The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M,Mature)Ch 98 1/27/15 Complete

Finished Canon/Conventional Couple Fics. These stories pick up from events in the show. All complete stories from the main Canon/CC board will eventually be moved here.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 20 - 6/29

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:25 am

Tequathisy – Food plays a huge part in this Michael’s life! Huge, huge, huge. Kind of like Michael and his hair, in our version of the show.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading.

Mary mary – It will be a long time before Michael and Maria really learn why Maria was sent here.

DeDe PR – Michael doesn’t realize that he is evolving, not changing because that would mean developing a new personality! He is staying the same guy that he has ever been, he will just open up more to show that he has a good side, one that he rarely showed.


Part 20

Maria browsed through the hundreds of titles in Michael's movie collection, mentally marking each one off of her list of possible entertainment options. Every single one of them so far fell into one of two categories: action-packed and full of fight scenes and gunplay or porn.

She pulled one of the small plastic cases off of the shelf to scan the description on the back before quickly deciding that it wasn't acceptable either. Several shelves later she pulled out what looked like a science fiction, but one glance at the title on the front cover ruled it out - Lust in Space… yeah, she wasn't interested in space porn. Leave it to Michael to have that in his collection, she thought with a roll of her eyes. Curiosity had her reaching for the next one and she wondered if it was really a documentary; it was completely out of place in his rather… disgusting collection. Oh, well, the only thing on television was sports, news, or porn, so surely a documentary would at least alleviate her boredom for a little while.

She popped the case open and frowned down at the… was that the movie? she wondered as she lifted out what looked like a small square microchip. She had assumed the cases held regular DVD's, it hadn't occurred to her that the media in this universe would look so different. She moved to stand in front of the wall where the television was mounted and her gaze slid over the stereo system built into the wall on one side of the fireplace. She moved to the opposite side and scanned over what had to be this universe's equivalent of an entertainment system. Like the rest of the electronic equipment, it was built into the wall but there were no buttons, knobs, or dials on the face of any of the components.

Maria returned the movie to its place on the shelf and wandered around for several minutes before finally taking a seat on the couch. She was tired of sitting around the house day after day; she didn't mind cooking and cleaning in exchange for staying with Michael, but she was used to paying her own way. She needed to be doing something to provide for herself, but she also needed something that would keep her mind occupied.

The loud roar of the motorcycle's engine brought her out of her thoughts and she sighed tiredly; she wasn't in the mood to get into another argument with Michael. She could feel every nerve ending in her body as they responded to the sound of the door slamming and his wallet and keys landing on the counter.

Michael grabbed a beer from the refrigerator before going into the living room in search of his houseguest. "Nothin' on TV?" he asked as he dropped down in his chair.

"No. I thought you might have a movie worth watching, but I was wrong." She picked at a thread on her shorts and shook her head. There wasn't a single classic movie there; not sci-fi or even an action adventure movie. His collection was so limited! What about television series? Didn't they exist in this universe? She would even settle for a space opera like Star Wars! Star Wars… Harrison Ford, now that guy was hot! She would love to just sit down and watch him play his Han Solo role, while eating ice cream and giggling with Liz. "You don't even have Star Wars," she mumbled.

Michael looked at her. What the hell was she talking about now? "Star what?"

"Wars," she corrected. "Star Wars."

Trust her to quibble over every little thing, even the title of a fuckin' movie. She was the kind of girl who liked to be right all the time. "What is it? War movie?"

Sure, mention the word war and he was interested. Men, they were all the same! "After seeing your extensive movie collection, I can't imagine that there's a war film in existence that you don't already have, but, no, it's not a war movie. I'm surprised you don't have it considering your tastes include sci-fi." She rolled her eyes. "Granted, most of your sci-fi is filled with graphic violence or sex - "

Michael smirked. "That would be graphic violence and sex. What's the movie about?"

"Well, it's actually more than one movie," she said and went on to describe the basic plot of the film.

He slouched down in his chair and listened to her as she talked about a movie that she had obviously seen more than once. He was getting close to the end of his beer by the time she started to wrap up the lengthy description. "So, the pilot and the princess, do they get it on or what?"

Maria rolled her eyes. "I don't know why I even bother."

Michael smirked. Yeah, they got it on. They had to. They were bickering, fighting, just like the two of them and she didn't want to tell him that because she knew what he would say; that it was just a question of time before she fell into his arms like that Leila girl. Or, Lola. Or, was it Lara? He shook his head. Whatever.

She crossed her arms over her chest as she leaned back against the cushions. She knew that expression. He was happy with himself for some insane reason. What was it about Star Wars that could possibly put him in such a good mood? she wondered. "So, you've never heard of the movies?"

"Nope."

That was crazy. A world where Star Wars didn't exist? Her Alex would have a heart attack if he had known about that! "They must've never been made in your universe then; you'd have heard of them otherwise," she muttered.

He grunted, the sound non-committal. "I suppose they're Mr. Perfect's favorite movies?"

Maria shook her head. Why did he insist on believing her Michael was like that? She had already told him that he wasn't like that. "I've already told you that Michael and perfection have never been synonymous. But, no, his favorite movie would have to be Braveheart."

"I've heard of that one."

"Have you seen it?" Her eyebrows lifted in surprise when he shook his head negatively. "Considering your preference for that type of storyline I'd think you'd have seen it."

"Looked more like a romance with some fight scenes thrown in when they aired the commercials." He shrugged. "Not really interested."

"You should give it a chance; I think you'd be surprised. Do you think maybe we could make a deal?" She rolled her eyes when his features immediately expressed interest. "Not that kinda deal," she denied, laughing when his expression turned petulant. "Take me someplace to rent something worth watching and I'll make a meal that you'll love for dinner."

Michael's stomach almost jumped for joy at her offer. Damn, he was getting too used to her cooking. But she knew how to cook and she knew how to make spicy recipes that his alien side just loved. "I guess we could do that." He went into the kitchen to toss the empty bottle in the trash and then retraced his steps. "I'm gonna go take a shower. We can go get a movie after I'm finished."

"Michael?"

He didn't know how he knew, but something about her tone alerted him to her next topic. "I'm not arguin' over the bedroom."

"I have no interest in fighting about it; I also have no intention of giving that room up." Good lord, he was so stubborn. But she wasn't going to give up; the bedroom was hers, period.

Now that they had formed a tentative truce and she wasn't bitching at him about anything and everything he wanted to enjoy it for a while. "Keep the fuckin' bedroom; I don't feel like movin' all that shit anyway. Can you be ready in fifteen minutes?" He didn't bother waiting for an answer.

Maria watched him go and tried to avoid thinking about him in the shower. Naked. Wet. Probably horny. Scratch that, he was horny all the damn time. She shook her head, horrified with her own thoughts. What was wrong with her? This Michael wasn't her Michael. He was a pig who unfortunately had her Michael's face and body. That was all. Right. She sat on the couch while waiting for him. That was all.

*****

"I've been thinking," Maria said when she heard him enter the room behind her exactly fifteen minutes later.

"Oh, hell," he muttered. "That doesn't sound good."

Maria took a deep breath. She wasn't going to get angry… nope, she wasn't going to. "Can you just listen to me for a few minutes before we get into another argument?" She hurried to continue when he gestured for her to go on with whatever she had to say. "I'd like to find a job; there's gotta be someplace around here that's looking for a waitress. You don't have to worry about me telling anyone about you - "

"You wanna find a job?" he asked, surprised.

She bristled, not liking his tone. "Contrary to what you might think I'm not used to someone else paying my way, and I'm so bored I could scream." Who did he take her for? Some princess used to people pampering her? As if! It was time that he learned who the real Maria DeLuca was.

"Well, since that's not the kinda screamin' I'm interested in hearin', maybe we can work somethin' out."

Maria shook her head. And here they were, back on the subject of sex again. The man was completely obsessed. "Do you ever pull your mind out of the gutter?"

"On the rare occasion." He shrugged. "You're the one who brought up the topic of screamin', not me."

"In reference to boredom, Michael, not… not…" She trailed off, exasperated by his one-track mind.

"Not a sexual connotation?" he offered helpfully. "Too bad. Anyway, about the job idea, I might be able to help you with that."

Maria watched him closely, wondering what he was hiding. He wasn't the kind of guy who played nice without expecting something in return. "You?"

Bitch! What'd she think, that he had no friends? Now, he was offended. "Hey, I know people. I know someone who owns a bar in L.A. and I can probably give him a call and get you in the door."

"Uh-huh," Maria said slowly. "I didn't say I was looking for a job as a stripper."

Michael snorted and waved the hand holding the bottle in the direction of her upper body. "Baby, guys aren't gonna pay good money to see what you've got."

"As I recall, what I've got didn't stop you from looking," she snapped. Dumbass! How dare he insinuate that she wasn't pretty? Okay, she wasn't a sex bomb, she knew that, but she wasn't ugly to the point that guys wouldn't pay to see her dance topless! Wait, what she thinking? God, Michael was driving her insane; there was no other reason for her train of thought. Dancing topless? With guys paying to see her? Was she really so disturbed by his words that she would try to cheer herself up by picturing herself as a topless dancer just to prove him wrong?

He held his hands up, hoping to stop her before she could really get going. "Trust me on this; you'd just be wastin' your time. Now, before you get your panties in a twist, just hear me out; like I said, I've got a buddy who owns a bar L.A. and he might be willin' to hire you to waitress out at his place."

Maria remained wary; she just knew Michael had something up his sleeve. She had to ask, even though chances were good that he would act innocent. "What's the catch? There's gotta be a catch."

Michael couldn't help the pang in his heart when he heard her skepticism. He shook his head to clear his mind. No reason to be hurt or anything. He supposed he had given her plenty of reasons to doubt him. But damn, for once, he was being sincere! "You wouldn't be workin' as a stripper, the waitresses aren't topless, and the guys who hang out there know better than to lay so much as a finger on any of Gabriel's girls."

"So, let's go talk to him," Maria said, feeling interest in something for the first time in too long. Not to mention that she hadn't left the house in close to two weeks and she was going stir-crazy. She was so excited she could kiss him! And if he wasn't so much of an ass that he would see it as an invitation to engage in sex she might have even considered following through on that thought. "Can you call him today?"

The sparkle of anticipation in her eyes and the flush of excitement in her cheeks tugged at something inside of him and he moved across the room to put distance between them. He didn't understand these weird, unexpected… feelings - there was no other word for the damn things - that kept cropping up at the strangest times when he was around her. "No."

No? NO? Oh, come on, she finally had a goal, something to look forward to! She tried to push her advantage, now that she had one. "C'mon, Michael, let's go talk to him today!"

"No." He shook his head. "I'll give him a call tonight and if he's got a spot open we can go talk to him tomorrow." He made a gesture when she remained sitting on the couch. "Are you ready to go?"

Maria jumped up and crossed the room. "Yes."

Michael watched her as she gathered up a couple of necessary things before breezing past him on her way to the garage. His dark eyes slid over her bare legs beneath the shorts and he growled low in his throat. She was fuckin' killin' him, he thought as he followed her.

In the garage Maria opened the passengers' side door and slid inside, congratulating herself on getting her way as she buckled her seatbelt. He thought he was so smart and she knew he was so certain that he had won the battle, but she had him right where she wanted him. She hadn't had any reason to think that he would set up a meeting with his friend tonight, but if he'd had his way they wouldn't be going to see the guy until the next time he felt like going into the city.

She smirked when he stepped into the garage, checking his pockets as he walked to the vehicle. Now, despite his plans, they were going to see her potential employer tomorrow. That'll teach him, she thought triumphantly.

Michael pulled the door closed behind him as he entered the garage, pleased with his ability to tell her no. Damn woman thought she was so smart and as he glanced at her through the windshield, he could tell she thought she had won the battle. He shook his head and opened the drivers' side door. They would go and see Gabriel when he was good and ready, and that would be tomorrow. If she'd had her way they'd be on their way into the city right now. That'll teach her, he thought with an internal grin.

He reached for the garage door opener clipped to the visor and pressed the button to open the door. "What's for dinner?" he asked, privately enjoying his win.

"You'll have to wait and see." Maria rolled her window down, loving the feel of the warm early evening breeze as it brushed against her skin. It was nice to not be arguing with him for a change and she was determined to take advantage of it for as long as it lasted.

*****

Maria frowned at the name of the bar as she and Michael approached the front entrance the next day. "Azrael's Sanctuary?" she questioned.

Michael shrugged as they stepped into the cool, dark interior where Rafael was waiting behind the counter. "She's with me," he said as he removed his weapons and placed them in the bin sitting on the counter.

"I'm two steps ahead of you, Guerin." The big man grinned. "As always. Gabriel's waitin' for you in his office." He turned and slid the bin into one of the lockers before slamming the door and locking it. "You've got locker twenty-four today." He held a large hand out in Maria's direction, shaking her much smaller hand when she accepted the gesture. "I'm Rafael."

"Maria," she said with a smile.

"Good luck with that job interview. And don't let Gabriel's appearance fool you; he's a big softy," Rafael advised.

"Um, thanks?" Was Gabriel that scary? she wondered.

He chuckled and waved them inside, leaning against the counter as he watched them with a speculative gleam in his gray eyes. Since when did Guerin show this much interest in any woman? Sure, she was cute, but he had never known the younger man to get this involved with a woman; the kid was notorious for his refusal to form attachments. He shook his head and turned his attention back to the entrance when the door opened and another agent stepped inside.

Gabriel glanced up from the ledger he was writing in when someone knocked on his door. He motioned for the woman standing with Michael to enter the office as he stood and rounded the desk. He held a hand out, preventing the other man from coming inside as he reached for the door to shut it.

"No one asked you to come inside, Michael." He smiled at the younger man's dark look. "Go grab a beer and we'll be with you when we're finished." He shut the door in Michael's face and shook the young woman's hand before gesturing to one of the chairs in front of his desk as he returned to his seat. "You can call me Gabriel," he said as his gaze scanned over Michael's… friend.

"Gabriel…" Maria trailed off, fishing for a last name.

"Just Gabriel."

"Oh, like Madonna," Maria said with a big smile. Sure, the man was big but she was getting good vibes from him.

He frowned. "Who?"

"Madonna." Okay, if he hadn't heard of her, she must not exist in this universe either, Maria thought. "Nobody, just a singer where I'm from." No Star Wars, no Madonna… She wondered what else was different. She had just scraped the surface, apparently, and she was going to have other surprises along the way. Maybe there wasn't a Britney Spears. Hey, if she was really lucky, maybe there wasn't a Courtney, either. Her smiled widened at that one. Now that was a good thought!

Gabriel nodded dismissively. "Michael says you have a few years of waitress experience, but due to your current… circumstances, it isn't possible to contact your previous employer." He nodded and waved one hand dismissively when she shifted uncomfortably. "Don't worry about it, Maria; most of the girls who work for me have a past that they can't or won't talk about and I have no problem with that. Azrael's Sanctuary is a place that provides anonymity for patrons and employees alike; the guys know better than to cross the line with any of my girls and if they do they're gonna pay the price. This bar is a place where the girls are safe and off of the streets and the agents can unwind without worryin' about what they say or do."

"That's nice, that they have a place like this to come to," she said, impressed with Gabriel's generosity.

"No," he said, shaking his head at her naïve response. "It's not nice, it's necessary. The men and women who frequent Azrael's are trained to kill, to do whatever it takes to do their job and stay alive. They come here after missions to unwind and find a little peace before goin' back out into a world that can't understand what they do. It's important for them to have some downtime before goin' back out into society; you can't just take an agent out of the field where they're doin' everything they can to complete their mission and get out alive and just put them right back into an ordinary everyday situation. That's a recipe for disaster." He leaned back in his chair, the leather creaking as he stretched his long legs out beneath the desk. "They don't come here to engage in social conversation, or to answer curious questions about what they do or where they've been or anything else. You'll hear a lot of bullshit stories, and there're a lot of them, especially from the younger agents, braggin' about their heroics in the field and in the sack. They're raw, course, and they're gonna be tellin' a million lies about what they do and how they do it; don't buy into it and don't try to strike up a conversation with them. Just smile, serve their food and drinks, and move on to the next customer. Think you can handle that?"

Yeah, she'd have no problems with that. Between dealing with two Michael Guerins and waitressing for years, she was used to handling difficult people. "I can handle it. Although, to be honest, I enjoy talking and I don't want to promise that I won't…" She fell silent when he held his right hand up.

"Michael said you talked a lot. I don't have a problem with you talkin' to the customers as long as you don't pry for information and you keep up with your share of the work. Fair enough?"

Maria nodded. "More than fair enough."

For the next half hour they discussed schedules, wages, and expectations. The job would only get her out of the house three days each week - four if Gabriel was short-handed and needed the extra help - but she was still looking forward to getting started.

"So, I'll schedule you for the day after tomorrow." He shrugged. "Thursdays are slow so that'll give you a chance to get settled in and meet some of the customers. The people who come in here are already regulars; it's not often that we get new folks comin' by."

"Everyone who comes to this bar is in the same profession?" That seemed weird to Maria. A bar whose clientele was composed entirely of professional killers and mercenaries; she would have thought such a place existed only in television shows or books.

"In some capacity, yes, and since you came in with Michael I'm sure you noticed that Rafael asked for his weapons at the door. We don't allow anyone past the foyer if they won't turn their weapons in for safekeeping with Rafael while they're here. Some of these folks come in after rough assignments and it doesn't take much to start a fight if the mood's right; they're dangerous enough without weapons, so it's best if they're unarmed." Gabriel laced his fingers together and popped his knuckles before placing his hands flat on the desk. "Any other questions?"

"Did you choose the name for this place?" It was such a strange name, Azrael's Sanctuary. Thanks to Gabriel's explanation she could understand the use of the Sanctuary part, but she had a feeling that there was a story behind the bar's name and she was genuinely interested in learning about it.

"I did," he confirmed as he stood up.

Maria frowned when he didn't expound on his reason for choosing the name of the bar. "It's an interesting name," she said, trying to fish for an answer.

"Yep."

She stood and gathered up her purse and jacket when he said no more, accepting that the interview was over and he wasn't going to offer any further information. She stood and followed him out of the office, her eyes scanning the crowded room for Michael when her new boss moved behind the bar and started filling orders.

She finally located Michael standing around a pool table with several rough-looking guys and a tall, fairly attractive woman. Her gaze slid over the woman, taking in the shoulder-length light brown hair and her athletic, yet feminine, build. She seemed to be right at home amid all of the men and she didn't think twice about giving Michael a good-natured shove as she moved around the table to line up the next shot.

Maria was shocked when he just shook his head and grinned before sticking his foot out and pretending that he was going to trip the woman. She wondered if he had slept with the woman, but after studying her for a while she decided that it wasn't likely; she was considerably older than the women he was constantly and blatantly hitting on.

Michael eventually became aware of her scrutiny and he turned his head to look at Maria before glancing at Gabriel and then turning his attention back to the people he was with. "I hate to break the party up, but I've got some stuff to take care of. Sanchez, good luck with that assignment," he said, shaking hands with the slim Hispanic man standing to his right. "And, Stone, if you're gonna break the new kid in, be gentle." He winked at the woman leaning on a pool cue across the table. "I have a feelin' he's never been with an actual woman, so it's doubtful he has any idea what to do with his dick."

"I've been with plenty of women, Guerin," the youngest man at the table snapped.

"Not what I've heard, rookie." Michael smirked. This was going to be so easy.

"And what've you heard?"

"That you grew up on a sheep ranch and you had your pick of the herd since there was an extreme shortage of women out in the middle of nowhere." He smirked when the kid choked on the mouthful of beer he had just swallowed and he moved to place his pool cue in the rack mounted on the wall.

The kid was outraged. "I have never - "

"Chill out, rookie," Sanchez said before muttering something in Spanish under his breath. He didn't know why Michael always had to wind up the new kids, but he always singled them out and put them through hell.

Stone shook her head and bit back a smile at Michael's merciless teasing; the man had no shame and he would torment Hawkins until the rookie agent realized that the only way to shut him up was to stop taking the bait. "You gonna be back in this week?" she asked.

"Probably." He shot a glance at Hawkins. "Tell ya what, rookie; you survive a night in Stone's bed and I'll buy the first round next time I swing by."

The younger man snorted. "Might as well give Gabriel that order now."

Michael laughed loudly at the kid's smug tone. "I think I'll just wait to see if you're still standin' next time I see you."

Stone watched him, her gaze speculative as she followed his progress across the room to the short, blond woman waiting at the bar. He paused to talk to Gabriel for several minutes before he motioned for her to walk out with him, and she wondered who the woman was and what she was doing with Michael.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 21 - 7/6

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:27 pm

Spacegirl23 – Maria really needs to get away and meets people. She has always been friendly and she misses not talking or working.

DeDe PR – It’s weird to picture a world where Star Wars doesn’t exist, huh?

Mary Mary – Both Michael and Maria have this competitive streak and they don’t like to be played, either. And here, they both think they have won this round.

Eva – Azrael’s sanctuary is a very special place, one where mercenaries or people working for the Company go to. Maria is going to be surrounded by those men and get to understand their world a bit more.


Part 21

Maria looked over at the front of the bar as they drove by on their way out of the parking lot. "Do you know how the bar got its name?" she asked, unable to control her curiosity.

"What?" He turned his head to glance at the bar. "Why?"

"It's just interesting that the owner, bouncer, and the bar itself are all named after archangels. But, Azrael is the name of the archangel of death, so Azrael's Sanctuary is… interesting."

"I'd say it's appropriate," Michael said, shrugging his left shoulder. "We're all killers in the name of justice and it's a safe place to hang."

"Hmmm, I guess that would make sense. Y'know, Michael is the name of one of the archangels too."

He grunted. "I wasn't named after anything like that."

"How'd you get into this line of work?"

"Why? Not the kinda job your Michael would've gotten into?" he snapped.

"Well, no, it's not a job Michael would've pursued."

"Right, because he's nothin' like me - "

"I wasn't trying to start a fight, Michael." She slouched down in her seat, readjusting the seatbelt and staring out through the windshield with a sigh. "I was just wondering how you got involved in your… profession."

Michael could feel his temper boiling just below the surface and he didn't understand it; nothing had happened to set him on edge but he could feel it just waiting to break free. "Why d'you wanna know anyway? What's it matter why I do what I do?"

"I guess it doesn't," she said with a shrug. "I was just curious." She frowned and looked at him, deciding to change the subject before he threw a fit. "Gabriel said I could start day after tomorrow."

He was surprised when she extended an olive branch instead of continuing with the topic and picking a fight. "Guess Thursday's a good day to get started. Most of the regulars are in and out durin' the week, so it'll give you a little time to get settled in." He rested his elbow on the open window and rubbed his left eyebrow. "You already got somethin' planned for dinner?" It was early in the afternoon but he was already hungry.

"Umm-hmm, I'm making homemade lasagna with salad and garlic rolls." She paused, smiling when Michael's stomach growled in response to her answer. "I made cheesecake for desert; it has a special strawberry glaze that's laced with a spicy hot sauce that I think you'll probably like."

The edge of Michael's temper dulled in response to the conversation and he felt himself calming as he listened to her talk. "You like wine with lasagna?"

"I don't know. I rarely drank at home because Michael has no tolerance for alcohol and it just didn't seem fair somehow."

Next to her, Michael was gritting his teeth at the mention of her dead lover. "Why does his name have to come up every fuckin' time we talk?" he snarled, pissed off for no reason that he could readily identify and he wasn't interested in dissecting it any further.

"Maybe because he's the only reason I'm here."

"Yeah, let's go over that again, because that story never gets old." He reached out to punch the button on the stereo, turning it up and drowning out anything she might have said. He was getting tired of constantly being reminded of the other man, being measured up to a ghost and always being found lacking in one way or another.

Maria sighed and leaned back in her seat, wondering what it was going to take to turn his mood around this time. Dinner might do the trick, she thought, aware that he tended to be easier to deal with after he had eaten. Especially since after dinner he usually settled down in his chair in the living room, propped his feet up on the coffee table, and got involved with whatever sport was being aired that night. She was certain he would calm down once he had dinner and settled down for his nightly ritual, essentially forgetting about her existence while he focused on hurling obscenities at the television

*****

Michael stood under the pounding spray early the next morning, letting the water from the shower head beat down on his head and shoulders. He had woken up after another nightmare and tried to outrun the disturbing images, but he hadn't been able to shake them. He had even tacked on a few extra miles, hoping that if he exhausted his body his mind would follow suit, but as plans went, it hadn't been a very good one.

His mind was perfectly alert and the images wouldn't leave him alone; he had no real description for what he had seen in the nightmares. The images themselves were disturbing enough, but it was the addition of genuine fear that was making him so edgy. He didn't like to feel as if he had no control over things, but to have no control over feelings and emotions? No, that was just unacceptable. Maria had some explaining to do, he thought as he reached for the faucet to turn the water off.

Maria was just putting the finishing touches on breakfast when Michael wandered into the kitchen. As she had predicted the night before, he had calmed down and retreated into his own little world once he had been fed, handed a beer, and settled down in his favored chair. She smiled as she thought about his predictability. In a lot of ways having him around was comforting; it was kind of like having a rather large, moody pet.

She glanced to the side when he opened the refrigerator at the end of the counter and had to amend her last thought. He was wearing his preferred cargo pants, but he was bare from the waist up and she couldn't stop her eyes from following several droplets of water as they dripped from the ends of his recently-showered hair to trail down along his spine. Scratch that, it was more like having temptation at her fingertips every second of the day, and that was disturbing on too many levels to think about.

Michael reached for the milk and poured it into a tall glass before scrounging around in one of the cabinets for the strawberry powder. He shook a liberal amount of the pink powder into the glass and mixed it up as he stared at the circular motion he was making with the spoon. He tossed the spoon in the sink and took a long drink of the sweetened milk, turning to lean back against the counter as he thought about the nightmare that had assaulted his mind the night before.

Maria frowned when he took a drink of the milk without cringing. Well, that was odd, she thought as she watched him for several minutes. He wasn't normally tense this early in the day; as a rule he was relaxed after his morning run and shower. His expression was moody, which wasn't unusual for him, but he was pensive as he stared into space, and that was slightly odd.

"How was your night?" she asked, hoping it wouldn't set him off.

"Fine," he snapped. "You got a reason to think otherwise?" He wanted answers to his questions but he didn't want to seem too eager.

"Well, I've never seen you drink that without mixing hot sauce in it, so it stands to reason that you've got something on your mind."

"You're too fuckin' nosy." He forced the rest of the too-sweet milk down and set the glass in the sink before straightening up and stretching. He just barely managed to keep from cringing at the taste, but he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of being right about any damn thing.

"Maybe so," she admitted as she dished scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns onto two plates. She reached for the pan at the back and slid the French toast onto two smaller plates before sprinkling powdered sugar and fresh strawberries over it.

"Guess it doesn't matter whether you know or not; it's your fault anyway."

Maria bristled at the implication that his problem - whatever it was - was her fault. "How so?"

"Because until you showed up I had never once had a nightmare about aliens, and now, for some fucked up reason I'm dreamin' about aliens tryin' to exterminate me." He reached for his plates, easily distinguished by the mountains of peppers, onions, and jalapenos. "Oh, and just for kicks, their skin's peelin' off throughout the whole damn thing."

And he was off to sit in front of the television, leaving her to fly solo over yet another meal, she mused in annoyance. She paused as she realized what he had just said and she spoke before he could leave the room. "Wait! You had a dream about aliens whose skin was peeling off? Are you talking about the Skins?" For a moment she flashed back to the church in Santa Fe as she tried to recall what all she had told him… she had probably told him about the Skins when she was trying to convince him that she knew what she was talking about.

He jumped on that. "Skins? That's what those fuckin' things are called? Why?" She knew something and he wanted some kind of explanation for the demented images that were now stuck in his head.

"What's it worth to you?" She was under the impression that he wasn't interested in her 'fairy tale' and anything concerning her Michael.

"You wanna negotiate?" He glanced at her and shook his head. "Just tell me what I wanna know."

"Sit down and have breakfast with me like a civilized person," she said.

"Fuck that." Michael shuddered at the domestic scene that her suggestion created in his mind and walked into the living room without a backwards glance.

Maria rolled her eyes and carried her plates to the table before going back and getting a glass of juice. She was just sprinkling salt and pepper on her eggs when he appeared beside her, setting his plates down with a lot more force than necessary, and jerking a chair out. He practically threw himself into the chair and started drumming his fingers on the table expectantly as he waited for her to pick up on his cues and begin speaking.

"Well? I'm sittin' at the fuckin' table like a civilized person, so tell me what's up with those Skin things."

Should she be concerned because she was so happy that he was joining her for breakfast? Even though she had basically had to blackmail him into doing it. "You remember what I told you about Khivar - "

"Yeah, yeah, let's just get to the part with the freaky skin-peelin' aliens."

She made a face at him when he started shoveling food in his mouth while making a rolling motion with his right hand. He had all the manners of a pig at a feed trough… actually, the pig might have better manners. Why had she wanted his company again? "Anyway, if you remember, Khivar was the alien that killed the royal family on Antar - "

"Can we skip to the interesting part?" he growled around a mouthful of eggs.

Maria huffed at his impatient tone. "Fine. Khivar sent the Skins to Earth to kill the re-created royal family and to bring Vilandra back, because she was his great love, the one who sacrificed herself - "

"Okay, seriously, I'm not the slightest bit interested in the bullshit love story." He pointed at her French toast with his fork. "You gonna eat that?"

Her appetite was taking a severe nosedive while watching him eat and she shook her head as she slid the plate across the table to him. "Skins are powerful and their greatest power is probably their ability to virtually rape a person's mind, taking their memories and thoughts; if they get in your mind they can take anything they want."

Michael hid a shudder at that thought. "So, why're they called Skins?"

"They can't survive on Earth in their natural form, so they wear these husks… they have some sort of technology that allows them to genetically manipulate materials to resemble human bodies; the Skin's relationship to it is essentially parasitic and because they don't adapt well to hot weather they peel…" She trailed off when she glanced at Michael and she almost laughed at his expression of revulsion.

"That's disgusting."

But, apparently not disgusting enough to slow down his appetite or stop him from eating, she thought, shaking her head when he started in on the hash browns next. "In my universe, they came to Earth in 1950 and they were led by Khivar's second in command, Nicholas; he was the one responsible for killing Rath on Antar. Oh, and they also have devices that allow them to manipulate time, too."

"So, these Skins were on Earth in your universe to track down your aliens and retrieve the two-faced princess who betrayed everyone to be with this Khivar guy?"

"Yeah, but, there's also another faction of Skins, renegades, loyal to Rath, that infiltrated the Skins on Earth. They believed that he could've united their planet, pulled the warring factions together, and brought about peace." Maria made a face when she realized she was practically parroting Courtney's explanation. Ewww! The girl was a clear reminder of a really rocky spell in her relationship with Michael and she didn't want to think about her or that time. She shook her head and continued with her story while he was focused on her and what she was saying. "Their intention was to dethrone Zan and put Rath in his place."

She really had his attention now. He'd had followers? "Really? Loyal to me?"

"Courtney was one of the renegade Skins, but that's nothing to brag about."

Michael's ears practically perked up at her mention of the name; the inflection in her voice was enough to tell him that this Courtney person wasn't someone she liked. He suddenly remembered her commenting on the other woman… Skin… whatever, a while back and he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. "She was fine, huh? Bet she had a great ass."

Maria glared at him. "I wouldn't know since she kept shedding everywhere… all that skin just peeling off and falling everywhere - "

"Okay, that's enough of a visual!" He couldn't hide the shudder as he stood up and carried his dishes to the sink, placing them inside without bothering to rinse them off.

"That's pretty much all I know about the Skins," she said when he looked at her expectantly.

"Huh." He opened the refrigerator door and pulled a beer out, leaning back against the counter and taking a drink before he looked at her again. His brows pulled together as he studied her, seeing the look of intense concentration on her face. "What're you thinkin' about?"

"As the rightful heir to the throne Max carried the royal seal of Antar… " That damn seal! She wished it didn't exist.

"All hail the King," Michael muttered sarcastically.

Maria rolled her eyes as she continued with her point. "Anyway, when he died the seal was passed on to Michael and he lost it… I mean, he just went crazy; wanting to kill everyone from the humans who knew the truth about them to Max when he came back from the dead. You would've been about 14 when Max died in your universe, so I was just wondering if you felt any differently at that age, if at some point you felt something change inside of you."

"Nope, don't remember anything like that." He smirked and nodded, knowing by her disgusted expression that she knew what was coming next. "I was already pretty wild by the time I turned 14 and about the only thing that changed was my knowledge of the opposite sex." He patted his crotch fondly before taking another swallow of beer. "Yep, that was a great fuckin' year."

Maria ignored his attempts to bait her into yet another fight about sex. "So, there was nothing that made you feel like you had more power? Nothing that made you wanna be - "

"I'm a soldier," he interrupted, wanting to get his point across. He knew what she was about to start in on - the role of the king. No way! She might as well put a bullet between his eyes because there was no way he would ever become the next king of Antar. "It's what I'm good at - action, reaction, protection, and war. I have no interest in sittin' on my ass an' makin' political, economic, or diplomatic decisions; I'm not gonna concern myself with the well-being of people I don't give a fuck about. I have a job, Maria; I protect this country and all of the selfish, petty, and ungrateful people who live here. I've seen what leaders do, I see it all the time in my job, and it doesn't matter whether you're talkin' about presidents, kings, or whatever… the one thing that I do know is that I don't wanna be a leader," he concluded, hoping that she had gotten the message loud and clear.

"But you might have to!" she insisted. "What if the Antarians come looking for their king and discover that Max is dead? You're the next in line, Michael!" Maria felt bad for trying to change his mind, but it was a possibility and he should be prepared for it. She could see that being the king would be like a death sentence for him; it would be the end of who he was, the end of his freedom, but he might have to accept the title, even if it was only for a short time before passing it on to someone else. It wouldn't be forever; abdication might be possible.

"Fuck that!" he exploded. His arms and hands waved wildly as he went on. "I told you, I'm a soldier, nothin' more and nothin' less. Gimme a war and I'll fight it, but don't expect me to lead a country or some planet I have no association with. And as for the King role? It's a trap; a golden trap, but a trap nonetheless. I'll be damned if I'll sacrifice my life to their throne or anyone else's. I'll live my life the way I'm supposed to, the way I want to, and my predecessor knew that… he understood it. You said it yourself - Rath didn't want the throne despite his followers asking him to take it." And even if back then, on Antar, Rath had refused the title, that was telling enough of the weight that the job of king would place on someone's shoulders. He had been clever to refuse it and to do what he was good at and what he wanted to be - a soldier.

"I'm just saying - " Maria tried to protest, but he didn't give her time to finish her sentence.

"It's true that loyalty might have made a difference, but there's more than just one reason for anyone to accept a position like that. But, I can tell you one thing - Rath didn't want that role; he didn't want to lose his sanity to be the king, doin' stuff he hated, makin' decisions, conducting peace talks, economic treaties, or any of that other interior political shit! I know that!" And the fact was that it was true, he knew it in his gut. It was like Rath was waking up inside of him and speaking through him. Rath had never wanted to be the king, he had turned down the proposition to be one, and he'd bet that if his double had inherited the royal seal that it had been something that Rath had been against back on Antar.

"You might not have a choice, you know, and Michael – my Michael - he wanted the job!" Maria could easily remember how cruel her Michael had been when he had been in possession of the seal and it was something that was still a sore point even after several years.

"There's always a choice." He started to pace around the kitchen, building his argument in his head. "That guy you talked about, Larek; he knows how to rule, he knows the game and the players involved. He could be the king. Hell, there are probably other resistance fighters who have been opposing Khivar, others who would be a helluva lot more deserving of that title than I am." He shook his head. "And as for your Michael wantin' the job? Believe me, baby, he didn't want it. You told me he spent most of his life bein' treated like shit by that worthless asshole Hank, that he wanted to leave, and that King Max refused… is that true?"

"That's all true," she agreed.

Michael nodded, satisfied with her answer. "He never had the chance to really be the second-in-command that he was supposed to be; he was stifled, so when he inherited that seal he was power-hungry because it was somethin' he'd never had and it went straight to his head! But, he sucked at it, didn't he?" Her silence was answer enough. "I can see it on your face. He wasn't good at it because that's not who we are, little girl." He leaned in close to her, staring into her eyes to make sure she was getting the message. "Get that through your thick skull. Rath, your Michael, me… we aren't king material. Never have been and never will be. We're soldiers, and that's it." He tossed his empty bottle in the trash can and retrieved another one from the refrigerator, twisting the cap off and taking a long drink. "So, what's the deal with all this king talk, huh? Your Michael got the title and you got turned on by playin' Queen to his King?"

Maria forced down the hurt that tried to surface at his comment. "That's not true! You think I'm that shallow that I'd want him to be king just to - "

"Please," he scoffed, ignoring her hurt tone, "impressionable girls dig royalty. They don't see the work or the sacrifice behind that golden image; they just hear the word 'king' and practically trip over their own feet to get to the poor dumbass who's become their unwitting prey."

Maria saw red at Michael's little speech. "Well, that is not a description of me. For your information, I fell for Michael when he was living in a trailer park on the wrong side of the tracks. He didn't have a job, he didn't have any money, and he was angry and just plain mean a lot of the time, but I could see that underneath all that he had a soul and a good heart, and I fell for him. There was no king or second-in-command bullshit; he was just Michael from the crappy trailer park at the edge of town and I loved him!"

Michael remained silent when she finally began to wind down from her rant and he watched her as she withdrew into herself. Hell, maybe she wasn't just some superficial girl who had fallen for her superhuman alien; maybe she was just that Maria girl who fell for the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, the girl who had been able to see beyond his past and present to see the real guy lurking behind the barriers he had created to protect himself. And maybe he needed to make his escape before he let himself get drawn any further into her drama.

"I'm gonna go work in the shop for a while."

Maria leaned back in her chair and stared at her plate after he had left the room and a few minutes later she heard the patio door slide shut. "So much for civilized behavior," she muttered.

In the shop Michael was humming along with the radio as he used a wrench to loosen a bolt, his mind occupied with the things Maria had told him. Were there still Skins - good or bad - in his universe? Would it be worth it to look for them to get information from them? What if they knew why he had been feeling off lately? Maybe it wasn't worth finding them, he thought, remembering what she had said about their ability to get inside people's heads. The last thing he wanted was for some fucked up, skin-peeling-off alien to get in his mind and start poking around.

What had caused him to dream about the Skins when he had never heard of them?
he wondered. Maria hadn't mentioned them during her little speech in Santa Fe; all she had said was that there were some pretty bad aliens out there - he definitely would've remembered if she had mentioned aliens with peeling skin!

Nah,
he decided, he must've seen them when she kissed him after telling him her story in Santa Fe. That was the only plausible explanation for him dreaming of something he couldn't possibly know about; he must've seen it during all those flashes. He shook his head and went back to working on the engine, determined to focus on it and nothing else.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 22 - 7/13

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:43 pm

Spacegirl23 – Michael is a very jealous man and in this case, he is jealous of himself! Nope, no Courtney around.

Flamehair – It will be a while before Michael gets why he has those nightmares.

Nibbles2 – Yes, their relationship is slowly developing, even if neither of them realizes it.

Mary mary – Thanks for reading.

DeDe PR – Maria described the truth: she fell for Michael before she knew about his true identity, and when he was living in a crappy trailer. She didn’t care about that; she just fell for her Michael because of who he was.

Tequathisy – That’s a possibility, one among others.


Part 22

After six weeks of working at Azrael's Sanctuary, Maria knew all of the waitresses and customers by name. Each one had a story, but few were willing to tell it despite her willingness to listen. Raphael was the most talkative, but she had quickly realized that his ramblings weren't random at all; despite his seemingly easygoing manner he was very careful of how much information he revealed.

Gabriel was an enigma and she wished she knew the real story of his past. She had heard a dozen different stories about the man and the only thing that remained consistent each time was the description of him as an assassin with ice in his veins. That seemed so wrong based on what she had witnessed of the gentle giant's behavior. When he wasn't behind the bar he was mingling with his customers, talking and laughing right along with them. But it was in the early hours of the morning when they were cleaning up after closing that her curiosity really took notice.

He always sat at the table in the darkest corner of the bar, his big hands curled around a glass of single-malt Scotch while he stared into space. His eyes told their own story though, filled with a sadness too great to put into words; some nights the expression was replaced with anger and other nights regret took its place. Whatever ghosts lurked in his shadowed past, weren't benevolent and it was easy to see that he was tormented by the memories.

Most nights Raphael hung around to lock up and see the waitresses safely to their cars, waiting until the parking lot was empty before going back inside to help Gabriel up the stairs to his apartment if he'd had too much to drink and he needed it. Maria hadn't witnessed such a scene but she had overheard Raphael and Stone discussing it at closing one night. Twice the bouncer hadn't been there, and Stone had stepped in and handled things, making sure no one bothered the waitresses or harassed them on the way to their cars as they left for the night.

Stone was a paradox and Maria couldn't make up her mind about the woman. She had learned that the woman and Michael shared the same profession, but she still wasn't sure if they had ever shared a bed. She had watched them a couple of times when they had been in the bar at the same time, studying their interaction with each other, but nothing they had said or done so far had given her any clues about a past sexual history.

The few times that Stone had been at the bar and Michael had been elsewhere, the woman had sat at the counter and subtly pried for information. The strange thing was that Stone didn't seem to be prying because she was checking out the competition or because she was jealous, she just seemed to be genuinely curious. Although she hadn't appreciated it when Maria had asked some questions of her own and the woman had been quick to inform her that her past was no one's business but her own. After that, Maria hadn't bothered attempting any further conversation with Stone.

Sanchez had turned out to be very nice, even though he rarely spoke unless someone engaged him in conversation. He was an interrogator for the Company, but unlike most of the others, he didn't talk about what he did when he was away from home. She had been surprised to learn that he was married and had several children. She had learned that a lot of the predominantly male patrons of Azrael's were divorced, the rest were single, and they all bragged about their sexual conquests. Sanchez just nursed his Tequila and observed them, winding down in his own way before returning home to his family.

Bootleg was a computer expert and his ability to hack into any system in existence had saved the lives of most of them on one occasion or another. Tall, thin, skin that rarely saw the sun, and thick glasses; he looked the part of the consummate computer nerd, but she had quickly learned to not be fooled by their appearances.

Axel was the man who handled their field equipment, fitting the vehicles with bullet-proof windows and panels as well as creating specially-designed compartments that hid multiple weapons. He was short, bald, heavily tattooed, and had a nose ring, but not a single person in the bar messed with him.

Novak and Hawkins were the rookies in the bunch, and their inexperience often got them in trouble with the others because neither of them had learned to keep their mouths shut. Novak had the added problem of not knowing how to keep his hands to himself and he had been called on his behavior more than once but he had yet to learn his lesson.

Michael didn't spend much time with the rest of the guys who frequented the bar and she was pretty sure Novak and Hawkins would fall off of his radar as soon as he grew bored with messing with them. He knew everyone there but he tended to stick with a select few when he came in and for the most part he was usually relaxed when he was there.

There was an unspoken code that existed among them; a sense of duty, honor, and pride that bound them together. It wasn't the kind of thing that an outsider could ever hope to understand, but it was something that could be felt when in their company.

She was delivering another round of drinks to the band onstage when a commotion from the other side of the bar caught her attention and she quickly weaved her way through the tables to see what was going on.

Michael was leaning back against one end of the pool table, long legs stretched out in front of him as he grinned infuriatingly. She knew that expression - it was the one he wore whenever he had succeeded in pissing someone off… intentionally.

"I don't know what you're getting pissed off about," Michael drawled lazily. "I said I'd buy the first round."

"Yeah, after you implied - again - that I don't know what the fuck to do with my dick."

The grin didn't slip as Michael shook his head. "Hey, look, rookie, I concede defeat; you lasted a night in Stone's bed."

"More than one night, asshole."

Michael took a drink of his beer and set the bottle back down beside his right hip. "Well, good for you. I'm glad to hear everything's sheep-shape."

"What?"

His eyebrows rose innocently. "What?"

"Did you just say…" Hawkins gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. "What'd you just say?"

Michael frowned as if he were actually trying to recall his words. "Just that I'm glad to hear everything's ship-shape."

Hawkins narrowed his eyes and studied the agent for several long seconds before he turned away, but he whirled right back around when Axel and Bootleg started up a chorus of baa-baas."

"You think this is funny?" he snapped angrily.

"What's the problem, rookie?" Axel asked. "He's just fuckin' with you."

Hawkins stupidly walked right into Michael's space and ignored the growled warning to back off. "I don't know what your problem is, but if you've got a problem with my relationship with Stone you can just - " He took several steps back when the other man started to laugh. "What's so goddamned funny?" he demanded.

"Hey, Stone, you wanna help me out here?" Michael called over his shoulder.

Stone took her time walking around the table to join them. She had been watching their pissing contest for the last half hour and she had been waiting for the inevitable. Hawkins was young and naïve enough to think that a couple rounds of sex equaled a relationship. She had known going in that he wasn't going to be able to stick to the rules, but it was the perfect opportunity to toughen him up a little bit. He had the chance to become a damn good agent if he learned to shut his emotions off and focus on the goal, and this was going to be lesson number one.

"What's goin' on, boys?"

Michael resumed his earlier position, leaning on the pool table and he glanced at Stone as he spoke. "Your boy here seems to think the two of you're in a," he held his hands up to make air quotes, "relationship." He snorted. "Dumbass probably thinks he's as good in bed as I am."

"As good?" Stone shook her head. "No."

Hawkins stood up straighter and he smiled smugly. "Y'hear that, Guerin? I'm better than you are."

Michael smirked. "All I heard 'er say was you're not as good as me."

"Whatever. You've got your interpretation and I've got the truth."

"Sounds like you've pulled the wool over your own eyes."

Hawkins crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the others when they snickered. "That's enough with the fuckin' sheep jokes." He turned his head to look at Stone. "Would you just tell him so he'll get off my back?"

"Tell him what?"

He stood there for nearly a full minute as he tried to wrap his mind around what was happening. "Tell him we're in a relationship and that I'm a better fuck than he ever was."

"You don't want this announced publicly, rookie," Sanchez warned him. He had been one of them long enough to know what Stone was doing and why it was necessary. Busting the kid's chops over what he mistakenly thought was a real relationship was one thing, but humiliating him over his performance in the bedroom was a whole other matter and he didn't think it was necessary.

He shook his head when the kid stubbornly insisted on having Stone declare which man was the better lover. Well, he had tried to warn him, he thought as he downed a shot of Tequila and watched the show along with everyone else present. Some people only learned the hard way, and unfortunately, Hawkins was one of them.

"Let's just get this relationship nonsense outta the way first, Hawkins," Stone said as she leaned in to kiss Michael right in front of him. "I told you that first night that I don't do relationships. We're not dating, we're not exclusive, and you're not the only man I've fucked in the last couple of months."

"What?" He didn't know if he was more shocked by her denial of their relationship of by the fact that she had just kissed Guerin and then looked him right in the eye and said that he was just a one-night stand. "But, the nights we spent together - "

"We didn't spend any nights together," she denied, shaking her head. "We hooked up twice and both times we went to a hotel. You're not a total zero in the sack, but you're still young; you have no stamina and you're only good for one round."

"How would you know? You didn't stick around to find out."

"I stuck around long enough."

"What, an hour?"

Michael snickered. "You couldn't get it up again after an hour?" He held his hands up in a bid for silence. "Okay, okay, so you have a longer recovery time than some of us. But, I'm sure you were getting her off while you were workin' up to round two, right?"

"What?"

Michael feigned shock. "Oh, wow, so you both got off once and that was it?" He took a drink of his beer before glancing at Stone. "Only once? Seriously?"

"Maybe once is all it takes," Hawkins snapped.

"That may be true for you, but trust me when I tell you she's not interested in a guy who's only gonna make her come once and then call it a night."

"Stone?"

"Masochist," Sanchez muttered under his breath as he stood up and stretched. "I'm out for the night, you guys; I can't watch the rest of this massacre." He rolled his eyes when his announcement was ignored as the others waited to see what happened next.

"Yes, Hawkins, if you really wanna know, Michael's a better fuck than you are; he knows more about women than you'll probably ever learn."

"So, you'd rather be with a guy who won't commit - "

"I'm not interested in a commitment that lasts beyond the sunrise; he understands that. I don't want pretty flowers, fancy dinners, or a bunch of promises about love and forever because it's all an illusion. He knows the rules and he sticks to them; he doesn't hang around hoping we'll have breakfast together while sharing the morning paper."

"And you're fine with that? Then how do you explain your relationship with Azrael - "

That was a mistake, Michael thought, shaking his head at the rookie's stupidity. Stone moved like lightening, her right hand reaching between the younger man's legs to grab his balls and twist them viciously. Christ, she was makin' his balls hurt! He winced sympathetically - not for Hawkins, because he had been stupid enough to say what he had said, but he knew how strong Stone's grip was and there was no way it wasn't gonna leave a painful reminder even after a couple of days.

After a moment of shocked silence in the wake of Azrael's name being spoken, business continued as usual and everyone went back to their own conversations with the exception of the three people at the pool table in the middle of the room.

Maria watched in surprise when Michael moved his right foot just enough that the top of his boot rested against Stone's ankle and a moment later the woman released her death grip on Hawkins' crotch. No one said a word to him as he snatched up his jacket and carefully walked out of the bar.

"Forget him," Michael snapped. He was expecting it when Stone turned around and kissed him again, and he let himself get caught up in it, fully aware of the woman watching him from across the room.

Well, the question of whether Michael and Stone had ever been lovers had definitely been answered, Maria thought bitterly.

"Everything okay?"

Maria looked up when Gabriel spoke beside her and she wondered how a man his size moved so quietly. "Yeah, I'm just gonna…" she motioned behind her. "Check and see if anyone needs anything."

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Re: The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 22 - 7/13

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:19 am

Eva – The bar is really a special place for Michael and his colleagues. It’s not a normal kind of bar.

Spacegirl23 – Only men can relate to Hawkins’s pain.

Flamehair – There will be an explanation about Gabriel.

DeDe PR – Gabriel is like the other mercenaries, he has a troubled past.

Tequathisy – Let’s just say that Maria’s reaction won’t be pretty and she’ll handle it badly.


Part 23

Gabriel moved back behind the counter and reached for a recently-washed rack of shot glasses, checking them over before sliding them into place under the counter. He reached for the stool he kept in the corner and sat on it as his gaze tracked over the waitresses, doing a mental headcount to make sure they were all accounted for. Most of the girls didn't deal with the customers beyond asking for their orders, more comfortable with limited interaction than they were getting involved in any kind of conversation.

Most of them came off of the streets, or recommended by Father Augustine, the priest who ran the women's shelter a few miles away. His hand came up to rub the crucifix that hung from the chain around his neck along with his dog tags, reminders of his life before and his endless search for absolution since his decision to retire.

He had seen too much in his years with the Company and each mission had taken a little more of his heart and soul, eating away at his humanity. He had tried to become the cold, unfeeling automaton they wanted him to be in order to complete his assignments without forming any emotional attachments that could compromise the mission, but after almost twenty years he had resigned. Too many times over the years he had seen innocents sacrificed for the good of the mission, forced to stand back and let it happen because if the death of one innocent resulted in saving a thousand, it was considered a successful job. His last assignment had been more than he had been able to stomach and he had resigned, knowing that in addition to forfeiting his soul, his hesitation had made him a liability in the Company's eyes and another mission like that would result in him becoming a target for one of their snipers.

He had been seconds away from blowing his cover and compromising the entire mission his last time out, but his loyalty to the Company and the oath he had sworn had pulled him through at the last second. The mission had been a success, and no one had cared about the innocent blood that had been spilled, but it still haunted him to this day. It had been the most gruesome torture he had ever seen anyone put through and the memory of the pregnant village woman's screams could still be heard in his nightmares. He knew there was no forgiveness for what he had done; he should have stepped in and stopped it from happening, so many times over the years, but he had always upheld his duty to ensure the success of the mission.

Father Augustine had heard his confessions, torn from the depths of his tortured soul when an alcohol-induced decision had forced him to seek absolution from the man of God. Despite the Father's assurances that his soul could be saved from an eternity of damnation, he had his doubts and he had decided to do whatever he could to make up for his past. The girls who worked for him were given a safe place stay in a large boarding house not far away, with a woman who made sure they were taken care of during their stay.

The woman had been recommended by Father Augustine when he had learned of Gabriel's intentions, and he had liked her immediately. She was close to his age, maybe a few years younger, divorced, and alone. They had struck up a friendship as well as a partnership of sorts; in exchange for providing room and board at a reduced rate for the girls who worked for him, he spent his time off helping her renovate the old house. Even though they were complete opposites they had become very good friends over the past few years, working together to help young women get off of the streets, out of bad situations, and back on their own two feet. The women never stayed for very long, a few months at most while they found their strength and learned to stand on their own again.

The sound of someone calling his name brought him out of his thoughts and he lifted his head to look at the woman standing on the other side of the counter. "Whatcha need, Stone?"

"A couple beers." She nodded towards the man waiting near the door, letting Gabriel know that one of the beers should be non-alcoholic.

"What's goin' on with you an' Hawkins?" he asked as he retrieved the bottles and removed the caps.

"Nothin' that I can't handle." She smiled fondly at the overprotective bar owner as she accepted the cold bottles.

"And his comment about…?" He let the question trail off, knowing there was no reason to mention her dead lover by name.

"You worry too much, big man."

He shook his head and was turning to go back to his perch when he noticed Maria at the opposite end of the counter watching Stone walk outside with Guerin. He wasn't sure what their relationship was exactly, but since she had started working for him the man had been there almost every single time she had a shift.

He had finally asked Guerin about it because the man came around on occasion, but in the month and a half that Maria had been working at the bar he had spent more time there than he had the entire time the place had been open. Gabriel hadn't bought the weak excuses the man had given, and he doubted that it was a coincidence that Guerin was spending more time at the bar now that Maria was working there.

He chuckled to himself as he settled down on his stool once more, watching Maria as she went back to serving the customers even though she kept shooting lingering glances at the door Guerin and Stone had left through a few minutes earlier. The young woman liked to talk and it hadn't taken long for her to discover which of the customers were willing to converse and which ones wanted to be left alone.

Over the next couple of hours as closing time came and went her gaze strayed to the door frequently. She carried on her end of the conversation with some of the waitresses, but Gabriel could see that her heart wasn't in it; normally she was animated and talked a mile a minute, but since the kiss between Guerin and Stone she had been withdrawn and her thoughts were obviously elsewhere.

His eyes followed her as she gathered her jacket and purse, walking outside with the other girls under Raphael's watchful gaze. He reached for the half-empty bottle of Scotch on the table in front of him and refilled his glass as he prepared to face his ghosts in the silence that followed closing time.

*****

Maria pulled into the garage and glared at the empty spot where the motorcycle should have been parked. She had really hoped that he would be home when she got there, but apparently he had decided to spend the night with Stone.

"Self-centered asshole," she muttered as she walked into the house and slammed the door behind her.

They had been living together for two months and she was no closer to discovering why the Granolith had sent her to this universe or how she was going to get back home to her Michael. She had fallen into a routine since getting the job at Azrael's Sanctuary; she and Michael still argued about everything under the sun, but they had actually had several conversations that were civil on the rare occasion when they weren't arguing. She was getting to know him little by little, but nights like this one always reminded her of her situation.

She had finally managed to get him trained so that when it was time to eat he came to the kitchen table and they ate together. The man had an appetite that wouldn't quit; he ate everything she cooked and he had quickly grown fond of the dishes that combined sweet and spicy foods. It hadn't taken long for her to realize that his table manners weren't as animalistic as she had been led to believe during their first few meals together, something she should've known. If he protected movie stars, politicians, and dignitaries, he had to have good manners when the time called for it; his boss wasn't going to send him on jobs like that with the table manners he had displayed in front of her. She couldn't believe that she had fallen for that act once she had realized that he had been hoping she would be so disgusted with his behavior that she'd be content to leave him to his meals in front of the television.

Convincing him to let her use the Range Rover hadn't been easy, but after a while he had accepted that she wasn't going to take off and he had stopped insisting on driving her to work. The downside to that was not knowing where he was or who he was with when she wasn't home. She tried to not think about that, but it wasn't going to be so easy since she had seen him kissing Stone and she had watched them leave together.

She dropped the keys on the counter out of habit and retrieved one of the ice-cold bottles of beer from the refrigerator, uncapping it before going into the living room and reaching for the television remote. After several minutes of scrolling through a ridiculous number of channels and not finding a single thing worth watching she turned it off and threw the remote back in his chair. She began to pace in an effort to relax, but after a while she gave up on that and went to find something to eat.

Fifteen minutes of looking through the cabinets and the refrigerator left her without finding a single interesting thing to eat. She didn't know why she was bothering anyway; she wasn't the slightest bit hungry, she was just looking for something to do that would keep her busy and that would help her relax at the same time. She paced around the house for a while, but the tension was only getting worse and if it continued she was going to end up with a vicious headache.

A bath and some soothing music, she thought. That would help. She walked to her room to get her things together so she could go take a bath and her gaze slid over the picture that still sat on the nightstand, but was now encased in a sterling silver frame. Keeping busy was a necessity and it kept her mind from going places that she couldn't let it go; left unoccupied it reminded her of how much she missed talking to her best friend, Liz, and how she even missed Kyle telling corny jokes and explaining Buddhism and enlightenment to anyone who would listen.

She carried her robe into the bathroom, hanging it on the hook behind the door before turning the water on. After testing the water and deciding that the temperature was just right, she plugged the drain and tossed some bath salts in. While she was waiting she wandered into the living room to get one of the CD's that Michael favored, carrying it back into his bedroom and sliding it into the stereo system. She adjusted the volume and walked back into the bathroom, taking a long drink from the bottle in her right hand, without even noticing the bitter taste as she swallowed the amber liquid. It was a habit that she had picked up from Michael; he had offered her one the first night he had joined her on the back deck and they had carried on a semi-civil conversation. Over time she had started to acquire a taste for the drink and she usually had one when she got home from work.

Maria reached out to turn the water off as soon as it reached the level she wanted and then moved to put the bottle on the counter so she could strip out of her clothes. She slid into the bathtub, hoping that it would take her mind off of Michael and what he was doing. Or who, her mind taunted, quickly supplying her with a mental picture of him kissing Stone to go along with the thought.

It took very little time before she decided that the music was not helping her to relax. It was having the opposite effect as it created a seductive soundtrack to the images playing in her head. Her imagination was creatively supplying a wide array of possible scenes and she could quite easily see Michael kissing Stone; not the way they had at the bar, but the way her Michael had kissed her… deep, hard, with an edge of desperation at times, but always tempered with gentleness and love. She could picture him slowly removing her clothes, his big, rough hands caressing every inch of bare skin as it was revealed to his hungry gaze.

In her mind it was getting more and more difficult to separate the two men, but in this scenario it was impossible. Michael Guerin belonged to her, regardless of space and time, and the thought of him making love with any other woman made her physically ill. It felt like it had been years since she had been with him, since she had kissed him and made love with him.

If she didn't discover why the Granolith had sent her here she wasn't going to be able to go home and she would lose her chance to be with him again. If she couldn't go home she was going to lose her Michael; he wouldn't even be alive in their universe. The need to be with him again, to experience the feelings and emotions that he created within her was a physical ache and she quickly shoved them back into the little box where she kept them under lock and key, hoping to stop the hysteria that she could feel building.

Her thoughts automatically went back to Michael and Stone and anger immediately resurfaced as she imagined them making love. It was a safer emotion to deal with and it wasn't exactly a hardship to get mad at him. Her temper was building as the bath water cooled and by the time she stepped out of the bathtub she had worked herself up into a very bad mood. She was ready for a fight and she was sure he would oblige since he was always easily provoked.

*****

Michael took a drink from the chilled bottle he was holding as his gaze followed Stone around the pool. They had stopped to buy a couple of six-packs after leaving the bar, riding around for a while before they had stopped at one of the more expensive hotels near the outskirts of the city. Neither of them had been interested in having sex; their sexual history consisted of stolen moments in the middle of war zones and in the immediate aftermath of missions where they had barely made it out alive. Sex between them was always in-the-moment, when the need for the affirmation of life overrode everything else; it had never been based on anything more than that and neither of them was interested in hooking up outside of those occasional moments.

They hadn't gotten a room at the hotel because their relationship had never extended to spending a night together outside of missions. Michael wasn't interested in any kind of intimacy and, like him, Stone didn't get involved in relationships; when they weren't working they hung out on occasion but they never took things to that level. The two kisses at the bar were about as close to sex as they had ever gotten outside of those rare times when they were in the field and a mission got too tense or just went all wrong.

He turned his head to the side when the gate at the pool entrance opened, the well-oiled hinges not making a sound. He glared at the young couple as they stumbled inside, limbs tangled together, giggling and shushing each other, and he rolled his eyes at them. They sobered when he cleared his throat, their startled gazes staring at the gun and badge lying on the lounger between his spread knees. "Get lost," he growled.

"Hey, we've got a right to be here," the young man stated adamantly.

Michael shook his head when the kid attempted to put on a brave face in front of his girlfriend. "Sign says the pool's closed after eleven, and according to my watch it's well after midnight."

"Well, you're here."

"And I have a gun; do you really wanna continue this discussion?"

"Y'know you're an asshole, right?" Stone asked when the young couple left, her voice raised to carry from the other side of the pool.

"Like I care." He slouched down further, the soles of his boots scraping against the concrete as he extended his legs. He watched her, his eyes trailing over her body appreciatively as she stripped out of her clothes and dove into the pool naked. Stone was nearly twelve years older than him, but the woman kept her body in perfect shape; he had seen women half her age who didn't look anywhere near as good as she did. She wasn't drop-dead gorgeous, and he had definitely been with women who were more beautiful, but she was completely comfortable in her own skin and she was confident in her abilities, and that only added to the overall package.

"So, when're you gonna tell me what's goin' on between you and the little motormouth?" Stone asked when she surfaced at the edge of the pool in front of him.

He leaned over to place the empty bottle in the cardboard carrier and pulled a fresh one out, uncapping it and dropping it on the ground. "Who says there's anything to tell?"

"I've been watchin' the two of you and she's not under your protection; I know that's the story goin' around, but that's not it."

"You're so sure about that?"

"Rumor has it that you've been there pretty much every night since she started working at the bar, and I know for a fact that before that you weren't a frequent customer. As I recall, you prefer that dump closer to your place where you can pick up women for a quick tumble in the sheets before heading back home. I also know that she's driving your vehicle and she's not staying over at the boarding house with the rest of Gabriel's girls." She smiled knowingly and pushed away from the edge to swim a few laps around the perimeter of the pool before returning to her spot in front of him. "Only stands to reason that if she's driving your vehicle and not staying with the girls that she'd have to be stayin' out at your place… and, Michael, if I recall correctly you've never even taken a one-night-stand home with you, so what would make you let this girl stay under your roof for an indefinite amount of time?"

Michael shrugged, neither confirming nor denying her observations.

"You're attracted to her," she guessed.

"Yeah, that's what it is," he muttered sarcastically.

Stone snorted at his tone. "Like I said, I've been watchin' you, and while she watches you when she thinks no one's looking…" She grinned. "You're doin' the same thing. It's pretty obvious that you haven't slept together, and I've never known you to spend this much time with a woman that you weren't fuckin'. Come to think of it, you've never spent this much time with a woman that you were fuckin'."

"You think ambushin' Hawkins like that was a good idea?"

She accepted the subject change without blinking an eye, motioning at the six-pack that belonged to her. She had gotten away with that conversation longer than she would have thought possible, so she took the bottle he leaned forward to hand her and took a long drink. "Hawkins has the makings of a damn good agent, Michael; he's got great instincts in the field, but he needs to be more focused. He's young and he lets his emotions influence his actions." She set the bottle down and crossed her arms on the still-warm concrete, propping her chin on them as she watched him. "That's an interesting question considering the way you kept baiting him."

He chuckled. "He had it comin'." He leaned back in the lounger and stared up at the sky. "I can't believe you fucked that little bastard… twice! If he's that bad in the sack, why'd you bother givin' him a second go-round?"

"Had to have all my facts straight before I busted his chops; he's a mouthy little bastard and you enjoy fuckin' with him, so I knew he'd eventually say the wrong thing and you'd call him on it."

"It's nice that I'm so predictable," he muttered.

Stone regarded him solemnly, thinking about him and the new waitress at the bar, but she only said, "Maybe you're not as predictable as you think you are." She pushed away from the wall to swim a few more laps before calling it a night.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 24 - 7/27

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:50 pm

Spacegirl23 – You’re right, one hell of a fight. Maria is extremely jealous and possessive of Michael Guerin, whether he is her Michael or this one. Expect her to explode.

Eva –
I think it's a very normal reaction that Maria's falling for this Michael. He looks like her Michael, he can be civil if he wants too, they are attracted to each other, she all alone with him and lived with him the last couple of months...

That's the reason why she's pissed too. She's just plain jealous.

And Michael? We know he's attrackted. But it's more. He cares. But would he be willing to admit that?
You’re right, on every point. She is jealous, she cares about him, he cares about her and none of them are willing to accept that.

Nibbles2 –
Yeah, Michael is in for it when he gets home.
True, but he’ll have a few home truths to tell Maria.

Mary mary – The Company… hmm, wait and see.

DeDe PR – Maria, chill out? Hmm, there’s a reason why the fans have nicknamed her “Hurricane Deluca”, that’s because she is intense in her reactions and in the way she loves people.


Part 24

Michael was humming to himself as he entered the house, locking the door behind him before dropping his keys and wallet on the counter. He was reaching for the refrigerator door when his eyes were drawn to the two key rings lying next to each other beside his wallet. That just looked a little too… domestic. He frowned and pushed Maria's keys further down the counter, making sure there was plenty of space between them. Feeling slightly better he retrieved a bottle of beer from the refrigerator and removed the cap, tossing it in the trash and taking a long drink. He didn't even have time to enjoy the flavor before the bane of his existence spoke from behind him and ruined the moment.

"Well, look who finally came home," Maria drawled, as she leaned in the doorway and watched him. "Hmmm, and you even showered this time. How considerate of you."

Michael could feel his temper responding to her taunting tone and he slowly turned to look at her. "What the fuck are you bitchin' about now?"

He had to ask? She was bitching because he was going around acting like a dumbass! Instead of helping her find out why she was here, or focusing on his alien side that he had ignored for so long, he was running around sleeping with any available uterus! Well, she wasn't gonna just stay around here and keep her mouth shut. She had a few home truths for him and for once he was damn well going to listen to her list them off. "Do you always go crawling back to her? You have a bad experience with a woman like you did a few weeks back, so you resort to having sex with women Stone's age? You have a hard time satisfying a woman and your answer to that problem is to crawl into bed with a woman fifteen or twenty years older than you? I would say that older women must be more forgiving, but in her case, somehow I doubt it. She verbally castrated that guy Hawkins, and then turned around and stuck her tongue down your throat."

"Yeah? Well, if he could fuck worth a damn she probably would've stuck her tongue down his throat." He started to pace, trying to calm the fury that he could feel surging to life inside of him.

"That is not the point!" she snapped.

"No, the point is that none of this is any of your goddamned business!" Who did she think she was, mocking his sexual performance? And it was one thing for her to badmouth the usual women he fucked, but Stone was above her insults; the woman could be a cold-hearted bitch, but she had integrity and he trusted her. That couldn't be said of very many people and he didn't appreciate Maria lumping her in with the rest of the women he had fucked. "You have no rights whatsoever to even have an opinion about the women I fuck!"

"I don't need your permission to have an opinion."

God, the woman was drivin' him up the fuckin' wall! Always talkin', always protestin', always wantin' to have the last damn word; it didn't matter what the topic was. Well, not this time… she had no rights where he was concerned! "We're not married, either, so as far as I know, who I fuck doesn't concern you and you have no right to nag me every minute of the day."

Maria snorted disdainfully. "Like I would ever marry someone like you."

Michael's temper was quickly approaching the boiling point. For the past two months… maybe even a little longer, she had been constantly reminding him that he wasn't her precious Michael; that he wasn't as good as the other man, that she would never cheat on Mr. Perfect - especially with him - and now here she was, playing the role of the nagging wife. Obviously she had reached the next stage of her insanity, because suddenly he and his counterpart seemed to be one person. Out of nowhere she was acting like she and the other Michael had been married, but somehow she was confusing him with the other man, and he was getting a headache trying to figure it all out.

She had been uptight and defending her decision to be faithful to a dead guy every since she had rather brutally turned him down and now she was yelling at him and treating him like he had cheated on her. Hell, if he had to deal with the shitty part of relationships, the accusations, the nagging wife at home, the constant bitching, why couldn't he enjoy some of the perks? Like having sex on a regular basis?

"How do you have sex with random women?" Maria asked, her tone biting. "How can you be so indiscriminate - "

"How do you not know when to shut up? Me an' you, we're not involved; as you've pointed out on numerous occasions, I'm not your Michael!" he shouted, feeling something unfamiliar inside of him snap. His eyes widened when a frying pan shot off of its hook and flew across the room, slamming into the doorframe when Maria ducked to avoid it. What the fuck?! His gaze shot to Maria where she had crouched down to avoid being hit and several emotions hit him at once - anger, fear, concern, and relief. She hadn't been hit; she had gotten out of the way in time, but what if she hadn't reacted quickly enough?

Maria stared at the frying pan for several long minutes before she stood up and walked out of the room without another word. She retreated to her bedroom and shut the door, leaning back against it and sliding down to sit on the floor.

Michael slowly crossed the room and leaned down to pick up the pan, transferring it to his left hand as he straightened back up. Reaching up, his fingers traced over the depression created in the wood where the frying pan had impacted it. Fuck, he hadn't meant to do that! He couldn't remember ever losing control like that; he was always careful to keep a strong hold on whatever it was inside of him that caused things like that to happen. This was different though… something about her had caused that tenuous thread on his control to snap. He had never felt the swirling maelstrom build so quickly, or been unable to contain it, and he had a bad feeling that it was connected to Maria.

He carefully and quietly set the pan on the stove and moved through the house, checking all of the locks and turning off lights as he made his way back to his bedroom. He paused at the door to her bedroom, his left hand coming up to briefly rest against the wood; there was nothing he could say that would change what had happened, but something inside of him felt… weird.

*****

Several hours later he gave up on sleep and prowled around the house restlessly, unable to shake the unsettled feelings clawing at him. He was a lot of things - cold, cruel, uncaring, and unfeeling, but he would never intentionally hurt a woman and he hoped she knew that much about him.

He turned a lamp on when he passed through the living room again and he threw himself down on the couch as he looked around at the subtle changes that had taken place in his house over the past couple of months. Instead of just blinds, curtains hung over the windows, colorful accent pillows adorned the furniture, lacy things had been placed on every available flat surface, and scented candles sat atop them.

Each new addition had only been added after an argument between them and somehow, despite the fact that he owned the house and everything in it, she had gotten her way on just about everything. He could feel a difference in the house since she had moved in and while he wouldn't admit it to anyone else it wasn't all that bad having a woman around the place. It would definitely be better if they were fuckin' like bunnies, but, even without that particular perk, it was okay most of the time.

His gaze turned downward and he looked at his hands, feeling regret wash over him as his thoughts once more turned back to the reason for his bout of insomnia. He stood up after a while and wandered back down the hall that led to the bedrooms, pausing in front of her door for several minutes before he reached out and turned the knob quietly. He opened the door and peered around it, checking to see if she was asleep and stepping inside once he was sure she was.

He walked around the bed and crouched down beside it, studying her features in the darkness. She rarely looked peaceful while she slept and he was pretty sure he was responsible for the disturbed expression on her face this time. As usual, she was reaching out across the empty space beside her, searching for the man who had been taken from her, the man who was obviously so much more to her than just a lover.

He rubbed his right hand over his tee shirt before laying it on the bed, not far from the edge. Like a heat-seeking missile zeroing in on its target, her hand found his within seconds. He had lost count of the number of times he had crept into her bedroom and done this very thing; he didn't understand why he did it, but the simple action spoke to something deep inside of him that he didn't acknowledge in the cold light of day. Once she had made contact her expression slipped into something resembling peace and the moment she calmed, that thing inside of him responded in kind.

Despite the early hour the sun wasn't making its way across the eastern horizon when he crept out of her bedroom and closed the door behind him. It was a clear indicator of impending rain and by the time he had changed into his running clothes and stretched the first clap of thunder was rolling across the sky.

*****

It rained all day and Michael spent hours out in the shop working on the motorcycles with the stereo turned up to drown out the noise created by the storm. He didn't bother going inside for breakfast or lunch, choosing to hide out in the shop instead. He wasn't sure what to say to Maria after what had happened the night before; he wasn't the type to apologize and he sure as hell wasn't wrong for getting mad about her accusations towards Stone.

He reached for a new socket, switching it out with the one already attached to the ratchet before going back to work. He had been going over everything that had happened the night before and he still didn't understand how his powers had gotten out of control like that. He shook his head and dropped a handful of bolts into a pan of cleaning fluid on the counter beside the disassembled engine. He had to find something else to think about before he did something stupid, he thought.

Maria moved from room to room for the most of the day, unsettled by the fight she'd had with Michael. If she'd had any doubts that he was pissed off, his absence at breakfast and lunch had given her all the confirmation she needed. As the day wore on she started dinner and did a couple of loads of laundry before moving into the living room to straighten things up.

She stood at the patio doors and watched the rain pouring from the overcast sky, her thoughts on the night before. She knew she had pushed him, provoking him into losing his temper, but it was the first time his powers had showed themselves under duress; it hadn't been an intentional response, she was sure about that. She should probably go talk to him but she was certain that he was still too angry, and if she intruded on his territory he was bound to see it as a sign of aggression. She wasn't interested in getting into another argument with him so soon after that last one.

She was getting ready to go check on dinner when the shop door slid open and Michael stepped outside. He took his time crossing the yard, unconcerned with the downpour that soaked him within seconds. His right hand reached out to settle on the handrail as his left foot landed on the second step, and he froze when he looked up and their gazes locked.

Maria's breath froze in her throat as she was thrown back several years to a rainy night and another Michael Guerin. In that time and place he had been seeking acceptance, reassurance, and a safe place where he could fall with the knowledge that her loving arms would catch him. This man sought none of those things, but in that moment she knew that the regret that briefly flared in his dark eyes was probably the closest thing to an apology that he had to offer.

She saw him take a step back and on an impulse she pushed the door open, sliding it along its track and standing aside. "Dinner'll be ready soon," she offered quietly.

He took the steps two at a time and quickly entered the house, heading back towards his bedroom without a word.

"Michael?"

He paused, but didn't turn around.

"Look, I shouldn't have said anything about Stone; I obviously don't understand your relationship with her."

"No, you don't." He waited a few seconds before nodding to himself and continuing on his way down the hall.

Maria watched him go and wondered if he had been waiting for an apology for more than her comments about Stone. Well, if that was the case he might as well get used to waiting because he wasn't going to get an apology for anything else; she wasn't the slightest bit sorry for the rest of it.

She went to get something to clean up the water trail he had left in his wake and then walked back to the kitchen to put the finishing touches on dinner. Despite their fight the night before she wanted him to sit down and eat; considering the amount of food he put away on a daily basis, she was surprised he hadn't passed out from not eating.

Michael stepped into the bathroom and scrubbed his hands, getting rid of the oil and grease from the engine parts he had been working on. Finished with that, he stripped out of his shirt, hanging it over the shower rod so he could peel his pants off and drop them in the bathtub. He reached for a clean towel out of one of the cabinets and rubbed it over his body, drying off as he looked around the room. She had infiltrated the bathroom as well as the other rooms in the house; her stuff was completely mixed in with his and he always had to remember to double check to make sure he wasn't grabbing the wrong deodorant, soap, or shampoo.

No matter how many times he had moved things around in an attempt to keep all of her stuff separate from his, it always ended up mixed in together again. Most mornings he had to weed through the dozens of small bottles and tubes of makeup and other crap she had accumulated just to locate his aftershave and cologne. His gaze moved along the counter to the pair of electric razors sitting in their chargers next to each other. He rolled his eyes and ran the towel over his hair, getting most of the wetness rubbed out so he wouldn't have to resort to using the hair dryer that now resided on the shelf behind him. He'd had no choice but to build the shelf because for someone who had no intention of hanging around she was collecting an awful lot of things that were necessary to her daily life, and burning his hand on her curling iron had been the last straw.

He hung the towel up and walked through his bedroom to the closet to grab a clean set of clothes. He pulled a clean pair of cargo pants up over his hips, zipping then and ignoring the button as he reached out to plow through the shirts available. Selecting a red, sleeveless tee shirt he draped it over his left shoulder and made his way back through the house.

The smell of food got stronger the closer he got to the kitchen and his stomach growled loudly, reminding him once again that he hadn't eaten since the night before. He could hear one of his Blues CD's playing in the small stereo in the kitchen, but it was the female voice accompanying the singer that caught his attention. He paused in the doorway, his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the wood frame and watched her.

She was wearing a multi-colored shirt that kept slipping off of one shoulder and a short black skirt. Like him, she was barefooted as she moved around, collecting the dinner dishes and stacking them on the counter to be placed on the table. She was totally unaware of him as she sang along with the song playing, the ease with which she transitioned when the tracks changed indicating that she listened to it frequently. His dark eyes followed the uninhibited movements of her body as she swayed to the music, and he craned his neck to the side when she bent over to open the oven door.

He growled low in his throat when she leaned over a little further and the skirt crept up with her movements, revealing more of her thighs than was previously visible, but not nearly enough in his opinion. It was so tempting to just walk up behind her and slide his hands over her ass before turning her around and taking her pouty mouth in a deep, hard kiss.

Maria was pulling the metal rack out to check on the roast when she felt a familiar tingling sensation dance along her spine and she knew without looking that Michael was behind her. His dark gaze was penetrating and she could feel it as surely as if he had reached out and touched her; it was something he had in common with her Michael and it was as disturbing as it was exciting.

She straightened up and whirled around to face him. "Can I help you with something?" she snapped, annoyed at the heat that flooded through her as his molten gaze traveled over her body. She immediately regretted the question, knowing what he was going to say before he said it.

"Oh, there are so many things you could help me with," he whispered huskily.

"I'll just bet there are." She shook her head as she moved to turn the volume down on the stereo built into the wall. "Anything that's not X-rated?"

He snorted and straightened up, entering the kitchen and walking up to her to clamp his hands around the edge of the counter on either side of her. "Not X-rated? Where's the fun in that?" His dark eyes gleamed triumphantly when she lowered her gaze to his bare chest and he saw the green irises darken to jade. He held his breath when he saw her right hand lift from her side and come to rest flat against his chest, pressing his dog tags against his flesh.

Maria waited several long, torturous moments before she slid her hand up and over the sculpted muscles, feeling the slight quiver in them. She heard his breathing quicken as her fingers trailed to his side and up under his arm. She had him right where she wanted him; he thought she had finally reached the end of her rope and she was giving in to him. She smiled to herself as she grabbed several of the hairs under his arm and jerked them as hard as she could.

Michael jumped back away from her, his right hand coming up to press against his left armpit as he howled in pain. "Son-of-a-fuckin'-bitch!" he screamed, pacing around erratically. "What the fuck did you do that for?!"

"One way or the other, you're gonna learn what the word no means."

As soon as the stinging, eye-watering pain subsided he withdrew his hand and looked at it, surprised that she hadn't drawn blood with her vicious attack. "And maybe next time you could simply say no," he snarled.

"I've already told you no and you seem to think that it only means I'll change my mind at a later date and that you're welcome to keep trying."

Michael pulled his shirt on over his head and glared at her. "Only one of us is lyin' to ourselves, and it's not me." He grabbed the stack of dishes off of the counter and carried them over to the table. "You can deny it all you want, Maria, but we both know it's only a matter of time before you end up in my bed."

She refused to let her mind go there. She simply refused. She would not trade her Michael in for the first copy available. "You live in a fantasy world."

Huh? She was the one who refused to accept her lover's death and who kept hoping that he would help her do something - something that she didn't even understand - to turn back time or work some kind of alien magic and he was the one living in a fantasy world? Fuck, that Maria girl was seriously delusional! "Believe whatever you need to believe to get you through the night."

"Just take the roast out of the oven." Maria went on as if he hadn't said anything. It wasn't a comment worth responding to.

Michael narrowed his eyes, not liking the way she was totally ignoring what he had said. "Y'know, there's a very fine line that separates fantasy from reality."

"Why don't we talk about what happened last night," Maria suggested, desperate to change the subject. She didn't want to think about how much she was really attracted to him or that there was a part of her that wondered what it would be like to make love with him.

"No." Michael carried the roast over to the table and set it down before crossing over to the refrigerator and pulling out two bottles of beer. He carried them to the table and sat down, placing one on the table in front of her plate before leaning back in his chair and uncapping his bottle.

Maria slid a pan of rolls into the oven and watched him, seeing his unwillingness to discuss the unexpected display of his powers. "Michael, something happened that you need to - "

"You make salad to go with dinner?" he asked, walking back over to the refrigerator and opening the door. He didn't want to talk about what had almost happened; she could've easily gotten hurt by his loss of control and it bothered him on a level that he didn't care to examine too closely.

"On the second shelf." She moved the rest of the serving dishes to the table and took her seat while he debated which dressing he wanted with the salad. He finally gave up and grabbed both bottles along with the salad and carried it to the table. It had taken weeks before she had been able to convince him to eat a salad, and once he had discovered that enough dressing covered the taste of the actual salad she hadn't had anymore problems.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 25 - 8/3

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:22 am

Spacegirl23 – They’re not ready for sex, even if Michael is hell bent that he is.

Eva – No, they won’t be giving in anytime soon. As you said, they are strong and stubborn people.

DeDe PR – Michael has finally lost control and it’s something that always happen with a Maria Deluca around.

Mary Mary – Deal with each other… interesting word. In a way, that’s what they do right now.


Part 25

He sat down and started carving the roast while she pulled the rolls out of the oven. She transferred them to a bowl as she considered how to continue a conversation that he obviously didn't want to have. She handed them to Michael when he turned around and then went to get the butter and strawberry jam from the refrigerator. She knew he would slather butter and jam on the rolls and then pour hot sauce over them once he finished the main course.

They ate in silence for a while before Maria decided to bring the topic up again. "He had the same problem, y'know?"

Michael looked up from the mashed potatoes and gravy he was loading onto his fork. "What?"

"Michael… he had the same problem controlling his powers when his emotions were involved. Actually, when his emotions got involved he really didn't have any control over his powers." She sighed when he shrugged and went back to eating. "Look, you're a very controlling man… you control everything in your life, from what jobs you're gonna take, to what woman you're gonna have sex with, to what you drink."

He paused to look at the bottle in his hand.

"It's non-alcoholic, although, my guess is that you've never even so much as tried an actual alcoholic drink because it would compromise your controlling nature. I'd be willing to bet that you don't do anything that would jeopardize that control and that not drinking alcohol has less to do with the fact that your alien bloodstream can't handle it and more to do with the fact that alcohol - "

He frowned. This was news to him. "What're you talkin' about?"

"You guys have no tolerance for alcohol, something which you apparently didn't know judging by your surprise." She nodded at his scowling expression. "Which means that I'm right about the reason you drink beer that's non-alcoholic; it's a control measure." She gave herself a mental pat on the back for her analysis of his character. She had gotten to know him pretty well; she could read him, and she'd be willing to bet that he didn't like that one little bit.

"There's nothin' wrong with control," he muttered.

Michael and control… two words which so didn't mix! It was so strange to see him desperately clinging to control. Why did he act this way? Had something happened in his past, in the orphanage, maybe? She would really like to hear his story about that part of his life but she knew that he wasn't going to share that with her. She had her doubts that he ever would. "You think if you control everything so rigidly that you can ignore the part of you that isn't human… that as long as it never reveals itself that you can - "

Michael growled, pissed off with her psychological crap and her apparent belief that she had some right to analyze him. Why was he still sitting there, listening to her sprouting nonsense about his life and the way he led it? It was his life, and he was free to do and act the way he wanted! "You don't know anything about it."

Maria went on as if she hadn't heard him. She was on a roll now, and she wanted to prove him that she wasn't just his double's lover, or the girl he was welcoming - and she certainly used that word in its loosest possible form - temporarily into his home. She knew him, and he would have to deal with the fact that someone not only knew his secret, but also had an insight into the depths of his soul. "I know what it's like to watch someone try so hard to hide such an essential part of who they are because of what could happen to them if their identity was ever discovered. But, it was more than just fear of discovery; like I said, Michael had a difficult time trying to control his powers when his emotions were involved. The more emotional he was, the harder it was for him to maintain any control." She took a drink from the bottle he had set next to her plate before continuing.

"And no one ever saw him use his powers?" Michael asked, his tone skeptical.

"No one that wasn't supposed to. There was evidence of his loss of control on a few occasions, but no one ever connected it to him."

"What'd he do?"

Maria dug into her past, searching for a story to tell. Which one would be the most significant? Michael's anger when they had came out of Ms. Vivian's reading? Or Billy? She sighed. Billy… yeah, that's the one it was going to be. That was when Michael's powers had really gone crazy. She didn't like to think about that time in their relationship; she wasn't particularly proud of her behavior. So much had been going on and she had felt like she was drowning, as if her only identity had been that of Michael Guerin's girlfriend, and not Maria DeLuca, the girl who had dreams, goals and who wanted to get out of Roswell, New Mexico. But still, it was a part of her past with Michael… it just not one of their better times.

"Well, one of the worst times was probably when this guy that I went to band camp with came back into town for a visit; it set Michael off pretty bad. His big thing was causing things to explode unintentionally when his emotions got involved. He blew up all kinds of stuff at the restaurant… bowls, sugar dispensers, and eggs. At home it was a lamp and his TV, and I can assure you that wasn't intentional because the man had a serious relationship with his television set. He set car alarms off all over my neighborhood when he blew the windows out of just about every car within a two or three block radius." She shook her head. "None of it was intentional - "

"What'd you do?" Michael asked, leaning back in his chair and slouching down as he finished off his beer.

Lost in her past, Maria was startled by his sudden question. "Excuse me?"

Hmmm, there was some bad stuff involved, he could smell it. So, their past wasn't a complete bed of roses. Interesting. "You said his emotions and loss of control over his powers were directly connected… so, what'd you do to set him off?" He nodded when she remained silent. "Uh-huh, so it wasn't just about his emotions, it was about their connection to you, and you did somethin' that provoked him."

Maria glared at him. "Yes, okay, he didn't like the fact that I was hanging out with Billy; he was jealous and he felt threatened by it."

Michael's left hand rested on the edge of the table and he tapped the empty bottle against it as he studied her guilty expression. "He had cause to be jealous though, didn't he?" He pointed at her as he stood to go get another beer. "You look guilty as hell."

"It wasn't like that! Billy was a musician; he understood - "

Michael's face became thunderous. He didn't know this Billy guy, but he felt like he could break something just by hearing her defending him. "He understood that you were with someone else and he still made a move on you."

Maria started, shocked by Michael's unexpected anger. God, whether it was her world or this one, Billy was always going to be a subject of contention with the Michael Guerins of the universe! She had moved on and forgotten about him. As a person, he hadn't had that much of an impact on her life. Billy Darden's impact on her life was more about what he had said than who he had been. "Look, that all happened a long time ago, and that is not why I brought the subject up. I am trying to get you to understand that there is a direct connection between - "

"Yeah, I got your point," he interrupted again. He twisted the cap off of the bottle and dropped it in the trash. "So, what happened with Billy, huh? Your boy kick his ass?"

"No, Billy went on to New York and…"

Michael frowned when the rest of her response was so jumbled together that he couldn't make it out. "And, what?" he asked, seeking clarification.

Maria decided that the history lesson was over. He didn't need to know everything about Michael and her. And she really didn't like remembering that moment in her life. Her heart ached at the reminder of the pain she had caused her Michael. She swallowed hard, forcing down the lump in her throat. "And the rest of it really isn't any of your business. The important thing is that with practice you can learn to control your reactions. It might even be a little easier with you because of your occupation; you're more focused, more disciplined in some areas than he was."

"So, he learned to control his reactions?"

"Eventually."

That sounded good. If his double had learned to control his powers, so could he. It couldn't have been that difficult. And in the long term, it would be advantageous for his job if he could use his powers whenever he wanted, without risking being seen, hurting people, or being out of control. He watched her speculatively. Would she be willing to help him with the focusing and training? He had to ask. He really had nothing to lose at this point. "How?"

Relieved that he was dropping the Billy subject, Maria answered quickly. "With a lot of practice; we worked on it regularly to keep him on top of his game and he responded better when I worked with him. It helped him to focus and…" She trailed off when he braced his left hand on the counter and stared at her. "What?"

"You have him on a reward system?"

She must have heard him wrong. "A what?"

"Y'know, when he got it right you'd reward him?"

Maria looked to the heavens for patience. What did he think her Michael was? A dog that she had been training? "When he got it right, that was reward enough. He wanted to get his powers under control for himself, to protect me and his family… not to get laid." God, she really hated him, sometimes!

"So, you're tellin' me there was no incentive for him to get it right?" Incredulity colored his voice. How could his double not see that he had the upper hand in that situation? Maria wanted him to train, so the least that the other Michael could have done was to bargain to get what he wanted. He shook his head. The other Michael had been a little boy. He would've had so much to teach him, had they met. His insides suddenly shook with unease. Shit! Not again. What was going on? He took a deep breath, hoping to move past the episode and much to his surprise, he succeeded.

"Incentives like survival are pretty motivating, jackass." She shook her head when he frowned at her response. "Is there anything that doesn't automatically lead back to sex with you?"

He snorted. "Everything leads back to sex with me and that's the way I like it. And if this kid was me in your universe…" His grin was filthy. "Then there's no way he was the choirboy you've described."

Grrr, why on earth did he insist on picturing Michael as a saint? She had never said that he was a saint or anything even remotely close to resembling one. He was really starting to get on her nerves with his perfect Michael image that he kept throwing in her face. "I never said Michael was a choirboy, a saint, or perfect; those are all terms that you've come up with to describe him. There were some very distinctive differences between the two of you - "

"Yeah, he was everything I'm not, right?" Déjà vu, he thought.

"Basically, yes. Michael didn't have some need to sleep with whatever willing female body happened to be available; he needed more than just some - "

Michael chuckled. "Let me guess… he was the first guy you ever slept with."

Oh, she was so tempted to just throw something at him! "He was the only guy I ever slept with. Neither of us ever slept with anyone else. Ever."

He choked on his beer and grabbed the small towel hanging on the oven door to wipe his mouth. "What?"

"Monogamy, ever heard of it?" She smirked at his shocked expression. "Michael was very good at it."

"He never fucked anyone else?" Never? How was that possible? She was cute and he definitely wanted to nail her, but there was no way she was that good! No woman was a good enough fuck to make a man ignore the rest of the sexual buffet the world had to offer. Nope, it wasn't possible. "You're either lyin' or delusional."

"Believe what you want, Michael, but trust me when I tell you that neither of us had any reason to look elsewhere for satisfaction."

She was gonna fuckin' kill him! He didn't believe for a minute that two people could be so… dedicated, to each other, but if she was tellin' the truth and his counterpart had never fucked any other women, then she had to be somethin' else between the sheets. He really wanted to know what it was that had kept the man from seeking out other women, and what it was about her that could possibly make that need invalid. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts. Okay, this was just gonna drive him crazy if he kept thinking about it. Time to move on. "So, he got better by practicin' with your help?"

"Yeah," Maria said slowly, unsure of where he was going with the question.

"Good, we'll start in the mornin'." He sat down at the table once more, grabbing another roll and spreading butter and jam on it before pouring hot sauce over it.

"We'll start what?"

"You said you practiced with him and that it somehow helped him concentrate or focus, right? Well, you know more about this than I do, so it only makes sense that I use any information you can give me." And if he could impress her, that would be a bonus. Yep, it was all good. Wait… impress her? Where had that come from?

Maria shook her head. "Look, you're not gonna listen to me; I'm gonna tell you what to do, you're gonna get pissed off when things don't go the way you want them to, and then we're gonna get in another argument. I enjoy arguing with you, really."

He frowned at her sarcastic tone.

"But, I'm not interested in spending my time off with you yelling at me."

"Why do you assume I'll yell at you?" he asked, biting into the roll and licking the hot sauce off of his fingers when it dripped onto his hand. Okay, he was pretty sure that it would come to that. It was like they couldn't help it.

Was he kidding? Had he not learned anything since they had met? "Because it's what you do, and that's not how I wanna spend my time off."

"Fair enough. So, we'll start in the mornin' after breakfast."

"You expect breakfast too?"

"I'd prefer to start the mornin' by getting laid, havin' breakfast, takin' a shower with a beautiful woman and nailin' her to the wall before the hot water runs out, and then loungin' around in front of the TV for a while before startin' this. However, since that's not gonna happen, I would like to have breakfast first." He carried his dishes over to the sink and washed his hands, drying them before turning to look at her.

She had thought that her Michael was obsessed with sex, but this Michael was putting him to shame. He had sex on the mind 24/7. She'd bet that even if he lived until he was 90, he would still be chasing any girl that crossed his path. "No, that's not gonna happen. However, if memory serves, you've had breakfast every single morning since we went to the store together the first time, so it's not like you have to make a special request for it."

"So, if I make a special request for sex before breakfast, can I get that?" he called over his shoulder on his way out of the room.

"No," she yelled back. She couldn't help the smile that teased the corners of her mouth at his bark of laughter in response to her negative answer. She could hear the TV come on and the usual drone of the sportscaster's voice loudly proclaiming that tonight's game was a true clash of the titans and she rolled her eyes. She had heard that opening gambit too many times over the past few weeks; that sportscaster really needed to get a new speech.

He would spend the next couple of hours shouting obscenities at the referee for being too stupid to know how to make a real call and the rest of the time he would be ogling the dance squad and cataloging their finer… assets. She couldn't decide whether he liked the game or the halftime show better. Not that it mattered, she thought with a smile. He was going right along with her plan and he didn't even know it; she had known that he wasn't going to go along with her plan if she just told him they were going to work on his control issues with his powers. But, he thought it was his idea and they were doing it because he said so, not because she had anything to do with it. She stood and started clearing the table, making a thick sandwich out of the leftover roast and wrapping it before sitting it on the counter. He'd be back for it before long.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 26 - 8/10

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:24 pm

spacegirl23 – Michael is always jealous of Billy, no matter what the universe is.

Eva – Practice? This is Michael we’re talking about so the practice won’t be good!

nibbles2 –
they are slowly getting more comfortable and relaxed with each other. I don't think Michael realises how much he likes having her around.
No, he doesn’t realize. But he will, one day.

mary mary – It’s not going to be easy to help Michael with his training. He chose, a long time ago, for safety reasons, to keep his powers on a tight leash so he’s not really in touch with them.

tequathisy – It’s going to be slow between Michael and Maria, but that’s the fun in reading a fic, waiting until the couple gets together.


Part 26

Michael was on the verge of throwing the empty bottle in his right hand at the television screen when his team missed the shot that would've tied the game before the halftime buzzer sounded. Morons! The stats scrolled up on the screen and he glanced over them as they faded out and the commercials started.

He hurried into the kitchen to toss the empty bottle and get another beer, but there was a glass of iced tea sitting next to the wrapped sandwich on the counter. He smiled when he saw the chocolate chip cookies, wrapped and placed on top of the sandwich where he was sure to see them. He decided to forego the beer in place of the glass of tea, and he scooped everything up and rushed back into the living room in time for the halftime show to start.

He set everything down on the table next to his chair, unwrapping the sandwich and biting into it in seconds. He smirked as he thought back over their earlier conversation; she had no clue that he had her right where he wanted her. She probably thought it was all her idea to give him some pointers where controlling his powers was concerned, but he had skillfully maneuvered her right where he wanted her. He silently congratulated himself on once again getting the upper hand as he took another bite, savoring the flavor of the roast she had made for dinner. One thing was for damn sure - the woman knew how to cook! He glanced over at the empty spot on the couch where she usually sat when they watched movies together and he glanced at the hall behind him, wondering what she was doing.

He got up and wandered along the hall until he reached her open bedroom door, leaning in as he kicked the doorframe to get her attention. She was reclining on the bed, reading a book she was holding propped up against her bent legs. "Hey, whatcha doin'?"

Maria bit back the acidic response that automatically came to mind and looked up at him. "Reading."

Michael took another bite of the sandwich and chewed thoughtfully for several long seconds. "Wanna watch a movie?"

This was new. "What about the game?"

He shrugged. "Sucks ass tonight."

Right. And there were no other reasons? She put her book down and looked at him. Did he want company, or did he want her by his side to watch a movie? Scratch that, he was probably bored. Yep, that was probably it. "Um-hmm, and none of the cheerleaders are drool-worthy?"

Michael bit into his sandwich to avoid having to answer just yet; he hadn't even looked at the television when the halftime show started. "The teams aren't the only thing that sucks ass; there's nothin' but a bunch of second-rate, uncoordinated, ugly bitches out on the floor… I don't even think they qualify as a dance squad."

Maria shrugged. "Well, we did buy a couple of new movies last time we went grocery shopping."

"Okay, but I don't wanna watch the one you picked out."

"You said the plot sounded interesting," she said as she slid a bookmark into place and set the closed book on the nightstand.

"It did, but the chick in your movie's ugly and I've had my fill of ugly chicks for one night. The movie I picked out has a hot fuckin' lead."

Maria rolled her eyes. "Fine, we'll watch your movie."

"Did we buy any popcorn?" he asked eagerly, sounding like an excited kid.

Not again! Exasperation crept into her tone. "Michael! You just had dinner an hour ago and you're snacking right now; let your food settle before you overload your system."

After sex, food was definitely his second obsession! Good thing that he was exercising and running to keep in shape; it allowed him to burn off all the food that he was constantly wolfing down. His body was perfectly sculpted thanks to years of hard work and a strict exercise regimen. His muscles were always showing under his tee-shirts and his thighs filled out his cargo pants to perfection.

Maria quickly derailed that train of thought, suddenly feeling very hot. Damn Michael! He was invading her thoughts and corrupting her! Michael had died a matter of weeks ago and here she was drooling over his double. What was wrong with her? Was she so bored, so desperate, that she was fantasizing about the pig standing in her doorway? No. There had to be another explanation. No way was she attracted to this Michael; he was a…. a man whore… a dumbass… a first class ass. So…why? She desperately searched for an excuse. Hey, she was only human. Wait a minute, only human? Yes! Maria exclaimed silently. She was only human, trapped in a world that wasn't hers, still mourning the loss of her Michael, and forced to live with a copy of her beloved Spaceboy. That explained everything. Michael's question her brought her back to reality, and his raised voice indicated that he had asked it more than once.

"But, we bought popcorn, right?"

"Yes. Hold on until we get halfway through the movie and I'll make some, okay?" She smiled when he agreed, knowing by the time they reached that point he would have forgotten all about it. She followed him into the living room and settled into her normal spot on the couch while he got the movie set up to play. She wondered what the next day would bring as she wiggled around to get comfortable. It would be interesting to see how well he adapted to controlling his powers and how long it took for him to adjust to using them with specific targets in mind.

Michael grabbed the remote and one of the cookies before turning the lights off and slouching down in his chair with his feet propped up on the coffee table. He took a drink from the glass of tea and grabbed up the second cookie as the credits started to roll on the screen. Without realizing it, he spent more time watching her than he did watching the movie with the hot lead, and he wondered if her presence would actually matter one way or the other when he started practicing with his powers.

*****

"You're not concentrating."

Michael had to grit his teeth when Maria repeated what had quickly become her favorite sentence of the day. The day before she had been bitching about him not focusing, and they had argued countless times over whether or not that was the problem.

"I am concentrating," he argued. "This isn't as easy as it looks, not that you'd know."

"Not that I'd know?" Maria repeated, irritated by his tone. "We've been out here for most of the past two days and do you know what we've achieved?"

Michael looked around the backyard, shrugging as his gaze raked over the thousands of tiny pieces of rock that used to be much larger rocks. "Look, you're the one who said your presence was supposed to provide focus, or inspiration, or some other bullshit, and I haven't seen how that's workin'."

Maria rolled her eyes as she moved to line up more rocks on the top rail of a nearby fence. She knew he was frustrated; they had been working for two days and he had yet to blow up a single rock. The idea was for him to single out one rock out of a group or rocks and blow it up, but so far, he had blown up all of them every time.

"You have to focus all of your energy on one single rock," she repeated for what felt like the millionth time that day. She moved over to stand next to him again. "You can do this, Michael."

"I'm startin' to have my doubts," he grumbled. He shook his head as he shook his right hand out and forced it to relax. He didn't know why he had insisted on spending another day working on something that he obviously wasn't going to master. He brought his right hand up, focused his concentration, and… all five rocks exploded. "This is bullshit and I'm sick of doin' this!"

"You're over-thinking."

"Well, why do you have to put 'em so fuckin' close together?"

Maria listened to him as he paced around, complaining about wasting his time. She shook her head and crossed the yard to line up five more rocks on the fence. "You can do this if you'll just concentrate."

"I have been fuckin' concentratin'!" he shouted angrily.

It wasn't quite the same as working with her Michael; his temper was too close to the surface and it was affecting his ability to… She glanced between him and the rocks lined up on the fence. Maybe with him it was a matter of redirecting that anger, channeling it in the proper direction. "Really?" Maria taunted. She watched him as he bitched about everything under the sun while he stalked around the yard, giving his temper a workout. She pushed the rocks closer together and stepped back, well out of range of exploding rock, and called his name.

"What?"

He was going to have to learn to control his powers with intent instead of by reaction, but if he could successfully do this one time it would give him incentive to continue. "Take everything you're feeling right now, all that anger, hostility, and frustration and turn it on the rock in the middle."

"Don't you think if I could do that, I would've already done it?" he snapped.

Maria took his arm and turned him so that he was facing the fence. "Blow up that middle rock, now!" she yelled, shoving him hard and causing his temper to spike.

Michael's hand shot out, reacting to her pushing and prodding, and his mouth dropped open when the rock in the middle burst into tiny pieces. Holy fuck! He stared at his hand, shocked that it had finally worked right.

"I told you that you could do it!" Maria exclaimed excitedly.

Without knowing how it happened or who initiated it, they found themselves locked in a tight embrace as tongues dueled and teeth clashed and they each fought for control of the kiss. The struggle for domination would've continued but Maria let him take the lead, urging him on as her nails gently scraped against the side of his neck. She let herself get lost in his touch and his taste, but the moment his big hands slid up under her shirt to settle against her bare skin she froze.

Michael swore when she broke the kiss and jerked away from him, putting quite a bit of distance between them. He wiped his right hand over his mouth as he stared at her, enjoying the way her rapid breathing was causing her breasts to push against her shirt. "What'd you stop for? You wanna take it inside?"

"No." How had she let that happen? She hadn't just let it happen, she had encouraged him. "No, this can't go anywhere… it shouldn't have happened."

Okay, that statement made something twist uncomfortably in his chest. "What?" He scowled when she started rubbing her upper arms, as if she were cold. She was acting as if he had just assaulted her! Which was ridiculous, because she had been just as into it as he was; the signals had been there, he knew he hadn't misread them. "What the fuck are you talkin' about?"

"You shouldn't have kissed me!" she shouted. "You had no right! I told you, I will not cheat on - "

"I had no right?!" he roared, pissed off that she blaming him for something that she had been totally into and had felt pretty fucking good. As if that weren't bad enough she was gonna bring up her dead lover and throw that in his face again. "You weren't exactly pushin' me away and screamin' your favorite goddamned word!" He started to walk up to the house but turned around to glare at her when he reached the steps. "You wanna lie to yourself, I can't stop you, but you wanted that to happen just as much as I did."

"Tell yourself whatever you need to hear if it'll help you sleep better at night," she snapped. "You took advantage of me!" She flinched when the rocks on the fence behind her shattered and she stormed past him and into the house.

Michael grabbed her arm and jerked her around to look at him. "You wanna act all self-righteous, go ahead, but don't accuse me of kissin' you against your will." He shook her roughly. "You've been around me long enough to know that I would've stopped the second you said no… and you didn't say it. I may be the biggest asshole you've ever met, but you know I wouldn't push you into doin' anything against - "

Everything he was saying was true, but she was in no mood to hear it. She shook his arm off and stalked into the house, slamming the door behind her.

"Fine!" he yelled, staring at the door. "Be a bitch about it!" He paced around, kicking every single rock in his path as he muttered to himself. She was gonna pay for this one, he thought, viciously kicking what he thought was a large rock. He frowned when it landed several feet away and he realized it was a turtle and now the damn thing was stuck lying upside down. "Fuck," he muttered, crossing the yard and nudging it over with his boot. The leathery little head poked out and looked around and he wondered if he had just sent the ugly thing back to where it had started from that morning. "Shitty day for you an' me both, pal. S'okay though… she wants to be a bitch… well, retaliation's the biggest bitch out there." Question was, what could he do that would be worthy of her behavior? He smiled slowly as he recalled a conversation he'd had with Indigo several weeks earlier. It would mean breaking one of his rules, but it was for a good cause… and it would only be the one time. He consoled himself with that thought as he hurried inside and grabbed his keys off of the counter.

*****

Maria checked on the chicken, testing to make sure it was moist before sliding the rack back inside and closing the oven door. She set the table for two, refusing to believe that Michael wouldn't come home after their fight.

He had been gone for hours, but after her reaction to that kiss it wasn't unexpected. She had finally had time to calm down and think rationally about what had happened and she knew it wasn't completely his fault. She hadn't said no and she had been into it… it had felt so good to be held against his body, to feel his demanding mouth on hers, but the moment his hands had touched her skin there had been no way to ignore that he wasn't her Michael.

Their hands were similar, but her Michael's hands were rough and calloused from working manual labor jobs. This Michael had rough hands as well, but they were different; years of handling weapons had created a different pattern of calluses than those that developed from manual labor. That difference had startled her and the realization of what she had been doing with him had scared her and she had attacked him.

Looking at it now she could see that it had simply been a natural reaction under the circumstances. She knew she owed him an apology for overreacting the way she had and that was why she was making one of his favorite meals.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 27 - 8/17

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:09 pm

spacegirl23 – A kiss, yeah, but don’t expect too much with those two stubborn ones!

Eva -
Fire-works! They are both so hot-tempered, it's funny to watch.
Hot-tempered, that’s so right. They are quite temperamental, that’s how they are, no matter what the universe is.

tequathisy – Yes, they kissed but expect something to go wrong. Big surprise.

DeDe PR – Michael is going to do something stupid and hurtful but don’t count Maria out. She’ll bring the big guns out.


Part 27

She breathed a sigh of relief when she heard gravel crunching under the tires of his truck and soon after the garage door was being opened.

"Dinner's not ready yet," she called when she heard his key in the lock, followed by the door being pushed open.

"That's fine," he bit out, "because we're not hungry."

Well, he was still pissed… Wait, did he say we? Oh, no, no, no, no, no, he wouldn't dare bring a woman here… would he? Maria walked towards the door but he stepped into the room before she got there. "Did you say - "

"I just love your house," a feminine voice gushed and a moment later a well-endowed redhead entered the room behind him.

Michael just smirked at the look Maria aimed at him, certain that if looks could kill he'd be on the floor, reduced to a pile of smoking ashes. "Yeah, it's great," he muttered. "Why don't I show you the bedroom?"

Oh, that oversized, egotistical, arrogant piece of… he had done just that! He knew exactly what he was doing. He had never shared his home with anyone else, but to punish her, he went against all of his standards? And he really thought that he was gonna fuck her here? Not as long as she was still breathing! She was starting to see red, but she realized that she had to think fast in order to prevent that disgusting, awful, vomit-inducing scenario from happening while she was living in the same house. She straightened up, preparing for the fight that he didn't know was coming.

The woman paused when Maria cleared her throat and her eyebrows lifted in surprise when she realized that they weren't alone. "Oh, you didn't tell me you had a wife at home." She shook her head as she looked at him. "I'm not really into that whole one-man-two-women thing… I'm more of a one-on-one woman, so - "

"No, no, no, no, no," Michael quickly denied. "We're not married and you're the only woman I'm interested in fuckin' tonight." He waved a hand in Maria's direction, the gesture dismissive. "She just lives here, that's all."

"Yes," Maria said, her tone droll, "I just live here. I cook, clean, and say no to sex with Michael."

"Why on earth would you say no?" the redhead asked.

"She's gay," Michael hurriedly interjected before Maria could say anything that would ruin his plans.

"Oh." She frowned. "Well, why would you be trying to have sex with her if she's - "

Idiot! She just didn't know when to shut up and she was asking way too many stupid questions. "Because I enjoy getting laid and some nights I just don't feel like goin' out." He shrugged.

Maria opened a drawer and pulled out a large slotted spoon before moving across the room and insinuating herself between them. "I'm Maria," she introduced herself.

"My name's Megan." The redhead smiled and shook her hand. "I don't think I've ever met a gay person."

"Really?" Maria feigned interest as she turned the other woman towards the table. "Have you ever met a castrated man before?" she asked, whacking Michael right in the crotch with the large spoon.

"Goddammit, Maria," he shouted. He had managed to turn his body enough to avoid a direct collision between the spoon and his dick, but she had still managed to graze him.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Her words dripped with insincerity. "Did I hurt you?" She wasn't the slightest bit sorry and she definitely didn't feel bad for hurting him. In fact, she really hoped that she had. Right now, she hated him more than anyone in her world or in this one. And he had intended to hurt her, by bringing that… that, girl into their house! This was war.

If she hurt him? The woman had tried to neuter him, for god's sake. A man had fragile body parts, parts that were precious, worth more than all the gold on the Earth! "You could seriously injure a guy by doin' that!"

"I'm sure she didn't mean it," Megan spoke up. "You are standing awfully close to her, so it'd be easy to - "

"No one asked for your fuckin' opinion," he snapped. What the fuck was goin' on? This is not the way his night was supposed to go!

Megan shook her head at him and turned her attention back to Maria. "I don't believe I've ever met a castrated man either, but I did see this movie once… it was so sad. This poor man was in this horrible accident and…"

Maria tuned her out as she turned to glare at Michael. "You are not getting laid tonight," she hissed.

Michael shot a mean look in her direction. She was going to screw up his date. Well, date was a kind word for what he had in mind. He just wanted to fuck and then it would be ciao. But he knew Maria wasn't making an idle threat; she had already decided that this wasn't going to happen tonight and he knew she was gonna do something to screw it up.

As soon as Megan was finished recounting the movie Maria smiled at him and then turned back to the woman. "Megan, do you like Chicken Parmesan?"

Megan looked deeply lost in her thoughts, and several very long seconds passed before she shook her head and answered. "I don't believe that I've ever had that before; it sounds expensive. I don't have much opportunity to get out between my jobs and school. The job at the club is just a part-time thing that I do for extra money; my full-time job is at a law firm downtown. I just wish it was a Friday night so I'd be off tomorrow."

"You poor thing," Maria murmured sympathetically. "When was the last time you had a home-cooked meal?"

Megan sighed, happy to relate her tragic life to this nice girl who was willing to listen to her. Nice people like her were so rare. "Oh, it's been ages. I live on frozen dinners and fast food."

"Well, it's settled then; you'll join me for dinner." She smiled and pulled one of the chairs out, gesturing to it. "I insist."

"Really? Thanks." She turned to look at Michael. "You don't mind, do you?"

Michael was gritting his teeth. "No, of course not."

"Is there someplace I could freshen up?"

"Sure," Maria offered. "Let me show you where the bathroom is."

Michael was leaning back against the island in the center of the kitchen, drinking a beer while drumming the fingers of his free hand against the counter. "You have no fuckin' right to interfere in my plans."

"I'm not interfering in your plans… in case you hadn't noticed, you no longer have any plans." She let her gaze travel down over his body, pausing when she reached his crotch. "Geez, and you wasted a perfectly good erection, too."

"Fuck you!" he snarled viciously.

Maria chuckled. "Don't blame me; you're the one who picked up some little college girl with two jobs. I figure we'll have dinner, talk over dessert, and converse until, oh, I don't know, close to ten or so, and then it'll be time for her to be on her merry way."

Michael glared at her. "I'm getting laid tonight."

No he wasn't. She wasn't gonna let that happen. She refused to focus on why she was so intent on him not having sex with another woman; it was just wrong, that was all. She quickly jumped back into the conversation. "Hmmm… I don't see how. I've already planned out your little girlfriend's evening and nowhere on that itinerary did your name or getting laid happen to come up." She smiled evilly as she glanced over his lower body again. "Pun not intended." She took the salad out of the refrigerator and carried it over to the table. "And, since I'm apparently gay now - as well as not interested - you've got nothing going for you there either."

Michael spent the next four hours listening to them talk about nothing. He wasn't willing to leave them alone, not trusting Maria with… whatever her name was. Countless times he had tried to separate them so he could finish his evening better than it had started, and every damn time Maria had managed to smoothly step in and divert his date's attention back to her.

"Is it really after ten?" Megan asked, glancing at the clock on the wall.

"Is it?" Maria smirked at Michael as she turned to look at the clock. "I guess you'll be needing to go soon; you have to work in the morning and traffic in L.A. must be horrendous that early."

"Oh, no, I don't live or work in L.A." She smiled and launched into another long explanation, missing Maria's frown and Michael's triumphant smirk. "I just go to college there, and I do have an early class tomorrow." She smiled regretfully at Michael. "I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to go." She turned back to Maria. "You have so much insight into relationships; we should totally meet up for lunch or dinner if you have time."

Maria agreed, mainly to piss Michael off, and went to get a pen and piece of paper for Megan to write her phone number down.

"So, after talking to Maria, I can totally see that random hook-ups just aren't that smart," she said. "Maybe we could just be friends."

Michael saw red. No woman had ever dared to suggest being friends with him! The legs of the chair scraped against the floor as he shoved it back and stood up. "I'm not - "

"Here you go, Megan." Maria elbowed Michael as she stepped in front of him to place the pen and paper on the table. "Ignore him; he's unbearable when he doesn't get his way."

Michael was waiting for her in the living room when she came back inside after walking his date out to her car. "I don't know what the fuck your problem is, but, you don't get to pick an' choose who I fuck."

"Then don't bring them home."

"What the hell does it matter? Me an' you, we're nothin' to each other, and there's no reason why it should bother you that I'm screwin' other women. You've had plenty of opportunities to get a piece of me an' you keep turnin' me down, so don't get all pissed off and jealous when I - "

"This is not about jealousy." A little voice in her head suddenly spoke up and reminded her that, yes, it was about jealousy. But that implied feelings, and feelings implied that she was forgetting her Michael, and she would fight that with everything she had. She knew she wasn't being fair to Michael, well, this version of Michael, but… she just felt that she had to stop him from having sex with other women. Whether it was jealousy, intuition, or damn possessiveness, towards Michael Guerin, regardless of dimension, she didn't know.

"No, you know what? You're right. It's not about fuckin' jealousy; it's about you kissin' me like you couldn't get enough and then pullin' the plug without an explanation other than, it shouldn't have happened. That's a cop-out."

Damn, he was making her sound like one of those girls who teased guys before playing the innocent, acting like the outraged victim. She wasn't like that. She had just… fallen, lost her way, in the heat of the moment. That was all. He could understand that, couldn't he? Surely he had experienced situations similar to that… right? "Fine, Michael, in that moment, yes, I wanted it to happen. But, it had nothing to do with you and everything to do with the moment; it was completely natural for me to respond." She shook her head. "It won't happen again."

Anger clouded his thoughts when he heard her denying the possibility of anything happening between them. He didn't understand why her decision was making him so furious. He didn't expect anything serious from her and she was just some chick who just refused to spread her legs… it wasn't like there weren't other women on the planet. He could get laid whenever he wanted. Well, as long as she wasn't around to sabotage his plans. So why was he so mad? He shook his head; he wasn't interested in looking any deeper into himself for a motive.

"Whatever. I'm goin' to bed; don't bother with breakfast in the mornin' because I'm goin' out." He was going out, alright. Straight to Marcos' office so he could get an assignment and take off for a while. Something where he could expend some of this excess energy that obviously needed to be redirected. Hell, dodging bullets would be relaxing compared to spending anymore time with Maria.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 28 - 8/24

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:23 am

spacegirl23 –
I know Maria didn't have a right to ruin Michael's chances of getting laid, but seriously, she is smart!

Loved this, her getting possessive in the most innocent way.
Hmmm, there’s never been a Maria Deluca not jealous or possessive over Michael Guerin. This is canon in the original Metz books, in the show, and in the tie in books. That’s just how it is. And Michael is just as jealous!

DeDe PR - Maria is street smart and she knows how to react fast

mary mary -
these poor kids...what a dilemma! Glad to see Michael was able to channel his power at least once. I have a sneaking suspicion that it eventually is going to be needed....right?

Ginger
Hmm, it’s quite possible that it would come in handy, in the future, for Michael to control his powers.

Eva – Maria wasn’t about to let that happen!

nibbles2 – Thanks for reading.


Part 28

Marcos slammed the file cabinet drawer shut and pulled the next one open, flipping through the colorful tabs that his secretary used. He had given up any hope of ever understanding her system; he would be completely lost without her and he was pretty sure that she not only knew it, but that she had planned it that way.

"What are you looking for?"

"I need the file on…" He fell silent when his secretary pushed him away from the file cabinet and handed him one of the health shakes she was always insisting he drink. He was thirty-eight years old, he had survived two wars and countless skirmishes in too many foreign countries on missions that technically didn't exist, and he had scared the piss out of men bigger than him, but when it came to his secretary… well, she wasn't the slightest bit intimidated by him.

"And it couldn't wait five minutes for me to get back from the smoothie shop?" She shook her head at him. "You're not working on anything that requires you to mess up my filing system."

"Cailyn, I don't have time to wait for - "

"And I didn't have time last night, but you still went to sleep with a big smile on your face, didn't you? Don't I always make sure you get what you need, when you need it?"

Marcos was a man of above-average intelligence and he knew better than to piss her off. The woman could do things in bed that practically melted his brain and he had learned that the best way to keep her doing those things on a nightly basis was to keep her happy. "I need the file on the Perretti job; there are some inconsistencies in a couple of the accounts that I wanna go over - "

"I've already checked those inconsistencies and verified our agents' accounting of the incident; our people are all clear. Wouldn't I have brought it to your attention if we had a problem with any of our people?" She rolled her eyes when he glared at her.

"I'm bored and you know when I get bored I start going through that mountain of post-it notes on my desk so I can go back and clean up questions regarding old case files."

Her eyes narrowed as she studied him, taking in the barest hint of agitation that was visible in his expression. This wasn't just boredom. She had been his secretary for five years and his lover for three, more than long enough to learn to read the man. "Marc?" She slapped his hand away when he reached for the handle on the file cabinet drawer. "We have seven open cases right now, three that need to have someone assigned to them; what's distracting you?"

"Xavier called while you were out."

"Does he have a job that requires one of our people?"

"Basara was spotted in Cairo a few hours ago."

This was not good information. Basara had been connected to terrorist activities in several countries and Marcos had been the last agent the Company had sent in to take the man out. His cover had been blown and after torturing him, Basara had left Marcos to die in a building wired with explosives. He had managed to free himself and crawl out of the building, but he hadn't escaped the explosion. "Marc, you can't go after him yourself." She followed him as he stalked back into his office, pacing around like a caged animal.

"Yo, Marcos!"

He paused and looked toward the door when he heard the obnoxiously loud voice. "Guerin! Tell me you're lookin' for an assignment."

"I'm in the market for an assignment that'll get me outta town for a few days. What've you got?"

"How's Cairo sound?"

"Perfect." Michael slouched down in one of the leather chairs in front of the man's desk and studied the couple's body language. "What's up?"

"How soon can you be ready to go?"

This sounded serious. Michael wondered what had gotten Marcos worked up into such a febrile state. "Soon as you need me. What time do I leave?"

"We leave in three hours."

Michael's gaze shot to Cailyn, surprised that she hadn't said anything yet. "Um… we?"

"Basara's in Cairo and I want him dead. Xavier sanctioned the kill; I wanna be lookin' into his eyes the moment he knows he's a dead man." Marcos's voice was icy as he verbally sentenced the man to death.

Michael shifted uncomfortably. "Look, Marcos, I know you got fucked on that mission, and you've got every right to want revenge, but, what makes you think he won't kill you the second you come face to face?"

"I'll be trustin' you to put a bullet between his eyes before he gets that chance." He moved around behind his desk, his fingers trailing along the edge. "I will not miss out on an opportunity to watch him die." His fist slammed down on the ink blotter. "I will not have that taken away from me!"

Alright, that was all he needed to know. "Do I need my passport or are we flyin' under the radar on this one?" Michael asked.

"Xavier's providing all transportation and I'll handle our false identification papers and all expenses."

Michael stood up. "It's gonna take me two hours to get to my place and back, and about half an hour to get my gear together. Should I meet you back here or out at the Company landin' strip?"

"No, here's good." He braced his fists on the desk and raised his head to stare at the younger man when he stood up. "I want him dead, Michael."

Michael saluted to show that he understood the situation perfectly. "He'll be dead before he hits the ground."

Marcos nodded and turned his head when the office door closed a few moments later. "I can't let this go, Cailyn." Her silence spoke louder than a screaming fit would have and he looked at her directly, his blue eyes faded by the near-blindness he had suffered in the explosion. He could only see shadows and blurred images unless he was very close to what he was looking at, and there were very few people who knew that his sight was compromised.

She knew that Michael Guerin was one of the few people Marcos actually trusted and he claimed the younger man was the best sniper he had ever worked with. She also knew that there was no way to control a man like Marcos and that if she expected him to come back to her she had to let him go without a fight. "I know you're gonna do this regardless of what I say, so I'm not gonna ask you not to go. But, you know what could happen if you meet with that bastard face to face, Marc."

"Cailyn, Michael's the best sniper I've ever worked with and I'll have him at my back." He shook his head. "He may be a total dick most of the time, but he takes this job seriously."

She sighed and nodded. "You'll need to get packed, so let's close up and head for home."

*****

Maria ignored Michael when he came home much earlier than she had expected him to. He had only been gone for a couple of hours and she had been certain he'd be gone for most of the day at least. She didn't think much of it when he went back and forth between the kitchen and the bedroom several times, but when he walked by carrying a packed bag she frowned.

"Where're you going?"

"Away." His answer was short and precise; Maria didn't need to know any more than that.

She stood and followed him back to his bedroom when he passed by again, pausing in the doorway when she saw the long rifle case lying open on his bed. "You've got another assignment," she guessed. "It's not like the last one though, is it?"

"Nope." Michael checked the weapon over even though he knew it was in perfect working order; he cleaned and oiled it on a regular basis as a preventative measure.

"How long will you be gone?"

"As long as it takes."

Maria tried once more to get at least some small piece of information out of him. "Can you at least tell me where you'll be?"

Michael closed the case and locked it as he glanced at her. "No."

Maria was beginning to feel anxious and she couldn't shake it; she just had a bad feeling about this. "What if something happens to you?"

"Never talk like that before a mission; it's bad luck." He picked his phone up off of the bed, flipping it open to make a call as he picked up the case that housed the weapon and carried it out to the garage. He talked as he worked, and she assumed he was gathering information of some kind for his upcoming mission.

She stood in the doorway, watching him as he secured the case to the motorcycle and then strapped his bag to the back. She listened to him as he carried on a conversation with whoever was on the other end of the phone and she frowned when she heard the name Basara and the word terrorist.

"Wait just one minute," she insisted, rushing after him when he disconnected from his call and turned to walk back into the house. "You're going after a known terrorist?" she asked, unable to control the fear in her voice.

Michael growled in frustration. Instead of preparing for his mission, he was going to have to stop and spend time giving this Maria girl a lesson in reality! What hadn't she understood about his job? "What exactly do you think I do when I'm sent out on assignment? Go to crappy little third world countries and build schools and play with small children?" He snorted disdainfully. "Grow up, Maria; that's a bunch of PR bullshit created to give naïve people like you a nice, soft picture to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside so you don't have to think about what's really going on."

Maria winced as she listened to him talking like that; he was so cold about life, about his job, and his mission. "Maybe in your world."

"Whatever." He shook his head and brushed past her, walking back to his bedroom to finish gearing up. "Believe whatever you wanna believe. You always do," he muttered.

Maria watched him as he armed himself with multiple weapons before pulling his dog tags out from beneath his shirt and letting them fall to rest against the white tee shirt when he turned to face her. It was as if he were making a statement that he wanted to make sure she could read without mistaking it for anything else.

"This is who I am and I make no apologies for it, not to you or anyone else." He pushed past her, stopping at the hall closet to retrieve his leather jacket before heading for the garage.

Maria stood at the picture window in the living room, watching him as he backed out of the garage and followed the driveway until he reached the end of his property and turned onto the paved road, more worried than she had let on. She supposed she shouldn't be surprised that he had an assignment; it seemed to be how he handled any situation that he didn't want to deal with, running off and focusing on something else until it could be forgotten.

She sighed and went back to doing what she had been doing before he came home. She still had a few hours before she had to be at work, and she didn't want to spend that time obsessing over his behavior. She just hoped that in his determination to ignore what was going on between them that he wouldn't forget to be careful.

*****

Maria walked along the aisles in the movie rental store, browsing over hundreds of titles without consciously looking for any specific thing. She had really only stopped by to drop a couple of rentals she and Michael had gotten out the week before and hadn't returned yet, but she was bored and had no desire to rush home to an empty house. She didn't have to work that night and she had gotten so used to having Michael rambling around that it was too quiet without him there.

He had only been gone for a couple of days but it felt more like weeks. She had worked the first two nights and that had helped keep her mind occupied, but tonight it was just her and the empty house and she really needed a distraction. Watching the news wasn't helping because she had no idea what to look for; she didn't know where he was, what he was doing, or what type of situation he had been sent in to handle.

The news was only causing her to worry about him; wondering if he was all right, what kind of situation he was in, was he safe or in danger? She hated thinking about what he was doing right now; her heart rate was going too fast, and fear was causing her to stress out. He was a trained professional in his chosen career and he probably had backup, so there was no need to worry. Maria repeated the mantra over and over in her head, doing her best to calm down.

She paused when her gaze skimmed over the Terminator trilogy; the covers looked about the same as they had in her universe. As many times as her hybrid boyfriend had insisted on watching the movies she practically had them memorized. They were by no means her favorite type of movie to watch, but she was wondering if they were the same as they had been in her universe… and, if they happened to take her mind off of the danger Michael was probably in, then that was even better.

She scooped up all three movies and carried them to the counter, carrying on a short conversation with the friendly cashier. They had gotten familiar with each other since she and Michael had been coming in on a fairly regular basis. After leaving the store she decided she didn't feel like cooking so she stopped for takeout before turning the truck towards home.

*****

Michael pounded on the door to the room that Marcos was in, frowning when the man didn't answer the door right away. He crouched down and checked the door, especially around the lock, checking to see if there was any damage that might indicate that someone had entered the room without the man's consent. There was no evidence that foul play had occurred, but he knew that things weren't always what they seemed to be.

He withdrew the handgun from the shoulder holster and took several steps back, giving himself plenty of room to charge the door. He was taking a deep breath when the door was suddenly pulled open and Marcos stood in the doorway hastily dressed, red-faced, and breathing heavily. "It's three o'clock in the fuckin' mornin', Guerin! What the fuck do you want?" he snarled.

Michael stepped past Marcos and into the room, and he grinned when his sharp gaze landed on the laptop lying open on the bed. "Marcos, you old dog… Internet sex? At your age?"

Marcos shut the door and turned slowly, trying to get his bearings and follow Michael as he moved around the room. He cursed a blue streak when he stubbed his toe on the dresser and he paused there, squinting to make out the other man's shadow. "No, don't touch that computer!" he shouted when Michael leaned down to pick it up.

Michael glanced at the open laptop and an eyebrow lifted in appreciation when the woman on the small screen waved. "Don't worry, you dirty old man, she's covered up." He chuckled and turned his attention back to the woman. "Cailyn, I hate to interrupt - "

"Liar." She studied him for a few moments. "You've got something," she guessed.

"Yeah, so, if you guys are finished with your computer fuck I kinda need to talk to him."

"Your eloquence never fails to amuse me." She chuckled but her expression quickly turned serious. "You know he's trusting you to get him back here alive."

"I've worked with him and for him off an' on for the past seven years… I've never let him down, Cailyn."

"Don't let this be the first time, Michael." This time her smile had an edge to it and it held a warning. "Because if anything happens to him, it'll also be the last time." She made a motion with her right hand when he just nodded in response. "Let me talk to him before the two of you go running off to chase down your next lead."

Michael sat down on the couch and waited for Marcos to finish the conversation, ignoring the man when he motioned for him to leave. He leaned forward and stared at his hands when Marcos stepped out onto the balcony and closed the door behind him. He scratched his chin as he wondered what Maria was up to; it had been three days since he had left and he hadn't so much as called Gabriel to check on her.

He shook his head and slouched back when the door opened and Marcos stepped back inside. "Alright, what's important enough for you to interrupt my time with Cailyn?"

"Had a request for a meetin' slipped under my door." He held up a small piece of paper. "I figured you'd be interested; whoever it is wants to meet in the alley in two hours. They claim to have Intel on Basara."

They discussed the meeting and decided to gear up and head down to the alley to check it out and set up in case it was a trap. It was always best to handle the situation as if the possibility of a trap was probable in order to control the element of surprise as well as they could.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 29 - 8/31

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:56 am

Eva – Boy, are you right, this is not good, for Michael! He will stay away longer than in his previous mission. And this one is more dangerous.

Spacegirl23 – Funny how Michael is scared of a short human girl. But she is really something, he has found his match with her, that’s quite terrifying for someone like him.

Mary Mary – Let’s see how they deal with being separated for a little while. It will be good for them.


Part 29
Maria was curled up in Michael's chair, chin in her hand as she stared at the blank screen on the television. Normally she didn't sit in his chair because he threw a fit, but it made her feel a little closer to him. She didn't know why she bothered; he was an asshole of the highest order, but she actually kinda missed him. Not that she would ever admit that.

The last movie had finished a little while ago and surprisingly enough, they had been the same as the movies in her universe. It was just odd how some things were identical and others like Star Wars and Madonna just didn't even exist. She picked at a loose thread in the seam on the arm of the chair as she thought about the movies she had just watched.

In the movie, the Terminator, a machine that looked human, was sent back in time to protect John Conner, a human whose purpose was to become an adult and preserve humanity, protect it from being destroyed by the machines. He had to grow up to become a leader capable of carrying out that directive, and to do that he had to be protected by the Terminator.

She sat up suddenly, ripping the thread straight down the arm of the chair without realizing it. What if that was why the Granolith - self-serving bastard that it was - had sent her to this universe? This Michael was closed off to everything, human and alien, he was completely selfish, and he didn't give a damn about humans - individually or as a race… well, unless it involved him getting laid. He did give a damn about that.

The Granolith knew the future, knew that Khivar was certain to be entertaining thoughts of destroying the human race, and that meant that it was also aware of the fact that Michael was necessary to their victory in that war. What if she was there to awaken that side of him, to explain his origins, to help him train, so that when the time was right he could become the leader he was created to be. Could the Granolith have known how her Michael had changed because of their relationship? Was it possible that it had sent her to this universe, to this Michael, to make him care about humans? Did it somehow think that just because she had won her Michael's heart in her universe that she could manage it with this Michael?

What if that was the key? What if that was how she was going to get back home? Could that be it? Help this Michael find his way to being the leader he was supposed to be and the Granolith would send her back home… before the accident occurred so that she could prevent her Michael from going near that cliff.

That was possible. She frowned. But, if that was the Granolith's reasoning for sending her to this universe, it seemed cruel. Why put her in a position to earn his trust, get him to open up, and then leave him? Maybe she was looking too deeply into it. Yeah, that was it.


She glanced down when the sound of ripping fabric caught her attention and she swore out loud when saw the strip of material that she had pulled free. On top of everything else, he was a bad influence, she thought. She had noticed that the more time she spent around him the easier it was to swear creatively.

*****

Cairo was not one of Michael's favorite places for business or pleasure. It was dry, dusty, and even in the middle of December it was almost seventy degrees. He could have that at home, just without all the dryness and the sand that got into everything; at least there was moisture in the air back home. Another thing that really bugged him was the constant crowds that were everywhere… and seriously, didn't these people ever bathe? It wasn't bad enough that it was hot, he had sand in places he didn't even wanna think about, and there was a virtual sea of people always pushing and shoving to get wherever they were going. But on top of all that there was the constant stench that lingered in the air, and combined with everything else, it was making his stay in the overcrowded city unbearable.

For the past seven days they had been chasing down leads that had yet to yield anything solid on Basara, and Marcos was as close to antsy as he had ever seen the man. They had met with several sources, gathering information, tracking down leads, but so far they had only come up with false leads and dead ends.

"This is fuckin' bullshit," Marcos muttered as he viciously cut into his roasted duck.
Michael glanced around, carefully watching for any signs that anyone was paying any attention to them or what was being said. He speared a large piece of his beef fillet and brought it up to his mouth, biting into it and chewing slowly as he kept watch and let the man rant until he started to run out of steam.

"I know what's ridin' on findin' this guy, Marcos, but you need to get yourself under control before you do somethin' stupid. You were hopin' we'd be in an' out without any complications and that's not the way it's gone down, but you're gonna have to get your head on straight before we meet with that informant tomorrow." He shook his head. "You beat the fuck outta that last one when his information ended up bein' no good, and," he shrugged, "okay, we almost walked into the business end of an automatic weapon, so he deserved it. But you're not thinkin' clearly and you need to do whatever it is that you do to get your head screwed on straight."

Marcos was pissed that things weren't going the way he had hoped, but he knew Guerin was right. He reached for the beer the waiter had placed on the table, frowning when it wasn't where he remembered it being before.

"One o'clock," Michael muttered, letting Marcos know where the bottle was in relation to his plate. "Waiter moved it when he brought your salad."

"Fuckin' bastard." He hated the dim interior of the restaurant because it made it more difficult to see with his limited eyesight, but alcohol wasn't served at most restaurants in the city and finding one that also served roasted duck hadn't left them with many options. "Cailyn always watches the waiters to make sure they don't move shit when I'm not lookin'." A rare grin slid over the man's features. "She thinks I don't know she does it, but I know; I've seen her do it out of habit when we go out durin' the day and the lighting's better."

"And you let her do that?"

"I figure if she's willin' to stick around and put up with all my shit the least I can do is let her take care of me however she thinks is best."

"You've gone soft in your old age," Michael muttered, taking a drink of his beer.

"Possibly, but she understands me in a way no one else does. Most women aren't gonna even be willin' to put up with the shit this job requires. You think another woman would've just accepted my decision to come after Basara?" He shook his head as he leaned forward to bring Michael's shadowed figure into better focus. "She didn't want to, but she knows what it means to me so she put a lid on what she really wanted to say. I need to be able to close this chapter of my life, but it needs to be final when it happens." He took a long drink of his beer before leaning back in his chair so he could light a cigar. "Y'know, she'd kill me if she caught me smokin' these damn things." He chuckled as he pictured her reaction.

"I understand the revenge angle in goin' after Basara, but it seems like there's somethin' else goin' on."

"Well, I sure as fuck can't ask Cailyn to marry me with this motherfucker hidin' in the wings, waitin' to step outta the past and screw up what's left of my future."

Michael laughed out loud. "You're fuckin' kiddin' me; men like us don't get that involved, Marcos."

"Because it makes us weak?" Marcos waved a hand dismissively. "Havin' someone who knows the darkest corners of your soul and still accepts you can only make you stronger, Michael. She has no idea that I'm gonna ask her; I've never given her any reason to think that I ever would, but it hasn't stopped her from bein' with me." He nodded when he felt the weight of the younger man's stare. "You think it's a mistake."

"I think you're getting old and it's startin' to affect your brain. Seriously, Marcos, you're probably the last man I'd expect to be hearin' this bullshit from."

"Don't get me wrong, kid, I'm still a cynic… twenty years doin' this kinda work has pretty much ensured that won't change, but, I'm willin' to take the chance."

Michael shook his head in disbelief. "You've obviously lost your last fuckin' operational brain cell." He rolled his eyes and checked Marcos' bottle before signaling for two more beers from their nearby waiter. The meeting with the informant the next day couldn't come soon enough, he thought. Marcos hadn't exactly started spouting poetry or reciting sonnets, but the fact that the man was talking about marriage with a straight face was reason enough to make him uncomfortable as hell.

*****

Maria glanced at the calendar behind the bar, feeling a wave of sadness and loneliness wash over her when she realized that Christmas was just a few days away. This would be the first year in too long that she would be facing the holidays without Michael… her Michael, not the one from this universe, who probably had no understanding or concept of what the holiday was all about.

She had completely missed Thanksgiving, but she wasn't really shocked to learn that he hadn't even recognized the holiday or thought to mention it. She frowned as she looked around the bar, wondering why it wasn't decorated with any holiday ornamentation. The music was the same kind that was played all of the time; there was no holiday music or lyrics.

"You've got somethin' on your mind," Gabriel rasped from behind her. "And for some reason, that always makes me nervous."

"Have you thought about decorating for Christmas? Or maybe asking the band to play some Christmas carols?"

He almost laughed, but she looked so serious that he caught himself just in time. "Uh, no. These people aren't here to experience the wonders of the season, Maria; they come here to forget. Most of them don't have family… they don't have anywhere else to be. Some of them do have family, but they're not wanted; the last thing they want is to be reminded of the holidays and what they don't have."

Maria was disappointed. No way was she going to experience the Christmas spirit in Gabriel's bar. "Oh. Well, I guess that's understandable."

Gabriel crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned back against the counter. "You really get into all that holiday stuff, huh?" He nodded when she gave him a slight smile. He knew she was worried about Guerin; the man had been gone for almost two weeks without a single effort being made to communicate with her. She had asked a couple of times if he had heard from the man, and he had regretted having to tell her that he hadn't had any contact with him. "Well, I tell ya what; we don't do Christmas here at the bar, but if you wanna come by tomorrow afternoon I can take you someplace that does. I know you're off tomorrow night, but - "

"No, that's fine, really," Maria assured him, eager to get out of the house and be around other people.

He smiled at her enthusiasm. "Cool. Be here around noon."

*****

Michael ducked back behind a column as another wave of bullets whizzed by him, grazing the concrete and spraying him with tiny bits of rock that cut into his left arm. "I've just about had my fill of bein' shot at," he yelled, knowing Marcos wasn't far away.

"Tell me about it," the man shouted back.

He heard the distinct sound of an automatic weapon being reloaded and he ducked down, firing off his last couple of shots to distract the man who had claimed to have information on Basara.

"You ready, Guerin?"

Michael took several deep, calming breaths, knowing that he had to be the one to draw the enemy's fire and hopefully lure him back towards Marcos' position. He was out of ammunition, so he was going to be nothing more than a moving target. "Yeah, let's do it." He ran across the front of the building, using the wide columns for cover, ducking and dodging the bullets being sprayed in his direction.

Marcos' hands were steady as he held the automatic rifle up to his shoulder, tracking Michael's movements as he slowly made his way towards him. A shadowed figure occasionally popped up behind the columns, never far behind Michael, and he felt his heartbeat begin to pound as he lined the man up in his sights. A few more feet and he'd have him… just a few more feet. He knew he wouldn't have been able to do this if it weren't the middle of the day in a deserted part of the city; the bright sunlight brought the shadowed figures into focus and allowed him to target their assailant.

His finger gently brushed against the side of the trigger, sliding to the front as Michael ran full out towards him, dodging bullets as he dove behind the column Marcos was using for cover. The fool chasing him momentarily got caught up in the chase, stepping away from his own cover, and leaving himself open. He realized it too late and he was close enough that Marcos could see his shadowed expression fill with fear as he realized his mistake. His body jerked with every bullet that slammed into his flesh and his weapon clattered to the ground seconds before he did.

Marcos and Michael glanced at each other before stepping out from behind the column and moving to make sure the man was dead.

"Yeah, this bastard ain't goin' nowhere," Michael muttered, viciously kicking the body.

"Fucker's playin' with us." Marcos looked around, squinting as he tried to see into the distance while Michael made the call to have the body collected and disposed of.

Michael felt the small hairs at the back of his neck stand up and he adjusted his sunglasses as he looked around. "There's someone else out there."

"Basara."

He wasn't expecting it when Marcos ran down the steps and out into the open and he chased after the man, launching himself at him and taking both of them to the sandy ground. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" he snarled, doing his best to drag Marcos back to the relative safety of the building they had been using for cover.

Marcos was depending on his years of experience and training as he turned on Michael, extracting himself from the younger man's grip. "Don't treat me like a fuckin' child, Guerin!" His right hand balled into a fist and he swung, connecting solidly with the left side of the man's jaw.

"Quit fuckin' actin' like one."

They pushed and pulled, exchanging blows as Michael fought to get him out of the open. He lost the upper hand when Marcos landed a blow against the side of his head that momentarily stunned him.

"Come out and face me, you fuckin' coward!" Marcos shouted as he stood away from anything that could be considered cover and held his arms open wide.

Michael saw the sunlight reflect off of a scope on the roof of a nearby building and he yelled at Marcos to get down, but it was too late. The single bullet impacted the older man square in the center of his chest and Michael noted that the shooter was already gone by the time he reached the man lying on the ground.

He ripped the man's shirt open, breathing a ragged sigh of relief when he realized that the bullet hadn't penetrated the armored vest he was wearing. "Are you fuckin' insane?" he snapped when he saw Marcos' eyes shoot open.

"He's makin' a point," he grumbled as he pushed himself up into a sitting position. "If he wanted me dead he would've aimed at my head instead of my chest. He knew I'd be wearin' a - "

"No, we've played this your way since we got here. I'm not takin' you home in a fuckin' body bag; I will not be the one that tells Cailyn that you were too goddamn stupid to…" He shook his head as he checked Marcos' pockets, pushing the man's hands away when he tried to stop him. He located the cell phone he was looking for and he scrolled down to find the number he wanted and hit the call button.

"Guerin, don't call…" He trailed off when the younger man started talking, relieved to hear that he was speaking with Xavier and not Cailyn. He listened to Michael as he yelled into the phone, trying to extract information from the man on the other end. He chuckled when the call suddenly ended and the phone was thrown at him, and he winced when it landed against the rapidly bruising area where the bullet had impacted. "Why'd you use my phone?"

"Because mine's in about a dozen pieces after fightin' with you. You're actin' like a fuckin' rookie and you're gonna get us both killed if you keep goin' off like that, Marcos."

"He's getting impatient; he wants this over as much as I do. Help me up, my chest hurts like hell."

"Wouldn't be a problem if you had stayed under cover, asshole."

"I'm sick of this game he's playin'," Marcos huffed as he was helped to his feet. "I want it over with so I can go home."

"He could've just as easily put a bullet in your head."

"That motherfucker's playin' with us; he's not ready to kill me just yet." He leaned over to catch his breath, rubbing his chest. "You ruined my favorite shirt," he grumbled.

Michael's gaze slid over the man's loud Hawaiian shirt and he shook his head. "That thing needed to be taken out and burned before I ever touched it."

Marcos shrugged Michael's hands off and finished brushing the sand from his favored shirt. "I'll have you know Cailyn picked this shirt out." He frowned. "What, you don't believe me?"

"No, I believe you," he said, shaking his head. "No self-respecting man would pay good money for somethin' that looks like that, and the fact that you wear it in public only confirms what I already knew - you've lost your last fuckin' operational brain cell."

Marcos laughed at the younger man's tone, watching him as he turned to motion towards the vehicles driven by people that had been sent in by Xavier to clean up the scene. "Let's get back to the hotel and figure out what our next move's gonna be."

Locked