FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Chemistry "
Part 1
by WhirlingGirl
Disclaimer: I donít own the characters.
Summary: Max and Tess. A companion piece to ďTactical Errors.Ē
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
It was the beginning of the end, though I didnít realize it at the time. We never do understand those moments when our lives change, not until later.

It was in chemistry class, when the teacher asked me to be Tessí partner.

I had just been sitting there, trying not to stare at the back of Tessí head, when she turned around and looked right at me, and I had a sudden urge to climb over the tables and get to her. The connection between us sent a surge of power through me, it spun out of control for just an instant and the burner in front of me suddenly exploded in flame, the noise of the gas jet startling the entire class. I fumbled with it awkwardly, blushing hard. I was afraid to look at Liz.

She knew. Even then, she knew. Why didnít I?

I approached the table where Tess was sitting and I tried not to look at her, but I couldnít help it. She glanced at me out of the corner of her eye, a faint, expectant lift to her puckish, mischievous mouth.

Apparently I just stood there, staring at her like an idiot, until my sleeve caught on fire and the entire class broke up with laughter.

Her eyes were so blue.

Her hair gleamed, lovely, a bright gold, like fireflies at night.

Suddenly I could hear my own heart beating, I could hear her heart beating, I could feel my breath catch in my throat, and she sat perfectly still, as though waiting for me to move.

I did. I couldnít help it.

Then I was back in my body, and my sleeve was on fire, and I was embarrassed and ashamed and frightened of what I had seen and felt.

Things just got worse from there.


I didnít learn until much later that my fantasy of our mating (you canít really call it anything else) had been created by Tess, she had tricked me, and I used that as an excuse to hate her. But now I know that it didnít really matter.

I left them more than a month ago.

We had been together for a long time, fighting hard, and were preparing to leave and return to our home planet, but secretly I wanted to stay and be with Liz. I kept it from the others for a long time, until one night I went out and found Tess, standing out in the desert, looking at the stars.

I was so angry. I didnít want to admit to myself how I had known where Tess was that night, how I always knew where she was, always.

I told her I wasnít going to go back with them, that I loved Liz, and that I believed that I could choose my own destiny, I could change what was meant to be.

She didnít say anything. I expected her to scream at me, I think part of me wanted her to, but she was silent. Then she took my hand and I suddenly saw her as a small, beautiful child, coming out of her pod, finding herself alone in the cave. I found out what it was like for her to learn that her soulmate had abandoned her even before she was born. I felt her fear, I watched her cry. I reached out to her with my mind, trying to see more, and in a sudden flash of images that I think she tried to hold back, I saw clearly for the first time how she felt about me and why. I saw what it was like for her to be in love with me, even without any hope that I would ever love her back. I heard her cry out that we were meant to be together, that we had loved each other since before we were born.

I didnít answer. I thought, how awful it must be for her to feel that way.

I guess we have something in common now, Tess and I.

I think that she tried to hit me, or at least she struck out at something, and then she collapsed. I think at that moment she finally accepted that I was not going to accept my destiny, that I was not going to accept her.

I picked her up and carried her home.

Even then, feelings arose in me as I held her in my arms. I denied them, as I had been denying them since the day we met and I couldnít stop staring at her. But I murmured to her gently and reassured her when she woke briefly and struggled, disoriented and afraid.

I didnít realize at first that she was so sick, but her fever was raging by the time we reached Michaelís. She kept asking for me, her voice full of grief and longing. I felt guilty and ashamed, so I stayed. To my surprise, I couldnít leave her side. I told myself that I would stay with Tess only until she was well, and not because I loved her.

But nothing I was doing was right. Somehow I was betraying everybody, including myself.

Michael and Isabel had accepted their destiny and become, and there is no better way to describe it, a mated pair. There was a powerful chemistry between them, and it had only made me more angry. But Tessí illness brought us back together, at least briefly, and I was able to talk to them and make some peace between us.

I was so angry that I couldnít be with Liz, couldnít stay on earth, couldnít be who I thought I wanted to be.

I rejected Tess, not because of who she was, but because I didnít know who I was.

Not who. What. I didnít know what I was. I didnít know.

But I stayed with her while she was sick, kept her safe, soothed her when she grew restless and healed her as best I could. And, days later, when she finally fell into a quiet sleep without a fever, I left them all.

Afterwards, I cried in Lizí arms, grieving for her, grieving for all of us. Somehow I knew even then that the fight wasnít over.


There is a battle raging inside me, and I donít know how much more of it I can stand.

Itís the middle of the night, and I find myself in a darkened classroom, lit faintly by moonlight through the blinds. I donít know why I came here, why I had to come here. I look around and realize itís the same place where Tess created the scene for me so long ago.


And suddenly, I see her, standing in the shadows across the room.

She walks toward me slowly, and I stare at her, and suddenly I know why I am here, and I know I canít fight this any more.

I can hear my heart beating, I can hear her heart beating, I can feel the energy between us, and I canít stop what happens. I move forward blindly, shoving obstacles out of the way, and she gasps as I lift her up. That gasp echoes through my body like a shiver, and I am lost.

She kisses me and the stars whirl behind my eyelids. I can feel the hot place between her thighs against the hot place between mine and I hear my voice say something I have never said to anyone before.

I need to be inside you.

She pulls back, looks at me, her blue eyes searching mine. Then she kisses me again, fiercely.

I can hear our breathing between kisses, quick and rough, low whimpers coming from both our throats like another language. I move my mouth over hers as though claiming it as territory of my own, take her lower lip between my teeth, flick my tongue inside her mouth, sliding it against hers. I can feel her back under my hands, the dancerís muscles along her spine, undulating under my touch, shivering with need. I navigate us to the nearest surface and set her unceremoniously down, and between kisses we take each otherís clothes off, urgent, fumbling, and then I lift myself up onto the table, between her legs, and I kiss her mouth, her throat, her bare shoulders. With a sweep of my arm I push papers, glass jars and beakers, plastic containers and utensils, onto the floor, faintly hearing glass shatter, and then slowly, deliberately, I slide us further along the dark, smooth surface.

I think I will go insane at the little sounds she is making, and suddenly she says, gasping, her voice like rough honey, Max, youíre on fire, oh Max, youíre on fire.

And I am. I am on fire. I have fire in my blood, raging in my ears. I try to stop, but itís no use; the fierce light in her eyes matches mine and I am nothing but my need, my want. I want to leave my mark on her skin, feel her teeth leaving their mark on mine. I canít hear anything except her, I canít taste anything except her, I canít smell anything except her, I canít think about anything at all.

She smells like a hot summer night. She smells like rose petals burning. She smells like blood and fire.

I can see our skin glowing faintly, briefly, where it touches, as we move together. She does something with her tongue and I can feel it everywhere else. I slide my hand between her legs and press it, palm down, against her, feeling her tension, watching her eyes, enjoying the sound she makes as I push my fingers into her slick heat. My eyes drown in pools of blue, and as my mouth finds hers, my body finds her hot, sliding darkness.

And suddenly I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I hold still, shaking with the effort it takes. I think Iím going to lose my mind if I donít move soon, but I wait, I wait for her.

Her eyes are closed, her head thrown back, the column of her neck exposed, and in the faint moonlight, I can see her pulse beating in the hollow of her throat. I kiss her there, softly, gently press my lips to her skin, feeling her blood moving under my mouth, and then harder, moving my mouth across her collarbone, and sink my teeth into the flesh of her shoulder, and suddenly she whispers, please, Max, please, and pushes her body against mine.

The surface is warm underneath us but cool in unexpected places, under my hands and knees where I brace myself to move deeper inside her, under my forearms as I rest on them under her shoulders as our bodies and mouths move together, under my wrists as I slide my hands under her hips and raise them up to mine. At the end I hold her hips tight against me and thrust deep into her, again, once more, hearing her gasp suddenly and choke on words I canít understand, her body taut against mine, and I feel her pulse inside, hot and deep, and I know that this time I will lose my mind, that I will never be able to come back from this place and be the same again.

Then I am lost, my head thrown back, sounds tearing from my throat that I canít hear until I wake up in the throes of it, my voice startling me in the quiet of my room.

I turn my face into my pillow, gasping, my body moving in its own rhythm, tears stinging my eyes, and them Iím crying, too weak to move, using the pillow to hide the sound.

Afterwards, I throw on my clothes, climb out of my window, drive to the reservoir, stand on the edge, and scream into the darkness.

Why are you doing this to me? Why?

The echoes mock me. There is no answer.


I donít want to go to sleep anymore.

Or maybe I donít want to wake up anymore.

Each time I wake up, wet and sticky, the aftershocks washing through my body, I feel ashamed and helpless. I want her so badly itís like an animal tearing me apart inside.

I can barely face Liz now. I have kept this from her, and if I kiss her or let her get too close to me, I am afraid she will see my dreams. Liz looks at me and Iím afraid that what is in her eyes might be the truth, the truth I didnít want to see before, in the cave.

She looks at me with all the love I feel for her in her beautiful brown eyes, and sometimes I think, maybe I am safe here. Maybe I can be something different.

But somehow I know that this is coming from inside me, that maybe, just maybe, this is who I am.

And then I go to sleep, and I dream of chemistry and fireflies.

I dream in ice blue and bright gold. I dream of fire, and worship the flames.

Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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