The Ride

Author: hah
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Roswell and all the characters belong to Jason Katims and the WB. I do not have anything to do with them. I am merely borrowing them.

Liz watched the pair of lions in amazement; some of the behaviors the large cats exhibited were so similar to that of humans, she could only marvel. Signing up for the biology field trip to Africa to observe desert animals was one of the best things she had ever done. Adjusting her position behind the screen that hid the humans from view, Liz looked again through the lens of her camera. The lioness was nudging her male companion, nuzzling his mane with her forehead. She began to purr, a loud rumbling sound from deep in her throat. The sound became louder, nearer, and Liz began to get worried. The sound shouldn't be getting louder, unless the lions were getting closer. And she could still see the pair through the camera. Was there another lion out there, one she wasn't aware of? As the sound got closer, Liz could feel her muscles tense. She looked around the enclosure only to discover she was alone. Where had everyone else gone? Had they abandoned the enclosure, leaving her alone? As the purr continued to get nearer and louder, Liz frantically searched her memory for any clue as to what she should do. Muscles screaming, her body torn between fight and flight, Liz opened her mouth to scream.

The scream awakened her as Liz shot bolt upright in bed. Her heart was racing as she struggled to focus on her surroundings. With relief she realized she was safe in her bed, in her room above the café. It had only been a dream. Liz sat still, listening for sounds of movement down the hall, hoping the scream had only been in her dream. As she listened to the sounds of the night, her ears picked up another sound, a soft rumbling purr. It was coming from outside her window.

Liz tossed back her covers and swung her feet to the floor. It was cool to the touch, even through the socks she wore. The days might be warm here in New Mexico, but the nights could still get a little chilly. She pulled on a sweatshirt over the shorts and tank top she'd worn to bed and moved to the window. The night air was chilly but Liz didn't let that deter her from investigating the sound. Pulling the sweatshirt tighter around her body, Liz peered over the edge of the deck. Her heart nearly stopped as she realized the source of the sound.

Michael sat astride his motorcycle in the alley below her balcony. His long legs, encased in worn jeans, hugged the metal of the bike. She watched as he turned the key, silencing the purr. Michael swung his leg over the motorcycle, shoved his hands in the pockets of his denim jacket, and looked up. His usually solemn face broke into a wide grin at the sight of her. "Liz," he said softly.

Liz smiled back at him, her heart starting to race again, this time at the sight of Michael and his motorcycle. Like many other women, the bad boy image sent a little tingle running through her. "Hi, Michael." Her voice was soft, full of welcome.

With an agility and speed that always surprised her, Michael scaled the wall and joined her on the balcony. His grin widened as he took in the sight of her feet encased in simple white socks, her smooth bare legs topped by silk boxers and the sweatshirt she held closed tight. Even with her hair all mussed from sleep, she looked amazing. He couldn't believe his luck in winning her heart. Grabbing the lapels of the sweatshirt, Michael gave a gentle tug and Liz tumbled into his arms. His mouth found hers, brushing gently across her lips. "How'd you know I was out here?" he asked as he broke the kiss.

Liz smiled into his eyes. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me," Michael encouraged.

"I thought you were a lion about to attack me." Liz said with a straight face.

Michael choked on a laugh. "What?" he finally managed to ask.

Liz told him about her dream. "My mind picked up on the sound, I guess, and incorporated it into the dream. The subconscious is an amazing thing."

Michael didn't answer; he was still laughing.

Liz nudged him with her elbow. It was funny, but still.... "What are you doing here?" she asked.

Michael gave his trademark shrug. "I came to see if you wanted to go for a ride." He nodded in the direction of the bike.

"Michael, it's the middle of the night."

"So?" Typical Guerin response.

Liz just continued to stare at him, so Michael continued. "I couldn't sleep so I decided to go for a ride. I thought you might want to go, but if you don't...whatever." He kept his voice nonchalant but Liz could tell he was hurt by her reaction.

"I'd love to go on a ride with you. Just let me put on some clothes." Michael started to argue that he liked her just the way she was, but Liz gave him her 'no-nonsense' look and he subsided. He supposed she was right; he didn't want the delicate skin of her legs getting burned by the exhaust pipes. Liz slipped back through the window.

When she emerged a minute later, she was still wearing the sweatshirt, now zipped up. Jeans now encased her legs and sneakers covered her feet. Her long dark hair was pulled back at her neck in a pony-tail.

"All set?" Michael asked.

Liz nodded, the movement setting her hair swinging.

Michael clambered down first. As Liz followed him down, Michael clasped his hands around her waist and lowered her down the last few feet.

Michael released her and moved to the bike. He swung his leg over and patted the seat behind him. "Hop on."

Liz hesitated a moment. "What about helmets?"

Michael twisted around so he could face her. "We don't need helmets, Liz." When she still looked unconvinced, Michael added, "We'll be fine, Liz. But we can track some down if you insist."

His offer warmed her heart. She knew he'd never do anything to endanger her. "It's OK, Michael." With that, Liz laid her hand on Michael's shoulder and swung her leg over the bike. As she wiggled to get comfortable, Michael said, "Scoot a little closer and put your arms around my waist." Liz did as he asked, pressing her front to his back. His body heat seeped into her, counteracting the cool night air.

Michael's stomach muscles clenched as Liz's arms stole around his waist. He couldn't quite believe she'd agreed to come with him. "Where to?" he asked.

Liz's reply was muffled against his back. "You choose," she said.

Michael turned the key and the engine roared to life beneath them. Michael started the bike slowly, easing it out of the alleyway. Unused to the sensation, Liz tried to find her balance.

Michael stopped. "Let me do the balancing. Just keep holding on to me." Liz nodded against his back.

Michael started moving again. Liz pressed closer to him, her thighs tightened against his, her arms locked around his waist. They moved slowly through town; no reason to get caught before the fun actually started.

Once they reached the outskirts of Roswell, Michael spoke again. "Are you ready to go fast?"

"Just a minute." Michael's heart sank; was Liz changing her mind? Liz loosened one of her arms from his waist, reaching back to grasp the rubber band. She pulled it free from her hair, shaking the dark mass loose. She slid the band into Michael's pocket and then slid her arm back around his waist. "I'm ready."

Michael gunned the engine and the bike moved forward faster than before. Liz found herself pressed closer to Michael as he steered the bike southeast.

He was heading into the desert, the one place where he always felt he could be himself. Michael, the loner, Michael, the alien-who-couldn't-control-his-powers. Tonight he was Michael, the guy-with-the-woman-he-loved-on-the-back-of-his-motorcycle. He smiled inwardly.

Face pressed into Michael's jean jacket, Liz reveled in all the different sensations. Michael's heartbeat beneath her cheek, the wind whipping her hair out behind them. Her hands and ears were cold from the night air but Liz barely noticed. She shifted slightly so she could watch the scenery as they passed. Night was breaking and the sky around them was lightening. The hills and mountains around them were in stark relief against the early morning sky, silhouetted in shades of purple and black. She didn't ask where they were going; just being out here, experiencing this with Michael, was enough.

Minutes, hours, later, Liz didn't know, she felt the bike slow and then come to a halt. "We're here," Michael said as his hands found hers, rubbing them to warm then up. He waited a minute, until Liz unlocked her hands and slid off the back of the bike. She steadied herself with a hand on his shoulder until her legs got used to standing again. Michael slid off the bike next. "C'mon," he said, taking her hand in his and leading her along a path only he could see.

The walk was short, through some scraggly brush which snagged and caught on their pant legs. He led her to an overlook. "This is where I come to be alone." The view took Liz's breath away. The site overlooked the desert and the road and the mountains in the distance. The sky had lightened even more, illuminating the sight with the beginnings of the bright colors of sunrise.

Michael left Liz for a moment, to rummage under a small overhang. He returned with a sleeping bag. The outside was a little damp with condensation, but the inside was clean and dry.

Michael spread the bag on the ground in front of a rock. He sat down and offered his hand to Liz. She came willingly, sitting between his spread legs. Michael pulled the edges of the bag around them, tucking them tight. He folded his arms around her. Liz leaned into the warmth offered by his body and the sleeping bag.

"Watch this," Michael whispered into her ear.

Liz focused her gaze on the sight below them. The sun was coming up, the light creeping over the mountains in layers of fuschia and pink and orange. An amazing pallet of colors no artist could ever hope to imitate. Liz sucked in her breath. "It's amazing," she whispered. Michael's arms tightened around her. "I know. I keep trying to paint it but I can never get it quite right."

They sat in silence, watching the light play over the wide open spaces. Finally, daylight came; the sky its usual bright blue, the sun warm on their faces.

Liz turned in Michael's arms. She pressed her lips to his in a kiss that said expressed everything she couldn't find the words for. Both were breathless when they finally pulled apart. "Thank you for coming to get me last night."

Michael merely nodded. Liz turned back to the view. Her head rested against Michael's shoulder. "You know," she said conversationally, "we're never going to make it to school in time."

"Does it really matter?" Michael whispered against her ear.

In answer Liz settled closer, her hands clasping Michael's.


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