FanFic - Other
"A Mile in Another Man's Shoes"
Part 1
by Jenn Windley
Disclaimer: Hear ye! Hear ye! I do not own the rights to the show Roswell, these characters or anything else of value. I merely bow to Mr. Katims in awe and respect. The song is by Jars of Clay off their new (awesome) album "If I Left the Zoo." So I don't get credit for that either.
Summary: Max and Michael learn a tough lesson that the best way to understand someone is to live in their shoes.
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
"I know I could turn to something other than you 'Cause I don't understand you and why you're after me I've never been the saint you wanted me to turn to And I can't see the view from the eyes you look at me through, oh no."

Jars of Clay

"You are so high and mighty Max. Just because you have a few revelations when you kiss your girlfriend you think you know everything."

"I don't think that Michael. I'm saying that I think that this little thing is just a beacon. Someone on the ship probably planted it so our home planet could track us. But it's been since 1947, and no one's found us yet."

This argument had been going on for nearly an hour. The hot desert air hung like a blanket over the Jeep, making it feel like a sauna.

"Look guys," Isabel interjected. "We have to work together if we are going to find out what this little thing-a-ma-gig is. You each have good points, but you're getting so egotistical neither of you is thinking straight. Men!" Isabel added under her breath.

"Well then, missy, what is your take on the matter?" asked Michael, examining the small gray object that Liz and Max had found last week at the crash site. Since Liz had stopped having visions, the group was stumped on what the object was and meant.

"Michael had a good point that the object wasn't buried very deep so it could have been planted by the Nsedeo." Michael grunted in satisfaction.

Iz cut her eyes at him and continued on. "But, Liz saw the Army guys and someone burying this thing in the same vision, so it could have been buried after the crash. I really don't know. But you guys fighting isn't going to solve the mystery."

It was so frustrating to get their first clue in years and not be able to understand it. Isabel found it more frustrating that their prophet was Liz Parker. Not that Liz wasn't nice and all, but she wished Alex had been the one to see visions. She certainly wouldn't have minded kissing him - a lot! Her mind drifted to the other morning when Alex came to the door, looking adorable and half-asleep. And that kiss! So soft and warm and gentle. She'd relived those 5 seconds of her life for hours everyday since. And looking at him at school and not kissing him was going to be the death of her yet... The loud voices called Iz back to reality.

"What you're really saying is that I'm stupid, isn't that right? Well, Max you don't know jack about what I'm thinking. You're not the only one who can read minds. I've seen all kinds of stuff about Maria." The words were spoken in a tone that Isabel had never heard from Michael. He was really starting to get mad, and it scared her. She watched as they went towards each other slowly, both clad in their standard jeans and black T-shirts. For all the world it looked like a scene from West Side Story or The Outsiders. If someone had yelled rumble, the fight would begin. But, they shouldn't be fighting with each other. She hated it. Hated it passionately.

"Stop it! Just stop it!" Isabel screamed. "If you guys would just walk a mile in each others' shoes and get a little perspective, you would see that neither of you are always right or always wrong!" Isabel was practically shaking from the intensity of her emotions. Something inside her just snapped and suddenly she felt drained of all her energy, as she crumbled into the back seat of the Jeep.

"Isabel. Are you okay?"

"Wake up Izzy. It's alright. Michael get some water out of the cooler," Max yelled without taking his eyes off his sister's face.

Isabel stirred for a moment blinking her eyes to readjust to the brightness of the sunlight. Michael's face was staring down at her with an expression of concern so deep she didn't even know his face was capable of forming it.

His lips moved speaking to someone over his shoulder. "Hurry up Michael. She's waking up."

Her face wrinkled in confusion. "Why is Michael talking to himself?" she thought. "Where is Max?" She struggled to sit up in the confined back seat, as Michael reached behind him to grab the water. Two stunned cries filled the desert canyon.

"This is not happening."

"Isabel! What did you do to us?"

"What's the matter?" asked Isabel dazed and more than a little confused. "I didn't do anything. You guys were just getting ready to fight. And I hate it. That's all I remember before I passed out."

"What is this? Some wacked out Disney movie? Isabel you'd better change us back. And I mean now." It was Max talking. But it didn't seem right. The mannerisms were wrong. Even the hair was sticking out from the tussle making him look and sound more like Michael. Michael was standing quietly looking at his hands as if he'd never seen them before. He looked up at Isabel with intense eyes.

"Izzy, this is taking things a little too far don't you think? I mean this is pretty powerful stuff even for you. You've got to change us back." The words were a sure sign of what was wrong. Michael was speaking the words of reason, and Max was out of control.

"Omigod! If you guys tell me you have switched bodies, I'm going to pass out again."

"I guess we'll see ya when you wake up then," said Michael trapped in Max's body.

The three rode home in complete silence. This was a bigger mess than they had ever gotten into before. Isabel had no idea how she had done it and none of them had a clue of how to undo it.

Michael eased the Jeep into the driveway at the Evans' house. It was his house, and he'd driven up the driveway a thousand times. But not in this body!

"Well, guys, what are we going to do? It's going to raise suspicions if Michael walks through that door like he lives here," said Izzy breaking the silence.

"So what are you suggesting? We pretend to be each other until we figure out what the heck is going on?" asked a panicked Max.

"No way am I going to let him stay in my new place and have all my freedom, while I have to play good boy son here. I say we go find River Dog and get him to help us out of this mess!"

"Michael," said Iz staring intently in the brown eyes she knew were her brother's. "You know that River Dog doesn't have powers. He isn't going to be able to help. If I can just get a little bit of rest to restore my power some, I might can change you back, okay?"

It was the only solution that made any sense, but neither one wanted to agree. Michael knew that Maria was going to come over to hang out that night and Max was thinking of his secret rendezvous with Liz. He felt sick to his stomach as he pictured Liz climbing through his window and showering his body with kisses when it would be Michael enjoying it all.

"Isabel, we've got to fix this quickly. Michael, I mean, Max and I will go hangout somewhere by ourselves while you try to rest up. Meet us at the apartment in three hours. Got it?"

"Fine. I'll be there with bells on." Isabel climbed out of the Jeep. "And guys? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do this. But I'll find a way to get you out of this. I promise."

Maria and Liz were walking out of the Crashdown after the lunch shift when the familiar black Jeep rolled by. Both girls waved furiously at the vehicle waiting for the guys to stop and say hello.

"Oh crap. Now what do we do?" asked Michael.

"Just act like me the best you can, and I'll try to pull off an Oscar performance of you. We'll just tell them we can't talk long." Max in Michael's body put the Jeep in reverse and eased back to where the girls stood.

"Hey guys. Wow. Looks like Michael has taken you for a serious joy ride, Max. You're hair is flying everywhere," said Liz as she stepped up on the running board to plant a kiss on Max's lips.

Michael almost came out of the Jeep when he saw his best friend start to kiss Liz back. 10...9...8... Maria came around to the other side of the Jeep to speak to Michael when he grabbed her and laid a long open mouth kiss on her.

"What?" Maria shook her head in utter amazement. Not that she hadn't prayed for the day when Michael would grab her and kiss her in public, but this kiss was entirely different than the ones before. She wasn't sure how, but it wasn't electric. It almost seemed like he was just proving a point.

Max looked like he could shoot flaming darts from his eyes when he gazed at Michael and Maria. He managed to sputter out, "We have somewhere to be. We'll see you later." Just to even the score a little, he kissed Liz again lingering slightly to suck on her bottom lip.

"Okay. I'll see you tonight," said Liz, her lips still puckered from the kiss.

Michael spun the wheels as he jerked back onto the street. "Somebody better fix this soon before we kill each other."

Max and Michael sat alone in the dark apartment just staring at each other. It wasn't like looking in a mirror. In a mirror you can see every motion you make. Each breath. Each tilt of your head. But staring at yourself when someone else has control of your body is totally different. Max noticed he needed a hair cut. Of course, within ten minutes of Michael inhabiting his body he looked like he had lost the last comb on Earth.

Michael had never noticed how mad his face looked even when he was just sitting there. Behind Max's face, he could feel the naturalness of a smile. The corners of his lips were always standing at attention for a quick grin. But his own face looked like it had seen very few smiles. Michael knew from experience that it was true.

"I don't smile much."

"I need a hair cut."

"No you don't. You need to let your hair down once in a while."

"Yea, cause I can see it's working for you. You're oh-so happy."

"Look Max, life has pretty much sucked for me since I hatched on this planet. But I'm starting to find a little bit of happiness finally. So lay off."

"I'm really glad that things are looking up for you. Really, I am Michael. But you walk around with this chip on your shoulders all the time. It won't kill you to ACT like you're happy sometimes."

"Okay. Just like it won't kill you to admit you don't have all the answers sometimes."

"I know I don't have all the answers."

"I know. I know. Those are your two favorite words. Try adding a 'don't' in the middle every once in a while. Really, we won't think less of you."

"Alright. I got it."

The guys jumped at the sound of a knock on the door. Isabel poked her head into the apartment. "You guys back to normal yet?"

"No," they replied in stereo.

"Well, come with me. I have a plan."

The track at Roswell High School was deserted at seven in the evening on a Saturday. Most everyone in the world was out enjoying the weekend. But Isabel pulled the Jeep up to the edge of the stadium and announced her plan.

"You want us to do what? Are you nuts?" complained Michael.

"What are you upset about? My body is in terrific shape. You're the one that has never made it a day to Phys Ed. I might not make it around the stupid track once in your body."

"Hush. Both of you. Now, I distinctly remember saying, 'You should walk a mile in each other's shoes right before I passed out. So here we are. Start walking."

"This is never going to work."

"How am I supposed to walk with these big feet?" grumbled the guys as they stepped on the track.

"Well, let's get this over with," said Max looking at the huge feet Michael had to lug around everyday.

"Race you to the finish line." And with that both boys took off for a mile in another man's shoes.

The End.

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