Title: Hair Issues

Author: Katjen

Rating: PG? *sigh* I never know

Pairing: M&M

Summary: First day of school, S2, slightly AU (Since they never went to Antar in the series), and there are a few references to the phenomenal series Roswell Elementary which you can find at www.roswellunderground.com (basically in that series the pod squad and the humans knew each other in elementary school and were kind of friends (without the humans knowing the secret) but they drifted apart and hadn't really had any contact with each other until that infamous September day. It's a really great series so check it out:)!)

Disclaimer: Me no own. You no sue, okay?

*~*~*

I am entranced by the sliver of skin between the dark denim of her jeans and the soft pink edge of her shirt — there for only a moment and then gone — a flash of paleness and my eyes stay there hoping to find it again.

Once upon a time I would have been allowed to touch it. The small of her back. She would have let me slide my hand up under her shirt, up her back to cradle a perfect shoulder blade in my palm, my fingers brushing the birth mark on her right shoulder that's beautiful.

She would have let me touch her mouth with mine, would have let me taste her lips.

But she won't now. Not yet.

I'm impatient. Always have been.

I have to resist the juvenile impulse to kick the underside of her chair just so she'll turn and look at me. I have to stop myself from reaching out and pulling her hair like I used to when I we were kids and I was blissfully ignorant of what that strange tingly feeling in my stomach was whenever I tangled my fingers in her long gold curls.

Her hair is longer now. I don't know what that means. Maybe she didn't get a chance to get it cut before school started. Or maybe she knows that I like it long.

I remember dipping the ends in paint. I remember washing mashed potatoes out of it. I remember touching the sunlight on it and feeling how warm she was, trying to dare myself into letting my hand brush her cheek.

I remember her pushing shampoo through my own hair after the mashed potato war. I remember her little hand on top of my head in a dusty storage closet. I remember that little electric shock I felt then the same one I felt last year when she touched me like that again for the first time since we were kids.

She's angry because I'm sitting behind her. I didn't do it on purpose. It was the only seat left.

She hasn't looked at me once, and I haven't seen her eyes since I told her I loved her and walked away.

It's weird being back here, it's weird trying to pretend like I'm normal. It was bad enough last year but now

It's hard to pretend like I haven't killed, like I haven't seen my hands colored by someone's blood. It's hard to pretend like the only war I've experienced has been second hand through Blockbuster.

It's strange to come back to this place after being so far, after seeing the universe, my universe. It's strange coming back here and not wishing I was someplace else.

We didn't have to come back but we did, and they don't even know Liz and Maria don't even know that we came back for them, for what we had, for what we might still have.

The first thing Isabel did when she got home was call Alex.

Liz isn't here. Alex said she was in Florida or something and would be missing the first week of school. Max is hard to deal with right now. He'll be fine once he reaches her.

I couldn't bring myself to ask Alex about Maria but I knew he knew I wanted to.

I didn't go to the Crashdown, I didn't go to her house. I didn't look in her window and watch her sleep, wishing I were beside her. I didn't know if I was ready to face her yet, and I knew she'd be angry.

I knew where she was the second I stepped through the doors of West Roswell. I could feel her and I knew she felt me. I turned a corner and she was there, across from me. She stiffened. She suddenly became very quiet. She did not look up at me. She kept doing whatever she was doing at her locker and then closed it and walked away. I could feel Max and Isabel staring at me, wondering if I'd go after her.

I went to homeroom.

8 a.m. on a Monday morning and I was where I was supposed to be — in a classroom with 25 other students who wished they weren't there. If I had a mother she would have been proud.

There had been one seat left at the back, and she didn't look at me as I passed her. She had gripped her pen a little tighter and leaned across the aisle to ask Pam Troy what her first class was. I had looked down at my desk. There was a Blue Meanie cartoon carved into it, and I had looked up from it to tell her but then became riveted by that little ribbon of skin between her pants and her shirt as she leaned forward and told Pam that she had English too.

The bell rings.

She's getting up, she's shoving a book into her bag and I say her name.

She pauses. She takes a deep breath but doesn't turn around. I stand from my chair with my notebook clutched in my hands feeling my heart pound. I am more scared right now like this than I was a week ago facing certain death as an army of my people's enemy came charging at me with blood in their eyes and fists full of smoking power.

Loving Maria and waiting for her to look at me is infinitely more terrifying than dying alone and a failure at the hands of an evil alien race.

"Maria" I say her name again, and she turns around slowly staring at the floor.

"What do you want?"

I don't say anything and she looks up at me with that old Deluca fire, her fists clenching like she's getting ready to pound me like she had all the other boys in Roswell Elementary.

It's funny. I bugged her more than anyone else and she never really hit me, never really hurt me, never really fully unleashed the pounding fury of Hurricane Deluca on me.

Kinda funny that she's on the verge of beating the crap out of me now when we're supposed to be too mature for that.

Yeah, mature

Says the man who was seriously considering pulling her hair and calling her fry curl girl not ten minutes earlier.

She's staring at me and her mouth is open. She looks like she is going to cry.

I didn't expect this. I expected her to yell, to pound me. I didn't expect tears.

"How could you" she whispers and I feel my heart clench in my chest. Why couldn't she understand that I had left because I had too? Because I was afraid for her, because I couldn't deny who I was and what I had to do? Because I wanted to do my duty. Because I wanted to be worthy of her. Why didn't she understa- "Your hair"

Huh?

"What?"

"How could you do that to your hair" I shrug, confused. I hadn't done anything to it really. Tess had cut it for me and I had combed it down. If I was going to be a normal human now I thought I should make an attempt to look the part. I hadn't thought it was a big deal, but she's looking at me like I combed my hair to purposely hurt her.

"What, are you like incognito or something? You think you can hide from everyone because you got rid of your stupid spikes? You think we won't recognize you?" A tear slips down her cheek and I watch stunned as it settles in the corner of her mouth. I don't think I've ever actually seen her cry before. I know she has a lot of times and I know most of her tears have been because of me - something I said or did or something I didn't say or do, but this is the first time she hasn't turned away from me before they fall. I don't know what to say. I think if I reach out to her she really will sock me.

She shakes her head, her wavy hair tumbling over her shoulders and my fingers are just itching to brush it back. "No. No - this is unacceptable." She grabs my hand and I'm too overcome by the shock of her skin against mine for the first time in months to fight her or ask where she's taking me. She pulls me out of our empty homeroom. The final bell rings, the halls are empty and my intention of starting the school year off right is shot to pieces by the realization that I am late and probably will be for my next class as well because she's pulling me into the eraser room and I'm letting her and I'm hoping she'll let me kiss her, I'm hoping she'll let me touch the small of her back.

She tells me to sit and she's almost sobbing as she rummages through her purse and I don't know what to do so I listen. She gets what she wants from her bag and drops it at her feet. It's a little tube of styling gel. She comes towards me with it, still crying, but angry now. She works the gel through my hair roughly, pulling and pushing, her nails scraping lightly at my neck and I close my eyes because it's wonderful, because she's touching me and her fingers are slowing down, she's becoming gentle and I want to cry too. She lifts her hands from my head, finished. I stand up and turn to her. Her makeup is smudged, her mascara has run with her tears down her cheeks and I think she's beautiful. I want to tell her but she is staring up at me crossly, still angry that I had the gall to change my hair without telling her.

"There." She mumbles capping the little travel tube of "Deb" and shoving it into her pocket. "Much better. That before that wasn't you." I reach out and push her hair away from her eyes, her long gold hair. I give it a slight tug and she tries not to smile.

"I missed you."

She swallows and says breezily, "Really? I barely noticed you were gone," then takes another deep breath and whispers, "I missed you too."