posted on 29-Oct-2001 1:14:10 AM This is where you can find the parts preceeding part 19.

Title: I.O.U.
Author: Christina
Category: M&M and M&L
Rating: R for language and implied sexual situations. Nothing explicit. (The dream in Ch 1 is the worst it will get.)
Email me at: fehrbaby⊕
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue!
Summary: AU. Maria is in college away from Roswell. She never met the aliens and her life has always been normal. Read the rest to find out.

Part 19

You could tell a lot about people by their hands. It was something Maria's mother had been telling her for years, but she hadn't really believed it - until now. Michael's were trembling. Badly.

Hmmm. Not the most encouraging of signs.

"Michael, what is going on?"

He said nothing, but not for lack of trying. Several times he opened his mouth, only to close it again, as though the words had lodged in his windpipe. The silence lengthened between them until she thought she might die of suspense. "Say something!"

Michael winced as her shrill voice ricocheted off the walls. "I'm trying!" He raked the wide-spread fingers of both hands through his hair, looking angry at himself for his outburst, as though shocked he was yelling at her. "Forgive me," he said sincerely, imploring her with his eyes.

"What is it?" she asked, sardonically, suddenly furious with him for doing this to her without explanation. "You've got a girlfriend? Wife? Or, no, I know, you're the one who's been stalking me, right? The one who tried to break into my house the other day, maybe?"

"No girlfriend, or wife," he answered seriously, stress lines puckering his forehead. "And I wasn't the one who tried to break into your house, although..."

"Although?" she prompted sharply when he failed to continue.

He averted his face, guiltily. "Although, I know why it happened, and why your house almost burnt down."

Maria's shook her head firmly. Her voice was shakier than she would have liked. "That fire was an accident."

"It was set deliberately," he asserted, the flatness of his tone a sharp contrast to his flashing eyes.

"Well, if you're so smart, then who did it?"

"How's your arm?"

She blinked, taken back by the abrupt change in subject. "What?"

He leaned forward and clutched her wrist in his firm fingers. It didn't hurt, but she cried out anyway. "Your arm, Maria? The one you cut on the gun case?"

She fought to pull her arm away, but he wouldn't budge. "How do you know about that?" she gasped accusingly.

"Tell me!" he demanded, his pitch raising the hair on her arms. "You're arm! How is it?"

She pinched her lips and refused to answer. Because the unbelievable truth was, her arm was completely fine. No pain, no scab, no scar. It was something she'd been trying to block out because it defied everything she'd ever known about the human body and its regenerative capabilities.

He released her wrist. "That's why you're house was burned. And that's why they tried to break into your home."

She attempted a contemptuous snort, but it came out as a breathy gurgle. "Because my arm healed?"

"No, because of why your arm healed."

She clamped her mouth shut, as if her silence could prevent him from continuing.

"Aren't you going to ask why?" Michael asked knowingly.

Her head shook fiercely. But internally, she wondered why she was being so foolish? She'd spent the past few days trying her damndest to pry this very information out of Tess, and here Michael was, virtually handing it to her on a silver platter, and all she wanted to do was stop him from confirming her suspicions irrevocably. It was similar to the object permanence stage of childhood development she'd learned about in one of her psychology classes: If the words wouldn't pass Michael's mouth, then her suspicions were only that - suspicions.

"I'm going to show you, anyway, Maria, and although..."


"AND ALTHOUGH you may not like what you see, or even believe it, it's the absolute truth."

"Why are you doing this to me?"

He paused, the pain contorting his features like a knife to her heart. "Because it's time you know the truth, before it's too late."

She stood jerkily, feeling a sudden desperation to get as far away from Michael as possible, but he wrapped her arms around her waist and pulled her down so that she was pinned to his lap. "No!" she demanded. "Let me go!"

Warm, ragged breath tickled the back of her neck as he fought to restrain her. "Don't make this harder than it has to be. Please, stop struggling."

"But I don't want to," she contended, and continued to writhe in his grasp. But his arms held her fast, and for so long that she eventually wore herself out. Her whole body was engulfed in tides of weariness and despair. She slumped back against him helplessly. Silent tears of frustrations made tracks down her face.

His arms left her waist and refastened around her upper arms - half in comfort, half in restraint. He laid his cheek next to hers, rocking her gently in the cradle of his arms. "I'm not the enemy, Maria," he murmured soothingly against her ear. "You need to understand that I'm only trying to protect you. Trust me, I beg of you."

She swallowed against the hot, thick lump in her throat, detesting her body's traitorous response to the whispery caress of his words - hating how truly protected his arms made her feel.

"Now, will you promise not to run away if I let you go?"

Taking her silence for answer, his arms loosened their grip, and her skin tingled woefully from the loss of his warmth. It occurred to her then that she wanted the protectiveness of his arms, despite the fact that she felt he was the one who endangered her. "Do you mind if I just stay here?" she half-whispered, blinking her bleary eyes.

God, he must've thought she was crazy. She certainly did, running hot one minute, cold the next; wanting to get as far away from him as she possibly could in the beginning, then practically begging him to not let her go. What in the hell was wrong with her?

He cleared his throat, and followed it by a string of words too soft to distinguish.

Looking back over her shoulder, she saw that his expression was reserved, guarded. "What'd you say?"

Unspoken pain was alive and glowing in his eyes. "I said, you may not want me touching you when you hear what I have to say."

She trembled deeply at his words, fearful of his meaning, but decided to cross that bridge when it came. "I'll take my chances, if you don't mind." Her tears had made her throat hoarse and plugged her nose, so her words had a dry tone when she spoke.

His eyes brimmed with admiration and warmth, and the deepest gratitude. Then his powerfully built, black-clad arms were back in place, hugging her middle. "Before I begin, I need to know how you felt when we first met tonight."

She looked forward, stoically.

His voice held a note of pleading. "It's important."

Her eyes lowered in defeat. "Like I knew you."

She felt his soft nod against the side of her face, as if he'd expected as much. "And what made you feel that way?"

As if being scared wasn't enough, now he had put her in the uncomfortable position of explaining something she found incredibly embarrassing to try to put into words. But she told the truth without preamble. "I heard a voice in my head. It said we knew each other, that we were meant for each other."

"Did you believe it?"

"Not at first. Not until..." Her voice faded, and an annoying blush flamed her cheeks, as her mind turned to the first kiss they'd shared. She smiled wistfully, recalling the smoldering passion that had seared her very soul.


She jumped. "Oh. Not until you kissed me."

"That would make sense," he said, his tone thoughtful. Then, he seemed to shake himself and his regretful sigh fanned strands of her hair against her cheekbone.
"Now, I apologize for asking, because I can see how uncomfortable this makes you feel, but what about my kiss made the feeling real?"

"Be truthful," she said with grim lightness, needing, for her own peace of mind, to break his disconcerting line of questions. "Is there a point to this, or are you simply looking for an ego stroke?"

She was rewarded with a subdued laugh. But her attempt at humor hadn't deterred him. He was waiting for a truthful answer, and she knew there was no getting around it. "It felt right," she answered lamely, not knowing how to truly express all that his kissed had roused in her. She tried again. "It felt like I had finally found the other half of myself after years of searching." She frowned, and almost to herself, added, "Ironically, I didn't even know I was looking."

"Yes, you did," he uttered softly. The flat of his palm came to stop over her heart. "You knew, in here."

That was the second time tonight he'd claimed an omniscient-like insight to her heart. She ignored it, this time. The explanation he'd tried to give her earlier in the library was forthcoming whether she wanted it to be, or not. Of that, she had no doubt. But was she ready to hear it?

He heaved a deep sigh, then resituated her on his lap so she had a clear view of his face. "I wanted to show you this earlier, but we were interrupted. I need you to trust me. Do you trust me?"

The vivid memory of the electrical cocoon, as she now thought of it, flashed in Maria's mind. It had been an invigorating feeling, and indeed, far from unpleasant. Some of her tension eased. After all, she reasoned, anything proceeded by something as wondrous as that couldn't be all that bad, could it? "Show me," she said vacuously. Not the confirmation he sought, she knew, but the best she could offer.

"Stand up." Maria didn't question his order. She watched him stretch out on his side and raise his arms in welcome. "Come."

With a slight fluttering of her stomach, she settled beside him. Michael shifted his position until their bodies rested flush against one another. His warmth instantly blanketed her, warding off the bitter chill that seemed to fill the entire house. The faint music from the stereo continued to play on, but it was no contest for the blood rushing in her ears. Was it from anxiety or anticipation? she wondered. Looking into his dark eyes, which were lit from within by a golden glow, she decided it was probably a little of both.

Slender fingers rose to drift over her skin, as his gaze arched slowly back and forth over her face. "You are so beautiful."

The sound of his voice affected her deeply, causing her heart to ache beneath her breast. "Show me," she repeated, more for her benefit than his. Because more than anything else, despite the emotional rollercoaster he'd pulled her through, she wanted to bridge the gap between their mouths and lose herself in him entirely.

He steered her arms around his neck, and the fingers of his most accessible arm stroked her skin sensuously. His lips fluttered briefly over her brow. "Try to keep your breathing normal," he instructed. "And keep your eyes on mine."

The connection, as it was formed, wasn't nearly as disorienting as it had been earlier that night. In fact, the entire experience was entirely all too pleasant for comfort. What had seemed like hours the first time, now surpassed the speed of light, bringing them back to the precise moment where Isabel's interference had splintered their delicate affinity. The blue-white torrent, the electric tangibility, the silver banded cocoon - all come and gone before she could marvel at their mystery.

If only she had more time to process what was happening, then maybe she could ascertain why it was happening. But it all happened too fast, and before she knew it, the mounting force inside her exploded in a pyrotechnic shower of brilliance.

She fidgeted, dying to get a better look, but she suppressed the urge, recalling Michael's warning to keep her eyes on him.

Go ahead, but just for a moment.

Her lips parted in astonishment. It was Michael's voice, but his lips hadn't moved.

She was even more astonished to discover she could transmit her thoughts back. How?

It's part of the joining. We've formed a symbiotic link, of sorts, that will allow us to communicate more efficiently. Amongst other things. The last part came across as though an afterthought. You'll get used to it.

You said not to take my eyes off yours.

His lips curved indulgently. Perceptibly, he knew how much she wanted this. It'll be fine. Just try not to move too much.

Still, she hesitated. Though she couldn't help the nervousness she felt, the idea of going back now, before having had the chance to see whatever he was preparing to show her, held her back. And besides, she didn't want to upset the delicate balance of their bond.

Maria, it will take a lot more than that to break our bond.

So you can read my private thoughts, too? she asked with mock-affront, only to conceal the rush of warmth the deeper significance of his words elicited.

He paused. Not entirely. Go ahead and look.

Assured by his confidence, she did.


Rainbow-hued bands coiled down their frames in a loving caress until they encircled their feet. Here the colors diverged into glittering filaments of incandescent light that wove sinuously up their bodies in steady streams.

What on earth... she thought, her eyes riveted to a particularly bright strand of lemony-yellow spiraling against the contrasting blackness of Michael's sleeve.

It was so beautiful, a sense of pitiful longing welled inside her. She bit her lip to imprison the sob rising within her throat. But, no, beautiful didn't - couldn't - describe it. It just didn't do justice to what something of this magnitude deserved. In vain, her mind sought an appropriate adjective, but what she was seeing went beyond anything the human psyche could comprehend.

That last thought made her look up sharply. How are you doing this?

If there was such thing as a mental sigh, that’s what he did just then. It's not just me, he told her. It's us. We're doing this.

But it's not natural. It's not human.

The silence following her last statement lingered in Maria's mind for what felt like an eternity. And that made her nervous. She didn't like what that silence told her.

"Well, I was going to show you, but I didn't suppose you'd guess. You're right. It's not human. And...neither are you." She drew a sharp breath in of her own at his absurd statement, and it took her a full minute to realize that the colors were gone, that his voice was no longer in her head, and that their connection was once again abruptly severed.

On trembling legs, she stumbled to her feet and backed away from the couch, from him. She shook her head, sure she'd heard him incorrectly. "I beg your pardon?" she gasped harshly.

He scrambled to his feet, his outspread arms attempting to coax her back. "Maria... stay calm."

She flinched. "Don't!" she got out in a choked gasp.

"Don't what, Maria?"

"Don't say my name like that," she hissed, feeling herself bordering on hysteria. "All raspy and...I can't concentrate when you say my name like that. And don't touch me, not until you justify your ridiculous statement."

He sighed in resignation. "You are not human, Maria." He continued before she could protest. "Or you are, but only half, and it's because of your other half that people want you dead."

"Oh, really? And just what exactly is my other half?" she snapped caustically, a razor sharp edge to her words.

He winced. "You are not of this earth."

"You're going to have to make yourself a little clearer," she said, tapping her foot on the ground impatiently.

"You are not from earth. You are not from this time. You are not even from this dimension. You are, for lack of better term, an alien life form. Am I being clear enough, now?"

She laughed, high and shrill, for the span of a second. "You asshole!" she growled, seething with anger and humiliation. "How gullible do you think I am? It's my life that is in danger-"

"At least your recognizing that."

"-and instead of telling me why, you give me this bullshit explanation and expect me to believe it? Jesus, Michael, I trusted you! I trusted you and this is how you repay that trust? By jerking me around with this ridiculous explanation?"

"I'm not jerking you around."

"Well, you're sure as hell not telling the truth! And I told you the truth tonight, no matter how embarrassing it was. I didn't lie to you, and I expected the same in return! But I guess that was asking too much, wasn't it?"

"I told you it would hard to believe, but I would never lie to you, Maria. Jesus, I love you. All I want to do is protect you."

A muscle twitched angrily in her cheek. He sounded so sincere, but she was beginning to believe he was good at that; that his whole demeanor that night had been nothing but a carefully crafted act. And she had fallen for it! She was the true asshole, here, she realized, not him. Regardless, she wasn't going to sit around and listen to his bullshit for a minute longer. "I don't need your protection," she said in a low, even voice. She tossed a pointed look towards the front door. "Thank you for the ride home. Now, I believe you know your way out." With that, she spun on her heal, letting her legs carry her to the stairs.

"Maria, wait!" Desperation rang loudly in his tone. But she was unmoved. She took each step slowly, head held high, and blatantly ignored him.

"What was that?"

Maria turned, her fury getting the best of her. "I didn't say anything," she snapped with a scowl. But he wasn't talking to her. His gaze was far away, his expression shifting from worry, to surprise, then, to outright fear. With a wild ferocity, he looked up at her. "Maria, get upstairs!"

Her brows furrowed in confusion at the change in his tone. "What's going on?"

"Get Liz and hide!"



Something in his tone made her insides freeze. Then, with a burst of adrenaline, she bolted up the stairs.

It was as her feet hit the second story that all hell broke loose.


Thanks for all the feedback everyone. No Max/Liz yet like I promised long ago in this part, but I’ve decided to take a slightly different route than I had originally intended. I’m beginning to think this is the night that will never end for Maria. I can’t seem to get past it. Anyhow, hope you enjoyed!

[ edited 7 time(s), last at 12-Oct-2002 11:06:25 PM ]
posted on 4-Jul-2002 6:03:51 PM
Title: I.O.U.
Author: Christina
Category: M&M and M&L
Rating: R for language and implied sexual situations. Nothing explicit. (The dream in Ch 1 is the worst it will get.)
Email me at: fehrbaby⊕
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue!
Summary: AU. Maria is in college away from Roswell. She never met the aliens and her life has always been normal. Read the rest to find out.

Part 20

Maria's first thought as she heard the shattering of glass and the splintering of wood pressed past its limits was of a bomb. The sudden sounds in the quiet house were that thunderous.

A strangled cry broke from her lips, and she hit the floor painfully hard. Protecting her head and holding her breath, she listened for any indication of what was happening.


Muscles painfully tense and shoulders raised high, as though they were trying to suck her head in, she placed her hands flat against the wall and peered over the top. She came to the immediate conclusion that it couldn't be a bomb; there was no fire, no chaos, no immediate signs of destruction - at least that she could see. But she could not see all of the first level from her vantage point. Who knew what was beyond her eye line?

Michael was gone. Outside, she guessed, and that pissed her off. How dare he leave her alone when God-knew-what had just happened?

His wildly cried instructions - "Get Liz and hide!" - echoed loudly in her head, and almost every part of her was screaming to follow them. But that one other part told her that if she fled, she'd never know the truth.

She lowered her head, allowing it to fall wearily against the banister. Could what Michael said possibly be true? Was she really in danger? Was the commotion downstairs in any way related to herself? Was it at all possible that she truly could be an alie-

No! That last part she was sure of. If she were...different, she'd be the first to know about it. Wouldn't she?

She couldn't argue that there were many odd occurrences of late that made the idea seem almost plausible. Almost. Like the rapid healing of her arm, for example. Or the realistically familiar dreams coming to life all around her. And what about the visions? It wasn't as simple as her mind just thinking back to something; these were like bolts of lightning, striking her brain, rearranging her molecular structure and turning her body to pure energy, carrying her somewhere else for a revealing split second of time.

Stop it! STOP IT! There has to be a logical explanation for everything.

But, what if?

God, she must be going insane; because only a person with a loose screw in their brain would even begin to entertain the idea.

She shook her head, half tempted to start laughing helplessly. Probably not the best idea. She put a stopper on the impulse quickly, and peered over the banister again. Everything looked perfectly peaceful downstairs. Even the air around her seemed tranquil. Holding her breath, she strained her ear. No, no abnormal sounds. Should she...?

Hoping that the worst of it - whatever it may be - had come, she stood to her full height, and without considering the possible consequences of her actions, went back to the stairs. She took them cautiously, careful to be soundless. It seemed a year and a day had passed before she reached the bottom step, and by the time she'd done so, Maria had almost convinced herself that everything was going to be fine.

Or maybe not.

The crunching noise that came from beneath her feet when she stepped on the lower level was her first indication. Brow furrowing, her eyes dropped to the floor. Jagged shards of glass lay at her feet.

Not daring to move, her eyes followed the trail. Not a bomb, she realized with slow certainty, as her wide eyes came to rest on the dark figure lying face-down on the ground. A glittering halo of shattered glass surrounding its body. She couldn't tell if it was male or female; the upper body was obscured by a large chunk of wood. Her gaze followed the trail of glass to the balcony window, then darted back again.

Definitely not a bomb. Whoever it was lying on the ground had come through that window.

Hugging her arms to her chest, she took a tentative step forward. Then another.
Half the distance was behind her before she realized that there was something familiar about the person. He or she was wearing a very tight, very black and shiny pants.

Like black onyx...

Shedding her reservations like a second skin, she vaulted forward, dropping to her knees beside the fallen girl. She lifted the heavy chunk of wood with a grunt and tossed it aside, instantly revealing Isabel's shining cascade of golden hair.

Dear God! Fearing to cause further injury, she very hesitantly rolled Isabel onto her back. And gasped. Isabel's face was a bloody mess. One eye was purple and swollen and there were several nasty looking cuts marring her beautiful face. Was she dead? Frantically, Maria felt for a pulse, a heartbeat, a sign that she was still breathing.

It was there, Maria found, after flinging herself down and pressing her ear to Isabel's chest. Though shallow, her heart beat was slow and steady, and her breathing was regular. Mildly relieved by her findings, Maria ignored the panic rioting within her and gently shook her friend. "Isabel? Isabel, please wake up."

Isabel was unresponsive to her attempts at first, but after some more prodding, she finally stirred. A stagnate groan passed her lips and eventually her eyes fluttered open.

"God, Isabel. Don't move. You're hurt. How are you feeling? Are you okay? What happened?" Maria knew it was absurd of her to bombard Isabel with questions, but she was desperate to keep Isabel conscious.

Looking baffled by her surroundings, Isabel's eyes rolled to Maria. "Maria?" Her voice was thick and hoarse.

"Yes, it's me," Maria answered eagerly, brushing Isabel's sticky hair out of her face. "How are you feeling?"

"I hurt."

"I know, I know. Don't worry, you're going to be okay. I promise."

"What happened?"

"I was kind of hoping you could tell me," Maria replied. "What do your remember?"

"I don't..."

"You're laying in a pool of glass," Maria offered, urging her gently. "I think you came through the window."

Isabel's slow gaze shifted to the window, then tore back to Maria. The confusion suddenly lifted from her eyes, to be replaced by wide-eyed horror. "Maria, you have to leave!"

"Leave? Don't be ridiculous. You need help. I'm not going anywhere."

"No, you don't understand. They're here for you!"

Maria's insides stilled. "Who?"

Isabel's eyes fluttered. Maria instantly recognized that she was bordering on unconscious. "Come on, Isabel, don't leave me. Who are they?"

"The Brethren..." Isabel rasped, her eyes clouding. " for...him." Isabel's eyes drifted shut and she went still.

Maria's own body felt like it had turned to stone. She was held immobile by shock. That one word blared like a fog-horn in her head.


Hysterics bubbled inside her. She wanted to scream but couldn't open her mouth. Why was this happening to her? What was she supposed to do? Should she run? Could she in good conscience leave Isabel all alone to fend for herself? No, it wasn't right. It wasn't fair! Why? Why was this happening?

Goose bumps raced over Maria's skin. Forcing herself to come back to her surroundings she suddenly became aware that their air had changed around her. It felt charged, thick, electric. Sounds echoed eerily. Her scalp seemed to tighten. The feeling was too familiar to ignore.

She was being watched.

As unobtrusively as possible, she scanned her immediate surroundings for some kind of weapon. With the exceptions of some very dangerous looking shards of glass, there was nothing she could use to protect herself. The point was probably moot anyway. The reality of going against one assassin, let alone in the plural sense, as Isabel had indicated, didn't bode too well for her success. Still, she wouldn't give up without a fight.

Being careful not to betray her awareness, Maria gracefully rose to her feet - and almost fell. Damn, she'd been clenching her muscles so tightly that her legs had fallen asleep.

Ah! Pins and needles, pins and needles.

Gritting her teeth, she bent forward at the waist to kneed her muscles with her hands, trying to get her circulation running again. She froze half-way in her motions, sensing the oddest itching sensation in her shoulders. Someone was behind her.

Straightening her body, she moved her head just enough to the right until she could see the intruder out of her peripheral vision.

Oh God, oh God, oh God...

She scanned the room furtively and her eyes came to stop on a lamp positioned on the nightstand. Inhaling deeply, she jumped into the action, grabbing the lamp from the table and swinging around in a flowing motion with the lamp above her head.

She cried out, about to bring the lamp down on the persons head when she realized who it was. "Liz?"

Standing just in front of her was a very sleepy, very alarmed looking Liz with her arms crossed over her head for protection. "Yes, it's me! Don't hit me!"

Heaving a sigh of relief, Maria dropped the lamp. They both jumped when it hit the floor and Maria cringed. Oops. "Jesus, Liz, you scared the hell out of me!"

"Likewise! What the hell is going on? Why were you going to pummel me with a lamp?"

"I thought you were an assassin," she said, feeling stupid the instant the words came out of her mouth. "Look, I don't have time to explain, but I think we're in danger."

"I..." Liz's gaze traveled past Maria's shoulders and stuck. Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. "You can say that again."

"What?" Maria turned, following her best-friend's gaze.

And screamed.


posted on 6-Jul-2002 1:22:35 AM
Title: I.O.U.
Author: Christina
Category: M&M and M&L
Rating: R for language and implied sexual situations. Nothing explicit. (The dream in Ch 1 is the worst it will get.)
Email me at: fehrbaby⊕
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue!
Summary: AU. Maria is in college away from Roswell. She never met the aliens and her life has always been normal. Read the rest to find out.

Part 21

An abnormally tall and feral looking man was advancing on them. Clutched in his fist was a very lethal looking silver sword. His lips were pulled back over his teeth like a rabid animal. His eyes were the color of citrine, and their sights was set on her.

An assassin.

The scream died in Maria's throat as she locked onto those eyes.

Liz clutched Maria's arm, trying to get her to move. Maria was unresponsive, but not by choice. Her feet had routed to the spot and her body may as well have turned to stone for all the movement she was capable of.

"Come on, Maria, we have to go!" Liz cried, yanking even harder.

"I can't move," Maria said very quietly, unable to tear her eyes from the man. She was quickly catching on that her stagnancy had nothing to do with fear.

"Well, snap out of it!" Liz yelled with uncharacteristic sharpness.

An awful icy-liquid pressure poured into Maria's head, numbing her brain. Her stomach dropped to the floor. She felt like she was being dragged by a swift current, hurdled and tumbled into a dark place she didn't want to be.

Come to me.

The words weren't spoken aloud. It came from inside her head. And they had some stranger power over her.

Of their own volition her legs began to move.

Another voice came from her side. She couldn't understand it; it sounded muffled, like it was coming from under water. Much louder was the voice in her head.

Yes, child, come to me.

Maria's legs continued to carry her forward. Odd, this disconnection she felt from her body. In a distant compartment of her mind she felt the smallest impulse of panic. Very odd, indeed, because she wasn't feeling panicked. If anything, she felt serene.

Just a few more steps and then you can go to sleep.

Mmm, sleep. That sounded nice.

She was just about to reach the man when something came in between them. For the briefest moment she felt like her brain was being vacuumed. She clutched her head, realizing the spell that had been holding her in its thrall had been broken.

"Are you crazy? What the hell were you thinking?"

Maria's eyes rose to see Liz standing in front of her, looking enraged. And just behind her was the man, revving the arm carrying the sword back. A tumult of emotions and feelings assailed Maria then. Liz! The man was going to kill Liz!

Reaching out, Maria grabbed Liz around the waist and shoved her out of the way. She heard a whistle by her ear as the blade sliced through the air.

Maria scrambled to her feet, dodging the blade as it came her way again. Liz, who was already standing, reached out. "Give me your hand!"

Maria grasped for the offered hand. Too late. Even as she attempted to reach out, the razor-edged blade sliced deeply into her side. Her vision disintegrated into red sparkles as liquid fire ripped over her back. As much as she fought to contain it, a scream escaped her lips and she dropped to her knees in the grip of a paralysis like no other. Her mind soared away from her and she swore she heard the cries of a million anguished voices.

Dead again. Such a shame, to be so close this time...

"Maria!" Liz's frightened voice echoed faintly.

Maria's vision cleared. She was no longer floating in a vast abyss of sparkles, and she wasn't dead yet. From her vantage point, she saw Liz's bare feet race forward, felt the grapple of Liz's smaller hands on her wrists, felt herself being towed away.

"No, Liz," she rasped, indolently shoving Liz away. "I'm dead weight. Save yourself."

"Don't be absurd!"

"That's my future god-child you're putting into danger," Maria said through gritted teeth. "Go."

Liz was about to argue more, but her mouth clamped shut when Maria delivered her a venomous glare. Bursting into loud, sobbing tears, her friend reluctantly released her and began to back away. Smart girl.

Shrugging off her transient state of paralysis, doing her best to ignore the warm blood flowing from her side, Maria struggled to gain her footing. Wobbly, but nevertheless on her feet, she kept her eyes trained on the man's scowling mouth and backed away, attempting to put some space between them while she fought for her life.

The assassin hoisted his sword over his head, preparing to consummate the task he had begun.

This is it. This is how it ends...

Over his shoulder, from the pitch-black balcony, Maria caught a gleaming flash of white.

Then, time slowed to an illusory crawl.

Maria observed the bizarre white phenomenon as it launched into a vaulting leap. Before fresh anxiety had the chance to register, the flowing white arc crashed into the monolithic murderer, throwing his upraised arms off their path and suspending the downward strike that would have ended her life.

The sword flew in a whirl of flashing silver, clattering dully on the carpet at the foot of the staircase. The man, taken off guard by this unforeseen ally, tumbled to the floor with a startled grunt.

Staring speechless at the fallen giant, wondering what kind of powerhouse it could have taken to knock the gigantic warrior down, Maria couldn't control the bewildered start of astonishment that ricocheted throughout her body when she laid eyes on her would-be protector.


The unlikely savior stood in the middle of the room. Still in her Marilyn Monroe costume, now a little tattered and smudged with grass stains, she was in full fighting stance. Her feet were widespread. Her fists were balled in front of her chest. Her stormy eyes were a brew of courage and determination. "Sorry I'm late. Got held up outside."

"What...?" Maria trailed off, not even knowing where to start.

"Ask questions later. You okay?"

Considering the pain her side for a split-second, Maria nodded her head mutely.

"Good. Now, get the hell out of here so I can take care of big-boy."

"Are you crazy? You can't possibly go against someone so huge."

Tess's eyes lit with grim amusement. "Oh, you'd be surprised. Now, go. Skedaddle. Make like a library and book. I'm going to have my hands full with this one. I can't be worrying about you."

Third time's a charm. Or, third warning in this instance. Either way, Maria wasn't going to argue again. Look where it had gotten her the last two times. If she was going to go, she had to do it now. The assassin was rising, and from the growling noises he was making, he was none too happy.

Maria had just began backing away to the door when her eyes strayed to the second story banister. Peeking over the wall, she saw two wide brown eyes peering down at her. Her heart lurched in her chest. When she'd told Liz to leave, she hadn't meant to go up the stairs. Jesus, didn't Liz watch horror movies?

Having a split-second to make her decision, Maria bolted up the stairs. On the banister, she grabbed the crouching Liz by her shoulder and pulled her to her feet. "What are you doing here? Going up the stairs isn't what I meant?"

"I had nowhere else to go!" Liz retorted through continuous sobs.

Good point.

"Look, I'm going to get my keys. Stay here, okay?"

Sniffing, Liz nodded.

Leaving Liz to her own devices, Maria dashed into the bedroom they shared and found her keys on the nightstand. She returned moments later to find Liz staring at the first floor with her mouth wide open.

"What is it?"

Maria looked down just in time to see Tess deliver a fierce round-kick to the assassin's face. Next, she was dropping to the floor and knocking his feet out from underneath him, then jumping back to her feet in one fluid motion.

"Wow, looks like I underestimated her," Maria murmured, then she shook her head to clear it. Dangerous assassin wants to kill you, remember? Grabbing for Liz's arm, she pulled her down into a crouching position. "Okay, Liz, we need to run to my truck."

Liz whimpered. "Where are we going to go?"

"Anywhere but here," she whispered, tensing when she heard Tess utter a yelp from below. "Here's the plan: run and don't stop until you get to my truck. I'll be right behind you."

"That's your plan?" Liz hissed.

"Can you think of anything better?"

They looked at each other. They looked at the wall.

"No," they said at the same time.

"Then this is it. Ready?"

Saying a prayer under her breath, Maria nudged Liz forward. Standing erect, they ran to the stairs and began to take them quickly. After only a few steps, Liz jolted to a dead stop, causing Maria to smack into her from behind.

Raising her head, Maria saw why. The Assassin was standing at the bottom of the stairs, grinning with triumphant smugness. Clasping Liz's forearms, Maria jerked the smaller girl back and put herself in front. "Walk back slowly," she whispered so quietly she wasn't sure Liz had heard her.

She backed up one step, two. The Assassin followed her movements step-for-step. Maria scrutinized him in the dim light, searching for the telling twitch of a muscle or tensing of his arms that would prelude an attack.

She almost missed it. She'd been so busy trying to avoid his eyes that she barely caught the veins cording in his neck. "Go!" she yelled, pushing Liz back up the stairs just as the man hurdled forward.

Liz was making it okay, but Maria tripped on the top step, falling face forward on the carpet.


Ignoring Liz's cry, Maria reached out for the potted plant in the corner and turned just as the man had reached her. With a grunt of determination, Maria chucked the plant at him, knocking him temporarily off balance. Scrambling to her feet, she followed Liz into their bedroom and locked the door behind her.

"Grab that chair," she commanded Liz, who had already done so. They propped it under the door just in time. At that very same instant the door rocked like it had been hit by a small truck.

"Back up, back up!" Liz said, pulling Maria back until they were standing by the bed. She jumped as the battering ram hit the door again. "What are we going to do?"

"I don't know," Maria replied, rubbing her face with her hands. "Just give me a second, all right?" Her heart was pounding so hard that it shook her body and her ears were ringing. Think, think!

Maria ran to the window. No, they'd never get out that way. The drop was way too far; they were likely to break their necks. But what if they could make the assassin think they had gone out that way. Jesus, that was an even more lame plan than running down to the truck. But she didn't have any other more appealing options.

Spinning to the door, she saw he was almost through. It was now or never. Thinking quickly, Maria knocked her clothes off the oak chair by the dressing table and closed her eyes as she propelled it through the window. She observed her handiwork dismally. Not as big as she wanted but it would have to do.

"Okay, Liz, jump!" she cried and then pulled Liz to the closet. "Get down low," she hissed, closing the closet door just as the door was finally knocked off its hinges. She clamped her hands over Liz's mouth then shielded the smaller girl with her body. She wasn't sure of the how of it yet, but somehow she was responsible for all of this. She didn't want to add Liz's death, or the death of her unborn child, to the accruing tally.

Maria's clenched her eyes shut and focused on keeping her breathing quiet. A full minute went by where she neither saw nor heard anything. She strained her ears, trying to discern the man's location. Nothing. It was absolutely quiet. Too quiet.

She refused to give credence to the hope that he had left the room. A true assassin would explore every option twice-over before leaving the scene. What had she been thinking? Her plan to hide in the closet was sounding weaker and weaker by the second. Hell, why hadn't she jumped out the window? A broken neck sounded better than decapitation by sword.

You could use your powers, a voice suggested in her head. Maria's body tightened even more, which she thought was beyond possible at this point. Because although it sounded like her own mental voice, it wasn't exactly the same. This voice was cool and dark, competent and rather forlorn.

But I don't have any powers! Maria shot back stubbornly, adding anger to her growing index of emotions.

Great, the entire world had gone crazy and she was having conversations with herself.

Stop lying to yourself, the voice said. If there was ever a time to try out your powers, wouldn't this be it?

That's true, Maria admitted begrudgingly. Why not? she wondered. The rules of the natural world has been suspended so many times that it seemed almost anything was possible. Fine, she'd give it a try. Not that she had any idea where to start.

Let your instincts guide you. You'll know what to do.

Easy enough for you to say, Maria thought bitterly.

Sighing - this would never work - Maria's mind flashed back to earlier in the evening in the library, when Michael had first tried to show her that rainbow-cocoon-thingy. His face had been taught with concentration.

Okay, so she'd concentrate. But on what? Liz, of course. Liz was her first priority. Gritting her teeth, she did her best to clear her mind and focus on nothing but Liz being somewhere safe.

She couldn't say she was surprised when nothing happened. She kept trying, now wanting to believe it was true. Unknown time flew by with no results. Maria was just about to give up when she suddenly felt...something balling in her gut. It was a strangely familiar feeling, also much like earlier that night in the library.

It was a warm tingle, a small tickle snowballing inside her, gathering strength and gaining force. Twinkling stars danced before her eyes, making her feel like she was ascending to a higher level of consciousness.


She stopped the thought the instant she felt the ball inside of her weaken. Yes, keep concentrating. There was a subtle shifting sensation in her stomach. The ball of warmth was moving, spreading outward. It filled her arms, her legs. Her fingers, her toes. It was brimming under the surface under her skin, trying to get out.

Now, give it to Liz... This was her mental voice entirely. Without knowing why, Maria's hand began to move. She didn't question her actions, but allowed herself to be guided by instinct, as the voice had said. The violent quaking coming from Liz's body made her hand shake, but she managed to pull Liz's hair back and lay her palm against her cheek.

She couldn't really explain what she did next, but she sort of pushed the energy out with her mind. second she shelling Liz's small frame, and the next she was falling to the floor of the closet and Liz was gone.

She's safe, Maria told herself, knowing it to be true. Still, she couldn't help the unconscious gasp that exited her lips.

She only realized her mistake too late, when the blade of the sword came slicing through the door, two inches above her head. Oh, God, he was still out there, and she had alerted him to her presence. The blade slide out of the door, and Maria jumped to her feet.

That cool voice was back in her head. You can send him away.

Send him away where? she asked as the door was thrown open and she found herself staring into the ugly face of the gigantic assassin again.

Though its strength had ebbed, she could still feel the power flowing in her veins. As though set on auto-pilot, she did what she had done with Liz. She concentrated on him going, not wanting to send him to a safe place, but to somewhere dark, somewhere far-far away - to another time, another dimension.

Even as his hands closed around her throat, she continued to concentrate. Yes, she felt the power building, growing. Unfortunately, she didn't have much time to let it mature. His hands were tightening around her throat, blocking off her air passage.

Growing desperate, Maria reached out her hands and smacked them against his rugged cheeks, both trying to maintain the contact and push him away.

She felt the moment he realized what she was doing. His eyes widened and the strength of his grip lessened. Now! Maria sent every bit of power she possessed into him.

Time to go away...

Suddenly, there was a loud clap like thunder, a bright flash, and then the man was gone.

The Assassin had been sent away.

Maria could not believe what had just occurred. She should be dead. She and Liz both. How had she done that? Was it even her or had it all been a trick of her imagination?

And why was she still standing there, staring into the darkness as if she expected him to reappear?

You have to find Liz!

That got her moving. She turned and maneuvered her way around the broken door. She was beyond screaming or crying at this juncture, moving around in such a state of shock that her motions felt dreamlike.

She almost collided with Michael when she stepped into the hall.

"Maria! Are you okay? Are you hurt?" Michael threw his strong arms around her, squeezing her tightly. Maria knew she should be pushing him away, that he couldn't be trusted, but she couldn't seem to find the energy to do so. So she allowed him to hug her, though she was careful to be unresponsive. "Oh, Maria, I thought..." He broke off, made a weird choking sound in the back of his throat. After he released her, he checked her over for injury. She let him. "You're bleeding!"

"I have to find Liz." Her voice sounded hoarse and weak, as if she were using it for the first time. She squinted. The lights were too bright, as if she was seeing for the first time.

Of course! A part of her she never knew existed had just woken up inside of her. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Liz's voice came from downstairs. "I'm here!"

Maria moved to the balcony, to see them all staring up at her. Max was at the bottom of the stairs, standing as if he had been on his way up. Tess was standing at Liz's side, wrapping a blanket around her shoulders. Isabel, now conscious, was lying on the couch, looking up at her eagerly.

"Jesus, Maria, what happened up there? One minute I was in the closet with you and the next I was alone in Isabel's closet."

Maria looked again at the sea of eager faces below. There was only one way to answer this question. "I'm an alien," she said in disbelief. She swayed. Then the room started to go gray and mushy around her, and she fainted.


At that very same moment, in another time, another life, Marianna opened her eyes.


posted on 6-Jul-2002 12:37:01 PM
He-he! Glad you liked that Lillie. Little spoiler - Tess and Isabel are Maria's official bodyguards, hence why they were there to fight. Sure, poor little Isabel got knocked out early in the game, but Tess was still floating around, ready to do her job.

By the way, you know I'm only still posting this story on this board because I know you would be very upset if I didn't, right? I mean, I get 2-3 readers per part (Not exactly a great motivator.) But that lovely girl roswellluver :grin: always reads my stuff (thanks!) and I know Veronica is in for the long hull. She's been reading this longer than you have.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, girls. I'll be writing more later today and if fortune's with me, a new part will be out tomorrow.

posted on 6-Jul-2002 8:14:03 PM
Why, Veronica, aren't we the impatient one?
posted on 9-Jul-2002 11:39:26 PM
okay, just so you know, I haven't had much of a chance to be online and write because there have been some bad power outages due to dust and heat lightening storms, so I haven't had the chance to write. But I will be posting soon. I've written most of the next part. Just have some gaps to add in.
posted on 17-Jul-2002 9:56:12 PM
Wow, I'm gone for a week and look at that, more posters have read it. Yippee!*bounce*

Anyhow, I am having a hard time with the next part. I actually had it all written, then I wasn't sure if that's the route I wanted to take, so I've tried writing it over again, and then I didn't like that route either, so I think I'm going to do a little tweaking on the first try, then get it out with in the next two days. How does that sound?

posted on 21-Jul-2002 2:55:53 AM
Title: I.O.U.
Author: Christina
Category: M&M and M&L
Rating: R for language and implied sexual situations. Nothing explicit. (The dream in Ch 1 is the worst it will get.)
Email me at: fehrbaby⊕
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue!
Summary: AU. Maria is in college away from Roswell. She never met the aliens and her life has always been normal. Read the rest to find out.

Part 22

Liz jumped to her feet as Maria began to collapse. “Maria!”

“I’ve got her,” Michael yelled, catching Maria before her unconscious body hit the floor.

Liz moved to the mouth of the stairs, waiting and watching eagerly as he carried her down. “Is she okay?”

“She’ll be fine,” Michael told her. His gaze shifted to over Liz’s shoulder. “I’m going to put her in your room.”

“Of course,” she heard Isabel reply.

Tess stepped forward. “Aren’t you going to wake her up?”

Michael looked down at Maria. His eyes caressed her face sadly. “No. I think I’m going to let her sleep for a while. She deserves it.”

Liz followed Michael as he left the living room, holding the door to Isabel’s room open and pulling back the blankets for him so he could place Maria’s unconscious body on the sheets. They worked together silently, tucking the heavy red comforter around Maria’s body and propping her up against the pillows. “Can you watch her while I go talk to the others?” he asked when they were done.

Liz wanted to ask him to stay, just long enough to explain to her what happened, but she found herself nodding her head, and saying, “Of course.”

Michael kissed Maria’s sweaty forehead and left without another word. Once he was gone, Liz grabbed Maria’s hand. “What were you talking about up there?” she whispered, knowing the unconscious girl would not be responding, but asking nevertheless. “What did you do to me? How did you make me disappear like that?” She laughed grimly. “Looks like I don’t know everything about you after all.”

How long she sat there, she did not know. A gentle drowsiness slowly stole over her. Her head jerked up several times as she caught herself nodding into sleep. Thankfully, Michael finally returned and she became fully awake.

“I brought this,” he announced as he entered the room, lifting a large first aid kit for her to see. “I figured you would be the best equipped to cleanse and bandage the cut on Maria’s side, since you’re studying to be a doctor.”

“Good idea,” Liz said, jumping to her feet and taking the kit from his hands. She opened it up and went through its contents, pulling out the materials she would need. “We’re going to need more light in here,” she instructed Michael, “and some hot water and washrags.”

Michael left, reappearing a few minutes later with a large bowl of steaming water, a stack of washrags, and a lamp, all of which he placed on the bedside table. They worked together once again to gently steer Maria on to her side and roll up her shirt. Michael stretched out next to Maria, so that he could hold her firmly in place.
Dipping one of the cloths into the hot water, Liz began to gently wash away the blood from Maria’s cut. “Who told you I was studying to be a doctor?”

Michael was studying her work so intently, that at first he didn’t seem to hear her at first. “Huh? Oh, Max mentioned it on the way to Blakes tonight.”

Liz almost dropped the rag. “Oh.” She cleared her throat. “Has he…you know, ever mention me before tonight?”


“Oh,” she said again, trying not to betray the hurt his answer elicited in her. Focusing on the task at hand, she poured a small amount of peroxide over the gash and watched it fizz. With all the blood gone, she was pleasantly surprised to see that the wound was already closing. That’s odd, she could have sworn that Maria’s cut had been a lot deeper.

“Guys don’t really talk about that stuff with each other, Liz.”

She glanced up. “I guess not. I’m probably the last person he expected to see tonight.”

One corner of Michael’s mouth curved. “Oh, you could say that.”

“I sure never expected to see him.” Liz met his eyes for a prolonged moment. “It’s a little strange, wouldn’t you say?”

Michael’s eyes narrowed. “What is?”

“Oh, you know, that Max is Isabel’s brother, and Isabel just happens to have become one of Maria’s closest friend two month’s after Max was in Roswell. Mighty big coincidence, dontcha think?”

He shoulders casually lifted and dropped, though his eyes possessed an alertness that she found mildly disconcerting.

“Then again, there seems to be a lot of coincidences going around lately,” she continued. “Like you turning out to be Maria’s blind date, after she saw you at the costume shop earlier this week. One would almost think you were following her.”

“You’re not very good at this.”

“At what?”

He smiled, but it was without humor. “Playing detective.”

Too exhausted to be embarrassed, Liz shrugged. “Would you tell me the truth if I came straight out and asked you?”

He seemed to consider this for a moment. “I suppose that depends on the question.”

“Fair enough.” Liz quickly finished up with Maria’s wound, spraying it with antiseptic spray and closing it with butterfly stitches. She rolled the unconscious girl’s shirt back down her torso, and then motioned for Michael to help tuck Maria back under the blankets. After they were done, she sat in a chair next to the bed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Did Max’s reason for being in Roswell have anything to do with Maria?”

He sat on the side of the bed so that he was facing her, perching his elbows on his knees. “Yes.”

She has already suspected as much, hadn’t she? Why, then, did she now feel such an acute sense of sorrow? Because my heart didn’t want to believe what my mind had been suggesting. She swallowed the despair in her throat, and forced herself to meet his gaze again. That which she’d intended to be a question, curtailed at the last moment to become a statement. “So, he used me to get information about her.”

Uncertainty crept into his expression. “Perhaps that’s something you should discuss with Max.”

“Right, I’ll put that on my to-do list.” Her gaze strayed briefly to Maria. Seeing her lying there made Liz want to cry. It all seemed so unfair. Maria didn’t deserve any of this – whatever this was. After a long pause, during which she fought for self-control, she demanded, “Why did that man want to kill Maria?”

“Because of who she is.”

“And who is she?”

“She has many different roles for many different people, though she’s only just begun to tap into them. To the people who revere her, she is their last hope to regain what once was. To the people who want her dead, she is a threat to everything they have worked so hard to destroy. To Isabel, Tess, and Max, she’s a responsibility.”

“And to you?”

“She’s everything.”

Liz rubbed her weary eyes. “I think I am now more confused than I was five minutes ago.”

“I know, and I apologize. It’s a complex situation.” Which she instantly recognized by the tone of his voice that he would not be explaining to her anytime soon.

Sighing, she said, “Can I ask you just one more thing?”

He nodded his consent.

“Why did she say she was an alien?” She saw him stiffen briefly, and a bone-deep chill ran through her. She suddenly wished she could take back the words, though she wasn’t sure why, considering how much she wanted to know the answer.

He stared at her for a long second, thoughtfully rubbing at his chin. “Would you believe me if I said it was the truth?”

She snorted, ignoring the coldness inside of her. “Of course not.”

He leaned forward, his voice low. “So if I told you I was an alien, you would say…?”

She squirmed uncomfortably, because nothing about his manner suggested that he was teasing. She forced a smile to conceal her feelings of uneasiness. “Well…I would first tell you that I don’t believe in aliens, and then I would suggest you seek psychiatric help. Fast.”

He sat back and shrugged. “Then I guess you’ll have to ask Maria when she wakes up.”


Marianna was lying in bed. Alone.

Her mysterious lover was gone, having taken her virtue with him. Smiling, Marianna rubbed her nose into her pillow, still able to detect his powerfully masculine scent, still able to feel the pressure of his masterful hands on her body.

The smile was still on her face when the heavy wooden doors of her room flew open and her nurse, Helena, entered, carrying a flurry of flowing material. “Time to rise, my lady, your father would have a word with you about the wedding.”

The wedding! The smile died on Marianna’s lips. Panic like she’d never known cinched around her heart, and her lungs felt like they would explode. How could she have forgotten? Sweet Lord in Heaven, what was she going to do?

Everything was so different than it had been two days ago. She was different than she had been two days ago. Back then, the plan had been to find a man – any man – to play the pawn in her ploy to escape her unwanted wedding vows. Unfortunately for her plan, and fortunately for her heart, the man she’s chosen had changed everything in an instant.

She could never reveal the sinful affair with her lover to her father now. That had been her original plan; to use him and then toss him to the wolves after he'd served his purpose. She cursed her lover silently – why did he have to be so wonderful?

Why did she have to fall in love with him?

Helena frowned sternly. "Are you ill?"

She smiled weakly. “Nay, I am well.”

“Then let us get you dressed. Best not to keep your father waiting.”

Nodding her head docilely, she rose from the bed and allowed her nurse to attire her, then sat at her dressing table so that Helena could dress her hair. And all the while, she fretted over her upcoming nuptials.

It had never been her desire to marry Valcor Lucien in the first place, but the mere notion of exchanging vows with him now made fear spread its icy fingers around her stomach.

She would have to reevaluate her plan immediately, in such a way that she could escape her vows without revealing her wicked behavior to her father. She had already attempted begging for a reprieve, and to no avail. Francois Du Lucx was a cold, greedy man, who regarded his daughters as little more than servants, easily sold if the price was impressive enough. Shaming him would have little affect now – the marriage contract had already been signed – she was no longer her father’s legal obligation.

Was there anything she could do? she wondered distraughtly.

Her only option was to flee; renounce family and heritage in exchange for her freedom. Which would not be such a dismal prospect if her lover would accompany her. Standing resolutely, she began the walk to her father’s chamber, mentally constructing a new plan to ensure her freedom…


Maria woke slowly, covered from head to toe in a cold sweat. Reality swept back by degrees. Where was she, anyway, and why in the world did her body feel like it had been hit by a freight train? Swallowing hard against the cotton ball lodged in her throat, she lay still for a very long time, feeling as vulnerable as an infant. What the hell had happened to her?

Reality was nearly unattainable. She vaguely remembered that there had been someone after her, but whatever happened after that was a huge gaping hole in her memory. She struggled to recall what had brought her to wherever she was.

Another memory flared - Lizzie! She'd made Liz disappear by using…powers?

No, that couldn't be right.

But the thought brought her eyes open, and with it came a wave of agony. Her vision blurred, her eyes rolled inexorably. Suppressing a groan, she clenched her eyes shut again as unconsciousness tried once more to stake its claim.

Maria ground her teeth, battling the pain and dizziness. It was all she could do to remain awake. The pain and flashes of memory continued. She remembered hiding in the closet upstairs, and then rising to her feet in a daring bid for survival and making a very big man disappear, though she couldn’t remember how, and that seemed to be key.

Maria ordered herself to open her eyes again and swore silently when her lids failed to cooperate. It didn't make sense. The scraps of surfacing memory did little to give reason as to why she felt so horrible.

Arranging the baffling fragments of memory into some likeness of order, Maria focused on pulling herself together. Bit by bit she became increasingly aware of her surroundings.

She was on a bed. Gingerly peering through creviced eyes, she discovered she was in Isabel's room; she recognized the thick red drapery by the windows and the red satin comforter covering her from foot to chin from the other day, when she had been forced to don Isabel's clothes because it seemed that the fire had consumed all of hers. But how the hell had she gotten there? she wondered, recollecting her fainting spell in the upstairs hallway with increasing clarity.

Maria's head turned as gentle snoring filtered through her ears. The bedroom lights were off, yet Michael's dark brown hair shined blond beneath a narrow sliver of light coming through the drapes. He slept in a chair by the bed, his cheek resting on his hand.

Jesus, he was devastatingly handsome, even in sleep. She forced herself to look away, feeling a tumult of conflicting emotions. Because he wasn't someone she could trust. There was no one she could trust. She moaned faintly as her stomach churned.

Michael stirred, and was instantly awake. "Hey there," he said gently. "You're awake." His dark eyes turned troubled. "But you look kind of awful."

She blinked hazily, licking her lips. "Gee, thanks," she said dryly, finding it difficult to talk. "Now that you mention it, I feel kind of awful."

Reaching out a hand he felt her forehead. She let him, only because she couldn't summon the energy to pull away. "You're burning up!"

"That's funny; I'm freezing."

Worry shadowed his brow. "I'd say it was the flu, but Avarian's don't get sick. And Liz cleansed your wound..."

Maria's eyes narrowed sharply. "Don't say that word."

Michael frowned. "What word?"

"Avarian," she hissed venomously. "I don't want to hear it ever again."

He sighed. "Maria, be rational; we're going to have to talk about it eventually."

"Not if I have anything to do with it," she shot back, and then groaned as a violent spasm rocked her stomach muscles. She tried to take deep, calming breaths. Even that hurt. Tears of despair rose in her eyes. "Please, just go away."


A sob escaped her as her nausea turned to steel wool scouring her insides. Red swells pulsed before her eyes as a hiccup slashed through her entire body.

"Something's not right," she heard Michael say, noting the suspicion in his voice.

The pain was so bad that she couldn't even muster a sarcastic retort. She took shallow breaths, praying for a reprieve long enough to make it to the restroom. The comforter was like a sheet of steel as she pushed it away. She swung her legs around and forced herself into a sitting position, closing her eyes, as she felt like she was going to faint again.

"What do you think you're doing?" Michael demanded, coming around to the edge of the bed where she was sitting. "You're really too weak to be out of bed. Just tell me what you need and I'll get it for you, as long as you lie back down." He kneeled before her, gently trying to nudge her back into the bed.

"Bathroom," she moaned, feebly trying to push him away.

A second later strong arms hoisted her into the air. Leaning her head against his shoulder, she let the tears stream down her face. Her breath whistled against his chest. Her heart was pounding in her ears. She was so tired, more tired than she'd ever remembered being before.

She realized she must have passed out, for when she came to, there was an arm wrapped around her middle and she was puking her guts out in the toilet. She felt Michael's free hand pulling the damp hair off her neck, and could hear him whispering nonsensical encouragements meant to soothe and comfort her.

Having emptied the contents of her stomach, Maria's head rose. Her blurry eyes stared forward, unseeing, as she gasped for breath. Michael lowered himself into a sitting position, and then eased her back to his chest, settling her within the cradle of his thighs. "Feeling a little better?"

She swiped the back of her hand over her mouth. "Well, I have the chills and my stomach feels like it's been scraped by rusty needles. Other than that, I feel just peachy."

"At least you haven’t lost your wits," he said with a hint of laughter in his voice.

Maria muttered, rather incoherently, for him to go do something physically impossible to himself. She was more than willing to take it all back when she felt him lift her hair off her neck and blow cool air against her skin. A long sigh of bliss exited her parted lips.

Her body stiffened when she felt the muscles in his upper torso flexing under her back, like he was reaching for something. A moment later, he was supporting her head in one arm and dabbing at her mouth with a washcloth.

Maria was starting to lose consciousness again when she heard Michael utter an oath under his breath. He began to slap her face. "Maria? Maria, you gotta wake up."

Her eyes opened to slits. "Leave me alone."

"Did you eat or drink anything out of the ordinary last night?"

She peered at him, trying to understand what he was saying. Her vision was double, her stomach was a roiling agony, and her tongue felt like sandpaper. "Wha...?" she croaked.

"Did you eat anything besides the pizza at Blakes? Or...I don't know, maybe something at the party?"

"Umm..." She had to fight to remember the question; almost immediately it seemed to have seeped out of her ear. "Beer?"

He nodded his head. "Beer, good. Now tell me, where did you get them from?"

"Please, Michael, I just want to slee..."

"I know, and you can go to sleep as soon as you answer me. Where did you get your beers? It's important."

"The keg?"

"All of them?"

She was finding it harder and harder to pay attention to what he was saying. "Huh? All of what?"

"The beers, Maria, the beers! Did you pour them all yourself?"

Why was he asking her all these questions? Couldn’t he see she wasn’t feeling good? She forced herself to focus on the question. "Yes. No."

"Which one is it?"

"No," she croaked. Fresh tears began to stream down her face, from both frustration and exasperation. "A guy in one of my classes wazza pulla buh..."

Michael swore, and then was pitching her towards the toilet as she retched again. "It's okay," he said soothingly, smoothing the hair back from her brow. "You're going to be okay. I hope."


Liz was restless. She'd tried to go to sleep after leaving Michael to watch Maria, but she couldn’t manage to sit still for a minute, much less lie down.

She had wandered the house aimlessly for a while. She had tried to read a book, but put it down after only a minute. She had paced the living room for almost an hour, only stopping when Tess gently pointed out that she was going to wear a hole in the carpet. She had moved to the mantle and looked at the photos, shocked to find Max’s face grinning back at her. That had got her wondering if the photo had been there all along, and if so, why hadn't she noticed it?

She finally stepped outside, thinking that maybe a breath of that fresh mountain air Maria was always raving about would help her calm down. The sky was gray and cloudy, obscuring her view of the sun. She hugged herself while taking a turn around the yard. Dry bits of twig and weed stabbed the soles of her flimsy slippers, but with the disquiet in her head overpowering the discomfort of her feet, she didn’t much notice.

The more she contemplated her earlier conversation with Michael, the uneasier she grew. His remote politeness and impervious conduct had been rather creepy, now that she had time to reflect on it.

That whole alien thing – she shuddered – had really shaken her. Not so much because he’d implied that Maria had spoken the truth, or that he and the others were also aliens, but because she was actually considering the possibility.

No! It can’t be true, she thought desperately. They, especially Maria, who she’d known from infancy – cannot be aliens. It just isn’t possible.

Yet, she couldn’t figure out any other way to explain her sudden appearance in Isabel’s closet – relying, of course, on the school of thought that alien life forms who had mastered extended space travel would have to possess abilities that surpass those of humans. The thought had crossed her mind that maybe there had been a hole in the floorboards of the upstairs closet, but she knew that wasn't true - she'd checked. Plus, the guest room was on the opposite side of the house from Isabel's room. Plus, she knew she hadn’t fallen – she’d magically appeared.

If only she could convince herself it had been a mere illusion.

Shivering as the bitter morning air sliced through her, she found herself walking around the side of the house. Her steps came to an abrupt halt when her eyes fell on Max. He was standing in the backyard, on the ground in front of the wooden balcony, apparently keeping watch.

Liz immediately turned and tried to scurry away before he noticed her. She wasn’t ready to confront him now.

It was naturally her luck that a twig broke under her foot. Of course.


Damn! She cast a quick glance over her shoulder, still moving. "Yeah, it's me. But I was on my way inside."

"Wait a minute.” He took a few steps in her direction. “Not so fast."

Ignoring the commands of her brain, her legs stilled.

Double damn! She straightened her shoulders and, with a deliberately casual movement, turned to face him. "Look, Max, or whoever, I'm not really in the mood for talking right now."

"You don't have to talk. I only ask that you listen."

She sighed through her nose in frustration. She was kind of curious, but now didn't seem the right time. Her insides were urging her to flee, but she found herself walking toward him anyway. She dragged her feet the entire way, willing her heart to slow down. "Fine," she replied resolutely, refusing to meet his eyes. She remembered only too well how intense and probing his eyes were. Her blood soared with unbidden memories. No, she couldn't allow herself to think about that. "You've got five minutes."


Author’s note: I’m sorry this took a lot longer to get out than I planned, but I wrote this part twice and am still not happy with it. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it because I can’t seem to get it just the way I want it. Thanks for the feedback, and I’m glad to see people are still enjoying this story. I was thinking about giving up writing fiction for a while, since I’ve got the most awful case of writer’s block, but I’m trying to stick with it long enough to get this and some of my other stories finished. Anyway, thanks and enjoy!

OT: I’m going to be an aunt! My baby sister just called me from Texas to tell me that she’s pregnant! (I’m housesitting for her right now, she’s on vacation!) Anyway, I’m excited and had to tell someone! *happy*

posted on 21-Jul-2002 6:52:08 PM
Checking to see something.
posted on 22-Jul-2002 5:51:40 PM
Shees! Bumping already, Veronica?

posted on 12-Oct-2002 11:04:32 PM
Title: I.O.U.
Author: Christina
Category: M&M and M&L
Rating: R for language and implied sexual situations. Nothing explicit. (The dream in Ch 1 is the worst it will get.)
Email me at: fehrbaby⊕
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue!
Summary: AU. Maria is in college away from Roswell. She never met the aliens and her life has always been normal. Read the rest to find out.

This part has been done for a while, but I haven't had a computer to post on in nearly a month. On the 20th of last month I moved into my very own apartment and was just able now to get online - on a regular dial-up modem (yuck!) I've been able to check my e-mail from work, but since I'm a teacher, the school computers wouldn't load my pages because it detected sexual language. I haven't even been able to access my own website - doesn't that suck? Sorry for the wait!

Part 23

"First off, I want to apologize for concealing my identity from you."

Hmm…at least he didn't beat around the bush.

"It's okay," Liz replied stiffly. "I'm sure you had your reasons."

"I did - have my reasons, that is - but it still doesn't make it right. What I did was very wrong and I'm very sorry for any pain I might have caused you."

Make this easy on yourself, Parker: screw the five minutes, accept his apology and walk away. Supportive of the voice inside her head, Liz was surprised to hear herself asking, "What are they?"


"Your reasons," she prompted. "What are they?"

His brows flickered a little. "Well..."

He seemed to be floundering, so she decided to help him along. "Did it have anything to do with Tess?"

"Partly," he admitted, adding in a rush of words, "though not in the way you're thinking. Tess is a very good friend of mine and I know how she feels about me.
There's nothing romantic between us, but I do care for her and didn't want to see her get hurt."

Liz nodded softly to herself, having gathered as much from their earlier interaction. Still, she was frustrated by the inordinate amount of relief his answer elicited in her. She shook herself mentally and asked her next question. "Did it have anything to do with Maria?"

She needed to know if he would answer truthfully.

A faint light twinkled in the depths of his dark eyes. "If this is you not talking, then you kind of suck at it."

"You didn't answer my question."

His face clouded with uneasiness. He shuffled from one foot to the other. "I'm not really in a position to answer your question."

She sighed, shaking her head. "Max...Michael already told me you went to Roswell to search for Maria." She hated the note of pleading she heard in her voice, as if she were begging him to deny Michael's claim.

Max's eyes widened briefly, a slow smile spread across his face. "Are you saying he told you everything? About who we are and why we're here?"

"No." The glimmer of excitement that had begun to light his eyes flickered out. "He wouldn't say why, but he did tell me that you were there looking for Maria." Her voice lowered. "Will you tell me why?"

A range of emotions played over his face: uneasiness, doubt, and finally, remote resolution. "I'm sorry," he said formally, "I'm not in..."

"A position to answer me," she repeated blandly. "Yeah, yeah." She sighed - this wasn't going the way she had planned. He seemed so reserved now, so guarded. And that really hurt. She wistfully thought back to their one and only day together, remembering how overwhelmed she'd been by the lack of barriers there had been between them. Looking into his eyes that day had been like looking straight into his soul. It hadn't occurred to her that she was only seeing the part he wanted her to see. The part that would entice her to divulge information about Maria, a voice she'd been trying to ignore added in her head.

She didn't want to listen to that voice, tried to ignore the suggestion. Seeing this
other remote side of him it impossible to wholly dismiss.


The shiver that racked her insides had nothing to do with the cold this time. She forced herself to meet his gaze again. His eyes were wide with concern. Why, she couldn't imagine. He looked so darn sincere, too, and that, on top of everything else was unbearable.

Gathering herself together, refusing to let him know shaken she was, she tossed her head back and lifted her chin. "Tell me this, then," she said, keeping her tone purposefully neutral. "Am I to assume that the…night we spent together was your way of thanking me for giving you the answers you sought about my best friend?"

"No!" he cried, looking like she'd physically struck him in the face. "Liz, it wasn't like that at all."

"Or was I just a perk of your 'mission'?" she continued, ignoring his blatant denial. "God, how pleased you must have been with yourself; not only did you charm me into handing over the information you sought, but you were able to seduce the pitiful, trusting virgin into bed."

His eyes blazed amber fire. "Dammit, Liz! That's not how it was!"

"Then how was it?" she shot back in a shrill voice, feeling something snap inside and unleashing all the hurt and anger she'd tried suppressing under a carefully harnessed mask of indifference.

He looked away, squinting into the distance. When his eyes returned to her face a moment later, they almost seemed to be pleading for her patience and understanding. "I cannot deny that Maria is what brought me to Roswell."

She shot him a withering glance. "Especially since Michael already confirmed that."

His mercurial black eyes sharpened, forbidding further interruption. She haughtily crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to continue.

"My job was very simple: go to Roswell, find any information I could about Maria, and return home. I'd been in town for almost three hours without a single helpful clue, when I received a hot tip that Maria's best friend was in town for the weekend, and working over at a local cafe. At that point I began formulating a plan to get this friend alone and subtly pick her brain about Maria."

"I knew it," Liz muttered in disgust, feeling her last clinging hope that everything that happened between them that day had been pure die.

He sighed impatiently. "Will you let me finish?"

Rolling her eyes, she shrugged.

"I thought I had it all worked out. I walked into your family's restaurant, took a seat in a booth and kept my eye out for the girl named Liz. I'd been waiting nearly a half hour when you walked out and blew my plans all to hell."

The heavy lashes that shadowed Liz's cheeks flew up. "I beg your pardon?"

"One look at you and I forgot why I was there." His gaze softened, caressing her features. Despite herself, she felt an unwelcome surge of warmth. "I was instantly attracted to you, to your beautiful smile and the way you lit up the room by just being there. I spent all day ordering coffee, which, by the way, I detest with a fiery passion, just so I had an excuse to stay. You were so friendly and so attentive to everyone and by the end of your shift, I literally ached to know you.

"That is why I asked you to leave with me, Liz. That had nothing to do with Maria, or my mission. I knew what the consequences of my actions would be if anyone found out, but I didn't care."

"Consequences of what actions?" Liz asked, finding it harder to focus on what he was saying. His nearness was disturbing her balance.

"Where I come from, dereliction of duty is a capital offence."

"You talk like a soldier."

He gave her an ironic, black-layered look.

"You're a soldier?"

Max's mouth pinched. "In a manner of speaking, yes. When you and I went off together, I couldn't care less about what you could tell me about Maria. All I cared about was knowing you." He placed a palm against her cheek. Liz wanted to pull away, but she froze as her senses leapt to life. The anger was slowly seeped out of her system, despite her desperate attempt to maintain it. "You were so beautiful," he whispered, "so sweet, and you gave of yourself in every way."

"I'll say," she retorted, but voice lacked steely edge she'd intended.

"No interrupting." Once he was satisfied that she was silenced, he continued. "The night we spent together had nothing to do with gratitude, it had to do with love. I fell in love with you, Liz. I felt..." He hesitated and his gaze drifted far away, as if he were trying to recapture the emotions he'd felt that day. His eyes focused once more. "I found the other piece of myself that I never believed existed. I was positive you felt it, too." His eyes clung to hers, analyzing her reaction, searching for a sign that she'd felt the same.

Oh, I did feel it, Liz thought, though she didn't dare speak the words. She commanded herself to show nothing. She wanted to reassure him, so desperately that her heart ached, but after what had happened with Maria and the danger he and his friends had put her through, she just couldn't. Even now, after his cover had been blown, there was so much he refused to tell her. Until he did, she couldn't trust him, and what was love without trust?

"Liz," he whispered pleadingly, taking her hand in his free one and holding it against his chest. She could feel his erratic pulse under her finger tips. Or was that her own? "Please, tell me you felt it. Don't try to convince me that it was all one-sided."

She dropped her gaze to the ground, feeling the words burning in her throat.

His hands dropped lifelessly to his side, though she could still feel his warmth burning a hole in her cheek, her hand.

"I see." When she looked up, his eyes were so sad it nearly broke Liz's hear to look into them.

She took a step forward, wanting him to understand. "I want to believe you, Max, but see it from my point of view. Regardless of what you may have felt about me, you still did exactly what you set out to do. You subtly pumped me for information about Maria and used it to track her down."

"But I didn't," he protested. "I couldn't."

Liz frowned skeptically. "What do you mean?"

"Almost as soon as I met you I knew I could never betray anything you said to me in confidence. You may have told me everything I set out to discover, but when I left, I didn't know how I could share any of it without compromising the beauty of my memories. Knowing that I'd never see you again made me want to cling to those memories forever. I couldn't share your knowledge, or you, with anyone else in any way."

"It's a nice thought, really. Yet, you're here," she said, mildly accusing.

"I swear on my father's grave, I didn't lead the way."

"How did you find her, then?" Liz challenged, neither accepting or denying his claim.

"I didn't. The night I returned to the others, Maria unknowingly called out to Michael."

Over the roaring din of her conflicting thoughts understanding came to her. "The dreams," she said on a long breath. Startled at her own voice, she glanced up. "Michael is the man in Maria's dreams." It wasn't a question.

He nodded once, slowly, with a significant lifting of his brows.

Liz shook her head. "How is that possible, Max? She said those dreams took place hundreds of years in the past."

"It took us a lot longer to find her this time that we planned."

"This time? Are you trying to tell me that Maria's dealing with past lives here?"

His nod was almost imperceptible. "Several. And we've been there through every one. And have failed to save her."

None of it made sense, but Liz was taking everything he said seriously. "You're not the only ones looking for her, are you? The assassin-"

"Was sent by the other," Max finished for her.

"The voice on the phone. The voice in her dream," Liz whispered, remembering that's what Maria had been babbling hysterically about while they watched her cabin burn. "Who is he? What does he want with Maria?"

"It's not important. All you need to know is that he's dangerous and will stop at nothing until she's dead. We're going to do our best to stop that from happening."

"Christ! I'm sick of all these evasive answers. Whether you realize it or not, you brought me into the middle of this the moment you carried me off on your motorcycle! And whether you care or not, I'm carrying your child, Max! You need to start leveling with me."


"What?" Liz cried in exasperation. It took her a moment to realize the voice didn't belong to Max. Her eyes rose over Max's shoulder to see Michael standing above them on the balcony. The desperation in his eyes alerted her immediately. The most awful sense of foreboding sank her stomach.


posted on 13-Oct-2002 3:39:23 PM
Thanks for reading, ladies. I know it's hard to stay with a story when the friggen writer (yeah, that would be me*tongue* ) never updates, but I swear I will finish it eventually.

posted on 15-Oct-2002 2:48:38 PM
Bumping this for Sara so she can find it.

posted on 17-Oct-2002 9:38:28 AM
Wow, Veronica, thanks a lot for the nomination! That's really cool!