FanFic - Other
Part 18
by Kath7
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. The characters and concept belong to Jason Katims and Melinda Metz. Tarsus of Dernia and all Illyrian characters belong to me. Lyrics by Sarah McLachlan, Phil Collins, Amanda Marshall.
Summary: Sequel to "Out of the Woods." I highly recommend reading it before trying this one. It is archived at the Crashdown. Basically, Max is gone, and the others have no idea whether they will ever see him again.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Roswell, New Mexico

Kyle paced the hospital waiting room, his hands clenched behind his back.

Where the hell was Tess?

He had left at least five messages on her answering machine and it had been at least three hours since he had seen her get into the strange car.

He was pissed. Not only did he have to worry about Maria, who was fighting for her life down the hall, but he had to worry about Tess, who seemed to be reverting to her old, selfish ways.

Kyle's pacing stopped abruptly when Alex entered the waiting room. Maria's best friend was rubbing his right temple like he had the world's worst head-ache in progress.

"How is she?" Kyle demanded.

Alex collapsed into an umcomfortable looking chair, which looked even more uncomfortable with Alex's lanky form spread across it. "She's in a coma." He replied, his voice cracking. "Mrs. Deluca just told me."

Kyle stared at him. "Jesus..." He swallowed. "How's Mrs. Deluca?"

"Not good." Alex replied. "I don't even know what to do for her...I can't call Liz's parents because they think Liz is HERE, and as far as I know they're her only friends."

Kyle grimaced. "I didn't even know they WERE friends?"

"Well, sort of..." Alex shrugged. "I don't really pay attention to my friends' parents' social life."

Kyle felt helpless. Maria was dying and the people who should have been with her - Michael and Liz - were on the other side of the world. He wondered if doing something for Maria's mom would make him feel any better. "Do you think seeing my dad might help her?" He asked Alex.

Alex's head snapped up. "Were they that close?" Alex asked curiously.

Kyle shrugged. "They seemed to be getting pretty close until all hell broke loose when Tess came to town. I mean, it was a long time ago, but I know that my dad really cared about her...he just sort of seemed to get distracted with all the Czech stuff."

"Don't we all." Alex muttered. "Well, I guess it couldn't hurt." He leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands. "I mean, things couldn't possibly get worse."

Kyle wished that Alex hadn't said that. The last time HE had thought that same thing, things HAD proceeded to show him how wrong he was by getting ten TIMES worse.

He hurried over to the pay-phone. Kyle paused as his hand raised to dial his dad's cell. He was not surprised when he dialed Tess' number instead. He'd call his dad in a second.

"Hi! You've reached the Harding residence. Neither Ed or Tess can come to the phone right now. Please leave a message at the beep."

Kyle sighed, hung up the received. Where the hell was she?

He quickly pulled out another quarter.

"Valenti." His dad answered the cell tersely, as was his way.

"Dad, it's me."

"Kyle, I'm kinda busy right now." The Sheriff, as usual, had seemed to half tune-out when he realized it was his son on the phone. Bet he wouldn't have done that if it was Max Evans, Kyle briefly thought, forced himself to suppress his lingering bitterness.

He knew his dad loved him. That wasn't the problem. He just sometimes felt that his dad wasn't very INTERESTED in him.

"It's an emergency Dad." Kyle told his father. "Maria Deluca's in the hospital."

Kyle's dad paused on the other end. "It's bad huh?"

"I think this might be it Dad." The Sheriff was aware of the situation with Maria, had been since it had developped.

"Do you want me to come over there son?"

"Yeah, but not for me...I think Maria's mom might need someone."

His dad paused again. "I'm on my way. I just need to call Owen and tell him to mind the shop..."

"Okay, thanks Dad." Kyle hung up, he turned around, froze in his tracks.

Tess Harding was standing directly behind him. She had a stricken expression on her beautiful face. "Is it true Kyle? Is Maria dying?"

"It's true." He said quietly. Her face crumbled. Kyle was astonished when she threw her arms around him, apparently searching for comfort. He brought his arms up around her waist hesitantly, let one hand stroke her back.

He hadn't known that Tess cared about Maria this much. If it had been Michael or Isabel...he might have understood it...but this was weird.

"Everything's falling apart." He heard Tess murmer against his chest. Somehow, suddenly, he knew that this wasn't just about Maria.

"What's wrong Tess?" He asked into her hair, feeling his heart beginning to beat faster at the scent of her perfume.

He felt her tense, as though she had suddenly become aware of what she was doing. She pulled away from him, turned to stare at Alex, clearly trying to compose herself.

"It's nothing. Forget it. I'm going to go see if maybe I can do something for her." Tess hurried away, without showing him her face again.

Kyle watched her go, a perplexed expression on his face.

Tess was hiding something...there was no doubt about that.

Alex had climbed to his feet, had come to join Kyle.

"What was that all about?" He asked Kyle.

"I have no idea." Kyle replied.

But he was going to find out.

* Dreams * MARIA

She felt as if her body had been incinerated from the inside out.

Maria carefully opened her eyes, realized that she was lying flat on her back staring up at a peculiar yellowish sky. She reached up, massaged her temples, tried to sit up.

She froze when she toppled over backwards, landing on something soft.

Make that SOMEONE soft, she amended to herself.

He groaned.

Slowly turning her head, Maria stared down at Michael. He was sprawled on his stomach, one arm thrown wide, the other shielding his head.

Clutching her side when she moved, a sharp pain flashing through her entire abdomen, Maria managed to nudge him. He groaned again.

"Michael?" No answer. "MICHAEL!"

"What do you want?" She heard him mutter.

"I want you to get up and tell me where the heck we are, because I am on the verge of totally freaking out here."

Michael rolled onto his back, slowly opened his eyes. She wondered briefly if it was HER Michael, or if it was pod-person Michael. She asssumed it was pod-person Michael since he was the last Michael she had seen.

She realized that she was confusing herself, decided to just wait and see.

Michael was climbing to his feet, looking around, his expression amazed. "I'm home." He reached down and pulled her to her feet. "I'm home Maria."

Maria stared at him. He sounded like HER Michael. His voice contained inflection, was not the flat monotone she had become used to over the past months.

She followed his gaze, took in the waving yellow grass that seemed to stretch on forever in all directions.

Michael suddenly looked at her perplexed. "Why are you here?" He demanded.

"I think because I fell into that light thingy." She replied, reaching up to rub her head again. It was still killing her. "You know - the one I pushed YOU into...sorry about that." She continued sheepishly.

Michael opened his mouth to reply when a noise to their left caused them to both freeze. He grabbed her, thrusting her behind him.

Another head popped up in the grass. It was River Dog...or Tarsus of Dernia as they had learned he truly was. The shapeshifter climbed unsteadily to his feet, seemed to become aware of their presence.

Tarsus' eyes narrowed when he caught sight of Maria peering over Michael's shoulder. "That one is more trouble then she is worth. She has ruined everything - we have returned without Jaxon. Kill her immediately Tristandor."

Maria could feel Michael's back tense under her hands, which were clutching his jacket. He didn't have time to reply though, because Tarsus had begun pacing.

"This is a disaster. My leader is going to be most put out. The only consolation is that Jaxon will no doubt follow you." He turned quickly to stare at them, did not seem at all upset that Michael had made no move to kill Maria. "I've changed my mind. Do not kill her. We will need her to bargain with when the King arrives."

Maria frowned in confusion. None of this was making any sense.

"Time to take my true form." Tarsus' face was implacable as always, but if Maria did not already know that the alien did not have any emotions, she would have thought that he sounded glad. She watched him raise his hand. It began to glow, causing a chain reaction in his entire body.

"Ohmigod! Michael! Is he going to turn into a little green man?" Maria demanded, feeling horror beginning to take ahold of her.

"Shhhh! Maria!" Michael sounded annoyed, and very Michael-like. It made her feel better. She wondered again why he suddenly seemed to be HER Michael again and not weird-emotionless-minion of Tarsus Michael.

But now was not the time. She wanted to close her eyes to hide from whatever Tarsus was turning himself into, but it was like a car accident. She couldn't look away.

The light finally dissipated and she gasped in astonishment.

Standing in front of her was a perfectly normal-looking man. He was young with dark hair and blue eyes. He was actually quite handsome. Maria blinked.

Tarsus was staring off across the plain. "Dernia is south of here. We will go there to rally the troops to bring them back here to capture Jaxon when he makes the journey."

"What if he's long gone by the time we get back? Shouldn't we wait for him?" Michael asked the question Maria had been thinking.

Tarsus frowned. "Don't ask questions about things you don't understand."

" are we ever supposed to learn if we don't ask questions about things we don't understand?" Maria asked. Was this guy really as imbecilic as he sounded? She wondered why they had all been so scared of him.

"Shut her up." Tarsus ordered. Michael squeezed Maria's hand warningly.

They exchanged glances, then followed Tarsus across the plain of yellow grass, heading south.

Part 17 | Index | Part 19
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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