Only a Tattoo Artist? 4/6 Title: Only a Tattoo Artist? 4/6
Author: Kata
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summery: Not much happens. Answers are in the next part. This one's just to torture you. :-)
Feedback: Gimme, gimme!
Distribution: All I ask for is your URL.

*****

The next day at school, Maria was startled by Michael standing at her locker. She turned around to face him.

"What are you doing here so early? School hasn't even started yet."

Michael ignored her comments. "Don't tell anyone about yesterday."

"Why not? We can't just keep secrets from the others."

"We're not. He didn't tell us anything we didn't know."

"He warned us," Maria reminded him. "We can't ignore that."

"Max has been warning us about Nasedo ever since we found about him. We don't know anything about Mr. Washington. He could be with the FBI. How else would he know about Nasedo?"

"Your vision--"

"I've been thinking about that. The vision could have been from Nasedo. Maybe there's something out there that Mr. Washington was trying to hide."

Maria chewed on her lip, considering all points of view. "Okay" she finally said, "But please, if you decide to do something, be careful. I still think you should tell the others. Maybe they can help-"

"I can take care of myself."

"No, Michael. I am not going to let you go out to the middle of nowhere to look for who knows what. And besides, I have the car."

Michael sighed, "Okay, fine then. We'll go after school."

"We have to be at the Crashdown."

"After that."

"Okay," Maria agreed. "We *will* tell Max if we find anything?"

Michael nodded.

******

The Crashdown was busier than normal that day, but Liz still found time to talk to Maria.

"Where were you last night?" she asked.

"What?"

"I tried calling after I got home from the mall, and no one answered.

"Oh, Michael needed a ride," Maria answered, trying to down play it.

"Are you--?"

"No, he just needed a ride."

Liz looked doubtfully at Maria.

"Really. Remember? He needs to be alone."

"Maria--"

"It's okay, Liz," Maria reassured her. "You know I want more, but if friendship is all I can get, I'll take it."

Liz looked sympathetically at Maria, and was about to speak, when the bell interrupted her.

"You know, I may be old fashioned about this," Michael said. "But I believe most customers like their food *hot.*"

"If you want my car, you better treat me better," Maria told him, as she grabbed the food.

"If you want to keep your job, you better work faster," Michael shot back.

Maria stuck her tongue out at him.

******

As soon as their shifts were over, Michael and Maria headed out for the desert, not really knowing what they were looking for. After an hour of finding nothing, Maria looked at her watch.

"We need to go."

"Not yet," Michael replied curtly.

"It's almost nine, and I need to be home by ten."

"Ten? It's not even a school night!"

"Yes, but my mom freaked when she found you in my bed, and lowered my curfew."

Michael groaned.

"Look, my mom has the car in the morning, but I'll pick you up at one and we can search some more."

"Whatever."

******

"Mr. Washington?" Maria asked tentatively. It was the next morning. She had woken up early and had rode the bus to the mall in the hopes of finding more answers.

Mr. Washington looked up. "You are here for the answers. I am ready to give them to you."

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