FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Inside My Heart"
Part 5
by Linda
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Claudia Parker looked lovingly down at her little granddaughter and lightly smoothed a hand over the soft shiny locks as Liz looked down at her Grandma's journal.

"Some day, I can read this?" Liz asked in awe. She knew her grandma wrote down all of her exciting trips and findings in this book, and she cradled it to her at just the thought of this gift one-day.

"Yes Honey Behr. One day that book will be yours. But until then, I'm going to keep it hidden so that only you and I will know about it okay?" Claudia looked down at the huge doe eyes that nodded solemnly up at her.

"But Grandma, how will you be able to keep writing in it if you hide it?" Liz asked with a frown as she caressed the locked journal in her little hands.

"Well, I will start another one. But in the meantime, this one will be safe. So that you can read it someday if I'm not around." Claudia smiled and hugged Liz to her.

Claudia was afraid of the people looking for the adopted children in the area. She herself was here to gather information on any adopted children, and she knew that somehow, these other people wanted to know for the same reasons she did. She didn't know what the little alien had done to her way back then, but she had a sixth sense about anything that had to do with the pods or the children in them, and she knew to trust these instincts.

And this one was telling her to be careful and to make sure that if anything happened to her, that Liz know her future or what was in her past.

She still hoped to find all of the other pod children before she saw her last day, but she had to prepare for anything. What she was doing, and hiding was dangerous and she knew that. She knew that there were others out there looking for the information she had and the children from the pods.

"So how have you been sweetie? Tell me what's new with you?" Claudia asked as she came and sat on her granddaughter's bed with her.

"I want to be a archeologist like you when I grow up Grandma. I decided it last week and told my science teacher. She thinks it's great." Liz smiled and hugged her grandma.

"That's good honey, I know you can become anything you set your mind to. You were born to be important my beauty." Claudia hugged her tightly to her.

Liz frowned as she sensed a fear and worry and something else coming from the older woman. She leaned back and met Claudia's eyes.

"Is something wrong Grandma?" Liz asked softly.

Claudia met the girls intense eyes and was taken back. They looked so full of understanding. So much older than they should all of a sudden. She took in a deep breath thinking it must be her imagination, but she was always aware that this child could develop differently, so she swallowed and carefully looked Liz over just as intently.

"No sweetie. Nothing's wrong. Why do you ask?"

Liz didn't know how she knew, but she knew her grandma wasn't telling her the truth. And this worried her. Liz felt her grandma's intense look, and suddenly felt like she was being studied herself. As if her Grandma had a secret or knew something about her and was trying to figure it out.

Liz thought of Max's secret and wondered if her grandma had somehow found it out. Liz looked down in panic and then jumped off the bed and over to her doll collection by the window. "Did I show you my latest doll that mom and dad gave me for my birthday?" Liz asked grabbing the doll and trying to distract her grandmother with that.

Claudia's eyes narrowed as she wondered if Liz was hiding something from her. But her granddaughter was so honest that she knew if it was something important, Liz would tell her. For now, she would just watch over the child and keep her safe.

And she would gather the information she could before she had to leave again, and try to find the other children somehow. ***************

Claudia came from the sheriff's office with a twinkle of hope in her eyes. Sheriff Valenti had shown her all of the files on adopted and fostered children in and around 1989 through now. He thought she was just curious as to what the other people had been looking for, so he'd been happy to show them to her personally.

Now she was heading back to the Crashdown with a short but hopeful list. Only one name really seemed promising, but she would research all six of them.

The top one on her list was the one that matched the best with the time frame. She glanced down at the name and caressed it. She hoped she had found at least one more of the children. And maybe this one would know of the others and lead her to them. She could only pray that she get so lucky.

Michael Guerin.

She looked at the name and held her breath. She knew that this boy's foster father worked at the Crashdown! She had remembered her son introducing her to Hank Guerin just this morning on her way out of the Café. And now it said right on the slip of paper she had, that a Hank and Judy Guerin had become foster parents to a 6 year old boy just two years ago.

The timing and the age were perfect for what she needed, and she couldn't believe her luck. Now she just had to figure out a way to find out without letting the boy or his family know. For if he wasn't one of the five alien pod children, she had to be careful. Very careful.

From what the little alien had told her all those years ago, she knew she was looking for two boys and two girls. She wondered, since this was one of the male children, which one it was. Was it her granddaughter's king? Or was it her granddaughter's brother? Either thought had her heart racing. To have maybe found another one, so close was such a miracle. And yet she was also afraid that if she had found the child, then so might the other people who had been searching just two days ago.

Claudia pushed the door open to the Crashdown Café and smiled when she saw her son cleaning some tables after the lunch rush.

Jeff stopped cleaning at the look on his mother's face, and swallowing, he realized she had found something.

Claudia motioned for him to follow her up to the apartment above the café so she could tell Jeff and Nancy together and in private.

She saw that Hank Guerin was in the kitchen, and that a waitress was quietly filling salt shakers and that the café was quiet at this time of day. She wanted to go over to Hank Guerin and just ask to see his son, she was so hopeful and yet wanting to protect the boy if it was him, but her caution and good sense made her hold on until she talked with Jeff and Nancy and they decided what to do.

************* "Oh my God, Jeff!" Nancy whispered as she held a hand to her throat. The thought that one of her daughter's friends could be like her was overwhelming.

Jeff shared a look with his wife, knowing they were both overwhelmed, and then looked to his mother. "How will you know for sure mom? You can't just go up to the boy and ask him where he's from?" Jeff tried to say calmly.

The reality of all of the alien stuff was hitting them again and still had the ability to shock both Jeff and Nancy. Day to day it was so easy to convinced themselves that Liz was just a normal child since that's all she ever seemed, but it was this part, that brought them back to the reality of what they would have to face someday with their little girl.

"Liz is too young to have found her husband from before!" Nancy swallowed and sat down in shock. She couldn't lose her baby yet!

"Nancy, I don't know if this is Liz's husband or brother, if he turns out to be either, but we need to know. We will deal with what we have to tell Liz after we find out if this boy really is from Liz's ship." Claudia tried to comfort her.

Claudia didn't want to tell Liz either. She was just as selfish in wanting to keep things as normal as possible for her grandchild, for as long as possible. She knew it might be wrong, but she felt that as long as Liz didn't know of her past she was safer that way. She had hoped not to have to tell her granddaughter anything until she was old enough to face the truth and danger that came with that truth.

"Jeff, I'm not sure yet how to approach this with the boy Michael. I know that all of these children have distinct markings on their bodies, but I'm sure they are in easily concealed places since their alien families wanted them to be safe. So I'm not sure how to find out about any markings on this boy.

"You mean he might have a marking like Liz does on her right bottom cheek?" Nancy gasped.

Claudia smiled. Even though this was a serious matter, the thought of how she would figure out who the other children were without asking them to drop their pants was ironic to say the least. "Liz and her mate will have the same identical markings of their royal crest, while the others will have similar markings, but will be slightly different so that the Royal mates will be known.

"Great! How the heck are we supposed to know if this Michael boy has a marking on his butt?" Jeff exclaimed overwhelmed again. In this day and age you did NOT go around asking to see kids bare butts without being arrested.

Claudia sighed as she too realized this. Short of asking the boy out right about who he was before he had been fostered, she didn't know herself how to tell. She wasn't supposed to have lost them to begin with. ************ Liz sat at the counter in the café writing in her own journal. She had decided to start one after yesterday, when her Grandma had told her that some day she could have hers.

She was planning on writing down her most important thoughts and findings just as her grandma did, and she would keep it hidden as well. For no one could know about her Max and what he could do. She couldn't wait until school tomorrow so she could talk to him again. It had been a long weekend.

She looked at the time wondering when her grandma would finish talking upstairs with her parents, because she had told Liz when she was done that she would tell her some of her adventures this past year.

Liz carefully wrote about Max and the secret they had discovered, and how she wouldn't tell anyone. She chewed her pencil as she thought of what Maria would say if she found out Liz had kept something from her. In all their lives they had told each other everything. But with Max's secret, Liz didn't want to tell anyone in case something happened to Max because of her.

The door jingled and Liz turned to see Max coming in with eyes only for her. Her whole face lit up and she smiled widely as he came toward her with his own shy grin. Liz's tummy did flip flops that felt good whenever Max smiled or looked at her. She didn't know why, but she loved it.

She almost didn't notice Michael had come in with him until they both jumped up on stools and greeted her.

"Hi Michael, Max." she said Max's name softly, closing her journal as casually as possible and locking it.

"Hi Liz." Max said shyly, but sent her a grin and met her eyes with his intense ones.

Michael watched the two of them and didn't get it. Why was Max so crazy about a girl? Girls were dumb. He admitted that there was something about Liz Parker that made her okay for a girl, but he didn't see what Max was crazy about. Sure, Liz Parker had something. She made people feel good and she was nice. And there were times when he actually felt down right protective of her when someone tried to be mean to her, but he figured it was just cause she was nice and different from other dumb girls. But even with all that, Michael couldn't imagine getting all gooey when she was around. So he continued to stare at his best friend as if he had two heads.

After Max and Michael had their sodas, Liz turned to Max and looked at him worriedly.

"You okay Max?" Liz asked tentatively. She didn't want to say anything in front of Michael, but she also couldn't wait to make sure he was all right after what had happened the other day.

Max knew what she meant and smiled shyly. "Yeah. I'm okay, and Michael knows Liz. I told him." He admitted.

Liz nodded and tried not to frown. Was Max going to tell everyone?

As if reading her mind, Max continued. "Only Michael and you know about it Liz. And I'd like to keep it that way. I'll tell my sisters, but that's it."

"Okay. You know I won't say anything Max. I just want to make sure you're okay. Do you know how or why it happened?" she asked looking around to make sure no one else was listening.

"Maybe…could we talk after school tomorrow at the park?" he asked.

Liz's eyes widened and she nodded vigorously. She would love to spend any time she could with Max, and she wanted to know what was happening.

Max finished his soda touched his sneaker to hers for a second before he jumped down from the stool. "See you tomorrow Liz." He said softly as he turned to leave.

Michael followed. He hadn't said anything more to Liz about what Max was saying, but Liz was used to Michael being so quiet. She knew it drove Maria crazy when Michael just sat and stared at everyone without saying anything, but Liz didn't mind. For some reason she felt comfortable around Michael and she didn't know why, because most of the kids at school didn't.

Claudia came down the stairs and headed into the kitchen. She figured the first thing to do was to talk to Hank Guerin and find out what he could tell her about the boy he'd taken in. She'd just found out from her son that Hank had recently lost his wife and was having a hard time with that, so she really felt for the boy who had lost family twice.

"Hi Hank. Smells good in here. I'm glad my son was smart enough to hire you." Claudia smiled as she saw the quiet man cooking.

Hank looked up, startled and then his expression relaxed a little as he realized someone was talking to him. Most of the time he found himself in his own world these days. Without his wife, he was lost.

"I hear you have a boy who is friends with my Liz." Claudia started casually as she leaned against the counter and tried to look relaxed and just pleasantly chatting instead of probing.

"Yup." Was all the man said.

Claudia groaned silently. She would have to deal with a man of few words. "I think it's wonderful of you to have taken the boy into your home. He came from an orphanage right?"

When Hank looked at her with eyes wondering why she wanted to know, Claudia smiled again. "Liz was adopted but it was from a private adoption. We didn't know the family but I heard that her family died." She said softly.

Hank grunted but turned with interest to Claudia Parker, having never heard that story before.

"Michael wasn't put up for adoption at the time we got him. No one knew if he had family or not. He was just found on the side of the road out in the desert somewhere and since he couldn't remember anything before that, they didn't know if he had family or not. So he's just being fostered in case they find his real family. But I doubt they will. Someone probably just dumped him in the desert to fend for himself." Hank told Claudia.

Claudia felt goose bumps rise on her arms and the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. THAT WAS IT! She had found another pod child! She was sure of it.

"Poor thing. Well I'm glad he has someone now." Claudia managed to say without losing her casual stance. Inside she was jumping around.

Now she just needed to know if Michael was Liz's mate or her brother. And what she would do about the knowledge, if anything.

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