What Ifs

Author: JoBelle
Email: jodie@dawsonscreek.zzn.com
Disclaimer: Nobody's mine I just like playing with them *S*
Summary: Just a little OOC what if *S*

"Maria!" The one little word exploded out of Michael's lungs in what seemed like slow motion. Everything around him seemed to have slowed down as he watched in transfixed horror from the kitchen doorway as the one thing that moved at normal speed and above it in the entire room, a 35 caliber handgun bullet, flew towards the petite blonde who was picking up glasses from a booth on the left side of the room.

Michael felt a bizarre sense of déjà vu, wasn't this exactly how the school year had begun? Except this time it was the end of the school year. Except this time it was night instead of day. Except this time the Crashdown was empty instead of crowded, the two out of towners having the argument were Latino instead of Caucasian and this time it was the smaller of the two pulling out the weapon instead of the large. Except this time it was him there paralyzed, watching the girl he loved, yes loved, get shot, instead of Max who was outside making out with the girl he loved. It was him there watching the bright red blood stain the front of the blue uniform.

The men pushed past him out of the restaurant, the heavy stench of liquor following them in their frantic retreat. The slamming of the back door startled Michael out of his trance and galvanized him into action. Crossing the distance between himself and Maria's inert form in a few long strides he knelt beside her.

"Oh God!" He breathed in shock at all the blood. Cradling her head in his lap he felt around her wrist for a pulse, staring anxiously for the rise and fall of her chest, a sign that she was still breathing. He sighed deeply when he found both, weak and slow but definitely there. Then his alien instincts took over and he could practically see the life force draining out of her as clearly as the blood draining out onto the cold white tile from the wound in her abdomen. Oh God no! No! She could not do this to him! Could not make him care and then leave him!

Michael softly eased her head onto the tile and got up frantically screaming for Max. Wrenching open the kitchen door he barreled right into Liz.

"What is it? What's happened?" Liz queried her brown eyes wide with fright.

"Maria…" he croaked. "We gotta get Max!"

"Oh my God! Maria!" Liz cried following the direction Michael's finger had pointed and spotting her friend's crumpled body.

"Where's Max?" Michael demanded as the frightened brunette knelt next to her best friend's unmoving form, taking Maria's limp hand in her own.

"He went after the guys who did this. We saw them from down the street. Oh God Maria! We have to do something! Go call 911!" She instructed, pressing down on the wound with a pile of napkins to staunch the blood flow.

"What are you waiting for?" She yelled when he didn't move immediately.

"911 will be too late." He told her hesitantly. "We need Max now!"

"No!" Liz looked up at him with almost hysterical eyes. "Goddamnit Michael! You're every bit as alien as Max is! Heal her!" She ordered.
Michael looked at her, fear and panic in his own eyes.

"I can't…I don't know how." He confessed feeling useless and scared as hell.

"Listen to me Michael Guerrin! You can do this! Maria's always believed in you and now she needs you so quit being a baby and just do it!" Liz commanded. "Please." She added her voice cracking on the last syllable, tears filling her dark brown eyes.

And Michael knelt, placing a palm over the wound on Maria's stomach he shook her shoulder lightly. "C'mon! C'mon! Look at me would you!" He pleaded softly tapping her cheeks in an attempt to rouse her. "Goddamnit Maria look at me!" He shouted, the desperation he felt seeping into his voice. Maria groaned softly and Michael almost wept in relief. "That's it sweetheart, open those beautiful eyes for me." He cooed mindlessly as he watched her force her eyelids upwards. Their eyes met and locked, green with hazel, words were no longer needed. The connection formed and Michael was flooded with a barrage of images as he felt the blood flow begin to slow under his hand as the tissues in her body were healed by the energy flowing between them.

The images faded as the hole in the pale skin beneath his fingers vanished and both Maria and Michael gasped in unison. They stared into each other's eyes in wonder, her that he'd saved her, him at the last image that had filtered through his head.

Michael squeezed his eyes shut against both the image and the tears of relief he could feel welling up. He pulled her off the floor and into his arms, burying his face in her golden locks, letting a few tears slip out unnoticed. He crushed her to his chest and she clung to him just as fiercely her own tears soaking the front of his black tee but neither noticed.

"Shh…shh baby, it's okay. It's all okay now." He murmured quietly into her ear, pressing a kiss onto the top of her head, running his hands gently up and down her back in a soothing motion. A few all too brief moments later, she gently disentangled herself from their embrace to hug Liz who sat a few feet away from them in tears herself.

Just then the bells over the doorway rang and someone entered. Michael rubbed at his eyes surreptitiously before rising to go update Max on what had just transpired, leaving the two girls sobbing on the floor.

"You're sure you're okay?" Liz queried of Maria who lay across one of the booths, sipping a cup of hot chocolate, her head and back pillowed by Michael's firm chest ensconced safely in his strong arms, where she had been for the past half hour while Liz and Max cleaned up the blood from the tile. First attempting to do so in the regular fashion then resorting to alien ways to un-stain the tile.

"Yeah, I'm fine, just a little tired. Getting shot takes a lot out of a person." She quipped, earning a glare from Liz at her flippantness.
"Seriously Lizzie, I'm okay." Maria reassured her best friend , squeezing her hand on the table top. "I promise, all I need is two aspirin and a good night's sleep and I'll be good as new."

Liz nodded reluctantly and stepped out of the way so the blonde could slide out of the booth. She was barely on her feet an instant before she swayed alarmingly, Michael grabbing onto her arms and easing her back down next to him. "Max…" Liz called anxiously while Maria shook her head. "I'm fine Liz! I just stood up too fast."

"Are you sure you don't want Max to give you a once over?" Liz asked, worry apparent in her brown eyes.

"I'm positive. Sides my alien already fixed me up." She said with a smile at Michael who looked away in what Maria could only name as bashfulness. "No offense Max." She added quickly, the other boy nodded returning her smile.

"None taken Maria." He replied.

"So, Spaceboy, drive me home?" She queried holding out her keys to Michael, which he took and led the way out the door.

"So, you wanna come in for a bit?" Maria invited once they'd arrived at her door. Michael quirked an eyebrow "What about your mom? I don't think she'd be too happy to see me, especially at this hour of the night." He asked.

"My mom, is actually visiting my aunt in Tucson tonight, I'd planned on a quiet night of relaxation" she told him with a smile "but I don't really feel like being by myself now." She confessed.

Michael nodded once and followed her inside the house.

Two hours later found Michael Guerrin and Maria Deluca in each other's arms, sprawled across the Deluca family couch a bowl of half eaten popcorn and two empty glasses on the coffee table in front of them. Maria lay peacefully asleep curled into Michael's sturdy frame, his arms resting lightly around her waist her head tucked snugly beneath his chin, their intertwined legs covered by the blue blanket that had been thrown over the back of the couch. Michael on the other hand was very much awake, staring blankly at the TV screen in front of him, his mind elsewhere.

Namely on the girl whose hair smelt like raspberries that lay in his arms and the last image that he had seen when the connection was made. He'd seen himself through her eyes in that moment and to her, he was perfect. He was wonderful and smart and funny and frustrating and she loved him. She really did, and he could hardly believe it. No one had ever really loved him before except for Max and Izzy and they kinda had to he figured since they were all each other had. But Maria, Maria just loved him for him. It was an all new experience for Michael, and to tell the truth he just didn't know how to deal with it.

Sighing heavily he craned his neck to look down at her slumbering features wondering how she managed to confuse him so completely without even trying. Maria smiled a little in her sleep and mumbled something too soft to hear, snuggling closer to him. Michael couldn't help but smile back as she continued to mutter unintelligibly in her sleep. Finally she settled against him again, quiet now, and Michael began to drift off to sleep himself, the events of the day finally catching up with him, healing her had taken up a lot of his energy and he really was tired. Clutching his pixie princess closer to him, all too aware of how close he'd come to losing her, he sent up a silent prayer to whoever controlled things up there that he still had her with him and whispered "I love you too Maria." Into her ear before drifting off to sleep.