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

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

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 70 - 3/28

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:10 am

Eva – They will find the others, no question about that. Now, what will be their reaction to this Michael, that’s the real question.

Timelord31 –

wondering where the rest of the team is?


Max, Isabel, Kyle and Liz, you mean? Oh, they are still in the States, and don’t worry, they have ways to contact each other, when split up. Sure, there’s Isabel but if Isabel is not “available”, they need other means of contact. Which they have.

Alien friend –

I wonder how much time has past in this universe. I didn't even think about that, the Granolith having different temperaments in different universes. But I guess it's same for everything else why not the Granolith.


Exactly and since the Granolith is partly sentient, why couldn’t it have a different personality, kind of like Michael I and II, the same but not the same?

Mary mary –

Unless of course God has other plans ?


God, huh? Who know who or what is behind the Granolith, pulling the string. It’s up to the readers. We won’t impose a theory, we let that part of the story very open, because let’s face it, it could go toward God, gods, angels, aliens, entities living on a different plane… we leave that choice to the readers.


Ending 1 – Part 8 (or Part 70)

Santa Fe was all wrong.

Maria bit back a groan when the truck bounced over several sets of railroad tracks, shaking her stiff, sore body. She moved slightly, squinting against the bright sunlight beating down on them. She recognized the buildings surrounding them as the driver maneuvered the truck through the streets of Santa Fe to pull into a gas station.

Michael’s eyes were carefully scanning everything around them, forcing his focus to stay on identifying potential threats. His eyes wanted to wander over the many differences that were glaringly obvious but he needed to secure a safe place for them to stay first… and to do that he had to get his hands on a substantial amount of cash. The currency systems in their universes were similar, but he had left every dime he had when they had gone to the Granolith because he couldn’t risk using it by mistake.

“Hope this’ll get you folks where you need to go,” the driver said as he rested his hand on the cab of the truck. “Once I fuel up and pick up I’ll be headin’ back down south.”

“This is perfect,” Maria said before Michael had a chance to speak. She controlled the urge to smile when the hybrid helped her down from the bed of the truck without even realizing it. “We really appreciate all of your help.”

After leaving their ride they set off into the heart of the city and Maria wasn’t sure she wanted to know what he was looking for as his gaze swung back and forth. Whatever it was she knew the moment he had found it because she could see his demeanor shift from searching to planning.

“C’mon, let’s grab somethin’ to eat,” he said as he reached around her to pull the door of a small diner open.

“But, we don’t have enough – “

“We will.”

His tone left no room for argument but the fact that he couldn’t yet manipulate currency the way the others could suggested that he would obtain the money in an illegal manner. They took a seat near the window facing the street and ordered a couple of the lunch specials and while they were waiting for their meals Maria turned her head to follow his gaze.

“What’re you thinking about doing?” she asked when she realized they were sitting across from a bank.

“Nothin’ like what you think I’m thinkin’ about doin’,” he said, shaking his head at her.

They fell silent when the waitress returned with their plates and his gaze continued to watch the bank’s patrons as they entered and exited, passing between the large building and the parking garage next to it. He nodded to himself after a while and he pulled a ball cap and something small that she couldn’t identify out of his bag, shoving the items in his back pocket as he stood.

“I’ll be right back.”

He was only gone for a matter of minutes, returning to their booth and picking up his fork to cut into the chicken fried steak that was still warm. The man had never suspected that the stranger he had bumped into had lifted his wallet and Michael had quickly removed the wad of cash from the billfold and ditched the rest.

Maria’s eyes widened when he checked the receipt and threw a twenty down to cover their tab. “Michael, what’d you…”

“We’ll talk about it at the hotel.”

The hotel he had chosen wasn’t anything to write home about but at least it was clean and the beds were comfortable. It was near the outskirts of the city, away from the busier areas and she could only assume he had chosen the location because it would allow them to get out of the city faster if the need arose.

“Alright, let’s talk about this communication thing you use to let your friends know you’re here,” he said as he sat down on the bed across from the one she was sitting on.

“First let’s talk about where you got that money,” Maria said, glancing meaningfully at the pile of bills lying on the table under his wallet.

He shrugged, unconcerned with his method of procurement. “People with money should be more careful.”

“You just stole it?”

“Well, the guy wasn’t just handin’ it out. He probably hasn’t even realized it’s missin’ yet. I tossed the wallet. Someone’ll find it and be stupid enough to use the credit cards and the police will think that person stole the cash too.”

“But your fingerprints…”

“Won’t be on it.” He leaned over and pulled a small jar out of a side pocket on his duffel bag and tossed it to her. “It’s a compound you rub on your hands and it basically adheres to your skin creating a perfectly smooth surface that leaves no prints. Fills the grooves in your soft tissue so that anything you touch is left print-free.”

“Let’s go back to the part where you stole some man’s money,” Maria said as she leaned forward to hand the jar back to him.

“It’s no different than the others changing the value of the currency… either way it’s technically stealing. And don’t give me any shit about how it’s not the same. That’s just semantics.”

Technically he was right and there was no point in getting into an argument over it. Maria sighed and lay back on the bed, resting against the pillows and staring up at the ceiling. “We just need to place an ad in a national newspaper. They know to look for it.”

“You’ve been gone for more than six months. What makes you think they’re still waitin’ for some ad to show up?”

“They’re waiting,” was all she said.

“Fine,” he grunted as he stood and grabbed his duffel bag. He carried it over to the table and dropped it on the pitted surface before stretching. “What’s the ad need to say?”

Maria motioned tiredly to a piece of paper lying on the nightstand and he crossed the room once more to pick it up. “Madame Vivian knows the answer. Call 1-800-252-9866.” He snorted and looked at her. “A fortune teller? That’s your communication gimmick?”

“She wasn’t a fortune teller, she was a psychic.”

“And the number? Using the same number as a means of communicating is gonna get you caught.”

“It’s not always the same number. It varies depending on which of us sends the message and where we are at the time. The last seven digits spell out Clayton… it’s the name of the town where Michael and I were living.”

“Uh-huh, and how long do you suggest we wait here?”

“We don’t need to wait here. They’ll go there. Actually, I’m pretty sure Max and Liz are already there.”

“Why would they be there already?” he asked, not sure he understood how this thing was supposed to work. “We haven’t even placed the ad yet.”

“Liz is my best friend, Michael. She would’ve done everything possible to hold onto the house because she knew I’d be back.”

He shook his head. “How have you people managed to survive?” he muttered. “You can’t let yourselves be ruled by your emotions.”

“And if being on the run is going to turn us into soulless automatons what’s the point?” she threw back at him.

“Do you think the people after you care how much your emotions have impacted your decisions? It’s a weakness and they can use it against you.”

“I don’t want to argue about this with you. I’m tired and neither of us is going to change our minds tonight.”

He sighed and let the subject drop. For now. They would come back to it because what they were doing was foolish and one day it was going to get one or more of them captured and killed. They had been lucky so far, that’s all it was. They should’ve gotten as far away from New Mexico as possible and instead they had settled down less than a day away from Roswell. He would give them credit for at least separating and putting some distance between each other, but they were doing too many things that put them at risk.

He turned to look at her, placing his right hand on the table as he let it support some of his weight. She was exhausted. He could see it in her features, in the lines of her body, and it was obvious by the way she had refused to argue with him. He glanced at his watch, noting the early evening hour. The sun hadn’t quite set yet and he moved to pull the curtains over the tightly-closed blinds to shut out what little light was streaming in. He checked the locks on the door once more and just as an added precaution grabbed one of the chairs from under the table and wedged it up under the knob.

He grabbed the neck of his shirt and pulled it over his head, wadding it up and tossing it across the room to land on the table next to his bag. He settled into his bed and stared up at the ceiling as he listened to Maria’s even breathing. He couldn’t believe they would put themselves at risk just to hold onto the hope that she might be coming back. It was stupid and risky… leave it to a bunch of kids to rely on luck to evade a unit trained to hunt them down.

They were just kids, he realized. Well, maybe not kids, but not much more than that. Not a single one of them was legally able to drink yet they had managed to avoid capture by a specially trained government unit. He snorted to himself as he shifted onto his side to watch Maria as she slept. She had a lot of faith in these people; she trusted them and her belief in them was absolute. There was no question in her mind that when they reached Clayton, New Mexico, her friends would be there waiting for her to return.

They couldn’t stay there and he hoped she would understand when he told her that. They couldn’t just explain away their sudden return and expect to go back to whatever menial jobs they had held down before the accident. There would be questions and that was one thing they did not want. They needed to avoid anything that might draw attention to them.

He got up and moved to her bed when her movements began to get restless and he settled down next to her, breathing easier when she moved into his arms and rested against him. She sighed contentedly and her right arm came around his waist as she pressed her cheek to his chest. It was as close as he had allowed himself to get to her since the night they had made love, but some nights being apart from her made his existence intolerable and he had no choice but to seek her out. He was always careful to be up and out of her room before she awoke because he knew it wouldn’t take much for them to give in to temptation and he wasn’t ready to risk another morning like the one that had followed that night.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 71 - 4/12

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:57 am

Alien friend –

I can see now why there will be tension between Michael and the others. They aren't going to like him telling them all the things they have been doing wrong over the years.


Absolutely. Michael is older than the others since he hatched earlier, and there’s also the fact that he has experience as a soldier/sniper and all that war stuff. He will want to lead and teach and the others to follow and we all know that our roswellians won’t take it. And there’s also the fact that he is another Michael, not “their Michael” and it’s a bomb waiting to explode.

This story is so exciting to read. I can't wait to see what happens next.


Thank you!

Timelord31 – Thank you, glad that you like where it’s heading.

Mary mary – A nice surprise? You didn’t think we were going to forget about this story?

Eva –

Oh boy, the others are sure as hell not going to like this Michael. The values he has and the way he has lived his whole life was always coloured by his struggle to survive. A struggle he had done on his own.

The others alwaus had each other and were brought up in a very protected family & circumstances. They still had to flee and hide for the FBI, but they always had each other.

They will clash, and that's a certainty. But I'm still hoping on a good ending...

A clash, at this point, is more than probable. Neither the roswellians, nor this Michael, are in the right mind of accepting the other.


Ending 1 – Part 9 (or Part 71)

Max sat at the kitchen table watching Liz as she moved around the room making lunch. The kitchen was one of the few rooms in the house he was anywhere close to being comfortable. It was one of the places Michael’s presence wasn’t so strong and it made it a little more tolerable to be there.

After the accident and Maria’s trip through the Granolith to God only knew where, Liz had insisted that they move into the house and wait for their friends’ return. For nearly eight months they had been living in the space that Michael and Maria had occupied before the hybrid’s death and he wondered how long he should entertain his wife’s notion that Maria would return. With Michael.

What they were doing was risky. Staying in one place for so long was dangerous and losing Michael and Maria had somehow caused the four of them to fall into a pattern that was too predictable. Isabel and Kyle hadn’t moved to another location either, choosing to stay where they had resided before the accident.

He worried about Liz a little more with each passing day. She had never fully recovered from losing Alex, but with the loss of Maria she had been left with reason to hope for her friend to return. Liz had been adamant in her refusal to leave the one place Maria would come back to and he didn’t have the heart to deny her wishes. She and Maria had a bond, a special relationship that was unbreakable, and he knew she equated leaving the house with abandoning Maria.

Living in their house comforted Liz and it made her feel closer to Maria. He didn’t feel the same way; for him living in Michael’s house was a constant reminder of what he had lost. He still couldn’t accept that his brother, his best friend, his second in command, and the only other hybrid like him was dead. They hadn’t been in the house long before he had boxed up everything of Michael’s and stored all of it in one of the back rooms. He couldn’t deal with seeing the other man’s things surrounding him, reminding him of the loss on a constant basis.

He looked up when Liz called his name and he nodded in response to her question. She smiled and nodded as she finished preparing a couple of plates and carried them over to the table. They were in the middle of lunch when the mail truck stopped at the end of the driveway to deposit the mail in the box and he knew she would run out to get the daily newspaper before eating another bite.

She stood and glanced out through the window as she moved to the front door and for a moment she froze in place. “Max… Max, look!”

*****

Kyle threw himself down on the couch as he pulled the rubber band off of the newspaper he had picked up on his way back to the apartment after his morning run. He barely glanced up when Isabel walked in and shoved his feet off of the coffee table and snatched the middle section out of his hands.

“You’re all sweaty, Valenti,” she griped as she sat down at the opposite end.

“Get over it,” he muttered as he scanned over the baseball scores. “I’m at my end of the couch.”

She rolled her eyes and snapped the paper open, eyes scanning over the ads listed in the classified section. For a little over eight months now she had searched the ads every single day, searching for the one that would tell her Maria had been successful in her mission to bring Michael back home to them.

Her eyes widened in shock when she read the tiny ad. Six little words and a phone number. She sat up suddenly and her left hand shot out, smacking Kyle in the chest and making him jump in surprise.

“Damn it, Isabel, I’m tryin’ to read the…” he trailed off when his gaze met hers and his eyes dropped to the paper she held. “No way.” He grabbed the paper from her and he quickly read the ad she pointed out.

“252-9866… that’s Clayton.” She paused for the slightest of moments. “We need to go. Get packed and get the truck ready.”

Kyle knew better than to question her or get in her way when she was like this. It was best to just stay back and do whatever she said to do. In the end it just saved time and any suffering on his part because she was unbearable when she was trying to organize something and it didn’t go the way she wanted it to go.

*****

Michael glanced around their surroundings as they walked along the outskirts of Clayton, New Mexico. The town wasn’t large with a population of barely more than 2,000 residents and law enforcement was minimal. Maria had told him where she and his counterpart had lived and after their last ride had dropped them off at the edge of town they had started to walk in that direction.

The house was several miles outside of town with a view of Rabbit Ear Mountain in the distance and he could feel her excitement building as they drew closer to the single driveway in the distance. He wasn’t holding out any hope that her friends were waiting for her in the house she and Michael had lived in before the accident. It had been eight months and he was certain that even with the emotional attachments these people had to each other they had to have moved on by now.

“Look, you can see it,” Maria said as her pace picked up.

Michael looked up ahead as he shifted his duffel bag higher on his shoulder. They were on an old county road that had seen better days but it wasn’t well-traveled and he could understand why his counterpart had chosen the area. It was early afternoon and the sun was high enough that it was beating down on them but thankfully it wasn’t so hot that it made walking miserable.

At the sound of a vehicle approaching his hand shifted to the small of his back where he had hidden the weapon he had purchased from some small-time criminal in a back alley in Santa Fe. He relaxed when he realized it was just a mail truck and he muttered under his breath when Maria raised a hand to wave at the driver.

They approached the driveway just as the mail truck pulled away from the mailbox at the end of the driveway and she paused just a moment with her hand on the plain box with the red flag standing up to indicate they had mail. His head shot up when he heard a screen door shut with a bang followed by a woman’s voice screaming Maria’s name.

“Liz,” she whispered.

He lengthened his stride to keep up with her when she suddenly turned and started to run up the driveway toward a petite brunette woman. He watched them as they ran to each other, their voices screaming over each other, and tears streaming down their faces as they embraced in the middle of the driveway. He couldn’t understand a thing they were saying as they talked and cried at the same time.

He approached them slowly, almost warily, feeling out of his element with two crying women and no idea what to do with them.

Max was standing on the porch, his shocked gaze locked on the man standing near Maria and Liz. Somehow, some way, she had managed to do the impossible and Michael was back. His brain suddenly kicked into gear at that realization and before he could think twice he was running down the driveway.

Michael wasn’t expecting it when a dark-haired guy suddenly ran up to him and threw his arms around him, hugging him tightly. He frowned as he tried to pry the guy off of him, just barely registering the relieved words pouring from the man’s mouth.

Max couldn’t believe it. Michael was real. He was solid, alive, breathing, and squirming uncomfortably in his old friend’s embrace. “Welcome home, Michael,” he choked out. “God, welcome back home.”

Maria was pulled out of her own reunion when the sound of Max’s relieved voice broke through the fog she was in and she turned her head to look at the men. Michael looked annoyed and irritable as he tried his best to get away from the man hugging the stuffing out of him. She reached out to rest her hand on Max’s shoulder. “Max, we should talk,” she said quietly.

Max finally let go of Michael to look at Maria. “You really did it,” he said hoarsely. “You brought him back home.”

“He’s Michael, but he’s not… he’s not exactly the same Michael.”

“What? No, Maria, I can see him. God,” he turned to look at the other man, “he’s standin’ right here. I don’t know how you did it, but…”

“I’d advise you to listen to her,” Michael said.

“You’d advise…” Max looked at the other man closely, his eyes narrowing as he took in the differences that were obvious now that he was really looking at him.

Liz was watching everything with undisguised interest and she reached out to touch her husband’s arm when she saw the confusion and suspicion etched on his face. “Max, we should go inside.”

*****

Isabel’s fingernails were tapping out an annoyed rhythm on the window frame of the passengers’ side door as she stared at the line of cars ahead of them. After an hour of driving traffic had backed up because of a train stalled on the tracks in one of the small towns they had to pass through on their way into New Mexico.

“Isn’t there another way around this?”

Kyle was slouched down behind the steering wheel, sunglasses covering his closed eyes and his arms crossed over his chest. “We’d just be runnin’ in circles, Isabel,” he muttered. “We don’t know how long this train is so if we try to go around and run into it someplace else all we’re gonna do is lose even more time.”

“This’s ridiculous. We could’ve been there by now.”

“Yeah, we could’ve been, but we’re not. Would you just let it go?” He shoved himself up slightly and turned to look at her. “How certain are you that the message was from Maria? I mean, Max and Liz have been stayin’ there, what if they placed the ad?”

She shook her head. “No, if they had placed the ad they would’ve used the number for the town they were staying in when they were in Colorado.”

“What do you think happened?”

“Well, obviously they’re back otherwise there wouldn’t be an ad.”

“But how? If she was able to convince the Granolith to change the past, to prevent the accident from happening… we wouldn’t even know about it, right?” He checked his watch. “The date would be eight months ago and we wouldn’t have any memory of the accident because it wouldn’t have happened yet.”

“Okay, I don’t know how she’s accomplished her goal, but the fact is she placed the ad and that means that they’re back. I don’t care how it happened. All that matters is that she found a way to bring Michael back.”

Kyle bit his bottom lip as he reached up to rub his forehead and he decided to drop the subject. His next question would only infuriate her and he didn’t feel like putting up with her wrath for the next few hours. He wondered how she would react if they got to Clayton and found only Maria. What if Maria had returned but she hadn’t been able to find a way to save Michael? Would Isabel be able to deal with that? He didn’t know the answer to that but he hoped if that was what they were going to be faced with she could handle it.

“This’s ridiculous,” she muttered once again.

“You really oughta let me teach you to meditate,” he said as he resumed his slouched down position.

“If you make that recommendation one more time I’m gonna shove that stupid little Buddha statue down your throat,” she threatened, motioning to the figurine that resided on the dashboard.

“Hey, hey, hey, there’s no need to be rude.”

Isabel sighed in irritation and slumped against the door. Nothing she could do was going to make this go any faster and as much as she enjoyed arguing with Kyle, that wasn’t helping either. Once the train situation was taken care of they were still looking at another three hours of driving. She shot one more glare at her friend, roommate, and confidant before settling down for the wait ahead of them.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 72 - 4/28

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:46 pm

Alien friend – It’s going to be a tough waking up call for Max and Isabel, when they meet this Michael. They expect their Michael, after all.

Timelord31 – Isabel, a bitch? Nooooo, you think?

Mary mary –

I admire Michael for coming back with Maria ... at least where he was he was free to live in the open, his job left a lot to be desired but his life was his own now he's going to be on the run. But, on the bright side he can always snipe the bad guys out of the picture!


Yes, in his world, Michael had the life he wanted, he wasn’t in danger. But there would be no Maria. So he took a decision and jumped into the unknown. There’s much more in Maria’s world than in his own.

Eva –

I believe Max will understand but Isabel? That's going to take a hell lot more than one conversation.


Are you a medium? Because you’ll see that you’re not far from the truth, here.


Ending One, Part 10 (or Part 72)

Max stood at the far end of the kitchen, keeping his distance from the others as he tried to understand everything Maria had just told them. His gaze continually wandered to Michael… the Michael she had returned home with, his mind trying to reconcile this man with the one they had buried less than a year earlier.

This man’s presence meant that his Michael, the man he had grown up with, fought with, laughed with, and run for his life with, was really and truly dead. He wasn’t coming back and he was never going to see him again. Max drew in a deep breath in an effort to escape the knot that had formed in his chest at that thought. Michael, ‘his’ Michael, was gone. Forever. Dead. His gaze returned to this other, new Michael. Although… His mind turned back to the incredible tale that Maria had shared with them. Could it be possible? There seemed to be some difference of opinion as to whether or not his Michael’s soul or essence, he didn’t know what to call it exactly, was now residing in this man. He had sensed that Maria didn’t completely believe that herself, and who would know better than her if that part of her lover existed in this other Michael?

He stared at the other man as he wondered what kind of person he was. Was he the same, deep down where it really mattered? Or was he a completely different kind of man? It was easy to see that there was a connection between the couple – and they were a couple, he was in no doubt about that. But this man was so much harder to read than his Michael had ever been. There was a hardness to this man, an edge that their Michael had never had, and he didn’t know how to balance the two.

He wondered if this man really loved Maria. He cared for her, that much was obvious, but was this man capable of love? If he was right and their Michael was somehow inside of him, which one was controlling things? He reached up to rub his temples. He was developing a headache just from trying to make sense of this insanity. God, how was Isabel going to react to this man? He was Michael… but at the same time, he wasn’t Michael.

Their futures were so uncertain, but what little they did know loomed before them like a black cloud threatening to burst at any moment. What was it going to take for him and Isabel to adapt to this new Michael? This man was a seasoned soldier, something that was a definite advantage for them but at the same time, so foreign to what they knew.

He straightened up and moved to follow the other man when Michael’s prowling movements suddenly took him out of the kitchen and into the hall.

“I can’t believe all that’s happened,” Liz said quietly after the men had left the room. She looked at her friend, studying her tired features. “How are you, Maria?”

“It’s been a long eight months, Liz.” Maria shook her head as she turned the glass of lemonade between her fingers. “So much has happened.”

Liz reached out to take the other woman’s hands in hers, squeezing them slightly to get her attention. “Maria, are you sure you’re okay?”

She nodded with a tight smile. “I’m fine, really. I wasn’t alone in that other universe for very long. I found Michael fairly quickly and while I know it wasn’t easy for him he found a way to take care of me.” She shifted in her chair, hesitating as her thoughts moved to so many of the things that she had faced alone because she hadn’t had Liz there to confide in. “What about you and Max? How have things been for you?”

“It’s been rough at times and I know Max has had a hard time being here but,” she smiled, “he did it for me. I was sure you would come back here and as much as he wanted to believe that it might happen I think he was scared to believe it was possible.”

“He and Isabel had a very hard time dealing with Michael’s,” she swallowed hard, “death, didn’t they? How bad was it for them?”

Liz could see that Maria was struggling with something, that she was using the questions to avoid dealing with whatever it was. “Maria, talk to me, please? Tell me what’s on your mind. Whatever’s weighing so heavily on you will be easier to handle if you share it.”

Maria finally raised her eyes to her friend’s steady, concerned gaze and she moved, throwing her arms around Liz as the emotions she had been holding in check burst free and the tears began to flow. It had been so long since she’d had anyone, but especially her best friend, to talk to about anything and everything and she had felt that separation acutely.

“I’m here, Maria,” Liz whispered as she held her friend, rocking her gently and stroking her hair. “It’s okay, I’m here now.”

“God, I’ve missed you so much, Liz. So much has happened and I haven’t had anyone to talk to.”

“Hey, I’m here now,” she repeated gently. “Talk to me, tell me what happened, what you’ve been through.” Maria had given them the story without going into a lot of details as far as the more personal information went and she could understand that decision.

Maria nodded and slowly, haltingly, started to talk, telling Liz about her time in that other universe and the emotional wringer she had been through. “God, I fought against the feelings I have for him for so long, Liz.” She rolled her eyes and sniffled loudly. “He didn’t make it easy to resist him either. I didn’t wanna fall in love with him and then one day I realized it had happened regardless of what I wanted.” She shook her head. “I fought against it so hard, Liz, because I was so sure I could bring Michael, my Michael, back.”

“When did you know you were in love with him?”

“The night we made love… oh my God, Liz, I felt so guilty afterwards because I knew, I knew I was in love with him. And then he found me while I was trying to work through everything that had happened and I hurt him in the worst possible way. I told him I had betrayed my Michael by making love with him.”

Liz winced. “Ouch,” she said softly.

“He was so hurt and angry.” She rolled her eyes. “Not a good combination.”

“No, I’m sure it’s not.” She took Maria’s hands in hers again and tugged on them to make the other woman look at her. “But, here’s the thing, Maria; in the end, he’s gonna be Michael Guerin no matter what universe it is. When you were talking about how he believes that Michael is somehow inside of him…” she hesitated a moment. “I can tell that you’re not completely certain it’s true, but I think you should trust him. If he says that some part of Michael is alive in him then it’s probably true. I mean, why else would he say that? Think about it, Maria! That man doesn’t come across as the type who likes to share and from what you’ve told me there’s some jealousy where his counterpart is concerned. I doubt he even wanted to tell you that he believed he was carrying a part of your Michael around inside of him, especially in light of what you told me you said to him the morning after you made love. It couldn’t have been easy for him to tell you about that.”

Maria nodded slowly, taking in everything Liz was saying.

“And need I remind you that the men we’re in love with are aliens, hybrids, whatever you wanna call them? Let’s be completely honest here. Things are never gonna be easy with them. Do you remember me getting that visit from Future Max? He was Max, my Max, but at the same time he was someone I didn’t know. Or, my God, when Max was possessed or whatever by Clayton? Do you know how scary that was? But even in the middle of all that weirdness he fought to save me from Clayton. It’s like…” she trailed off as she sought the right words. “It’s like there’s this constant, I don’t know, duality, in them – Max and Zan, Michael and Rath, and whatever other incarnations of them that might pop up. It’s something we’ve had to adapt to because we love them. It’s as simple as that, Maria; we love them and with that love comes complications, pain, and heartache. But on the other hand, it allows us to share an out-of-this-world love that makes our lives worth living.”

“You haven’t changed at all, Liz,” Maria said, snorting through her tears as she hugged her friend tightly. “You’re still the wisest person I know.”

Liz returned the embrace before releasing her. “This wise woman is going to make you something to eat while you go shower. You’ve had a very long day and you need some rest.”

“Michael will be hungry too.”

“I’m capable of cooking for more than one person,” Liz insisted as she stood up and gave Maria a gentle push towards the door.

“He likes his food extra spicy – “

“Go, Maria. I’m sure if it’s not right he’ll tell me all about it.”

Maria smiled to herself. “You have no idea, Liz.” She paused in the living room doorway, watching Michael and Max as they stared at each other before she continued on her way, carefully walking along the hallway to the bathroom.

*****

Michael moved into the living room, his eyes roving over the simple home Maria had lived in with his counterpart. It was nothing fancy; the furniture was old and worn, the electronics were archaic and nothing like what he’d had in his universe, and there were about a dozen things that he could list that needed repair without looking beyond the surface.

The house lacked the comfort or luxury of his home and he shook his head as he looked around. The house was simple and even though time had passed he could see little touches of Maria everywhere. There was a remarkable lack of anything that showed his counterpart’s time spent in the house and his gaze wandered to the man who had been shadowing him since their arrival.

Max. The dark-haired guy wasn’t sure about him and he didn’t know whether he could trust him or not. He hadn’t been able to make all of the pieces fit just yet and he knew it had to be driving the guy crazy. The guy was quiet and reserved and he had listened as Maria explained what had happened, rarely interrupting to ask questions or make comments.

His wife, Liz, had been the one to voice most of the questions and comments and on more than one occasion he had caught the silent communication between them before she spoke up. He knew from past conversations with Maria that Max had been close to the other version of himself. They hadn’t agreed about everything, had expressed differences of opinion on many things, but he could sense that the younger man had cared very deeply for his counterpart.

The sound of gravel being displaced beneath tires brought him out of his thoughts and he moved to one of the windows that looked out over the driveway. He used his forefinger to move the curtains aside just enough to look out and he frowned at the older model gray pickup truck.

“You know who this is?” he snapped out.

Max moved closer to the window and he nodded when he glanced outside and saw the familiar truck. “My sister Isabel and our friend Kyle.” He found himself following Michael once more when the man moved back away from the window and walked to the doorway, checking the hallway, and he wondered if he was looking for Maria.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 73 - 5/23

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon May 23, 2011 8:14 am

Mary mary –

I feel sorry for the whole lot of them. Liz seems to be the only one able to accept all of these phenomena without too much hesitation. Isabelle is going to be a case to deal with and Max is going to think it to death. I feel Michael is going to take it all in stride and Kyle is like Liz, let the chips fall where they may.


Well, Liz was the least “close” to Michael and she has a scientific curiosity so all this stuff is of interest, to her. And also, she’s been through the same kind of situation herself, with Future Max and Max/Clayton so she is more able to accept it and to ask the right questions. Max is more reserved and more emotionally moved: Michael was his brother, his best friend, the guy who kept challenging him, they always had a powerful and deep relationship, not an easy one but one where they loved each other so very much. Kyle will be like Liz, accepting things as they come, he is a Buddhist after all. Isabel… she is Isabel, expect a very Isabelish’s reaction.

Yoo Hoo!!!! We're coming up on month here ladies!


Sorry, sorry, we’re blaming real life, here, it’s been chaotic for both of us. REALLY chaotic, believe us!

Alien friend –

I loved the Liz and Maria moment. It's nice to see them have each other again to lean on. On top of their incredible friendship they have this unique bond of being the only women to know what it's like to be with these alien hybrid men. It's already so much to take in on it's own and add to that the different versions of them. I think Maria needed that blessing so to speak that it was okay for her feel for this Michael like she does. I'm glad Liz gave her that.


Exactly ! Just above, we mentioned the deep relationship between Michael and Max, well, it’s the same here with Maria and Liz, except less confrontational. Those two girls are each other’s rock, they have been through so much for their alien guys, they lived through the death of one of their best friends, they have missed each other so much. They have been friends all their lives, after all, they never went for so long without seeing each other and for Liz to not know what was happening with Maria, it was her own form of hell and now that Maria is back, she supports her because she understands her and what she has lived, having gone through that herself.

Timelord31 – The reunion… is not going to be peaceful and joyful, that’s all we are saying.

Eva –

I believe Max will understand but Isabel? That's going to take a hell lot more than one conversation.


Are you a medium? Because you’ll see that you’re not far from the truth, here.


Ending One, Part 11 (or Part 73)

“Isabel, damn it!” Kyle yelled when she threw the door open before the truck had come to a complete stop. He knew she was impatient but jumping out of a moving vehicle wasn’t the smartest thing to do. He threw the truck into gear, and jerked the key out of the ignition as he jumped out and rounded the front of the vehicle. “I realize you’re in a hurry to find out what’s goin’ on, but this – “

Isabel rounded on him, dark eyes blazing. “Kyle, do not start with me,” she warned before turning on her heel and running up to the front of the house.

He had no choice but to follow her as she literally barreled through the front door without bothering to pause long enough to knock or otherwise announce their arrival. He pushed the door shut behind them and caught up with her just as she reached the living room, her steps not faltering for a moment when she saw the man standing in the middle of the room.

She ran to Michael and threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly and running on about how she was so glad that he was back. He walked into the room, his pace more sedate than Isabel’s as he approached the other man. He slapped Michael on the back and grinned up at the taller man. “Welcome back, man. Boy, am I glad you’re back. Maybe now we can go back to somethin’ resembling normal!” He shook his head when he was pinned by a pair of dark eyes and for just a moment he wondered why Michael wasn’t hugging Isabel back. “Kinda been a serious lack of testosterone since you… well, ya know, since you died.” He slapped him on the back again. “You damn aliens just don’t know how to stay dead though, do you? You’ve gotta tell me how you do that, man.”

Michael was trying to take it all in while wondering how he could get rid of the woman clinging to him like a second skin. He wasn’t used to people who were so demonstrative and he didn’t think he was ever going to reach a place where he was comfortable with it. He felt Maria’s presence before he saw her and when her hand settled on the small of his back he knew she would handle the situation.

“Isabel,” Maria said quietly as she reached up to touch the tall blonde’s shoulder. “Let him breathe, Isabel.” She felt herself relax slightly when the other woman finally took a step back even though her hands remained on Michael’s upper arms. “We need to talk to you,” she insisted as she glanced at Max, silently asking him for help. She knew how protective of Michael Isabel had always been and she also remembered her legendary temper quite well.

“Isabel, Kyle, I see you got the message as well,” Liz said as she joined them, drying her hands on a dishtowel. “I thought you’d be here hours ago.”

“We would’ve been but – “

“Please don’t get her started on this again,” Kyle begged. He had listened to Isabel rant about that stupid train and his choice of routes for several hours and he wasn’t interested in listening to it any longer.

“Well, you guys are just in time for dinner, so why don’t we all go in the kitchen and sit down? We can talk about what’s happened while we eat.”

“I’m not hungry,” Isabel denied.

“You might not be, but the rest of us are, Princess,” Kyle muttered as he brushed past her on his way into the kitchen. “C’mon, Guerin, get a move on, man. I’ll bet I can still eat more than you.”

“This isn’t an eating contest, Kyle,” Liz said as she followed him.

He snorted as he pulled one of the chairs out and sat down. “Maybe not for you.” He looked up when the others came into the kitchen and his curiosity spiked when he noticed the way that Max was constantly watching Michael as he shadowed his every move. His attention was pulled away when Liz placed a serving dish on the table and uncovered it and his mouth watered at the smell. “Uh-oh, what’d you make?” he asked, already grabbing one of the plates from the stack she had placed at one end of the table.

“Grilled barbeque chicken wraps with cheese. There’s also rice and beans to go with it. This pan has the hot and spicy wraps… you’ll probably want the ones in the other pan.”

He grimaced. “Thanks for the warning.”

For the next few minutes talking was forgotten as plates were filled and they settled down to eat. Isabel declined every offer of food as she studied the man sitting across from her and she watched his expressions as he bit into the food and found it too bland for his tastes.

“I thought this was supposed to be hot?” he muttered.

Liz’ eyebrows lifted in surprise. The dish he had been served from was so hot she wouldn’t dare eat it and he didn’t even seem to be phased by it. “It’s not hot enough?”

“It’s not hot at all.”

“Oh, well… I’m sure I can…”

“I’ve got this,” Maria assured Liz, shaking her hand when the other woman started to get up.

Isabel’s gaze switched to Maria when she put her hand on his shoulder and stood up, moving around the kitchen as she mixed several ingredients together to make a hot sauce. When she was finished she carried it over to the table and handed it to Michael, watching him as he unwrapped the flour tortilla and poured the sauce over the chicken. He put it all back together and took another bite, nodding as he reached over to rest his hand on her thigh for a moment.

“That’s more like it,” he mumbled.

“Okay, I’ve been patient long enough,” Isabel said. “What happened?”

Michael paused, mid-chew to glance at the woman who had spoken and his eyes narrowed as he tried to decipher her tone. He started to speak up when Maria nudged him with her knee, silently letting him know she would handle things for now. He let it go, focusing on his food while she started the tale all over again. He was on his third chicken wrap, drenched in hot sauce, when Isabel suddenly shoved back away from the table.

“He’s not Michael then,” she said loudly. “He’s an imposter!”

“No, Isabel, he’s not an imposter,” Maria tried to explain. “He’s still Michael, just – “

“No!” Isabel stood up and paced back and forth for several minutes before she stopped and turned to face Maria across the table. “All you did was use the Granolith to travel to another universe so you could replace Michael with some… some copy of him! If that’s all you were gonna do you might as well have gone to New York and hooked up with Rath!” She was angry about this turn of events. “How could you just do that to Michael? Replace him after just a matter of months? Did he mean that little to you that you’ll just settle for any version of him?” She waved a hand in the imposter’s direction, dismissing him as nothing more than an imperfect copy. “Michael dies and you find a lookalike who is nothing like our Michael!” Her gaze slid over him dismissively as if he weren’t worth the time or effort it took to look at him.

Maria swallowed hard as she faced Isabel. She had been feeling a little better after a long hot shower, but Isabel’s accusations were striking too close to home after her earlier conversation with Liz. Every word the other woman hurled at her picked at the doubts and guilt that had plagued her for so long.

“Isabel, you need to calm down,” Liz said, standing up and moving closer to Maria, placing her arm around her friend’s shoulders protectively.

“Eight months,” Isabel shouted. “He’s been gone eight months! And you come back with some dupe, some copy, of him. How long have you been sleeping with him? How long did you wait before you simply replaced him as if he never existed?”

Michael had started bristling as soon as the tall blonde had started her rant and Maria had done her best to explain the situation but when the woman turned it into a personal attack he shook off the calming hand Maria had placed on his shoulder, dropped his fork to clatter noisily against his plate, and shoved his chair back as he shot to his feet.

“You need time to get a handle on this situation then take some time, but don’t take your fuckin’ attitude out on Maria,” he snarled.

Isabel took a step back at his crass words and she glared at his audacity. “You have no right to talk to me like that.”

“But you have the right to talk to Maria the way you’ve been talkin’ to her? Huh-uh, no way, sister. Don’t think she made a single decision or choice she’s made since leavin’ here blindly or without careful thought, Iz. It was remarkably easy for you to move on after Alex was killed… how long did you wait before turnin’ to that moron Jesse? Huh? Maybe you’d better take a hard look at your own choices before you start condemning her for the ones she’s made.”

Isabel turned sharply to look at Maria. “How could you tell him such personal things?” she screamed angrily.

Maria shook her head slowly. “I didn’t… I never went into any detail about you and Alex or you and Jesse when we talked.” She looked at Michael, trying to make sense of the fact that he had knowledge of events they had never talked about.

Silence fell over the room for several short moments. Isabel looked between Maria and the imposter, Michael, trying to figure out what was going on. How could he know these things if Maria had never mentioned them? He wasn’t Michael no matter how much he might look like him.

Kyle sat back in his chair, stunned by the turn of events. He had known something was going on because of the way Max was acting and the changes evident in Michael. After the last half hour it was apparent that it wasn’t a matter of changes so much as this man was not the Michael Maria had gone in search of.

Max was unconsciously cutting his chicken up into miniscule bits and pieces as he watched the others, his brain processing the information faster than the others’. This man wasn’t their Michael, but only their Michael would know the things that he had talked about. By Maria’s own admission she had never shared those things with him and he would have no other way of knowing about them… unless somehow, some way, some part of their Michael really did reside in this man.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 74 - 6/13

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:09 am

Timelord31 – Thanks, glad that you liked this part.

Alien Friend – Isabel reacted in a very Isabel-ish way, true. That was to be expected too, true. And also true that being around the others woke up part of our Michael.

Mary mary – Yes, Maria was desperately trying to get them to understand a situation that in part stays nebulous, for her. How to explain it when she herself has troubles understanding it? But that’s life with the Antarians, never easy.


Ending 1, Part 12 (or Part 74)

The rest of dinner continued under a gloomy silence, something that didn’t seem to disturb Kyle or Michael’s appetites. The two men made sure there was nothing left over for later while Isabel sat in her chair in a stony silence. Maria had returned to her seat next to Michael, sitting close enough to him to take comfort from his presence. Max was still being the observer, watching everything that was going on, especially where Michael was concerned.

Liz stood up and started clearing the table when everyone was finished, smiling when Max moved to gather the dishes and stack them for easier carrying. She wasn’t surprised when he asked his sister if she wanted anything and Isabel snapped at him and she rubbed his arm when he leaned back in his chair.

“You got any beer?” Michael asked as he emptied his glass of lemonade.

“Um, beer?” She shook her head. “No.”

“You drink alcohol?” Isabel asked suspiciously.

“It’s non-alcoholic,” Maria started only to be interrupted once again.

Her tone was cold as she leveled her gaze on Maria. “I don’t believe I was talking to you.”

“I’ve already warned you once about the way you’re talkin’ to her,” Michael bit out. “I’m not the Michael you know and he may very well have handled you differently, but I have no issues with kickin’ your royal, pampered ass out of this house.”

Isabel drew herself up to her full height as she sat across from him and her gaze turned challenging. “I’d like to see you try.”

Max could see that things were deteriorating and he knew if someone didn’t do something and quickly that it was only going to get worse. “Hey, Michael,” he said as he stood up and pushed his chair under the table.

“What?”

His tone was hesitant as he continued. “I was just wondering if you might wanna take a walk?”

Michael looked up at him, realizing that he was trying to diffuse the situation. He studied the dark-haired man for a moment, deciding that he also wanted to talk away from the others. Out of all of these new people, Max was the one he felt the least resistance from and the guy seemed to be genuinely interested in what he had to say. He couldn’t deny that he was intrigued by the man; he felt a link, some sort of connection to him, that he didn’t understand and it was something he had never felt before.

“Yeah, why not?” he muttered when Maria caught his gaze and nodded.

Maria reached back to take Michael’s hand when he stood up next to her. “Michael?”

He leaned down over her chair when he felt the tension in her grip. “What’s wrong?” he asked quietly.

“Don’t go near the river. Please.”

He squeezed her fingers slightly and nodded. “I won’t be gone long.”

Kyle looked around once Max and Michael had gone, making a face when he realized he had been left alone with the three women, two that were not easy to deal with at the present time. He looked up when Isabel got up and stalked out of the room and after a few minutes Maria left as well. He sighed in relief and got up to carry the rest of the dishes over to the counter where Liz had already started to run water into the sink. “I think I should’ve gone with the guys,” he grumbled when she tossed a dish towel at him, indicating he should dry the dishes as she washed them. “You know all hell is gonna break loose if Maria and Isabel go off on each other.”

Liz laughed at his disgruntled tone. “They’re gonna have to get this out in the open and when that happens they might need us here to play referee in case it goes south.”

“Yeah, there’s a fight I wanna referee,” he muttered sarcastically.

*****

“You don’t care to spend a lot of time in the house do you?” Michael asked.

Max shook his head as he walked along beside him as they followed one of the old paths on the property. “No, not really.”

“You’re the one who removed all of his things from the house.”

“The reminder’s there even without them,” he said quietly. “Can I ask you some questions about your life and what your universe was like?”

Michael shrugged. “You can ask.”

As he asked questions and Michael responded, Max began to realize that this man was even tougher than his Michael had been. He listened as the man elaborated on certain questions and refused to answer others. He was unwilling to answer anything that touched on his personal life, something that was so undeniably Michael.

“What was your relationship with your Michael like?”

Max tipped his head to one side as he studied the man standing several feet away. They had finally stopped near an area where several trees stood tall, providing a barrier against the wind as well as cover from anyone driving by. He wondered why Michael would ask that question if, as he claimed, their Michael was inside of him.

“It’s not somethin’ I can control,” Michael said, smirking at the surprised look on the other man’s face when his expression revealed that he hadn’t realized he had spoken. “It’s almost like livin’ with a fuckin’ ghost. It’s not tangible, it’s not precise, and I can’t just call the memories up because I want to. The damn things come back at random moments; sometimes it’s like a sudden flash of memory, sometimes it’s a feelin’, and sometimes there’s just this knowledge, like it’s always been there but I’m just now able to access it.”

Max nodded, understanding to some extent what Michael was trying to explain. “The way you describe it kind of reminds me of the time I was controlled by Clayton, only his… presence or whatever, tried to take over. Liz was the only thing that kept me alive, the only thing that kept me grounded and fighting against that control. At some point he realized that and he used my own body to try and kill the woman I love… her love was the only that saved me in the end.”

Michael snorted. “Fuck, you sound like a chick, Maxwell,” he said with just the slightest hint of a smile.

Max grinned and shook his head. He wanted to ask the other man about Maria, about their relationship, but he knew it was too soon for that. This Michael was an enigma, a man who needed to be approached with caution, and a man who wasn’t going to suddenly open up about personal and private things. It would take time for that to happen.

*****

Isabel paced back and forth in the small living room, her attitude resentful as she shot the occasional nasty glare in Maria’s direction. The other woman had followed her when she had left the kitchen but she hadn’t bothered to acknowledge her, preferring to give her the silent treatment while she tried to sort things out in her own head.

For hours she had sat in the truck, impatiently waiting to see her friend, her ‘brother’, and allowing hope to build within her. She hated hope; it was a waste of time and she had given up on it until the day that Maria had disappeared through the Granolith and made her believe that just maybe the seemingly impossible was possible. She should’ve known that the day they had buried Michael there was no going back. Had they been able to bring Alex back?

For eight months she held onto that hope that Michael could be brought back, that the meaningless accident that day could somehow be erased. She had spent all that time holding onto a mirage, refusing to grieve because his death was only temporary. She had never accepted that he was dead and now, eight months later, she was going to have to deal with it as if it had just happened.

Her icy gaze once more sought out Maria and she wondered how she could just accept this situation. How could she go to some other universe, find a copy of their Michael, and involve herself in a relationship with him? The man she had brought back with her wasn’t their Michael no matter how much she had convinced herself that they were the same man.

“How can you just accept… all this?” she finally blurted out, unable to contain the angry question any longer.

Maria met her gaze steadily and after several long moments she shook her head. “You ask that like you think it was something I did so easily, Isabel.”

“Eight months, Maria… eight months and you’re sleeping with this guy! I’m guessing that isn’t something that just happened a couple of days ago. In spite of the fact that he’s a jerk with a filthy mouth the intimacy between the two of you is obvious and it’s a little hard to overlook how protective he is of you.”

“I’ve had months to accept this situation and I don’t appreciate your insinuation that I met this man and just jumped into bed with him,” Maria snapped, her hands gesturing erratically. That part of our relationship is relatively new and Isabel, you don’t know how much I’ve tortured myself and Michael over getting involved with him. It hasn’t been easy and I’m just beginning to get to a place where I’m finding some peace with this entire situation… with Michael and our relationship.” She sighed tiredly, feeling exhausted and hating that she had to defend herself. As if it wasn’t complicated enough in her own heart and mind, now she had Isabel to contend with as well. “It took months before I started to let my guard down with him and my God, Isabel, even now I still feel guilty at times. That’s always gonna be there, but that’s the hand I got dealt and I have no choice but to live with it.”

“You love him.” It was more an accusation than a question.

“Yes, I do. For months I tried to figure out why the Granolith had sent me to that universe, what I was supposed to do to change what had happened or prevent it altogether, and then, the Granolith told me that my actions weren’t going to bring him back. At that point I realized that I had another path to follow and with that knowledge came the understanding that it was gonna be painful at times.” She shrugged her right shoulder. “But life didn’t stop for the rest of us when we buried Michael. At times I wished it had, but it didn’t. This universe needs Michael, and to be honest, I need him, and believe me he didn’t have to come here. His universe wasn’t under the threat of an impending invasion by Khivar and his army, he had a life that allowed him the freedom to do as he pleased, and he gave all of that up to come here and we should be thankful that he came here and he’s willing to help prepare all of us for what’s to come.”

Isabel didn’t want to think about that; it was a reality she wasn’t ready to face. She leaned one hip against the back of the couch as she stared at Maria. “He came here for you.”

Maria nodded. “I know.”

She moved to the window and crossed her arms over her chest as she stared outside. There was acceptance and confidence in Maria’s tone and no matter how much she might not like the circumstances she couldn’t fault her for finding love again. Her thoughts turned to the future and she wondered how she would manage to get along with this Michael who was so different from the man she had known. How was she going to let him train her in military skills that were so vastly different from anything she knew? This man was a soldier, a professional killer, and from everything she had witnessed of his behavior so far, he had no remorse for anything he had done in the line of duty.

*****

Kyle and Liz glanced at each other from where they were hiding on either side of the doorframe that led into the living room. They had been eavesdropping on the two women carrying on a conversation that at times turned heated. Neither of them knew what to expect or what the outcome would be and it was a situation that was new territory for all of them.

Liz was chewing on her bottom lip, worrying about how Isabel’s accusations would affect Maria. She tried not to show it but Maria was still dealing with a lot of pain and guilt over her relationship with this Michael. She didn’t know if that would ever fade away, if time could ease those things or if it would always be bittersweet for Maria. It wasn’t an easy or enviable position to be in and she only hoped her friend was strong enough to cope with it.

Kyle ran his right hand through his hair and he shot another quick glance at his spying partner as he listened to the words flying back and forth between the two women. “You do know that Isabel is one crazy scary chick when she wants to be, don’t you? God, I hope the two of them don’t kill each other. I’d hate to be the one who had to explain things to Max or the new Michael… matter of fact,” he said after a few seconds, “there’s no way I’d even attempt to explain it to that guy. He’s just a little bit scary.”

Liz snorted delicately. “Ya think?”

“I’m serious, Liz. The guy’s like… well, he’s Michael Guerin, but he’s like the extreme version of him. Would you wanna be the one who told him that anything had happened to Maria?”

“And why would anyone need to tell me anything like that?”

Kyle and Liz both jumped, emitting screams of surprise at being caught eavesdropping by the very man they were discussing.

“Hey, that’s not cool, man,” Kyle insisted, glaring at the lethal hybrid watching him.

Michael shrugged dismissively. “You’re the one who just screamed like a girl.”

“I did not,” he started.

Max laughed quietly as he shook his head. “You really did, Kyle.”

“You try livin’ with Isabel for so long and see what it does to your nerves,” Kyle defended himself.

Max shook his head. “No thanks. Been there and done that. I’m quite familiar with the hell my sister can put you through.” He smiled and took Liz’ hand as he pulled her away from the door and back into the kitchen, leaving the others to determine what they were going to do.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 75 - 7/17

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:05 pm

Eva

It's a weird situation, not only for Michael and our friends but also for us, readers. At one point you can say that everything's fixed and on the other hand nothing is. This new situation, with this new Michael is hard to handle for everyone.

When M&M were just alone in their universe, I thought that the puzzle more or less fell in his place. But now I'm not sure anymore. The confrontation with the others and with the memory of their Michael is big.


This ending is one we call “The bittersweet one”. Because as you said, everything is fine, but at the same time, it’s not. Everything is fixed but at the same time, it’s not. Everything is clear but at the same time, it’s not. Hence the nickname bittersweet.

Alien friend

Max was smart giving them some distance. Glad he and Michael had a talk. It's good that they are able to do that since they have to start working together soon.

I feel for Iz. She's just hurting and is taking it out on poor Maria.


Max had gone through some weird stuff in season 3, it certainly left him more open minded than someone like Isabel, who is more a black and white kind of person.

Mary mary

Boy there's a lot of adjusting for all of them but that PRINCESS is just a wee bit out of line here. We all grieve in our own way and deal with life differently but this woman is just one plain miserable bitch, but if I was her I think I'd watch my mouth around Michael, he's not impressed!


No, Michael is not impressed. Isabel certainly won’t get things done her way with him, that’s for sure.

Timelord31 – Oh, this story isn’t over yet. This is just the first ending. Don’t forget that there are two different endings to this story. So there are more chapters coming.


Ending 1 – Part 13 (or Part 75)

Michael prowled around the quiet, dark house, unable to remain still for more than a few seconds at a time. It was well after midnight and the others were all asleep but there was something nagging at him, something that wouldn’t let him rest. For the past couple of days they had stayed in the house, talked about their universes, discussed options, and debated what should happen next.

Staying in Clayton wasn’t an option. Not only because they had stayed there too long already, but because of what had happened there. Maria had lived in this house with her Michael, shared a life and been happy with him there, and she had watched him die there. It was too much pressure for them to live under and he refused to have that particular dark cloud hanging over them. Having to live with his counterpart in his head was bad enough; he wasn’t going to compete against the other man in space that had belonged to him.

After hours and hours of debate and arguing they had settled on an area up north, not far from Seattle. There were many small towns in the vicinity, which would allow them to spread out while keeping them close enough to meet for training or simply so they could get to know each other better. The area would be perfect for training, providing them with different terrain and weather that would be challenging.

He checked to make sure Maria was sleeping before grabbing the flashlight off of the counter in the kitchen and stepping outside and locking the door behind him. He drew in several deep lungfuls of air as he started to walk, leaving the house and its ghosts behind him. The house was full of memories, full of moments his counterpart and Maria had shared, and at times he felt like he was being suffocated by them.

Too many times over the past few days he had watched as Maria would walk around the house, moving from room to room, her fingertips ghosting over different things and her expression faraway as she would lose herself in memories. Being there was weighing heavily on her and he knew it was only adding to the guilt that always resided just below the surface. Neither of them needed to be subjected to that oppressive weight and next to the risk of remaining in one place for too long it was the main reason he was pushing for them to move and soon.

He let his feet guide him as he walked along a path he had yet to take since arriving at the little house in Clayton. He and Max had taken quite a few walks as the other man shared stories and information with him while trying subtly to gather information of his own. He had also taken quite a few walks on his own, but tonight his feet were taking him in a new and uncomfortably familiar direction.

His feet slowed and the beam of his flashlight swept over the ground several feet before him. He could see the exposed roots where the ground had fallen away and he crouched down to let his fingers brush against the hardened dirt. He looked down as the moon came out from behind the clouds to illuminate the dry riverbed below and before he knew it he was up and moving again. After several minutes of searching he found a place to climb down into the ravine and the beam from the flashlight bounced across the ground as he ran along the riverbed.

An icy shiver raced down his spine as he skidded to a halt next to the riverbed and he looked up to locate the edge of the overhang that had been disturbed. He dropped to one knee, unaware of the rocky ground leaving its impression in his flesh. He could hear the rush of water even though the riverbed was dry and he could feel the dampness in the air from the heavy rainfall that had caused the river to fill so quickly. He let his hand rest against the ground and he was hit with a terrible mix of feelings and emotions. It was as if everything that had been felt that day, the physical, mental, and emotional anguish, were suddenly combining and threatening to suffocate him.

It wasn’t bad enough that he felt those things from his counterpart; he could feel them from Maria. As if those feelings had lingered in the area and his presence had awakened them and given them a place to find release. Something in him began to push back against the feelings, something that was beginning to feel familiar, and without his permission he stood and his feet began to take him back the way he had come.

His heart was pounding and sweat was dripping down his face when he reached the front porch of the house. He sat down on the top step, his right hand trembling as he reached up and felt the perspiration on his face. What had happened? He didn’t even remember running back to the house, but he knew his own body well enough to know that he had been running.

He jerked his shirt off over his head and used it to dry the sweat from his face and chest. The night was warm and still as he sat there trying to make sense of the feelings that had assaulted him at the riverbed. He shook his head as he tried to shrug off the remnants of his visit to the riverbed. He was sure the walk that had taken him to the site of his counterpart’s death had been instigated by the presence he now carried around inside of himself. He started when a hand settled on his back but he forced himself to calm down when he realized it was Maria.

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly.

“Fine,” he grated out.

She stared at him in the moonlight, wondering if he had been driven from the confines of the house because she had shared it with her Michael. It wasn’t the first time he had taken off after they had all settled down for the night and she had a feeling that as long as they stayed there it wouldn’t be the last. She could feel just the slightest tremble in his tall frame and she knew the air wasn’t cool enough to be responsible for it. Something had unsettled him and she could feel the edginess in him as she sat down beside him. What could’ve brought this on?

Her gaze fell on the flashlight sitting on the step between his booted feet and somehow, some way, she knew where he had been. “You went to the river.”

His temper was just barely being held under his control and the accusation in her voice was like a spark in a field of dry kindling. He jerked to his feet and moved to stand facing her, the moonlight illuminating his angry features. “I’ve got all this shit goin’ on in my head, Maria, and getting out and walkin’ helps.”

“I asked you not to go to the river!”

“Then maybe you should’ve asked the fuckin’ ghost that’s hijacked my body!” he snapped back. “I didn’t ask for this, Maria!” He refused to try to explain something he didn’t even fully understand himself.

“So, what, you expect me to believe that he made you go to the river?” she asked, her tone incredulous.

“I don’t expect you to believe a damn thing. Why should you start now?”

“Michael,” she sighed, “it’s a lot to take in.”

“Well, there’s a fuckin’ surprise. I’ve got the ghost of an alien-human hybrid stuck inside of me an’ you think it’s hard for you to take in?” He shook his head as he started to pace back and forth in front of the house. “Try this shit from my position, Maria! For the past few days I’ve watched you walk around here in a fog. You think I don’t know where you are when you disappear? All of his shit’s packed up in that back room… it doesn’t take a fuckin’ genius to know that’s where you’re goin’.”

“Michael, you have to understand how difficult it is to be surrounded by his things. It’s like having to let him go all over again. In a matter of days we’ll be leaving, going to a new place, and leaving all this behind.”

“It can’t be soon enough,” he muttered.

“Look, this isn’t easy for either of us and I know you’ve been having a difficult time being in his space – “

“You know what I’m havin’ a hard time with, Maria? Your guilt!”

“I can’t just wave my hand and make that magically disappear, Michael! Don’t you think I would if I could?” She stood and moved to stand in front of him, stopping his agitated pacing. “I can’t control the guilt and I don’t know if or even when that’ll stop. I love you. I don’t regret that but there’s a part of me that’s always gonna love him and that part of me may always feel a certain amount of guilt.”

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have any easy answers. It’s something only time is gonna work out,” she said, wishing she could make him understand.

“We’re not takin’ all of his shit with us when we leave.” His expression was set in stone, uncompromising.

“No, I know,” she said softly. She wouldn’t do that to him and she didn’t need a bunch of old things to remember her Michael. She reached up to cup his cheek in her palm. “I’m just saying goodbye, Michael.”

He nodded sharply. Jealousy was an emotion he was still acclimating to and he had to wonder if he would be forced to deal with it for the rest of his life. His counterpart had set up residence in his head and he didn’t seem interested in vacating anytime soon. His presence was so much stronger here and he felt like he was fighting a constant battle with himself.

He would be glad when they left this place behind. He needed to be free of this constant reminder and so did Maria. Maybe time and distance would finally give her the freedom to let go of her Michael and the mountain of guilt that she was carrying on her shoulders.

“We’ll be leavin’ soon,” he said matter-of-factly.

Maria nodded, understanding what he was saying. “I’m ready, Michael.” It wasn’t fair for him to stay here any longer than necessary. He was dealing with her memories of a man he felt was competition and she knew being in the house made him uncomfortable.

He sat down on the porch again, gaze silently assessing as he stared out into the distance. After a few minutes Maria joined him, sitting beside him and letting his presence comfort her. They remained there as the hours passed, not getting up and going back inside until the sun began to peek over the horizon.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 76 - 8/28

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:33 pm

Mary mary – Yes, in a way, Michael was living his own death, which is traumatizing. Things have to change, now for Michael and Maria to be happy. That’s why they can’t stay in that house.

Eva – This ending is tough, no doubt about it. The characters will find some peace, but not an immediate one, more one that has to do with time passing by. But there’s a second ending, don’t forget that. You are free to consider that second ending as the one ending the fic. We haven’t chosen one or the other, they are both valid, and the readers can choose one or the other as the one closing the story.

Alien Friend – Maria realizes that living here, in this house, is tough on Michael, he needs to be away from this place.


Ending 1 – Part 14 (or Part 76)

Kyle grunted as he landed face-first in the sand for what had to be the tenth or twelfth time. He braced his hands against the ground and pushed himself up, getting to his feet and wiping the sand from his face. “Okay, I think I need a break, Rambo,” he muttered.

“Hey, we’re not done here,” Michael yelled after him.

Kyle turned, but continued to walk backwards. “You may not be done, but I’m done for now. You’ve been kickin’ my ass for the last couple of hours and as much as I’m enjoyin’ it, I think it’s time to eat and meditate.”

“No discipline.” Michael shook his head in disgust. “Pansy-assed little bastard. I swear to God, this planet’s gonna be invaded and you know where you’re gonna be? Sittin’ on your ass, meditating! Maybe you can use that little fat gold statue as a weapon because you’re sure as fuck not gonna be able to hold your own in a fight!”

Kyle waved without bothering to respond.

Max hid a grin, knowing he was next. Michael and Kyle seemed to disagree over just about everything, something that delighted Isabel to no end. They argued about sports, women, cars, electronics, and anything else that struck their fancy. Isabel was still maintaining her hostility towards him although he could feel it easing in some areas.

“Why don’t you get off his ass?” Isabel snapped, annoyed with his constant stream of derogatory remarks to Kyle. It was one thing for her to insult Kyle; they were friends and he allowed her to get away with it, but no one else was allowed to talk to him that way.

Michael turned to her, attempting to silence her with a look. “I haven’t seen you excel at anything I’ve been tryin’ to teach you and until you do you can shut the fuck up.”

Isabel glared at him but before she could get a word in edgewise he turned his attention to Max.

“Let’s go, Maxwell,” Michael said, motioning for Max to face him in the sand.

He got to his feet and brushed the sand from the seat of his pants as he moved to face Michael. He straightened back up when he noticed the confused expression on the other man’s face as he turned to stare after Kyle. “What’s up?”

“Who the fuck is Rambo?”

Max laughed and shook his head. “He’s a character in a movie.”

“Never heard of him,” Michael said dismissively. “Alright, let’s go. Get into the position I showed you earlier. I want you to come at me, use the move I showed you, and throw me on the ground.”

Max nodded and assumed the position, careful to balance his weight the way Michael had showed him.

*****

Liz winced at the audible grunt when Michael threw her husband on the ground yet again. “This’s seriously painful to watch,” she groaned.

“You think it’s more painful to watch than havin’ him pounding on your ass?” Kyle mumbled around the sandwich he was eating.

“I’ve had my share of it over the past few weeks, but watching him throw Max around like a ragdoll…” she shook her head. They were all going through the training sessions Michael had set up and his schedule was rigorous and demanding.

“Well, Max seems to be getting along just fine with that jackass.” Kyle unwrapped another sandwich and held half of it out to her. “Hungry?”

“No, thank you.” Liz watched as Michael offered his hand to Max to help him up out of the sand so they could go again. Since Maria had returned with Michael she had watched her husband slowly come out of the shell he had been in since that fateful day when they had lost one of their own.

This Michael was similar to their Michael in some ways and so very different in others. He could be rude and crass when it suited him, he could be overbearing and pushy, but in rare moments she had seen him gentle and almost kind where Maria was concerned. It wasn’t something he advertised and he kept it well hidden, but she had caught glimpses of the man Maria had fallen in love with.

He was serious about the training he was putting all of them through and he pushed them hard to learn moves that might one day save their lives. He had met resistance when he had insisted that they should learn to use any weapon he could get his hands on, but in the end he had won that argument too. They didn’t know what exactly they would be facing when Khivar’s invasion began, but he wanted them ready to fight and ready to protect themselves and each other no matter what situation they were faced with.

“Where’s Maria?” he asked as he reached for the potato chips.

“Good grief, Kyle, didn’t you eat breakfast this morning?”

“Did you see the beating I was takin’ out there? I’ve worked up an appetite.” He nudged her with his elbow. “Maria?”

“Oh,” she nodded to the left.

Kyle turned to look further down the beach and he shook his head when he located her sitting alone. “You think she’s ever gonna be at peace with this?” he asked quietly.

“I don’t know.” She had watched the couple together and separately, observing their interactions and she knew that even with the difficulties they faced there was love between them. She hoped that was enough to help her best friend deal with her ghosts and find a way to find peace with her situation.

*****

Maria sat on a large flat boulder, bare feet braced against the warm rock and arms wrapped around her raised knees as she watched the action further up the beach. They had been in Washington, living outside of Seattle for a little over two months now and she and Michael had settled into a comfortable one-bedroom house. The others had settled nearby in other small towns and it was the first time in a long time that they were separated by only an hour.

The weather was pleasant in the high sixties with a light breeze that lifted her hair slightly as she looked out over the ocean. They had found work at a factory that manufactured electronics; she worked on the assembly line while he operated a forklift in the warehouse. The pay was decent and it allowed them to live in a little more comfort than had been available in Clayton.

As often as possible the six of them got together and Michael put them through punishing training sessions. He was a demanding teacher, insisting on perfection and accepting nothing less. She understood his reasons for pushing them so hard, but in the beginning she’d had to talk to him, make him see that they weren’t soldiers, but young adults who were new to what he was trying to teach them.

“Michael, you can’t just start off pushing them like that!” she insisted as she watched him pace back and forth across the living room.

He smacked the palm of his hand down on the back of the couch. “I don’t have time to fuck around with a bunch of kids who aren’t interested in learnin’ what I – “

“Stop right there. They want to learn, but you can’t just expect them to be ready for your style of training right from the jump.” She stood in front of him, stopping his erratic pacing and placing her hands on his arms. “They’re not used to this kind of – “

“They’d better get used to it.”

She sighed as she looked up at him, sensing the frustration simmering below the surface and keeping his quicksilver temper on an even shorter fuse than normal. “Give them time to adjust, Michael. It’s not just the training… it’s you too.” She reached up to touch his face, applying just enough pressure to make him look at her. “They’re still getting used to you and trying to reconcile the man they knew with the man you are.”

“What about you?”

Her hand lowered to rest flat against his chest and her gaze had followed it. “What about me?” She could feel his heart pounding beneath her palm.

“Don’t fuckin’ play games with me, Maria.”

She swallowed hard as she stared at her thumb, watching it press against his dog tags as she thought about his question. “I know who you are, Michael.” She shook her head. “I know you want to hear that the guilt’s gone, but like I’ve told you before it might always be there in some way. I don’t know.” She finally raised her eyes to meet his. “What I do know is that I love you.”

She saw the way his eyes darkened at her admission even though he remained silent. His breathing was slightly ragged as he fought to stay in control of himself. They had been sharing the same bed because he refused to sleep on the couch or on the floor but he hadn’t touched her. She knew what she had done to him after they had made love the last time and while he wanted her he wouldn’t risk that pain again by making the first move.

Being in the house she had shared with her Michael had amplified the feelings of guilt and even though they had been in their own place for a while now she had been unsure of how to move on with him. She knew she loved him, was certain of it, but she also knew that she couldn’t put him through that again. He deserved more than that from her. She had known that they would make love again, but she wanted to be in a place where she wouldn’t feel the overwhelming guilt afterwards.

Her fingers curled around his dog tags, tugging on them gently as she looked up at him. “Michael.”

His gaze shot to hers as she whispered his name. His name.

Maria felt his intense gaze like a physical touch and she released his dog tags to slide her fingers over his chest. His body was rigid, held tightly in check as if he was afraid to let himself go with her. The guilt might always be there, she might never know the truth about his beliefs where her Michael was concerned, but she also couldn’t live in limbo either. Neither of them could continue living that way.

“Make love with me, Michael.”

His mouth crashed onto hers as he pulled her into his arms, his hands everywhere at once. He wasted no time getting her out of her clothes and into bed but he had slowed down to explore her body, taking his time as he drew her pleasure out before taking his own.


He had eased off just a little bit, enough to give them time to adjust to his grueling schedule. He didn’t take it easy on any of them, he didn’t make exceptions for any of the women, and he wasn’t interested in excuses when they were tired. He had agreed to let Max and Isabel help him learn how to use his powers and she had watched him as they worked with him, smiling to herself when he would get frustrated with them and his powers that still weren’t fully under his control.

He got along best with Max and the two men spent quite a bit of time talking when they got together. His relationship with Isabel was still tinged with hostility on both sides because neither of them was willing to give an inch. He and Liz only had Max and Maria in common, but there was an unspoken agreement between them and it allowed them to remain neutral with each other. He and Kyle had developed a rather antagonistic relationship and she didn’t know if that was because of Kyle’s friendship with Isabel or if it was simply a matter of the two men not liking each other. Sometimes she thought she caught a glimpse of amusement in Kyle’s eyes when he was aggravating Michael, but it was always so fleeting that she wasn’t certain she had seen it.

Michael and Isabel were facing off against each other and she looped her arms around her raised knees as she watched them. The two of them locked horns constantly but things had come to a head a couple of weeks before when he had gotten fed up with her refusal to put everything into her training. They had gotten into an argument that had started in front of everyone and he had dropped it when she had walked away. Later, after dinner she had gone for a walk to get some fresh air and he had gone after her. She had no idea what had happened between them but since that night Isabel had been a little more cooperative. For the most part, she thought when Isabel turned the tables on Michael, using her powers while he was demonstrating a new move and dropping him on his back in the sand.

*****

Michael jumped to his feet, his features expressing annoyance and irritation at her for taking advantage of her abilities and getting the drop on him. Isabel smiled as she watched him and waited for him to make his next move. She studied her nails for a moment before meeting his gaze over them. “You did say to hit you with all I had.”

He nodded and motioned for her to move closer. “Let’s go again. Try it without usin’ your powers this time.” It hadn’t been that long ago that he had been ready to wash his hands of her, certain that she wasn’t going to learn anything he was trying to teach her. He had known she was holding back but he hadn’t been able to pin down a reason for it until the night he had followed her out of the house, pushing her until she had finally snapped. It had all started with the training session that afternoon…

Michael shook his head in disgust as he took several steps in Isabel’s direction. “That’s the best you’ve got? You think you’re gonna hold off an invasion with this kinda – “

“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” Isabel snapped.

“You might as well just go wait for Khivar an’ hold the door open for him when he gets here. Because if you’re not gonna give it everything you’ve got you’re just wastin’ my time.”

“I’ve been giving it – “

He snorted and cut her off with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Don’t give me that bullshit. At this rate you couldn’t defend yourself much less take an enemy out.”

“You might not have to think twice about killing, but I do.”

“I’m done with you.”

“Fine.” Isabel turned and stalked off, hating him and everything he represented.

He had been pissed off and he had taken it out by pushing the others harder for the rest of the day. She had avoided him as long as possible and had insisted that she and Kyle weren’t staying overnight as had previously been planned. After the brutal training session Kyle had been through he only wanted to eat and go to bed but before he could agree or disagree, Michael had spoken up and ruined any illusions she had about leaving early.

“You don’t leave until Sunday. You wanna sit on your ass an’ take up space, that’s fine, but they’re gonna learn to defend themselves and protect each other.”

Isabel had pushed her chair back. “I don’t need you to teach me how to kill.”

“Anyone can kill. It’s about bein’ able to protect yourself and the others. It’s about bein’ able to handle yourself when this shit goes down. Knowin’ how to kill efficiently may not be somethin’ you wanna learn how to do but you’re gonna have to if you wanna survive this thing.”

“I don’t need your help.”

“Then save us both of us some time an’ get lost. All the self-defense in the world will only get you so far. You have the ability to kill and you’ve done it before but you’re holdin’ back on me an’ that’ll get you killed one day.” He slapped his fork down against the table. “Worse than that, you’ll get one of them killed one day.”

“I need some air.”

His temper had spiked and he had gotten up to follow her.

“Maybe you should just give her some time,” Kyle spoke up.

“Stay the fuck outta this. If I want your input I’ll let you know.”

“Michael…”

He looked at Maria when she called his name and he shook his head. He had made it clear that he called the shots when it came to their training and she had respected the boundaries he had set, crossing that line only once when she had felt that his tactics weren’t getting the desired results. He had listened to her, taken her advice, and she had been right. This time though, he knew he was right.

He had stepped outside, fingertips brushing against the gun tucked into his waistband at the small of his back. The house they had rented was isolated and close to the beach, affordable only because it had needed massive amounts of work. He found Isabel on the beach, arms crossed over her chest defensively as she stared out at the water.

“You think you know everything because you’ve got ice in your veins and you kill without a second thought – “

His expression was hard as he stared at her. “Second guessing yourself is not a luxury you can afford.”

“I don’t want to kill anyone else.” She shook her head. “Maybe you can live with the consequences but I can’t. I’ve taken that path once before and where it led…”

He shook his head as the pieces suddenly fell into place. “You killed Whitaker.” He stalked over to her and grabbed her arm, jerking her around to look at him. “She needed to be taken out.”

“And if I hadn’t ‘taken her out’ she would’ve killed Tess. She wouldn’t have been there to…” she choked on the words.

“Letting your emotions run your decisions will get you killed. You could be right but you’ll never know if her death at that time would’ve prevented his death later on. There’re casualties in every war, you lose people you care about to the enemy… maybe you could’ve done somethin’ different. All that matters is that at that moment you acted on what you knew to be true. You had no way of knowin’ that lettin’ Tess die at that moment might potentially mean savin’ his life.”

“I can’t do it again.”

Michael moved into her space and shoved her. Hard. “You still have people relyin’ on you to carry your weight here.”

“I can’t – “

“Don’t start whinin’ to me about ‘I can’t’. You’ve been buryin’ all that anger, the fear, and that hatred since his death. Let it out now… turn it loose.” He shoved her again, nodding when he saw the shift in her eyes. “Redirect those emotions… build on them.” He crowded her, forcing her back several steps and feeling satisfaction when she caught herself and stopped. “Use it to your advantage… don’t ever let yourself be used by anyone else.” He got in her face again, dark eyes challenging as he pushed her harder. “Knowin’ what you know now… if you could go back and change it… given that chance, would you let Whittaker kill Tess? Would you kill her yourself?”

“If I could change what happened to Alex?”

“You’re gonna be facin’ the same thing when the invasion happens. The four of them don’t want to kill anymore than you do but eventually that choice will be taken out of their hands… and out of yours.”

“There’s always a choice,” she denied.

“You wanna be a pacifist and die? Stand back and watch them die? Do you wanna be standin’ here after they’re dead and wish that you could go back and change things?” He shook his head at her. “Regrets are a bitch and they’re not worth your time. You make mistakes but you go on. Once someone’s gone you can’t bring ‘em back.”

“You’re here.” She pushed him but he didn’t move.

“That’s right. I’m here… I’m not the guy that died last year and I’m never gonna be him.”

“Why? Why are you here and Michael isn’t?”

He watched her without moving or saying a word, knowing it was only pissing her off.

She hated him for being there when the Michael she knew and loved couldn’t be, hated him for trying to turn them into soldiers, and hated him simply for existing. She didn’t want to deal with losing Michael, especially not with him, but he was pushing and there was no one else around to step in and distract him. Her hands balled up into fists at her sides and without thinking twice she let loose with the right one. She screamed in anger and frustration when he caught her fist before it impacted with his face.

“Is that all you’ve got? Some weak-ass little girl punch?” His grip on her fist tightened and he shoved her back.

Isabel felt the anger and hatred well up and burst free as she charged him, using every tactic he had been drilling into her for the past couple of weeks. It wasn’t enough to really do any damage, but it was enough to get in several satisfying hits and knock him off his feet a couple of times.


When she had broken away from him the last time with his gun in her hand and an angry, yet satisfied smirk on her face he had known there was something there he could work with. Only one other woman had ever managed to get his weapon from him and she had become one of his strongest allies in the field. And one of the few people he had ever been able to call friend.

Khivar’s invasion was coming. They didn’t know when but he would make sure they were trained to the best of his ability so they were ready when it happened. If they had a chance of successfully standing against Khivar and his army it was going to hinge on how prepared they were.

*****

Michael finally called a halt to their training session after several more hours and he pulled his tank top off, using it to wipe the sweat from his face and chest as he turned to look at Maria. She was still sitting on her usual rock further down the beach, watching them the way she did every time they got together. He knew the moment she caught his gaze, saw the way she shifted just slightly and tipped her head in acknowledgement.

He had put her through the paces first thing that morning at her request and he knew that meant it was one of those days. There were days when she distanced herself from everyone, retreating to the part of the beach that had become her refuge when her thoughts wouldn’t leave her alone. He hadn’t yet determined the pattern or figured out what it was that triggered these days but they happened from time to time. Sometimes days would pass between them and others they were more frequent.

He knew that no matter how much he believed that some part of the Michael from this universe was inside of him he couldn’t make her believe it. He had no hard evidence, no scientific equivalent of proof to make her see it; it was a matter of faith. He had that. He had lived the dreamplane experience, but she had no such reason to believe what he said was true. To a certain extent he couldn’t blame her for not believing. Had their roles been reversed he doubted that he would believe such a thing either.

He had no doubt that she loved him but she doubted his conviction that the other man she loved was a part of him. He had never before felt the need to prove something he himself believed to anyone else. As a rule he couldn’t care less if anyone shared his convictions or beliefs, but in this situation it mattered to him.

“What’s on your mind?” Max asked as he looked up at Michael from his spot where he had collapsed on the sand.

Michael shot one more glance at Maria before he turned his gaze to the ocean. “How do you prove somethin’ to someone when you don’t have any proof?”

Isabel looked between Michael and Maria, knowing without him going into any details that her lack of belief bothered him. “Give her the flashes,” she said as she shrugged one shoulder. She smirked to herself. That would put him off, she thought. The last thing he was going to want to do was open himself up in such an emotional manner.

“Flashes,” he muttered, uncomfortable at the mere word.

“Isabel’s right,” Max agreed after chugging half a bottle of water. “You wanna show her what you experienced on the dreamplane that’s really the only way to do it.”

Michael grabbed the bottle of water he had dropped in the sand earlier, unscrewing the cap and taking a long drink as he stared out at the ocean. He was more than willing to practice working on his powers with them as long as the powers were physical manifestations. He wasn’t comfortable with what he felt were the softer powers.

“Why’s it so important that she believe you?” Isabel asked.

Max glanced at his sister and nodded before turning his attention to Michael. “Yeah, I’d think you’d rather be free of that and not trying to make her believe it’s true.”

His gaze returned to Maria once more and he watched her watching him for several long minutes. His mind moved back to the night they had finally made love, shortly after settling down in their house here. He had pretended to be asleep afterward, waiting to see if she would be driven from their bed by guilt. She had remained beside him but she had lain awake for hours, staring at the wall and fighting those guilty feelings. He didn’t know if proving to her what he knew to be true would change that, but it might ease those feelings. He took a deep breath before he spoke. “It’s a doubt that’s gonna eat her alive and I love her too much to watch her suffer… always wonderin’ whether it’s true or not.” He shook his head. “It’s not somethin’ she should have to deal with, not if there’s a way for me to stop it.”

Max smiled slightly at Michael’s answer. “You know, that’s very similar to what Michael said to Maria after he killed Pierce.” He glanced between the couple. “That following summer she confided in me about it. She told me even though Michael used those words to break up with her she cherished them.”

He took another drink of his water as he considered what they were saying. As things stood she didn’t belong to just him and maybe she never would. Learning how to use that ability would take time and it would take work, but someday he would show her his dreamplane experience with his counterpart.

*****

Maria watched them after the training session ended and she wondered what they were talking about. His gaze strayed to her time after time and somehow she knew whatever it was, it had to do with her. She and Michael had settled into a routine and they were slowly becoming more at ease and comfortable with their situation. It wasn’t easy by any means and some days it was nearly impossible, but neither of them were the type to throw in the towel and walk away because something was hard. Sometimes it was hard to believe all that had happened in less than a year, but she stared that reality in the face every day.

She had traveled to another universe, intent on preventing the accident that had claimed her Michael’s life. There were days when everything she had been through in that other universe seemed like something that had happened to someone else. All it took was a look or a touch from Michael to remind her that it was all true and that she had lived every moment of it.

Her mind returned to that night more than a month ago when they had made love for the first time since coming to her universe. Afterwards she had lain in his arms and memories from their first time in his universe had assaulted her, bringing with them the feelings of betrayal and guilt from that night. She hadn’t left him this time, instead she had held onto him tightly until those feelings had begun to subside. Her thoughts had drifted to the conversation she’d had with the Granolith before she had undertaken her journey to his universe.

“You would go anywhere to be with him?” It had paused before continuing. “There could be changes, possibly differences…”

She had never expected her decision to take her down this path. She had waited until he had fallen asleep, her heart heavy and her mind too restless to allow her to sleep. She had acknowledged that she loved him, but the problem was that she had the same feelings for both men. She couldn’t imagine living without this Michael, but at the same time she still loved the Michael she had lost the year before. She was in love with the same man, but at the same time, he wasn’t the same man.

Sometimes she watched him when he was unaware of it, her mind going back to the night he had told her that her Michael was somehow inside of him. She hadn’t believed him then and she wasn’t certain she could believe it now. There were moments when he would say or do something that made her wonder if it was true, but there wasn’t enough proof to settle it in her mind. It was an uncertainty she knew she was going to have to live with because there was no way to accurately determine if his belief was true or not.

In some ways she was happy, but there was still that little part of her that felt guilty for finding love and happiness. She loved him just as much as she loved the boy she had fallen in love with first and maybe in time she might even love him more. Was that possible? Michael had been everything to her and now she had found love with another version of him. She had a feeling that as time passed she would love him more because he was with her and he would be with her as long as they lived.

There were no easy answers and she had known from the moment she had realized she was in love with him that things were never going to be the same. He was a difficult man and she knew that wasn’t likely to ever change. She knew he would protect her and the others with his life if it ever came to that, and she knew one day they could be looking at that possibility. They would just take life as it came, prepare for the future, and love each other with everything they had.


The End – Ending One

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 77 - 11/13

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:56 pm

Alien Friend –

The last few words really summed up the whole story for me. Maria went through it all because she loved Michael with everything she had. I'm sure Michael returns that in spades. That's just what whole story and journey has been about. What would do for love?


Good question. This story answered it, for Michael and Maria. Maria went through hell, because she wanted to save Michael and Michael would do the same. It’s the story of Roswell, that tv series was about extraordinary love stories, ones that you can rarely find in tv, at least right now.


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 second path and we will be posting Ending Number Two. You will probably notice that the first few of pages here seem familiar and are actually a repost of the part immediately prior to Ending One, Part 1 as well as the first part of Ending One. There are actually several subtle differences from the original post of these scenes.


Ending Two, Part 1 (or Part 77)

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 several 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 shifted 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. The memory of dying was still so close and in that moment as he had left one plane of existence for the next everything had suddenly become clear, made sense. The understanding that time wasn’t linear had become known to him in the blink of an eye. The knowledge that the universe as such wasn’t unique along with knowing what could and should happen. 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.”

A silent agreement passed between them and when his double held his hand out, Michael accepted the gesture and shook his hand.

His counterpart withdrew his hand when it was released and he took several steps back. “Goodbye, Michael.”

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.

*****

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.

“Michael?”

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?”

“Nothin’.” 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!”

“You have returned,” the mechanical voice rumbled.

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

“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.”

“Then you are ready to return.” It was a statement and not a question.

Maria bit her bottom lip. She wanted to go home so badly but what if her actions here hadn’t made a difference? “Will Michael be there?”

“The hybrid has ceased to exist in your universe, young human.”

The pain of loss washed over her as she stared at the granolith. “But… I don’t understand. You said I had been given the opportunity to change the past, present and future.”

“You have succeeded.”

“No.” She shook her head in denial. “No, if he’s still dead then it didn’t work.”

Michael stood back, watching her as she argued with the machine. He could see the devastation on her features at the knowledge that his counterpart was still dead, that her mission had been a failure. Going back to her universe would serve no purpose if the other version of him was dead.

The invasion would still happen at some point but they wouldn’t succeed in fighting the enemy when they were missing an essential member of their defense. She wasn’t facing annihilation in his universe, so why not just stay here? She cared about him, loved him, but he didn’t know if that would be enough. That other version of him would always be there between them and he didn’t know if he could live with that.

“What the fuck kinda choice is that?” he demanded after several minutes.

The granolith changed colors, deepening to a turbulent shade of blue at the hybrid’s tone. “Returning to her universe is not a choice. It is what must be for you to continue the mission. The events here have been set into motion by her presence and actions in this universe.”

Michael shook his head. “That’s bullshit.”

“The human must return to her universe.”

“But he’s still dead,” Maria said, her voice inaudible. “I completed my mission… I did what I was supposed to do.”

Michael 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? If the Granolith hadn’t made the decision to route her to his universe then who had? Or maybe the better question was what had made that decision. He walked around the machine once more, his critical gaze missing nothing. What exactly was it? A sentient being or simply a means to an end, a pawn used by some other outside force?

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 time has come for you to make a decision and for the human to return to her universe, impatient one.”

“What?” He just barely stopped himself from kicking the damn thing. Sending Maria back to her universe because he was fed up was one thing. Having this piece of extraterrestrial shit telling him what was going to happen was a different story.

“The human has discovered why she was sent here. Her mission in this universe has reached its conclusion and it is time for her to return. Your mission is just beginning.”

Michael shook his head. “You don’t tell me what my missions are. 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.”

“What options?” he grated out.

“To remain or continue the mission.”

“What the fuck are you talkin’ about?!” Michael asked, taken aback.

“You may choose to remain on your current path or you may choose to continue the mission. The events have been set into motion by the human.”

“And why would I take up some mission just because you say it’s what has to happen?”

“To maximize your potential… to become the protector you were engineered to become. Earth in your universe still poses a threat to those who would seek to overthrow the throne of Antar but as it stands currently, there will be no defense when the attack begins.”

Michael crossed his arms over his chest again and considered what the Granolith was saying.

“Your mission must be carried out to ensure the future of your universe.”

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…” she swallowed hard before continuing. “Is there any chance my hybrid will be alive? Maybe the granolith in my universe will… change its mind?” 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.

“There is no question of your return to your universe. Upon completion of your mission in this universe you must return.” 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. “It is unlikely that your hybrid will be restored though that decision resides with the Granolith from your universe.”

“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. The Granolith in her universe would never change its mind. It was nothing like this one.

“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.

“C’mon, Maria, we’re leavin’.” Maybe she had to return to her universe, but it would happen when he decided it would happen. He didn’t take orders from this hung of space junk. 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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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 78 - 3/23

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:13 pm

Mary mary – yes, Michael and Maria are going to lose, from what they are able to gather from that meeting with the Granolith. But let’s not lose hope.

Eva

Beautiful! It recapitulated this whole story from beginning till end. I think I'm going to like this second version better... But I'm sure it won't be an easy story either...


So, so far, ending number 2 is your favorite? See, you get now why it was so hard for us to decide on an ending and that’s why we wrote two!

Timelord31

sorry.. not sure whats going on.. is that a repeat from an old chapter. Or is it a new one since This micheal had meet Max and the rest of the group and was training them


That part (the dreamplane between both Michaels) happened in both endings, that’s why you think it’s a repeat but there’s a light change between the two dreamplanes, the part where Michael says “Good-bye” in this part.

Helen Of Roswell – What to say after such a raving review? It’s humbling that you love our stories so much and that you are inspired to discuss it with your sister, on subjects as delicate and complex as death, afterlife and souls. Thank you so much for your review.

Alien_Friend

What I love must about this story is how it portrays the depth and loyalty that comes with loving someone. And how that will lead you to do anything for the people we love the most. It's a beautiful thing. And I adore Maria. And my heart goes out to her.

Can't wait for what comes next. It's fun rereading this.


That sums up Roswell, in a way, the lengths the characters would go for their loved ones.


Ending Two, Part 2 (or Part 78)

Michael slammed the door of his hotel room so hard that a picture on the wall fell off and hit the floor, the glass breaking and scattering on the carpet. He stalked across the room to open the small refrigerator door open with a jerk, shoving the six-pack he had purchased inside. He snatched a non-alcoholic beer out and twisted the cap off, slapping it down on top of the refrigerator. He caught movement from the corner of his eye and he turned his head to look at Maria when she bent down to pick up the glass.

“Leave it,” he snapped.

“Michael – “

“I said to fuckin’ leave it!” He took a long swallow of his drink and started pacing back and forth in front of the large window that looked down over the parking lot.

“Fine.” She held her hands up and moved away from the shards of glass, knowing it would be a temptation. She leaned back against the armrest of the couch in the sitting area and watched him, easily sensing the annoyance seething below his anger.

“I do whatever the fuck I wanna do,” he said after nearly ten minutes of silent pacing. He knocked back half of his beer in one shot and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I don’t take orders from some piece of shit alien technology.”

She nodded wordlessly, letting him get it out of his system without interrupting him.

He resumed his pacing, running his free hand through his hair and shooting the occasional furtive glance at her. “How do you know that thing’s what it says it is? It said one thing in your universe and now it’s sayin’ somethin’ different in mine. And from the sounds of it, the damn thing’s tellin’ you somethin’ completely different than what it told you when you first got here!”

“I don’t know, Michael.” She didn’t really understand it either, but she did her best to explain what she did know. “When I got here it told me I had the power to change the past, present and future. I believed that it meant in my universe… I didn’t know what I did here would affect your universe.”

“Did you bein’ here alter somethin’? Make Earth somehow more open to attack by Khivar?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know.” She swallowed hard, pushing away the memory of what the Granolith had told her about her Michael. “I don’t think so… I mean the others were already gone before my arrival in this universe so I’m not sure how I could affect anything there.”

“That machine seems to pick and choose what it intends to do. How do you know someone or somethin’ else is pullin’ its strings? Tellin’ it what it can and can’t do?”

“I guess I don’t. I know the Granolith is capable of time travel when it’s been altered and I know that it’s capable of travel between universes. I don’t really know much more about it.” She sighed and pushed away from the couch to go and get a beer for herself. “Michael, I know that in that other timeline Liz and Serena managed to somehow modify it so that Max could come back to change the past. Beyond those two things I don’t know much about it.” She took a sip and resumed her previous position. “To my knowledge it is incapable of time travel without being altered and it didn’t perform that action of its own free will. What I do know about it leads me to believe that it’s unable to act freely.”

“But it would have to have some way of protecting itself from allowing alterations that would let it be used in a manner that goes against its programming or whatever, right? A race as supposedly intelligent as these Antarians would seem to be would have to have put something like that in place, right?”

“We don’t know that the Granolith is Antarian. We just… assumed it was because it made sense, being discovered in the pod chamber, but…” Maria stopped, leaving room for Michael to talk once more.

“If prior to the potential destruction of Earth the Granolith allowed itself to be altered then is it that time travel and traveling between universes is prohibited? Nothin’ with these abilities would simply allow itself to be used. There would have to be protective measures in place, which means it chose to make exceptions in both instances. Liz and Serena, they modified it, used it to change the timeline. You somehow convinced it to allow you to – “

“No! I wanted it to allow me to go back just a few hours, to give me the opportunity to stop that accident from happening. I didn’t want to change the events of an entire timeline or travel across universes… all I wanted was to keep him alive.”

He waved a hand dismissively, uninterested in going over that again. “What’s that thing goin’ on about me havin’ a mission for?”

“I don’t know, Michael. When I arrived in this universe it only told me that I had been given the opportunity to change the past, present and future. It said nothing about this universe’s version of Michael being a part of that mission, plan, whatever. Maybe you were part of it all along, I don’t know.”

He stopped in the middle of the room and stared out at the parking lot once more. “We need more information.”

“More information means we’re gonna have to go back to the Granolith. If there are any answers, that’s where we’ll find them.” She reached out to touch his arm, feeling the tension in the muscles beneath his skin. “We should eat something first,” she said, knowing he would want it over with as soon as possible and also knowing he was in no mood to face the Granolith again.

Michael tossed his bottle in the trash can and rubbed a hand over his face as he glanced at the clock on the wall. “It’s about lunchtime. We can grab somethin’ and be back out there by mid-afternoon.”

*****

The Granolith chamber was lit by the green glow emanating from the alien device and the floor hummed with its energy. Michael walked around it, studying the base and trying to determine how it could have been altered in that other timeline in Maria’s universe. He rapped his knuckles against the smooth side of the cylindrical device, nodding to himself when the color shifted to a darker shade of green.

Maria stood back and watched him, not bothering to warn him away from irritating the thing. He was going to do whatever he wanted to do regardless of her warnings and he wasn’t going to rest until he had his answers. She waited until it became apparent that the device was going to continue to ignore him, further aggravating the situation, before she stepped up to it and spoke.

“Granolith?”

“Yes, young human?” it answered in its familiar mechanical rumble.

She stared at it in trepidation, remembering its earlier words to her. She had no choice about going back. Her Michael was still dead. “Michael has more questions.”

“Ask, hybrid.”

“You said Earth in my universe is a threat to Khivar, that to ensure the survival of this universe I had a mission to complete… what is it?”

“Once the human has returned to her universe you must embark on your own mission. In order to prevent Khivar from successfully taking over your planet it is your responsibility to complete the unit necessary to defeat him.”

“Are you tellin’ me there’re other hybrids on this rock?” Michael barked. “Because if there are, let one of them take on this fuckin’ mission.”

“The mission is yours to complete, hybrid. The success of the mission rests on your ability to go back and prevent the untimely demise of those you must train to stand against Khivar’s armies.”

“Wait just a fuckin’ minute,” Michael interrupted. “Go back and prevent…” he glanced at Maria, seeing the paleness in her features at the implications in the Granolith’s words. “What’re you talkin’ about?”

“After the human returns to her universe you must travel back in time and prevent the deaths of the other hybrids and the two humans essential to the unit.”

Michael looked at Maria again. “You see? Time travel’s possible when it wants it to be possible.” He walked up to the Granolith and thumped it with his fist. “Why allow it in this universe but not in hers? You say she has no choice but to return to her universe but without her hybrid there to stand against Khivar they’ll be wiped out. You’re sendin’ her back with no chance of survival!”

“Hybrid,” the Granolith said patiently, “it is your duty to complete your mission and it is her duty to return to her universe. What becomes of her will depend on how the events transpire upon her return. You must focus on the mission at hand. You must revisit your past, prevent the hybrids from being killed in a car accident and ensure your connection to them. Upon assuring their survival you must encourage the young hybrids to confide in their human parents and reveal their true selves. You must then make sure that Elizabeth Parker does not expire on September 23rd in the year 1999. Zan… Max Evans must be the one to prevent her death. Following this event the human, Maria DeLuca, must be healed on March 15th in the year 2000, also to prevent her death.”

Maria wondered what that would mean for this Michael to have the alternate version of her alive and aware of his existence. Would they connect? Would they fall in love? She swallowed hard. Would he let her in?

“You expect me to give up the life I know to – “

“This is what must be, hybrid,” the Granolith said.

“But you can’t make me do it,” Michael insisted.

“No. You may choose to remain on your current course and Khivar’s invasion will happen and he will be successful.”

Michael’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the device, certain there was a smug quality to its voice. “If you can’t make me carry out some mission then you can’t make Maria return to her universe either.”

“The human’s return is not negotiable, hybrid. It is not within your power to prevent her return.”

“We’re finished.” Michael shook his head and turned to Maria. “Let’s go.”

Maria approached the Granolith, ducking out of Michael’s reach as he passed her on his way to the chamber’s only exit. “Granolith, if Michael successfully completes this mission, Earth in his universe can be saved from Khivar’s invasion?”

“Yes.”

She reached out to touch the smooth, oddly warm surface of the device, feeling the slight frisson of electricity brush against her fingertips. She was going to go back to her universe, a place where she would be without the man she loved. She turned her head to look at Michael and in spite of her heavy heart she felt a sense of accomplishment. He would live in this universe. He would go on and complete the mission necessary to save his own universe even if there was no way for her to do the same for her own. She just had to convince him that it was the right thing to do.

He didn’t like being told what to do and she believed the Granolith was being truthful as it spoke of what was required to preserve Earth in this universe. “We’ll be back,” she whispered before moving to Michael’s side and following him out of the chamber.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 79 - 4/16/12

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:59 pm

mary mary – Yes, can’t say that we haven’t been tough on this Michael and this Maria. We made them suffer, huh? But we’re candies, don’t lose hope.

Eva –

So after twining their roads, they have to seperate and go back to their own mission? That granolite is nuts. It's playing with the feelings and emotions of people, in this case Maria & Michael 2nd.

But, and this is a big but, when everything sorts out the way it should be, there could be more in it for Maria and this Michael than saving the planet from Khivar. If everything works out fine: Maria could return happily to her old Michael, and this Michael - who changed a lot under the influence of Maria - could meet (and maybe love) the Maria he was supposed to be with.


It looks like you’ve thought about this fic a lot. Who knows, maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong.

Alien Friend – Thanks, it’s nice to be nominated. A bigger picture? Well, it’s the Granolith, of course, there’s a bigger picture.


Ending Two, Part 3 (or Part 79)

For the second time that day Michael paced around his hotel room like a caged animal. He hadn’t liked what the Granolith had to say the first time and he didn’t like it any better now.

“It’s the only defense you’ll have against an invasion,” Maria said quietly.

“So you’re fine with that fuckin’ machine tellin’ us what we’re gonna do? Fuck that!”

She leaned back against the arm of the couch and watched him. She couldn’t stay in his universe and if he didn’t do what the Granolith had explained then he would die when Khivar’s invasion occurred. It would only be a matter of time before he was able to get a foothold in this world if there was no one prepared to stand against him.

“No,” she said finally. “I’m not fine with it but whether we like it or not the defense of this planet rests on your shoulders. To make a stand against Khivar, to have a fighting chance you have to do what it said. You have an advantage, Michael. You’re a soldier and you understand the rules of war. You know how to fight, you understand strategy – “

“And if I do this I won’t be the same person!” he yelled. “That thing wants to saddle me with a bunch of kids.”

“It wants you to go back and prevent their deaths so you can train them and give this planet a fighting chance.”

He shook his head as his hands clenched into fists at his sides. “Based on the information you gave me before they’re significantly younger than me. What, five or six years? If I was successful at preventing their deaths they would come into my life at one of its most crucial points. That could potentially alter the course of my life… it could make a difference in whether or not the Company is a part of my life. How effective would I be if that didn’t factor in? That edge is what makes the difference.”

Maria bit her lip as she considered what he was saying. He had raised a valid point. “The Granolith would know that your training and knowledge is necessary so it must have some way around that.”

“You don’t understand!” he argued as he slapped his palm against the dresser. “When I went into the Company at 17 I had no ties to anyone or anything! Going back, saving them, will create ties. Do you not understand how that changes things?!”

“I’d be alive in your universe,” she offered, thinking it might help him calm down.

She’ll be alive but she won’t be you. That thought gave him pause and he suddenly saw things a lot clearer where her situation with his counterpart was concerned. Meeting her at such a young age… how would that change the course of his life? He didn’t even want to think about that. “Yeah, alive and jailbait,” he snapped angrily.

“Michael, maybe having those ties is necessary. Maybe it gives you something to fight for, something to come home to. I know you enjoy your life but maybe this would give you more.”

“Like you give a shit,” he muttered.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she demanded, surprised by his remark.

“It means you’re getting fucked raw and you’re just layin’ there takin’ it.” He ignored the disgusted grimace on her face at his choice of words. “You came here to save him and the Granolith basically told you nothing’s changed. You’ll go back, he’ll still be dead, the invasion will still happen, and you’ll have no defense against it now.”

“Going home to him is everything I wanted. It’s why I got myself into this situation in the first place. I believed what I needed to believe to keep me going and that was that when this was all over I would go home to him and this would fade until it was just a memory. If it was even that since technically preventing his death would mean going back before any of this happened. Maybe the Granolith in my universe will change its mind. Or maybe,” she swallowed hard, “when the Granolith asked if I would do whatever was necessary to save Michael it meant you. I think that’s what it meant when it said I had been given the chance to change the past, present and future.”

He shrugged one shoulder as he stared outside. “And you’re okay with that.” He snorted derisively. “You’re a fuckin’ liar if you think I’m buyin’ that.”

“No,” she admitted, her voice trembling slightly. “I’m not okay with that but I don’t have much choice in the matter. The only thing that makes it any easier to deal with is knowing that me being here will make a difference in your universe. You can go back and save the people that will help you defeat Khivar. You’ll live, Michael. At least I succeeded in that.”

“How altruistic of you,” he snapped.

“I don’t wanna argue with you.”

Her tone sounded defeated and he turned around to look at her, leaning against the windowsill.

“We’re only putting off the inevitable. With my mission completed it’s just a matter of time before I have to go back. I don’t know what’ll happen if I don’t return to the Granolith and make that trip voluntarily. For all I know I’ll just disappear when it decides it’s time.” She shook her head. “You don’t want anything to draw attention to you.”

“We should get this over with as soon as possible so you can begin your mission. You may not give a damn about this planet and most of its inhabitants but you understand duty and honor. In the morning we’ll go back to the Granolith so it can send me home and you’ll do whatever is necessary to save this planet. But for tonight…”

“What’re you sayin’?” he asked, certain he already knew what was coming.

She took a deep breath as she stood and crossed the room to stand before him. “What I’m saying is I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

He studied her as he debated the intelligence of sharing his bed with her again. The last time she had ended up regretting it and he didn’t care to experience that again. “I’m not him, Maria.” He shook his head as he stared at her. “I may have his face but – “

She reached up to place her fingers against his lips, silencing him. “I know who you are, Michael. The night we made love I wasn’t using you as a substitute. It may have been the result of everything that had happened that day but I never forgot that I was with you.”

“There won’t be any regrets this time.” He took her hand and pulled her to stand between his legs.

Maria’s hands lifted to his shoulders as one of his arms slid around her waist. “No regrets,” she whispered in agreement.

He slowly lowered his head, satisfied when she met him halfway. He took his time, alternating between long slow kisses and shorter, hungrier kisses. When they broke apart to take in some much needed air he met her gaze, taking in her blown pupils.

When she took a step back he frowned but the feel of one of her hands tugging on his shirt reassured him. When she motioned to the window behind him he turned and glanced outside. The hotel was on the outskirts of town and faced the desert. The parking lot was below them but they were several floors up so unless someone was using binoculars they wouldn’t have a clear view of the room.

With any other woman he wouldn’t give a fuck. Hell, he’d probably just turn any other chick around and bang her right up against the window, careless of what anyone else might see or think. But she wasn’t just another piece of ass. She was Maria and he wouldn’t disrespect her like that.

Maria wondered where his thoughts were as he stared outside and she took a couple of steps forward to press against his back. Even the smallest distance between them felt like too much right now and she sighed at the feel of him.

Michael shut the blinds, leaving the room in shadow since the only light came from the sunlight sneaking past the edges of the blinds where they didn’t quite meet the window. He shoved away the thought that all they had was tonight. When morning came he would have to let her go because he had a mission to complete.

“You said no regrets,” Maria murmured, worried that he had changed his mind.

“No,” he said after a moment of silence. “No regrets.” He turned in her arms and cradled her face in his hands as his eyes traced over her features.

*****

Maria stood in the shower the next morning, tears running down her face and mixing in with the hot water to be washed away. She wished it were so simple to be rid of the shattered pieces of her heart. She loved Michael, she loved both of them, and after everything that had happened and everything they had been through she was returning to her universe without either of them. She would be alone after losing him twice.

She had spent the night in his arms, soaking up every memory she could while she still had the chance. Every kiss, every touch, had been a combination of ecstasy and heartbreaking agony but she had been desperate to be with him one last time. He wasn’t very verbal but she knew he was hurting over the separation that was being forced upon them. He would never admit it; that just wasn’t who he was. He had revealed it in his lovemaking. He had been gentle and caring, fierce and demanding, and his silence had been punctuated by emotions revealed in every touch and every look from his dark eyes.

She knew she couldn’t stay in his universe as much as she wished she could. Traveling back in time was his only option if he was going to do what was necessary to save his Earth. If she stayed he couldn’t complete his mission and she couldn’t be responsible for the demise of an entire planet. He would at least have her in some form by altering the past and ensuring her survival, but she knew it wouldn’t be the same. He had been right the night before when he had said that by altering the past he would be altering who he was; to some degree he would be changed because he would have people in his life who knew the truth about him and who would be responsible for smoothing some of his rough edges.

Would her counterpart in this universe fall in love with him? Would he fall in love with her? He was also right about the age difference, but she knew herself, and she was certain that even with the age difference she would have fallen in love with her Michael in her universe. She had fallen in love with this Michael despite their difference in age. Of course, she would meet him when she was significantly younger in this universe. He would be learning to kill efficiently and fighting in wars while she was going to high school and thinking about absurd teenage things.

If she fell in love with him in this universe, and she had no doubt that she would, she wondered how long it would take for her to realize it. Would he remember anything from his previous life? Would he have any memories of her and the time they had spent together? Or would he be spared that burden? She hoped for his sake that once he went back and successfully altered the past that any memories of the life he had already lived would disappear and that he wouldn’t have to deal with the memory of loving her and losing her.

She would never want to give up the memory of loving him. Would that be different if her Michael had been given back to her? If she had been allowed to go back and prevent his death? She ducked her face under the spray to wash away the fresh flood of tears. She didn’t know how to answer that question, not even in the privacy of her own mind. It wasn’t only a matter of making love with another version of him; it was a matter of falling in love with a different version of him. Could she have gone back to her universe and let the memories of him go? She didn’t know because she did love him even though he was a difficult, moody, pain in the ass that could be incredibly hard to get along with.

She rubbed her hands over her face as she tried hard to control the pain trying to break free of the walls of her chest. Letting him go hurt more than she had imagined it would. It had nearly destroyed her to leave her Michael behind, buried in a cold, unmarked grave. Now she had to leave this Michael to face a past and future that was unwritten because his actions, and the actions of those he saved were going to determine how it played out.

*****

Michael stared at the unmade bed, his mind tracking over every minute of the night before. They hadn’t slept much, waking and making love several times throughout the night. He had done his best to memorize every moment, knowing full well that as soon as he made that first change to his past and altered the future it would most likely mean that she would never set foot in his universe and he would lose those memories. His touches had been fueled by the need to imprint her on his memory, to hide her someplace so deep inside of him that the Granolith, fate, whatever it was that controlled their lives, couldn’t take that away from him.

He hated that he had to let her go in order to save a planet of ingrates who didn’t know who he was. The very same people who would strap him to a metal table and dissect him, study him if they ever discovered his existence or that of the others. He should just tell the Granolith to go fuck itself and refuse to allow her to leave. He could destroy the thing. He knew enough about explosives to blast that entire formation into a pile of rubble.

But she had made him promise that he would accept the mission and do whatever was necessary to save this planet. She hadn’t wanted to do it; he had seen the truth in her eyes. But she had chosen to sacrifice whatever they might have together to save Earth in his universe. She would go back to her universe where she would be alone because the Granolith hadn’t determined that bringing her Michael back was necessary.

He would go back in time… Fuck, this was surreal! He would probably lose his memories of their time together but she wouldn’t have that luxury. She would go back to her universe carrying the weight of loving and losing both men. She would be alone, without her friends or her family to even help her through the loss. He didn’t like the way that made him feel and his eyes moved to the closed bathroom door. He could hear the shower running and he knew without looking that she had been in the shower for a lot longer than necessary. He stood up and reached for the hem of his shirt as he crossed the room.

*****

Maria turned her head when the shower door opened and she met Michael’s gaze for a brief moment before he stepped inside and pulled the door closed once more. She was trying as hard as she could to control her emotions but it hurt so bad that she couldn’t just let it go. He had enough on his plate without having to deal with an emotional goodbye and she was doing her best to spare him that.

“I can’t tell you it’s gonna get better,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back against his chest. “We both know the truth.”

She squeezed her eyes shut but the hot tears pushed past her closed eyelids to spill over her cheeks. “I know,” she whispered, her voice thick. “We’re doing the right thing.”

Michael didn’t know if she was trying to convince him or her, and he didn’t ask. He carefully turned her in his arms and he lifted her chin so he could look down into her shimmering green eyes. “You’re sure about this?”

“I’m sure,” she agreed.

He was silent as he studied her. He reached for the soap and began to lather it up between his hands. Like the night that now seemed so long ago he cared for her and let his gentle touches speak for him. When they were clean and the soap was rinsed from their bodies, taking with it all evidence of their night together they stepped out of the shower and he dried them off.

They dressed in silence and Maria gathered their things while he did one last sweep of the room, making sure nothing had been left behind. He relieved her of his bag when they reached the door and he leaned over to toss the key card on the dresser by the television. His gaze moved around the room once more before he stepped out into the hall, scanning it for anyone who shouldn’t be there before he moved to the elevators.

Maria pulled the door shut behind them and stared at it as she swallowed with difficulty. The lock clicked into place and somehow the moment seemed symbolic. The door closing on their hotel room much like the door closing on this chapter of their lives; the metaphor was true for both of them, but at least he would have an opportunity for a life with this universe’s version of her. Her eyes welled up with fresh tears at the thought that she wouldn’t have that opportunity when she returned home; the chance to change the past in her universe had been denied her. She cleared her throat and forced the tears back when Michael called her name and she turned and walked down the hall to join him.


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