FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Zero Sum "
Part 1
by C-Unit
Disclaimer: The usual legalese - the WB owns em. So does Melinda Metz. I'm just borrowing for a bit.
Summary: Will Max and Liz get together if she wasn't really shot?
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: This is my first fanfic. Feedback would be great, but please be gentle!

The shot rang out, and the patrons of the Crashdown Cafe dove to the floor. Amid the screaming and falling silverware, Maria spun around to see her best friend, Liz, crumple to the floor.

Before Maria could react, Max sprang from his seat, rushed to Liz and knelt beside her. As Maria went to join him, she felt the pressure of a hand on her arm. Turning to see what was providing the resistance, she locked eyes with Michael. Maria began to yelp in protest when she heard Max's strong voice telling her to call 911.

Max turned back to Liz, who was laying on the ground, a dark red stain marring the front of her aqua waitress uniform. Hastily, Max ripped the front of the garment, and the snaps gave away willingly. Max's hand hovered over Liz, when suddenly her eyes flew open and focused on Max.

"M-M-Max?" Liz stammered. "What's going on? What are you doing?" Liz began to get up and realized that the front of her uniform was open, exposing her chest and trim tummy to this mysterious man.

"I was only trying to help," Max said. He looked down at Liz with a confused look on his face. Liz was shot, wasn't she? Then where was the wound? Max looked back into Liz's eyes and saw the wonderment on her face.

"I'm sorry," he whispered. "This is just a mistake."

Max got up and quickly headed for the front door. In the distance, sirens could be heard. Michael joined him and as the two exited, Max turned back to see Liz, standing in the back room, clutching the front of her uniform, just staring at him.


"What the hell was that all about, Maxwell," Michael intoned. "Just what exactly were you going to do back there?"

Max kept his eyes fixed on the road as they sped along in Max's jeep. He was confused about what had just happened at the Crashdown, and didn't need Michael's attitude right now.

"You were going to use your powers to save her, weren't you?" Michael continued to press Max. "This is just great. We swore that we would never reveal our true selves to humans, and then you go and almost blow it by being some big hero."

Max started to say something, but Michael was on a roll and cut him off. "What if you had saved her, huh? All those people saw her go down. Everyone would be suspicious if suddenly she popped up no worse for wear. Oh, yeah, except for the big bloody stain and bullet hole in her uniform, but no bullet."

"I would have thought of something," Max finally managed to say. "Anyway, it doesn't matter, because she wasn't hurt, so our secret is still safe."

Max and Michael drove on in silence. Max replayed that afternoon over in his head. The gunshot, the screams, Liz falling to the ground in a heap. The sheer panic and terror that ripped through him. He couldn't tell Michael that he would have risked everything for Liz. He had loved Liz for so long now, he would not let her die, even if that meant exposing their secret lives.

Max pulled up to his house and Isabel rushed out. "Oh my god! Did you hear about the Crashdown? There was a shooting!" Isabel's eyes were wide and her blonde hair was fluttering in the wind. "God, Max, you and Michael were there. Are you all right?"

"We're fine, Isabel." He gave her a quick hug and a half smile. He brushed past his sister and went inside his house.

"What's wrong with Max?" Isabel asked Michael. In a hushed tone, Michael explained to Isabel what really happened at the Cafe.

Isabel's eyes grew wide with terror. "How could he? We all promised that no one could ever find out."

Michael softly told Isabel that everything was OK now, and she began to calm down. "I hope you're right, Michael," Isabel whispered.


Alone in her room, Liz took in her surroundings. Her desk was neat and organized, with a picture of her and her two best friends in the whole world, Alex and Maria. Her bathroom light was on, and she could see her makeup strewn along the counter, but in a neat way. The mirror still had traces of steam from the hot shower she just took. Looking at her closet, she saw her Crashdown uniform hanging on the door. The red stain was only ketchup from an errant bottle that had broken in the confusion. Liz got up and made her way to the uniform and ran her fingers absently down the column of snaps. She remembered Maria yelling her name, and then she fell. Liz touched the back of her head and felt the little knot that was forming. She must have passed out for a minute. When she woke, there was Max Evans hovering over her. Just what was he trying to do?

Liz's logical mind began working out explanations. He must have seen the ketchup stain and thought it was blood. OK, Liz thought, that's rational. So what did he think he could do? Why was his hand poised over her tummy?

Liz recalled her torn top, and she suddenly blushed, knowing Max saw her. Then she remembered the look in his eyes; the concern, but something else, too. A calm, knowing look like he was somehow going to save her. And, for a brief instant, a look of love.

Liz shook her head. "Get a grip on yourself. This is Max Evans we're talking about. He would have done the same thing for anyone else. Don't think there was anything else going on." Liz looked at herself in her full-length mirror. "Then why did he say he was sorry? I think I need to talk to him tomorrow." With that decision made, Liz turned out the lights, settled into bed and closed her eyes.


Alone in his room, Max lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He'd been in that same position most of the evening, even skipping dinner. His thoughts were jumbled. He had an obligation to Michael and Isabel. They looked to him as their leader of sorts. He was the calm, rational one. He had to be, because their lives depended on it. If anyone discovered their otherworldly ancestry, they would be hunted forever. He didn't want to think about that. He didn't want to leave Roswell; leave his parents and the only place he'd ever known as home.

But then there was Liz. Max's heart ached when he saw her. She was so beautiful, with her silky brown hair that fell below her shoulders. He imagined reaching out and touching her hair. He thought about encompassing her face with his strong hands and kissing her. He envisioned running his hands through her hair and caressing her back.

Max let out a sigh. He knew that things could never work out with Liz. Never mind the fact that they were two different species, but he could not put her life in danger. And letting her in on their secret would do just that. No, Max sighed again, we have to maintain our distance, not stand out, not draw attention to ourselves.

But what kind of life is that, he wondered.


The next day at school, Max, Isabel and Michael kept to themselves. They heard the rumors about the shooting, and how some guy tried to help Liz. The three aliens collectively breathed a sigh of relief to learn that no one knew who the mysterious guy was. After the initial scuttle, talk of the Crashdown became a bore, and soon the topic of choice came back to the big Homecoming Dance in three weeks.

Max and Isabel were walking down the hall after lunch when they rounded the corner and almost bumped into Liz. "Max, Isabel, hi," said Liz. Isabel shot Max a quick look and then turned to Liz. "Hi, Liz. Max, I have to get to class now, so ciao." Isabel sauntered off down the hall, leaving Max and Liz alone.

"Hi, Liz," Max said quietly.

"Max, I need to ask you some questions about yesterday, but I don't want to do this here. Let's go somewhere where it's quiet." Liz started to head towards the empty music room, and Max could do nothing except follow her in. He let his gaze travel down her backside, and noted how her hips swayed slightly as she walked and how her hair reflected the rays of sunlight that stole into the hallway.

Inside the semi darkened room, Max closed the door, feeling a little nervous. He'd never really been this close to Liz, let alone talk to her for extended periods of time. Sure, they were lab partners in Biology class, but that was science stuff. Not personal. Max looked at Liz, waiting to hear what she wanted.

Liz turned around to face Max and caught her breath. She was momentarily taken aback by how handsome he was. His well defined chest and muscular arms were all she could see. Liz suddenly had a vision of Max striding up to her and pulling her into a passionate embrace, those muscular arms enveloping her, catching her up in a wave of heat and ecstasy.

Liz cleared the image from her mind and tried to focus on the purpose of this conversation. "Max, I'll just get right to the point. What did you think you were going to do to me yesterday?"

Max was prepared for this. He thought that Liz might have some questions about his motives so he spent part of last night coming up with a plausible story. "Well, I saw you fall down right after the shot, and I thought you might be hurt. I saw the stain and I ripped your uniform to see where the wound might be. I was going to apply pressure to it until the paramedics came." Max held his breath to see if Liz would accept his story.

"I see." Liz's mind turned over what he told her and could find nothing out of the ordinary. "So, why did you apologize and run out when you saw that I was OK?"

Uh-oh, thought Max. Not good. How could he tell her that sticking around, with all the police and paramedics, was just too risky. Before he could answer her, the door opened and Kyle Valenti walked in.

"Kyle," Liz said in a surprised tone. "What are you doing here?"

Kyle eyed Max warily, walked up to Liz and kissed her on the cheek. "Hi to you, too," he joked. "I saw you come in here and I wanted to see you. We're still going to the dance, right?" As he said this, he turned slightly to Max, to make sure he heard every word.

"Kyle, this really isn't the time. Max and I have...lab homework to work on. Can I call you later?" Liz shrugged Kyle off.

"Sure, I'll be home around five o'clock as usual, after wrestling practice." Kyle put his arm around Liz's waist and kissed her again. "See ya, Max." Kyle exited the room, leaving the door open.

Liz saw the hurt in Max's eyes during the conversation with Kyle. What's going on with him, she wondered. Why would he care what Kyle and I talked about?

Before Liz could say anything more, Max spoke up. "Liz, I really need to get to class. I'm glad that you're OK. I'll see ya later." With that, he turned and left, leaving Liz to stare at him, just like yesterday.

The next few days were strained, to say the least, for Max and Liz. Max always made sure that he was never alone with Liz, so that she could not press him with more questions. After biology class, he would rush out and make his way over to Isabel's locker. After a few rebuffed attempts, Liz decided to give up trying to find out the rest of Max's story.


As the Homecoming dance approached, Liz and Maria decided a shopping trip was in order.

Liz was still going to the dance with Kyle, and Maria and Alex always went to these school functions together as friends. Liz and Maria spent their day off from work strolling the streets of downtown Roswell, window shopping. The two were laughing about the expensive"trendy" clothes that they would not be caught dead in. Those were the kinds of clothes that someone like Isabel Evans would wear. Very chic. Maria grabbed Liz's arm and dragged her into a kitschy, retro consignment store. After perusing the racks, Maria ended up with a sleeveless gold lame mock turtleneck top and a pair of black satin flair pants. A pair of gold slingbacks completed the ensemble. The effect was striking on Maria, whose petite frame and outgoing personality could pull off the look.

Liz, meanwhile, opted to look at the local discount boutique. Her eyes immediately fell on a simple black sheath dress. The dress clung to Liz's slight frame, accentuating her narrow waist. The spaghetti straps and V-cut neckline showed just a hint of cleavage and showed off her tan, trim arms.

"Oh, Liz, that's perfect," squealed Maria. "Kyle's gonna die when he sees you." Seeing Liz's face fall, she added, "Or, maybe some other tall, dark-haired, handsome biology lab partner."

Maria couldn't help but tease Liz. Liz had told her about her recent R-rated thoughts about Max. Liz blushed at the not-so-veiled reference to Max. "Maria! Quit it. There's nothing going on with Max. He won't even talk to me," Liz sighed.

"Wait till he sees you, girlfriend. Max is gonna be begging to dance with you. I heard he's going to the dance, but alone as usual. Actually, that's not true, he's gonna hang with Michael Guerin. Ugh! I guess there is no accounting for taste," Maria finished disdainfully.

"My, my, Maria, I think the lady doth protest too much," Liz teased back. "Why does the mention of Michael send you over the edge?"

"Hey, just because he's got that whole 'David Duchovny-spiky hair-check me out in my tight black tees that show off some fine muscles' thing going, he's still a loser." Laughing at Maria's last remark, Liz paid for her dress and the two finished up their shopping date.


Finally, the night of the Homecoming dance arrived. Kyle, dressed in a tux for the occasion, still opted for a bolo tie rather than the traditional bow tie, not wanting to completely forgo his trademark southwestern look. As Maria predicted, Kyle was blown away by Liz's outfit. With her hair up, and curled tendrils cascading around her face, she was a vision. Kyle and Liz took off in his convertible, and the two caught up with Maria and Alex outside the school.

Inside, the gymnasium had been transformed. Dry ice had been placed everywhere, creating an ethereal mist that enveloped the dance floor. Red, blue, green and yellow spotlights added to the effect. Liz, holding on to Kyle's arm, surveyed the dance floor, then the perimeter, and spotted Max, standing against the side wall. Michael was indeed with him, and Liz glanced briefly over to Maria, and noticed that she was looking in that same direction too. Max and Michael were talking and just looking around, clearly bored. Max's gaze traveled to the entrance, when his breath caught and his heart stopped.

There was Liz, looking more beautiful then he thought possible. The lights reflected off her rosy skin, and the gentle wisps of mist transformed her into an angel. Max straightened up a bit and just stared. Michael, noticing that his friend had just stopped talking, followed Max's gaze. To Liz's left was Maria, looking sassy in her gold and black outfit. Michael was struck with how sexy she looked, and then, embarrassed, looked away.

Maria had seen Michael staring at her, then look away. She smiled inwardly. Hah, gotcha, she thought.

Liz finally tore her gaze away from Max, when Kyle started pulling her towards the dance floor. Maria and Alex followed, and Alex saw the object of his affections, Isabel, dancing with some random basketball jock. Alex sighed, knowing he was way of his league when it came to Isabel, but a man could dream.

The entire evening, Liz could not help but keep glancing at Max. She noticed that every time she looked at him, he was always watching her. Suddenly, she wished she was dancing with Max rather than Kyle. She wanted to feel Max's strong arms around her. Wanted to feel his warm breath travel down her neck and back as they held each other close. She shivered at that last thought, and Kyle looked down at her, a bemused smile on his face. "Penny for your thoughts," he drolled. "Nothing that interesting," Liz responded. Kyle leaned over and kissed her gently. Embarrassed, she pulled away and looked back over Kyle's shoulder, searching for Max, but he was gone.


Liz excused herself from the foursome to go outside for some fresh air. She opened one of the side doors and was greeted with a blast of cool night air. After being inside the warm gym, she shivered and continued outside. It was dark out, but the lights on the side of the gym were on, and they cast a dim luminescence. She looked up at the starry night, and tilted her head to one side. "What a beautiful night," she said dreamily. Realizing she was talking to herself, she looked around surreptitiously, but did not see anyone. She ran her hands up and down her arms to warm herself up, when she felt a warm, silky material being placed over her shoulders.

Whipping around, she stared right into the eyes of Max Evans. "You looked cold," he said quietly. Crossing her arms in front of her, she held onto the lapels of the tux jacket he had just slipped on to her. "Thanks," Liz managed to say. They were close to each other now, and Liz was getting lost in his eyes. Was she imagining that Max was leaning in towards her? Liz's breathing was getting rapid and shallow, and her heart was racing. Oh my god, he's going to kiss me, Liz thought. She could feel Max's warm breath, when suddenly the gym door flew open. Liz and Max turned and saw Kyle in the doorway.

"Is everything OK, Liz?" Kyle asked. Seeing Max, Kyle feigned indifference and walked up to Liz. "You were gone for awhile." Spying Max's jacket, Kyle added, "Here, wear mine." He took off Max's jacket from Liz's slight frame, handed it back to him, and replaced her bare shoulders with his own coat. "C'mon Liz, let's get back inside. I want to dance with you some more." His arm around her, he literally dragged Liz back into the gym. Liz looked back at Max and saw a slight half smile form on his face. She turned back and followed Kyle back to the dance.


Inside, Maria and Alex were waiting for Kyle and Liz to return, when Maria decided to get something to drink. Making her way to the refreshment table, she spied the last can of Diet Coke floating in the tub of ice. As she reached out her hand to grab the can, another hand got there a split second sooner and scooped up the drink.

"I'd opt for the caffiene-free variety if I were you," a masculine voice joked. "You're too wired to begin with."

Maria turned to see Michael holding the soda.

Incensed, Maria quipped, "Are you always such a jerk, or is it a genetic defect?" She lunged for the can, but Michael pulled it away. Her eyes narrowed and Michael continued to bait her. "Really, Maria, this is the new millenium...don't you think you should dress accordingly?"

"Ah, fashion advice from the chromatically-challenged. There are other colors besides black, ya know."

Suddenly, the lights got lower, and the smooth, reggae tones of UB40 started playing. Michael and Maria locked gazes and let the words flow over them.

Wise men say, only fools rush in.
But I can't help falling in love with you.

Shall I stay, would it be a sin?
But I can't help falling in love with you.

As the river flows gently to the sea
Darling so we go, some things were meant to be.

Take my hand, take my whole life, too.
I can't help falling in love with you.

I can't help falling in love with you.
I can't help falling in love with you.
I can't help falling in love with you.

As the song faded into some Top 40 hip-hop, the moment ended, and Michael and Maria broke the trance the music had them in. Without another word, the two both spun around and headed off in opposite directions.


Sitting alone at the table, Alex's eyes sought out Isabel on the dance floor. She seemed to be having a good time. She was laughing at something the random jock had said. Alex noted, not for the first time, how beautiful Isabel was. She was wearing a red slip dress that showed off her incredibly long and shapely legs. He really loved Isabel in red. The song ended and Isabel trailed after her date to head back to the tables, when Alex saw the look of boredom that crossed her face. The expression was brief, and Alex was sure he was the only one to catch it. He smiled at first, secure in the knowledge that Isabel really didn't like this guy. Then, he started to frown, because he felt how unhappy she was. He wondered why she was even here with a guy she obviously didn't want to be with.

Still staring at Isabel, and bored out of his mind, Alex began imagining what he would do if he were not so shy. Alex had lots of fantasies that involved Isabel. In this latest one, he was not the awkward computer geek that everyone labeled him as. His fantasy-self got up from the table and walked with a purpose towards Isabel. She was seated between her date and her friend, Claire. Isabel's gaze followed Alex as he made his way around the table. He stopped behind Isabel and leaned in. He extended his hand to her, which she graciously accepted and stood up. Her jock-date started to protest, but Alex just stared him down, saying "Isabel's with me, now."

With a smile on her face, she let Alex lead her to the dance floor. Appropriately, Savage Garden's Truly, Madly, Deeply began playing over the speakers. Alex held Isabel's waist with his left arm and captured her right hand in his, guiding it up towards his shoulder. Isabel placed her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, letting Alex lead them in the slow dance. As they swayed to the music, Alex could feel the soft silk of Isabel's dress brush along his arm. He inhaled deeply and breathed in her scent, a light vanilla fragrance. As the two danced, Alex looked down at her and said, "I love you, Isabel."

Another smiled played on her lips, and Isabel turned to look up at him. She whispered, "Kiss me, Alex." Alex closed his eyes and leaned in.....

And then Maria's cutting voice jolted him out of his reverie. "C'mon, let's get out of here," she said.


Liz was unusually quiet as Kyle drove her home. She couldn't get the image of Max out of her mind. What was wrong with her? She still didn't fully understand that day at the Crashdown, and for the past three weeks, Max had done everything in his power to avoid Liz. Liz got tired of trying to talk to him, and let the incident drop. But, tonight at the dance, something changed between them. There was an undeniable attraction between them. She had felt it all evening. And then, the chemistry between them outside. Liz's pulse began to race thinking about what might have been.

As Kyle pulled up to her house, she turned to him and thanked him for taking her to the dance. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek, got out of the car and hurried inside. Once indoors, she listened at the door for Kyle's car to take off again. Relieved that Kyle did not decide he wanted to stay longer, she made her way upstairs to her room. It was a while before she could fall asleep, and as she drifted off, her thoughts were still on Max.

Max, Michael and Isabel had left the dance not much later than Liz and her friends. Michael, as was becoming more typical, slept on Max's bedroom floor. In a hushed tone, Max said, "Michael, are you asleep?"

"Not any more, Maxwell."

Max turned on to his side to face Michael and propped his head up on his hand. "Have you ever thought about having a normal life? I mean, we try so hard not to draw too much attention to ourselves, but at what cost is this to us? What kind of life is that?"

"Very weighty issues to be discussing at one in the morning," Michael responded. But Max's question made Michael automatically think of Maria. Michael continued, "We'll never have a normal life, Max. Just accept that."

"I can't, Michael. I won't."

"You're thinking about Liz, aren't you. Max, first off, she's with Kyle. Second, we can't get into relationships. You know that. I mean, I know that Isabel dates guys, but she knows the rules too. She doesn't let anyone get too close to her. Emotionally, I mean. I don't know what would happen if any one of us let that happen.

Look, Max, I'm tired. It's late. Go to sleep."

With that, Michael turned over and went to sleep. Max turned onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. Michael was right. His logical brain told him that he couldn't start a relationship with Liz. He didn't know what he was thinking. But his heart told him that all he knew was that when he was with Liz, everything else faded away. Nothing else mattered. And that was dangerous, but he didn't care.


The next day, the phone rang at precisely five o'clock, and Kyle looked up from the baseball game on TV. He smiled to himself, knowing it was Liz. She knew that he got home from wrestling practice around five. He still had that smile when she told him that she wanted to see him. Fifteen minutes later, Liz rang the doorbell.

Kyle answered, and invited her in. Instantly he knew something was wrong. "What's up, Liz?" Kyle asked.

Liz took a deep breath, looked into Kyle's eyes and told him that she did not want to see him anymore.

"What? What happened? Is it someone else? Oh, wait, it must be Max Evans, what happened at the dance." Kyle's mind started racing.

"No, Kyle, it's not anyone else, and it's certainly not Max Evans. I just don't want to lead you on. What we had over the summer was fun, but I can't see our relationship going anywhere. I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel. I hope you understand, and I hope that we can still be friends."

Kyle groaned, "Not the 'let's be friends' line. If that's what you want, then fine. There are plenty of other women who'd love to go out with me." Trying to salvage his pride and ego, he strode to the door and opened it for Liz. "I guess this is goodbye."

"I'm sorry, Kyle, but this is what I want. Goodbye." Liz left and jumped a bit when she heard the door slam behind her. Well, she thought, that went better than I thought.

Liz began walking down the sidewalk, thinking about her life. She liked to think that she was an independent woman, who did not need to be defined as Kyle's girlfriend, or anyone's girlfriend for that matter. She had her life planned out. After graduating in the top of her class at West Roswell High, she would leave for the University of San Francisco on a scholarship. The years of medical school would pay off with a PhD in molecular biology. Then the research, the published papers, lecture circuits. Very neat. Very organized. Very safe.

Unbidden, thoughts of Max stole into her mind. His incredibly sexy eyes. The hard body. The way he looked at her as she was holding his jacket in the cold night air. Liz could feel her temperature rise. What's bringing on these fantasies of Max, she wondered. Liz had always thought that Max was a Baldwin, to use the catchy phrase from her favorite guilty pleasure movie, Clueless. But except for being lab partners, they didn't travel with the same circle of friends, or seem to share any outside interests. In fact, until that day at the Crashdown, they never really talked at all. So why all of the sudden was she consumed with thoughts of him?

Her thoughts continued to wander about Max, that she did not even realize she was crossing the street. And right in the way of a speeding car!


Michael was fiddling with the radio buttons when he looked up over the steering wheel and saw the woman right in his path. He slammed on the breaks, and the squeal of tires made the woman's head snap up and turn to the direction of the noise. Michael heard the impact and saw the woman tumble onto the hard pavement.

The car stopped now, Michael jumped out of the driver's side and ran up to the woman. He heard the woman moan, and he exhaled sharply, knowing that she was not least not yet. The woman's face turned towards Michael, and he jolted seeing it was Liz.

"Liz, Liz, can you hear me?" Michael asked. His hands were shaking. "Liz, wake up. It's me, Michael. Liz." Liz opened her eyes and saw the blurry image of a man gently holding her. "Liz, tell me where it hurts. Can you move?"

Liz's rational brain took over and began a check of herself. She was able to move her head from side to side. Good, no spinal injury. She wiggled her fingers in her right then her left hand. Her breathing was a little labored, but that was probably due to shock, rather than rib injuries. But, when she tried to move her feet, she could not feel anything.

"Michael, I can't move my legs." Tears started to well up in her eyes. Michael scooped Liz up and carefully placed her in the car.

"Liz, don't worry, I'll get you help." Michael started the car up and took off.


Max heard the insistent tapping at his window. Throwing open the curtains, he saw Michael with a panicked look on his face, holding Liz who appeared to be asleep.

Max opened the window and Michael started to climb through. Max took Liz and gently laid her on his bed.

"Michael, what's going on. What happened to Liz?" Max said.

"Max, I accidentally hit her with the car. You have to help her. She can't feel her legs." Michael was pacing, absently running his hands through his spiky hair. "Max, it was an accident, I swear. I looked down, then I looked up and there she was in the middle of the street. I tried to stop, but...." Michael's voice trailed off.

Just then, the two men heard the squeal of breaks. Looking outside the window, Maria and Alex jumped out of her car and came running over to them. "Great, just what we need" Max heard Michael mutter under his breath.

"Oh my god, Liz, Liz, is she all right? What the hell happened?" Maria eyes blazed with fury directly at Michael. "You hit her! We saw you put her into the car and take off here so we followed you. Why isn't she at a hospital? My god, how could you be so stupid?" Maria continued to berate Michael.

Michael's temper began to flare, and he shot back at Maria, "Look, we're going to take care of her, so why don't you two get out."

The commotion brought Isabel into Max's room, and she looked at the four people standing around a semi-unconscious Liz. "Keep it down, anyone can hear you." Seeing Liz, Isabel grew concerned. "What's going on?"

Michael turned back to Max. "Look, Max, I know what I said to you before, but we have to do this. She can't move her legs. We can't take her to the hospital, that will raise too many questions. to heal her here."

Maria and Alex looked at each other before turning back to Max. Without hesitation, Max turned to Liz and gently held the back of her neck. "Liz, can you hear me. It's Max. I need you to look at me. Look at me, Liz."

With all the strength she could manage, Liz opened her eyes to stare into the soulful brown eyes of Max Evans. Suddenly, she felt a white heat gradually move up her feet, then her shins, up and over her knees and finally up her thighs. The heat dissipated, leaving a warm glow up her legs.

"Liz, can you move now?" Max asked. Liz cautiously moved her toes, then brought her knees up. She stared at Max, incredulous, nodding, and tried to form the questions in her mind.

Alex and Maria were stunned. Isabel, in tears, whirled around and ran out of Max's room. Michael quickly went after her.

Michael finally caught up with Isabel in her room. She was crying and Michael was at a loss. "What are we going to do now?" she sobbed. "They know. We have to leave tonight. I have to get my stuff." Isabel started throwing clothes and momentos on her bed. She was mumbling to herself through the tears. "There goes my life. My family, my home, my friends, all gone. Gone. Poof." She continued to throw clothes and makeup onto the growing pile on her bed.

Michael took Isabel by the shoulders and made her look into his eyes. "Iz, calm down. I think it'll be OK. Don't ask me how I know, but I do. And I'm the most skeptical of us, so if I think it'll be all right, then it must be true."

Isabel looked over Michael's shoulders and saw Alex standing at the doorway. Wide-eyed, she pushed her way past Michael and came face to face with the tall, lanky man. "How long were you standing there?" she demanded.

Alex cleared his throat, and with a slight tremor in his voice, said, "Long enough to know that you're really scared. Isabel, I know I don't know you very well. Hell, not really at all. We don't really travel in the same circles. But I would never do anything that would hurt you or make you want to run away from your life here. So whatever is going on, and whatever you think you've had to hide from the rest of us, your secret is safe with me."

Isabel stared at Alex for a moment, processing what he just said to her. Her face softened and more tears welled up in her eyes. She threw her arms around a stunned Alex and buried her face into his neck. "Thank you," she whispered. "You don't know how much that means to me." She looked up at him and gave him a beautiful smile. Then, realizing that Michael was still in the room, she disengaged from Alex, pushed her hair back from her face and began to put her clothes back into her credenza.

"I'm going to check on Liz, unless you still need me here," Michael said to Isabel. She shook her head and Michael left the room. Alex ventured in and began helping Isabel repair the whirlwind damage she had done to her room. The two worked in silence, both unsure what should be said. Alex finally ventured forth and asked, "So, what exactly did Max do to Liz? And, can you do the same thing?"


Maria was speechless, which for Maria was unfathomable. But, she had seen with her own eyes. Max had placed his hand above Liz's legs and moved them upwards. A faint aura of pale gold briefly surrounded Liz's legs and then she could move them.

Michael came rushing in, telling Max that Isabel was better. Maria turned her gaze from Liz to focus on Michael. Fury came welling up and she strode past him and out the door, but not before grabbing ahold of his arm and pulling him outside with her. She continued dragging a protesting Michael until they reached the foyer next to the front door.

"Alright, mister, I've had it up to here with you. First, you and your reckless driving caused this whole mess. Then, you try to throw me and Alex out. And now your friend back there has some super power that can heal the paralyzed. You better start with the explanations, and pronto!"

Michael didn't really hear what Maria was saying. All he could focus on were her ruby lips and how her eyes sparkled as she verbally attacked him. Without thinking, he grabbed her and lowered his head to hers.

Maria felt the strong hands around her arms, and suddenly she was being firmly kissed. Maria closed her eyes and let Michael explore her lips. Without thinking about it, she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him closer to her, until there was nothing separating them.

Michael's tongue flicked around Maria's lips and she slightly parted them to allow him access. Michael took the encouragement and delved into her mouth. In an instant, their tongues were entwined and Michael deepened the kiss.

Maria was drowning in senses. The assault on her mouth was only part of the sensation. She could taste him, with just a hint of spicy Tabasco. Everywhere that Michael's touch was, she was on fire. Michael ran his hands up and down her spine. Then, one hand found it's way to the back of her neck, as the other hand wrapped itself around Maria's tiny waist and held her firm.

And just as quickly as the kiss began, Michael abruptly pulled away. Looking down at Maria, he softly said, "What were you saying?"


Liz's mind was reeling. She could move. Thank god, she was not paralyzed. Tears welled up and spilled over, leaving trails down her cheeks. She sank into Max's strong arms, which were still supporting her head. She looked up again to see Max looking at her intently, with what she could swear was love in his eyes.

"Liz, you're all right now. Everything is fine now. I guess you have some questions, so let me just tell you what happened." Liz could see Max's emotions run across his face. He was certainly relieved that she was OK. But, flickers of fear and apprehension also marred his features, so Liz made sure to keep an open mind and hear him out without being judgmental.

Max took a deep breath and began. "That day, at the Crashdown, when I thought you were shot, I was going to heal you then. See, me and Michael and Isabel, we're not from here, originally. I mean, we were born here, on Earth, I guess, but we're not technically of this Earth." Max started to get frustrated, and he looked at Liz wondering what she must be thinking. But her face showed compassion and he continued on.

"The three of us are aliens. We look human, we have human emotions, wants, needs, desires. We just also have, um, powers. I can heal people; Isabel can dreamwalk; Michael can....well we haven't discovered what Michael can do yet....but we can all transform matter. Liz, what I'm telling you, we've never told anyone. Ever. Not our parents, not our friends, no one. I have to know that I can trust you. You can't tell anyone. Our lives depend on it."

Liz was silent for a moment, then a thought struck her. "That's why you left so suddenly from the Crashdown that day. You knew the police and paramedics would be there, and you couldn't take the chance of being discovered." The pieces started falling in place now. Suddenly, she saw and felt what Max had been feeling all these years. How incredibly lonely he was. How vulnerable he was now, pouring out his heart and his deepest secret to Liz. Her face radiated understanding to him, and Max relaxed.

Liz sat up on the bed, still facing Max. She looked down shyly and said, "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving me. I don't know how you did it, or why, but thank you."

Max brought his finger under her chin and lifted her head up. He looked her squarely in the eyes and said, "Why? Liz, it was you. It's always been you."

Liz's breath caught and she was overcome with emotions. Max leaned in and Liz met him halfway, their lips brushing tentatively. Max pulled back, and Liz slowly opened her eyes. Please don't let this be a dream, she thought. Max reached out a hand and caressed her hair, feeling the silky softness on his fingertips. His fingers trailed along her jawline and outlined her lips. Liz closed her eyes again, and Max's fingers were replaced by his lips, kissing her with all the love and desire he had for her all these years.

Without thinking, Liz gave herself to him. She shut down her rational brain and let her emotions lead her. She let her hands roam his broad shoulders, traveling down his arms and back up. She ran her fingers up the back of neck and into his hair. The intensity of the kisses was dramatically rising, but neither one could stop. Liz broke away from Max and tilted her head back. Max began softly kissing her exposed neck. He could smell her perfume, and it made him dizzy. A small groan escaped from Liz and she brought her head back up. Taking his face in her hands, she brought his kisses back to her lips.

Max's hands had settled on her waist, and he absently kneaded her waist and the small of her back. Allowing himself the pleasure of fulfilling one of his fantasies, he let his hands travel up and down her back, and one hand buried itself in her luxurious hair.

Max and Liz both knew things were getting out of control. The energy and the heat from their kisses were making the room uncomfortably warm. Liz began feelings things that she shouldn't be feeling from a guy she really didn't know that well. It took all of her willpower to lean back and look at Max.

"Max, we have to stop. Things are getting too, um, intense." Liz said breathlessly.

It took Max a moment to let Liz's words register. He was still heady from this encounter. But he knew that Liz was right, things were getting very intense.

"I'm sorry, Liz. I didn't mean to scare you," Max apologized.

"You didn't, and you have nothing to be sorry about. I wanted this as much as you did. I still do. It's just that, well, we have a lot of talking to do. I want to get to know you better. And from what you've just told me, there's a lot about Max Evans that I need to know."

Isabel and Alex walked into Max's room. They were quickly followed by Maria and Michael. The six formed a close circle and Max stood up, saying that there was a lot of explaining to do.

Index | Part 2
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.