FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"The Forging of a Lifebond"
Part 5
by Tasyfa
Disclaimer: This story is not affiliated in any way with Roswell or the WB. No copyright infringement was intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: This takes place after RTM/ARCC, about mid-January after everyone's back in school. This story is dedicated to bluecornmoon for her support and encouragement in my writing endeavours.
It was the end of the dinner shift at the Crashdown Café and Liz and Maria were both tired. Michael, too, was dragging his feet as he cleaned up the kitchen.

“Come on, Michael,” Liz called. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can have this meeting.”

Michael appeared at the passthrough window. “That’s supposed to make me go faster, being able to go to one of Max’s little meetings? Not!” he exclaimed.

Liz and Maria both laughed. Maria went to change out of her uniform—Liz had already done so—and Michael motioned Liz over to the window.

“What?” she asked, stopping in front of him.

Michael grimaced. “I just wanted you to, you know, congratulate you. Though why you’d pick Max is beyond me,” he said, one corner of his mouth lifting in a smile. “Isabel gave you her blessing, too, in case Max didn’t tell you yet.”

Surprised, Liz shook her head. “No, I haven’t seen him today. We kind of figured we’d be a dead giveaway if we were seen together, so… Thank you, Michael. That means a lot—coming from you,” she smirked, ducking as he aimed a mock blow at her. They both laughed as Maria reentered the café, looking her usual polished self.

“What’d I miss?” she inquired. “Liz, you just got your man back. Leave mine alone!”

Michael smiled. “I was just telling her that Isabel and I both approve, this time around,” he explained. Maria squealed and hugged Liz, then grabbed Michael’s shoulders and pulled him far enough forward to give him a long, slow kiss. At last she released him and pushed him back upright.

“Thank you, Spaceboy,” she said, her eyes twinkling mischievously. Liz tried not to laugh at the expression on Michael’s face, but couldn’t help herself. She and Maria collapsed against each other, holding on for dear life as they shook with laughter. Max and Isabel entered through the front door, followed by Alex. They took in the laughing girls, then Isabel spotted Michael and smiled.

“Wipe your mouth, Michael. You’re wearing most of Maria’s lipstick,” she informed him. He looked heavenward, shrugging, and disappeared into the kitchen, emerging a moment later through the swinging door with a clean face. He grabbed Maria and dragged her to a back booth, where they both sat.

Liz clutched her stomach and looked for Isabel. She saw Max first and her smile changed, growing more luminous. They stood there like that for a few moments, lost in each other’s gazes. Michael was rolling his eyes, and the others were trying not to laugh. No one really wanted to break the spell, but finally Alex gave Max a little push.

“Kiss her already,” he ordered. Max gave a guilty start, flushing as he realized that several minutes had gone by. Liz smiled and came to him.

“Hi,” she said softly.

“Hi, yourself,” he replied, then drew her to him for a sweet, tender kiss. When he lifted his head, Liz was radiant.

There was the sound of applause, and they turned to find that Tess and Kyle had come in unnoticed. They were clapping and smiling, and after a moment’s hesitation everyone else joined in. Liz, blushing furiously, led Max to the booth where Maria and Michael were sitting. Alex, Isabel, Tess and Kyle took seats in the chairs at the table beside the booth.

Once everyone was seated and a pitcher of fruit punch and glasses had been passed around, Max spoke up. “I’m actually going to hand this meeting over to Liz, because she’s the one with the scientific bent. Liz, would you mind?”

Flabbergasted, Liz groped for her notes. “Um, OK, Max. Um, we’re here to talk about what experiments we should do with the granolith, because it had a definite reaction when Max grabbed my arm in the chamber yesterday.”

She glanced around at the group; everyone had slightly blank looks on their faces. Liz smiled. “I know that we haven’t had much time to think about this, but what I propose is that we start out with something pretty basic. We have four human/alien pairs—sorry, Alex and Isabel, you’re stuck together again,” she apologized.

Isabel looked at Alex and they both smiled. Encouraged, Liz continued, “Since the granolith reacted to Max and I linking hands, I thought we could see if it does the same thing for any of the other 3 pairs. Then, we can combine 2 pairs, then 3, and finally all of us in one big group. That’s it for now. I figured that we could rate the brightness on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the brightest. Michael, you can do that, you’re the most light sensitive,” she teased.

“Ha ha,” Michael said. “But all right, I’ll do it.”

“Tess, you have the neatest handwriting, so maybe you could mark down Michael’s measurements? I’ve already done up a chart of the combinations on the computer,” Liz asked, looking hopefully at her.

Tess looked surprised but pleased. “Sure, I can do that. What about everyone else, though?” she asked.

“The rest of us can just play guinea pig,” Liz replied. “So, do we want to go do this now? It probably won’t take all that long; it’s not complicated.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment, taken aback by Liz’s efficiency. Then Max shook his head and smiled. “I’m all for getting it done now. Let’s go,” he agreed. “We can always work out any bugs onsite.” There was a murmur of agreement, and everyone stood up. Liz grabbed the pitcher to put back in the fridge; Maria and Michael washed the glasses and put them away. As they left the café for the cars, Liz carefully locked up behind them. Maria, Michael, Liz and Max got into Maria’s Jetta; everyone else piled into the Evans’s Jeep.

Isabel and Maria drove out to the mountain where the granolith was concealed, parking their vehicles in a sheltered, private area. Everyone got out and headed for the pod chamber.

The granolith was exactly as they had left it, its base glowing a soft, steady white. The group spaced themselves around it, each couple taking a compass point in order to achieve perfect balance.

“Michael, Tess. You guys ready?” Max asked. Tess nodded. He couldn’t see Michael on the opposite side of the granolith, but Max heard his grunt of assent. Liz rolled her eyes at Max and he smiled.

Isabel spoke up. “I think it would be a good idea to start with Max and Liz, as, like, a baseline. Since we saw what happened before, we could set that level of brightness as, say, 5 on Michael’s scale. That way we’d have something to base the scale on.”

There were nods around the circle. “That’s a great idea, Isabel,” Liz praised her. “A baseline is really important. And we should time it for 30 seconds too, just for consistency.”

Michael snorted. “So, go ahead then. I’ve got a watch. Let’s see what 5 looks like,” he remarked.

Max and Liz looked at each other then clasped hands. Max’s thumb caressed the back of Liz’s hand as they watched the granolith’s light grow to brilliance, their eyes watering.

Michael called out, “Time!” A little reluctantly, they let go of each other, smiling.

“So who’s next?” Alex asked. Tess consulted the chart. “Maria and Michael are,” she replied.

They worked their way through the list. There were very slight changes for the other 3 pairs, more noticeable changes for the combinations. The only thing that came close to producing the same kind of brilliance that Max and Liz had created alone, however, was when all eight of them linked together in a circle around the granolith.

“At last Max sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Man, I’m beat,” he muttered, then spoke louder. “That’s it, guys. We’re not going to get anything else done tonight. It’s almost midnight; let’s get out of here. We can talk about the results later.”

The group started heading for the door. They were all as exhausted as Max was.

Liz smiled wanly at him. “I feel like I could sleep for a week,” she declared. Max chuckled tiredly.

“I know what you mean,” he said. “I was kind of hoping we could have some private time, though.” He lowered his voice. “I want to kiss you again, without an audience this time,” he half smiled.

Liz’s breath caught in her throat, and she murmured, “What’s stopping you?”

Oblivious to everything but the invitation in her eyes, Max stepped closer to Liz and slowly lowered his head to kiss her. As their lips touched and their tongues entwined, there was a soundless explosion of light. Startled, they broke apart as everyone came running back in.

“What did you DO?” cried Michael. “That blew our 10 point scale all to hell!”

Max rubbed his upper lip, a little embarrassed. Liz was staring at the floor trying not to laugh.

“We, uh,” Max cleared his throat, also holding back laughter, “We kissed.”

Michael stared at him. “Kissed how? Are we talking tongues down each other’s throats French kissing here or what?” he demanded.

Liz dissolved into giggles, grabbing for Maria for support. Max’s lips twitched and he kept his gaze fixed in the other direction from Liz.

“No, it was just your basic garden-variety kiss,” he managed to say. “Sorry, I guess we weren’t really thinking about it.”

Liz was standing on her own now, her giggles reduced to a wide smile. Max stole a glance at her and grinned, unrepentant.

Michael exhaled audibly. “Yeah, I can just guess what you were thinking about,” he said sardonically. “Just try not to give the rest of us heart attacks in the process, OK?” Max nodded, his eyes sparkling with mirth he dared not give in to; he figured that if he started to laugh, he was a goner.

In spite of himself, Michael smiled at Max. “Let’s go, guys. Max—it’s good to see you like this again,” he admitted. “Thanks, Liz.” Shocked, Liz just nodded as the group turned to leave again. Maria smiled and winked at her, and went to link arms with Michael. Finally just Liz and Max were left in the granolith chamber, though the others were still audible in the pod chamber.

“Man! That was something! And from one little kiss?” Alex’s voice drifted back to them. “Makes you wonder…”

“If they, you know,” interjected Kyle.

“Shhh!” Isabel hushed them. “Do you want them to hear you?”

Part 4 | Index | Part 6
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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