Disclaimer: If I owned 'Roswell,' would I be writing fan fiction? (I don't own the song Christmas Lullaby' either. It's by Amy Grant.)
Dedication: To my mom, who made me listen to this song, like, a million and a half times last Christmas and to my choir director, who chose for our choir to sing this song on Christmas Eve this year.
Author's Note: I started to write this about a week ago and I went to NYC, where I found no inspiration, but had a lot of fun, nonetheless. So, when I got home, we were supposed to have this snowstorm. And I was like 'It never snows in Memphis,' and today, school was cancelled because of sleet. So, I finished it today and I'm rambling…
Now on to the regularly scheduled fiction...
Michael Guerin sighed as he stood in front of the only department store on Christmas Eve, almost ready to start his shopping adventure for a Christmas gift for his on-and-off girlfriend who he hadn't talked to, ironically, in about a month.
"Ready to go?" Max cleared his throat and looked at his second in command, who appeared to be dreading this whole 'shopping for a girl who is kinda like my girlfriend, but not really.' And Max knew how he felt. It took him almost a month to decide what he was going to get Liz, even though he found out about her and Kyle. He shook his head in disgust. None of those thoughts today, he scolded himself. He was here to help Michael.
Michael grunted and started walking towards the door of the store.
Max followed silently, praying to the gods of shopping that they would make it out of the store alive. He knew well enough that they were going to be a while, Michael was always a picky shopper, but he was shopping for the girl he loved today. And who knew how long that would take?
He could see the headlines now…
Teenagers Killed in Pursuit of Happiness
Holiday Stress, Gifts, and Girlfriends - A Teenager's Tale
And on and on…
Like they needed one more tragedy in their lives.
* * * * *
Five hours later, a very tired Michael Guerin and Max Evans strolled out of the department store triumphantly.
They walked to the Jeep and climbed in, Max jumping into the drivers seat and revving the engine as Michael climbed in the car next to him. They sat in silence as they pulled out of the crowded parking lot.
"Thanks for going with me," Michael said quietly, breaking the silence.
"Sure, anytime, Michael. Glad that you asked for my help. I mean, I know we haven't really gotten along lately. But..." Max's voice droned off. Could he believe what he was saying?
"Yeah, we haven't, have we?" Michael asked bitterly, his eyes focusing on the road. Time to prepare for the 'I'm-the-king-and-you-need-to-respect-and-listen-to-me' speech, he thought.
"I didn't mean to offend you. We..." he paused, "we just haven't. I mean, I know that I'm supposed to be the leader and all, but you're my second in command and I need to trust you, like I always have. So, I guess I was trying to say was that I was glad that we got to spend some time together, even if it was Christmas shopping. I'm glad that I could help you."
Michael nodded. What Max said had really surprised him. He was the second in command and Max *did* need to listen to him... and he admitted it. He grinned to himself.
Life was good.
* * * * *
Max dropped Michael off at his apartment minutes later, after their big talk.
"Bye, Michael," he called to his friend who was about to walk in the door.
"Hey, Max?" Michael spun around, hoping that he was still there, "Are you going to the church service tonight?"
Max nodded slowly, unable to tell why Michael was asking this.
"I'll see you there," was all that his friend said before he turned back around and walked through the front door of the apartment building.
Yes, something strange was going on in Roswell.
* * * * *
Michael knocked on the door for the third time in about fifteen seconds.
Dammit! Couldn't she get to the door faster? Could she walk any slower? Could she keep him in suspense any longer?
Just then, the door creaked open and he was face to face with his angel, Maria DeLuca.
"Michael?" she stepped backwards in surprise.
"Yeah. What?" he asked gruffly, trying to figure out why she was staring at him like he had grown a second head.
"Why are you wearing that?" she pointed to his outfit, which consisted of khaki pants, a wool sweater, and even some nice dress shoes.
"I felt like it."
She cocked an eyebrow and grinned. "Oh yeah?"
"Why don't you come inside? I don't think my mom will mind. It's, like, negative five degrees outside. You must be freezing!"
He nodded, again, and followed her into the Deluca's living room. They sat down on the couch and he took off his jacket.
And they sat in silence for a few minutes, each waiting for the other to say something... anything.
"I... I got you this," Michael finally burst the silence, holding out a small package that he had fished out of his pocket.
Maria looked up at him, her eyes shining in surprise. "You didn't have to," she said slowly, ready to hand him back the present and preparing herself for him to take it back.
"I wanted to get it for you. Open it," he told her softly, gazing into her emerald eyes that were focused on him.
"I wonder what it is," she questioned as she shook the box.
She shook the box again.
And again, no sound.
She sighed. So much for guessing what the present was.
"Are you gonna open it already?" Michael asked impatiently, running his hand through his hair, making it stand up on end.
Maria nodded and grinned, ripping the holiday wrapping paper from the tiny box and slowly opening the lid. She gasped when she saw what it was.
A silver ring sat in the center of the box, waiting to be wrapped around her finger.
"Michael..." she began, smiling up at him.
"I went shopping and looked forever and I just couldn't find anything that I thought you would need or want or anything. I... um... thought that you would like something like this, something that reminded you of me... us. Does it fit?"
Maria picked up the silver ring carefully and slipped it onto her ring finger. It fit perfectly. She nodded.
"Thanks. I love it," she whispered, wrapping her arms around Michael's waist.
And Michael smiled into her hair.
* * * * *
Maria DeLuca walked into the church with her mother, expecting to see Lizzie and Alex sitting together. They had always sat together on Christmas Eve, as well as whenever they went to church.
But, much to her surprise, she found Lizzie sitting with a dark haired young man. She did a double take and realized that it was Max. And next to them, Alex was sitting with Isabel and they were talking softly. Since when had this happened? But she smiled warmly and waved at her four friends, who all waved back to her, as she walked closer to the front of the church with her mother.
When they had reached the Parkers,' Evans,' and Valentis' pew, Amy and Maria plopped down to sit next to them. They all waved and smiled, eyes twinkling.
And a row behind them sat Tess and Kyle, who were obviously involved in a serious conversation. Maria laughed. She knew that those two were perfect for each other. Just then, Kyle waved to her and Tess turned around and beamed at Maria. Maria did the same back to them, grinning as she turned back to talk to her mother, who was tapping on her shoulder.
"Maria, go back and sit with your friends," Amy DeLuca said firmly.
"But Mom," Maria began.
"No buts about it. Go back and sit with them, Maria. I know that you want to."
Maria nodded silently and got out of her seat, practically running to the back of the sanctuary where she had seen her friends sitting together.
And when she reached the back, she got the surprise of her life.
Michael Guerin was sitting in the back of the church with all of her friends.
Michael Guerin had come to church and he was all dressed up.
Michael Guerin was creeping her out today.
But, nonetheless, she slid in next to him at the end of the pew and waved to everyone further down the row.
This would be interesting.
* * * * *
She and Michael had sat in silence for the whole service so far. They had gone through lots of Christmas carols, the nativity, the preacher's sermon about how this day was so important, and the lighting of the Christmas candle and still, no speech.
And they were rapidly approaching the last song, which happened to be one of Maria's favorite Christmas songs of all time. Amy Grant wrote 'Christmas Lullaby' and one member of their church choir was singing the haunting song tonight.
As the guitar began to play, the woman began to sing the song, her voice flowing like the ocean as it wafted over the crowd.
Are you far away from home this dark and lonely night?
Tell me what best would help to ease your mind
Someone to give direction for this unfamiliar road?
Or one who says follow me and I will lead you home?
Michael listened to the words of the song. Truly, he didn't know what had come over him when he decided to come to church, but whatever it was, he was grateful for it. He was learning something… and this song was completely beautiful. It reminded him of Maria, who was singing softly next to him.
How beautiful, how precious, the savior of old
To love so completely, the loneliest soul
How gently, how tenderly, he says to one and all,
'Child you can follow me and I will lead you home.'
Trust me and follow me and I will lead you home.
Maria was like his light in the darkness. He was lost and scared and all alone and she was there for him, leading him in the right direction and loving him the whole time, without question. If he could trust her and follow her, he knew that she could lead him home. Michael couldn't believe that a song could affect him so much. It was just a song, after all, but it was so characteristic of his relationship with Maria that it frightened him.
All the music stopped and the singer sang alone, her voice floating through the crowd, haunting each and every one of them.
Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask the to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care
And take us to heaven to live with thee there
Take us to heaven to live with thee there...
Michael smiled down at Maria and smiled warmly at her.
She was the one who could help him find himself. She actually already had helped him so much that he could never repay her, but he knew that he could make it up to her. That he could love her in exchange for everything she had given him.
As if she could feel his gaze upon her, she looked up into his dark eyes and beamed back at him, making his heart leap in his chest.
So he did the only thing he could think of; he took her small hand in his larger one, feeling the cold metal of her new ring in his palm, and gazed into her eyes, thanking God for giving him a second chance with Maria, the only one who understood him and the only one who was his home.
And Michael Guerin knew that everything would be all right because he had found his Christmas angel and there was no way he was going to let her go this time.