shelter.htmlTEXTStMl\m$>xmxn Roswell--Give Me Shelter

CMA section: I don't own any of the characters, settings, or concepts of _Roswell_. They belong to the WB. This piece of fan-fiction is written purely for the entertainment of myself and other fans, I claim nothing here as my own, and I have not profited from this writing.

Author's note: I've also borrowed a bit from the Roswell High books by Melinda Metz, which the TV series is based on, mainly references to Maria's practice of aromatherapy.

This is a 'missing scene' from this week's (Feb. 16) episode. I don't have the eps taped, so I wrote it from memory.

Give Me Shelter
A Roswell Story
by Jacynthe Demorae

Image from official WB site.


Raining. Wasn't that just the perfect cap to the night from hell? Michael kept his head down in a futile effort to keep the rain out of his face. He felt like a peeled fruit, raw and oozing. His last words to Isabel and Max kept re-playing through his head, like a skipping CD, and he gritted his teeth against the searing shame.

'It was all I had.'

Pathetic. Especially pathetic that he'd tried to hold onto it, him, the one who pushed so hard to leave Roswell, to find where they belonged, to go back. And he'd nearly broken down because he no longer had a dingy back room in a glorified shack to call his own. For years, he'd told himself he didn't need to measure up to humans' ideas of normal. Maybe he couldn't, he was an alien after all. Humans couldn't give him what he needed. Humans could never understand.

So he'd believed, until he'd experienced first hand what passed as normal in the Evans' household. The shabby rags of his reality hadn't been able to cover the shame.

The rain soaked him from head to toe, plastering his hair to his skull and his clothes to his body. Muddy water leaked into his shoes. He hadn't had a decent pair in months. He kept moving through the streets of Roswell, half-afraid that if he stopped, he might be washed away like a chalk drawing. And no-one would miss him. Even worse, if he stopped, he might realize he had no place to go. Some lingering street sense kept him off the main streets. With his luck, Valenti would be cruising past and arrest him for breaking curfew, or jaywalking, or littering, any excuse he could find.

Gradually, his surroundings began to register. He blinked the water out of his eyes and stared at the street sign until the blur focused into something he could read. Maria's street was right near here. He made the turn and started toward the house at the end of the street. The other houses were dark and silent--he imagined people watching him from behind blinds or curtains, reaching for phones, calling the police because of the strange boy prowling around outside. He skulked down the sidewalk, feeling like a whipped dog. There was an opening in the hedge leading onto Maria's property. Michael eased through the scratchy shrubbery, at last stumbling to a halt below her window.

Her lights were on. She was awake, and sitting near the window, intent on something he couldn't see. The knots in his gut squeezed tighter. Maria de Luca. Unbelievably naive, far too trusting, incapable of looking at the real world even after it hit her in the face.

He flinched at the thought. Bad choice of words. Had anyone ever hit Maria? The very thought made red-orange sparks of anger dance in his vision. The world around him twisted, felt slippery and hollow, a warning sign that his powers were slipping his laughable control.

Freak! Hank's voice thundered in his mind. The sparks flared brighter, threatening to grow into a rage he couldn't control. Maria moved directly to the window--and stopped. The lights glowed behind her, giving her an almost aetheral look, misty and dreamy. He stared up at her, feeling the world become steady and solid once again. Her lips moved, she shook her head. He couldn't figure out what she was saying. Time became elastic, a small amount stretching very far. Then Maria opened her window wide, and stepped back.

Michael climbed up with ease, finding finger and toe holds a human would have missed--and making his own when none were available. Maria backed away as he clambered over the sill, edging past him to close the window on the chill and the rain. The bedroom bore the clear stamp of Maria de Luca's personality. Bright, vivid colors splashed everywhere he looked--how does she sleep in this? he wondered, looking at a particularly unlikely pairing of green and orange. Scented candles populated a number of flat surfaces. He identified vanilla, lavender, something that was probably labeled as 'berry' but didn't even come close. Warm air stroked over his face, and he realized just how chilled he was. As if on cue, he began to shiver. Maria, flaky as she could be in some circumstances, had a relentless practical streak. She went to the closet and pulled out clean towels, handing him one off the top of the pile.

He accepted it and began mopping at his face and hair.

"You're soaked," she said in a low voice. She shook out another towel and had a go at him herself, as if he were a half-drowned puppy that had washed up at her door. Well, he reflected with painful irony, that wasn't too far from the truth.

His cold-numbed skin began to tingle as Maria briskly towel-dried any part of him she could reach. He swayed on his feet, but made no attempt to fend her off. This is what being taken care of feels like. He had a handful of memories of his very earliest days with his first foster family; overtures of something like this warmth. The very early days, before his child's mind had realized that though the people surrounding him looked like he did, on the inside, they were very different. He learned quickly...but not before the damage had been done. Not before he'd been passed on from home to home, a new addition to a household that decreased in value with every move. Never quite fitting in, never really belonging.

Until tonight, until he'd seen the flicker of realization in Hank's drunken gaze, he had never realized how badly he wanted to belong somewhere.

"At least take this off," Maria's voice broke through his darkening thoughts. She tugged at his sodden jacket. He shrugged out of it, feeling as though he were sloughing off an outgrown skin. She hung his jacket on the back of a chair, putting another towel on the floor to catch any water that dripped from it. "That, too," she said, indicating his equally soaked shirt.

He hesitated a moment--this was Maria--then peeled it off. He waited then, almost holding his breath. Now she would ask him questions. She would press, and pry, until she drove him back out into the dark and the rain with her pestering... Instead, she kept her voice soft and low, and guided him to her bed. She climbed in beside him, a warm, soft presence at his back.

"You don't have to say anything." Her words brushed warm against his ear.

You don't have to say anything. No questions. No invasions. No demands for answers he didn't have. He couldn't go back to his foster father. He didn't dare return to the Evans'. And the others--the others of his kind that he now knew existed--weren't coming to take him home. All he had now was this small pocket of warmth and comfort in a world turned dark and cold. The knots inside him suddenly slackened, and tears broke free. He muffled them as best he could, felt Maria's arms tighten around him. Gradually, the emotional storm passed.

He could tell from her breathing that Maria was still awake. The silence felt comfortable now, peaceful. He closed his eyes, breathed in the scent of the candles, the sweeter perfume from Maria's hair and skin. Just for a minute, he told himself, relaxing. He couldn't stay here, he knew. He'd just rest for a minute, then figure out where he could go... Just resting, he reminded himself as he drifted off...not sleepi--

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