FanFic - Max/Liz
"The Max Factor"
Part 6
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.
In the end Max did return to his own house despite Michael's strident objections all the way there. He lay now on his bed trying to sort things out. He couldn't go on like this. His frustration was changing him into someone he didn't know and didn't like. He was barely speaking to his parents or Isabel. He was neglecting his schoolwork, even the subjects he enjoyed, and he was acting oblivious to the alien situation, as if it would disappear if he ignored it. How he wished he could just go back to his first date with Liz and just relive it for the rest of his life! And he had a lot of nerve wishing for that. Max remembered with shame how he had deliberately tried to make Liz uncomfortable during their enactment of *Romeo and Juliet, toying with her, making her think he would take advantage of the kissing scenes. Liz must have thought he was just being spiteful. The truth was Max had to fight not to consume her lips with his own, his longing for her raging nearly uncontrollably inside him. It hadn't mattered that they were in front of a room full of people. However, he didn't know if he could handle whatever he might see during their connection. Last time, although she was blocking it, he still saw and felt things inside her, blurred confusing fragments of her emotions and memories. The most disturbing image of all was of Liz, upset, recently talking to a shadowy figure that was…him. Yet it wasn't him. Or was it? Or was it just a patchwork of different memories?

Max sat up. Yes, he was angry with her. Whatever the image meant the fact was that Liz was hiding things from him, hiding herself, lying to him…. But which was the lie: that she had never loved him as much as she seemed to or that she had slept with Kyle and was meeting guys left and right? What else wasn't she telling him? Yet despite all that one thing was clear. Max still loved Liz with everything that was in him. But his emotional upheaval must have triggered something dangerous in his alien nature. And it was growing. He would kill himself before he ever hurt her, but he feared his lack of self-control.

Needing to be distracted, he went into Isabel's room, grabbed a cd he didn't recognize, put it into his player and lay back down. The volume was low and the rough, jagged baseline soothed him so that soon he was thinking of nothing at all…

The next thing he knew the - Briinngg! - of his phone jolted him awake. "Mmm," he murmured into the receiver. The nap had been too long, leaving him more tired than before.

"You're late," Michael said. There was silence on the line. "Maxwell!"


"You're holding things up. Are you coming or what?"

"Yeah, I'll be there. Give me twenty minutes." He hung up wondering why he didn't just say no. He felt like crap. All the time. Dwelling on that Max stared at a chair near his door without really seeing it, and it suddenly toppled over.

When he arrived at Michael's apartment at about 8:00, irritated by having to walk in the cold blustery weather since Isabel had apparently taken the jeep and left him, he glanced around the room, his eyes finally resting on the clock.

"Where's everybody else?"

"There is no one else, Max. This meeting's between you and me."

Max turned towards the door. "No thanks."

"Max, what's going on between you and Liz? Is she seeing someone else now? Is that it?"

"I don't want to talk about this."

"No, I didn't think you would. You're more uptight now than ever. I could get constipated just looking at you."


"Yeah really. I'm wondering if a Skin popped up right now, would you even fight back."

Max reached for the doorknob. "Well, keep wondering."

Michael jumped in front of him. "That's right, your royal high ass! Make the rest of us vulnerable while you sulk like a kid. This isn't just about you. What affects you affects us all. So it ends here. Either we can talk it out, or I can beat it out of you!"

Max stepped right into his face. "Try it!"

They stared each other down until the air of violence surrounding them cleared. Michael broke the silence, moving back slightly. "We need you. We need each other. How long are you gonna go on like this? Until we're all dead?"

Max's shoulders slumped and he looked away as he sat on the couch. A relieved Michael took a seat opposite him. "Talk. If you don't want me to say anything, I won't."

"I saw Liz in bed with Kyle Valenti," Max said dully.

"You're kidding me."

"In her bed. I saw it."

"Damn," Michael said softly, looking down. After a short silence he asked skeptically, "Are you sure? I mean what did you see? Were they actually doing it?"


"Well, how exactly did they look?"

Max huffed disgustedly. "What the hell, Michael? They looked naked in bed, all right? Do I have to draw you a damn sketch?" he snapped, standing up.

"You're cursing a lot lately, you know. Very out of character. Just like what you're saying about Liz."

Max sat down again and raked his hands roughly through his hair. Something else he was doing a lot lately. He stopped, annoyed. "The thing is, it feels wrong. I don't *feel like she did it. She's been pushing me away all kinds of ways since that day we used the orbs in the pod chamber. First she says she doesn't want to stand in the way of my 'destiny'. Then she basically avoids all contact with me. Then she says she met someone while she was away this summer and implies it's more than casual. Then I find her with Kyle. Have I been missing something or am I just crazy?"

Michael shook his head. "Man, I don't know what to tell you."

"When she mentioned the first guy, I didn't really believe her. And that was even after I kissed her and she tried to block the connection."

"Did you see anything then?"

"Faint jumbled images. She's strong. I couldn't get through."

"Sounds more like a fight than a kiss."

"I don't know what to do."

"Look, I'm listening to you, but do you really believe Liz had sex with Kyle? I mean do you believe that what you saw confirmed that?"

When Max was silent, Michael waited patiently.

"I don't know what to believe. Something inside me is telling me she didn't. But on the other hand, why not? All of our lives these past months have been traumatized. Maybe we've all changed. If it happened, I probably drove her to it. She kept telling me it was over between us and I wouldn't accept it."

"And you can now?"

"I can't let what happened this afternoon at school happen again. I could have...hurt someone and got us all busted as well."

Michael went to the fridge, poured Sunny Delight into two mugs, and held his hand over them until stream rose.

"Hey, that's pretty good," Max said, taking the mug he was given. "You're gaining control of your powers."

"Yeah, it sure saves time. Anyway. But man, you should have seen your eyes. They really creeped me out. "

"How'd they look?"

"Fluorescent green and huge. Alien werewolf style."

Max shook his head. "I'm tired of us not knowing *about us. We need to find a way to get some information out of the granolith instead of letting it sit there and just look weird. Tomorrow after school.

"I'm with you. And then there's Tess too."


"Her memories and all the stuff Nasedo taught her. I only got her to help me with the powers. She must know a lot more though. Maybe you should connect with her. It would save time."

Max was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of connecting with Tess and kept the fact that he had no intention of doing so to himself. Probably sooner or later he'd have to immerse himself in his alien history, but he was afraid of losing who he was now and those he loved. He'd put that off as close to forever as possible.

They sat drinking in silence for a while before Max asked with a touch of humor, "So is this meeting officially over with?"

Michael drummed his fingers against his thigh, looking uncomfortable.

"What is it?"

"It's probably nothing."


"I mean it's probably nothing so yeah, the meeting's officially over. You better get home. It's getting late."

"It's quarter to nine."

"Well, you got school tomorrow."

"*We always have school tomorrow five times out of seven. Talk."


"If it was nothing, you wouldn't have mentioned it. Besides, it's all right for me to spill my guts while you keep yours intact? No way."

Michael's lips twisted. "Well, I've been having the same dream about the granolith over and over again. And it's growing."

"The granolith?"

"No, the dream. It gets longer each time. It goes like this…Ah wait, I need some chips." Max hung his head in exasperation while Michael rummaged around in his cabinets for them and came back.

"Want some?"


"All right, it starts off with the four of us looking at it together for the first time after Isabel found it. We leave, but I'm still there like I'm watching myself in a movie. Then all these people, about a thousand of 'em, come in looking like Brady Bunch clones and carry the granolith into the desert. Then all of them form four bunches around it like the foursquare symbol that's supposed to represent us. Then one large green alien comes out of nowhere, kills them all, grabs the granolith and shoves it deep in the ground. Then Earth explodes. I can see blood, brains and bones thrown through space-"

"Okay stop."


Max peered into his mug. "What's in this stuff? Maybe you shouldn't drink it at night."

"Don't joke. It means something. Mind if I finish? So anyway the blood, brains and bones finally disintegrate right before reaching *our home planet's atmosphere." He looked expectantly at Max. "Well, what do you think?"

"Well, ah, I'll have to think about it. It could mean…anything."

"It could mean that we better figure out what it means real quick. I'm thinking we don't have much time."

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

The following morning Liz sat up in bed, feeling the lingering agitation of an adrenalin rush. This happened once before last week. Swinging her legs to the side of the bed, she picked up the clock. 4:05am again - just like last week. She remembered only one part of the dream. An alien - tall, greenish-gray skin, large black eyes and wearing a long black trench coat - plunges the granolith into the ground in the desert. Liz got up and walked to her window hugging herself and shivering. She felt uneasy about the dream the first time and even more so now. It had been more like a memory than a dream. She didn't know what it meant and she wished she could talk to Max about it. She missed their friendship so much, but he'd been - and she never thought she'd think this - he'd been kind of a jerk during English yesterday. Well, maybe that wasn't a fair judgment, but it seemed like he was turning her on purposefully without feeling it himself. She had felt naked, exposed and vulnerable in front of the class. Nothing showed, nothing outwardly had happened. But she'd become a mass of nervous desire by the time it was all over. The final thrust was to see that smirk on his face. Max had *never smirked at her! That was so unlike him. And yet she'd still been torn between wanting to smack it off or to kiss it off. So yes, Max Evans had been a true jerk yesterday for the first time in his life. Liz turned from the window and bounced back into bed. Well, the incident lessened her guilt somewhat. She now had him to thank for making it just a little easier to accept the end of their relationship, an end that she had to keep telling herself was vitally necessary.

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

Liz and Maria were walking near the little park on their way to The Crashdown after school. They were strolling very slowly because Maria needed to vent.

"I think I'm gong to cut Michael loose for good. When he starts talking, he annoys me. He just annoys me!"

"Alex told me about Michael coming to your rescue the other day."

Maria tried not to smile. "Yes, that was sweet, but the sweetness never lasts long with him. There have been so many times when I've thought finally, *finally, we've connected. Then two seconds later he disconnects. I swear it happens every time, *every time. We have like permanently faulty wiring between us. I think I'm just plain ready for new wiring."

They walked on in silence. Liz didn't feel like sharing her Shakespearean tragedy and preferred to lose herself in her friend's dilemma.

"Maybe it's me, Liz. Maybe I keep expecting Michael to be what he's not. Oh lord, what if I'm one of those women always falling for Mr. Wrong or always attracted to men they don't get along with. I don't want to always have to be 'on' with Michael. I can count the times we've been in each other's company for fifteen minutes straight without clashing on one hand and, yes, still have a finger or two left. I care about him a lot. I really do. But maybe he's right about our differences being a permanent barrier. I think I want just a normal human life."

"One day there might not be any more 'normal human life,'" Liz said half to herself, staring out into the distance.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh nothing. I'm in a weird mood. Don't mind me."

After mulling this over a few moments Maria said, "No, I think I will mind you. I know people just, you know, say things like that and it's just subconcious mental wandering. Your body's all relaxed and your mind just makes up random things for your mouth to say during a Maxwell House moment-"

Liz flinched at the name.

"-with friends but I don't think what you just said was nothing, Liz."

"No, Maria it really was a Maxwell House unconscious moment."

"Hmm, let's see. Michael, my semi-boyfriend, doesn't communicate. Liz, my best friend, often lately doesn't communicate."

"Maria, come on."

"No, no. And Amy De Luca, my mother no less, is so busy playing the Grace Kelly role to our very own 'High Noon' Sheriff Valenti that she doesn't communicate with me either, unless she wants my opinion of her fashion statements, as if she ever made one. I'm going to go home, pull up the covers and sleep forever."

"Maria," Liz touched her arm to stop her. "What else is really bothering you?

"Oh man." Maria smiled self-mockingly. "Today is my father's birthday. Why should I remember every year? When he left he should have taken everything. The memories too. No no, I don't want Michael anymore. It's the same crap all over again. Rejection, rejection." Maria sat down on a bench and put her head in her hands. "I hate everybody who's ever hurt me right now. Screw 'em!"

Liz drew Maria's head to her shoulder and patted her rhythmically. The cool crisp air was calming and soothing to both of them.

"Don't see your father in other people, Maria. Just see them. And no one in his or her right mind would reject you. You're beautiful, intelligent-"


"-funny, kind, feisty. And all that's just the icing on the delicious cake that is Maria De Luca, my best friend forever. We take risks with everyone we open ourselves to. And when they don't do the same, it's their loss, not ours. If they won't trust us with their honesty, then they just lose big time. They become less and die a little."

"Well, I like your philosophy better than mine." Maria hugged her. "You're truly my sister. I love you."

"I love you too."

They started walking again, when Maria began tentatively, "I'm wondering if you'll take your own words to heart."

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

Liz hung up her uniform around 7:00 and stepped outside to clear her head after the hustle and bustle of the restaurant that afternoon. Maria's heart wasn't into what she was doing after Michael came in to work his shift, so Jeff Parker let her go early.

Liz closed her eyes and took deep breaths. She loved this kind of weather because cool air calmed overheated minds and bodies. She sat on a nearby bench and enjoyed being thoughtless, just listening to the sounds of light traffic and the footsteps of a few passersby. She might have even been edging towards sleep. Liz wished she could remain there for the rest of the night.


She instantly opened her eyes.

"Oh hi."

"Hi," said Max. "Can I talk to you?"

She hesitantly gestured to the space beside her and he sat.

"I just need to say some things to you. You don't have to say anything."

Liz nodded without looking at him.

"I'm sorry about my behavior during English the other day. I disrespected you and I never--. You didn't deserve that. Nobody deserves that. My only excuse is that I haven't been myself lately and you know why."

Liz started to speak but he said, "No, I'm not here to bring up anything. I don't want--. Liz, I don't know what's happened to us. I just miss you and it hurts. But a part of caring about someone is accepting it when their feelings change or when the situation just changes." Max sighed heavily. "I know you're keeping things from me. For some reason it's what you want or need to do. And I can't take begging you to trust me with your secrets or the truth anymore because I keep wanting what I'm not getting and it's making me mean. I don't know how else to put it. So whatever the truth is, keep it. Whatever. I don't know how this is going to work but I want us to at least be friends. Or try to." He looked at her directly then and found her eyes locked on him, filled with distress. "Can we try to be friends again? "

"Yes." Liz cleared her throat and repeated, "Yes, I'd like that."

Some of the tenseness left him. "Good." When he stood up, Liz did the same. "Well, I won't keep you any longer. You're finished in there for the night?"

"Yes. I guess I'll go in now," she said awkwardly.

"Yeah, me too. I still have some homework to do. So I'll see you at school."

Liz nodded. "Good night, Max."

"I'll walk you to the door."

The door was twenty steps away and he held it open for her, watching her eyes smile sadly at him as she went in.


"Good night, Liz."

Max kept walking back the way he came. He hadn't gotten far when something caught his eye, making him stiffen. He looked all around, senses alert. Then he carefully reached among the hedges next to him to pick up a very fresh Skin shedding. It was shaped like an arm and he watched it almost instantly disintegrate.

Part 5 | Index
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.