Banner made by RosDude -> Thank you for everything!
Disclaimer: Roswell isn't mine. Everything about Roswell belongs to Katims and Metz.
Summary: Michael & Maria are long time friends but haven’t seen each other several years. And then Michael has a motor accident…
Pairing: M/M but the others are there too.
Author's note: I got the idea after a discussion with a good friend of mine. At that moment I worked for a youth organisation during my studies. The children and youngsters with and without a physical disability who joined the youth movement went together on holidays and weekends.
My friend Tijl (who is a lot like Michael) declared that he didn’t want to live anymore if he got in a wheelchair. I disagreed. And that’s how it all begins…
If you think the story is misplaced (and should belong with the Alien Abyss): just give a sign!
Extra info: Each chapter begins with a piece of lyrics. I used several songs, not all of them from the American music industry. So if you are interested in them: just go to http://www.youtube.com and search them by name and title.
A 'thank you' to nibbles2 for beta-reading my story. She somehow finds the words I was looking for when translating the whole thing from Dutch into English.
We just can't pretend
Smashing Pumpkins- Perfect
Her old Jetta cruised on the old road to Las Cruces, New Mexico. 70 mph on the dashboard, windows down, a nice and happy tune blared from the speakers in the car.
At first sight it looked like a very beautiful August day. Maria DeLuca sat, apparently relaxed, in her car. Her hands loosely on the wheel, the sun bright on her windscreen. The wind blew gently through her open windows and played with her shoulder length blond hair. On a normal day she would have loved it but at this moment the beauty of it all went completely past her.
A million different thoughts flew through her mind. Snippets of conversations with Max and Isabel whirled in her head. “He chases everybody away”… “He just lies there like a vegetable. A very angry vegetable that is” … “He’s just a shadow of the guy he used to be”…
He was Michael. Michael Guerin. She noticed him the first time when she was about 15 years old. He sat in some of her classes in West Roswell High. That was, if he came to school at all. From the first moment she was drawn to him. Michael was a rough guy; a bit of a loner. He didn’t open his mouth often but when he did… Well, let’s say it was directly to the point and very honest. Sometimes a bit too honest, you might say. The thing that fascinated her most was the look in his brown eyes, like they were daring the rest of the world to challenge him.
Eventually she got to know him when her best friend Liz Parker started dating Michael’s best friend Max Evans and a real gang of friends was formed between their friends.
Through the years a ‘love-hate’ kind of friendship arose between Michael and her. They were like water and fire. They could argue like hell, almost coming to blows. Or they could avoid each other like the plague. But they always turned to each other in difficult times. And because of their home situations, that happened quiet alot. When they weren’t arguing or avoiding each other, they could talk for hours. She was one of the few people Michael could really open up to. And now Maria started to think about it, she was probably the only one he really talked too. He didn’t talk that much with Max and Isabel Evans though he was very close to them. Michael and Max had connected in kindergarten and Michael often stayed at the Evans place when home, with his abusive and drunk foster father Hank, became too much.
Michael and Maria never became a couple, though she wouldn’t have mind. But Michael just never saw her that way.
One time, when he was teasing her she had let the truth slip. He had asked “Who do you have your eye on?” Before she could stop herself, she answered. “On you.”. Her face still flushed when she thought about that embarrassing moment. He had looked at her like she was joking. “Ok. And now for real,” was his laconic answer to her honest remark. And because he hadn’t believed her, her love had vanished. Just like that… But the friendship had endured. Well, endured…
At this very moment there was not much left of that friendship. After graduation they all went their separate ways. She went to get her teacher’s degree and he began working as a carpenter. Michael had always been very skilled with his hands. And due to Hank, it had been very important to him to get a job and get away from the trailer he had grown up in. So when he got the opportunity to start with a construction company, he had taken it with both hands.
And when Michael had got himself a girlfriend by the name of Courtney, his friendship with Maria dissolved very quickly. Courtney didn’t like Michael’s friendship with her. She didn’t like their private jokes, the way they laughed together… Courtney found Maria threatening. So for Courtney’s sake, Michael kept some distance and finally stayed away from her. Occasionally they saw each other in the Crashdown but that wasn’t often. And it didn’t go further then a “Hey, it’s been a long time! How is it going?” or inconsequential small talk. And when he moved to Las Cruces, also for Courtney’s sake, he disappeared from Maria’s life completely.
Until a couple of months ago… Her heart had stopped beating for a moment when she heard the news. She still remembered it as if it was yesterday.
Maria had just closed the door from her classroom after a long day teaching when she heard two of the students talking. Normally she enjoyed the conversations between ‘her’ students. They always reminded her of her own teenage years. Those typical teenage problems…
But this time the smile on her face vanished quickly when she heard them talking about an horrific accident. By the time she got to her car, the news had spread around the campus like wildfire. Several people tried to talk to her about it but she could only shake her head. She didn’t know anything more then they already knew.
Michal Guerin was in a coma!
He had been hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorbike and slammed against the concrete piers of a bridge in Las Cruces. Because he was a hometown boy of Roswell, the gossip circuit in Roswell went into overdrive. If you would believe everything they were saying it was a wonder he was still alive.
Before she could even think of driving her car, she sniffed some cedar oil that she always kept on hand. She relaxed a tiny bit but that was interrupted when she got a call on her cellphone. She recognized the ring tone as Liz’s.
Though Liz was normally a very calm person, she sounded frantic then and she skipped the pleasantaries and blurted out her message. “Maria, can you come to the Crashdown? Like immediately?”
“Is this about Michael?”
“You heard…” Liz murmured.
“Come as quickly as you can. The others are coming too. Ok? Oh, and Maria, drive safely.”
“I’ll be there.”
By the time Maria stumbled into the Crashdown, she was a nervous wreck. She was worried and devastated at the same time. Liz was waiting with their oldest friend Alex Whitman, his girlfriend Isabel Evans and their other friends Tess Harding and Kyle Valenti.
“Where’s Max?” Maria demanded when she joined them at the booth where they all sat.
“He’s on his way.” Liz responded.
Kyle added. “Apparently they couldn’t find Hank or Courtney. So the sheriff in Las Cruces contacted my father and he was the one who called Max..”
Isabel started shooting questions at Kyle. “And? What else did your father say? As a sheriff he must know more about this then anybody else. Goddamn it. ”
Kyle held up his hands “Hey, don’t attack me. I know nothing more then you already know. Michael was riding his bike and got smashed by a car.”
Everybody yelled and Tess tapped him on the head.
“Hey, what did I do? It’s the truth you know” he said offended.
Tess looked at him and shook her head. “Honey, it’s not what you said but HOW you said it.”
But before Kyle could respond, Max walked in.
His friends all glared at him, anxious to know, but nobody dared to start.
It was Maria who pounced when Max was seated. “Max, how is he doing? Is he still alive?”
Max nodded. “Yeah, he is. But it seems really bad. I don’t know if he can survive. They are keeping him in a coma for now. Otherwise it would be too painful for him. In a couple of days they will turn of the machinery and see what will happen. He is very badly bruised and has a cut to the head. They had to operate. He must have a guardian angel. Michael just broke his left arm. But the doctors say it’s too soon to relax. They will know more when the swelling goes down.”
Liz squeezed Max’s hands in comfort. She could see he had a tough time dealing with it all.
“Did you see him, Max? Isabel asked.
“They let me in.” Max covered his face with his hands.. “It was awful. He was just lying there. With all those machines. He was so alone.”
“Define alone” Maria asked.
“I was the only one there for him. The police told me Hank didn’t even answer the phone and when they called around, he didn’t care. That they could stop the machinery for all he cared.”
Everybody erupted in anger at this.
“Oh my God!”
“You can’t mean that!”
“Oh… How I hate that man!”
“And Courtney? Maria asked again.
“Nope. I didn’t see her. Sorry.”
After four days the medical staff of the Las Cruces hospital decided to take Michael off the respirator. After a couple of seconds Michael started to breathe on his own. It was a medical wonder. But Michael didn’t stay that lucky.
Though his wounds healed, he didn’t regain the feeling in his legs. Due to a spinal-cord injury he lost the motor and some sensory function in his legs. The doctors said there was still some hope though.
Because Michael had fallen of his bike before the car smashed his vehicle against the piers of the bridge; the lower side of his back had been hit but the spinal-cord itself was not broken. A part of it had moved and was blocking some important nerves. Doctors called it an incomplete paraplegic injury. Science was on his side though. They said that recent evidence suggested that over 95% of people with an incomplete spinal cord injury recover some locomotory ability. But nobody could guarantee Michael if his personal situation would be permanent or temporary. In the mean time he had to get used to the fact that he was paralyzed.
And anybody who knew Michael just a bit knew this would be very hard for him to take.
After he woke, Michael refused to see anybody except Max and even that was grudgingly. Max became the only connection between Michael and the others. No matter how much they tried, he never gave in.
Isabel had tried to barge her way in once but was immediately kicked out by hospital staff at Michael’s insistence. To everybody’s surprise Michael had the decency to let Mrs. Evans stay when she came. Though she said that he just barely tolerated her.
After Isabel nobody tried again. They relied on Max to keep them posted.
Days became weeks and weeks became months. Because she couldn’t visit him, Maria tried to hold on in other ways. As soon as she heard the news about his paraplegia she looked it up on the internet. She planned to read as much as she could. But after just one paragraph she shut the lid on her laptop. The little bit she read just did not reconcile with anything she knew about Michael. It was like putting a wild puma in a matchbox.
Maria returned her focus to the road. Everything that was going on in her head had to stop. Especially after the meeting they all had in the Crashdown last night. Max had spoken to one of the doctors and the message was very clear. The man had said that things had to change or Michael would be doomed to live his life in his bed for ever. The rehabilitation wouldn’t work if he didn’t cooperate. And as stubborn as he was, he didn’t… So his friends formulated a plan and that was why she was on the road. She was heading to Las Cruces.
She was heading his way.