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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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 60 - 2/2

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:43 pm

Alien Friend –

Wow! That was bitter sweet. My heart broke for Michael when she said that it was mistake. Though I totally understand but it was such a huge step for Michael. I just would hate for this to make him close off. He's amazing when he's so open.

When his powers went all out of sorts, I thought that was so powerful. I could just feel the grief and devastation of not being loved back coming off him in waves. Then way he held her and took care of when he realized that he hurt her, so sweet.

It’s not that he isn’t loved back, although right now, he believes that’s the case. It’s that he stumbles on Maria when she was weak and having a moment of doubt. Had he not found her then, things would have taken a different path. Maria would probably have collected herself and see the light, in the morning. But it didn’t happen this way.

Mary mary –

I can't quite put a time slot on Maria's Michael's death and I'm pretty sure she lost Alex in that other time line so she should be able to understand that dead is dead. You don't forget them, you mourn them and then you move on.

She's got a second chance here...a gift from the granolith for whatever reason and she is hurting herself and this timeline's Michael. She needs to talk to the granolith...she can't talk to anyone else because no one else can know nor would they understand but she definitely needs some help here. Poor Michael has so many new emotions running through him that he could use a little help as well. Maybe if they talked to each other.

It’s been more or less six months since Michael died. Not a lot of time to mourn him, for Maria. Their relationship had been intense, a first love which was a lasting one. What you said about Alex is interesting but don’t forget the Max/Clayton thing.

Maria felt guilty, for a moment. And it’s at that moment that Michael found her.

Eva –

understand Maria completely. It wasn't that long ago she shared her life with "her" Michael. But it was the wrong moment for this Michael to stumble on her. She was emotionaly out of wack and he didn't deserve her outburst. Not now, after he had opened himself for the first time in his life.

This situation will backfire on the both of them, no doubt about it! It's just a shame!

It will be awkward for a while but don’t worry, things will go all right.

Timelord31 – Thanks for reading.

Maipigen –

I am new to this site and have only ever written one Roswell story myself...but I bow down to you two gals for this one.

Aaah, thank you. I (Mag) love “The Antarian timetravellers”, so thank you for your compliments.

Then the story progressed and for once I actually saw myself liking the original characters, such as the tragic Stone and Azrael, Gabriel, Raphael - heck even Jordan from the very start (what ever happened to her btw?).

Jordan was just a ship in the night. Not important to the great scheme of things.

We hope that you’ll stick with us until the end of this story.

Part 60

She dragged herself out of bed a little while later when she heard him leave his bedroom and head towards the kitchen. She quickly collected her things and hurried down the hall to duck into his room. Her intention had been to jump in the shower as soon as possible while he was otherwise occupied, but as she crossed the threshold she was assaulted by memories of the night before. Her gaze was automatically drawn to the bed and emotions she couldn’t define surfaced when she saw that the linens had been stripped, leaving the mattress bare.

“What the fuck are you doin’ in here?”

She whirled around to face Michael, unprepared for his cold, emotionless expression. She had thought she would be ready to deal with him when they inevitably encountered each other, but now she knew she had been mistaken. “I just um… wanted to take a shower before breakfast.”

“Well, the fuckin’ shower ain’t in here, is it?” he snarled.

“Michael…” She had no idea what to say to him.

He crossed his arms over his chest and waited expectantly. “Nothin’ to say? No problem, Maria, there’s nothin’ to say… nothin’ to apologize for, nothin’ for you to regret because it’s not like it meant anything.” He shrugged carelessly. “I expected more to be honest.”


His eyes slid over her dismissively. “How you managed to keep him interested and comin’ back to you night after night is beyond me.” He ignored the sick feeling washing over him; she had already struck the first blow and he’d be damned if he gave her the opportunity to take another one at his expense.

Maria wasn’t blind, she knew what he was doing, but she wasn’t able to put her heart into a fight to defend herself. “Last night – “

“Last night wasn’t even worth remembering.” He straightened away from the doorway and shoved his hands in his pockets to keep from touching her. “We were both hyped up from the overload of adrenaline; sex is the perfect way to get rid of it.”

He was reducing the night before to a few hours of meaningless sex and that grated on her nerves. But how could she argue with him when she had been a willing participant in something that had gone above and beyond her expectations? She hadn’t been ready for the emotional fallout as she had laid beside him, listening to him sleep and watching the way his features slowly relaxed.

She had left his side just as soon as she had known she could move without waking him and she’d barely made it into the living room before the feelings of betrayal and guilt had started to eat away at her conscience. He hadn’t done anything wrong; he hadn’t taken advantage of her or taken anything she hadn’t offered willingly, but her reaction to the situation had hurt him and made him feel as if she regretted what they had done and she couldn’t completely deny that she felt that way.

“How dare you make it sound so cheap?” Despite those feelings she couldn’t let him treat the night before as nothing more than one of his many one-night stands. “Last night was not just about adrenaline.”

“No?” He crossed the room, crowding her until she had no choice but to back up. He waited until she was pinned between him and the dresser before he spoke again. “What was it then? Because it sure as hell wasn’t a pity fuck. Maybe you just wanted to see how much you’d been missin’ out on since he had no experience with women – ”

She slapped him as hard as she could when she saw arousal darken his angry eyes, and it only served to ignite her own anger. “I’m not gonna stand here and argue with you all day.”

“Oh, well, there’s a fuckin’ change. Now that you’ve got all that free time, pack a bag when you get outta the shower.”

“What?” Maria asked, taken aback by the sudden topic change.

“We’re goin’ to New Mexico; I wanna see this granolith you’re always talkin’ about and I wanna know how to send your ungrateful ass back home.”

“I told you what the granolith said – “

“Obviously you don’t know how to talk to it. If I’m really part of that bullshit about the royal four that you’ve been talkin’ about then the damn thing should listen to me.”

Maria made a face at his arrogance. “You’re unbelievable.”

His expression turned smug. “Yeah, you thought so last night, too.” He shook his head when her fingers twitched and he could tell she was on the verge of slapping him again. “You weren’t the first woman to think so,” he shrugged carelessly, “and you sure as fuck won’t be the last.”

She glared at him. “You are so fucking full of yourself!” she shouted at him.

“You take a shower and pack a bag; I’ve already called Gabriel and told him you’re takin’ time off… permanently if I have anything to say about it!” he yelled. He stalked out of his bedroom and doors slammed in his wake.

Maria slumped back against the dresser, letting it support her weight as she tried to pull herself together. What had she done? How had she let it happen? She couldn’t deny that there was a part of her that had really wanted it to happen, and that part wouldn’t have a problem with it happening again, but the other part was wracked with guilt over the belief that she had just betrayed her Michael.

What would happen if she managed to alter the events in her universe and she was able to stop the accident from happening? How could she face her Michael knowing what she had done? What would happen when he discovered the truth? It wasn’t something that she could hope to hide from him, not even to save him from being hurt from the truth.

God, her head felt like it was going to explode from all of the thoughts stampeding through it. She went into the bathroom and started the shower, getting the water as hot as she could stand it. It was ridiculous to try and wash away the night before and as she undressed she caught her reflection in the mirror and the sight of the marks Michael had left on her body brought the night before rushing back with crystal clear clarity.

She shook her head in an attempt to rid herself of the memories that washed over her and it only took a matter of moments before she accepted that it wasn’t going to be that easy. Her body was still tingling and sore in places that she had nearly forgotten about but it wasn’t unpleasant and that was part of the problem.

Breakfast, Maria… think about breakfast.


Michael could smell breakfast cooking before he reached the patio doors and despite the rumble of appreciation low in his stomach his temper spiked and he stormed into the kitchen. His mouth watered when he saw Maria leaning over the stove, reaching into the oven to pull out a baking sheet with biscuits on it. He stubbornly tamped down the desire to touch her and shoved his hands in his pockets just in case his wants outweighed his need to be in control.

“What the fuck are you doin’?” he demanded.

“I’m hungry and I don’t intend to just jump out of bed, into the shower, and into the truck for a long drive. Not to mention that your mood will only get worse the longer you go without eating, so sit down and eat.”

“I don’t take orders from you and I don’t need anything from you.” He slapped the palm of his hand down on the island in a fit of temper. “Have you packed yet?”

“I’d like to eat first – “

“I could give a rat’s ass what you want,” he snarled. “We’re not playin’ by your rules anymore! No more tellin’ me what to eat, where to eat, when to eat, what I can watch on TV, or what I can read! You get your ass packed and ready to go because I’m sick of this bullshit! I want you gone… out of my house and out of my fuckin’ life!”

Maria backed up involuntarily when he advanced on her and as soon as she realized it she stopped moving, standing her ground and meeting his hostile gaze. She could see his big hands clenching and unclenching at his sides, could see the angry tic causing his temple on his right side to stay in constant motion, but despite his physically aggressive actions she knew he would never hurt her.

“You have one hour,” he snarled in her face. “If you’re not ready I don’t care; we’re leavin’ in exactly sixty minutes.”

He started to back away and then froze and reached around her to snatch up one of the plates filled with breakfast food. He didn’t break eye contact as he backed out of the room and then turned to go back out to the shop.


Maria stared at the clothes lying on the bed, waiting to be folded and placed in her suitcase, but her mind was stuck replaying the events from the night before. Just about everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong, she thought as she twisted a shirt in her hands. Why did he have to choose that moment to walk in and find her in that condition?

It would have gone so much better if she had just had time to sort her emotions out and put her thoughts together before he had found her and she had hurt him with her words. But he had walked in while she was going through her feelings of guilt and trying to process them, and it had screwed everything up. If she’d had more time alone she would have been able to put things in perspective, to realize that he was Michael and not just some random guy. If she was going to fall for someone then Michael, her Michael from her universe, he would understand that it was another version of him… right? She wasn’t completely confident that was the case; he had always been highly jealous, but it wasn’t some random Billy, Bob, or Brody, it was him.

She’d had time to think about it now and she had realized that it wasn’t that she regretted the night they had spent together. What she really regretted was spending so much time getting lost in her feelings of guilt and hurting Michael in the process. She needed to talk to him but now he was in the mood from hell and she knew from experience that his moods could last longer than she cared to think about. She had to make him understand that she had developed real feelings for him and that she was scared. She had lost her Michael from her universe and now she had gone and fallen for him. It wasn’t an easy thing to deal with but she had to make him understand that she knew the differences between the two men and that she knew which man she was with… which man she had made love with the night before.

He was angry and hurt, probably thinking that not only did she regret what they had shared, but most likely thinking that she had used him and pretended to be with another version of him while she had been making love with him. Her thoughts and feelings hadn’t once strayed from him, but how would she ever convince him of that? How could she explain where her thoughts were in a way that he would not only understand but also be able to accept?

She glanced up when she heard his boots striking the hardwood floor and a moment later he was standing in her doorway, his impatience undisguised as he glared at her. She could still feel his skin against hers, his lips and hands branding her and marking her as his and she swallowed a sigh when he folded his arms over his chest.

“It’s been an hour.”

“Michael – “

He shook his head and stepped further into the room, leaning over the bed and scooping all of the clothes into a pile. He picked them up and dropped them in the suitcase, slamming the top cover shut and slapping the locks in place. He grabbed the handle and looked at her one more time before turning and walking out of the bedroom with the suitcase.

He had made it halfway through the living room before Maria shook herself out of her stupor and hurried to chase after him. She grabbed onto the handle, her hand covering his, and she could feel the irritation thrumming through his veins when he turned to look at her. He was gritting his teeth and she could see the warring emotions in his dark eyes, the brief moments of indecision as he fought with himself over his response to her.

Michael opened his mouth to say something, but before he could get the words out his phone started to ring and he pulled it off of his belt to answer it.

“Guerin,” he barked into the mouthpiece.

Maria watched him, frowning when his expression shifted and several emotions chased across his features too quickly for her to decipher. She couldn’t tell who he was speaking to from his clipped responses, but she was fairly certain that it wasn’t anyone he worked with; the call didn’t sound job-related.

“Tomorrow at noon… got it.” He nodded. “We’ll be there.” He hung up and inhaled slowly and deeply as he shoved his phone back in his pocket and relinquished his grip on the suitcase. “That was Dupree’s lawyer; the old man’s dead.”

Maria stared at him uncomprehendingly as she lost her grasp on the handle and the suitcase fell to the floor unnoticed by either of them. “Dead? How? He was fine when we visited him.”

“Did you hear me ask for specifics?”

She ignored his temperamental answer and switched to another question. “What’s at noon tomorrow?”

“Old man’s funeral.” He turned to walk back to his bedroom, pausing at the entrance to the hallway when she called his name.

“Michael, I’m sorry – “

“I’ve gotta add a couple things to my bag and switch our flight plans.”

Maria sighed as he disappeared into his room and shut the door behind him, not with an angry slam, but with a quiet click that just as easily signified that she wasn’t welcome to cross the threshold and enter his private domain. She sat down in his chair as the realization that Charles Dupree was dead hit her and she wondered how Michael would deal with the news.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 61 - 8/16

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:48 am

Mary mary – Well, Michael had learned of his origins, on his human side, thanks to Charles Dupree. His death is bound to have repercussions, for Michael. And who knows, maybe Dupree had a surprise for Michael?

Timelord31 – Maria’s world still exists, it won’t disappear so yeah, going back is an option. And the Granolith could have answers for Michael.

Alien Friend – Michael will calm down. The question is, when?

Part 61

It was windy and rainy in San Angelo as Michael and Maria stood at the gravesite and watched as Charles Dupree’s coffin was lowered into the ground. The funeral service had been short, the minister presiding over the service had been austere and it had been obvious that he hadn’t known Charles. Only a couple of others had been in attendance; the housekeeper that had taken care of the old man and his house, the lawyer that had handled legal issues for the old man, and a reporter that was lurking somewhere around the cemetery.

Michael looked down when Maria wrapped her hand around his and even though he was still angry and hurt, he accepted the small comfort. He didn’t know what he felt about the old man’s death, didn’t even know if he should feel anything, and it was making him edgy. He looked up when he felt someone approaching and he stared menacingly at the reporter.

“Hi, I’m Richard Atwater, reporter for – “

“Get lost, Dick,” Michael snarled at him.

“I was just wondering if I could interview you for my newspaper; Dupree was kind of a legend around here. What with all of his…” he snickered, “abductions. My editor would like to have a story to run for tomorrow’s – “

Maria tightened her hand around Michael’s when she felt him tensing up and she shifted so that she was partially blocking him. “Mr. Atwater, we’re not interested in doing an interview for your paper or anyone else’s.”

“You sure?”

Michael brushed the guy aside. “She said no comment,” he growled.

The reporter held his hands up and took a few steps back. “Okay, man.”

“Mr. Guerin?”

He turned to face the owner of the new voice and he recognized the man who had been identified as Dupree’s lawyer, David Starnes. “Somethin’ I can do for you?”

“The reading of Charles’ will is this afternoon at two.”

Michael’s tone was rude as he responded. “So?”

“You’re named in the will, Mr. Guerin. I wanted to let you know in case you would care to attend.” He nodded when the man just stared at him. “Very well. Charles did say that you might not care to do so and in that case I was to give you this key and tell you that what it unlocks belongs to you.”

Michael looked down at the key the man held out to him. “What’s it for?” he asked warily as he accepted it.

The lawyer chuckled. “That I don’t know, Mr. Guerin. Charles was a very secretive man, but he said that you would understand.”

“Well, what’s it unlock? Wall safe, safe deposit box…”

“He said Aja would tell you.”

“Old man was crazy,” Michael muttered. “How’s a dead woman gonna tell us where to find whatever this key goes to?”

The lawyer laughed at the big man’s disgruntled tone. “Well, Charles was a little on the strange side, and he was full of secrets, but he said the two of you would understand.” He nodded at his car that was waiting at the edge of the grounds. “I have to get back to the office; the reading of the will is still at two.

“Mr. Starnes?”

He turned to look at the woman who had spoken. “Yes?”

“Would it be possible for us to visit Charles’ home once more?”

The man nodded. “Of course, he said you would and that you had a key.”

“Right, we just weren’t sure if we’d be able to go out there since we didn’t know what he wanted done with it after his death.” She smiled. “We’ll go out there later this afternoon maybe.”

“Very well.” The man nodded in her direction as he handed her a business card. “Just in case either of you needs to get into contact with me.”

“Like we need him for anything,” Michael snarled when the man left them alone. He looked down at the key in his hand. “What the hell is this for?”

“It’s for something in that house,” Maria said as she stared at the key.

He thought about that for several minutes and finally decided that she was probably right. “Let’s go then,” he said as he stalked to the rental car they had picked up at the airport. “No reason to drag this out; let’s get it over with because we have another appointment in New Mexico.”

Maria sighed and followed him, wondering if she was ever going to be able to talk to him about what had happened between them.


Maria watched Michael as he stalked around the house, his irritation so palpable that it was almost like a living thing in the room with them. They had been there for hours, searching for anything that would give them some clue as to how Aja was going to tell them what the key unlocked. So far nothing had stood out as being important enough to provide them with the necessary information and with each passing minute her agitated companion was becoming more and more angry.

“This’s fuckin’ stupid,” Michael snarled. “Old man probably sent us on a wild goose chase just because he knew you’d fall for it.”

She decided to ignore his taunt, pacing around the living room as she went over the lawyer’s words again. “It’s gotta be in the basement,” she decided.

“We’ve been through that depressing little cell; we spent hours diggin’ around down there and we didn’t find a single shred…” His voice trailed off and he turned to look towards the kitchen, his expression speculative.

Maria could almost see the proverbial light bulb go on above his head. “What?”

“It is in the basement… it has to be because that’s the only room in the house where there’s any evidence that the old man even knew that the opposite sex existed.” He ignored Maria when she started to remind him that she had basically said the same thing just minutes before and he hurried back downstairs.

He was standing in the middle of the basement office when she joined him, his gaze slowly scanning over the walls. “Where are you?” he muttered as he moved closer to the wall behind the desk.

“You’re thinking it’s in the wall?” she asked.

“Whatever it is, he wouldn’t have left it in plain sight; he was too paranoid to risk anyone ever seein’ it. A wall safe would either be electronic or use a dial combination, not a key. This looks like an ordinary house key with the exception of the formation of the notch at the end and the teeth towards the head of the key. It’s not the kind used for safety deposit boxes, mailboxes, lockers, or anything else that I can think of.” He shook his head as he looked around at the walls that were covered in a myriad of maps, photographs, newspaper clippings, and sketches. “No, whatever it is, it’s right here.”

He took a step back and looked up at the ceiling before turning in a circle and mentally mapping out the floorplan of the house above them.

“What’re you doing?” Maria asked.

“The kitchen’s directly above us, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“How far back would you say it goes?”

Maria paused to think. “Okay, well, the door to the basement is just off the entrance into the kitchen and as you step into the room it goes…” She turned to look at the wall in front of her. “The kitchen extends well past where this wall is,” she said excitedly.

“Yeah.” He stepped up to the wall and started removing the papers that had been hanging there, some of them for decades. He was silent as Maria started to help him, making neat stacks of the papers that Charles had spent a lifetime collecting and carefully setting them on the desk.

As the wall was slowly cleared, a portrait of the woman they had identified as the love of the old man’s life, skillfully etched into the otherwise unblemished wood came into view.

“Maybe the old bastard wasn’t crazy after all,” Michael murmured as his fingertips traced over the markings. After a moment his fingers curled into a fist and he reached up to rap his knuckles against the wall. He glanced at Maria. “You hear that?”

Her eyes were on the wall as she nodded. “It’s covering something else,” she said as she pointed at the corner. “I saw it move when you knocked on it.”

“It’s not a solid wall,” he mused as he ran his palm over the surface. “There’re ridges every six to eight inches, except for right here.” He tapped his forefinger against the center of the wall. “It’s much closer right here, barely a three inch spacing.”

“There’s a gap at this end, in the corner.”

“It’s a set of doors,” he realized aloud. “There’s gotta be a releasing mechanism built in somewhere that allows them to open.”

“But where?”

“I don’t know. Check along that edge, see if you can feel anything… could be a button, a pin, or maybe even a space in the frame, probably just big enough to get a finger in and pull down. Don’t do anything if you find it because if you do and we don’t catch the doors in time you’ll crush your fingers.”

Maria rolled her eyes at his unnecessary warning and started to search for the hidden mechanism that would release the doors. She shook her head after going over the edge several times. “I’m not finding anything, Michael.”

He frowned and shook his head. “Me either. Okay, stand back while I check the tops of the doors.” He grabbed a nearby stepstool and climbed up on the top step, stretching out in first one direction and then the other, pausing when he felt a notch cut into the top right corner. “I’ve got it. Lean against the doors, right in the center and put your weight into it.” As soon as she complied he pulled the ring hidden inside the notched area and then jumped back down to the floor. He pressed his hand over Maria’s head, right against the point where the doors were divided then and motioned for her to move. Once she was back far enough he stood back slowly and let the doors open on their own, hinges and wood creaking from who knew how many years of no use.

He stared at the wide door waiting for them, the handle inlaid directly below the keyhole and he felt a moment of hesitation. After several minutes he felt Maria reach out and place her hand on his arm and he turned to look at her. “What could he have needed to hide like this?”

“Something that he left to you, so it must have been important to him.”

He nodded and pulled the key out of his pocket, sliding it into the keyhole without resistance and turning his hand. He frowned when the key didn’t follow the motion of his hand and he pulled the key back out. “What the hell?”

“Try it again,” Maria urged him, feeling a moment of familiarity so strong that she felt like she was standing in the room beneath the dome with her Michael.

He started to protest, but something about her expression had him inserting the key once more and turning the key, once again without success. He started trying different variations, jiggling the key, pressing against the door, and easing the key back and forth as he turned it. He was on the verge of calling it a loss when the tumbler made a distinct sound as the locking mechanism released. He hooked his fingers through the metal ring that served as a handle, turning it and throwing his weight against the door to push it inward.

As the door opened lights flickered to life overhead and illuminated the small vault built into the wall. He stepped inside and glanced around, his eyes travelling over the sterile metal shelves filled with empty glass cases. All but one, he realized as his gaze landed on a glass case on the shelf directly in front of him. He moved to it slowly and reached up, his fingers automatically running over the edges and searching for any kind of hidden traps before he dared to lift it up.

He carried it out of the vault and set it on the desk, reaching for the envelope taped to the top before glancing at what looked like a velvet pouch lying inside the case. He handed the envelope to Maria as he searched for the mechanism that would release the upper part of the glass casing.

Maria opened the envelope and slid the single sheet of paper out and her eyes watered as she read the short note.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 62 - 8/30

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:00 am

Mary mary – Mean, us? No way!

Alien friend – Well, the new part is here. Hope you won’t be disappointed.

Timelord31 – Thanks, glad that you liked this part.

Maipigen – In a way, Dupree’s death made sense: he finally had his answers. He was old, tired and now that he had found out the reason behind his abductions, he could die in peace.

Eva – Michael and Maria, in any universe, always act like a team, whether they are bickering or investigating. It’s part of them, and part of what’s fun about them.

Part 62

“What is it?” Michael asked when he noticed that she was somehow affected by the note. He reached out and took it back, reading over it before tossing it aside carelessly. “So what? He bought whatever it is from some billionaire; the guy sold off his collection of,” he snorted and held his fingers up as he made air quotes, “’actual alien artifacts’ after his kid died.” He shrugged and turned his attention back to the glass box. “Sounds to me like he was crazy.”

Maria sighed as she watched him, knowing that he had no idea just how relevant this new information was. “And yet you’re still trying your best to get into that box.”

He shook his head. “Whatever it is, it’s mine.”

“The billionaire he’s talking about is Brody Davis… Sydney, his daughter, she lived in my universe,” she said quietly, her voice trailing off into nothing.

Michael’s head shot up when her sudden mood change caught his attention. “What?” He was missing some vital piece of information and he didn’t like it. “You knew this guy?” He couldn’t control the jealousy that flooded his veins when he saw the look of sadness on her face mingled with memories that were obviously happier than the reality she was being faced with.

“Yeah, I knew him. Brody was the man who bought the UFO museum in Roswell.” She went on to explain about the man’s abductions and having his cancer cured by the aliens who had taken him, and how the aliens had used him as a transmitter in exchange for that cure. She also told him how Brody had become obsessed with anything and everything related to aliens when his daughter had been diagnosed with cancer.

“Uh-huh,” Michael muttered as he finally located the button that released the glass case from the base. “Sounds to me like that fanatic had a thing for you.”

“Michael, he was a lot older than me.”

He set the glass case aside and reached for the soft velvet pouch lying on the cushioned base. “That’s not a real answer.”

“He wasn’t my type; he was just someone I sympathized with because his daughter was sick and he was alone.”

“I wasn’t speculating that you had a thing for him,” he said as he opened the pouch and held it up, letting the contents slide into his palm. “I said it sounded like he had a thing for you.” He stared at the round, yellow-gold objects lying in his hand and he tipped his head to the side as he held them out to Maria. “You seen anything like this before?”

“Yeah,” she reached out and picked one of them up, feeling the strange warmth that emanated from it. “The healing stones.”

“Healing stones?” he repeated.

“Um-hmm, in my universe we got them from River Dog, the old Indian man at the Reservation. We used them when Michael got sick – “

She had his attention. “When he got sick? What happened?” Was it related to whatever had been happening to him?

“Yeah, he got really sick; running a fever, shaking, chills, and eventually he lost consciousness or something. We took him to the Reservation and River Dog showed us how to do this ceremony-type thing. We put Michael in the center of this circle made of sand and we each took one of the stones…”

Michael frowned when she faltered and his eyes narrowed as he watched her. “Someone didn’t wanna help him?”

“Anyway, we had to drink this water – “


“It wasn’t that she didn’t want to help, Michael… she was just scared. She couldn’t enter the circle and be a part of the ceremony if she had any doubts…”

He shook his head at her when he detected a hint of defensiveness in her tone. “Scared or not, all that matters is that she didn’t step up when his life was at risk.” He motioned to the stones in his hand. “How do they work?” He wasn’t interested in discussing the other girl right then.

He listened as Maria explained the way the stones worked based on her knowledge of them and when she was finished he sat on the edge of the desk and studied them. “So, is it possible to reach that dreamplane thing you’re talkin’ about if you’re not sick?” He had never discussed the weird episodes that he had been having and he had no intention of bringing it up now, but since he didn’t know what they really meant he wanted to cover all of his bases.

“There was never any indication that they couldn’t be used in any other capacity. Why? What’re you thinking?”

“Maybe I’ll try a little experiment. The circle was made of sand, right?”

“Yeah,” she said slowly.

He nodded and got to his feet, moving back to the vault and closing it up before sliding the wall panels back in front of the hidden door and making sure everything was locked. “I need some sand,” he said decisively and grabbed the healing stones. He slid them back into their pouch and carried them with him as he went back upstairs.

Maria followed him, slapping the light switch at the top of the stairs and plunging the basement back into darkness before shutting the door behind her. “Michael, I’m not sure where you’re goin’ with this…” She trailed off and hurried after him when she heard the door in the entryway close with a loud bang.

She found him walking around outside, an expression of annoyance on his face as he realized that chances of finding sand anywhere in the area were slim to none.

“Let’s go. There’s gotta be a hardware store or a gardening center or somethin’ where I can get some fuckin’ sand.”

She knew she wasn’t going to be able to talk him out of this now that he had it in his head that he could visit the dreamplane so she remained silent as he drove back into San Angelo and looked around for a store that would sell sand. Once he had purchased a large bucket of sand he went straight back to the hotel and rushed her off to her room so he could be alone.

He moved to the center of his room and glanced around before moving some of the furniture back and out of his way. He had no idea what was going to happen when he started this process so he wanted plenty of space around him. Once he felt that a sufficient area had been cleared he grabbed one of the disposable cups off of the counter in the bathroom and peeled the plastic wrapper off of it, throwing it on the floor as he bent over to pry the lid off of the bucket.

Scooping up the first cupful of sand he moved back, silently counting off his steps and beginning to create his circle of sand. When he was finished with that he moved the bucket and set it aside before retrieving a bottle of water from the mini refrigerator under the wet bar and the pouch with the stones. He checked all of the doors and windows, making sure they were locked, and then pulled all of the blinds and curtains so that they were tightly closed.

Finally he stood at the edge of the circle and he ran one hand over the lower half of his face as he considered what he was about to do. He shook himself and set the items down inside the circle and removed his shirt, boots, and socks before taking a deep breath and moving to sit in the center of the circle. He crossed his legs Indian-style and rested his hands on his knees for a moment as he brought all of his thoughts under control.

Maria had said that focus was important at this point so he forced his mind to clear of all other thoughts before removing two of the stones and placing them next to him and then taking a long drink of the water. He had no clue what the hell the water was for, but just to be safe, he was including that part of the ritual.

“Okay,” he muttered as he took a stone in each hand and let his wrists rest on his knees. He felt like a complete fool as he sat there, knowing he looked like some moron doing yoga. “Focus, Guerin!”

He focused on the stones and the dreamplane, not knowing what he was expecting, but knowing that the sudden flash followed by desert scenery wasn’t it. He looked around, no longer seeing his room, but the desert. He was surrounded by large outcroppings of rock formations and cliffs and his heart pounded crazily when he turned and the images seemed to tilt for a moment before righting themselves. Just as he began to adjust to the scene everything around him went black and within seconds stars slowly appeared and he realized that he was still in the desert, but it was nighttime. A light suddenly streaked across the night sky and his breath caught in his throat when scenes started to hit him hard and fast.

A ship unlike anything he had ever seen crashing into the desert floor and bursting into flames as explosions erupted around it. A hidden door sliding open and the air filled with the sounds of strange, unrecognizable voices screaming in a language that was almost familiar, cries of pain and desperation as a few small, grey beings emerged, struggling to free several pod-like things from the burning wreckage. He watched as they fought against weakness, time, and their own failing bodies to hide the pods inside a cave before the human soldiers came for them.

“It’s weird to see it for real,” a voice commented.

He turned slowly, knowing who he would see, but still unprepared for the shock of seeing himself standing there. He made a face at the younger version of himself dressed in black from his tee shirt to his jeans, spiky hair defiantly remaining unmoving despite the gentle breeze blowing around them. As he opened his mouth to speak the scene shifted back to the place he had first been and his irritation notched higher when his alternate self stared down at him from a rocky formation several feet away.

“What the fuck is goin’ on?” he demanded. “And why the hell are you here?”

“Not that bright, huh?” his double asked, tone mocking. “You haven’t figured it out yet?” He jumped down from the boulder, feet barely making a disturbance in the shifting sand. “I expected you to be smarter.”

The momentary speechlessness suddenly faded and Michael quickly became pissed off as he turned, following his double’s constant movement. “Don’t play this shit with me, you little … ghost bastard! I’ve got enough to deal with without havin’ you thrown in the mix.”

His double simply stared back at him for a while before slowly walking up to him, not stopping until they were just a few inches apart. “Think, dumbass, think! I’ve been here all along and you know it. You just didn’t wanna accept the truth for what it is.” He leaned back slightly and crossed his arms over his chest. “I think I’ve given you enough clues.”

Michael’s eyes narrowed as he watched his double, horrified and wondering just how long his double had been hanging around. Spying on him. Haunting him. His eyes suddenly widened as understanding hit him right between the eyes. That night, so many months ago, when he had fallen asleep leaning back against the couch only to be awakened by horrific chest pains with the taste of blood on his tongue.

His double smirked. “Bingo.”

Michael’s temper moved closer and closer to the boiling point as he remembered every time he had been assaulted by the strange feeling of illness, the ability to do things like cook, the inability to perform sexually, and he suddenly realized it had been his double’s influence.

“You smug motherfucker!” he screamed, enraged at the man’s audacity. “You stupid, untrained, moronic little bastard! This’s my fuckin’ life!” He paced back and forth as he ranted, uncaring of the fact that he was yelling at himself in some form. “You had no right to come into my universe and fuck everything up! I could kill you for this! I’ve sure as fuck killed for less! I’ve worked for everything I’ve got… I have every right to live my life the way I wanna fuckin’ live it!” He whirled around to face his double and it only pissed him off even more when he saw the calm expression on his face. “Why? Why would you do this to me?”

His double straightened up and a look of sadness entered his eyes. “Never gonna leave ‘er,” he said, the words spoken in a voice eerily calm, but heavy emotions underlined them.

Never gonna leave her… but how? He had been in another universe. How had this other version of himself known how to find him? How had he known that Maria would be here? It made no sense! Michael paced, wondering how this was all supposed to work when his double just shrugged. Of course, he realized, the little bastard was in his head, he knew what he was thinking!

“When you die, it’s just…” Michael struggled with the words, hesitant to explain the great mysteries of the universe. One day, the Michael of this universe would understand. He shoved his hands in his pockets and repeated in a very soft voice, “Never gonna leave ‘er.”

Somehow, the words calmed him as nothing else would have. He hadn’t acknowledged the emotion, but he knew he was in love with her, just as in love with her as his other self in that other universe. He would have done the same thing had their roles been reversed. His thoughts turned to speculation as he suddenly wondered if it was him, in fact, that loved her… or was it his double who loved her through him?

“I had no role in that.”

His head snapped up and he glared at his double.

His double shrugged. “You fell for her all by yourself. We are the same, after all. Doesn’t matter what universe it is, Michael Guerin is meant to fall in love with Maria DeLuca. That’s just how it works; the stonewall hasn’t been built that she can’t get past.”

Not another word was spoken as a silent agreement passed between them and when his double held his hand out, Michael accepted the gesture and shook his hand.

Michael’s eyes snapped open as the dreamplane suddenly blinked out of existence and he found himself back in his room, still sitting in the circle of sand.

Author’s Note: As we stated way back at the beginning, The Man Who Didn’t Belong will have two endings. From this point on, the fic will take the first path and we will be posting Ending Number One.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 63 - 9/27

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:31 pm

Alien friend

I agree, Michael and Maria should be together in every universe no matter what.

Amen to that! There are couples which MAKE a show, for Roswell, that’s the case for Michael and Maria, and Max and Liz, of course. Without those two couples, there’s no show at all, it’s not Roswell.


And this quote said it all and made me very quiet...

Thank you.

Timelord31 – Thanks for reading.

Mary mary – Sorry for making you wait so long. Real life got in the way.

Author’s Note: Thanks very much for your kind words and your patience while I’ve been getting back on my feet! It meant a lot and was very much appreciated.

Ending 1 – Part 1 (or Part 63)

Maria opened the door to her hotel room the next morning, stepping back when Michael barged right in without so much as a single word. She watched him as he moved around the room for a few minutes, almost as if he were acclimating himself with the room. His mood was… unusual, she mused, trying to pin it down. She followed him with her eyes when he sat down on the foot of the bed.

“Did you manage to reach the dreamplane?” she asked.

“The mission was successful,” he answered vaguely.

She frowned when he didn’t elaborate on his response, but she bit her lip as she gave him a few more minutes.

Michael stared at the wall across from the bed, his eyes seeing the last few minutes he had spent with his double in the dreamplane. It hasn’t lasted very long but it had felt like an extended period of time had lapsed while he had been talking to that younger version of himself. He didn’t know what he had expected when he had decided to try and reach the dreamplane, but it hadn’t been witnessing the crash or seeing actual aliens.

His double had gone through so much just to avoid being separated from this crazy Maria girl even in death. He had loved her, still loved her, that much. What did that mean for him? For his life? For Maria and their future, if they even had a future together? How could he tell Maria that her Michael, the man she loved with every fiber of her being, was somehow alive inside of him? Or should he even tell her? Could they go on from this point? She was still clinging to the other man. How could he ever accept that she might not love him the way she had loved the other man?

Maria frowned when he was still silent after nearly half an hour and she wondered what had triggered his pensive mood. He had to have seen or experienced something in the dreamplane that had unsettled him because he was too quiet and distant, much more than normal.


He grunted in response, slowly turning his head to look at her as if he had just realized she was in the room with him. “What?”

“What happened while you were in the dreamplane?”

“We’ll talk about it later, when I feel like talkin’ about it.” He stood up and glanced around the room. “How long before you’re ready? I wanna get goin’; it’s past time for me to see this Granolith.”

Maria nodded. He wasn’t going to talk until he was ready and there was no point in trying to prolong the inevitable. “I’ll be ready in half an hour. I was just about to jump in the shower.”


Michael stepped out of the rental car and looked around the desert surrounding the large, craggy rock formation in front of them. The only sound that could be heard was the wind whistling around the rocks, kicking up small amounts of sand. “Hidin’ the thing out here isn’t too smart; it’s not a very defensible position.”

Maria rolled her eyes when he went on and on about the location the aliens had chosen to hide the Granolith and the poor scouting that had gone into it. “The path to the chamber is around this way,” she said, taking the lead.

His rant immediately ceased when she walked off and he hurried to follow her. He glanced up at the rocky, overgrown path that led up the side and he grabbed her arm before she could start the climb. “What’re you doin’?”

“Michael, I’ve been up the side of this thing more than once,” she huffed impatiently. “I know what I’m doing.”

He completely ignored every word she said. “I’ll go first.” He followed the path, easily identifying it despite the overgrowth. He reached an area where the ground began to level out and he stared at the craggy wall before him. He felt Maria’s presence as she joined him, but he ignored her in favor of brushing his hand over the face of the rock, jerking his hand back when a translucent handprint appeared. “What the hell?”

“That’s the – “

“Shhh,” he hissed as he stretched his arm out and waved his hand over the rock again, waiting for the handprint and holding his hand over it when it appeared. His mouth dropped open when a ‘door’ in the rock suddenly became visible and it slid back, pausing for just a moment before moving aside.

The ground below his feet rumbled as the door moved and he stared into the dark interior that had been revealed. He pushed the button on the flashlight he held as he stepped inside and waved the beam over the cavern. He turned in a circle, the beam of the flashlight bouncing over the floor and the walls.

“Well, where the fuck’s this thing at?” he snapped when he heard Maria enter the chamber behind him. “You said it was here… and I’m not seein’ any kinda alien artifact that’s gonna answer my questions.”

Maria rolled her eyes at his surly tone. “Have you ever considered being patient?”

“No.” He paused when he realized there was a faint green glow emanating from the far end of the chamber and he followed it. The beam of the flashlight remained positioned on the floor as he stared at the… what the hell were they?

Maria watched him as he slowly approached the pods, his right hand easing towards one of the ones on the upper tier. His expression was one of fascination as he traced over the outer edges of the opening where the pod had been broken through as one of the hybrids awoke and emerged.

He jerked his hand back when he felt an odd sensation graze his fingertips and he glanced at his hand before reaching out to touch the thing again. He moved to the next one before crouching down in front of the last two. One of them was just like the two above, but the last one… the last one was shadowed and contained a small body.

His hand settled over the protective covering and he frowned when he felt a faint flicker of something he didn’t understand. If he were a fanciful man he might have said it had a hint of negative energy to it, but he wasn’t that type of man and he quickly brushed the thought aside.

Maria stared at the dead hybrid cocooned within the dark pod and a feeling of hostility hit her before she could control it. Tess had managed to screw things up in such a way that the damage had been irreversible and they had never fully recovered from her traitorous actions.

“This one… it’s Tess, right? You said Max and Isabel were killed in my universe, so that just leaves her.” Maybe he wasn’t too far off base with that negative energy thought.

“Yeah, that’s her.”

He heard the anger in her voice and he nodded in understanding. The hybrid had taken someone from her, someone who had been a friend, a confidant, and one of the most trusted people in her life. “Where’s this piece of alien technology that spit you out in my universe?”

Maria motioned to the empty pod on the lower tier and he made a face when he turned to look at it. “You’ll have to crawl through that pod. It’s the one Max was in before you guys…” she wrinkled her nose and smirked at him, “hatched.”

Michael glared at her as he crouched down and turned his flashlight to shine inside the pod, illuminating the interior. He made a face as he looked at it, wondering what exactly it was made of and if any of it was going to get on him when he crawled through it. “I may not remember comin’ out of one of these pods, but I can assure you it wasn’t like bein’ hatched.”

“Whatever you say,” she said breezily. She crouched down next to him, one hand on his shoulder for balance. “Are you gonna climb through?”

“Yeah, just checkin’ it out first, is that alright with you?”

“Sure you’re not just chicken? Scared of what might happen when you crawl through and step out on the other side?”

He shook his head at her and turned the flashlight off, shoving it in his pocket and dropping to all fours as he ducked his head into the pod. “This’s disgusting,” he growled, wincing at the odd, spongy feeling beneath his hands.

“Your people made it,” she countered, following him.

Michael got to his feet as soon as he emerged on the other side, wiping his hands on his pants as he started to stand upright. He was barely out of a crouched position when he noticed the odd green light pulsating around him and he lifted his head to stare at the source of the light.

The alien device was shaped like an inverted cone and it emanated a strange humming sound. He straightened up and took several steps forward when Maria hit the back of his right leg with her hand, silently letting him know he needed to move so she could get out.

Maria stood, brushing her clothes off and watching him as he approached the Granolith, his steps measured as he silently assessed the device. He was looking for any threat that the device might pose, determining whether or not it was safe to touch as he moved closer to it with each pass. It took several minutes before he reached out and brushed the fingertips of his right hand over it.

He pulled his hand back and stared at the tips of his fingers. He had felt a frisson of heated electricity as he had touched the thing; it hadn’t hurt, but it was an odd sensation. “So, this’s the Granolith,” he murmured, circling it once more. He made a fist and raised his hand to knock on the device, taking a step back when the color shifted, changing to a deeper green for just a moment.

“What’re you doing?” Maria asked, shaking her head at him.

“Well, how d’you get its attention?”

She walked up to it, standing there for several minutes before speaking. “Granolith?” she called and stepped back as she waited for it to respond.

Michael snorted when the humming sound coming from the Granolith was the only thing to be heard. “That’s how you talk to this hunk of junk?” He walked up to it and thumped his fist against it several times. “Hey!”

“I’m sure pissing it off will make it talk to you, Michael,” she muttered sarcastically.

“Yeah, and your method was workin’ so much better,” he snarled.

“Look, this Granolith has an interesting sense of – “

“It’s not a sentient being, Maria! It’s a piece of alien technology that’s obviously designed to do whatever its creators…” He took several steps back when the light coming from the Granolith suddenly pulsated. “Whoa, what the hell is it doin’?”

“You’ve done it now. You’ve pissed it off.”

“It’s not talkin’ yet.” He stood back and held his arms out at his sides. “Hey, you piece of alien shit, stop hidin’ and talk to me!” He heard Maria snicker behind him and that only pissed him off. “I’m one of the Royal Four and I order you to talk to me!”

Maria couldn’t stop herself from laughing at him. His tone was so conceited and he was so full of himself… and the Granolith was ignoring him. “Stop talking to it like that because it’s only gonna continue to ignore you.”

“It’s a piece of technology, Maria! For it to be ignoring me it’d have to be sentient… you said this thing would answer my questions and so far it hasn’t said a single fuckin’ word!”

“This hybrid is temperamental,” the mellow mechanical voice spoke.

Michael jerked around to face the device. It had spoken. It had insulted him, but it had spoken! He approached it cautiously, walking around it as he tried to determine how it was working.

Maria snorted at the Granolith’s comment and Michael’s irritated expression. “Yes, he is,” she agreed. “Do you remember me, Granolith?”

“I remember all,” it answered. “You have discovered what I had to offer?”

She paused as she glanced at Michael. Had she discovered what the Granolith had offered? “Yes, I believe I have.”

“You have concluded your journey then?”

Maria bit her bottom lip. “I don’t know… maybe. But, Michael, the temperamental hybrid, has come to ask you some questions. Will you answer them?”

“These questions must be resolved for the hybrid to be pacified?” it asked.

She snickered at the Granolith’s choice of words. “Yes, it is necessary.”

“Only one of us is a member of the Royal Four,” Michael interrupted, annoyed by the conversation between Maria and the device. “And it’s not her!”

“I have agreed to answer your questions to pacify you.”

Maria bit the inside of her cheek so she wouldn’t laugh at him when he turned to glare at her. She hadn’t expected the Granolith to screw with Michael the way that it was and she knew he was getting irritated with its behavior.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 64 - 10/11

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:49 pm

Mary mary – Thanks for the wishes and the review.

Eva – Aaaah, Michael and his famous temper! Let’s just say that he met his match with this Granolith.

Alien Friend – Michael is treating the Granolith like some kind of super computer while it’s more than that. So he’s going to be mocked by it, and with his volatile temper, he’s going to react strongly to the Granolith’s teasing.

Timelord31 – Thanks, glad that you liked the humor in the Michael-Granolith meeting.

Maipigen – Poor Michael really believed that the Granolith would obey him and treat him like royalty, talk about a shock for him.

Ending 1 – Part 2 (or Part 64)

“Pacify me,” he muttered. “You think you can talk to me like I’m an insolent child?” he shouted at it. “I’m royalty, you stupid piece of backwards technology!”

The device made a mechanical rumbling sound that resembled a rusty laugh and Maria stood back, watching Michael as his temper reached the boiling point. He honestly thought the Granolith was going to answer him because it was programmed to obey him. Boy, did he have a few things to learn, she thought.

Michael stalked up to the Granolith and rapped his knuckles against the surface. “Hey, I’m talkin’ to you!”

Sparks of electricity traveled over the surface as the color shifted from the placid green to a stormy midnight blue. “You may ask your questions, hybrid, but refrain from such tactile displays.”

“What the fuck are you goin’ on about now?” Michael growled.

“It just told you to stop hitting it.” Maria couldn’t help it, she was laughing. To see Michael being bested by the Granolith was highly entertaining.

He turned to glare at her yet again. “Did I ask for your help?” He faced the device once more, arms crossed over his chest and feet spaced wide as he studied it. “Granolith, explain why you sent Maria to my universe,” he demanded.

“The hybrid she was bonded with was no more. It was necessary to re-establish this connection.”

“So, you what? Just tossed her ass into the first universe where she didn’t exist but some version of her hybrid did?” he asked incredulously. What was this thing, some sort of God-like being?

“The journey between universes is not controlled by the Granolith.”

Michael stilled, perplexed. “What the fuck does that mean?” Either the Granolith had chosen to send Maria to this universe or it hadn’t, and in that case, why was Maria still in HIS universe?

The green light pulsated as the Granolith seemed to ponder Michael’s question. “You have formed a bond with the human, have you not?”

“Look, just tell me what we’re supposed to do now!” He didn’t want to think about the bond he had formed with Maria and he sure as hell didn’t wanna talk about it in front of her.

“The decision is yours to make, impatient one.”

“Maybe you wanna stop talkin’ in riddles and share some thoughts on that.” He just barely stopped himself from kicking the damn thing. “You mentioned a decision and that implies that I have more than one option… so what are they?”

“The options are simple; it is the decision that requires thought.”

Michael sighed and scratched the back of his neck with his right hand. “Seriously? That is the wealth of your wisdom? I could’ve gotten that from a fuckin’ fortune cookie!”

The Granolith’s color shifted to a deep green once again and a sound much like a sigh resonated through the chamber. “The hybrid is not easily pacified.”

Maria smirked and shook her head. It sounded annoyed. “No, he isn’t.” She moved closer to the Granolith and its color began to fade back to its original shade of green. “He seeks answers and he believes that you have them.”

“Then he should ask the correct questions,” the Granolith answered in a tone that was very close to muttering.

“Well, there you go… all you need to do is ask it the correct questions,” she repeated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Michael was grinding his back teeth as his gaze moved between the Granolith and Maria. If he hadn’t been so certain that it wasn’t sentient he would’ve suspected that it actually held some sort of affection for Maria. “What are my options?” he grated out.

“To remain or move on.”

“To stay or go where?!” Michael asked, taken aback.

“You may choose to remain in your current universe or you may choose accompany the human back to her universe.”

“Whoa! Wait just a minute, why the hell would I go to her universe?” he exclaimed, shocked. What the hell was that about? Go to another universe? If he was born in this one, why should he go and live in another one?

“To avoid being alone when the human returns and to maximize your potential… to become the protector you were engineered to become. Earth in your universe poses no threat to those who would seek to overthrow the throne of Antar; the same is not true of the human’s true universe.”

Michael crossed his arms over his chest again and considered what the Granolith was saying. “Then why go back there? She’s safe if she remains here, Earth’s safe, and there aren’t any unearthly tyrants plannin’ to destroy my life.”

“You are certain the human will choose to remain here?”

His mouth snapped shut when the Granolith posed its question. He had come to this place with the intention of sending her home and now he was completely contradicting himself. “Why go back if it’s just gonna be destroyed anyway?”

“Search within yourself,” it rumbled. “You know the answer to that question, hybrid.”

Maria bit her bottom lip as she took several steps to bring her closer to the Granolith, reaching out to touch it for just a brief moment. “Granolith,” she said hesitantly, “I have a question.”

The color shifted to a warm emerald. “Ask, young human.”

“My universe… if I return to my universe, will…” she swallowed hard before continuing. “Will my hybrid be alive?” Surely he would be alive; she had spent months in this universe, helping this version of Michael and completing what she believed was her mission with the goal of returning home to find her Michael alive and well.

The device hummed loudly for a minute as if it were musing over her question and behind her Michael cringed. She would always have a part of her Michael if she stayed with him but he didn’t want her to make that choice for that reason.

The Granolith pulsed as the shades of green shifted back and forth from light to dark several times before it settled into its usual color. “That decision resides with the Granolith from your universe. As I said upon your arrival, you have the power to affect the past, present, and future.”

“Yes, but now you’re saying that whether or not he’s alive depends on the Granolith in my universe… how does that have anything to do with my, my… mission in this universe?!” she asked, her voice rising.

“Yet I did not say which universe you had the power to change.”

“So, everything that I’ve done has had nothing to do with changing the events in my own universe,” she said, angry because she felt like she had been tricked. The anger began to change into devastation because she had begged that other Granolith to do something, anything to save her Michael, and instead of altering the past, sending her back in time just a matter of hours or days to save him, it had sent her to another universe instead. She had no faith in the Granolith from her universe; she didn’t believe that it would do anything to help her bring him back.

Michael felt his own temper spiking at the conversation between Maria and the Granolith. It pissed him off because in spite of everything that had happened she still thought about the other version of him first. Even though his first reaction was one of anger, it was quickly matched by another emotion… pain. Pain for the woman ranting at the device because he knew without question that his double was dead and gone, and that no matter how much she railed against the Granolith he wasn’t coming back.

He was in love with her; there was no point in denying it. He was a man who knew his own mind and while he was still adjusting to the changes that were happening inside of him, he saw no reason to ignore the truth any longer. He was going to have to be the one to tell her that she would never see her Michael again, that his death was final, and that hurt more than he ever would have imagined. He was the one who would have to deliver that news though because he knew something no one – maybe not even the smartass, wise-cracking Granolith knew – that the essence belonging to the Michael Guerin from her universe was now residing in him. He didn’t want to hurt her or make her suffer anymore than she already had, but she needed to know the truth.

He looked at the Granolith again and decided that he needed to wait until they returned to the hotel before he told her about his suspicions. The Granolith still had answers that he wanted and he had a feeling that if he talked to Maria while they were in the chamber with the device and the news upset her as badly as he thought it would, the Granolith would become even more uncooperative with him.

“You have decided to return then?” the Granolith questioned.

His head jerked up when he heard the device pose its next query and he shook his head as he took a step towards Maria. “Why don’t we go back to the hotel so you can sleep on it,” he suggested.

Maria turned to look at Michael when he spoke up. His voice was concerned, but there was a hint of something else… anger perhaps, underlying his tone. She sighed as she realized how her questions to the Granolith would have sounded to Michael and she nodded in response. “Granolith, we’re going to leave for now.”

“You will return soon?”

Michael glared at the device and bit his tongue before he could say anything that might piss the stupid thing off. “We’ll return if and when we’re good an’ damn ready to come back,” he snarled at it. “C’mon, Maria, we’re leavin’.” He didn’t give the Granolith a second look as he motioned for Maria to hurry up, standing back as she crawled through the pod and back out into the outer chamber.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 65 - 10/25

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:19 pm

Mary mary –

Boy, what a confusing business this has turned out to be.

When was it ever simple, with those aliens???

Timelord31 – Thank you, glad that you are enjoying the story.

Alien friend – Michael would definitely be an asset. But how would Max and Isabel react to him?

Ending 1, Part 3 (or Part 65)

Maria watched Michael as they crossed the lobby and he punched the button to call the elevator. He was agitated and it was showing through clearly in his disposition and the way he was stalking around. They stepped into the elevator and he pushed the button for the third floor as he leaned back against the wall, arms crossed over his chest as he scowled at the doors until they started to close.

“Hey, hold that elevator!” a voice shouted and a moment later a hand reached in to prevent the doors from closing.

Michael straightened up and took two steps forward, hands braced on either side of the doors as he met the man’s surprised expression. “Take the next one,” he bit out.

“Back off, man, I don’t have time for this – “

“Put one foot on this elevator and I’ll break your fuckin’ leg.”

The other man opened his mouth to argue but after a fleeting moment of reckless stupidity he took a step back and held his hands up. “Anyone ever told you you’re a total dick?”

His temper was riding on the razor’s edge and the little prick’s comment pushed it just enough to send him into the red zone. He grabbed a handful of the man’s shirt and jerked him into the elevator, hitting the button to close the door with his elbow. He shoved him into the corner next to the row of unlit buttons, holding him there by wrapping his hand around his throat. “You should really be a little more cautious about who you insult,” he muttered. “I could easily snap your – “

“Michael,” Maria called, hoping he would listen. He was messing with the guy because he was pissed off at her.

The man’s eyes were wide as he stared at the stranger pinning him to the wall and his heart pounded when the guy raised his free hand, curling his fingers into a fist. “Look, man, just let me off,” he begged. “I can take the stairs.”

Michael let his fist hover several inches in front of the guy’s face, wishing like hell he was enjoying the threat a lot more than he was. “I’ll be here for several days, shit for brains; I’d suggest you make sure to use the stairs until I’m gone.” He hit the button with his elbow again and released the man as soon as the doors slid open.

“That was completely uncalled for!” Maria yelled at him as soon as the man had made his escape and the elevator began to ascend to the third floor.

Michael leaned back and studied his hand. “Huh, I think that dickhead might’ve actually gotten the point,” he mused carelessly. He intentionally ignored her as they rode the rest of the way up to their floor and he made a show of looking for his key card when they reached his room.

“I think I’ll – “

“You’ll get your ass in here,” he snapped, grabbing her arm when she attempted to walk past him to go to her own room.

“Don’t manhandle me,” she shouted when he walked inside, half-dragging her with him as he kicked the door shut after them. “I know why you’re pissed, Michael, but that does not give you the right to treat me like this!”

He pushed her down on the bed and he stalked around the room, anger rolling off him in waves. “You know why I’m pissed?” he yelled. “Why, Maria? I’m out here tryin’ to talk to some smartass piece of alien technology and bein’ insulted by it all because of you! This whole thing, it’s all about you getting back to him… nothin’ else even fuckin’ matters to you! You’ve screwed up my entire life, dragged me into this ridiculous roller coaster ride that doesn’t even have anything to do with me! I don’t need all this bullshit in my life… I never needed it, and now you’ve fucked it all up!”

Maria let him rant, waiting for him to begin to wind down before she even tried to speak because she knew he would only interrupt her if he wasn’t finished. “That’s not true – “

“Not true?” he repeated incredulously. “Not true that you didn’t do all of this just to get back to him? Not true that you’ve fucked my life up in the process? Not true that you made love to me – ME – and then turned around and threw it in my face that it was nothin’ more than a fuckin’ betrayal of HIM?! All you had to do was say no, and damn it, woman, you sure as fuck know that word better than anyone else I’ve ever known in my life! One word, that’s all you needed to say, and you know I would’ve stopped!”

She choked back the tears that were clogging her throat as she shook her head. “I didn’t want to stop, Michael,” she admitted finally.

“Then you must have some seriously masochistic tendencies because you didn’t appear to be all that happy the next mornin’.”

“I can explain that, Michael, but you’ll need to listen to me.”

“Well?” he snapped after several minutes. “Are you gonna open your mouth and talk?”

Maria watched him as he stood on the opposite side of the room, arms crossed over his chest, scowling, and radiating tension and anger. “Michael… that night… it wasn’t just us having sex, we made love. Even you made that distinction just a few minutes ago! You didn’t call it sex or screwing or fucking… you called it making love and that’s exactly what it was. The thing is you can’t make love like that if you aren’t in love.”

He shook his head in confusion. “What the hell does that mean?”

“It means I’m in love with you! It means that in spite of my best intentions you got through to something inside of me that belonged to him. I fell asleep in your arms after making love with you – and it doesn’t take a genius to know that you’ve never spent the night with any other woman, so the magnitude of that action wasn’t lost on me – and I looked down at you and it just hit me.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” he asked uncertainly.

“Yes! No! That’s what I’m talking about, Michael. My first reaction is to push you away because falling in love with you is the ultimate betrayal to him.” She sighed and ran a hand through her hair.

“Worse than makin’ love with me?” He didn’t understand how that could be the worse betrayal of the two.


He shook his head. “I don’t understand that.”

“My heart belonged to him exclusively – “

“So did your body,” he interrupted. “By your own admission you had never been with anyone but him.”

She stood and crossed the room to stand in front of him, reaching up to frame his face in her hands. “For me to make love with you, to willingly give myself to you like I did that night, my heart had to be involved. Yes, I came here hoping to find my way home so I could fix what went wrong in my universe, to undo an accident that was stupid and senseless, but as time has passed it’s become more than that. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I’ll ever stop loving him because I can’t imagine that ever happening.”

He backed away from her and walked over to the balcony doors, staring outside as he considered his next words. “He told you he’d never leave you… his last words as he was dying were a promise that he wouldn’t leave you alone.”

“Yeah,” she said slowly.

“You asked me earlier about the dreamplane…” He shook his head and reached up to rub his eyes. “But first, I’ve experienced some things… and some of those things started before you and I met, before you arrived in my universe by my calculations. At the time that he was dyin’ I think I could, I don’t know… feel it.”

Maria shook her head, denying what he was saying.

“Hear me out, Maria,” he demanded. “I woke up with chest pains like I’ve never experienced; agonizing, burning, feeling like I was bein’ torn apart. Physically, there was nothin’ wrong with me, but I was practically paralyzed while that pain hit me. After that I would be out doin’ the things I normally do and I’d suddenly get hit with pain or nausea and it wouldn’t stop until I quit whatever I was doin’.”

“I don’t… what’re you saying?”

“Do you remember when you first found me?” he asked. “You ran up to me and threw yourself into my arms, and if you’ll recall my reaction wasn’t favorable.”

Maria made a face at that memory.

“What about that first night at the hotel? I had you pinned beneath me on the bed and even though I never would’ve carried out the threat I had implied… the threat was enough to kick that feelin’ into overdrive.”

“I don’t understand, how is this connected to the dreamplane?”

“I met him there.”

“Him… Michael?”

“Yeah. He’s different than what I expected him to be.” He shrugged. “That’s not really what I wanted to talk about though. When he told you he’d never leave you he wasn’t kiddin’. The pain I went through the day he died, that feelin’ that’s made me pull back from doin’ things that I normally do… combine that with the fact that the connection you described a while back, the one between humans and their hybrids… I’ve felt that with you, Maria.”

“Are you saying you think Michael is… what, inside you?” Maria asked, shocked to the core of her very being. That was just… it wasn’t possible, just not possible!

“Look, I’m not that happy about it either,” he snapped, irritated at the undertone of disbelief in her voice. “But, no, I’m not sayin’ I think he’s in me, I’m tellin’ you that’s what’s goin’ on. I didn’t ask your hybrid to hijack my body, but that’s exactly what he did and he seemed to be quite pleased with himself.”

Maria stared at him as if she had never seen him before. No, it wasn’t possible. Even if Michael had somehow been able to preserve his essence or his soul by projecting it across different universes and depositing it into another Michael Guerin… why would he have chosen this one?

“How else do you explain the Granolith sendin’ you to my universe? If he was able to save that part of himself, to, I don’t know, transfer that part of himself into another Michael Guerin, wouldn’t that hunk of junk send you to whatever universe his… his soul or whatever had gone to?”

“I don’t know,” she murmured, still studying him. Sure, there had been moments when he had said or done things that had felt like things her Michael would’ve said or done, but… was it possible?

He could see the exhaustion and confusion fighting for dominance in her expression. “Look, this isn’t somethin’ we have to settle tonight. Maybe you should just sleep on it and we’ll deal with it tomorrow. It’s been a long day and we could both use the rest.”

Maria looked at him, studying his tired features and nodding as she pointed at the door. “I’ll just go over to my room then.”

He moved to the door that connected their rooms and flipped the lock, pulling the door open and gesturing to the opening. “I’ll leave it open in case you need anything.”

They’d had connecting rooms on more than one occasion but it was the first time he had ever unlocked the door or offered to leave it open. She looked up at him one more time before going through to her own room. She glanced over her shoulder, watching as he pushed the door closer to the frame but stopped several inches before it could close.

She walked around her room for several minutes before deciding to go take a shower. It had been a trying day and her mind was just bursting with information; some that she had known on some level but hadn’t yet acknowledged, and some that she was going to have to really think about in order to digest.

After starting the shower she gathered her clothes up and walked into the bathroom, disrobing and stepping under the hot spray. She tried to keep her mind clear, wanting to get out of the shower before thinking about the day but her thoughts wouldn’t cooperate. She pushed the curtain aside and reached out to push the door closed when she felt her throat tightening up.

The Granolith had responded in a way that she had almost expected and now she had to ask herself if that was why she hadn’t gone back to speak with it sooner. Even though she had been determined to change the past, to alter events and bring her Michael back in her own universe, there had been the smallest hint of uncertainty in the back of her mind from the beginning. The alien device had only confirmed what she had started to suspect the longer she was in this universe.

She had been sent to this universe to potentially change the past, present, and future. In this universe the present made sense because Michael had changed since she had first found him, and changing the future made sense for the same reason. It made sense for her universe as well if he chose to travel back there with her because it would alter the present and future of her universe too. She hadn’t figured out how it changed the past in either universe though.

Her Michael was really gone; he wasn’t coming back no matter how many universes she traveled to or how many times she tried to alter the past. Gone, she thought. He was gone. She reached out for the only solid thing nearby and her hand rested flat against the wall of the shower. According to the hybrid pacing in the other room her Michael… his essence or his soul, was now somehow residing inside of him.

She didn’t know if she believed that or not. He certainly believed it, but in spite of those moments when the similarities between the two men had been glaringly obvious it seemed impossible. Could she just accept that explanation? So simple and yet so complicated at the same time… but was it possible?

She didn’t know. The only thing she did know was that the Granolith in her universe had been adamant that it would not alter the past to save Michael from dying next to the river. She knew she could choose to stay in this universe with Michael. But if she ever wanted to go back home, to see her friends and maybe one day her mother, the man she had come to know and love in this universe was the only chance she had of keeping them alive.

Could she ask him to give up his life in this universe to go back with her? Was it right to even ask him, knowing that she didn’t necessarily believe that her Michael was inside of him? But if she didn’t ask him she was leaving her friends… her world, without the protection he could provide. Asking him to go back to her universe made the most sense under the circumstances, but how would she go about asking that of him?

She was no closer to an answer by the time she turned the lights out and slid under the covers, hoping to find at least a few hours of sleep.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 66 - 11/8

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:20 pm

Mary mary –

Well, let me give you my theory...let Michael make the decision. If her Michael's essence is residing in this Michael then he knows the scoop on all of this therefore it's his decision. They can be selfish and stay here and be free of the alien turmoil or they can go back and be sucked into the alien abyss. Michael's choice and I think he knows it! There!!!

That’s a very good view of the situation. Michael isn’t a baby, he can decide all by himself.

Alien friend –

So Michael went into this Michael right after he died. I wonder why it was this one out of all the other many possibilities there must have been. Is he the one that can alter the past, present, and future of both universes the best? It's just so fascinating to think about. I love this kind of stuff.

Maybe it was because in this world, there was no longer a Maria. And because Michael needed her, without knowing it, of course.

Maria is a lucky girl though, she's not only loved by one Michael but two. Which is kind of one extended in a sense but yeah.

That’s the concept of love transcending space. No matter what the universe, Michael Guerin and Maria Deluca are made for each other. Simple.

Such deep and terrific stuff!!

Glad that you think that and that you love it.

Eva –

Yes, the situation was intense, no wonder. But in the end, the decision won’t be that hard.

Timelord31 –

Well, if you want a hint about how it’s going to end, just go and read the first part and the disclaimer.

Ending 1 – Part 4 (or Part 66)

In the next room Michael’s mind was too active to let him sleep. He paced restlessly, turning over the events of the day and everything he had learned. He couldn’t decide which one was more important: Maria’s admission that she loved him or the Granolith’s offer to send him with Maria back to her universe.

He was having a difficult enough time trying to wrap his mind around her admission that she was in love with him; trying to understand how she could be in love with both him and his double was tying him up in knots. He didn’t know what that meant for him or his future, and possibly even more important, what it meant for him and Maria as a couple.

It had been pretty obvious that she didn’t believe that he was carrying her Michael around inside of him and part of him was glad that she didn’t. Part of him selfishly wanted her never to believe him because he wanted to know that she was with him for him and not because it was an opportunity for her to hold on to his double.

He grabbed a beer from the small refrigerator and moved to stand at the balcony doors as his thoughts picked up speed. Even if she chose to stay with him it wouldn’t solve the other problems, he thought. What if she started to believe that her Michael was inside of him? How would he ever know if she had chosen to stay with him for him or because she thought there was a chance that he was right? He knew how much she missed her friends and she had told him what was coming in her universe; was it right for her to stay with him in his universe when that danger was imminent?

The deciding factor was Maria; whether she chose to go back to her universe or wanted to remain in his, he knew she would never find him. He had a couple of good friends but they had their own lives, they were ex-soldiers, and they knew that at any time any one of them might leave and never be seen again for whatever reason. He had a job, but he could get a job anywhere and at least in her universe he’d be with Maria and he’d have the opportunity to get to know others like him.

He walked over to the connecting door and pulled it open just a bit to let the light from his room spill into hers and illuminate it just enough for him to see her. He crept into her room and as he had so many nights, he crouched down beside her bed and waited for her hand to make the journey across the mattress to wrap around his.

Peace settled over him when her hand linked with his. Really it all came down to one thing – Maria. He loved her and he wasn’t willing to give her up whether she stayed in his universe or returned to her own. She needed to be with the people she cared about, needed her best friend in a way that he didn’t understand, but he knew it was important to her.


Maria awoke early the next morning and as she rolled over she automatically reached across the empty space beside her. She smiled slightly when she detected a hint of leftover warmth where Michael had spent the night watching over her. The smile slipped when she remembered their situation. She wanted so badly to go back home; things were good in this universe, but it wasn’t home and she missed her family and friends so much. She couldn’t help but wonder what they were doing and if they were safe.

She knew she still had to deal with her mixed emotions where Michael was concerned; she couldn’t just ignore the feeling of betrayal she felt for falling in love with this universe’s version of Michael. She also couldn’t imagine going back to her universe and leaving him here, alone. She did love him and the thought of spending the rest of her life without him wasn’t one she wanted to contemplate very long. She also didn’t want to think of him being left in this universe alone when she went back because she knew she had to go back. She couldn’t stay here knowing that Khivar would attack one day and everyone she loved would be in danger.

“Breakfast is getting cold.”

She looked up when Michael hollered from the other room and she got up to get dressed before going over to his room to face him.

Michael was already seated at the table by the window, scanning over the sports page, when she entered the room. He glanced up and let his dark eyes slide over her as she crossed the room to join him. He took a bite of the steak on his plate as he waited to see if she would reprimand him for ordering something so bad for him for breakfast. He reached out and tapped the end of his steak knife against the covered plate that had been placed in front of the second chair. “Pancakes, sausage – patties, not links – with a side of hash browns that’re golden brown but not too crunchy.” He shrugged when she looked at him curiously. “You don’t care for steak at breakfast.”

Maria nodded and decided to let his choice for breakfast food go without comment. She sat down and uncovered her meal, smiling when she saw that it had been cooked to perfection. No one ever got it right the first time which meant that he had probably read someone the riot act at least once, she thought, but only said, “Thank you.”

He nodded and went right on reading his newspaper while eating his breakfast, waiting to see if she would say anything about the day before. When she still hadn’t said a word by the time he had finished browsing the box scores he folded the paper over and tossed it aside.

Maria looked up when he cleared his throat and she wondered what he was going to say. She hadn’t known what to say and it was hard to ignore the tension in the air between them.

“I was up most of the night, thinkin’ about this situation and I’ve decided that I’m gonna go with you to your universe.”

She didn’t know what she had been expecting him to say, but that wasn’t it. She had no reason to think that he would leave everything he knew to be with her. “What?”

“Logically, it makes the most sense; Earth in your universe is lookin’ at an invasion by Khivar at some point in the future and if that has any chance of bein’ stopped you’re gonna need someone with my knowledge and experience on your side. You’ve got two other hybrids in your universe and they’ve seen some action, but they don’t know dick about goin’ up against an enemy as formidable as this Khivar guy would have to be if he plans to invade Earth.” He shrugged one shoulder. “Regardless of whether or not you decide to stay with me I won’t leave you in a place where you’re at risk. Your universe, my universe,” he shook his head, “doesn’t matter; wherever you are is where I’ll be.” Decision made, he stood and stretched.

“We should go back to the Granolith,” she blurted out. She was still shocked by his declaration, but she didn’t want him to think he should change his mind.

“What, now?”

She bit back a small smile, aware that he was in no hurry to go back to the device he was on such antagonistic terms with. “It wouldn’t hurt to have more information.”

“Well, it never hurts to have more information, but that damn thing talks in riddles. I don’t think it gives a shit that I’m supposed to be some kinda royalty.”

“No, it really doesn’t seem to care about anyone’s position in life.”

“Damn thing seems to be rather fond of you though.”

There was no way to miss the annoyance in his tone, but she didn’t want to laugh at him because it would only put him in a bad mood.

“Let’s go back an’ talk to the Granolith then and after that we’ll head back to L.A. so I can get started on what I need to do to arrange for this trip.”

Maria nodded and they finished breakfast in silence. Michael had made his decision and he was satisfied with it, so questioning him about it would only irritate him. She would have asked him to come back with her if he hadn’t brought it up first, but in a way she was relieved that he had already made a decision.


They could feel the familiar hum of the Granolith as they entered the chamber that housed the device and Maria accepted the hand Michael held out to her as she crawled out of the pod. She just shook her head when he walked over to the device and knocked on it just like he had done before.

“I seem to recall the Granolith telling you to keep your hands to yourself the last time you did that.”

“Do you hear it talkin’?” he asked.

“You have returned, impatient one,” the device rumbled with a raspy, mechanical chuckle.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Michael muttered. “Fuckin’ know-it-all.”

“You have reached a decision.”

Maria hid a smile when the Granolith accurately guessed the reason for their visit and she could see that it visibly annoyed Michael. “We have, Granolith.”

The color shifted to the warmer green and when the mechanical voice spoke again it seemed more serious. “The decision must be certain.”

“You wanna spell that out a little more?”


“He means, can you explain why the decision must be certain,” Maria clarified.

“The journey to return to your universe will be your final journey through this device,” it warned. “Regardless of the outcome, once this journey is undertaken, there can be no going back.”

“And you’re supposed to be so powerful,” Michael scoffed.

“The Granolith exists in many universes, it contains an infinite amount of power, but it is not within its ability to take on the role of its masters and change the rules.”

“We’ll be goin’ back to Maria’s universe as soon as I’ve taken care of a few things,” Michael said decisively.

“And you understand that you will not be able to change your mind once you have completed the journey.”

Michael turned to look at Maria. “And we needed to inform this hunk of junk for what reason? We could’ve gone back to L.A. so I could get things ready and then come back here to deal with all these warnings and double talk.”

“Granolith, we understand that our decision must be final because this trip will not be made again,” Maria said, earning her another glare from Michael.

“You have duties to carry out before your final journey, young human?” it asked kindly.

“Yes, certain arrangements must be made first,” she answered.

“Very well. I will await your return.” The Granolith shifted back to its normal color, indicating that it had returned to its dormant state.

Michael stared at the device as it fell silent. “That thing… it’s no wonder the aliens sent it to Earth,” he muttered derisively. “Probably got sick of its attitude.” He turned and walked back over to the pod that connected the chambers. “C’mon, we need to get back to L.A. so I can get things settled.”

Maria took one last look at the Granolith before taking the hand he held out to her and crouching down so she could climb through the pod.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 67 - 11/22

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:24 am

Alien friend –

Michael stared at the device as it fell silent. “That thing… it’s no wonder the aliens sent it to Earth,” he muttered derisively. “Probably got sick of its attitude.”

Oh yeah, great Michael line, isn’t it ?

Timelord31 – Aaaah, sorry, we have to stop when we feel we have to stop!

Eva –

I think he's making the right decision but it won't be easy. He's a another man than the Michael everybody knows in Maria's universe. He's not going to replace him, ever. Michael knows that, Maria too... and somehow they found peace with that. But what about the others?

Good question. Expect some drama in the near future.

Mary mary –

Okay, I've come up with a theory here. The Granolith killed Michael on purpose because, the Michael in the alternate universe was more prepared to take on Khivar than Maria's Michael was. Now, the Granolith saw to it that Maria's Michael's essence merged with the alternate universe's Michael making them one because Michael and Maria complete each other.

Ouch, the Granolith, a killer? Really? Lol, nope. Not the truth.

Ending 1 – Part 5 (or Part 67)

Over the next few weeks Michael began making arrangements to leave his universe and travel to Maria’s. He was taking his time as he sorted through the shop and house, preparing to disperse his belongings and liquidate his assets. He hadn’t decided what to do with the motorcycles or the house and property yet, but he knew he still had time to figure it out. He didn’t want to rush through any of the preparations, concerned that moving too fast would appear suspicious.

He didn’t want to alert the people he worked for that he was leaving because they didn’t just let their agents retire without a good reason. Gabriel had left the Company because he had started to empathize with the human contingent and he had become a liability in the field. Indigo had only retired because he had lost his arm in an explosion, making it impossible for him to maintain the dexterity he needed to disarm explosive devices. Marcos had finally retired, but only after his eyesight had become too compromised for the Company to risk allowing his involvement in operations even in a limited capacity. Even Sanchez had been granted retirement, but only because he had given them 20 years as one of their top interrogators and he had finally lost the edge he needed to remain effective in his field. No one in their line of work retired just because they wanted to.

It was a Thursday night and Maria was working for a few hours, covering for one of the other waitresses who was coming in late for whatever reason. He had dropped her off, telling her that he had business to take care of and he would be back before her shift ended.

The evening was warm as he parked next to the small cemetery where Stone had been laid to rest next to Azrael. He stepped out of the truck and slowly walked through the open gate, quietly moving between the headstones that peppered the landscaped property. He wasn’t given to fanciful thinking and he had no strange notions that Stone’s ghost was lurking among the various graves, waiting to jump out at him or just float by and make some smartass comment.

Although, if anyone he knew was gonna do that it’d be Stone, he mused as he finally reached her headstone.

He crouched down next to her grave, right hand resting on the marker placed at the head of the plot. “I’m leavin’,” he said after several minutes of silence. “I just wanted to let you know I’m doin’ my best to keep my promise to you.” He reached into one of the pockets on his cargo pants and pulled a mangled bullet out, holding it in his palm as he stared at it for a few minutes. “I owed you for this one.” He placed it on top of the headstone as he stood and stared down at the marker before giving it a single pat. “Give ‘em hell, Stone.”

The wind picked up for a moment, lifting his hair as Michael looked around at the many granite and marble headstones that identified more agents that he had known and he shook his head. Most of them he only knew professionally, never caring to get to know them on a personal basis; very few people had ever been allowed to get that close to him and that was the way he liked it. He glanced at his watch, deciding he needed to get back to Azrael’s Sanctuary because it was nearly time for Maria to get off work. He had taken the bullet out of his trophy case before leaving the house, but it wasn’t until he had finished his business that he had made the decision to stop by the cemetery.

He walked back to the truck and slid in behind the wheel, shutting the door as he started the engine. That just left a few select others that he needed to speak with before leaving, but he would save that for another day.


Gabriel was sitting behind the bar, going over his inventory list and adjusting his order when the door opened and his right eyebrow lifted when he saw Indigo swagger in. “What’re you doin’ in town?”

Indigo shook the big man’s hand and took a seat on one of the stools. He nodded when the bar owner motioned to a bottle of whiskey. “Called Guerin to see if he wanted to hang out since I’m gonna be in town for the night.” He tossed the shot back and slid the glass towards Gabriel so he could fill it again.

“Guess you already know he’s comin’ in this afternoon then.”

“Yeah, said he needed to talk to both of us. Didn’t wanna talk about it over the phone though. Got the feelin’ something’s up,” he said cautiously.

“Um-hmm.” Gabriel poured a shot for himself and leaned on the counter. “Any idea what’s goin’ on?”

Indigo glanced at his watch. “Nope, but I’d be willin’ to bet it’s got somethin’ to do with Maria.”

They talked for a while, enjoying the rare opportunity to catch up and before long a couple of hours had passed. They had moved to the table at the back, giving them privacy from the few patrons who had started to filter in since the bar had opened for the night and they looked up when Michael stepped through the door.

He nodded in their direction and stopped at the bar to order a beer before joining them. “Good, you’re both here.” He pulled a chair out and flipped it around, straddling it and resting his forearms on the table.

“What’s up, Guerin?” Gabriel asked.

“Wanted to talk to the two of you,” he said as he took a drink from the bottle in his hand. “I’ve got some stuff goin’ on and you guys aren’t gonna be seein’ me around.”

Gabriel and Indigo exchanged a look. They knew without asking what he was telling them; he was planning to go renegade and there was only one reason they could think of for him to consider such an action.

“Guess I’ll be needin’ to look for a replacement for one of my waitresses soon,” Gabriel muttered.

Michael shrugged. They wouldn’t ask for details and he wouldn’t offer them. It was the only way to protect all of them and he would never risk putting them in danger on his behalf. He tossed a small key to each of them. “Safe deposit boxes at Pacific Regional and Central National downtown.”

The conversation turned to other things as afternoon quickly turned to night and Michael glanced at his watch when thunder rolled and the lights flickered around them. He tossed a few bills on the table as he stood up. “I’ll catch you guys later.”

Gabriel and Indigo saluted him with their glasses, wondering if this would be the last time they ever saw him. They silently wished him luck, knowing that leaving their field wasn’t an option and if Guerin were to be caught after going renegade the people they answered to wouldn’t go easy on his punishment.


Maria was pacing in the living room, her heart pounding like crazy as the thunder clapped again and lightening flashed across the night sky, lighting it up for a brief moment. It didn’t storm that often, but when it did the wind howled and the rain came down in sheets, and it made her edgy if Michael wasn’t home at those times.

She knew it was an irrational fear, but she couldn’t stop it no matter how hard she tried. The only thing that would allow it to dissipate was seeing for herself that he was alright. He hadn’t told her where he was going when he left but he had been gone for hours; she had tried to call him several times, but she wasn’t getting a signal and it was only further fraying her nerves.

A pair of headlights cut through the darkness and within seconds the garage door was activated and the tight feeling in her chest suddenly began to ease. She rushed through the house and pulled the door open as he stepped out of the truck, throwing her arms around him and hugging him tightly as soon as he stepped up on the first step.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, unsure of her reaction. Put two and two together, moron, his conscience taunted. She’s associating the rain with the loss of your double. He wrapped his arms around her and maneuvered her back inside the house, closing the door after them and pushing the lock into place with his elbow. “You already made dinner?” he asked to distract her.

Maria’s fingers were clenched in his shirt as she held him close and she shook her head negatively. “It just needs to be put in the oven for about 45 minutes.”

“Alright, well… why don’t you get dinner goin’ while I grab a shower and then we can talk,” he suggested. He looked down when she didn’t move and his right hand came up to cup her chin, tipping her face up. “I’m here.”

She stared up into his eyes and she lifted her own hands to cradle his face. “I was worried,” she admitted as her thumb traced over his lips.

“I’m here,” he repeated, “and I’m still in one piece.”

She nodded and exerted just enough pressure for him to lower his head and she stretched up to press her lips to his. It was the first time they had kissed since the night they had made love and she could feel the hesitation in him; he would never admit it aloud, but she knew he was afraid of opening himself up and being rejected again. “It’s okay,” she whispered against his lips.

Michael pulled back for a moment, staring down at her as his hand slid around to settle at the back of her neck. He lowered his head, kissing her slowly and deeply for several long minutes. He smoothed his thumb over her bottom lip when he lifted his head and he took a couple of steps back. “Next time… next time there won’t be any regrets.” He drew in a deep breath, bringing himself under control. “We’ll have dinner after I shower.”

Maria stared after him when he turned and walked out of the room without another word.


Michael paced in front of the desk where Xavier’s secretary sat, busy typing reports and answering phone calls. The call had come in that morning; the request to come in and meet with the old man had been unexpected and he wasn’t sure what was going on. He looked up when she cleared her throat and replaced the receiver.

“Mr. Coulson will see you now,” she said, her words crisp and precise. She stood and opened the door to the inner office, closing it behind him as soon as he had stepped inside.

Xavier was leaning back in his leather chair, his fingers playing over the gold-plated pen as he watched one of his top operatives cross the room and take a seat.

“You finally clearin’ me for active duty?” Michael asked.

“You have any idea how much I fucking hate paperwork, Guerin?”

“Judgin’ by the constipated look on your face? I’d say a lot.” Michael forced his posture to appear relaxed as he stared back at the head of the Company. He had a bad feeling about this meeting and Xavier’s opening question wasn’t doing anything to settle that feeling.

Xavier narrowed his eyes as he studied the younger man; assessing his body language, gauging every nuance in his voice, and measuring his knowledge of the operative’s behavior six months ago against what he was seeing today. “Do you know how much paperwork is involved when an operative deserts their service to the Company?”

Keep your cool, Michael! “I wouldn’t know,” he muttered insolently.

“I’ve been in this field for quite a few years now, Guerin, and I’ve never had an operative go rogue without being caught on my watch. Do you know what the punishment is for a rogue operative?”

“I’ve heard rumors.” He shrugged. The only people who really knew were those who had been captured and those who handled the punishment. “Suppose if I really wanted to know I’d take off for parts unknown and give your retrieval team a run for their money.”

“Civilians caught on the run with rogue operatives are nothing more than collateral damage, Guerin; it’d do you well to remember that.”

It took everything Michael had to keep his expression neutral and remain seated at the old man’s threat. “Like I give a shit about civilians beyond my job and the occasional fuck from some nameless piece of ass,” he muttered.

Xavier’s eyes narrowed as he studied Michael and despite his determined stare he didn’t see so much as a flicker of emotion in the operative’s features. “Very well, then.” He sat up and reached for the folder on the corner of his desk. “I’ve got another assignment that needs your skills,” he said as he tossed it to land on the edge of the desk in front of Michael.

For the next hour they discussed the particulars of the assignment and when they felt that all angles had been sufficiently covered Xavier dismissed him. It was a sniper job that would take him out of the country for an unspecified amount of time and he had 48 hours to prepare for transport.

Michael’s mind was running in so many different directions as he got into his truck and drove home, mentally scrambling over the last minute things that needed to be done before he and Maria could leave. He wasn’t going to have time to worry about the house and motorcycles so he stopped off at his lawyer’s office to have the papers drawn up to leave them to Gabriel and Indigo respectively.

After a stop at the banks where he had secured the safe deposit boxes and leaving the documents inside he took his time driving through the city. After that meeting with Xavier he knew it was the last time he would see Los Angeles in his universe and he had no idea how different it would be in Maria’s universe.

He took his time driving home, soaking up the area he had lived in most of his adult life, and realizing he had never really appreciated it. He turned into his driveway and pressed the brake, letting his gaze take in the home that he would never see again after tonight. He knew they couldn’t risk waiting any longer; the old man had made it clear that his failure to show for his next mission was not an option. Xavier wouldn’t waste resources having him followed for the next two days, so they had to disappear as soon as possible.

He trusted Gabriel and Indigo so he knew they hadn’t betrayed him, and no one else knew that there was even a possibility that he might be thinking about leaving, which meant that he had given himself away. Xavier was a shrewd man and nothing got by him; Michael hadn’t missed the way the old man had been studying him and it wasn’t the first time he had been aware of the man’s scrutiny. He knew he had changed since the day Maria had come into his life, he just hadn’t realized that anyone else had noticed it.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 68 - 2/28

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:47 pm

Mary mary –

Well, this is ending part 1 sooooo, does that mean that Michael is already being watched and they are in for one helluva ride before getting to the Granolith?

Well, no, Michael isn’t being watched, he is being given a reminder from the boss about his obligations towards the Company. Xavier knows how Michael is, he knows that there’s been some changes in his life and he wants to remind him of the rules. But Xavier ignores how much a changed man Michael is, thank god.

Alien friend –

I like they way Michael choose to do his goodbyes. It was very poignant to way he lived his life despite the fact that he had to keep them safe.

Yep, it’s a very Michael way of saying goodbye.

Timelord31 – Thanks, glad that you liked this chapter.

Eva – everything is in place to leave, so Michael and Maria won’t be around for too long, to give Xavier more doubts.

Ending 1, Part 6 (or Part 68)

Maria glanced at Michael as they drove along an old unmarked highway, the heat of the desert rising before them. She didn’t know how he had gotten the vehicle, but it had been waiting for them behind a particularly raunchy little bar in some town she had never even heard of. He had been on edge the day before when he had come home but he had refused to talk about whatever was bothering him. He had waited until dinner and then announced that they were leaving after dark, but his answers to her questions had been short and clipped.

They had driven all night, switching vehicles more than once and always in places that were remote and sparsely populated. He was careful to leave no trace that they had stopped and switched vehicles and she had realized after the third switch that he must have arranged it because they hadn’t once stopped for gas. They had stayed off of the larger highways and interstates, sticking to the lesser-traveled roads, many of them not even on the maps she had been studying.

It was late afternoon and they were less than an hour from the Granolith. She had respected Michael’s unspoken request for silence, but she couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind as he stared at the road ahead of them. Did he have regrets about leaving? Second thoughts? Was he excited about traveling to her universe? Happy about meeting others like him?

Michael was staring at the endless miles of desert that stretched out in all directions around them as his thoughts ran rampant. They had passed a road that would have led them to Roswell a while back and he wondered if the orphanage he had grown up in was still standing. He didn’t have many good memories of the large brick building or the people who had been charged with his care. Sure, he knew his childhood could have been a lot worse than it was, and he had heard some of the horror stories from kids adopted out and then returned like damaged merchandise because they didn’t fit into a so-called normal home life with their new families or because the families had later been found to be unfit. Either way, by the time the kids had returned the damage had been done and in most cases there was no way to fix it.

He had stayed at the orphanage until he had taken off at 17, but from 13 to 17 he had lucked out and had someone around who had genuinely cared about him and tried to make a difference in his life. He had put up with different forms of brutality and not all of the caretakers had been that caring, but he had survived it and at least he had never been handed off to people who just wanted him around for the monthly check.

The Company had saved his life and stolen whatever soul he had still possessed at that age but it had provided him with a life that was successful and he had survived more close calls than he probably had a right to. It had given him the opportunity to have a few important people in his life and he knew despite losing one of them recently he wouldn’t change the path he had chosen.

Choices dictated the paths people followed in life and somehow, some way, somewhere along the line he had made a choice that had eventually led him to the woman silently sitting beside him. And now another choice was taking him away from everything he knew, everything familiar, and leading him down the path that led to a life with her. He didn’t regret the choice, especially after that conversation with Xavier the day before, but he couldn’t help feeling a little introspective the closer they got to the Granolith. One-way, no return, no changing his mind; once they did whatever it was they had to do to travel from one universe to the other his life here would be over, it wouldn’t exist anymore.

He glanced at Maria from the corner of his eye. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into with this journey but he knew letting her go alone wasn’t an option. He had no idea what to expect in that other universe, what differences he would be dealing with, or even what kind of job he would have. The government in Maria’s universe housed a secret branch that was dedicated to hunting down his kind with extreme prejudice. From the talks he’d had with her he knew that it would be dangerous and he wasn’t going to have the freedom to exist like he did here in his universe.

She was lonely here though, and he knew she worried about what could be happening to her friends and her mother while she was separated from them. He was adaptive by nature and he would figure something out as far as a job was concerned; he was used to living in comfort and he intended to find a way to carry on that preference.

His thoughts shifted to their impending departure when the towering rocky formation rose up before them. He found an area about a mile away from it and parked, climbing out and grabbing his duffel bag, dropping it on the sandy ground behind him. He carefully removed any evidence that they had ever been in the vehicle and as soon as Maria had moved around to join him he climbed up into the bed of the small truck and pulled a tarp out of the otherwise empty toolbox.

He shook the tarp out and Maria realized it was some sort of netted material with a desert camouflage coloring. She watched him as he tossed it to cover the truck, hiding it in plain sight. He jumped down to the ground and tugged the covering over any exposed edges until he was satisfied that it was completely hidden.

He leaned over to pick up his duffel bag, hooking the strap over his right shoulder as he looked around the desert. “We should get goin’,” he said. “We’ve got about a mile of open ground we need to cover and we need to be quick about it.”

“Should we wait for dark?” Maria asked, concerned about his edgy behavior.


“What’s going on, Michael?”

“Xavier called me into the office yesterday… released me to active duty, gave me an assignment, and warned me about what happens to rogue agents and the civilians they get caught with.”

“You think he had us followed?”

“No, I’m pretty sure we weren’t followed, but I’d rather be safe. You don’t wanna know how far away a sniper can be when he pulls the trigger and brings his target down like a dog in the streets.” He shook his head when he saw the questions in her eyes. “Day or night doesn’t matter, Maria.”

She swallowed hard and nodded. “We’d better go then.”

It took 15 minutes to cross the open area between them and the outcropping of rocks and Maria was breathing hard when they paused at the base of the formation. Michael could have easily made the run in a third of the time, but he wouldn’t risk leaving her in the open when he couldn’t protect her.

“C’mon,” he said as he took her hand. He led the way up the path they had used twice before and he only felt himself begin to settle down when they were safely inside and the hidden doorway closed behind them, sealing them inside.

The Granolith’s familiar mechanical hum greeted them as they entered the inner chamber and they stood before it, silently watching it for several minutes as they absorbed the enormity of the moment. Michael set his duffel bag on the ground next to the device and slowly walked around it, trying to visualize the mechanics involved in traveling between universes. He was smart but he wasn’t exactly an astrophysicist and this kind of travel wasn’t exactly something he had studied in high school.

Maria could see the wariness in his expression and she knew his mind was going over the possibilities, trying to understand how this was going to work. “It’s not that bad,” she said after watching him circle the Granolith for the third time.

“How’s it work?”

“Oh, I don’t really know how it works. When I used it to travel here a beam of light came out and surrounded me. Then there was this feeling of… I don’t know, being powerless as I was pulled towards the Granolith. I was expecting to collide with it, but I never even felt it as it pulled me inside.”

Michael glanced between her and the device. “It pulled you in there? Against your will?”

“Not really against my will because I wanted to be sent wherever it was sending me, but when that beam moves over you it’s like you’re paralyzed.”

He didn’t like that. At all.

“Next thing I knew, I was inside the Granolith, looking out through it and I have to admit that I was terrified. But then everything started to move faster and I began to calm down and then it went dark. When I woke up again I was lying on the floor in this chamber, feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. I don’t remember anything else about it.”

“Alright, well, we should just get this over with. I don’t like just standin’ around, waitin’.”

Maria moved to stand in front of him and she reached up to cradle his face in her hands. “Are you sure about this, Michael? Because it’s a one-way trip; we’re not gonna be able to reverse this if we get there and you change your mind.”

His hands came up to cover hers and he met her gaze. “When have you known me to make a decision and then change my mind?” He shook his head. “I was completely serious when I said wherever you are, is where I’ll be.”

They took a step back when the Granolith began to change colors, turning to a deep emerald green as it awakened from its dormant state. “You have returned to undertake your journey?” it asked.

“No, we’ve returned to have a meeting of the minds, you piece of crap,” Michael growled at it.

“We have returned for that purpose, Granolith,” Maria said as she took Michael’s hand and pulled him back away from the device.

“And you understand that there can be no altering of this journey once it has begun, hybrid?”

Michael’s patience was running thin and the Granolith’s patronizing tone wasn’t helping. “You think I wanna have to deal with you again?” he snapped. “Yes, we’re aware our tickets don’t come as a round-trip package and they’re non-refundable. Can we get on with this now?”

“Once made the journey cannot be reversed.”

Maria had a feeling the Granolith knew full well that Michael’s irritable response meant that he understood, but the device seemed to get some sort of enjoyment from taunting the hybrid. “We understand that undertaking this journey means that our decision must be final.”

“You know this thing understands every fuckin’ word I’ve said.”

“Don’t piss it off,” she hissed.

“What guarantee do we have that it’s even gonna send us to your universe?”

“It has no reason to send us to a different universe.” She rolled her eyes when he made a face and motioned to the alien device. “Granolith, we require reassurance that this journey will return us to my original universe.”

“The journey will end at the beginning,” the mechanical voice promised.

“Fine, let’s get this thing goin’ then.” Michael could feel his nerves reacting to the unknown factors of his impending journey and he just wanted it to be over as soon as possible. He grabbed his duffel bag and hooked the strap over his shoulder, his right hand gripping it tightly. He took a couple of steps to bring him closer to Maria, his posture ramrod straight as he looked at the device expectantly.

“We’re ready, Granolith,” Maria said, reaching down to take Michael’s hand and feeling the nervous tension in him. “It’ll be okay.”

“Be okay when it’s over,” he muttered.

The process occurred just as Maria had described it and his last conscious thought before everything began to accelerate and he blacked out was that he had no idea what he had gotten himself into.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 69 - 3/14

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:59 am

Mary mary –

You do know that you are leaving yourself wide open for a very long epilogue or a sequel...right?

Two very long epilogues, in fact, you’re right on that one.

Alien friend – The reactions, oh boy, the reactions. They’re going to be… explosive.

Ending 1 – Part 7 (or Part 69)

Nausea and disorientation washed over Michael as he opened his eyes and he blinked rapidly to clear his vision. He quickly became aware of his surroundings, recognizing the cavern that housed the Granolith. It had failed, he thought in irritation. All of the time wasted, planning the trip, carefully deconstructing his life to travel to another universe, and this was what he was left with.

He tested his body for movement, making sure everything was in working order before he attempted to sit up and push himself to an upright position. He braced his hand on the wall as he stood up and he fought the nausea that tried to surface. He scanned the chamber as he stood and within seconds his gaze landed on Maria where she was slumped against the dormant Granolith.

As he crouched down beside her he pulled her into his arms even as he was checking her pulse. Relief flooded his veins when he felt the reassuring beat of her heart beneath his fingertips. He held her protectively against his body as he looked around, surveying the area and searching for anything out of the ordinary.

He couldn’t explain it but something felt different. It was similar to the feeling he got when he was carrying out a mission and something wasn’t right. It wasn’t something that he could define with words, it wasn’t tangible, but he knew it existed all the same. He looked down when he felt Maria stir and he could see the disoriented expression in her features as she tried to sit up.

“Just stay still for a minute,” he murmured gruffly. “Give your body time to adjust to whatever that damn thing did to us.” He lifted his gaze to the defective device and shook his head at it, angry that they had wasted their time and now they would have no choice but to live life on the run. “Thanks for the trip from hell, you fuckin’ piece of shit! I’ve had easier missions trapped in the mountains of Russia.”

“It is not the duty of the Granolith to ensure the safety of beings that defy the sacred laws of the creators.”

“Sacred laws of…” Michael drew back at the cold, mechanical voice that emanated from the device. It had worked, he realized. “We’re in your universe,” he muttered quietly. It explained that bone-deep feeling that something was off around him. He lifted Maria up in his arms and carried her across the chamber, sitting her down against the wall farthest from the device.

He stood and moved around the room, gathering up the things they had carried with them into the Granolith. After depositing them on the floor next to Maria and checking on her once more he turned to look at the alien device, studying it and searching for differences. As far as appearances went, it seemed to be identical to the one in his universe, but the temperament of the two devices was worlds apart. What would happen to the Granolith in his universe? It no longer had a purpose there; no one to guard, no duties to perform… without those things would it die? Could it die?

He faced the device, feet planted wide and his arms crossed over his chest. “What will happen to the Granolith in my universe?” he demanded to know.

“The continued existence of the device is inconsequential,” it intoned.

“You can’t reason with it,” Maria said quietly. She shook her head when he turned his head to look at her. “It’s nothing like the Granolith in your universe, Michael.” The nausea and disoriented feeling were beginning to fade and she carefully pushed herself to her feet.

Michael held a hand up, telling her without words to stay back from the Granolith. He didn’t know what the device was capable of but he didn’t trust it as far as he could throw the damn thing. “Do you know if there are any outside factors that indicate the device has been used? Anything that would draw attention to the area and compromise our ability to escape?”

“Not that I know of, no.”

He nodded and moved to grab his duffel bag, hooking the strap over his shoulder and leaning down to scoop her bag up. “We should go… the longer we stay here the more we put ourselves at risk for detection and capture.”

Maria took her bag from him and they left the inner chamber, crawling through the pod and entering the outer chamber. Michael turned and studied the pods, all empty in this universe, and after a couple of moments he continued towards the only exit from the hidden cavern.

Cool air brushed against their skin as the slab of stone slid back to reveal the opening and he nodded in satisfaction when he realized that dusk was settling around them. He stepped out first, looking around in surprise when the desert surrounding them appeared to be identical to the landscape they had left in his universe.

He took the lead as they made their way down the path and he paused several times when that bone-deep feeling that things were different reasserted itself. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t painful, but it was there in a way that he was constantly aware of. He looked around as they reached the desert floor and a new feeling began to tug at him, moving through him and dragging his attention away from the path he had intended to take.

Maria followed him when he veered off to the right, his stride determined and his gaze locked on something only he could see. She frowned when he dropped his duffel bag and continued around the large rock formation that kept the Granolith hidden from the world, his pace increasing to a run. “Michael?”

She paused to grab his bag and had to settle for dragging it when she tried to pick it up and realized how heavy it was. She froze when she reached a place where she could see him and her breath locked in her throat.

Michael had dropped to his knees beside his counterpart’s unmarked grave. Raggedy-looking bushes provided a sheltered covering for the plot and even though there was nothing to identify it as the other hybrid’s grave he knew that was what it was. He ran his right hand over the sand and something in him eased in recognition.

“You buried him here,” he said with certainty.

She nodded wordlessly. He couldn’t have known it was where they had buried him, she thought. There was no way to identify that spot as a grave, no evidence that anyone had even been in the area in months, possibly even years. “We had no choice… there was nowhere else to take him.”

Michael looked up at her and he shook his head at her apologetic tone. “He would’ve understood the necessity to dispose of his body. He wouldn’t have wanted you to put yourself at risk.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “And speakin’ of risk, we’d better get movin’ before we put ourselves in that situation.” He stood and shouldered his duffel bag, taking her hand to make sure she was nearby in case anything happened as they set out across the open desert. They would head for the nearest road where they could safely hitch a ride to one of the larger cities to the north.


Michael glanced at Maria when she stumbled and he forced himself to shorten his stride. They had been walking for hours and even though they had reached the old highway that cut through the desert several miles from the Granolith’s hiding place they had yet to see a single vehicle. They had started walking north because she had told him that the old highway would intersect with a larger highway after about 25 miles.

They had walked about 11 miles by his calculations and Maria hadn’t once complained or let on that she was exhausted but her steps were giving her away. He pulled a small pair of binoculars out of his jacket pocket and dropped his bag on the ground, motioning for her to sit on it while he scanned the area. He checked his watch, noting the early hour and after several minutes he sat down next to her.

“These old highways are usually used by delivery drivers runnin’ routes between towns.” He nodded to the east where the sky was just beginning to show the first streaks of light as the sun peered over the horizon. “We could get lucky with one of them, catch a ride into the nearest town. That’s probably gonna be our best bet.”


He frowned at her minimal response spoken in a monotone voice. “We’ll find a place to stay as soon as we can put some distance between us and this area.”

Maria nodded and rubbed her eyes tiredly. Her feet hurt, her body ached, and her eyes felt so heavy from staying awake for so many hours when her body was screaming for sleep. She shifted slightly, gravitating to the warmth that emanated from his body and she leaned her head on his shoulder.

He glanced down at her when he felt her shiver and he rested his hand on her thigh for a moment. It couldn’t be more than 50 degrees and he knew he needed to get her inside somewhere so she could rest and warm up. He rested an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer against his side, silently offering her the little warmth and shelter he had.

It was more than an hour later when the sound of an engine disturbed the early morning silence and he nudged Maria to wake her up. He left her sitting on the duffel bag and walked out closer to the side of the road to flag the driver down. He halfway expected the driver to continue on his way and he carefully schooled his expression when the man pulled over and leaned over to roll the window down.

“Where ya headed?” the man asked.

“Lookin’ to head north,” Michael answered. “Piece of shit truck threw a rod about a dozen miles back and we’ve been walkin’ most of the night.”

“Woman of yours looks worn out.”

“Been a long night of walkin’,” Michael repeated.

“Well, I don’t have the room up here in the cab, but y’all are welcome to ride in the back.” He hooked his thumb over his shoulder to indicate the bed of the truck. “I’m headed for Santa Fe so if that’s north enough for you you’re welcome to ride.”

Maria looked up blearily when Michael came back over to her and took her hand, pulling her to her feet. “Where’re we going?”

“Headed towards Santa Fe. It’s large enough for us to get lost and we’ll figure out our next move once we’ve eaten and rested.” He hefted the duffel bag up onto his shoulder and tossed it along with her bag into the back of the truck before helping her up and following her.

He reached up and rapped his knuckles against the window to let the driver know they were settled as they slouched down out of sight. He held her close, doing his best to protect her from the wind as she dozed fitfully. He remained awake, alert to their surroundings and watchful for anything that seemed out of the ordinary as they rode north towards the unknown.

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