FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"New Understandings"
Part 3
by Beowulf
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Wish I did. I'm just borrowing them temporarily, and I promise to put them back none the worse for wear.
Summary: Roswell, based on the books NOT the TV series. Basically, this picks up immediately after the end of book #10 of the series. If you aren't familiar with the books, you might be lost. The some of the characters you won't know. Sheriff Valenti is dead. The Pod Squad is different. Max isn't a king. There is no Royal Four. Isabel is a cheerleader. Max is blonde. Liz's last name isn't Parker. Michael is not nearly as surly. Maria has curly hair. They have different powers as well. They can see auras, and a biggie is that they can not only change the shape of things, but change their appearance as well. There are others but I digress. Synopsis: Michael and Maria are finally together. Kyle Valenti is saved.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: I really enjoyed the Roswell High books. But I felt like Michael and Maria got short changed. The ten books spent a goodly amount of time developing Max and Liz's relationship. It seemed unfair that Michael realized how he felt about Maria and confessed his love to her, just to have the book and the series end a couple of pages later. Thanks To: I want to thank my beta readers, deah, Mysticalshevamp, ViLaNdRa194, and Tinkerbellgirl69. A very special thank you goes to shadowwalker. You are the *the best*! Your suggestions and comments were always dead on, and I think the story is better because of you. I owe you a lot.
An hour later, Liz was proven right. Maria had put the dress on. Theoretically it fit, but she was afraid to move for fear of what would pop out.

"My mother wears this! Where could she possibly go dressed like this? Mom and I are definitely going to have to have a talk." She threw the dress on the floor and stomped on it. "Evil!" she shouted at the crumpled mess. "Now I don't have anything to wear at all."

Liz was already reaching into her closet. "Would you like to wear my black sweater with the pearl buttons?" she offered.

"Really? The black sweater? You're the best, Liz!" Maria hugged her and snatched the garment from her hands. It was easily the most sophisticated and sexy thing that Liz owned. The knit was soft and inviting to touch. Tight enough to show off a girl's assets, but not too tight. Low cut enough to get a boy's undivided attention, but not slutty low. The pearl buttons gave it that touch of innocence that drove guys wild. At least it had worked that way on Max when Liz had worn it for him. Tight jeans. Incredible sweater. She definitely looked hot. She couldn't wait to try it out on Michael.

Liz looked beautiful too in a red camisole with a sheer white blouse over it. Of course Max would think she was beautiful if she were wearing an old potato sack. The truth was Liz was a natural beauty. It would have been easy to be jealous of her, but they were best friends, and Liz didn't have a pretentious bone in her body.

They checked their lipstick in the mirror. Perfect! Time to head back to the museum for the opening.


The museum was bedlam as they walked in. It looked like everyone in town had come by to celebrate with Michael. Everyone appeared to be having a great time. Everyone except Isabel, who was behind the refreshment table was trying to keep some semblance of order.

"There is a God," Maria commented to Liz as they watched a frazzled Isabel brush hair out of her face.

Isabel caught sight of them and motioned to them frantically. "I cannot handle this. These people are like sharks in a feeding frenzy."

Liz waved at the table in dismissal. "Let them fend for themselves. We can clean up the mess later." She looked through the crowd for Max. Having a tall boyfriend had its advantages, and she found him easily. He stood against the far wall, drink in hand, talking to Alex.

He raised the glass to his lips scanning the room. His eyes found Liz smiling at him. God, she was beautiful. He had been in love with her his whole life, but each time he saw her she still managed to take his breath away. Alex was in the middle of a sentence, but Max wasn't hearing him anymore. He handed Alex his glass and started walking toward Liz. She met him half way across the makeshift dance floor and she melted into his arms. "You look incredible," he said running his hand over the silky fabric of the blouse's back. Liz smiled.

Maria wasn't as successful finding Michael. She grabbed a glass of punch and started walking around the perimeter of the room. She heard Stacey Scheinin's high-pitched laugh and watched her making a bee-line for Alex. Poor Alex, she thought. He'd gone from geek to studley, but it had its consequences, namely Stacey. She considered wandering over there to rescue him, but Alex deftly detached himself from Stacey and was moving toward Isabel. Maria sincerely hoped that the Alex/Isabel situation worked itself out. They had the potential to be a great couple.

She continued her journey around the room. There were plenty of people looking at the exhibits, but as the volume of the music increased, more and more of the crowd was abandoning them for the dance floor.

She scanned the dance floor for Michael, and sure enough, there he was. Serena Robinson had her arms wrapped around his neck, and he wasn't exactly keeping her at arm's length. Maria's good mood faded. Typical Michael, she thought. Can't keep his mind on anything for more than five minutes. She looked over at Liz and Max dancing slowly. They had eyes only for each other. Why couldn't she and Michael have that kind of relationship? She was going to have to do something to yank Michael back to planet earth, and there was no time like the present.

Maria walked over and tapped Serena on the shoulder. "Excuse me," she said smiling sweetly. "I think you're occupying my space."

Confused, Serena let go of Michael and stepped away. Maria moved smoothly into his arms. "I let you out of my sight for one hour and look what happens," she said.

"Maria, it was just a dance," Michael said.

"Just a dance? I practically had to scrape her off you, and from where I was standing it didn't look like you were objecting too much."

Michael tried to pull her stiff body closer to him. "It was just a dance," he repeated.

Isabel watched all of this with mild amusement from her seat on the stairs. Michael continued to speak into Maria's ear, and Isabel saw her begin to relax. She could only guess what Michael was saying to worm his way out of that one. For a guy who was semi-clueless about women's emotions, he had his moments.

Alex dropped onto the step next to her and bumped her shoulder with his. "Finger foods?" he offered holding a plate in front of her piled high.

Isabel smiled and took a wedge of cheese on a toothpick.

"So, the big event appears to be a success," Alex said.

"Yeah, everyone seems to be having a great time."

"Except for you," Alex observed. "Tell Uncle Alex."

"I went dream walking with Kyle last night, and in the middle of this terrible nightmare he woke up." She told him the entire story of Kyle's dream. "And what freaked me out more than anything was that he knew the Clean Slate device isn't where he left it anymore. Max is saying it is just a dream, but I can't get it out of my head that he knows."

"I agree with Max. Let's think about this. He had everybody from ET to Klingons chasing him and he couldn't get away. It isn't in the nature of bad dreams to let you out easily." He offered up the plate of goodies again, and she took another cheese cube. "It's like those dreams where you run as hard as you can but the boogieman always catches you. This is Kyle's equivalent. He had something that would save him, but he couldn't find it."

Isabel mulled it over. Alex's analysis made perfect sense. She felt a weight lift from her shoulders. She dazzled him with a smile. "Thanks, Alex. I think you're right." She grabbed his hand and pulled him up. "Come dance with me."

"With pleasure," he said sweeping her onto the floor.

At a lull in the music somebody yelled "Get ready to bop!" The crowd roared its approval and began lining up.

James Diaz grabbed hold of Maria's waist, lining up behind her. Michael felt a flash of jealousy. He wanted James's hands off Maria. Now! "No, no, no, no, no," he said pulling her out of James's grasp. "No one bops with my girl but me." They walked off the dance floor and joined Max, Liz, Isabel and Alex already standing under the stairs.

"That is the most idiotic thing I have ever seen," Michael observed as people bounced and hopped and snaked across the floor.

"It's a proud Roswell tradition," Liz said.

"I don't know about the proud part, but it is definitely Roswell," Alex said. "As are all things alien."

The six of them looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Continuing to watch the people doing the alien bop, Michael ran his hand down Maria's arm, and began to appreciate the soft texture of the sweater. He'd been so busy trying to defuse her anger earlier, he had missed out on the sensual feast that it offered. His eyes took over the inspection and discovered the sweater's neckline. Definitely low enough to be interesting, and Maria filled it out nicely. And what about those little round white buttons. Sexy. Very sexy.

The bop ended and the lines broke up into couples again. The others headed back for the dance floor, but Michael and Maria lingered. She turned in his arms until they were face to face, and walked him backwards until he bumped his shoulders against the wall.

"Serena Robinson, huh?" she said.

"I told you, it was just a dance," he said tracing her face softly with his fingers.

"Soooooo, you can dance with Serena, but you wouldn't let me bop with James Diaz?"

His hands continued their gentle exploration of her face. "I didn't like the way he grabbed. He was just too eager to get his hands on this sweater."

She did love it when he touched her. He had such big hands, but he could be so gentle it made her melt. Michael stepped his feet apart and she moved her feet between his bringing her a few inches closer to him. She ran her hands up the hard muscles of his chest and put her arms around his neck. "Jealous?" she teased.

He put an arm around her waist and pulled her closer still. "I've got to protect my claim on this incredible sweater."

"You like the sweater, huh?"

"Oh, yeah. His hand slipped under the sweater and as his hand moved up her back, Maria's eyes slid slowly closed.

"It's Liz's," she said keeping up the conversation that had nothing to do with what was going on between them.

"Lucky Max," he replied holding up his end of the dialogue between kisses down the side of her neck.

"Liz said it absolutely drove him wild."

"It did, huh?" he commented concentrating his kisses on the hollow of her throat.

"Do you think it's the buttons?"

"What buttons?" he asked, his kisses trailing lower.

Maria laced her fingers in his hair and pulled his mouth away from her. "What makes this sweater so incredible?"

"It's not the sweater, sweetheart. It's what's inside of it."


Michael fell into bed. The opening had been a huge success. The place was trashed once again. Only this time it was from an earthly cause, namely multitudes of partying teenagers. No one could face the idea of cleaning up the museum twice in just a matter of a couple of days, so cleanup detail was postponed until tomorrow. Late.

He was tired and exhilarated. He and Maria had a new understanding. They weren't just friends anymore, and he itched to be with her right now. But if he was tired, he knew Maria had to be exhausted. She and Liz had worked hard putting the party together. And then he and Maria had danced the night away. He'd only messed up a couple of times, the worst being dancing with Serena Robinson, but he felt he had made it up to Maria. At least she hadn't seemed angry with him when she left. Max was seeing both Maria and Liz home, but he had still made her promise to call him as soon as she got home.

On second thought, he would go to her. Even if she was asleep, she never minded waking up for him to climb through her bedroom window. Besides, if he showed up at her house, it would really show her that Serena Robinson didn't mean anything to him. He congratulated himself on a good idea as he grabbed his jacket and headed toward the door.

He tapped on her bedroom window and found out he was wrong. Maria wasn't asleep. She was sitting on the bed watching the All Night Fifties Fright Fest. She opened the window and waved him in as she sat back down on the bed.

"Hey," he said. "I thought you were tired."

"Well you made me promise to call you when I got home but somebody wasn't answering their telephone," she said arching an eyebrow.

"Oops," he said kicking his shoes off. "I decided I wasn't ready to say goodnight." He sat on the bed and stuffed pillows between his back and the headboard. "What a minute," he said pointing at the nightshirt she was wearing. "You are so busted. That's my shirt."

"Not anymore it's not," she said. "It's roomy and old enough to be nice and soft." And it smells like you, she added to herself.

"You have sunk to a new low, stealing my clothes," he said. He pretended to be indignant, but the fact that she wanted to sleep in one of his shirts was a serious turn on. "Come here. Let's watch this wonderful movie. What's happened so far?"

Maria laid her head on his shoulder and he put his arm around her pulling her close.

"OK, this meteor has fallen to earth and there this thing in the middle that eats whatever it touches. Steve McQueen and his girlfriend are trying to warn people about this, but no one is listening. That's pretty much it."

She relaxed against him and let her eyes drift closed. He couldn't tell if she was watching the TV or not, and she wanted to absorb as much of the moment as possible because with Michael you never knew when an opportunity like this would come around again. She could hear the slow, even beat of his heart and feel him inhale and exhale slowly. The sound of the TV faded further and further into the background. She really was tired. Michael's body next to hers was warm. His arm around her was soothing. Without realizing it she was falling asleep.

As the movie ended, Michael realized that Maria was fast asleep. He picked up the remote control and clicked off the tube. He had hours before he needed to get his two hours of sleep, but he also didn't want to go home. Maria's girlie-girl room was one of his favorite places to be. It didn't get much better than this, he thought. He wanted to be with her. Well, he was with her right now, but he wanted to be even closer. I could dream walk into her dream, and we can spend time together even though she's asleep. He congratulated himself on his second great idea of the evening. He began his deep breathing relaxation, and soon he was drifting away into the dream plane.

Maria's orb was right in front of him. Big surprise. He took it gently into his hands and began to draw his hands apart urging the orb to expand. There she was running across the street in front of the Crashdown. He was just about to step inside when what he saw froze him.

Maria ran across the street and hurled herself into Max's arms. She threw her arms around his neck and wrapped her legs around him. He couldn't hear anything being said, but both Max and Maria had smiles on their faces. Max carried her a step or two and then lowered her to her feet. She didn't entirely let go of him, and Max put his arm around her shoulders. They walked toward the Crashdown's front door talking and smiling.

Michael's eyes opened ending the dream walk. Whoa. Max? What was the meaning of this? His best friend and the girl he loved in each other's arms? He laid still and tried to sort it all out. OK. Maybe he was jumping to conclusions and what he saw was innocent regardless of what it looked like. Maria sighed, and moved her arm to around his neck and nuzzled even closer to him. Who was she sighing over and clinging to in her dream? Did this mean that subconsciously she had really wanted to be with Max all this time? Was she really in love with Max, and loyalty to Liz kept her silent? Which would mean that he was what, the substitute alien?

Only one way to find out. He closed his eyes again and began to breathe slowly. He drifted back into the dream plane and looked for Maria's orb again. It hadn't gone far. He whistled to call it to him. He took it into his hands and began urging the orb larger. He looked inside. Maria and Max were inside the Crashdown. Max was sitting at a table and Maria was standing behind him with one hand on his shoulder, leaning over and pointing to something. Michael turned the orb in his hands trying to get a look at what was so engrossing, but what captured his eyes and made his chest tight was Maria's breast perilously close to Max's arm each time she bent forward. Max looked up at her and smiled, and she beamed back at him. His chest loosened when she moved to the other side of the table from Max and sat down. A waitress he didn't recognize came up and put two Lime Warps in front of them. Where was Liz, anyway? He looked quickly around the room for her, but she was no where in sight. That wasn't good. The waitress moved away, and he saw that Maria had reached across the table and had Max's hand in hers. He could finally see what they had been looking at. It was a brochure from a jewelry story. It was open to a page of diamond engagement rings.

Michael opened his eyes again. Maria and Max were picking out engagement rings? She was dreaming about getting engaged to Max? Michael felt as though he had been sucker punched. He understood that dreams weren't absolutes. Things were frequently not what they seemed, but this one was so obvious. Despite what she had told him last night he had screwed things up so badly that she was looking elsewhere.

He thought back over the last few days. She had been crying because she had thought he was going to go to his home planet with Trevor. Crying over him. He remembered how happy she was when he told her he loved her. Hell, he remembered how happy he had been to finally say the words and know that they were true. They were starting their relationship over. The relationship with them as a couple.

This didn't mix with the dream. Which was the truth?

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