FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Exploring Avenues"
Part 17
by Mary N.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, but I wish I did! But the ideas for this story are mine.
Summary: This is primarily a Max and Liz story, but it includes all of the characters, and more than likely a few of my own invention. It starts in the cave after Nasedo/Peirce leaves in Destiny. The pod squad tries to active the orbs, but nothing happens, which means Liz never walks a way. To find out what they do learn who they are you'll have to read my story. I hope you enjoy it, be sure to leave me your thoughts if you want me to continue this.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: The original idea for this story was sent to me by a friend, but it has taken on a life of its own and headed into a new direction.
Max knew without a shadow of a doubt, Tess wasn't going to believe anything they told her at face value. They, mainly him, were going to have to do everything in their power to convince her. "I'll explain everything, but to start there is something we need to tell you. We haven't been completely honest. In short, Liz, Isabel, Alex, Michael, Maria, and I have all been keeping secrets from you."

Tess watched Max ambivalently before looking around the group. She didn't know what this was all about, but by the looks on everyone's faces, she knew she wasn't going to like it. "What kind of secrets?"

Max didn't know where to start, he simply knew he had to try and explain everything to her, and that he had to be careful how he did it. Then it donned on him. "Tess, have you ever wondered how we found the first orb?"

"What?" She asked in surprise. "What does how you came in possession of the orb have to do with your secrets?"

"Just answer me, would you? Have you ever wondered?" He said firmly.

"No, not really. I just figured that one of you always had it." She answered with a role of her eyes.

Max looked over at Liz, and met her reassuring eyes, which were filled with hope, love, and yes, desire. He couldn't resist touching her any longer. As he closed the space between them, he continued trying to explain the events that lead them to the orb, and the revelation of his and Tess's true relationship. "We didn't know the orbs even existed, let alone their purpose, or where one was. It all started back in March, Liz and I weren't seeing each other at the time. I'd broken things off because I didn't want her to get hurt because of what I was."

"Holy cow, and I always thought she broke up with you!" Exclaimed Kyle breaking the flow of where Max was leading this. "You looked like such a lost soul."

Max shook his head sadly letting Kyle know that it was him and not Liz who had ended things. Once he reached Liz's side, he pulled her up from her seat next to Kyle. Then took her seat and pulled her into his lap, and wrapped his arms around her waist. Liz looked up into his eyes smiling as she realized that his thoughts weren't completely on this meeting. They were on her, and he was using her to hide the evidence from the others. She leaned back into his chest enjoying this bit of information as well as his warmth that surrounded her.

Tess followed Max's movements the way he pulled Liz into his lap and wrapped his arms around her. She tightened the muscles in her arms as she drew her hands into fists. She turned her head to the side, and looked at Isabel with eyes full of anger and hurt. "Isabel you lied to me! They're are still together! He doesn't plan to be with me at all, with following out his destiny, does he?"

Everyone turned and looked at Isabel. She suspected that things were about to take a new turn when she saw Max moving towards Liz. And that the moment they touched, Tess would know she'd been mislead. The look Tess gave her told she was right. Tess knew, and she wasn't to happy about it. In defense of her actions, she honestly declared, "I didn't lie. I never said Max and Liz broke up, or that they weren't still together. I said he knew that he and Tess where meant to be together. It's just not . . . . ."

* . . . the way she thinks.* Isabel bit down on her lip to keep from voicing the rest of that thought as she looked over at Max and saw the warning in his expression.

"Isabel?!" Several of her friends cried out in unified surprise. She couldn't be sure who called her name, other than Alex. He did so right into her ear from his position at her side. In her most Ice princess voice she answered, "What did you expect? She wouldn't listen to me, and I had to say something to get her to come."

"She's got you there Max. You did tell us to do whatever it took to get Tess here." Comments Michael with raised eye brows and a smirk on his face.

"I didn't tell you to mislead her."

"Maybe not, but you didn't say not to either."

Tess was extremely angry about being mislead, there was no doubt about it. But her curiosity had been spiked as well. She wanted to know why Max had insisted on her presence at the meeting, and what the secret was they had been keeping from her. "Do I really have to listen to this? I want to know what was so ‘important'! And please, I have no desire to walk down memory lane with you and Liz. Would you just get to the point of this little story?"

"I'm trying, if you just give me a chance." Max stated as calmly as he possibly could. It took great effort on his part as his level of frustration continued to grow. The combination of getting side tracked by the means in which Isabel had convinced Tess to be here, his need to be alone with Liz, and the seemingly smug way Tess was addressing the whole thing was getting to him. The only thing that kept him from charging out the door with Liz in tow was the need to get this over with. Besides he wasn't sure that Tess would agree to meet with them again if this didn't get straightened out here and now.

"Yeah right, whatever." Tess spewed out sarcastically as she rolled her eyes, and shifting her weight uncomfortably. Her own level of discomfort continued to grow the longer she stood there. Kyle had barely taken his eyes off of her, and she could feel him watching her every move with a periodically glance up and down her body. More than anything, she wanted to yell at him to stop. However, she didn't want anyone in the room to realize what he was doing, or the ability he had to get to her.

Liz had been watching Tess carefully, she looked away occasionally to look over at Kyle. After a while she wondered if anyone else had noticed the way Kyle was looking at Tess, or the way she looked at anything but him. No one seemed to notice, but she caught Maria's eyes watching her. Using the signals they had work on perfecting over the years, and motioned for Maria to watch them as well.

Max was more than willing to cut this down to the short version. He knew she would still have questions this way, but it was worth the try just to get out of there sooner. "It comes down to this, it was Liz that lead us to the orb." That revelation brought Tess's full attention to what Max was saying, like a slap across the face. "I don't know how, but I've always know that Liz was the one I was supposed to be with. From the first time I saw her, I just knew. It's almost like this invisible force has always linked us together, and it keeps drawing us closer together. When we finally admitted how we felt about each other the force grow stronger."

He could see that Tess was growing impatient and tried to pick up his pace. "Whenever we touched, whenever we got close to each other, we started seeing things, images. I could see things from inside Liz's head, and she was seeing things we ‘thought' were coming from mine. Memories that I didn't know I had."

"You ‘thought', you mean now you know they weren't?" Asks Maria. This is the first time she has heard this. She was under the notion memories that Max had suppressed, had been revealed to Liz, and that was how they found the orb.

"No they weren't. Liz and I now believe they are being transmitted to her through the orbs."

"Wait, what? Why would they be being sent to Liz? She isn't even one of us." Tess interjected.

"I think that we can explain that, but first there is more. We think the orbs are some kind of relay receiver. Liz only receives the visions when we are together, so it takes both of us. These visions stopped for a while. We thought that it was because we found the orb, but now I think there were different reasons. One the intensity of your emotions is a factor, and the other is you came to town causing doubts. The images you were sending me, and Liz misread the way she would see me looking at you. With everything that happened since your arrival, it took us a while to get back to where we were in our relationship. Once we did, the visions started again. The first one being just a couple of days ago."


Maria hadn't know what Liz wanted her to see. She had been signaling to Tess and Kyle, but they all knew Tess was out to get Max. However she watched them anyway. It didn't take her long to realize what was going on once she tuned in her radar. She had to hide the smile on her face. She did so by pretending to wipe something off of her check and dropping her head slightly. It didn't take much time for Maria to realize what Liz wanted her to see. She wondered how she missed the signs. Kyle was so obvious, he had it bad for the resident pest.

Was it possible that Liz wanted her to see something was up with her as well? Could it be that Tess Harding was more interested in someone other that Max? She could only hope for Liz's sake. But if she was, why would she still be after Max? And there it was, the sign that Tess Harding was purposely ignoring Kyle. Otherwise why hadn't she turned to him and told him to take a hike. No respectable girl would let a guy look at her the way Kyle was and not call him on it. Especially if she didn't have some interest in him.


Michael was listening very intensely to everything that Max was saying. He had heard about the visions, but not Max and Liz's theory behind them, no one had. It was one of the things that Max and Liz talked out last night as they laid in each others arms.

To everyone's surprise Tess hadn't said a word. She was to busy fighting her own inner battle, and trying to put all the pieces of what Max was telling her together. *She didn't want to believe that Liz had lead them to the first orb. It would have been so much easier to believe that Liz had come up with the visions as a scheme to keep Max interested in her. However, there was still the orb. Liz couldn't have know were to find it any other way, or could she?*

Max continued to tell them all what they have learned over the past couple of days. Leaving out the part about Tess being his sister, for now. He had to convince her they were telling the truth first. "We have learned not only how to make the orbs work, but that there are more of them still hidden, or at least we believe so."

Tess was really struggling with the fact that Liz is the one seeing these visions. She can't accept that a human would be able to receive images from the orbs. "I still don't get this Max. I should be the one seeing these vision, or at least you. Not Liz, she isn't one of us. How do you really know that she is having ‘visions'. Maybe she came across the orb somewhere and recognized the symbol from Isabel's necklace. She could have hid it were you found it, and then faked the visions."

Tess knew she was drawing at straws, but she didn't know what else to do. So far everything she had heard was pointing to the fact that she wasn't important. That Max really didn't need her to fulfill their destiny. Almost in tears she tried to justify her purpose more for herself than for anyone present. "Max please, I know what Nesado always said, and I know what the book says. We were meant to be together Max. You and me, not you and that lying hussy."

"That's enough Tess! I don't ever want to hear you talking about Liz like that again. Do you understand me." The anger in Max's voice and the way he defended Liz only added to Tess's hurt and her growing feeling of worthlessness.

Liz, saw something that Max must not have seen, and something that even Maria couldn't see from her vantage point. She was sure the only one person besides herself had seen it, and that was Kyle. They saw the emptiness in her eyes, and she couldn't let Tess suffer. She felt it was time to start explaining Tess's connection to Max. She smiled reassuringly at Tess and than began. "Tess, I understand if you don't trust me. In time I hope we can learn to trust each other, but that will be up to you. What I'm going to tell you is important for you to hear. So please just hear me out. The real reason we brought you out here is to tell you about the visions I have been seeing lately. They will help you to understand a piece or your true destiny."

Tess looked from Liz to Max for confirmation that what Liz was saying was true, which he gave her by nodding his head. She then looked back at Liz curiously, and waited for her to continue. "The visions I have been seeing have been of you and Max. The first one was when you were newly born. Your mother was holding you with your father and Max at her side. It was the first time Max saw you." Tess's expression changed, her eye squinted as her eye brows furrowed. What Liz had said didn't make since to her. "The next image was of you and Max playing in an open field. When I saw the way you two were with each other, I could tell how much you loved each other. So much so, that I found myself dreading the next vision. I thought if you two loved each other that much as children, it was bound to grow as you two grew into adults. And I didn't know if I could handle it, I was scared of what I would see, and that it would affirm what you were saying about you two being meant to be together. Because that would mean that I would be the one left without him."

Tess always hoped and even dared believed that Max and her would have a loving relationship, but in her mind she questioned, *Why does this sound like it was all in the past?* "Did you tell Max about those visions, and how much we loved each other?"

"Yes, Tess I did." Tess looked shocked. She couldn't believe that Liz actually told Max. She was about to question the truth of her statement when Liz continued. "I told everyone in this room about it, with the exception of you and Kyle." Tess looked around the rooms, and everyone was shaking their heads yes.

"If you thought I was supposed to be with Max, and you know how much we loved each other, then why didn't you end it? Why did you two stay together?"

Max took control of explaining things once again. He felt Tess would take what they had to say better from him than from Liz. "First off we love each other, nothing about these visions changes that. And second, it's like I told you. Liz and I are being pulled together by something we don't even understand. We can't not be together." Keeping one arm tightly around Liz waist, he took one of Liz's hands into his own weaving his fingers through hers. "We need to touch, to show our love for each other. Its hard to explain beyond that. It's like eating and sleeping, you have to do it in order to survive. When we can't be together, when we can't touch, it drives us both crazy."

Not liking how this sounded, or what it meant, she became defensive. "Fine, you couldn't stay way from each other. Other than I'm the one being left out. What has it all got to do with me, and way I had to be here?

Liz grew tired of trying to handle this delicately. She was ready just to lay it on the line. "The visions Tess, they showed that you weren't meant to be Max's mate."

"No, no that can't be. Your either wrong or you are lying. I know what Nesado has been telling me all these years. What about the book. Have you forgotten that the book says we were meant to be together? It's supposed to be Me and Max, Michael and Isabel."

"Yes and No Tess. You and I were supposed to be together, but not as mates. As brother and sister. Just as Michael and Isabel were. Tess you're my sister."

"No way. It's not possible. You can't just take her word on this. It's to important that we fulfill our destinies. Don't you see it, she has to be lying. It's just not possible, and I for one am not going to believe a word of it. There is no way you could be my brother, I would have known it felt it, something. . . .."

"Tess stop, I don't have to go strictly on Liz's word. I saw the visions last night for myself. And if you think about it, it makes since. You and me growing up together, and having a strong love for each other at a young age. Our love for each other wasn't a passionate, or romantic kind of love. It was the kind of love shared between to siblings. Two siblings that cared for each other. It was the same kind of love I feel towards Isabel and Michael."

Tess stood there shaking her head no and buried her face in her hands. She couldn't accept that everything she believed in was a lie. Something that had be misinterpreted. She had always believed she was supposed to be with Max. Not willing to accept that she was wrong, she wouldn't allow herself to believe that she had been wrong all these years. "No, your wrong. Maybe these visions are coming from some force that doesn't want us to fulfill our destinies."

"I honestly don't know where these visions are coming from, I can only speculate. Since we had visions like these before, and they lead us to the orb which we know has the symbol we all recognize. And the fact that these visions showed us how we are supposed to activate them, It wouldn't make since that the source of the visions is trying to stop us from fulfilling our destinies."

Kyle has been busy trying to connected all the dots, so to speak, by linking all the key words and phrases that both Max and Liz have used. Trying to understand how they are triggering these visions and to help him understand how involved Max and Liz really are. *Drawn together, being pulled together, need to touch, to show our love, can't not be together, more visions, when intense, last night.* That's when a new image entered his mind. With a smirk on his face, he shook his head from side to side. "Let me get something straight. You to ‘do it' and you both get these visions?"

"No, of course not. They aren't saying or scooting around any such thing. Get your mind out of the gutter boy. Haven't you been listening, the vision come from intense emotions. You don't have to be ‘doing it' to have intense emotion, at least most of us don't." Maria said defending Liz's honor. Liz meanwhile had turned around in Max's grip and buried her face in his chest. She was so embarrassed at the idea of them all knowing her and Max had actually made love. That's something she considered very personal. Something that she feels is meant to be private not discussed in an open forum.

"Actually Maria, I have been listening. More than you obviously. Max wasn't having the same visions as Liz was, until last night. He was seeing things from Liz, but then something changed. What could have changed, I ask you Maria? The way I see it, they were probably getting intense with this need to touch each other as Max put it, and things went further than they planned on, or maybe they did plan on it." Kyle turned back to Max. *Maybe hanging around my dad at the station all these years has payed off.* "Well, am I right?"

Part 16 | Index | Part 18
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