FanFic - Michael/Maria
Part 3
by Ashleigh Lou
Disclaimer: I'm poor. I own nothing. Don't sue; you're wasting your time. This story also deals with postpartum depression -- tread lightly.
Summary: Another crisis after the birth of Maria and Michael's twins. The sequel to "Happiness.'
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: This is the third part of my second fic in my M&M/music trilogy. The song is called "Rarely Spoken" and is on Better Than Ezra's B-sides and rarities CD, Artifakt. It picks up soon after the birth of the twins. This is for my best friend and her brother, who have a special place in this fic and will probably never read it. Minderina, who loved the original version of the song but will never read the fic either, and for Selene, who has been such a help to me -- she's like my right arm lately.
* * * * *
Call a ride to you
From the phone booth up the street
* * * * *

Maria had never seen anything so perfect as her newborn son. Both babies had light brown hair like their father's had been, and eyes shaped like their mother's. Michael held his daughter, gazing with wonder at the small being. The babies, named Valerie and Andrew, were sleeping so deeply that he was afraid to lay them in the crib.

Isabel, ever the caregiver, came in and carefully placed the twins into the crib. "I'm going to stay in here the first few nights," she told them, "to help you guys make the transition." She ended up dragging the mattress off her bed into Michael and Maria's bedroom and sleeping on the floor for three nights. Michael had to go back to work the next afternoon, and Maria did great as a first-time parent, with the help of her friends.

The first night alone without Isabel's help wasn't so bad either. Valerie would awaken first, needing a dry diaper and milk. Then, about a half an hour after she woke up, Andrew would start in. Valerie would be asleep by then and put back into the crib. Their son would be diapered and fed, before being layed back down with his sister. If Michael did all this, then in an hour and a half, it was Maria's turn.

Maria spent the next day entirely alone with the twins. They seemed to be at odds in the daytime with their feeding schedules, which kept Maria busy. When they napped, she napped with them. Liz and Alex came home the next day to a messy house and a worn-out Maria.

During the next week and a half, Maria became more and more frustrated with motherhood. Lack of sleep was playing at her mind, and it didn't help that she wasn't confident about her mothering skills.

Michael came home on a Tuesday afternoon to find both babies crying pitifully, and Maria sitting in the living room floor, bawling with them. He quickly took both babies into the bedroom and changed their diapers. After each had taken an ounce of milk and drifted off to sleep, he went into the living room. Maria had stopped crying and was instead asleep, crumpled up in the floor. He silently picked her up and carried her into Isabel's room, letting her sleep. He knew she needed rest, but he didn't think that was all of the problem.

Over the next two weeks, problems with Maria and the babies got increasingly worse. She wasn't sleeping much anymore, and she wasn't eating, either. One of them would come home to find her staring blankly into space, or extremely irritated for no reason. Once she threw a cup at Liz. Maria would take innocent comments and make it seem as if they were all against her.

When the babies were a month old, Alex came home from work in the early evening and found Valerie in the living room floor, screaming her lungs out. He found Andrew on top of clothes in the clothes basket. Maria was nowhere to be found.

Calling Michael at work, he told him, "You need to come home immediately. Maria's gone."

Worst-case scenarios ran through Michael's head in the ten-minute drive home. What if someone had kidnapped Maria? What if she was lying dead somewhere? Michael didn't know what he'd do without Maria in his life.

As soon as Michael walked through the doorway, the phone rang. He rushed to pick it up before Alex could. "Hello?" he practically yelled into the phone.


A small, weak voice traveled through the line.

"Maria? Where the hell are you?"

"Down by the grocery store."

"Why are you down there and the babies are here?"

"I got lost."

Michael sighed and felt his anger replaced with pity. "Don't move, okay? I'll be right there."

* * * * *
The words still burning
So breathe it out - breathe it in
Close your eyes and count to 10
You blew it all this time
But that's just how it ends
That you're not here...
Are you now?
The pride just leaves you dry
* * * * *

Michael had to practically drag Maria into the house. Weak and exhausted, she had no real explanation for why she had left their babies alone in the house. He decided to save the questions for later and took off her shoes. Placing her in bed and covering her up, he wondered where this had all gone wrong.

"Postpartum depression," Isabel told them later that evening. "I remembered something about it in one of those pregnancy books and I did some more research on it today."

"So how do you fix it?" Alex questioned.

"Usually, therapy."

All five of them wondered how they were going to manage this. If Maria went to therapy she would have to reveal everything, putting all of their lives in danger.

"We've got to stop thinking of only our safety," Liz told them, "but we've also got to think of the reason we left. Maria's mental well-being counts as being safe, too."

"I want to go back to Roswell."

They all turned to look at Maria, who was standing in the doorway. "I can't do this anymore. I miss my mother. I miss the life we had. We can't do this alone, and we can't do this here. I want to go back. I need to go back."

Everyone looked at her, then turned to Max.

"Then we go back," he announced.

* * * * *

While Max was on the phone with the Sheriff, Maria pulled Michael into their bedroom. "I want to talk to you," she said. He sat down on the bed and looked up at her expectantly.

"I'm sorry for what I did today. I know that it doesn't change anything I did, but I am sorry. I don't know why I did it. I can't believe I left my babies here, alone. They could have been hurt, taken, killed--" she paused, beginning to sob. "I must be the worst mother in the world."

Michael broke down into tears himself, taking her into his arms and holding her until their tears stopped. "I understand, Maria, I really do. This is not your fault, this depression you're in. I think going home will really help you."

Max chose that moment to come into the room. "Sheriff Valenti is going to provide us some police protection for a while after we get back into town. He can't promise it forever, but it will help until we get settled back in and are on our guard. He's also going to talk to my parents, Liz's, and the Whitmans. He's leaving your mom up to you, Maria."

She nodded and gave Max a hug. "Thank you so much, for listening and giving the okay for us to go home," she whispered in his ear.

"It's what's best, for all of us really," he told her.

They packed up all their personal belongings, leaving everything else in the house. Michael, Liz, and Max left in one car with baby Andrew, while Maria, Isabel, and Alex sped off with Valerie.

It didn't seem nearly as long going home as it did leaving to Maria. In Arkansas, she stopped at a payphone and called her mother. Amy answered on the first ring.

"Mom, I'm coming home!" Maria shouted.

Part 2 | Index | Part 4
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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