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Reply to JellocatPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list March 11, 2001
Title: Healing Path
Category: Michael & Max
Summary: Spoilers for Viva Las Vegas. This happens as the two walk off into the sunrise...
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell, wish I did, yadda yadda yadda
Feedback: YES! Please... end my suffering as a lowly, underpaid writer who's having a hard time with present tenses.
"So what do you want to do?" Max says, following Michael down the long, wide boulevard leading back to the hotel.
"I've got a couple dozen DVDs back in the room. Braveheart?" Michael answers, sipping hot coffee.
"How many times can you watch that thing?" Max grins.
"Well, I'm trying to get an accurate body count. I get up to 220 and lose count."
Two attractive women dressed for casino work pass by causing the boys to crane their necks just a bit to catch the view from behind. As they continue walking Max has another idea.
"Hey, Michael. instead of watching the movie, can we just sort of walk around a bit? I'd like to talk some more. if that's ok." Max looks at Michael for a reaction expecting a questioning look but gets a pleasant surprise.
"Sure," Michael says, with a small smile on his face. "I'd like that."
Max nods approval and pats Michael on the shoulder.
"There are some things I haven't told you, Michael. Things that. well. I guess maybe it's why I've seemed so distant or, like a machine," Max says in a quiet voice.
Michael looks at Max with concern. "Are you OK?"
The two continue to walk along the sidewalk by the hotel in the early morning light. The sun feels warm against the dry chill of the morning air. Few cars whiz by and the streets are near deserted compared to the evening's masses.
"Yeah. I'm OK. It's just that something happened a while ago that I never told you or Isabel, about. I just. couldn't. talk about it.." Max says, slowly, trying to find the words to describe the pain that's built up in him over the last few months.
Michael stops on the sidewalk and turns to Max. He places a hand on Max's shoulder. "Max, you can trust me, you know that. Whatever it is. we once vowed not to hold any secrets against each other. And, especially now, if things are going to work for all of us we have to be honest about what's going on."
Max looks up at Michael. He notices the change in Michael, a maturity that gleams over his face, and one that hadn't been there before, at least not that Max had noticed. His friend had grown up fast in front of his eyes and he feels as if he missed it. He realizes that the last several weeks had taken their toll on Michael and aged him considerably, mentally at least. He notices Michael's hair lays different on his head and the combed back effect gives his friend a much more adult look. It scares Max for a moment as he thinks of the last couple of years and all they had been through together and how much he misses being part of his best friends' growing through it all. Even Michael's affections for Maria became something Max kept at bay and rarely talked to Michael about. He feels, at that moment, an anger within him against himself that he had been selfish by keeping his thoughts away from the one person he needed to confide in the most, even over Isabel, for Michael was a guy. And guys could share things that girls and sisters just couldn't.
"You're right, Michael," Max answers appreciating Michael's hold on his shoulder which he pats with his hand acknowledging Michael's attempt to reach out. Max motions to a bench near a small park in between the hotel and a fast food joint. "Let's sit out here for a bit."
Michael nods and takes a seat at the bench. The warm cup of coffee feels good in his hands. He watches Max, curious to know what his friend will tell him.
"Michael, I know it's been hard on all of us, these last few months. Everything we've all gone through, Nocedo dying, healing the children at the hospital, the skins, the crystals. all of it. It's been nuts for us all. And I know you must be going through all sorts of emotional stuff regarding Laurie and discovering your genetic family."
Michael nods. "But it's OK, Max. Everything worked out. I have a great place to stay when I visit her in Tucson, all of us do," he smiles.
"I know. I wish I could discover my DNA donor, too. That's really amazing for you and I want you to know that I'm incredibly proud of how you handled that entire situation and how much I feel for you knowing you have a sister and you saved her, Michael. You saved her!"
Michael smiles at Max. "Thanks, Maxwell. That means a lot to me."
Max nods. "What I wanted to tell you was what happened to me. Why my head has been dislocated from my brain lately, for these last few months. You see." Max takes a deep breath. "I caught Liz and Kyle together in bed."
Michael's eyes widen, his mouth drops open. "Huh?" He shakes his head and waves his hand. "No, no, no, that had to have been a joke."
"It wasn't, Michael. She told me. they slept together. I saw them in bed together, with no clothes. They were. together." Max's head drops and he looks at the ground. He holds his coffee cup like a security blanket.
Michael's mouth attempts to form words but the right ones just weren't coming to mind. He shakes his head instead. "No, I don't believe it. There had to have been a reason for that. Liz had some sort of plan up her sleeve. I just can't believe those two had sex."
Max looks at Michael with a seriousness in his eyes. "They did, Michael. She admitted to me that they did."
Michael takes a deep breath and raises his hands several times before finally pulling Max into a strong embrace. He pulls Max against his chest and whispers, "I'm so sorry, Maxwell. I didn't know. I wish you had told me."
Max can't hold back his pent up emotions anymore. The simple act of Michael's compassion helps him to finally release the sadness he had been hiding. Gushes of tears fall from his eyes as he gently sobs against Michael's dress shirt.
Michael shakes his head not believing how hurt Max, his best friend, is and, for the first time, feels the pain deeply within himself as well in Max's plea for help. He feels a fool for calling Max a machine, for yelling at Max all those times and for teasing Max over his obsession for this woman. "I wish you would've told me, Maxwell. I wish you would've told me." he says as he gently rocks Max in his arms.
People walk by look at the two and think they see two gay lovers having an emotional outbreak. Michael waves them on with a sneer.
"I'm so sorry, Max. I wish I could do something. I could talk to Liz, if you want. I could beat up Kyle."
Max pulls away and wipes his eyes shaking his grief and embarrassment away over his outbreak. "No. No one is to get hurt over this, Michael. What's done is done. I need to let it go," he sighs.
"But. I don't understand."
"What?" Max asks, looking up at Michael with tear-stained eyes.
"You still love her. I know you do. You pine for her. You're obsessed with her. Why? After what she did. how can you feel anything for her now?"
"Because I know she's the one for me, Michael. I can't explain that, I just know. How would you have felt if it were Maria?"
Max's question jars Michael a bit. He shakes his head; "I don't know." and looks at the sidewalk contemplating the notion. Such a confusing thought, it made his heart skip a beat.
"Do you know why I came back here instead of flying back to Roswell?"
Michael shakes his head 'no.'
"I had a vision of Liz and I - that we were just married - we had on our wedding clothes and we were going into the hotel. I had to go back to Liz and tell her that. The vision felt so real, as if it were something that was going to happen."
Michael sighs. "Wow."
"I still feel there's a reason why she slept with Kyle. I don't know. maybe she'll tell me someday what happened. But I have to forgive her for that and hope that things will work out for us. I don't know how or when, but I think they will. We're all still so young."
"That's the truth," Michael says, almost more to himself.
"But I wanted you to know because it did effect me - my judgment, my treatment of you." Max says, looking up at Michael.
Michael looks back at Max and grins. "It's OK, Maxwell. I understand. I always figured what ever you were going through probably had something to do with her. I guess not following your, uh, energy source around just isn't working anymore, huh?"
"I can't help it, Michael. I'm in love, and probably always will be, with her."
Michael takes a deep breath. "So how do you feel now, I mean, I. I miss doing things with you, guy things, you know, just hanging out like we used to. It was why I originally just wanted you and I to go on this trip, just the two of us, Maxwell, to get away and hang out together."
"We'll do things, Michael. I promise. I don't want anything to come between any of us. I miss hanging out with you, as well. And I want to make you a promise that when we get back to Roswell we'll plan something together that the two of us can do without anyone else tagging along, OK?"
Michael smiles and shakes his head in agreement. "Yeah, OK. I will hold you to that."
The two smile.
"Thanks, Michael..." Max says in a near whisper.
Michael simply nods. And then impulsively, Max puts his arms around Michael and pulls him against him, hugging him like he had never hugged him before. Michael reciprocates and hugs back.
"Just don't kiss me, OK?" Michael teases Max, as they share a hug they never once before had done.
"I promise I won't slip you the tongue if I do." Max laughs. He hears Michael laughing over his shoulder and pats him on the back knowing they both had begun to find a path to heal the wounds deep within each of them.
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