RATED: NC-17 - NO kiddies here please.
Catagory:Michael and Maria
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.
ONE MONTH LATER:
My apartment was crowded. Isabel stood at the kitchen counter, bowls lined up in front of her. She looked like Nurse Ratchett with her stern countenance for a second and I suppressed the urge to laugh. I knew she wouldn’t appreciate it. It was testing day, again. Every week, they put me through a series of tests to gauge where I was and how much progress I’d made with what they’d taught me.
“O.K.” She pointed at Bowl #1. “Heat it up.” I put my palm over the stew and felt the now familiar tingle and heat dart out from my palm. After a few seconds the stew began to boil softly, bubbles breaking the surface. “O.K.” She pointed at Bowl#2. “Freeze it.” I put my palm over the bowl of water and reversed the heating process, feeling the sting of cold instead of the tingle of heat in my palm. I pictured the molecules moving, the crystals forming and stared at my handy work. I dropped my hand when it was a block of solid ice.
“O.K.” She pointed at Bowl#3. It was filled with walnuts.
“Move it?” She nodded. I stuck out my hand, palm out this time and gathered the air from the room producing a current and directing it to the back of bowl, sending it careening down the counter, stopping just short of tumbling off the edge. She then pointed to three boxes with lids on the floor. She was speeding up, seeing how quickly I could change disciplines.
“Take the lids off.” I started to stand up.
“No, from right there.” I gave her a dirty look and held out both hands, but easily flipped the cardboard lids off each of the boxes. “Unlock the door slide bolt.” I waved my hand sideways watching the chain fly out of the catch on the door. “Pull that blanket to you.” I sucked the afghan off the back of my couch and caught it as it flew across the room and bumped into my chest. “Create and illusion for Liz.” I smiled evilly and turned to Liz and she shrieked as her hands flew to her mouth. Max made a grab for her and she jerked away.
“You asshole, Michael. That wasn’t nice at all.” Max was about to yell at him when he saw the smile on Liz’s face. “What did you see, Liz?”
“Me, then why did you shriek like that, god you almost gave me a heart attack.”
“You were naked as the day you were born Max.”
“MICHAEL!” He shouted. Everyone was hysterical now. When our mirth died down, Isabel threw me a curve ball.
“Maria, come here.”
“What are you doing, Isabel?” Maria had told me earlier when she came in that she had fallen in gym class and badly bruised her leg in a game of kick ball played on the hardwood floor. She calmly sat on the stool next me, here short shorts exposing a long length of white skin sporting an ugly black and purple bruise, the size of two softballs. I’d seen her favoring the leg as she walked. “Isabel, what’s going on?” She pointed at Maria’s thigh and said, sharply, “Heal it.”
“Iz, no, no, don’t ask me to do that.”
“Iz, I won’t use Maria as a guinea pig, I WON’T.” I was shouting now, feeling the panic rise in my throat. Not Maria.
“HEAL IT, MICHAEL, NOW!”
“NO!” I was glaring at Isabel now. I knew my stark fear was written all over my face. The one person in the world I absolutely would not risk hurting was Maria. The idea that I could make a mistake with her made me nauseous. I suddenly felt Maria’s tiny bare foot plunk down on my thigh. I stared at it stupidly and raised my head to meet her eyes as she tilted on the stool, turning her hip out so her outer thigh was face up, and she was perched on one hip. She stared into my eyes, those bottomless blue pools sucking me in with a look of total confidence. I searched her eyes and I could see not a speck of fear or hesitation. God, she could be a fool for me sometimes. Max, Liz and Alex stood vigil on the other side of the room, quietly watching this play out. They were all in on it together, they were all on her side, I could tell.
“You’re all against me, aren’t you? All of you.” Maria shook her head.
“No, Michael, we’re all FOR you.” I rarely used endearments except when we were alone.
“Baby, I can’t. I’m sorry, I can’t risk hurting you. I WON’T risk hurting you, not you.”
“Michael. I …TRUST…YOU.” She punctuated each word softly. She paused, then, “Please take the pain away.”
“Maria, Max could…”
“NO!” Her hand sliced the air for emphasis. “I want you to do it. I want you to take my pain away. I know that you can. Please try.”
I felt the sting of tears again. No one had ever reduced me to such a puddle the way she could. Lately, she was doing it on a regular basis. She still held my gaze. “Please, Michael, it hurts.” When I did I get ot the point where I absolutely COULD NOT tell this woman NO?
When did this happen? I reached tentatively and grasped her knee to hold her steady and slowly laid my palm over her bruise. I heard a sharp hiss from her at my touch. The bruise was ugly and vicious; it hurt to the touch. My panic rose another notch, but I had to try. What if I failed? What if I made it worse? So many blood vessels were broken, torn even. I could see them through the blackened skin. My heart was beating way too fast and sweat broke out on my hairline. I could feel my hand tremble. She lightly put her tiny hand on top of mine. “I trust you, Michael, relax.” “I know. I don’t trust myself,” I whispered.
Isabel’s voice reached my ears. “Deep breath, Michael, slowly.” I found myself doing as she instructed. I had gotten into the habit of blindly following Max and Isabel in their instructions and I responded to her soothing voice in spite of myself. Suddenly Max was beside me, a solid, reassuring presence. I looked up at him.
“You can do this, Michael, it’s just a little more than what we practiced before. I’ll ride shot gun, O.K.?”
“Be my second?” I quipped, humorlessly quoting the movie ‘Grease.’ He smiled at the attempted joke. He knew I was deadly serious.
“Dr. Max will be right here.” I chuckled. I looked at him and Maria and back at him. I almost choked on a little sob of fear. “I’m begging you Max, don’t let me hurt her.”
“I won’t, I’m right here. I’ll talk you through, how’s that?” Any other time, if he talked to me like I was frightened child, it would have pissed me off to no end. Now, his presence and coaxing words were strangely comforting. I felt like a frightened child and for once, I wasn’t trying to hide it. With Maria, I could never hide anything. That thought alone was a bit disturbing. I felt my heart beat slowly and I took a deep breath.
“That’s it, relax into it, another deep breath.” Breathe, in, out. I nodded to him. “Close your eyes for now.” I followed his instructions and concentrated on his voice. “O.K., now, picture her leg, the bruise, visualize it from the outside. Breathe, in, out. I nodded. I was entering the trance he had taught me that had become fairly easy now. He didn’t need it, but I did. “Dive into it, the bruise, see where the vessels bulge, where they are broken, visualize, travel down the vessel. I pushed my energy into the bruise, picturing it as a blue wavering strip. I COULD FEEL THEM THROUGH MY HANDS! SENSE THEM! The feel of them was transmitting pictures behind my eyelids that traveled from the end of my strip of energy, up the wavering blue bridge and back into my body. I nodded again. “O.K., now, one at a time, find the deepest one with a flaw.” I traveled along the vessels as they sped by my mind’s eye until I saw red, pinkish, healthy vessels and began to pull back up.
“I found it,” I said softly.
“O.K., see the tissue with the whiter cells?”
“Move them. Move them into the breach. Gently.“ I focused on the cluster of white cells around the bulging hole in the vein and visualized them moving into the hole. They traveled along in front of my projected energy into the hole. I did it! I watched behind my eyelids in amazement and then used my energy to smooth the vessel over and soften the ragged bulging tissue. It turned a healthy pink. Max’s voice registered again.
“Did you smooth it out?” I nodded. “O.K., back up a little, find the next one. Take your time.” I scrunched up my brow in concentration. I have no idea how long I was at this. I had sunk into a deep trance. I could feel the energy from my body flow out of my hands into her leg; seeking out the damage and helping the membranes reseal themselves with a gentle push. Each one went a little faster. Since Maria had made no sounds, I assumed I was not hurting her and I relaxed a little, my confidence growing. “O.K.” I nodded. “Keep going. Only one at a time. You’re doing good.” I heard Maria sigh as if in relief and it relaxed me even more. I wanted to help her; I’d just been so afraid. I hate to see her hurt in any way. I sped along, finding, pushing, and smoothing. Suddenly, I couldn’t find anymore and I was at the surface of her skin. I raced along the vessels, making sure I hadn’t missed any. My hands were hot but dry and tingling. I heard Max again.
“O.K., pull back, slowly, it’s done.” I pulled back to the surface of her skin, opening my eyes and finding no more damage. Relief swept through me and I sagged. I groaned and looked up to see a bright blue aura around my hand. The color I’d pictured my healing energy to be. I slowly removed my hand to the side of the bruise I’d been covering, coming back to the present, and reorienting myself in the room. The aura was fading. I finally ventured a look at her leg. I couldn’t look at her face just yet. Had I done it? Really done it? Max grinned. “You did it, Michael, fast too. All done.” I made myself look where her skin had been black and purple. There was only an expanse of creamy white skin. I shuddered in relief, not yet able to exalt in my success. I looked at her face. She was beaming smiling but tears were scudding tracks down her face. I was instantly afraid I’d done something wrong, despite Max’s assurance. I had healed her but did it hurt when I did it? I almost shouted, “Maria, don’t cry, oh god, baby, did I hurt you? I’m, sorry. I knew I’d hurt you.” She was shaking her head.
“No silly, you didn’t hurt me, not a bit.”
“Why are you crying?” I asked, reaching for her.
“Joy.” Her statement was simple.
“Joy?” I asked, as if it were a word I’d never heard before.
“Yes.” She stood between my legs and wrapped her arms around my shoulders, tiling my head up with her hands to look at my face and smoothed my frown lines from my forehead and began running her hands lightly through my hair scratching my scalp. I shuddered again, but this time for another reason, relief, and excitement. What kind of a pervert got aroused from comfort? But again, no one but Maria had ever been tender with me. Down boy! Now is not the time! But when she touches me like that, so softly, my traitorous body reacts instantly. I can’t help it. “I’m more proud of you every day. You walked past your fear and you were wonderful.”
“Wonderful?” I asked stupidly. She was always applying words to me that had no business being in the same sentence with my name. Words no one had ever said to me before.
“Yes, Michael, wonderful. You took all my pain away, not to mention saving me bow koo bucks in cover up foundation for my legs. Previously silent, the others in the room laughed at Maria’s levity. I hugged her to me hard. “I’m so relieved.”
“Good show, bro,” Alex commented, walking to me and giving me a high five.
“Thanks everybody for being so patient. But honestly, I don’t know how many more fears I can face down this month. Jesus Christ, I need a break. I don’t know why you guys put up with me, but thanks again.”
Isabel made a face. “Good, lord, here we go again. I don’t even recognize him anymore. If you get sappy on us again, Michael, I don’t think I could take it again so soon.” I smiled at her.
“You realize I have to hurt you now for alluding to my meltdown.” She smiled.
“Good word, meltdown, think I’ll try to cause another one, the tense kind,” Maria commented.
Alex clucked, “What’s that again? 'Scuse me, I didn’t have the Maria filter on.” Everybody laughed.
“None of your bees wax Alex, this is a two-person only meltdown I’m talking about.”
“Ooo, Rocky just caught up with Bullwinkle, sorry.” Isabel hooted and playfully slapped Alex on the chest. I stood up and swung Maria into my arms. She shrieked and grabbed my neck.
“Sorry folks, hate to be rude but I think I’ll take Maria up on this meltdown idea she has, but this time, I’d rather not have an audience and I do need to relax.” They said their good byes. I mouthed another ‘thank you’ to Max as he exited the door. He winked at me and pulled the door shut behind him. I looked up in time to see my slide chain sliding into place as if on its own. I smiled and strode toward the bedroom; tiny Maria cradled in my arms. I was tired but feeling strangely relaxed.
[Back to Fan Fic]