs down, his feet grazing the floor below. He hunched his shoulders, and, for on painful, heartbreaking instant she thought he was going to leave her, and that then she might surely die. He didn't turn around. But he didn't move, either.

"I knew it since the moment I met you" he said, barely audible, so she had to lean to hear him. "That it was you. I convinced myself that I just wanted you, you know, and it was an entirely sexual thing. It annoyed the hell out of me, the fact that someday I just couldn't get you out of my head. I wanted to meet you, but I never got the chance. I couldn't just draw someone in like that.

"And then Max healed Liz. And somehow, all of the sudden, there you were in my sphere, and it bugged me even more, because it seemed that I *should* be able to just grab you and kiss you... you were so close. And then I got to finally kiss you, and that's when it got weird. It's like I wanted more... but I could never conceive getting close to anything that wasn't unearthly."

He took a breath, and craned his neck back, until the crown of his head nearly touched his back.

"You see, Maria" he finished, "It was never that I had my head so far in the clouds that I couldn't or didn't notice anything else. That's what you thought. Maybe I just never wanted anything to tie me to the earth. No parents, no... nothing. And then you come along, all talkative and wanting to get involved. Everything I ever believed I wanted fell flat on its ass, and suddenly it's not being tied to the ground anymore that's a problem. It's that now I don't to cut my only tie by dragging her into my screwed up, sorry excuse for a life."

He stopped abruptly, breathing hard, and Maria just sat still, sinking all that in. With her hands bent into fists she crawled across the brief space between them on the narrow bed, letting her own legs dangle by his.

"Grounded" she echoed him. "You never wanted to be held down."

He turned his head slowly to face her.

"If this is being held down" he told her. "I don't want to go back up."

There was something about the utter sincerity in his voice as he said that, that almost made her cry. It wasn't so much that she had never been spoken to like that before as that she'd bet everything that he had never spoken like that before.

He kissed her, instead, and lingered at her lips, as if he wanted to breathe for her, while one tear rolled down her cheek, and he didn't try to stop it.

"Stop that" he whispered. "There's no reason to cry."

"Your life is not screwed up, Michael" she said. "You couldn't stop me from being involved if you tried."

"I won't see you get hurt" he insisted. "I won't. No matter what you said."

"So you're going to ignore me?" she reasoned, brushing her lip against his as she spoke. "And think that would be better?"

"I'm not perfect" he said, when every other doubt he had had been suitably vanquished. "And you deserve better."


What she wanted to tell him was that if he were an angel, and without fault she couldn't love him half so much, because it wouldn't be *him." She loved Michael Guerrin for himself, with every mar, vice, prejudice and discordant aspect- he was perfectly flawed, and she'd have him no other way.

Rather, she lay him back down, and ran her fingertips over his eyelids and his lips, and smiled, tired at last.

"I deserve what I want" she said simply. "Kiss me. And close your eyes. I'll be here in the morning."

He did as she said and didn't ask if she was telling the truth, because he believed her. She told him that he'd dream, on his own, and maybe she'd show up, and maybe he'd just sink into the sweet oblivion beyond consciousness. Either way, he'd wake up beside her, and that was ultimately where he wanted to be.

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