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(CC-Teen)Pt11-3/1

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:06 pm

Chrissie1218 – The question is “what will Maria do?”, and from there, what will Michael do.

Lilah – is Maria that easy to dupe, hmm? Investigator Maria? Honest Maria?

Nibbles2 – thank you. Now, the hardest part will begin, for those two.

Flamehair
But I wonder what he will tell her when she'll remember more clearly that something strange did happen
This is why we wrote this story. You will see that Michael isn’t on his own, contrary to the show, when he has such critical problems. And it’s a great pleasure for us to write this unusual Michael, it allows us to make him interact with brandnew characters. We hope you’ll like where this is going but don’t worry, you won’t have to wait for to long for the answer to your question.

Ashleyt – Amazing how Isabel turned out without Michael around, huh ? since she had nobody to really take care of, she focused much more on herself, her fears, her feelings. She is more selfish. Michael, in the show, had a “tell it like it is” attitude and Isabel probably heard a lot from him, on various subjects. But without him around, nobody every told her a few home truths, and she didn’t have anybody to worry about.


Part 11

Isabel walked through the front door and stopped in the kitchen to speak to her mother before going upstairs to get ready for dinner. Once in her own bedroom, she sat down on her bed and considered what she had learned in the time she had spent with Alex. The program he had used to attempt decoding the letter hadn’t worked, but instead of giving up he had simply moved on to another idea.

“You stayed out quite a while,” Max said, leaning in her open doorway. “I was sure you’d be home before me.”

“I had something to do and it took longer than I thought it would.”

“Y’know, Liz called Alex a while ago.” He watched her, studying her reaction. “He hasn’t discovered anything yet.”

“No? How surprising.”

Max rolled his eyes at her sarcastic tone. “I guess maybe I owe you an apology; I had this feelin’ that you might go back over there and hassle him about it.”

“Yes, Max, because I have nothing better to do with my day than hang out with Alex Whitman while he tries to decode some letter.” She shook her head and stood up, walking to her closet and ignoring him.

“Yeah, well, Liz seemed pretty confident that Alex would’ve been all over the place if he had spent the afternoon with you, so I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions.”

“You don’t know as much as you like to think you know,” Isabel said, her voice muffled from the confines of her closet. She wondered why Alex hadn’t said anything to Liz about her spending the afternoon at his house, hanging over his shoulder, insisting on having him explain everything he was doing. He had been surprisingly patient as he answered her demanding questions, never once speaking to her like she wasn’t smart enough to understand what he was explaining.

“Anyway, I’m gonna go wash up for dinner; I’ll see you downstairs.”

“Yeah, whatever,” she muttered once she heard his door close.

She was going to have to come up with a reasonable explanation for why she wasn’t going to be home tomorrow afternoon. She had already made plans to meet Alex after his parents left to spend the day with friends but she had no intention of letting Max know where she was going.

*****

Maria ran a towel through her hair, wincing when it brushed against her right shoulder. She walked over to the mirror over her dresser and turned so she could see the light bruising where she had taken the brunt of her weight and Michael’s when he had tackled her earlier.

She still wasn’t sure why he had reacted so strongly to a slight shower of dirt and rocks that hadn’t been large enough to really do any damage. She also couldn’t shake the image of the bright flash she was certain she had seen, but since Michael said he hadn’t seen anything, she had only her own belief that something had happened to cause the flash of light.

Pulling a shirt out of her closet, she slipped it over her head, careful as she pulled it down over her right shoulder, and went to the kitchen for a drink. She was thankful that a long soak in a hot bath had helped ease the soreness from the afternoon’s activities, making walking a little less painful than she had expected.

After getting a glass of lemonade from the kitchen, she paused in the living room doorway to watch her mother as she flipped through a stack of old magazines.

“What’re you looking for, Mom?” she asked, moving further into the room and sitting in an armchair.

“I was thinking about what you were telling me earlier about the wild horses Michael showed you, and I’m certain I remember reading an article about them.” She dropped the magazine on the floor beside her, adding it to the stack already there as she reached for the next one. “They’re supposed to be protected, but the truth is they’re not nearly as protected as they should be.”

Maria leaned over and picked up one of the magazines, browsing through it for a few minutes before closing it again. She was just about to drop it back on the stack on the floor when the name of the magazine caught her eye: Magnum Photos. She stared at it, remembering the conversation that had followed after Michael’s grandfather had called him Magnum.

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.”


No, it couldn’t be that easy… could it? A large smile spread across her face. She was soooo going to use that piece of information at some point in the near future. Anything to solve the Magnum mystery. She rolled her eyes. Leave it to Michael to act all secretive over a simple nickname. What could possibly be so important about being called Magnum that he couldn’t explain it to her? Now, if it was a middle name as ridiculous as the one her mother had given to her – she shuddered just thinking about it – she would understand it, but Magnum was a powerful and beautiful nickname, so why all the secrecy?

Her mother’s victorious yell brought her back to reality. “Here it is!” Amy shifted away from the precarious stack of magazines she had created and sat on the floor, satisfied with herself. “I knew I still had it.” She flipped through the pages until she came to the photograph of Santana’s herd at the center of the magazine. “It’s just horrifying what those people did to them.”

“What was their punishment?” Maria asked, accepting the magazine when her mother handed it to her.

Amy looked at her daughter, knowing that she wasn’t going to like her answer. “They were fined… five hundred dollars each, I think.”

“That’s all?” Maria asked, scandalized. Fine world they were living in! She scanned through the article briefly before she closed the magazine. “Can I keep this so I can read it later?”

“Sure, honey, take it with you,” Amy answered, happy to see her daughter taking an interest in the preservation of the wild horses.

Maria looked at her mother, hesitant to ask about what had been bothering her since she had come back from her date with Michael. Her mother was very involved in the Native American community, so maybe she could give her an answer. “Mom, do you think it’s right that the people on the Rez have to rely on tourism to make money?”

Amy turned around to look at her daughter, impressed once again that she was showing an interest in the Native American culture and its social issues. “Well, that’s an issue that has a lot of people on the Rez divided because while there are many who encourage the tourism because it does bring revenue in, there are just as many who feel that it’s taking away from the heart of their people.”

“Michael hates it.” She propped her elbow on the arm of the chair and rested her chin in her hand. “It really bothers him that tourists are all over the Rez and that so many families rely on them for income.”

Amy smiled. It was obvious that Maria had taken into consideration what Michael had told her about tourism and the Native American reservations, and she was starting to wonder if it was such a good idea for tourists to invade the home of such proud people. “Well, he’s not alone in feeling that way. A lot of them feel like they’ve been reduced to nothing more than being a living tourist attraction, and I don’t really blame them for feeling that way. But I also know that right now there isn’t another option out there and until there is, things will probably stay this way.”

“Yeah. I just hate that he feels like that.” She sighed deeply. “I mean, we have tourists crawling all over the place all year round and I never really thought about it because it’s how Roswell makes most of its money, but looking at it from Michael’s point of view, it kinda makes you stop and think, ya know? It doesn’t bother me that there are different people in town every single day, but they come here to see so-called proof that aliens really exist. So, it’s not like they’re actually taking anything away from us, but it’s completely different on the Rez. They’re intruding on a way of life and paying money to do it.”

She paused to take a drink of her lemonade. “I can understand why it’s become a necessity, but it’s just sad that they’re having to give up a piece of themselves to make a living.”

“I’m sure there’s a solution out there, Maria, it just hasn’t been found yet.” Amy stood and replaced the stack of magazines on a shelf. “Michael’s parents are very nice; they spent most of the afternoon at the booths. His sister seemed to be very sweet too.” She smiled. “I was watching you with Michael, Maggie, and her friends while I was finishing up this evening and you really looked like you were enjoying yourself.”

“I was.” She smiled. “Maggie and her friends, they’re really great.”

“And Michael?”

“And we’ve reached the don’t-ask-don’t-tell part of the evening.” Maria stood up and rolled her eyes. “I’ll see you in the morning, Mom.”

Amy smiled. “Good night, honey.”

*****

Maggie grabbed a DVD off of the entertainment center and loaded it into the player before tossing the remote on the couch and going to the kitchen to pull the popcorn out of the microwave. She opened the bag and dumped it into a large bowl then grabbed a can of soda and hurried back into the living room before the previews were over.

It was rare that her parents had the opportunity to go out together on a Saturday night and on those oh-so-rare occasions she actually got the television in the den all to herself. Most of the time, she lost the battle for the larger television because her dad and brother dominated it with football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and any other sport that they deemed necessary to their existence and she got stuck with the small television in the living room.

Her parents wouldn’t be home until late and Michael had gone for a walk, leaving her all alone to watch the movie she wanted to watch and she didn’t even have to fight him for viewers’ rights tonight! Normally, on those rare evenings when there wasn’t a sporting event on, she and Michael fought over who got to pick the movie until one of their parents took the decision out of their hands and picked for them – and it was never a movie that either of them wanted to see.

She flipped the lights off and settled down on the couch with her popcorn, soda, and remote. “Not tonight though,” she muttered, wiggling around until she was comfortably ensconced in the overstuffed cushions. “Tonight it’s all mine.”

She glanced up half an hour later when the front door shut and Michael paused in the doorway, his arms coming up to cross over his chest as he stared at the movie playing on the screen. She grabbed the remote and paused the player before he could comment and ruin the whole mood she had going on.

“Why’d you pause it?” Michael asked, crossing the room and slouching down beside her.

“Because you’re not going to be staying long.” She frowned when he placed a can of soda on the coffee table and held a bottle of Tabasco sauce in front of her face. Before she could form a protest, he doused her popcorn with the hot sauce and took the bowl from her. He took a handful of it and crammed it in his mouth, chewing thoughtfully for a few seconds before shaking his head. “Not enough butter.”

“That’s real attractive, Michael. Be sure to show that to Maria next time you see her.” She rolled her eyes. “That’ll really impress her.”

Michael was getting ready to shrug and make a smart remark when she suddenly smiled and he leaned away from her warily. “What?”

“Or maybe you don’t need to impress her.” She grinned like she knew something no one else knew. “After all, her mom likes you.” She tried not to laugh and ended up snorting instead. “I mean, she hugged you and everything.”

This time she didn’t try to stop the laughter. “You should’ve seen your face! You looked like you wanted the earth to open up and swallow you whole!” She fell over sideways, laughing, the sound muffled because her face was buried in the cushions.

“I’m so glad you enjoy my suffering and it provides you with amusement,” he grumbled before shoving another handful of popcorn into his mouth.

“Oh, come on,” Maggie said once she had brought herself under control once more. “She was just so excited that you make her little girl smile. Too bad she didn’t see the smile you put on her face this afternoon.” She bit back a giggle and shook her head. “That was a pretty hot kiss, Michael.”

“Yeah.” He picked at a loose thread on his jeans before motioning at the television. “We gonna watch this or not?”

Maggie shifted sideways to scrutinize his expression. She knew he had been quieter than usual during dinner but she had thought that he was just lost in thought after spending the day with Maria. Now, she wasn’t so sure. This wasn’t how he normally responded to her teasing; they usually went back and forth for a while before he either gave in and let her win or he ended it by tickling her mercilessly. “Are you okay?”

“I thought we were gonna watch the movie.”

“Michael, the day you willingly sit down to watch Pretty In Pink is the day it’s all over.” She shook her head and shoved him. “Something’s obviously bothering you, so tell me what it is.”

She propped her arm on the back of the couch and rested her chin on her forearm. “Did Maria say something when she called you earlier?” She sat up straighter. “She didn’t break up with you or anything, did she?”

Michael smiled briefly at his sister’s indignant tone. “No.” He sighed and lowered his head to stare at his hands. “Not yet anyway.”

“What do you mean, not yet?” she asked carefully. “Michael?” She stared at him, her worry increasing with every moment of silence that passed. “Michael, what’d she see?”

She followed his gaze to his right hand where it was constantly in motion, clenching and unclenching. Her eyes widened and she shook her head in denial. “Michael, did you do something in front of her?”

“She would’ve gotten hurt, Maggie… I had no choice.” He glanced at her, maintaining eye contact for just the briefest part of a second.

“How much did she see?” She knew he didn’t show his deepest emotions, preferring to keep them hidden deep inside, but there were rare moments when she could see right through him, and at this moment she could tell he was afraid.

“I’m not really sure if she saw anything or not,” Michael admitted.

Maggie’s fears only increased with his hesitant answer. “But, there’s a chance that she saw you use your powers?”

He nodded. “There’s a chance, yeah.”

Maggie swore. This was bad, really bad. Up until now no one had ever discovered her brother’s powers. Living in a secluded part of the Rez, Michael had been taught to use and control his powers early on by River Dog, and he had never made a mistake with them, not even at school. “What’re you gonna tell her if she says she did?”

Michael remained silent for a minute, considering his options. “I don’t know. Maybe she didn’t see anything, Maggie. I mean, she was acting perfectly normal before she left, and then later when I talked to her on the phone.” He shrugged and a small smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “Well, normal for Maria, anyway.”

Right. Maggie was relieved… a little. There was a chance that Michael’s identity was safe. “Is there any other way to explain what she saw?”

“The only thing she saw was a flash of light, and she explained it on her own; she said maybe she hit her head.”

Maggie jumped on that. “Did she?”

Michael shook his head. He was well aware that he had cradled her head with his left hand to keep her from doing that very thing and he had the bruised, skinned knuckles to prove it.

Maggie watched him for several minutes. “You think she’ll remember, don’t you?”

“What am I gonna tell her if she does?” he asked quietly.

“Because you know you can’t tell her the truth, Michael,” Maggie said insistently. She had to make him realize that. It was crucial.

“What if that’s – “

“No!” Maggie screamed at him. She tried to control herself as she fought to bring her breathing under control. How was she going to explain her opposition to Maria being told the truth without hurting her brother? “Michael, I like Maria, you know I do, but if you told her and she didn’t take it well… You know what could happen!”

“Do you think she’d look at me differently? Run away screaming into the night? Turn me in to the authorities?” He couldn’t fault his sister because he had the exact same doubts and fears, but part of him wanted to believe that Maria wouldn’t react badly if the truth came out.

Maggie sighed. It was easy to see that Michael was just as worried as she was, and she didn’t want to add to his fears by throwing fuel on the fire. But at the same time she had to make him understand that he had to be more careful, that it was too soon to tell Maria the truth. “No, I’m not saying that, I’m just saying that it’s too dangerous for you to even consider telling her that you’re not exactly from around here.” She reached over to place her hand on his arm, frowning when he jerked away from the contact.

Michael grimaced and pulled his sleeve back as he held his arm up. “It’s still a little tender; I scraped it up pretty good while we were out today.” He stood up and stretched. “I think I’m gonna go on to bed. Do me a favor, will ya? Don’t worry Mom an’ Dad with this, okay?”

Maggie nodded. “Promise me you won’t tell her the truth, Michael.”

“I’ve never broken a promise to you, Maggie.”

“I know.”

“Then don’t ask me to make one now that I may not be able to keep,” Michael said firmly.

She called him before he could leave the room. “At least promise me you’ll talk to Grandpa tomorrow. Please?”

Michael nodded. “I’ll talk to him, Maggie.” He leaned over to drop a kiss on her dark head. “Don’t worry about it, okay? I promise I’ll talk to him.”

“Tomorrow,” she insisted.

“First thing, brat.”

Maggie watched him go and knew without a doubt that he would do what he said he would do. Michael had never once broken a promise and it worried her that he hadn’t given her his word that he wouldn’t tell Maria the truth. Her brother really liked Maria; she knew it even though he wouldn’t come right out and admit it, and she didn’t want to see him get hurt. What if he told the truth and Maria turned on him? What if –

“Stop thinkin’ so hard and watch that stupid movie,” Michael insisted from the doorway.

“I’m going with you to see Grandpa”, Maggie stated decisively.

“Maggie – “

She interrupted him before he had the opportunity to undermine her plans. “No, I’m going with you, Michael.”

He decided not to argue with her. She was worried about him and she wouldn’t let it go until she talked to their grandfather, trusting him to find a solution to the problem.

“Fine.” He walked through the house to his bedroom, leaving the light off and pacing back and forth in front of his window. He couldn’t discount his sister’s fears and he couldn’t put them to rest until he knew what action to take and what affect it would have. He braced his hands on either side of the window and stared at the mountains in the distance, the same mountains he has spent the day looking at with Maria.

He spent the entire night staring into the desert as the moon cut a path across the sand until it finally disappeared over the horizon and the sun began its climb into the early morning sky. He was still no closer to an answer when he heard his mother beginning to make preparations for breakfast.

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ArchAngel1973
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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt12-3/8

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:43 am

Nibbles2 – Yep, in this fic, Michael is very much loved and protected by his family. It’s quite surprising, huh? It doesn’t happen a lot to see such a Michael, I think. But we wanted him to have such a family, for once, and to see where it would go from there.

Stinebiene – Michael won’t be the one to tell Maria? Huh, huh. Let’s just say that he might not want to tell her, but he might not have a choice, it’s different.
Maggie and Michael have a long past. You will see in future parts, how important Maggie had been to help Michael in his new life so their trusting relationship won’t surprise you. And they are also very close in age and going to the same school so they spend lots of time together.

Starcrazed – yep, the “nickname” game will be one that will take place for most of the fic. Michael won’t be out of that game, since we gave a hint about something that Maria doesn’t want Michael to know.

Lilah – Michael has spent more time with Maria than Maggie so for her, Maria is a nice girl, but one she doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily trust with such an important secret. Trust has to be won, it’s not given easily, especially when for Maggie, it’s her beloved brother’s life and safety at stake. About River Dog, you’ll be surprised. But don’t worry, we approach the part where you’ll understand their relationship. THE beginning for them.

Chrissie – yep, Michael has a very protective sister. Good thing or bad thing?

Ashleyt – Isabel is turning out to be a very complex character to write. We didn’t expect her to be such a bitch without Michael around, but she turned out that way naturally. Max, Isabel and Michael influenced each other while growing up; remove one character from the equation, and there’s a big change in the remaining ones.

Flamehair – Maggie is an important part of Michael’s life and vice versa. We’ll see how their relationship will evolve, now that things are changing.

ken r - Michael is definitely opening Maria's eyes to a whole new world, and it will go on in later parts. Michael is aware of what his community is going through, and will show Maria that.


Part 12


Dreams were strange things, Maria mused as she opened her eyes and squinted against the sunlight streaming through her window. Her mind had apparently chosen to take a walk through what little she could recall from her brush with danger the day before. It was funny the way dreams took such simple events and twisted them around to create such a surreal reality. There had to be something to explain the flash of light she had seen, but she had her doubts that Michael had used some sort of weapon to blast the rocks before they could strike her.

“Yeah, you’ve been living in Roswell too long, girl.” She wasn’t going to get any answers from her dreams; she needed to go back to the place where it had happened. If she didn’t figure this out, her overactive imagination was going to have Michael turning green and cruising the skies of New Mexico in a flying saucer. She giggled as she rolled out of bed and stretched, wincing when she felt the twinge in her shoulder.

She turned around and stared hard at her reflection as she gently rubbed the sore spot on her right shoulder. There was a completely rational explanation, she was sure of it. “I hit my head,” she muttered, “that must be it.” She frowned as she twisted around and tried in vain to see the back of her head. There must be… she thought, but as she reached up to probe her skull in hopes of finding even the smallest tender area she flashed back to the moment when she had landed on the ground while Michael shielded her with his own body. She hadn’t hit her head, she realized as hysteria began to set in. His hand had kept her head from colliding with the ground. Which means the head injury theory’s out.

“Okay, Maria, think about it,” she ordered her reflection. “You’re not making any sense and if you can’t blame it on a head injury, there must be another explanation for that damn flash of light.” There is, her mind taunted her, he’s an alien. She hurried to grab a small vial of cedar oil off of her dresser and unscrewed the cap, inhaling the scent that normally calmed her down. Her nerves settled, but only minimally.

“Not an alien, not an alien, not an alien,” she chanted, pacing around her room and inhaling the cedar oil’s rich scent every few seconds. Feeling sufficiently calmed she found herself standing in front of the mirror once more and wondered if conversing with one’s self could be considered a reasonable cause for a one-way trip to the funny farm. She shook her head and walked to the other side of the room. “Okay, shake it off, girl,” she ordered. “You’re not crazy, despite what other people think.”

Maybe it had something to do with the time they had spent together the day before, she mused thoughtfully. It had been a magical day and Michael himself was… what was the word? He was different from any other guy she had ever known, but what was it that set him apart from everyone else? Obviously being raised on the reservation by Indians who were some of the most spiritual people in the world was a factor, but he was… what? Mystical? Otherworldly?

She rolled her eyes and growled when her thoughts once again turned to the paranormal. “He’s not an alien,” she denied aloud, as if speaking the words would make them true. She had grown up surrounded by the mythology created in the wake of the ’47 crash, she spent most of her days serving greasy food to the odd assortment of people who blew through town as they chased one UFO sighting after another, and while she had never discounted the possibility of life “out there” she really didn’t believe they were just hanging out on planet Earth.

She snorted suddenly. “Maybe you just need to get your eyes checked because you’re obviously seeing things.” She faced her reflection from across the room and shook her head at herself. “He’s not an alien and you’re gonna prove it.”

But how? She tried to piece the events together but everything had happened so fast that she just couldn’t make it make sense. She was missing something, some vital piece of the puzzle that would make everything fall into place. A quick glance at her clock showed that it was just before eleven; if she hurried she could make it out to the reservation by noon.

*****

River Dog walked along the stream, unaware of the heat that beat down on him as the sun climbed higher in the sky. He had spent most of his life on the reservation, conscious of the changes that occurred on a daily basis in the world outside of their borders. As a young man, he had ventured out past the boundaries of the reservation, living in the city for a year before he had been unable to handle the confinement any longer.

It was funny how people from the outside saw the reservation as confining. For him, it was freedom to be who he was, to be a part of something that was so much bigger than him. It wasn’t a life that most people in the outside world would be comfortable with, but he suspected that the reverse was also true.

He leaned down to pick up a long stick, studying it closely before deciding that with a little work it would make a good walking stick. Like many of the others who lived on the Rez, he used what nature provided to make a living, and walking sticks sold well. He wasn’t sure why since most of the tourists who came through and bought them looked like they rarely saw much of the outdoors.

“Grandpa!”

He turned and waved his free hand to acknowledge his granddaughter’s greeting before going back to his perusal of the horizon, studying it for several minutes while he waited for the teenagers to reach him.

“Grandpa, you need to talk to Michael,” Maggie insisted, her tone urgent.

River Dog turned and leaned against a large boulder, intently scanning their features for some clue as to why they were there. Michael appeared just as solemn as he normally was, but there was an underlying tension in his tall frame. His sister, though, was bursting with nervous energy, which was completely at odds with her usual serene demeanor.

He had been expecting a visit from Michael since the day he had met Maria out at Grey Wolf’s place, but he hadn’t expected Maggie to tag along with him. He waited patiently, knowing she would be off and running at any minute.

“You have to tell him he can’t tell his girlfriend the truth, Grandpa! He thinks it might come to that because of something that happened yesterday – not that he’ll tell me what it was – but, it’s a risk that’s too big to even…” Maggie fell silent when River Dog held a hand up, stopping the flow of words.

“I’m sure your brother appreciates your opinion, Maggie, as we all do,” River Dog said, biting back a smile, “but, perhaps this is a conversation he did not intend to have with you here.”

“Grandpa, this is serious!” She crossed her arms over her chest and waited. When he didn’t give in after several minutes she threw her arms up in the air. “Fine.” She turned to her brother and held her right hand out. “I’ll need the keys to the truck.”

Michael took a step back and shoved the keys in his pocket. “No.”

“How do you expect me to go anywhere then?”

“Call Linda or Christina to come get you.”

“At nine o’clock? On a Sunday morning?” She huffed indignantly and stalked back along the path that led back to her grandfather’s home. “Fine. Just remember that you owe me, Michael!” she shouted over her shoulder.

River Dog chuckled at her temperamental behavior and shook his head before turning to regard his grandson. “So, you’ve decided to tell Maria the truth?”

“No.” Michael kicked a rock across the ground and shrugged his wide shoulders. “It’s just that she nearly got hurt yesterday and I used my powers to protect her.” He leaned over to pick up another rock, running his fingers over the smooth, flat surface. “I think it’s possible that maybe she saw somethin’ she shouldn’t have seen and I’m not really sure what to do about it.” He paced back and forth, unable to remain still while his mind was racing with different scenarios.

“You’re not sure she actually saw anything?” the old man asked, his sharp gaze following his grandson’s restless movements.

“No, I’m not sure.” He turned to look at his grandfather. “What should I do?”

“Do you feel like you know her well enough to tell her the truth?” He nodded after several minutes of silence. “If she doesn’t suspect anything then I think it would be best to wait until you do feel like you know her well enough and you’re comfortable with her knowing the truth.”

“And if she does suspect that somethin’ out of the ordinary happened?” Michael skipped the stone across the calm surface of the water. “What do I do then? What do I tell her?”

River Dog’s gaze searched his grandson’s face, easily reading the mixed emotions there. He could see that Michael wanted to tell Maria the truth, but he was afraid to take that step. The boy knew perfectly well what could happen if his secret fell into the wrong hands but at the same time, he was a regular seventeen-year-old boy who was fast approaching the age of eighteen, and he was falling in love with a young girl. And like most human boys, he wanted to be with her, to be able to talk to her, to confide in her, to not have to hide who he really was. He sighed. Michael had a hard decision to make and he knew that the boy expected him to put him on the right path. Would Maria DeLuca be able to deal with Michael’s alien side? Maria DeLuca… Amy DeLuca’s daughter. River Dog thought back to the first time he had met Maria’s mother and a small smile lit up his face. Maybe that was the answer.

“Do you know that the first time I met Amy DeLuca, she had handcuffed herself to the front bumper of an eighteen-wheeler on a reservation up in Oklahoma? Oil had been discovered on the Rez and the government was moving equipment in to start drilling despite the fact that the land belongs to the Indians there. She and her little group caused quite a scene, handcuffed to different parts of this truck, protesting the government’s theft of resources that belonged to the Indians. Then when they came in to arrest them she managed to hold them off until some reporter friend of hers arrived to cover the story.” He shook his head. “She had even hassled a couple of government officials into coming out to see what was going on.”

“You’re tellin’ me Maria’s crazy mother held off cops and everyone else until the right people got there to see what was goin’ on.” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “How?”

“Well, it was mostly for show; the police on the Rez had no reason to stop her group from protesting. The longer it lasted the more time it gave her reporter friend to get there with the government officials.” His lined face broke out in a smile. “She was pregnant with Maria at the time, but she was well taken care of by everyone. She’s been a very good friend to our people, Michael, and I don’t know her daughter, but I do know her.”

“Meanin’ what exactly?”

“Amy is a very open-minded woman and she cares deeply for those who are different. I am certain that her daughter must be quite similar in character.” Amusement lit up his dark eyes. “After all, you are different, and it is obvious that Maria already cares for you.” He chuckled when Michael scowled and kicked another rock. “Her mother is strongly guided by the spirits; she has a strong character and deeply ingrained morals.”

He moved across the distance that separated them and placed a hand on the boy’s right shoulder. “If you come to that crossroad and it becomes necessary for you to make the decision to reveal the truth or cover it up, tell her the truth.”

“You don’t think she’ll freak out?” Michael asked hopefully.

River Dog laughed at Michael’s question. Amy was one of a kind that was for sure. Chances were that Maria had inherited her mother’s… unique disposition. “She is her mother’s daughter, Michael. There’s a reasonable expectation of some…” he cleared his throat, “overreaction, on her part, but, I don’t believe she’ll pose any threat to you.”

Michael contemplated his grandfather’s answer as he stared into the stream. “So, you think I should tell her.”

River Dog shook his head. “I’m not telling you what you should do, boy. I just think if you come to that crossroad and you opt to try to come up with a cover story, you’ll regret not telling her the truth.” He moved back to lean against the boulder once more. “Tell me honestly – have you given any thought to what it would be like to tell her the truth?”

“Maybe.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. In my mind it keeps comin’ down to that moment where she learns the truth and at that point, I just go blank.”

“You’re scared to think of her reaction.”

“Wouldn’t you be?” Michael snapped.

“Because you care about her.” River Dog watched his grandson as he started to pace again. “Michael, I know you’ve always had your reservations about getting involved, and I’m not discounting your fears because they are valid, but you’ve invited her to come out on more than one occasion.” He smiled and shook his head. “She’s a little crazy, Magnum.”

The teasing words had the desired effect; Michael relaxed fractionally and moved to lean back against the boulder beside his grandfather. “She is kinda crazy,” he said, laughing quietly. “Crazy enough to keep comin’ round here to see me.”

River Dog nudged him with his elbow. “She likes you.”

Michael sighed heavily. “I hope it’s enough.”

“Michael, take some advice from an old man; don’t stress yourself out over something that may or may not happen.” He reached over to pat the younger man’s shoulder. “And trust your instincts where she’s concerned.”

*****

Maria was singing along with the radio – loudly – as she drove onto the reservation and followed the route to Michael’s house. She pulled up into his driveway a short while later and climbed out of the car, pocketing the keys before walking up to the front door. She had hoped to catch him at home but after knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell didn’t bring anyone out she realized that the house was empty. She wondered if he was going to be back soon as she looked around at the desert and the mountains in the distance. She sat on the front porch for a few minutes, paced back and forth for another few minutes, and sat on the hood of the car for a few minutes, before she decided the waiting was driving her insane.

She finally couldn’t take it any longer and she walked around the house and down to the barn, pushing the door open and stepping into the cool interior. She stopped at the stall where Rascal was housed and smiled when the mare poked her head over the stall door and nickered to get her attention.

“Hi there,” she whispered, reaching up to stroke the shiny neck. “You wouldn’t happen to know where Michael is, would you?” She chuckled when the mare nudged her roughly and snuffled as she searched for a treat. “I didn’t bring you a snack, you pig.” She had seen Michael give the horses sugar cubes the day before so she knew right away what the mare was looking for.

She walked along the breezeway, looking into the stalls that lined both sides. She paused at the stall where Sundance was housed, staring at the horse for several long seconds. When he stamped his hooves against the ground she decided she had seen enough of him and she went back to Rascal’s stall. Eventually, she became tired of standing around and she sat down on a bale of straw, wondering if Michael was going to be back soon.

*****

Liz sat down across from Alex just as one of the waitresses was clearing away his empty plates. She had finished her shift half an hour ago and she had the rest of the day free.

“What’re you looking at?” she asked, nodding at the computer magazine lying open on the table between them.

“New software packages,” he answered, knowing she wouldn’t go any further with the question. She could talk about biology and science stuff for hours on end but she had no interest in computers beyond their relation to her field of study.

“So, I guess you haven’t discovered anything new with the letter?”

“Not yet. We’ll figure it out though.” He flipped through several pages, scanning over the encryption software.

Liz shook her head at his statement but not because she didn’t believe him. No, if Alex said he was going to figure it out she knew he would no matter how long it took. It was his use of the word we’ll; Alex had a habit of referring to his computer as if it were an entity capable of independent thought. He really needed to get a girlfriend and interact with humans more often. Or an alien, she thought, smiling when she glanced up and saw Max and Isabel getting out of the jeep.

Alex had been captivated by Isabel Evans since the first day she and Max had started attending grade school with them. Even though the tall blonde had never been nice to him Alex had always had a soft spot for her and she had never understood it.

“Any chance you’re planning to ask Isabel out?”

“Yes, Liz, because then my humiliation could be both public and complete.” He flipped over to the next page to study the external hard drives. “Even with everything that’s goin’ on she barely acknowledges my existence.”

“That’s never stopped you before.”

That caught his attention and he looked up at her, shaking his head in warning. “Leave it alone, Liz.” He nodded at something over her shoulder. “You’ve got plans?”

Liz turned her head, smiling at Max. “We’re going to a movie.”

“Well, I’ve gotta get back to that letter.” He glanced at his watch. “My parents should be gone by now so I’ll talk to you later.” He nodded at Max when they passed each other.

“Is he okay?” Max asked, sitting down across from Liz.

“Yeah, he’ll be fine. Where’d Isabel go?”

“I pissed her off so she decided to walk to the shoe store.” He shrugged at her questioning look. “I saw you talking to Alex and I made the mistake of asking her if she was gonna apologize to him.” He smiled. “You ready to go?”

“Just waiting for you.”

“Do you mind walking to the theater?”

“No, it’s only a few blocks over. You’re leaving the jeep for Isabel?”

“Yeah. I doubt she’ll use it just so she can be difficult, but this way it’s here if she wants to take it.” Max held the door open for her as they stepped out into the comfortably warm afternoon air.

“Max, do you have any expectations for that letter that we found?” she asked, sliding her fingers through his when he took her hand.

“Expectations?” He shook his head. “No, I guess not.”

“Do you want it to mean something? To be some kind of connection to where you’re from?”

“I don’t really know. I mean, I’ve got questions of course, but…”

Liz tugged on his hand to get his attention when she heard his confused tone. “Y’know, Max, it’s okay to be scared of where it could lead. It’s gotta be pretty scary knowing that there’s possibly a different life for you out there… that there’s more out there on some other planet than what you could ever have here – “

Max pressed the forefinger of his free hand against her lips to stop the flow of words. “It doesn’t matter what we find out from that letter, what we discover through investigation, or what we learn about ourselves in the future. All of that’s just filling in the blanks, it’s just answering the questions of where we come from and why we’re here, it doesn’t determine my happiness or my future.”

“You’re so sure of that?”

“Without question.”

“How?”

“Because, Elizabeth Parker, with your acceptance of me, you’ve already determined my happiness as well as my future.” He leaned in close to her, gently framing her face as he kissed her tenderly.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt13-3/15

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:03 am

Mezz – oh, yeah, River dog knows the Deluca women, based on his knowledge of Amy. Genes don’t lie!

Ken r – Maria is older than in the show and has had an uneventful life up until now. I guess you could say she is more mature.

Nibbles2 – Which choice does Michael have, hum, if Maria confronts him?

Stracrazed – So you liked how River Dog met Amy? We thought it was funny and in character.

Ashleyt – hmm, can’t answer you about Nacedo, sorry. We have to keep the mystery going, with the story. You won’t have to wait for too long, about a Maria-Michael confrontation.

Cjsl8ne – overreaction? You think so? Keep in mind that in this scenario, Maria already knows Michael, and is already in love with him, that changes the outcome.

Flamehair – Thank you. We hope that you will like the other… “format” we’ll use to tell the story.

Stinebiene – let’s just say that the Magnum game will last for a long time.


Part 13


Michael stared at the little red car parked in his spot and glanced around as he parked behind it. He pulled the key from the ignition and shoved it in his pocket as he stepped out of the truck and shut the door. Since his parents were both working until evening and Maggie was most likely still out with her friends, he knew Maria wouldn’t be inside, so he walked around to the back where the barn was situated and immediately spotted the slightly open door.

After spending several hours talking to River Dog, he had felt a little better about dealing with the possibility of having to reveal his identity, but knowing she was there threw all of that right out the window. He wiped his suddenly damp palms on his jeans before taking a deep breath and reaching for the door. He swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the lump in his throat as he walked along the breezeway towards his goal.

Maria turned around when she heard the hinges on the door creak, and she smiled at Michael as he walked towards her. “Well, it certainly took you long enough to get here,” she commented.

“Yeah, I went out to see my grandfather.” He made a meaningless gesture with his right hand. “Did we have plans this afternoon?” he asked, knowing perfectly well that they hadn’t made arrangements to see each other.

“I was hoping we could take a ride back out to where we were yesterday.”

“Oh. Um, why?” Michael could’ve kicked himself for the idiotic response but nerves had made him even less articulate than usual and he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Because something happened yesterday that I can’t quite put my finger on and it’s gonna drive me crazy until I figure it out.” She raised her head to meet his gaze directly. “Unless you wanna tell me what I saw.”

Old habits were hard to break and he found himself falling back on them instead of trying to talk to her about what had occurred the day before. His throat locked up on him, his mouth went dry, and his stomach felt like it was filled with lead. Maybe if he took her out there and let her look around, she’d be satisfied that it was just a figment of her imagination and she’d drop it. He knew it was wishful thinking and he was grasping at straws in an effort to contain the fear that had wrapped its icy fingers around his throat.

He hooked his thumb over his left shoulder. “I’ll get the horses ready.”

Maria watched him in an attempt to gauge his mood and she wanted to scream in frustration when she realized how tense he was. It hadn’t been her intention to make him uncomfortable but she could tell that was exactly what she had done. She had to find a way to put him at ease or this was going to be a miserable afternoon for both of them

“How was your visit with your grandfather?”

Michael leaned down to pull the cinch strap snug against Rascal’s belly and idly patted the mare before leading her out of the stall. “It was okay. Here, hold her while I get Sundance ready.” She sighed at his noncommittal tone and accepted the reins when he held them out to her.

“Where’s Maggie today?”

“Probably out with Linda an’ Christina.” He shrugged as he finished saddling his horse. “She’s pissed at me, so I really can’t say for sure.”

Silence fell over them once more and this time Maria didn’t try to fill it, choosing instead to study him as they left the barn and headed out into the desert. Was it possible that his mood was simply a by-product of an argument with his sister? Or did his mood have more to do with the fact that she had shown up unexpectedly, with questions that he didn’t want to answer? Her gaze raked over him as he led the way, his relaxed position completely at odds with the tension she could sense in him.

She tilted her head to one side in an attempt to keep the sun out of her eyes. He couldn’t be an alien, right? She spent the rest of the ride trying to decide if it was realistically possible for an alien to look and act like Michael. According to everything she had seen and read, aliens were rumored to be hairless and either gray or green, depending on whose information you were relying on. They were supposed to have large, black, almond-shaped eyes, with tiny mouths, and no nose to speak of. More often than not they were described as having small bodies with spindly arms and legs. Well, that certainly didn’t come anywhere close to describing Michael, she thought, smiling as she watched him dismount and secure Sundance.

It suddenly occurred to her that if he was an alien, she had managed to work herself into a bad situation. They were out in the middle of nowhere and he had informed her the day before that no one even knew that this place even existed. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe insisting that he tell her exactly what happened wasn’t the best option.

Michael watched Maria as he held Rascal’s bridle, wondering what she was thinking. She had been uncharacteristically quiet on the ride but he didn’t know if that was in response to his own silence or if she was just getting her thoughts in order before she started to question him. He turned to secure Rascal and he felt the air shift when Maria moved away from him.

Maria walked over to the rocky incline and took several steps along the path before she stopped and scanned the area with a critical eye. She winced when every step reminded her of why horseback riding was something she had decided she never wanted to do again. Ouch! God, and she thought yesterday had been painful! People who did this on a regular basis were obviously masochists. She had to force herself to ignore the soreness that had quickly flared back up after riding the four-legged beast back out into the desert.

She walked up a little further and her gaze traveled over the place where she had grabbed onto the little bush in an effort to stop her fall. The feeling of falling, scrambling to latch onto anything that would stop her descent, the roughness of the limb she had grasped, the disbelief when the bush came free of the ground, and the fear as she realized the disruption of the ground had triggered a landslide. The glimpse of a large boulder coming loose and barreling down after her and the sick feeling that followed. The boulder exploding at the same moment that Michael had crashed into her and…

Her eyes widened and she stared at the ground where she had last seen the boulder. Moving closer to it she noticed that the sun was reflecting off of something and she leaned over to brush the sand away. The sand had been melted into a small sheet of glass. She turned slowly and stared at the rocks and fresh earth that surrounded the area where she and Michael had landed. Moving closer, she picked up several of the rocks and studied their jagged edges carefully.

Michael felt his breath lodge in his throat and his heart was thumping painfully in his chest as he watched Maria put the pieces together. He felt nauseous, which was a new sensation since he hadn’t been sick a day in his life, but his sister had described it in enough detail that he was fairly certain that was what he was experiencing. He knew the exact moment she figured it out and as she turned to face him, he panicked and several cactus plants exploded around him.

“Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God,” she muttered, an edge of hysteria creeping into her voice as she surveyed the bits and pieces of cactus lying on the ground. “What’d the cactus ever do to you? I understand the rocks…” Her voice trailed off and she turned to look at the patch of glass and the jagged rocks she still held in her hand. “Oh, my God, it’s true, isn’t it? You did this… all of it! That’s why these rocks are all jagged, because they were part of a large rock and you blew it up. And the glass… I’m no science whiz but I do know that sand only turns into glass under extreme temperatures. It’s the only thing that makes sense because there’s no other way you could’ve gotten to me and got us out of the way before that rock hit me.”

She made her way back down to the bottom of the path and continued to rant, not noticing his withdrawal. “It’s true. I mean, people have said for years and years that aliens exist, but, seriously, who believes that? It’s true though, isn’t it? You’re…“

She paused in her rambling rant and frantically searched through her bag for her cedar oil, sighing in relief when her fingers wrapped around it. She unscrewed the cap and inhaled the soothing scent, continuing to pace and quietly muttering to herself. “Okay, Maria, you can do this. You’ve already accused him of being from outer space and he hasn’t turned green or gone all… alien on you.” She took another whiff of the cedar oil and recapped it before taking a deep, calming breath and turning to face him. She frowned when she noticed him quietly pacing several yards away, his pacing the only outward sign of discomfort. She felt her nerves settle as she realized how distressed he was and she took in several deep, calming breaths before speaking. “Michael, tell me what happened yesterday.”

He barely glanced at her as he continued to pace for several minutes, gathering his thoughts and trying to remain calm. She wanted an explanation? She already had her answer, what more did she want from him?

Maria easily read the fear in his eyes in the brief glance he sent in her direction. She immediately recalled all of the movies she had seen about aliens and the way the government hunted them down so they could experiment on them. He didn’t deserve that and she would never let it happen, but she had to make him understand that she was okay with him and that he could trust her. But it wasn’t just fear of exposure, she realized, it was also fear of rejection. His fear was broadcasting itself loudly and Maria finally had to speak, hoping to give him some peace of mind so he would talk to her. “Michael, I know I have a tendency to run off at the mouth when… well, okay, most of the time, but I really do want you to tell me what happened yesterday. I admit, it’s a little shocking to say the least, but, I am a pretty open-minded person and I’m open to whatever you have to say.”

“Yeah, until I actually open my mouth and say it.” He sat on a large boulder with a flat surface and hooked the heels of his boots on an old log lying in front of it, bracing his elbows on his knees as he dropped his head forward and covered his face with his hands.

His pose was so isolated, so lonely, and it just broke her heart. Did it really matter if he was an alien, like she suspected? He hadn’t done anything that made him a threat to her, or anyone else that she had seen. From everything she had seen, his heart was in the right place; despite his gruff exterior he was considerate, he loved his family, and he was very protective of those he cared about. She couldn’t just stand there and watch him suffer alone any longer.

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

Alex sat on the porch swing on the back deck, his lanky body in a comfortable sprawl as he stared at his mother’s greenhouse. He had spent a lot of time there when he was a little boy, eagerly learning everything his mother had taught him in his father’s absence.

Charles Whitman was away on business more than he was home and Alex couldn’t remember his father being there for most of his childhood. Although when he had been there he had still been absent. His father wasn’t a cold or mean person by nature; he just didn’t know how to interact with people. The man preferred computers over people and he always had; they made sense to him and he understood them in a way that he didn’t understand human beings.

Elaine Whitman on the other hand was the exact opposite of her husband. Warm, friendly, outgoing, and affectionate; she was a strong woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or to stand up for what was right.

He was convinced that Isabel possessed those same qualities even though she kept most of them tucked away, hidden away behind her icy façade in order to protect herself. She could be unbelievably cruel when she wanted to be and he had been the recipient of that cruelty every single year since the third grade.

At eight years old Alex had had exactly two friends – Maria DeLuca and Liz Parker. In the beginning some of the other boys had teased him about having girls for friends and they had pushed him around on the playground, but Maria had faced off against the bullies and they had moved on to someone else.

He still remembered his first attempt to put a smile on Isabel Evans’ face. February 14, 1992 was a day that he wouldn’t forget as long as he lived…

Alex had hurried through the hall so he could get to Ms. Thompson’s class before anyone else. Skidding to a halt in the open doorway he had crept inside, looking around to make sure no one else had gotten there first. Once he was satisfied that he was alone he had made his way to the back of the classroom where Isabel’s desk was waiting.

He placed his backpack on the desk next to hers and absently noted that it was the one her brother Max sat in. He unzipped the backpack and reached inside, carefully removing the single red rose his mom had let him take from her garden that morning before school. He gently brushed his little fingers over the silky petals as he thought about Isabel.

He didn’t understand why she didn’t smile very much, but he was certain she’d be even prettier if she did. He carefully placed the precious gift on her desk, moving it this way and that way before deciding it was perfect. This would make her smile, he thought. Flowers always made his mom smile so he knew that this one, picked from his mom’s garden, would make Isabel smile too.

It wasn’t important for her to know who had left the flower; it was only important that he see her smile when she saw it. He had hurried from the classroom then, running through the halls to find Liz and Maria.

Spotting his friends he had altered his path and joined them by the gym. “Hi,” he greeted breathlessly.

“Alex!”

Their voices had blended together and they were hugging him before he had a chance to put his backpack down. As soon as they had released him he had handed each of them the two best Valentine’s Day cards that had been in the box his mom had bought for him to pass around in class. They were really cool, with pictures of the characters from his favorite cartoons. The ones for Liz and Maria were extra special though, they had a heart-shaped chocolate taped to the backs of their cards.

They had each given him a Valentine’s Day card and he had endured another round of hugs because he knew it was a special day for girls. He didn’t understand why they got all weird or why everything had to be red and shaped like a heart, but the girls really liked it. He shook his head, not sure he wanted to understand. His dad had sent his mom a bunch of roses and a big box of chocolates that morning and she had cried. Girls were just weird sometimes, he thought.

“Y’know my mom’s like really getting into all that health food and she took all the good stuff to the Crashdown an’ some other places last night,” Maria said, distracting him from what Liz was doing. “An’ we knew you wouldn’t want one of her gross muffins that don’t have any icing on them…”

Alex’s hopeful expression fell. No chocolate cupcake? They always brought him at least one of Maria’s mom’s cupcakes because she made the best ones. They were even better than his mom’s cupcakes and that meant they were really good.

“But, we managed to sneak one out last night when we were doin’ homework,” Liz said, turning back around and holding out a beautifully crafted cupcake.

“It’s extra special this year, Alex,” Maria said, her voice lowered conspiratorially. “I watched my mom when she was makin’ ‘em and she put fudge in the middle.”

“Really?” He was intrigued by the thought of even more chocolate. He hadn’t understood what the big deal was about chocolate before meeting the girls. Their moms only made health food just like his mom, but they had figured out ways to get their hands on lots of different sweet things.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Alex,” Maria said as she hugged him again.

“Alex is a big girl!”

He had felt Maria’s arms tighten just before she backed away from him. She had glared at the girl who had spoken but before she could move Liz had grabbed her arm.

“Your mom said you were gonna be grounded if you got in another fight with Pam Troy,” Liz reminded her.

“Yeah, you’re right, and she’s not worth it,” Maria said, but she had sounded like she was trying to convince herself.

“You’re the one who’s not worth it,” Pam argued, daring to close the distance between them. “That’s probably why your dad left – “

No one had seen Liz move and no one had expected it when she had smashed the special cupcake with the red and pink frosting right into Pam Troy’s sneering face. It was the incident that had officially drawn the lines of battle between the two girls and it was a war that would last all the way through high school.

The three friends had taken off for class, leaving Pam to deal with her sticky face and snickering classmates. They hadn’t spoken about Pam or what she had said about Maria’s dad; he and Liz knew she didn’t like to talk about him because she was still sad that he had gone away. As much as he hated to lose that cupcake, it had been sacrificed for a good cause and he gave Liz a hi-five as they walked into class.

Most of the desks were already occupied as they made their way back to the corner where they always sat together. Everyone was whispering and pointing at the empty desk at the back with the red rose lying on top. Silence fell over the classroom when Isabel walked in, blonde head held high, her dark eyes briefly flitting over the other students as she moved further into the room. Her brother had been behind her, dark head bent as he watched his feet and followed behind her. He sat at his desk, only looking up when he realized that his sister was standing beside her desk and the entire room had fallen silent.

Isabel had stared at the rose as if she were worried that it might strike out and bite her. She finally sat down, staring at it for several long minutes before she finally picked it up.

Alex held his breath, waiting for the smile that was going to appear at any moment. But it had never happened. She had looked at each of the boys in class, making it a point to meet their eyes directly, as she pulled the petals from the flower, one by one. She hadn’t known who had left the flower, but she was making sure that whoever had made the mistake knew not to make it again.

As each dismembered petal fell to the floor Alex had felt his little heart being broken, but he hadn’t let on that he was the one who had left the flower. Maria and Liz had known about his crush on Isabel and they had quickly put two and two together, realizing that he was the one who had left the flower for her.


The girls hadn’t tried to talk to him about it, sensing that it was a private matter, maybe, or just knowing that he wasn’t going to talk about it. Either way, they had never questioned him about it; not that first year when he had left the first rose, and not once over the following years. He had sworn to himself that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake again, but every single year he took the best rose from his mother’s garden on Valentine’s Day and left it on Isabel’s desk. He had never once left a note or a card, just the single red rose and the hope that it would be the one that would make her smile. And every year her cold gaze met the eyes of every guy in class, trying to determine which of them had dared to leave such a gift, as she silently shredded the petals and let them fall to the desk in front of her. After class she always gathered the remains of the flower up and carried it to the trash can to dispose of it as if it meant nothing, never knowing that she was taking another piece of his heart.

“You’ve never let it bother you before.” Liz’s comment had been unnerving because none of them had ever talked about him leaving the roses for Isabel every year despite her obvious disregard of his offering.

“Alex?”

He turned his head when her voice came from behind him unexpectedly. “Isabel.” He pushed the memory to the back of his mind as he stood up to face her. “Hey, is everything okay?” he asked when he noticed her expression.

“Things would be fine if Max would stop telling me what to do.”

Okay, well, that explained why she looked like she could happily do some damage right now, he thought, hiding a smile. He had a feeling she wouldn’t appreciate his amusement at the situation. It was time to redirect her irritation and see if they could turn it into something productive. “So, I’ve got another idea for decoding that letter. I thought maybe while I was working on what we talked about yesterday you could try to isolate any patterns that exist within the text.”

Isabel’s expression changed from irritated to neutral. “Oh, well, if you think it would be useful then I guess I can do that.”

“Yeah, isolating a pattern would be useful.” He opened the screen door and held it for her. “Of course there’s a chance that it’s coded well enough that there is no pattern too.”

“If there’s a pattern I’ll find it.”

Alex followed her inside, certain that she would be able to focus her energy on the code now.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt14-3/22

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:08 am

Ken r – Michael’s reaction is connected to his tribe and to his family. He has been taught to not fear his powers, or who he is. So telling Maria the big secret isn’t as huge or as scary for him, as it was in the show.

Flamehair – Fic Maria has an advantage over TV show Maria: she has met Michael, fallen in love with him and has been able to see him as a guy who loves his family, who is normal. It makes a huge difference.

Stinbiene
How long is it gonna take until Maria finds out about Max and Isabel? It doesn't seem like she has any suspicions yet since she wasn't present during the shooting but she already knows Liz and Alex are hiding something big. And when she finds out how will she deal with it?
You’ll be able to see what the answers to your questions are, in this next part. You’ll just have to pay attention to one little sentence that Michael will say to Maria.

Nibbles2 – Michael has lived all his life with people who have known about his secret from the start and who have accepted him and loved him. Introducing someone else in this clan is a risk, but one that Michael is willing to take because of his feelings for Maria. But notice how he went to River Dog for advice on that subject. He needed reassurance because Maria being told the truth was a big step for Michael.


Part 14

Michael froze when she sat down beside him, not expecting it when her arms came around him from behind him and she rested her chin on his left shoulder. “You can tell me anything, Michael, you know that, right?”

God, he hoped so. He looked at her, trying to decide what to say. His raked his hands through his hair as he finally stepped off of the ledge and took the big jump. “I just didn’t want you to get hurt. Yesterday, I mean. You grabbed that bush and as soon as it came loose from the ground and I saw that rock comin’ down, I knew you were gonna get hurt.” He winced and glanced at the hill where it had occurred. “I didn’t have time to think, I just reacted and… I’m not like everybody else, Maria.”

Maria raised her eyes to the heavens. Now there was a shock… not! “I think we’ve established that.”

He snorted derisively. “Yeah, I guess we have.” His right hand came up and he threaded his fingers through hers, encouraged when she didn’t pull away or tense up.

“So, I’m right then?” Maria insisted, trying to control her eagerness as she waited for him to confirm her belief.

“About the alien thing?”

Maria rolled her eyes at his obtuse response. “Yes, Michael, about the alien thing.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” He turned his head and glanced at her for just a moment before his gaze went back to the desert. “I don’t usually have so little control over my… powers. When my emotions get involved, it’s a little harder to maintain that control.”

“So, you’re admitting your emotions are involved here?” Relief flooded her entire body when she saw his profile relax into the familiar smirk. Her gaze traveled down to his hand where it was linked with hers, his thumb rubbing her wrist absently as he pondered his answer.

“You know you can’t tell anyone about this, right?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Maria braced her left hand on his shoulder and pushed back to look at him. “I was planning to call the UFO museum as soon as I got home today.” She shoved his shoulder when he looked at her sharply. “I have my very own alien; why would I wanna share you with anyone else?” She grinned when he only grunted and looked away, pretending he hadn’t been the least bit concerned. “Okay, tell me all about yourself; I wanna know everything.”

“Everything, huh?” He chuckled. “There’s not really that much to tell, Maria.”

Her left hand cradled his stubborn jaw and she turned his head to force his gaze to hers. “Tell me about your home planet, Spaceboy,” she insisted, her tone teasing.

“Can’t do that.”

Maria studied his expression. “Can’t or won’t?”

“Can’t tell you what I don’t know,” he said quietly. “I don’t remember anything before bein’ found wanderin’ around in the desert when I was about six or so.”

She frowned when his eyes became dull and he looked away. “Hey, look at me.” She waited until he complied with her demand before she spoke again. “Tell me what you do know.” Maria turned towards him and pulled her legs up, bending the right one at the knee and pressing it against his side while draping the left one across his lap. “Not all of us had an ideal childhood, Michael; you can tell me about it without worrying that I’m gonna pass judgment. You said you were found when you were six, right?”

“Yeah, River Dog found me.” He nodded at her look of recognition. “My grandfather, he’s the one who found me.”

His previous revelation shocked Maria to her very core. “You had just been left alone in the desert? There were no others like you?”

“Apparently not.” He shrugged. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t understand him when he talked, and I was terrified of him so I kept runnin’ away, but he spent weeks out there tryin’ to get me to trust him. He’d bring food out and put it where he knew I’d find it, he brought clothes out, but it took some time before I figured out what to do with them, and he brought blankets out so I didn’t freeze durin’ the nights.” He could easily recall the memories and feelings with crystal-clear clarity even though twelve years had passed, and as he talked his mind conjured them up.

The sun was hot on his bare flesh and the sun-heated sand burned his little feet as he crept around the outcropping of rocks to peer at the being that had been lurking around. He leaned forward, craning his neck when the being moved out of his line of sight and he jumped back when the heated rocks seared the palms of his hands. The darkness had come and gone several times since he had awakened and the strange being had shown up two times ago. He had stayed away from the being, carefully watching it from a distance, but it had come towards him before the darkness and he had been trapped with nowhere to go. The being had been pushed away when the little boy had raised his hands and thought that he wanted it to go away. The bright flash of light had frightened him and he had run back to the small place hidden in the rocks, huddling in a little ball and shuddering as tears tracked down his dirty cheeks.

He fell asleep after a while and when he awoke once again, the darkness had fallen across the sand near the entrance of his hiding place. He crept out and peered around, pausing to listen before he crawled out and slowly walked around the rocks, listening hard for anything that sounded out of place. When he finally reached the place where he had last seen the being, he noticed some things sitting on one of the rocks. All of his senses were on alert as he crept along soundlessly, and his eyes darted around fearfully as he reached up to touch the colorful thing.

He scrambled up onto the rock when he caught the scent of food and he was reaching for it when he suddenly pulled his hand back and scanned the desert suspiciously. When he was satisfied that it was safe, he snatched up the first thing he could reach, sniffing it curiously before taking a bite of it. He chewed it fast, but as the flavor burst on his tongue he made a face and spit it out. The rest of the thing followed suit and ended up in the sand, thrown as far away as he could get it before he reached for the next thing. It was spongy and the color of the bright light that came after the darkness, and he sniffed it cautiously before taking a small, tentative bite. This time the taste was better and he shoved a handful of the stuff in his mouth, chewing furiously before swallowing and reaching for more.

His hands grabbed onto a round thing and he shook it, hearing the sloshing sound that came from inside. His dark eyes curiously scanned the desert once more before he shook the thing again. His small hand pulled and tugged at it, certain that he wanted whatever was inside. He made an inarticulate cry when the thing wouldn’t open and he froze, looking around fearfully because he hadn’t realized the sound came from him. After a few minutes when he hadn’t heard anything else, he went back to fighting with the thing and his dark eyes lit up when it suddenly gave and part of the thing came apart. He stared at the liquid that sloshed out of the top and landed on one of his bare legs, frowning when the cool night air brushed against his skin. He brought the thing up to his nose and sniffed at it before putting it to his lips and drinking it down thirstily.

With his hunger and thirst sated for the first time, he quickly became sleepy and he shivered again. He looked down when his mind registered the softness of the thing he was touching and his expression turned quizzical as he picked up the colorful square. He patted it gently before jumping down off of the rock and dragging it back to his hiding place. As he crawled back under the rocks where he could sleep without being found, the colorful square got bigger and he stared at it in consternation when other things fell out of it. He poked at the things, satisfied when they didn’t do anything, and he dragged them further into the hiding place. He placed them on the ground and patted them into place, confident that they would be softer than the sand. Happy with his discovery, he continued to explore the colorful square, fascinated when it continued to get bigger. He wrapped up in the thing, feeling warmth for the first time since he could remember, and he buried his head under the thing to keep out the scary sounds that came with the darkness.


“God, Michael, you must’ve been so terrified,” Maria murmured, unable to imagine how scary it must have been for him to be alone in the desert and unable to speak, or even understand the man that had been trying to help him. She rubbed his shoulder when he started to tense up. “You don’t have to say anything,” she assured him. “How long was it before you let him get close to you?”

“I’ve been told it took several weeks.” He shrugged. “I really had no concept of time back then.”

“And you don’t have any idea how you ended up in the desert?”

“No recollection whatsoever. I had a basic understanding of things like hunger, thirst, bein’ hot or cold, and fear, but when River Dog started comin’ around…” He shook his head. “I had no idea what he was and I couldn’t understand a single thing he said. Have you ever tried to get a stray animal to trust you enough to let you get close to it?”

“Sure, who hasn’t?”

“Same concept. The things I knew at that point were all instinctual; I had no concept of human behavior and I didn’t know how to interact with people. Social services were probably thrilled to hand me off when River Dog’s son and daughter-in-law offered to take me.”

Maria’s throat was tight and she swallowed with difficulty. She could only imagine what would have happened to him if River Dog’s family hadn’t wanted to take Michael into their home, to take care of him, and love him as their own. He would have used his powers at some point, alerting Social Services to his differences and they would have called in doctors and specialists who would have discovered that he wasn’t human, and from there… Well, she had seen the movies, read the books; aliens weren’t treated like peaceful visitors wanting to make contact, but as invaders who wanted to take over Earth. Although, why they would want this polluted planet, occupied by hostile beings who were constantly at war with each other, and who were intent upon using up the planets’ natural resources without finding a way to preserve them was beyond her. She was brought back to what Michael had been saying about Social Services and she asked the question that had been preoccupying her mind. “Why not River Dog? You knew him and you were comfortable with him; they must have seen that.”

Michael snorted, clearly showing what he thought of the foster care system. “They wouldn’t have given custody to him because he was single and they felt pretty strongly that I needed to be in a two-parent environment.”

Maria frowned. “Didn’t that just create more trauma for you?”

“Yes and no. I was familiar with John because River Dog had brought him out to the desert to keep an eye on me when he couldn’t be there, but, yeah, it was still pretty traumatic. I spent a lot of time with River Dog when my parents were at work, so between the three of them, I slowly started to adapt to civilized behavior.”

Michael’s expression had turned pensive while he was talking and Maria wondered what was going through his mind at that moment. Was he thinking about his alien parents, wondering if they were dead or searching for him? Or was he thinking about his human family, who had made sacrifices, opened their home and their hearts to a little alien child with abilities and powers who had required special care and attention? Powers… did his parents know about them? Probably, but she had to ask anyway.

“So your parents know you’re different.”

“They know,” he confirmed, nodding. “River Dog’s spent countless hours helpin’ me develop my abilities, helpin’ me learn to control them, and teachin’ me how to be myself without drawin’ unnecessary attention to who I am. My parents are responsible for the rest of it and I’m lucky they’re so patient.” He grimaced. “I wasn’t easy to deal with when they brought me home and I made it my personal goal to be as difficult as possible.”

“Does Maggie know?”

Michael nodded. “My parents and my grandfather wanted things to be as normal as possible, so they explained things to her. It definitely helped when I was growin’ up.”

Maria thought about Michael’s best friend. Was Eddie aware of Michael’s differences? She had a feeling that he did. “Your friend, Eddie, he knows too, doesn’t he?”

“Um-hmm. His father was killed in an accident when he was a kid and his mother had to work two jobs just to make ends meet, so he spent most of his time with River Dog.” He cocked his head to one side as he regarded her thoughtfully. “What made you think he knew? You only met him the one time.”

Maria didn’t answer at once, searching for the words to explain what she had felt about Eddie and his relationship with Michael. “He’s very… I don’t know, mystical, I guess. It’s like he’s completely comfortable with who he is, with his place in the universe… like he’s completely at peace, y’know?”

“I knew he’d been spendin’ too much time with River Dog,” he muttered, nodding. “Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talkin’ about. It’s like he’s discovered the meanin’ of life or somethin’, but he’s not sharin’ the information.” His head shot up to meet her gaze when she suddenly shifted, moving so that she was straddling his lap.

“I’m so glad you got a good family,” she whispered, leaning forward and kissing him gently, “and that you can be yourself with them.” She shook her head as she leaned back and framed his face in her hands. “And I am so glad you don’t have to hide who you are with them.” It only took moments for his silence to register and she hurried on before he had time to become uncomfortable. “Okay, tell me all about your secret powers,” she said, slapping his shoulders.

Michael rolled his eyes, but took the out she was offering him. He wasn’t used to anyone else knowing the big secret and she had the uncanny ability of being able to pinpoint his thoughts and emotions with just a few words. He shook that thought off and let his hands rest on her thighs as he met her gaze and smiled. “Let’s get one thing straight, okay? I do not have secret powers… I have finely honed abilities.”

“And who all knows about your finely honed abilities?” she asked, teasing another smile out of him. She chuckled when he couldn’t come up with a response. “That’s what I thought. So, if no one besides your family knows about them, they’re secret powers and I want a demonstration. Please?”

The moment she brought the full-blown pout into play, he knew it was all over. “Oh, all right,” he grumbled. He knew he was in trouble if she ever figured out just how potent that look was. “What d’you wanna see?”

Now that was a loaded question if she’d ever heard one, she thought. “I don’t know.” She smiled flirtatiously. “What’ve you got?”

Michael couldn’t help the laughter that escaped him; she made him feel different than anyone else ever had. “What’s your favorite color?”

“Lavender.”

“That’s some kinda purple, right?” he asked, reaching up to run his fingers through her blond hair. He felt her nod and he met her gaze as he lowered his hand to her thigh once more. “You got a compact with you?”

“Um-hmm… why?” She reached around him to grab her bag, dragging it closer so she could dig around for the small compact she carried everywhere. Her fingers finally closed around it and she flipped it open as she raised it up to eye level, surprised when she caught sight of her reflection. Her right hand lifted and her fingertips brushed against her hair. “It’s purple,” she accused, but there was a hint of awe in her tone.

“Wrong shade?” Amusement made his voice shake and he held both hands up when she glared at him. “I like you better as a blond anyway.” His hand brushed over her hair and within moments it was back to its normal shade.

“Okay, do something else,” she urged, dropping the compact back in her bag after checking to be sure that her hair was the right color. “Come on, you can do better than that.” She brushed her hands over his shoulders. “Do something challenging.”

“Challenging, huh?” His dark eyes drifted down to his hands where they were resting on her thighs. “How do you feel about leather?”

“Uh-uh,” she denied, trying to read his expression. “You’re not tellin’ me you can turn denim into leather… are you?”

“Molecular manipulation,” he said, grinning. “Got a preference? Pants? Skirt?”

“You’re serious?” She shook her head but her gaze remained riveted to his hands. “No, I don’t believe you.”

“Took too long,” he growled, “now it’s my choice.” Michael chuckled as he scraped his fingernails along the outer seam of her jeans, letting his mind focus on his goal.

Maria watched him, fascinated by the depth of his concentration as he focused on what he was doing. Her gaze dropped to his hands when his fingers flexed against her legs and a moment later her eyes widened in disbelief when the material began to shift and change. As she watched, the blue denim began to disappear to be replaced by a black leather… mini skirt? She rolled her eyes and slapped his shoulder. “Michael!”

He had to force his gaze away from her bare thighs to meet her disapproving glare. “What?” he asked, going for innocent but fairly certain he hadn’t pulled it off. “Too mini on the mini skirt?”

“Maybe not under normal circumstances,” she chuckled, “but since I’m not exactly in a position to move, maybe we should save it for another time.”

“Who says I want you to move?”

“How about you give me my jeans back and I won’t move? Besides,” she whispered, leaning in so that her lips were brushing against his right ear, “your hands are just the slightest bit distracting, and I’ve got a feeling I haven’t seen everything you have to show me.”

She wasn’t the only one who was being distracted, Michael thought as he reversed the process. “Just so you know it’s a real crime to cover those legs up.”

Maria shivered at the gruff tone in his deep voice and filed that bit of information away for a later date. “I’ll keep that in mind,” she promised. “Now, c’mon, show me something else, Spaceboy!”

Michael lightly slapped her left thigh and nudged her so that he could stand up. “Okay, what next?” He was already bored with the show and tell but her green eyes sparkled with excitement and he just didn’t have the heart to tell her no. “Want me to blow somethin’ up?” It seemed only right since that was what had gotten him into this mess in the first place.

“Really? Can I pick it out?”

“Just keep it clear of the horses.”

“Does distance matter?” she asked curiously.

“It depends; it gets a little tricky the farther away the target is, but I’m actually pretty good up to about half a mile as long as I can visualize what I’m aimin’ for.” He winced when he realized he was bragging and he quickly cleared his throat and motioned at the desert. “Okay, find me a target.”

Maria couldn’t resist an opportunity to tease him. “Well, since you seem to take issue with the local plant life, how about that cactus out there?” She pointed at a tall cactus with small flowers on it. “The one with the little white flowers on the right side? That one.”

Michael followed the direction of her pointing finger. No problem, a piece of cake. “Okay.”

Maria watched him as he turned and stared at the cactus she had picked out, cocking her head to the side when his hands remained at his sides. “Um, Michael?”

He turned when she called him again, raising one eyebrow in question.

“Don’t you need your hands to do this?”

“Huh-uh. The only reason that came into play yesterday is because it happened so quickly; I’ve been practicin’ doin’ this stuff with my mind for the past couple of years.” He shook his head. “Unless it’s an emergency situation, I normally do this stuff without usin’ my hands.” He smiled. “It’s also not so obvious that it’s me doin’ it if no one sees me actually doin’ anything.”

“Oh, okay.” She waved her hands and motioned for him to continue.

Michael played along for a while before he needed a break from changing colors and blowing things up. “Think we could take a break from this?” he asked, turning to look at her where she was sitting on the boulder, her legs crossed Indian-style.

“Of course.” She winced. “You’re probably tired now, huh?”

“Maybe a little, but it’s more than likely because I didn’t really get much sleep last night.” He smiled as he moved closer to her, leaving only a couple of feet between them. “Wanna see one more?”

“Are you sure?”

“One more and that’s it. You trust me?” He smiled when Maria nodded without hesitation and he shook his hands out before relaxing his stance and concentrating on her.

Maria watched him and wondered what he was doing, but just as she was about to speak, she felt the air around her shift and as she looked down her eyes widened in shock. There was at least a foot of space between her and the boulder she had been sitting on and as she watched she was slowly lowered back to her spot. Amazed, her eyes shot to him and she jumped off of the boulder to stand in front of him. “Levitation? You can levitate things?”

“Yep.” He rubbed his eyes. “But no more today.”

Maria threw herself into his arms and hugged him. “You need to get some rest.” She walked beside him as they made their way back to where the horses were tied. “Y’know, now that I know about your…” She smirked. “Your abilities, you’ll come in really handy if I ever have a fashion crisis.”

Michael’s answer was short and precise. “No.” He’d better nip that one in the bud right now. Living with a mother and a sister, plus all his sister’s friends, not to mention all of his female cousins, that were always coming into their home, he knew that girls and clothes were a bad combination. He knew that if he gave in to Maria’s wishes, he would fall into an abyss and would never get out. No way.

“Oh, c’mon, Michael,” she coaxed.

“No, I draw the line at bein’ your dressmaker.” He released her to untie Rascal and gave her a leg up, waiting until she was comfortable before he went to untie his own horse. “Now, we can talk if you decide you need a bikini,” he teased as he pulled himself up into the saddle and tossed a grin over his shoulder.

Maria just rolled her eyes and enjoyed the ride, filing away all that she had learned that day. He wasn’t just an alien from some other planet, he was someone with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that ran deeper than he probably cared to admit. Her gaze traveled over him as he led the way and she smiled to herself. Admittedly, there was the fact that he was from some unknown planet somewhere in space, but the fact was that he was all hers.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt15-3/29

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:45 am

Lilah – glad that you like this part. We plan to use the flashback format to tell quite a lot of Michael’s childhood.

Ken r – Thank you. Yes, we thought it would be original to have Michael being raised by parents who know who he really is. It changes from the fear of hiding the truth from loving parents who are left in the dark and who are only told when there’s no other choice.

Zoi – It seems like little Michael’s childhood is pleasing our readers. Which is a good thing considering that there will be quite a few flashbacks in the future.

Ashleyt – River Dog had a past experience with aliens, it proved to be helpful with Michael. About Tess… don’t expect to see her for a long time.

April – the flashbacks are tricky to write, at least from Michael’s point of view, because it’s hard to get him to describe things he doesn’t know but that the readers do know. So it’s good if the readers understand Michael’s POV. There will be others, in the future.

Flamehair – Thank you. Yes, this Michael is really a great guy (which is a change from the Michael we are writing in another fic: you would want to kill him!), and a real pleasure to write. It’s not everyday that Michael ends up having been adopted as a child by a nice family, in a fic where he is an alien.

Nibbles2 – thanks, glad that you liked that part.

Stinebiene – You had asked in a previous feedback if there were others like Michael, and we responded by telling you to watch for one little sentence that Michael would say.
I read the last part a few times but I couldn't figure out which sentence you meant
Here's the sentence we meant, from Part 13:

His previous revelation shocked Maria to her very core. “You had just been left alone in the desert? There were no others like you?”

“Apparently not.” He shrugged.



Part 15

Maria leaned back against her car as she waited for Michael to move the truck so she could leave. “So, you didn’t tell me why your grandfather calls you Magnum,” she said when he joined her.

He smirked and shook his head. “I never said I was gonna give you the answer to that one,” he denied. “You want it, you’re gonna have to work for it.”

She moved to stand in front of him and crossed her arms over her chest as she stared at him, trying to visualize him in a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt. It just wasn’t gonna happen, she thought, shaking her head. She just couldn’t see him in anything that bright and flowery. Maybe he had been to the islands.

“What’re you thinkin’?” he asked, shifting under her scrutinizing gaze.

“Have you ever been lei’d?”

His eyebrows shot up and he had to quickly clear his throat to keep from choking. “What?” He must’ve heard her wrong! There was no way she had just thrown that question out there! “Did you just ask if I’ve ever gotten laid?”

“Yes.” She frowned at him. “What’s the big deal?”

“I don’t know! It’s just not a question a guy gets asked everyday,” he exclaimed.

“Okay, you’re sounding way too defensive over an innocent question!” She held her hands up in surrender. “Excuse me for asking; I didn’t think you’d get so upset over being asked if you’d ever – “

Michael’s tone was one of shock and he yelled without realizing it. “An innocent question?” What the hell was she thinking? That was not an innocent question. She was asking him if he’d ever had sex as if it were as mundane as asking him if he’d ever been to the zoo!

“Michael, I realize you’d probably have a coronary if anyone ever placed a lei around your neck, but I just thought – “

“Wait, wait, wait! You’re talkin’ about flowers? Like those things they stick on tourists when they get off the planes in Hawaii?”

“Of course, what else would I be…” Her eyes rolled heavenwards when his smirk was accompanied by a smug expression and she realized the double entendre that had unintentionally slipped out. “Oh, okay, I get it,” she muttered, nodding. “Men! God, alien or human, you’ve all got one thing on your dirty little minds.”

Michael laughed, relieved that she hadn’t taken offense to the path his mind had automatically wandered down. “Hey, how was I supposed to know you were talkin’ about a bunch of flowers? Why in the world would you even ask that?”

“Look, you’re not giving me a lot to go on with the whole Magnum thing, okay? The only option that leaves me with is reasonable deduction.” She shrugged and grinned sheepishly. “I figured maybe it had something to do with that old TV show or maybe you had been to Hawaii.”

“Which led to you propositioning me.” Her expression had him laughing again and he leaned forward to pull her into his arms. “I’ll tell you this much; I’ve never been to Hawaii and no, I’ve never been… lei’d.”

“I think the least you could do is give me a real clue,” she grumbled against his chest.

“Huh-uh.” He couldn’t wait to see what crazy idea she came up with next. “Nope, this one’s all on you to figure out.”

Maria grumbled under her breath, “It’s not fair. It’s not like a nickname like Magnum is bad. It’s actually pretty cool. You should be proud of it and you should be willing to share the story with me. Honestly, it’s not as if it’s a stupid nickname, or even a ridiculous middle name like the one I had the misfortune of being stuck with.”

No sooner had the words passed her lips, Maria swore. Damn, she didn’t want him to know that! Nobody was ever supposed to know about her middle name; she had sworn on her dog’s life when she was seven years old that she would never, ever talk about her middle name or even mention it. Not even Alex and Liz knew about that one. Why on earth had she opened her big mouth and let that little piece of information slip? Oh yeah, that’s right, she knew why. She had lost all control of her mental faculties the second he had taken her in his arms. Freaking hormones and freaking Michael for being so sexy! Yeah, sexy to the point that she had almost revealed her most sacred secret. He was worse than a truth serum. She could only pray that he hadn’t paid any attention to what she had said. She raised her head to look at him and she immediately knew she wasn’t going to be so lucky. He had an expression on his face that reminded her of the one a cat who’s been looking for a mouse to chase and have fun with would be wearing. His next words confirmed her suspicion…

“A ridiculous middle name? Now, now, now, why on earth would you wanna hide that, hmm? You’ve been on my back ever since you found out about my grandfather callin’ me Magnum, and all along you’ve been hiding this mysterious middle name of yours? Why? Is it really that bad?” Michael felt smug. Oh, he was gonna have so much fun with this one. He could see that it was something that had the potential of pissing her off big time. That was just another reason to not let it go. One way or the other he would find out her middle name, or his name wasn’t Michael Guerin!

Maria groaned. Damn, he was onto it and she knew that he wouldn’t let go. He was like a dog with a bone when he was interested in something. Still, if he thought that she was going to cave and tell him, he had better think again.

Michael saw that she was ready to proudly defend her position like a brave little soldier. Oh, yeah, this was gonna be good. He couldn’t resist giving her a foreshadowing of what was to come.

“Okay, you’ve had a tough day, so I won’t bother you with that.” He paused for a second, observing Maria’s relieved face before going for the kill, “So, I’ll let it go for today… Maria Gertrude Deluca.”

Gertrude?! Maria saw red! “Gertrude? I am going to kill you, Guerin, for even thinking that could possibly be my middle name!” She launched herself at him, and he caught her, letting the unexpected attack take them to the ground. He rolled around on the sand with her, careful not to hurt her as he laughed at her determination. She was short but she didn’t lack strength or guts - that was for sure! He caught her wrists and pinned them to the ground above her head, effectively immobilizing her as his gaze zeroed in on her lips. His breathing suddenly changed, becoming rapid and uneven, and he bent his head to kiss her. He forgot where he was, lost in her, and he released her hands when he heard her begging him breathlessly to please, please, let her touch him.

Maria’s hands tore at his shirt, fighting with the material to get it out of the way so she could feel his skin, relaxing slightly once her hands settled on the warm, smooth skin of his back. She couldn’t remember ever having such an intense reaction to any other guy; the burning need for physical contact that he had brought to life in her was unexpected, but she welcomed it. She growled when he shifted and his lips moved to her neck, and she reluctantly moved her hands from his back to his head so she could direct his attention back in the right direction.

Michael allowed her to draw him back into the kiss without complaint, quickly forgetting his intention to leave his mark on her. It was a territorial thing and he knew some girls got seriously pissed off about it, but he had a feeling she wouldn’t be one of them… he also had a feeling she was equally territorial.

The sound of a car horn honking interrupted them and he looked up in time to see the cloud of dust left in the wake of the vehicle. “The front yard probably isn’t the best place for this,” he said, his voice raspy.

Maria bit back a complaint when he stood and pulled her to her feet, but only because she could read the regret in his expression. “Now, about the Magnum nickname…”

“Good try, but it’s not gonna happen. You wanna know what it is, you’re gonna have to figure it out all on your own.”

“Fine, I will.” She leaned back in his arms and looked up at him. “I really do need to go,” she whispered. “I’ve got homework to finish tonight.”

“I’ll see you again soon though.” It wasn’t a question.

She smiled. “Yeah. I work at the Crashdown tomorrow and Tuesday after school, so it’ll probably be Wednesday before I can get out here again.”

Michael frowned. “The Crashdown?”

“Yes, it’s an alien-themed café. I live in Roswell, what do you expect?” She shook her head at him when his expression didn’t change. “Don’t frown at me; I didn’t name it.”

Maybe not, but that didn’t mean he had to like hearing about the place! “Well, don’t expect me to go there or anything.”

“Not even to see me?” Maria asked, her tone hopeful.

“I have two words for you, Maria; psychologically damaging.”

“It’s not like I was planning to drag you around the UFO museums or anything.” She rolled her eyes at him and stretched up to kiss him. “It’s fine if you don’t wanna come out to Roswell; I can see your point about it being damaging. Although, the so-called experts who think they know everything about aliens obviously got it all wrong because you don’t look anything like they said you would.” She took a long look at his body, scanning him from head to toe and enjoying it when he shifted under her stare. She just barely refrained from reaching out to sneak her hands up under his shirt one more time so she could feel the hard planes of his back again. Her palms were itching to touch him again, and she was on the verge of succumbing to that temptation, but before she could act on that little fantasy, loud music announced the arrival of his sister and her friends and she turned her head to watch them pull into the driveway.

Maria wondered at the tension she felt in him, but quickly remembered that he had told her earlier that his sister was mad at him. She started to speak to Maggie when she climbed out of the jeep, but the unwelcoming expression the girl aimed at her brother didn’t invite conversation. The other girl turned to speak to her friends before going in the house without a single word to him.

Silence followed the front door slamming and Christina leaned on the open door of the jeep after climbing out to take the front seat. “Would you please just apologize for whatever you did?”

“Why do you assume that I did it?”

“Because this is how she always gets when she’s pissed off at you. There are only four more weeks until the Harvest Dance and while we were out today, she scared away the guy I want to go with because you pissed her off. So, fix it, because if Morgan James doesn’t ask me to go with him, you’re gonna take me to the dance.” She got in the jeep and shut the door, smiling and waving as Linda backed out of the driveway.

“Sounds like you’d better go talk to your sister,” Maria commented after the girls had gone. “I need to get started on my way home anyway.”

*****

John took his eyes off of the road for a moment to glance at his wife. Neither of them had expected to hear what his father had told them and she had been silent since leaving River Dog's home. Learning of their son's early morning visit to his grandfather for advice concerning the situation he had found himself in with Maria had been a shock, and John knew Catherine was doing her best to come up with reasons why the old man was mistaken.

"Catherine, we knew the time was gonna come when he'd meet the right girl and he'd wanna tell her the truth about himself."

"He's seventeen years old, John," she snapped. "He's not old enough to know who the right girl is."

"I knew," he said quietly.

"That's different; we practically knew each other from birth. He's only known this girl for a very short amount of time. No," she denied, shaking her head. "Your father's wrong, there's no way Michael would tell her... the amount of trust that would be required for him to reveal the truth..." She shook her head again. "No, there's no way that level of trust exists between them yet."

"I disagree. I'm not sayin' that he would tell her because he just wants to share that part of himself at this stage of their relationship, but Dad said Michael was fairly certain that she saw him use his powers. In that case, do you really think it'd be better for him to lie to her?"

"This conversation is pointless. Michael told River Dog that he wasn't positive she saw him using his powers so he only thinks she saw something. We'll just have to come up with an explanation that makes sense before they see each other again."

"So you want him to lie to her?"

"If it protects him, yes."

"Dad seems to think she could handle the truth." He glanced at Catherine, noting the stubborn expression on her face. "My dad's a very good judge of character, and while he admits that Maria's a little on the odd side, he also said that he had a feelin' that she - "

"I'm not interested in discussing your father's beliefs right now, John; there's nothing mystical about this." Catherine sighed in irritation. Why couldn't John see that telling a seventeen-year-old girl was not an option? She knew he trusted his father's judgment implicitly, but this was a risk that was too great to take based on the old man's feelings. "If at some point - and I mean in the distant future - Michael decides that she's the right girl, then we can decide how to tell her the truth."

"How do you think she'll take that? Lyin' to her now and tellin' her the truth at some point in the future?"

"If she sticks around and she really loves him then she'll understand why it was necessary."
John shook his head, letting her know he didn't agree with her thinking. He wasn't going to make her see reason on this and he knew it. It made him nervous just thinking that Michael might tell Maria the truth, but he trusted his father, and River Dog had assured him that if it came down to Michael revealing his secret, she could be trusted to keep it.

"Why don't we just go home and see where the boy's mind is before we start tellin' him what he can and can't tell his girlfriend," he suggested. He didn't bother pointing out that if Michael had already made his mind up they weren't likely to change it. He turned the truck in the direction of the house and drove the rest of the way in silence.

*****

Michael grabbed a glass of water and a snack before going to his room and sitting down in front of the computer desk. He leaned back in the chair and let his gaze rove over the shelf above his desk, taking in the pictures mixed in with the model cars, stacks of comic books, CD’s, and the collection of sketches he had done over the years. His dark eyes settled on a picture of him and Maggie that had been taken not long after he had come to live with them and he shook his head as he remembered the first time the two of them had met.

He glanced down at the crème-filled sponge cake he was unwrapping and he smiled as he lost himself in the memory. He had finally become accustomed to River Dog and John, and one day, they had decided to bring him in from the desert. He still hadn’t been able to talk at that point, and he had only begun to associate certain words with things, but walking into the house between the two men had been so completely different than the desert.

The little boy looked around in awe, reaching up to grasp the rough cloth of River Dog’s shirt to keep him from going away. He stuck his thumb in his mouth, with only a fleeting thought being given to the bitter taste. There were things everywhere and he took a few tentative steps towards the first thing he could see, releasing River Dog so he could reach out and touch it. Before his fingers could make contact with the thing, there was a loud noise and he jerked around to see something small run past him. He latched onto River Dog’s shirt once more, hugging his side as he watched… it. It made noise… a lot of noise, and it moved a lot.

John moved and spoke to It and Michael cocked his head to one side curiously. His eyes widened in fear when It moved suddenly and he hid behind River Dog. He could hear the familiar sound of the man’s voice as he spoke and the trembling in his little body began to calm when a rough hand settled on his shoulder, the touch making him feel not so afraid. He cautiously peered around River Dog when it was quiet again, certain that it had gone away. He didn’t see it and he crept around the man’s body in an attempt to see if it was still there or if it had gone away.

He stepped out once he was fairly certain it was safe and he moved closer to the thing he had been looking at earlier. He touched the thing, rubbing his hand back and forth, and was quickly fascinated at the realization that if he moved his hand one way it felt soft and if he moved it the other way, it was rough. He walked along in front of the thing, turning around when he bumped into something hard. His hand patted the hard surface and he stared at it when it made a sound, repeating the motion a moment later. He quickly lost interest in the hard thing, going back to the soft/rough thing and rubbing it again.

It suddenly came from behind the soft/rough thing, coming over the top of it and making so much noise that it scared him and he scrambled over the hard thing to get away from it. His eyes darted around nervously and he panicked when he realized he couldn’t go to the hiding place. He crawled under the hard thing and curled up as small as he could, sticking his thumb in his mouth as he shivered. He observed It, tracking its movements from the corner of his eyes as he waited to see if the little being was going to be a threat. He could hear River Dog’s voice but he resisted when the man tried to coax him out of the new hiding place, kicking and clawing at the hands when they touched him.

They finally left him alone and he stayed there until he fell asleep. It wasn’t as bright when he woke up again and he glanced around to determine if it was safe to leave the hiding place. He froze when he felt something soft touch his arm and fear caused him to stop breathing as he realized that It was touching him and making quiet sounds. It moved back when he shifted and it held something out towards him; whatever the thing was, it smelled tempting and he gingerly reached for it.

His fingers closed around the spongy thing and he squeezed it gently, bringing it to his nose to sniff it cautiously. It smelled different than the… he struggled to remember what River Dog called it and his mind finally latched onto… food, that was it. He licked it experimentally before taking a tiny bite and his eyes widened in wonder at the taste. He crept out of his hiding place and he looked at It from the other side of the hard thing before he took a bite of the spongy thing and chewed heartily.

He studied It as they ate the spongy things and he cocked his head to one side when it started to make sounds again, attempting to decipher what it was saying. It was the same color as John but it was much smaller, and it was loud most of the time. He didn’t look away when It looked at him directly and his gaze followed it closely when it moved to the end of the soft/rough thing and climbed up on it before reaching for a strange looking thing at the end. He heard a small sound and he gasped inaudibly when light exploded around them and he shielded his eyes at the unexpected brightness.

He peeked between his fingers when It touched him again and he watched it pick up a small thing and put it in his hand before squeezing his fingers around it. He lowered his other hand and his curiosity got the better of him when it slid a funny-shaped thing in front of him and he leaned forward over it. He watched it place his hand over the funny-shaped thing and he allowed it to move his hand around, fascinated when the thing under his hand suddenly changed colors. He refused to release the small thing when It tried to take it from him, and he watched as it held out a different small thing. He took the small thing and held it along with the other one, watching It and mimicking its motions as it moved its own small thing, amazed when more another color appeared.


Michael stared at the half-eaten Twinkie in his right hand, smiling at the memory of the first one he’d ever had. Maggie had been relentless as she followed him around; thrilled to be able to introduce him to the things she loved. For months after his introduction to crayons, he had been fascinated with them, and he had been upset to learn that Twinkies were not a food they were allowed to eat all the time. He had eventually gotten over it as new things had been discovered and he had become more comfortable with his family. He finished the dessert and got up to go knock on Maggie’s bedroom door, leaning back against the wall and waiting for her to call out.

“What do you want?” she snapped, jerking the door open.

“I wanna know why you’re pissed at me.” He shrugged. “You wouldn’t stay mad at me this long just because I wanted to talk to River Dog alone. Or because you had to call Linda to come pick you up.”

“Don’t think that just because you didn’t have to tell Maria the truth that I’m gonna just forget that you were willin’ to take that risk. What if you had told her the truth and she had run off and told someone else? It’s dangerous, Michael.”

He followed her as she stalked down the hall to the kitchen to get a glass of water before going back to her room. “Maggie, she knows the truth! And you know what? She didn’t run away screamin’, she didn’t have a major freak-out, and she doesn’t think I’m some weird life form that needs to be put under a microscope.” He braced one hand against the doorframe above her head when she stood in the doorway, blocking his entrance to her room. “Why’re you so pissed off about this?”

“Because you told her that you’re an alien!” Maggie shouted before stepping back and slamming the door in his face.

“And she’s fine with it!” he yelled before stalking back to his own room.

In the living room John and Catherine exchanged a concerned glance when they heard the heated argument between their children. It was rare that Michael and Maggie’s fights escalated to anything more serious than disagreements where she sulked and pouted, and he stayed in his room and played loud music for several hours. The teenagers hardly ever raised their voices to the decibel level their parents had just heard, and that alone would have been reason for concern, but the content of the argument was what really worried them.

John was more surprised by the argument between his children than he was to learn that Michael had already talked to Maria. The boy had insisted that she was fine with the truth and he was relieved to learn that his father had been right. Again. In a way he was glad that his son was able to be with someone who really knew him. Yes, it was going to create friction in some other areas, but if it meant Michael could be with this young woman and not be forced to keep up the pretense that he was just like everyone else, it was probably going to be worth it.

Beside him, Catherine was on the verge of hyperventilating. The truth was out... Michael had told the girl that he was different from everyone else. What were they going to do now? She looked up when John nudged her as she looked into his accepting eyes she felt a calming sensation come over her. He had always had that effect on her when she was on the verge of an all-out panic attack and she had never been more grateful for it than she was at that moment.

"Hey," he whispered, "you heard him - she's okay with it... with him. There's no need to freak out over how she'll react because now we know. If she had reacted badly he'd be out in the desert; he wouldn't be here arguing with Maggie." He nodded towards the kitchen. "C'mon, let's go make dinner and figure out how to handle this now that she knows."

Catherine nodded and took his hand when he held it out to her. They would figure it out, she thought confidently. She still wasn't happy that Michael's girlfriend knew the truth about him, but they would deal with it just like they had dealt with every other change they had faced over the past twelve years. She just needed to be calm, patient, and understanding.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt16-4/5

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:23 am

Stinebiene – For Maggie, it’s not a question of trust in her brother, it’s something deeper, more internal, something Maggie has never felt before where Michael was concerned but is feeling now. Maybe you can guess what it is?
Maria doesn’t hang out with Max and Isabel, not at school and not at the Crashdown. She has no reason to think that there are aliens.

Ken r
Freudian comes to mind with this slip Maybe on both parties.
Ha, ha, ha, you could be right. After all, they proved in this part that they were attracted to each other so that slip about “leid” and “laid”, could be revealing.
Sometimes parents give such ridiculous names.
And we are talking about Amy, here, as the parent, so imagine the middle name Maria has been stuck with!!!

Lilah – Aaaah, good observation. Catherine and Maggie seem to have a problem with Michael bringing someone new into the secret. Wait and see.

Flamehair – Maria’s middle name? Let’s just say that there’s a good reason as to why she is hiding that one! Maybe you’ll discover it yourself before the end of the fic?

Stardance – this is a very good analysis about Maggie. Maria comes out nowhere and Michael tells her about his secret. It’s a huge change, one that some people in Michael’s family won’t like or aren’t ready for. Glad that you enjoy the story.

Ashleyt – Hmmn, you won’t be disappointed with the Maggie-Maria way of dealing with their problem. And you won’t have to wait too long for that one.

Tequathisy – Trust Michael to think about sex when Maria mentioned the word “lei’d”!

Shiesty23 – welcome, new reader. And don’t worry, regular updates, every Saturday. That’s a promise.


Part 16

Catherine quickly realized that patience was overrated. She had expected to see Michael as soon as she and John started making noise in the kitchen, but he had yet to make an appearance. Calm had made itself scarce within seconds of her mental declaration and she felt like she was just waiting for the next shock to be thrown her way.

“We need to talk to him, John,” she said, worry making her tone sharper than she had intended.

“Isn’t this what you wanted? For him to be with someone who would accept him for who he is?” John pulled the items for the salad out of the refrigerator while she started dinner, wondering what she was going to say.

“Yes, but his secret has always helped him maintain a certain distance between him and the girls he’s been out with. If Maria knows the truth, the biggest barrier between them no longer exists. If he told her and she’s accepted him without reservation…” She shook her head. “There’s nothing to keep them from going further physically, if they’re already this emotionally involved, and we don’t know what the repercussions of a sexual relationship would be since he’s not… human.”

John knew how difficult it was for Catherine to say that one single word. Michael had been her little boy from the moment she had first seen him and she was the one who had given him his first name. The people with social services had given the boy his surname, but Catherine had been the one to name him Michael.

“We knew this day would eventually come, Cath,” he said, trying to ease her worries. “It had to come sooner or later; the boy’s almost eighteen years old.”

“I’d have preferred later. I guess I just always thought there would be more time. I had no idea he was going to get this serious about Maria so quickly.” She sighed and turned away from the stove. “We do need to talk to him, John; we have a responsibility to make sure he understands that his actions will have consequences. It’s for her safety as much as his.”

They fell silent when Michael stepped into the kitchen, and as his gaze bounced between them, he realized they had overheard his argument with Maggie. His expression became mutinous as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Maria won’t tell anyone.” His tone was adamant. “She’s fine with who I am.”

“Michael, no one’s saying she has a problem with who you are,” Catherine denied. “We’re just concerned that you’re moving too fast and that maybe you don’t know all of the things that you need to consider.”

“She’s fine with who I am, and that’s all I need to know.” Michael’s face was stony, his expression showing that he had no intention of discussing the subject any further. In his mind, things were going well with Maria and his family just needed to trust him to know what he was doing.

“No, I’m certain that you wouldn’t have told her about yourself if you didn’t trust her. You know the risks you would face if someone untrustworthy were to get their hands on that information. Granted, there are some concerns there, but, that’s only to be expected, and I’m sure that after I talk with Maria I’ll feel much better.”

“Mom,” he complained, “you don’t need to talk to her.”

“The other big concern,” she went on, ignoring him, “is that you don’t fully understand the repercussions of what a sexual relationship could – “

“Mom!” His features were flooded with embarrassment. This was not a conversation he wanted to have with his mother!

“Michael, why don’t you and I go have a talk, Son,” John said, intervening before his wife could go into details and scar the boy for life. He smirked when Michael practically ran from the room and he glanced at his wife. “I’ll have a talk with him, Cath, man to man, okay? Trust me, he doesn’t need his mother present for this discussion.”

*****

Catherine continued the dinner preparations but her mind was consumed with her son’s secret being revealed and what it could potentially mean for him. John was right, she did want Michael to be with someone who could love him for who he was, but she had never expected the two of them to move forward so fast. Michael was not the type of person who opened up unless he felt comfortable enough to do so, and the fact that he and Maria had already reached that level was cause for concern.

She knew Michael could be impulsive, but not where his identity was concerned; he had always been very cautious about that. She also wasn’t blind; she had seen the way the two of them had looked at each other the day before. She had only spoken with the young woman briefly but she had seen enough to know why her son was attracted to her.

Her first instinct was to trust Maria. There was something indefinable about her that made Catherine believe she could be trusted, but she’d still feel better once she’d had a chance to talk to her one on one.

When John had come to her with the fantastic story of a little alien boy living alone in the desert, she had wondered if the sun had finally started to affect his brain. And when her father-in-law had started spouting nonsense about the same thing, she had decided that they were testing her, seeing how far they could go with their little joke before she called their bluff. She had been shocked when she had come home from a long day at work to find the little boy curled up under the coffee table in the living room, sound asleep.

John had been sitting at the desk in the corner, going over the monthly bills while Maggie sat in his lap, quietly reading a book.

“John?” She gestured to the little boy when her husband turned to look at her, his eyebrows lifting in question.

“That’s the little guy I was tellin’ you about,” he answered, smirking at her. “You didn’t believe he existed, did you?” He put Maggie down and watched her run across the room to greet her mother.

Catherine spent a few minutes with Maggie, talking about her day before sending her to get ready for bed. She had been able to pick up a few extra hours after her regular shift and she knew her husband would’ve already fed their daughter and overseen her bath before sitting down to go over the books. “Let me get her into bed and we’ll talk.”

When she had come back her gaze had automatically been drawn to the little boy sleeping under the coffee table. “You couldn’t get him to at least sleep on the couch?”

“He’s been sleepin’ in a cave for the past few weeks; I don’t think he’s very comfortable bein’ visible… he’s used to hidin’ from people.” His gaze was drawn to the little boy. “We’re supposed to call Social Services in the mornin’.”

She looked at him sharply. “You said he’s different… that he’s an alien… how certain are you that you’re right?”

“I have no doubts, Cath, none at all.”

She knelt down beside the coffee table and studied the little boy’s filthy features. He was probably around Maggie’s age, maybe a little bit older, and his arms were wrapped tightly around a teddy bear, his nose buried in its fur. “John, when you told me about him, you said he has special abilities.”

“Yeah. While we’ve been watchin’ him, we’ve observed him using them on several occasions but for now, it seems that he uses them as a defense mechanism. He doesn’t seem to know that he’s doin’ it because every time it’s happened, it’s scared him and he’s taken off for his hidin’ place. My father thinks he needs to be with a family that can deal with him bein’ different, one that can help him learn to control his abilities, and blend in with the world around him.”

“Maggie seems to be quite taken with him,” she mused aloud.

“Yeah, she spent most of the evening followin’ him around and showin’ him new things.”

“She didn’t want a story tonight, she just wanted to talk about Magnum.”

John shrugged when she glanced back at him. “My father gave him the name; the boy hasn’t spoken a word the entire time we’ve been watchin’ him. I think he’s capable of speech though because he’ll make sounds when somethin’ confuses him, makes him mad, or amuses him. He doesn’t understand our language, but I’ve caught him tryin’ to mimic words without makin’ a sound.”

Catherine’s gaze roamed over the little boy, frowning when she realized his pants and shirt were both on backwards. “You said your father found him wandering naked in the desert?”

“Um-hmm, he doesn’t have a clue what to do with clothes.” John chuckled and shook his head. “He was quite fascinated with the zipper though; I think he liked the sound it made when he discovered that it moves. Boy played with it for quite a while before he lost interest and moved on to somethin’ else.”

“John, he can’t be taken by Social Services,” Catherine said, reaching down to brush a gentle hand over the little boy’s unruly hair. “If they learn what he can do, there’s no telling what they’ll do to him.”

“They’ll have to take him, Cath, even if it’s just temporarily, before they’ll let anyone take him. They’ve gotta make sure he doesn’t belong to someone – “

“If he belonged to someone, why was he wandering alone in the desert?”

“Are you suggesting that we should keep him?”

Catherine watched the little boy for several minutes before she looked at her husband again. “We could do it, couldn’t we? I know things are tight right now but he needs a family… he needs us.” She felt her heart go out to the little boy when he curled up tighter and he started to shiver. She grabbed an afghan off of the couch and shook it out before draping it over him, hoping it would warm him sufficiently. “John?”

He nodded when she looked at him. “We can swing it, Cath,” he assured her. “I’ve been talking to my father about that very thing; he feels it’s very important that the boy be raised by people who can help him, teach him, and guide him. I’m pretty sure I can get on at the steel factory in town for the evening shift, and my father said he could keep an eye on the boy while we’re at work. He’s already keepin’ Maggie for us until one of us gets home now.”

“We need to give him a name, John.” She studied him for several long minutes before she suddenly smiled and said decisively, “We’ll call him Michael; it’s the name of the patron saint of warriors and soldiers.” She shook her head at the little boy’s filthy condition. “We also need to give him a bath.”

“We’re gonna have our hands full with him, Cath; you ready for that?”


No, she hadn’t been ready for everything that had come with Michael’s addition to their family, but no one was ever actually ready for all of the changes that took place when a child came into their lives. They had faced challenges that they wouldn’t have faced if he were completely human, but she wouldn’t change him for anything. Even though he was different, and he had special abilities, he had grown up to be a son his parents were proud of; she and John couldn’t have been any happier if Michael had been born to them. She knew he had questions about where he came from and why he had been abandoned in the desert, and she hoped that if he ever found the answers, he could handle them.

*****

John wandered outside when he didn’t find Michael in his room, not surprised that the boy had retreated outside to avoid any further mention of sex by his mother. He couldn’t help chuckling, well aware that the conversation was one that no boy ever wanted to have with his mother. He followed the sidewalk around to the driveway when he heard the sound of a basketball being bounced against the pavement.

He leaned against the corner of the garage and watched Michael as he made a half-hearted attempt at shooting the ball into the basket. He stepped out of the shadows and cleared his throat to announce his presence even though he suspected the boy already knew he was there.

“I realize the potential damage it could cause for a guy if he had to hear anything pertaining to sex from his mother. On the other hand, your mom’s right, Michael; it is important for you to understand the repercussions of getting into a sexual relationship. You’ve gotten very close with Maria in a relatively short amount of time and we certainly didn’t expect that you would be tellin’ her about yourself so soon, so I’m sure you can understand our concerns that you may be thinkin’ about a physical relationship.” John leaned over to pick up the abandoned basketball and bounced it a couple of times. “Is there anything you wanna know? Any questions you wanna ask?”

“I’m not retarded, Dad, I know about sex,” Michael mumbled. He wasn’t sure this was much better than having this talk with his mom. “Me an’ Eddie talk about stuff.” He shrugged. “And I had to take Sex Ed. in school, remember?”

“Yes, I remember.” Quite well, in fact, John thought. Catherine had been certain that the education system was intent on corrupting her baby boy by teaching sex education at school, which he had found interesting since she had been fine with Maggie taking the course the following year. She had informed him later that since she could openly discuss sex with their daughter, she had things firmly under control. She hadn’t had the same assurance with Michael and it had made her crazy. “But, if there’s anything you wanna know that wasn’t covered in class… or in the boys’ locker room, I want you to know that you can talk to me about it. Y’know, if you need to know anything about condoms, what to do – ”

Oh my God! Could this be anymore humiliating? Michael wondered. “Dad, I’m not some hermit who lives under a rock and has no clue about what goes on in the outside world! I know what to do if the situation presents itself. I know all about safe sex, so you don’t have to worry about what I’m doin’. Or not doin’.”

“Michael, this isn’t a personal attack, Son.” He smiled and shook his head. “I’m sure that’s how it feels, but I promise you, it’s not. Your mother and I can tell that you’ve got some pretty strong feelings for Maria, and that tends to complicate things. When you find a girl that makes you weak in the knees, makes your palms sweat, and your heart pounds just because she’s in the same room with you… well, it makes you wanna take things farther.”

“How much farther?” Michael asked grudgingly.

“As far as she’ll let you take them. And God knows, you’re gonna wanna take things to the limit, Michael, but you’ve gotta remember that there are some pretty big differences between men and women. They have a tendency to get emotionally involved and that makes things difficult if you’re not both equally invested in the relationship. For women, making love can be a very emotional thing… don’t get me wrong here, Michael, if it’s right, that emotional connection will just about stop your breath in your chest. You care about her, that’s pretty obvious, but don’t take the physical involvement to that level if you aren’t willin’ to make the emotional commitment; don’t do it just to find out what all the talk’s about. You also need to remember that there are biological differences between the two of you and you don’t know what affect bodily – “

Michael’s hands shot up in a stop gesture and he shook his head. “Please don’t go any farther with that statement. I think I can complete it without an actual exchange of words.” He leaned against the truck and rubbed his face with his right hand. “Look, Dad, me an’ Maria, we’re just getting started here; I’m not gonna lie to you and say that I haven’t had any of those kinds of thoughts, but we haven’t acted on anything yet.”

“But you think it’s a possibility.”

“I think she feels the same way about me that I feel about her and we’re gonna see where it leads us. She knows that I’m not human but she still wants to be with me. I don’t know if that makes her crazy about me or just insane, but either way, we’re in this thing together.” He stared at the ground so he wasn’t looking at his dad when he said what he was about to say. “Y’know, she kissed me after I told her the truth, and I mean she seriously kissed me, and nothin’ happened to ‘er. She didn’t get hurt or anything.”

John could hear the smile in his son’s voice as he admitted something that he knew Michael hadn’t shared with anyone else. He nodded and patted the boy’s shoulder as he moved to lean against the truck beside him. “You’ll be careful if the two of you decide to take things further?” He smiled at the mumbled agreement he got before Michael crossed his arms over his chest and looked to the side, away from him. “So, what is it that makes her so special?”

“I don’t really wanna talk about that, Dad.”

John nodded and let it go, not wanting to embarrass Michael any more than he already had. “Why don’t you go get washed up for dinner,” he suggested, waving his son inside.

“You’re not comin’ in?”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Mom’s not gonna say anything about this, is she?”

“I think you’re safe, Son. Go on in; I’ll be in soon.” John watched his son walk back to the house and thought about how much the boy had changed since the first time he had seen him.

*****

The park in the center of Roswell was quiet for a Sunday evening, the only sound Liz’s laughter as she watched Alex from her perch on the swings. He was hanging upside-down on the monkey bars, his legs hooked over the steel bars, and his hooded sweatshirt bunched up under his long arms as it slid down his torso.

“Do you ever wonder why we stop doin’ stuff like this when we grow up?” he asked.

“Because we realize how silly we really look?” They had agreed to meet in the park to discuss the letter and Max had called a few minutes ago to let them know they were running late.

“Nah, I don’t think that’s it.”

“Okay,” Liz agreed, turning her head to smile when Max’s hands settled over hers on the chains.

“Well, I guess that’s part of it,” he said. “See, doin’ stuff like this, playin’ on the monkey bars… it gives you a chance to let your guard down, be yourself without worryin’ about what everyone else’s thinkin’.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. People worry way too much about what everybody else thinks about ‘em and as a result they forget how to just be themselves, how to relax and enjoy life.”

“This is how you relax and enjoy life?”

Isabel’s voice was unexpected and Alex scrambled to wrap his hands around the bars as his foot slipped free from where he had hooked it to maintain his balance. He looked at her from his upside-down position and his wide grin surfaced with ease. “Yup, wanna try it?”

“No.”

“You sure?” he asked, teasing. “You don’t know what you’re missin’.”

“I’m gonna have to stick with… no.” Her gaze traveled over his contorted body, hiding her amusement when his wallet slipped from his back pocket and his hasty effort to catch it caused him to let go of the bars.

“Oh, crap!” Alex yelled, realizing his mistake seconds too late. “Just for the record, that is not the way you’re supposed to get down off of the monkey bars.”

Isabel shook her head at him as he stood and brushed sand off of his clothes. What did it take to put him in a bad mood? she wondered.

Max pushed the swing Liz was sitting in, his dark gaze carefully watching his sister and Alex as they talked. It wasn’t exactly a deep or meaningful conversation, but there was something there that he couldn’t put a label on.

Alex shoved his wallet down into his back pocket and shook the long chain out, keeping it from knotting up. “Okay, so what’re we meeting for?”

“I thought we should get an update on the letter, see if you’ve had a chance to make any headway on that code,” Max said.

Isabel leaned against the steel frame Alex had been swinging from just a few minutes before, her gaze trained on the nails of her right hand. “Max, do you really think a meeting was necessary for this?” she asked, sounding bored. “Couldn’t you have just used the telephone and called him?”

Max shook his head and ignored his sister’s question as he waited for Alex to answer.

“While the whole cloak-and-dagger routine appeals to my more dramatic side, it really wasn’t necessary,” Alex said with a grin. “I’m not bustin’ your chops for bein’ cautious or anything because I understand the need for secrecy, but you could’ve just called and asked if I’d had time to read over the letter or somethin’ equally obscure.” He shook his head. “We haven’t been able to crack the code yet.”

Max glanced down at Liz, missing the look that passed between his sister and Alex. “We?”

“He’s not talking about another person, Max,” Liz assured him. “He always refers to his computer as if it were a living being.”

“Oh.”

Isabel crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes when Alex just grinned at her. He had known she would jump to conclusions and immediately think that he was revealing that she was helping him. She had never once told him that she didn’t want anyone to know they were working together, but he had somehow picked up on it and he hadn’t said a word.

“Do you think there’s really a chance that the code, whatever language it’s written in, can be broken?” Max paused. “Or is it a waste of time?”

Alex glanced at Isabel under the guise of turning to watch a passing car and nodded. “Yeah, there’s a chance; no guarantees, but there’s a chance. I think it’s too soon to give up on it, Max. Just give me a little more time to work on it, okay?”

Isabel held her breath for several seconds while she waited for her brother to make up his mind and answer Alex. At some point, breaking the code within the letter had become important to her but she wasn’t ready to examine her reasons or try to explain it to Max.

“Okay, but you’ll let us know if you find anything?”

Alex nodded. “You’ll know as soon as I know somethin’.”

Once the others had left, Max and Liz for a date, and Isabel for some group thing with some of her friends, Alex cut through the park, taking a shortcut to his neighborhood. He glanced up before stepping off of the curb a few minutes later, pausing when he recognized Maria’s car as it passed in front of him. He wondered where she was going… or where she was coming from… on a Sunday night.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt17-4/12

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:50 am

Shiesty23 –
I love the parents you guys have written for Michael. I truly enjoy reading parts with them in it.
Wait until you meet the rest of Michael’s family!

Lilah – Don’t be so sure about Isabel. She still has a long way to go.

Flamehair – ouch, the talk? Well, you have years to prepare for that one. About Michael’s parents… you might be surprised by what’s in store for them.

Stinebiene – It was Michael’s first important decision and he didn’t ask his parents for their advices or permission. That’s got to hurt a little, but it’s also normal that they would be worried. And that explains Michael’s defensive attitude.

Ashleyt – the sex talk… yeah, bad, huh? Who would want that? And wasn’t it funny that Michael, of all people, was the one to go through that one?

BrieCrow17 – Hi and welcome. Glad that you like the fic.


Part 17


John had been skeptical when his father had told him about the little alien he’d found in the desert. The crash had happened way back in ’47 and other than the occasional sighting, nothing paranormal had really happened so he couldn’t find a reasonable explanation for an alien child to suddenly appear in the desert. He had quickly revised his thinking when he had accompanied his father out to the desert and he had seen the boy for himself.

He had stayed back at River Dog’s request, watching from a safe distance as the older man placed a tin of cornbread, a sliced apple, and a bottle of water on a flat rock before retreating.

“The alien likes apples?”

“We’ll see,” River Dog said, settling down beside John to wait. “He loves the cornbread but he’s picky where fruits and vegetables are concerned.”

“That’s why you’ve been askin’ Catherine to make cornbread for you?”

“I put some out for him a little while back and he ate it without any problems.” River Dog nodded at something and John turned to follow his gaze. “Watch.”

He knew surprise was probably evident in his features when a little boy of five or six crept around the outcropping of rocks and glanced around cautiously before he hurried to scramble up onto the flat rock where River Dog had left the food. John glanced up at the sky, squinting against the bright sunlight, before he looked back at the naked boy.

“Dad, I thought you said you brought clothes out for him.”

River Dog chuckled. “He arranged them on the floor of the cave and sleeps on them.”

“As hot as it is out here, he’s gonna end up with sunburn, heatstroke, or both. And if he continues to run around naked, he’s gonna end up with sunburn in places that really aren’t gonna be a whole lot of fun for him.” He stared at his father when his serene expression remained unchanged. “He can’t be allowed to stay out here like this.”

“Think very carefully about what you’re getting ready to do, John,” the older man advised.

John shook his head and stood up, dusting his jeans off before crossing the distance that separated them from the boy. The first thing that registered when the boy’s gaze suddenly locked on him was how dark his eyes were. He was crouched down on a very small area of the rock that was shaded, protecting his feet from being burned and he held a half-eaten slice of apple in one hand while clutching a handful of cornbread in the other.

“Guess you like apples, huh?” he remarked, lifting his right hand to motion towards the fruit. He saw the boy’s hands come up defensively and the next thing he was aware of was his father standing over him, laughing. He accepted River Dog’s hand and allowed him to pull him to his feet. “Where’d he go?”

“He’s in his hidin’ place; you scared him.” He chuckled. “He won’t come out again until well after dark.”

“So, when you told me the little alien had powers you were serious.” He glanced down at himself. “Well, it doesn’t look there’s damage to anything but my pride.”

“I don’t believe he’s trying to hurt anyone. It’s a defense mechanism and he only does it when he feels threatened.”

John looked around the miles and miles of lonely desert. “He can’t be left here, Dad. It wouldn’t be safe for a normal child, but one with his abilities…”

“What do you suggest we do with him?”

He glanced at his father and immediately knew what the older man was thinking. “You want me and Catherine to take him,” he guessed. “No, Dad, I’ve already got one five-year-old that I have no idea how I’m gonna put through college, Catherine and I just put nearly our entire life’s savings down on a ranch that’s gonna take thirty years to pay off, Maggie has asthma so bad that we’re constantly in and out of the emergency room, and we’re struggling to put food on the table and pay the bills as it is. How in the world do you expect me to find the money for another kid?”

“I didn’t say you should take him,” River Dog denied. “I simply asked if you had any suggestions on what to do with him.”

John sat in the sand for hours after his father had gone back home, resigned to keeping an eye on the boy until River Dog came back. He sighed and stared out into the desert, his mind turning over ideas faster than he could grasp them. Would it be possible for him and Catherine to take in a little boy who was going to need extra attention? A little boy who wasn’t going to be normal no matter what they did? The boy probably had abilities that they didn’t know about yet; what if his wife or his little girl got hurt? What if they couldn’t socialize him and he remained in his current state?

He froze when movement caught the corner of his eye and he slowly turned his head to watch the little boy creep around the rock once more. It wasn’t until that moment that he realized that the stars were beginning to show themselves and he forced himself to sit still as the boy started to climb back up on the rock. He bit his bottom lip and locked his muscles when one of the dirty little feet missed their foothold and he slid off of the rock and fell back on the sand. He heard the faintest sound and started to stand up when he realized it had come from the boy, but his father’s hand on his shoulder stopped him.

“Dad, he’s hurt.”

“Come with me; he’s not familiar with you, John. Not yet.”

John followed his father as the man crossed the sand and slowly approached the boy. He was speaking to him calmly, the way one would to a nervous or scared animal. The little boy watched them warily but he didn’t try to run away, and John was startled by the fear he could see in the dark eyes.

“No one’s gonna hurt you, little guy,” he murmured quietly. He couldn’t tell if his tone had reassured the boy or if it was River Dog’s presence that kept the boy from reacting to his voice, but John suspected it was probably the latter. “Is he hurt badly?” he asked, his tone soft as he glanced over his father’s shoulder to see how badly the boy was hurt.

“No, I think it scared him more than hurt him.”

John glanced down when his pager started to beep but before he could reach for it, he landed on his back in the sand again. “Gonna have to remember to not move so quickly around him.” He rubbed the back of his head and snatched the beeper up, barely noticing that the boy had taken off again. “Dad, it’s Maggie; I’ve gotta go.”

River Dog nodded and jogged back to the truck with his son, knowing that John had left Maggie with his older sister, and she wouldn’t be paging unless the little girl was having a bad time with her asthma.

“Take care of the little guy, Dad,” John called over his shoulder as he unlocked the truck door. “I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, but I need to check on Maggie.” He paused for the briefest of seconds before sliding in behind the wheel and gunning the engine.

He had broken speed limits left and right in his haste to get to his sister’s home, leaving the truck running in the driveway when he jumped out and ran up to the front door. Skye had met him at the door, assuring him that Maggie was doing much better than she had been earlier.

Maggie had been cuddled in her uncle’s lap and the man had been doing his best to keep her mind occupied with some story or other so she wasn’t thinking of the mask she was breathing through. John had carefully taken her from his brother-in-law, cradling her against his body as he sat down in the chair and spoke to her in reassuring tones. He kissed her dark head and rocked her gently, his heart breaking in two when she looked up at him with frightened eyes. She had been diagnosed with asthma not long after her third birthday and he prayed everyday that the doctor’s belief that she would grow out of it in time was right.

He held her long after her labored breathing had settled and the equipment that helped her breathe when the worst attacks happened had been put away. As she slept peacefully and uninterrupted, his thoughts had wandered back to the little boy in the desert and he had to swallow the lump in his throat when he was reminded that the boy had no one to hold him when he was hurt, or when he was frightened, or when he just needed a hug.

He knew in that moment that he and Catherine would make it work. He would work with his father to earn the boy’s trust, to try and socialize him a little before he took him home, but in the meantime, he had to find a way to explain the boy and his situation to his wife. He knew that Catherine would take one look at the little guy and insist that they needed to bring him to live with them, so he needed to start looking at some financial options. In addition to having another mouth to feed, they had another college fund to start working on.


John smiled at the memory and glanced up at the stars before pushing away from the truck and walking inside. They had made it work, he thought. It hadn’t been easy but it had been worth it. They had two good, healthy kids who were college-bound, he and Catherine were halfway through paying the ranch off, they would barely be past forty when both kids were starting college, and they were still making it work.

He stepped inside the house and closed the door, leaning back against it as he let the sounds of home and family wash over him. At the end of the day, this was what it was all about. After a few minutes, he heard his wife calling the kids for dinner and a moment later she stepped out of the kitchen and smiled at him, motioning for him to hurry up. He rolled his eyes at her affectionately and followed her back into the kitchen, kissing her before going over the sink so he could wash his hands for dinner.

“You talked to Michael?” she asked as she set the serving dishes on the table.

“I talked to him,” he confirmed. “He’s gonna be fine, Cath.” He smirked when she muttered something under her breath and nudged him as she leaned against the sink beside him.

“You’re sure he understood – “

“Honey, we raised him right; he’ll do the right thing.”

“I still wanna talk to her, John,” she whispered, leaning her head on his shoulder.

He nodded and turned his head to press a kiss to her temple. “You’re off Wednesday and Thursday this week; invite her over for dinner. You pick the night and I’ll make sure I get off early enough to make it home in plenty of time for dinner.”

“Do you think Michael’s gonna have a fit over this?”

“No, I think he’ll be okay, but maybe you could ask him to call and extend the invitation. He may not be as receptive if you bulldoze your way in and insist on callin’ her yourself like I know you wanna do.”

Catherine rolled her eyes and slapped an oven mitt against his chest. “Make yourself useful and take the rolls out of the oven. I’ll talk to him about it… maybe after dinner.”


*****

Michael slammed the front door behind him and walked into the kitchen, dropping his backpack on a chair and heading straight for the refrigerator. He frowned at the note on the freezer, strategically placed at eye level, warning him not to snack on anything unless he wanted fruit. Mothers could be completely unreasonable at times, he mused, dropping his hand from the door and grabbing an apple from the bowl in the center of the table.

He grabbed a knife from one of the drawers and was just sitting down at the kitchen table when the doorbell rang. He went to answer the door, wordlessly letting Eddie inside before going back to his snack. “What’s up?” he asked, slouching down in the chair and staring at the apple, his expression morose. Who wanted an apple when there was a perfectly good box of Twinkies hidden in the back of the cupboard?

Eddie pulled out the chair across from Michael and sat down, watching his friend as he concentrated on what he was doing with a focus that was completely unnecessary. “You know I’ve already talked to River Dog so I know your girlfriend quite possibly knows the truth by now.” He stuck one booted foot out and kicked Michael’s chair. “Does she?”

Michael shrugged. “No reason for her not to.”

Eddie tipped his head to one side as he studied the younger man, amused by the mutinous tone in his voice. “I didn’t say she shouldn’t know.” He shook his head and pulled a candy bar out of his jacket pocket, tossing it across the table.

“Yeah, well, you’re the only one,” Michael muttered, unwrapping the candy bar and taking a bite out of it.

Eddie raised his eyebrows at Michael’s dark tone. “River Dog told you not to tell her? Sounds odd for the old man to tell you somethin’ like that; he’s usually pretty adamant that you decide what’s right for you – “

“No, Eddie,” Michael interrupted, irritated by the man’s calm demeanor, “he told me to do whatever I felt was right.”

“Did you?”

“Yes, I did, and now I’m catchin’ hell for it.” He picked up the apple and sliced it into eight pieces before picking the first one up. He knew his mother’s health radar would go off if he didn’t eat a piece of fruit and the last thing he wanted right now was another lecture.

“Parents didn’t approve, huh?”

“No, things are just great with my parents. Mom insisted she wanted to invite Maria over for dinner on Thursday night and if that wasn’t bad enough, she also insisted that Dad talk to me about sex.” Laughter from across the table drew his sharp gaze and he shook his head in disgust.

“So, John explained things to you? You feel like you’re pretty well informed now?” Eddie’s dark eyes twinkled mirthfully as he watched his friend. “You think you’re gonna need any additional information about sex? Like, I don’t know… condoms? Positions? How to – “

Michael groaned. Why did everybody think that because he was an alien, he was good for nothing when it came to sex? “No, Eddie, I don’t need help with any of that. If I’m too dumb to understand how to use a condom, I might as well quit now. I think I can figure the rest of it out myself.” He scowled and ate another slice of his apple. “I really enjoyed havin’ this talk with my dad,” he muttered darkly, “so I don’t see any need to have it again.”

“All right, fine.” Eddie got up to get a glass of water before sitting down again and reaching for an orange. “So, if it’s not your parents who’ve got you in an uproar, it’s gotta be Maggie.”

“She’s pissed off that Maria knows about me now.” He shook his head and got up to get a glass of juice. “I don’t know what her problem is, Eddie; there’s no reason for her to worry about Maria.”

“Maybe not, but she doesn’t know your girlfriend the way that you do.”

“She doesn’t need to,” he growled around a mouthful of apple. “I told her she doesn’t need to worry about anything. Everything’s under control.”

Eddie considered the younger man for several minutes before he decided that they weren’t going to get anywhere with the subject of his sister. “Well, tell me about your girlfriend then. Things pretty serious?”

“Maybe.” Michael stared at the apple core as he contemplated what he wanted to say. “What kinda stuff is she gonna expect?” he asked finally.

“Normal girlfriend stuff, I’m sure.” He grinned when Michael made a ‘hurry up’ gesture with his right hand. “Well, things like don’t forget her birthday – they look at you like you ran over their puppy if you do. Never, and I mean never, look at another woman when you’re with her – they do not appreciate our admiration of the opposite sex and they think if we look at another woman, we automatically want that woman. Don’t expect to watch any sports event if she’s with you – women also don’t understand or appreciate our love of sports; paying attention to the game while she’s in the same vicinity as you means that you no longer find her interesting.”

Eddie decided to change the subject when he saw the trapped look on Michael’s face. “It’s not really as bad as it sounds,” he chuckled. “Probably one of the most important things is finding a common interest; it’s hard to stay together if you have nothing in common. Being attracted to each other is important, but a relationship is so much more than just attraction.”

Michael’s brow furrowed as he considered what Eddie was saying. He and Maria definitely had the attraction; they had gone out a couple of times, they had shared a couple of pretty hot kisses, and they had talked for hours, but what did they have in common? At this point, she knew a whole lot more about him than he knew about her. He wasn’t worried about that because he trusted her, but he made a mental note to rectify that as soon as possible.

“What’s it like? Bein’ in a relationship, I mean.”

“What’s it like? It’s hard to explain. If it’s right it’s great; when you’re with someone who understands you, who really gets you, and still wants to be with you… there’s nothin’ better than that. Of course, you’ve gotta make the effort to understand her too.” He shook his head. “Women can be difficult to understand because they’re rarely rational; you think your mom and sister are confusing? You haven’t even begun to see confusing yet.”

“But, it’s worth it?”

“It’s worth it,” Eddie confirmed.

“Have you ever regretted a relationship?”

“Sure, a couple of times.” He shrugged. “The good one’s are always worth it though.”

Michael raised a skeptical eyebrow. “If they’re so good, how come they ended?”

“Just because a relationship is good doesn’t mean it’s the one that’s gonna change your life. I’ve had a few good relationships, but not good enough to make me hand in my bachelor card. And none that were good enough for the woman at the time to try to change my mind. Don’t worry, Michael, you’ll know if it’s right.” He tipped his head to one side, surprised that his young friend hadn’t been scared off yet. “Any other questions or concerns?”

Michael shrugged and drummed his fingers on the tabletop. “I guess I’m concerned about what’s gonna happen when we have sex.” He glanced down at himself. “I mean, I look human, but what if we have sex and somethin’ happens to her? What if our DNA isn’t compatible and she gets sick, or worse?”

Eddie took a deep breath. As a friend, he had to admit that the thought had crossed his mind in the past, concerned about the effect it would have on Michael if sex with a human girl was out of the question because it wasn’t safe, for Michael or for the girls. He could see the need for reassurance in the younger man’s eyes, reassurance that there were no risks beyond the normal, everyday risks humans faced. “Okay, it’s true that we don’t know anything about your DNA makeup, and the truth is we may never know. She knows about your differences and she obviously still wants to be with you. You said you’ve kissed her, right? And nothing happened to her. No, you don’t know what’ll happen to her, or to you, if you have sex, so my advice would be to make sure you discuss it before it happens and make sure you take the necessary precautions. Don’t rush into a physical relationship, Michael; there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and making sure it’s right. Most people could benefit from that advice, but unfortunately too many people rush into it and they aren’t always ready for the changes that it makes to their relationship. So, don’t rush it, okay?”

Michael felt a bit better but there were still other issues to talk about, other concerns. “Do you think it’ll be different since I’m not human?”

Eddie frowned, wondering what Michael meant with that question. “Different how? You think if you have sex, you’ll mate for life like wolves do or somethin’?”

Michael’s head shot up and his gaze locked on Eddie. “You think that’s possible?”

“Hell, I don’t know, but if she’s the one, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Chances are sex will probably be normal as far as the physical act itself. Like you said, you look human, and your development – with the exception of your abilities – has all followed a normal human developmental pattern. My advice would be to just take the standard precautions when the time comes and make sure the two of you discuss it and that she understands the possible risks.”

I don’t even know what the risks are.” He sighed and ran one hand through his hair. “She’s gonna think I’m a freak,” he muttered.

“If she doesn’t think you’re a freak already, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.” He paused. “You’re aware that women view having sex completely differently than men do, right? Because women – “

Michael held a hand up. “Already had this talk with my dad, Eddie.” He glanced at the window and scowled when he heard loud music followed by a car door slamming a moment later.

Eddie grinned and stood up. “Sounds like Maggie’s home. I think I’ll get outta here and let you handle her on your own.”

Michael nodded and stared at his hands, listening to the low tones of conversation between Eddie and Maggie as they crossed paths at the front door. He glanced up when she paused in the kitchen doorway, feeling the weight of her disapproving gaze focus on him. “Guess you’re still not talkin’ to me?” he shouted when she turned and walked away without a word. He sighed loudly and leaned forward to grab his backpack, unzipping it and pulling his homework out.

“Y’know, this is not about me,” Maggie said, appearing in the doorway once more. “It’s about you risking everything for some girl who may or may not be able to keep the secret. It’s about you spending every free minute with her when you don’t know whether or not she can be trusted. It’s about you being completely irrational and thinking with something besides the head on your shoulders.”

Michael could feel his back teeth grinding at her words. “Basketball practice not go well?” he asked, refusing to look up from his open textbook. She was baiting him, trying to start an argument and he wanted no part of it. He was tired of the contention between them but he was fairly certain it wasn’t his fault and he had no intention of apologizing for it.

“This isn’t funny, Michael,” Maggie screamed, frustrated with Michael for not falling into her trap and avoiding the fight she so wanted to take place. This whole situation was disturbing her, her life, her peace of mind, and she needed to take it out on someone.

He looked up at that. “No, it’s not, but I’m not gonna argue with you about a decision that I made.”

Maggie jumped on his last words, happy to have a crucial element that Michael didn’t seem to grasp out in the open. “Exactly! A decision that you made, Michael; you didn’t even take into consideration the fact that it could potentially affect your whole family!” She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him, annoyed when he didn’t respond. “The least you could’ve done was talk to Mom and Dad before you decided to spill your guts.”

“I talked about it with River Dog, or did you forget that? I got all the advice that I needed from him,” he snapped. “I’m tired of repeatin’ myself here, Maggie.” He glanced over his notes from class before flipping back several pages in the textbook. “Mom an’ Dad are fine with Maria knowin’ about me. As a matter of fact, I’m supposed to invite her to dinner on Thursday night.” He slammed the textbook closed and stood up, gathering his things so he could go study in his bedroom. “Do you think you could try not insulting Maria when she gets here?”

He stalked out of the room without waiting for an answer, unwilling to continue arguing with her.

Maggie watched him leave the room and just barely refrained from chucking an orange at his thick head. Michael was not this dense, she thought, irritated that he had managed to walk away without listening to her list of reasons why this was a mistake of catastrophic proportions. Okay, she admitted silently, maybe that was a little more dramatic than the situation called for, but the least he could’ve done was listen to her.

“Do you think you could try not insulting Maria when she gets here?” she parroted under her breath as she looked for an apple. “No problem, Michael… no problem at all.” She grabbed the last apple and walked down the hall to her bedroom, determined to focus on her homework and not think about the current situation that Michael had instigated.

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt18-4/19

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:05 am

Ken r – You are right, trust between Catherine and Maria is necessary. But to answer your review, the trust isn’t necessarily in the same direction that you are suggesting.

Stinebiene
Right now I'm having a little issue with Maggie. To me it seems like she doesn't only have the "No girl is good enough for my brother" thing going like ken_r pointed out but like she has developed feelings that are beyond sisterly. Hope I'm wrong though.
You’re wrong. No suspicious feelings on Maggie’s side. She loves Michael like a sister loves her brother.
Makes me wonder why he doesn't seem to be traumatized or anything
Hmmm, who’s to say that he isn’t traumatized? Maria is just starting to know Michael, she still has things to discover about him.

BrieCrow17 – A new reader, hello and welcome. The story will take its time showing what’s happening to everyone. Right now, we have just finished writing part 60 and we are finally seeing the end of the tunnel.

Cjsl8ne – John and Catherine are people with a big heart and solid heads on their shoulders. They have raised Michael well.

Starcrazed – we LOVE writing little Michael. Other flashbacks will punctuate the story. About Alex and Isabel, it’s going slow with the code. But at least, it allows for some gazer moments.

Roswck – and another new reader, welcome too. Glad that you like a different version of Michael, while still recognizing him.

Lilah – Little Michael wasn’t powerful enough to blast and kill someone, but he still could use telekinesis to throw away an adult, to protect himself.

Cassie – Maria isn’t the kind of girl to let a problem like the one she is having with Maggie, get into the way of her relationship with Michael. So you won’t have to wait for too long for a talk between the two girls.

Nibbles2 – Oh, Maggie isn’t a malicious person. Even if she has issues with Maria, she won’t try to get her in any way.

Tequathisy – you’re totally right. Maggie is underestimating Maria. But she doesn’t know her that well so are her fears that far fetched?

Flamehair – Read the answer to Stinebiene’s post, about Michael’s traumatism. As we said, it was a fic exploring Michael, so expect more surprises along the way.


Part 18


Driving home after school on Tuesday, left hand tapping out a rhythm on the steering wheel in time to the song on the stereo, Michael was surprised to see Maria’s car parked in front of the Tribal Office. She had said she was working at her job the first part of the week and wouldn’t be able to get out to see him until Wednesday. He pulled up beside her car and got out, wondering if she’d had to come out to pick something up for her mother.

“Michael!”

He turned around and came face-to-face with Maria’s mother, and he took several quick steps backwards when she advanced on him, hoping to avoid another embarrassing public hug from the woman. He was relieved when she stopped to open the driver’s side door of her car. He glanced at the Tribal Office and then back at her when he realized she was empty-handed. “You need help with somethin’?”

“Oh, no, I was um, I just had to drop some papers off with Red Eagle,” she explained, giggling as she pushed her hair back behind her left ear. “Releases and stuff for the show coming up in Albuquerque next month.”

Michael nodded. “Yeah, heard about that; Sara Runs With Wolves said you think it’s gonna get her some recognition?”

“Um-hmm, it’ll be a great opportunity to get her art recognized by people who can actually make a difference for her financially. If I can get the buyer that I want to come out and see her jewelry, there’s a very good chance that she won’t have to worry about where a majority of her college tuition’s coming from.”

“Really?” Michael was impressed in spite of himself. “That’s cool. With Native American scholarship funding bein’ cut back last year, it’s been difficult for a lot of kids to get them. I know Sara was countin’ on a scholarship, but it didn’t happen, so her family’s been pretty worried about how they were gonna pull it off.”

Amy nodded. “What about you?”

“Huh?”

“You’re a senior, right?”

“Yeah.” Michael’s voice was anything but enthusiastic; school wasn’t his favorite topic to discuss. School was just so boring. But, Amy sounded like a cool mom and she wasn’t just anybody’s mom, she was Maria’s mom. He was determined to make an effort to answer her questions.

“You must have started looking into scholarships by now.”

The college talk. Damn. Parents seemed to judge people based on some weird criteria and being a college graduate was one of the top five on the list. “Oh. Well, I haven’t got any scholarships lined up yet, but my parents have a college fund set up for me an’ my sister. Maggie’s actually got a better shot at a scholarship than I do; she plays basketball an’ she’s pretty good.” He shrugged. “I’ll probably work my way through college when I get there.”

Amy easily picked up on the clue in Michael’s last sentence. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go to college. “When you get there?”

“I’ve been in school since I was six years old; I’d kinda like to take a year off and do somethin’ else, y’know? Not sure what yet, but somethin’.”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Michael straightened up and studied her expression, trying to determine if she was being serious or not. “Really?”

“No, of course not. I didn’t go to college, Michael. I made my way in the world without the benefit of a college education. I did it all by myself.” She shook her head. “If Maria wants to go to college, that’s fine, and if she doesn’t want to, I won’t hold it against her. I trust my daughter to find her own path.” She closed the door and moved to lean against the hood of the car so that she was facing him. “You haven’t told your parents that you wanna take a year off, have you?” She smiled when he shook his head and glanced across the street. “Your parents seemed like the kinda people who would be willing to listen and give you the chance to make your case.”

Michael took a good look at Amy. He was scarily close to respecting an adult he barely knew and that adult was Amy DeLuca, the unique mother of the very unique Maria DeLuca. Mother and daughter were one hell of a pair; the DeLuca girls were certainly original. “Yeah, they’re pretty good about that. I don’t know though… it’s college, y’know? Parents get weird about that kinda stuff.”

Amy smiled. “I know, I’m one of them, remember?”

“Right.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “So, Maria’s workin’ today?”

“Um-hmm, but if I understood correctly, she’s coming out here tomorrow after school.”

Michael cleared his throat. “Yeah, she might’ve said somethin’ about that.”

Amy laughed and straightened up. “I need to get home before Maria gets off from work.” She walked around the car and opened the door, leaning on it momentarily to watch him. “Do you do any kind of art, Michael?”

He shrugged again. “Not really.” He shifted uncomfortably when her gaze became scrutinizing. “What?” Just like Maria, Amy was too intuitive for Michael’s comfort.

She chuckled as she settled in the car and closed the door. “I’ll bet you do,” she said, her tone teasing. “I’ll tell Maria you said hi.” She started the car and waved before pulling away.

Michael shook his head and got back in the truck before heading home. His dad had asked him to feed the livestock as soon as he got home for the next couple of days so he could go in to work early, and make up a few hours since he had promised be home in time for dinner on Thursday night. He drove back home, his mind going back to the discussion about college with Amy. He knew that his parents wouldn’t be pleased if they knew that he had been thinking about not going to college right after high school. That he wanted to just take a break, to live life and enjoy it for a while, before being stuck in college for four years. He just needed to think seriously about how he was going to present his intentions to his parents; he had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a nice moment for him. A small smile graced his face. If Maria didn’t want to go to college, Amy wouldn’t force her daughter to go by using threats and the guilt trip that parents were so fond of. Amy would probably celebrate her daughter’s achievement of reaching the end of high school with some kind of hippie ceremony.

*****

On Wednesday afternoon, Maria parked in the driveway beside the truck and got out, straightening her skirt as she stood and shut the door. She smoothed her shirt down and walked up to the front door, her finger just about to connect with the doorbell when the door was pulled open. She smiled at Maggie and was surprised when the other girl didn’t return the gesture.

“Is Michael home?” she asked, unsure of Maggie’s unwelcoming expression but refusing to back down.

“He’s out right now,” Maggie muttered. “He’ll be back in a while.” She stood back and held the door open. “I guess you can come in and wait for him.”

“Have I done something to offend you, Maggie?” she asked once they were inside. “I don’t recall doing anything – “

Maggie didn’t even let her finish her sentence, she just launched into an angry speech. “Do you have any idea what kind of risk he took by telling you about himself? You have no idea what could happen to him if the wrong people find out about him.”

Maria frowned and straightened her back, irritated with the girl’s suggestions that she could be a risk to Michael. “Surely you don’t think I have any intention of telling anyone about Michael? I would never take that risk; I don’t want to see him get hurt either.”

“It’s not necessary for you to explain anything to ‘er, Maria.”

The two girls turned to look at Michael when he spoke. Maggie was the first to speak when she noticed that he had wrapped his right hand around his upper left arm and there was a thin line of blood running along his forearm.

“What happened to your arm?” she asked, rushing to his side and trying to pry his hand away from his arm so she could see how badly he was hurt. She couldn’t help the hurt that welled up inside of her when he jerked away from her and refused to allow her to check on him. “Michael, what happened?”

“Nothin’,” he snapped. “Go find someone else to irritate.” He glanced at Maria. “Let me take care of this and I’ll be back in a minute.”

Maria looked at Maggie after he had left the room. “Why don’t I go talk to him?” It was easy to see that the girl was distressed over her brother’s dismissal of her concern.

Following Maggie’s instructions, she made her way along the hall and paused at the open doorway to his bedroom, leaning forward and peering inside before crossing the threshold. It wasn’t all that different from Alex’s room, she mused as she glanced around. He didn’t have a lot of music-related stuff like Alex, but it was decorated much the same way. Posters of several rock bands decorated one of the walls, while another had an interesting array of Native American art.

“Michael?”

Michael stepped out of the bathroom, his eyebrows raised in surprise at her presence in his bedroom. “Uh, what?”

“Are you all right?” Maria asked, turning to face him and unprepared for the sight of him leaning against the doorframe, bare-chested.

“Yeah, it’s just a scratch.” He made a waving motion at her, his throat suddenly dry. “I like the uh, the outfit…” His gaze slid over her bare legs and he shook his head. “You look uh, yeah, really good.”

Maria smiled at his less than coherent compliment and she watched him fidget as her own gaze moved over him appreciatively. “You too. But don’t walk around like that in public because I won’t be held responsible for my actions.”

Michael grinned and shook his head, immediately put at ease by her teasing. “You need somethin’?”

“I think I’m just gonna leave that one alone,” she said with a smirk. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I just got caught on a nail, it’s nothin’ serious.” He turned to the side so she could see the small scratch. “See? It’s nothin’ to worry about.”

“Well, okay. I actually did have a reason for coming in here.”

“So, it wasn’t just for the opportunity to see me half-naked?” he asked, crowding her against the doorframe.

Maria looked at the bare flesh in question and he was so close that she couldn’t resist reaching out to run the fingertips of her right hand down the center of his chest. “No, I honestly didn’t expect to catch you shirtless.” She felt his disappointment at her admission and she bit back a smile. “That was just a bonus.” She lost control of the smile when his chest puffed up with pride. “But it isn’t why I came in here. How long have you and Maggie been fighting?”

His good mood evaporated as soon as his sister was mentioned. “Ask her,” he snarled. “I’m not the one with the problem.”

Maria winced. Obviously, Michael wasn’t happy with his sister and it looked like things between them were going from bad to worse. She tried to explain what she thought was going through Maggie’s mind. “Michael, she’s obviously got some concerns about – “

“Don’t care.” He crossed the room and snatched a tee shirt out of the closet, jerking it on over his head and pulling it down over his chest and stomach. “I tried to explain things to her and she wouldn’t listen.”

“Hey.” She crossed to him and reached up to take his chin in her hand. “Hey, look at me.” She waited to speak until his stubborn gaze lifted to meet hers. “She’s afraid for you, Michael; let me talk to her, okay?”

He snorted. “Knock yourself out.”

She smiled brilliantly and leaned against him as her fingers left his chin to trace over his lips. “You gonna kiss me first?”

His low growl was her only warning before his hands came up to frame her face, and he lowered his lips to hers. His kiss was hot, demanding, and lasted until they were forced to pull apart for air. His eyes traced over her features for several minutes before he kissed her again, this time with a gentleness that belied the sheer power she could feel rolling through him like an electrical current.

Weak-kneed and sporting what was probably a ridiculous grin, Maria made her way back to the living room, hoping to catch Maggie for a serious conversation. That thought made her bring her expression under control and she paused for a moment before entering the living room to make sure she was presentable. The last thing she wanted to do was rub the girl’s face in the fact that she and Michael were a couple. She had a feeling it was that as much as her knowledge of his secret that had Maggie so concerned.

Maria located Maggie sitting on the front porch, her gaze focused on the open book in her left hand. After almost five minutes of watching the other girl stare at the book, she started to lose patience. She cleared her throat and sat down beside her in the swing.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?” Maggie snapped without looking at her.

“That would be a lot more believable if your eyes were moving or if you’d turned a page in the last few minutes,” Maria retorted, trying to control her voice. She had to remain calm if she was going to talk to Maggie rationally and present a reasonable argument. “Look, you’ve obviously got a big problem with me knowing the secret, and if it makes you feel any better, he didn’t tell me, Maggie, I guessed.”

“Uh-huh. You just happened to guess that he’s an alien. Yeah, okay.” Sarcasm dripped from the words and she finally looked at Maria. “You can’t honestly expect me to believe that.”

“Why not?”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Why would you just assume he’s a completely different species?”

Maria burst into a sarcastic laugh. “Hello? I grew up in Roswell; it’s not exactly a foreign concept that aliens exist. I admit, despite all of the alien-themed shows on television, I had never really given much thought to the possibility that they might actually look like your brother.” Maria nodded to herself. “I guess you probably don’t watch a lot of shows or movies about aliens.”

Maggie made a face. “You wouldn’t think so, would you? Michael’s like a big sponge when it comes to that stuff though. He’s got dozens of notebooks filled with information that he was sure would give him answers and all it’s done is lead to disappointment.” She turned her attention back to the book she still held. “But, I guess you’ll become pretty familiar with that now that you’re together.”

Aaaaah, here it was; the real reason behind Maggie’s anger. Maria decided that it was time to resolve the situation. “Which brings us to what I think is the real problem you’re having with me knowing about Michael. At first you were probably worried about me blabbing his secret, but I think you know your brother well enough to know that if he hadn’t wanted me to know he would’ve found a way to explain what happened. Have you considered the possibility that maybe he wanted me to know?”

“Why? He’s never told anyone so why would he suddenly decide to tell you?”

Maria was certain the girl was being deliberately obtuse. “How many serious relationships has he been in, Maggie?”

She shrugged. “None, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“Fine,” Maggie snapped, glaring at her. “He’s never been in a serious relationship. Are you happy now?” She stood and started pacing.

Oh, yeah, she was jumping for joy, right now! Maria silenced the sarcastic internal voice before she made the mistake of repeating that out loud. “I’m happy that I’ve got him, but I’m not happy that it’s caused this huge crack in your relationship with him.”

“What do you know about it?”

“I know what it feels like when someone you’re close to is suddenly busy with someone else and you feel like they’re gonna forget that you exist.” She shoved the thoughts of Liz and Alex away when they pushed their way to the surface and focused on the story she wanted to tell Maggie, to try and make her understand that she had gone through a similar experience. “My mom didn’t date for a few years after my dad left because she was trying to get her business established and be both parents for me, so when she started dating, I felt like I suddenly wasn’t important anymore.”

Maggie turned to lean against the railing and crossed her arms over her chest as she listened to the other girl talk, weighing the words against her own thoughts.

Maria shifted her position and rested her arm on the back of the swing, lost in her past, in the little girl that she had been, angry and afraid. “I probably chased off at least a couple of guys that were actually pretty decent because I was jealous of their relationship with my mom. She was all I had and I was scared they were gonna take her away from me, and she’d been hurt before by my dad and others, and I didn’t want that to happen again. There’s no way to know if one of them could’ve been the guy that might’ve made her happy again, and I felt really bad when my mom and I talked and I realized that I wasn’t any less important to her and she didn’t love me any less.”

Was she treating Michael the same way? Maggie wondered. Was she just jealous of losing her brother now that he had found someone? She reviewed her past behavior, the feelings she had been trying to control, taking mental notes about the past few days and coming to the obvious conclusion. She groaned. Yes, she was treating him the same way. Her brother had found someone who made him happy and she had done her best to make him feel guilty for it.

“I know how it feels, Maggie, and I know it won’t make a difference what I say here because the only thing that’s gonna change your mind about me is time. You’re not gonna believe it’s true until you see for yourself that I’m not a threat to your relationship with Michael, that I’m not a threat to him, and I honestly do care for him.” She smiled slightly and glanced at the other girl. “Your brother’s very special, Maggie, and I promise you I’m not gonna do anything to hurt him. Do you know how important you are to him?”

Maggie swallowed hard as she nodded. “Yeah, we’ve always been really close.”

Maria smiled. She knew she had broken through Maggie’s fears. “Then you know how hard the last few days have been for him.”

She risked a glance at her brother’s girlfriend, easily detecting the disapproval beneath her sympathetic tone. It wasn’t overt but she could tell that Maria wasn’t happy that Michael had spent the past few days on the wrong side of his sister’s temper because Maggie had a problem with her.

She sighed. She knew what was waiting for her, how her brother was going to act when she finally tried to talk to him. “He’s not gonna wanna hear anything I have to say right now.”

“You two don’t fight very often do you?”

“Not like this,” Maggie admitted.

“I can talk to him if you’d like, try to get him to understand why you reacted the way you did.” Maria made the offer and fell silent, letting Maggie decide if she wanted to accept it or not without pressure.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt19-4/26

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 11:13 am

Stinebiene – Maria picked up on Maggie’s problem because she had been there herself. It really helps to reach other people, emotionally, when you have lived similar experiences. Common points create a bridge.
the conversation between Michael and Amy was pretty interesting and now I wonder why he wants to take a year off.
Don’t forget, Michael will always be Michael, no matter what the universe is. He is a free spirit who is bored with school and everything linked to it. So he wants to take a year off to live, to be himself and not be confined in a place while he just finished high school. There‘s a life out there and he wants to live it.

Flamehair – Oh, Michael won’t wait that long! See Maggie’s little speech about Michael in the previous part.

Starcrazed -
It seems Michael really does some art..maybe he's shy about it?
You’re not far from the truth about that.

Lilah – Amy is quite special, isn’t she? It’s no wonder that she understood Michael’s plan post-high school.

Roscwk – the dinner is coming very soon!

Ashleyt – Alex might be a little too confident that things aren’t as bad as they are, with Maria.

Tequathisy –
I’m dying to know if Liz and Alex are aware that Maria is spending a lot of time at the reservation
It’s coming, don’t worry. Things will crescendo on that front.

Shiesty23 – Thank you. Amy is such a cool mom. By the way, how about an update for “Destiny Calling”?

Ken r -
Mothers of girls I knew were always pretty nice. I never did find their fathers too polite, course with Maria Michael doesn't have that problem. Parents many times fear that if their children take that year off it decreases greatly the probability of getting back to going to college. There was a time when college or post high school training was not as necessary as it is now. In New Mexico taking that year off loses the chance for a lottery scholarship which is very important and pays most of instate tuition.
The thing is, neither Michael, nor Maria, are college material. Not that they can’t get accepted, but that they are more street smart and are free spirits. College isn’t their priority. And while Maria won’t have problems with her mother if she decides to take a year off, what will Michael’s parents’ reactions be? They are more… conservative than Amy on this subject.
i know farm kids keep their tetanus shots up, but is the scratch from the nail significant? or did i miss something?
No, it was more to show that Michael was distracted and got a little injury, but it’s not serious. Remember that in the previous part, Michael was thinking about college and his parents? Well, he was still preoccupied and he didn’t pay attention to what he was doing.


Author’s Note: Somewhere in this part we’ve included a little line dedicated to April – anyone who’s reading her fic, Passion (and honestly, who isn’t, right?) should be able to spot it! :wink:


Part 19


Michael was slouched down in one corner of the couch, his unseeing gaze locked on the action playing on the television screen. He had considered posting himself near the open front door so he could eavesdrop on the girls’ conversation, but he had quickly changed his mind after he decided that he wasn’t really interested. He had flipped through every available television station several times before dropping the remote on the cushion beside him and losing himself in thought.

He blinked in surprise when the television screen went dark and the cushion beside him dipped as Maria sat down. She leaned forward to place the remote on the coffee table then settled back beside him, her right arm stretched along the back of the couch behind his shoulders.

“You talk to ‘er?”

“Um-hmm.” She studied his features for several minutes and he remained silent under her scrutiny. “You wanna go for a ride?”

“Everything okay?” he asked uncertainly.

“Yeah.”

He nodded and stood, holding a hand out to her. “Your car or mine?”

Half an hour later, Michael parked the truck at an overlook several miles from the reservation and stepped out just as Maria pulled up behind him in her own car. “You gonna tell me why we came out here with both cars?”

Maria motioned for him to drop the tailgate on the truck so they could sit down and she spoke as soon as they were seated. “I wanted to talk to you and I think Maggie probably needs some time alone to think about things, so I thought I could just leave from here.” She was silent for a minute, watching a bird as it circled overhead. “She’s not used to sharing you, y’know? Maggie,” she clarified when he just stared at her uncomprehendingly.

“Oh.” He frowned. “What?”

“She’s not used to you spending so much time with a girl, Michael. She doesn’t know me very well, so it only makes sense that she’s concerned about me knowing the secret.” She shook her head. “But, it’s your involvement with me and the potential threat to your relationship with her that’s had her so upset.”

Michael looked at her, puzzled by what she was saying. Potential threat? Sharing? What was it that caused girls to over-complicate everything? “What?”

Maria wasn’t surprised that Michael didn’t understand; teenage guys just weren’t in tune with the way girls’ minds worked. Well, except for Alex. She hurried to push thoughts of him out of her mind. Right now wasn’t the time to think about her problems. “She’s scared of becoming less important to you, and at the same time she’s also scared that you’re gonna get hurt or that I’m not gonna be able to keep your secret. I’ve been in her position, so I know her concerns are valid; I went through the same thing when my mom started dating. For a long time it was just the two of us, so when someone else entered the picture, I was scared she was gonna be so focused on her new relationship that I was gonna be ignored.”

Michael looked closely at her, trying to read her. “Were you?”

Maria laughed as she thought about how stupid some of her imaginings had been back then. But she had been a little girl and she hadn’t known any better at the time. “No, but that’s not really my point. She just needs time to see that even though you and I are involved, her place in your life is secure and no one’s gonna take it from her.”

“That’s ridiculous,” he scoffed, leaning back on his outstretched arms as he scanned the desert.

“Why, because it’s never happened to you? I can assure you that it happens, Michael, and sometimes it’s the people you’d least expect it from. People you’ve known and trusted your entire life.” She shook her head and wiped away a renegade tear before she looked at him. “Don’t discount her fears so easily, Michael, that’s all I’m saying.”

He shifted around to face her, pulling his long legs up and crossing them Indian-style in front of him. Someone had hurt her badly, he realized, shocked when that knowledge caused a fierce wave of protectiveness to surge through him.

“My dad, okay?” Maria shrugged and turned her head when his gaze became too intense. “You’d think it would end there, wouldn’t you? Well, it did… until recently.”

Michael winced when she tried to hide the hurt in her voice. He remembered that she had told him – unintentionally, he was sure – that her dad had walked out on her and her mom when she was six or seven, but at the time there had been no details given. Even with the passage of time, her father’s abandonment was obviously still felt very deeply and he did something he rarely ever did. He reached out to her, his right hand cradling her left cheek and turning her head so he could look into her sad eyes. “Tell me,” he urged quietly.

“About my dad?”

“Yeah.”

A slight smile graced her features for a moment. “He was an artist, a painter, and his paintings were just so amazing. I remember when I was little, he’d carry me around on his shoulders and we’d go for long walks around town, and when I got bigger, we’d go to this huge art museum in Santa Fe and we’d spend hours walking around while he explained what the artist wanted people to see in their work. Even though I wasn’t that old, I could tell he wanted to be so much more. I remember my parents arguing because he wanted to move away from Roswell and she didn’t.” She reached up to take his hand, holding it in both of hers as she studied his knuckles. “My parents weren’t exactly what you’d call normal.”

“Never would’ve guessed that,” he said, grinning when she thumped her fist against the knee closest to her.

“They met at an environmental protest at an oil company; my mom said she knew she was in love with him the second he tackled a cop to keep her from getting arrested.” She rolled her eyes and chuckled. “They got arrested dozens of times for protesting, at sit-ins, during marches… they were really big activists. If there was a cause, my parents were there.”

“So, what happened?”

“They tried to settle down and be normal after I was born.” She shook her head sadly. “After a while they started getting involved in their causes again, but it wasn’t the same. It might’ve been okay if things hadn’t been so tense at home, y’know? But, he wanted to do more with his painting and Mom wanted more involvement in their causes. He wanted to move away to pursue his art, he wanted to travel, and she wanted to stay in Roswell so she could stay involved in her groups’ activities… I think maybe it was just too much for them.”

“So, they split up?”

“Yeah. My dad said he was gonna come back for me.” Her gaze dropped down to his hand again. “He promised when he got his own place, he’d come back and get me for the holidays.”

Michael unfolded his left leg and stretched it out behind her before tugging her closer and wrapping his arms around her. “He didn’t come back,” he guessed.

“No calls, no birthday cards, and no visits,” she said, picking at a button on his shirt.

Michael swore silently. What kind of father, who claimed to love his daughter, just abandoned her so completely? How could parents do something like that to their own children? He shook his head at his own thoughts. His biological parents hadn’t been in any hurry to come back for him. “Have you tried lookin’ for him?”

“I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’d like to find him though, maybe get some answers. It seems only fair that I get an opportunity to ask him why he… he…” She choked back a sob and swallowed the tears clogging her throat as she slid her arms around his waist.

“I know what you’re thinkin’,” Michael murmured when she tucked her head under his chin, “and you’re not forgettable, Maria.”

“Do you think he had a good reason for leaving and never contacting me?” Maria asked, hoping against hope that Michael could provide her with an answer that wouldn’t break her heart any more than it had already been broken by her father. Maybe he could come up with a reason that she had overlooked, some reason that hadn’t occurred to her.

Michael paused, holding his initial response back. He didn’t want to hurt her with her opinion, so he needed to stop and weigh his words for once. “I’m a realist, Maria, so I’m inclined to say no, but I hope for your sake he did have a good reason. Whoever my family is or was, they dumped me off in the middle of the desert and never bothered to contact me after that.”

Maria leaned back to look at him. “You want to find them though,” she observed.

“I have a right to know why I was abandoned.” He shrugged. “Why no one bothered to come back for me.”

“Hey, you’re not forgettable either.”

Michael nudged her when she fell into a contemplative silence that lasted several minutes. “What’re you thinkin’ about?” he asked, honestly wanting to know.

“Have you ever noticed how quickly things can change?”

“Like what?” He had a feeling this was important to her so he didn’t push for an answer when she became quiet again.

“Well, I’ve got these two friends, my best friends actually, but back in September they started hanging out with Max and Isabel Evans, and now they’re just… I don’t know, different. They lie right to my face like they think I don’t know them well enough to know when they’re lying, they’re always going off somewhere together, and they’re keeping secrets.” She shrugged. “We’ve been best friends our whole lives and it’s like we don’t even know each other anymore.”

“You an’ your friends, you’re popular at school?”

“Um, no, not really. I mean, we’re not the rejects or the social outcasts or anything, but we’re not the popular ones either. Liz and Alex are both brains; y’know, they’re the smart ones so that kinda excludes them from the popular club. Max, well, he’s not exactly in the popular crowd either because he’s really smart too, but his sister is like the leader of the popular crowd.” She shook her head in confusion. “There’s no reason why she would lower herself to our social level, but suddenly every time I see Alex, I see Isabel and if I see Liz then Max is somewhere close by.”

Michael frowned. From what he knew of high school and its social circles, thanks to Maggie’s constant gossiping with her friends, he knew that the popular queen who ruled the school would never hang out with the brains. That was weird. “So, just outta nowhere, your friends hooked up with these other two?”

“Yeah.” She turned so she could look at him more fully. “I’m telling you, Michael, it doesn’t make any sense. We’ve gone to school together for years but we’ve never really talked to them so why now? And why would Isabel be going out with Alex? Don’t get me wrong or anything, Alex is great, but they’re not exactly the obvious couple. I guess I can see Liz with Max… although they’re so alike I can’t imagine what they find to talk about.”

“Maybe they’re not talkin’,” Michael suggested with a smirk.

“What? You think they’re having sex? No,” she denied, rolling her eyes as she shook her head. “You don’t know Liz, Michael. Trust me, that is not what’s going on.”

“Uh-huh, you sure about that?”

Maria nodded. If there was one person that she knew in this universe, it was Liz. “Believe me, Liz Parker going all the way? Not a chance. She’s got like this whole plan laid out for her life, she’s completely predictable, and she doesn’t really veer off from the plan.”

Michael had to play the devil’s advocate here, because it looked like Maria didn’t want to open her eyes about her best friend that she thought she knew so well. “Completely predictable, but she blew you off after a lifetime of bein’ best friends so she could start hangin’ out with this guy and his sister? Has their behavior changed at all? You mentioned that they were lyin’ to you an’ keepin’ secrets, but have you noticed any physical changes in them?”

Maria thought about her friends, going over what had happened and wondering if some other changes had taken place and that she hadn’t noticed. “I don’t know. For a while, every time I saw them they looked like they hadn’t slept in days and when I asked them about it, they made up some lame excuse about nightmares.”

Shit, this wasn’t good. He was starting to have an idea about what might be going on and he had a feeling that Maria wasn’t going to like it one bit. “Lame excuses, huh? Y’know, I’ve seen behavior like you’re describing right here on the Rez. People getting hooked on drugs or alcohol – “

Maria quickly jumped to her friends’ defense. Liz and Alex doing drugs? Drinking? No way in hell! Michael was wrong! “No, my friends aren’t involved in anything like that, Michael! I don’t know what exactly they are involved in, but it’s not drugs or alcohol. I know you don’t know them, but that’s just not possible.”

Michael snorted at her naivety. “So, the lyin’, the secrets, the sudden changes in behavior… they’re what?”

Maria desperately searched for an answer, refusing to think about how outlandish and wild her ideas were. Maybe… maybe they had seen something they weren’t supposed to see and they were afraid? Or maybe Alex had hacked into the wrong computer by accident and now they were trying to cover their tracks? Liz, Alex, and Max were all brains, and Isabel wasn’t stupid either, the girl had high grades to go with her popular status. But there had to be some other reason besides the one Michael was suggesting. “Well, I don’t know. But, it can’t be that,” she denied. “Liz and Alex would never get involved with anything having to do with drugs or alcohol. Good grief, they’re straight A students!”

“You think getting involved with stuff like that is only for kids with bad grades? C’mon, Maria, you can’t seriously be that naïve!” he exclaimed.

She dropped down off of the tailgate and turned to face him with her arms crossed over her chest and a defiant expression on her face. True, Liz and Alex were acting strange, but he didn’t know them and there was no reason for him to be talking about them like they were common criminals.

“We may not be as close as we used to be, but I will not believe that they’re involved in anything like that.” She glared at him. “And I don’t appreciate being called naïve.”

“I didn’t call you naïve,” he denied, shifting around and letting his legs hang over the edge of the tailgate. “All I’m sayin’ is that it’s not all that uncommon for people to get caught up in that stuff and it usually doesn’t get noticed until they’re pretty deep in it. It’s not all that unusual for people you’d never suspect to get drawn into that lifestyle.”

Maria gritted her teeth at Michael’s convictions; she couldn’t deny that those kind of things happened to teenagers all the time, but not to Liz and Alex. “And I’m saying you’re wrong.”

Michael shrugged. “Fine, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree on their possible motives for droppin’ you as soon as they started hangin’ with their new friends because I can’t imagine that they’ve got an acceptable explanation for treatin’ you like crap. I don’t care what their reasoning is, you don’t drop people you care about like that.”

Maria’s heart started to hurt as she listened to Michael’s speech. But she refused to believe his theory. She just refused to let her mind go there. “No. They have to have a good reason.”

Michael snapped when she refused to see the possible reality of the situation. “Why?” he asked, his voice harsh.

Maria tried to take a breath without showing how close she was to crying. “Because if you’re right and I’ve been cut off from them because of something like that, it means I’m expendable to my friends just like I was to my dad.”

Michael sighed regretfully. Of course, how had he missed the connection between her father leaving her behind and her friends doing the same thing? “Oh, hell, that’s not what I meant, Maria.” The leaps that her mind was capable of making were downright scary at times. “C’mere.”

Maria resisted when she felt the sensation of being pulled, refusing to give in to the force he was exerting. “No, stop it.”

He rolled his eyes when she dug her heels in and stubbornly wouldn’t move, but he stopped trying to force her to come to him when he caught the warning look in her eyes. “Guess your fascination with the whole secret powers thing has already worn off,” he muttered.

Maria’s eyebrows lifted in question and she hurried over to him when she realized what he was implying. “No, no, no, Michael, I’m sorry.” Her hands slid up over his chest to rest on his shoulders. “All I meant was that we’re out here where anyone could drive by and I don’t want you to be reckless just because I know what you can do.”

“Right, well, I knew that.”

“Uh-huh.” Her tone let him know that she didn’t believe him.

“Look, Maria, you obviously know your friends better than I do, but it’s just suspicious that they started hangin’ out with their new friends and dropped you at the same time. I’m not sayin’ drugs or alcohol are the only reasons for that kinda behavior, I just think it’s worth considering.”

“Okay, well, I’ve considered your theory and discarded it.” She smiled and shook her head at him. “Like you said, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree about their motives.”

“Guess so.” He briefly wondered when he was going to meet her friends so he could judge their behavior for himself. “Okay, so tell me about your mom,” he said, attempting to steer the conversation to a topic that wasn’t quite so emotionally charged. He knew she was close to her mother so he could only assume that her mood would lift a little by talking about the woman.

Maria was a little thrown off by Michael’s question. “My mom? What do you wanna know about her?”

“I don’t know. When I met her she accosted me in front of half the Rez.” He shrugged. “I’m hopin’ that’s not normal behavior for her an’ I’m not gonna have to worry about that next time I see her.”

Maria couldn’t resist teasing him. “So, you’re planning to see my mom again, huh?”

Michael smiled at Maria’s change of mood. Mission accomplished. “I don’t know, maybe.” He looped his arms loosely around her waist and linked his hands at the small of her back. “Think you could ask her to not do that again?”

Sure, no problem. And maybe she could get her mom to go to Sunday services at the Catholic church in town while she was at it. “Maybe. My mom’s not your average everyday mother. She really isn’t the traditional homemaker; even when I was a kid, we were always doing something most people would probably consider out of the ordinary.”

“Out of the ordinary, huh?” Michael asked, not surprised in the least.

Maria laughed, remembering all of the crazy activities she had assisted in, thanks to her mother. “We’ve spent a couple of months at a hippie commune up in Oregon a few times, I’ve been to at least a dozen different sit-ins and protests, and we spent a month at this camp where everyone lived just like the settlers did in the 1800’s… y’know, no electricity, no running water, no television.” Maria shuddered as she thought back on that experience; what a nightmare that had been! “Personally, I was really glad when that one was over; I’m quite fond of modern technology.”

“Protests? Against what?”

Pffff, where should she start? “You name it, my mom’s protested either for or against it. Save the whales, save the dolphins, save the spotted owl, save the planet, save the mission, free political prisoners, and there are a lot more, believe me.”

Michael reached up to scratch his eyebrow. He had heard about activists during his history classes, read about them in novels, and seen them in movies; they were fascinating characters. It just felt strange to know one of them. He had an internal laugh. He’d bet Maria could say the same about aliens; she certainly hadn’t expected to meet one! “That sounds… interesting. So, you seriously lived without any modern conveniences for an entire month?” He was having a difficult time wrapping his mind around that one. “People really do that?”

“I swear it’s true. The place is out in the middle of nowhere up in Kansas, and the people who organize it load everyone up on a bus and drive you out there and they leave you there. We’re talking way out in the middle of nowhere and they don’t come back for you until the month’s up.” She grinned at him. “And if I ever get conned into doing that again, it’ll be very handy to have you with me.”

“I’d advise you to avoid getting stuck in that situation again then, cuz that’s really not my thing.” A small smile softened the words and he glanced up when a couple of cars passed them. “It’s getting close to time for dinner,” he said with a glance at the sky.

“I guess you need to get going then; I wouldn’t want your mom to have to come looking for you. I know you said she doesn’t like it when you’re late for dinner.”

“No, she doesn’t.” He dropped down off of the tailgate and stood in front of her without releasing his hold on her. “Oh, that reminds me, I’m supposed to invite you over for dinner tomorrow night.”

Maria thanked God that Michael was holding her because if he hadn’t she was sure she would have made a fool of herself by tripping over her own feet. Her heart started to beat faster and she asked in a strangled voice. “Dinner with your family?”

His expression turned sheepish when she stared at him, waiting. “What? My mom wants to get to know you.” Oh, boy, Maria looked like she was on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Your mom wants to get to know me and you’re worried about my mom hugging you again? You do realize that it’s serious if your mom is inviting me to dinner to interrogate me, right?”

“Yeah, I kinda suspected that’s what she was up to. It’s okay if you’d rather not deal with it.” He kicked a rock across the road. “I’m not really sure I wanna deal with it. She’s just got it in her head that she needs to get to know you because you’re the first girl I’ve ever invited out to the Rez and – “

Maria latched onto his last sentence and she quickly interrupted him. “Really? You’ve honestly never asked another girl to come out here?”

“No reason to,” he muttered, making a big production of checking his watch. “You’re the only girl I’ve ever asked to come out here, okay? We don’t have to make a big deal of it, do we?”

“What time should I be there?” she asked, letting him off the hook.

He shrugged. “Normally it’d be five but she wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to get here after school; she doesn’t want you to rush, so she moved dinner back to six.”

“Well, that was thoughtful of her.” She walked back to her car and he followed, unwilling to let her go just yet.

When they reached her car he snaked her right arm around her waist and pulled her up against his chest as he whirled around and leaned back on the car.

Maria’s hands slid up over his chest to settle on his shoulders, letting her weight rest against him as he lowered his head to kiss her. Her shirt rode up when she stretched up to get even closer to him and he took advantage of the gap to slide his hands under her shirt. The feel of his calloused hands on her skin had her pressing tighter against him and her fingers tangled in his unruly hair to keep him where he was when she felt him preparing to withdraw from the kiss.

Michael chuckled, the sound rumbling deep in his chest, before he changed angles and deepened the kiss. She sighed and settled into the kiss, the fingers of her left hand combing through his hair while her right hand slid down to stroke his strong jaw. She didn’t try to stop him when he gentled the kiss and slowly eased back, but only because they were both in need of oxygen.

“I hate it when you’ve gotta go, but I love makin’ out with you,” he whispered raggedly as he cradled her face in his big hands.

Maria smiled as she brushed her thumb over his lips. “You don’t make it easy to leave.” She laughed when she saw how insufferably pleased he was with himself. “But, I do have to get home and if you don’t get home pretty soon you’re gonna be late for dinner.”

Michael shifted to the side so he could open the door, leaning on it for support when she brushed up against him as she slid inside. “You’re not makin’ it easy either, Maria Myrtle DeLuca.” He grinned and shut the door before she could get out and come after him.

“Myrtle?” Maria snorted and shook her head as she started the car. “Try again, Magnum.”

“I will.” He crouched down, bracing his forearms on the open window and leaned in to kiss her one more time. “Call me when you get home.” He straightened up and thumped his fist against the roof of the car as she pulled away from the overlook, crossing his arms over his chest and watching until her taillights disappeared in the distance.

He glanced at his watch and cursed as he ran over to the truck and climbed in. He didn’t have a single second to spare if he was going to make it home in time for dinner. Saying that his mother didn’t like it when he was late for dinner was like calling a hurricane a little rainstorm. He started the truck and backed up, turning the wheel and heading back to the Rez, hoping to get there without getting stopped for speeding.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child-M/M(CC-Teen)Pt20-5/3

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sat May 03, 2008 7:27 am

Ken r – it’s true that Maria’s father and the issues she has with him, aren’t exploited enough. The story isn’t about Maria, but we felt this had to be addressed, even a little. A child having been abandoned so completely by a parent, has to have scars and fears.

Roswck – yes, what Michael says has a lot of sense. He tells what he thinks is happening with Maria’s friends, based on the facts. Maria is more inclined to see the situation based on the people she has known all her life. Hence the difference of opinion.

Stinebiene – wouldn’t you be nervous if you were invited by your boyfriend’s mother? This will be a first for Maria. And for Michael, too.

Nibbles2 – We thought that if we removed the alien abyss, they would behave differently, while still being the same. It’s a thin line, for us, to write such a Michael and Maria relationship.

Cjsl8ne – Maria’s friends are like her family. She wants to trust them, but it’s going to get harder and harder for her. And for Alex and Liz, too.

Tequathisy -
I thought their idea was to get Max and Isabel to trust her enough to allow them to tell Maria. Shouldn't that mean occassionaly spending time with their friend?
Isabel’s resistance and untrusting behavior are preventing Alex and Liz from bringing Maria slowly into the group. She doesn’t even trust Liz and Alex, while they have known for a few weeks. And besides, Maria has always been weird and too much of a wild card, for Isabel so the fact that Alex and Liz are friends with her is not good. Isabel will make her opinion of Maria known, later on.

Flamehair -
And I'm wondering if Maria's father is still alive or not? From her description he doesn't sound like someone who abandons his child just like this.
Maria’s father, hmmm? Well, we might save that for a possible sequel.

Spacegirl23 – thanks and here is the line dedicated to April’s fic “Passion” : Sure, no problem. And maybe she could get her mom to go to Sunday services at the Catholic church in town while she was at it.

Briecrow17 – See above for the line dedicated to Passion.


Part 20


Amy glanced up at the clock over the stove when she heard the car pull up in the driveway. She was surprised that Maria had made it home so early; it was a few minutes before six and she had expected it to be much later when the teenager got home.

“You’re home early,” she commented when Maria came in and dropped her backpack and purse on the table.

“Michael had to get home for dinner and I have homework anyway so I thought I’d get started on it.” She paused for a minute while she poured a glass of juice. “Have you ever been invited to dinner by a boyfriend’s parents?”

Amy smiled at Maria’s question; she had a hunch that it wasn’t quite as innocent as it sounded. “By his parents, or his mother?”

Maria winced. “Is it that obvious?”

“Well, Catherine did come across as very protective so it’s not surprising that she wants to get to know you better. Y’know, I don’t think I’ve ever really done the dinner-with-the-parents thing,” Amy recalled, frowning in concentration. Nope, never been there. She hurried to reassure her daughter when she realized her silence had gone on too long. “Don’t worry, honey, she just wants to make sure your intentions are good and that you’re not getting ready to lead her baby boy astray.”

“Great,” Maria muttered. She didn’t know why she was so… not worried really, but ill at ease. It was just that little feeling inside of her that was telling her to be cautious.

Amy stopped pulling down ingredients for dinner and turned to look at her daughter. “You’re not worried about having dinner with Michael’s parents, are you?”

“Not really. Well, not a lot.” She sighed audibly. “Do you think she’s gonna ask a bunch of embarrassing questions?”

Amy chuckled. “Probably. It was pretty easy to see that Maggie is a Daddy’s girl, but Michael is definitely his mother’s son. Just be yourself, honey, and everything else will work out. Don’t try to be someone you’re not because you think his mother will like that person better; she’ll either love you for who you are or she’ll end up missing out on getting to know what a great young woman you’ve turned into.”

Maria nodded. “I’m probably gonna get home late; I’m supposed to go to dinner tomorrow night.”

“That’s fine,” Amy said, turning back to her dinner preparations. “Just be sure to call me when you get home so I know you got back safely.”

“Are you working late tomorrow?” Maria glanced at the calendar on the wall. “Inventory counts aren’t due for a couple more weeks, right?”

“No, I have a date.”

“Are you still seeing that aromatherapy sales guy? Mom, this’ll be like the seventh or eighth time you’ve been out with him.” Her eyes widened in horror as a possibility suddenly occurred to her. “Oh, my God, you’re not getting serious are you? Because if you’re thinking long-term…” She shuddered at the thought. “If you married that guy, I’d seriously have to change my name and move to another country.”

Amy chuckled at her daughter’s dramatic statements and shook her head. “Howard is a very nice man, Maria.” Amy bit the inside of her cheek to keep from revealing anything else. She knew Maria had her suspicions about Howard; the aromatherapy salesman had never been subtle in his interest.

“I’m not kidding about changing my name.” Maria just rolled her eyes and grabbed her stuff before heading for the doorway. “I’m gonna go take a shower before dinner,” she called over her shoulder.

Amy waited until she had dinner in the oven and checked to make sure Maria was still in the shower before she picked up the cordless phone and dialed a number she knew by heart. She leaned up against the counter by the refrigerator and studied her fingernails, frowning at the chips in the polish.

“Hello?”

Warmth flooded her entire being when the deep voice reverberated down the line and she couldn’t help it when her heart rate tripled. “Hi there. You sound tired.”

“I missed you last night,” came the low response. “I don’t sleep near as well when you’re not here.”

“I know it doesn’t help, but I don’t either.”

“We’re still on for dinner tomorrow night?” He paused. “You’re not callin’ to cancel or anything are you?”

“No, nothing like that.” She smiled at his relieved sigh.

“Everything’s okay?”

“Yes, everything’s fine. Maria’s been invited to dinner by her boyfriend’s mother and she’s a little bit nervous.”

“Michael, right?” He chuckled. “I’m sure she’ll do just fine. She’s your daughter, Amy; she’ll land on her feet.”

“That’s what I told her.”

“Have things gotten any better with her friends?”

“No, but she’s made some new friends, and they seem to make her happy.” It was so nice to talk to him about Maria.

“Hey, Mom! How long before dinner’s ready?”

“Sounds like someone’s hungry.”

“Life with a demanding teenager,” she laughed.

“Well, you’d better feed her then.” His smile was audible in his voice. “I’ll see you tomorrow evening around seven?”

“Seven it is.” Her fingers gripped the phone tightly, wishing she could literally reach out and touch him. “I love you,” she whispered.

His voice dropped so that it was low and husky. “Love you too.”

“Mom, I’ve been calling you for like ten minutes,” Maria grumbled. “Do I have time to start on my homework before dinner’s ready?” She glanced at the phone in her mother’s hand and rolled her eyes. “You just had to call him, didn’t you?”

“You’ve got about half an hour to get started on your homework, honey,” Amy said as she replaced the phone in its cradle. She smiled at her daughter as she walked out of the room, ignoring the impressive eye roll that she got in return.

“Oh, good grief.” Maria sincerely hoped that her mom wasn’t getting serious about Howard of all people. She was no longer insecure about losing her mother’s affections; she just believed there were better guys out there. She retrieved her glass of juice and went back to her room to get started on her Science homework.

*****

Michael was reclining on his bed, reading a dog-eared copy of James Joyce’ Ulysses when Maggie knocked on his open door. She entered the room at his nod of permission and sat at his desk to wait while he finished the chapter. She could think of any number of things she would rather do than apologize to him, but unfortunately there was just no way around it.

She spun around in the chair a few times before she stopped and sat facing the shelves on the wall above his desk. She reached out and picked up a framed photograph of the two of them that had been taken on what the state had decided was Michael’s birthday. Their dad had taken the photograph just as Michael had taken two fistfuls of the chocolate cake and he had managed to get cake and frosting everywhere. At six years old, Michael had been completely unaware of table manners, but as far as Maggie had been concerned, that had only made him more interesting.

She had quickly become attached to him, following him everywhere and trying to mimic everything that he did. They had bonded without effort and they had quickly become each other’s protectors, something that had come in handy when they had started school. Without a school on the reservation, they had been transported back and forth to the school in Ruidoso where they hadn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms.

Despite the passage of time, there was still a lot of animosity directed towards the children from the reservation and name-calling and fights weren’t unheard of. Michael had been left alone in the very beginning, but when a couple of boys had started picking on her, he had taken them on and made himself a target instead. It hadn’t taken long for some of their antagonists to realize that Michael was coming in with the other children from the reservation and as soon as that information had gotten out, along with the fact that an Indian family was raising him, he had become their main target.

Michael looked up when she chuckled, surprised that she had found something to laugh about. He marked his place and set the book on the nightstand before pushing himself up into a sitting position. “What’re you laughin’ at?”

“Do you remember in kindergarten when the principal called Mom and Dad to come pick us up because we’d gotten into a fight with some of the other kids when they wouldn’t stop calling us names?”

He smiled at the memory and shook his head. “Kinda hard to forget that; they were pretty pissed off when they saw the matching black eyes we had. I think that was probably the longest ride home ever.”

“Look, Michael, I’m sorry about everything the past few days.” She stared at the picture in her hands so she wouldn’t have to look at him. “After talking to Maria earlier, I realized that she obviously cares about you and she’s not gonna tell anyone about you. You obviously knew you could trust her and she seems to be just fine with your differences. So, I just wanted to say that you were…” She gritted her teeth and cleared her throat before mumbling something under her breath.

“What was that?”

Maggie rolled her eyes and carefully placed the picture frame back on the shelf before turning to look at him. “I said you were right about her.”

“Uh-huh. I was right.”

Here it comes, she thought.

“So, if I was right, then you were...?”

“Is this really necessary?”

Michael considered her question for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, yeah, I think it is.” He made a rolling motion with his right hand. “Go ahead, don’t let me stop you.”

“You were right and I was…” God, she hated this! “I was… wrong.”

He smirked and crossed his arms over his chest, his smug expression one of anticipation. “And if I was right and you were wrong, then that means…”

She knew what he was waiting for and she wasn’t about to give him that kind of ammunition! “I am not saying that you’re superior or that you’re always right,” she denied. “I have to draw the line somewhere.”

“You may not admit it, but you know I’m always right.”

“So, Maria’s coming over for dinner tomorrow night?” Maggie asked, changing the subject before he could really get going.

“Yeah. What d’you think Mom’s gonna ask her?” He scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Nothin’ embarrassing, right?”

“Michael, Mom would never intentionally embarrass you, but you have to know that she’s gonna be asking all kinds of potentially embarrassing questions.” She laughed quietly. “This’s the first time you’ve ever gotten this involved with a girl, and on top of that, she knows your secret… Mom’s gonna have all kinds of questions.”

“Great,” he growled.

*****

“Alex, it’s just taking too long.”

“Well, gimme a second and I’ll be finished.”

Isabel watched him spin the dial on the combination lock and rolled her eyes. “I’m not talking about getting into your locker.” She glanced around at the deserted hallway before turning back to meet his amused gaze.

“You should probably go before someone sees you down here at my end of the hall; hangin’ out by the band geeks’ lockers will destroy your reputation.”

“Alex, what about the letter? Maybe we need to spend more time on it.”

He smiled at her impatient tone. “I know it’s takin’ time and you wanna know what’s in the letter, but I do have a life outside of cracking that code, y’know. I’ve got parents that like to see me once in a while, friends that I hang out with, and a band that needs a lot more practice than we’ve been getting lately.”

“We need to… Wait, did you just say you’re in a band? Like the school band, or are you talking about an actual group?”

“Not high school band,” he quickly denied. “I have a garage band and I play bass guitar.” He opened the door and dropped the padlock inside before leaning against the lockers and grinning at her. “Look, I know we haven’t really gotten anywhere with that code, but I promise you we’re gonna figure it out. But, in the meantime we both have lives to live; just because we don’t work on it twenty-four hours a day doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.”

“Isabel! What are you doing over here?”

Alex glanced up in time to see her momentarily freeze before she caught herself and he shook his head, disappointed when her expression reverted back to the normal icy mask she wore in public.

“I told you I had seen her over here.”

He looked at the two girls descending on their location and briefly entertained a vision where the intruders – two of West Roswell High’s most popular and elite – were the targets in a spirited game of dodge ball.

“People will talk if you’re seen over here, Isabel.”

Her right hand shot up, silencing the other two girls and they took several steps back at the warning look that could easily be read in her eyes.

“I’m waiting.”

Alex stared at her warily, certain he didn’t want to know what she was waiting for. He really wished the girl he had been talking to less than a minute ago would come back.

“You owe me an apology and I’m not leaving until I get it.” Isabel stared at him, willing him to go along with the charade so she could save face in front of the others.

“You’re right,” he agreed suddenly. “I do owe you an apology.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry you can’t see that you’re better than this. The fact that you can’t speak to me in public because the Snob Patrol might see you and report it is ridiculous. What’re they gonna do to you, Isabel? You’re not a mindless drone like them.”

She winced when she heard their shocked gasps.

“You want an apology? Fine.” He slammed his locker door shut and met her gaze evenly. “I’m sorry you feel the need to surround yourself with people who don’t really know you and who probably never will. And I’m sorry you won’t let people in who honestly give a damn about you.”

“Are you just gonna let him talk to you like that?” one of the girls asked when he stalked off.

Isabel forced her gaze to rake over him dismissively. “You don’t seriously think I’d waste my time or energy on someone like him, do you?” The words struck with unerring accuracy and she saw his shoulders stiffen in response before he turned the corner and disappeared from sight.

“Someone needs to let him know he can’t talk to you like that,” the first girl stated indignantly. “I can’t believe he had the nerve to talk to you like he knows you; he’s totally delusional.”

“He needs to be taught a lesson,” the other girl agreed. “And did you hear what he said about us?”

Isabel tuned their conversation out and walked with them to class. They really were mindless drones, she thought absently. She owed Alex a huge apology for what she had just done to him and she couldn’t see any way out of it.

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