FanFic - Other
"What Remains Behind"
Part 3
by Joy Elizabeth
Disclaimer: They arent mine.
Summary: Future fiction. Michael has died and the rest of them must deal with his death, as well as other unresolved issues among them.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Maria Guerin was up at dawn. Actually, she had never been to sleep. She just laid in the dark and remembered. She could not close her eyes. If she did, she would dream. And she couldn't bear to dream about him and then wake up alone. So she just stayed awake and remembered.

She had fallen asleep only once in the past three days. That first night. She had come home and cried until she was asleep. And her dreams had been of him. Her dreams had always been of him. She couldn't remember a time when she hadn't closed her eyes and found him waiting for her.

She had dreamed of their trip to Marathon. She had often dreamed of that. Dreamed of the things that she had wanted to do in that motel room with him that night. She dreamed of what might have happened had Liz and Isabel and Max not come in. She dreamed of falling on top of him in the night. She dreamed of him reaching out, grabbing her, and then of them drowning in each other.

She had literally fallen for her alien. A crush had been brewing under the surface, but she hadn't been completely sure. He was deliberately cruel at times. But when she had fallen, she had felt him. Their bodies had touched and they just fit together. That's when she knew. She wasn't sure what she knew then, but she knew that things would never be the same between them again.

She wished that she could say that she had fallen for him at first sight. Because think of all of the years that they would have had if she just could have known then. But he had been the creepy guy in the back of the classroom and nothing more. Sometimes she wondered if they ever would have found each other if it hadn't been for Max and Liz. The thought made her ache.

Anyway, that night she had dreamed about the trip to Marathon. And just for one moment, she thought that she had seen him. Really seen *him*. She had never seen the actual him in her dreams; he couldn't dreamwalk. Besides, it hadn't really mattered. For most of the last eight years, he had been laying beside her. But it was a fleeting moment. And she probably hadn't. He was gone and he wasn't coming back.

And when she had woken up, she had never felt more alone. At least if he had just gone to another planet, she could hope that he might come back. But he had gone and she would never see him again. She had been so stupid. Blindly walking along, thinking that she was doing everything right. If she could only go back, just for a minute, and truly love him with all her heart, holding nothing back, she would. Because she had never done that. The fear was always there. He might leave. He wanted to leave. And if he had to choose between her and a star, the star would win. So she had always held a piece of herself back, so that she could take his rejection and know that she had been ready for it. But he hadn't wanted to leave her. And she wasn't ready for it. And she would give anything to go back.

But, as she lay there remembering, it didn't really matter. Nothing did.

She pulled on her robe and stumbled to the kitchen to make some coffee. Alex and Audrey were asleep in the guest room. Liz and Kyle had gone to her parents' house. Isabel and Paul had gotten a hotel room. And Max was asleep in the living room.

Max heard Maria fumbling around in the kitchen. He hadn't slept well, but then he hadn't in days. He slowly pulled himself up off the couch. He folded the blankets and placed them on the floor. He was very aware of details now. He lived each minute. He concentrated on each finger that touched the blanket, on each bend in his arm while he folded. Life had been stripped to its bare minimum and he couldn't stop focusing on the mundane.

He walked into the kitchen. She was staring off into space. She jumped when her eyes finally focused on him.

"Good morning," she said. "Do you want any breakfast?"

Max shook his head. "Just coffee."

"It'll be ready in a minute."

They just stood there, lost in their own thoughts. She couldn't met his eyes. She wondered if he had been upset about Kyle. He had known. Michael had told him. She hadn't wanted him to.

>>> "You're just going to upset him," she had said.

"He needs to know. He's got to stop all of this moping around. Besides, if the situation were reversed, he would tell me."

Maria had sighed and smiled. He was stubborn and she wasn't going to change his mind. Besides, the situation would never be reversed and he knew it. He had her from the start and she couldn't let go.

"Do you think it's strange?"

"Think what's strange?" Michael asked, focusing on the road.

"That this has come full circle. I mean, she was dating Kyle. Then boom-the whole see into your soul thing happens with Max. And now we're back to Kyle. It's like it never happened."

He glanced sideways at her, the way that he did when he didn't understand what she was talking about. He had never understood her obsession with the shooting. He didn't seem to understand that if Liz hadn't died, then they never would have been. <<<

Anyway, Max had taken it well at the time. Of course, she had never really seen Max take anything not well. He was just that type of guy. But it must have bothered him. And now he was having to see them together. It couldn't be easy for him.

Max studied the wallpaper. He felt the counter under his fingers. He wondered when life would be normal again.

The coffee was finally ready and Maria poured him a cup. She didn't have any. Her nerves were already on edge. She felt like she didn't have any skin anymore. She was just raw nerves. Not even cedar oil could help that.

She walked back to the bedroom and got the box out of the closet. She supposed now was as good a time as any. She came back to the kitchen and set a cardboard box in front of him. She began to empty its contents. She didn't speak as she handed him pictures that Michael had drawn. The dome in Marathon. How long ago did that seem? There were many pictures. Most were of shapes that meant nothing to him. They had meant something to Michael. But they were just shapes. He supposed that he should study them. He was going to have to pick up where Michael left off. But he just didn't care right now.

Maria pulled two pictures out of the box. The first was a snapshot. She didn't know who had taken it or even when it was taken. She supposed Max's mother or father. She stared down at the three small children, who looked about ten. Max was on the left, Isabel was in the middle, Michael was on the right. She concentrated on their smiles. Isabel's was big and friendly. Max's was tighter, more controlled. Michael had always said that he didn't smile for pictures. But he was smiling in this one. It was his half smile. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe. How was she supposed to do this?

She silently handed the photo to Max and stared at the next one. It was in a frame. She had taken it. The same three people, the same three positions, the same three smiles. Eight years had passed. She had taken it after graduation. She had begged him. He didn't want any pictures that night. He never understood her need for pictures. He didn't understand that she needed proof that things had actually happened, that she didn't just dream them up.

>>> "Please, Michael, just one picture?"

He rolled his eyes. This was the longest night he could remember. He didn't want to fight anymore.

"Fine, ONE. And that's it."

"Max, Isabel, hurry up before spaceboy changes his mind." Isabel looked at Alex and he nodded. Maria tried to understand why. Oh, her makeup is okay, Maria thought, smiling at the absurdity of asking Alex if Isabel looked good. He would have nodded if her makeup was smeared and her hair was a mess. Because Alex Whitman never looked at Isabel Evans with his eyes, he looked with his heart. But it didn't matter, Isabel looked great even though they had been up all night.

Max put his arm around his sister and smiled a tired but very happy smile. How could he not be happy? They had all graduated, they were all together. They would soon be leaving, but that didn't matter. Because Liz Parker, class valedictorian and his reason for living, would be going with him. She would follow him to the ends of the earth.

"Okay, on the count of three, everyone say..." she thought a minute. They would take offense at aliens. "Tabasco sauce! One, two, three!" <<<

The memory was too strong and the tears started to fall. She felt Max's arms come around her. Why Max? her head screamed. She was full of rage. Why couldn't he have had better control of his powers? Because then this wouldn't have happened. He could have just healed himself. If it had been Max or Isabel, that's what they would have done. And it wasn't fair. He was just as powerful as them, he should have been able to save himself. He should have lived forever.

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