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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list February 20, 2001

Title: Chhandes
Author: Scynneh
Disclaimer: These poor lads need to be let out more often, otherwise they'll be forced to sneak into my head and suggest 'THINGS WHICH CANNOT BE SHOWN ON TELEVISION'. (And by Gods, do wish these sorts of things COULD be focused on!)
Dedications: Authors doing RN, this one's for you: be inspired, and put those stories out to be enjoyed. You're doing a bloody fantastic job so far.
Feedback: Yes, that would be a greatly appreciated thing.
Author's Notes: This is right after Alex plowed his fist into Michael's chin, a la 'Courtney' storyline. The title is Sanskrit, and means the 'known', or what is on 'the surface.'

I couldn't stop thinking about how shocked he looked after I punched him. That normally indifferent or smug face was wiped of all traces of superiority and pride, leaving surprise, and what I chose to believe was burgeoning respect. That last part had been unexpected, and I hoped that I wouldn't be forced to be around him in the near future. Seeing Maria nearly doubled over with the pain of his brutal rejection was bad enough; but to watch him go through the admittedly pitiful motions of his life was too much. Each needed stability, and had been robbed of such assurances. Maria had flown into the understanding embrace Liz offered, and Michael... I had no idea how he was handling the recent turn of events.

Max was an emotional Frankenstein after Liz's ultimatum and the shock of finding the pure and innocent Liz Parker in bed with Kyle Valenti. The backlash alone was enough to ensure that no one would be able to look either of the fated couple in the eye without inwardly cringing on their behalf.

But Michael's confidante, the one male that might hope to truly understand his feelings, conflicted as they were, was in no shape to play kind and indulgent counselor. Chances were good, I thought, that Tess had been on the receiving end of an especially tortured speech after Liz had declared herself unavailable.

I felt a surge of sympathy for the pining girl. For so long, she had been watching Max long for another, and when he wasn't, he had made it painfully clear that the advances of an alien who had been his beloved on their home world, were less than welcome. Now, she was suddenly thrust into the role of a shoulder to cry on, the gentle hand held without fear of repercussions. At last Max had someone with whom he didn't have to be afraid any longer. He had his mate.

And the most close-minded turtle of the bunch was all alone again. It was clear that Isabel was avoiding the issue of boys and dating with all of her rather considerable skill, and that left no one to see that Michael was as stable as he ever got. For some reason, that made me angry. It had been demonstrated, on multiple occasions, that Michael Guerin was possessed of the restraint of a revolutionary. He never truly thought about the hereafter, only about how to get what he needed, as soon as possible.

From what Maria had sobbed out on my chest when I'd comforted her, there had been some deeper purpose to Michael's adventure with the girl in the towel, or at least that was what he had claimed when she demanded to know what he was doing in the domicile of an individual who had intentions unclear and probably ones with negative results for him and the rest of the group. But if that was the truth, then Michael had more depth to him than I'd first believed. Of course, I gave him about as much credit as one might an especially tasty animal cracker, so any exponential increase in brain cells wasn't saying a great deal. But to have that kind of cold purposefulness to him was worse than sub-zero temperatures, it was a flash of glacial reality beneath a careless mask that comforted in its excessive boldness. Layers, like snakeskin, being shed ever so slowly, at the oddest of moments, bringing the fact of his otherness into painful relief, and banishing the humanity while making it all the more bittersweet.

At first glance, he was hotheaded and as bright as an ox, with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Everest. But a closer examination revealed that his cutting remarks hid a far more fragile interior, a sensitive soul lurked somewhere under that mop of hair, one that had never known any love, except the unconditional acceptance of Maria.

Max and Isabel cared, but their feelings were more like those of a sister and brother who weren't altogether pleased with their sibling, if not outright annoyed, or furious. And all of their negativity was sent in Michael's direction with the subtlety of a nuclear missile. Such interaction was anything but conducive to an understanding of what a healthy relationship looked like. Add to that the appalling amount of information I'd gleaned from Maria and Liz concerning his poor relationship with his foster father, and the result was fated to be in desperate need of therapy. Not that any of his faults give him the right to behave as boorishly as he had towards Maria. He was a prime candidate for a lesson in dating etiquette, and maybe even a heads- up on the proper procedures in a relationship.

I decided after much debate, and mental backtracking, that it was my duty, both as Maria's friend and as Isabel's pseudo boyfriend, to see that Michael wasn't about to descend into one of his infamous 'funks". As far as I could tell, those ended one of two ways: with him receiving a revision of the list Max seemed to have of his faults, or a distinctly unhelpful silence from Isabel's corner. And considering that neither of the 'Perfect Evans' were the least bit interested in having anything at all to do with Michael's emotional state, it seemed that it was up to me to do something in the way of insurance, to make sure that he didn't try and do something as idiotic as meeting a fugitive Special Unit agent in the woods at an absurdly late hour.

Because the great thing about oxen is that while they'll pull unimaginably heavy loads for twenty years or thereabouts, after too much abuse, they'll drop dead one day without warning. Marvelous animals; loyal to a fault, but at some point, there will come one that decides things for itself, and is punished for its aberrance and intelligence.

Yes, he is smart, I know that it seems unlikely, what with his background and the sporadic attendance he's maintained for his entire scholarly career, but I have laid eyes on that boy when he hasn't had to live up to standards and regulations put down by Emperor Max.

When attempting to unravel the circumstances of recent events, one has to look at the past cycles in order to comprehend several things to be ever stagnate in our lives in Roswell:

Isabel will deny all unpleasant things as if by not giving an object thought, it will somehow cease to exist. Liz and Max are meant to struggle with their mutual feelings of responsibility: her to allow him to discover himself, and him to realize that he is a part of her now, and must take care of her as she has done for him. In the end, as they need to breathe, they need each other. Maria will never stop trying to mold and shape Michael into what she perceives as the ideal man, forcing him onto the template of her father, yet doing what she can to strain out that wanderlust that she finds in her men.

And I? I continue to think that the unattainable is the greatest to strive for, even though I have calculated the statistics of my being able to convince Isabel that humans are not the enemy, and that together, we can be happy. But I need to cease my game of 'pretend', the one that I have been an expert at for too long, and acknowledge what I really require in life. The truth that I have been loath to express is that I am intrigued by more primal attractions.

My first impression of him was unforgettable. I felt his energy as a blow to my midsection as it burst outwards and slammed into me with the force of his inquiry, seeking out my weaknesses, fears, judging how I would react to events that had were in my future. He had that ability that even Max did not, threat sensing, one of the most essential instincts in wild creatures, and one that goes unsaid, for it is so very plain that without something like that, an animal would not survive in Nature's garden.

He isn't given nearly enough credit for being an elemental being, knowing that it is better to striker first and last rather than wait for a crippling attack. Max is a cautious leader, and that has served him well in the last few years, but now, attention must be given to the concept of protecting the group. A family needs to watch out for its members, and some of the stronger ones might be obliged to take on the duties of 'guardians'. Italian families would dub them 'enforcers', strong right arms that do what perhaps the leader cannot for political reasons. That is what he has done for some time, even lacking Max's blessing, he has explored ways to get the 'Royal four' home, and done what he could to prevent their enemies from finding them. While some of his plots have been less than sound, others have been of enough value that Max has used them, and then been complimented for his judgment. No, I am not endorsing Michael's candidacy for immediate leadership, he has too often shown that he doesn't think everything through, but I do think that if he was given more opportunities, he might develop into a better challenger to Max's absolute authority. After all, it is the job of the second to both monitor and question the decisions of his king.

But none of those things were on my mind when I met his eyes that first time. Really made contact that is. Before the incident in the hospital, I had only seen Michael Guerin in the company of Isabel and Max, and he had never failed to be either between them or at their heels, making him seem less imposing, more of a loyal servant attitude then, rather than the more watchful, alertness that he now exudes.

At that time, he was unsure of his role in the lives of his only friends, and in the world. So when I was introduced to the group, I was a threat to the already out-of-proportion situation, and I think that he felt he had too much on his plate already, and worrying about how another outsider would react to the truth was something he felt was an unnecessary task. I have to admire the way he brusquely cut off my ramblings and got to the important thing: leaving. I needed to be gone from them as quickly as possible, and there wasn't the time or need to sugarcoat matters. He was protecting his family, and the only one he had, as he knew best: eliminating intruders. And when I glanced up at him, I was held motionless in the power of those dark eyes. Intense didn't even come close to emoting what I felt then. There was anger in gold flecks that swirled the chocolaty orbs, that I was too close to his king, fear shown in the tensing of his eyelids, for the entire unit he had to keep track of, and a contempt, that I had no clue of how different his life was from mine; you think you've got problems, kid? He seemed to be saying. You don't know the half of it.

I wasn't anything special at that instant, all of what made me unique, gave me standing as my father's son, was bled away as I drew breath to counter the most fundamental of arguments: superiority. He was better than me in so many ways, and with the potential to reach even greater heights.

And the most frightening part about this exchange was that he was unaware of his power, he had gone through life handing the reins to someone else, never having been given a proper command. That unknowing elegance was what I found the most desirable, and as I hurried out the door of my house, away from my father's lectures and other idiotic trappings of humanity, all I could see in my mind were those wise, young eyes. Promising nothing but stubborn effort and a conflicting self that would engage all who thought differently. I knew that what I wanted to find was not within the bounds of normal life, but I stepped outside the box when I learned of the origins of the four teenagers whose lives have turned things in odd directions, had considered what his nature meant.

Michael is the misinterpretation of a being dead for years, and, and therefore he is chaos. That leads to twisted relations, contradictory decisions, and most importantly: fun. Because there is nothing so appealing as the thought that there is no assurance about the future, one may wind events any way they choose, as long as their objective is unheard of.

Yes, I want variety and 'the spice of life', with a dabbing of Tabasco to throw off all borders and limits. I want the freedom that this world cannot offer, but that the starry night has gifted us with, and I long to experience it with one who truly knows and feels as I do.

The End

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