A DETOUR FROM VEGAS

Rating: Teen

Ship: Candy with some Liz and Maria friendship thrown in.

Maybe light Dreamer too.

Summary: What if after the dismissive argument Michael had with Maria at the Gambling Table in Vegas leads to a different conclusion?

Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me. They belong to Metz, Katims and the WB/UPN. Got it?

Notes: In this version, Sheriff Valenti doesn't catch them. They ditched school a little early just to make an early getaway for Spring Break. (No debate team excuse needed- thanks anyway Max), and Liz and Max have a much needed moment in Las Vegas. Thank you, Crashdown for the script, so I could include the dialogue verbatim from VLV in here!

Enjoy and Read and Review!

CHAPTER 1

MARIA: Amazing news! I have an audition.

MICHAEL: Now, keep with me here folks I'm here to win and I don't see you [glaring at Maria for a quick moment].

MARIA: Hello? Don't you know what my dream has been since, like, the beginning of time? It's to start my singing career in a smoky Vegas, supper club.

[Michael rolls the dice and ignores Maria]

MARIA: I'll be up on stage right? In front of a great band, and I'll belt out some torch songs, there'll be a spotlight, my makeup will be perfect. I'll have...

MICHAEL: Maria, we had an agreement. Beat it.

MARIA: Are you not listening to me? This could be my big break, right now. Don't you want to come, and like cheer me on, and like give me a...

[Michael has just been announced the winner]

MICHAEL: Oh! The king, ladies and gentlemen.

MARIA: Michael!

MICHAEL: Maria. I'm in the middle of something important!

[Maria, disappointed and saddened, leaves.]

After her upsetting run down with Michael, Maria decided to change into something more comfortable. Changing into jeans and white tank top, she put her clothes in her oversized purse and headed to find Liz. Waiting for the elevator doors to open she saw her blurred reflection in the doors and pulled her hair into a loose bun leaving a few stray blonde hairs framing the front of her face. She didn't care. The thirst to look and feel glamorous had all about left her now. Her dream of signing in a Vegas Supper club had become obsolete. She even found it embarrassing she thought she could even get the chance in the first place.

"What was I thinking? No wonder Michael didn't even pay attention to any of it!" she mused sadly in her head as she replayed the horrible conversation at the playing table in her mind over and over again. She couldn't believe that even she had, for a moment, convinced herself that she could possibly discover her big break.

As the elevator doors opened two familiar faces appeared in front of Maria.

Alex looked at Maria's glum face, noting she had all her belongings with her.

"Maria, you going somewhere?" Kyle asked as he also deduced the same conclusion.

"I'm leaving," Maria said as she briskly walked past them into the inside of the empty elevator.

Alex placed his hand on one of the doors to block the elevator from closing.

"Leaving to where?" Alex asked with a concerned look.

"Back to Roswell. Have you seen Liz?" asked Maria.

"She's in the arcade, I think," Kyle replied, stunned at Maria's series of curt responses.

Maria nodded. "I'll see you back home."

"Ok," said Alex hesitantly as he took his hand away from the door, while Kyle gave a casual salute sign to Maria as the doors closed in.

"Dude, that was not the way Maria acted on the flight to Vegas," Kyle said wearily as he and Alex headed for their room.

Alex shook his head. "She was so excited and… cheery."

"Excited? I thought her smile was so big it would crack her face!"

"I bet you Guerin had something to do with this. I mean that's my guess anyway," Alex stated regretfully. Alex began thinking about the time when he punched Michael in the face for canoodling with Courtney. Even if it was just to "gather information", right then and there, he had wished at that moment he had hit him harder. How many times was that jerk of an alien going to hurt his best friend?

Kyle shook his head. "I really don't understand why she puts up with Michael's antics. Liz too when it comes to Max's el Presidente attitude. I don't understand either of them!"

"I don't even think I want to try to understand, my friend," Alex said, slapping Kyle's back as they reached their room.

Liz was playing on the pinball machine, her hands constantly on the sides of the machine, and her focus steadfast on the silver ball. Tess had left her alone, which finally gave Liz the peace she needed to deal with her thoughts. She was determined to keep her mind occupied and busy. Just weeks ago, Future Max had paid her visit telling her that they were to get married in Vegas soon and that this course of direction had to be changed. If it didn't, Tess would leave the group and without Tess, the alien hybrids wouldn't be a complete unit. Tess's detachment from the group would ultimately result in being the sole reason as to why Earth couldn't be saved. Liz understanding the severity of Future Max's words knew how important it was to keep Tess, Max, Isabel, and Michael together. But to her dismay, even though she was able to twist part of that future from coming true, she was upset that it couldn't change it enough so that a trip to Vegas could've been avoided.

"Hey Chica," Maria said, as she came up wearily from behind Liz as she placed her chin on Liz's shoulder.

Liz whizzing around caught sight of the glum demeanor of her friend right away. Liz released her grasp on the pinball machine completely as she looked on at her distraught friend. She could hear the machine's sounds surmising her loss, only adding to the sadness of the scene before her.

"Maria," Liz started as she grasped Maria's hand, "what's wrong?"

Maria sighed as she shook her head rolling her eyes. "Why did we come here, Liz?"

Liz frowned at her in response. Maria let out a sad laugh. "We should've just stayed home. Just let Max and Michael come on their own. Look at us. You're trying to keep yourself busy because I know what this place meant to you in a…. another life of sorts. I came thinking Michael and I had made some progress in our relationship after the whole Laurie episode, but who am I fooling? Why did I think this was a good idea?"

Liz squinted her eyes. "What happened? Did you and Michael have a fight or something?"

"Or something," replied Maria. "I asked him for some support, but of course his poker game or was it, Black Jack? Whatever game it was, it was more important than me and my dreams. Everything is more important than me. The alien chaos, his destiny, his rules, and his life. Everything!"

"Maria, you know that's not true. Your life and dreams are very important," Liz said reassuringly, as she hooked her arm around Maria's.

"I know that, but he doesn't feel that way. If the person you love doesn't respect that, what does that say Liz?"

Liz was disappointed in Michael. On so many occasions Maria risked her life or put everything on hold for him. At a moment's notice, she could drop everything for him. Why was it so hard for him to be considerate and return the favor now and then? The only thing Liz could do was frown in response.

"I'm sorry Maria," she said as the two girls leaned in closer to one another, hand in hand walking aimlessly out of the arcade.

Maria shrugged her shoulders. "I've given up. I've decided to head back home."

"I'll come with. The sooner I get out of this place the better," Liz said as she pointed to her wristlet and backpack, signaling she had everything she needed and brought with her anyway. Liz was just as ready to leave, for she was not able to put aside all of the memories Future Max had shared with her. Memories that once Liz encountered in another life.

As the two friends made a quick stop at the coffee cart, they sat outside and found a bench.

"This would've been your wedding day," Maria said sadly to Liz as she stirred the red straw in her coffee cup. Liz nodded sadly as she took a sip of her coffee and gazed out to the sky. Maria noted her pensiveness and decided to change the subject and began to fill her in on her and Michael's argument.

"I never even knew that Michael liked to gamble that much. Sure we've played poker once or twice with Kyle and Tess, but- "

"I hope that was the decent kind of poker game," Liz said cocking one eyebrow in a teasing tone. To her delight, it made Maria smile, which Liz internally celebrated. She was glad to see some of the glumnesses from Maria's face dissipate.

"Of course it was! Anyway maybe we just don't know much about each other after all," Maria shrugged as she poured the cream to her hot cup of coffee.

The two headed for the bus depot to sit and wait for the next bus that happened to be leaving for Roswell, New Mexico.

"I was so happy for him Liz when he found out that he had some sort of family out there. To know that Michael had some human tie beyond that loser Hank, Liz, I can't tell you how much that made me feel better. When I think of all the hurt Michael went through with that man, I…" Maria's voice trailed off. She couldn't even finish her sentence, it had caused her so much pain to think of the anguish that Michael had gone through for most of his life.

Maria had to pause a bit to control her thoughts and emotions on the subject so she could continue talking to Liz. Liz smiled remembering how Maria had told her of how Michael had come to her bedroom one rainy day looking for her compassion and comfort when Hank had hurt him badly. When it came to unconditional love Maria had a huge amount of it and Michael was so lucky to be on the receiving end of it.

"Granted, Isabel and Max, of course, they're more like his real family. I honestly think Michael wanted to come out here just with Max so they could spend some brotherly time I guess. Maybe I intruded on it." Maria shrugged her shoulders as she took a sip of coffee and looked out to the bustle of people at the depot.

Liz simply nodded in agreement. She sensed there was a distance between Max and Michael since the whole destiny thing as well.

"I'm so happy he has Laurie. Not just as someone like a sister of sorts, but also as a reminder that he's tied to more, belongs to more, and is more beyond Hank," Maria added softly, as Liz clasped her hand on Maria's squeezing it for comfort.

Suddenly a tall figure towered over the girls blocking out the sunlight as a familiar voice called out.

"Parker. Can I talk to Maria for a minute?"

Maria, completely startled, almost spilled her coffee over as she and Liz looked up. Their faces were in complete shock for the person staring back at them was none other than Michael Guerin.