"A Known Stranger"
Part 1

Summary: Maria is an X5 from the 2009 escape. She has been hiding out in Roswell since then and has had no contact with any of the other rogues.
Category: Crossover Stories
Rating: PG-13



Maria looked round the Crashdown as she cleaned up, thinking of her lost brothers, sisters, friends and Zak. Yeah, Zak was probably the one she missed the most. Since the escape in 2009, Maria, or Saskia as she was then known, had been hiding out in Roswell, New Mexico where she had been adopted by Amy and Jim Valenti. It was a safe haven where Zak had placed her because he knew that it wasn’t a tactical move therefore no one in Manticore would suspect it. Under strict orders to wait until he came back for her, Maria did everything she could to make Zak proud of her. She acted completely normal, told no-one her true identity and even let her new family name her, they had chosen Maria and she wanted no one else to know she was once Saskia X5-301, that was a past life. For weeks, months, years, Maria had waited as day after day her hope to be rescued dimmed.
“Maria!!! Are you ok?”

Maria smiled, that was Liz, her best friend. She always looked out for her. “Yep, fine, why?”

“Duh, we’re leaving in half an hour and you are still cleaning the floor!”

“Leaving?”

Liz rolled her big brown eyes. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Maria – our ‘date’? Me, you, Alex and the Czechoslovakians?”

Maria’s face brightened. “Oh yeah, cool! I’ll just get my coat.”

As she ran to the back room Liz shouted, “By the way, you know Tess’ cousin – the one who recently transferred here? He’s coming too.”

Maria groaned. “Michael Guerin?”

“That’s him”

Oh no! How could she tell Tess that that guy gave her the creeps? In every lesson they had together she could feel his eyes boring into the back of her skull, and since he had been coming to the Crashdown with the ‘Czechoslovakians’ whenever she looked at him he was always staring at her. And he made no attempt to hide it.

“We’re gonna be late Maria!”

“Coming!”

********

Liz looked worriedly at Maria but made no attempt to leave her secure position in Max Evans arms. “Are you sure you’ll be okay to walk home at this time?”

Maria smiled, if only Liz knew. Sometimes she thought about telling her, about Manticore, about Zak. When they’d found out about the aliens, Kyle, Tess, Max and Isobel, she thought it would make it easier but it didn’t. In fact it made it harder as she didn’t want to worry Liz about two dangerous things.

“Earth to Maria, come in Maria.” Alex waved his free hand in front of her face. His other hand was somewhere not visible but with Isobel smiling like that Maria didn’t have to take many guesses.

“I’ll walk her home.” The other 3 couples smiled as Michael volunteered his services and Liz started to thank him but Maria cut in, “No thank you! I am not some little girl who needs protecting, I can walk 4 blocks on my own!”

“Well there’s no need to if I’m going that way is there?”

“I said I’m fine!”

“What’s you’re problem?”

She turned and glared at Michael who was glaring at her in much the same way. She couldn’t understand it but something about him just made her blood boil. She didn’t know if it was his sharp, brown eyes, his chiselled features or his scruffy hair but she knew that something about him made her want to slap him…or kiss him passionately!

Whoa! Where had that come from? Kissing Michael? Maria lost concentration and gave up her fight. “Fine! Whatever!” She stormed off and Michael smirked as he jogged to catch up with her.

They walked in silence until the reached Maria’s front door by which time she had calmed down.

“So, urm, thanks for walking me home.”

“Whatever.”

“You…” She couldn’t believe she was doing this, “Wanna come in, and watch a film? There’s some great horrors on late tonight.” She braced herself for the blow.

“K.”

Maria looked at him, shocked. He accepted? She had sort of wanted him to but hadn’t even contemplated him actually doing it.

“Well, my room’s round the back – the window’s open. Climb in and I’ll meet you in 10 minutes.”

**********

As she lay on the hood of her car out in the middle of the desert, Maria thought about how much her life had changed. Since the pulse, the economy collapsed and the big cities had gone to the dogs but Roswell, Roswell hadn’t had much to lose and it was a beacon of hope. Hope, it didn’t matter that it was hope that there was life out there, it just mattered that people had something to hope for. This was a subject Maria knew all about. She often came here, to think about ‘the others’, the others who escaped that fateful night. What happened to her brother, Krit? Had he survived? Was he okay? Where were her friends Ben, Syl, Jondy, Tinga? She heard that Max was in Seattle, still ‘at large’ but she wasn’t hard to track down – that is if you were an X5. She hoped they were okay, that they’d had it as easy as she had but she gravely doubted it. As the ‘baby’ of the bunch, her unit had always fiercely protected Maria/Saskia and her CO – Zak, and brother - Krit had taken great pains to make sure she was safe first before they went on the run themselves.

Tears began to fall down Maria’s face as she thought of all the possibilities of what could have happened to her brother and her unit. She tried to stop them, tears were a weakness, emotions were a weakness but she couldn’t stop. Looking at the stars she searched for the cluster that they’d named all those years ago, the night they escaped. Everyone picked a star of their own so whenever they looked at the sky they could see their unit, their family, their friends.

Up on a hill, a young man looked down at Maria and pitied her tears whispering quietly to her, “Don’t worry little Saskia, we are here and soon enough you will know.”

***********

It was dinnertime on a Saturday and this weekend was a massive convention so Maria and Liz were rushed off their feet. As the doorbell went again, Maria looked up at the new customer and stopped. She stared at the young woman and man who had just walked into the Crashdown and got a strange feeling of familiarity and then promptly fainted.

“Ohmigod! Maria are you okay? Maria?” Liz was leaning over her with worried eyes and as Maria looked over to the new customer she had the same look, worry.

“Maria?”

“Oh, I’m fine Liz, must be the heat or something.”

“Do you want a break? I can get Tess or Iz to cover.”

“No, thanks, I’m fine I swear.”

Liz grinned, “Pinkie promise?”

Maria extended her little finger and linked it to Liz’s. “Pinkie promise.”

“Okay then, let’s get you off the floor.” Liz yanked Maria up and handed her back her order pad and antennae headband. “Can you take the new ones?”

Maria gulped, “Sure.” She set her headband straight on her head and took a deep breath before strolling purposely towards the booth that the man and woman had chosen. As she walked over she quickly assessed them. The woman had blond hair and blue fiery eyes. She had a small frame but her toned muscles showed that she wasn’t a defenceless little woman. The man, he had big green ocean eyes, the type that if you looked to deep into you could get lost in. He hand light-ish brown hair and was tall with a visibly well looked after physique. She didn’t know why but there was this feeling in her stomach that she knew these people.

“Hello, I’m Maria, I’ll be your waitress, are you ready to order?”

“Maria?” The woman looked confused as she whispered to the man. “We wondered if you could help us find some one?”

Maria tensed, “Sure. Are you guys here for the convention? The search for aliens? Are you looking for the UFO centre?” she was blabbering but she couldn’t help it, she was nervous – were these guys from Manticore?

“Actually, it’s quite like that. We’re looking for a genetically modified young girl, engineered in a secret government lab eighteen years ago, she and her genetically enhanced siblings were created to be the perfect soldiers.”

They stared at Maria intently and not knowing what else to do, she laughed nervously.

“Oh well, sorry, don’t know of any round here. So, urm, are you ordering?”

The man shook his head. “We’ll take another look at the menu if you don’t mind.”

“Okay. I’ll be back in 5 minutes.”

Maria practically ran from the table and into the backroom where Liz’s dad was taking the inventory. “Urm, Mr. Parker?” He turned and smiled at her, “Maria, what can I do for you? I heard that you fainted a while ago, are you sure you’re okay?” ”Well actually Mr. Parker, I don’t feel that good. Would you mind if I went home?”

“Of course not, I don’t want one of my best waitresses getting sick now. You go right on ahead and come in tomorrow bright and early.”

“Thank you.” With that having been taken care of Maria peered out at the 2 newcomers once more before running out the back door. Peeking round the corner of the ally she saw the man and woman heading her way. * Keep calm DeLuca* She told herself. *Just hide out here, its not like they’ll know you’ve gone.* But as she passed the mirror in the back Maria froze with fear. Those eerie green eyes of the man did spook her out for a reason. They were hers!

*********

“Damn, how could you lose her?”

“Don’t you place this on me, how was I supposed to know she’d freak out?”

“Jondy, she’s had no contact with us for 11 years, she probably doubts we are still free from Manticore – and you wonder how she’ll react?”

“Okay fine, maybe I was a bit blunt. We’ll find her again don’t worry.”

Krit stopped by an ally and motioned for Jondy to as well.

“What?” She whispered.

He shushed her with a wave of his hand and began to walk down the dark ally.

Maria watched as the man began to make his way towards her. How did he know she was there? *Shit! Shit!* What on earth was she supposed to do. *Fight! * A voice inside her was willing Maria to fight. *No! * She was too scared; she’d been compromised – become too human. Yet she knew that she could, not a day went by when she did not make her way out to the desert and practice what she had been taught at Manticore. *Fight? Stay? Run? FIGHT! * Maria jumped down from her hiding place landing straight in front of the man. He smiled at her and she started to return it. *No! They are here to take me back! Do I want to go back? NO! *

Maria ran towards the man and gave him a swift punch in his stomach. He retaliated by grabbing her arm and twisting it but Maria back flipped to get her arm out of the hold. The punches and kicks continued and the woman got involved. It ended up with Maria being held down by the man.

“I don’t care what you do! I’ll die before I go back there – do you here me??? I’ll NEVER go back!”

The man relaxed his grip a bit and the woman laughed.

“Something funny?” Maria growled.

“Saskia…don’t you know us…don’t you know me?”

Maria looked into an ocean green pair of eyes and gasped. “Krit?” Krit nodded and tears poured down Maria’s face as she sat up and pulled him into a bear hug. “I never knew…. if you made it.”

“We made it little sis, 12 of us – and we are all still free.”

The blond woman bent down next to the newly reunited twins and smiled at Maria.

“I knew you’d make it kid.”

“Jondy?”

“The one and only.” She replied with a smile and flicked her bleached blond hair back importantly before Maria almost strangled her in a tight hug.

*******************************

As Maria brought steaming tea up to her bedroom to her new houseguests, she felt a shudder of dread as she realised they hadn’t yet told her why they’d come and anger at how long it took them. She entered the room and Krit turned to smile at her.

“You know, that look on you’re face is kinda freaking me out Krit.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just…I feel like I missed your whole life!”

“You have!” Maria replied, her tone harsh, shocking Krit.

“I’m sorry Sas, I…”

“You could have visited…rang…wrote a letter. Do you know what its been like for me these 11 years…”

“Of course I do! We’re the same, all 12 of us have had to go through the same thing but YOU had it easy here!”

“I have had to constantly lie to my friends,”

“You don’t need those friends. If they knew – do you think they’d still act the same? Of course they wouldn’t and that’s not all. You cant be selfish here Sas, if you told anyone…”

“I DIDN’T!”

“If you tell anyone – it will put ALL of us in jeopardy.”

“Do you have any idea how it feels to have to lie to my family??”

“They are not you’re family! We are...”

Maria’s eyes glowed with anger and she grabbed Krit’s neck and shoved him up against the wall. “Don’t you EVER say that again! They are my family! They were there to teach me how to play, they taught me how to be normal, to be a child, to be a girl! They were there for me when NONE of YOU ever were. God Krit, for 11 years I didn’t even know if you were alive!!!”

Jondy stood up and pulled a sobbing Maria off of Krit just as Kyle burst into the room.

“Maria? Are you okay? I heard shouting!” He glared at Krit and Jondy who had immediately jumped against the wall, as if to hide themselves, when he came in.

“I’m fine Kyle.”

Seeing her tears he pulled her towards himself. “Come here.” He sat her down on his lap on her bed and rocked Maria back and forth, soothingly stroking her hair. “It’s okay Ria, it’s okay. I’m going to look after you.”

Looking at this, Krit felt a pang of jealousy; he was Saskia’s real brother! He should be comforting her, promising to protect her and glaring at anyone he thought was threatening her, not this unfamiliar man. Jondy’s calm and gentle voice broke into his thoughts.

“Maria? Is that what they named you?”

Maria nodded against Kyle’s strong shoulder.

“It’s very pretty.”

“Who are they Maria?” Kyle whispered in her ear and before she answered she gave a long look at the two strangers in her room.

“They are my family. From before.”

“Before you came to live with us?”

Maria was silent but dipped her head.

“Maria, you told us you didn’t remember anything of you’re life before…”

“I do now. Jondy was there…and Krit…Krit’s my twin.”

Kyle gasped. “You realise we’re gonna have to tell mum and dad.”

Maria shook her head. “No Kyle. We cant.”

“What?”

“Please, just trust me – we can’t tell anyone.”