FanFic - Other
"Twists in the Road"
Part 3
by Emily
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or the concepts; just borrowing them!
Summary: What happens when the gang is ready to graduate from high school?
Category: Other
Rating: R
When Alex pulled up in front of Maria's house, Michael got out of the car with her. "Thanks. I'll walk from here," he told Alex and Isabel, then turned and followed Maria to her front door, missing the smile that passed between his friends before they drove off.

Maria opened the door quietly, although she was pretty sure her mother would not be home that night. Since she had started dating Sheriff Valenti, she was rarely home on the weekends. Maria sighed, wondering what her mother would have to say if she knew that, more often than not, Michael was an overnight guest in her daughter's bedroom. Somehow Maria doubted that she would believe that they spent their nights sleeping, although that was exactly what they did. Somewhere along the line, Michael had gotten it into his thick alien skull that Maria was not safe in her own home alone and had signed himself up in the role of protector. While Maria found the thought rather sweetly endearing, in practice she wished Michael did not see fit to protect her from himself as well. Lying next to him all night long, his strong arms wrapped around her, well…Maria was pretty sure it qualified as torture.

While Michael waited in the hall, Maria tip-toed into her mother's room and peered through the darkness. When she was sure the room was empty, she came back out and flipped on the light. "All clear," she said.

Michael shook his head. "Somehow I wish your mom wasn't the reason that Valenti has been leaving us alone these days," he said quietly.

Maria shrugged. "Yeah, well…….can't have everything." She turned and headed into her bedroom.

"Sorry," Michael said, coming up behind her and resting his hands on her shoulders as she stared out of her window. Although hardly adept at making apologies, he had grown more comfortable with uttering the simple word. "I shouldn't have said that."

Maria raised one hand to cover his and squeezed. "It's okay. You're right. And I actually don't mind that much. Despite everything, the Sheriff isn't a bad guy. I mean, he might be obsessed with aliens and all, but he's good to my mom and that's what really matters." She turned to face him, looking up into his eyes. "And after all, I happen to be obsessed with an alien myself," she said with a grin. "So, I can hardly hold it against him, can I?"

"I guess not," he said, then lowered his lips to hers for a gentle kiss. "Come on. It's late." "Right," she sighed, and headed into the bathroom.

Michael watched her go, then sat on the end of her bed. He listened as she washed up and changed, enjoying the rustling sounds she made, the whisking of a brush through her short curls, the mumbling as she searched for her hand cream, the constant babbling even when she was alone that made her so Maria. He knew that he was frustrating her with his insistence that she needed his protection, and with his determination to keep their nights together platonic. He was frustrating himself. But he couldn't stand the idea of her being hurt by anyone. Especially by himself. And he just wasn't sure he could be with her without hurting her.

"All yours, Spaceboy," she said when she emerged wearing a short pink nightshirt with a deep v-neck that left virtually nothing to hisimagination.

Michael groaned. This had become part of the game. Maria seemed bound and determined to test his resolve on a nightly basis with her apparently endless supply of sleepwear that was designed to attract and intrigue. As if it matters what she wears, he thought as he rose and disappeared into the bathroom. With any luck, by the time he came back she'd be tucked under the covers and fast asleep.

Not one for elaborate ablutions, Michael quickly washed up and was done. He stalled for as long as he could, even briefly considering taking a cold shower, then finally shut the bathroom light and slipped quietly into the bedroom. Maria had turned the light off and left the curtains open, so the light from the full moon streamed through the window, etching her in silver where she lay on top of the covers, her long bare legs crossed at the ankles. Her eyes were open, glittering bluish green as she looked out at the night sky. Michael sat on the edge of the bed and followed her gaze to a familiar v-shaped constellation that hung just right of center, the furthest star disappearing behind the edge of the curtains. Then he turned back to look at Maria. "What?"

She didn't pretend not to know what he meant. "It just seems so far away," she said softly. "Sometimes I just lie here and look at it and I can't believe that is where you and Max and Isabel came from. It's kind of unreal, you know? "Yeah, I guess." He stood and went to shut the curtain.

"No, leave it," she said.

He gave her a strange look. "You're in a weird mood tonight. Aren't you even tired? How can anyone dance like that and not be tired?"

"Just come lie here and talk to me. Please. Just for a little while," she added when he looked reluctant.

He shrugged, but climbed onto the bed next to her, stretching out his arm for her to snuggle against his shoulder. "First Liz, now you," he mumbled.

Maria lifted her head and looked at him. "What do you mean? What aboutLiz?"

"I don't know. Max said something was up with Liz but he didn't know what it was. Just that she was acting different. Now you're getting all weird on me." When Maria was silent, Michael turned and looked down at her. "So? You gonna tell me, or what?"

"Well, I don't really know what's going on with Liz. I mean, she hasn't said anything….." She broke off when Michael sat up abruptly and scowled at her. "Okay, okay. I guess I'm just thinking about graduation. None of us ever talk about it and what's going to happen, but it's getting so close, Michael and I can't help wondering."

"Graduation? That's more than two months away. That's like a lifetime."

Maria sat up, hugging her knees into her chest, oblivious to the way her shirt rode up to reveal her long white thighs. "You know it isn't very far away." She rested her chin on her knees and looked at him. "Don't you think about it at all?"

Michael turned and stared out the window, as much to escape the sight of her as to avoid the look in her eyes. "What do you think about?" he asked. "What do you think's going to happen when we graduate?"

"I'm not sure," she admitted. "I guess that's why I hate that we all avoid the subject. It makes me nervous, you know? Liz and Alex and I used to talk about it all the time. Getting out of Roswell," she said with a smile. "Liz was going to go to Harvard and study Biology and Alex was going to go to MIT for his computer stuff and I was going to move to Cambridge with them and get a job. It was gonna be great." "So what happened?"

Maria stared at Michael for a moment. He was still looking out the window, so she couldn't see his eyes, but she could tell from the tension in his body that he knew exactly what had happened. But, even knowing that he knew, she couldn't say the words. She couldn't say that three aliens had come into their lives and changed the way they looked at the future forever. "I don't know," she murmured softly. "We just stopped talking about it."

He turned then and looked her directly in the eye and she knew he could read the lie there. She blushed and looked down, breaking away from the strength of his gaze. "I guess we should get some sleep," she said quietly, pulling back the covers and slipping her legs underneath.

"Right. Of course," he said. "Now you want to sleep."

"What? I thought you were tired?"

He shook his head as he stood and went to shut the curtains, pulling them closed just a little too forcefully. Then he turned and glared at her. The light of the moon was still streaming through the curtains and he threw a dark angry shadow against the bed. "You dump all of this out there and then you think we can just roll over and go to sleep?"

Maria looked at him standing there, towering above her, grumpy and annoyed and strong, gorgeous in his t-shirt and boxers, his hair even wilder than usual. Her only defense was to fight. "Well, you asked," she tossed back. "If you don't want to sleep then you can just take yourself home. I'm getting tired of you hogging the covers anyway," she added, turning on her side and pulling the blanket up more firmly.

"Oh really?" he asked, feeling his temper rising, helpless to control it and not really wanting to. "Well that's too bad. I'm not leaving you here alone, so you're just gonna have to make do." With that, he pulled the covers back with a sweeping movement that yanked them out of her grip and climbed into bed.

When Maria grabbed for the blanket in an attempt to recapture her share, she ended up with a fistful of Michael's shirt instead. They were in bed, inches away from each other, and suddenly she couldn't stand it any longer. She pulled harder on his shirt, leaned forward, and kissed him just as he opened his mouth to shoot out his next barb.

Michael found his argument cut off by a warm, wet, passionate kiss that robbed him of his breath and left him unable to recall what he was trying to say. Her hands were in his hair and her body was pressed warmly against him as her lips moved against his. With a groan, he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer, feeling her long slim legs against his own beneath the sheets. He deepened the kiss, drowning in her warmth, tasting her familiar sweetness. Somewhere in the farthest reaches of his brain there was a voice that kept repeating, stop, stop, no, no, over and over again, but it seemed so far away that Michael wasn't even sure it was talking to him. So he allowed himself to run his hands down Maria's back, feeling the curve of her spine, the soft swell of her rear, finding the edge of her shirt and pulling it up inch by inch. When he had it to her waist, she broke away, breathless, and reached down herself to pull the shirt up and over her head. She tossed it across the room, then turned back to Michael, cheeks flushed, lips wet and swollen from his kisses.

He looked at her and, for one fast moment thought of all of the reasons he had been holding back, thought of the need to protect her from that empty place deep inside of him, from the life he was living, from his lack of a future. But she looked so beautiful, so filled with desire, and he was more human than he knew. "God, Maria," he breathed, his eyes travelling over her slim form, then returning to meet her gaze. He quickly sat up and tugged his own shirt over his head, then pulled her back into his arms, feeling their skin touch and her nipples pucker against his chest. He kissed her again, gently this time, with all of the emotion that had building in his soul for so long. Then he pulled back and looked deep into her eyes, frowning.

"What?" she asked. "What's wrong?"

He reached out and traced one finger over her full bottom lip, picturing how she got all pouty when she was upset with him. In all of his years of living, he had tried so hard not to care, so hard to remain detached. And yet this pixie of a woman had managed to worm her way into his heart before he had even realized he had one. Never would anything or anyone be as important to him.

"Michael?" she asked softly, frowning a little.

He smiled, not wanting to worry her, but needing desperately to ask her, knowing that her answer would decide his fate forever. "When you think about the future, when you look past graduation to all the possibilities of college and work and all that," he said quietly, "what is it that you want from your life, Maria?"

She met his gaze steadily, returning his smile. "You," she said simply, and all of the love in her heart was reflected in her eyes. "Just you, Spaceboy." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close, feeling the tension seeping out of his body as he returned her embrace.

"Good," he whispered. He kissed her again, allowing his own love and passion to break free. And suddenly, he was in, they were connected. He had never connected with Maria before, hadn't even tried, always fearful of what he might see. But now the images came unbidden and he was helpless against the onslaught of emotions. Flash: Maria walking away from him that night at the rave, tears streaming down her face and her heart pounding furiously, Flash: Maria terrified as he lay feverish and dying in Liz's bedroom, Flash: Maria relieved as she watched him break free from his cocoon at the cave, Flash: Maria opening her locker and seeing the napkin holder he had made for her, Flash: the look of love in her eyes as he walked away from her one afternoon at school. He could feel every feeling, knew every thought, as her love poured into him in great red waves. She had loved him for so long, no matter what he said or how he had pushed her away.

Michael broke the connection and looked down into her eyes, saw they were brimming with tears. "Why?" he asked simply.

"I don't know," she replied. "That's just how it is."

"I……." He stopped, unsure of how to tell her how he felt. "I remember once telling Isabel that there's no such thing as unconditional love," he said quietly. "I guess I was wrong." As he watched, a tear slipped down Maria's cheek and he gently brushed it away before leaning to kiss her gently. "I love you, Maria DeLuca. You are my life."

"I love you too, Michael."

"Now," he continued, an evil glimmer in his eye. "I hope you're not thinking about sleeping anytime soon."

Maria raised her eyebrows and grinned. "Who me?" She broke into a giggle as he swooped down to nuzzle her neck. All in all, she thought, as he kissed his way across her shoulder, sleep was vastly overrated, and suddenly the future didn't look so lonely.

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