FanFic - Other
"What Remains Behind"
Part 17
by Joy Elizabeth
Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Summary: Future fiction. Michael has died and the rest of them must deal with his death, as well as some other unresolved issues among them.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Note: There is a section in this part taken from James Joyce's story "The Dead." It is denoted with * at the beginning and the end. All other quotes are denoted at the end of the story.
Maria tried to understand what Max was saying. But she didn't see what any of it had to do with her. "So, Michael chose to come home. You two couldn't find a way to tell me that?"

Max shook his head. "What Alex is trying to tell you is that Michael changed after what happened. I think that he realized that he was vulnerable, that he wasn't indestructible. That he could die. And for the first time in his life, Michael didn't run away from being vulnerable. He had already done that and he wasn't any stronger. So he ran back to safety. He ran back to you."

Maria closed her eyes. "So, he came home and proposed because of this?" She felt even guiltier, if that was possible. Michael had nearly died before, and Max was there to save him. He had come home to her and she had killed him. She began to cry.

"I'm sorry, Max."

"Why? Maria, what's the matter?"

She tried to contain her tears. "For all of this. You know! You know why he died."

Max suddenly realized why Maria had been acting so strangely. "Maria, this was not your fault. Michael knew what he was doing."

Maria shook her head, allowing her mind to drift to a night a few weeks ago, when she had woken up to find Michael leaning over her and her skin glowing.

>>> "Michael?" she held her arms out. Was it happening again?

"It's okay, you're fine," he said.

"Then why are you doing this?"

He sighed. "Maria, you need strength. You never eat and you hardly sleep. Ever since that night..."

Maria sat up and stared at him. "Do you mean to tell me that you have been doing this since then?"

"Just sometimes, not all the time," he answered.

"What exactly are you doing?" She was angry. How could he be experimentingsome power on her while she slept?

"I'm giving you strength."

"From where?" He looked away. It was then that everything began to make sense. "From you?" she whispered. He didn't answer. She turned his head to look at her. "What have you done, Michael?" <<<

Maria leaned against Max's chest and sobbed. "Maria, please, this is not your fault. I knew that he was doing it and I should have stopped him. He couldn't control it as well as I could. I should have come right when he called that first night."

"But how, Max?" Maria looked up at him, her eyes completely lost. "How did he do it?"

"I think that some of me went into Michael when I healed him. It was similar with Liz. Remember how she could get flashes when we kissed? Only with Michael, he already had powers and so he was able to build on them. But he simply could not control them very well."

Maria pulled away from him. "I'm sorry, Max."

"Maria, please, he was worried about you because of what happened with your mother. He saw your strength beginning to leave and he got scared."

She nodded and wiped her eyes. She couldn't think straight. She got up and headed toward the bedroom. She collapsed on the bed and forced her eyes to open. But the sleep overcame her and soon she was in a world of nonsense and confusion.

She was walking along a street with someone. Max, maybe? She couldn't tell. They were talking. The sentences drifted around her, and she tried to listen to what he was saying. The scene changed and they were in a bedroom.

*He stood, holding her head between his hands. "What are you thinking about?"

She broke loose from him and ran to the bed. She dried her eyes with the back of her arm like a child. "I am thinking about a person long ago..."

"And who was this person long ago? Someone you were in love with?"

"It was a young boy I used to know named Michael... He is dead. Isn't it a terrible thing to die so young as that?"

"And what did he die of so young?"

"I think he died for me."*

She blinked and realized that it was Michael who was in front of her. "You died for me," she said again.

He shook his head and sat down on the bed. "Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting for you to fall asleep?"

"Michael?" She was slowly coming to her senses. "Is it really you?"

"Yes, it's really me." She threw her arms around him. He felt so real. How could he be dead? she wondered. She could touch him. You can't touch dead people. She pulled back to look into his eyes.

"How can you be here? You can't dreamwalk. And I thought that you were..."

"Dead. I'm dead, Maria. But I'm okay. I needed to tell you that. So I have been waiting for days to tell you, but you wouldn't fall asleep."

She ran her hands over his face. "You can't be dead, Michael. You're right here."

He shook his head. "Calm down, Maria. We don't have time for this. I'm dead."

Slowly she nodded. She remembered now. "I killed you."

"No, you didn't kill me. You needed strength, I gave it to you."

She shook her head. "Why? Don't you know that my strength means nothing is I am here alone? I don't want to live without you. If one of us had to die, why couldn't it be me?"

"Because you're the mother, Maria."

She stared at him, trying to process what he was saying. I'm the mother, she thought.

"Now, listen to me," he said. "You have got to start eating. You have to stay strong. For the baby."

The baby. "What are you talking about, Michael?"

"The baby, Maria. Our baby. She needs for you to be strong."

Maria suddenly realized what was going on. "Why didn't you just tell me, Michael?"

"At first I didn't understand it. That night ... when I touched you to take your pain away, I saw all of this ... death. And I thought that it was the baby that was dying. But then every time that I would touch you, I would continue to see it. And I finally realized that it was you, that you were the one dying. So I did what I had to do."

She stared at him in wonder. How could he have sacrificed himself to leave her alone with a baby? Her heart swelled with love for him, but at the same time she was filled with terror.

"I have to go now, Maria," he said, pulling away from her.

"No!" She grabbed onto his shirt and pulled him back to her. "Please, Michael, don't leave me. Please."

"Remember," he said, looking into her eyes, "I promised you that I might have to leave, but that didn't mean that I was leaving you."

She nodded but tightened her grip. "Aren't you afraid, Michael? I'm so afraid."

He brushed her hair back. "I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave."**

She smiled a small smile. "I always hated Joyce."

He nodded. "Sorry. Whitman then. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, but I shall be good health to you nevertheless, and filter and fibre your blood."

She felt him slipping away. "Did it make you ache so leaving me?" she continued.

His voice grew faint, but she could still understand. "Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you."***

Maria woke with a start and looked down at her stomach. She began to cry.

* Taken from James Joyce's "The Dead"

** Taken from James Joyce's "The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"

*** Taken from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"

Part 16 | Index | Part 18
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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