FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"A Few Degrees Shy of Heaven"
Part 10
by Christina
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing.
Summary: ***If you haven't read Road Trip, much of this will not make sense***
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
"What kind of suggestions?" Michael asked.

Liz looked around the group before she spoke. "Please hear me out before you say anything. What I think we should do is get ahold of the Elders and find out as much as we can about Nacerro's race; their strengths, their powers, and especially their weaknesses. After that, we come up with a plan for battling him. I'll talk to my dad and tell him not to schedule Maria closing shifts until we're ready and when we are, we use her as bait and attack."

"Bait?" Michael asked. "I don't like the sound of that, it could put her into too much danger."

Maria sighed and squeezed his hand. "No, Michael. Her plan is good. Besides, if you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly a little defenseless waif lately."

Michael opened his mouth to speak but Isabel beat him to it. "So I hear," she said. "Everyone at school today was talking about what happened in your English class between you two and how Maria practically sent Bobby Jenkins flying across the room." Isabel stared directly at Maria and said, "Do you want to explain?"

Maria shook her head slightly and shrugged. "I can't. I remember doing it but I don't know how."

"And that's not all," Michael added. "When we were in class yesterday, she left bite and nail marks all over my neck but when she kissed them, they disappeared." Everyone looked at them sharply but they didn't say anything.

"We were so shaken by what happened that we left and went back to my house," Michael continued. "We talked and then fell asleep, only to be woken by a very drunk Hank. He started to toss suggestive comments at Maria and when I told him to stop, he punched me. Sent me across the room. Here's the weird part. I could feel Maria's anger boiling. I could just sense it and it was fierce, practically crackling like electricity. She stood up and put her hands on Hank's chest, not pushing him one bit, and he flew across the room."

Isabel stood up and put her hands on her hips. She looked worried. "Maria's is growing powers that she can't control and that she has openly displayed in public. We don't know what she is going to do next which puts us at an extreme disadvantage. Let's forget about calling the elders and just go there. Today is Wednesday, so if we can just keep things under control for two more days, we can leave Saturday morning and find out what is going on." She looked directly at Maria and said, "Is there anyway we can keep you out of school for the next two days?"

Maria opened her mouth to speak but shut it when she heard the kitchen door open and her mother's angry voice call out her name. "Maria! Where are you? I need to talk to you!"

Maria swore and everyone shifted in their seats. "Mom, I'm in here!" she answered.

Amy Deluca came breezing into the room looking extremely upset. She looked around at the faces of her daughter's friends in surprise and she said, "Hello, kids. Uh, Maria," she batted her eyes the way she always did when she was trying to be polite even though she was fuming inside, "I need to speak to you in the kitchen."

Maria sighed and got up off the couch to follow her mother. "I'll be right back," she told her friends.

In the kitchen, her mother looked at her and said, "I just received a call from the school saying that you missed classes both today and last Friday and that there was an incident in class with that Michael boy yesterday. Would you like to explain?"

"Mom, I've been feeling sick lately so I decided to stay home. I didn't think it was a big deal."

Instantly, Amy looked concerned. "What kind of sick?" She raised her hand to Maria's forehead to see if she was hot.

Maria pulled back and sighed. "I'm okay mom. My stomach had just been bothering me," she said. Then to herself she thought, *If you only knew.* "Now, what did they say about Michael?"

Amy's eyes widened and she threw her hands up in a clueless gesture. "They just said that there was an incident in which your shirt got ripped off and you pushed some guy across the room? She wasn't sure of the specifics but that's what she told me." She grabbed her daughter's hands and said, "Will you please tell me what's going on?"

Maria looked away and shrugged. She hated having to lie to her mom but she really didn't see any choice at that moment. "Michael and I were joking around and he pulled on my arms and my shirt ripped off. Some guy made a lewd comment so I pushed him and he was taken off guard. Mom, it really isn't a big deal."

Her mother still looked concerned but she nodded slowly. "Okay. So, do you want to explain why I have a living room full of teenagers right now?"

"Oh yeah," she grinned, "They ah....ah they came over to see how I was doing?"

"Oh. Look Maria, I was scheduled for a convention in Arizona next weekend, but I don't' think I'm going to go, I should probably stay here with you. We haven't been spending enough time with each other lately and I don't want you to feel neglected or anything."

"Where in Arizona?" Maria asked a little too quickly, totally ignoring the rest of her mother's words.

"Flagstaff? I don't know, I've never been there before, but there is a new age convention on crystals there so I thought I would go, but I think I should stay here with you instead."

Maria held up her hand and said, "Hold that thought." She ran into the living room, her mother staring after her as though she sprouted a new head.

"Guys!" Maria hissed. "My mother is going to Flagstaff next weekend for a convention! Maybe we could all go together, she could be our guardian! That way the parents will let everyone go. Then, we can tell my mom that we want to go down to Sedona for the day because we heard it's so beautiful. It's perfect! What do you think? That is if you think we could wait for another week."

Everyone looked around at each other and then nodded. "That might just work," Max said. "I know that my parents wouldn't have been to keen on us wanting to go on an unsupervised trip out of town."

"Mine either," Liz added.

"Besides," Michael said. "I'm supposed to move into my new foster home this weekend so it probably isn't a good idea if I take off like that. Go ask your mom if it's okay."

Maria nodded and went back to the kitchen. "Mom, I have an idea to run by you."


After the group disbursed, Maria and Michael drove over to Michael's house to help him start packing.

"I can't believe your mom is making us get permission slips for the trip," Michael said, holding his hands over his mouth trying to hide his grin.

Maria rolled her eyes and then laughed shortly, realizing how ridiculous it really sounded. "Me either. She is such a FREAK sometimes."

"Is she going to make us hold hands and walk single-file as well the whole time?"

"Shut up," Maria said, still smiling as the car came to a stop in front of the old, sagging trailer. They both stepped out and Michael walked around to the trunk and picked up a stack of flattened boxes from inside of it and he put them under one arm. With his free hand, he reached for Maria's small one. He frowned when he caught a glimpse of Hank's truck on the other side of the trailer.

"It's a little early for Hank to be home," Michael observed, his dismay evident.

The rusty screen door screeched in protest as Michael held it open for Maria to enter. When they got in, there was no sign of Hank and Michael sighed in relief. "Maybe he caught a ride to work with his boss, Jimbo," he said.

Maria grinned and muttered under her breath, "Let's hope so."

They made their way to the bedroom and Michael put the boxes on his bed. "Not that I have a lot of stuff to pack but we should do this strategically. We should put clothes in these boxes and the rest of my crap in the smaller boxes."

Maria smirked. "You mean you have more that one pair of black jeans and more than one black shirt? I was beginning to wonder."

"Smart ass," he remarked.

She grinned and walked over to him, giving him a sweet kiss on the cheek. "Oh, come on. You know I love ya. Now, let get this done before Hank comes home."

"I second that," Michael said grimly.

Maria went to the right side of his double sized closet and pulled it open. "Okay, I'll start here," she said, still looking behind her at him. She turned around and let out a quick squeal of surprise.

Hank was lying in the bottom of the closet.

Michael sighed and rolled his eyes. "Drunk bastard," he swore. Michael nudged him with his foot. "Hank, wake up!" He got no response. Groaning, he bent down and reached out to shake him. The minute his hand came in contact with Hank's arm he recoiled. "He's cold! I think he's...."

"What Michael? You think he's what?"

"I think he's dead."

Maria's heart jumped in her throat. "Check his pulse!" she cried, remembering that this was where she had left him last night.

Michael raised his hand to his throat, finding no pulse. "There is no pulse," Michael said quietly. "He's dead."

Maria's eyes went wide and she fought to speak. "Then..." she swallowed. "Then that means that I...that I..." she clenched her stomach as her vision doubled and she hissed the last part out, "I killed him. I'm a murderer!"

Part 9 | Index | Part 11
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.