FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"A Few Degrees Shy of Heaven"
Part 30
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
They all walked far enough away from the road so there would be no distractions. They stumbled in the darkness over rocks and brush until they found a flat clearing and from there, Max took charge.

"We need some rocks;" Max informed the others.

Rocks? Liz's mental voice questioned in his head.

Max nodded and answered her aloud. "Yes, rocks. We need to create a circular shape and since we don't have any candles, we need to have something that can mark our boundaries. We need as many as we can get."

Everyone nodded and began to search the ground for as many rocks as they could find. It took a little while but eventually, they had collected more than enough rocks which Max began to use to make a big ring on a flat surface on the ground.

"So, why do we need a circle?" Alex inquired.

Max looked up at Alex, who had his arms wrapped around Isabel's waist, both of them looking sick with concern and said, "We need a perfect circle for transfer flow. A circle equals unity and it's a stable geometric pattern. This way, the energy can continue to flow between all of us without a chance of being broken." He nodded and then frowned, looking up at Di...his mother. "That's the way it goes, right?"

"Essentially, yes. You're doing fine."

"Good, because the book was a little vague," he sighed. He continued to form a circle with the stones and left only a small gap in one corner. At that point, he looked up at the others expectantly and nodded once. "Okay, here we go. Enter here and sit around the inside of the border knee-to-knee."

Everyone did so without hesitation. Once the decision was made to do this, none of them were going to back out. She was too important to lose - to any of them. Collectively, she was a friend, a wife, a lover, a mother, and most importantly, a savior. There was no way that either of them could stand by and let her do this alone.

After they all filed in and sat down as instructed, Max closed the gap, completing the circle that surrounded them and then looked at his mother. She nodded, her green eyes both proud and solemn at the same time. "I have faith in every single one of you," she said clearly. "Help her." With that, she turned around and walked back to the side of the road.

Michael let out a shuddering breath and cleared his throat. "Let's go," he breathed.

Max nodded again and then took a deep breath. "Okay, so this is what we need to do."


Maria groaned as she finished tying off the last stretch of rope, feeling it cut into her hands and then hunched over, resting her hands on her knees while she caught her breath.

Once her gasping had subsided, she walked around the confines of the room and checked to be sure that the rope was connected all the way around. Satisfied that she had done it all, she walked over to the five gallon jug in the corner and placed the only lose end inside the neck. She stuffed a rag in the neck after that, making sure that none of the fumes could escape. It was, after all, filled with gasoline. She had only filled it three quarters of the way to the top because she remembered reading somewhere that it was the fumes that were flammable, not the liquid itself.

She stood back up finally and sighed. "I guess that's it," she whispered to the empty room, sniffing the air for any trace of fumes but there was none. She had done a good job. At least she hoped. Not that it was that big deal. This was only a portion of her plan and she had a major back up if it didn't work but she would only use that as a last resort. Either way, she planned for the Old Soap Factory to go up in flames that night.

The only thing she had to do now, was change her clothes. The shorts she was wearing, though comfortable and less binding, didn't seem suitable for fighting. She walked back out to the jeep and then glanced around cautiously before changing. She knew that no one could see her, there wasn't anything around for miles but it was just an instinctive move.

She finished buttoning her jeans up and then reached for a belt and the dagger out of her purse. She pulled it out of it's sheath, studying it in the pale light of the moon before sheathing it again and attaching it to the belt which she looped and fastened securely around her waist. Knowing that she would have to conceal it until the last possible moment, she reached in the back of the jeep and pulled out the new sweat-shirt she had bought at the supermarket that had an alien head on it and read; "I Believe."

A wave of doubt washed over her as she pulled the soft, fluffy sweat-shirt over hear head and she realized that she really wasn't sure if she could pull this off. It was a good plan but it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference if she couldn't even light the rope on fire. "Better give it a try before-hand," she muttered as she tightened her shoe-laces and walked back into the building in search of the spare rope.

She found the small piece she had cut earlier laying just off to the side and she took a deep breath as she leaned over and picked it up. She glanced around the room for a second and came to the conclusion that she should probably try this outside just in case.

She stepped outside and took a deep breath before concentrating on one end of the rope and envisioning fire in her mind. She glanced at her watch, noting the second hand so she could time herself. First she thought about the color; orange and yellow, flapping in the air like the tongues of hounds, feeding on oxygen. Then, she added what it felt like; hot. Scorching hot, smoldering. Her mind began to do the rest. She saw visions of smoke, black and thick, both blinding and suffocating, leaving no air for those dependent on it. She could almost denote he smell of charred wood, which reminded her of camping when she was young. It was all there, so she pushed with her mind.

Fire, fire, fire, fire....

Suddenly, the frayed end of the rope burst into flames. Flames so high that she had to toss her head back in order to prevent burning herself. She looked down at her watch immediately; 20 seconds.

That would have to be good enough.

She discarded the rope, stepping on the flame to distinguish it and then walked back to the jeep and retrieved her cell-phone. There was only one more thing she needed to do.

From memory she dialed the seven numbers and held the silver plastic casing to her ear. It rang several times with no answer so she hung it up and tossed it back on the passenger seat.

Fine, she would have to do this the hard way.

She climbed into the drivers seat and closed her eyes, taking several deep, trance-like breaths before calling with her mind.

Father, I'm waiting for you at the old soap factory. Bring Kyle. It's time.

Her mental voice echoed loudly in her head but she wasn't sure if it had gone through until she heard a sing- song voice much stronger and louder than her own respond.

Ready or Not, here we come.

Maria blinked and exhaled the breath she hadn't even realized she had been holding. She climbed out of the jeep and made her way back to the building. Suddenly, she hesitated and jogged back to the jeep, reaching in her purse for the pack of matches she had picked up and stuffed them in her pocket.

"Just in case," she muttered and finally went back to the entrance of the old soap factory. She hesitated just outside of the door and took one last look up into the night sky with all of it's brilliant stars surrounding the pale, crescent shaped moon.

After all, it could be the last time she ever saw it.


"Okay, Liz and I will start. Since we are already connected, our link is already strong. When I tell you to Liz, concentrate all of your mind on Isabel. Isabel, you need to open your mind to us and let us in. Once we are there, share the link with Alex. Alex, you need to let us know when you are in and then, we focus on Michael. Just do the same thing Michael. Open your mind and let us in. After all of us are connected, we need to connect to Maria and that's going to be the hardest part because we have to do it through you Michael."

"And what exactly am I supposed to do?" he asked quickly.

"Share her with us. Show us the Maria you know and love. We will all concentrate on your Maria and hopefully the connection will be made."


Max nodded. "Yes, Michael. I already told you, there is no substantiated evidence that this has ever worked."

"Fine, let's go. Time is running out."

"Okay," Max sighed and reached for Liz's hand. "You ready?"

Liz blinked several times and nodded. "Yeah," she replied. "I'm ready."


"I'm ready."

Max took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Okay, concentrate."

Part 29 | Index | Part 30
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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