FanFic - Max/Liz
"Acting Alien"
Part 10
by Carol
Disclaimer: No one in the WORLD would take ownership of this one but me! The characters aren't mine, though. Life's a bitch.
Summary: A teen sci-fi show's director is unhappy with the chemistry (or lack thereof) and believability of his characters. He gets permission to take them to Roswell for a bit of atmosphere and a reality check. (You may notice some similarities between these characters' names and those of our beloved cast and creative team.)
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Acknowledgment: The premise for this story is really based on a fic idea from Jane of my Roswellnet list. She has not only allowed me to use the idea, but to warp it just a bit for our purposes. Thanks, Jane! Caution: Most of you who read my fics are used to some serious plot, character development, etc. Quit looking. This is a fluff piece I wrote over the holidays. The readers at Jenn's board VOTED on what would happen at the end of each installment from 3 choices I gave them. They dictated the direction and emphasis. (I've kept the choices they had to choose from in here, so you could see what they DIDN'T choose!) So don't think too hard! Just sit back and enjoy! Here's what I told them to begin: Setting: We want everyone getting along in this one, so let's say it's just after "Sexual Healing"
Liz was staring at Max, understanding dawning as she read this face she was coming to know so well. He had been the cause of all those mysterious accidents, but she really didn't think he meant to do it. He was looking so confused and apologetic. She couldn't decide whether to be amused or angry.

"Liz, I didn't mean . . . ." He stopped. He couldn't confess to something in front of Mason without explaining what he had done. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

"Max!" Mason greeted him jovially, feeling much like a child who has just learned school is letting out early due to snow. "Looks like we're done for now. Did you get to see any of Liz's work over there? She was a real pro."

Max nodded, not meeting Mason's eyes. "Yeah, she did great."

"Well, I'm glad you understand about the scene, man. Seriously, I didn't know that's what we would be running. But acting is acting, right? Nothing personal."

Max's eyes snapped up at Mason's words. Nothing personal! He was practically mauling Liz in front of all these people and it was nothing personal? Anger flickered across his face and Liz tensed, sensing an eruption that neither of them could afford. Mason unknowingly defused the situation, though, with his next words.

"Liz, do you mind if I go see Cheryl? I think I'll take your advice and test the waters. Maybe she'll surprise me."

Liz smiled gratefully at Mason. "Of course! Go! Just be yourself, Mason. And trust a little." Liz noted with relief that Max had visibly relaxed at Mason's question, and he watched Mason's retreating figure with a trace of embarrassment.

"Liz, . . . ."

"Don't say it, Max. I get the picture. You were standing over here sabotaging the rehearsal, weren't you?"

"Liz, I didn't mean to. Honestly. I just felt this pressure build up as I watched and then it would release and something bad happened. It took two times before I realized it was me. That's never happened to me before."

"Pressure? What kind of pressure, Max?" Liz was baiting him, knowing full well it was jealousy, but she wanted to hear him say it. He deserved that consequence, at least.

Max looked at the floor, embarrassed even further by the corner Liz was pushing him into. This was more honest than he was prepared to be right now, but what choice did he have?

"I didn't like him touching you, kissing you, telling you he loved you," Max mumbled, eyes glued to his shoelaces.

"It was a scene from the show, Max. You know that. Why would you react like that?"

Max reflected a moment. Then he suddenly pulled Liz to him and kissed her, a kiss so full of emotion, honesty, and yearning, Liz felt it deep within her. The connection was brief, but she saw herself through his eyes as she and Mason kissed, and felt his overwhelming need to protect and defend what he felt in his heart was his. Liz knew she should feel anger at his sense of ownership, but instead she felt thrilled, because she had those same territorial instincts toward him. Her heart soared at the intensity of his feelings for her and she returned his kiss with a possessiveness of her own.

When they separated, Max stared at her with unbelieving eyes. She had forgiven him, yes, but more incredible, her feelings matched his own. He smiled at her. The bond between them seemed less tentative now, more honest.

"Need a ride home?"

Liz slipped her hand into his. "Let's give Mason and Cheryl a little time alone first," she suggested. "How about we just go for a walk."

Max smiled and squeezed her hand. He had never felt so happy.


Michael was miserable. He'd been too restless to go to school, so he'd spent the day stewing over his life--or lack of one. He never knew what would set Maria off. He still didn't know why she had gotten so mad. Hadn't he defended her? Hadn't he confronted the guy who was taking advantage of her? But she never saw things the same way he did. She had just stalked off.

Fine! Let her go. He didn't have time for the complications that came with any girlfriend, let alone Maria. He didn't need her. He didn't need anyone.

So why did he feel like he'd just lost everything? Why was there this ache inside him that no amount of hockey or Tabasco could ease? He had learned to open up to Maria. She knew his secrets, and he could be himself with her. Even the bickering gave him a sense of belonging, of closeness. He wouldn't admit it to anyone but himself, but he did need someone--he needed her.

Throughout the afternoon, an idea had been brewing in Michael's head. He wanted to let Maria know that he cared about her, but he wasn't trying to control her. He'd understood early on that Maria was not a woman you control, any more than he could be controlled himself. But being with her always made him feel more alive, more accepted, more human than anything or anyone else in his life ever had, and in spite of his pronouncements to the contrary, he didn't want to give that up.

Once he'd made his decision to act, he wasted no time. Not far from Michael's modest apartment was the local recording studio where anyone could pay for studio time, record their music, have a cover printed using a graphic arts program and a color laser printer, and voila!--your very own CD. He knew the guy who ran the place because he lived in the same building, and they had talked in the laundry room a few times. Michael looked through the impressive pile of sketches he had done of Maria over the last few months. He had never shown them to her, but he often sat at night and sketched as he thought of her. There were lots of different poses and hair styles, but somehow the eyes always held that special look she got when she was about to kiss him. He was always spellbound by that look because he could never quite believe it was meant for him.

He found the sketch he wanted and took off for the studio. An hour and a half later, the scanned-in picture on a computer-generated background of stars graced the cover of a blank CD. He wrote a note while it printed out and headed for Maria's house. He slipped into her bedroom window easily and laid his gift on her bed. He hoped it would say to her what he couldn't seem to say to her face.


Maria was doing a quick shift at the Crashdown while the regularly scheduled waitress, Sharon, went to a doctor's appointment. She was in a foul mood and her impatient gestures and brisk manner were clear indications that she was not to be messed with today. Who did Michael think he was, anyway, acting as if she were his personal property? He had a very inflated opinion of his own importance, that's for sure. Just because he had flown through space, been hatched from a pod, grown up in a foster home, and hidden his powers and identity from everyone for sixteen years, he thought he was all special. Maria paused mid-ice cream sundae. He was special. When she thought about his life like that, it was no wonder he was incredibly screwed up. And wasn't it just like her to fall for the most complicated guy around? The one who could give her the worst possible time, the least attention, and the most grief. But damn--he was special.

Mason Blair slid into a seat at the counter. "Hi, Maria. Listen, could you make me a root beer float for Cheryl? I'm going up to see her and I know how she loves root beer floats."

Maria paused again. That was how a boy acted when he liked you. He thought of ways to make you happy. You were in his mind when you weren't in his line of vision. He went just a little out of his way to accommodate you. This was how it was supposed to be. Why couldn't Michael be like that? Just once? Still, she reminded herself, the fact that he was jealous of Brent was pretty cool. Sometimes she wasn't sure if he cared about her at all, but maybe, just maybe, he did.

"Maria?" Maria snapped back to reality and focused on Mason.

"Right! One root beer float coming up."

She handed him his cup and watched him leave the restaurant, a smile of anticipation on his face. Maria scowled and continued to scrub down the counter with a vengeance.

"Thanks, Maria, I can take it from here." Maria looked up as Sharon rushed in, still tying her apron around her waist. "Thanks so much. I owe you one."

Maria grunted an acknowledgment and headed to the rear of the restaurant to gather her things. She drove home in silence, an unusual state since she usually had music blaring from her radio while she sang at the top of her lungs. When she finally got the door unlocked and had dumped her books on the kitchen table, she headed for her room--a quiet haven where she could pout and think and generally feel sorry for herself. She pushed her door open and threw herself down on the bed.

Ouch! Her elbow had hit something hard. She rolled over in annoyance to see what had poked her so harshly and her eyes locked on her own image on the case of a CD. Her brow wrinkled in confusion as she noticed the words "Stars in My Eyes" hovering in a blanket of stars and suspended over a very flattering sketch of herself. Curious, she opened the case to find a CD and a note. She carefully unfolded the paper inside:


I'm sorry I made you mad. No one knows better than I do that there are certain things we must do because of who we are. You should always make music.


Maria stared in amazement from the note to the picture, to the note, to the picture. Michael! Michael had made this sketch of her and had it made into a CD cover! He had thought about what would make her happy, and had acted on it. He had told her, in his own understated way, that what she wanted did matter to him, and that he supported her. She had never heard anything like that from his lips, but here was hard evidence that Michael Guerin cared about her. Tears sprang to Maria's eyes, and she indulged in a satisfying cry.

Minutes later, Maria was in her car, running up to Michael's apartment, and knocking on his door. When it opened, Maria launched herself into Michael's arms and kissed him. His arms went around her, and his heart felt a rare and wonderful warmth. Home again.


Mason climbed up to Liz's balcony slowly and carefully. Climbing and balancing a root beer float were not two easily compatible jobs, but he took his time and successfully reached the roof. He walked across to the window and crouched down to knock on the glass.

"Cheryl? I've brought you a little treat!" he said cheerfully.

"Mason! Oh my God, Mason! You won't believe this!"

He looked with surprise at her ashen face and rushed into the room.

"Cheryl! What is it?"

Cheryl's trembling hands held a hardbound book out to him. "Read this," she whispered.

Part 9 | Index | Part 11
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