Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)155 - 8/24/19 - Complete

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ArchAngel1973
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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)155 - 8/24/19 - Complete

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:33 pm

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da - The Lost Child

By ArchAngel1973 (in collaboration with xmag)

Disclaimer: Characters and plot lines that appeared in the series, the books, and the concept of Roswell are not mine. Belong to Melinda Metz, UPN, etc, etc.

Pairing: M&M. Some A&I later on. Dreamers have nothing to fear.

Rating : Teen.

Summary : based on a challenge by xmag. What if Michael had been found by River Dog after hatching, and had been raised on the Indian reservation, by River Dog’s son and daughter-in-law ? In Roswell, the shooting happened in September 2001.

Author’s note : The title is in Navajo but xmag and I decided to use the English translation in it, too. The fic will be very long but the good news IS that there will be weekly updates and that 300 pages have already been written.

Author’s note 2 : Banner by Fehrbaby


Part 1

Maria stared sightlessly at the scenery as it flew by, her thoughts miles behind her as she wondered when she had become obsolete. She knew when things had changed, she just didn’t know why. Scratch that, she thought with a sad sigh. Everything had changed because her best friends were suddenly keeping secrets from her. At first she had tried to shrug it off and blame it on the relationships Liz and Alex had formed with Max and Isabel, but that wasn’t the reason. It was definitely part of it, but it didn’t explain why the four of them were constantly taking off and going to secret destinations, having secret meetings, and talking in some sort of weird, secret code. It didn’t explain why they changed the subject every single time she approached them or why she no longer seemed to be welcome around two people she had been so close to since grade school.

Two months earlier she would have been hanging out with Liz and Alex on a Saturday afternoon, complaining about the lack of things to do in Roswell, but not now. No, now her life was so pathetic that she was actually going to spend the day with her mother at some Indian protest to save a burial site or something. The worst thing was that it would probably be the highlight of her week, she thought morosely.

“Maria, are you listening to me?”

“Sure, Mom. We need to save the native culture and preserve it for future generations,” she answered dutifully. She sighed once more when her mother continued with her rant about the loss of culture and reached for her backpack, unzipping it and pulling out her Algebra textbook. She lost herself in mathematical equations for the rest of the drive, concentrating on a completely different set of problems.

“Isn’t it magnificent?” Amy asked enthusiastically as she pulled up in front of the Tribal Office.

Maria turned her head to follow her mother’s gaze and she stared at what appeared to be nothing more than a huge lump of disintegrating rocks. “Um, why’re we protesting this again?”

“Maria, honey, this is part of their history; it’s important to – “

Relief washed over her when one of her mother’s friends rushed past the hood of the car to stand by the window and the two women started talking rapidly about the… Maria looked at the crumbling wall once more. What was it again? She watched her mother step out of the car and hurry to join the small group of people she traveled with for all of her protests and rallies, smiling fondly at their excited chattering.

The little group moved off to admire the thing they were there to protect and Maria got out of the car and went to sit on a bench in front of the Tribal Office. She slouched down against the wall, thankful for the shade the roof provided against the early morning sun, and opened her textbook once more.

Occasionally she would look up to see how things were progressing; making note of the heavy machinery that had been brought in by the wrecking crew, smiling when the group formed a circle around what was left of the crumbling structure and started chanting their protest over and over.

The sun crept higher in the sky until she couldn’t escape it any longer and she tried in vain to read as the sunlight glinted brightly off of the pages. Several hours passed while the group peacefully protested and the wrecking crew made no progress at all.

She looked up when a shadow fell over her and she frowned at the figure standing there. His face was hidden because of the sunlight falling over his broad shoulders, but her eyes wandered down over his tall form of their own volition.

“One of them belong to you?” he asked in a voice that sent shivers down her spine.

“What?”

“The protestors, one of ‘em belong to you?”

“Um, yes, the most vocal one; she’s my mother.”

“They’re not gonna keep that structure from bein’ taken down.” He shifted to the left and shook his head and his tone was amused when he spoke again. “You do realize that we want it torn down, right?”

“Look, my mother is adamant that this structure has historical significance to the Indians that live here so just sit back and take a break, okay?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sure you guys are getting paid by the hour even though you’re stuck waiting – “

He chuckled quietly. “You think I’m on the wreckin’ crew,” he mused aloud. He shook his head as he turned to walk away.

“Hey!” Maria stood up when he paused several feet from the porch with his back to her. “Why do you think the Indians want this thing torn down?”

“Because it’s all that remains of an old mission built by priests nearly a hundred years ago; it’s a symbol of oppression. They didn’t understand any religion other than their own so they tried to bury ours and force theirs down our throats because they saw the natives as nothin’ more than a bunch of heathens.” He walked away without another word, hands shoved deep in his pockets, and never once looked back.

Maria watched him go and wished he had turned around so she could have seen his face. His voice was unlike anything she had ever heard and while it was completely irrelevant she wondered what her name would sound like on his lips. He was tall, his hair was spiked, he was opinionated, and she really wanted to know what he looked like.

The sound of a siren wailing in the distance pulled her attention away from her musings about the mystery man and she forgot all about him as she focused on the sheriff’s Blazer driving through the gates.

*****

“History lessons, Michael?”

The amused voice was annoying but Michael Guerin turned to look at Eddie anyway. “You got somethin’ to say?”

Eddie just chuckled at the younger man’s menacing growl. He was eight years older than Michael and he was familiar with his prickly personality, but he couldn’t resist teasing him just a little bit. “You don’t usually go out of your way to speak to outsiders, that’s all.”

“Her mother’s tryin’ to keep them from tearin’ the old mission down because of its cultural value.” He snorted derisively and turned his head when the sheriff drove by. “It’s about time the elders called the cops.”

Eddie shook his head. “The wrecking crew probably called them; the elders wouldn’t have called the cops on Amy. Despite the fact that she can be…” He paused as he reached for the proper descriptive word.

“Flaky?”

“My point is her group sometimes gets their wires crossed but she’s been a very good friend to our people and she means well.”

“You’re tellin’ me there’s a reason for them lettin’ her get arrested over somethin’ they want torn down?”

Eddie smiled mysteriously. “There’s always a reason, Michael, but she won’t be arrested.”

Michael just rolled his eyes. “You sound more an’ more like River Dog every day,” he grumbled.

“Maybe your little history lesson made a difference.” He continued on his way without a backwards glance.

Michael stared after him for several minutes before he moved back so he could see what was going on with the protestors. He wondered how Eddie had known as he watched the little blond explain something to the group and he shook his head when they suddenly relocated to the other side of the yellow tape, allowing the wrecking crew to finally start working.

He didn’t know why he had stopped and spoken to her; it wasn’t typical behavior for him. He shrugged it off and walked away but he couldn’t shake the feeling that they were going to meet again someday.

*****

“How did you know about the mission?” Amy asked as they drove home later that afternoon.

“Some guy who lives there was talking to me about it,” Maria answered absent-mindedly. She couldn’t get her mind off of him, which was surprising because she didn’t even know what he looked like. Not that she was shallow or anything; she had just never been attracted to a guy simply because of his voice. “When are you going out there again?”

Amy glanced at her daughter, surprised that she had asked the question. Maria rarely showed any interest in what her mother did now that she was a senior in high school. She knew the lack of association with her friends was the reason for Maria’s suddenly blank schedule and that was why she had agreed to accompany Amy on several recent outings. She wished she knew why there was so much distance between the three of them; as much as she enjoyed Maria’s company she knew her daughter felt the loss deeply.

“Mom?”

“Sorry, honey, I was just wondering what happened with Liz and Alex.”

“I guess Max and Isabel Evans are just more interesting.” Maria propped her elbow on the doorframe and stared at the desert as it flew by. Before she had a chance to start feeling sorry for herself and wondering what had happened to her friendships her mind conjured up the voice that had been the focus of her thoughts for the past few hours.

“You have last period free on Wednesdays, right?”

“What?” Maria glanced at her mother. “Yeah, I’m free last period.”

“Why don’t you take the afternoon off from work on Wednesday and you can go out to the Reservation with me. I’m meeting with some of the local artists and maybe you can get a better look around.”

Maria nodded. “You never did say how you guys got the mission mixed up as something that needed to be preserved.”

Amy waved the question off, too embarrassed by the mistake to discuss it. “Why don’t we talk about this young man you met?” The telltale blush on her daughter’s cheeks clearly pinpointed Maria’s motive for wanting to go back on Wednesday.

“Did you say you wanted to go out for dinner tonight?” Maria asked in a sad attempt to change the subject.
Last edited by ArchAngel1973 on Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:57 pm, edited 158 times in total.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt2-12/29

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:22 am

Part 2


At lunchtime on Wednesday Maria found herself standing across the quad, watching Liz and Max where they sat together talking at one of the tables. They glanced up with welcoming smiles when Isabel joined them and she felt a pang of sadness as the three of them carried on a conversation, their heads close together as they leaned over the table. She froze when they suddenly looked up, their gazes zeroing in on her, and she briefly considered just turning and walking away when Liz stood and started walking in her direction.

“Maria, wait up!”

“Did you need something, Liz?” she asked when the brunette had caught up with her. “Because you seemed to be pretty busy with your new friends.”

“Please don’t be like that, Maria.” Liz hated that things had become so strained between them but she didn’t know what to do make them right again. The most obvious solution wasn’t available because it would entail a breach of trust and she had already pushed the boundaries of trust with her new friends by revealing their secret to one person.

“You know you can join us,” Alex said, pausing beside her on his way to join the others. He glanced at Liz and knew her thoughts mirrored his own. He didn’t like keeping things from Maria; he could only imagine how he would feel if he had been the one who had been left in the dark. He knew she was hurt and probably felt abandoned to some extent by their sudden alliance with Max and Isabel because she had been pushed aside as they attempted to keep their new friends’ dangerous secret from being revealed.

“Why? So you can struggle to find something we can all talk about? Do you really think I’m so stupid that I’m completely unaware of the fact that every time I come around when you’re with them that you change the subject? Or that the two of you have suddenly dumped me in favor of two people you hadn’t spoken one word to before – “

“Maria, we’re still your friends,” Liz offered. “It’s just that now we have a couple of new friends and – “

“This goes beyond having new friends; I don’t know what their hold over you two is, but it’s obviously something you don’t care to talk about, so why don’t you just go on and have lunch with them and I’ll see you later.”

“You’re sure you don’t want to join us?”

Maria smiled sadly as she turned back to look at her oldest friends. “I’m sure.” She shrugged. “Besides, I have somewhere I need to be.”

“Okay,” Liz said, her tone uncertain, “I’ll see you at work then.”

“Sure.” She walked away without bothering to correct the assumption; she had cleared the time off with Mr. Parker the day before and she doubted that he had said anything to his daughter since Liz believed that she would be at work after school.

“I hate keeping this from her, Alex.”

He nodded and draped his right arm around her shoulders. “Until we can get them to understand that they can trust her we can’t say anything; you know that. They’re still not happy that I know about them, and it’s caused enough tension so we don’t need to add more to it.”

*****

“You’re sure you don’t want to meet some of the artists?” Amy asked. She hesitated when Maria leaned up against the car and shook her head, trying not to be obvious as she looked around for the young man who had captured her interest.

Maria looked at her mother when she realized that she was waiting for a verbal answer. “No, Mom, I’ll be fine here. Really.” She made a shooing motion with one hand and adjusted her sunglasses with the other.

Amy turned and walked to the building where she was meeting with some of the artists who supplied her with a large amount of items to sell each year, hiding a smile at her daughter’s attempt to appear casual and nonchalant.

“You seem to be spendin’ a lot of time hangin’ around on the Rez here lately.”

Maria shivered as his voice washed over her and she turned her head to look at him when he leaned up against the car beside her. His gaze remained focused straight ahead, allowing her to see only his profile, and his muscled arms were folded over his chest. His features were chiseled, his jaw spoke of a stubborn nature, and his hair was still unruly and spiked.

“My mom sells stuff made by some of the people here,” she explained when the fingers of his right hand began drumming restlessly against his left arm.

He nodded. “You got a name?”

Maria’s eyebrows shot up in surprise and she pulled her sunglasses off. “Of course I have a name; everyone has a name.”

He waited for several minutes, trying to ignore the fact that she was winding him up. He refused to be the first to break and he stared sightlessly at the empty spot where the old mission had stood less than a week ago. After several more minutes he could feel his back teeth starting to grind and he tried not to pay attention to the heat emanating from her body where she was standing so close to him.

“So, I guess you’re glad that the mission is finally gone.”

His head turned and his gaze swung to her in disbelief. “What?”

Maria stared at him, her eyes traveling over his strong features to settle on eyes that were unbelievably dark. It would be so easy to get lost in the intensity of those dark depths and she wondered if he had any idea how attractive he was. She dismissed that after less than a moment of contemplation; he wasn’t the type to put much stock in his appearance.

“The mission, you said it was a symbol of oppression, right? So you must be relieved that it’s finally gone.” She pushed her tongue against the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing when he continued to stare at her, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to come up with a suitable response.

Michael couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around the sudden change in topic and he shook his head in an attempt to clear it. “What’s your name?” Her green eyes sparkled playfully and he growled as he realized he had played right into her hands.

“Maria DeLuca,” she introduced herself.

He watched her and his eyes narrowed when she started to extend her hand but pulled it back at the last second and rested it on the hood of the car instead. “Too good to shake my hand?” he snarled.

Maria drew back from the vehemence in his tone and shook her head. “No, you just have a hands-off air about you so I thought you might not wanna shake hands.” She shifted a couple of steps to the side and crossed her arms over her chest in a protective gesture. “I’m so glad I took time off from work to come back out here,” she muttered.

Michael shifted uncomfortably and rubbed his neck as he tried to figure out what to do next. He hadn’t meant to insult her or hurt her feelings; he knew he had a tendency to go on the attack when he felt threatened in any way. He hadn’t anticipated her ability to read his body language or pick up on what he thought were subtle vibes. He was used to the looks he received from people, whether they were condescending, full of pity, or just plain hateful. Growing up as a foster kid on the reservation he had caught plenty of flack from people in town, and that had only fostered his low threshold for perceived insults.

His mind suddenly latched onto her muttered words and he straightened up beside her. “You took the day off to come see me?”

Maria rolled her eyes and refused to be swayed by the surprised tone in his deep voice. “You wish.” She looked away when he moved to stand in front of her. “Don’t flatter yourself; I’m here to help my mom, nothing else.”

He grinned and rocked back on his heels. “You did, you took the day off to come see me.”

She looked at him then. “Smugness is not an attractive feature.”

He leaned forward, bracing one hand on the roof of the car beside her right shoulder and his breath brushed past her ear when he spoke again. “So, you think I’m attractive, huh?”

“Bite me, you caveman,” she snapped, forcing her gaze to stay level with the arrowhead hanging from the chain encircling his neck. She was not going to give him the satisfaction of meeting his gaze.

Michael chuckled and he didn’t miss the shiver that raced through her body as she reacted to the sound. “We don’t know each other well enough for that yet.”

The comment combined with the amusement in his rough voice made her look up despite her intention not to and her breath caught in her throat at the open expression in his eyes. She could practically feel the electricity crackling in the air between them and they hadn’t even touched yet.

“Michael Guerin,” he said, holding his right hand out to her.

Maria reached blindly for his hand, unable to lower her gaze. Her hand slid into his much larger calloused, work-roughened one and the only word that described the feeling was electrifying. She didn’t know how long they stood there, staring into each other’s eyes, their hands clasped together, but she could see the reluctance in his expression when he finally pulled back. It wasn’t until he straightened away from her and turned his head that she realized that someone was standing behind him.

“What do you want, Eddie?” he growled, annoyed by the interruption.

“I just wanted to ask if you’re gonna be goin’ out to Grey Wolf’s place on Saturday to help dig the new well.” Eddie smiled at the young woman still holding Michael’s hand and introduced himself since it was obvious that his friend had forgotten what little manners he had learned. “Maybe Maria’d like to come out and see how it’s done.”

Michael’s eyes widened at Eddie’s conspicuous words before quickly narrowing to dangerous slits as he attempted to rush the other man off without speaking. After a few moments Eddie took the hint, but his laughter lingered behind.

*****

Max was pulled out of his thoughts when something hard thumped against the wall he was leaning back on and he turned his head to glare at it. Isabel had obviously decided to take her anger and frustration out on her closet, he thought when something else impacted with the wall. He reached behind him and knocked on the wall loudly enough to catch her attention. “Cut it out, Iz!”

Silence met his order and mere seconds passed before his bedroom door was thrown open with much more force than was strictly necessary. He winced when he heard the familiar crunching sound that always followed the doorknob impacting with the wall.

“I’m getting tired of telling you to stop telling me what to do.”

“Look, I get that you’re pissed at me, but you don’t need to – “

“I need things to go back to the way they were before you opened your big mouth and broke your promise,” she snapped as she jerked the doorknob free of the wall and slammed the door shut.

“Isabel, she would’ve died if I hadn’t – “

“You told her about us, Max!”

“I had to tell her, Iz; she knew somethin’ wasn’t right. How else was I supposed to explain the cells she looked at?” He watched her pace, knowing why she was agitated. “She’s not gonna tell Maria.”

“Yeah, because she has such a good track record when it comes to keeping her mouth shut.”

Max shifted around to sit on the edge of his bed. “Alex hasn’t done anything to make us think he’s not trustworthy.” He forced himself to keep a straight face. “You’re just pissed because he doesn’t fall all over himself tryin’ to impress you like every other guy in school.”

“Stick to things you know, Max,” she snapped. “I’ve gone from being popular to hanging out with you, the brain, and the geek.”

“Sell it to someone else, Iz; I’m not buyin’.”

Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “They’re gonna tell Maria and when they do it’s all over because she can’t keep her mouth shut.”

“They’re not gonna tell her,” he denied.

“Why? Because you say so?” Isabel shook her head and jerked his door open.

“Are you gonna fix the hole you put in the wall?”

“Fix it yourself.” She slammed the door behind her as she left.

Max sighed heavily when a picture on the wall came loose from its mount and fell to the floor, the glass in the frame shattering on impact. It certainly wasn’t the worst fit she’d ever thrown, he thought as he ran his hand over the damaged part of the wall and the pieces melded together until the surface was smooth once more.

He briefly wondered if he should warn Alex about Isabel’s temper. He knew she was unsettled by what she perceived to be threatening behavior from him; she wasn’t used to being around someone who knew the truth about them, and the fact that Alex refused to back down in the face of her intimidation tactics was confusing her.

He repaired the picture and hung it back on the wall before leaving to join the rest of his family for dinner.

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt3-1/5/08

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:33 am

First, a response to those who have reviewed:

Part 1 :

Girl afraid, Starcrazed, ashleyt – thank you.

Ken r : We won’t study the native Americans on an ethnologic point of view, but they will be a huge part of the story, because Michael has been raised by a Native American family, on the Reservation. He has opinions about how Native Americans are treated and he won’t hide them.

Flamehair : We wanted to write a Michael with a completely different background. In fics, he is usually abused, or he has been adopted by the Parkers’, the Evans’, or sometimes the Whitmans’. We decided to invent a whole new family for Michael, and one not very conventional, leading us to explore a happy Michael, not knowing Max, Isabel, Maria, everyone from Roswell and being pro-Native American, which is an important part of Michael’s personality in the story. So we’ll be able to write scenes between Michael and his family that will be completely focused on him, his relationship with them, his past with them, without interferences from other known characters. It’s interesting to see a Michael separated from the rest of the group, interacting with new characters.


Part 2 :

Ken r : Alex is the one in the secret because he was the one who had witnessed the shooting, not Maria, and he acted like Maria did in the show; he asked Liz and she caved.

Ashleyt : Maria is having a hard time being left out. She just doesn’t understand what’s happening with Liz, Max, Isabel and Alex and it hurts her to be replaced. It kind of wakes up old pains.

Flamehair : Thank you. It wasn’t my intention to write a sexy Michael, he isn’t going to be a heartbreaker in this story. And Liz told Alex because the shooting didn’t happen exactly like in the show. First, it took place two years later, so Liz is 17 years old, and second, Alex was present and witnessed something strange going on, leading to him confronting Liz and Liz telling him the truth.

And now, on with the story...


Part 3


Michael stared at the textbook lying open in front of him and attempted to ignore the dark gaze boring into him. He turned his head slightly and made several notations in the notebook beside him and pretended he couldn’t hear her when she cleared her throat.

“Maggie, set the table for dinner and let your brother study.”

Michael smirked when she muttered something under her breath and left him alone to do as their mother had requested.

Maggie was only seven months younger than Michael and she had latched onto him when he had been sent to live with John and Catherine Two Feathers. He had expected the novelty to wear off but she had stubbornly remained attached to him until she had become a teenager. He liked having a little sister and he had enjoyed it when she followed him around; her interest in everything he did had been annoying at times and a boost to his self-esteem at others, but he would never admit any of that to her. Well, he thought with a grin, he’d admit she was annoying, just not the rest of it.

He looked up when Catherine called him and told him to put his books away and get cleaned up for supper. He hurried to do her bidding and returned to the table just as the rest of the family was sitting down. He listened as his parents briefly discussed their day before turning the conversation to the two teenagers.

Catherine was a nurse at the hospital in Ruidoso while John ran the family ranch and worked a second job in town; both were college educated and felt that education was important. They were actively involved in their children’s lives and they made it a point to set time aside to have dinner together each night. It had become more of a challenge as the teenagers got older but they were determined to hold on as long as possible.

“Anything new going on at school?”

Michael winced when his sister squealed enthusiastically and loudly before launching into what was sure to be an extended story.

“I’m on the committee for the Harvest Dance.” Her voice lowered conspiratorially. “And if rumors are to be believed there are two different guys intending to ask me to go as their date.”

Michael exchanged a pained look with his father when the conversation took a decidedly feminine turn regarding dresses and shoes. He was able to tune the conversation out until his sister mentioned the names of the two potential dates for the dance.

“You’re not goin’ out with Jeff Carson,” he interrupted.

Maggie just rolled her eyes and kept talking.

Catherine shared an amused glance with her husband before turning her attention back to their children. She was certain Maggie was just pushing Michael’s buttons; she knew her brother didn’t like Jeff and she respected him too much to date someone he disapproved of. He had never said what his problem with the other boy was but she knew that if Michael didn’t like him he probably had a very good reason.

“I heard another rumor today.”

“Rumors,” Michael scoffed as he cut his chicken fried steak into bite-size pieces. “Do you ever hear anything that isn’t a rumor?”

“Most rumors have a bit of truth to them,” Maggie challenged.

“Whatever.”

“Maybe you can tell me if it’s true or not.” She paused to see if he would take the bait and continued when he didn’t. “It was about you.” She pretended not to notice when his head shot up and he stared at her in the silence that followed on the heels of her statement. “I heard from two very reliable sources that you were seen kissing some blond girl this afternoon.”

He shrugged and turned his attention back to the food on his plate. “Not true,” he mumbled.

“Uh-huh, and I suppose it’s also not true that you invited her out to Grey Wolf’s place on Saturday either.”

Michael considered ignoring her but he knew if he didn’t respond she’d only think she was right. “Fine. Yes to Saturday, no to kissin’ her.”

“You do know how to kiss a girl, don’t you?” She laughed at his offended expression and shook her head. She patted his shoulder in a consoling gesture as she passed behind him on her way to the kitchen with her empty plate. “I think it’s great that you’ve met someone you like. Whether you kissed her or not!” she shouted over her shoulder.

Michael just shook his head and was reaching for his glass when he glanced up and realized their parents were staring at him expectantly, their expressions amused. “I’m uh, I’m just gonna go help her with the dishes.”

“I don’t remember the last time he moved that fast,” John chuckled.

“You think that’s impressive? When’s the last time you remember him volunteering to help with the dishes?”

“You’ve got a point.”

“Maybe he’s finally found someone he’s willing to let past his walls,” Catherine mused aloud. Michael’s differences forced him to keep so much distance between himself and others, and it concerned her. He had adapted to his life with them, accepting them as his family – and even more importantly, accepting that he was part of their family, he did well in school, and he had been accepted as part of the extended family on the reservation. But her biggest fear, next to the wrong people discovering the truth about him, was that he would protect his heart so well that he would never find a woman he could love and who he would allow to love him.

He had dated, of course, but he rarely went out with the same girl more than once, and she felt like he did it because it was expected of someone his age. She was sure it was just his way of avoiding having unwanted attention drawn to him. None of the girls had ever been invited out to the reservation or asked to accompany him if he was going to be helping out with one of the many projects that were always going on. He had never brought a girl home to meet his family and when she had questioned him about it, he had only shrugged his shoulders and looked away.

“What’re you thinkin’?” John asked.

She smiled and shook her head. “He’s never reacted like that when Maggie’s teased him about girls in the past.”

He considered that for a moment. “You think there’s somethin’ different about her?”

“I hope so; I really want him to be happy, John.”


*****

“Maria!” Liz sounded out of breath as she caught up with Maria at her locker. “You weren’t at work yesterday.”

The blond exchanged her English textbook for a different one and closed her locker before looking at Liz. “What?”

“You weren’t at work yesterday,” she repeated.

“Oh, yeah, I talked to your dad Tuesday and asked him if I could switch yesterday’s schedule with today’s.” She shrugged. “I had some things to do.”

“Oh.” Liz was silent as she walked beside Maria. She had hoped Maria would talk to her but it appeared that the other girl wasn’t interested in making conversation. “Alex and I were talking earlier and we thought maybe the three of us could get together and do something this Saturday.”

Maria glanced at her. “What, your new friends aren’t invited?” She went on before Liz could respond. “I already have plans for this weekend, so maybe some other time, okay?”

*****

“Hey, Maggie, I thought your brother was gonna be out at Grey Wolf’s place today?” Linda Birdsong asked as she pulled up at a stop sign.

“Um-hmm,” she answered absently, her attention focused on the sales ad in her hands. She had plans to spend the day at the mall in Ruidoso with her two best friends since they had finally managed to all get a Saturday off together.

“Didn’t he have a date or something?” Christina Horse asked from the backseat. “Looks like she stood him up.”

Maggie’s head shot up and she glanced around in search of her brother. She frowned when she located him sitting on the tailgate of their dad’s truck, the fingers of his right hand drumming out an irritated rhythm as he stared sightlessly at the road that led out to the highway.

A quick glance at the clock on the stereo face showed nearly nine o’clock which meant he had been sitting there for more than an hour, waiting. “You guys might as well drop me off and go on without me,” she said quietly. Even with the distance separating them she could easily see from his posture that he was angry and hurt, and doing everything he could to not show it.

“You gonna hang with him today?”

“Yeah. You guys know how Michael is on an average day.” She shrugged. “This’s the first time he’s ever asked a girl to do anything on the Rez.”

“She must’ve made some impression on him,” Christina said, leaning forward and resting her arms on the bucket seats. She glanced up to meet Linda’s questioning gaze in the rearview mirror and nodded in response.

“Y’know, the mall will still be there later,” Linda said as she crossed the street and parked beside the truck.

“You guys don’t have to cancel the trip,” Maggie protested.

“After all the times he’s stood up for us?” Linda snorted. “Please.”

“You do realize – “

“Maggie, we know he’ll probably be rude and unappreciative.” Christina shrugged one shoulder. “He’s Michael; I think after being around him for eleven or twelve years we know to not take it personally.”

The scowl on Michael’s face deepened when his sister and her two best friends pulled up beside him. He ignored the annoying, high-pitched voice blaring through the speakers he had installed for Linda, unable to put a name on the pop singer. He hurried to stand and slam the tailgate into place just as Linda cut the engine and silence fell over the area. It was shattered moments later as all three girls climbed out of the jeep and surrounded him, their voices running together as they attempted to talk over each other.

“Shut up!” he shouted, his tolerance for their antics even lower than it normally was. “Why don’t the three of you go on and go do whatever mindless thing you were plannin’ to do anyway an’ leave me alone.” He stalked around the truck and jerked the drivers’ side door open, sliding in behind the wheel and gunning the engine.

“Okay.” Christina coughed, waving her hands in an attempt to clear away the cloud of dust he had left in his wake as he drove away. “That was definitely more pissy than normal… even for Michael.”

“Now what?” Linda asked, furtively trying to brush the dust off of her bright white tank top. “You wanna just go out to Grey Wolf’s place?”

“No.” Maggie stared at the road that led out to the highway. “Let’s just wait here for a little while.”

“You wanna wait for her? I think it’s pretty obvious she stood him up, Maggie.”

“Maybe not. Besides, if she shows up she’s not gonna know how to get out to – “

“Linda’s right,” Christina spoke up. “And even if she does show up do you really wanna subject the girl to your brother’s temper?”

Maggie cringed. She knew how Michael could be and she hoped that if Maria did show up she could deal with him.

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ArchAngel1973
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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt4-1/12

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:25 am

Girl afraid: Thank you. We are glad that even though this Michael had a different upbringing, the real Michael is shining through. We wanted a Michael who would be recognizable, canon, despite a new environment.

Ken r: the real challenge of this fic, in the end, was Michael, and only Michael. For once in a fic, he has a good life and his family, which plays a huge role in the story, is one entirely new, composed of new characters.

Flamehair: yes, Catherine discussed with her husband about Michael and how different he is. Why they know, since when, how did they learn about Michael’s status, will be explored in depth in the story. This is a fic centered around Michael, after all, so our dear Michael will shine here, all by himself. He won’t be stuck the best friend, the love interest or as window dressing. He will be the hero of the story. Even if Maria plays a huge part in it, it’s first a Michael story, a story which fits Michael, written for Michael Guerin, instead of having Michael fitting a story, twisting him for a story.

Starcrazed: Michael just HAS TO REMAIN Michael. It’s a sine qua non condition for us, otherwise he isn’t the real Michael. So even with a happy life, he’ll still be Michael, you’ll recognize his feelings, his behavior, his way of talking, of thinking… basically, his essence, what makes him Michael.


ashleyt: yes, Michael’s family does know the truth about him and they don’t care. Did Maria really stand him up? Read the next part and you’ll see. We will be exploring the breakdown of the Liz/Maria friendship more in depth in later chapters.



Part 4

Michael swung the pick ax and welcomed the burning sensation running up through his arms when the ax head struck rock. He was so pissed off that everyone had cleared a wide path when he had arrived with a dark look on his face. His temper was volatile on a good day and the others had immediately known that it wasn’t one of his good days.

Small bits and pieces of rock flew in all directions as the head of the pick ax bit through another layer of rock. He couldn’t believe that he had fallen for a pretty face, a sweet voice, and an admittedly hot little body. He was smarter than that, he thought angrily. He knew better and he had allowed himself to be led on and smacked down. Sweat poured off of him as he worked in the unrelenting heat, punishing himself for being such a fool, and shaking off every attempt Eddie made to intervene.

“Back off,” he snarled when Eddie’s shadow fell over him again.

“River Dog says to take a break.”

Michael started to argue but one glance at the weathered face of his grandfather had him hauling himself up out of the pit he had been digging and walking over to the old man.

“Stop punishing yourself,” the old man advised, his intelligent eyes boring into the younger man. “All you’ll achieve at this rate is heatstroke.”

“And you think I’m punishin’ myself for what?” he asked, reaching for one of the canteens lying in the bed of the truck behind his grandfather.

River Dog snatched the canteen up and held it out of Michael’s reach. “For being foolish and allowing yourself to be led by your heart.”

Michael scoffed at the ridiculous notion and pulled his tee shirt over his head, using it to mop the sweat from his face and neck. “The heart is nothin’ more than an organ; humans are the only species to come up with such an idiotic way of describing somethin’ as base and primal as lust.”

“You trivialize something that you know nothing about.” River Dog shook his head in disgust and his sharp gaze raked over the younger man in disapproval. “If this is the way you intended to treat this young woman that I have been hearing about, maybe it is best that she did not show up.”

“Whatever. Doesn’t really matter one way or the other, does it?”

River Dog’s gaze shifted when the sound of loud music announced the arrival of his granddaughter and her friends and he watched his grandson for a reaction when the girls climbed out of the vehicle with an extra passenger.

“I suppose that is up to you.”

Michael stared at the four girls in disbelief but within moments his gaze had zeroed in on the blond with them. He wasn’t sure what was up with her choice of clothes but she was still hot in spite of them. Her gaze raked over him and he was suddenly conscious of the fact that he wasn’t wearing a shirt, but before he could pull his tee shirt back on, he was doused with cold water – and a lot of it. He sputtered indignantly and turned to look at his grandfather, his eyes immediately going to the now-empty bucket in the old man’s hand.

“You looked like you needed to cool down.”

“I’m soakin’ wet now!” Michael roared. “I look like a – “

“Not that it matters though, right? You’re not trying to impress her.” River Dog smiled complacently and glanced down at Michael’s hands, smiling at the way he held them out away from his body. “You don’t need to impress anyone, do you, Magnum?”

“Okay, so I can explain what happened,” Maria started right in just as soon as Michael turned to look at her. “See, I left in plenty of time to meet you at eight like we planned, which is actually pretty good for me because I’m usually late for everything.”

She giggled nervously. “Well, I guess I was late for this too, huh? But, it really wasn’t my fault. See, I got about… well, about halfway here, maybe a little more? Anyway, I started hearing this sound and at first I thought it was nothing, but then the tire started to feel funny, like it was, I don’t know, continuously running over something maybe? So, I had to pull over, and of course I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Roswell or not, but there really isn’t much of anything between here and there. Well, it turns out I had a flat tire, and I had a spare one, y’know, one of those little ones that you use temporarily? I mean, you wouldn’t wanna use it for long because it’s… well, that’s not really the point. Anyway, so while I’m trying to get the jack and stuff pulled out this guy stops, which I thought was pretty cool because, I mean, who stops and helps anybody these days? Only, he apparently thought he’d just help himself to me because he was like an octopus and the only thing I could do was kick him in the family jewels, y’know? I mean, then he cussed me out and left, which was fine with me because I am a modern woman and I am capable of changing a tire myself.”

Michael opened his mouth to speak but she was off and running again before he could form the first word.

“Well, I finally got it changed but it took longer than I thought it would, and I had my cell phone but the battery was low. Not that it mattered because you never did give me a number where I could reach you so I had no way of contacting you anyway and then I had to stop at this crappy little gas station so I could change clothes because… well, seriously, I hope you don’t think this is what I intended to wear out here.”

She looked down at herself disparagingly and shook her head as she took in the purple shirt and patchwork skirt. “I realize I look like a hippie that got trapped in the wrong year or something, but my mom left them in the car and between that octopus and changing the tire, my clothes got ruined and – “

Michael reached out and covered Maria’s mouth with his right hand, stopping the rapid flow of words. “Did he hurt you?”

Maggie and her friends were watching the girl with matching expressions of sheer amazement that quickly turned to shock when Michael silenced her and asked a question in the gentlest tone any of them had ever heard come from him.

Maria stared into his piercing, dark eyes and shook her head. “I kicked him hard enough that his future children probably felt it,” she murmured against the palm of his hand.

He nodded in approval and lowered his hand. “You’re okay then?”

“Other than looking like a refugee from a bad seventies movie, I’m fine.”

River Dog muttered something under his breath in his native tongue and turned to walk away, shaking his head. He paused several steps away and looked at his grandson. “Just an organ, hmm? You’re only fooling yourself if you believe that, Magnum.”

Maria tilted her head to the side and looked at Michael curiously. “Magnum? Like the guy on the TV show?”

Michael couldn’t help the grin that slipped onto his face. “No, nothin’ like that.”

She studied him, intrigued by the teasing glint in his dark eyes. “But you’re not gonna tell me, are you?”

“Stick around and figure it out if you think you can.” He smirked as he issued the challenge and pulled his shirt back on, enjoying the way her eyes followed every movement he made. He was tugging his shirt the rest of the way down when it registered that his sister and her friends were still there. “Don’t the three of you have somewhere to be?”

Maggie’s smirk resembled his own as she stared him down, and he rolled his eyes when she crossed her arms over her chest and mimicked his pose. “I really think spending the afternoon right here would be much more entertaining.”

“Goodbye, Maggie.”

“You know I’ll find out what I wanna know one way or the other.”

Michael opened his mouth to argue, but quickly decided on an alternative method of persuasion. “Linda, you like that stereo system, right?” he asked without looking away from his sister.

“Okay, we’re leaving now.” Linda ignored Maggie’s protests as she grabbed her arm and pulled her along behind her.

“What’re you doing?”

“It took me a week of begging to get him to hook the stereo up in the jeep; I’m not about to risk losing it because you wanna be stubborn. C’mon, Maggie, you know how he is and if he takes it back out because you wanna hang around, I’m sooo not gonna forgive you.”

Christina batted her eyelashes at Michael as she turned to follow her friends, running to catch up with the other girls and laughing when he groaned aloud.

“That one’s trouble,” Michael confided in Maria once the jeep pulled away. “Really they’re all trouble, but that one is especially difficult.”

Maria smiled. “So, Maggie’s your sister?”

“I hate to admit, but, yeah.”

“And the guy with the water bucket?”

“My grandfather.”

Sensing the tension that had suddenly settled over him when she started asking questions, Maria hopped up to sit on the tailgate and changed the subject. “How far down will you be digging today?”

Michael’s shoulders relaxed as the tension eased and he glanced back over at the well they had been working on for the past couple of hours. “We’re hopin’ to get at least half of the necessary depth dug and outta the way today; the pump was supposed to be here before we got started but when we went to pick it up yesterday they said there was a hold up. Not much of a shock, but…” He shrugged. “Anyway, I need to get back over there and give ‘em a hand.”

“You’re stabilizing the sides as you dig, aren’t you?”

“Yeah.” He smiled slightly. “Know much about wells, do you?”

“I may have done some research last night.” Her smile was flirtatious.

Michael had to remind himself to breathe as he backed away from her. “We’re stabilizing as we go,” he assured her. “This probably wasn’t a very good idea… you’re gonna be bored outta your skull just sittin’ here.”

“Nah, I brought some homework that’s due Monday and if I recall you said you had somethin’ you wanted to show me after you were finished.” Her smile faltered. “Unless you’ve changed your mind?”

“Huh-uh.” He grinned. “Gimme a couple hours and I’ll be ready.”


*****

Alex followed the path that wound through the park, his destination pre-determined. He had called Liz but her mother had said she wasn’t home, so after considering where she could have gone he had headed for the park. It was where she had always gone after a fight with Maria and he was counting on her predictable behavior. He smiled when he reached the playground at the center of the park and spotted Liz at the swings.

“I thought I might find you here,” he said as he dropped down to sit in the swing next to hers.

Liz glanced at him and her eyebrows lifted in question. “Why?”

He just shook his head, knowing she had no idea just how predictable she was. “Your mom said you had gone for a walk; I thought we were gonna catch a movie this afternoon?”

“Did Maria tell you where she was going today?” she asked, oblivious to his question.

“No, she just said she had plans, why?”

“Don’t you think it’s weird that she didn’t tell either of us what her plans were? Alex, you know how Maria is; don’t you think it’s weird that she’s suddenly being secretive?”

“We’re the ones bein’ secretive, Liz.” He glanced at her and shrugged. “I think Maria’s just not offering any information.”

“You think it’s hypocritical, right?”

“Yeah. I know we can’t tell her about Max and Isabel because they’re havin’ a difficult enough time tryin’ to deal with us knowin’ the truth about them, and I know Maria can be a little… dramatic and excitable, but we’re gonna convince them that it’ll be okay if she knows.”

Not far away Isabel stood out of sight and listened to their conversation. Running across them at the park had been purely accidental, but eavesdropping on their conversation had been completely intentional. Max wanted to believe that Liz and Alex could be trusted, but Isabel knew better. It was time to handle things herself. Maybe she would visit them on the dream plane, she thought as she walked away.

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ArchAngel1973
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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt5-1/19

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:06 am

Flamehair – Oh, you will have plenty of Michael storylines to read, not just only one concerning Maria and his relationship with her. Michael has a life of his own, people around him who aren’t the Roswellians, and it allows us to develop plots around Michael, plots that make sense considering who he is, how he’s been raised and by whom. Let’s just say that Michael’s family has been developed and that there will be some C and D plots linking them to Michael. And no, I am not talking about his parents. But I am not revealing more.

Ken_r – Aaaah, surprised that Maria was a “modern woman”? Don’t worry; it’s not out of the blue. A little spoiler: you’ll learn an element about Maria, in a much later part, that will make you think “oooooh, yeah, that explains what happened in part 4”. Well, I hope you’ll still be reading when you’ll reach that part, which is a bit far away for now.

Starcrazed – Maria isn’t going to be the only one suffering from this split between Liz, Alex and herself. And I promise that we won’t describe Maria’s pain only. Alex and Liz are important too and they are put in a situation, which causes them heartache.

About River Dog, you’ll see more of him and you’ll understand why Michael is willing to listen to him, and to obey him.
Isabel is in for a rude awakening and let’s just say that one person is going to surprise her and challenge her.

Lilah – Michael has a very special relationship with River Dog, more than a grandfather-grandson one. It will be shown why and we hope that you’ll like the story behind their relationship.

Ashleyt – Michael’s close family knowing his true origins has helped Michael a lot in his emotional development and self-perception. But… let’s just say that something is plaguing Michael’s mind, and he has good, good reasons for that.
You are right about Alex and Liz. They are truly in an awful position, with Maria and everyone is suffering. There’s not one person who’s right and the other wrong. There are promises and consequences and Alex and Liz are learning about that the hard way.

Cjsl8ne – Thank you. Michael and River Dog have a very close relationship and we like writing about the two of them. I have to say that their scenes are always fantastic! And it’s good to write about Michael having someone he can lean on completely, someone not that much used in fics, at least for Michael’s development. It pushes us to be creative since those two aren’t explored in depth, in fics.

Girlafraid - well, let’s just say that Isabel will show her temper and that she will exhibit it for quite some time.

Candygurl1718 – River Dog is probably the one who knows Michael the best. Their relationship is extremely close and River dog is a grandfather for Michael, but also someone that he respects and seeks advices from.

Auscat – we wanted Michael to have a real family, one where the original Roswellians characters weren’t a part of, to keep the focus on Michael. He has a loving family. But that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. No family is. You’ll see in later parts that Michael is confronted to a situation, which will allow us to present real life facts and problems.

Tequathisy – we thought it was time for Michael to have a fic focused on him, and to write him in a happy environment, not being forced to lie about who he is, or what he can do. Meaning that there are some differences in this Michael, because of his familial situation. I am sure you can guess which ones.

Nibbles – This Michael and this Maria don't have to worry about shapeshifters, evil guidance counselors, and a suspicious sheriff, the FBI, fighting to survive the alien abyss and the bad aliens so there's less stress in their relationship. Michael is also more emotionally stable due to his good upbringing. So there will be some differences in their relationship. About Max and Isabel, Max is still afraid to tell his parents. He still has this insecurity in him. And Isabel... let's just say that Max being her only alien family, she is even more determined that nobody gets between them. So imagine her fury when Max healed Liz and told her, and Liz telling Alex, despite her promise to not say a word to everyone. Max had broken their pact to not reveal the truth to anyone. Isabel still wants to tell her parents, but her pact with Max prevented that. Why doesn't she tell her parents, now that Max has broken the pact first ? Well, let's just say that Isabel is a complicated and proud person and she will let the answer slip.

starryeyedgirl44 - Thanks. Michael and Maria had great lines in the show, so we try to keep that spirit and to show that bickering is part of who they are as well as as part of their relationship.


Part 5

Michael hauled himself up over the edge of the freshly dug well and allowed Eddie to pull him to his feet. He stretched in an attempt to work the kinks out of his back and shot a quick glance at Maria where she was leaning on one side of the truck… He tipped his head to one side and watched her for a moment, unable to control the urge to smile when he realized that all of her concentration was focused on the notebook she was furiously writing in. He briefly wondered what she was writing about before turning his attention back to the task at hand.

He was leaning down to pick up some of the tools when a hand on his forearm stopped him and he looked up at his grandfather.

“Go on,” he said with a smile. “Let the others finish here.”

The younger man started to protest but one more quick glance at Maria had him nodding in response. “We gonna finish up tomorrow?”

“I’ll let you know tonight.” River Dog looked at the sky. “If it rains, it will be too dangerous to work on the well.”

Michael decided not to question his grandfather’s statement, straightening up and brushing as much of the dirt as possible off of his clothes. He forced himself to walk over to the truck despite wanting to hurry, and he saw Maria close her notebook and slide it along with her pen into a large black and red handbag.

“Are you already finished?” Maria asked, trying to hide a yawn as she stretched.

“Yeah, we got a little better than halfway; that’s pretty good for a day’s work.” He shrugged. “We’ll finish up tomorrow if it doesn’t rain.”

“I haven’t heard anything about rain in the forecast.”

“Me either, but I learned a long time ago that if River Dog says it’s gonna rain, it’s probably gonna rain.” Noticing the way she held her bag, as if it was something precious, he couldn’t resist the temptation to tease her. “Were you writin’ about me? I can understand why you’d be fascinated; I am a pretty exceptional guy.” He braced one hand on the truck beside her and nodded at the bag she held so protectively. “You can tell me what you wrote; did you describe me as this really hot guy workin’ hard under the hot, desert sun?” he asked, smirking.

Maria burst out laughing, almost falling off of the tailgate and straight into Michael’s arms. She steadied herself on the truck and jumped down, careful to maintain her hold on her bag. His ego really needed to be brought down a bit, she thought, watching him as he slammed the tailgate shut. He motioned for her to follow him around the truck and her gaze briefly turned back to the others who were gathering the tools strewn about from the days’ work.

“Actually, if you must know, I was writing about the guy next to you… the one I met the other day.” She paused while he unlocked the passengers’ side door. “Eddie, right? I’d have to say that he’s got a great body… athletic, lean muscles, and those intense black eyes – “

Michael turned the key in the lock so fast that he was surprised it didn’t snap in two. His face took on a thunderous expression and he spat out an outraged, “What? Eddie?!” as he turned to look at the man she had mentioned. “You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me! He’s too old for you and he’s got a girlfriend, so you’d better – “ His rant was cut short when Maria slapped him over the head and he turned to glare at her.

“I was kidding, Michael; Eddie’s handsome, but I have no interest in him. I was writing about something else.”

“Yeah? What?” Michael grumbled, not wanting to analyze his relief at Maria’s admission that she was only joking about Eddie.

“Well, I was watching all of you working so hard digging this well and… nothing, it’s just an idea I had. Forget about it.” Maria didn’t want to develop her idea; she wasn’t ready to reveal her thoughts on it just yet. She had no idea how Michael would react if she told him that she wanted to write an article about the conditions on the Reservation. Would he be offended that his people’s misery would be exposed to everyone if she managed to write the paper?

He shrugged and walked around to the drivers’ side and opened the door before sliding in behind the wheel. “Um, you left your car at the Tribal Office?” he asked as he started the truck and put it into gear.

“Yeah.”

Michael nodded. “We’ll run by my house so I can clean up and then we’ll go get your tire fixed. Eddie’s cousin works at a mechanic’s shop in town and he’ll be there for a couple more hours.”

“That’s not necessary,” she denied, turning to look at him. “The spare’s good enough to get me home.”

He snorted. “It takes you, what, an hour to get home? You’re not drivin’ that far or that long on a spare; it’s not smart or safe. Call your dad if you don’t believe me and I’ll bet you twenty bucks he’ll agree with me.”

“I doubt it,” Maria muttered, crossing her arms over her chest and slouching down as she turned her head to stare out at the passing scenery.

“You don’t get along with your dad?” he asked quietly, sensing that he had somehow hit a nerve.

“Well, he kinda walked out on me and my mom when I was like six so we’re not really that close.”

Michael winced when she snapped at him and he bit back his own automatic pissy response, realizing that her father’s abandonment was obviously a very sensitive subject. He didn’t know what to say to make it right so he just cleared his throat and stared at the road ahead. For the next twenty minutes they rode in uncomfortable silence and as they neared his house he shifted and glanced at her.

“Umm, look, about before…” He tugged the collar of his shirt away from his throat and swallowed hard. He sucked at apologies and he knew it, which was why he rarely made the effort. He had certainly never gone out of his way to apologize for anything to any of the girls he had briefly dated but somehow this situation was different… Maria was different.

Maria had turned to look at him when he broke the silence and she watched him fidget restlessly for several minutes. Her eyes widened in surprise when she realized that he was trying to formulate an apology and she hurried to stop him. “No, Michael, it’s okay; I don’t even know why it matters anymore.”

“Bein’ abandoned isn’t somethin’ that’s easy to get over.” His smile was tinged with sadness and he shrugged. “I might know a little somethin’ about it.”

Maria watched him closely, wondering at his statements. What did it mean? How did he know what it felt like to be abandoned? She knew he lived on the Reservation and that a Native American family was raising him, but she had just assumed that his real parents had died and that they had made arrangements for him to be raised by friends, people that they trusted with his care. She opened her mouth to ask him but changed her mind when she saw his closed-off expression. She tamped down her curiosity at his words and turned her head to look out through the windshield when he applied the brakes and threw the gearshift into park.

“Would it be wrong if I said that your house seems a little nicer than some of the others I’ve seen?” she asked as she followed him inside the modest single-story home.

Michael smirked. “No. My parents worked hard to reach this standard of livin’ and they work just as hard to maintain it. Our family’s considered well off by Rez standards; a lot of the homes here don’t even have electricity or running water.” He shook his head. “If I get started on this topic we’ll never get outta here. If you want a drink the kitchen’s through there,” he pointed to the right. “Otherwise, just make yourself at home and I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Maria wandered around the living room after he disappeared down the hall, taking in the well-worn but comfortable furniture, the decorations that adorned the walls, and finally settled on the photographs that surrounded the natural stone fireplace. The house exuded a feeling of love, warmth, and acceptance, and she was glad that this was his home.

He came back a short while later and he moved up behind her when he heard her chuckle. “What’re you laughin’ at?” he growled softly.

Maria shuddered when his rough voice caused a shiver to race up her spine and she really hoped he hadn’t noticed it. “You,” she admitted finally, pointing at one of the pictures.

Michael smiled at the picture of him at eight years old, wound up with rope after a sad attempt to master his roping skills, and shook his head at the memory. “Every damn time I tried to learn how to rope I ended up with the rope wrapped around myself. That was the end of my I-wanna-be-a-cowboy phase.”

“Judging by later pictures you must’ve finally learned to do it pretty well.”

“I placed in a couple of competitions but that’s about it. C’mon, we need to get goin’.” He continued once they were in the truck and on their way. “I eventually learned enough to help Dad when he needs it.”

Maria turned and braced her back against the door so she could look at him while they talked. “Has your family always been in the cattle business?”

“No, my dad’s the one who started that, and it’s not a big enough operation to generate much money. My parents both have jobs in town; Dad works nights at one of the factories, and Mom’s an ER nurse at the hospital. There aren’t a lot of jobs on the Rez, so most everyone works at the steel factory in town.”

“Well, how is anyone supposed to get ahead or make better lives for themselves if they’re all stuck in minimum wage jobs?”

Michael glanced at her as he pulled up behind her car. “They’re not.”

After retrieving the damaged tire and climbing back inside he put the gearshift in drive and turned the truck towards the highway. “The government isn’t interested in seein’ anyone make it off the Rez. Why do you think there’s such a big problem with drugs, alcohol, and high school dropouts? There’s no interest in finding a solution to the problem.”

He paused, thinking. “Take Grey Wolf for example, he’s one of the ones who live without the convenience of running water and electricity; he depends on things like a new well every couple of years. The ground water on the part of the Rez where he lives is unpredictable at best, so it’s a given that every couple of years we’ve gotta dig a new one before the old one completely dries up. There’s no funding for that; if there were, we’d be able to bring a drilling rig in here and not only dig it much faster, but chances are good that it’d go deep enough that we wouldn’t be lookin’ at diggin’ a new one in a couple of years. We were able to raise enough money so he’ll have an actual pump this time – before this he’s always had to rely on the old bucket on a rope thing – problem is, the guy at the hardware store who ordered it isn’t very Native-friendly, so it’s conveniently on back order.”

“You think he’s lying?”

“I know he is. No, we can’t prove it, but it’s not the first time he’s made someone from the Rez wait for an order.”

“You’re serious. They why do you buy from him?”

“He’s the only one who sells the kind of equipment we need.” Michael smirked. “We’ll go by there after we get the tire fixed and you can see it for yourself.” He looked at her and frowned. “This isn’t what I had in mind when I said I wanted to show you somethin’, but I didn’t want you drivin’ home on that other tire.”

“Yes, I got that. You can tell me what you had planned though.”

“You ever been horseback ridin’?”

“I sat on a Christmas donkey once.”

He nearly choked on a laugh before he caught himself. “A what?”

“A Christmas donkey.” She rolled her eyes at his disbelieving look. “I live in Roswell, okay? Bringing a real reindeer in for Santa’s visit apparently wasn’t in the budget.” She slapped his shoulder when he bit his lip to keep from laughing out loud. “It’s not funny; it was actually quite disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing one of Santa’s reindeer and when we got there it was just a plain old donkey and someone had stuck a pair of fake antlers on his head.”

“So, other than that one…” he cleared his throat, “umm, dissatisfying, umm, visit with the Christmas donkey… you’ve never been horseback ridin’?”

“Would you like to just go ahead and laugh out loud and get it over with?”

He couldn’t hold it in any longer and he leaned forward over the steering wheel as he laughed. “I’m sorry,” he finally choked out, “I’m not laughin’ at you, really.”

“I can tell.” Maria tried to maintain her offended expression but she burst out laughing when she looked up and met his amused eyes. “Okay, I guess it is actually pretty funny.”

“I’d like to take you horseback ridin’; there’s a place I wanna show you, but it takes about an hour to get there and I don’t wanna rush it, so maybe we can give it another shot next weekend? If you can get the day off?”

“I’d like that.” She smiled. “I’ve gotta help my mom do some stuff Saturday morning but I’ll be free after that.”

“Cool.” He pointed at something ahead of them and Maria turned to look, surprised that they were already in town. “That’s the shop where Eddie’s cousin works; he said it probably wouldn’t take long to fix the tire, but there’s a decent place to eat across the street.”

“Before or after we go by the hardware store?”

Michael glanced at his watch. “Probably oughta swing by there after we drop the tire off or they’ll be closed for the rest of the weekend.”

After dropping the tire off they drove several blocks away to the hardware store and Maria watched him as they walked inside, aware of the tension that settled over him the closer they got to the counter.

The man sitting on a stool behind the counter did little more than glance at Michael over the top of his newspaper. “Already told you people the pump won’t be in this weekend.”

“It was ordered three weeks ago, Mr. Potter.”

“Are you hard of hearin’, boy? Or do you just have a hard time understandin’ the English language? I told you it’s on backorder and it’ll be here when it gets here. You’ll get a call when it comes in.” He snickered rudely. “Maybe if you people would get with the twenty-first century you’d – “ His disparaging comments were cut short when the paper was suddenly ripped from his hands and thrown down on the counter.

“I don’t appreciate your racist remarks, Mr. Potter,” Maria interjected before the man could speak. “Perhaps it’s escaped your notice that people like you are the reason that others have such a hard time making progress. You have no right to hold equipment hostage that they ordered from you in good faith, and expected to be delivered in time for the completion of their project. Are you aware that what you’re doing violates all sorts of codes? My uncle is a high-ranking official for the customs department and if he finds out that you’ve been – “

“There’s no need to get so upset, young lady,” Potter insisted as he reached for a sales book and placed it on the counter. “Just let me take a look at somethin’ here.” He flipped through several pages before nodding and sitting back. “The pump will be in Thursday afternoon; you can pick it up then.”

Maria leaned on the counter and tapped one fingernail against the date he had specified. “Y’know, it would really be much more efficient if you’d just have that delivered for us. It’d be such a nice gesture, don’t you think? I mean, you must get a lot of business from the Mesaliko Indians, right? So, imagine how much more business you could drum up if you actually offered delivery of your goods. Considering you’re the only hardware store in town that sells the equipment they need, it would only make sense if you offered better customer service to people who consistently purchase equipment from you.”

Michael’s gaze bounced back and forth between them, ready to jump in if Mr. Potter made any kind of threatening move towards Maria. He hadn’t expected her to jump to their defense but he wasn’t going to try to stop her either. He watched her as she reached out to shake the man’s hand, unable to believe the turn of events.

“Then we’ll expect to see that pump on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Potter, and thank you so much for agreeing to deliver it. It’ll save us so much time.”

Michael just knew his mouth was hanging open when she took his hand and pulled him along behind her as she left the store.

“Now, I believe you were saying something about decent food?”

“Uh, yeah.”

Maria suddenly stopped and turned to face him, her expression mutinous. “I tend to speak my mind, so you’re just gonna have to deal with it. His attitude is ignorant and he was pissing me off and I – “

“No,” Michael interrupted quietly. “No, no, that’s fine; I’m just… I’m amazed. I’ve never seen anyone do that.”

“Well, it’s obvious that the guy has some major issues – and I’m not excusing his behavior – but you went in there hoping he’d start something. Why would you do that?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

Maria sighed heavily when his mood turned dark but she could sense the pain beneath his anger and she hurried to get in front of him, stopping him with a hand on his chest. “No, maybe I don’t understand it from your perspective, so why don’t you explain it to me?”

“Look, there’s nothin’ to explain. People like Potter will always see people like me as nothin’ more than second class citizens who have no right to exist in the same time and place that they occupy. I already know how he’s gonna treat me and anyone else from the Rez; I don’t have to go in there and beg him for anything.”

“Michael, I’m not suggesting you should put yourself out there like that, not ever. What I’m sayin’ is that he knows how much his attitude gets to you and he’s pushin’ your buttons because he knows you’re eventually gonna lose your temper, and when you do you’re gonna do somethin’ stupid. Do you really wanna give him that satisfaction?”

“No,” he admitted grudgingly.

“Good. Now, weren’t you telling me about a place around here that serves good food?” she asked, moving to the side and falling into step with him as he resumed walking.

A reluctant smile crossed his features and he hesitantly reached down to take her hand in his own.

Maria didn’t comment on the stiffness in the fingers that wrapped around hers. She had realized soon after meeting him that he wasn’t an openly affectionate person, so she took it as a good sign that he had made the first move.

“Sorry ‘bout earlier,” he mumbled when they reached the truck. “I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but…” He shrugged one shoulder as he drew his hand back from unlocking the door.

“I seem to remember an earlier conversation about scars.”

“Yeah.” He rounded the truck and slid in behind the wheel. “So, you have an uncle who works for the customs department?”

Maria snorted. “I don’t actually have an uncle; I just made that up because people always seem to be more willing to cooperate if there’s even the slightest hint that the government might become involved in their business. I figured the customs department would be a good one to use because he probably has to deal with customs for some of his merchandise.”

Michael paused before inserting the key in the ignition and turned to look at her. She had lied to the guy about having an uncle who worked for the customs department? He shook his head and a genuine smile lit up his features. She had guts; she didn’t hesitate to speak her mind and she didn’t make apologies for it either. He liked that a lot. He started walking again, her hand still linked with his. He had a feeling that she was going to surprise him quite a bit in the future.
Last edited by ArchAngel1973 on Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt6-1/26

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:31 am

Ken r – We used the name "Mesaliko" for the tribe because it was used in the show and in the transcripts that we checked on Crashdown.com. Using an actual tribe would require even more extensive research and getting the facts wrong in that case could offend someone from that tribe (I myself am Cherokee on my mother's side and Pamunkey on my father's side and I don’t want other Native Americans to be upset if I make mistakes with their history), so we're gathering our information based on the Southwestern tribes, but not on any single one.
over all this is an interesting tale and a good platform to show problems on reservations.
Thanks. And we’ll do that. Even if it’s not the primary goal of this fic, we’ll definitely write about the problems the Native Americans face on the reservations.

Flamehair – We always found strange that Michael wasn’t explored more as a character himself. He seems to be restricted as a friend, second in command or love interest in fics, but not as a character of his own, with his own plots, storylines, away from the Roswellian group.

Tequathisy – Well, the horseback riding will still happen, just a bit later than Michael thought. And about that date being romantic, hmm, not sure that what’s in store for the horse ride will be considered as romantic. Intriguing, maybe, but the word “romantic” might not qualify to describe their date.

Auscat – The series showed us Michael and Maria connecting on a level that was based a lot on vibes, feelings, and body language, like in Independence Day. Maybe it was linked to their artistic and intense personalities, and that allowed them to connect on that level. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to talk the old fashioned way. But talking and Michael don’t fit well together.

Starcrazed –
Maria sticking up for the Native Americans on the Rez was great. Amy definitely rubbed off on her it seems.
That’s funny that you say that. Are you a psychic? Amy will play a part in this story (not as much as Michael’s family though) and not in a way she is usually used. Let’s say that we used some clues from the show, to develop her from there. And yes, Amy rubbed off on her daughter. Expect some Amy-Maria moments to be explored.
I like that even though Michael now has a loving family who’s great, he can still relate to the feelings Maria has about her 'dad.'
Even if it’s not what made Michael and Maria fall in love with each other in the show (in our opinion), being abandoned is definitely something that Michael and Maria had in common, deep down in their hearts. It shaped them.

Ashleyt - Aaaaah, but you forget Eddie, in the first part. He sounded close to Michael, don't you think? And Michael knew about Eddie's private life, like him having a girlfriend. And Maria standing up to that racist guy? Typical Maria reaction.


Part 6

Amy DeLuca had always been able to gauge her daughter’s moods by the type of music she was listening to. Right now Pop was her happy music and the fact that it was being played at a nearly deafening level meant that Maria was in a very good mood. She knew the situation with Liz and Alex had been incredibly upsetting and the sudden lift in her spirits could only be attributed to the young man she had met on the Reservation.

“Hi, Mom.”

Amy turned to lean back against the counter as she took in her daughter’s happy and relaxed features. “Have a good day?” she asked, watching Maria root around in the refrigerator.

“It was incredible.” She finally settled on a bottled water and closed the refrigerator door with one hip. “Do you have any idea how horribly Native Americans are treated?” She took a drink of her water before launching into her speech. “Do you know they’re digging a well by hand because there’s no funding for improvements like that? Seriously, Mom, by hand! And the guy that owns the hardware store where they get their supplies? What a racist! They pay for the equipment and he practically holds it hostage!”

“You went into Ruidoso?”

Maria rolled her eyes. “I had a flat on the way out there this morning and I got it changed with no problem but Michael insisted on getting the tire fixed because he didn’t think the spare was safe enough to drive on for seventy miles. Anyway, since we were in town we went to check on the pump for the well; you wouldn’t believe the way this guy was talking to him, Mom! Just because he grew up on the Reservation!”

Amy hid a smile at her daughter’s indignant tone; she didn’t need to hear anything else to know that Maria had put the man in his place. She listened to the teenager rant for the next hour about the issues faced by the Native Americans and she couldn’t help the flash of pride that surged through her. Her daughter’s passionate vocalization about the Native Americans as well as the conditions and racism they were forced to endure reminded her so much of herself at seventeen. It was times like this when she saw herself in Maria the most and she was thankful that some of her values were being passed on to her daughter.

“So, I guess you’ll be going out there again sometime soon?” Amy asked when she finally started to wind down.

“Yeah. I wanted to be there Thursday when they deliver the pump, but I’m scheduled to work all this week after school and I wanna see if I can get Saturday off.”

“Big date with Michael?”

“What happened to our don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy?”

“So, that’s a yes then.”

“Mom, seriously, we’re not having this conversation.”

“What’re your plans for Saturday?”

“I don’t know. What’re your plans for your next date?” She knew her mom would drop the subject soon; they never discussed their dates. “You’re still seein’ that aromatherapy salesman, right?”

“Have you had dinner yet?” Amy asked, turning back to search through the grocery bag she had brought in with her.

Maria smiled triumphantly and went back to her room. “Works every time,” she muttered to herself.

*****

Maggie followed the path around the side of the house, frowning when she found her brother staring pensively into the desert. His thumb thumped against the basketball he held pinned against his body with his left arm, the disjointed sound echoing his thoughts. She slapped the ball out of his loose grasp as she walked by, dribbling the basketball before aiming for the goal mounted above the garage door and releasing it.

Michael’s response was automatic; he snatched the ball out of the air as it dropped from the net. Maggie moved into a defensive position when he started dribbling the ball, well aware that he would fake to the left to distract her before taking his shot from the right.

“So…” She waited until he made his move to go on. “I like Maria.” She shouted in elation when he missed a step and she stole the ball and sank it before he could recover.

“Cheater,” he grumbled, accepting the ball when she tossed it back to him. “I’ll give you the point though.”

“Your generosity astounds me. It’s not my fault if you’re off your game tonight.” She watched him set up for a shot from the free-throw line.

“I am not off my game,” he denied as the ball left his hands.

“Uh-huh, because you’re normally this distracted when we’re shootin’ hoops.”

Michael watched the ball arc through the air and hit its intended target with flawless precision before glancing at his sister. “Told you I’m not off my game.”

“When’re you gonna see her again?”

“Who said I intended to?”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

“Just go get the ball.”

“I’m not your dog, y’know.”

“Obviously,” he agreed, his tone dry. “A dog would listen better.” He hid his relief when she stalked across the driveway to retrieve the basketball, knowing he had aggravated her enough that she would drop the subject. Temporarily, at least, he thought. But he knew once she had won the game – which, invariably, she would – it wouldn’t be long before she remembered her line of questioning and it started all over again.


*****

Maria leaned against the counter, grateful that the rush from the Sunday afternoon crowd was over. The café was nearly empty and she knew from experience that the few older patrons still loitering over their coffee and newspapers would stick around for a while yet. She went to start a new pot of coffee and glanced over her shoulder when the bell above the door jangled.

She watched Alex drop down to sit in the booth at the back and immediately noticed the dark circles under his eyes. Liz had looked the same when she had come in for work that morning and she wondered why they looked like they hadn’t slept in days. When Liz slid into the booth across from him, Maria found herself walking over to check on them.

“Are you guys okay?”

Alex rested his forehead on his folded arms and closed his eyes. “Didn’t sleep very well last night,” he mumbled.

“Me either.” Liz slumped against the wall and rubbed her eyes tiredly. “Maybe we should’ve gone to see a comedy yesterday.”

He cracked one eye open to look at her. “You dreamt of aliens too?”

“Weird, huh? I never dream of movies, and I really could’ve gone on that way.” She shuddered. “I hope that doesn’t happen again; I didn’t get any sleep last night.”

Alex forced himself to sit up and face Maria. “You must’ve gotten back late last night.”

Maria shrugged. “Not that late.”

“Yeah, where’d you go?” Liz asked. “I thought maybe you’d come by here after you were finished with what you were doing.”

“I went to see a friend.”

“Someone we know?”

Maria shook her head. “So, tell me about this alien nightmare.”

“It was just a bunch of jumbled up images.” Liz glanced at Maria and quickly diverted her gaze, guilt eating away at her when she saw suspicion beginning to creep into the blonde’s features. They had never intended to shut Maria out of their lives, but the inclusion of Max, Isabel, and their secret had left them with little choice. “It has to be because of that movie we went to see yesterday.”

It wasn’t so long ago that the three of them would have spent Saturday afternoon at the movies together, laughing at whatever science fiction/alien/fantasy movie Alex had chosen, picking it apart while he defended his choice. She had never had nightmares about any movie they had ever seen, no matter how scary it was or what kind of aliens were in it. They had lived in Roswell their entire lives and none of them had ever really spent much time caught up in the theories and conspiracies that made up so much of the town’s history. She couldn’t exactly tell Maria that the only plausible explanation for this sudden development was that now they actually knew real aliens existed, they had powers, and she and Alex were the only ones who knew.

Maria’s gaze bounced between them and she felt her good mood dissipate; it wasn’t that hard to read the guilt in their expressions. For just a few minutes things had felt normal but reality came crashing down at the weak explanation Liz had given. The brunette had never been good at lying and this time was no exception. She didn’t know what they were hiding from her or why, but it was obvious that they had no intention of sharing whatever they were keeping from her.

“So, you’re gonna lie to me and expect me to believe it? You can’t even be honest about a stupid dream?” Disappointment welled up in her chest and threatened to choke her. “Fine, Liz, keep your secrets to yourself. And while you’re at it, come up with a plausible explanation for my not being here because I’m going home.”

Alex reached out to place a restraining hand on Liz’s arm when she moved to follow Maria to the employees’ lounge. “Let her go, Liz; it’s only gonna make it worse if you go after her now.”

“No, Alex, I need to explain – “

“Explain what, Liz? What exactly are you gonna tell her? We’re not just keepin’ secrets from her; we’ve lied to her and she knows it.”

Liz pulled her arm free of his grasp and pushed herself to her feet. “No, I have to talk to her; she’s my best friend, she’ll listen.” She managed to intercept Maria as the blond barreled through the employees’ entrance and she took a deep breath before speaking.

“Maria, please just come sit down and hear what – “

“Why should I? So you can tell me more lies and expect me to smile and walk away as if I actually believe you?”

“No, Maria, I want to…” She glanced down when her cell phone rang and she fished it out of her apron pocket. “Don’t go anywhere, okay?” She answered the call and put the phone up to her ear. “Hello?” She mentally cursed his bad timing when she heard Max’s voice coming from the other end.

Maria listened to the one-sided conversation and wanted to scream when she heard Liz agree to meet the person on the other end of the line. She had no doubt that Max was the one who had called; it seemed Liz dropped everything and everyone for him these days. She straightened up when Liz disconnected the call, expecting it when the brunette lifted her head to look at her, an apology written all over her face.

“Maria, I’m really sorry, but – “

“No problem, Liz. Go on and do whatever Max Evans has summoned you for; I already told you I was leaving.”

Liz sighed when the bell above the door jangled as Maria made her exit. She knew the only thing that would satisfy Maria would be the truth and she wasn’t in a position to share it with her.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt7-2/2

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:39 am

Tequathisy – Liz will try much harder to keep the secret, not only because she had promised Max, but because… hmm, we don’t want to reveal too much. Let’s just say that she WANTS to tell Maria, but that there are good reasons as to why she doesn’t tell her and it’s not just her promise to Max. You are right, Liz IS in a very difficult position. We will show her inner conflict and how torn she is.

The Liz (and Alex)/Maria relationship will be one of the main plots of the fic.

Starcrazed –You’ll see more of Michael’s life and interactions with plenty of “non Roswell characters”, in this story, as well as some Amy-Maria moments. Their families are important to them and you will see them in their natural environment, if I can say that.

Liz can’t leave it alone. Maria has been her best friend for years and she doesn’t want to lose her. She realizes that what Alex and her are doing to her is unfair, but they truly believe that it won’t destroy their friendship with Maria. Liz will refuse for a long time to see the truth because she is afraid of it. We can promise, though, that Maria and Liz WILL make it work in the end. A fic where they aren’t friends isn’t really a Roswell fic!!!

Ashleyt – Eddie is 24 in the story. Maggie, River Dog and Eddie are very important in Michael’s life. They play the roles of best friend/confident/mentor that Michael needs.

Liz is in love, totally, and for the first time. It’s hard for her to find a way to keep Max AND Maria in her life, in these complicated circumstances. Max having a hold on her… hmm, in a way, yes, but it’s like that for many girls in love. There are other reasons that push her to not reveal the truth to Maria, even though she wants to.

Alex seems less disturbed by the rift between Maria and himself. Why? Well, Liz and Maria have more history. From when they were little girls, teenagers confiding typical girl’s stuff to each other, students, waitresses… their lives have always been extremely linked, more than with Alex. But don’t worry, there can’t be an end to their friendship. That’s unacceptable.

Nibbles – the relationship Maria-Amy will be shown under a different light (different from the usual “My daughter is having sex!!!). They were sometimes friends, sometimes mother and daughter in the fic, so we’ll try to balance that delicate relationship between them.

Lilah – As we said to another reviewer, Liz is in love with Max and is ready to do anything for him. You’ll see more of Michael’s relationship with his sister.

Cjsl8ne –Hmm, things won’t be that easy between Maria and Liz. And you are right about Michael and Maggie having a past. Maggie played a huge part in Michael’s childhood.

stinebiene – Maria feels deeply Alex and Liz's lies and growing absence in her life, because she has (in a way) already been there. Not with them but with another person.

And you're so right about the vibes.

About Alex and Liz, I think you will begin to see in the following part why they are reluctant to tell Maria and that they aren't the bad guys in the story.


Part 7


Loud music met Amy as she unlocked the front door and entered what was normally a home where music was played at respectable decibels. The music was not only loud; it was angst-ridden and angry, which clearly gave away her daughter’s mood. She made her way along the hall, wincing at the noise, and wondering when loud music had become something she wasn’t that excited about. She knew a knock wouldn’t be heard so she opened the door to Maria’s bedroom and leaned against the doorway.

She didn’t notice her mother, too busy piling various objects into a box that sat on the bed. Her face was streaked from the few tears she had allowed to fall when she had gotten home, angry that she was so easily dismissed from her friends’ lives. She threw another picture of her and Liz into the box and was reaching for a stuffed animal holding a small picture frame when silence suddenly fell over the room.

Amy controlled the urge to demand an explanation when she saw her daughter’s face, knowing the questions wouldn’t be welcome. She knew their relationship wasn’t a traditional mother/daughter relationship but it worked for them. Having a baby so young and out of wedlock had been frowned upon but she had struggled to make their lives as normal as possible, and Maria had grown up a lot faster than she should have because of it.

“Have you had lunch yet?”

Maria used the hem of her tee shirt to wipe the evidence of her tears away before turning to face her mother. She didn’t fool herself into thinking that her mother wouldn’t notice that she had been crying, but she knew there would be no questions. Their relationship was anything but traditional and while it had been difficult at times, she wouldn’t want it any other way. Her mother was a free spirit, a naturalist, and a hippie, and they had a very different way of going about things than others did, but she thought that it had only made their relationship stronger.

“No, I was just doing some cleaning.” She glanced at her alarm clock. “I didn’t know it was after three already.” She shrugged. “I kinda left work a little early.”

Amy glanced at the box and nodded as she came to a quick decision. She had to do something; she just couldn’t stand back and watch her daughter suffer any longer. “I’ve been thinking about expanding the business but it’ll require me to be out of town several afternoons during the week.”

“You’re not going into business with that aromatherapy salesman, are you?”

“What? No! I wanted to ask you if you could do some of the deliveries and pick up on the Rez a couple of days during the week. I know it’d mean cutting back on your hours at the Crashdown, but if you’d be willing to do it you’d be doin’ me a really big favor. C’mon, I’ll make lunch while we talk about it.”

*****

Liz raised her head from her textbook when Max sat down across from her at the picnic table under the old oak tree at the edge of the quad. “Hi,” she greeted.

Max frowned and leaned forward on his forearms, his dark gaze tracing over her features. “Are you still having trouble sleeping?”

“Yeah.” She rubbed her eyes tiredly. “I can’t understand why I’m suddenly having nightmares about a stupid movie; I’ve never had that problem. Maybe it’s because of what was in the movie,” she admitted sheepishly.

“What’re you talking about?”

“Alex and I went to see that new alien movie last weekend since it was just the two of us. I’m sure the nightmare has nothing to do with our situation, Max.”

“You went to see an alien movie?”

Liz was startled by Max’s question. She hadn’t considered how he would feel about her off-handed comment; she had never thought twice about how he would feel about his girlfriend going to see a movie about aliens. The fact was, she didn’t know what his opinion of alien movies was. Aliens were almost always portrayed at the bad guys, invaders intent upon the destruction of humanity. She knew he was nothing like that; Max was sweet and gentle and she suddenly felt guilty for going to see the movie. “Yes, I’m sorry.”

Max shook off her apologetic look as a thought occurred to him. “Liz, I noticed that Alex kept nodding off in History class this morning; has he been having trouble sleeping as well?”

“Yes, he has,” Alex answered for himself as he sat down beside Liz. “Got any ideas on how to cure that?”

He looked up when Isabel joined them. “Yeah, actually, I do.” He stood and grabbed her arm before she had a chance to sit down, holding her in place while they stared each other down. “You’ve been doing it, haven’t you?” he growled, his voice low.

Isabel tossed her long blond hair over her shoulder, straightening to her full height and staring down at him with an icy gaze. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She looked down at his hand. “Now let go of me.”

“You’ve been going into their dreams, haven’t you?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Alex interrupted, sitting up straighter. “You’ve been doin’ this?” He stood up and stalked around the table, pushing Max out of the way to confront Isabel face-to-face. “What the hell have we done to deserve bein’ tormented night after night? We’ve done nothin’ to make you think you can’t trust us.”

Isabel forced herself to maintain her position, refusing to back down in the face of his anger. “You want to tell Maria what’s going on.”

“So? Wantin’ to do somethin’ and actually doin’ it are two completely different things. What makes you think we’re gonna share your secret?”

“The fact that you know speaks for itself.”

“You don’t wanna trust us, fine, don’t; but stay outta our heads.” He shook his head and stared at her. “You’re gonna have to learn to trust us eventually, Isabel, just like we have to be able to trust you. Pulling stunts like this is not only a serious infringement on our privacy, it’s also in very bad taste; it’s beneath you and you’re better than that.”

Isabel stared at him, stunned when he fell silent and went back to his seat. No one had ever dared to stand up to her like that and she wondered what made him think he had any right to do so. “I don’t appreciate your – “

“I don’t appreciate your invasion of our privacy,” he snapped. Lack of sleep had made him incredibly cranky and he couldn’t stop the irritation from coming out.

“She won’t do it again,” Max said.

“Don’t promise things you can’t deliver; it needs to come from her or it means nothing.”

Isabel met Alex’s gaze defiantly before stalking off without another word.

“Pissing her off is never a good idea,” Max warned, watching his sister cross the quad.

“Creepin’ into my dreams isn’t a good idea either.” He rested his head on his forearms and looked at Max. “You might’ve thought to warn us about that particular… gift.”

“It never occurred to me that she would try to dreamwalk you guys.” He sighed as he sat down across from Liz once more and reached out to take her hand. “I guess I should’ve known she would if for no other reason than because she’s terrified that you’re gonna tell Maria.”

Liz squeezed his hand. “We’re not gonna tell her, Max.”

He smiled. “I know, but Isabel has trouble trusting anyone, and you guys knowing about us hasn’t made it any easier on her.” He shook his head at the look of disbelief on Alex’s face. “I’m not making excuses for her, I’m just asking you to be a little understanding while she finds a way to deal with it.”

“We’ve known about it for two months now, Max.”

“It’s the first time she’s ever had to deal with something like this, Alex. I’m not saying she’s dealing with it well, but… she is trying.”

“If she were trying, she’d at least make an attempt to get to know us.”

Max nodded, accepting that he had no defense for his sister’s behavior. “I’m sorry.”

“You can apologize for defending her behavior, Max,” he shook his head, “but don’t apologize for her behavior; that’s her responsibility.” He yawned. “Now, anything new goin’ on?”

“I’ve got something,” Liz offered, looking at each of them in turn. “I actually thought about it last night when I couldn’t sleep; I think the last nightmare might’ve triggered it.”

“What?”

“Kyle’s grandfather was the sheriff of Roswell years ago, way before his dad was elected to the position.” She squeezed Max’s hand when she felt him tense up at the mention of her ex-boyfriend. “He used to talk about him after he’d come back from visiting him; he was sure that his dad wouldn’t go see him because he was embarrassed.”

Max made a rolling motion with his free hand, silently telling her to go on.

“Kyle’s grandfather believed in aliens, he was always talking about them, and he felt like his dad didn’t wanna be seen with him because of what it might do to his reputation.”

“What’re you saying?” Max asked.

“Kyle said after his grandfather was committed, his dad closed the house up and never went back there. Max, what if he wasn’t crazy? What if he really did know something and the evidence is still there in the house?” Liz could barely contain her enthusiasm at the thought that she might be able to help Max discover something about his past if her theory about Kyle’s grandfather was right. He had never come right out and said that he wanted to know, but she could read between the lines and she knew he had questions about where he came from and why he was on Earth.

Max remained silent for a minute, thinking about what Liz had said. What if she was onto something? “Did he tell you where the house is?”

“It’s all the way on the other side of town, way out past the old soap factory. His grandfather was also obsessed with his privacy; that part of town was never developed. There was talk about it, but when the old soap factory was shut down those plans fell through.”

“Kyle was sure his dad never goes out there?” Max asked.

“Yeah.”

Alex groaned when the bell rang, signaling the end of their lunch period. “We should go out there and have a look around.”

“We could go this weekend,” Liz suggested. “They’re going out of town Friday night and they won’t be back until Sunday morning.” She shrugged when Max frowned. “Kyle has an elimination competition Saturday; the statewide rifle competition is in February.”

“Yeah, because the name Kyle Valenti and the word rifle should ever be used in the same sentence,” Alex muttered as he stood and stretched. “I don’t have any plans for Saturday so I’m in.”

“I’ll talk to Isabel and make sure she’s onboard,” Max said as he and Liz walked beside him, their joined hands swinging between them.

“The two of you need to stop tryin’ to handle other people.” Alex stepped in front of them, effectively blocking their path. “Stop tryin’ to handle their emotions; Isabel and Maria will find a way to deal with the things that’re goin’ on, but not according to your schedules. They’ve got a lot goin’ on and it doesn’t make it any easier if they’ve got you two constantly breathin’ down their necks.”

“He gets really irritable when he’s not sleeping,” Liz explained when Alex turned and hurried inside to beat the final bell.

“So, we’ll plan on Saturday?”

“Saturday it is,” she agreed.

Liz hoped they would find something… information, a clue… she hoped she hadn’t raised Max’s hopes for nothing. She didn’t want him to end up being disappointed if they didn’t discover anything at Kyle’s grandfather’s house.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt8-2/9

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:03 am

Tequathisy –
Can't wait to see what they find, if anything, at the house.
The next parts should give you the answer. Let’s say that Liz’s idea to investigate Kyle’s grandfather’s house was a good one.

You’re totally right about Liz. She doesn’t like her situation, but she sticks to it. In a way, Alex and Maria have switched roles.

Starcrazed – So you liked Alex? Never piss him off when he is lacking sleep. Which is completely understandable.

Ashleyt – Yes, the relationship between Amy and Maria is strange and we based it on what we learned in season 1. A mother-daughter relationship and also a sibling like one. It’s due to Amy’s personality and how young she is in the show, since she had Maria when she was around 18. It’s not a perfect relationship, but it works for them. But the “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy leaves Maria in a situation where she doesn’t have anybody to talk to.

Cjsl8ne – not a fan of Isabel, in this part? I am afraid it will take you some time to get her. But there will be Isabel POV to make you understand where she comes from. She has feelings and there’s her side of the story, too.

Nibbles2 – It was very important for us to show both sides. Maria is suffering about being kept in the dark, but Liz is suffering too. She has her reasons for not telling Maria, and those are valid. And Liz sincerely believes that she will be able to be with Max, and not lose Maria, because she loves them both.

Flamehair – don’t worry, an update every Saturday, that’s our goal (and we have enough material for that).

Auscat – Glad that you like the Alex-Isabel interaction. For you, stargazers, there’s going to be more of those two.

Starryeyedgirrl44 – Let’s just say that Isabel wasn’t, and still isn’t, pleased with Alex and Liz knowing about her secret. So Max didn’t talk about her a lot to Liz.

Stinebiene – Yes, Amy had read her daughter and that was why she had offered her this opportunity to take some time away from the Crash Down.

Chrissie1218 - We are happy to have another reader, welcome into The Lost Child's universe.


Part 8

Amy glanced around at the long line of tables set up on both sides of the road that led into the reservation, impressed with the layout of art and jewelry. The first weekend of each month provided the Native Americans with a big tourist turnout and helped to financially carry many of the families over into the next month. It was a big event and many of the residents on the reservation turned out for it, taking the opportunity to catch up with each other on their own territory. She knew circumstances forced most to seek employment in Ruidoso and this gave them a chance to get back to their roots and connect with their own people. It was important to them to maintain their connection with their past and their traditions, and to pass them down to the next generation.

“Did you need me to do anything else, Mom?”

She smiled at her daughter’s rushed tone, easily hearing the undercurrent of excitement beneath it. “No, we’re finished setting up and I know you have other things to do. I have a couple of buyers coming out to see some of the larger pieces that are available so enjoy your date and don’t rush because I’ll be here all day.”

“Hey, look, there’s Maria!”

Michael lunged for his sister in a hopeless attempt to silence her before she could draw attention to the fact that he was on his way to meet a girl. “Maggie, no!” he hissed when she got away from him.

“Hi, Maria!” she shouted, drawing the blonde’s gaze.

He mumbled a long litany of curses under his breath as several dozen people turned to see what was going on. As if it weren’t bad enough that she had called attention to him in front of everyone, she had to go and compound his embarrassment by dragging their parents over to meet Maria and her mother. He shuffled along behind them, doing his best to prolong the inevitable.

Catherine did her best not to laugh when the dark-haired woman suddenly embraced him. Her son was not one of the most affectionate people and outside of his family he didn’t receive affection well. Michael tended to present a negative attitude and people who didn’t know him generally gave him plenty of space.

“You must be Michael,” Amy greeted him. “I’ve heard so much about you from Maria,” she said as she released him and stepped back. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen her smile so often.” She reached out to pat his cheek and smiled at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Catherine cleared her throat and shifted to control the laugh that wanted so badly to escape; she couldn’t tell who was the most uncomfortable, Michael or Maria. She glanced at her husband when he coughed quietly and pretended interest in an assortment of hand-carved walking sticks on the table next to him. She nudged him with her elbow and when he looked up at her she could see their son’s smirk reflected on his face. Michael wasn’t theirs by birth but she had seen so many of John’s expressions and traits develop in him over the years.

Maria rushed to put an end to her mother’s little impromptu speech before she had the chance to embarrass her or Michael any further. “Okay, Mom, we have somewhere we need to be.” She hugged her mother quickly and grabbed Michael’s arm, pulling him along with her as fast as she could.

Michael shot a warning look in his sister’s direction even though he knew that it wouldn’t do any good. She was storing away every moment of the utterly embarrassing and humiliating past few minutes so that she could pull them out of her arsenal and use them to torment him at some point in the near future.

“I am so sorry,” she apologized as soon as they were out of hearing range. “My mom – “

“So, you talk about me a lot, huh?”

All thoughts of apologizing fled at his suddenly smug tone. “Do you want to go back over there and talk to my mom for a little while longer?”

“No!” Michael grabbed her hand when she stopped, keeping her beside him as he continued walking towards the truck. “Does your mom always go around huggin’ people she doesn’t know?” he grumbled. “What made her think I’m a huggable guy?”

I think you’re huggable,” she admitted with a sly smile.

Michael’s eyebrows shot up at her admission and he rubbed the back of his neck self-consciously. “Yeah, well, it’s different if you wanna think it.” He pulled the passengers’ side door open and motioned for her to get inside. His gaze raked over her as she slid onto the bench seat and he smiled in appreciation when the pink tee shirt rode up just enough to expose a thin strip of her midriff.

Maria shifted so she could watch Michael as he settled in the drivers’ seat, doing her best not to smile when he hurriedly turned the air conditioner on full blast and slapped all but one of the vents in his direction.

“So, did Potter deliver the pump on Thursday?”

He cleared his throat and checked the street before pulling out. “Yeah. I’ve gotta admit I didn’t think he’d actually deliver it, but he did.”

“Then you’re already finished with it?”

“Uh-huh, got done with it last night.” He flexed his right hand before wrapping it around the gearshift and changing gears, downshifting and slowing down when they reached his house.

Maria’s eyes followed the movement but her gaze quickly focused on the road once more when she realized he hadn’t stopped at his house.

“Where’re we going?”

He snorted. “The barn; Mom kinda frowns on it if we keep the horses in the house.” He parked next to the small building and got out before she had the opportunity to form what he was certain would be a scathing remark. He led the way inside when she scrambled after him, stopping in the tack room to pick up a couple of bridles before continuing on his way to the third stall. “Maggie said it’d be okay if you take Rascal out.”

He shook his head when he looked at Maria and saw her hesitant expression. “Don’t worry; she’s well-mannered and she won’t give you any trouble.” He grinned at her as he swung the stall door open. “Don’t let the name fool ya,” he reassured her, slipping the bridle into place and leading the golden-colored horse out into the breezeway. “Here.” He handed the reins to her and shut the door. “Hold her while I get Sundance.”

“Okay.” Maria followed him once more and was surprised when the large animal walked beside her. She moved to the side when he came out leading a horse with a gray coat, and hurried to step back when the animal whinnied loudly. “What’s it doing?” she asked, staring at it with wide eyes.

“He’s just sayin’ hello.” Michael patted the gelding’s neck and led the way back outside. “We don’t get a lot of visitors out this way, do we, Sundance?” He looped the reins over the top rail of the corral before reaching for Rascal’s reins and repeating the action. “And the motormouth trio doesn’t count. I’m gonna go grab a couple of saddles.”

Maria stared at the two horses while he was gone, wondering what exactly she had agreed to. She had never been horseback riding in her life and the last thing she wanted was to do something stupid in front of Michael and completely embarrass herself. She was going to die if she fell off or ended up looking like a fool because she didn’t know what she was doing.

Michael came back carrying two saddles that he hefted up onto the top rail of the fence. He reached for the saddle blankets draped over the fence and placed them over the backs of the horses. “Keeps the horses from developing saddle sores,” he explained when he looked up and caught her questioning look. Once the animals were geared up he picked up the rifle she hadn’t noticed before and slid it into a leather scabbard attached to his saddle.

“What’s the gun for?”

“Just a precaution,” he answered as he motioned for her to join him beside Rascal. “It’s been a dry season and as a result we’ve had a problem with some of the wildlife comin’ in closer to home.”

Maria stared at him, trying to decide if he was being serious or not. “What kinda wildlife are you talkin’ about?”

“Mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and occasionally a bear.”

“You actually think you’re gonna need to shoot something?”

Michael shrugged. “Well, I’d prefer not to, but if I have no choice… Why? You got a problem with guns?”

Her lower lip jutted out in a pout. “No, it’s not that, I’ve just never really been around guns. You may have noticed that my mom’s a hippie. Y’know, make love, not war?”

“Uh-huh, well, we probably won’t need it, but it’s better to be safe.” He bent over in front of her, his fingers laced together to form a cradle. “Now c’mon, gimme your foot and I’ll give you a leg up.”

“What?”

He looked up at her. “Grab hold of the saddle horn, put your foot in my hands, and pull yourself up when I give you a boost.”

“Oh. Well, okay.” Maria wrapped her hands around the saddle horn and held on for dear life when she suddenly found herself astride the large animal.

Michael bit back a smile when she held on as if she was certain that she would fall if she relaxed her grip. “This will be much easier if you loosen up,” he advised.

“What if it takes off running?” she asked when he placed the reins in her hands.

“Rascal is very well-behaved and I promise you’ll be perfectly safe. All you have to do is pull back on the reins if she…” He paused a moment. “Would you be a little more comfortable if there was no possibility of her doin’ somethin’ unexpected like that?”

“There’s a way to do that? How? Do you communicate with horses like that horse whisperer guy?”

Michael cleared his throat and patted Rascal’s neck before he reached up to take the reins back from her. “No, there will be no whisperin’ goin’ on.” He looped the reins around the top rail of the fence once more. “Hold on a sec, okay? I’ll be right back.”

She reached out to tentatively stroke the mare’s neck, surprised that it was so smooth. He was back a few moments later with a rope in his hands and she watched him as he reached up and hooked the metal snap at one end to one of the rings that connected the reins to the bridle. After handing the reins to her once more he wrapped the opposite end of the rope around his own saddle horn, gathered up his reins, and swung up into the saddle.

“Ready?”

Maria nodded. “As I’ll ever be.”

*****

Liz hurried down the stairs and through the swinging door that led out into the dining area of her family’s restaurant. Max and Isabel were supposed to be coming by soon to meet her and Alex so they could go out and investigate the old sheriff’s house. Alex was already in their regular booth near the back and his attention was divided between the mountain of food on his plate and the open textbook on his right side.

She shook her head as she slid onto the bench seat across from him; the amount of food he managed to put away never ceased to amaze her.

“Y’know, when I picked this art class as an elective I had no idea there’d be so much required reading for it,” he complained as he reached for the maple syrup and proceeded to drown his blueberry pancakes.

“I thought you were gonna do that last night?” Liz reached over and took a slice of his toast when he nudged the smaller plate towards her. “You said you didn’t wanna worry about homework this weekend.”

Alex shrugged. “That was before I found out there was an X-Files marathon on TV last night.”

Liz rolled her eyes as she spread strawberry jelly on her toast, well aware of his fondness for the show.

“I’ve got most of it done already; I’ve only got about a dozen pages left to read and then I’ll be finished.”

He quickly became absorbed in his homework once more and Liz slouched down in her seat, watching the few customers left over from the breakfast rush. Her gaze moved to the door automatically when it opened and her eyes widened when the sheriff walked in and sat on one of the stools at the counter.

“Mornin’, Sheriff,” her dad called, filling a cup with coffee and carrying it over to the other man.

The sheriff nodded and removed his mirrored sunglasses. “Jeff.”

Why was he there? Liz wondered. He and Kyle should’ve already been gone for their weekend. “C’mon, Dad, ask him already.”

Alex looked up from his reading, turning his head to see what had captured her interest. “What’s he doin’ here?” he muttered, knowing that their plan hinged on the sheriff being out of town for the weekend.

“Doesn’t your boy have an elimination competition this weekend?”

Liz mentally cheered when her father finally asked the question.

“Um-hmm. We’re leavin’ here in half an hour; had to break up another party at the old soap factory last night and the paperwork involved took hours to finish.”

“So, have you heard anything about those guys involved in the shooting?” Jeff inquired, his tone concerned.

The question brought Liz back to the day in question, the day when everything had changed, the day that was responsible for causing her to have nightmares that left her breathless and afraid in her own bed.

The Crashdown had been nearly deserted in the interim between breakfast and lunch and Liz had been leaning on the counter talking to Alex when an argument had broken out between two men seated in a booth near the front of the restaurant. Their behavior had been edgy and aggressive but they hadn’t bothered any of the other customers so she had been more than happy to leave them alone.

Her father had gone to run some errands and wasn’t supposed to be back until time for the lunch rush. Jose, the cook, was in the back and Alex was close by, but she didn’t think either of them would be much of a match for the two guys whose argument was escalating and getting louder.

She had barely had time to register the presence of the gun one of the men began to wave around when she heard the gunshot. She had felt a white-hot burning sensation in her right side and she suddenly realized that she was staring up at the ceiling tiles, her fuzzy mind trying to make sense of what was happening. Her limbs felt heavy, she felt cold all over, sounds were muffled, and her vision was starting to go dark around the edges.

Out of nowhere a face had appeared above her; she was sure she recognized him but she didn’t know why. He kept urging her to look at him, his voice was strained and even in her groggy state she could sense the urgency beneath it, compelling her to force her eyes to remain open.

As she was regaining her ability to control her limbs she became aware of… Max, his name was Max… he was shaking ketchup out over her abdomen and telling her that she had fallen and the bottle had broken. She stood up on shaky legs, trying to understand what had happened as she looked around. The two men who had been arguing were gone, Max had rushed out of the restaurant and jumped into the jeep waiting at the curb with his sister behind the wheel, and Liz had momentarily forgotten about them when she saw Alex hauling himself up off of the floor.

“Alex? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I was tryin’ to get to you and I slipped and managed to whack my head on the counter. Some help I was,” he muttered, holding his aching head. He held his hand out in front of him, scowling at the blood there. “Hey, what was Evans doin’ down there with you?

Liz glanced down at her uniform, her fingers playing with the ragged edges of the small hole hidden beneath the ketchup. “I um, he was just making sure I was okay.”

Alex suddenly sat up straighter. “Are you? You fell after that gun went off…” His gaze lowered to her ketchup-covered uniform. “I was sure you had been shot.”

“Oh, no, the gunshot startled me and I knocked over the ketchup when I fell.”

“I could’ve sworn you had been shot.”

She reached out to touch his arm. “You hit your head, Alex; would I be standing here if I’d been shot?”

“That’s a good point.” He nodded at the sheriff’s deputy entered the restaurant and he motioned over his shoulder. “I’m gonna go clean up, okay?”

Liz had talked to the sheriff, his deputy, and her parents for more than an hour before they had finally allowed her to leave and go upstairs to clean up. She had paused at the table Max and his sister had been sitting at before the shooting and her mind had been whirling like crazy as she stared at the lone pencil lying beside the napkin dispenser.

Once in her room, she had quickly changed out of her uniform and pulled on a pair of jeans and a tee shirt before balling the uniform up and shoving it in her backpack. She had been fascinated by biology and science since she was a little girl and her attention had turned once more to the pencil she had taken from the table downstairs. She checked to make sure her door was locked before collecting her microscope and a few slides and sitting at her desk.

Even thought she had watched the sheriff’s deputy remove the bullet from the wall, she knew she had been shot; now she had to find an explanation for the lack of a bullet hole in her abdomen when there was clearly one in her uniform.

*****

Two hours later, she had found herself standing at Max Evans’ front door, ringing the doorbell without the slightest idea of what she was going to say to him. He had tried to avoid her questions at first, but she had come prepared, armed with evidence taken from the pencil he had left behind; his cells weren’t quite human and while she had expected the answer he had given her, part of her had resisted it. The explanation Max had given had been incredible and unbelievable, but deep down she had believed him when he had told her that he was an alien. He had healed her after removing the bullet, removing any traces of blood and tissue from it before using his powers to send it across the room where it lodged in the wall to be discovered later.

Liz had walked back home in a state of shock. Aliens existed and they lived in Roswell. Could it be more ironic? Max, her lab partner, was an alien. Did it change things for her? Was Max different in her eyes? She stopped walking and sat on a bench, trying to organize her thoughts. Max had been so scared as he had begged her to not reveal the truth to anyone. He had warned her that if this information fell into the wrong hands he and his sister Isabel would be in great danger! Because Isabel was also an alien… which explained many things for Liz; such as why Isabel was always so proper and trendy. She just had to wave her hand to have the newest makeup or to turn the most ordinary skirt into a fashionable one.

Liz sighed. She had seen enough movies and TV shows to know what could happen to them if people working for the government got their hands on them. They would be tortured, experimented on, grilled for information they didn’t even have since they didn’t know anything about themselves, if there were others like them, or where they came from. They could even be killed just for being different. She had to keep Max and Isabel’s secret at all costs. It was a matter of life and death and she would do anything to protect them. Max had risked exposure just to save her life, an act that proved that he was a good guy and that he could be trusted. With that last thought she got up and returned home, still lost in her thoughts.

Alex had come by later that evening to check on her and to ask her once again what had happened earlier because he wasn’t buying the ketchup story. “C’mon, Liz, it’s me,” he said, needing her to tell him the truth. “You can’t keep tellin’ me this ridiculous story about ketchup and expect me to really believe it! I saw you fall; you didn’t trip on anything, Liz, you were shot!”

“Alex, you saw the deputy collect the bullet; if I had been shot the bullet wouldn’t have been in the wall,” Liz answered in a tired voice. God, would this day ever come to an end?

“Maybe I can’t explain it, but I know what I saw” Alex insisted.

“Liz!” Nancy Parker called, her voice startling Liz and Alex.

“I’m gonna go see what she wants,” she said, standing up and slowly walking over to the door, her movements expressing her exhaustion loud and clear. “I’ll be right back.”

Alex had looked around the room after she had stepped out, conveniently closing the door behind herself. An idea had started to take form in his mind as he glanced around the familiar room. He had been hesitant at first, but this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up; he knew what he had witnessed and he knew that Liz was hiding something big. So he had looked through her closet and checked a couple of the drawers in her dresser before he had turned around and seen her backpack wedged between the bed and nightstand. He wasn’t normally this nosy but he knew something was going on and he was worried about Liz. Besides, he rationalized, if Maria were there, she would have been doing the exact same thing.

Placing the backpack on the bed he unzipped it and pulled the crumpled up uniform out, shaking it out so he could look closer at the… His eyes narrowed when they settled on the small, ragged hole nearly hidden beneath the mixture of ketchup and blood. There was a distinct difference between dried ketchup and dried blood and it was easy to see that both were present on the material.

Liz had come back into her room a few minutes later, quickly shutting the door when she realized what Alex had uncovered. Her heart started to pound as he moved towards her, but instead of demanding an answer to her obvious lies, he had wrapped his long arms around her and hugged her tightly. “Are you all right?” he demanded gently, his voice filled with concern.

“I’m fine, Alex.”

“You’re sure? Have you been to the hospital? Been checked out by a doctor? There’s a bullet hole in your uniform, Liz, and you’re standin’ here uninjured; how do you explain that? It’s not possible, scientifically or – “

Liz had been trapped; she hadn’t had any other choice but to tell him the truth. At first he had been worried that she was suffering from a head injury or some sort of trauma but she had finally convinced him that she was lucid and that Max Evans was indeed an alien. She had made him promise to keep the secret, explaining that Max had asked her to do the same because of the danger involved if the truth was ever revealed and the wrong people found out.

Alex had promised to keep the secret; Max Evans had saved his best friend’s life and he would forever be in his debt. But first Alex had pointed out that Liz had to do something with her uniform. She couldn’t just hide it or destroy it because her parents would wonder where it had gone and the last thing they needed were more questions. Finally, Alex had suggested going back to Max and asking him to use his powers to restore the uniform to its original form.

They had talked for a long time before they had heard the commotion downstairs and moments later, Maria had burst through the door, dropping several shopping bags in her haste to rush to her friends and embrace them.

“Your dad just told me what happened!” she exclaimed, moving back to examine both of them for any injuries.

Maria had listened to their story, horrified by the danger that her friends had been in. “So, other than Alex hitting his head on the counter and you falling on the floor and being hit with a bottle of ketchup, you guys are okay?”

“We’re fine, Maria,” Liz had assured her. “I promise.” She had flung herself back on her bed and motioned to the shopping bags. “So, what’d you buy in Albuquerque?” she asked, hoping to redirect her best friend’s attention.

Maria’s attention had been successfully diverted and she had gone on to empty her bags onto the bed, pulling out different items to show them off.

“I think I’ll leave you ladies to your fashion show,” Alex said, hugging Liz once more.

“Afraid to see that much female flesh, Alex?” Maria had asked, unable to resist teasing him.

“Only when it comes to one of my ‘sisters’,” he said, his tone joking. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

He had paused at the door, and he had exchanged a look with Liz that Maria had been unaware of. They were linked by the secret and for the first time in their lives it was a secret that Maria wasn’t involved in.


Liz was brought back to the present when Alex nudged her under the table. She glanced over at the counter and realized that while she had been lost in her memories the sheriff had taken his leave.

“Everything okay?”

“Yeah, just remembering the day of the shooting,” she said quietly.

Alex nodded, understanding where her thoughts had taken her. Neither of them had ever expected that day to be the beginning of the end of their relationship with Maria, and they both knew that until they were able to tell her the truth, they weren’t going to be able to even attempt to fix things with her.

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ArchAngel1973
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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt9-2/16

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:50 am

Starcrazed – Amy behaved sometimes like a mother and sometimes like a sister. This time, it was definitely the mother speaking in her, embarrassing her daughter like that. And no, no sheriff, FBI and Topolsky, like in the show.

Lilah – Good thing that Amy had a full day, can you imagine if she had had a full day off? Not sure that Michael would have gone on his date with Maria. Who knows what his parents and Maggie could have told Amy!

Nibbles2 – Max, Liz, Alex are all supposed to be clever. It was time to show it in a fic.

Starryeyedgirrl44 – Thank you. We feel that Michael’s characterization, in this story, is a real challenge. To keep him true to his essence, while having been raised in a different environment, is really walking a thin line. It’s lot of work, in fact.

Ashleyt – We think Michael had it easy with Amy, in our story. Especially compared to his meeting with Amy in the show, don’t you think?

Flamehair – that seems to be the general consensus, about Michael. But he loved giving hugs in the show, so he should get them, too.

Tequathisy – So you liked the flashback? Happy to read that. There will be others in the fic, and we hope that you will love them. Can you guess which character will be the hero of those flashbacks?

Cassie - Meeting the boyfriend/girlfriend's parents, is always delicate. It could have been worse, for Michael. Amy is weird but a lovable person and in this case, not finding him in her daughter's bed, so they are starting well.

Chrissie1218 - Maggie never hesitates to tease her big brother. But it shows how well integrated in his family Michael is. Those two totally behave like siblings.

Cjsl8ne – Isabel is completely frightened of this new life she is being thrown into. She didn’t want it but now, she has to deal with people she doesn’t trust, doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know, knowing her deepest secret. So she reacts rather strongly but is she wrong to react like that? Considering her personality and her feelings?

Stinebiene – About Alex, it was a case of “what if”? What if Alex had been the one in the Crashdown, that day, and not Maria? So, a role reversal for Alex and Maria.


Part 9


Isabel followed the others silently as they made their way past overgrown brush and weeds to get to the front door of the abandoned house. She wasn’t sure this was a very smart plan but apparently she had been overruled and outvoted and they were going to be investigating, whether she approved or not. She paid close attention to Alex as he made a big production of not disturbing the area, and she rolled her eyes when he stopped Max from reaching out to touch the brass plate that covered the lock on the front door. When he shrugged out of his backpack and unzipped it to pull out a handful of latex gloves, she was ready to go back to the jeep and just leave them all there.

“What’re you doing?” Max asked.

“Obviously we don’t expect to get caught, but if anyone were to come out here and realize that someone’s been snoopin’ around they might check for fingerprints.” He shrugged and held the gloves out to Max. “Better to be safe than sorry, right?”

“Good thinking.”

Isabel just barely kept from saying something disparaging at Max’s easy capitulation; it was unnecessary to take the precaution since either of them could easily erase any evidence of their visit with little more than the wave of a hand. She watched them don the gloves and accepted the pair Max handed to her without responding to his warning look, but only shoved them into her pocket. She pretended not to notice the wounded expression Alex wore at her action, pushing past them and entering the house as soon as the door was unlocked and pushed inward.

“I guess Kyle wasn’t kiddin’ when he said his dad just locked the place up and never came back,” Alex mused as he looked around the room, taking in the thick layer of dust covering every available surface and the cobwebs hanging from everything.

“This is disgusting,” Isabel muttered, crossing her arms over her chest. She huffed in annoyance when the others simply ignored her and separated, moving to different rooms in search of possible clues. Left alone, she wandered around what was obviously the living room, stopping at a bookshelf to browse the dusty titles arranged there. It was an odd mix of mythology, science fiction, and astronomy, and she rolled her eyes at some of the more absurd titles.

Waving her right hand over the three shelves in the bookshelf, she smirked when the dust and cobwebs disappeared into thin air. She pulled the books down one by one, glancing through them cover to cover, before placing them back on the shelves.

“What a waste of time,” she muttered.

“How can something that might possibly lead to a discovery about your past be a waste of time?”

Isabel whirled around and stared at Alex, irritated that he had snuck up on her and she hadn’t even suspected that someone else was in the room with her. She didn’t know how she had allowed herself to relax to that degree and she glared at him in an attempt to express her displeasure at being interrupted.

“He was obsessed with aliens and alien abductions, Alex!” She waved her hand in the direction of the bookshelf. “How can you possibly think any of this is going to help? Do you honestly think that just because you know about us, you suddenly have some insight into how it feels to be us?”

“I can understand that after hiding for your entire life it must be unsettling for us to suddenly know about you, but is it really a bad thing? Liz and I… we’re not gonna hurt you, Isabel. Is it that difficult to believe that someone knows the truth and still wants to help you? Or that we’re not gonna run out and blab to the tabloids or the authorities? You don’t have to be afraid of us.”

Isabel drew herself up to her full height, staring down her nose at him with one perfect eyebrow raised in superiority. “I’m not afraid of anything,” she stated icily. “And why would I ever be afraid of you? You could tell everyone you know… all five or six of the other band geeks at school that you associate with… you could tell all of them what you know about us and they wouldn’t believe you. We live in Roswell, New Mexico for God’s sake, Alex.”

She shook her head. “Who in their right mind would believe that aliens actually live here of all places? And why would they believe that these aliens chose to reveal their secret to someone like you?”

Alex nodded when she reached the end of her angry tirade. He knew she had gone on the attack out of fear, but knowing it didn’t make her words cut any less. “I suppose you’re right,” he agreed quietly. “Maybe it wouldn’t make any difference if I went out and shared what I know with the world at large, maybe no one would believe me, maybe I am that insignificant, but, you know what? At least I don’t go around lying to myself about what I feel. I don’t go around pretending to be someone I’m not.”

“What would you suggest we do, Alex? Do you even have any idea what the government would do if they knew about us? There’s a reason that we pretend to be – “

“I’m not talkin’ about the lies you have to tell to maintain your secret, Isabel.” Alex shook his head as he regarded her thoughtfully. “You’re a lot smarter than people give you credit for; you’re not just a dumb blonde who has no brain outside of a fashion magazine. I can see why you allow that belief to be perpetuated, why you let people go around thinkin’ you have no clue what they’re sayin’ behind your back, and I guess I can understand to some degree, but I don’t understand why you insist on keeping that façade up around the few people who know the truth. You pretend to be this untouchable, unreachable person with ice in her veins… I don’t know, maybe you’ve been lyin’ to yourself for so long that you actually believe that’s who you are.” He shook his head again. “But it’s not, Isabel, it’s not who you are.”

--------------------------------------------------

Max moved around in the confines of the small room that had served as an office for the man who had at one time been the sheriff of Roswell. The man’s apparent descent into madness was documented throughout the house and it was most prominent in the research books, notebooks filled with nearly illegible scrawls, and pictures of alien autopsies that were obvious fakes.

He glanced at the doorway when he heard the raised voices coming from the front of the house before his gaze dropped back to the photographs. He waved his hand over them, leaving them as little more than blurry, unrecognizable images. He was certain that they weren’t authentic but Isabel didn’t need to see them either way. Her fear of discovery wasn’t unfounded but he had no intention of feeding that terror, knowing how easily it could spiral out of control.

“Have you found anything?”

He looked up at Liz when she came into the room and he shook his head. “No, not yet. So far it’s mostly what you’d expect the average UFO-nut to collect.” He shrugged and picked up the next stack of notebooks, pulling out loose papers that were sticking out in every possible direction.

“What do you think’s going on out there?” Liz asked, waving her hand towards the living room where Alex and Isabel were conducting their own search.

Max turned his head and winced when he heard his sister’s voice getting louder, but not loud enough to distinguish the words. “I think Alex is going to regret it if he keeps pushing her.” He finished flipping through the notebooks and dropped them on the corner of the desk he had designated for the things he had already gone through and deemed useless. He looked around and sighed as he felt the beginnings of frustration and doubt begin to creep in.

“Max, we’ll – “

The sound of glass breaking had them running back to the front of the house and they piled into the doorway. Alex was leaning against the arm of the couch, his hand raised to the right side of his face. A small line of blood had trickled down from underneath his hand and he turned his head to the side to wipe it on his shirtsleeve. Isabel had moved to the opposite side of the room, her hands clenched tightly at her sides to control the trembling.

Liz was the first to react, hurrying to her friend’s side and pushing his hand away to look at the wound. “What happened?”

“Don’t worry about it, Liz, it’s just a scratch.” He wrapped his hand around her wrist to stop her fussing. “Liz, seriously, it’s okay.”

“Isabel, what happened?” Max asked, doing his best not to crowd her. He glanced at the shattered glass lying on the floor not far from Alex and quickly put two and two together. It was rare that losing her temper culminated in things exploding but it wasn’t unheard of and he wondered what Alex had said to push her to that point.

“I want to go home.”

Max nodded and handed her the keys. “We’re right behind you.” He waited until she had gone before he crossed to the window that had lost its battle with her temper and fixed it with a wave of his hand. “I’m sorry about that, Alex.” He turned to look at the other two people in the room. “I can heal that if you – “

Alex shook his head and chuckled as he waved the offer off. “It’s just a scratch. I was pushin’ her pretty hard and I think maybe it was too much too soon.” His gray gaze followed Liz as she sat down on the couch behind him and started going through a stack of mail. “I don’t want it healed and I don’t want you to apologize for her.”

Max was about to protest when Liz started ripping an envelope open. “Liz, what’re you doing?” he asked, concerned.

“There’s a key inside, Max!” She flipped the envelope over and dropped the key out onto the table before pulling a couple of sheets of paper out and unfolding them. “Max, look… it’s in some kind of code,” she whispered hoarsely.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael pulled back on the reins and Sundance stopped on cue, his head turning from side to side as he checked out his surroundings. He quickly lost interest and turned his attention to the blades of green grass that defied Mother Nature to grow in the area.

“Is this where we’re goin’?” Maria asked, fervently hoping he was going to say yes.

“Yeah.” Michael dismounted in one effortless motion before walking around Sundance to give Maria a hand. “Put all of your weight on your left foot, hold onto the saddle horn, swing your right leg over her back, and you’re home free.” He held Rascal’s bridle to keep her still while Maria dismounted and he refrained from commenting on her less than graceful landing. “Let me take care of the horses and then we’ll walk the rest of the way.”

“Um, walk?” Maria grimaced at the thought of further movement but quickly masked her expression when he looked at her. “Is it far?”

“Huh-uh, no.” He pointed at the rocky incline behind her. “We’re just gonna go up there; it’s only a couple hundred yards or so.”

“Okay.” As soon as he turned back to securing the horses, Maria leaned over to briskly rub her thighs. She stared at the animals and a dozen disparaging thoughts ran through her mind. People really did this for fun? Why? She didn’t even want to think about the condition she’d be in if she hadn’t decided to wear jeans. By morning, she was going to be agonizingly sore in places that she didn’t even want to think about.

“You okay?” Michael asked as he unwrapped the canteen strap from the saddle horn and removed the rifle. He was sure she had to be a bit sore since she wasn’t accustomed to horseback riding and she hadn’t yet complained out loud, but he had a feeling it was coming.

Maria debated her answer for less than a heartbeat before vocalizing her earlier thoughts. “You didn’t tell me how painful this was gonna be. People in the movies never look like they’re the slightest bit uncomfortable.”

“If you’re gonna be a big baby about it we can go back.”

Maria couldn’t believe his challenging tone. “I’m just saying you could’ve warned me.” She wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of backing down.

He nodded. “Parts of the ground are pretty rocky and unstable so stay behind me.” He took the lead, releasing the smirk he had been holding back; her refusal to admit defeat was something he both respected and admired. He suspected that she had a stubborn streak that probably rivaled his own and he couldn’t wait to discover if he was right.

He heard her muttered curse when she momentarily lost her footing and he turned to offer her his hand, this time expecting the jolt of electricity that occurred as soon as their skin made contact. He nodded at an opening in the rocks above. “Once we’re through, there we’re where we need to be.”

Maria bent over to catch her breath as soon as they reached a flat surface and he indicated that they had reached their destination. She turned her head to watch Michael lean the rifle up against the rocky wall that rose up on three sides and towered over them, forming a room of sorts. She shifted her gaze away from him and focused on the smooth slab of rock they were standing on, frowning when she noticed that it ended nearly a dozen feet out. She straightened up and walked closer to the edge to look down… way down… and hurried to move back away from the edge.

“Best view in the county,” Michael said proudly as he took a few steps closer to her and pointed at something in the distance. “It’s not as clear right now because there’s still some fog hanging over them, but when it clears there’ll be an awesome view of Sierra Blanca’s snow-capped peaks.”

Maria looked across the valley that spanned the distance between them and the mountains he was pointing at. “Isn’t there a ski resort there?”

“Yeah, it brings a lot of tourists through, especially this time of year.” He stared at the mountain and shrugged as he crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s good for business.”

“You don’t like tourists?” Maria asked.

“I don’t like that they’re necessary for the survival of so many families on the Rez; that we’ve become nothin’ more than a tourist attraction,” Michael ranted, his tone angry.

Ouch… dangerous topic… risky subject… the time to be diplomatic had arrived. She took a deep breath; she could do this. “Okay, well, that’s one way to look at it, but – “

“That’s the only way to look at it, Maria.” His tone was cutting and his voice resounded in the silence of the desert.

So, that’s what her name sounded like on his lips. Maria tried to ignore the butterflies in her stomach as she focused on the conversation. “So, you feel pretty strongly about the tourist situation.”

“Would you like to have tourists crawlin’ all over the place? Right where you live?”

Maria sighed and gritted her teeth. How could Michael be so… so, forgetful? “I live in Roswell, Michael; I do have tourists crawling all over where I live.”

Michael winced. That wasn’t good. How had he forgotten that Maria lived in that embarrassment of a town? “Good point.” He sat down on the ground and leaned back against one of the walls. “You must get a lot of weirdo’s through there.”

“More than our fair share,” she laughed, quickly forgetting her bad mood. She sat down, leaving less than a foot between them. “How’d you find this place?”

Michael pulled his knees up and rested his forearms on them. “I found it a couple years ago while I was out ridin’; no one else knows about it.”

Maria looked at him, her expression pensive. “You spend a lot of time by yourself, don’t you?”

His head snapped to the side and he glared at her. “Why do you say that?”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Just an observation. God, are you this defensive about everything?”

“Are you this nosy about everything?” he snapped. His eyebrows lifted in surprise when she actually seemed to ponder his question.

“Yeah, pretty much.” She made a waving motion around them. “So, what’s so special about this place?”

“You ever seen a herd of wild horses?”

“I’ve seen them on TV.” Her gaze bounced from him to the valley floor below and back to him again. “You have them here?”

“Little known fact; very few people outside of the Rez know that they’re here. There aren’t that many herds of wild horses left in the country because their populations have nearly been wiped out.”

“They’re dying off? Becoming extinct?” Maria asked, shocked. How was it possible for horses to become instinct, in her own country? And at a time when ecologists and activists were everywhere, fighting to save endangered species, the environment, historical landmarks.... she even knew some of them!

“They’re dyin’ off, but it’s not a natural occurrence. A lot of ranchers will round ‘em up and shoot ‘em to keep ‘em off of their land because the horses graze on the same land that their cattle use.”

“So they just kill them?” She inhaled sharply when he nodded. “There must be another way to solve the problem.”

“Ranchers aren’t willin’ to search for alternatives. Killin’ the horses is a quick, efficient way for them to deal with the problem. The herd we have here was originally in Nevada, but the pastures they were grazin’ on belonged to several ranchers, so they got together and went out on horseback, in jeeps, and in helicopters and chased the herd out to a part of the property with a big drop-off and they ran the horses over it.”

He shook his head. “Santana – he’s the stallion that runs the herd – he tried chasin’ ‘em off, and his lead mare, Mirage, was shot high in the shoulder when she charged a couple of guys who had cornered Santana and were tryin’ to force him over the edge.”

He stood and walked to the edge of the rocky shelf and stared out into the distance. “My grandfather has a friend who lives up there and he and some friends were able to stop the ranchers before they could kill the entire herd. He got in contact with River Dog and they made arrangements to transport what was left of them down here. There were only about a dozen horses left in Santana’s herd when they were released onto our land and now there are almost thirty.”

Maria watched him as he talked, listening to the admiration that crept into his voice as he described animals that he obviously respected. He had a connection with nature, a deep respect for it that she had never seen in anyone else, and he seemed to forget everything around him when he was talking about the things that were so important to him.

“They come through here to get to the river,” he said, turning back around. “My dad keeps water troughs set out for ‘em when the river starts getting low and we keep hay set out for ‘em when the winters are bad, which, let’s face it, is not that often.”

“Maybe not, but it’s nice that you guys make sure they’re taken care of.” Maria watched him as he sat down on the ledge and let his legs hang over the side. Michael was so different from the guys in school, guys who’s only goals were to get into every girls pants, play tricks on each other, or do other disgusting things she didn’t even want to think about. He was nothing like the guys she observed while waitressing at the Crashdown, the tourists obsessed with UFOs, the geeks, or the truckers who stopped by occasionally. Michael was in touch with nature, he had passion, and he was the kind of guy who fought for what he believed in. She smiled. She liked that. “You have a very strong connection with things here, don’t you?”

He turned his head to look at her and shrugged. “I guess growin’ up on the Rez, you kinda learn how important it is to see and understand the connection between everything in nature.”

Maria shook her head in denial. “It just seems like it’s not something you’ve learned so much as it’s a part of who you are.” She looked around, startled when the slab of rock they were sitting on started to vibrate.

Michael smirked at her expression and motioned for her to move closer to him. “It’s just Santana’s herd. When they’re runnin’, you can feel it in the ground for several miles.”

Maria moved closer to him, but carefully left a respectable distance between the edge of the slab and her. She followed his pointing finger when he raised his arm.

“They’ll be comin’ from the south; just watch that line of boulders to the left and you’ll see ‘em in a few minutes.”

“Oh my God!” He heard her awed gasp a few minutes later and without any warning he felt her hands settle on his shoulders and her body press against his back. “Look at them!” She rested her right arm on his shoulder and pointed at the two horses running at the front of the herd. “Santana and Mirage,” she guessed.

“Um-hmm. She was named Mirage because when the sunlight or moonlight hits the sand just right her coloring allows her to blend in so well that you can’t tell if you’re seein’ her or if it’s just a trick of the light.” He leaned back into her when she moved back slightly, his body automatically following hers. He rarely initiated personal contact and as a rule he avoided attempts by others to initiate it, so he refused to think about what it meant when Maria shifted and he moved to maintain contact with her. “Santana would never be able to live in captivity. He was born to be free; it’s in his blood… it’s who he is.”

“They’re amazing.” The herd slowed and the horses moved around in search of grass to graze on, slowly spreading out while Santana vigilantly watched over them. Mirage remained close to him and it wasn’t until her gait slowed and she walked that Maria noticed the pronounced limp the mare walked with. “You said she was shot before they were rescued; didn’t she have time to heal before they were released back to the wild?”

“They kept the herd confined when they were first brought here to give her time to heal before they were released into the desert. The vet was able to get the bullet out but Santana took the confinement and her separation from the herd personally and he kicked through the back wall of the barn and two stalls to get to her. She was confined in a sling to keep her immobilized while her shoulder was healing but he chewed through it to free her.” He shook his head. “Confinement wasn’t an option so a bunch of the locals got together and herded them out into the desert where they could be what they’re supposed to be.”

Maria was startled by Michael’s statement. The decision to bring Mirage back to the desert while she was still healing from the injury seemed like a dangerous one. “But, if she wasn’t allowed time to heal properly, and she has that bad limp, doesn’t that make her an easy target for other wildlife? I mean, they must come into contact with coyotes and mountain lions, right? Aren’t the weakest usually the first to go?”

Michael smiled at Maria’s worried questions; she was completely enthralled with Santana and Mirage’s story. She was a very good audience and he would be willing to bet that she cried while watching sad movies. “Normally, yes, but, she and Santana have a very strong bond, and he’ll never leave her behind.”

“I don’t know that much about wild animals, but isn’t that unusual behavior?” Maria asked, watching him as he contemplated the herd below. Her knees were hurting like hell from kneeling on the hard ground and she had been just about to move and sit beside him when he had leaned back into her. She wasn’t certain if it was an intentional move on his part or if it was simply unconscious, but he felt good pressed up against her and she didn’t want to move away from him.

“It is unusual and no one can explain it.”

She watched Santana move around the herd, his ears twitching and his eyes scanning the desert around him. Mirage lifted her head and followed him with her eyes before nipping at a few blades of grass. “Does he ever rest?”

“When he feels it’s safe for ‘em. It’s usually late in the evening and Mirage watches for trouble while he’s restin’. It’s probably the only time you’ll ever see him actually relax; an’ the only time she’ll leave his side is if there’s danger and the herd needs to be warned. If you ever get the chance to see ‘em at night you’ll see the bond between them; it’s tangible, it’s alive, and it’s powerful.”

“So, he feels safe with her there,” Maria concluded.

Michael turned his head to look at her. “It’s more than that… it’s trust. When he lets his guard down enough to sleep she’s right beside him, her neck resting right across his.” He turned back to watching the herd. “It’s like she’s protecting him and for just that brief amount of time he allows it.”

“You respect that.” Maria could clearly hear the admiration that Michael had for Santana and Mirage, and she wondered if he realized just how closely he resembled the wild horse. Both were loners with a strong protective nature, and that probably explained why Michael felt so strongly about him.

“They understand each other; how can you do anything but respect it?” He took her hand and tugged her around him, encouraging her to sit on the ledge beside him. “You’re not afraid of heights are you?”

“Not afraid of them exactly,” she answered hesitantly, her right hand gripping his arm tightly as she leaned forward to look down. “I just have a healthy respect for them.”

“Meanin’ it’s not the fall or the distance so much as it is the sudden stop?” He nodded when she shrugged one shoulder and grinned.

Michael leaned back with his palms braced flat on the ground as he tipped his head to one side and watched Maria. Her eyes were focused on Santana and her gaze followed him as he moved around the herd, small ears flicking back and forth as he assessed the area for any signs of danger. He let the unexpected feeling of peace wash over him and refused to let his mind make a connection between the sentiment and the girl beside him. Instead he lost himself in thought, wondering what it would feel like to kiss her.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt10-2/23

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:10 pm

Stinebiene – Isabel is angry with Alex telling her a few home truths that she doesn’t want to hear, hence her losing control of her powers. About the key, it will lead somewhere, but not like in the show.
Is Michael searching for his origins and is the Riverdog/Nacedo story the same as in the show?
Hmm, we don’t want to reveal that much about that. Wait and see.

Flamehair – Glad that you liked the date and also Alex and Isabel. They will have more scenes later on.

Zoi – Alex had a backbone, in the show. It’s just that he showed it when it really mattered. And here, Isabel and her emotional well being matter for Alex.

Lilah – Michael is more mature, in this story. Having a loving family can do a lot, for abandoned children.

Tequathisy -
Ha, you said the horse ride wouldn't be romantic. That was so romantic in a non-usual way.
It wasn’t a traditional first date, but when are things ever traditional, with Michael?

Chrissie1218 – As we said to Lilah, this Michael is older (almost 18 years old) and is quite secure about his place in his family. He knows he is loved and cared for. He still has that Michael edge that makes him so Michael, though.

Nibbles2 – very good observation. Yes, without Michael to focus on, Isabel is more spoiled, or should we say, more focused on herself. On Max, too. And that’s why she is so anti-humans right now. Alex and Liz are a threat to her well-organized world.

Starcrazed – Yes, Mirage and Santana’s story was a nice parallel to Michael and Maria in the canon series. Even the name “Santana” wasn’t an accident.

Cjsl8ne – Alex had little injuries in the past, like any kid, so he didn’t need Max’s healing.


Part 10

Isabel remained silent throughout the ride back into town, blocking out the conversation going on around her, and enduring the overdose of sweetness that always occurred when Max and Liz were forced to separate for more than a minute or two. She managed to avoid most of their conversation as they made plans to meet back up in a couple of hours, and kept her attention focused elsewhere as he and Alex carried on their own discussion on their way to drop him off at his house. It wasn’t until they pulled up in front of his house that she tuned them back in.

“I’ll give it my best shot, Max.” Alex hopped over the side of the jeep and patted his shirt pocket. “I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything.”

“What’s he talking about?” Isabel demanded as soon as Max pulled out into the street.

“He’s gonna try to decode the letter Liz found.”

“The what?”

Max glanced at her as he stopped at a stop sign. “Liz found a letter while she was going through a stack of papers after you threw your tantrum and ran out.”

She glared at him when he put the jeep in gear and guided it through the intersection.

“It was in some sort of code and Alex offered to take a look at it. He has some sort of encryption software that he thinks may help with decoding it.”

“That’s not very smart.” As soon as they reached a stoplight Isabel motioned for him to pull over. “I’m sure you have plans with Liz so just drop me off here.”

“Are you sure? I could – “

“Max.”

“Fine.” He pulled over and waited until after she started making her way along the sidewalk in front of a row of stores before he drove away.

Isabel stayed on her course until she was sure her brother wasn’t going to follow her and then she cut through a park that she knew was across from Alex’s street. She glanced at his driveway as she crossed the street, noting that there were no cars there and she wondered if his parents were home. She stepped up on his porch and took a deep breath before reaching up and knocking on the door.

The door opened less than a minute later and Alex stared at her. “Um, Isabel, hi. What’re you doin’ here?” He shook his head and stepped back, motioning over his shoulder. “You uh, you wanna come in?” He swallowed hard when she merely nodded and stepped past him into the house. He closed the door and they stood there in the entryway looking everywhere but at each other. He had no clue what to do now; he hadn’t actually expected her to take him up on his offer.

Isabel was in the process of rolling her eyes at his behavior when her gaze glanced over the cut that ran in a thin line from just above his right eyebrow to his temple. Part of her wanted to apologize but another part of her resisted and she cleared her throat and asked a question instead. “My brother said you’re gonna be taking a look at some letter?”

“Yeah, it’s in some weird code, it may even be some alien language.” Once again on comfortable ground, Alex turned and led the way back to his bedroom. “I wanna try to run it through an encryption program I’ve got to see if it’s – “

“Do you think it’s smart to do that? What if someone reads what you’re doing? That’s possible, right? For people to be able to see what other people are doing on their computers without their knowledge?”

“Sure, it’s possible, but only if they have the capability to access the computer from a remote location.” He shook his head as he entered the room and dropped down at a desk with two computers set up. “I’ve got two computers,” he said, motioning at the equipment. “The second computer isn’t hooked up to any outside lines; there’s no way possible for anyone to access this system from anywhere but right here.”

Isabel glanced around when she realized they were in his bedroom, surprised that it wasn’t really all that different from her brother’s room.

“So, anyway, I’ll scan the letter and run the encryption program to see if it picks up any kind of – “

“Why’re you doing this?” she asked, interrupting him. “What makes you even think you or your computer can decode something that’s in some obscure code that may or may not be alien in origin?”

“Well, I don’t know that I can decode it for sure, but I’m willin’ to give it a shot.” He turned in his chair to look at her and smiled. “Look, I know you probably don’t think I should be allowed to do this, that there’s probably no way possible that I – or my computer – can crack this code.” He shrugged. “And maybe you’re right, I don’t know. But, if there’s any way that I can do this and help you guys find the answers you’re lookin’ for then I’m gonna do it.” He gestured at a second chair at the other end of the desk. “Have a seat so you can keep an eye on things and make sure I’m not sharin’ information with someone else.”

Isabel started to protest but he just smiled and shook his head again before turning back to his computer. She pulled the chair out and sat down, watching him as he opened up several different files before he selected one. When he lifted the lid on his scanner and then reached for the letter she sat up straighter, her eyes following every movement he made.

“You’re sure no one can access this information? There’s no way they can get to it even though you have the scanner hooked up to both computers?”

Alex glanced at her as he placed the letter facedown on the scanner and lowered the lid, and his finger paused above the scan button. “No one can access the information, Isabel. I wouldn’t be doin’ this if I thought there was even the slightest chance that anyone could get to it. But, if it’ll make you feel better…” He stood and leaned over the scanner to detach the line that was connected to the live computer before sitting back down.

*****

Maria watched as the herd disappeared past an outcropping of rocks and glanced at Michael when he stood up. It was late afternoon and they had spent most of the day sitting on the rocky shelf, talking and watching the horses.

“We should probably start back before your mom thinks I kidnapped you,” he said, raising his arms as he stretched. He squinted against the late afternoon sun. “It’s gonna be after four by the time we get back an’ my mom’ll have my hide if I’m late for dinner.”

She chuckled and stood, brushing her jeans off before following him through the opening and back down the rocky incline. It was nice to see that he had a healthy fear of his own mother.

“Watch your step comin’ down, okay? It’s a little trickier getting down than it is goin’ up.” He carefully picked his way along the rocks, doing his best to keep an eye on her descent as well.

“What would happen if you got hurt out here?” she asked, doing her best to use the same footholds he was using. “No one even knows about this place.”

“That would be unfortunate,” he muttered, but didn’t seem terribly concerned. “I don’t really know.” He shrugged. “It’s never happened, so I don’t really worry about it that much.” He turned his head to check on her and as her foot came down and hit a patch of loose earth she started to slide. He yelled out a warning when he saw her make a frantic grab for a small bush that was growing in the side of the hill and as her hand wrapped around the thing he lunged for her. His body collided with hers as his right hand shot out, a bright white light emanating from it, and he turned so that the majority of the debris rained down over his back. He dug his left boot into the ground to keep from sliding down the rest of the way and only raised his head once the last of the debris had fallen.

“You okay?” he asked, putting all of his weight on his right hand and leaning away from her to make sure she hadn’t been harmed by the debris.

“What?” Maria glanced around at the chunks of fresh earth and the broken rocks lying around them before turning her shocked gaze to him. “What happened?”

“Never grab stuff stickin’ out of an unstable hill,” he muttered, reaching up to pry the scraggly little bush from her hand. “We’re lucky it didn’t trigger a bigger landslide and send us both face-first to the bottom.”

“Well, what should I have grabbed?” she snapped. “It’s really hard to stop and think of all of the many options that aren’t there when your life is flashing before your eyes! Well? What was I supposed to grab?”

“Nothin’! If you had just listened and let yourself slide I would’ve caught you and we would’ve avoided the dirt bath.” His heart was still thumping madly in his chest and his veins were flooded with adrenaline that was probably going to take several hours to dissipate. “This is the kind of stupidity that gets people killed!”

“Do I look dead to you?”

“That is not the point! The point is – “

“That is exactly the point and if you would listen – “ Her eyes widened in shock when he silenced her with a kiss and for the briefest of moments she struggled against him before she relaxed beneath him and brought her arms up around him. He could definitely kiss; there was no doubt about that! It wasn’t the tentative, questioning kind of first kiss that she normally got from guys; it was demanding and furious, and she completely lost herself in it for what seemed like several endless minutes before his lips gentled on hers and he eased back to look at her.

“My point is, you could’ve been killed.” He shook his head as he forced himself to stand and help her to her feet. “And that’s not acceptable.” He picked up the rifle and canteen that he had dropped in his haste to reach her.

“Well, no, obviously it’s not acceptable.” But if a kiss like that is the end result then a little bit of rocks and dirt might not be all that bad, she thought with a smirk. He turned when they reached the bottom, his left arm extended to help her the rest of the way down and she winced when she saw the cuts and scrapes on his upper arm. She pushed his arm in towards his body when she reached him so she could examine the wounds.

He hissed when her fingers grazed the fresh cuts and jerked his arm back out of her reach. “Maybe you could not do that since it hurts,” he grumbled, cradling the injured limb for a moment before he released it. “You’re sure you’re okay, right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” She followed him over to the horses and watched him hook the canteen over the saddle horn and secure the rifle in the scabbard. She turned to look up at the area where she had lost her footing, her expression thoughtful. “Is there some kinda shiny mineral or something in the soil here?”

“What?” Michael glanced at her before moving to untie the reins. “Not that I know of, why?”

“I’m sure I saw a bright flash or something before you flew at me like Rocky the flying squirrel.”

Michael tensed for a moment before he forced himself to relax and lead the horses over to her. “Could’ve been the sun hittin’ somethin’ just right.” He shrugged. “Sometimes the eyes play tricks on you in the desert.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. I could’ve hit my head for all I know and I was just seeing stars.” She reached up to rub the back of her head. “Although I don’t recall actually hitting my head.”

“We should get back,” he said before she had time to consider all of the reasons for the flash she thought she had seen. He held Rascal still and helped her up into the saddle before taking Sundance’s reins and hauling himself up. He checked to make sure the lead rope that was attached to Rascal’s bridle was secured to his saddle horn before he flexed his right hand and gathered the reins up.

Maria respected his unspoken request for silence on the ride back, wondering if the near-miss on the hill had scared him that badly or if he was already regretting the kiss now that he’d had time to think about it. When they reached the barn she watched him as he took care of the horses before driving her back to the Tribal Office where her mom was supposed to be waiting for her. He remained silent throughout the short drive and when he pulled up beside her mom’s car and parked the truck he leaned back in the seat and dropped his head back to rest against the window.

“I guess I should go ahead and… go,” Maria said, reaching for the door handle.

“No, no, I’ve got it.” He pushed his door open and hurried around the truck to open the door, shutting it as soon as she was out.

“Look, if you’re regretting that kiss, you should just tell me now and we can just end this before it goes any further.”

Michael frowned. “Why? Do you regret it?”

“What? No, why would – “

And he did it again. Silenced her mid-rant with a mind-blowing kiss that could easily make her forget her own name. Her fingers were sliding into his unruly hair when the sound of whistling broke through the hazy processes of her thoughts and they pulled apart.

Michael considered half a dozen different revenge scenarios when he spotted his sister and her two best friends all sitting on the hood of Linda’s jeep wearing identical smirks as they waved.

“She’s gonna give you hell over this isn’t she?” Maria asked as she reached up to wipe a smudge of lipstick off of his lower lip.

His dark gaze burned into her as it was focused on her once more. “I can take anything she can dish out. Call me when you get home?” he asked as he leaned in for one more quick kiss.

“Sure. You can tell me all about the inquisition she’s getting ready to put you through.” She stroked his jaw and tipped his head back to meet her gaze. “I am okay,” she said, making sure he could see the sincere expression in her eyes. She studied his stormy eyes for a solid minute before she leaned up on her tiptoes to give him one more kiss. “I’ll call you once I get home.”

After Maria had gone Michael climbed back into the truck, ignoring his sister and her friends when they called him. He drove home in silence, his thoughts a mass of confusion as he went over what had happened yet again. He had replayed the scene in his mind dozens of times and he couldn't imagine how she could have missed what he had done.

At home he walked inside, forcing out a response when his mother called out to let him know that dinner would be ready soon. He closed the door to his room and sank down to the floor, leaning back against the bed as he ran his hands through his hair.

What was he going to do if Maria got back home and suddenly realized that something had happened? She had sounded suspicious when she had asked about minerals in the soil. Had she really sounded suspicious? Or was he imagining it? No, he decided, she had definitely sounded like she was suspicious. Maybe she would just forget about them. Or maybe she would want to satisfy her curiosity by investigating the matter further.

"Damn it," he muttered, wondering how he was going to get around this mess. He hadn't known Maria for very long, but he was afraid that she wasn't just going to give up that easily. No, he thought, if she realized that something had happened she would pursue it until she had an answer. He would just have to come up with a plausible explanation before he saw her again, something that she would believe without question.

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