Fanfic - Crashdown After Hours
"Whiter Shade of Pale"
Part 19
by Anne M.
Disclaimer: :shrugs: If you don't have anything better to do, sue me. I'll laugh my ass off if you do. . . .
Summary: Immediately follows Blind Date, exploring Liz's reaction to Max's inability to remember the evening's events. Reconciliation is followed quickly by a rapid progression in physical intimacy. Max and Liz make love for the first time and find that the experience has far reaching ramifications as changes in Liz become obvious. Some simple tests of skin & blood cells reveal what they both already suspected to be true. Liz's physiology has changed completely to match Max's. These changes become more pronounced as they experience the drive to procreate that is much stronger for them now that Liz has basically become an alien in her own right. As school draws to a close for the summer, the six set off on a trip to spend some time together that begins in near disaster as the girls are caught in a terrible storm. Michael and Maria discover that changes are occurring for them now, too, as Max and Liz discover new levels of their evolving relationship.
Category: Crashdown After Hours
Rating: PG
Author's Note: For Miranda.
Gale, four months is too long! Diana, I don't know why, but you love my stories and I love you.
Irina, keep writing and hang on to faith. We shall prevail! Can't believe how long we've been battling the Loch Tess together! Whew! Glad it's pretty much over!
Linda Lou, had it not been for you, I would have never even tried this . . . you're the best!

We tripped the light fandango,
turned cartwheels across the floor.
I was feeling kinda seasick.
The crowd called out for more . . .
The room was humming harder . . .
And, the ceiling flew away . . .
I called out for another drink . . .
the waiter brought a tray . . .

Max pulled Liz to his side, shaking in reaction and needing the feel of her body against his more than anything in recent memory. His arm circled her waist, while her head rested on his other arm.

She was shaking, too. And was it any wonder? Guilt assailed him and Max wrestled with the notion that somehow he had done something really wrong.

Liz tried. She really did. Everything inside her rebelled against what he was thinking and feeling, but to form a coherent thought was just too much to ask. Her arms and legs felt as if they were weighed down with lead, and her blood seemed to crawl through her veins in slow motion. Even her thoughts ebbed and flowed in an illusory fashion.

Finally, he closed his eyes and let himself relax despite the turmoil in his mind. Eventually, her elusive thoughts gained substance and made their way silently through the wall of his self-inflicted misery. His breathing seemed to calm down all at once, followed closely by the quiet peace in his mind. The sound of her voice inside his head always had that affect on him. Her thoughts could wind around his and weave an entirely different pattern than what was there before.

Liz: (whispering) "I have missed you . . . this . . . so much.

Max: (closing his eyes and burying his face in her hair) "I know. Not for much longer, Liz. I meant what I said about getting married as soon as possible."

Liz smiled and although she was facing away from him, he could still feel it. Her smile quickly faded as the reality of their situation crashed the party her thoughts had begun setting up in her brain. What in *this* world would their parents say? Would they try to keep them apart? Liz felt a terror grip her heart that was too much to endure. Her breath caught in her throat as she struggled to swallow the fear.

Max didn't have any guarantees to offer her save one, and the pain she was feeling was making itself quite comfortable in his nervous system. Determinedly, he concentrated and silently communicated the complete certainty that he would indeed marry her no matter what. It must have had the desired effect, because the knot of tension that had formed in her body loosened immediately

Nothing would come between them! He wouldn't allow it. He couldn't.

As her body slowly relaxed, his hand splayed across her belly as if it naturally belonged there, and the smallest of signs gently flared beneath his fingers in response. Their baby was gaining size every day now.

The evidence of their child glowed with the brilliance of a firefly on a moonless night. A light shining brightly in the blackest sky. They would make it through this. He was unreasonably sure of it.

Resting in that faith, he sucked in his breath, and immediately took in the fragrance of her hair, but beyond that, he could sense the smell of her body . . . theirs. No soap. No perfume. It was his favorite scent, and his body never failed to react to it.

Her heart had slowed somewhat. The beat was still a bit erratic, but not worrisome. His own marched in perfect time with hers. Just a further testament to how much their bodies had changed to match. He wondered briefly where the changes would end; how long they would keep evolving.

Liz marveled at how Max's thoughts tumbled around in her brain without any sort of barrier. This form of communication was pure . . . joy. Her hands moved to cover his own resting on her tummy. Her head fell back and shifted until she found the exact spot where it fit perfectly, and Max felt more at peace than he had since returning home from the cabin.

His lips automatically trailed down the length of her exposed neck, leaving a trail of tightly drawn skin in their wake.

Liz: (on a sigh) "Max . . ."

His complete and total absorption with her body wavered not in the slightest.

Liz: (Oh God.) "Max!"

Max vaguely groaned, but that was the extent of any sort of verbal communication from him. He was much too preoccupied with the task at hand. And speaking of "at hand," her skin flowed across his fingertips like silk . . .

Finally, taking a deep breath, she gently reminded him that he was due home any time now . . .

This time the groan sounded much more like a frustrated growl, as his mind struggled to accept the reality of what she was saying. Liz's heart ached in response. They had been forced to be apart for so long. She completely understood what he was feeling. Her eyes closed in sympathy for both of them.

After lying completely still for several minutes, Max slowly eased his way to a sitting position as Liz rolled onto her back to stare into his face. The silence stretched between them as they sought to make sense of their feelings and the reality of their situation.

Liz: (trying to hide the desperation she felt) "I don't want you to go."

Max: (expression softening) "It won't be this way for long."

Liz: (smiling at his obvious attempt to reassure her) "I can't help feeling that something is about to change."

Max: (chuckling) "That's valid." (staring pointedly at her abdomen)

Liz: (serious) "That's not what I mean."

Max: (tilting his head slightly to one side and studying her face) "What then?"

Liz: (breathing in and shrugging slightly) "I'm not sure. It's just a feeling."

Max: (taking her hand and kissing the back gently) "I know this is all a lot to deal with, but I *know* we will be all right."

Liz: (nodding in the affirmative) "I believe you."

Max: (smiling at her simple statement of faith) "How long do I have?"

Liz: (glancing at the clock) "About fifteen minutes."

Max: (clearly annoyed but quickly shrugging it off) "Well, in that case, come here."

And with that, Max lay back down on his side brushing the hair away from her shoulders as she rolled onto her side facing away from him. He longed to just lie here with her and pretend that it was all behind them, but for now, he blew tiny little kisses that pressed against her skin in silly, animal-cracker patterns that made her giggle and forget for a few minutes . . .


Max opened the front door as quietly as possible and soundlessly entered the only home he had ever known on this planet, besides Liz. He briefly wondered how much longer it would be his. He stealthily made his way down the hall and almost made it to his room, but alas, it was not to be. The squeaking hinge of his mother's door was not to be mistaken. Inwardly sighing, he turned to face what he was sure would be a displeased parent. What he saw instead was something disturbingly different.

Diane: "Max, I'm glad you're home."

Max: (clearly puzzled) "You're not mad?"

Diane: (looking confused) "Mad? No. Why?"

Max: (wishing he had kept his mouth shut and mumbling) "I'm kinda late."

Diane: (frowning at the clock) "Well, yes. You certainly are. (expression softening) But, we have more important things to discuss and they can't wait."

Max: (taken aback) "We do?"

Diane: "Yes, we do. In fact, your Dad and I would appreciate it if you would contact Michael and Maria, and Alex and Liz, and have them plan to come over tomorrow night. . . . Er, um, well, tonight, I suppose." (and with that, her frown deepened as she peered more closely at the clock)

Max: (suspicious and more than a little shocked) "Mom, what's this all about?"

Diane (sighing): "It will be much easier to explain everything at one time. Get some rest, Max."

Max: (slight tinge of desperation) "I don't understand."

Diane: (shaking her head sadly and drawing him into a hug) "I know. Just be patient. Everything will be clear tomorrow."

Max: (reluctant to let it go) "You just look so . . . sad."

Diane: (eyes filling with tears) "I am, but it's all right. I love you, Max."

Max: "I love you, too, Mom."

And, with that Diane went back to her room and Max made his way to his. As the door closed behind him, he rested against it and wondered why he felt like he might never get to tell her that again.


Early the next morning, Max knocked quietly on Isabel's door and dreaded telling her about the "meeting." He was absolutely convinced that she would not take the news well and to top it off, he hadn't slept at all last night.

Her sleepy, "Come in," barely made it through the closed door, as he contemplated putting off his unpleasant task. On the other hand, he didn't have much time. Opening the door with a ridiculous amount of force on the knob, he slipped quietly inside and waited while she sat up. Something in his expression must have alerted her to the fact that he didn't come bearing good news. Her eyes narrowed in warning to anyone wise enough to pay heed, and her irritated scowl at being woke up turned into a much more threatening countenance with every passing moment and ray of light. Max thought ,with some degree of fatalism, that any other fool would have run by now.

Isabel: (voice low and menacing) "What's going on, Max?"

Max: (hands motioning for her to calm down) "I'm not sure exactly, but I need to talk to you and I need you to not freak out."

Isabel: "Max. You look like hell, and you're in here at (glancing at the clock) an absolutely ungodly hour, and the expression on your face does not lend itself to tidings of good cheer. I therefore reserve the right to FREAK OUT!"

Max: (sighing and sitting down on the edge of the bed) "There's no need to shout. Mom and Dad want to have a meeting with us tonight."

Isabel: (shrugging) "Well, what's so odd about that? We have family meetings all the time."

Max: "I don't know. There was just something about the way Mom looked last night when she told me. And, she wasn't mad that I was late."

Isabel (rolling her eyes: "None of this sounds earth-shattering to me, and I'm losing precious sleep over it." (glancing longingly towards the pillows stacked behind her)

Max: (averting his eyes) "I haven't told you everything yet."

Isabel (exasperated): "Out with it, Max! With any luck I can still get back into the dream you so rudely interrupted."

Max: (looking up again and bracing himself) "Mom and Dad want to meet with all of us."

Isabel: (confused) "All of us? There are only *two* of *us,* last time I checked. Unless, you're talking about Michael?"

Max (hesitantly) "Yes, . . . and Liz and Alex and Maria."

Pin-drop silence filled the room for a full minute. Max thought briefly about the one time he'd seen a shuttle launch on vacation and the delay between the lift off and the actual explosion of sound.

Isabel (fairly hissing and increasing decibel level with every word): "What are you saying?!?!"

Max: (looking over his shoulder toward the door nervously) "Please don't shriek."

Isabel: (outraged) "Shriek?! I do not shriek! What the hell is going on, Max? (Her panicked gaze suddenly focused purposely on his face.) *What* did *you* do?"

Max: (defensive and quite loud) "Me? What makes you think *I* did anything?!"

Isabel: (look on her face brooking no argument) "Now, who's shrieking?" "You and Liz have been pushing the boundaries ever since you two decided to . . . to . . . "

Max: (disgusted and out of patience) "I know you find the whole situation completely distasteful, but I suggest you get over it."

Isabel looked up sharply at Max's obvious and uncharacteristic lack of remorse.

Max: (forcing himself to remain in control) "Look. I have no idea what this is about, but whatever it is we need to be as prepared as possible, so I'm going to tell everybody to meet early over at Michael's apartment."

A few more painful moments passed.

Isabel: (subdued) "This can't be good, Max."

Max: (as lost as she) "I know. Just remember, Is, we will always have each other. Always."

Isabel (sadly) "Are you sure, Max?" "You and Liz are so . . ."

Max: (earnestly) "I love Liz with all my heart, Isabel, but you're my sister and nothing will ever change that."

Isabel (smiling weakly) "Thank you for saying it."

Max: "We'll be okay. Whatever comes, we'll deal with it . . . all of us . . . together."

This time her smile was more genuine, but as soon as Max disappeared through her door, she fell back on the pillows and fought the overwhelming urge to cry.


Michael swatted at the flames consuming what used to be hamburgers as Maria stared at him with a laconic grin that shifted pointedly toward the charred remains.

Maria: (smirking) "And, I thought ADD was diagnosed early on." (staring pointedly at what once was some poor shmuck's dinner)

Michael: (frustrated) "Shut. Up."

Laughing, Maria turned away to see Alex striding toward them with purpose.

"Uh-oh," she thought, as he glided to an abrupt halt before her.

Maria: (at her most nonchalant) "Aa-leex. . . . (cheerful, upbeat, nothing's wrong, grin) . . . W'Sup?' . . . "

Alex felt his jaw clench and release at least half a dozen times before he felt safe to speak.

Alex: (thunderous) "Don't give me that, 'We live Aliens, no big deal' crap, Maria."

Michael: (warningly) "Hey! (looking around the crowded restaurant) Take out an ad next time!"

Maria: (trying valiantly to maintain a thread of sanity) "Um, newsflash, babe. We do, and have for quite some time now."

She would have sworn his face flushed something very near fuchsia. Oh boy. This *was* bad.

Alex: (voice climbing with every sound) "M-a-r-i-a!"

And the threatening tone was emphasized by an even more fearsome, underlying growl. Oh damn, she thought. He's lost it. He's seriously lost it.

Maria: (still feigning and working up to placating) "What's the problem, Alex?"

Alex: (completely exasperated) "The problem?!?! Oh, there's no problem. Why should anyone think there's a problem."

Maria: (deciding it was time to get this runaway train back on the track) "Alex. Listen to me. Everything is fine. There's absolutely nothing to worry about."

Alex: (scoffing) "Then maybe you can explain why we're being called on the collective Evans' carpet for a meeting tonight, *you* being the oracle of all things alien and all. (shaking his head in exasperation)

Michael pounded more vigorously on the runaway flames than he had previously and glared balefully at Alex and then longingly at the fire extinguisher.

Maria: "Alex! (grabbing his face in both of her hands in an effort to calm him down) "Get a grip! We. will. be. fine. Whatever it is, we will be fine."

Alex's face suddenly shifted and fell into much more typical lines as his eye caught the sudden movement toward the entrance.

Alex: (quietly) "It's not us I'm worried about, Maria." (His eyes never wavered from Isabel as she and Max walked through the front door.)

Index | Part 20
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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