FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"New Understandings"
Part 7
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.
For once, work wasn't drudgery for Maria. This was an unusually busy evening, and the girls hardly had a moment to breathe let alone worry over personal problems. Anything was better than sitting at home moping over Michael. She had hoped he might come into the Crashdown for dinner. At least she would have been able to see him, even if she couldn't talk to him. But he was a no-show.

That evening at home she was alone. Kevin was at their father's house supposedly having some quality guy time. Her mom was off on one of her dates that would probably last until dawn. It suited Maria though. She needed the solitude. She kicked her shoes off and turned on the TV for background noise. She knew one thing that would make her feel better was an aromatherapy bath. She ran a hot tub of water and added her custom mixture of bath oils. She soaked until her skin started to prune and the water was cool. Toweling off she put on her favorite PJs and headed back into the bedroom. She closed the door and turned down the lights. Very peaceful.

She turned around and saw Michael standing at her bedroom window. Her heart slammed so hard she had to put her hand to her chest to soothe it. She crossed the room to open the window.

Michael watched her walk toward him. Usually she had a smile that was only for him, but tonight it was nowhere in sight. If anything she looked scared. It was his fault. He felt like a heel.

Maria opened the window and stepped back.

"Can I come in?" he asked.

She gestured toward the room and sat down on the bed. Better to sit down now than to fall down later. "Be careful where you step. My heart is on the floor somewhere," she whispered.

"What?" he asked as he climbed through the window.


"I need to ask you something," he said taking off his jacket and throwing it on a nearby chair.

She looked up at him. "OK."

Face scrubbed clean and in a pair of sloppy PJs she was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He had to clinch his fists to stop himself from touching her. He dropped to his knees in front of her and summoned up all his courage.

"Maria, do you have feelings for Max?" he asked.

OK, there was no way on earth Michael could have possibly asked what she thought she had heard. She shook her head trying to clear it. "What?"

"Do you have feelings for Max?" he repeated.

She inhaled to answer, but nothing would come out. She swallowed hard and tried again. "What are you talking about?"

"The night I came over and watched The Blob with you, you fell asleep."

"I remember. When I woke up you were gone."

"Yeah. While you were asleep I decided I wanted to dream walk into your dream," he paused.

"And," she prompted.

"I saw you with Max. So I just need to know if that was real. Do you have feelings for Max?"

Maria sat up straighter. Realization dawned and along with it a healthy dose of anger. "So that's what all this was about? A dream? You've been punishing me for a dream?"

Michael didn't answer. What had seemed reasonable in his mind sounded more than a bit ridiculous when spoken out loud.

But, the green-eyed monster reminded him, she hasn't exactly answered your question, has she? No, he had to admit, she had not. He watched the display of emotions across her face. Surprise. Confusion. Dismay. Pain. Anger.

Maria drew back her arm and slapped him across the face as hard as she could.

Michael's head snapped back and he found himself sprawled on the floor looking up at her in stunned amazement.

"All this has been about a dream?" she demanded jumping to her feet. "Are you crazy?" She flapped her arms. "Of course I have feelings for Max. I love him like a brother. I can't believe you would think there was something more between us."

"In the dream you were looking at engagement rings."

"For Liz. Max had asked me to help him pick one out." She fell to her knees beside him. "What else? There has to be more."

"Last night."

"Oh!" she said revving back up again. "You mean after you ran off and left me at the pizza place and Max and Liz had to take me home? What about it?"

"I saw you with Max in front of your house."

"And you saw what?"

"You two holding hands and talking," he said.

Michael flinched as her hand shot out and grabbed the front of his T-shirt. She looked him straight in the eye she said, "We were talking about you." She pulled him closer to her. "It was about you, Michael. It's always been you." She leaned forward bringing her lips near his. "I can't believe that hasn't sunk in yet."

Michael closed the distance and pressed his mouth to hers. He gathered her into his arms and clutched her tightly to his body. As always she held him as tightly as he held her.

Coming up for air Michael rubbed his jaw. "You pack one hell of a punch."

"Yeah, well. That's what you get for pissing me off," she replied touching the red handprint on his cheek.

"Forgive me?" he asked.

"Maybe," she said. "You're going to have to persuade me." She ran her fingers down his neck and inside the neck of his T-shirt. She gently rubbed her fingers across the hollow of his throat.

"I can try," he said sliding his hand under the pajama top and running his hand up her ribs to her breast. He kissed her neck below her ear, exactly where he knew she liked it. He moved a little lower and kissed her again, hard enough to leave a mark.

Maria ran her hands down his back. She grabbed hold of the bottom of his T-shirt and tugged it half way up his body.

Michael pulled back from her. "Where's your mom and your brother? Are we in danger of being walked in on?"

"Kevin is at Dad's. Mom's on one of her dates, so God only knows when she will get home. Lose the shirt, Guerin."

"I knew you wouldn't be able to resist me," he said smugly pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it aside.

Not even funny, she thought to herself. "I've changed my mind. Put the shirt back on Michael. You're outta here."

He looked at her shocked.

"I love you Michael. I would do almost anything to make you happy. But this isn't a joke. I don't think you meant to be, but you've been cruel to me the last couple of days. If we're going to be a couple, you are going to have to learn to open up to me. Couples discuss problems. Couples work through misunderstandings together. Couples don't make light of the other person's pain."

"Maria, I'm sorry," he said. "It was supposed to be a joke. Please believe me."

"Oh, I believe you," she said. She stood and offered him her hand to help him up. "But you're still going home. I'll see you at school tomorrow."

Michael put on his shirt and stood up. "Can I at least have a goodbye kiss?"

Maria laughed. "You can always have a kiss."

He touched her face. "Maria?"

"What?" she said combing her fingers through his hair.

"I want to get closer to you.

"Michael," she said in a reproving tone. "You're not going to sweet talk me into letting you stay."

"I know, I know, you're kicking me out. I deserve it. I just want to try something first. I want to connect with you."

"We've connected before, Michael," she said.

"I know, but this will be different. I want to see if I can do what Max did with Liz. I want to see if I can make the connection go in reverse. I want you to see me and I want to see you."

Liz had told her about the connection that Max had made between them. It had been as intimate as sex. More revealing than any words either of them could have spoken. It showed Max's heart and soul to Liz. Their relationship had truly begun with the connection as she saw how much he loved her. Maria wanted the kind of relationship they have. Michael appeared to be offering it to her. She was nervous and excited.

"Really?" Maria asked.

Michael kissed her softly. "Is that a yes?" he asked.

Not trusting her voice, she nodded.

Michael looked into her eyes. "Take slow, deep breaths with me," he instructed. "Don't think about anything but me."

She nodded her understanding, and eyes locked to his began breathing in and out slowly. She matched her rhythm to his. She began to feel as though she was falling away, although she knew she was not. She could still feel Michael's hand on her face. Their face. Their body. Two heartbeats became one.

She saw Michael as a young child, alone in the cave next to the pod containing Max and Isabel. A child walking through the desert. A man with a weather-beaten face giving him a drink of water. A young Michael alone in a crowd of children. A succession of smiling adults and different homes and different beds. Unsmiling adults waving goodbye. Max and Isabel. Michael crawling through her bedroom window. Kissing her when she lay paralyzed on the floor after trying to use the ring. Telling her to think only of him just before he took the ring from her. Herself telling Michael she loved him. The cell in the compound. Adam. Valenti. Cameron. Desire for Cameron. Kissing Cameron. The pain of Cameron's betrayal of him. The pain of Cameron's departure. Trevor. Excitement of finding his brother. Longing to go to his home planet. Michael trying to cut himself off from her. Michael looking at her asleep in the front seat of his car. Michael looking at her and realizing why he couldn't leave. Michael telling her he loved her.

He slowly removed his hand from her face. "Did it work?"

She nodded and pulled him tight to her. "You realize of course that your hard-ass, tough guy act is never going to work on me again."

Her resolve to make Michael leave was slipping. His body against hers felt too good. He pulled her to her toes with the intensity of his arms around her.

"Please don't give up on me," he whispered in her ear.

Oh yeah, her resolve was definitely slipping. She took a deep breath and Michael's eucalyptus scent flooded over her. Her determination fell another notch.

Nope! Be strong. Just because he's here, and he's acting the way you always fantasized he would, and he's right here in your arms, and he feels so good, and he's saying the things you have always wanted to hear from him, and your body is screaming to kiss him until he stays so you can keep feeling this way, doesn't mean anything. OK, it means a lot, but you've told him you're kicking him out, and you have to be a woman of your word.

She pushed away from him and pointed toward the window. "Go home," she said. She watched him pick up his jacket. After stealing one last quick kiss, he climbed out the window. She got into bed and pulled the covers up to her chin. She had a lot to think about and sort out.

As Michael headed home, he mulled over the images he had gotten from Maria. It wasn't possible for there to be lies in the images from a connection. He didn't have control over what he saw. Images came as they came, sort of pot luck. If she had had feelings for Max, they would have been in there somewhere. But there was nothing. Nothing beyond friendship. Strong friendship, but friendship nevertheless. Finding this out hadn't been the point of him asking to make the connection, but he couldn't complain about the results. Her heart belonged to him.

Part 6 | Index | Part 8
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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