Liz climbed up the ladder to her balcony after walking through the park. She had almost gone to Michael's but thinking that he would be with Maria she had foregone the visit. It would be the first time in the past week that she would sleep by herself, and she a little freaked out by the idea of being home alone. But she was a big girl, and she'd get used to it. She'd have to get used to it if Maria was around. After all, Michael was her boyfriend.
Liz frowned, the thought of that shouldn't make her unhappy. Why did it make her unhappy?
Anyway, nothing ever happened in Roswell anyway. At least, with Tess gone, alien happenings had gotten quieter, and otherwise there wasn't a lot of crime. Except Liz couldn't shake the feeling of wariness that arose from thinking she'd be all alone at the apartment.
As she walked to her bedroom window she saw a shadow stand up behind her in the glass. Liz let out a piercing shriek, and she was grabbed from behind with a hand covering her mouth to muffle her scream.
As she bucked against her assailant, he murmured in her ear, "Liz, it's Michael." After a few seconds of shock she absorbed what he said and she relaxed against him, her heart pounding a rapid beat. Turning in his arms, she smacked his biceps before twining her arms around his neck. He held her tightly as she shivered against him.
"I'm so sorry, Liz. I wanted to talk to you and I was worried about you spending the night all alone here, so I walked over, and then I realized that you weren't even here so I decided to wait for you. Is that okay? I can leave if you want."
"God no, Michael. I'm glad it was you. I'm glad you came." Liz let go of Michael and opened her window, clambering through she waved Michael into her bedroom.
"Really? Cause I thought maybe you might be angry?" he asked.
"No, Michael. I have no reason to be mad at you, why would you even think that?" Liz said as she threw herself on the bed.
"I seem to have a talent for pissing people off. Maria isn't speaking to me at the moment, and it was weird this evening. I thought maybe you were mad, and then you weren't here and I wondered. But I'm so glad you're not mad. I don't think I could handle it if you were mad at me too."
"Michael, stop pacing. You're driving me crazy. Sit down and tell me what happened." Liz scooted over on the bed, making room for Michael to lie down next to her. After a moment of hesitation he shrugged his shoulders and lay down beside Liz.
For a moment they just stared into each other's eyes as they faced each other on the bed. Michael shifted when he realized that this position was surprisingly intimate. But he didn't move away. He didn't want to. He just hoped Liz wasn't uncomfortable. When she lifted her hand to brush some hair off his forehead he closed his eyes. When she touched him it felt so good.
Why did her touch feel so good? He was about to get a hard-on from an innocent touch. He was such a fucking pervert.
"Michael," Liz prompted gently, "get out of your head. Everything is fine between us. Now why don't you explain what has you on edge?"
Michael sighed, "We were talking outside her house, and basically Maria asked me if Max found a way back to Antar, would I go?
"What did you say?" Liz asked with bated breath. She didn't know how she would survive losing Michael, or for that matter Isabel and Max, like that. She had been so happy that they hadn't left with Tess, she hadn't thought about the possibility of them leaving again. She hadn't thought it would be an option.
"I said I didn't know. And Liz I don't. Earth is my home. I love it here—wait, did I just say that?" Michael glanced at Liz with laughter gleaming in his eyes as she nodded wordlessly before continuing, "But I still don't know who I am. I still feel like I haven't really found where I belong."
"Okay. Oh, I wish I could just—the thing is I would hate it if you left. It makes me sad to think of the prospect. But also, it hurts my heart when you say you don't know where you belong. Because right now, right here, you belong." Liz whispered quietly as a tear trickled down her cheek. As Michael wiped it away they froze looking deeply into each others eyes.
Liz was torn. She would hate it if Michael left. But she would hate it more if he were unhappy. She knew the key was that Michael had to come into his own and realize what he wanted out of life.
Michael hated to make Liz cry. He knew how much it would hurt her to lose them. He had seen her pain when they had lost Alex. It had hurt so much to see, Liz had shut down. Her determination, her refusal to face what had happened, had been so raw. Her grief would be just as bad if not worse if they left. He would hate to hurt her that way. But Izzy and Max were his family. How could he stay behind if they left.
Liz continued to wonder about the key to unlocking Michael's sense of self, when she was suddenly reminded of another key, one that had given Michael flashes, one that had provoked a sudden love for art. Instinctively she knew that Michael needed to be able to express himself, and his art was the perfect medium. She would need to do something about that.
She would never hold Michael back from whatever he might truly need or desire, but she was sure that she was right about this. She remembered the way Michael had enjoyed American Beauty, and she knew that Michael needed to unlock the beauty in himself before he would ever think he was worthy. And he was so very worthy.
Michael loved watching Liz think. The way her eyes lit up when she had come upon something, a discovery, a realization. The sadness that had permeated her aura as they had talked about the possibility of his leaving the planet had dissipated. And he couldn't help but wonder why. "What are you thinking?"
"I was remembering something that happened a long time ago."
"When you took my journal—and later gave it back, there was something you said. It stayed with me, and I never dared ask—"
"Are you asking now?"
"Yeah. What did you mean when you thanked me for giving you one more reason to envy Max?"
Michael blushed slightly. He should have known that was the question. He hadn't forgotten that night or what he had read in Liz's journal. The way she felt about her friends, was simply amazing. She cared so deeply. To read about the way she saw Max was almost like reading poetry. "I guess—I've always wanted to be seen, and understood so completely by someone. And in your journal, the way you saw Max, it humbled me. I mean, the idea of someone seeing me for who I am frightens me. I'm such a mess, you know. And I know I have Maria but she doesn't really see me. I don't know if she's capable of looking outside herself.
"Since we've begun spending time together, I feel for the first time almost like I can stand to be within my own skin. I can lay here and talk to you all night, and never worry about what you will think of me. If our friendship is on the line. For a long time I thought Max was the only one who would ever have that—and I was so jealous. How come he had it and I didn't? But now I sort of do."
Liz smiled, "You know, Michael, I do see you. And I see someone incredible. And I love that you see me too. I was at Max's, that's where I was when you got here."
"Oh," Michael wasn't sure how he felt about that. "What happened?"
"We talked. Or I talked. He understood where I was coming from, I think. That I need my friend, Max Evans back. My partner. We've always been a team, and I miss that. When he didn't show up here today as we ate ice cream, it felt wrong. He was missing out because he was avoiding me. I don't want to avoid him. I dont want him to avoid me. I just want my friend back."
"I'm glad you guys sorted things out, Liz. I know how things stood with you guys was bothering you." Michael shifted so that he lay on his back, looking up at the ceiling. Liz moved with him, placing her head on his shoulder, the rest of her body turned into his. Lying in the darkened silence of the room they settled into the silence. Their hearts beat softly, completely in tune with one another. And their breathing evened out. Sleep took over. And together they felt complete and utter peace.