FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"A Few Degrees Shy of Heaven"
Part 14
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
After school, everyone waited for Kyle in the parking lot. School had ended ten minutes before and he still hadn't shown. "Looks like Kyle is a no-show," Michael said, checking Maria's watch. "Let's get out of here."

"No," Maria said confidently. "Let's give him five more minutes. He said that he was skipping practice so maybe he went and talked to the coach." She had been really surprised at how well the gang had taken the news about Kyle. Then again, with all the weird shit that she and Michael had told them about their weekend, she really shouldn't have been surprised.

Michael sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. He tried to blank his thoughts because he knew that Maria would get mad at him again if she heard what he was thinking.

"Maria, come on. Let's just go."

She glanced sharply at Michael and sent, *I said I would wait for him. This isn't a joke. We need to figure out what's going on and now! If you want to leave, that's fine, but I'm waiting.*

"No, I'll stay," He said, aloud.

Both Liz and Isabel approached Maria just then. "So," Isabel started. "What exactly did you want to do tonight?"

Liz tilted her head to the side, considering the options, and then said, "Well, we could always do ice-cream? Or bowling?"

Maria sighed and said, "Or massive amounts of alcohol."

Liz's eyes widened. "Maria! Your pregnant! You can't drink alcohol!"

Maria smirked at Liz and said, "Kidding, Ha-Ha? Look, I don't know, whatever you girls want to do."

Isabel perked up. "How about make-overs? We can all stay the night at my house, my parents wont be home until really late tonight."

Maria noticed as Liz turned her head, her eyes meeting Max's shyly. She turned back to the girls and then nodded. "Sure, that sounds fine to me."

Maria nodded, "What time should we come over?"

"Seven thirty," Isabel said, smiling.

Maria opened her mouth to speak, but stopped dead cold when she started to have the same symptoms she'd had in class earlier that day. Her head started to pound and color began to flash behind her eyelids. "It's happening again!" she squeaked out with her last conscious thought, alerting the group. The visions came much quicker this time.

***Flash Blue***

Isabel in red silk pajamas, her head being snapped back by the back of someone's hand.

***Flash Red***

A young Sheriff Valenti in a suit, standing in front of a arch covered with blood red roses.

***Flash Black***

Liz wearing a white tank-top and fuzzy, pale blue drawstring pants, being punched in the face and knocked out cold.

***Flash Silver***

Someone grabbing Maria by the back of the neck and Maria fainting.

***Flash Blue***

A younger Sheriff Valenti watching Amy Deluca from the shadows.

***Flash Red***

Two purple rings with strange glowing lights inside of them.

***Flash Black***

Maria being put into the back of a black van.

***Flash Silver***

Camille Valenti, walking out on her family.

***Flash Blue***

A dagger with a green and purple stone being held high in Maria's hand.

***Flash Red***

Maria holding the dagger to Michael's neck and stabbing him in the throat.

***Flash Black***

Kyle's smiling face.

***End of Vision***

"What's going on?" Liz cried as Maria fought to suck in lung-ful after lung-ful of clean air. She leaned against the jeep, trying to steady her legs.

"What is it?" Isabel asked, grabbing on to Maria's arm frantically. "What did you see?"

"I killed him!" Maria gasped.

"Killed who?" Alex asked sharply, coming behind Maria, trying to support her body as she fell to a heap on the asphalt.

"Me," Michael said gravely. He was met with several horrified stares.

Kyle chose that moment to appear and he looked around at the group, confused. "What's wrong with Maria?" he asked Liz, looking at the small blond who was curled up on the ground, sobbing.

Liz didn't know what to say so she prayed to God in thanks when Michael stepped in for her.

Michael came up behind Kyle and said, "Maria had a vision. You and I are riding in your car. We need to talk." To Max he said, "Take Maria with you. Let's meet at your house."


"What do you want to talk about?" Kyle asked Michael as he pulled out of the parking lot.

Michael studied Kyle out of the side of his eye and then said, "Have you been having visions?"

"No," Kyle answered quickly.

"You haven't been seeing at all?"

"No! What's this all about?"

"Maria is having visions and I'm trying to figure out if they're prophetic or not. In the one she just had, she killed me," Michael said, looking forward again. "And afterwards, there was a vision of you smiling."

Kyle looked over at Michael and said, "Look, dude. I don't want you dead." He hesitated for a short second before asking his next question. "What do you mean killed you?"

Michael sighed in exasperation. "I'm not exactly wanting to rehash the grizzly details but, she held a dagger to my throat and jabbed it in."

"Huh," was all Kyle would say.

They drove for a few more minutes in silence and then right before they pulled up to the curb in front of Max's house, Michael said, "Why did you attack Lisa?"

Kyle didn't answer right away. He pulled the car up to the curb and turned the engine off, then he shifted in his seat so that he was facing Michael. "Why did Maria? Attack Lisa?"

"Lisa made a reference to Maria's exposed chest from the other day. Why?"

"I didn't know that. I just felt power being used and before I knew it, I was being drawn in to it! Sucked in is more appropriate. I would never do that to Lisa for any reason. Her and I used to date and we broke up on good terms. There is no reason for me to want to do that to her."

Michael considered that in silence and then said, "Kyle, Maria says you two are connected. Do you feel it?"

Kyle shrugged. "I feel...something. Why does she think so?"

"Because you got your powers at the same time she did and you attacked Lisa when she did. You swear you never had anything like this happen to you before?"

Kyle spoke with absolute certainty. "Never."

Michael reached for the handle on the door and muttered, "I just wish I could figure out how you two could be connected?"

"You and me both," Kyle said, exiting the car with him.


In the living room, Maria sat on Michael's lap, her head nestled in Michael's shoulder.

"So, Kyle. Tell everyone how you discovered your powers," Michael said.

Kyle looked around the room, a little intimidated and then he sighed. "I caught Vicky making out with Tommy O' Ryan on Sunday night. There was a six pack of beer on the floor next to the bed in Vicky's room. I got really mad at my discovery and I felt this pressure in my chest as my anger grew. I yelled at them about being traitors and the beer exploded with my last words. Naturally, I flipped out and left. I kept trying to tell myself that it wasn't connected to me, just a coincidence, you know? But then it happened again on Monday morning."

"My dad and I got into one of our usual arguments, I can't remember about what, and I went in to my room and slammed the door. I yelled as a tension reliever and my lava lamp exploded. Scared the shit out of me."

Max leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. "Kyle, has it happened again? Besides this morning?"

Kyle looked into Max's eyes and nodded. "Yes. I got mad at a bum call the ref made at last night's game and the basketball exploded in my hands."

"So, it's attached to anger," Liz muttered. "Michael, is Maria always angry when her powers happen."

"Pretty much."

"Obviously there's a connection between Maria and Kyle. Now we have to figure out how," Max sighed. "Why did Maria's anger set you off this morning?" He asked Kyle.

"I already told Michael this. I felt power being used and I was sucked into it. I kind of blacked out."

"So, you weren't consciously doing it then? It just happened?"

Kyle nodded. "And I couldn't stop it. I was really angry and there was no reason to be. Hell, I just found out I made the all-state team, so I was in a really good mood."

"Have you had any visions?" Isabel asked. "Maria has had two today."

Kyle shook his head and sighed. "No."

"Any black-out? Or have you seen any odd signs?"

Kyle rubbed his eyes and let his head fall back. "No, Isabel. Why?"

"I'd like to know if her visions mean anything? She said in the last one, she killed Michael. I figured that if you two are connected somehow, maybe you'll be getting the same visions."

"Well, I'm not. I don't know what to tell you."

Liz shook her head and tossed her hair back. "Obviously, the visions are wrong or benign. They can't be true because we know that Maria would never kill Michael. She loves him."

Isabel spoke. "Maybe Maria's dreams are just symbols for something else. It's been known to happen. With the exception of Kyle, you all know that I like to dream walk and sometimes I see things in the dreams that make no sense so I bought an interpretation guide at the store. They're called dream dictionaries. Maybe what Maria's seeing in these visions can be interpreted by my book. Look, I'm going to go get it." She got up and disappeared up the stairs.

"Poor thing," Liz said, to Alex nudging to where Maria was lying in Michael's arms.

"I know. This can't be good for her baby or her. It's all so stressful on her," Alex responded.

"Will you please stop talking about me like I'm not here!" Maria yelled when the voices of her friends started to drive her crazy.

"Sorry, Maria," Liz said, looking down at the ground.

Michael squeezed Maria to his chest and then whispered, "We thought you were asleep."

"Well, I'm not! How can I sleep with all that's going on?"

"Got it!" Isabel called triumphantly as she entered the room. "Now Maria, tell us what you saw in your dream and I'll tell you what this says."

"A dagger," Maria sighed and then answered.

"The book says, 'You can expect unpleasant news in the near future.' What else?"

"Murdering Michael?" Liz offered.

"Murder...says see killing. Okay, I got it! Killing someone says...'signifies a period of distress in which you must make a heroic effort.'"

"A heroic effort at what?" Max asked.

Isabel frowned and shrugged. "That's all it says."

"Crystals or stones," Maria prompted Isabel when she continued to stare at the book.

Isabel flipped to the C-section of the book and said, "Were they polished?"

Maria nodded.

Isabel snorted. "This reads like a fortune cookie. 'The solution to a puzzle or mystery awaits you around the corner. Be wary.'"

"I don't want to do this anymore," Maria cried. "It's stupid!"

"I thought these dream books were all supposed to be on a positive note," Michael grumbles.

Isabel sighed and began to leisurely flip through the book. She came to a stop on one page and stood up. "Just one more! Maria, you said you saw Kyle's dad in front of a flowered arch, right?"

Maria growled and threw her head back in exasperation. "Yes! Why?"

"Were they real or fake?"


"The flowers! What else?"

Maria rubbed her eyes and said, "They looked real, why?"

"What color were they?"

"Isabel, what's going on?" Michael asked, raising one eyebrow.

"Let her answer," Liz said, after coming up to stand behind Isabel and looking at the book.

"They were red roses. Now, will you tell me what's going on?"

"The book reads, for real red flowers, 'predicts a situation in which you will be influenced to go against everything you've fought so hard to accomplish - don't be influenced.' If they were roses, 'Unbelievable things may be happening to you but if you take the right path, you will come out a stronger person." She flipped towards the back of the book and began to read. "'If there were thorns on those roses, you must be prepared for bad news."

"Well, this just keeps getting better," Alex said, sitting back on the couch.

"It keeps leading towards bad or unexpected news. Sounds like we're heading in the right direction," Max observed.

Everyone sat in silence and took in what had been said.

Michael noticed that Liz had begun to nibble on her lower lip, deep in thought. He could tell she was thinking about something really hard.

"What is it Liz?" he asked, after she started to nod softly to herself.

Liz looked up, surprised. Then she sat down and said, "This may be a little off the subject, but I was wondering something. If you guys would be willing to do something that could possibly give us some answers?"

Maria looked at her friend and said, "What is it Liz?"

"Blood tests. Well, actually cell tests. Look, I did a test on Max after he saved me at the Crashdown."

Kyle's face reflected shock. "You mean, you were really shot?"

Liz nodded. "You saw the handprint, Kyle. That's what happened after he saved me."

"And look," Maria said, standing up. Kyle's eyes widened as Maria began to undo the button on her pants and froze when he saw the faint trails of a hand print on her stomach.

He whistled and said, "What's that from?"

"We don't know," Maria shrugged. "Possibly the baby even though it doesn't seem likely that a four day old fetus could leave that print." She shrugged again and re-did her pants. "So, what about cell tests, Liz?"

"Well, I did a cell scrape on Max's pencil and put it under the micro-scope. Anyways, the cells were different from mine. So, what I suggest is that we go back to school right now and do the tests on Maria and maybe Kyle, just to see if there is anything different from a human cell and even maybe a Dilana's cells. It's a long shot but maybe it will get us going in the right direction."

"Very long shot," Michael said. To Maria he said, "But, what do you think?"

Maria paused, considering it, and then said, "Why not? We're sure as hell not getting anywhere at this rate."


Together, they seven climbed into the Evans'' jeep and made their way to the school. Maria sat in the back with Michael's arm around her and they communicated silently.

*What do we do about tonight, Michael?*

*What do you mean?*

*I didn't tell them about me seeing the three of us girls getting knocked out. I don't want to worry them but our lives could be in danger.*

*Shit, I forgot about that. We have to let them know and discuss what we should do. Maybe you should call this thing off. No, wait, I don't want you alone either. Shit, Valenti is picking me up at six and taking me to my new foster parent's house, but maybe I can say I'm tired and go to bed early and then sneak out and come over to the Evans''. Max will be there but I want to be there too. Maybe Alex can come over too, for extra protection and then we can keep watch for anything suspicious.*

*Whatever. Let's just let them know. I don't want anyone getting hurt.*


"Damn, Mrs. Hardy is in there right now," Liz said as she peered into the small window on the door of the biology room.

"What do we do?" Max asked her.

Liz looked around at the group and said, "I'll handle this. Stay here, everyone. I'm going to go talk to her."

She entered the classroom. "Hi Mrs. Hardy."

The teacher looked up from her desk and smiled. "Liz, hello. What are you still doing here this late?"

"Well, some of my friends and I wanted to try and do this experiment for the science fair next month and we wanted to get an early start. Do you mind if we use the equipment?"

"No, not at all. What's the experiment?"

Liz had to think fast. "Well, we wanted to...test the reaction of different chemicals on blood samples and see the reaction it causes. We are still really trying to decide but right now, we figured we'd start there."

"Sounds interesting," the brunette woman said, standing up. "I'm actually getting ready to leave right now, I have an appointment, but if you clean up and lock the door after you leave, that would be fine."

"Thank you," Liz smiled while inwardly breathing a sigh of relief.

She nodded towards Max through the window and the group entered.

Mrs. Hardy packed up her briefcase and said, "Hello, kids. Good luck with your experiment. Let me know the results."

"We will," Liz promised and made a mental note to remember to come up with some results for tomorrow.

"What did you tell her?" Max asked after the teacher had left the classroom.

"I said we were doing a chemical test on blood. Now, go get two microscopes from the supply closet and I'll get the chemicals and blood slides."

Max nodded and walked towards the door to the closet.

When they had all the necessary supplies, Liz handed Michael, Alex, Maria, and Kyle a toothpick and told them to scrape the inside of their cheek. They did and Liz separated them in four different petrie dishes on the table. She ran the first toothpick over a slide and then poured a chemical over it and closed it over with another slide and repeated the process with the rest of the samples.

She took the first one and put it under the microscope, adjusting the dials. She looked into the eyepiece and nodded. The sample was pink and white like a normal human cells. Alex's. She picked up the next sample and she saw white and gray honeycombs. Michael's.

"Okay, here goes," she said as she picked up one of the other remaining slides. "Whose is this?" she asked.

"Mine," Maria said.

Liz nodded and put it under the microscope. She spent several seconds adjusting the dial and then stared in the eyepiece.

When she didn't say anything, Michael said, "Well? Liz, is it normal?"

Liz wouldn't answer. Instead, she picked up Kyle's piece and looked at his for even longer.

"Damn it Liz! What's going on?" Isabel cried.

She looked up from the eye piece and stared at nothing for a moment. Then she shook her head and picked up two more toothpicks and handed them to Kyle and Maria. "Do it again," she said firmly.

She walked over to the supply closet and pulled out two more brown bottles with chemicals in them and then returned to the table. Avoiding everyone's eyes, she used the new chemicals and repeated the process. She looked first at one slide and then the other. She nodded to herself and picked up Alex's slide.

"Okay, first, I want you all to look at Alex's sample," she said.

Everyone walked up to the microscope and took their turns looking at the slides.

"Now, look at Michael's." Once again, everyone looked. This slide took them a little by surprise.

"Oh, yeah. We definitely would have had a problem if the hospital had checked Max's blood," Isabel said, gravely.

Liz took a deep breath and picked up on of the remaining slides. "Okay, now. Look at Maria's."

"Me first," Michael said, approaching the microscope. He grabbed the eyepiece and then lowered his head to it.

His eyes widened and he looked over at Liz. "Is Kyle's like this also?" He asked, revealing nothing.

Liz nodded.

"With both tests you did?"

She nodded again.

Maria glanced at Kyle and then looked at Michael. She could sense nothing but surprise in the web. Michael had closed himself off again. "Well?" she asked, both scared and annoyed by their cryptic behavior. "What's wrong?"

Michael turned to look at the group, his eyes settling on Maria. He ran his hands through his hair and slowly opened his mouth to answer her question.

Part 13 | Index | Part 15
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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