TITLE: Why (1/1)
AUTHOR: Rebecca Parker
EMAIL: NumfarGal⊕aol.com
RATING: PG-13
PAIRING: Michael/Liz
SUMMARY: Michael and Liz find their way to each other. Original, I know!
IMPROV: #1: memory/air/servant/idolize
FEEDBACK: I do the dance of joy upon receipt of feedback.
DISCLAIMER: Jason Katims owns all.
DISTRIBUTION: At http://www.roswellimprov.com and http://www.ourowndestiny.com . All others, please ask first.
DEDICATION: To Bri, for the read-through and for believing in, and encouraging me as a Roswell writer.



A part of Liz wanted to stay in this place forever, while the other part wanted to jump up and run away. Being in Michael Guerin's arms and feeling his chest rise and fall against hers was definitely something new.

The part of her that knew she should go was held in place by the weight of his arms wrapped around her. The heat coming off of his skin seemed so comforting; like a warm blanket that you appreciated so much on a cold winter's night. She wondered for a moment if this was an alien thing, but then she remembered that it had never been like that with Max.

The night they had spent out by the old radio tower, spooning on the desert floor, she remembered being cold. He had held her close, like Michael did now, and even the warmth provided by her jacket wasn't enough that night.

But with Michael- even though they were in the bed in his apartment, their bodies covered by the sheets she was surprised were so soft, she knew that his body heat would have been enough had they spent the night naked in the cool night air.

She smiled as he shifted his body, pulling her closer to him in his sleep. She stared up at the ceiling, letting her fingers trace softly across the length of his arm. She wasn't going to let the thought of Max get in the way of the pleasure she took in this moment. She wasn't going to let that old memory of their night together stop her from closing her eyes and losing herself underneath Michael's touch.

+++++

Things had been wrong for too long between Max and herself. Even Tess' exile and his teary apologies hadn't helped bring them any closer. Those first few days she had fooled herself into thinking that things could be right again between them; that all the harsh words and looks he had thrown her way could be forgotten with one good one, with one kiss at the rocks she had ran away from only a year before.

He hadn't understood, of course, and things began to get even worse. She couldn't explain it to him without destroying the friendship she thought she would still have been able to salvage. But Liz Parker was a package deal to Max- girlfriend, or nothing. After all they had been through, he didn't understand why she couldn't go back to how things were before, and she didn't understand why he couldn't see why not.

So, as much as she hated to distance herself from what she had finally gotten back to, she did. She took different routes to her classes, avoiding the ones she suspected Max would be coming out of or lurking outside of. She ignored the pleading calls on her answering machine and the scribbled notes stuffed inside her locker. Maria was confused by Liz's reaction, especially when even she herself had trouble getting Liz to return her phone calls.

"It's just hard," Liz had told her one night over the phone. "We were all such a close-knit group, Maria. And I can't be a part of that anymore."

"Why not? Because of Max?"

"Yes," Liz said, sighing. "Look, Maria. You and Michael- you're always together. And Michael is always with Max, and that's not where I want to be."

"Michael and I," Maria started, and Liz could practically feel the frustration in her best friend's voice. "I don't know anymore. How we all started- you and Max, me and Michael, Alex and Isabel- I think we were being too idealistic. I don't think we get happy endings, Liz."

"Of course we do," Liz said, but she could tell Maria didn't buy it. "So what's going to happen with you two?"

Maria sighed. "I don't know."

But Maria did know, and she had broken it off with Michael two days later.

Michael had nearly been destroyed by Maria's revelation that her feelings for him had weakened, instead of strengthened, since the night they made love. He didn't understand how she could turn him away when he had given up his chance for everything he ever wanted simply for her.

But Maria had confessed to Liz a few nights later a sentiment which Liz could understand and identify with- they had grown up too fast and too soon. In the space of a year, the biggest problems they had been faced with had switched from dealing with high school politics to interplanetary politics. It was all too much.

So when Michael showed up on Liz's doorstep, begging her to explain what Michael couldn't understand- why- Liz wasn't surprised. It seemed to be the question on everyone's minds.

She took him in her room, and tried to explain. She told him about Maria's first boyfriend in the eighth grade and how she had dumped him when he bought her a claddagh ring. "Way too serious," Maria had confided over Rocky Road ice cream.

"I don't get it," Michael said, sighing as he held his head in his hands. "I thought all that serious stuff was what she wanted."

"Michael," Liz said, smiling. "17 year old girls rarely know exactly what they want."

"How about you?" he asked, staring at her. "Do you?"

Liz looked down, unbelieving of the thought that had instantaneously crossed her mind. "You," she heard the voice inside her head say. "Um," her actual voice said as she nervously tucked her hair behind her ears. "I don't know Michael."

"Yeah," Michael said, frowning as he stood up. "Seems to be a lot of that going around."

Liz stood up to face him, fidgeting as they stared at each other. "Michael, I'm sorry. If she hurt you-"

"Come on, Liz," Michael said, cutting her off. He started to say something else, but stopped himself, his mouth closing quickly and his body turning from her. "See ya Liz," he said, climbing out her window and back into the night he had come in from.

+++++

Liz had learned to keep her window open while she studied each night. Most evenings, Michael would come inside and they would talk about Maria, or Max, or just anything at all. They both wanted to understand, and wanted to be able to explain, but there was never any of either- just a friendship formed out of confusion, and the groundwork for something neither of them ever expected.

So when he kissed her the first night, she was taken aback. The voice inside her head that had popped up that night months ago to tell her this was what she wanted was back to tell her to keep going. It was back to tell her not to be a servant to that other voice which told her to stop, which told her this was wrong.

So Liz kissed him back, although she wasn't quite sure why. She thought that perhaps it was because she was tired of being good, that perhaps because she had wanted to do just this for a long time. For whatever reason, she returned his kiss, and tried not to look surprised when his hand slipped underneath her shirt.

But she couldn't help but look disappointed when he pulled away, mumbling apologies and curses as he quickly scurried out her window.

She had sat outside on her balcony for many nights after that, waiting for him return. But it had been weeks since she had seen him beyond a quick glance between classes. She felt despondent as she realized her own tricks had been turned against her; he was avoiding her, not returning her phone calls.

And she was left to figure out why. Worse than that, she was left with no one to talk to about it. Lately, she had used Michael to bounce ideas and issues off of, and she could hardly run to Maria with this dilemma. Liz thought- how would Maria react to finding out her best friend had kissed her ex-boyfriend?

But if Maria's reaction would have been anything like how Liz reacted when she walked in on Maria and Max kissing in the back room of the Crashdown, she thought perhaps she could have confided in Maria long before. "Sorry," Liz had said, reaching over to the shelf and grabbing another box of Tabasco sauce. "Isabel's demanding this." She smiled and ducked out, laughing to herself at the look of shock and shame that the two had been wearing.

Liz walked back into the dining area of the restaurant and grinned as she sat a bottle down in front of Isabel.

"What's so funny?" the blonde had asked, and Liz could just shrug.

"Life's just full of surprises," she had simply said, and walked back to the counter. Liz sat down, ignoring a customer who was beckoning her over for more coffee, and leaned her head against her hands.

What surprised Liz the most was not seeing her best friend and a man she had long considered to be her soulmate kissing behind her back, but the fact that she wasn't more bothered by it.

Maria came rushing out, offering an explanation, but Liz told her she didn't need one. Maria didn't believe her, and Liz didn't know how to convince her. She could have told her how finally, it was something that Liz understood; how Liz had felt things for Michael. But even the part of her that used to idolize her best friend knew that this would not be something that *Maria* would understand. That the type of forgiveness that Liz had been so at ease to give out to Maria, would not be something Maria had the ability to return.

Liz had finished up her shift, and even smiled at Max as he walked past her and out of the Crashdown nervously. She even tried to pretend not to notice when Maria had left right after. She locked up, cleaned down the counters, evened out the register and went up to her room.

She had been lying down in bed, staring at the ceiling with her hand resting lightly on her stomach when he walked in. She didn't even see or hear him at first. He walked over to her, and took her hand in his.

"Michael," she said, nervously looking over to him as she sat up in bed. "What-"

"Come with me," he said, pulling her to her feet.

She looked at him, trying to understand what he was thinking as she followed him out the window, onto the balcony and down the stairs to the street below.

He didn't say a word to her as he handed her a motorcycle helmet. "You good to ride?" he asked. She nodded, taking the helmet and placing it on her head. He looked at the helmet, disproportionate to the rest of her body and smiled as he grabbed his own. He quickly put it on and got onto the bike.

Liz took a deep breath and climbed on. She could feel her heart racing as he revved the engine; she wasn't sure whether it was the excitement of their upcoming ride, or the fact that her chest was pressed against his.

But when he turned his head back to her and said, "Hold on tight," and wrapped her arms around his torso, she was sure it was their close proximity that was causing her pulse to race, and nothing else.

He sped along the streets of Roswell with Liz behind him smiling broadly and wondering where he was taking her. She was about to ask when he pulled up in front of a row of apartment units.

He shut the engine off, put the kickstand down, and took his helmet off, but didn't move to get off. She reached over to take her own helmet off, and tried to think of something to say. She had waited for this chance for weeks now, but words failed her. Instead, she leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed.

They sat there on his motorcycle for another minute before Michael stepped off and turned back to her, extending his hand, which, after a smile, Liz took.

Liz grabbed Michael's hand and stepped off the motorcycle. He didn't let go as he walked towards the apartments, and Liz didn't mind as well.

"Is this your apartment?" Liz asked, looking around.

"Yeah," Michael said, fishing in his picket with his free hand and pulling out a key. "I'm sorry I haven't had you over before."

"It's OK," Liz said, shrugging. "We were never really that close before. I mean- I know you never really liked me." Liz sighed, wondering why she had said that- the thought had seemed to come out of nowhere.

Michael stopped and looked to Liz, surprised. "Liz, I always liked you."

Liz's eyes grew wide. "Michael, you don't have to say that. I know you thought I was some whiny little schoolgirl or something."

"I never thought that," Michael said, turning to unlock the front door. "It's just- you were always Max's. I mean, even before you really were, you were."

Michael opened the door and stepped back to let Liz through. She walked past, a little bit dazed by what Michael had told her.

She looked around his apartment, surprised by how neat it was. From what Maria had told her, Michael was notoriously messy.

She turned back to him, suddenly aware that he was awaiting a response from her. She wasn't sure what to say to that though. "Michael" she began, fidgeting nervously. "I don't really want to talk about Max right now."

"Yeah," Michael said, nodding. "Neither do I. But the thing is- I found out something tonight that I think you should know."

"About Max?" Liz asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Yeah, and Maria," he said, shaking his head.

"Oh," Liz said, "They're together now." She looked to Michael, trying to read his expression. She didn't expect him to deal with it as well as she had. "How are you taking it?"

"You knew?" he asked, his voice surprised.

"I walked in on them tonight. Kissing," she added.

"Oh," Michael said, moving over to the couch and sitting down. "So how am I taking it?" he asked, folding his hands in his lap. "You wanna know the weird thing?"

Liz looked over to him and instantly knew what was coming next. "You don't care," she said, and he shook his head.

"No," he said, "I do care."

"Oh," Liz said, looking down. "I'm sorry. Of course you care."

Michael turned to her, and stared at her for a minute. "Come here," he said, patting the cushion on the couch next to him.

Liz walked over and sat next to him, feeling nervous as their bodies grew closer.

"Liz, the reason that I care is this," he said, moving closer to her. "The last few weeks, I've been kicking myself thinking I was some kind of asshole for kissing you. I thought it was a fucked up thing to do considering that Max is my best friend."

"But he kissed Maria," Liz finished and nodded. "Michael, I didn't expect Maria to do that. And I know that I should be mad but-"

"But you're not?"

"No," Liz said, shaking her head.

"I know. Neither am I. Because now I don't feel so guilty for feeling how I do about you." He moved even closer, taking her hand in his. "When I kissed you that night, I felt like I was betraying everyone but us."

"I know," Liz said, nodding. "But Michael, I felt something else when you kissed me."

"Yeah?" Michael asked, smirking. "What's that?"

"Happy?" Liz looked up at Michael and smiled. "Happy, and right. I felt right. And I haven't felt that in a really long time."

"Yeah," Michael said, leaning in to place a soft kiss on her lips. She sighed as that feeling returned to her, and her arms reached out to take him in.

After another moment, they pulled back, staring at each other for a few silent moments. Finally, Liz spoke. "Michael, I want to spend the night."

"What?" Michael asked, taken aback by her request. "Liz, I-"

"I know," Liz said, smiling as she laid her palm against his cheek. "I know it's soon, but I also know that it's what I want. And it's what.

"Why?" he asked her, his eyes dancing across her face, waiting for some explanation as to why she had asked for something that he had never expected. Dreamed of, yes. Expected- no.
"I don't know," she answered matter-of-factly. "But I know to trust what I feel. I know to trust what I know." She smiled, leaning in for another kiss. "And I know that I want you."

+++

Liz closed her eyes after another minute, and Michael moved his arms again so that she was now even closer, even warmer under his touch. The night seemed like a blur, yet she could still feel every emotion that she had experienced in the last 24 hours. Most vivid was the pleasure he had brought her; she could still feel her knees shaking from the things they had done, the emotions he had caused her.

She shifted her body slightly so that her skin brushed against his, and she could feel her heart race as she did so. Part of her wanted to wake him so that they could make love again- she had never known such ecstasy as when their bodies moved together, but she had also never known such peace as when they just fell asleep in each other's arms.

As she beckoned sleep to come to her, she realized that any lingering doubts or guilt she had only moments before were now gone. She felt like she was where she belonged, and while she knew that things weren't as easy as that, at this moment- she couldn't bring herself to care.


the end


-Rebecca
http://www.ourowndestiny.com
Our Own Destiny: A Buffy, Angel and Roswell Site