The Calm After the Storm The Calm After the Storm
By Erin

Disclaimer: I do not own ANY of the Roswell characters, as much as I may wish that I did. They belong to those awesome people at the WB. I'm just borrowing them, so please don't sue me! You'll only get a few DMB CD's and some really cool jewelry. And thank you (to those whom it applies) for letting me borrow your stuff! I appreciate it!

Dedication: To Heather, my best girl. You're so incredible. Thanks for standing beside me and encouraging me on all my escapades!

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Maria stared out her bedroom window and shivered, frowning slightly. The sky lit up and she could hear the distant rumble of thunder. It was going to storm again and she couldn't help but dread her mother's return from her weekend trip to Albuquerque with her more-than-slightly-creepy boyfriend, Sheriff Valenti. They were supposed to get back in Roswell late that night.

Of course, Maria was staying up to greet her mother when she got home. She knew that it would be a hell of a lot easier if she just went to sleep and explained everything in the morning, when her mother wouldn't be as grumpy and tired. The rain also would have its toll on her mother's mood. Maria wasn't quite sure why her mother hated the rain, but she had a feeling that it had something to do with the day her dad left. But she never asked about it, fearing her mother's wrath. So whenever it rained, Maria avoided her mother at all costs.

Her room was brightened again and thunder crackled, now right above her room. Maria heard the back door slam shut and she ran out of her room to find her mother scowling at the kitchen table that was now missing one leg due to difficulties in Maria's weekend plan.

"What the hell happened here?" her mother growled without looking at Maria. Her gaze was fixated on the old-fashioned mahogany table.

"I can explain..." Maria began, but she was cut off by another crash of thunder, then by her mother.

"No, young lady. I left you home alone and with the responsibility to keep everything in our home in good condition. And now, I come home to find our antique kitchen table's leg broken off!"

With the last words on her lips, Maria's mother stalked across the room and smacked Maria across the face. Then, she flung Maria back against the kitchen door. Maria gasped and held her cheek that was now bruising, while she unconsciously rubbed her lower back, trying to ease the pain.

"So Maria. What boy did you fuck this time? Was it that same boy... Michael? He seems the type who would have sex on a kitchen table, of all things. I've told you many times before that no daughter of mine will have sleepovers with boys. And I meant my words, young lady!"

Maria didn't speak. She just stared, mouth hanging open, at her raging mother. When her mother was done ranting and raving, she dared to open her mouth to speak.

"Do you really think that I would do that? Do you think that I'm having sex at age sixteen? Oh wait... you were, so why not your daughter, too? Do you really believe that I am that immoral? Don't you think that I would have learned something from your first talk to me? I did, but you obviously haven't grasped that!"

Her mother's mouth fell open. But she shook her head in disbelief. And Maria's last words had fueled her even more.

"Don't you ever do anything that stupid ever again! Do you hear me, young lady?" Maria nodded, without meeting her mother's threatening gaze. "Leave! I'm going to have to fix this... God knows how. I don't need your help anymore. Just... you're grounded. Go to your room this minute!"

Maria ran into her room, still massaging her aching lower back. Before she slammed the door shut, she peered out at her mother, who was now weeping as she held the broken leg of their kitchen table. Maria closed her door quietly and buried her face in her hands, sobbing softly, not loud enough for her mother to hear.

Her mother was right... it was all her fault. She shouldn't have been making out with Michael on the kitchen table, in the first place. And even though she knew that he would continue to break her heart until the very day he left their planet, she still cared about him. That was her other mistake.

But their trysts were now over. Michael had broken her heart again after accidentally breaking the kitchen table and Maria had sworn that it was the last time. Their fight last night had forced their 'relationship' to end, right then and there. And the funny thing was that Maria didn't even remember what they were fighting over; all she remembered was Michael walking out on her, not turning back.

Her room was illuminated by another flash of lightning. Maria knew that her mother would be coming in to lecture her in a few minutes. Maybe, if she was lucky, she wouldn't get any more bruises. She just had to get away from her house, her mother; the hell hole she called home. She had to think. So she simply unlocked her bedroom window and slipped out of it, into the dark void of the night and the storm brewing above her.

She started walking. Her feet lead her in a direction. She knew where they were taking her. She knew where she would eventually end up, but she tried desperately to change their path, dreading another heart-breaking fight with him. On her walk, she thought while she was battered by the harsh winds and pelted by the icy raindrops. Her thin shirt and jeans were soaked by the time she reached her final destination.

Slowly, Maria walked up the worn stairs to his old, musty apartment. She knocked on the door softly and silently prayed that he had gone to Max's house for the night.

Unfortunately, Michael opened the door, to find a wet and shivering Maria standing on his doorstep. She began, "Michael..." but he cut her off by walking over to her and pulling her against him in a warm hug, letting her rest her head on his chest. She wrapped her arms instinctively around him while he held her.

When Maria had first arrived, soaked to the bone, he wasn't sure if she was crying. But now, he knew that she was, indeed, crying. He heard her muffled sobs and saw her eyes glistening from fresh tears, which had started rolling down her cheeks. He also noticed that one of her cheeks was puffy and bruising. He brought his hand to it and healed it.

He pulled away and looked down into her sad eyes. "We'd better get you dry. You could get pneumonia."

Michael walked into his tiny bathroom, Maria at his heels. He couldn't help but feel a sense of deja-vu. He had come to Maria on a night like this one and she had taken him in, no questions asked. It was now his turn to return the favor.

He found a clean, fluffy towel and quickly wrapped it around her, attempting to dry her wet skin. But her drenched clothes were preventing him from accomplishing his goal.

"You're going to have to take off your shirt and jeans. You're never gonna get dry with them clinging to you."

Maria nodded and took them off, slowly, wondering what Michael was truly thinking at the moment. She wanted... needed to know if he still wanted to be with her. She had to know. But she held off as he gazed at her, admiration in his eyes. She wanted to stop, but something told her that he wasn't thinking about sex. That he was just admiring her because she had so much faith in him.

There she was, standing in only her leopard print bra and panties, letting Michael towel her dry. She was putting her complete trust in him to take care of her. She knew that he would; he would always protect and take care of her, even though he claimed that he didn't care. Because she knew that deep down, he did care, even if he denied it.

When Michael had finished drying Maria off, he took her in his arms and led her to his comfortable brown couch. There, they lie down gently. Michael stroked her arms and kissed her lightly on the forehead. While he held her, he soothed the pain in her lower back and she fell into a dreamless sleep in his arms.

Michael lie awake after Maria was sound asleep. How had he managed to help her... without causing her more pain? Why had she chosen him to help her? Why had he taken her in? How would this change their relationship?

The last question was the only one he knew the answer to. He knew that they'd be more trusting, for sure. He had just shown Maria that he could be caring and sweet. Not once had he faltered at helping eliminate her excruciating pain that she had come to him to heal. He had been there for her in her time of need, like she was always there for him, no matter what. He was her calm after the storm...

And then, Michael drifted off to sleep with a wide grin plastered across his face.


The End