FanFic - Other
"New Circles"
Part 1a
by Jenn
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell.
Summary: Maria has cancer and everyone has to deal with it.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I am not a doctor so all information may not be 100% accurate!
Immediately she regretted it remembering how nice he had been to her in the pod chamber, how sweet he had been that night. But still, he was the last person she expected to show up. This was an excuse for him to run, why hadnít he taken it?

The room was silent. Liz said, "UmÖI have to go to pick up the pizza for tonight. You guys wanna come?" she said, turning to Max, Alex, Isabel and Tess.

"And leave me here alone, with him?" Maria hissed at Liz.

"Talk to him," she whispered back. "Just talk to him."

Maria paced around the kitchen, mad that her friends had just left her there. "Why didnít you run?" she finally asked.

"What?" he practically yelled. "What is that supposed to mean Maria?"

"Well I just thought it would be a good opportunity for you to leave, an excuse for you to get out of this all, for good.," Maria said timidly, she didnít want this to be another shouting match. But she needed to get her point across; she wasnít going to back down now. "Why didnít you use it?"

Michael just looked at her. His mouth opened then shut again. "Why?" Maria pleaded.

"You remember that night you came to me? When I opened the door and saw you there I just wanted to slam it in your face and forget I had ever seen you. I knew if I let you in that I would never be able to push you away, that I was admitting that I couldnít hurt you anymore. Admitting that I needed someone, and they needed me.

"But whenÖ" Michael paused, blushing. Maria waited, she didnít speak or nod, just sat there. "When I saw your face, the pain in your smile, the tears in your eyes, I froze. I couldnít shut the door although everything within told me to do it and not think about what I had done another minute.

"I just couldnít though. And it was the same thing when Liz told us about your cancer. Every cell in my half human body jumped because I had a reason to leave, but at the same time knots tied in my stomach at the thought of you suffering." Michael took a deep breath. Maria was disappointed that he had thought of running, that it had been an option. But she couldnít blame him. If the roles had been reversed she probably would have had the same thoughts. But she would never have been able to go through with it, she love him too much. The fact that he had stayed said something.

"AndÖ" Michael spoke again. Maria thought he was done but he had one last thing to say, "And when I realized that I even thought about running those same cells that jumped all died, right then and there. I realized I could never be that cruel. Not after all youíve done for me. I might not be the best, but I want you to know I will be here for you."

"Michael, I canít tie you down like this. You have too many worries."

"You are not tying me down. Itís my choice. Plus itís all my fault."

"Whatís your fault?" Maria said. She was confused.

"The cancer."

"Michael, the cancer is not your fault. I am human, these things happen. You canít hold yourself responsible." Maria moved closer to him and touched his arm. He shook her hand off and moved away.

"Donít touch me. Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells, I probably give off some radiation that got you sick. I probably made your cells abnormal."

"Michael that is ridiculous. You canít give me cancer. Itís a natural thing."

"Maria, Iím a screw up ad a killer. Iím bad luck. I should never have let you get close to me. I only end up hurting the people I love." Michael was furious now. He had backed up to the door of the kitchen. Maria followed him and grabbed his wrists.

"Michael, you are being irrational. What happened to you? You are not a killer or a screw up. Yeah you got dealt a bad hand, but we all have our problems. And yes, maybe you have hurt me. You know I donít mind admitting it, you have hurt me. But Iíve hurt you too." He struggled against her grip but she was stubborn. "You did not give me cancer. I had it once, now ití back. Iíll live. Iím not going anywhere, not at the moment."

Maria noticed tears in Michaelís eyes. He tried to blink them back, she could see him fighting hard, but his eyelids just pushed them down his cheeks instead of back into his eyes. This boy who she had only seen cry once before, who never showed sadness or any emotion but anger or frustration for that much, was crying for her. Maria wrapped her arms around him. He accepted the hug and returned it, placing his arms around her waist. Maria leaned on him, supporting herself with his weight.

Michael buried his head in the crook of her neck, wetting her shoulder with his tears. "Let me fix it," he whispered in her ear. "Let me heal you."

"No," she replied quietly. Michael picked his head up and looked into her eyes.

"Please," he pleaded with her. "Let me do this for you."

"Michael, no. I am not dying and it will just get you in deeper. What are the doctors going to think if suddenly the cancer is gone? Are your powers even strong enough?"

"But I donít want to see you suffer."

"Thatís selfish," she joked, but became serious again when she saw the ain in Michaelís eyes mingling with the tears.

"MariaÖ"

"Michael," Maria managed to breathe as Michael brought his lips down to meet hers. He gingerly kissed her. Maria let her arms loosen and Michael brought his hand to her face, he touched her cheek and then combed his fingers through Mariaís hair.

The kiss deepened and Michael put his hand back on her waist, pulling her closer. Maria could feel his tears dampening her face. She broke away from his lips, reached up and brushed them away with her fingers, then she placed her hand on his should, and reaching up on her toes, kissed his eyelids one at a time.

"Itís going to be ok. Weíll get through this," she whispered, emphasizing the words with a kiss.

Michael pulled back ever so slightly, "I love you," he breathed against her lips.

"I love you too," she replied, just as a knock was heard at the door behind Michaelís back. "Damn," she cursed. Michael laughed at her. "So itís funny."

"No, they just have the worst timing."

"Always have." Maria reached behind Michael and unlocked the door. Why it was locked in the first place was beyond her, she didnít remember doing it. Oh well. "Michael move, darling."

"Not if you call me that again." How had they gone from such a sweet moment to this senseless chatter? It was weird how she could change moods with him in a matter of seconds. But although she thought she should feel weird about it, she didnít. She liked it. Then it didnít have to get awkward.

"I promise, now let me open the door." Maria tried to push him away, but he just grabbed her.

"Say please."

"Please," she giggled. Her friends pounded on the door once again. "Iím coming," she yelled through the glass. Michael let her go and moved enough for her to let them in but as soon as she swung the door open and stepped back he captured her in his arms again. Maria gave a little gasp, but then relaxed.

"So you two have fun while we were gone?" Isabel asked, eyeing them. She smiled at Maria and Michaelís little embrace. "I guess you did."

"I guess we did," Michael said, mocking Isabel. Liz, Max, Alex,Tess and Maria laughed. Isabel gave a pretend hurt face and Maria guessed that Michael had one of those smug "Iím-the-king-of-it-all" faces planted squarely on his face.

"So Maria, you never were good at holding grudges," Liz teased, Maria remembered how angry she had been when the group had left.

"And you could never keep your mouth shut," Maria snapped back, providing an innocent smile so her friend would know she was joking. Everyone laughed again.

"All right, enough cat fighting," Max intervened.

"But I didnít get to play yet," Tess chimed in. "I wanna play," she said batting her eyelashes at Max.

"No, no more fighting. We are supposed to be having fun."

"But it is fun," Maria giggled. She felt Michael squeeze her tighter.

"Not for us, sweet cheeks," Michael said.

"And we are all supposed to be having fun," Alex added.

"All right," the girls said in unison, looking at each other like the guys had just stopped some sacred ritual and they were all going to die. "Letís have some pizza."

Maria grabbed a stack of paper plates, Liz got the napkins, and Max picked up the box of pizza and they all paraded into the living room. "Drinks," Isabel said.

"Oops," Maria replied.

"Iíll get Ďum," Tess said, she was still halfway in the kitchen since she had been last in line. "What do you guys want?"

"Well all we have is coke so thatís what youíre gonna have. The sugar is on the counter." Maria remembered the girls liked extra sugar in their soda.

"Thanks."

"Letís get this party started," Michael said, plopping down on the couch. Max sat down next to him and took a slice of pizza. He handed it to Michael. Maria placed herself on the floor at Michaelís feet and waited for her slice. Isabel sat in the lazy chair and Liz put herself on Max lap.

"You donít mind, do you?" she questioned, giving him a look that he obviously couldnít resist. Alex sat down at Isabelís feet, leaning his back against the chair. "Come on Tess." Liz was actually being nice to her. Maria was glad to see everyone getting along for once. Even Isabel was being nice to Alex. It was a nice way to start radiation.

Tess came in with the drinks and set them on the coffee table. When they were all settled with their pizza and soda there was another knock at the door.

"Who the hell could that be?" Maria sighed. "Of course they had to come now." Maria pulled herself off the floor and dragged her feet to the door. "Should I?" Maria turned to her friends.

"Go for it," Liz replied for them all. Maria walked through to the kitchen and turned the doorknob. Never in a million guesses would she have known who was going to be there. "Kyle."

*

"Maria."

"Kyle," she said again.

"Ok, Iím done playing the name game. Can I come in?"

"Weíre kinda full," she said moving into his path.

"Come on. Your momís over and I donít wanna be in their way." Maria was nauseated. She hated to think about her mom like that. It was wrong. But she empathized with Kyle, knowing she would go anywhere to avoid what was inevitably happening at the Valentiís. "She told me you were having a party."

"Itís exclusive." She was trying to be mean but it just wasnít working. The whole situation was just too funny. They had talked before but werenít great friends, now they were fighting like they were already sister and brother. Damn her mother.

"Come on, De Luca."

"Fine, I guess Tess could use some company."

"Tess is here?í

"Yeah," Maria laughed at the goofy smile spread across his face. She moved our of his way and he practically ran into the living room. Maria followed

Tess ha found a spot on the floor while Maria was gone and Kyle was in the process of finding one next to her. Maria went back to the couch and sat at Michaelís feet again.

"Hey, man," Max said in Kyleís direction.

"Hey, you look comfy," Kyle replied.

"Donít even think it," Liz threatened. "I donít need to hear any male macho talk." The guys laughed.

When everyone was settled in his or her spots and had all their food Maria turned on a movie. But they barely watched it over their laughter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maria awoke on the floor wondering how she had gotten there. Then she remembered the party and all. She looked around the room. It looked like a warzone, bodies everywhere. Maria pried herself from under Michaelís feet and dragged herself to the kitchen. She looked at the clock. Amazing that even after the late night she had spent she still woke up at exactly 6:30. Well they would all be able to go to school at least.

She looked for something to make breakfast with. Eggs would do. When she went to get a pan the cupboard decided to throw all the pans at her. she managed to get them all back but she had probably woken the whole neighborhood. She heard footsteps behind her. strong hands grabbed her waist and lips brushed against her cheek.

"Morning," she heard Michael whisper in her ear.

"Morning," she copied. "Did I wake you?"

"Yeah, and everyone else, but they all just roled over and fell back asleep." She turned her head to kiss him then smiled. "Now I have to make breakfast. You go and drag their sorry asses our of bed. School starts in twenty minutes."

"School?" Michael looked puzzled.

"You know the place with all the teachers and desks and tests where youíre supposed to learn something," Maria explained while cracking the eggs into the pan.

"Oh yeah," he mocked recognition. "Fine," Maria watched as he left the kitchen. What a perfect end, or maybe it was just a new beginning. What lay ahead she didnít know, but at least she had this to look back on.

They all ate breakfast and rushed out the door, not caring that they were still wearing the same close as they had been yesterday. Maria drove Michael to school. Liz, Alex and Isabel went with Max in the Jeep and Kyle took Tess. They were all a little late, but what did it matter. Maria wen through her classes, waiting for the day to be over. Maria was hurrying to her last class, consumed in thoughts, when Michael grabbed her and dragged her into the eraser room.

Michael attacked her with his lips, leaving no room for questioning. But Maria pulled back, not wanting to give in too soon, "We going back to this Michael?"

"Yeah," he breathed, trying to kiss her again.

Maria pushed him away. "Weíre regressing. What happened to the sweet boy from last night? Whereíd he go?"

"Do youÖeverÖshutÖup?" he asked, kissing her in between every word.

"Someoneís horny."

"You bet," he said grabbing her. he pressed his lips to hers, not wanting her to pull away again. He ran his tongue along her lips , parting them. Maria let him explore her mouth with his tongue. Maybe cancer wasnít going to be so bad after all. She knew his niceness was brought out because he was sorry for her, or cause he felt bad about not being there. But how could she complain. Every time he kissed her all the cells in her body tingle and danced, she felt so alive.

Maria had been surprised by all that had happened between them since he had found out. now they were friends, and lovers. Well, she didnít like the word lovers. It didnít describe them, that word was for people like Max and Liz. She didnít know what was better though.

She was happy he was there for her, and the kissing was just an added bonus. He talked to her now, he kissed her softer, he loved her openly. "It may be the person you least expect," she heard the voice in her head.

"It was," she said aloud.

"What?" Michael said pulling away.

"Nothing." Michael touched her face.

"Are you ok?" he asked but she didnít get a chance to answer.

*Flash*

Maria at Michaelís door that night, pain from Michaelís memory filling her/Maria as she led Michael to her bed , comfort transferring itself from him/Liz as she told them about Mariaís cancer, shock, relief, and intense hurt filled her/Mariaís face, smiling

*End Flash*

Maria gasped. "Are you ok?" Michael repeated. She didnít know what to say. Michael had let her see him. She could not believe what she had just seen, what she had felt.

"You really do love me, donít you," she said, looking up at him, her voice barely audible.

"Yes I do." Maria looked at her watch.

"Oh my God, Iím going to be late for my first appointment." She couldnít believe she had forgotten.

"Then go. Do you want me to come?"

"No," she said opening the door. "Itís just going to be a short visit. A half an hour at the most. They just have to zap those bad cells." They walked out into the afternoon and she jogged to her Jetta. Michael ran after her.

"Maria you are not alone. You know that, right?"

"I know. but I really have to go now, Michael. Iíll see you later." She felt bad for pushing him away like that. But she wasnít doing it on purpose, it just happened.

*

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday Maria had to go to her support group meeting. "Mom, do I really have to go?" she whined.

"Yes, the doctor thinks it will help."

"But Iím doing fine. I go to treatment, I have friends and family who love me, what do I need to go for? I donít wanna Ďshareí my feelings anymore."

"Just go. Maybe youíll have fun."

"Sure," she said sarcastically. Maria would go to therapy. It had helped her last time. The treatment was already affecting her. it had been almost a week. The radiation they gave her mad her tired and nauseous and made her mouth feel dry. She retained more water so her face began to get a little puffy. Michael assured her she was still just as beautiful, but she wasnít so sure. Maybe it would be good to have people who understood the treatment, and dealt with it first hand.

She drove into the parking lot of the hospital still mad she had to go. ĎYou have to have a positive attitudeí her therapist had said to her. she decided she would try to have a good time. Maria slung her purse over her shoulder and strode into the lobby. She went to the front desk to register then found her way to the childrenís oncology floor.

The walls were rightly painted with murals and her spirits were raised. She remembered this hall from when she was a kid. She mad her way to the rec room where the meeting was to be held.

People were already milling around the room getting juice and cookies from the snack table. Maria just looked at the room, drinking everything in. The people were all around her age. Some were bald from chemo, others had bins with them in case of an emergency attack of nausea. This shouldnít be the life of a teenager, she thought. But Maria knew it was the life of many, many kids across America, her being one of them.

Seeing these people gave her hope. She didnít have it half as bad as most of them and they were still fighting strong. She knew she would be able to make it if she could have even a portion of the courage these other kids did.

Maria made her way to the snack table. She hated how thirsty the radiation made her. As she leaned over to pour herself a glass of fruit punch she heard a friendly voice say, "Hey, my nameís Josh. You new here?"

"Sort of," she replied smiling in his direction. But when she turned her head to look at him she ended up running into a chest. He was tall, she looked upÖand cute.

"Well, Iíve been here almost two years now. Welcome to our happy family."

"Thanks. Two years? Thatís a long time. What you in for?" Maria didnít know what had possessed her to ask this but he just laughed. He was so easy to talk to.

"Leukemia. How bout you?" he seemed genuinely interested and looked like he actually cared about her answer.

"Brain tumor." A man walked into the room and people started to sit down. "I guess we should sit."

"Yeah. Why donít you sit by me? Make sure you donít get in trouble."

"I donít look that bad do I?" She smiled, trying to look innocent.

"No," he laughed. She liked his laugh. It was warm and gentle. "Maybe youíll have to watch out for me." He directed her to a chair and then sat down at her right.

The chairs were set up in a circle, the leader of the group was sitting straight across from her. to her left was a very nice looking girl. She looked maybe fifteen or sixteen. Maria turned to her since Josh had turned to address the person on his other side.

"Hey," she said to the girl.

"Hey yourself," she snapped. Obviously she was not happy to be here. Luckily the leader decided to begin, saving her the embarrassment.

"Ok time to begin," he said clearing his throat. "We have a few ne people this week. Why donít we go around the circle and say our name, where we are from, and why you are here."

"We do this every week," Josh whispered. "Just play along."

"Iíll try." Maria listened as everyone went through the introduction formalities. Everyone had different types of cancer and came from so many different places. When they finished people began to chat among themselves until the leader, Mr. Mott, tried to regain control.

"My we have a talkative bunch today," he commented. "Does anyone have anything they want to discuss. We have an hour, I donít bite."

"This week I was told the cancer has spread," one of the girls spoke up. Maria remembered her name was Julie. Everyone paid attention to her while she spoke. Maria could tell they were listening and not just pretending. They cared and were able to understand. "Iím going to have to go through another round of chemo."

How could she be so open? Maria didnít understand how she could tell a bunch of strangers her fears. The girl finished her story and more people spoke up. It was amazing how they shared so many of the same feelings as her. It was like they were living the same life, reading her mind. But in a sense they were. The kids all around her were going through the same thing, they were being alienated from their peers just because some cell in their bodiesí decided to freak. And now they were left hanging, not knowing if they would be alive the next month. It was a cruel fate that no one deserved. But it was what they had been dealt. Now all they could do was wait.

It was like going in circles, never reaching the end or a final decision. There was never a certainty with cancer. The treatment was not guaranteed. No one could say for sure that she would be cured. And all these other people were stuck in the same place. Going round and round, waiting for an end, a resolution, that would never show its face.

Maria listened intently, happy she had come. This was going to help her. When the meeting ended her attitude had totally changed. She felt better about everything that was happening to her. Although she knew it may never be perfect or normal again, she would be ok. Whatever happened, she would make it through.

Maria stood up and turned toward the door. As she hurried from the room she heard Josh say, "Where you going so fast? Think you can leave without saying goodbye?"

"What was I thinking?" she said. She was flattered by his attention. It was nice to have someone actually say something nice to her for a change. Michael, well she loved Michael, but nice was not a word that described him.

"That you would let me take you to lunch after this lovely meeting we just had," he smiled at her. Her heart jumped. Why was he having this effect on her? Michael was finally hers, she finally had him wrapped around her little finger. How could Josh do this to her? How could he make her palms sweat, her heart race? How did he make her start forget everything that was important? How?

"Oh was I?" Maria tried to keep calm. It was just a crush. She hadnít felt this way since, well since like fifth grade, but she knew the feeling. It started in your stomach, like little butterflies. Then your stomach exploded and the butterflies escaped, flying to every corner of your body until you were filled with this glorious tickly feeling. Then sweat formed on your palms and the butterflies started to dance around your heart, quickening its pace.

"I think so." He was pretty cocky, but she liked it.

"Where do you get off telling me what Iím thinking?" She never said she had to be submissive.

"OoooÖwell would you like to go to lunch with me."

"Iíd love to," she said and then paused.

"ButÖ" Josh finished for her, prodding information.

"But, well I guess there is no reason I couldnít go. Let me call my mom."

"All right. I give you one minuteÖstarting now." Maria pulled out her cell phone and punched in her home phone number. The line rang, but no one picked up.

"Damn," she breathed. "I guess sheís at her boyfriendís. Iíll go. Iíve got to be home by three."

"No prob. I was thinking we could go to this little pizza place I know. Itís just around the corner."

"Sounds good. Iíll follow you." Josh placed his hand on her back, sending shivers up and down her spine, and led her out of the hospital. Maria walked to her car and waited for Josh to get to his and start it.

The drive there wasnít long but it seemed the longest ride in her life. She couldnít get over the feeling Josh gave her. But it was nothing like the sparks Michael ignited.

Maria shook her head and laughed. She couldnít believe what was happening. She finally meets a nice boy, likes him, he likes her, and still all she can think about is Michael. Everything Josh did she measured to Michael.

She had always tried to convince herself she didnít need Michael, that he didnít need her. But no matter what she still loved him. She still was with him, even after all the pain they had put each other through. And now with this whole cancer thing, he was being such a gentleman. He loved her and now the world knew it. And she loved him.

But if she really loved him, how could she feel anything for another boy. She had guy friends, but that was different. Maria never had felt so guilty in her life. And she couldnít understand where the guilt was coming from. Talking to Josh, going to lunch with Josh, even flirting with him shouldnít make her feel bad. She wasnít cheating on him.

The emotions she harbored for Michael were special, one of a kind. She could never feel so much love for anyone else. Could she?

When they pulled into the parking lot of the small restaurant Maria was not so sure about it anymore. Her own thoughts had confused her. ĎItís not a date,í she tried to convince herself. With a deep breath, she seemed to be taking lots of those lately, she opened the car door and walked over to meet up with Josh.

*

They talked through the whole meal. Maria liked him but the feelings of nervousness passed as she got to know him. She liked him but everything he did, every smile he gave her, every look he passed her way, every time he laughed, she compared to Michael. And now Michael probably hated her. He probably wouldnít want her anymore, she had been so cruel.

All week she had pushed him away. She had avoided him whenever possible. Why? She had no clue. Then the voice came to her again. ĎYouíre going to feel different. The people you once trusted, you will probably push them away. You wonít know why but it will happen. Donít let it. Youíre stronger than that. You need them. Let yourself need them.í But it was tough.

Maria looked at her watch. It was almost 3:30. "Shit," she muttered. "Iím gonna be late for work."

"Donítí let me keep you," Josh said, smiling.

"I wonít. See you next week," she called as she hurried from the restaurant.

Part 0 | Index | Part 1b
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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