Title: True Treasures

Author: Vix To everyone who enjoys Max and Maria's friendship as much as I do.

Disclaimer: Don't sue me-It's really not worth it. (I don't own them)

Author's Note: This is not spoiled in any way. It was just popping around in my head at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Summary: My take on how Max and Maria correspond as friends, and how Michael feels about it.

Feed back: Send off list if you don't mind my lists are screwed up, Thanks. ( .. )

Max sat staring at the blonde as she broke down in front of him yet again. Her absolute trust in him was still amazing to him and he still had trouble grasping the concept.

People of his own kind, his true family didn't even trust him lately, but this blonde pixie was pouring her heart and soul out to him for the millionth time since May 14th. It was a day he wished he could forget, but one he remembered so freshly for it had been forever imprinted in his mind.

"Why can't we be happy? Michael sees what Liz sees, what is it that we don't see?" Maria asked as she buried her face farther down into her hands.

Max moved instinctively to her side on the bed. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest. They had done this so much it was now a routine thing. One would break down, and they would both agree and list all the reason why this was unfair. Finally it led to one of them comforting the other till they both fell a sleep.

He leaned back onto the headboard lost in his own thoughts and emotions.

What did they see? He wondered and still he had no answer.

"He's not scared of hurting me, he's not pinning away for Isabel, but he is a solider. A soldier! Michael the rebel with out a clue is soldier boy. Who would have guessed?" Maria cried in vainly.

Max was glad her mother was at a convention and wouldn't be home till morning. He knew it worried her that her daughter stayed so quiet around her, but as soon as he would show up she would rant and rave. Her mother never understood what about or why, but she was glad that her daughter could talk with someone.

His own parents had been so worried they sent him to a psychiatrist. Now that Kyle was back in town he would have a field day with that one.

"You know why Liz walked away, don't you? She cares about you too much. She had to let you go, to let you fulfill your destiny." Maria said, she had been saying the same thing since the first night he had come to her.

He had walked up in the middle of the day; the day Liz boarded the plane to Florida. He had asked if they could talk later, and Maria instantly knew why. She had told him her mother would be gone that weekend -- off to a convention for acupuncture. They had scheduled a time and rented movies. They drowned themselves in self-pity, sympathy, and rocky road.

"Yeah, I know, but what I can't understand is why she thinks I want to fulfill my destiny. I don't care about it anymore. Only thing I want right now is her." Max said it was the same response he had always given.

"She doesn't want you to be with her then discover what you really wanted was your home, your destiny, Tess." Maria said. She had never added Tess' name to the list. It was always understood, but never spoken.

"Michael doesn't want you to get hurt cause of what he is and what he has to do." Max said to avoid the pain that seared through his heart.

"Yeah, does he know that he has hurt me more than anything?" Maria asked. He could now feel her tears soak his tee shirt as she repositioned her head on his well-toned chest.

"Yeah, and believe me it's tearing him up inside." Max and Michael might have been fighting lately, but nothing could change what he knew about Michael Guerrin, what he knew about his friend, his trusted 2nd in command, his brother.

"It's just so obvious." Maria said bitterly.

Max had to crack a small smile; her sarcasm was… typical.

"Like he's known for his obviousness?" Max asked.

"Do you miss it?" Maria asked softly.

"What?" Max wondered

"The way things use to be." Maria said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, but to them it honestly was, but it still caught Max by surprise; they had never ventured here for fear of the answers they would revel.

"Which part?" Max asked.

"The part where you get to love the person you love openly and you don't have to fear that it might indirectly kill them in one way ore another?" Maria said in a rush.

"Yeah, but you have to remember I never really had that. Isabel dated, but me and Michael hid from puberty in my room talking about girls and home. Girls usually took precedence with me. Liz to be more specific, but Michael always wanted to talk about home and how we were going to get there." Max said recalling their conversations from so long ago.

"Can you reach the stereo?" Maria asked softly.

That was his signal. He turned on the stereo and turned it to volume level 8 and track number 10, Colorblind by the Counting Crows. He had brought his CD over here one night and there it had remained. Every night he would turn it on the same song and let it play all night.

Maria hadn't liked 'Amy Hit The Atmosphere' too much, she had said she heard it enough to last her an eternity. Supposedly Liz listened to it when she was sad, she had been listening to it for a long time now, or so claimed Maria.

Maria's breathing had evened out. It was now time to wait. He came every night around the same time.

Max recalled the first time he came. He had been stroking Maria's hair idly while he contemplated fate. Michael had suddenly appeared in the window. Max had almost missed him.

The next day Michael showed up at his house. Isabel was shopping and his parents were at work; they were alone in his room.

"What were you doing there?" Michael had asked violently. Max wasn't the least bit surprised. He would have had the same reaction if the tables had been turned, and he had found Liz sleeping on Michael's chest in her bed.

"Michael, calm down." Max said in a casual tone. Michael was over reacting and he knew he should tell him nothing had happened because, well, nothing had. Instead he let him suffer a little, after what he and Maria had discussed that night he felt as if he owed it to her.

"Calm down? I found you and Maria looking a little too comfortable at one o'clock in the morning, in her bed!" Michael was now pacing quiet quickly.

Max was almost laughing; it was after all quite a comical sight.

"What? You find this funny? I thought you loved Liz!" Michael said, even more furry brewing in his dark eyes.

"I love them both." Max said.

If Michael was thinking levelly he would have known what Max had meant, but it made it a little funnier for Max, because he wasn't thinking clearly. Max doubted he was even thinking at all.

"Both! You can't love them both!" Michael ragged on.

"Michael, cool down," Max said quickly. He knew Michael well; if he pushed him any further there was no doubt in his mind that it would turn physical. "I love Maria like a sister, and I love Liz like a soul mate." Max said.

"Then why were you in her bed?" Michael continued even though a bit of his anger had left.

"We need someone to talk to. We were hurting. We needed a friend. Michael, we didn't do anything. I was just comforting her." Max said looking his long time friend in the eye.

"You swear on our parent's grave?" Michael asked faltering a bit.

"I swear." Max said.

Instantly Michael's uncertainty left, but his questions didn't, "So did her mom beat you with a newspaper too?"

Max let out a small chuckle before answering, "No her mom was at a meeting or something."

Michael shook his head and started walking towards the window.

"Michael," Max called him back "you know why I was there, why were you there?"

"I'm always there." With that Michael disappeared.

It was an answer Max had not expected.

Every night around one in the morning Michael showed up and looked in on them, or her to be more exact. He never failed, ever.

Soon Michael's face appeared at the window and Max lifted his hand off of Maria's back to slightly wave at his confidant.

Michael nodded his head and looked him in the eye. Michael's eyes sent a message loud and clear, it said 'protect her'. With that Michael faded back into the darkness.

Max completely understood. He knew this meant that Michael would be back, every night like always. Only this meant that he wanted Max to protect her when he couldn't. He wanted him to be there for her when she needed a friend or even a saving grace.

Max would be there for her like that, not just out of loyalty to Michael and even Liz, but because Maria trusted him with a child like certainty. She never doubted for a moment that he cared for and trusted her there fore he never doubted her returning the feelings. He trusted her as much as she trusted him.

Max knew this; this was one of the true treasures of life.

The End