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***GOOD OR EVIL!!!***

Author:
Donnilee!!!


RATED: NC-17 - NO kiddies here please.

Catagory:Michael and Maria

RATING: NC-17

SUMMARY: Michael learns to control his powers but does he have enough confidence to risk them on the woman he loves? And can she heal him?

POSTING: Anywhere as long as my name and e-mail address is on it.

DISCLAIMER: None of the characters in this story belong to me. They belong to Jason Katims and the folks at Warner Bros. I have borrowed them shamelessly. Please don’t sue, I don’t have any money anyway. FEEDBACK WELCOME AT THE ABOVE ADDRESS.

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INTRODUCTION

‘I’m no good. You heal people, I kill them.’ The words echo through my mind over and over. I was convinced as I heard the words I’d spoken earlier that week. I scared myself and I wasn’t going to let anyone know that. Max knew it though. In his usual tactful way, he refrained from confronting me directly. He knew I wasn’t ready. But we both knew it needed to be discussed. I couldn’t control my power and I was going to have to learn how or cease using them all together. The latter might be a problem, as I tended to be a reactionary person. I would see myself, as though outside my body, reacting to situations. That was how it happened with that prick of FBI agent, Pierce. And when I stupidly used my powers in front of Valenti. Now a man was dead, and I had meant to kill him. What kind of creature did that make me? A killer. When I’m scared or mad, I lose the ability to think. Max has told me that. Using our powers is all about focus and visualization. He said that you loose that focus if you are mad.

Rage, that seems to be my main problem. It underscores every aspect of my life. Rage over not knowing my origins, rage over having to hide with no answers, rage towards Hank for beating me, rage at the world for dealing me this hand. Mostly though, my rage is for myself. I don’t have the quiet courage that Max has, the cool reasoning that Isabel has. And most of all, deep in my heart, rage against myself for not taking Max’s hand that first day of my life, for not trusting him. I was so scared, my little secret. I followed them though, at a distance. If I’d taken his hand, or Isabel’s, my last name might be Evans too. That’s where it all started. I’ve been making decisions based on fear ever since.

I know intellectually that I need to stop doing that. But emotionally, I don’t know where to begin. Maria. She’s the only thing, the only person who doesn’t induce fear in me. She is exactly who she appears to be, no secrets. Except mine. God, I’ve ruined her too. The only pure, completely open, honest thing I’ve ever encountered and I gave her a secret, or Liz did that turned her life upside down. Then her honesty and kooky guilelessness and beauty made the first chip in my mortar. Maria is the first person to ever punch a hold in the walls of secure emotional barriers I’d built around myself. I made another mistake. Trust. No, it was not a mistake to trust her. It was a mistake to let her trust me, knowing that someday I would hurt her. I let her in anyway.

Too any lonely nights of isolation with no one to hold me cracked my shell. Too many lonely nights of crying myself to sleep, no one understanding my world. Not even Max and Isabel. We shared a bond of our unknown origins for sure. But they could not relate to my life, my life of loneliness and darkness, beatings, fears and trailer parks. And I could not relate to their universe of middle class, suburban bliss with nice clothes and loving parents to care for them. I was a paycheck to Hank, that’s all. The State of New Mexico willingly provided him with booze money for years. I know I never saw any of it. Booze, that fueled his mean spirit and shriveled his heart. If he ever had one to begin with. Foster boy, Mickey, Asshole, Pain in the Ass. These were his monikers for me as I was growing up. Mickey was the one heard least often and that usually on the rare occasion that we had company. I was free of him now, at least, having been emancipated and getting my own apartment with the help of Mr. Evans. I still don’t’ know why he helped me. Why is it so hard for me to believe there is goodness in the world? The evidence is all around me. The Evans’, sweet Maria, Liz’s devotion to Max, Alex’s devotion to Isabel. And now, lo' and behold, even the sheriff, someone I would never have believed could be on our side. But that was none of my doing. That was Max, again. Max has this innate sense of right and wrong, justice and trust, allowing him to have a soul and a control that allowed him to heal. He healed the sheriff’s son of a fatal gunshot wound, thereby securing the devotion of someone once thought our worst enemy. He was tied to us now as surely as Liz was, owing a life to Maxwell Evans. I envy him his ability to engender that devotion, to risk his heart and his very existence to help others. I do not possess this quality. I never will. I can’t take the risk, even if I had the ability, which I don’t. I used to be jealous. Liz loved him and I wanted someone to love me. I read Liz’s journal; jealousy oozing from my very being at the words that Max inspired her to immortalize on paper.

Maria. She blew into my life like a gentle, cool breeze, with the finesse of a hurricane, but a cool breeze nonetheless. She put out the fires of jealousy. Jealousy, an emotion born of fear and rage. These emotions I know too well. It know them intimately, rage and fear in all their forms; jealousy, callousness, fear, belligerence, arrogance, false bravado, loneliness. These were the only emotions I knew before Maria. She taught me some new ones. Damn her and bless her. She taught me patience, tolerance, amusement, lust, happiness and love. Love? Where did that come from? No. I still can’t allow that. But she did turn my jealousy to envy without rancor, just envy with acceptance. She turned my callousness into moments of tact, my belligerence into quiet retrospection and my false bravado into a farce.

Sometimes I barely recognize myself when I’m with her. She taught me how to laugh, to relax from time to time. She taught me that I am capable of being something other than a callous bastard with a big mouth and a mission. She’s forgiven me more mistakes of bad form than I care to contemplate. When she is near me, my lips can make that weird expression called a smile, and I can find my heretofore-unknown sense of humor. The biggest miracle, I have moments of peace, punctuated with moments of mad lust and longing that leave me bewildered and gasping for breath and trying to find my stoic equilibrium.

I’ve never believed in God, or asked him for anything. But Dear lord, if you exist, grant me this one request. Please protect Maria, keep her safe, sound, pure and unspoiled.

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Good vs. evil; interesting concept. According to Maria, each and every one of us has the capacity for both and it’s a choice. I’m still not sure. She says that no one is inherently evil or inherently good. It is a learned behavior. She’s spent a great deal of time trying to convince me that just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean that I am an inherently evil person or that I cannot change, or there is no hope. Some mistake. I killed a man for Christ’s sake! My sweet Maria though, even now, after I have the blood of death on my hands, will not give up on me. She is determined to convince me that I have redeeming qualities. Good luck, Maria.

It’s been an interesting month. Max and Isabel have been giving me lessons. Why we never thought of this before, I don’t know. Perhaps the need for our powers was small and so not important in the big scheme of things. Now though, with enemies looming on the horizon, we all need to be at the top of our game. At least that is the argument they gave me to try and convince me that they weren’t treating me like a charity case. I’m not convinced, but I let them believe I was because I really, really, really, want to be able to do these things. It is, after all, part of who I am and I know that until I learn to control it, I will never have peace and never be happy with myself. It’s been a humiliating, humbling, exciting experience. I’m making progress, slow progress, but real progress. We go out into the desert twice a week and I practice, while Liz, Maria and Alex stand guard against any intruders or aircraft that might witness my bumbling attempts at changing molecular structure.

Roswell High School has a new student present and accounted for in every available science class. The teachers are slightly confused by my sudden attendance and interest, but so far have been helpful in giving extra help and credit. I’m devouring science texts like a sponge. Maria has searched the internet and Liz has tutored me patiently as I search for understanding of what lies behind my powers. Maria has taken to tutoring me in English and Alex helps out with the math.

Knowing the structure of what I am manipulating has been extremely helpful. I don’t know why that little obvious nugget of information never occurred to me before.

As usual, Maria to the rescue. She was the one to suggest that perhaps my lack of control was not because of an inability to visualize or concentrate but rather because I had nothing to visualize. She pulled out her biology book showing me diagrams of the chemicals and elements in the periodical table and something clicked in my brain. It was like a huge trap door had been sprung and the possibilities had been endless. For the first time, I had a new approach to take, instead of stumbling blindly with vague descriptions. I could do something to help myself. For the first time ever, I wanted to learn something from a textbook rather than from experience. It was a new world for me. I’d never experienced the joy in learning something in school that could have a practical application in my life. Since I was there, I began to thirst for knowledge about other things and decided if I was going to attend school, I might as well go all the way. I’d always been a reader, James Joyce being my favorite, but reading to learn? No, new concept altogether.

Strangely, Liz and I, through long hours of study and her quizzing me, had developed an easy rapport. I think she’d always been a little afraid of me or at least uncomfortable around me. I knew she couldn’t understand what Maria saw in me and I couldn’t blame her. Neither did I. But we have now found a new respect for each other. She even told me I was smart and that it’s enjoyable to discuss her passion for science with someone who can understand the ‘higher concepts.’ Who’d of thought? Max knows how Liz feels about him and so was not threatened by all the time we spend together. There is no physical attraction there anyway. It’s not that kind of admiration we’ve found for each other. Just a mutual respect. My tastes in women run toward tiny, blonde women with creamy white skin, light eyes and pouty lips! We six seem to work together like a well-oiled machine, whatever the project. And just now, I am their project. Yesterday, I got suddenly overwhelmed when I got my report card. Biology, Chemistry, Triganometry, English Lit, Envioronmental Science and European History. These are my classes, all six of them, a full plate. I couldn’t open the report card. I’d been carrying it around in my pocket for two days.

We were all standing around in the CrashDown. Liz and Maria had locked up for the night. I had been carrying the report card around since it arrived in the mail. I hadn’t opened it yet. Maria finally decided to push. And as usual, what Maria wants, Maria gets.

“Look, Michael, it’s time. It’s going to be the same whether you open it now or next month.” I just stared into her baby blues.

“What if it sucks?” I asked in my usual diplomatic fashion. I still have a flare for words! She smiled indulgently. “It won’t suck Michael, I’m sure of it.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because I am, that’s why and on the off chance that it does … suck …” (this was said teasingly) “it will just be a challenge to us to redouble our efforts. It’s just grades, right? I mean it has no real bearing on what you know or what learning all this is all about. It’s what you’ve gotten out of it that counts, not the grade. For once in your life, you’re using that 160 IQ of yours for something constructive. So let’s just see if our hard work has paid off.” Who would have ever thought Maria could apply such calm logic to this and make it seem like no matter what the results were, it would be O.K. That was more like Liz. But I knew that if it sucked, I would lose my enthusiasm. I would be crushed. I didn’t want the five most important people in my life to see me fail … again. I wouldn’t be able to take it, not after all they had selflessly done for me. I knew I didn’t deserve all that they had done. I felt like I might let them down and I couldn’t stand the thought of it. Maria put her hand on mine where it laid on the counter and squeezed gently.

“Do you want me to open it?”

“No, I want Liz to open it,” I replied. Liz’s eyes got wide and she graced me with one of those delighted smiles. Everyone was grinning now. I removed the envelope slowly from the inside pocket of my denim jacket and just as slowly placed it on the counter and pushed it across to Liz. I felt stupid suddenly, silly for being this way. Liz picked up the envelope and quickly ran her thumb under the flap, ripping it open. She paused with a mischievous smile on her face and raised her eyebrow at me, causing everyone to twitter with nervous laugher. “Drum roll please,” she said with all the seriousness of an academy award presenter, looking pointedly at Alex. He happily obliged and began deftly drumming an intricate drum roll on the counter with his hands and fingers. Liz ripped the paper out of the envelope with a flourish and held it up close to her face and then let out a startled gasp.

“OH MY GOD!”

“WHAT? WHAT?” we all asked at once. She peered over the top edge of the paper, her eyes darting back and forth. She looked like Kilroy. My heart was slamming against my rib cage. I couldn’t believe what a wuss I was being about this!

“WHAT?!” I yelled again. She ticked them off slowly.

“Biology - (pause) - A; Chemistry - (pause) - A; Trigonometry - (pause) - A; English Lit - (pause) - A; Environmental Science - (pause) - A;, and last but not least, European History - (pause, pause) - AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

All five of them erupted into cheering and clapping. Maria wrapped her arms around my waist and started jumping up and down. I just stood, numb, in the middle of the shouts. “WAY TO GO MAN.” Alex slapping me on the back. “WHOO, HOOOO!” Liz beaming like a maniac. “Friggin’ Amazing.” Isabel saying through her laughter. “I knew you could do it, bro.” This quiet statement from Max accompanying a big smile on his face. I looked down at Maria and she was beaming me that mega-watt smile that always causes butterflies in my gut. She shouted, “MICHAEL, I’M SOOOO PROUD OF YOU - GOD - I’M SO PROUD OF YOU! YOU GOT STRAIGHT A’s!”

Maria was proud of me? Too much. No one had ever said they were proud of me. And this was Maria, the one that mattered the most. My sweet Maria. I felt the lump in my throat and the sting in my eyes a second too late. Then I did the unthinkable. I cried. Right there in front of everyone. I wrapped my arms around Maria, buried my face in her hair and sobbed. I MEAN SOBBED! My body shook with spasms from my effort to contain the emotions coursing through my body. Maria held on tight, her lips to my ear. “Shhh, Shhh, Love, it’s O.K., Shhh. I’m so proud of you. We all are.”

They had all quieted around me. I couldn’t’ raise my head yet. I saw Isabel and Max out of the corner of my eye exchanging a look of stunned belief. I had never broke down in front of them, not even them, ever, let alone sobbed. And here I was, hunched over this little wisp of a girl who’d made lose it because she was proud of me. She slowly dislodged my head from her neck where it had taken up residence and wiped the tears off my face with her thumbs and then she put me in a knee melting lip lock that made me stagger and grab the counter with one hand for balance. We came up for air at the sounds of suppressed giggles around us.

I turned to them, a shaky breath shuddering out of me, wiping my face on the sleeve of my denim shirt. “Sorry, guys,” I replied sheepishly. They all just beamed smiles at me, amused. I looked at each of them in turn. “What the hell did I do to deserve you guys? Uh, thank you, all of you. I don’t know what to say. I’m, I’m, oh hell, I’m really grateful to al of you and I don’t know what the do with it.” Maria was beaming at me again. Isabel, in that special, affectionate snobbery of hers, managed to take the heat off.

“Good lord, Maria, you’re turning him into a cream puff. If he gets any more grateful, I just might puke. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.” They were all chuckling again. I couldn’t look at them. I took sudden interest in my high top sneakers, and started counting lines in the tile in the effort to regain my composure and some measure of dignity. Isabel piped up again. “Get out of here you two, go celebrate.”

I chanced a glance at them all and said, “If you ever mention it again, I’ll have to kill you.” They all laughed then. I looked at Maria again. “Come on, Hon, let’s get out of here.” We headed for the door and I heard Isabel again. “He called her Hon! It really is all over, I’m really am going to be sick.” More giggles faded into the background as we raced for her car.

TBC...

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