FanFic - Unconventional Couples
"Moonlight and Pearls"
Part 1
by Karen
Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own them. Others do. I'm just writing my thoughts about the characters down and sharing. Without profiting of course.
Summary: Vaguely refers to a present she bought in The Christmas episode, so if you haven't seen that yet please avoid. The song is called Smile which is song written by Charles Chaplin.
Category: Unconventional Couples
Rating: PG
She was driving in the night. Something she did more often than anyone knew. It was a habit easy enough to hide considering her powers...and Max's sleeping habits. It was really the only time that she had to herself. Away from school and committees and couples and groups. It all threatened to suffocate her.

Drowning. She felt like she was drowning. Under the weight of responsibilities and secrets. Vilandra from Max and Tess and Michael. Aliens from Mom and Dad and friends. Love from Michael, and in extension Alex and Maria.

The only release was the night. Sometimes pitch black with clouds, sometimes dimly lit by stars, sometimes so bright it was like the moon had forgotten it was not the sun. Tonight was one of those nights. The lone jeep cutting through the silvery light that refused to let her hide. She drove faster.

Isabel didn't know where she was going. She just knew she had to go. Far away from Christmas and trimmings and glad tidings and cheer. Far away from presents she bought with plastic smile.

And Christmas songs were the absolute last thing she needed right now, she thought as the carols rang out from the radio station, filling the jeep and trying to creep into her as well. Hurriedly she cruised the channels. Searching for a sad song to wallow in. Something to make her feel better by making her feel worse. Something that would show her that she was not alone. That sometimes love was lost. Or worse yet, never realized. That sometimes people who loved each other never let themselves say the words. That there where others out there who hid their love for their own good and for the good of the one they secretly loved.

-Smile, though your heart is aching -Smile, even though it's breaking

And there it was. A song that sounded vaguely familiar, drifting in from an unknown station in a far-away city or town. Crackling with its distance, but clear enough to reach out and touch her heart. The words continued and she knew.

-If you smile -With your fear and sorrow -Smile and maybe tomorrow

It was her song. One she'd sung without knowing the words. Or at least not knowing she knew them if she had heard them before. Her subconscious becoming conscious. Her conscious taking her breath away.

-You'll find that life is still worthwhile if you'll just... -Light up your face with gladness -Hide every trace of sadness

She jerked the knob to the side, trying to free herself from the song. From the words that mocked her. But even as the sound died the song continued. Words and tune from past now made present. Rushing toward her out of the full-moon's light. Illuminating the world in a pearly glow she tried to escape. The love she tried to deny. With pearls. Pearls. Pearls. She was sobbing now.

-Although a tear may be ever so near -That's the time you must keep on trying

The jeep sprayed gravel as she swerved it to the side of the road and jammed on the brakes. Needing to get away from the song and the light. Trying desperately to find somewhere to hide in the night, in the desert. She ran. Blindly making a path where there was none. Not seeing where she was going because of the tears. Chest heaving from her sobs as much as her pounding feet.

-Smile what's the use of crying -You'll find that life is still worthwhile -if you'll just...

The words outran her, meeting her at every turn, growing louder. Words she lived by. Words she loved by. Words she made real day after day after day in the weeks building up to Christmas. Smile. Heart. Aching. Smile. Hide. Sadness. Smile. Life. Worthwhile. Smile. There was no tune now, only words surrounding her. Circling her in pearls of tragic wisdom. Aching. Clouds. Breaking. Heart. Fear. Sorrow. The smile was gone from the mantra.

Her knees hit the sand and her hands clutched her stomach.

"Please!" she cried, knowing no one was there to help her. To answer her cry. But not knowing what else to do or to say to stem the flow of the song and the frightening rhythm of her breaking heart.

And it did. And it was quiet. And darkness came as clouds obliterated the too-bright moon, causing her to shiver.

She rolled to her side and welcomed the cool. And the quiet. And the loneliness. And the absence of the pain of smiling when her heart was breaking. There was no way to know how long she stayed that way. Laying on the gritty surface. Forming small, perfect pearls from the sand.

Seconds, minutes, hours later, she slowly walked back to where she had left the jeep. Knowing instinctively where it was even without the moonlight.

She climbed in and did a U-turn before flipping on the radio. Heading back to her life and to her secrets. Using her powers, she searched till she found Christmas carols. And she slowly, carefully, formed the smile she knew she was going to need to make it through the coming day.


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