posted on 31-Aug-2001 10:54:38 AM
Title - Leaving (if you can think of a better one let me
know)

Author - buggabboo (buggs, erin)

Disclaimer - nobody knows...

Category - M&M, K/T CC, FF, slightly AU

Spoilers - for safety sake all that is currently cannon

Authors Notes: Well...this is a shoot off of a challenge given by lili...if you really want to know e-mail me at buggabboo⊕hotmail.com. All feedback is welcome although if you flame me again...I will have to hurt you. I like Tess...you don't have to...Viva La Woozle... I'm not anti-dreamer...I'm just not much of one. I suck at writing A/I and M/L so they will be used for support only. Have fun reading this and keep perspective.
buggs

It starts…

Michael was pacing outside the narrow bathroom door of their small motel room. His watch beeped, breaking the silence, signaling the moment he’d been both dreading and reveling, since Maria revealed her suspicions the night before. He didn’t want to be the one with a pregnant girlfriend, not now. There was too much at stake, for all of them. It meant needing to be near hospitals, switching samples, faking more documents, it was one more thing to worry about.

On the other hand, if it was true, how precious would that be. Did I just use the word precious?…If it was true, could he do what he needed to do, for himself, for Maria…
There were too many questions.

“Maria…It’s time…”

“’K” Michael opened the bathroom door, his girlfriend’s hand in his. Taking a deep breath he looked down at her, noting her eyes were tightly shut…He’d have to be the one too look, Can I do this? Of course you can doofus. Its not life or death…except that it is…just do it damnit.

Michael opened his eyes and looked down. Two lines…

“Ria look. Two lines.” Michael looked down at his girlfriend, unsure of what to think or what to feel. All these images were whirling at him all at once, but he somehow managed to stay calm.

Maria’s mouth opened in shock, her eyes closed again and Michael saw a tear fall from her eye. He watched it make its slow decent down the curve of her cheek, down her steep jaw-line, and finally falling into the nothingness before it splattered on the ground.

Is that how she’s feeling?

“Are you Ok?”

“No”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Hold me…”

Why is it that girls always want you to hold them.

Michael wrapped his arms around her while she sobbed. During this whole, “on the run” fiasco, Maria never cracked, much to the surprise and gratitude of all of her fellow fugitives. But knowing that she was a liability now more than ever, knowing that she had someone she had to take care of now…it brought all of her fears and nervousness and trepidation to the surface and with those came a paralyzing awareness that she could die. A knowledge that if she died, then so did the life inside her.

“We have to tell them.”

“What…”

“We have to tell them. Michael they need to know. We need to decide what to do.”

“Maria, we’re having a baby…”

Maria, shook her head slightly and took in some shuddering breaths

“Yeah we are…but CAN we?”

“We’re having a baby. Ok.”

Maria, wanted that to be true. She wanted him to want this child but…

“I swear to God Michael, if we do, there is no turning back. I won’t let you leave us. I can’t do that to this baby. You can’t. If we keep this baby, we keep together.”

“Ria, what if I have to go home.”

She stood there, staring at him for a few moments, trying to process the question. She’d forgotten all about that. Could she stop him, from going home. Did she want to?

“That’s different…I don’t know…I don’t know.”

Michael grabbed her into a fierce hug and kissed her hair gently, reverently.

“We have to tell them.”


Part 1

After the shock wore off and reality set in, Michael began to see a little excitement mixed in with Maria’s trepidation. And if he was an emotional guy, which of coarse he wasn’t…but if he had been feeling an emotion right then, he’d definitely would admit that there was a little excitement beginning to seep into his heart as well.

Ok. So there was excitement, and awe and fear, and…and…love? Was that love?

God what the hell is going on with me? I mean, yeah I love Maria, how could I not…but a person I’ve never met, a baby no less?

“Michael? What are you thinking? Are you Ok?” Maria stared up at him trying to read his face. “Michael…”

“I love you.” Michael blurted out, with the finesse of a squirrel on crack. “You do know that right?” If Maria hadn’t been so shocked she probably would have started cooing at his awkward admission. However, Maria was in some intense shock. The only other time Michael had ever said those three magic words, they had bean a prelude to goodbye. Knowing that if she didn’t do something, he would probably freak she smiled at him, brushed a lock of hair out of his eyes and kissed him gently.

“I love you too. We’d better go tell everyone, before we chicken out.” Maria said, giving Michael another quick kiss. It’s not what she wanted to do. Right then all she wanted to do was lay there forever, reveling in the love of her good looking if badly groomed boyfriend…but she knew that that would probably just give him time to freak out. So instead she got up off the bed, grabbed his arm and pulled the dumbfounded guy up off the bed.

“Michael? What exactly are we going to tell them. I mean…are they gonna be mad, are they gonna freak…what if they want me to…you know…I don’t think I could handle that…I don’t want them to look at this as a mistake…I mean sure it’s a mistake, and you know we both know that…but I don’t’ want them to think so…I mean how dare they judge us…it’s not as if they haven’t been getting some nooky too. Even Alex and Isab-”

“Maria! Breathe - ”

“But Mich-”

“Breathe. Before I have to “calm you down”….And as much as I’d love to do that right now we both know that if we don’t get our collective a*s out of this room now, we won’t be leaving for at least an hour…”

“Since when has kissing taken us an hour?”

“Since we quit stopping at kissing. Now lets go.” Michael, couldn’t help but smile at Maria’s…Marianess.

Ok good she’s acting like Maria now. She was kinda freakin’ me out with how normal she was taking everything…I mean what girl doesn’t cry when she’s been on the run from evil aliens and rabid factions of almost every law enforcement agency in New Mexico, only to find out that she pregnant, by her slightly non-human boyfriend…Ok so what girl goes through that, besides Liz, but as far as I know, Liz isn’t pregnant and – Sh*t…now I’m rambling…in my thoughts. Ok focus.


***

There was a faint knock on his door…Max was pretty sure, but it could’ve just been someone next door, either way, he wasn’t planning on getting it anytime soon. He’d finally convinced Liz that she needed to sleep and she’d finally done it but only after staring at him for nearly an hour. God he hated what this was doing to her.

She’s so exhausted. Of coarse she is, it’s not exactly like were in conditions that are very conducive to having anything remotely resembling a normal sleep pattern…Man I must be tired, I’m starting to sound like someone narrating a documentary on Sleep “Patterns: Aliens and their Human Girlfriends While on the Run from the Law and Other Aliens.” Maybe I should get some sleep too. Damn it… that was definitely a knock. It’d better be important

Max quietly lifted himself off the bed, in a feeble attempt to let Liz sleep, though he knew she would wake up as soon as the light began to pour through the door. He walked over to the door and opened it just a crack, but as predicted he immediately heard her turn over.

“Max?” He heard her small, confused question. Her sleepy voice tugged at his heart, making his stomach clench. He loved the way she looked just then, hair slightly mussed and lips bright red in contrast to her pale face…why was her face so pale…

Get a grip Max. She’s just tired

“Go back to sleep babe. I’ll be right back”

Max slipped out of his room then and found a very quiet, Michael and Maria…

Wait. Quiet? Since when are Maria and Michael quiet? Does Michael look guilty? No, not guilty. Maria looks a little peeked. I guess they haven’t been getting much sleep either…Don’t go all documentary again

“What’d you guys need? Liz is taking a nap and I was just about to try to get some sleep too.”

Maria blanched.

Damn it! Now she looks guilty or worried…

“Max. Who is it? Oh Michael, Maria…is something wrong”

“Liz its ok. Go back to sleep…it can wait.” Michael said noticing how pale she looked, “Are you ok?”

“Yeah. But…No. You guys look kinda…it must be important. What did you need? Maria? You don’t look so good yourself there.”

“God Liz you’re half asleep…really…it can wait…”

Max answered this time.

“No it’s ok. We’re up now. We’ll sleep tonight.” He tried to keep his voice neutral, but he wasn’t really sure how good he did. At least Maria didn’t freak this time.

“We need to talk to you. Everyone actually. It can wait…but it be better if we didn’t have to. Kinda.” Michael relented. Kinda.

Max glanced at Maria again. Either it’s not that important, and Maria’s just, kinda quiet…or…God it must be important, if Maria is this freaked.

“I’ll go get Alex and Isabel. Michael you go get Tess and Kyle. Where do you want to meet up.” Max decided to take charge, since everyone else was either yawning like crazy… God she’s cute when she’s tired or too freaked to do anything but stand up right… God is Maria gonna faint? “Is your room good or do you want to go somewhere?”

“No. Why don’t we meet in our room…235…in fifteen minutes. It give s Isabel some time to look presentable…on second thought make that five minutes…she can…you know…” Michael knew that if they waited much longer than they’d chicken out. Before making his way to Tess and Kyle’s room, he placed a quick kiss on Maria’s cheek, before looking into her eyes, and giving her a slight smile.

Whoa! Michael’s being affectionate in public…sweet even…Oh God somebody’s dying…is Maria dying? Get a grip…

****

Ok girl. It’s ok. Just do what Michael said and breathe….in…out…in….out. Don’t freak, it’s ok…God I need Michael right now. I need him. I don’t want to need him, but I do. So I just have to deal. O God. Its Ok You’ll be fine. He’s only been gone…20 seconds…just think about what he feels like, lying next to you…its ok…breathe, breathe, breathe…20 seconds…

I’m pregnant, I’m running from all kinds of bad a*s evil, I’m pregnant, at 18 with a freakin’ alien’s baby. It will not f*cking be ok…breathe…breathe…breathe…don’t cry…don’t cry…it’s ok…just think about little fingers and little toes…ok…I’m ok…1 minute

Will the baby have little fingers and little toes, is it gonna be human or alien, cause Michael said that Hal guy said that the alien’s looked like shiny white…very small…milky white…I won’t care if he’s very small or milky white, if I just know that he’s the one. If I just know that he’s the one…Ok why are you quoting Brilliant Traces…Oh yeah ‘cause it’s about a psycho who believes in aliens…but she’s not a psycho…cause there are aliens…but yes she is a psycho, cause she’s…she doesn’t remember things…I wonder if she’s one of the Emissaries freaks…Maria get a grip girl…it’s a freaking play….

Very small Milky white, very small milky white…that’s what a baby looks like, so maybe nobody will notice…but what about shiny…babies aren’t shiny….breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe…WAIT…what did Tess say when she first came and was still a skanky ho girl…something about advanced humans…human…the baby will just be advanced human…yeah…that’s it…just a very special little Maria/Michael human…Ok 2 minutes 12 seconds…I think I’m gonna go out in the hall and wait…Ok standing up…not a good idea when you’re hyperventilating…why is everything black…?

“Maria!”

“Michael…Is that you…it’s ok if its very small or milky white…it’s ok…it’s ok…really…really…I promise Michael…it won’t be shiny…it’ll be very small and milky white…Michael…why am I crying…I don’t want to cry…everybody’s here…hi everybody…” Ok girl. Everybody is staring at you like your some kind of freak which right now isn’t too far from the truth, but I think you just scared the crap out of Liz, and Max is looking at you like he might want to make documentary about what exactly goes on in your brain…breathe…Michael’s here…hold Michaels hand…see…there…it’s ok.

“’Ria?”

“Michael. I’m fine, just hold my hand and don’t let go” she whispered so only Michael could see just how much she needed him at that moment. Michael received some very odd looks when he gently reached up to wipe a stray tear from Maria’s face and kissed her on the forehead before wrapping her in his arms and whispering soothing encouragements. At the time Maria and Michael were the only ones who didn’t find this kind of affection odd…but they were a little freaked at that point.

Isabel was the first to react

“What’s going on with you two?”

“Uh…maybe you should sit down” Maria’s voice sounded a little more even after having spent… 25 seconds in Michaels arms

“Ok. But spit it out, cause you guys are wiggin’ me out.” Kyle told them as he sat down on the edge of the extra bed in the room. When every one else got settled in, Michael took a deep breath and jumped right in head freakin’ first.

“Maria’s pregnant.”

Part 1 D

Maria ducked her head under Michaels arm like a little puppy trying to get as close to his mama as possible on a freezing cold windy day. She was so scared of the blow up that she was sure would follow Michael’s announcement.

She was in no way prepared for what would follow.

There were a few minutes of silence before Liz practically fainted dead away, Max got an eerie little smirk on his face and Alex, being Alex, sat next to Maria placing a reassuring hand on her back. Tess and Kyle just kinda stared in shock before Tess grabbed Kyle’s hand as if were a lifeline and she was stuck in a vast ocean.

Max was the first to speak…shocker huh.

“Congratulations.”

Liz got a odd sort of happy look on her face and shrieked one of those “Oh My God someone’s come back from the dead and it’s a good thing” shrieks before attacking Maria and Michael both in a hyper, non-Liz hug.

Tess smiled then too.

“I’m glad it’s you and not me…”

“When are you due?”

“How long have you known?”

“You were gonna wait till tonight?”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Where’s Isabel - ?”

Silence. You could have heard a pin drop on carpeted floor, as everyone’s heads automatically looked toward the door, knowing that Iz had somehow slipped out during the momentary burst of raucous commotion. Michael saw the befuddled looks on everyone’s faces seconds before he realized what had happened.

Alex started towards the door when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Michael’s eyes said it all, pleading him for some sort of momentary understanding. Alex consented with a nearly imperceptible nod and a blatantly confused countenance.

Michael glanced down at Maria before gently extracting himself from under her.

“I’ll be right back babe.”


God. Why didn’t I think about what this would do to Isabel? I’m such an ass sometimes. You could’ve at least prepared her for this instead of waking her up from dreamland and springing what could’ve been the shock of the year on her. And that’s saying a lot.

Michael found her right outside of the room sitting against the wall with her knees to her chest staring out at the shrubs that lined the walkway. Sliding down the wall to join her there on the cold concrete, he slipped his arm around her shoulders and let her cry.

They sat there holding each other for a long time lost in memories that only they possessed.

The past wasn’t something that anyone liked to dwell on, and the period off time right after Tess came to town, when everyone was having wet dreams and lust was oozing out of every touch, every thought, every encounter, well to say that that was a moment in time that was avoided like some dreaded alien virus, is a gross understatement.

Some times it felt more like centuries since the pregnancy and the subsequent cover up than four years. Letting everyone believe that they had only consummated their lust in dreams had been so much easier than having to contend with the intense backlash that would’ve resulted from telling the truth. That night together wasn’t something that either wanted to have to explain away, or justify or even apologize for.

At that moment in time, they did what they wanted to do, what they needed to do. Sure there were moments of regret and there were times when the secrets weighed down on them with such oppressive consequence that they felt like screaming the truth for all to hear, but then the memories of a little boy, sweet and sad and happy and…loved, loved, would bear down on them, with such intense gravity that they would never have been able to muster the breath to even hum.

And they remembered the fear, four months later, after they knew for sure, when Isabel fell, and there was blood everywhere and Max was too far away, and Michael too scared and Isabel too weak…

They felt their baby die and then and there they did scream, for loss, for relief, for guilt and for love. And then…they picked up the pieces, and made the best of their horror. They moved on, carrying a burden that threatened to crush them, and a memory they prayed to forget and longed to keep.

They stayed there on the cold, cold concrete lost in their memories, for a while before Isabel broke the tense silence.

“I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For giving me my first. For being happy for me.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

*****

“You’d better get back inside, before Maria freaks.”

God, Maria. How in the hell did you forget about her? Wait, you didn’t forget her exactly, you just had to focus on something else for a while

“Iz?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you going to be ok?”

“Yes. I have Alex, and I’ve got you guys. I’m good.” Isabel hesitated; deciding if what she wanted to say really needed to be said. Deciding to go for it one last time. “Michael?”

“Yeah?”
“Promise me you forget him. I mean, I understand if you want to forget about us…but don’t forget about him. I don’t think I can do this alone.” Damn it. Isabel don’t cry. Wuss. But I don’t think I can take it if this baby replaces ours.

“Never.”

Michael pulled Isabel through the door, and she plastered a smile on her aching face. She really was happy for them.

“So. What are we going to do? I mean, I know that you’re gonna keep it, but how are we gonna work around this?” Max broached the topic that everyone was thinking about, but had been avoiding since the announcement.

“I don’t want to be a burden. But this baby’s gonna need protection, and it’s gonna need its family. Plus, yeah I have to be careful and all, but it’s not like I’m gonna break. We still have at least a month till I start to show, maybe even two or three, so that takes care of anyone knowing about the baby, and I think that other than that, well we’ve gotten pretty damn good at improvising.” Maria, had no clue what she just said, but from the looks she was getting it was either really good, or really stupid.

“You’ve thought this out haven’t you?” Max asked a small smile turning his lips up.

“Yeah,” Maria answered shyly, biting her lip in an attempt to suppress a nervous giggle.
What the hell is my problem. I’m like freaking out about talking to these people. You know the people that you spend ninety percent of the day with, every day. Jeez get a grip

Maria stifled a yawn, realizing just how tired she was after the emotionally exhausting day. Michael saw this and knew it was time for that nap that everyone so desperately needed.

“OK well I think the shows over.”

“Yeah. We’re all kinda beat. Do you guys want to meet for dinner or do you want to do our thing tonight?”

“Uhmmm. Max. I think that planning ahead is not the best idea right now. We’ll meet if we all get up if not lets just do our own thing.” Kyle said before giving his sister a hug and telling her he’d talk to her later. Tess grabbed Kyle’s hand as they went back to their room.

Everyone left and Maria crawled up the bed, suddenly too exhausted to stand. Michael layed down next to her and wrapped his arm around her waist letting his hand rest on her belly.

“Love you. Both”

“We love you too Michael. And just so you know, as much as I love this “Michael’s a sweet guy” routine, it’s starting to get a little creepy.” She mumbled already half gone.

Michael just smiled letting his eyes shut. He breathed in her scent, letting it wash all over him before falling asleep.

***


Morning comes quickly when your dreams are beautiful. When they suck, well, then it’s a toss up. For Tess and Kyle, it was the longest night. It was sometime around 2:00 am that Tess started bowing to the porcelain throne. Needless to say, the disgusting and painful sounds of retching, kept Kyle up for the night as they had for nearly a week. Being the sweet guy he was, he would sit on the side of the freezing bath tub, keeping her hair out of her face during the purging and then he would slide in an exhausted heap to the cold tile floor, to hold her some more, only to begin again in exactly thirty two minutes. It was starting to take its toll on the two, what with the lack of sleep, and knowledge that well…aliens, at least engineered one’s, they don’t get sick. Add to this that come morning, Tess would wake up from a horrible nightmare, nausea gone, tired, weak and sore …it was starting to worry Kyle…a lot.

It worried him more, that Tess knew what was wrong but refused to let him know. He just really hoped that it wasn’t something really serious. In the morning, as had been the ritual, Kyle would help her into the shower where he would again hold her in her weakened state before wrapping her in a towel, leading her to the bed and begging her with his sad, worried eyes to give him some sort of reassurance that his love would be ok.

“Tess. You have to tell me what’s wrong sweetie.”

“Kyle. I can’t. I promise, I’ll tell you as soon as I can. Right now though we need to pack and get out of this cave of a hotel room. I’m so glad that we get to settle in a real place at the next stop. This is starting to drain me…”

And so it was a normal morning in the Valenti/ Harding room. Unanswered questions, hollow reassurances and pale, tired faces, reining the noisy silence.

****
An hour later every one was at the cars packing up the few belongings they had been fortunate to have time to grab, and hitting the road one last time…for now.

It was kind of hairy when the eight teens crossed the border at Del Rio. Luckily at that point Tess was still conscious and was able to mind warp the boarder patrol into believing that they were all adults, crossing the boarder to do some missions work in Acuna.

Unfortunately what ever had been making Tess so sick at night didn’t particularly care for motion either. After stopping for the fourth time in an hour so that Tess could dry heave on the side of the road, Kyle finally asked Max to put her to sleep. A deep one. With as few nightmares as possible. The rest of the ride was quite eventful with Maria’s constant need to pee and random cravings for German food, which was odd enough, but even stranger when Liz pointed out that Maria had never eaten anything German. Not to mention they were in the middle of freaking Mexico.

Be that as it may, the baby was still craving German and the facts didn’t help the poor girl out, so they opted to stop in a quaint little pothole fifteen miles outside of Monterey instead of driving through to Mexico City. It was perfect. It was like home, with no mesquite bushes, more trees and considerably warmer, which was nice since it had snowed in Roswell the day they left. And it was close enough to the city to be able to drive in if need be.

There was only one “motel” but it was great. There were no other tenants and the food was good, although the water was a little nasty. Then again, what are magical alien powers if they can’t filter water.

It was basically just a really big house, with five small rooms and it even had two bathrooms and it was for sale.

Unfortunately the locals only spoke Spanish, so the pod squad plus had to rely on Maria, Liz and oddly enough Tess to help them communicate. But all in all, things were looking up.

*****

The sun setting over the west mesa was breathtaking. The bright white sun broke into a thousand shards of color, so intense that the purples looked orange and the pinks, blue. In the east the sky was already a deep, deep violet and the first few stars were beginning to peak out. They had decided to get settled in before Kyle, Liz and Max went to the Mercado in a neighboring village to get the food and supplies that they needed. In an effort to appease Maria, and the poor twisted child craving German food, the three tried to find something remotely resembling German cuisine, only to fail dismally. So they instead decided to wait it out and hope she craved some strange concoction she’d be able to make from the food they got.

They got the shock of the week when they found no Tabasco sauce. The horror! Liz and Kyle had fun teasing Max about this one. Liz found it irresistible how his face fell, when she told him the sad news. After the initial shock wore off, Kyle pointed out that they’d surely find something to substitute, so they scoured the market and found chilé and spices that would soon replace the extraterrestrial’s odd penchant for the stinky condiment. It was amazing how many people were crammed into the small outdoor market, even this late in the evening. It was nice to be able to blend in even though they were foreigners.
For once, the humans knew what it was to be alien. Instead of encountering fear though, they found extremely friendly locals, who welcomed them and laughed with them, ok sometimes they’d laugh at them. She was mesmerized by the colors and the lack of order and the way that everyone could relax and let everything go. Its was a nice change to the girl who’d lived in a highly health inspected restaurant her whole life. She felt a tugging at her heart when she remembered her parents…She missed them.

Max held her hand a little tighter when he saw her shiver. He looked at her carefully and noticed how tired she looked. Kyle glanced at Max then giving him a questioning look. Max just sent a small smile back and jerked his head towards the exit, letting Kyle know it was time to go.

Kyle was none to happy to go. He was worried about Tess and wanted nothing more than to get back to his girl.
Yeah. You love her, ya big doofus

***
After everyone got settled into their rooms, Maria and Tess went to look around and Isabel and Alex went for a walk.

Good. Isabel needs some distraction right now Michael joined them on the brick patio an hour later to find Tess with her eyes closed and shivering and Maria staring quietly at the setting sun.

Knowing that for now, his girlfriend was ok, he decided to see what was up with his friend…sister, whatever she was. He approached her quietly, but made sure that his footfalls were audible so as not to scare her. When he got a good look at her face he inhaled sharply at the sight of her gray-green pallor. Her skin looked kind of waxen and brittle all at the same time and her breath was shallow like her chest hurt.

Of coarse her chest hurts, probably her throat and stomach too. Hurling will do that to you. God she looks like death. Ok. Guerin, be nice.

Sitting next to her on the chaise, Michael pulled her gently to him. She was on fire.

“Tess. You have to tell us what’s wrong. Please, it’s getting worse and we have to do something for you.” Tess kept her eyes closed and Michael realized she was asleep.

Damn it! She’s been asleep for what like 10 hours and she asleep again. God what is going on?

“Tess. Wake up.” He whispered just above her ear, still not wanting to startle her.
“Tess. Damn it. Wake Up” This time he raised his voice a little and placed his hands on either side of her face to see if she would open her eyes.
“Tess!” And then he connected. But it wasn’t flashes, it was more like a movie, everything flowing like a river, full of emotions so intense they scared Michael.

Michael could feel the fear of rejection rolling off her in droves. Scared of what he would do to her. Fear that Kyle would hate her if he knew and then he saw everything that she’d been through from the night of Isabel’s party, when Whittaker hurt her over and over and over, his ears filling with the sounds of her screaming, the knowledge of how her insides were so far gone…using her last bit of power to mind warp Max into thinking that he’d healed her completely ‘cause she knew he could never be able to. And how she felt so weak and tired and powerless and afraid, the nausea and then he saw her throwing up in the Valenti’s bathroom and crying on the floor knowing that she would never know the love of a child, and then he saw how happy he was to be a daddy, and Tess’s sadness, Kyle’s confusion, Tess’s fear of losing…

Michael was pulled out of the connection by Tess’s whimper. When he opened his eyes he could see the fear there again, except this time it was fear of him. She was begging him, pleading with her tear-glazed eyes that he stay quiet.

“God Tess…sssh. It’s ok…we don’t Tess…we won’t…it’s ok.”

He gently picked her up, and cradled her heated body to his, noticing how light she was.
Michael carried Tess up to her room, ignoring the questioning look of the little vieja’s. He could hear Maria, explaining the situation to them and knew that she was claiming that he was Tess’s brother, so as to cover the scandal. He could feel Maria’s questioning stares on his back as he laid Tess in her bed, and smoothed her hair back.

“Maria. She’s terrified. All that I could feel was fear.”

“Michael, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t let me see. She scared for me to see.”

Knowing that she would sleep now, Michael motioned Maria to the patio, where they could wait for the others to arrive.

Maria grabbed on to Michael’s hand and winced a little when he squeezed it hard.

“Michael? Are you ok?” Maria, rarely saw Michael like this, but lately, she’d seen this protective side of him emerging even before they knew about the baby. It was like, he took on the role of the protector, even going so far as to make sure Liz got enough sleep, or Isabel…he had a lot of conversations with Isabel. Sure he was a complete bastard most of the time, but lately, he seemed be growing out of that.

“Hey. What’s the matter?” Maria didn’t even notice that Isabel and Alex had come back from their walk.

“Tess is worse.”

“What hap-”

“I’ll tell you when Kyle and the others get here. Isabel, go check on her.”

“Sure…are you sure you’re ok?”

“No. But I need you to go see if she’s ok. Please?”

“Ok” Isabel, grabbed Alex’s hand and started toward the door, wondering what the hell had happened. She had never seen Michael like this…except…
Focus, girl. Just go check on Tess. Oh my God, she’s dead…ok so she just looks like death. She’s so clammy and hot. What the Hell?

Alex could see Isabel pale and held her tightly, resting his chin on her hair, both looking down at their friend. For the first time Alex saw how emaciated she was looking. He could see the bones of her face and the veins, so blue under her paper-thin skin.

“Iz. She’s asleep. Let’s go back down. ‘K?”

He felt her nod, and let her out of the room. There was one thing he knew for sure. He didn’t want to be there when Kyle saw her.

***
The drive from the Mercado took less than 20 minutes, but to Kyle it felt like a lifetime. He knew he should’ve stayed but every one insisted, including Tess that he should get some time away from being her protector. That would have been a great idea, if he had somehow been able to keep his mind off of her. But he couldn’t. Why would he want to, that was his question? She was his girl. He loved her, sickness, stubbornness, beauty and all. And now, all he wanted to do was hold her while she dreamt, be there when she woke up, love her through her pain and pray that she would trust him enough to tell him.

As Max pulled the car around, Kyle could see Michael holding Maria to him, and Alex sitting on the chaise with Isabel cradled in his arms. Surrounded in the soft glow of the lantern light, the scene should have been romantic, but the characters were too rigid and the looks on the two guy’s faces, so strained and…scared?

God please don’t let this be about Tess, please

But Kyle knew better. One look Michael’s face, pleading him to go upstairs, said it all.
Without a word, he ran up the adobe steps, the sounds of his footfalls echoing in a way unnatural, and uncommon. The sight before him, took his breath away…she looked peaceful. She looked dead…

His heart jumped when he caught the sound of her breath rattling in her chest. Still unable to move he just stood there looking at her feeling so inadequate. His heart jumped again when she slowly opened her deep blue eyes and tried to smile at him. He could tell it hurt and knew that he should get her some water, but he didn’t want to leaver her. He heard a rustle at the door and saw Liz leaning against the door jam.

“Water. Could you…”

“Yeah…I’ll be right back”

With the silence broken Kyle made his way to bed sitting on the edge. Tess lifted her hand to him and he realized that she wanted him to hold her, so he did. As gently as possible, he pulled her into his arms and settled against the headboard. He held her like that a few moments when she tilted her head up. He saw her mouth moving but couldn’t hear anything.

“What do you need sweetie?”

Her voice was raspy but he smiled when he realized that she wanted him to tell her a story. It’s what he’d always done to calm her down, or put her to sleep. Sometimes she was like a little girl, so innocent and meek, in such contrast to her brazen worldly attitudes. But he knew. He knew that she was raised by a kind, but very alien male, who didn’t know the first thing about human emotion or creativity or the imagination that children possessed, craved and experienced and longed for. So now, when she was scared or upset, he would tell her stories. Sometimes he told her the fairy tales about children, or princes and Kings and Queens and Princesses. Sometimes he would tell her about stuffed animals in nurseries or wardrobes that led to other planes of existence. It didn’t really matter what the story as long as it was his voice, low and raspy, telling her, lulling her to sleep or just to some far away land where aliens really don’t exist and she isn’t the ill-fated princess. Where right prevails and sorrow is always thwarted.

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl who wished for the world to be a wonderful place. And anyone who laid eyes on her…”

And that’s how Liz found them. Tess, breathing as well she could, face partly serene partly pained, with Kyle’s arms wrapped gently around her, thumb stroking the top of her hand, telling her some fairytale that would end well as always, as tears fell down his face.
The water could wait.

***

“Michael? What happened?” Max’s voice was soft in an effort to not wake his sister.

“She’s dying. I was trying to wake her up, but she wouldn’t or couldn’t, so I put my hands on her face to see if her eyes would open and somehow we connected and I saw her life. Everything painful that’d ever happened to her. She’s scared to tell us the truth, I was about to see it when she forced me out.” Michael was pacing as the words flew from his mouth.

Isabel woke then, and asked a question that hadn’t been voiced in a while.

“How are you Maria?”

“Just tired. And worried.”

“Yeah me too. So what do we do about Tess? Do you try to heal her Max?”

“No that wouldn’t work, she doesn’t want him to connect, she’d force him out too.”

Liz walked in and went strait to Max. He hugged her to him.

“I think we need to let her know that she can trust us, and that we don’t do anything that she doesn’t want done.”

“But what if it’s too late?”

“We just have to hope that it won’t be.”


***

Part 2 c

“Kyle?”

“Yes babe?”

“Where are we?”

Kyle scanned the odd silvery sky and violent red stream.

“I don’t know. I’d have to say in either your dreams or mine. You're sick Tess. Will you please, please sweetie…tell me what’s wrong.” He could see from her tight face that she was still in tremendous pain.

God, even in her dreams she’s in p

“Kyle it hurts.”

“I know babe, I can feel it. But if you just tell me, we’ll get Max or Isabel to fix you. Why are you holding on to this pain?”

It’s almost like she’s cherishing it . What the hell is wrong?

“Kyle if I tell you, you have to promise that you won’t let Max do anything that I don’t want him to do.”

“Babe-”

“Just promise. You need to know...but if I can’t trust you…I need to trust you. I can’t go through this with out you. Please just promise.” Please. I can’t loose him.

God. She’s dying and she doesn’t want him to help her. Why? Why? I love her. Steady Kyle. She needs to trust you. But can I do what she wants me to do?

“I love you. You know that right.” Kyle swallowed, nervously, his eyes darting, looking for something to stall. To keep her talking. He hadn't realized how much he missed her voice till now.

She's so beautiful. You can't loose her. Not now.

“Kyle please. Please.” I love him too, but…

“I promise.”

*****

“Kyle. Take my hand.” Tess stretched out her hand and Kyle noticed a timid smile on her face.

Kyle tried to smile reassuringly but tears started to fall in blue streaks down his face instead. She’s gonna let me see. Why am I so scared. This is what you’ve wanted all along, but…

“Tess. I’m scared”

“I know…Take my hand.”

Tess took a step toward him slowly and held her hand out one more time. The smile on her face wavered a little when she saw how truly terrified of her he was. Seeing her smile fall, Kyle knew that she had misinterpreted his fear.

“Tess. Babe, I love you. I love you and you don’t scare me. You could never scare me. But I know that what I will see now, is probably something that I can’t help you with. That hurts. It hurts to see you hurting, and not be able to do anything for you. I hate not being able to hear your voice, and I’m scared that I will see something that will take that away from me forever. But I need to know, so you can trust me.”

Kyle boldly took Tess’ hand and wove his fingers with her.

“I love you.”

And then they were falling…

***

She’s so beautiful. And she’s carrying my

“I love you. I love both of you and I promise that I will do everything to keep you and your mama safe. I’ll try not to leave you and I’ll keep you hidden from the mean doctors and I’ll get you stuffed animals, and little dolls. I know I haven’t told your mama yet, but I can feel you, my baby girl.”

He leaned down and kissed his sleeping girlfriend’s stomach, awed by the mere thought that she could be having his baby. Still restless and unwilling to wake Maria up, Michael went down stairs to try and work through some of his thoughts.

He had tried to sleep for about an hour, but every time he’d close his eyes, he would see Tess, bloody and bruised, crumpled on the cold floor, and he could hear her screams, begging Whittaker to stop. Michael hated himself for not caring more about Tess that night.

True, Iz had needed him. They once again had shared a bond that no one else could fathom. The bond of the killers, once again.

Yeah. Just keep telling yourself that Guerin. Tell yourself that it wasn’t because you were a heartless bastard, unable to care for anyone but Maria and Iz. Tell yourself that Tess’s well being actually crossed your mind that night. Tell yourself you cared that she hurt. Just keep telling yourself that.

“Michael?” Max approached his friend carefully, noticing the guarded, almost tortured look on his face. “How’s Maria?”

Even amidst the turmoil and craziness of the past few days, even with Tess’s death dangling in front of him, Michael couldn’t help but smile when he let his mind wander into Maria land.

“She’s asleep.”

“You know it’s not your fault.”

“Yeah. Somehow that doesn’t help this time.”

“True.”

“What happened to Tess, Michael? I know you know. Is it something I can fix.”

“I don’t know. That’s up to Tess. She wouldn’t let you fix it once, cause she knew you couldn’t. Now though…she has something more to live for. This time…we love her.”

“What do you mean, this time.”

Michael took a deep breath, weighing Tess’ trust and his love for her, as a friend, as a sister. Tell him Michael, cause this time you do care.

“Whittaker.”

“Well that’s profound Michael. What about Whittaker?”

“Max shut up. Whittaker, almost killed Tess, and we didn’t care.”

Max’s eyes dropped, remembering that night. It was true. He hadn’t cared. Looking back, the sheriff was the only one that cared about Tess that night. The rest had huddled around Isabel. It wasn’t till later that night that Max even went to fix Tess and by that time she’d passed out from the pain, pain that he didn’t even notice. When he healed her, it was quick, there was very little of the connection that Max normally shared when he healed someone. It didn’t even occur to him till now.

“What do you mean, Michael? When you say that she wouldn’t let me heal her what do you mean? She was out cold. She had no control.” Max’s voice raised as his eyes begged Michael to let that be true, cause if it wasn’t…

“That was a mind warp. She only let you heal what she believed you could heal. She didn’t want you to feel guilty, though at that point I don’t think you would have given much of a rats ass…

“Michael. Later, we can do that later.” Max’s voice was steady, but it was obvious that he was beating himself up.

Michael, paused. It wasn’t just him Michael. It was you too.

“Sorry…She made you think that you had healed her completely. But you couldn’t or didn’t and she knew that. All of her internal organs, her uterus, her lungs, her heart…they all were destroyed. Her ovaries and uterus were basically, turned to mush, to prevent Tess from bearing an heir. Remember then, that’s all she wanted. It was her only purpose. To be queen. To give you children. She let you heal her stomach and her heart and all the vital organs but hid the other extensive damage from you. She healed it later, at least enough to live. But she can’t have kids. She can never have kids.”

Michael’s voice wavered then, knowing what this was doing to Tess. Knowing that his girlfriend was just upstairs, carrying his child, his second child no less…

“Michael, do not beat yourself up about your kid. It’s ok to be happy and make sure that this kid is ok. That Maria’s ok.”

Michael just looked up at Max, his eyes haunted. Does he know?…Not now. Now it’s Tess’s turn. Focus on Tess.

Sighing deeply Michael vocalized the thoughts that had been bothering him for the better part of the night.

“What I want to know is why now. She’s been fine for a year and a half. Why is her body failing now.”

Lost in thought, guilt and self-deprivation, Michael and Max, sat on the couch silently, wrestling with their demons, and trying to reason through what the hell had happened.
It was ten minutes later that they were startled out of their silent revelry by a keening so sad and so full of pain that they weren’t sure it was human. But it was.

*****

”Tess, where are we…Oh God, we’re in the warehouse, Tess…why are we here? Tess? Where are you?”

Kyle’s voice was frantic, as he realized his girlfriend was no longer at his side. He walked tentatively down the corridor, afraid, to see what he knew he’d be forced to witness. He was ducking a cold, metal staircase when he heard it.

A whimper…a cry for help. He knew that cry for help better than he knew any other sound or voice or cry. When he heard it, he heard it with his whole body. Turning, praying, pleading with whoever would listen, hoping against all hope that his ears had deceived him…his heart broke. He saw her, crumpled, bruised, tired, bloodied and so damn beautiful. He reached for her in an attempt to achieve the unachievable, to go back and change what happened, to care for her, to love…but he couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, he wasn’t even breathing.

All he could do was stand and watch. Relive the horror that Tess experienced and feel what she felt. He felt her fear of death, and of loneliness, he felt her determination to reach out to someone, anyone who could help her…and he felt every ounce of terror she felt as she heard the clicking of heals on the cold, hard concrete. . As he reached to help her, he felt his feet grow heavy and his heart rate slow, but his mind…his mind was well aware of the events that would take place.

“No, Tess. Let me help you. Don’t make me just stand here and watch…Please, please, let me help you…”

Tess never even turned her head, her eyes fixed on the woman, who’s hand was outstretched, as if she would rip the very soul from the girl’s body. And then he felt the pain. He could feel her organs melt, as if they were wax. It was strange cause they didn’t drip, they only softened, became malleable, rearranged. And then he felt Whittaker’s intent change and focus.

“Oh God…”

***
Kyle slowly woke to sound of his own cries.

“Oh God Tess…” Kyle knew he’d never sobbed so much in his life. “Tess, Baby I’m so sorry, I’m sorry. I wanted to help you babe, I did. I wanted to save you. Why didn’t you let me save you.” Tears poured down his face and mingled with those of the strongest person he’d ever laid on eyes on.

There was a shuffle outside the door, and Kyle could only guess who it was but he didn’t care. His baby was dying and he couldn’t do anything about it. It took him a few minutes to calm, though the tears continued to roll down his face. Looking towards the door, he saw a worried Max. Kyle shook head dismissingly.

Not now. Not

“Kyle?”

“Yeah Babe?”

“Tell me a story. One about us, about our future.”

Kyle swallowed back a sob.

I want one so bad. I want you to be with me forever. Why…why?

“Ok. Once upon a time, there was the most beautiful Alien in the world. She had a hard life, and never knew what love was, till she met, arguably the most handsome man on the planet earth. At first, he was a little scared of the alien beauty, but after she moved into his room and turned his world completely upside down, he realized that he’d never wanted anything more than he wanted her. It was a crazy relationship, in an even crazier life, but they were in love and forgot about all that. They were constantly on the run, but finally found a small place to rest, in a small town, in the middle of freakin’ Mexico…much to their horror, there was no Tabasco sauce in this small town, but to them, it didn’t matter. They were together as they would be forever. It wasn’t long before the handsome earthling became so crazy about the girl, that he asked her a question…” Kyle paused there.


“What question did he ask her?” Tess asked in a voice that sounded only half as painful as it actually was.

“Well, one night, not too too long after they arrived in Mexico, the earthling and his beautiful alien girl were laying in bed, with his arms wrapped around her, and he lowered his mouth close to her ear, like this,” Kyle leaned closer to her ear. “and held her tighter, and then he ask the beautiful alien girl to be his forever.” Kyle stopped. The air was stock still and the sounds of the night overwhelmed him. He took a deep breath to continue but was interrupted.

“What did she say?”

“I don’t know yet. What does she say?”

“Yes.”

The tears began to flow again, when Kyle heard her raspy answer. After placing a tender kiss on her dry lips, Kyle began to recount the future that they’d dreamed of and had hoped for. The future, they both knew they wouldn’t have the chance to have.

***
The next morning, Kyle walked down stairs and found everyone eating breakfast at the large table that stood in the middle of the great room. Not even the slightest bit hungry, Kyle found his gaze resting on Michael. Shaking his head, he settled his gaze on Max.

“Uhh. Michael, Max, Isabel…can I talk to you for a few minutes.?”

He didn’t even bother to tell them it was important, their reactions let him know that they were ready for what ever he was about to ask. They walked out onto the porch and Kyle sat on the chaise while the others leaned against the half wall that sheltered the area. Kyle was silent for a minute before pulling out his high school ring.

“Isabel. Make this into an engagement ring for me. Something delicate, with a sapphire instead of a diamond, and make it white gold. You have good taste, I trust you. Just don’t tell anyone, ok?”

“Ok? When are you going ask her?”

“I already did. She said yes, but she doesn’t have much time, so I was thinking it should be soon. I don’t know. Maybe you could help with that or something…I don’t know.”

Isabel just nodded a sad smile lingering on her face, before she left the three guys by themselves.

Kyle stopped, unsure it was his place, but knowing that Tess would never ask, that she was afraid to, he plunged ahead.

“Michael. Will you give Tess away? She’d never be able to ask you, she’d be too scared, but I know that’s what she wants.”

“Yeah. No problem.”

Kyle paused again, knowing that the hardest was yet to come. “Michael can you leave us alone for a little bit? I need to talk to Max alone. ”

Without a word, Michael walked back into the house, leaving the Max and Kyle staring at each other.

“Max. I don’t know how else to say this, so I guess I’ll go ahead and just tell you…but first…you have to promise that you won’t do anything that Tess tells you not to do. Even if it means she…yeah…um, you just have to promise me that you’ll do what we ask.”

“Kyle, what’s this about?”

“For once Max, don’t question it. Just tell me that you will do it.”

Max searched Kyle’s eyes and was shocked to see so much pain there. Max knew that this was excruciating for him. He didn’t want to ask him…but he had to…for her.

“Ok. I promise.”

“I don’t know how much you can help, but Tess is willing to let you heal her now, as much as you can…but there will be some complications and you will see things, that will confuse you and scare you, and you will be able to completely heal her. But that would require you to do things that she wouldn’t forgive you for. Things that would make her want to die anyway. You have to promise that you will only do, exactly what she lets you do.”

“What aren’t you saying Kyle.”

“Max. Just promise. For her, because you do care…this time.”

“Ok.”

“She wants to see you right away.” Kyle hesitated for just a second. “Max. Thank you.”
posted on 31-Aug-2001 10:55:54 AM
Max had never healed anyone with such extensive damage. It was like every bit of tissue in her body, was covered over by scar tissue. There were gashes in her stomach, and many of the capillaries in her lungs had burst. Her ovaries and uterus were shriveled, yet bloated and swollen. Max managed to fix most of the damage, but her heart had take too much, and he knew that it would take more. Maybe he’d managed to buy her a few years, but since she refused to let him…

“Max!”

“Yeah, I did it and no I didn’t do anything that you didn’t want done.”

“How bad was it?” Kyle asked hoping, praying, that Max had at least given them a week.

“Very. But I think she should be better for at least a month. She’s still sick though. And she won’t be able to do much, probably shouldn’t use her powers too often, but for now, since I can’t fix the actual problem, she should feel better.” Max paused and looked directly into Kyle’s eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t fix this the first time. I’m sorry that I didn’t care enough to know…I’m sorry and I hope I’ve given you the time you need, but she is dying. I don’t think I’ll be able to fix it later. It would’ve had to have been done now. But I understand.”

Kyle nodded his head and lay down next to Tess. Max left quietly seeking his own rest.

“Tess, how do you feel?” Kyle whispered incase she really was asleep.

“Better. I’m still really tired though.”

“Hey, I have something for you. Do you want it now or later?” Kyle asked, eyes twinkling for the first time in what felt like ten thousand days.

Tess sat up and crossed her legs yoga style, before leaning down and kissing Kyle square on the mouth. Smiling sheepishly she gave him a look that was openly curious.
“Now would be good. If you want to.”

“Ok. Last time I wasn’t really planning this so this time I’m gonna do it right.” Getting down on one knee, Kyle looked up at her with a look that told her she was his everything, his love, his heart. “Tess, I love you and I want to spend everyday that we both have left, be it one or thousands, with you. You mean absolutely everything to me. Will you marry me?”

Tess, smiled as she watched him pull out the beautiful ring that Isabel had made for Kyle. It was perfect, exactly what she’d always wanted. A single tear slipped down her face as he slipped it onto her finger with so much reverence it was kind of silly.

“Yes. Kyle my love, I’ll marry you.”
They smiled at each other for a few seconds before Kyle got up and pulled her into his lap and kissed her. Not just some passionate kiss and not a soft glancing of lips, but a kiss so pure and so perfect that both thought they would drown from the brilliance of it. When they broke apart, Tess was giggling with joy. Have you ever felt so incredibly at peace, complete and whole, that you are absolutely positive that you’re floating? After being alone for so long, Tess didn’t realize just how empty she’d been till that moment.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, my most handsome earthling.” Kyle groaned at this before leaning in for one more kiss. They finally began to feel the effects of the long week they’d had and soon drifted off to a peaceful, sleep.


***

“Max?” Liz sat at the edge of the bed and gently placed her hand on Max’s back.

“Are you asleep?”

“No. Just resting.” When he didn’t volunteer any more information, Liz got on her knees and started rubbing his shoulders. She knew that she wasn’t strong enough to have much of an effect, but it did help to relax him so…

“You know. I talked to Maria and it’s weird. She’s there and she’s gonna have a baby. Michael’s gonna be a father. It’s like they’ve transcended all their crap and've finally done something that they’re both happy about. I don’t know. I know I should be happy for them…I am…it’s just, I guess I’m scared. Not just for them. I’m scared for that baby and I’m scared for us. A child is a huge responsibility. We all have to raise it to a certain extent…”

“What aren’t you saying?” Max’s voice was muffled by the pillow, but Liz understood every word.

“I guess…I don’t know. Aren’t you afraid? Maybe it’s not the baby at all. Maybe it’s just this, this knowledge that, that child, that little baby proves that we’re vulnerable. I guess Tess does too, but she’s not a child, she can protect herself, this little kid can’t. I don’t know I just wish that we could be normal sometimes. I mean, we can't even have a normal road trip, or a normal teen pregnancy. You know, something that the world see's as horrible, we see as a gift or a blessing or something to celbrate, and something that should be fun or adventurous...it isn't. It's scary.”

Max pushed himself up and propped his head in his hand. He stayed staring at Liz for a few moments, trying to figure out what was going on in her head.

“Liz. What do you want?” It wasn’t asked in accusation or challenge. Max genuinely wanted to know what her dreams were. What her desires were. “If life was exactly the way you wanted it to be, how would that look.”

“I don’t know. I would be with you, no doubt about that. You’d be you, but no body would care. I’d get to see my parents. We’d be in our early twenties, married, a dog, a cute one, like a terrier. Why?”

“I wish I could give you that.”

“Max. I’m not saying that I don’t love my life, cause I do. I just…I’m just scared.” A few tears escaped from the growing pools in Liz’s eyes. They stared staring at each other for a few moments before Liz shook her head and sighed.

“How’s Tess?” Liz knew that he’d healed her this morning. But she also knew that it wasn’t ok yet. Something kept the sadness in Kyle’s eyes. She saw the guilt in Max’s eyes too.

“She’ll be ok for now. There’s so much going on inside her. And her head isn’t connecting to her heart. She’s not thinking about what she needs and it’s keeping her sick. But, for now, I’ve done what I can. I’m worried for her though. She won’t last much longer…”

“Does Kyle know?”

“Uh…yeah…it’s killing him. Watching her fight this. Not being able to help her. But who knows. She could be fine for a long time. Years even. I just know that, this time…this time it’ll be different. She’ll have all of us to keep her safe and to love her.”

Liz could see the tears pooling in his eyes. Knowing that he was starting to go into self-loathe mode, she decided to intercept him before he got any farther down guilt lane.

“Max? What do you say we go have some fun?”

“What’d you have in mind?”

“I don’t know. Monterey’s supposed to have some cool stuff. Clubs, bars…you know, fun stuff.” She smiled, knowing that Max hated that sort of thing. She didn’t actually want to go to Monterey, but like they say, shoot for the moon…

Liz was right about not going to Monterey. But she did manage to get a group gathering going. Lately, with Maria’s pregnancy and Tess’s…Tess’s illness, the couples seemed to cling to each other and separate from the others. Everyone was getting restless after a week of moping around and crying and craving and stewing…it was time for some fun. They needed to relax, maybe, Buddha forbid, laugh a little. And she knew just the movie.

*****

An hour later found everyone in the living area of the great room, spread out on the various couches and rugs, with pillows and blankets strewn about. As usual, they only made it to the fourth line before someone *cough*Alex*cough* started MSTing it, mocking Wesley’s wussiness and Buttercups uppity crap. Kyle got a pillow in his face when he “accidentally” called Buttercup, Isabel…and then all hell broke loose. Pillows went flying when Kyle retaliated. It was insane, Max and Liz ganged up on Michael and Maria lunged at Kyle with her bright purple body pillow. Pillow fights with body pillows are no easy task.

“Max…stop…I’m gonna hurt you…”

“Oooo it’s Maria and her eggplant of death”

“If you tickle me I swear I will- stop….stop….stop….”

“I swear if you don’t put down that pillow…oh….oh no you don’t wanna…you don’t even want to go…..nooooooo”

“Whistle or Pee…”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“It means whistle or f*cking pee, cause I’m not gonna stop till he’s done it.”

“Stop! Isabel…Iz, please honey…stop! Stop!”

“I told you whistle or pee!”

“How the hell is the boy supposed to whistle when he’s giggling like a school girl?”

“I think that’s the point.”

It took Alex ten tries before he sputtered out a whistle. Sometime between Isabel’s throw down and Alex’s pathetic attempt at a whistle, every one had stopped to stare at the strange…ritual?, between the couple.

“So…is this normal for you two, or was this a one time thing?”

“Shut up Kyle.”

He just smirked a little when he saw Isabel’s already flushed face turn a deeper shade of “f*ck me” red, to match her “f*ck me”.

Liz looked around the room and smiled. Everyone was completely exhausted from their little rough and tumble, but they all looked happy. Not just content either, but really happy, relaxed…it was nice. Even Tess, who didn’t get to involved in the craziness of it all, looked good.

After a few more items being casually thrown about the room in an attempt to hold on to their abandoned moods, everyone settled down to watch the rest of the movie.

Ok so they didn’t actually watch the movie, between their running commentary and making out, little watching was getting done, but it was good. It was fun.

Max leaned close to his girlfriend and let her know just how much he “appreciated” her “efforts.” Oh it was gonna be a good night for all.

As soon as the movie ended, Alex practically yanked Isabel of the couch and decided it was time for them to go to bed. While Isabel was in the bathroom brushing her teeth, Alex came up from behind her and started kissing that oh so sensitive part of her neck,

“Alex, not yet…honey…”

He didn’t exactly ease up. Instead Isabel felt his hands start to wander a little higher….higher, then a little lower. She gasped a little too loud when she felt him lifting her shirt, his cool hands inching up her abdomen so slowly she though she would scream. God this is like a cheesy romance novel…but if your gonna go there, in the bathroom, what exactly do you expect

She turned face him, wanting to begin some touching of her own, she lifted his shirt, slowly, slooooowly, letting her hands drag up his taught muscles. Just as she got the shirt up to his neck, she heard a gasp followed by a girly laugh.

“Couldn’t wait till you got to your room?”

Michael and Maria were both staring at the couple, Alex with his shirt covering his face and all his naked male chest exposed to the world, and Isabel’s face turning, you guessed F*ck Me red, to match her wonderfully titled lipstick.

“Um yeah…we’re going now.” Isabel pulled Alex’s shirt all the way off and the look on his face was priceless. Unfortunately for them, the only way out the bathroom was blocked, by two shocked, very amused and equally horny friends. Isabel glared at Michael letting him know that if he didn’t move…Maria and Michael were very “eager” to move on to the next item on the agenda and it was with this shared “destination” led everybody out of the bathroom and back to there own rooms, Maria and Michael completely abandoning what ever motivated them to go to the bathroom in the first place.


***
Isabel rested her head on Alex’s chest listening while his heartbeat slowed to its normal pace. She loved this man; there was no doubt about that. It made her sad to know that he wasn’t her first- hell he wasn’t even her second. He was though, the first to stay awake and talk to her, the first to tell her he loved her afterward and mean it. The first to hear those words back.

It’d been such a crazy week, such a sad, tense week and the playfulness of the night had been wonderful, from the moment Liz had commanded them to get their asses downstairs to the moment when Alex held her in his arms, both trembling, whispering sweet nothings - ramblings to each other, incoherent and disjointed as they may have been.

“Alex?”

“Iz?”

“I love you. Just wanted to say that.” Isabel could never fall asleep before making sure he knew that. It was one of her obsessive/compulsive traits. Like straitening her make-up or making sure her clothes in her closet were sectioned into colors, fabrics and style.

Alex smiled and placed a gentle kiss on her hair.

“Yeah, I know. I love you Iz…just wanted to say that.” Isabel giggle and place her own kiss at the base of his throat before floating off to sleep while Alex stroked her hair and watched her, a smile just hovering on his lips.

***
“Michael?” Maria, lay in his arms exhausted but completely awake, “You awake?”

“Yeah.” His hands rested on her lower abdomen, gently stroking it with a tenderness he didn’t know he possessed.

“You want her don’t you?” Maria placed her hands on top of his, her thumbs stroking the backs of his.

Michael’s brow furrowed for a minute before answering.

“More than you know.”

He felt her head nod against his chest, and they fell into silence again. The only sounds where their breathing, which had evened out, and the wind howling through the tiny cracks in the windows.

“Michael? You still awake?” Maria whispered ten minutes later.

“Yeah.”

Maria ducked her head and Michael heard her mumble something. Though he didn’t hear what she’d asked he was immediately curious. Maria didn’t do the whole shy, mumbly thing.

“What’s the matter?” He gently shifted so he could look at her and was shocked when she wouldn’t look at him. “Maria tell me.”

He saw a tear fall from her eyes, and immediately felt his throat close.

“Ria?”

“Michael…do you want me? Even if I didn’t have her, would you still want me?”

He chuckled softly before lifting her face to his. He’d always avoided direct eye contact, but this time his eyes pierced hers as if he was looking directly into her.

“Yes. I love you.”

Her eyes started to over flow then as she crawled closer to him.

“Ok. I love you.”

She snuggled closer, the hormone-induced tears continuing to fall long after she’d fallen asleep.

The bright sun filtered through the flimsy black lace curtains, illuminating the dancing dust fairies, causing the room to shimmer. He loved the way her brow furrowed as a ray of light glanced off her face in nature’s attempt to rouse her from her sleep. The night had been so calm, so peaceful. There were no nightmares, no three a.m. retchings; she’d slept through the night, safe in his arms, exhausted, but at rest.

He knew the second the sun was successful in rousing her, chuckling softly at the tiny smile that formed on her still, pale lips.

God she’s so beautiful.

“Hey sleeping beauty,” Kyle laughed as she attempted to swat the sun from her eyes, looking for all the world like a lazy cat playing with a piece of yarn or an imaginary dust fairy.

She sighed softly and turned her face into his chest seeking a shield from the sun.
“Don’t wanna wake up.”

Kyle laughed again before kissing her forehead.

“Babe, we need to get up, it’s already twelve.”

Tess proceeded to burrow deeper into her fiancé’s well-defined chest.

God he smells good.

She breathed in deep and smiled to her self before placing a lingering kiss just under his chin, her hands lightly tickling him just below his ribs.

Does she know what she’s doing to me? Uhhh…ok time to get out of this bed before you jump your girlfriend. Oh yeah, that’s good Kyle, just keep thinking of your fiancé as a good lay. Uh huh, that’ll go over real well. Get a grip. Oh damn.

“Babe…if you don’t stop, we aren’t going to get up for a long time…Babe?”

Kyle looked down into her eyes and caught a glimpse of…something he hadn’t seen in a few weeks. He knew in that instant they weren’t gonna be getting out of bed any time soon.

“Kyle, that’s kinda the point. Please…I mean if you know…if you wanna, I wanna.”

Oh I wanna…how could I not? She so…so…

“Tess? Are you sure? Cause, I don’t want to hurt you…you know.”

Oh he’s so sweet. Oh yeah, I wanna. Definitely wanna. Ok now how to convince him of that. I could always go for the direct approach…

“Kyle, If you don’t jump me now, I’ll have to do some weird mind freeze on you, and we both know how much you loooove, that. I’m horny and I want you now.”

Yeah that would go over very well. Oh what the hell…

***

“Tess?”

“Huh?”

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah…I’m just kinda tired now.” She smirked against his chest, but her already worried fiancé, missed her contented sigh.

“Oh God Babe. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…”
Oh God…Now he’s pulling a guilt fest…Time to shut him up

Tess silenced him with a soft kiss. She was going for passionate, mind-blowing, face sucking, but realized she didn’t have the energy.

Kyle stared down at her his eyes full of love, and guilt and confusion and a little bit of happiness. Tess grabbed his hand from where it was resting on her belly, and laced her fingers with his before bringing it to her mouth and placing light kisses on each of his beautiful fingers.

“Kyle. No. Ok. It’s not your fault… I missed this; I needed this. I loved it, I’m just a little tired ok. It’s not the end of the world.”

“Are you sure? Do want to take a nap?”

“Maybe later…right now I just want to talk to you. I miss that too.”

“What do you want to talk about Babe?”

“Well we’re kinda gonna get married soon, so I was thinking we could dream a little.”

“Ok. Are you sure you want to talk to me about it. Wouldn’t it be better to talk to Isabel or Maria or Liz, or hell all of them…I mean, not that I don’t want to talk about it. It’s just…”

“Do you not want to talk about?” Tess’s voice wavered slightly, and Kyle immediately knew she’d misunderstood.

“No. I don’t not want to talk about it. I would love to dream with you Babe. I’m just thinking that they probably would be better to talk to. I mean to me in some ways I would be cool with whatever you wanted.” Kyle held her eyes in his gaze pleading her to understand.

“Is it ok if I do both. Cause of coarse I have to talk to the…to the others about it, but I want to talk to you about it first.”

“Ok, what do you want to know.” Kyle was actually getting a little excited about the whole wedding thing, much to his dismay.

Oh hell, I just know that this will make her happy…what’s wrong with that. Damn I’m like a girl…but it’s definitely worth it when I see that smile. Lord she’s beautiful…

Tess perked up a little when she heard him give in. She pulled herself out of his embrace and sat cross-legged in the middle of their huge bed, looking like a little kid, about to go to Disneyland.

Damn. It’s definitely worth it.

“Ok. Damn what was I gonna ask you…Oh! Ok so do you want to have it here or do want to see if there’s a church somewhere… Are we going to do the whole official thing or is that too risky? Cause if you wanted we could just exchange vows, and if…when we get to go home, we could have like a real, official wedding.”

“Would it be ok if we didn’t make it official. I think it would be a little risky. And I’d kind of like for my dad to be there…you know when we do make it official.”

Tess stared into his eyes for a few moments before smiling gently and nodding her consent. “So…everyone’s gonna be there though…right? I guess…I mean if they want to be there.” Kyle was again taken aback by her skittishness when it came to talking about everyone else. It was like she was constantly backpedaling and qualifying herself when they were mentioned. He decided to ignore it for the moment, but promised himself he’d talk to Max about it the next time he had a chance.

They sat on the bed like that for the next hour discussing every detail of the “wedding” from the colors to the vows. It was nice, to just do the normal, engaged couple thing for a while. For that hour or so, they weren’t an alien, deathly ill and her slightly mutated fiancé. They were just Tess and Kyle, two people completely gone on each other, planning the wedding of their dreams.

They would’ve gone on for hours, if they hadn’t been interrupted by Kyle’s stomach growl, immediately answered by Tess’s. They quickly took their showers and went downstairs to find some sustenance. When they got to the foot of the stairs they smiled when they saw everyone in the living area, each couple together sleeping peacefully, blissfully.

Yeah, it was a good day.

*****

“Liz?” Tess started quietly, a slight waver betraying her lack of confidence.

Liz never looked up from the book she’d been reading, or more accurately staring at for the past hour.

“Yeah?” When Tess didn’t ask her question, Liz lowered the book and turned toward her…her…whatever it was she and Tess were. “What’s the matter?” She kept her voice low and Tess noted a little concern edging its way in to Liz’s usually steady voice.

“Ummm…Well I kinda need to ask you something, and I really need you to be completely honest. Can you do that?” Liz’s interest was definitely piqued

“Sure.”

“Do you hate me?” Tess let the words just spew from her mouth. Liz was so shocked by the question that she just sat there in silence, trying to register what Tess had asked. Unfortunately, an unusually jumpy Tess misunderstood the silence to be an answer in the affirmative.

“Ok. That’s what I thought. I’m just going to go to my room now. Tell Kyle when he gets back.” Liz was now thoroughly confused as to what had just happened and made the not so wise decision to let Tess leave.

Tess was about to mount the stairs when the tears came. At the first step she slowly turned around, “I…uh…I don’t blame you Liz…I’d hate me too…it’s just…well, I’m sorry.”

Hearing the tears in Tess’s voice woke Liz out of her stupor.

Oh my God…she thinks I hate her? Why would I hate her?

“Tess. Why would I hate you? True there was a time when I thought I could kill you if you said the word destiny one more time…but Tess, that was two years ago, we were two totally different people.”

“But I ruined your life. Liz you have every right to hate my guts. It’s ok…I don’t hold it against you. I’ll try to stay out of your hair.”

“No. Tess, come here…look at me, ok. I don’t hate you. I didn’t even hate you then. It’s true…we aren’t exactly the best of friends, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you. I do care, and I was just as scared as any one when you were sick…”

“You were scared for Kyle…not for me. It wasn’t me. Be honest.” Tess looked Liz directly in her eyes and begged her to understand how important this was to her. Begged her to for once in her life, tell the whole truth.

***
Maria was sleeping and Michael was sketching. They had spent all day that way, just lazing around enjoying the other’s company: a little talking, a little kissing, a little cuddling and a little peaceful silence.

Its weird how much two people can grow up in a two years. At the dawn of their relationship…anyone would have said that it was doomed. And for those two sixteen year-olds, it was. But one battle, two FBI chases and fifteen gunshot wounds later, they weren’t two teenagers living for the next round of making up or the next clue to the reason for their exhistence, no longer two kids pining for a life that didn’t include the trappings of a tourist trap known as Roswell. They were two soon-to-be parents, living with a group of friends that they could trust, living and fighting, not for themselves but for each other. For everyone.

Michael couldn’t play the jackass and Maria couldn’t pretend to be Teflon…life was too f*cking short. And there were other people involved. People that they loved, and cared for, people they had the potential to either hurt or edify.

For Michael, that was excruciatingly frightening. He had to trust others enough to be honest, enough to be vulnerable around more than just three people. And he couldn’t bear to hurt them anymore. To be the cause of their pain when they already had so much to deal with. Yes Michael Guerin, champion jackass, grew up, fell in love and helped conceive a child. The world really is wacked.

The onset of Maria’s maturation was a little more abrupt. She just knew that she couldn’t handle faking it anymore. Max was her “Girlfriend,” Liz was her best friend, Alex was her best friend, Kyle became her brother and Tess her sister. Michael was the love of her life, her joy. And as much as it scared her to risk getting hurt again, she decided one spring morning that it was worth it. And she got hurt again, time after time, but it was real and it was true and it healed.

So here they were, calm, and restful, as at peace as any expectant American couple can get in rural Mexico. And it was beautiful and it was…normal.

***

He felt the moan before he heard it. Like he knew that she was in some kind of stress akin to pain, but not quite there.

“Ria? You ok?” Michael got up from his chair by the window and crouched at the side of the bed near her face. He reached up to brush the hair out of her eyes and noticed a tear falling from her wide-open eyes.

***
“You’re right.” Liz looked Tess directly in the eye, not as a challenge but as a way of letting Tess know that she was baring her soul, or at least a small part of it. “You’re right Tess. I was worried for Kyle. I was worried for Max and Maria and Michael and Isabel and…Tess, I was worried for you.”

“Why? Why were you worried for me?” Again there was no hint of a challenge in her voice, nor was there a plea for pity, just genuine curiosity and a hint of confusion.

“I don’t know.”

***
“Maria? Maria?” there was no response to Michael’s pleas other than an uneven whimper and shallow breathing. He was starting to freak a little.

“Maria? What’s wrong. You have to tell me or I can’t help you…Ria? Honey, if you’re hurt or whatever please tell me…Damnit Ria answer me…” Michael shook her shoulders only to receive a bone racking sob. Pulling his girlfriend into his arms he just held her totally at a loss as to what exactly he was supposed to do.

“Do you want me to get Liz? Sweetie just tell me something…’k just tell me. It’ll be ok.”

Slowly the sobs subsided and her breathing slowed. Michael, knowing that the worst, abandoned his pleas and just held her close to him smoothing her hair with one hand and rubbing her belly reassuringly with the other.

Maria refused to meet his gaze and took a deep breath.

“Michael…Why…?” Michael could feel a shudder run through her body. He was shocked when the next moment she had scurried across off the bed over to the window seat. Still confused but knowing to let her go, Michael just kept his gaze firmly on her profile as she ran her fingers over the soft white lace curtains. Another tear fell from her eye just before she swallowed another sob.

“Why didn’t you tell me Michael? Why didn’t you tell me?”

***

“I don’t know why I care about you. Just like I don’t know what makes me care about Maria or Alex. I just do. For so many reasons and no reason at all. Tess you may look the same and sound the same as that scared, 16 year-old girl, but you aren’t her. You aren’t her any more than I’m the same girl as I was or that Michael’s the same jackass that he was. You care and you can see beyond what you want. You give of yourself over and over and you love so purely that I’ve never seen anything else like it.” Liz took a breath

“Do you hate me?” Liz asked a smile slightly on her lips

“No. You intimidate the hell out of me…and I just said that out loud didn’t I…sorry.”

“I intimidate you Tess? How?” Tess couldn’t help but let out a nervous laugh at Liz’s oblivious shock.

“Liz, you’re the girlfriend of a king, you have perfect hair, you’re smart, you’ve managed to keep friends since…like…kindergarten. You’ve dated Kyle…”

“That I can guarantee you, you have nothing to worry about that. Kyle’s yours and yours alone.” Liz was still a little confused by Tess’s feelings of inferiority. “So we were both wrong about each other I guess.”

“How were you wrong about me?”

“Well I thought that you hated me for a long time and you intimidate the hell out of me…so we’re kinda even.”

“I’m gonna get some tea. You wanna come?”

“Sure. Tea’s always good.” They both walked into the kitchen, very confused, yet strangely relieved.

“So are we like friends now?” Tess laughed a little at her own confused question.

“Uh…yeah. Yeah we are…except…” Liz’s smile grew as an idea began to form inside her slightly warped and sleep deprived mind.

“Except what. Something tells me I might not like the answer to your quest…” Tess glanced warily at her new…friend.

“Well, friends know stuff about each other…you know…secrets…and you and me, we don’t know those…aside from the whole huge other planet thing. Anyway, I was just thinking that maybe we should play a little game…we could even get the guys involved…”

*****

Michael’s heart stopped and immediately the tears began to fall down his cheeks. He wanted to reach out to her more than anything, he wanted to deny everything and beg her to be referring to something else. He wanted to be paranoid…he wanted to be wrong…but he wasn’t. And now all that he could feel was the rush of air as it escaped his lungs and an intense need to run. The fear and the sorrow was closing in on him as his eyes remained fixed on the only girl he could ever really love.

Michael did the one thing that he’d ever really done…he got up and walked out the door. He slowly, as if in a trance walked down the hallway, down the stairs passing Liz and Tess, ignoring their questions and almost stopping when he heard the loud crash upstairs…but the sound of shattering glass only made him more determined…more scared. His pace quickened as he rushed out the door and just kept walking faster and faster until he was running hard and fast towards the setting sun. He could feel the brush rubbing up against his legs grabbing at his jeans trying to keep him in place, trying to hold him back, but he just kept running, not thinking not really even breathing. All that he could see was Maria’s face crying and Isabel’s voice begging him to do something…begging him to help her…begging him not to forget. A low shrub finally took him down hard and he landed sprawled out on the rocky ground, dust filling his eyes and his mouth. Too tired to get up Michael just laid there, tears no longer falling from his eyes, chest heaving and heart pounding. Isabel’s voice was the last thing he heard as the darkness closed in.

***
Maria stared at the mirror for a few minutes before throwing her fist into her perfect reflection. The blow sent the rest of the mirror crashing to the ground and the shards of glass dug into her hand, blood spilling out in little rivers from the deep, painful wounds. Sinking to the floor, Maria let her injured hand hang limply as she silently stared into the vacant hallway. Her heart sank when she saw Liz come running into her room.

Damn it. I just want to be alone…Damn it!

“Damn it Liz…please just go. Please”

The defeated tone of Maria’s voice scared the sh*t out of Liz. Maria didn’t give up. Not where Michael was involved.

“Maria sweetie…what did he do to you? Honey…you’re scaring me, please just answer me. What happened?”

God. Why can’t she just go away? That’s exactly how he begged me to tell him…now he wishes he didn’t know…She can’t know… no one can know what he’s done…to me. [I/]

“Liz. I’m fine. Now please…leave.” Maria’s voice was cold as ice and just as hard. The uncertainty was long gone and now there was a reserve.

“Maria pl-”

“F*ck Liz…leave now!” Her voice was so quiet yet louder than any wailing banshee and twice as threatening. Liz slowly backed out the door…sad and scared.

*****

Everything’s white here. Walls and floors and dresses and skin…oh there’s some red…blood…crimson…white…blue veins spilling out. Red and white are striking.

I love him. I love him. I love him. I hate him. I love him. I love him. I love him.

“Maria?”

“Isabel…please just go away.”

I looked around the room. It was eerie and silent…sad.

“Maria? Where are you?”

Maria never looked away from the blood on the floor.

“Just go away.”

“Maria? Liz said that you’re hurt.”

Doesn’t she get it? I don’t want to be here. I love my baby.

“Go.”

“Maria? Where are you? Why are you crying? God Maria, You’re hands...”

Maria brought her blood covered hand to her blurred eyes. She was pale, so pale.

“Let me help”

“Isabel. Go to Hell.”

Where did that come from…I love Izzy. She’s…she’s…I don’t want her to go to hell…but why do I? She looks so sad…so tired…like me.

“Maria…please let me help you…please.”

I reached out to touch her hands but Maria pulled back and scrambled to the corner…scared…of the memory that touching me would bring.

“No. I don’t wanna hate you…don’t you understand…please go. I don’t want to. I don’t want to…I don’t. Go…now.”

“Why?”

“Cause if you stay…I’ll remember…I don’t want to…but it’s right there…its hovering right there, just beyond reach and if you bump me even an inch closer I can grasp it…I won’t be able to stop myself…like a kid and mean dog…and I don’t want to…please go.”

She needed help…maybe if it wasn’t me.

“Can Max help?”

“No. No. No. Go please before I remember.”

“What about Tess?”

“No. No. No. No. no one…I have to stay here…where I don’t remember.”

Isabel’s eyes popped open…and she was terrified…

“She knows…”

***

“Maria?”

“Michael?”

“Where are you?”

“Somewhere. You?”

“Same.”

“I need you to leave.”

“I know. But I have to fix your hands…they haven’t stopped bleeding. You losing this fight. ‘k.”

“’k”

“Michael…I don’t want to hate you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I love you”

“I love you”

“Why do we have to lose?”

“Because.”

“I don’t want to remember.”

“You don’t?”

“No.”

“What don’t you want to remember?”

“What ever it is that could make me hate you?”

“Are you sure.”

“Yes.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Michael…make it so I don’t know…so I can’t. Please.”

“Maria I can’t.”

“But I don’t want to hate you.”

“You won’t. You don’t know how.”

“I don’t?”

“No. You don’t”

“I love this baby. I love you.”

“I love you both. I love you both.”

“Am I going to have to remember?”

“Maybe”

“Will we be ok?”

“Maybe”

*****

She was so still, lying on her bed, face pale and tear streaked. Michael watched her from the window seat, half of his soul begging that she’d forget, the other praying she’d remember…that even after remembering she’d be able to forgive him.

There was still no telling why her hands had bled so much…the cuts were surface wounds that normally wouldn’t even need stitches. Nothing made sense, everything was so damn wrong. The baby was fine and Maria was fine…but was she really.

She knew everything and it made her so crazy that she choose to forget. Michael wasn’t sure how to deal with that. He didn’t want his child to represent something so horrible that his girlfriend had no choice but to abort it in her mind. Nothing made sense least of all his own feelings…he was all at once fiercely protective of Maria, the only girl he’d ever love, and so sad for Isabel, his…his…friend. His friend.

Maria’s eyes fluttered open, after what seemed like the strangest dream. Glancing around the room they stopped when they found the most beautiful face she’d ever seen. The face she loved and knew loved her. There was an overwhelming sense of calm hanging around her body, soft and sweet like a baby’s blanket…warm and loving. It was nice.

She had no idea why he had such a pensive look on his face, but at that moment she could care less. He was beautiful and he was hers…only hers.

“Hey Spaceboy.” Her voice sounded so far away even to her. It had a childlike quality, so innocent, so pure, so sure that all was right with the world.

“Maria…” His voice was strangled, tired and a little sad…so very Michael like. The only difference between his voice now and his voice from the past was the blanket of tenderness surrounding every syllable of her perfect name. He looked so unsure, unsteady, undone.

“Michael, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing…” Everything

“The baby’s kicking…do you want to feel it?”

A small nod was the only answer to his question…his eyes lit up a little at the mention of the baby, but they were still so sad…so unreachable. Maria took note of this, but knew he’d tell her when he was ready…he always did.


"I love you"

"I know"

***

“Isabel?”

“I don’t want to talk about it right now Alex…please.”

"Iz..."

"Alex...not now..."

"I love you...don't forget that."

"Alex...I won't...Be careful"

"You know it."


***

“Kyle, I love you”

“Your beautiful.”

“You’re not so bad yourself…”

“Not so bad…not so bad…I think I’m wounded.”

“Whatever Ego Boy…finish the salad…the rest is almost ready…”

“Ego Boy?”

“It’s either that or Buddha boy…your choice.”

“I love you too…”

“Umm…could you let everyone know dinners ready.”

“Sure…but you’ve gotta give me incentive.”

“I think I can handle that.”

She stretched up to kiss him square on the mouth. If she didn’t’ think about the pain it would be there right.

Wrong…the pain will always be there. Get over it girl

***

“She was so scared…it’s like she lost everything and it drove her crazy.”

“I know sweetie…I know. But Michael was able to calm her down...maybe it's nothing...maybe she’s just stressed.”

“But Max…”

“Liz. Leave them alone…ok. Let Michael deal with this. You can’t fix this…ok.”

“She loves him so much.”

“And he loves her…and she knows that.”

But Max…what if something’s wrong…what if loving her isn’t enough…what if loving him isn’t enough. You didn’t see Max...you didn't see him run out of this house like he’d committed some deadly sin.”

“I love you.”

“I know.”

That's all I have for now...I may or may not post future parts here...if I don't I'll provide a url where you can find them...I don't care if you have a differing opinion on the way I have portrayed characters in this fic...I just ask that you not flame me...all reasonable discussions or comments are highly welcome and I love to hear what you thought about this fic, good and bad...thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed.