Title: Truly Mine
Author: Zia
Rating: R - For vulgar language
Disclaimer: Not mine, so go away.
Distribution: Sure, just ask.
Author's Note: Well since I haven't been inspired lately on my other fics, and considering the lack of feedback didn't figure it mattered that much, I decided to work on something else. Came up with this idea the other day.

--
--


"Maria, girl, you've got to get up."

"Leave me alone Tess."

"No. You haven't gotten out of bed in nearly a week."

"And I plan to stay here."

"He's not coming back sweetie." Tess' voice was soft, and she reached out to touch Maria's cheek.

"Get out."

"Maria."

"I said get out."

"No."

"You don't understand Tess! I need him! I don't know what I'm supposed to do without him!"

"You're supposed to get out of bed and keep going!"

"I can't." Maria whispered and rolled away from Tess. She grabbed his pillow and pulled it tightly against her chest.

With a sigh Tess got up and walked out of Maria's room. "Any luck?" Zan asked from where he sat on the couch.

"No." Tess frowned and walked over to him and slid into his lap. "I don't know how to help her." Zan wrapped his arms around Tess' waist and kissed the back of her neck.

"Just be there for her baby." Zan told her softly.

"Tell her to grow up."

"Shut up Liz." Tess snapped. "You don't know what it feels like to go through what she is dealing with. So keep your mouth shut or I will shut it for you."

"Calm down." Zan said against her ear, sending a relaxing feeling down her back.

"I think I'll call Rath later."

"Maria doesn't know about him does she?"

"No, but…"

"Tess, I don't think that's a good idea. Besides, they hated each other." Zan told her, absently trailing his fingers around her stomach.

"But she needs someone Zan. Michael took care of her. She needs that from someone, and who better than his twin brother." Tess looked at Alex and Isabel who were sitting in a chair across the room. "What do you guys thing?"

"You can't just expect her to say 'Okay my boyfriend is dead, bring on his brother.'"

"That isn't what I mean Isabel. I just… I can't stand to see her like this. She's miserable."

"And bringing someone that looks like her bead boyfriend, great idea!" Liz retorted and Tess lost it. She leapt off the couch and rushed into the kitchen and shoved Liz backwards.

"I have had enough of your shit Parker! Maria was supposedly your best friend, and she lost the man she loves and you've done nothing but be a bitch to her, and to every single one of us. So get the fuck out Liz! I am not putting up with this anymore! Not for anyone. I'm sorry Alex."

Alex simply shrugged. "You heard her Liz. Go home and whine to mom, but don't come back here unless you're here to apologize."

"Alex!" Liz shrieked.

"Get out." He said calmly and then Liz frowned, but quickly left.

"Alex I'm sor-"

"Don't be Tess. If you hadn't have don't it, I would have. Give Rath a call, and see what happens"

Tess looked over at Zan who nodded. "I just want to help her you guys." Tess said and they all nodded. Tess walked back into the kitchen and grabbed the phone and dialed Rath's phone number. She hadn't seen him in years. Not since Rath and Michael's parents split up, and Michael got stuck with Hank, and Rath went to live somewhere up around New York. They had kept in touch when he first left, but after that they sort of drifted apart.


It was the middle of the night when Rath arrived. Tess was sitting in Zan's arms on the couch waiting for him. When he knocked loudly Tess jumped up and rushed to the door.

"It's so good to see you Rath." Tess hugged him tightly, and one of his arms curled around her waist.

"Heard about Mikey, how are you doin?"

"Okay I guess. But his girlfriend isn't doing well. She hasn't gotten out of the bed since it happened. She wouldn't even go to the funeral." Tess stepped back and looked at Rath.

"What am I s'posed to do?"

"I don't know, but I'm so worried about her Rath. Please. I know you and Michael didn't-"

"I'll see what I can do."


Maria laid in her bed, the same bed she'd shared with Michael for the last five years. And they'd been together even longer.

She tossed to one side, trapped in the same nightmare she had been in since it happened.

//Maria laughed quietly and darted ahead of Michael. "You want me? Come and get me."

"Sure thing baby." Three men stepped out of the shadows causing Maria to shriek in surprise.

"Maria!" Michael yelled and rushed to catch up with her. He grabbed her gently and pulled her behind him and away from the other men. "Back off." Michael growled at them and Maria's fingers dug into his arm as she peeked around his shoulder.

"Come on man, we just wanna play with her."

"You touch her and I'll kill you."

"Oh really?" One of the men smirked and pulled out a gun. "Well what if I kill you, and then we can touch her all we want." He aimed the gun at Michael, and in a split second there was a loud exploding sound, Maria screamed and Michael fell to his knees, and the men ran off down the street.

"Michael!" Maria screamed at the top of her lungs and grabbed onto him as she fell to her knees beside him. Both had one hand pressed against the wound and Maria sobbed quietly. "Michael! You can't leave me."

"I'm gonna be fine baby… it's okay." Carefully Michael lifted a hand up to cup her cheek. "I love you Maria."

"I love you too… no. No. NO! Michael!" Maria screamed as his eyes slid shut and his breathing stilled.//

Maria sat up quickly, gasping for breath. Not again. Please not again. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She hated this. She couldn't handle the dreams anymore. She wiped at her face and climbed out of bed. It was late, everyone was asleep, so she could come out. She just didn't want to face them, so she hid.

Maria slowly pulled open the door and her eyes locked with Michael. Just a rougher version. "Michael!" Maria rushed down the hall and threw her arms around his shoulders and held onto him as tightly as she could. "I knew you wouldn't leave me!" She cried.

Rath let his arms curl around Maria's tiny waist and held her close. He saw Tess open her mouth to say something but he quickly shook his head. Easily he lifted her up into his arms and carried her back down the hall.

"You couldn't leave me, I need you too much." Maria whispered softly as Rath laid her down on the bed again.

"Shh babe." Rath straightened up but Maria grabbed onto him.

"Don't leave me Michael." She cried and Rath looked down at her for a second before lying down behind her, and wrapped his arms around her waist.

Rath watched her as she quickly fell asleep. Did she really think that he was Michael? Fuck. He didn't want that. He wasn't Michael. They were nothing alike. Well obviously they had something in common, they had something for this girl. Rath really liked the way her body had pressed against his when she had hugged him. With a quiet groan Rath closed his eyes and forced himself to fall asleep.

--
--

Maria woke up early with a smile. She could feel Michael's arms around her waist. She rolled over and looked at him. But it wasn't him. The piercings, the hair. Maria sighed inwardly. It may not be him, but she could pretend. She had no idea who this man was, and she didn't care. But he was here. And he looked a lot like her dead boyfriend.

Maria climbed out of bed and walked into the bathroom and showered quickly before getting dressed. She was hungry. She hadn't eaten in days. Maria walked out of the bedroom, leaving her mysterious Michael look alike snoring away in bed. Everyone was still in bed when Maria made her way into the kitchen.

"Maria?" Maria looked over and saw a drowsy Tess walking into the kitchen.

"Hi Tess."

"Sweetie, what are you doing?"

"Making breakfast, you hungry? I think I'm making chocolate pancakes, those are Michael's favorite, do we have any whipped cream?" Maria busied herself with finding the ingredients while Tess started shocked at Maria.

"Maria…"

"Hey." Rath's louder voice tore through the quiet of the room. Maria jumped and spun around. She threw her arms around him and kissed the side of his mouth.

"Morning baby. I'm making your favorite." Maria said before spinning around again and going back to the stove.

Tess looked at Rath, worry was written across her face, but Rath simply shook his head. He wasn't sure what he was doing, but he was trying to help Maria, and if she wanted to believe he was Michael… he could handle it for a little while anyways.


Over a month had passed since Michael died, and Rath showed up. Everyone watched Maria; worried because she thought Rath was Michael. They'd noticed over the month the changes Rath had gone through. His hair wasn't spiked up in a Mohawk, he had fewer piercings, and he was wearing things Michael had worn.

Maria sat on the couch with her knees against her chest as she flipped through the channels on the TV when Tess walked in and sat down beside her. "Hey."

"Hey… Maria we need to talk."

"What about?"

"Michael…"

"He's great isn't he?" Maria smiled brightly.

"Maria, that isn't Michael. It's his twin brother Rath." Maria turned off the TV, and her smile fell. "You're scaring me Maria, I know you miss him but…"

"I'm not crazy Tess. I know… I've always known, I knew Michael had a brother, he told me about him once. I just miss him so much. I just want my boyfriend back."

"But it isn't fair to Rath. He isn't Michael, and you can't turn him into Michael."

"I know." Maria closed her eyes, willing herself not to cry. "But I think I'm falling in love with him."

"With Rath, or the Rath you've turned into Michael?"

"Rath…He has all these little habits, they're so… I just think I'm in love with him Tess. How could I do that to Michael?! He hasn't even been dead a month and I'm falling for his twin brother!" Maria let out a quiet sob and jumped up quickly and ran into her bedroom.

Tess stared after Maria stunned. She couldn't believe this. Maria was falling for Rath? So she pretended it was Michael?

"Yo." Rath walked inside closing the door behind him. He was working at the Crashdown, where Maria worked, where Michael used to work. He hated it. Flipping burgers? It sucked, but it was money, and kept him around Maria. Since when did he want to be around a girl like her? He'd never even seen her naked. They'd barely kissed; she kept all of that locked up from him, maybe that had something to do with it.

"Hi." Tess said quietly.

"What's wrong?" She shook her head.

"Nothing…" Tess had no idea what to do. Should she tell Rath?

"Where's Ria?"

"In the bedroom…" Rath simply nodded before walking into the bedroom. He looked around but she wasn't there.

"Ria?"

Maria stood in the bathroom, under the spray of the water, when she heard Rath walk in their room. He called her name and she smiled. She loved the way he said her name. With that hint of his New York accent that had faded somewhat over the last month.

"In here." Maria's voice cracked and she heard the door open a little.

"Ya okay?"

"No." Maria said quietly and shut off the water. She grabbed her towel and wrapped it around herself before stepping out. The door wasn't open enough for Rath to see her, just so he could hear her.

"What's wrong?"

"You think I'm crazy too don't you?"

"A'course not." Maria pulled open the door the rest of the way and looked at him. Rath sucked in a breath when he saw her. Wrapped in a towel that barely fell halfway down her thighs. Her wet hair fell over her shoulders, and water dripped down her arms, and over her chest.

"Maybe I am."

"Why?"

"This isn't fair to you." Maria walked past him quickly and sighed inwardly.

"What isn't fair?"

"To make you pretend to be him… I know you're not… I know who you are. Michael told me about you. I just pretended. I wasn't ready to let him go."

"So now you are? Ya kickin' me out?"

"No… you can stay." Maria picked up a dress and pulled it on quickly.

Rath bit back a groan at the shot of her naked ass for the split second she let the towel fall down for. "Where are you going?"

"Something I need to do." Maria pulled her hair into a bun quickly and looked at Rath. "I'm sorry for what I did to you… all your rings are in my jewelry box."

"Maria."

"Bye." Maria said as she grabbed her sandals and practically ran out of their bedroom. Rath growled and slammed his fist into the wall.

Maria knelt down beside Michael's grave and laid the bouquet of flowers on it. A mix of brightly colored wild flowers. "Michael… god I miss you so much." Maria said quietly. You were supposed to be here with me. I needed you. But Rath came… And I think I fell in love with him. I didn't mean to… he's like you, but he's so different at the same time. I tried to pretend he was you, and he actually went along with it. But he's not you. He doesn't want to be you, and I don't want him to be you either. I feel horrible. You've barely been gone a month and I am in love with someone else. How could I do that!? What am I supposed to do? I can't stay there with him without betraying you. I can't do that to you. So I think I'm gonna leave. I'm not sure where to yet, but I'm just going to go away. I'll leave tonight… So I probably won't be back here again for a while. But I love you Michael. I always will."

--
--


Rath sighed and flopped back onto the bed. She left him. She knew exactly who he was, and she used him, and left him. That bitch! Rath growled and slammed his fist into the nightstand beside the bed, and knocked it to the floor. The drawer fell open and Rath sighed and sat up. Broken glass from the light many papers, and a small notebook.

Rath leaned down and grabbed it off the floor and opened it up to the first page. Michael's journal. Rath resisted the urge to chuckle. There was a drawing of Maria. Small, but really good. Her eyes were closed, and she was lying surrounded by flowers, like in a field.

Slowly Rath made his way through the journal. Entry after entry about Maria. About the first time the made love, how beautiful she was, and his every intention of marrying her some day. When Rath reached the last page he found an address, and a drawing of a ring.

Rath lifted himself off the floor and glanced at the address again before tossing the journal on the bed and heading out the door. Half an hour later he got back and frowned when he realized that Maria was still not back. He set the package on the end table in the living room before walking back into the bedroom. He knelt down to work on picking up the papers that had spilled earlier.

Rath got up quickly when he heard the bedroom door open. "What are you doing?" Maria asked quietly as she walked inside and saw the contents of Michael's nightstand spilled across the floor.

"Sorry, I knocked it over…" Then Maria saw Michael's journal in Rath's hands.

"You read that?" Rath shifted slightly.

"Yeah."

"Oh… he never let me read it…"

"Do you want it?" Rath held it out towards her and she stepped back quickly.

"No. I don't… he didn't want me to read it."

"It's about you."

"Stop!" Maria shrieked and covered her ears. Rath nodded and stepped back then knelt down to pick up the things he'd knocked over. "I'm leaving…" Rath jerked his head up.

"What?!"

"I'm gonna leave… I just need to be away for a while, I need to think."

"About what?"

"Stuff Rath… I just need to be alone."

"But-"

"Please Rath… just… let me pack, and let me leave. I never should have used you like I did. I just needed my boyfriend to exist for a little while longer… I'm really sorry Rath."

Rath stared at her in shock before slamming the drawer to the nightstand and storming out of the room. He knew that's all he was, a replacement. But for some reason, it really hurt to hear it actually come out of her mouth.

Maria slowly packed her things into a suitcase, taking a few of Michael's possessions with her. Along with one of Rath's shirts. Taking a deep breath Maria grabbed her jacket, and her suitcase, and guitar case before walking out of the bedroom. She could see Rath in the kitchen, his hands gripping the counter as he faced away from her. His knuckles white from squeezing the counter so hard. "I'm sorry." Maria whispered before quietly.

Rath turned to look at her and walked into the living room and picked up the package and held it towards her. "Michael got this for you." Maria reached out slowly and took it before spinning around quickly and walking out the door.

She tossed her things into the car and drove away. To where, she didn't know, just away, to try and work things out in her mind.

After Maria had been driving for a while she pulled over to the side of the road and picked up the box. Slowly she unwrapped it, and pulled a smaller box out of the larger box. Then again, and again, until she found a small velvet box. "Oh god." Maria whispered and slowly opened it. Inside she found a note in Michael's handwriting.

/ Marry me? I love you Maria, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I know that you know this already, but I wanted you to have a ring to show for it.

I love you,
Michael /

Under the note was a beautiful diamond ring on a platinum band. Maria swallowed hard and pulled the ring out of the box. Rath went and got it? How did he know?! Maria slid the ring on her finger and smiled. It was a perfect fit.

God she missed Michael so much. How could she manage without him? And Rath… she was such a bitch to him. But he didn't care did he? Michael had told her about how he'd use women, never stayed with them for long. But Rath stayed with her. She had barely kissed him, nothing more than soft kisses against the side of his mouth, but that was all. "Michael. What do I do?" Maria closed her eyes tightly.


Rath collapsed back onto the bed he'd been sharing with Maria. It smelled like her. Fuck. This was hell. She left. She fucking left. And he was actually upset about it. For the first time ever he was upset a girl had left him instead of the other way around.

But she was in his head. And she wasn't getting out. But he couldn't compare to his brother, not in her eyes anyways. He was a temporary replacement. And now she was over it. Rath closed his eyes and sighed.


Maria walked back into the house. It was late. Everyone was in bed. The house was dark, and quiet. Maria set her bags down and glanced around before taking the ring off that Michael had bought her. She'd keep it forever, and cherish it, but she couldn't wear it. Not since she'd fallen in love with Rath. She just hoped he was still here. Maria walked into her room and found Rath asleep in the middle of the bed. "Rath?" Maria whispered and he shifted slightly. Maria moved closer to the bed and sunk down on the edge of it. "Rath." She said again and watched him roll over, away from her. Tears stung her eyes and Maria laid down on the edge of the bed.

Rath laid on his side, listening to Maria's breathing as it evened out. He rolled back over and carefully pulled a blanket up over her. He kissed her shoulder and snaked his arm around her waist before drifting back off to sleep.

Maria woke up slowly the next morning and shifted slightly, but felt weight against her stomach. She looked down and saw a large hand with a skull ring holding her possessively against his chest. Maria shifted again, this time rolling over to face him and watch him sleep. "Rath." Maria whispered softly.

"I thought you weren't coming back." He said, his eyes still closed.

"I didn't think I was… but I know Michael would have wanted me to be happy… and as horrible as I feel for falling in love with his twin brother… you make me happy."

Rath opened his eyes slowly and looked at her. "I've never had anyone get to me like you do DeLuca… What am I gonna do with you?"

"Keep me forever?" She whispered and Rath smirked at her.

"Yeah, I like that idea." Rath said before kissing her soundly, and pulling her closer to his body.