FanFic - Max/Liz
"Strong, Dangerous & Undeniable"
Part 13
by Destinee
Disclaimer: The characters belong to M. Metz, J. Katims, and The WB. I'm only gently leading them where I'd like them to go.
Summary: This story begins with the scene in MITC when Liz does her astral projection thing. It follows along with everything in the show up to that point, and goes on to explore Liz's powers, and to resolve the obstacles in the path of her being together with Max.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Max was squatting in the open doorway of the car at Liz's head, watching her worriedly. It seemed like she'd been out an awfully long time. Profound relief flooded over him when he saw her lashes flutter, and her eyes opened to look around in confusion.

He fitted his palm to the top of her head and asked anxiously, "Liz, are you okay?"

Her eyes lifted to see him leaning over her, and her lips curved in a soft smile. She swallowed and moistened her lips, then whispered his name.

The sound of her voice was like the sweetest of benedictions to him, and a deep sense of thanksgiving welled up within him. Nothing could have stopped him from leaning down to give her a lingering kiss just then, not even a battalion of enemy aliens out to conquer the Earth.

They did manage to divert his affectionate gesture towards her forehead rather than her lips, however.

"W-what happened?" she asked softly.

"You fainted," he told her gently.

"I fainted?" she repeated with disbelief. "I've never fainted before in my life."

"I think you can be forgiven for it this time, chica. This was kind of an extreme set of circumstances. You had us pretty worried. Are you okay?" Maria asked from her position in the front passenger seat. She'd been reluctant to interrupt the tender scene between Max and Liz, but she was extremely happy to see that her best friend was awake, and that she seemed to be fine.

She definitely had some serious explaining to do, though, Maria thought, as she watched the way Max helped Liz ease up into a sitting position. He handled her as though she were made of spun glass, and once she was upright, he gently brushed her hair away from her face, his fingers dawdling as they lovingly tucked it behind her ear. Liz's eyes clung to his face throughout the entire process.

Just friends, huh? Yeah, right.

Liz sat up gingerly, her every muscle and joint aching, and her head was pounding ferociously, prompting her to hold her head as motionless as possible. When she reached a sitting position, Liz squeezed her eyes shut, as the world seemed to tilt crazily. She reached out to grab the nearest object for balance and caught hold of the sleeve of Max's jacket.

"What is it?" he asked anxiously, climbing into the car to slide in next to her.

Wanting to reassure him, she forced her eyes open and said, "Nothing. Just dizzy. And maybe a little sore."

Everything kept spinning, and she started to lower her head to rest on Max's shoulder, but caught herself when she saw Tess standing behind him. Knowing instinctively why she had frozen in mid-motion, Max glanced over his shoulder and threw an imploring look at Isabel, who was standing next to Tess.

With a small nod of understanding, she flew into action, pulling gently on Tess' arm, and saying, "Come on, Tess. Why don't we go gather everyone's things and get ready to go."

Tess resisted for a moment, then she nodded reluctantly, and allowed Isabel to pull her away.

"I'm glad you're okay, Liz," Isabel said sincerely before she and Tess turned away to go. As they passed by Michael, who was standing in the open door on the opposite side of the car, Isabel asked, "Michael, where'd you leave your jacket?"

In answer, he started to turn and go with them to look for it, but Liz stopped him, calling his name softly.

He leaned down into the car, bracing one hand on the back of Maria's seat.

In a subdued tone, he asked, "You okay?"

"Yeah, are you?"

"I'm fine."

They looked at each other searchingly.

"What happened back there, Michael?" she asked quietly.

"I wish I had an answer, Liz, but I don't," he answered regretfully. "You have any ideas?"

"Me?" She gave a humorless laugh that intensified the throbbing in her head. Bringing a hand up to her temple, she said, "I don't know anything anymore."

Max cupped the back of her head and said soothingly, "We can all talk about it later if you want to, okay? Maybe together we can come up with an explanation. Just...try not to worry about it right now."

"Yeah, Lizzie," Maria put in, reaching across the seats to give her hand a squeeze. "We should get you home now, so you can rest. You don't look so good."

"Yeah," Liz said faintly, "I-I don't think I feel so good."

Her head wouldn't seem to stop swimming, and the throbbing there threatened to burst a hole in her skull. It was beginning to make her nauseous.

"I left my purse out there where we were sitting, so let me run and get it, and we'll go, okay?"

Liz nodded weakly, and Maria gave her hand another squeeze, then climbed out of the car.

Michael said, "I should go find my jacket." He touched Liz's arm briefly and said, "Take it easy, okay?"

"Okay. You, too."

He backed away and closed the door with a soft click.

As soon as Max and Liz were alone, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, gently pressing her head down to rest on his chest. He left his hand on the side of her head and leaned down to kiss her crown.

"Are you okay?" he asked again, worriedly.

She nestled her cheek against his chest and said, "My head is killing me, but this feels much better."

She sighed with contentment and slid her arm around his waist.

"Let me make it even better," he said, and fitted his hand more firmly against her head.

She felt a prickling sensation across the surface of her scalp, and a soothing warmth came seeping inside her head. It traveled to all parts of her body, leaving behind a tingling that felt similar to the fizzing of carbonation. It filled every crevice and hollow of her body, coating everything with a heavy liquid heat that eased all her pain and discomfort.

Liz sighed again and said a breathy, "Thank you."

Placing another loving kiss on the top of her head, Max glanced out the windshield and said regretfully, "Everyone's coming back."

Tightening his arms around her, he said gruffly, "I don't want to leave you."

She gave him a needy squeeze of her own, then reluctantly eased away a bit to see how much time they had before the others reached them.

"Could you maybe come by later? My parents should both be in the restaurant working the lunch rush."

"Definitely," he answered. "Just let me drop everyone off and I'll come to your window." With another quick look through the windshield, he slowly drew his arms away from her, and she shivered at the loss. "So I'll see you later then, okay?"

"Okay," she agreed.

Their eyes spoke to each other of their reluctance to part, but Max finally forced himself out of the car when Maria slid into the driver's seat. Liz climbed out behind him and he walked her around the car to the passenger side, then opened the front door for her.

Once she was settled inside, Max leaned down to look over at Maria and said, "Take care of her, okay?"

"You know it," she replied.

With a final look at Liz, he said, "See ya."

"Bye, Max," she answered, then gently pulled the door closed.

Maria watched as Liz smiled at Max through the passenger window, and their eyes clung while he took a few slow steps backwards, then he turned away to go.

"So. What's going on with you and the Alien King?" she asked.

Startled, Liz looked over at her, then quickly looked away. "Nothing's going on. What makes you think something's going on?"

Maria gave her a look of chiding disbelief, then started the car and pulled out to follow the jeep.

"Come on, Liz. This is me you're talkin' to. You aren't actually going to sit there and tell me again that you're just friends, are you? You two can barely tear your eyes away from each other! Not to mention the fact that he can't keep his hands off you. I know what friendship looks like, and believe me, you two have left Friendship Road far behind, and are well on your way down Lover's Lane."

Liz sighed and wondered tiredly if it was worth the effort of trying to keep this a secret from Maria.

She leaned her head back against her seat and said wearily, "It's just...really complicated, Maria. Do we have to talk about it right now?"

Instantly contrite, Maria said, "Of course not. I'm sorry, Liz. Are you feeling okay? Do you need anything?"

"No, I'm fine. Just tired. And a little shell-shocked, I guess."

Maria hesitated before asking, "Do you want to talk about what happened back there?"

Liz looked at her best friend for a long moment, then said quietly, "I was so scared, Maria. I've never felt anything like that before."

"What did it feel like?" she asked in timid curiosity.

"It was like...this- incredible, unstoppable force inside of me that just kept growing stronger and stronger. I was terrified of what it was going to do if I let it loose, but it felt like I might actually explode if I didn't get it out of me."

Liz shuddered at the memory. "I hate this, Maria," she said low and fierce, "I hate knowing that that's a part of me now. I-I don't know how Michael deals with it."

Maria made a face. "I don't think you should use Michael as a role model. He deals with it by not dealing with it at all. He just uses it as another excuse to keep everyone at arm's-length. Who could know how he feels about anything? I don't know if he's ever even completely gotten over what he did to Pierce. As far as I know, he's never talked to anyone about it."

"You can hardly blame him for that, though," Liz said in his defense. "I mean, I'd like nothing better than to just pretend this thing inside of me doesn't exist. The only thing stopping me from doing that right now is knowing that it isn't going to go away just because I ignore it. And I can understand completely why he would want to keep everyone at a distance. This thing is really powerful, Maria." She paused and swallowed hard against the lump in her throat. Looking over at Maria with haunted eyes, she continued in a voice barely above a whisper. "Can you even imagine what I would have done to someone if I had hit a person with all that energy? It-it would have.. annihilated them," She made a choking sound, "it would have annihilated an entire group of people. What if- what if it were to get away from me someday, and I ended up k-- really hurting someone I care about? I mean, the first time I did this, it just came out because I got angry. What if you, or-or Alex, or anyone, had been standing there instead of that mirror?" She shook her head slowly, horrified at the thought. "I'd never be able to live with myself if I did something to hurt any of you."

Maria felt a little leap of panic at her friend's words. They sounded too much like the little good-bye speech Michael had given her last spring, and she couldn't let Liz shut her out the same way he had.

"Liz, you didn't even know you had it then. Now you do. You'll just- you'll work on it. Find out how to keep it under control. And, yeah, it is dangerous, but that doesn't matter to me. I want to be here for you. You can't push us away, Liz. You need your friends around you right now to help you get a handle on this thing. And, at the risk of sounding utterly selfish, I don't want to lose you over this. I've pretty much lost Michael because of this--'gift'," she spat the word sarcastically, "I can't lose you too, Liz. I-I need you. You're the one who- who keeps me grounded, you know?" she ended tearfully.

The knot in Liz's throat grew, and tears filled her eyes as well. She reached her hand out blindly, and Maria took one hand off the steering wheel to catch it in hers.

Squeezing her friend's hand tightly, she said emotionally, "You won't lose me, Maria. I need you, too. You're right. Everything you said is right. I need you to help me deal with this. As much as I'd like to just have nothing more to do with it, I'm gonna have to work on it. Learn how to control it. For the sake of everyone around me."

They had pulled up in front of the Crashdown, and Maria turned off the engine, then turned to face Liz.

"We'll help you however we can, Liz," she vowed. "I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone. And, you know, Michael might even be the one who could help you the most. Maybe you could help each other."

Liz nodded and smiled tremulously. "Yeah. Maybe."

"Do you want me to walk you to your room, help you get settled, before I get ready for my shift?"

"No, I'll be fine. I think I'll just go take a little nap. I'm pretty tired."

Maria nodded and they both climbed out of the car. They walked through the busy restaurant to the back room and Maria exclaimed, "Ugh! Looks like a madhouse out there!"

She got a fresh uniform out of her locker and asked, "Are you sure I can't do anything for you before I go to work? Can I get you something to eat, a soda? Ice cream?" she grinned.

Liz smiled consideringly, then said, "No, I just need some sleep, I think."

She walked across to give her friend a heartfelt hug and said, "Thanks, Maria. You're the best friend a girl could ever have."

Maria gave her a squeeze and replied, "Ditto, babe."

They pulled back to share a smile, then Maria turned to go get changed, and Liz headed for the stairs.

Feeling grimy from the dust at the quarry, she went straight up to her bathroom to take a long, hot shower. When she got out, she pulled on a red baby tee and a pair of loose drawstring pants. The shower seemed to have sapped her little remaining strength, and she dropped onto the bed, thinking she would just lie down and rest there until Max came.

That was the last thought she had before sleep claimed her.

Part 12 | Index | Part 14
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.