Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me, though I love them like my own mom and dad 💗
I've noted the scenes from within the episode of CDB that occur in between the scenes of this ficlet.
A/N: First scenes from Chant Down Babylon: Isabel being rushed to Valenti's house in the car / Jesse's doctor friend arriving to help / Michael saying his blood type matches Isabel's / Liz and Maria discussing whether Liz's nightmare about Max dying is real or not - Maria trying to call Michael a few times to find out.
"Michael, I need you to just sit still and try to relax for a second, if I'm gonna have any hope of getting this line in, okay?" Valenti cautioned a glance at the boy before turning his concentration back to his stretched out arm, prepping the area with an alcohol wipe to clean and get it ready for inserting the line.
He knew Michael wasn't really the relaxing type at the best of times, and relaxing wasn't really a thing any of them could muster right now. Nervous energy and adrenalin was coursing through all of them from the events that had just unfolded at Meta Chem.
Michael was sitting on a chair in the kitchen, pale as a ghost, with his arm outstretched on the bench for Valenti. He was in shock - Max had died, Isabel had been shot and he'd just unveiled their alien secret to Jesse. There was a medically unregistered man about to perform surgical procedures on the kitchen table, Valenti prepping his veins to give blood, and Kyle flapping around in the background. How was he supposed to relax?
"You really think telling me to relax right now is going to make a difference?" Michael muttered as he looked towards the front door. Kyle was walking back through from the car parked outside, holding Michael's mobile phone out to him.
"I found this in the backseat of Dad's car - it keeps ringing. I think it's Maria…" explained Kyle.
"Give it here," motioned Michael, holding out his hand. He'd thrown it to the back when they'd been driving Isabel back from Met Chem, while Jesse had been on the phone to his 'doctor friend'.
Michael hadn't wanted any distractions at the time while in the car cradling Isabel to him, and he still didn't really want any now while he was trying to concentrate on "relaxing". But with all the dangerous situations they'd found themselves in over the last couple of hours, Michael was concerned. He hadn't spoken to Maria since she'd been in New York, and she'd been incessantly calling him for an hour or so now. What if she was in trouble too? He had to know.
With his free hand, he quickly dialled her number and waited.
On the second ring, she answered.
"Michael, oh my god, thank god I've been trying to -"
"What is it, are you okay?" pressed Michael.
"I'm fine, I'm with Liz and she -"
"What? You're with Liz? In Vermont?" The last he'd heard, she was in New York recording her demo with Dominique. So much for keeping him in the loop. Then again, they weren't together anymore, he realised. She had no obligation to tell him anything.
"Long story, yeah the New York thing didn't work out. But listen, Liz is really freaking out…"
"Look Maria, I can't really talk right now I've -"
"She's got this crazy idea in her head that Max is dead," she continued over the top of him. "And I need you to confirm that he's not."
"What?" Michael couldn't believe this. How in the hell could Liz possibly know that Max was dead when she was all the way in Vermont. This night just kept getting crazier and he didn't like it.
"Max," Maria repeated. "She thinks Max is dead. But he's not, right? I mean, it's just some crazy nightmare she had and -"
"Maria…he is. Dead. Max is dead." He paused and waited for her to say something, but all she did was breathe in sharply down the phone line, so he continued. "We had a situation at Meta Chem. Monk was shot. We were investigating, and…and look, it all just turned to shit. Valenti was being held hostage, there was a fire and Max saved him. The place went up in flames. I…I don't know -"
"Michael," she whispered. "Are you okay?"
"Yes! No, I mean…I don't know. I'm not hurt. But look, it's not over yet. We have a situation here with Isabel. I have to go," he rushed.
"I'm so sorry Michael," her voice was strange and soft, and he knew she was trying not to cry. He hated it when she cried. He searched for words of comfort, but came up blank. All he knew in that moment was that he needed her to stay away from everything going on and remain safe.
"Maria, listen. I need you to keep safe. You and Liz…just, stay together and promise me you'll stay safe," he pleaded. The last thing he needed was to be worrying about Maria in Vermont with Liz. He needed to focus on Isabel right now, plus a whole bunch of other situations - like Jesse, and the trail of evidence they'd left behind at Meta Chem. And Max. He couldn't bare to deal with Maria being caught up in all of this.
"Okay," she whispered. "You too. Keep safe and…and oh my god, I can't believe Max is dead!"
Michael closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. "I know. I can't believe it either, but Valenti saw it himself. Max was…tell Liz he was a real hero. He saved Valenti's life tonight."
"We're almost done here," Valenti interrupted quietly, not making eye contact.
"Maria, I gotta go," Michael said quickly.
"Okay. Michael, I…I'll call you later."
"Yeah, bye." He hung up. He didn't have time to continue their conversation, even though just hearing her voice had relaxed him a little. At least one of the most important people in his life was safe for now. That meant that in the meantime, he could focus all his attention on Isabel and ensuring she survived.
Valenti's movements stirred him out of this thoughts. It was time to get the blood transfusion underway.
A/N: Scenes from Chant Down Babylon include: Maria confirming with Liz that Max is dead / The doctor completing surgery on Isabel, but still unsure if she will survive - she has a fever spike of 112 / Michael continuously showing Jesse his powers to get Jesse used to the idea that they're actually aliens and it's not a dream.
Michael couldn't sleep, but he didn't want to be around anyone either. Isabel had received his blood, but was still unconscious and unstable. Jesse was switching between pacing aimlessly around the room, demanding that Michael show him how their powers worked, and holding a bedside vigil next to Isabel. She had a huge fever. A temperature spike of 112 was apparently unheard of, and everyone was on edge not knowing whether it was going to subside or continue to go up.
He needed to get away, he needed to process all the events that had happened over the course of the evening. But he couldn't leave the Valenti's, not now. Not while everything was so uncertain with Isabel. So instead, he stepped outside into the back garden to get some fresh air.
As he took in a deep breath, he looked skyward at the stars, his eyes moving until they landed on the familiar V formation in the sky. His previous home - so far away, but somehow so closely impacting on events within his life here on earth. He was the last one still standing, Isabel was teetering on the edge of dying, and Max... God, he hadn't even stopped to think about Max again since he had spoken to Maria earlier.
Before he knew what he was doing, he had pulled his phone from his pocket and was dialling her number. He didn't even know what he was going to say, he just wanted to hear her voice.
"Hey," she picked up the call immediately.
"Hey," he responded, not knowing what else to say.
"How, uhh…how are you guys getting on? You mentioned something about Isabel?" she queried. He had forgotten that he hadn't told her the whole story, just snippets. It had all started to turn into a blur between reality and adrenalin.
"Uhh, she was shot. By the same guys that killed Max," he replied, unsure how many details he should give her.
Maria paused. "…What? She was shot? Is she okay?"
"Uhh…" his voice wavered dangerously on the edge of breaking. "No. No, Maria she's not. She's hurt pretty bad. Jesse's friend who used to be a doctor has been treating her here at the Sheriff's place. She's lost a lot of blood," he explained.
"Michael, I…I'm so sorry this is happening. What can I do?" she whispered, desperate to help and to offer her support in any way she could.
"Just… uhh, talking helps. The doctor guy has started asking questions, he says she'll need a hospital if she gets an infection. She currently has a fever of 112. Apparently that's unheard of," he explained, aware he was starting to babble a bit.
"Wow, yeah - that's high. But maybe not for a hybrid, y'know? Your fever was pretty high that night we took you to River Dog… I'm sure she's going to be okay," she said firmly, willing herself to believe her words as much as him. "And uh, how is Jesse doing? Isn't he worried that you're not taking her to the hospital?"
"He's borderline hysterical, though most of us are so I guess he's normal in the scheme of things. I had to tell him - about the alien thing. He punched me when I stopped him from dialling 911 when she was first shot. It was the only way…the only way to stop him from -"
"You did the right thing," she interrupted. She knew he was struggling with the idea of Isabel not receiving proper medical attention. "It's a horrible situation to be in, but you did the right thing, Michael," she reassured him.
He hadn't even realised how much he'd needed that reassurance, but he did. He knew logically that Isabel couldn't go to the hospital, it was too risky. They'd want blood samples and all sorts, and before they knew it she would have been the FBI's latest science experiment. But in practice, in the moment, he had wondered if he'd made the right decision. This was his sister, and she was potentially going to die.
He didn't know what to say back to Maria, so he just continued to hold the phone to his ear with his eyes tightly closed, willing her to continue talking to him, to keep hearing her voice.
"I wish I could be there with you," she finally whispered.
"No," he managed. "No it's too dangerous. It's much better this way. They had photos of us, Maria. All of us. And samples - they had my blood, they had Liz's uniform from the day she got shot. And they shot Monk to see if I could heal him. They're dangerous. Imagine what they might have done if you'd been here, they might have come after you because they knew you were…" he couldn't finish that sentence.
Special to me. The love of my life.
It was too painful to put into words. But he knew that if she had been back in Roswell, they could have easily come after her. They knew he was in love with her. What if they had tested out his healing abilities by shooting her instead of Monk? He just couldn't even process the thought.
"This is just… just so messed up, Michael. I know we've always been in danger, but that's not what I care about. I mean, I wish I could be there with you - for you. To make you feel okay," she explained.
She wanted to be there for him more than anything. She'd broken up with him to rediscover herself and her music, not to get away from him. Yes the the alien chaos had a tendency of controlling her life and she hated that, but that never meant she wouldn't be there for him when he needed her. And right now, he needed her. He had no-one else. It wasn't fair that she was so far away.
"Thanks, but…I'm okay," he replied.
"Yeeeah, of course you are," she murmured, unconvinced. There was a pause down the line, then she continued. "Um, listen - I need to go. Liz isn't doing so well and I need to make sure she's okay. But I'm going to call you again soon to check how you're all doing and for an update on Isabel. She's strong Michael - like you. I know she's going to be okay. Okay?"
"Yeah. Okay. Go check on Liz, I'm fine," he frowned and waited for her response.
"I'll uhh…I'll call you soon. Michael, I…" she didn't know how to end the call. When they were together, she would have said 'I love you' without a second thought, but after everything they'd been through in recent weeks, was that still appropriate? She did love him, and she wanted him to know it, but was she allowed to say it when they were broken up? Probably not, she realised. Before she had a chance to decide whether to say it, he ended the call for her.
"I know. Talk soon. Bye," he hung up.
Maria held the phone to her head for a second longer, hearing the ended call tone beep against her ear. Tears sprang into her eyes and she shut them tightly, willing them to go away. How had she gone from being the happiest person in the world, to feeling desperately sad and lost within the space of about 72 hours? From a music demo and rockstar life in New York, to the most horrific news imaginable; Max dead, her best friend on the brink of a break down, and her ex boyfriend who she still loved trying to desperately save his sister from a near fatal gunshot wound.
She shook her head quickly, as if to clear it of all her jumbled thoughts. Putting her phone back in her bag, she walked back towards Liz's dorm room to see how she was doing. She had to put her own thoughts aside and be there for her best friend. Max was dead, and Liz was heartbroken.
A/N: Scenes from Chant Down Babylon include: Maria walks back into the dorm room to meet Eileen for the first time and to check on Liz / Liz leaves the room agitated / Eileen asks Maria what has happened and Maria tells her Max is dead / Clayton becoming very confused about who he is and needing to see Liz for himself.
After re-entering Liz's dorm and meeting her room-mate for the first time, Liz had abruptly left Maria and Eileen to go who knows where.
"So, he's dead? He just…died?" asked Eileen, clearly shocked.
"Yeah," Maria confirmed. "We only just found out a couple hours ago. She's pretty cut up as you can imagine."
"Yeah, of course. Uhh…you know, I hate to do this but I'm about to miss my bus. I have to go, but please - make yourself at home here. You're more than welcome to my half of the room for as long as you need," Eileen smiled.
"Thank you. Would you have any idea where Liz would have gone to? Like is there a special spot on the grounds she might go to? I just don't want her to be alone right now," explained Maria. She obviously wanted to be there for Liz, but she also didn't like the idea of either of them being alone right now - especially after what Michael had said. It sounded like the people at Meta Chem had way too much information on all of them, so it was better to stick together right now.
"Oh, she's probably at The Rat," said Eileen. "Go up the last two flights of stairs and through the small attic door at the top. Push aside the wooden panel, and The Rat will be revealed to you. It's our place to get away from all the rules and regulations - you'll definitely find her there."
"Uhh, thanks," Maria smiled. The Rat sounded like some getaway. "Well uh, have a good break," she opened the door for Eileen who was struggling with her large suitcase.
"Thanks, and uh…please tell Liz I'm sorry. About Max," she smiled awkwardly.
"I will. Nice to meet you, Eileen."
"You too, Maria. Bye," she closed the door behind her, and Maria slumped down onto the bed.
She would go and find this mysterious 'Rat' hideout, but first she wanted to call Michael again to see how Isabel was doing.
She opened her phone and dialled his number quickly.
"Hey," he answered after three rings.
"Hi, how is she?" she asked quickly.
"Fever's up to 115 now. I…Maria," his voice broke. "I don't know if she's going to -"
"Don't, Michael. She's going to be okay. This is her body's way of fighting. And god knows she's a great fighter. You know she is," she struggled to keep her voice even. She could hear the emotion in his voice and it absolutely killed her to not be there with him. She closed her eyes tightly, focussing on keeping her emotions in check.
"I don't know what to do. What can I do to help her, Maria? She's just lying there and I don't know how to help wake her up," he sounded desperate.
"Well," she began, thinking about what sort of comforts she would want in the same situation. "Why don't you talk to her. Hold her hand, let her know you're there. Sometimes even in the darkest of places, people can hear the voices of those they love…"
"I'm…you know I'm not a great talker. What should I say?"
"Anything you want. You're a guy of few words Michael, but the words you do use…they are meaningful. Just…just talk from the heart. Tell her a story, tell her a memory of you all together. Something that holds significance to you, or uhh…or that reminds you of how much you love her," she explained. She hoped she was helping, but she knew he wasn't one to get all goopey. This would be hard for him.
"I can't lose her Maria, if I do…you'll all be gone and I -"
"You're not going to lose her. We're all here, okay? I'm here…" she couldn't keep talking, she was going to crack and she knew it.
"Okay…" he faltered, then continued more firmly. "Okay. So, talk to her?"
"Talk to her," she repeated.
"Alright, I'll try," he said.
"Okay…Michael, I…bye," she had nearly said it again. This was so painful. He needed her words of love more than anything right now, and here they were in a limbo land, miles apart in more ways than one, and unable to say the simple words that meant the most to both of them.
"Yeah…bye," he hung up.
Maria drew a deep, slow breath in through her nose and let it out slowly through her mouth. She had to trust in Michael to be okay. For now - she was in search of Liz, and the mysterious 'Rat'. Standing up and opening the door, she started up the stairs towards the attic.
A/N: scenes from Chant Down Babylon: Maria confronting a drunk Liz in The Rat / Liz walking off on her own and discovering Clayton-Max / Michael waking Isabel by talking to her about the first time he met her / Maria comforting Liz who woke with a hangover / Clayton arriving at Winnaman Academy to kill Liz, strangling Maria, and chasing Liz into The Rat where the both end up falling through the window.
Michael could not believe it had worked. The one thing that he hated doing the most - talking, sharing his feelings, had been the one thing that had brought Isabel back. He was in awe, and so full of gratitude for Maria's suggestion, that he needed to share it with her. To thank her. The one time her obsession with talking about feelings had finally paid off for him. He walked into the Valenti's kitchen and flipped his phone open.
Back in Vermont, she could hear her phone ringing, but she was lying on a bed in the dorm room. Why was she asleep, she wondered? The phone kept ringing, rousing her from her slumber. Slowly, she started coming back to consciousness and with that came an ache in her neck - her throat.
Suddenly, she remembered what had happened. Max had been in the room, and had tried to strangle her. She sprang upwards, turning off the Bob Marley blasting from the stereo and quickly searching for her bag to get her phone. She knew who it would be before she'd even seen the name flashing on the screen.
"Michael," she croaked as she answered.
"Hey…what took you so long? I was calling for ages," he muttered.
"I…I, uhh," she didn't know whether to mention what had just happened. She wanted to know about Isabel. But he had noted her tone and her unsteadiness before she had time to gather her thoughts.
"Maria, what's wrong?" he asked urgently. "Are you okay?"
"Uhh, Max was just here. But it wasn't Max. He tried to…tried to…" she really didn't want Michael to know what Max-but-not-Max had just tried to do her, but she had a feeling Michael was going to get it out of her anyway.
"Max? What? Maria," he pressed. "What is going on?"
She cleared her throat and took a breath. "Max was here, but it was like he was possessed. He snuck up on me in Liz's dorm room, and when I turned around he…he…strangled me." She closed her eyes and waited for his response.
There was a deathly silence down the phone line. And then in a very low, quiet growl, Michael replied.
"But it wasn't Max, Michael," she continued quickly. "It was like he was possessed or something. Liz came back in before he caused any serious damage, and he let go of me - but then he chased her. I've just woken up…" she trailed off.
"What's the name of this academy again? I'm coming to get you. Right now," he added pointedly.
"No uh, I'm fine - I just need to find Liz," she said. "And besides, Isabel needs you."
"She's awake. It worked. What you told me to do - to talk to her, it worked. She heard me, and she woke up. She's stable now and Jesse's with her," he pressed on. "Maria, what's the name of this academy. I'm getting in the car now."
"Michael, I -" she was cut off by a huge sound of broken glass shattering, and then heard a voice not dissimilar from Max's shouting, 'noooo!' in the distance.
"What was that?!" Michael hissed.
"I - I have to go, Michael!" she blurted, her phone still to her ear as she ran out of the dorm room and down the stairs.
"Maria stay right there. Do not get involved, it's not safe!" he yelled.
"I have to! I have to help, Michael! It's Liz!" she was taking the stairs two at a time, running for the academy entrance. If they had fallen from The Rat's window, then they would have landed by the pergola in the courtyard.
"Damnit, Maria - it's too dangerous! He's already tried to kill you, and I can't -"
"I'll be okay, I promise. I love you," she hung up instead of waiting for his reply. She'd finally said it. She had needed to say it for so long throughout this debacle, and finally it had just come tumbling out. Probably not the best time to say it, she thought. She knew he'd be absolutely livid waiting to hear from her.
Before she'd got her phone tucked back into her coat pocket, he was ringing her back again. Ignoring the call until it stopped ringing, she hurried through the bushes to the pergola and stepped through into the courtyard. There, on the ground, were Liz and Max hugging.
"What happened?" she asked.
Liz and Max continued to embrace, before Liz slowly pulled away and looked at her. "Let's go home," she said simply.
Maria couldn't think of anywhere she'd rather be in that moment.
Home. Yes, let's go home.
As they started walking down the pathway back to the Academy's entrance, her phone started ringing again.
"Hey," she answered quickly.
"Maria, what the hell!" was his shouted reply.
"It's okay, everything's fine. Max is back. He died again, but the other guy possessing him died too, and then the real Max was reborn or something. I don't understand it, but it's Max," she rambled.
There was an energy-filled silence down the phone line as Michael paused to take in what she had just told him.
"Max died, Maria. Valenti watched him turn to dust. It's not him, so whoever is there with you could be a shapeshifter, or a skin, or anyone!" He yelled, sounding panicked.
"Look Michael, I don't understand your Samantha Jeannie alien magic any better than you do, but I'm telling you - it's Max! Liz got flashes when they kissed. Trust me."
Michael took in a deep breath and sighed loudly down the phone.
"When are you coming home?" he asked quietly.
"Now. We're literally on our way to pack up our stuff to come home," she said.
"Good. Bring him straight to the apartment, I'll be waiting," he stated coolly.
"Yes, sir," she retorted, making a saluting gesture with her finger against her forehead.
"You think this is funny? I've been awake for the last 48 hours dealing with Max dying on me, Isabel nearly dying on me, and you - you hanging up on me in a live action sequence while putting yourself directly into the face of danger!" The three people he cared about the most had nearly all been taken from him. He was not in the mood for jokes or sarcasm.
"Okay Michael, I know this is going to be hard for you to fathom, but you need to calm down. If you don't you're going to fry your brain. Have a Snapple and maybe a lie down." She knew all of his pent up frustration and anger would start bubbling to the surface now that he knew everyone was safe. She was bracing for impact.
"A lie down?" he was incredulous. "What, you think I'm 70 years old or something? I'm still seriously considering coming to get you myself," he went on.
"Well don't, because we're on our way. I'll see you soon, okay?" She waited for his reply that didn't come. "Okay?" she asked again, pointedly.
"Okay," he finally breathed. "But do not go anywhere else, anywhere else, until you've come to the apartment first." He hung up.
She was expecting it, but it still stung a bit. She could deal with it though - and besides, she was going home.