FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Max Factor"
Part 5
by Mavonne
Disclaimer: The characters and basic story idea belong to Ms. Melinda Metz and the producers/scriptwriters of the TV show, "Roswell." The rest of it is just me. : )
Summary: This is the continuing story of my version of events during and subsequent to "TEOTW".
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Roswellians, this is for you. Feedback, feedback, please! It really helps and would be greatly appreciated. I do believe that the characters have taken over this fanfic! I seem to have less control over them and the events in their lives than when I started. It's safer to just let go. :lol: So let's see what's going to happen now, because I certainly don't know.... Textual Notes: Since italics don't appear when my text is transferred to The Crashdown's fanfic section, I have placed an asterisk * in front of the emphasized words.
Saturday morning at The Crashdown a large trucker type belched and eyed Maria critically as she came near. He reminded her so much of the guys who shot Liz that she had to reach into her pocket.

"Hey Miss, I been waitin' fifteen minutes for a cup of black coffee. What are you doing? Gathering the beans from the field? Hey! Are you-my god, are you sniffin' drugs??"

"Not exactly and not illegally. You said you're waiting for a black coffee?"

The man slapped the countertop and leaned back. "Oh man, you're a piece of work, a drugged-out absent-minded twit. I don't want you servin' me."

Maria was taking a deep breath before apologizing or cursing, she didn't know which, when they were interrupted.

"Then I guess you don't want to be served at all." Michael was standing beside her.

"Kid, I'm not your daddy. You better watch yourself. Where's the manager?"

"He can't help you 'cause he can't change the rules. No dogs or assholes allowed."

When the trucker stood up, Maria put a hand on Michael's arm. "Sir," she began carefully, "there's no need to get up. I'm sorry about the coffee. I had a rough night and I'm sure you didn't mean to snap at me. If you still want the coffee, I will get it now, right this minute."

"I don't want anything from here!" he barked, then he snatched up his newspaper and stomped out.

Maria turned to Michael who was staring after the older man. "Better watch you don't cut yourself with that razor sharp tongue of yours. The armor is certainly shining bright this morning. I've had irate customers before but no such rescue as this. What's up?"

"Oh, you *can talk. How about a 'thank you'?"

"Thanks, Guerin," she said turning away.

"Well, now that we're on a roll, I want to talk to you about something," Michael said following her into the pantry.

"What's that?"

"What did Liz do to Max? He's become Jeckell and Hyde and I haven't seen Jeckell lately."

"What's his Hyde like?"

"Himself times ten. He's a cold, uptight clam nobody can talk to."

Maria smiled and winked, waving her finger at him, saying, "No, now that sounds like you on a normal day."

"Look, I'm serious. He can't be distracted right now and she *always distracts him. Whatever it is tell her to lay off."

Maria slammed down a ketchup bottle. "Lay off what, Michael? They're in a relationship. Humans, and I guess some aliens, have relationships. Relationships have ups and downs. And maybe you should try being distracted for once because being so focused has backfired on you a couple times, hasn't it?"

"Why are you mad at me? I'm not the creep that just insulted you."

"No, you're just the friend that hurts me - frequently."

Michael took a deep breath, watching her replace items with jerky motions. "Maria, were we ever friends?"

She swung around. "Well…," she dragged out slowly with a cool little smile. "Wow! Your question actually answers a question. Thank you." She stalked out and nearly ran into Isabel who said urgently,

"Maria, I need to talk to you."

Maria threw up her hands. "We need. I need. I need. We need. I need. Does anyone or anything else in the universe matter besides the four of you? I'm *sick of you."

Isabel's eyes flickered shut wearily. "Been talking to Michael, have you?

"Ah, relevancy? Look over there. There's someone you need to talk to," Maria said, pointing to Alex sitting at a booth with his back to them. "I think he's more your friend than I am. Oh, excuse me. I mean, he was your friend before you started treating him like some lowly human beneath your consideration."


"I'll tell you what, Isabel," she continued in a low voice. "Keep your E.T. problems to yourselves."

After Maria left her standing there, Isabel exchanged a look with Michael, who resignedly returned to the grill, and then walked slowly over to Alex.

"Hi Alex," she said hesitantly to his back.

Without turning around he sipped his orange juice. "Hi Isabel."

"How are you?" she said after the awkward silence that followed her taking a seat opposite him.

"I'm wondering what you want."

"You're mad at me, even though you know a lot is going on right now. After all that's happened I thought you of all people would understand."

Alex's eyes flashed. "Understand what, Isabel? That you've been ignoring me for no valid reason whatsoever? That you've been just plain rude? Yes, my memory's good. I was on the Special Unit's list, too. Remember? I probably still am, so it's not just all about you. Well, mostly but not all. Don't sit there and pretend there's some acceptable excuse for your attitude, not only towards me but Maria and Liz, too. Now you just came in here, saw me here, and didn't say squat to me - as usual. Then when you don't get what you want from Maria, you saunter on over here. 'Oh well, he's the last resort.' Right?"

"Alex please! I'm sorry. I just haven't been handling the situation very well. I don't know what else to say. I guess I just needed some distance, but there's a problem that I need your help with now. It's about Max and Liz."

Alex looked incredulous. "In one ear and out the other, huh? Well, that's fine 'cause the sooner I listen to you, the sooner I can get back to my Lunar Lumps, which are getting cold. What about Max and Liz?"

"Max is not himself at all lately. It's scaring me. It's like he's changed for good or something. He won't talk to me about it-" Isabel broke off, turning away a little with a hand to her mouth.

Alex closed his eyes briefly and sighed. "And you think Liz might know why or that she's behind it. And you think I know all about it."

Isabel looked at him hopefully.

"Isabel, I don't know what's wrong with your brother."

She sat back. "Then what's wrong with Liz?"

"Nothing's wrong with Liz."


"Nothing's wrong with any of the humans, Isabel. We're just fine. So maybe, like you, Max isn't handling the situation well."

Isabel said nothing while she watched him attack his Lunar Lumps. "How long are you going to stay mad at me, Alex?"

He stilled and said without looking at her, "Not long I'm sure. If I learn anything about what you're talking about, I'll tell you if I can."

----- ----- -----

Monday Liz was walking rather aimlessly through the semi-crowded hall at school. Earlier that morning was the disastrous Romeo and Juliet presentation in her English class. She didn't know if she was more upset with Max or Ms. McKenna, but she knew she didn't want to think about it anymore. Needing to see a friendly face she was hoping she'd run into Maria or Alex, so when Liz reached her locker she stood idly looking around. Finally she turned to get some books out for her next three classes. A hand suddenly grasped her shoulder, making her jump.

"Oh, Kyle." She smiled. "You startled me."

"If that was 'startled', I'd hate to see 'scared witless'. Are you sure you don't need to change your pants now?"

"Shut up," she said, hitting him lightly.

"Why are you getting used to hitting me? A woman's supposed to be gentle like a flower, you know."

"Yeah, and you've plucked quite a few." "Come on. I'm not like that anymore - much. You should know, especially since that night."

When Liz's face fell with the tilt of her head, Kyle cursed himself for being thoughtless. "Whoa, I'm sorry."

"No, it's okay."

"So how are you? For some reason I haven't seen you around much. You been playing hooky?"

"No, I guess I didn't want to be seen." She laughed wryly. "I don't want to be much of anything lately."

"Come on. Come on. You can't do this. You can't do this, Liz."

"Got your own echo, huh?"

"You made a decision leading to what we did the other night. Whatever it was, I don't know. But if you're going down because of it then you need to make another decision to get yourself right again. That sounds corny, doesn't it?"

"I wish it was that easy, Kyle."

When Kyle put an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close to his side, Liz felt a strange heat touching her face, neck and chest. And it wasn't coming from Kyle or herself. She sensed with alarm that if she turned her head a little she'd see the source.

(He's near. Oh god, he sees me with Kyle.)

Stepping away from Kyle, she took him by the arm, saying, "Walk with me."


----- ----- -----

"…so he told me to do all these laps just 'cause I was late again." Michael shook his head. "He's lucky I came at all. I'm telling you school is a daytime prison to house the enemy. Us. Anyone under nineteen. I don't know why I even…. What the--?!" His mouth dropped open as he witnessed the whites of Max's eyes glow a bright green around greatly dilated pupils. It took a passing girl gasping, "Oh my god!", to snap him out of his fascination.

"Glow-in-the-dark Halloween contacts," he snapped, as he adroitly blocked Max's blind forward motion.

"He's touching her," Max whispered harshly in a voice Michael barely recognized.

Michael pushed him with some effort as discreetly as possible into the empty eraser room, locking it behind them. He grabbed Max's face. "Max, what's happening to you?"

Max pulled away and sat down. He eyes were slowly returning to normal and his breathing was slightly labored. "I don't know. I just saw him touching her and I can't take it."

"Who's touching who? Who--What am I saying? It's Liz. Liz and who?"


"Uh-huh. Well, what were you getting ready to do out there in front of the entire school?"

Max looked up at him with haunted eyes. "Lose it."

"Okay, that's it. I'm calling a meeting tonight."

"A meeting? About what?"

"Nevermind. You'll find out when you get there. In the meantime, I'm taking you home."

"Michael, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not skipping three classes, and I don't need a nursemaid."

"Damn your classes! Are you crazy? You were just about to do an Incredible Hulk out there. You don't know what you were going to do. What if it happens again before you leave school? You have a bunch of classes with Liz. You know how they keep all you honor students joined at the hip."

Max said nothing. He felt drained as much as by Michael's scathing tone as by what just happened to him. Whatever that was. He shoved a hand through his hair. "Okay you're right. I'm going home."

"I mean my place. You can't let your parents see you."

"Will you look at me? I'm fine now."

"Max, this is serious. We have to figure out-"

Max stood up impatiently. "We have to get out of this eraser room. Now." He walked out with Michael, his expression stormy, following at his heels.

Part 4 | Index | Part 6
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