Title: It Has Begun (2/?)
Author: Kata
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating: PG
Summery: The action finally gets started. Yes, there's dialogue in this part. :-)
Distribution: Just give me the URL, if I don't already have it.
Feedback: You know I want it!

******

Maria DeLuca grabbed the plate of food and took it to the table, just as she had done thousands of times over the past ten years. She hadn't expected to still be working at the Crashdown at the age of twenty-six, but, strangely enough, she was satisfied. Because she could never give up the hope that Michael Guerin would come home. She knew it was foolish. He had probably ended up married to Isabel. They probably had kids by now. But just in case, she had stayed in Roswell, attended the community college, and worked at the Crashdown. All so Michael would know where to find her.

This day was no different than any of the ones preceeding it. She wasn't expecting it. She wasn't expecting that achingly familiar figure to walk in the door. She stood, frozen in place, as he slowly walked towards her, and spoke in the voice she hadn't heard since he admitted that he loved her.

"Maria?"

And Maria did something she had never done before. She fainted.

When she came to, she was in the arms of the man she had never really expected to see again.

"Michael?" she whispered unbeliving.

He smiled that old familiar grin. "In the flesh."

Maria closed her eyes in joy and relief and she didn't know what else. "You're back. Do you know how many nights I have spent dreaming of this? I never gave up hope. I never expected you to come back, but I couldn't stop hoping.. oh no!" Maria started to sit up. "You're probably married by now. I'm sorry. I just--"

Micheal gently hushed her, and brought her back into his lap. "I'm still single, Maria. None of us ever married."

"Really?" Maria searched his face for confirmation.

"Really."

"Then let me tell you something. I love you, Spaceboy."

"What? Just like that?" Michael was stunned. "It's been ten years. You don't even know why I'm here, what I want."

Maria shook her head. "It doesn't matter. I decided a long time ago that it didn't matter what had happened. That if I had another chance, I would never, ever let you go. That I'd do anything for you."

"You're not mad?"

Maria smiled softly. "I was for a long time. You told me you loved me, and then you left. But, eventually, I realized that it was bigger than just our relationship. I was sixteen and in love. I didn't care about the danger, I just wanted to be with you. Now, I'm old enough to know that I could handle the danger. Maybe I wasn't ready for our relationship then. I am now."

Michael knew what a precious gift she was giving him. "That's it? No questions, no explanations?"

"I want to know why you're here, and where you've been, but it's not going to change anything."

Michael was about to speak, when they were joined by Max, Tess, and Isabel.

"I see you've found Maria," Tess stated needlessly.

"Did you tell her everything?" Max asked.

"No," Maria answered for him. "But before you tell me anything, I want you guys to know that I'm here for all of you. I wasn't ready to accept this two years ago, but I am now."

Max nodded and began to explain. Two hours later, Maria knew everything they did.

"And so you've come back here to begin the battle?"

"Yes," Michael said. "And we need all of your help-- your's, Alex's, Liz's Valenti's, even Kyle's if he's still around."

Maria nodded thoughtfully. "They're all still here-- and single," she added, answering Max and Isabel's unspoken question. "But I have to warn you, they won't be as accepting about all this as I am. They were hurt badly, and they've never quite managed to forgive you."

Max nodded. He knew things couldn't go back to the way they were, no matter what he wished for.

"Let me talk to them for you," Maria implored. "It have a better change of getting through to them."

"You don't have to do this," Isabel said.

"I know, but I want to."

TBC...

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