Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"I Go With Him to the Crashdown"
Part 1
by ColorMist
Disclaimer: The character belong to such entities as Melinda Metz and Jason Katims. I'm just a fan fiction writer who owns only the plot of this particular story. Don't sue.
Summary: Michael Guerin accompanies his friend Max Evans to the Crashdown Cafe "every day, almost" -- but why does he go? The answer is something even he himself struggles with.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
Author's Note: This story started with the first sentence, actually...I'm not sure how it popped into my head, but it did so I started to write the paragraph that turned into the one-shot before you. It has probably been done before, but I promise that the inspiration didn't come from anywhere else other than the first sentence. SPOILERS: None. This scene takes place during the gang's 10th grade year (but before the Pilot episode). QUOTE: "Okay, that guy creeps me out." ~ Maria DeLuca, episode 02 "The Morning After"
I go with him to the Crashdown. Every day, almost. I never go silently, I never go complacently. I always complain, and I always sulk about it. But we both know that if I didn't really want to go, I would just stay home. It's not like he and I are attached at the hip. It's not like I couldn't go hang out with Isabel. Max knows it and I know it.

But he never calls me on my bluff, even though he's never at a loss for opportunity. He never calls me on it, he never says, "Michael, fine, stay home." He always asks me, too. Which is why I think that Maxwell might know a little more than he lets on. I used to think he was so completely self-absorbed in his own romantic reasons for going to the Crashdown, he would never stop to wonder WHY I always accompany him -- even if I complain every step of the way. Just like I used to think that he was so happy-in-love that he never thought to argue with me, to tell me to stay home. Because his heart was so full with excitement at the thought that he would get to see *her* again. *Her* -- the reason his world keeps spinning.

But I realize now that I was just kidding myself. Max has always known what I've been too scared to admit. Max is like that. He's just too kind to say outloud the things that I torture myself with as I lay awake each night, as I roam the hallways at school on the days I bother to even go at all. But just because neither of us say it doesn't mean the vibe isn't there.

You should see him, Max I mean, when we near the Crashdown. His face gets all excited and he can hardly contain himself. He checks his watch -- always. I usually make some kind of sardonic comment at his action, something about whether or not his hunger is specifically in tune with her work-shifts. Or maybe I'll mutter that he already KNOWS we're on time, sadly enough...that the high he gets from making certain is annoying in itself. Annoying and pathetic. I use those two words a lot in connection with his obsession with her. I use them loud and I use them often.

It doesn't phase Maxwell, though. He just grins a little bit wider -- you may wonder if that's possible, and the answer is, yes, it always is -- and sometimes he responds and sometimes he doesn't. Makes no difference what he says when he does respond: his smile doesn't lie.

We approach the double doors, and he swings them his eyes scan the room. He probably doesn't even realize he's doing it anymore, it comes as natural to him as breathing. And then he rests his gaze on the Crashdown's finest waitress: long dark ponytail swinging against her back, soulful brown eyes smiling at the different customers as she takes down their orders, offers them fries with that, or maybe a side of whatever desert with a quirky alien-themed name they are pushing today.

My gaze doesn't sweep the restaurant: I never allow myself that luxury. There are few certainties in life that I bother to concern myself with. One is that the Crashdown's two youngest waitresses always work the afterschool shift together. Another is that I wouldn't voluntarily sign up for front row seats to Max's Worshipping of the Liz unless I was getting something out of the deal.

Unlike Maxwell, I don't need a reaffirmation of what I already know. Not when it comes to this, anyway.

As we walk toward our usual booth, I catch sight of Liz's best friend, Maria DeLuca. I don't make direct eye-contact with her, but I see her watching us, and then looking toward Liz. Liz, who has just caught notice of us and is blushing at Max's shy smile. I practically have to drag Max to our seats then, because when he is caught by her gaze, sometimes he loses control of basic motor functions.

Once I suggested to Max that he wear a pair of sunglasses into the Crashdown. Liz may have a boyfriend, but Max's eyes affect her in a way that Kyle Valenti's can't. And Liz being affected makes Max affected, which makes my stomach affected.

"I think I should go talk to her," Max whispers to me as we slide into the booth opposite one another -- me facing the kitchen and he facing the entrance to the cafe. "You know," he continues nonchalantly. "About the lab due for science class tomorrow."

I roll my eyes. "You are so incredibly pathetic."

Max watches Maria and Liz head to the kitchen together. They are just barely visible from the cook's window, whispering to one another about something. Max lowers his voice. "What do you think Liz would do if I told her, you know, about me?"

"You do that and you might as well be speaking for me and Isabel too," I respond, not bothering to hide my annoyance. One of these days, I think to myself, he's going to tell Liz Parker that he's not quite human. And our lives are all going to go to hell in a hand basket. "Don't even think about it," I state calmly, seeing Maria reenter with another table's order.

Max sighs glumly, and his face falls even sadder when he sees Maria striding toward our table. Maria is not Liz. She's not anything remotely like Liz...unfortunately for Max. Maria doesn't have a boyfriend. She flirts a lot with Thomas Blake at school, but otherwise she's unattached.

To my knowledge anyway. It's not like I check up on these things regularly.

"All right boys, what'll it be?" she quips, notepad and pen ready to go. She glances at me. I glare at her. She rolls her eyes and turns toward Max. He's not even looking in her direction...he's staring at the table. "Max," Maria prompts. "Max?"

"Hi Maria." My brokenhearted buddy manages a weak smile. "I dunno. I'm not that hungry." Maria raises her eyebrow in amusement and I kick Max under the table. In true lovesick puppy form he ignores me.

Suddenly, Liz has appeared at Maria's side, and the way Max's face lights up you'd think he was a kid on Christmas morning. I can almost see the blinking lights, can almost hear the happy music. Life is all of a sudden wonderful again. "Liz!" Max exclaims. "Hi!" I fight the urge to hide my head under the table and settle for another rolling of the old eyeballs.

"Max, hi," Liz says softly, gracing him with another of those winning Parker smiles. "I was actually wondering if you could come to the back really quick. I'm having a little trouble with section 3b of the lab, the calculation of sodium carbonate. And since it's due tomorrow..."

"Yeah! Sure. Right. Okay." A tumble of affirmatives fall from his lips, and he slides out of the booth. I note with a measure of disgust that he doesn't even try to regain his composure as he prepares to skip off with Liz toward the back room.

"Sure you don't want anything, Max?"

Maria's offer temporarily stops my best friend in his tracks, and he grins widely. "Now that I think about it, I guess I'll have a large order of Saturn Rings, a large cherry-coke, and a Cosmic Burger."

I snort as I watch him walk briskly off after Liz, and Maria smiles a little half-smile. "So much for not being very hungry," she says softly. "I wonder what brought on the change in appetite? I can't believe she has such an affect on him..."

I take a little offense at her wonderment. Not that she isn't speaking the truth, but I'm not about to let her get away with drawing conclusions about what is already an embarrassing situation. "You gonna take my order or are you going to stand there making assumptions about things you know nothing about?"

Fire shines in her eyes. "What'll it be, Guerin?"

"Large cherry-coke, and a Hale Bop Burger...cut the mayo."

"It'll take a minute," she states unnecessarily, before leaving.

As the time passes, I try to keep myself occupied. I drum my fingers. I rearrange the condiments. I realize that our booth's Tabasco sauce bottle is almost empty, so I exchange it for the one on a nearby table. I make a mental note to bring the subject of an almost-empty Tabasco sauce bottle on the neighboring table to Maria's attention. I drum my fingers a little more. I find a spot on the table -- something else which I plan to bring to Maria's attention as evidence that someone hasn't been doing a very efficient job cleaning up after-hours. And I scan the incoming customers for the typical Kyle Valenti. Or Thomas Blake.

After what seems like a small eternity, Maria reappears with a tray of food.

"About time," I mutter.

"Counting the moments until I got back?"


She places the soda and burger in front of me, and then sets Max's large order at his place. I bite into the meal, willing her to go away, because it's hard to concentrate on my food when she's nearby. And I didn't pay for the damn thing to let it go to waste while Max is off babbling to Liz and Maria stands at my side, staring at me.

I chance a look.

She's still there.

"Problem?" I ask, raising an eyebrow as I take a sip of the Cola.

"Why do you come here everyday, Guerin?" Her eyes meet mine, and the world stands still. Our gazes are locked and I feel something panicking inside of me, something that tells me I have only two options: bolt out the door or grab her in my arms and kiss her the way Max wants to kiss Liz.

An image flashes through my mind of my best friend and the object of his affection, smiling shyly at one another, bashful in everything, certain of nothing.

No, I correct myself. Better than Max could ever kiss Liz.


Sometimes that happens...I get so wrapped up in my thoughts that I forget what's going on. It's embarrassing, but she thinks I couldn't care less anyway, so it's also in character. "Why do I come here everyday?" I repeat dumbly.

Maria rolls her eyes. "Did I stutter?"

I search for a comeback, and I glance at the meal on the table. Inspiration strikes. "Well, I can tell you, it sure as hell isn't the quality of the food that keeps me a regular customer," I mutter, holding up the burger and waving it around for emphasis.

Maria's eyes flash. "I'd like to see you do much better, jerk-off."

I snort. "Like I'd ever be caught dead flipping burgers at this joint."

"I'll keep that in mind in the future in case you ever come nosing around here for a job." Maria pretends to remember something. "Oh, wait, you're out of luck anyway -- last time I checked, Mr. Parker isn't keen on hiring thug-looking loners."

Someone calls over to us, asking for a little help, and Maria turns to cheerfully reply that she'll just be a minute. "Enjoy your order," she tells me, making the obligatory words sound more like a curse than a courtesy, and then hurries off.

I'm left to my own devices, but instead of delving into my food, I'm prompted to do a little introspection.

Thug-looking loner? I look down at my black t-shirt. What about my ensemble screams "thug-looking loner"? So I like to be alone, big deal. So I dress with my own style -- I'm not complaining, why should anyone else? I personally LIKE my hair. It's different. It's not like I want to dress like a loner OR a thug. This is just the way I to dress, like to act, like to --

I scowl. Bitch. Now she's got me questioning my character.

My anger peaks and subsides as I watch her smile at a customer, joking around with him -- he must be a regular. Maria probably would never go out with someone she thought was a thug-looking loner.

Just like she'd never go out with an alien.

Just like no girl would ever go out with an alien.

Sometimes Max serves as an inspiration to me -- he never loses hope, he keeps going. No matter what he knows he is on the inside -- anything but human -- he doesn't let it stop him from pursuing the woman he wants. Probably because he knows in that deep, untouchable place that humans call the heart, that to Liz, being not quite human wouldn't matter.

Maria wouldn't care, a voice inside me says. I remind the voice that neither of us knows Maria well enough to pretend to know the answers about how she would react to certain scenarios.

It's one of life's certainties, the voice continues.

Life's certainties are usually backed up by proof. I take a sip of coke. God if this nagging part of me isn't as annoying as Max making doe-eyes at Liz Parker.

I wouldn't be annoying you unless I was right.

I suddenly realize that talking to "the voices" isn't the most healthy, productive thing in the world, so I tell the voice to screw itself and then I mentally change subjects.

The thing is, I've never felt about a girl the way Max seems to feel about Liz. The only girl who makes me feel anything at all is Maria. And I'm not certain that that's love. Not the soulmate-look-into-my-eyes thing that Max is happily afflicted with, at any rate.

It's crazy, whatever it is. One minute I want to punch her out, and the next minute I want to kiss her. I say to myself that I hate her, yet why does my stomach constrict painfully when I think of harm coming to her? I say to myself that I don't care, but what is it, then, that makes me so damned angry and frustrated when I see her flirting with Thomas Blake at school.

Thomas Blake, who, by the way, ISN'T her boyfriend.

I'm heartened, and I watch as Maria comes back out from the kitchen. For some inexplicable reason she looks at me, quickly, before she goes back to the business of waiting on the other customers.

One day, DeLuca, I'm going to kiss you. It's going to be's going to be passionate. It's going to be better than any kiss you've ever gotten in your entire life, and you're going to remember it forever... When I kiss you, the world won't just stop the way it does when we look at one another, it's going to go away completely, and there will just be you and me and a kiss.

But I'm scared of you, DeLuca. I can admit that much. I'm scared of you, and the things you make me feel. I would hurt you to keep these fears a secret. Because fear is always rooted in something...and in this case the fear is rooted in something I can't accept.

The funny thing is though...Maria...that the fear doesn't stop me from coming to the Crashdown...every day...with Max Evans...without fail.

How would you have reacted, if, when you asked that question, I'd told you that you were the answer?

Would you be as scared as I am?


END NOTES: While working on this I produced some material that ended up being cut -- I'm saving it for another Michael POV one-shot dealing with him and Maria...but it's a little more intense, and I'm having inner controversy with the last line (which was originally the ending for THIS one-shot). Anyway, back to the above -- I put in a few gag-lines...I hope you caught them. Anything sound familiar?

Please send feedback for this story. Do it for my poor bruised little ego...which hasn't managed to finish a product of the writing kind in a very long time.

Even if you don't review it, rest assured I'll keep writing. ;)


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.