FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"New Understandings"
Part 5
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.
Liz winced as she watched Max and Michael slather hot sauce on their meatball and pineapple pizza. She shared a pained expression with Maria and then turned her attention back to Isabel. "I'm sorry, Isabel," she said. "I zoned out on your for a minute. Did you say that Kyle's Uncle Fred was at the house?"

"No, it isn't really his uncle. It's one of the Clean Slate agents going through the sheriff's files," Isabel said.

"We need to find a way into the house. If they find the files on us, it will be all over," Michael said.

"Wait," Isabel said holding up her index finger. "Kyle told me that he took all the stuff about us to school and put it in his locker. We clean that baby out and we should be home free."

"Except for what's in Kyle's head," Max pointed out.

"So are you saying that Kyle's in danger?" Liz asked.

"Maybe," Max acknowledged. "It seems pretty certain that the men in Kyle's house are Clean Slate. If they think that he's holding out on them I can see them doing whatever they think is necessary to find out everything that he knows."

"They're already threatening him," Isabel said. "I told him that he could call on any of us if he needed help. They practically won't let him out of their sight, so I told him I would go to see him again tomorrow."

"We could all go," Liz said. "We can take him some school stuff and have a picnic on the lawn or something. It would look totally normal to this Uncle Fred guy, and maybe we can come up with some kind of plan."

"I still don't like it," Michael said. "There's just too much history of Kyle Valenti stalking us. He even kidnapped Maria's brother, for crying out loud."

Maria put a comforting hand on his arm, but he wasn't sure he wanted to be touched by her. At least not until he sorted out what was going on between them. Or not going on between them. Or between Maria and Max. Oh hell, he didn't know! He chose the coward's way out. He reached for the hot sauce packets in the middle of the table and ripped one open. He continued to do things with that hand until Maria dropped hers into her lap.

OK, what was that about? Maria wondered. He practically ripped his arm away from me and dived for the hot sauce. As if that pizza slice needed more hot sauce. Or any hot sauce. Try again, she thought, and put her hand on his leg. But Michael took that moment to stand up reaching across the table for napkins, and effectively pulling away from her hand. Again. He was trying to be casual, but it was obvious to her that he didn't want to be touched.

Her mind raced back over recent events. She couldn't think of anything that had happened between them that would account for him being so cold. Especially when for the last few days it seemed as though he couldn't get close enough to her. Hurt, she shrank into the corner of the booth making sure that no part of her touched him. She looked over at Liz, who seemed to sense the tension in her best friend. Liz shot her a questioning look, and she shrugged minutely.

Maria couldn't stand it. She had to get away from Michael or risk a meltdown. "I need out you guys," she announced.

Everyone dutifully got up and Maria bolted for the bathroom. She shut the door, locked it and turned to the sink. She felt ill. Something was wrong and she had no idea what it was. She rooted around in her purse and got out her bottle of cedar oil. She inhaled deeply and tried to picture the calm forest. It helped a little, but her heart was still pounding and her cheeks were flushed. She turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on her face. It was either spend the night in here or she was going to have to rejoin the group. She plastered a determined smile on her face. "Get on with it!" she said to her reflection.

Coming back to the table she waved Alex back into place and grabbing a chair turned to the end of the booth. Space, that was the ticket. She needed space between herself and Michael.

Unfortunately for Michael's state of mind, the relocation put her next to Max. And also unfortunately in order to ignore Michael, she lavished attention on Alex and Max. And Max got the lion's share of her attention because if she looked at Alex she would also see Michael.

Michael watched in disbelief. She was doing it right in front of him! She was flirting with Max. Liz seemed oblivious to what was going on, even participating in the teasing and games. Suddenly he felt like an outsider. What was going on? Whatever it was, he had had enough.

"I'm going to take off," he announced.

As soon as Alex let him out, he bolted for the door.

Everyone turned questioning eyes to Maria. She shrugged helplessly. "What did I do?"

"Don't worry, Maria. He's just being Michael the Jerk," Isabel said. "We've all seen him do things like this before. I think it has something to do with the cycles of the moon or the height of the local sand dunes."

"I'll take you home," Max offered. "It's about that time anyway."

Everyone gathered their things, threw money on the table for the bill and made their way toward the door. Alex and Isabel headed toward his car. Max, Liz and Maria climbed into the jeep.


Michael stormed around his apartment. He turned on the TV and immediately turned it off again. This was no good. He needed to be moving. He grabbed his jacket and headed back out the door.

Michael rounded the corner of the block and started toward Maria's house determined to have it out with her. He saw Max's jeep pull to the curb in front of her house. Michael moved behind a nearby tree and watched. He saw Max get out of the jeep and walk around to Maria's side of the car. She climbed out and started to walk toward the house, but Max stopped her by taking her hand. Michael wished he could hear what they were saying, but he was too far away and would risk being seen if he tried to move closer.

Max and Maria stood together for quite some time. Michael ground his teeth in frustration of not being able to hear what they were saying. This was completely unfair. Max had Liz. What was he doing with Maria? Touching Maria? He suddenly noticed that his hand hurt. He looked down at it and realized his fist had been pounding into the tree. The knuckles of his hand were cut and he was bleeding, but somehow that seemed appropriate. He welcomed the pain. Concentrating on it dulled the pain in his heart. He knew he should leave. He felt like he was watching a bloody car crash, and was helpless to stop it. It was only hurting more to watch this, but he couldn't move. He had to know.

He felt his heart hit the pavement when Max pulled Maria closer and they put their arms around each other. This was too much. He was about to storm up to them and demand an explanation when Max kissed the top of Maria's head, and they parted. She turned and walked into her house, and Max drove away. Michael watched the taillights until they rounded the corner and disappeared, then he turned and walked away.


Maria sat down on her bed. She and Max had had a long talk about Michael and she had gotten Max's take on what was going on with his best friend. She had told him that it made her feel better to hear what he had to say, but in all honesty it didn't. Michael was pushing her away at the very time when they should be getting closer. She was confused, hurt and emotionally exhausted.

She undressed and put on the T-shirt she had swiped from Michael and got into bed. It still had the faint scent of eucalyptus. Michael's scent. Sleeping in his shirt was as close to sleeping with Michael as she was likely to get for a while. It was almost like having him wrapped around her. Like being surrounded by Michael. She buried her face in her pillow and let go of the tears she had been holding in all day.

On the other side of her bedroom window, Michael stood watching her cry.

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