posted on 11-Jul-2002 11:25:28 PM by alli balli
Hi! *happy* I'm new to this board, so I'm not sure how well this fic will fly cos it's candy, which not many on here are. But I figured I've give it a shot anyway. It's already being posted at RRR & CID, so if I don't end up posting all of it here you can read the rest of it there. I have up to part 5 written but I'm only going to start w/ part 1 right now to see if it gains any interest.

Title: 21
Author: Alli aka Lavender
Rating: Well, I'm thinking it's gonna turn out to be R. Not sure.
Spoilers: Graduation
Summary: don't really want to give it away... But, it takes place 4 years after Graduation. And it's M/M, of course.
AN: It's going to be 21 parts. And since I basically already have an end in sight for it, I can almost guarantee it WILL be finished! [An amazing thing for moi.]

21

"Are you okay?"

Michael turned to look at the young woman beside him. "I'm fine."

"Okay." She smiled, her eyes trained on his foot. "It's just, um, you've been jiggling your foot for the past fifteen minutes." Michael looked at her humorlessly. His foot fell still.

She gave him one last faltering smile and turned her attention back to the passing scenery.

*****

He'd called Amy DeLuca the night before.

"Hello?"

"Hi...is this Amy DeLuca?"

"Speaking. May I help you?"

"Yeah...this is Michael Guerin."

There was a long silence.

"Michael Guerin."

"Yeah."

"Oh."

"Uh, I was wondering if maybe you could give me information on your daughter?" Yeah, Michael, make yourself sound like a fucking FBI agent. Brilliant.

"Maria?"

"Uh, yes."

"Why do you want to find Maria, Michael?" Amy sounded tired.

"I, um..." Why did he want to find Maria? Because things weren't turning out the way they were supposed to, because he missed her, because he loved her...

"Give me one good reason why I should tell you where my daughter is, Michael."

"Something's...happened...with Liz."

More silence. Finally, "What do you mean, something's happened to Liz?"

Michael sighed. "Look, Ms. DeLuca, I can't -- I can't tell you. Please. I need to know where Maria is, okay?"

"I swear to God, if you're lying to me, Michael Guerin..." Amy trailed off, and he could hear some rustling in the background. "592 Harmetz Street, Cornerstone, Massachusetts. It's a suburb of Boston. And if there's any other reason for this sudden interest in my daughter than to tell her something about Liz, so help me, I -- I will hunt you down, Michael."

"I have no doubt of that, Ms. DeLuca," Michael said, a small smirk twitching at his lips. "Thank you," he added sincerely.

"You're welcome," she said in a softer tone. "Please...tell Liz that I hope...I hope everything turns out okay."

"I will. Good-bye." Michael hung up the phone with a soft click.

*****

"Where are you headed?" Michael turned to stare at the elderly man who had settled in the seat beside him.

"Cornerstone."

The old man frowned. "Really, I've never heard of it. Where's that?"

"Massachusetts. Boston." Michael looked away, uncomfortable with the stranger. You never knew which ones were the enemy.

He let out a low whistle. "You'll be on this bus for a long time to come," he said knowledgeably.

Michael smiled at him briefly. "Yeah, I know."

"Any particular reason?" Michael sighed internally. What was it about old people that made them just talk and talk and talk? "A young lady?" he said, winking conspiratorially.

"No," Michael said placidly, staring out the window. "No reason."

*****

They had all frozen when he told them he was leaving.

Not forever, of course; he just needed time to himself. Time away from the group. They had been together for four years now -- and he'd always been a private kinda guy.

"No," Max had said immediately.

"Why?" questioned Liz.

"Can I?" said Isabel excitedly.

And Kyle remained silent.

Michael had dealt with Max first. "What do you mean, no?"

"I mean no," Max said sternly, his hand gently rubbing circles on Liz's back. "We stick together. That was the plan. We don't deviate from the plan."

Michael swallowed, fighting to control himself. "I'll be gone for a month, Max. That's how long you're staying here -- I'll just go off on my own for a little while, and I'll be back before we move on."

"It's not safe, Michael," Max sighed, shaking his head. "What if they're waiting for you?"

"They won't be," Michael said confidently. "And if they are, I'll deal with it."

"I want to go, too," Isabel interrupted desperately. "If Michael can go, then so can I."

"No, Isabel," Michael said firmly. "Not yet. This is my own thing. I have to do this myself."

She turned to Max. "But -"

"We can't risk two of you going off at the same time!" Max exclaimed, growing frustrated. "No. If this works out...then maybe. But Isabel," he said, his tone growing softer, "you can't go after Jesse."

Michael looked away from his friends, a tiny muscle in his jaw working furiously. If they knew why he was going, they'd never let him set off on his own. In fact, he probably couldn't tell them where he was going, either.

"Why do you want to leave, Michael?" Liz asked quietly. She looked hurt, and he felt himself grow exasperated. Could she really not understand?

"I just...I need time to myself," he explained. "You guys know that I've always been a loner. And living with four other people twenty-four/seven for so long...it's just not working for me. I can't take this anymore."

Max closed his eyes and let out a heavy breath. "Let's vote, okay? I say no."

Michael watched his friend, a steely look in his eye. "You know what I think," Michael muttered.

Liz shook her head. "I agree with Max. I don't think it's safe."

Isabel raised her head, unshed tears shining brightly in her soft brown eyes. "I think he should go. I would want the same for myself."

Four pairs of eyes swivelled to Kyle, who sat alone in the corner of the room. He shrugged. "Let him go." His vote accounted for, he stood, shoving his hands into his pockets, and left the room.

Michael turned back to the other three, resisting the triumphant smile that threatened to burst onto his face. "I guess it's settled, then," he said. "I'll leave tomorrow morning, and be back here by August 3rd."

"Not so fast," Max said, stopping him by the door. "July 24th."

Michael frowned. "That's only three weeks from now."

Max nodded slowly, his nostrils slightly flared. "That's all you're getting. We're leaving this town in three weeks, not four. So be back by the 24th."

Michael stared at his oldest friend for a long moment. "Fine."

*****

Anticipation fluttered in Michael's stomach as the bus slowly came to a stop. "Cornerstone," the driver drawled over the loudspeaker. Michael grabbed his backpack and hopped off of the bus, squinting his eyes in the hot sun.

This was the stop at Reed and Market. God only knew where Harmetz Street was. Michael checked his watch. It was late -- 8:42 already. He'd have to find a hotel. With a resigned sigh, he set off down the sidewalk towards what appeared to be a gas station.

*****

Kyle had appeared in his doorway later that night.

"You're going to see her." It was a statement, not a question.

Michael's throat worked furiously, and he studied Kyle for a long moment. "Yeah."

Noting Michael's suspicious tone of voice, Kyle held up his hands. "I'm not gonna tell them," he said mildly. "I just...figured..."

"Yeah," Michael repeated, not wanting the conversation to go any further.

"Okay." Kyle suddenly looked nervous as he dug into his back pocket, finally pulling out a wrinkled envelope. He flicked a piece of lint off of the corner. "Could you give this to her?"

Michael accepted the letter willingly. "Sure," he said, suddenly feeling sympathy for his fellow refugee. Kyle had wanted this life no more than the rest of them, and yet here he was, hiding in small towns and big cities, on the move every several weeks. And now he, Michael, had the opportunity to get away.

"You can...y'know, read it if you really want..." Michael shook his head. "Okay. Just make sure she gets it?"

"I will."

"Thanks." Kyle headed for the door, pausing at the last moment. "I'm glad for you, you know," he said quietly. "That you get to get away from it all."

"Thanks." Before he could say anything further, Kyle was gone.

*****

Michael lay sprawled across his motel room bed, the cheap comforter cool beneath his head. A small, wrinkled sheet of paper was clutched between his fingers. 592 Harmetz Street. And only twenty-one days.

tbc...

interesting? fb, pretty please! *happy*


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 17-Jul-2002 10:43:13 PM ]
posted on 12-Jul-2002 11:45:25 PM by alli balli
thanks maryjean & mickeyros! *happy*

next part. hum de dum.

20

Beep. Beep. Beep -


Michael groaned, shifting slightly beneath the covers. He cracked his eyes open, letting them adjust to the few rays of light that shone in through the curtains. He had to get up early -- had to find her as soon as possible.

He yawned and rolled over, hitting the snooze button.

*****

Michael rubbed a circle in the foggy mirror, peering at his reflection. To put it rather simply, he looked like hell. His eyes were half-shut, his hair flat and wet across his forehead. He reached for a thin, white motel towel and began to rub the top of his head vigorously.

His hair had been cut only a few weeks ago. Back to the spikes he'd had when they were sixteen. He wondered briefly if she'd notice.

*****

He had lain in bed, awake, for what felt like hours. It had grown more difficult in recent weeks to attain that elusive state known as sleep. And his thoughts hadn't even been plagued with her face -- not all of them, anyway. Michael often thought of the others, too. And the FBI. And everything he'd left behind in Roswell.

No one would have expected it, Michael the very least of all, but he missed the little town and its ever-present alien decor. He missed the Crashdown, the greasy, homey atmosphere, the Galaxy Subs. He missed Mr. Parker yelling at him to stop fooling around and get to work. He missed glancing in the window of Amy DeLuca's shop when he thought she wasn't looking.

That was the most stable his life had ever been. And god, did he miss it.

Michael wished he could dreamwalk, perhaps pay a visit to the ones he'd left behind. But he could practically envision them, anyway. Max and Liz, peacefully asleep, wrapped around one another with not a care in the world. Isabel, curled up with a pillow, dreaming of the reunion with her husband that she'd never have. And Kyle...he didn't know about Kyle.

Kye was the enigma to Michael. Over time he had transformed from a friendly, wise-cracking Buddhist jock into one more subdued, more brooding. One more like Michael himself.

Each young man had been ceaselessly drifting into his own world, unable to reach out to the people around them. That was just a part of why Michael had to leave.

*****

Okay. 592...yeah. Okay, ring. Michael's hand hovered dangerously near to the small round button, before diving back into his pocket. He glanced around, making sure that there were no people watching him. He didn't particularly want any nosy neighbors asking her why a strange man stood on her doorstep for an hour on the 4th of July. The only other human beings around were a few children down the street, playing with a soccer ball.

Michael let out a deep breath and scratched his eyebrow. Why couldn't he do this? Simple, straightforward movements -- raise hand, press button...wait.

He pushed the doorbell quickly and shut his eyes.

Maybe it wouldn't ring. Then he could lie to himself, say that he really had tried, she just wasn't there.

Michael opened his eyes again. Or maybe it would ring, and she'd open the door. And then slam it right in his face.

His thoughts were shattered by his own inner voice -- nothing's happening.

Backing away slowly from the front door, he raised his eyes to take in the building as a whole. It was a small house, but no doubt cozy. The neighborhood was nice; tree-lined, clean. Toys littered a few of the lush front lawns, an obvious sign that children were present. There were no toys in her yard. Of course, that didn't necessarily mean anything. Not everyone left their kid's playthings lying around where anyone could take them. She'd learned not to be that trusting. She'd learned it from him.

*****

And what was she doing now, he wondered, staring up at the ceiling in the dark. At home, reading a book. Clubbing with her new, sophisticated, 100% human friends. Sleeping. Or having hot, passionate sex with a man who could offer her a future.

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to chase away the images now flying through his brain. He always knew the worst possible things to think at the worst possible times. And to say. And to do.

His eyes, by now accustomed to the lack of light in the room, drifted towards his suitcase, lying open on the floor. Poking out from beneath his discarded shirt was a corner of the white envelope Kyle had handed him. A sudden compulsion to read the letter overtook him. No... He shook his head. Yes, Kyle had told him it was alright -- but the look in his eyes had told Michael that he by no means actually wanted Michael to read it. It was private.

For a moment he wondered what sort of private things Kyle might be writing to the woman he loved.

Kyle's relationship with her wasn't like that, though. They'd grown to be almost like a brother and sister before The Big Leave happened. Liz was ignoring her, he was ignoring her...Kyle had stepped in and taken over the Alex role. Kyle was probably what had kept her sane.

Only now, it seemed, there wasn't a whole lot keeping Kyle himself sane.

*****

Michael entered the motel room, dropping to the uncomfortable mattress. He really should have changed a few more of those dollar bills and gone to a nicer hotel. He'd never felt right doing that, though. It was how they were surviving, of course -- but he left Max and Isabel to do the actual transition from ones to hundreds. Perhaps it was because money had always been scarce for him. He'd always had to work for it.

He reached to the floor and into his bag, retrieving a car magazine he'd bought at a drugstore earlier that morning. Flipping through the pages listlessly, he thought about last year. The last 4th of July. Where he'd almost been caught.

*****

"I don't think this is a great idea," Kyle muttered, his hands shoved deep into his pockets, shoulders hunched. Michael had to agree.

"There's too many people, Max," he insisted. "It's dark, crowded, and loud. Nobody's gonna know -- or care -- if something happens to us."

"Come on," Liz protested. "It's the 4th of July. Freedom and peace? They're not going to pop out and capture us."

"We need to live normally once in a while," Max said supportively.

"In case you haven't noticed, Max, we're not living normal lives, and we can't live normal lives," Isabel said venemously from her position behind Michael and Kyle. "You shouldn't even be trying."

"I still say that woman in the autoshop was suspicious," Kyle added.

Max shook his head. "Her car was broken down, Kyle. She had no transportation. What do you expect her to do?"

"I don't know, she just..." Kyle trailed off with a sigh. "Sorry, I forgot. King Max knows all. Forget I even said anything."

Max turned to Kyle and narrowed his eyes. "Don't call me that. There is no king anymore. We're all equals."

"Sure could've fooled me," Kyle mumbled, brushing past Max to the field where others were already seated in lawn chairs and on blankets. Michael stopped dead in his tracks.

"I'm leaving."

"Me too," Isabel said determinedly. "Kyle!" she called out to him, waving him back with her hand. Her eyes clouded with confusion as he shook his head. "Why not?"

"Someone's gotta make sure these two don't do anything stupid!"

A small grin appeared on Isabel's face for a moment, and she nodded. "Okay. Try to have fun!" Michael, a few yards ahead, waited for her to catch up. "Poor Kyle," she sighed.

"Better him than me," Michael agreed.

***

Michael woke with a start as the apartment door banged open. Max and Kyle rushed in, breathing heavily. He shook Isabel by the arm, waking her from where she'd been sleeping beside him on the couch.

"We've gotta run," Max said tersely, running into his and Liz's bedroom.

"What the fuck happened, Max!?" Michael burst out, jumping to his feet.

Kyle looked angrier than Michael had ever seen him. Ready to kill someone -- that someone being Max. "Dipshit over here decided to heal some lady who got burned by a faulty firework. Turns out she's not really burnt, and she's the goddamn woman from the autoshop!"

"Max!" Isabel cried out in anguish. "God, how can you be so -"

"Look, less talk, more movement," Max said in a rush, dragging a battered suitcase out of the room.

"I knew it!" Kyle called out at Max, who had run out through the door. "I knew she was an enemy!"

"Kyle, calm down," Isabel said soothingly, though she looked as if she needed some calming herself. "Come on, let's just go grab our things..."

A thought occured to Michael. "Where's Liz?"

"Out in the car, waiting," Kyle spat. "They better not have fucking left without us."

"They wouldn't do that, Kyle," Isabel said, shaking her head. "You know they wouldn't. They have good intentions, they really do. Now come on, let's get our stuff..."

*****

Michael felt his fists clench reflexively as he thought about that night. Isabel had been right, Max and Liz did have noble intentions -- they just had no idea what way to go about them.

He rubbed his eyes and rolled over, looking at the small, cheap alarm clock. It wasn't even 4 o'clock yet. He could go back to 592 Harmetz Street, see if she was home yet. But something inside of him knew that he wouldn't find her. Something inside of him knew that it was yet another day lost.

tbc...

you know I love feedback...;)

posted on 17-Jul-2002 10:42:19 PM by alli balli
thanks mickeyros & alexandra *happy*

next part...enjoy...

19

Michael sat on his bed, flipping idly through a phonebook he'd acquired at the front desk. She wasn't in this one; this was for Boston itself, only twenty-five minutes away. It wasn't as if he didn't already have her phone number, anyway. He'd just had nothing better to do.

He was stalling, and he knew it. He was ashamed of himself. It had seemed like such a good plan at first -- not that he'd really thought it over. He'd dug up Amy DeLuca's phone number five minutes later. But now that he was so close, its genius had diminished. What if she didn't want to see him?

Reaching the Rs, he stopped. Rames...Ramill...Ramirez. He scanned the list of Ramirez's...there were a lot. But not a single one was named Jesse.

Good thing Isabel hadn't come along...she'd probably think he was hiding from her or something. In a way, he was hiding. Or maybe he just hadn't ended up in Boston at all.

Propelled by instinct, Michael turned to the back of the thick book where ads resigned. Law offices. He scanned the page quickly, settling on a small black box in the lower right-hand corner.

Yates and Ramirez

Legal Services


"B. Doring, H. Edensworth, J. Ramirez." Michael stared at the black type for a moment, and then ripped the page from the book.

*****

A pretty blonde looked up at him from her desk and smiled. She could have been Maria, from a distance, at least, only she was too...packaged. "Yes?"

"I'm here to see Je - Mr. Ramirez," Michael said quietly, looking around to see if his presence had garnered any attention. Obviously Jesse still went by his real name -- he had moved to a city where people knew him -- but there was always the chance that this wasn't even Jesse. After all, it was quite a feat to make partner after such a short time.

"Do you have an appointment?" She drew her eyes back to her computer screen, busily typing away. Michael hated computers. They were full of words, just words, and you couldn't trust them.

"No."

"I'm sorry, you'll have to make an appointment," she said somewhat cheerfully, never looking back at his face.

"Please, it's important."

"I'm sorry, sir. You'll need to make an appointment, and then you can see Mr. Ramirez."

"Could you tell him that it's Michael Guerin here to see him?" He used his name with hesitation. They could be lurking even here, lying in wait for one of the runaways to show up for Jesse.

She sighed loudly. "If I must." Pressing her finger to the intercom dramatically, she spoke into the speaker dubiously. "Mr. Ramirez, there's someone here to see you. He says his name is Michael Guerin, and he doesn't have an -"

Jesse's voice filtered back through the speaker, interrupting the secretary. "Send him in." Michael gave her a smug look and smiled.

"Second office on the left," she said, rolling her blue eyes.

Michael nodded and slowly walked down the gray-carpeted hallway. He could definitely picture Jesse working in a place like this. He hadn't been in many law offices in his short life, but this was crisper, cleaner, more sophisticated and conservative than Mr. Evans' firm back in Roswell. Jesse was meant for the city, not a dusty, out-of-the-way little town like Roswell.

Stopping in front of the door, Michael knocked lightly. "Come in." Michael entered the room. Jesse turned quickly, staring at him from the corner where he'd obviously been pacing. "Shut the door," he said urgently. Michael did so, and stood silently in front of it. Jesse ran his hands through his hair nervously. "Okay, sit down." Michael complied. He watched as Jesse collapsed into his own chair, moving his hands around, not seeming to know what to do with himself.

"Nice place," he noted with a tip of his head.

"Michael, what the hell are you doing here?" Jesse exploded. "Is something wrong with Isabel?"

Michael shook his head quickly. "No!" he said, startled. "She's fine. You have no need to worry about her. She's safe." Well, as safe as you can be hiding with Max.

Jesse slumped back, overcome by relief. "Oh thank god," he muttered, dropping his head back. They sat in awkward silence for a long moment, and Jesse let out a deep breath. "So...what are you doing here?"

Michael shrugged. "Just...stopping by."

"Is this safe? Are you putting me into danger?" Jesse demanded, suddenly upright in his chair.

"It's perfectly safe," Michael assured him, holding his hands up. "We've all lost the FBI for a while. The last time we had a run-in was an entire year ago."

"Okay." His dark eyes widened. "Are you all here?" His voice grew excited. "Isabel, is she here?"

Michael shook his head slowly, sad to disappoint the man. "It's just me," he said quietly.

"Oh."

"Yeah."

Silence.

"Then why did you come to see me?"

Michael looked away, growing uncomfortable. "I don't know," he admitted. "You know what, you -- you're right. I shouldn't be here. Good-bye -"

"No, wait," Jesse interrupted, standing. "Don't leave," he said more quietly. "I...we'll go out to lunch. You can tell me everything -"

"I don't think it's best to discuss...everything...in public -"

"Then we'll order up in here. Please Michael," he said, crossing the desk and standing before him. His eyes pleaded to Michael. "I miss my wife. I...I need some connection to her."

Michael stared at him for a beat. "Okay."

*****

"So she's happy," Jesse stated with relief, taking a sip of his Coke.

Michael nodded his head. "Mm hmm," he mumbled through a mouthful of fries.

"Good. I'm glad." His face grew uncertain. "Does she miss me?"

Michael swallowed and nodded slowly. "She doesn't talk about you much, but...you can tell that she's always thinking about you."

A little smile found its way to Jesse's face. "Okay."

"You don't need to worry...she's fully aware that she's a married woman, and she likes it that way," he added.

"Alright. Good."

Michael nodded again, feeling his heart speed up as he prepared to ask Jesse what he'd come for in the first place. "So, you seen Maria lately?"

Jesse's chewing slowed and he looked up at Michael. "Maria?"

"Yeah. She lives around here, doesn't she?"

Jesse frowned. "How do you know?"

Michael ducked his head. "I did some research." He looked at Jesse's narrowed eyes and sighed. "I asked her mother."

"So that's why you're really here," Jesse said, realization dawning. Michael remained silent. "Maria and I don't really keep in touch."

"Oh."

"But I do see her every now and then, when I have a meeting at her firm."

Michael looked up sharply. "She's a lawyer?"

"No." Jesse shook his head. "A secretary."

"Oh." So Maria had become exactly what he couldn't stand: a button-pushing slave to corporate attorneys.

"Look, Michael, I know you're thinking of going to see her, but..." Jesse closed his eyes briefly. "I just wouldn't recommend it."

Too late, Michael thought. "Why not?"

"She...look, she hardly speaks to me when we do come into contact. She wants absolutely nothing to do with her past, okay? Nothing. She tells people she's from California." His eyes were sympathetic. "I just...I don't think you'd be very well-received."

Michael stood up, crushing his trash into a ball and throwing it into the wastebasket. "I think I'm gonna take that chance. Thanks for lunch."

"Michael, think about this," Jesse warned, also standing. "She wanted to escape. And you showing up is just gonna rope her right back in."

Michael leaned his palms against the desk and looked up at his friend. "I need this," he said quietly. "You of all people should understand." He straightened and offered his hand to Jesse, who shook it firmly. "I'll see you, I guess."

"Yeah." Jesse stood by his desk as Michael made his way to the door. "Tell Isabel I love her, okay? And that I miss her. And that I'm waiting for her."

With his hand on the doorknob, Michael turned his head. "I will."

And he left.

*****

Michael spent the rest of the afternoon calling up every law firm he could find in the battered Cornerstone phone book that resided in the dresser drawer of his room. His mind prayed that the next phone would be answered by her smooth, lilting voice. And then he'd know exactly where to go.

Either Maria had drastically changed her voice or she wasn't working that day. Michael slammed the receiver down in frustration, dropping the phone book back into its drawer. Nothing's ever easy for Michael Guerin, is it?

tbc...

you know the drill. I'm desperate for feedback, you leave it, I become ecstatic! ;)