Fanfic - Crashdown After Hours
"Whiter Shade of Pale"
Part 20
by Anne M.
Disclaimer: This is so exasperating. I don't own Roswell or any of the characters. I have no affiliation with Melinda Metz, or the WB, or the UPN, and so on, and so on . . .
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, the torture is almost over!! See you on the 28th!
Linda Lou, can't wait to see you in LA!

Everyone gathered at the Crashdown and without so much as a word to one another, they assembled at Michael's apartment. Liz clutched Max's hand nervously, as they sat before a jury of their peers. Their peers just had no idea what was really going on. And, come to think of it, neither did she. Michael looked impatiently at the clock, and then unceremoniously brought the group to attention.

Michael: "Okay, Maxwell. We're all here and accounted for. What's this about?"

Max took a deep breath and wondered how to explain what he had no understanding of himself.

Max: "Well, (glancing at Liz briefly) as you all know, we are having a meeting with my mom and dad tonight."

Michael: (impatiently) "Yep. We know that. Let's get to it, Max."

Max: (holding just enough of his breath so that he could still speak) "To be honest, I don't actually know what the meeting is about."

Liz squeezed his hand.

Alex groaned aloud and Isabel vacillated between irritation at him and the endearing sense that all this agonizing on his part was for her. How much more adorable could he be?

Michael: (making an effort that Maria was directly responsible for) "Well, how bad can it be?"

Max: "That's what I was hoping we could sort out."

Maria had been watching these proceedings, however brief, with a trained eye on her best friend.

After a few moments of silence, she decided to act on her instincts.

Maria: "Liz? You're awfully quiet, girlfriend. Care to share?"

Liz: (looking up sharply and trying to drag herself away from her own private thoughts) "Um, . . . I, . . . uh . . .

Michael: (snorting in disgust) "Brilliant revelation there. Let's move on."

Liz's face glowed bright red, while Max's took on a much darker quality focused entirely in Michael's direction.

Maria's elbow in Michael's ribs seemed to have a much more pronounced affect than any evil glaring from Max, so he decided to concentrate on what he could do for Liz. His arm automatically encircled her shoulders and pulled her close to his side. Right now, it was the most comforting thing she had ever felt. God. This was going to be hard. Her mind spun with the reality of what was going to be said here tonight. What it all might mean. To her. To Max. To their future. . . . To all of them.

Alex: (leaning forward and trying to shrug off the impending sense of doom) "All right. Let's try to be logical here. What can this possibly be about? I mean, no one's dead. No one's missing. No one's incarcerated."

Isabel: (getting into the spirit of the thing and smiling for the first time that day) "Right. . . . And, no one's sick. No one's failing or dropping out. No way anyone could know about our trip to the cabin." (Her enthusiastic smile encouraged Alex, but he was pretty sure her fragile mood wouldn't last long.)

After a few moments of contemplation and giggling out loud at the ridiculousness of what she was about to say, Maria joined in.

Maria: (on a laugh) And, no one's pregnant."

She could have never known how that simple statement would change the atmosphere in the room. Michael looked up with a speculative gaze resting squarely on Max and Liz. Maria's laughter trailed off along with her breath, as her eyes registered first the possibility and then the shock. Isabel cried openly . . . and then she laughed and then she cried some more. Alex just sat staring and wondered how he could possibly know what he knew without Max or Liz having said a single word. Why didn't they deny it, so his heart could start beating again?

Eventually, silence filled the room and stretched painfully . . .

Max didn't know whether to be grateful that their secret was out or horrified. He was leaning toward the latter.

Liz was completely mortified that their personal lives were being exposed this way, but the scientific side of her nature had to wonder how the others knew. Had they just guessed or was there more to it than that?

Liz: (finally finding her voice) "What makes you think that I'm pregnant?"

Michael's eyes narrowed in the only reply he intended to give. Maria sat back and stared at Liz with an expression of joy and tenderness mixed with the terror of the unknown and a fear like she had never felt before. Alex fell back against the sagging sofa cushions muttering, "Oh. My. God," every so often for affect.

Liz quickly realized that they really did know. All of them. She had no idea how that was possible. They were just connected in ways that she couldn't explain.

Isabel: (whispering in horror) "Max? What in the hell are we (shaking her head as reality crashed in) . . . what are *you* going to do?"

Max looked for his voice and found it strangely missing. Maybe it was hiding the same way he wished he could right now.

Max: (finally and with some difficulty) "What we're going to do, is get married."

No one said a word. It was just too much to take in at once. . . .

Of course, that didn't last long.

Maria: (eyes glazed over and mumbling) " . . . pregnant . . . married . . . ."

Michael: (to Max) "You do realize how ridiculous you sound."

Alex: (morose and looking as overwhelmed as he felt) "Hiding aliens is one thing, Max. Hiding alien babies is an entirely different thing ."

Liz's eyes quickly caught Alex's and he immediately felt contrite. How could he not do everything in his power to comfort her? Liz was one of his best friends and she needed him now.

Alex: (to Liz) (earnestly) "We'll figure something out."

Her smile let him know that she appreciated their relationship and understood exactly what he was saying. He would do anything for her safety and that of her baby.

Isabel: (striving for practicality) "Max. How in the world do you propose to convince mom and dad to let you get married? Have you lost your mind??"

Max: (quietly) "No. I don't think so. What I do think is that there is no other option and I wouldn't have it even if there were."

Liz: (turning into his embrace) "Me, either."

Alex: (inconsolable) "Well, that's just swell. So, exactly what is our life expectancy at this point? I'd just like to know, so I can ponder all of the things that I'm never going to get to do.

Michael: (deadpan) "About 45 minutes."

Maria: (regaining her composure and leaning forward) "I wouldn't count us out yet, Alex. I think there's more going on than just our increasing numbers. (Everyone looked at her askance) Not, that *that* isn't enough. I just don't see how Mr. and Mrs. Evans could know about the pregnancy when we didn't even know. It must be something else . . .

Alex looked as if he were praying for imminent death, while the others thought about what Maria had said and knew that she was probably right . . .


Night fell with the air heavy and filled with the promise of rain. The full moon outlined the storm clouds as they built and rolled across the sky. Almost as if they could foretell the what was coming . . .

The six of them settled as comfortably as they possibly could under the circumstances. The living room felt cold and strange for the first time in their lives. Isabel prayed for a quick revelation that would end all of her tortured thoughts. Alex squeezed her hand in reassurance, but knew that nothing could help now except to get it over with.

Maria snuggled close to Michael and tried to keep her breathing under control. His hand slid up and down her arm in a comforting gesture that no matter how much it was appreciated failed in it's goal. Her eyes looked around the room and connected with Isabel's. The two shared a truly unique moment as both of them looked away towards Max and Liz. Isabel knew that Maria was feeling the same protective instinct as she, herself was experiencing. When had they become so close? And, did it really matter? They were and she was grateful.

Liz and Max clung to each other as if their lives depended upon the embrace, until the elder Evans' arrived in the room. At that time, both Max and Liz straightened, resolved and more than determined to face whatever was coming with a show of strength, as well as unity. Their hands still held tightly together but they faced forward and stared intently at Phillip and Diane.

Diane began to speak before she and her husband were even seated, almost as if she knew how anxious they were.

Diane: "I know you must all be wondering why in the world you're here tonight. I'll do my best to get right to the point."

Her blue eyes searched out those of each and every other person in the room, with kindness and reassurance.

Phillip: (clearing his throat) "We're not going to try to convince you that we have good news, but we are going to offer you answers to your past and hope for your future."

Diane: (looking first at Isabel and then Max) "I know that you believe that your father and I *found* you wandering in the desert all those years ago, but the truth is we'd been looking for you for a long time."

Isabel's barely audible gasp, was followed by a look of utter consternation from Max.

Diane: (holding out both of her hands in front of her as if she could calm them with the gesture) "Please, let us explain before you question us."

Isabel and Max looked at each other and then back at the only parents they had ever known, silently nodding their acceptance.

Phillip: "We know that you are aliens. We were sent here well ahead of you to intercept your craft and to care for you until you were old enough to return to our planet."

Max's mind reeled with the implications of what his father was saying but he kept quiet, knowing that the information would come faster if he were patient. He could feel Liz's shock as intensely as if it were his own. He stared momentarily at their joined hands and wondered how he had survived before she loved him.

Diane: (voice strained with unshed tears) "We were terrified when you didn't arrive on time, and even more so after we heard the rumors of a crash. We searched night after night until we were numb with exhaustion but we could not find you."

Phillip pulled Diane close to his side as the remembered fear and pain washed over them.

Diane: "When we found you, it was the happiest moment either of us has ever experienced."

Isabel: (face glowing) "So, you're our real parents?"

Her face reflected all the hope that only a lifetime of dreams could produce.

Diane so wished that she could say "yes," but her eyes held the truth.

Phillip: (sadly) "No, Isabel, I'm sorry. We're not your biological parents, but we want you to know that we couldn't have loved you more had you been our own."

Isabel: (whispering and trying to talk around the tears clogging her throat) "Then, who are you?"

Diane (smiling) "We are your protectors. We were here to guide you and to keep you safe until you could reach maturity and eventually go back and save our world."

Isabel looked into Alex's face with eyes that were much too dry, before laying her head down on his shoulder. He gently rocked back and forth with her for a moment and really wished that she would cry.

Max: "So, you're aliens, too?"

Diane: (simply) "Yes."

Phillip: "You were created at a critical point in our history, and sent to Earth to hopefully find mates and return to your rightful place on our planet."

Silence ensued as one and all struggled to grasp what they were hearing.

Michael: "Do you know about me, too?"

Diane: (her eyes filling with tears) "Yes, Michael, of course, we know about you." "We nearly drowned in our grief over your loss until we discovered that you were indeed alive and well." "At that point, there was nothing we could do to bring you into our family without raising suspicion."

Maria turned towards Michael and pulled his face close to hers so that she could press her lips against his cheek. For the first time since hearing of this meeting, some of the tension left her body, . . . or was it his? Either way, the relief was enormous.

Max: "Why are you telling us this now?"

Diane: "I've been suspicious for some time now that Liz is your intended mate and when I had her over for lunch it became clear to me that it was time to intervene before you took your relationship too far."

Liz thought she might throw up any minute and Max had to take a few deep breaths, as well, to calm his own fears. Silently he willed her to be strong and to have faith in the love they felt for each other. She quickly got control of her runaway thoughts and sat up a little straighter as they faced Diane.

Liz: (voice strained) "What do you mean by 'too far?' "

Diane: (understanding how difficult this must be for a human girl to accept) "When our people created Max and Isabel and Michael, they were designed to find mates in human beings. After joining with a human, that human is changed so that they can conceive a new life. Without this change, conception would be impossible."

Phillip: "We were concerned that once you had found your mates, you might be tempted to move into levels of intimacy that could ultimately be dangerous for you without proper knowledge."

Alex: (unable to hold back one more second) "Dangerous?! How?

Diane: "First of all, we have no wish to be discovered before we can safely return you to our world. Should you "change" your mate before leaving this planet, the likelihood of someone noticing something strange and connecting it to us would be imminently higher. Also, there are no lasting forms of birth control on this planet for you. They do exist, but only after you return can they be obtained."

Maria: (closing her eyes and hoping it would all go away when she opened them) "Oh Jesus."

Michael: (taking refuge in sarcasm) "Somehow, I thought as an orphan, I would be exempt from this "talk."

Phillip: "We know it's indelicate, Michael, but there's simply no time to beat around the bush."

Max: "Are you saying that we are going back and that Liz, and Alex, and Maria, are going with us?"

Diane: (simply) "Yes."

Max: (avoiding everyone's eyes but those of his parents) "What if they don't want to go?"

Phillip: "There's no question, Max." "If they are your true mates, they could do nothing else."

Each couple's silent exchange did not go unnoticed by Phillip and Diane. They were dismayed to see how terribly late they were with this information. The bonding was obviously complete. And, there seemed to be something else going on, as well. Almost as if the six of them were somehow communicating with each other . This type of supernatural connection was little more than a myth from their planet's history.

As the connection faded, the couples as well as the group as a whole seemed to have reached their decisions and were ready to move on.

Isabel: (eyes resting heavily on Max and Liz) "You said something about it being dangerous for us to be intimate. Is there more to it than this change?"

Diane: "Yes, there is. Mainly because pregnancy on this planet would be a disaster. There is simply no way for us to care for you as expectant mothers or to properly care for your children should they be born here."

Liz felt the hot tears silently sliding down her face, just before Max instinctively pulled her onto his lap and cradled her against his body. Liz didn't have to see with her eyes to know the grief-stricken expressions on the faces of her friends. Looking at his parent protectors, Max did the only thing he could do; he told them the truth.

Max: "It's too late. Liz is pregnant now."

Part 19 | Index | Part 21
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