FanFic - Other
"Skin Deep"
Part 1
by Mnemosyne
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: Nacedo reveals himself to the Trio and their human friends. But is he all they hoped for?
Category: Other
Rating: R
Authors Note: This is a fic written to get us through Repeat Hell. I don't know if it will quite fill the void, but I hope it eases the pain! :)
Episode One: The Watcher

He watched the hatchlings from a distance, moving his eyes around so that they never settled for long on any one of them, but were watching them all the same.

They were talking. To humans. Closely. He would have to stop that.

His eyes skimmed briefly over the blonde female and her dark-haired twin. There was little hope for them. They were too far gone, lost to human tastes and longings. They had grown too attached.

His gaze lingered on the third hatchling-- the loner. He sat across from the other two, and apart from them. He was listening to their conversation, but he was detached from it as well. The watcher's mouth twitched up into a smile. This one had a chance.

The smile disappeared as his eyes drifted over the three humans who encircled the hatchlings. One, a young male, sat in the booth behind the twins. His arm was draped over the back of their vinyl seat, chin resting on his wrist. He was grinning stupidly, his eyes glued to the blonde female. Humans. They knew nothing about tact. The watcher's stomach recoiled every time he realized that the female was enjoying the human's attention. She was certainly lost.

Two more humans-- females, of an age with the male-- stood beside the table. One had dark-hair that hung in a tight-ponytail down her back, and was held behind her ears by a pair of ridiculous silver antennae. Her back was to him, but there could be no mistake about where she was looking-- at the dark-haired male twin; and he was returning the look with open abandon. If the sister was lost, this one was beyond all hope.

The final human, a blonde slip of a girl, stood in profile, smiling at the two couples, and the watcher felt something inside his chest clench, then release. The resemblance was uncanny... She looked so much like his Ruth...

Tearing his eyes away, the watcher shook himself minutely. No need to bring up that memory. No need at all.

He'd been watching them-- all six of them-- for weeks now. Leaving them clues. Following them as they tried ineffectually to track him down. Testing their devotion.

The first two had failed. One had brought a human. The other had barely even tried.

The third...he'd passed, if barely.

The time was drawing close. He would reveal himself soon. But not right now. Later. Tonight.

For now, he stood, threw some change on the table as a tip for Ruth, //No! Maria...//, and went to the register to pay.


"So we're agreed?" Isabel was saying, looking at each person in turn. "Tonight, eight o'clock, the old cineplex?"

Liz nodded. "Definitely. I've never seen 'Psycho.'"

"You have no idea what you're missing, Liz," Alex said quickly. "I've been remiss in my job as a best buddy in not making you watch it!"

"Ok, why does that scare me more than the prospect of watching the shower scene?"

There was laughter, and more conversation, but Maria barely heard it. Her eyes kept drifting back to where Michael sat silently across from the other two aliens. He'd been uncharacteristically quiet tonight, as if his mind were somewhere else.

The silence worried Maria. Since their encounter in his apartment a week ago, something new and exciting had existed between the two of them. She didn't know if it counted as a full-fledged relationship, but she DID know that it was more than frantic fumbling in dark eraser rooms and dimly lit utility closets. There was substance to this link-- a deep, underlying understanding that had begun that night he climbed onto her bed and fell asleep with the tears still wet on his cheeks. Her book was open to him now; and if his pages weren't as accessible to her yet, there was no doubt in Maria's mind that they soon would be.

But lack of connection or not, she could still read his emotions like headline news. And today, they were spelling, "Afraid."


Jumping in surprise, she looked at the four other teenagers, who were staring at her expectantly. "Huh? What?" she stammered. "What do you want?"

"I asked if you wanted me to give you a ride tonight, or if you wanted to go on your own?" Alex said, for the third or fourth time, judging by the look on his face.

"Oh, yeah. I mean, no! No, that's all right, Alex," she answered quickly. "I can get there on my own, and my house is out of your way. Besides," she directed her attention to Michael, "I should pick you up on my way. Right, Michael?"

All five pairs of eyes trained on the spiky-haired alien, who looked suddenly cornered. "Ah, no, that's all right," he answered. "I don't think I'm going to go."

There were disbelieving noises from around the table. "Come on, Michael," Isabel argued. "You can't spend your life cooped up in that apartment of yours, watching hockey and listening to Stand."

"That's STAIND," Michael corrected.

"Whatever," Isabel huffed, waving her hand dismissively. "My POINT is that you have to get a life now that you've GOT a life. Catch my drift?"

"Yeah, Michael," Max concurred. "It'll be fun."

Michael snorted.

"What, spaceboy?" Maria jumped in. "I thought you had a thing for slasher movies. Too scared of this one?"

He glared at her for a second, but then she saw his eyes soften-- only slightly; only enough for her to notice-- and Maria smiled. Michael would rue the day he let her push his buttons.

"Yeah, fine, whatever," he muttered, pretending to keep his distance, and failing miserably as far as Maria was concerned. "I'll go. Just get off my back, all right?"

Maria allowed herself a triumphant smile, while the others congratulated her on her conquest of the Michael-beast. But inside, she was nervous. She had an ulterior motive for driving him to the movies tonight.

She was determined to find out what it was that had him so scared.




"What?" Maria asked, concerned, as they cruised down Main Street. Her eyes briefly left the road to glance at the annoyed alien beside her in the passenger seat. "Did you forget something?"

"Yeah, just a little," Michael growled sarcastically, feeling his pockets. "My money."

"Is THAT all?" Maria chuckled, looking back to the road. "Well don't worry about it. I can cover you."

"I don't want you to cover me."

"Well we're not turning around, so just forget about that."

Dead silence.

Maria glanced at him again, then back to the road. "Well, come on," she urged. "SAY something. Argue. Yell at me. I gave you the perfect oppurtunity to bitch at me, call me a dumb blonde or something, and you don't even take the bait!"

Still no answer. He just sat stolidly, staring out the window at the passing scenery.

Maria let out an exasperated sigh. "This is ridiculous," she muttered, before pulling into an angled parking space in front of The Candle Shop.

Michael looked around, confused, as she shut off the ignition and turned to face him. "What are we doing here?" he asked, thoroughly puzzled.

"It's called we're going to have a conversation, Spike Boy."

"Oh." He turned away again, and stared out the window. "What about?"

Maria threw her hands in the air, and cast her eyes to heaven in a 'why me?' gesture. "About this!" she told him. "About the fact that you've suddenly gone all lethargic on me! What's going on?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Michael, all night I have been giving you plenty of oppurtunities to insult me. To yell at me. To ARGUE with me. And you haven't picked up on one of them yet!"

He gave her an amused look. "This is a bad thing?"

"Where you're concerned, yes!" she fumed. "It means something's wrong."

Michael's face grew stony, and he looked away again. "There's nothing wrong," he told her flatly.

"That's a lie, and we both know it."

Michael sighed, and rubbed his eyes. "Just drop it, all right? I don't feel like talking right now."

Maria shook her head. "No," she stated firmly. "I've been stressing over this all day, and I am not ABOUT to sit through an entire movie with you moping in the seat next to mine. I can't handle the pressure."

Michael looked at her then, and she was surprised to find an almost tender look in his eyes. "You were stressing about me?" he asked, and he couldn't disguise the hint of disbelief in his voice.

Maria's face softened, and she stretched out a hand to rest on his arm. "Of course I was, nimrod," she said honestly. "I care about you." Her hand reached up to touch his cheek. "Now what's wrong?"

He held her eyes for a second, then looked away. Sighing, he leaned his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes. "Laugh," he said softly, "and I'll tell everyone about your crush on Weird Al."

Maria smacked him in the arm. "Don't you DARE!"

He chuckled, but it quickly faded, only to be followed by another, deeper sigh.

"I'm lonely," he murmured softly.

The admission took Maria by surprise, and for a moment, she was speechless. She'd never expected Michael would be lonely-- heaven knew he spent enough time with Max and Isabel, and if they weren't around, Maria herself could generally be found in the vicinity. She'd just assumed their companionship-- and his three clear television stations-- would be all he needed.

But of course it couldn't be.

Max and Isabel shared his genetic structure, but they knew nothing of what his life had been-- still was-- like. And while Maria could understand his feelings of abandonment and-- no pun intended-- alienation, she would never fully grasp what it was like to be who he was. She didn't know if anyone ever could.

"Michael," she began, "I'm so sorry-"

"Don't be," he cut her off gruffly, sitting up and shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Still unused to sharing his feelings with anyone but himself. "I just... Forget it," he said bruskly. "Just forget I said anything, all right?"

Maria shook her head. "No, Michael. I'm not going to forget it." Reaching out, she snagged his hand before he could pull it away, and held it tightly, while her other hand turned his face to look at her. "I don't want you to be lonely," she told him softly. "And you don't have to be." She smiled at him. "You can always call me, you know that. Or drop by." She chuckled. "I think mom's gotten over the whole late-night sleepover thing."

He quirked a half-smile. "She hasn't bought any Dobermans or anything?"

Maria shook her head. "Nope. At least, none that I'VE seen." Squeezing his hand again, she smiled. "So don't just clam up on me like that again, okay? You had me worried that the sky was falling or the universe was shrinking or something."

Michael chuckled as she restarted the engine. "Who says it isn't?" he asked.

She glared at him before looking over her shoulder to pull into the road again. "Very funny, Rocket Jockey," she muttered, turning the wheel and gliding out onto the street. "Now let's get going. As it is, we're going to be late."

"Whatever. It's just a stupid movie."

"It's a classic."

"It's black and white."

"It's groundbreaking!"

"It's boring!"

"I've missed you."



A few minutes later, the Jetta pulled into a parking spot across the street from the cineplex, and the driver's side door swung open almost immediately.

"Come on, Mousse Boy!" Maria called over her shoulder as she bolted for the theater, locking and slamming the door behind her. "We're going to be late!"

Michael, Maria noticed with annoyance, was taking his sweet time getting out and shutting the door. "Calm down, Maria," he muttered. "If we miss the first few minutes, it's not going to be the end of the world."

"The first few minutes are, like, the best!"

"Great. Then what the hell am I doing going to see it if the rest of it is going to be boring?"

"I never said the rest of it was boring," she told him as she hopped up on the sidewalk and turned to face him while he sauntered up beside her. "I just said the first few minutes were the best, and-- Oh! Hi, Liz," she exclaimed as she nearly ran head-on into her best friend. "What's up?"

There was no response from Liz. The dark-haired girl stood in front of the theater entrance, her arm hooked through Max's-- who stood beside her-- and her eyes glued to a figure who stood silhouetted against the backlit movie poster mounted on the brick wall. On the other side of the couple, Maria could just make out Alex and Isabel. They, too, seemed fixated on the dark figure.

Waving a hand in front of Liz's face, Maria sing-songed, "Hello! Earth to Liz! Wake up, Liz! LIZ!"

No response. Maria exchanged a worried look with Michael. What was going on?

"M-Maria," the other girl finally stammered, turning her eyes away from the figure and looking at her friend. Maria was relieved to see that there was no fear on Liz's face-- only shock. "Maria, this..." She gestured to the silhouetted man. "This is..."

"Allow me," came a smooth voice, and the man took a step forward, into the warm light of the movie marquis.

He was handsome, to say the least. Sharp, well-moulded features, and dark eyes. A finely-boned hand extended towards Michael and Maria.

"My name is Desmond," he said cheerfully, flashing a brilliant smile of perfect teeth. "But you know me better as Nacedo."

The last thing Maria remembered thinking was that maybe Michael was right-- perhaps the universe really was shrinking.

Then she fainted dead away.

Email Author | Back to FanFic Page
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.