Michael opened the front door as silently as possible. He had sneaked out to buy a Christmas small tree and some ornaments and his plan was to surprise her with it. He knew just how hard this was on her and maybe this would cheer her up a little. She missed her mom. She wouldn’t admit it, but he knew she did, especially around this time of the year. And it was just not fair to her, that she couldn’t even write her a card, because the stamp could tell the FBI just where they were, or where they had been at least.
Maria climbed out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. For a second she thought she heard the door, but when she didn't hear any other sounds she assumed it was her imagination and Michael really wasn't home yet. She dried her hair after getting dressed and sighed quietly. It was nearly Christmas, and she was trying to ignore it. She didn't really want to acknowledge it. It was easier to ignore how much she missed her mom, when she ignored the holidays. Thanksgiving hadn't been that hard, but the impending doom of Christmas was making her miserable. She used a clip to pull her still slightly damp hair off her neck before exiting the bathroom and headed for the kitchen to start dinner.
Michael flinched in the small living room when he heard Maria move around, but she obviously didn’t see him yet. Good. He quickly applied the last ornaments, sighing when he saw the final result. It sucked. Big time. It was missing lights too. How could he forget about the lights? And the tree was just too awfully small. She deserved better.
She got into the kitchen and took a look in the cupboards and then sighed as she turned to head for the fridge, when she saw a figure in the living room and jumped. "Oh! My god Michael! You scared the crap out of me!" Obviously she had heard the door. She let out a breath and then raised an eyebrow and tilted her head to the side. "Is that… is that what I think it is?"
“I dunno. It’s a tree.” He smirked and walked over to her, kissing her cheek. She smelled good. Freshly showered. “What did you think it was?”
"Well, you were standing in front of it… I couldn't tell if it was a tree, or if you were sprouting odd alien growths." She couldn't help but smile. "You bought a Christmas tree?" So much for ignoring the holiday.
He chuckled and went to stand next to her, watching the tree. It was just too small. “Yeah. I’m sorry I didn’t get a better one.”
Maria turned to him and touched his lips. "I love it Michael. Thank you." She knew that Michael wasn't big on holidays, and he went out of his way to get them a Christmas tree, and decorate it. She kissed him softly on the lips and rested her hands on his sides. "Thank you."
Michael smiled and wrapped his arms around her slim body, pulling her a little closer. “It’s no big deal. I just wanted to…” He shrugged, trailing off. He had wanted to see her just as happy as she seemed now.
"Yes it is a big deal Michael. I know you. And I know that you've never been big on the whole holiday and celebration thing. So you doing this… it really means a lot to me." It really made her miss her mom too though. It made her miss all of the family Christmas traditions. But she had Michael… it was enough for her. But she was still a little sad.
He shrugged again but he couldn’t help smiling. Then he looked at her and it turned into a frown. “But you’re sad again.” It had been what he had wanted to avoid.
She shook her head. "No, I'm not…This makes me happy Michael. It really does. But it's just that… my mom always made it home for Christmas, even if she wasn't there for Christmas Eve, or had to leave again the next day. We spent Christmas together, and it’s just knowing that this year I can't do the same for her… it makes me sad." She shook her head again a little. "But you… doing this for me…" She gestured to the tree. "Makes me very happy."
“I’m really sorry about your mom.” He let go of her and scratched his eyebrow. “This is my fault.” She should have stayed in Roswell, where she was safe.
"Don't do that Michael." Maria said quickly. "This isn't your fault. I made the decision to come with you. I decided that I was going to come with you, because I want to be with [b]you[/b]. Look, I can deal with not getting to see my mom. But if I was in Roswell right now… I'd be even more miserable because I wouldn't have you to cheer me up."
“Yeah, ditto.” His smile was back. She could always cheer him up too, like no one else could. “But still… if I was normal…” He shook his head and wrapped his arms back around her. But he wasn’t, and there was no good in wishing things would be different. He had been through this. It only made it all even harder. “Forget it.”
"If you were normal… there is still no place I'd rather be." She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. "Besides, if you were normal, I probably never would have even met you."
“I guess we still would have went to the same school.” He rested his cheek on top of her head. “But so you never recognized me before? Before you knew I was… different?”
"Of course I did. Who didn't notice Michael Guerin? And I'm not talking about the way you didn't comb your hair, or never showed up the class. I knew who you were; I just didn't have the nerve to ever approach you."
Michael chuckled. “I did comb my hair.” In fact, it had been lots of work to get it to stand the way it had back when they first were introduced. He still wasn’t sure why he did it though. Not like he wanted attention. But it just fit at that time. “But I know, it was what I had intended. For nobody to approach me, you know?”
Maria smiled a little. "Well, it didn't really last that long. Your success in getting people to not approach you."
“Oh it sure did.” He pulled back a little again. “Up until Max saved Liz and then even spilled our secret, everything was fine.”
She looked up at him and sighed softly before taking a step back. "I guess you're right." She hated the thought of it. Knowing that because Max saved Liz, saved her best friend, everything changed. She got Michael in her life, but their share of bad things happened, like Alex, and Tess… but if Max hadn't saved Liz, Maria would still be missing one of her best friends, and she wouldn't have Michael. Maria tucked a piece of hair behind her ear before walking towards the kitchen again. "Do you want something to eat?"
“Sure. What are you making?” He followed her, placing a hand on the small of her back when he had caught up.
Maria shook her head a little. "I don't know. What sounds good?"
“Italian?” He smiled. They ate it a lot, but it still always turned out to be a special day when they did it.
She looked up at him and nodded a little before giving him a small smile. "Okay. That sounds good."
“I’ll make the sauce.” He gave her a soft kiss and then went to the fridge to get out some of the ingredients.
Maria finished cleaning up the kitchen before she walked out to the living room and climbed onto the couch with Michael. She snuggled up to his chest and just looked at their Christmas tree. She still couldn't believe that he had got one. "Hey, Michael?"
“Yeah?” Michael had wrapped his arm around her as soon as she was close enough. He just loved that he could always touch her now, when they were alone in their own place. All those nights spend in the stupid van had been way too awkward.
"I love you." She told him and tilted her head back to look up at him for a moment, before looking back at the tree. Maria felt like she didn't say it enough. That he might not really know how much she really loved him. How much he meant to her, and how much every gesture, even if it was a small tree that reminded her of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, meant to her.
It wasn't a half-hearted gesture done just because; it was one that Michael put his whole self into. She knew that. And she loved him for it.
He didn’t say anything, he just kissed the top of her head and held her just this little bit closer. She knew he loved her too, she had to. It just wasn’t so easy to say the words. “I’m gonna go get lights tomorrow. Maybe some real candles.”
"You don't have to." She told him quietly. He knew he didn't have to. And she loved that he'd do it anyways. "But thank you." She snuggled up closer to him and let her eyes slip shut.
“I just want it to be as perfect as possible.” Under these circumstances. Michael watched her, rubbing up and down her arm. “Maria?”
"Yeah?" She murmured softly.
Her brow furrowed and she looked up at him. "For what?" Why was he thanking her? She hadn't done anything.
“For being here with me now. For letting me stay with you last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. Just thank you.” Stroking over her cheek, he held her gaze.
Slowly Maria reached up and touched his cheek. "Michael. There is no place I'd have rather been then, or now, or ever again. You've gone out of your way to do things for me, to make me happy. The earrings…" She reached up and touched her ear. She still wore them. All the time. "And last Christmas… I know I yelled at you for the Santa thing… but I love that you did that. And you stayed with me that night. I didn't want to be alone either. And now the tree...You have done so much more for me, than I've ever done for you."
Michael frowned. “Are you kidding me? You’re the reason my whole life changed.” He leaned down and kissed her slowly. “For the better, I should add.” He winked at her. But didn’t she know? Maybe he should try and let her see again.
She smiled up at him and touched his jaw. She had her doubts about that sometimes. Maria lifted her head up and kissed him softly, and shifted closer to him on the couch.
“Maria?” He rested his chin on top of her head again, gazing at the tree.
"Yeah?" Maria asked looking over to the tree.
“I love you too.” He glanced down at the woman in his arms once more. “You know that, right?”
She smiled a little and looked up at him again. "I know." But it was so nice to hear him say it, because he said it so rarely. "I know." She murmured quietly before kissing him softly.
Michael smiled against her lips and turned her in his arms so she was straddling him. He slipped his hands under her shirt to create more contact before he deepened the kiss, trying to open up to her completely. He still wasn’t sure how the whole flashes thing worked. Sometimes they started when they had sex, sometimes not. It was weird.
Maria wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him passionately, and let out a quiet moan. His hands on her skin felt so nice, it was sending delicious chills up her spine. She missed the making out on the couch. It reminded her of their first months together. Well, first two years, where most of the make out scenes were on his couch, or in the Eraser room. "Can we stay on the couch tonight?" She asked softly after breaking the kiss to take in some much needed air.
Michael brushed a strand of her brown hair out of her eyes and chuckled. “Sure.” He kissed her nose and then each of her eyebrows. “Consider it my Christmas present for this year.”
She smiled and kissed his forehead. "What can I get for you this year?" Maria reached up and gently combed her fingers through his hair.
“Stay with me on the couch?” He smirked at her and stroked his thumbs over the small of her back.
Maria rested her forehead against his and nodded. "I can do that." She told him and then kissed him softly. She shifted a little closer to him on the couch and sighed happily. For the first time in a while, she was truly happy. Her mind was focused on nothing but Michael.
“Good.” His gaze fell on the phone on the table behind her. He had unplugged it so they wouldn’t get disturbed today. Or any of the next two days. It probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but for once he really didn’t care. If anything happened, he could protect Maria. With his life, if need be. “Can I get something else too?”
"Anything you want." She told him. Lazily she drew shapes over his shoulders, and smiled at him.
“Anything?” He grinned. Now there were possibilities… “It’s actually just an addition to your first present.”
"Okay…" She tilted her head to the side. "What is it?" She would give him anything.
“Spend the night with me on the couch naked?”
Maria smiled and nodded. "Yeah. I think that can be arranged."
“Then lets have a Merry Christmas.” He winked and quickly tugged
her shirt over her head, throwing it to the floor.