FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Unearthly Connections"
Part 1
by Jenn
Disclaimer: I donít own any of it, it belongs to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz, ok rub it in.
Summary: Michael is in pain and Mariaís lying in the street .
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG-13
Michael knew something was wrong. He felt it in his gut. He had been woken from a deep sleep, so deep he hadnít even dreamt, and right away something told him that he was in trouble. Or was it him? He couldnít tell. The feeling was now a pain. It shot through him, like he had been stabbed with a knife. ĎWhatís happening to me?í his mind screamed. It was the most painful thing he had felt in his life, up until then at least.

****

Maria groaned. "Where am I?" she questioned. Her whole body ached, something was wrong. She rolled over, noticing that her soft mattress was no longer supporting her body. In itís place was concrete. Opening her eyes, Maria found she could not see well in the dim light.

She was lying on the road, looking up at her window. She saw a shadow move from the window towards her dresser and then out the door. "What happened to me?" she whispered, trying to get up. She couldnít move. Every cell in her body cried out in pain just trying to move her finger. And then everything went black.

****

Michael scrambled out from under the covers, tangling himself in them even worse by trying to hurry. Finding a pair of jeans on the floor he jumped into them, grabbed his jacket, and headed out the door.

This feeling was different than the one he had felt when his sleep had been interrupted by visions of Isabel. This feeling was a pain, so strong he wanted to cry. He quickly jogged along the street, deciding to go to Maria first. They had not talked since that night, the night he found out he had a destiny, and Maria wasnít included. Every time he tried to find the courage to call her or go to her house he reflected back on his life and everything he had always strived for, home.

Turning the corner to Mariaís house he ran into a man. The stranger didnít stop, he just kept walking quickly. There was something on the sidewalk outside Mariaís window. Moving closer Michael recognized the small, frail figure lying on the ground, just as another intense pain shot through him.

****

She was spiraling out of control. Her body felt on fire and then went numb as the world came in and out, like waves on the shore. She was scared, but there was nothing she could do, nothing.

Then she heard him. "Maria," he screamed, his voice filled with emotion. It was like she was being welcomed home to hear his voice, but the tone made it sound like she was going away, leaving for good. She tried to answer but she was drifting. He came over to her, gently brushing his fingers over her cheek as he dipped down to kiss her. The contact between them was soft and sweet, and swift. In a matter of seconds, Maria was gone again.

****

"Maria, Maria whatís happened to you?" Michael couldnít think straight, tears were starting to form in his eyes and the pain inside of him was growing stronger with every minute that passed. He kissed her again, wanting to feel her presence, wanting to know she was still there. Still no response. At least she was breathing.

Michael ran to the front door, crying now, afraid to leave Maria but afraid not to. "Mrs. De Luca," he screamed, while banging on the door. He didnít even think about waking the neighbors until one of them stuck their head out the window and hollered for him to keep it down. Ignoring the request he banged on the glass part of the door again, "Mrs. De Luca, itís Maria, call 911." A confused Amy De Luca staggered into the kitchen, a bathrobe wrapped around her small frame. "Mrs. De Luca, please, Mariaís hurt."

"What?" Amy questioned skeptically, not trusting the boy at the front door.

"Mariaís hurt, real bad. Iím going to go to her. Call and ambulance."

When Michael returned to Maria she still had not opened her eyes, and he noticed a puddle of blood growing increasingly larger around her frail form. He must not have noticed that before. Seeing it made him feel as if his blood, too, was being drained. He began to feel faint and sat down on the curb next to Maria. Michael picked up Mariaís hand, trying to comfort her, and him.

At that moment Mrs. De Luca walked up behind Michael. She gasped and tears started to run down her cheeks in an instant.

"My baby, what happened to my baby girl?" Mrs. De Luca said in hysterics. "Did you do this to her, did you?"

Michael didnít know what to say. "No," he stammered, backing away from Maria and dropping her hand. He let Mrs. De Luca go to her.

"My baby," she kept whispering. "Wake up, baby. Maria, its Mom." Maria did not move. Sirens could be heard in the distance. The pain that had been so intense before was starting to fade, and Michael was afraid of what this might mean.

Seconds later and ambulance, and Liz Parker, arrived at the side of the De Luca house. As the paramedics laid Maria on a stretcher, they questioned Michael and Mrs. De Luca. "Young man," one paramedic said, "you found her, correct?"

"Yes, I found her. She was lying right here on the side walk." Michael was nervous; what if they thought it was his fault.

"She doesnít appear to have been hurt long ago. You night have saved this girlís life."

ĎShe saved her own life,í he thought. At least some higher power had saved her. If he hadnít been in pain, or woken up and felt something wrongÖ He didnít even want to think what would have happened, because he knew. The thought brought renewed tears to his eyes. He needed to take a walk. But he couldnít pull himself away from Maria, not even for a second.

"Mrs. De Luca," the paramedic said, turning to the frantic woman. "Mrs. De Luca, we are going to have to take her to the hospital. You may come in the ambulance if you would like."

"Tell you what," Amy said, trying to regain her composure. "Why doesnít Michael go. I need to change, but I want someone with my baby."

"All right," the paramedic replied. "What about her?" he said pointing to Liz.

"She can go too." Liz and Michael then quickly got into the rear of the ambulance, following the limp body of the small, bloody, blonde haired girl.

"Oh my god," Liz whispered. "You found her like this?"

"Yeah," Michael said. "She looks pretty beat up. I donít know what could have happened.

"Neither do I. I really hope she makes it through this."

"Me too, me too." Michael gave Liz a weak smile, trying to reassure her everything would be all right, but he wasnít sure how convincing it was, since he still couldnít convince himself.

The whole time Michael hadnít once thought about what would happen if she really didnít make it through this. It would free him, once and for all. But was that what he really wanted?

****

Maria knew she was dying. She could feel the blood flowing freely from her body onto the gauze bandages that the doctors had wrapped around her wounds. She tried to call out to someone anyone. She needed help.

Maria had been coming in and out of the world for who knows how long. She couldnít move or even talk. She saw Michael and her mother moving around her and then the paramedics, even Liz. But, she could do nothing to reassure them that she was alive, she just couldnít. She wondered now, as she heard the sirens roar around her, where the man in her window had gone, and who he was. Most of all she wondered how she had gotten to be like this. She hadnít done it to herself. Who would have done this to her?

She couldnít think, it was too hard. All she wanted to concentrate on was staying awake, being able to feel, to know the world was around her. Staying conscious was a battle and it was becoming increasingly hard to fight. Moments after being rolled off of the ambulance she started too bland out again. This time the darkness was inviting. She succumbed to it and once again slipped into another state of mind. A place she could hear voices but she couldnít process their messages. Here she could dream without disturbance, without distraction.

*Dream Sequence*

Maria was falling. She felt her body going down towards a bottomless pit while someone above laughed. The laughter was sinister and it scared Maria. She tried to turn her head towards the sound but every time she moved it, the laughter moved too.

She kept falling, her body felt like liquid dripping from a faucet in slow motion. Maria knew she was dreaming but she couldnít awake from the disturbing nightmare.

Suddenly she hit the ground. She could hear, and feel, the bones in her body crack when they hit the concrete, as if they were twigs.

Her dream then skipped, as if someone had pressed fast forward on a remote. Visions of Michael filled the blackness that had been there before. She saw Michaelís eyes, full of tears, and his face looking into hers. He was saying something, although she didnít know what. He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers. Even in the dream she could feel them, soft and sweet. Oh, what she would give to be kissing him now. As this thought crossed her mind, memories of past kisses filled the dream. They left as quickly as they came and the dream was back. Now she was being rolled onto a stretcher. For a minute she thought maybe she had woke up. She hadnít, these were memories. Memories of that night.

****

Michael stayed by Mariaís side as much as they would let him. He couldnít bear to leave her. He couldnít bear to think that if he left, it might be the last time he heard the rhythm of her breath or the warmth of her skin. He just couldnít imagine what that might do to him.

He knew it would rip his heart out. He knew it would change him, the same way she had changed him in life. He knew if she died, he would too. There was no doubt in his mind.

Every once in a while Mariaís eyelids fluttered or her face tightened. At this moment her brow was furrowed and she looked as if she knew the danger she was in. He felt the pain again and then fear flooded over him, uncontrolled fear. Suddenly flashes of him and Maria filled his eyes. They were quick but comforting, and haunting. What about all the times he had given up with her? What about all the times he had rejected her, hurt her? She hated him. She wouldÖ No. He had missed those times, but there would be more. He would make sure there were more to come.

Doctors flew around the room trying to keep the girl alive. Mariaís body was encircled with tubes, like halos around her head, but snakes as they dug into her arm. At least they might help. Michael knew he wasnít supposed to be there. The doctors had said so many times, but like always he was stubborn. Liz had been in once, but then went to stay in the lobby and call the others. He knew Amy had probably pulled a few strings to let him stay there, cause Liz had practically been dragged out of the room.

Amy had come in about a half an hour ago but left soon after. He knew how hard this must be for her. The only person she could count on in the world was in danger. Amy had been crying and Michael was uncomfortable with it. He left to let her have time with her daughter, gave her the space she needed. She had only stayed with Maria for a few minutes. When she emerged from the room she told Michael, "You stay with my baby. Keep her safe, since I canít."

"Iíll try, I promise, Iíll try," he had replied, walking back to Mariaís beside. "Iíll try," he whispered. He thought Maria should look peaceful, she looked like she was sleeping, but she was worried, he could tell. The signals of pain had subsided, at least for now, but now he was getting signals of fear and sadness. He took Mariaís hand and desperately tried to send signals to her, not knowing whether it would work or not.

Lacing his fingers through hers, he closed his eyes and prayed to something that she would be all right, tried to tell that it would be all right. He tried to tell her that she would get through this, that she would be all right.

The blackness of his eyelids turned blacker and Michael felt like he was slipping into another place and time. He was standing in the middle of blackness so black he couldnít see his hand in front of his face. Then he saw her, lying on the road as he had before. He must be dreaming remembering. But then the blackness ran off the walls, like paint dripping down a canvas. It gave way to a beautiful starlit sky. He saw Maria, "Maria," he called out. "Maria." He was in her mind, her unconsciousness. He didnít know how he knew he was there or how he had gotten in, but he had. "Maria," he yelled again.

"Michael," he heard a weak voice reply. "Michael, help me."

*******

Mariaís dream had skipped again. She was now in a field, the grass lush beneath her bare feet. The air was warm, and she could feel a breeze blow across her shoulders. The sky over head was beautiful and the sky illuminated the world. Michael was there, in the middle of it all. He was really there; it wasnít just another dream. Michael had come to chase away the nightmare, to stop her mind from searching for an answer it would never find. He had saved her again. Now she wasnít scared, at least she would see Michael one last timeÖ

He came to her, closing the space between them in a few long strides. He came to her and held her, his grip so tight around her and his arms so strong and muscular. She felt as if he were holding her down, like he was anchoring her to earth. She kissed him. His lips tasted sweet and spicy, like the foods he ate and his personality. It was perfect, but bittersweet. As they broke the kiss Maria pulled away slowly, wanting to remember what kissing him felt like forever. Michael looked into Mariaís eyes, and without him saying a word she knew exactly how he felt. The message pulsated through her body like the beat of a song, "I love you, I love you," they said. Then Michael leaned in close touching her cheek with his fingertips and whispered, "Youíll be ok, I promise you."

Tears started to form in her eyes, and Michaelís followed. As their tears fell to the ground and mixed together, a strange light shot from the ground. The brightness of it blinded her. "Good-bye, Michael," she yelled. She wanted to make sure she didnít leave without his forgiveness. "Iím sorry."

"Iím sorry, too," he answered.

"Good-bye, Michael," she cried again. She was all right now, everything was all right. And the beautiful dream world faded.

THE MAN

It had been simpler than he thought. He had let himself into her room quietly and making sure she was in a deep sleep, he gently picked her up and carried her to the attic. There he had dropped her feather light body from the window and laughed at how easily it was done. He was quite astonished no one had noticed and no one was awoken.

He had been planning this for months. Maria was a bad influence, a distraction. Michael seemed to be the only one not following the rules, and it was all her fault. Maria had meant no harm in loving Michael, she had every right to love who ever she chose. But Michaelís destiny was to share his life with Isabel, not Maria.

He had seen no other solution then to get rid of her. It was cruel, he knew that, but it was necessary. Michael was beyond help. Even though he had not talked to Maria since the day he was told the course of his life, he had not gone with Isabel. Isabel had broken up with Alex, but Michael was as stubborn as always. So that was his plan, and thatís what had happened.

After he heard her land on the street below, he rushed to her room. Grabbing a piece of paper off her dresser he proceded to write a good-bye note to her family. Suicide was logical in her case. She could not be with the man she loved because of others standing in her way. Sounded like Romeo and Juliet to him. They would buy it.

As he climbed from the window he heard Maria groan. She wasnít dead, but there was no time, he heard footsteps coming from around the corner. He rushed down the sidewalk and as he turned the corner he ran into someone. He kept walking and when he felt he was a far enough distance away he looked back to see who it was.

It was Michael, dammit. He had messed up again, maybe not in his eyes but it was the worst mess up of all. If Michael wasnít with Isabel, he didnít know what would happen to himself, to Michael, to Maria or Isabel or any of the others. It could destroy the whole balance of everything. But there was nothing he could do without revealing himself, so he walked on, and tried to forget.

END THE MAN

She had forgiven him, at least she didnít hate him, but Michael was determined to keep his promise no matter what. He couldnít let her die, not like this. She had not lived enough, she had not had enough time, she had wasted too much time on him, too much time loving him, he wanted to give her a second chance. Maybe he would get a second chance too, a chance to love her like she deserved to be loved.

When he opened his eyes, there were doctors surrounding him. "Are you all right, son?" one of the doctors questioned.

Looking up at the young man with a dazed look on his face, Michael answered, "I think so, I will be."

"All right, I know this must be distressingÖ"

Michael cut him off, "You donít know anything, how can you know what this is like for me. No one can." Michael said, needing to leave the room. "I need a break," he snapped and stalked out of the depressing room. He needed to go somewhere. Anywhere but the hospital, anywhere.

Tears started to roll down his cheeks for the first time. He had been close many times before but this was the first time he let them flow. Michael ran through the lobby, pushing past all those waiting for their loved ones too. Amy saw him, but let him go, she knew he needed his space. Liz was standing outside and when she saw Michael whiz by she went to ask Amy what had happened.

Michael ran and ran until he reached Mariaís house. Going through her window, like he had many nights before, he stopped to catch his breath. The room smelled like her, a mix of cedar oil and generic shampoo, the kind he had bought her. He breathed it in deep, letting the smell wash over his body and comfort him. He loved her smell.

Sitting on her bed, Michael let the tears come undisturbed. His whole body shook with sobs. He cried for Maria, he cried for Amy, he cried for himself, he cried for the love he might never have, and he cried for the person who did this to her. Looking around Michael noticed for the first time, the special little touches that Maria had added to her small room.

He traced his fingers over the night table, the cool wood causing him to shiver. There was a note on the table, laying on top of the other little trinkets covering the dresser. He picked it up and read it. It was a suicide note. What could be worse? He reread it:

To those I love:

To mom:

Mom I love you, and I will always love you but I cannot take care of you any longer. It is too hard. I do not want you to feel as if this is your fault, I know you will but you canít, thatís not what I did this for. I never wanted to let you down or disappoint you.

To Lizzy:

You have always been good to me and always been there when I need you. I love you and want you to know itís not your fault either. I cherish our friendship and it is what has kept me alive this far.

To Alex, Isabel, and Max:

I have tried to protect you, as you have tried to protect me. We have been through a lot together and you must not think that is the reason I did what I did. I tried my best.

To Michael:

You know how I feel about you, and you always have. I think I know how you feel too. I am not doing this because of you but maybe it will help you decide. You need to move on and live the life you were destined for.

Luv,

MARIA

It couldnít be true. There was something about the letter, something he could not pinpoint, that made it unbelievable. SomethingÖ

*******

Maria was waking up. She felt like she was underwater and was swimming toward a surface that wasnít there. Now all she wanted was to return to the darkness, she just wanted to stop the pain that was felt throughout her body. She wanted to live, but it was painful.

As she pulled herself to the surface she heard the machines and doctors around her. But Michael was no longer there; she didnít feel his presence. Where had he gone? She wondered. When he was there she felt safe, now she was scared. She wondered whether he would ever be back. She prayed with all her might that he would. She needed him.

As her eyes fluttered open she heard one doctor say, "Sheís waking up, go tell the others." A man then hurried from the room.

Suddenly there was a handsome young face peering into hers. "Hey," the man said. "You're awake. How do you feel?"

Maria didnít say anything, couldnít say anything, for fear of hurting herself.

"Donít worry. Youíre going to be all right now. Just rest. I know you hurt. You had a pretty bad fall but youíve gotten through the worst. Itís amazing you woke up so quickly." He turned around and started checking the machines surrounding her bed.

"Oh and your boyfriend needed a rest. Heíll be back sometime. I think this has been really rough on him."

*******

Something was definitely wrong with the situation, the handwriting, the idea. Maria was too strong a person. She had made it this far; she wouldnít give up now. Plus she couldnít have, she would never have broken her motherís heart, never. The person who had written this hadnít known Maria well, that was for sure.

Who would have done something like this? The question kept replaying over and over in his mind. Nasedo would have, he was always trying to protect them, but Nasedo had been captured weeks ago. No one had seen him since; no one even knew where he was. Who else was there that would have done this? He couldnít think of one single person.

The pain started to return, along with a feeling of happiness. She was waking up, he could feel it. He sat for another minute, still undecided about what had happened. All he knew was someone had hurt Maria in hopes of helping him. Well, damn it, whoever it was, they would not get away with it. He would find them.

Michael half walked, half jogged, back to the hospital. It was a long trip, but he wanted to get there before she fell back asleep. When he reached the doors he took a deep breath. He could see a doctor talking to Amy and Liz. He let out his breath and pulled open the door.

Liz saw him first. "Mariaís awake, sheís going to be ok."

"I know," he said softly.

"WhaÖ" Liz started, not understanding, but Michael cut her off.

"Can I talk to you?" he asked, directing the question at Amy.

"Sure," she said, her brow wrinkling. "First letís go see Maria."

"Maíam, you canítÖ"

"Come on doctor. Please, sheís been through enough today, we all have. Just let us go see sheís all right," Michael pleaded with the young man.

"Fine, Iíll probably get fired for letting you stay in there with her. Why donít I just get my license revoked too."

"Thanks, I knew youíd understand." The doctor threw his hands in the air. Michael led Liz and Amy to Mariaís room, the doctor in tow.

When they reached the room another doctor tried to stop them, but Michael just pushed through leaving the other doctor to explain. He knew he was being rude, but what was new. And anyway, he needed to see Maria, and he needed to talk to Amy.

*******

Maria saw Michael walk in the room, his usual air of confidence surrounding him. She could smell him, his distinct scent of Tabasco sauce and soap detergent and something just distinctly Michael. Behind him were her mother and Liz.

She was so happy to see them all. She knew she was happiest to see Michael, she wished it werenít true. She didnít need to be involved with him. She knew what would happen. But no matter what that was her feelings, and she couldnít deny them.

Her mother looked overwhelmed and she could see the remnants of tears and the puffy, red eyes from crying and lack of sleep. Amy ran to her bedside mumbling little things to no one in particular.

"Maria, youíre all right," Liz said breaking the silence. Maria tried to do something to let her know she had heard her, but she was tied down and couldnít move. So she blinked and opened her mouth.

The doctor jumped in; "She canít move or speak right now. This fall has broken a lot of bones and since she was unconscious we had to put a feeding tube in her throat. She hears you and understands."

Maria was angry and frustrated at the fact that they were talking about her like she wasnít there. She wished she could speak to them, tell them in her own words that she was all right. But she couldnít so she just listened to them ramble on to her.

"Maria we were so worried about you? What happened? Wait I should stop asking questions," Amy rambled; now Maria knew where she got that from. "Iím just so glad youíre all right, honey. Iím just so glad, I didnít know what I would do."

Michael was standing in the background while the two women, hovered around her. Then he tapped her mother on the shoulder. Amy turned and walked out with Michael into the hall. They stepped around the corner so she couldnít hear them.

Liz was saying something to her but Maria was too busy trying to understand why Michael and her mother were in the hall.

"Do you want me to call the others?" Liz asked. "Blink once for yes and two for no. I understand you might not, but it might keep your mother less worried knowing there are more of us to count on."

Maria knew Liz wanted Max, and she could understand. Plus it would help her mother and also her. She liked to know that Max, Isabel and Alex were around.

She and Isabel had become good friends in the last few weeks, despite destiny. Michael had not chosen between them and that brought them closer together. Isabel understood about being pulled away for the sake of destiny, also, even though she was on the other end.

Alex had always been around when they needed him the most. She knew he would be there again. Somehow just knowing that helped her feel better.

And Max, even thought they werenít that close had always done what was best for her and her friends. He might not be able to help heal her, it would be too obvious, but he would be able to comfort her friends, he was a destined leader.

So Maria blinked twice. Liz used the phone in the room, so she didnít have to leave her alone. She was glad Liz didnít leave. The doctors and machines were too impersonal and made her lonely.

*******

"No," Amy gasped. "No that canít be true, sheís too strong."

"I know, thatís what Iím trying to tell you," Michael said, hugging the hysterical woman. "It doesnít match up. This isnít even Mariaís handwriting." Michael showed Amy the letter to prove his point.

"Youíre right, but who would have done something like this?"

"I already asked myself that. I can not think of anyone, can you?"

"No, no one ever seemed to have a problem with my Maria, no one."

"I know, Amy, I know. Maria was a sweet girl. And after all sheís been through I know nothing could make her go to these extremes. Nothing." Michael wanted to take back the words. They said too much, told her too much. He had only ever been open with Max and Isabel and then Maria had come. She had screwed up his world, changed it. But maybe it was a change for the better. What if he never got home?

They had talked to Maxís mother but no one knew whether they would ever be able to return, especially since Nasedo had disappeared. If he didnít come backÖ

Amy started to talk. "I know how much you care for her Michael. Iíve always known, you donít have to hide in front of me."

"AmyÖ"

"No, Michael Iím glad that Maria has someone to love her. She needs it. I canít love her as much as she needs to be loved, Iím only one person."

Michael was touched by her words and glad that he could share his feelings with someone. "Amy, I would never want to hurt your daughter."

"Then donít, she loves you, Iíve seen it in the way she looks at you, the way she talks to you and about you."

"Amy, I donít think Iím right for your daughter. I am not what she needs. I canít tell you, but something is in the way and she is going to end up hurt."

"There is always hurt, Iíve lived long enough to know that. No matter what happens, some one hurts. But Maria needs you right now. I wish I could be what she needed, but she needs you, more than anything. Please what ever there is, you donít have to forget about it, but just help Maria. Iím begging you."

"Iíll try Amy, Iíll try. I need your daughter, too. More than anyone will ever know. About what I said tonight, please donít say anything."

"I wonít."

"And about what happened with Maria, I will find out who did it, just donít tell her anything is wrong yet. Donít let her worry, I think she already knows something is wrong, she knows she didnít do it. And I know too."

"So do I Michael, I wonít let her worry."

Michael heard familiar voices. He turned to Amy, "You go see your daughter, send Liz out to the lobby."

Amy turned and walked back to the room. Michael walked in the opposite direction to the lobby. There he saw Max talking to the receptionist, Isabel and Alex standing awkwardly behind him. "Max over here." Max and the lady behind the desk turned toward him.

Max, Is, and Alex walked over and one by one they hugged. He and Alex had become better friends now that they had Isabel as common ground. Michael could not decide whether or not to go to Isabel and Alex could not, for fear of what might happen. Michael knew Is wanted to be with Alex, but some how Isabel and him made sense, but not enough to make him leave Maria. Never would they make that much sense. This was a new life, not a past one, it was supposed to happen differently.

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