Title: Unicorn Tears

Author: Gis

Rating: PG-13

Category: Michael/Maria

Summary: I refuse to write a summary for this because it would just make the story sound corny - but it's not.  The most AU fic I've ever written, and it's M&M...do you need any more of a reason to read it?

Disclaimer: If I owned Roswell I'd be writing episodes, not fanfiction.

Author's Note:  Thank you all for the feedback you've given me!  I had two different ways that I wanted to end this fic, so I wrote them both.  The original ending, and the alternate ending.  Hope you like at least one of them.  ;)  Thanks guys!

~Part Fifteen~

Alternate ending:

Alex looked at the sun that was beginning its decent in the midday sky.  Michael and Maria had been gone for nearly two hours now, and the anxious couple that had been married just a few short hours ago, were doing their best to delay their departure until the two got back.  Isabel was in a frenzy trying to keep the guests entertained, and Alex was staying as far away from her as possible to avoid getting pulled into the chaos.  He wasn't that crazy.

Making his way over to where Max and Liz were talking and laughing with a few of their friends, Alex waited until Max saw him and excused himself.  It didn't take long before they were both huddled in a corner of the garden, deep in conversation.

"Are you sure Michael told you they'd only be gone for an hour?" Max asked, running a worried hand along the back of his neck.

Nodding at his friend, Alex told him precisely what Michael had said before leaving the reception.  "He just said Maria needed to get away for a little bit, but that he promised they'd be back in an hour in time for the ending stuff.  He didn't think they'd go very far, just get a break from the crowd and stuff."

Max rubbed both of his hands over his face.  If Michael hadn't promised they'd be back he might not worry so much, but he did...and his best friend never broke his promises.

Letting out a deep breath, Max tried to keep himself from worrying.  "Do you think you could grab a few other people, as discreetly as possible, and go see if you could find them?"

Looking around him to get a head count, Alex agreed.  "Yeah, I'll make sure we check the places they might go to.  If they're not there, then you'll have to just cut the cake and leave for your honeymoon."

"No," Max said, shaking his head back and forth almost unnoticeably.  "I need my best man Alex.  Get him here."  It wasn't a request.  Michael was going to be found.

"Okay."

Sighing to himself and walking away, Alex left to gather a search team.

.  .  .

After rounding up as many close friends as possible, Alex had given them each a destination of where the two might have wandered off.  The forest by the fire pit, the Parker's house, Michael's own place that he somehow managed to keep fairly decent, the crop field, and his own assignment.  The meadow he'd picked up Maria from that very morning.

He couldn't seem to shake the feeling that something had happened, that somehow things went wrong and both Michael and Maria needed to be found, fast.  All of the years he'd known Michael, he had always kept his word, despite what he felt like doing.  Max's wedding would certainly be no exception.

Grabbing two horses from the stable after making his way there, Alex made quick work of saddling them.  If he did happen to find the two of them, he knew they'd be farther away than they'd probably want to have to walk, so an extra horse would be pretty much necessary.

Everything set to go, he mounted Thunder and set off at a gallop, straight towards the meadow.

.  .  .

Alex felt panic rising into his throat as he dropped to his knees next to the spot where Michael lay, propped up against a tree covered in moss that looked as if it had fallen years ago.  There were hundreds of small, clear jewels lining his legs in the grass where they rested, as he sat unable to move them.  Many had been scattered across his torso, mixing with crimson blood that was slowly pooling down his chest from where an arrow was presently lodged deep in his breast.

Picking up one of the jewels, Alex stared hard at it.  The diamond looked as though it had fallen out of a tap, small and shaped like a clear droplet of water.  He had never seen anything like it before in his entire life.

"What happened?!" Alex asked, failing miserably to keep the fear from creeping into his voice.  Gently grabbing hold of the material of Michael's shirt, next to the wound, Alex pulled, tearing the fabric open.  There was blood covering nearly every inch of his chest and a heavy sweat had broken out over his entire body, causing him to look as though he'd taken a sudden fever.

"It was meant for me..."

Alex twisted around at the sound of a soft, broken voice barely speaking above a whisper behind him.  Maria.

"I couldn't...couldn't get it out..." she told him, furiously wiping a tear from her cheek with the back of a blood-soaked hand, hating the foreign feeling of being completely out of control.  Her entire body was trembling, and he could see the crimson stains on her arms where she must have been clutching them tightly earlier to try and stop the uncontrollable shaking in them.  "It only works if it's out."

Looking back towards Michael and cussing under his breath, Alex studied the deep wound.  The arrow appeared to have gone in crooked, as though Michael had tripped and fallen or had been jumping in its path when he had been shot.  "I don't think it hit his heart," he said to them both, gently tilting Michael forward so he could see if it had passed all of the way through.  His back was unmarred; it hadn't broken the skin.

Alex could feel the rage coursing through him.  He hoped the man who did this would burn for the rest of eternity.

Standing up quickly as he began pacing, Alex wiped a nervous hand over his face.  "We have to get him back to the village..." he began to say, before being cut off by Michael's sweaty hand on his.  He was forced to look down at his fallen friend, look down to see the torment in his heart.

"I won't...make it back," Michael managed to hiss out, through gritted teeth.  The paleness of his face told of the short time he had left.  "Take...take Maria and get her out of here!"  It was only a matter of time before that wretched monster was back, looking for them both with more than just one arrow to satisfy his taste for blood.  Michael couldn't let that animal find her...she had to stay safe.  He needed her to stay safe.

"No!"  Maria fell to her knees beside him, forcefully grabbing Alex's arm to make him stop his pacing he'd begun again and look at her.  To make him see and understand her.  "I can help him...just get it out!"  Her face held the very essence of anguish and Alex could feel a rush of emotions coursing through her fingers, seeping into his skin from her hand.

He looked back and forth between the two of them, unsure of what he should do.  If he took the arrow out, Michael would bleed to death right then and there, before they even had any hope of getting him to the town hospital.  There would be no chance and no turning back.  He wasn't sure if they could take that kind of a risk with Michael's life!

"We have to try-"

Alex was cut off as Maria grabbed his shirt in a forceful grasp, pulling him back down to Michael's side where he had no choice but to listen.  "I can help him!  Take the arrow out.  Now!"

"You have to get away!"  Michael had begun to cough violently, grasping a numb hand to his chest as he felt the arrow ripping further into his body with every movement.  He was going to die.  Maria had to get away, had to stay safe.  He needed to know she was safe before he was gone.

"Alex, now!" Maria begged, grabbing both of his hands in her trembling ones and bringing them to Michael's chest, wrapping them around the arrow and holding them there until he did what she needed him to do.

Alex nodded his head slowly.  Michael was right, there was nothing they could do for him in the village.  Nothing they could do before it was too late.  The doctors could try, but he had lost too much blood already; he wouldn't make it back.

But Maria...she said that she could do something for him here, right this moment.  He didn't know why, but he trusted her.  In the last week he'd known her, he'd learned to trust her implicitly.

Without another thought Alex grasped the arrow tightly in both hands and closed his eyes, thrusting the pointed shaft violently the rest of the way through Michael's body.  He could feel it ripping its way through the weak tendons and skin as a loud scream ruptured out of Michael's throat.  Reaching behind Michael and carefully breaking the head off of the long arrow, Alex yanked it quickly back, freeing it from the wound.

Michael couldn't recall a time he'd ever been in more pain.   It was as if every part of his body had suddenly burst into flame, scorching him from the inside out.  It was too much, too consuming.  Michael's head lolled back, rolling slowly against his shoulders and leaving him unconscious.

Leaning over his body frantically, Maria checked for any indication that he was still alive, still breathing.  "Michael?  Michael, I need you to wake up and open your eyes!" she commanded, shaking him lightly.  "Michael, please!"  She could feel the desperation crawling through her, clenching at her heart.  He couldn't be dead.  She needed him!

"Don't die on me!"

The tears came out in a rush, as her head fell onto his sagging shoulder and her voice whispered softly, "I think I love you..."

Death.  At that moment all she wanted to do was curl up and die.  How could he jump in front of her like he did?  How could he sacrifice himself for her?  He didn't deserve to die!

A feather light touched made its way slowly down Maria's cheek and she looked up, her breath catching as her heart began to beat wildly.  Michael's eyes were opened to a slit and looking straight into hers.  He was awake!  Thank the heavens above, he was awake!

"I think I love you too," he whispered softly, bringing her mouth gently down to meet his as his lips lightly swept over hers.

Pulling away from him after a brief moment, Maria rested her forehead against his as relief swept over her.  He was alive!

Caressing a hand slowly over his wound, she focused her mind on making him whole again.  A soft glow emanated from her palm, concentrating on the laceration as it began to mend.  Light began to fill the area, illuminating the shadows of their faces as it stretched out to touch the trees.  Energy pierced the air as a gentle hum erupted from within her being, and the healing song of her heart made itself known.

A deep fear ran off of Michael, threatening to choke her as she worked, spiraling her forward through feelings she had no sense of, no experience of.  He was afraid of her being caught again by Khivar, furious that she would put herself in danger for him.  But more importantly, she could sense his faith in her.

An eternity of waiting.  An eternity of emotions and fears, of pain and regret, of love and hate flooded them before she'd finished, everything rushing at her in those few eternal moments.

Michael could feel Maria's worn body fall limply against his with the strength it took away from her to heal him.  Reaching up, he wrapped his arms around her tightly, vowing to himself to never let her go.

It was true.  Khivar, Antar, Maria...the story she'd told about the unicorns and the murder of her kind, it had been her.  She was a unicorn.

Minutes passed before Michael noticed her moving her head slightly to nuzzle his chin with her nose.  She trailed a soft tongue along his chin and he smiled as her head lifted slightly, showing him the most genuine smile he'd ever seen.  A smile he knew was just for him.

Moving forward to lightly lick his lips, Maria laughed, unable to contain the pure happiness she felt inside her.

She finally understood what it meant to be human.

As quickly as the moment came, Michael felt fear sinking back into his mind.  "Khivar!  Maria, we have to go!"

"Shh," she whispered against his chin, calming him with a light touch running up and down his arm.  "He won't be coming back."

Pulling gently away from her, he looked into her eyes.  "Why?  What do you mean he won't be back?"

Laughing lightly at the adorable expression of confusion on his face, she sat up, letting him stand, however wobbly, and pull her to her feet.  "He made his pact.  Until the moment he witnessed me suffer as he had, he would live," she answered, resting her forehead against his chest.  "When the arrow hit you, and I couldn't heal you, I suffered as he did.  I thought you were going to die."

"So, he's gone for good?" Michael asked, needing to hear it, to confirm the truth of it.  "He'll never be back?"

Maria shook her head, pulling him down to her as he caught her lips with his.  As he lifted his head back up, she smiled.  Kissing might be a human ritual she could find herself falling in love with.  "He won't be back.  You saved my life."

Smiling slightly back at her, Michael knew would do it again in a heartbeat.

"What about this unicorn thing?" he asked, running a hand through his scattered hair.  "Does it mean..?  I mean, can you..?"  A short huff escaped his mouth as fought with himself to find the right words.

Biting her lip as she picked up his hand and began playing with his fingers she replied, "I can turn back into unicorn form when and where I wish."  Lifting her eyes to watching him, she added, "But I can stay human for as long as I wish as well."

"What about, you know, the age thing?"

"Oh!"  Turning his hand over she began to trace circles on his palms.  "When I'm in human form I age just as you do, live just as you do."

If she had the ability to remain human, the ability to live her life as a person, he needed to know...

"So...you can stay?"

Maria smiled up at him, sensing the importance of her answer.  The importance she played in his life.  "I can stay."

A single tear she couldn't keep from falling slipped from her eye, slowly trailing down her cheek.

Michael reached up and placed his hand under her chin, wiping it from her bottom lip as it crystallized and fell from his thumb to join the other jewels in the clearing.  "Strange..."

Maria frowned, not quite sure if he was referring to the fact that she could remain human, or something else she'd said.  "What?"

Slowly leaning down with a teasing smirk on his face, Michael closed his eyes and placed a feather light kiss on her forehead.  Pausing for a moment, he lowered his forehead to her own.

"I thought unicorns never cried."

~The End~