Roswell, The Morning After

Title: The Morning After [Max/Lix, Michael/Maria, Isabel/Alex, Kyle/Tess]
Rating/Warnings: R for more firstie smut.
Summary: The next morning, things are still mostly broken, but on the way to being fixed.
A/N: The sequel to Still The End Of The World. In which I fix everything because I am a sap. It’s still really old, and it’s still kind of terrible.

The Morning After

Isabel quietly knocked on Max’s door.

“Max?” she called softly when there was no answer. She pushed open the door, knowing if she didn’t get Max moving before their parents were awake, they would know that something serious was up. Not like they didn’t already, but they hardly needed any more evidence that something was seriously wrong with both their children.

Her heart leapt into her throat when she realized that Max was not in his room. She sat down on his bed, trying to decide whether to go looking for him, whether they could get back before her parents knew they were gone.

Damn that tramp Liz, she thought. What she had done to Max wasn’t only so horrible that Isabel ground her teeth everytime she thought about it, but it was dangerous. Max’s erratic behavior could blow their cover wide open.

Isabel heard the window slid open behind her. She whirled around to begin yelling at Max…

…and froze when she saw Max’s face.

He was grinning like a fool, but the deepest sadness radiated off him like a fog.

“Max?” she asked. “What’s…” She hesitated.

“Right? Wrong?” Max gave a dark laugh. “Everything.”

Suddenly Max was hugging her so tight that she could barely breath.

“Max, what’s going on?” Isabel demanded worriedly. Max squeezed her tighter.

“I’ll explain to everybody at once. I don’t think I could get through it more that once. Izzy, I’ve never been so glad to see you. I can’t tell you how much I love having you as my sister.”

“God, Max,” Isabel clung to Max as icy fear swept through her. “Something’s really wrong isn’t it?”

“Not yet,” Max whispered. He pulled away suddenly and pushed Isabel towards the door. “Now get ready for school. I need a shower, and then I need to be sure that last night wasn‘t some crazy dream.”

Isabel abruptly realized that Max smelled unmistakably like sex. She stopped and gripped his arm.

“Max, where were you last night?” she asked urgently. Max looked at her puzzledly, then laughed as he realized that Isabel thought he had been with Tess.

“God, no, Izzy,” he assured her, the wild grin returning. “I was at Liz’s. And now everything’s changed.”

The answer left Isabel even more confused, but she felt relieved for some reason and allowed herself to be pushed out Max’s door.

* * * * * *

Liz awoke to someone climbing in her window.

“Go away, Max,” she mumbled. “I have to get ready for school.”

“It’s me.” Liz opened her eyes to see Michael looming over her. She sat up immediately, chest tight with fear.

“What’s wrong?” she demanded. “Is it Max?”

“Yeah,” Michael said. “It’s about Max.” Liz nearly blacked out. If anything had happened to Max after last night…

“You have to take him back.”

“What?” Liz was so surprised, she just stared at Michael.

“Look, I know you think you’re in the way of his destiny, but the truth is that Max has no destiny without you. He won’t eat, he won’t sleep, he won’t make a decision about anything, he won’t lead for god’s sakes Liz. You’ve go to tell him you love him before he kills himself.”

Liz nearly burst out laughing at the irony of Michael standing there, having missed Max sneaking out of her room by barely 15 minutes.

“God, Michael, sit down,” Liz said with relief. “Everything is fine.”

“Everything is not fine…” Michael began, but Liz shushed him by hugging him fiercely.

“Max is lucky to have a friend like you,” she said. “And if he had hung around here any longer, he would know it.”

Michael realized just as Isabel had that the scent of Max and sex clung to Liz just as heavily as it had to Max.

“I see I’m a little late as usual,” he said flatly.

“You were great, Michael,” Liz laughed. “I wanted to take back Max all over again.”

Michael pulled away, hearing something sad in her laughter.

“Something happened, didn’t it?” he asked slowly.

“Max and I are going to tell everyone at once after school today,” Liz told him seriously. “All of us. Kyle and Tess too.”

Michael nodded, then got up and began to exit through the window.

“Michael?” Liz called after him. He stopped and looked back at her.

“What you just did for Max was amazing,” she said. “And I’ll understand if you want to keep it between us…but if you wanted I could mention it to Maria…she’ll think it’s so romantic, she’ll be eating our of your hand.”

Michael looked back at Liz for a couple seconds, then gave a half smile and disappeared onto her fire escape and was gone.

* * * * * *

Liz debated how to tell Maria the news about Max, knowing that if Maria wasn’t the first to know, she would never forgive Liz. She knew she should be sad, after all, she and Max more or less knew that the end of the world was coming. But in the morning sun with the feel of Max’s touch still on her skin, she couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. It was a sad sort of smile, but it was the widest she had ever worn.

When Maria drove up and Liz climbed into the Jetta, Maria looked at her suspiciously.

“Spill it,” Maria ordered. “Something’s up.” Liz shrugged and stared at her hands. She wanted Maria to guess her news so she could enjoy it for as long as possible. “I know that look,” Maria narrowed her eyes. “That’s the ‘back together with space boy’ look.”

Liz nodded, still not looking up.

“He was in your room again last night wasn’t he?”

Another nod.

“And I detect from your rather puffy lips that there was serious action.”

A big nod. A bigger smile.

“How serious?” Maria glared at Liz who gave a little shrug and refused to meet her eye. Suddenly Maria screamed. “You gave it up to Space Boy?!!!”

Maria began to cry and hugged Liz fiercely. Liz indulged in a few tears herself.

“I can’t believe it!” sobbed Maria. “My little chica punched her V-card before I did!” Suddenly she sobered up and
sunk her nails into Liz’s arm. “Did you use protection?” she demanded.

“Not exactly,” Liz hedged embarrassedly.

“Your first pregnancy scare!” Maria began to weep again. “I’m so proud!”

“I wouldn’t call it a scare quite yet,” Liz rolled her eyes, patting Maria’s shoulder. Maria wiped her eyes and sat up. She put the car into gear and pulled out of the Crashdown’s parking lot, nearly taking out the trash cans on the curb.

“Are you sure I shouldn’t drive?” Liz asked nervously as Maria floored it to clear a very distant yellow light.

“No, no, I’m fine,” Maria sniffled, cutting off a minivan. “It’s just so romantic…”

“Oh!” Liz said excitedly. “That brings me to the second part of my news!”

“There’s more?” Maria squeaked. “I don’t think I can take any more, chica.”

“You’ll love it! Guess who was in my room this morning when I woke up?”

“I wonder…”Maria said dryly.

“Guess again!” Liz shook her head, twisting in her seat so she wouldn’t miss Maria’s reaction.

“Who else would climb in your window?” Maria asked, glancing at Liz and narrowly avoiding a pick-up truck.

“Michael!” Liz watched with enjoyment as Maria’s eyes widened and narrowed. “Guess why he was there!”

“To beg you to make me forgive him no doubt,” Maria hmphed.

“No, not even close.”

“Really?” Maria said, having a moment of panic. “Oh god, is he with somebody else? I’ll kill him and then I’ll never forgive myself…”

“Maria!” Liz interrupted laughing. “There isn’t anybody else for Michael and you know that, even when you two are at each other’s throats.”

“So what was he there for?” Maria asked, unable to contain her interest.

“He came to tell me that I had to take Max back, because he thought Max was going to start hurting himself if I didn’t.”

“My Michael did that?” Maria asked in amazement. “That’s so romantic!” She began to sniffle again.

“I felt so bad for him, because he was already too late, he made this whole speech for nothing!”

“That is so cute!” Maria was back into full sobs at this point.

“Maria, I really wish you’d pull over and let me drive…”

* * * * * *

As Liz climbed shakily from Maria’s car, Max practically tackled her in a hug.

“Liz, I’ve begged you not to let Maria drive when you tell her news,” Max whispered fiercely, squeezing her as tight as he could. Liz hugged him back every bit as hard. Liz laughed and told him what had happened with Michael that morning after he had left.

“He scared me so bad when he said it was about you,” Liz shivered at the memory. Max took her face in his hands.

“Nothing can keep me from you now,” Max told her, looking deep into her eyes. “You’re mine, Liz Parker, and I would come back from the dead if I had to!”

“Please don’t say that,” Liz begged, a tear sliding out of her eye.

“That is so beautiful!” Max and Liz turned to see Maria leaning on the top of her car, sobbing again.

“Umm, do you mind?” Liz asked, trying to shoo her away.

“No, no, of course not,” Maria sniffled, dabbing at her eyes. “I’m gonna go find Mich…I mean, go inside. But don’t stop!” Maria drifted away, sighing dramatically.

Liz and Max laughed at their friend as she bumped and ‘excused me’ her way into the school.

“We should be heading in too,” Liz pointed out. “We did come here to go to school.”

“Did we?” Max asked, taking Liz back into his arms and leaning his forehead against hers. “ I didn’t. I came to see you, and here you are.”

“I feel like these last months were a dream and I’m just waking up,” Liz murmured, holding on tightly to Max. Max rained kisses on her face as if he couldn’t get enough of her. “Are you real?” she asked Max.

“Oh, god, Liz,” Max breathed, covering her mouth softly with his. “You break my heart,” he whispered into her lips.

“We’ve got to stop,” Liz said, kissing him back harder. “We have to go to class.”

“I know,” Max sighed, not loosening his grip. “It’s not right, don’t they know that I can’t ever have enough time with you?”

“You should be glad we have the chance to be normal teenagers for a while longer,” Liz chided gently. She stood on her toes and kissed Max’s forehead, before slipping out of his arms and leading him by the hand towards the school.

* * * * * *

The school day dragged on interminably for the eight Roswell teens. Max, Liz, Isabel and Michael got the word to the other four about the meeting in the desert after school.

Biology was a royal disaster. Liz and Max couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and when the teacher finally separated them, they stared lustfully at each other from across the room. When they were sent to the principle’s office, the wait of five minutes found them making out on the secretary’s desk. They narrowly avoided having their parent’s called and by the time they got out of the office, faces burning, the period was mercifully over. Afraid to kiss her goodbye in front of the office, Max grabbed Liz’s hand and sent her a flash that kept her face aflame for the rest of the day.

At the end of the day, the eight of them gathered outside the school and debated the driving arrangement out to the desert. Everyone though it was best if Maria didn’t drive, since she burst into loud tears at the drop of a hat, and Kyle and Tess flatly refused to ride with Max and Liz, who were so wrapped up in each other that they hardly seemed to know what was going on. In the end, Isabel drove Alex, Max, and Liz, and Kyle drove Tess, Maria, and Michael. The ride in both cars was silent, Maria having got herself under control so Michael wouldn’t say anything, and Max and Liz occupying themselves with flashes of what each intended to do to the other that night when Max snuck into Liz’s room.

When they were out in complete isolation, the other six confronted Max and Liz.

“What’s this about, Evans?” Kyle asked. “If this is about you and Liz, I don’t think an announcement is necessary.”

“That was quite a display in biology,” Tess put in archly.

“It is about me and Liz,” Max replied, voice grim. “But it’s also about all of us. Michael. Maria. Isabel. Alex. Tess. And Kyle.” As Max looked at each of them in turn, he realized that they had arranged themselves to stand alien-human, alien-human, all the way around the circle. He glanced at Liz and knew that she saw it too.

“What Liz and I know, what we’re going to tell you, you may not believe. I don’t know if I believe it yet, but it’s the truth. And anyone who doesn’t believe it is welcome to my memories,” Max said firmly, staring at Michael.

“Mine too,” Liz added, looking at Kyle.

It was hard to get their stories out, and more than a few tears were shed, but eventually Max and Liz related everything that had happened regarding their future selves. Tess looked smug as Liz repeated what the future Max had told her, but it was long gone by the time Max was done. As they finished, silence sank over the group, smothering them in the gathering dark.

“Max?” Isabel finally said. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Max clenched Liz’s hand so tightly that their knuckles were both white. With her supporting him, he stepped up to be the leader that he knew he had to be from now until the end, however long that was.

I don’t know,” he admitted. “But whatever happens, we stick together. We all stay, no one leaves. We fight whatever comes together.”

“What if one of us does leave?” Tess asked Max brazenly.

“Then we die,” Max said, staring her back down. “If we don’t all stand together, then we all die. And everything we love, everything in this world does too.”

“What about our destinies?” Michael asked, stepping up as Tess had, and actually stepping forward physically.

“Our destinies are what we make them,” Max replied, gaining confidence in his roll. “I’ve seen the destruction blind faith in our ‘destinies’ will cause. We make our own choices from here to the end. They may be right, they may be wrong. But those who have told us our ‘destinies’ don’t know anything that we don’t.”

“What about our past lives and our soulmates?” Isabel, taking her turn to challenge Max’s decision.

“Whatever was is past. Isabel, you are my sister; Michael, you are my brother. I know you as I know myself, and you two will always be as brother and sister, whatever happened before. Tess, you are my blood just as much as they are. We are here now. Liz is my soulmate. Each of you has to choose your own, according to your own heart. The pain you cause in fighting reality isn’t helping anyone, least of all yourselves.”

“How can we ignore everything sent from the future?” Maria challenged.

“Each of you has to decide within yourself whether to live by the ideas given to you of what should be, or to make your own choices based on what you know to be right for what is.”

“What if others come?” Alex asked.

“Then they will stand with us or against us as they choose.”

“Why do we have to listen to you and ignore everything else?” Kyle said, physically stepping forward as only Michael had.

“You don’t.”

Max turned to Liz knowing that she had the hardest question of all.

“What do we do now?” she asked.

“We live NOW,” Max said, again looking to each of them in turn. “We make our own decisions, we choose our own lovers, we create our own destinies. We’ve lived on everyone else’s terms, and the end of the world still came. Now we make the rules. No regrets.”

Full dark suddenly fell on the eight like a fist, swallowing them up. Max reached out to take Alex’s hand next to him, and Liz grasped Michael’s on the other side. It spread from Alex to Isabel to Kyle, and from Michael to Maria to Tess, until Kyle and Tess finally clasped hands and closed the circle.

The dark seemed to retreat, and each could see all the other’s faces as if in daylight. And then suddenly, the moment was gone and they were just eight teenagers holding hands in the dark, in the desert.

No one wanted to let go, afraid to lose the certainty of Max’s brave words, but Maria finally broke the circle with an explosive sneeze, tearing her grip from Tess’s. Isabel dropped Alex and Kyle’s hands and began to rub her arms.

“We better get out of here,” Max said at last, letting go of Alex, but holding on to Liz. “It’s freezing.”

Liz gave Michael a squeeze and a nod towards Maria which she knew he saw despite the dark before letting him go.

They drove home in silence as they had ridden out, but the silence of deep thought instead of oppressive fear. When they reached the school, instead of splitting up they loitered among each other, not really ready to go their separate ways. Suddenly, Kyle pointed out that it was Friday night. Not only could they all stay out late, but if it could be properly arranged, there could be a massive sleepover as well. They decided to split up for awhile and then meet at the Crashdown by 10, and anyone who could spend the night would leave from there.

Isabel drove Max home, Liz rode with Alex to give Maria and Michael some space, and Kyle and Tess went back to the Valenti house.

* * * * * *

Maria handed Michael the keys without comment. She knew that he liked to be the one driving, even though he never had a car. But she liked to watch him drive anyhow, so it all worked out.

Maria was all prepared for the usual silent car ride, and looked curiously at Michael when he cleared his throat. He glanced at her, then looked away and cleared his throat again. This performance continued with Maria’s impatience growing until he parked in her driveway. Neither got out of the car.

“Michael, I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high,” Maria finally said. “So if
you really aren’t going to say anything, could you return to your customary silence?”

Michael looked at her, opened his mouth, shut it, opened it, closed it and gave a sort of snort.

“Michael!” Maria exclaimed. “Enough already!”

“Maria,” he finally said.

“What?” she asked breathlessly.

“I wanted to tell you…”

“Yes?” Maria said impatiently.

“Are you gonna keep interrupting me or what?” Michael snapped.

“If you don’t hurry up and tell me whatever it is that you want to say, then yes!”

“Don’t rush me!” Michael began to raise his voice.

“Just say it!” Maria shouted back.

“If you’d shut up for two seconds I would!”

“Do it!!” Maria leaned into Michael’s space so their noses were almost touching.

“I want to be with you!!!” Michael screamed as loud as he could in Maria’s face.

“Are you sure?” Maria demanded. “You can’t take it back when you decide I’m too close or whatever crap you think is an excuse!”

“Yes, dammit!” Michael shouted in frustration. “Why do you have to make everything so goddamn hard!” Michael and Maria glared at each other, faces an inch apart, breathing hard for endless seconds before Michael finally grabbed Maria’s arms hard enough to leave bruises and kissed her.

A cascade of flashes engulfed them, every word and touch between them, the shouting and the making out and making up, it all flooded over them, leaving them clinging to each other in the aftermath.

After a long silence, Michael took Maria’s face in his hands and tilted her head up to look in her eyes.

“I love you, Maria,” he said. “I don’t want anyone but you. But I’m never gonna be one of those flower and candles and chocolate guys.”

“You say that as if I didn’t know that already,” Maria said dryly, but she was smiling. “I want you, just like this.”

“I think that might be a little uncomfortable.”

Maria stared at Michael as if he were an…well, in Michael’s case, as if he were not an alien.

“Did you just make a joke?” she asked incredulously.

“I thought so,” Michael said, shifting embarrassedly. “But if you’re gonna react like that every time, I don’t think I’ll do it again.”

Maria laughed and kissed him hard.

“I’ll get used to it,” she told Michael, hugging him tight. “So long as we practice.”

“So there was this rabbi, this priest, and this alien…” Michael choked out breathlessly.

* * * * * *

Kyle tapped on the wheel as he drove, trying to think of something to say. Tess stared out the window, deep in thought.

“So, um,” he cleared his throat, trying to keep his voice from cracking. “Now that you don’t have to sit at home and wait for this destiny thing…do you want to see a movie some time?”

Tess turned her head and stared at Kyle, who suddenly wondered what he had just gotten himself into.

“Are you asking me out?” she asked. “On a date? With you?”

“Well…yeah,” Kyle shrugged sheepishly. “I know I’m a lowly human, but my soul is enlightened.”

Tess laughed a little in spite of herself.

“You don’t laugh much,” he commented.

“Neither do you, Buddha boy,” Tess sighed, turning back to he window.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Kyle said boldly. “I know I don’t have some life-altering, world-ending destiny with you or anything, but I like you. And here on earth you’re allowed to take cute girls to the movies with no ulterior motive.”

“No ulterior motives, hmm?” Tess looked at him with an eyebrow raised.

“Well, okay,” Kyle admitted conspiratorially. “But they’re purely sexual ones.”

Tess shook her head in disgust but was smiling.

“Come on,” Kyle urged. “You can pour Tabasco sauce on me.”

“Then I suppose you’ll want me to lick it off?” Tess asked.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Kyle grinned.

“If I go out with you, will you never say that again?” Tess asked.

“Yes,” Kyle answered quickly.

“Fine,” Tess said.

“And this doesn’t count!”

“I said fine!” Tess shot back.

There was a few moments of silence. Then:

“I thought you’d like the Tabasco sauce idea,” Kyle sounded slightly hurt.

“You were making me hungry,” Tess said, without looking at him.

She didn’t sound like she was about to tell Kyle what exactly she was hungry for, so he just kept driving.

* * * * * *

Max was standing in the middle of his room, when he heard a noise behind him.

“What’s up, Izzy?” he asked without turning around. Isabel came in and sat down on Max’s bed. She looked at her hands twisted in her lap. Max sat down next to her and put an arm around her shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

“Are we doing the right thing?” she asked Max.

“We’re doing the best we can,” Max answered firmly. “I know it’s a lot to decide for yourself all of the sudden.”

“Its not that,” Isabel shook her head. “Michael and I have known all along that we couldn’t ever really be together. And he’s crazy for Maria anyway.”

“But?” Max prompted.

“I don’t know what to do about Alex,” Isabel confessed. “What if I tell him that we can be together, and then something happens tomorrow and I have to break his heart all over again? But if I wait to make sure its all right, he’ll think that I just don’t want to be with him. I don’t know what to do!”

“Why don’t you talk to Alex about it?” Max asked gently. “It’s his decision too.”

“I know,” Isabel said guiltily. “I just don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want to get his hopes up and then watch him crash again.”

“I think crashing is one thing we have in common.”

Isabel and Max looked up to see Alex standing in Max’s doorway.

“Your mom told me to come up and find you,” he explained. “If I’m interrupting, I can wait in Isabel’s room…”

“No,” said Isabel, standing up. “I need to talk to you. And I wouldn’t let you into my room unsupervised anyhow…”

As Isabel steered Alex out of the room, Max cleared his throat.

“Um,” he said, blushing a little. “If you guys don’t, uh, need me or anything…”

“Go see Liz,” Isabel sighed. “Take the jeep, I’ll ride with Alex.”

“Thanks,” Max said, rushing out, stopping only for a split second to give Isabel a quick hug. Isabel and Alex laughed as they heard Max call “Spending the night at Michael’s!” to his and Isabel’s parents a split second before the door slammed behind him.

“So that’s our fearless leader?” Alex asked.

“Shut up and be glad he’s back to being fearless,” Isabel said with relief. “The suicidal leader wasn’t working out too well. Thank god Liz finally took him back.”

“And what about the sister of the fearless leader?” Alex asked Isabel.

“She’s been better,” Isabel admitted. “But things are looking up.” She gave Alex a shy smile, and Alex laughed.

“And everybody thinks you are this ice princess,” he teased. “You can’t even talk to the class geek without blushing.”

“I’ve worked very hard for that particular reputation,” she replied haughtily. “And I’ll thank you not to spread any word to the contrary.”

“I don’t know,” Alex pretended to think about it. “A lot of guys would pay to know how I got underneath that shapely armor of yours.”

Isabel abruptly threw her arms around Alex’s neck and pressed him against the wall, kissing him breathless.

“My lips are sealed,” Alex gasped a few minutes later.

“Come here and I’ll keep ‘em that way,” Isabel promised, pulling Alex by the hand into her room.

* * * * * *

When Liz heard her window slide open, she nearly flew off her bed and into Max’s arms, almost knocking him back out the window.

“What took you so long?” she demanded, peeling his jacket down his arms and out of her way. Max buried his hands in her hair and pulled her face up to his.

“Isabel,” he murmured in between kisses. “Upset about Alex…mmm… everything’s fine now…”

“Good,” Liz said, sliding her hands under Max’s shirt. “Then you can tell me about it later…”

Knowing that if they didn’t move now, they’d end up on the floor, Max scooped Liz up in his arms, and moved blindly towards her bed, only realizing they were there when he cracked his shin hard on it. Max didn’t even feel it. He laid Liz down and she pulled him on top of her.

Liz pulled Max’s shirt over his head before he had time to kiss her and get in the way. Max kissed her hard, pressing her into the bed, simultaneously sliding his hands underneath her and tugging at the clasp of her bra. He struggled with the tiny hook and loop, unable to disentangle them by touch and additionally distracted by Liz kneading his shoulders with her cool hands. Liz sat up a little against him and began to reach behind her with one hand to do it herself.

“No,” Max ordered, releasing one hand to catch hers. “I’ll get it.” Liz giggled as he fought with the simple latch. “I’ll show you!” he growled.

Max rolled over with Liz so she was on top of him. He held his hand over the clasp and closed his eyes for a second; the hook and loop sprang apart.

“Cheater!” Liz accused. “That’s not fair at all!”

“I’ll show you cheating!” Max grinned wickedly. He took ahold of Liz’s shirt in both fists and it promptly dissolved into icy water.

“God, Max!!” Liz screamed, now covered from the waist up only in her soaking wet bra, which Max made short work of. “I’ll get you for this,” she hissed through chattering teeth.

“Oh will you?” he taunted. “And just what are you going to do?”

“This.” Liz slid her hand between them. She grabbed Max through his jeans and squeezed him hard.

“I always heard that revenge was sweet,” Max replied huskily, pushing against her hand. Liz smiled sweetly, then rolled off him and sat up. “Liz!”

“I’ll teach you to soak me with my own shirt,” Liz said. “I’m going downstairs.”

“The hell you are!” Max grabbed Liz around the waist and wrestled her back down underneath him. She giggled helplessly as Max pinned her down, holding her hands above her head. “I’m all wet too you know!” Max let go of her hands and gathered her close against him.

“You’re so warm,” Liz sighed, burying her face in his hair and holding him against her chilled body.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Max said, kissing her shoulder. “You’ll get sick.”

“Something tells me I won’t be cold for long,” Liz whispered conspiratorially. Max smiled, his lips curving against Liz’s skin and giving her goosebumps. His kisses traveled across her neck and this time when Liz shivered, it wasn’t from cold.

Max used a knee to edge Liz’s legs apart, and settled between them so less of his weight was resting on her. He rubbed his hips against hers and she gave a little grimace.

“Sorry,” she murmured, kissing him. “I’m still sore from last night.”

“I can fix that,” he replied. He slid off Liz and laid beside her, rubbing wide circles on her stomach. Kissing her softly, he pushed his hand into her jeans. Max gently slid two fingers into her and closed his eyes. Liz felt warmth spread from his hand, and the ache was gone. Max started to pull his hand out of her, but she grabbed his wrist.

“As long as I’m going to have a silver handprint in an unexplainable place, we might as well make the most of it.”

Max laughed and kissed her again. “Will you let me at least take your jeans off?”

“I suppose that would be all right,” Liz smiled, releasing his wrist.

“I will have to pull out of you to do that,” Max warned.

“I think I can handle the separation for a little while,” Liz laughed, kissing him.

Max slid his hand out of Liz. He flipped the button of her jeans open, his other hand still holding her close to him.

“Ooh, one-handed,” Liz teased, helping him to slid her jeans down over her hips. “I’m impressed.”

“You’d be surprised what I can do with one hand,” Max said, voice dark. Liz grabbed his hand and looked up at him. Her eyes held so much heat he could barely breathe.

“I’d rather see what you can do with no hands.”

Max would have laughed if he hadn’t been so turned on by this unexpectedly sexual side of Liz. He didn’t think she would ever stop surprising him.

He pulled her under him and kissed her deeply. She ran her hands down his back and he arched against her, trying to keep his self-control long enough to do what he wanted to do to her. He moved away from Liz’s mouth and trailed kisses down her neck. Liz gasped when he took one of her nipples into his mouth, but he didn’t linger there either. He drew a searing line down across Liz’s stomach with his tongue and Liz grabbed his shoulders, taking quick, shaky breaths.

Torturously slowly, Max slid his mouth over the crease of her hip and kissed Liz’s inner thigh, purposely drawing out the process.

“Christ, Max,” Liz hissed through clenched teeth, digging her nails deep into Max’s shoulders. “Please!”

Dizzy with her feel and scent, Max nearly lost control at his first taste of her. Really spicy, really sweet, said the tiny part of Max’s brain that was still rational. He curled his arms around her hips and tilted her up to him as he ran his tongue over her in long, sure strokes.

As much as Max wanted to bring her with his mouth, he was dimly aware that he wasn’t going to last much longer. As if hearing his thoughts out loud, Liz drew his head up out of her and pulled him up the length of her body. Max had managed to get his jeans off during this, although he had no recollection of doing it.

She pulled him into her hard, and Max wasn’t conscious of anything but her face until stars clouded over his vision.

He came to what could have been either second or hours later, laying limply on Liz with his head cushioned on her breasts. She was stroking his damp hair off his forehead.

“I didn’t mean to lose control like that,” Max sighed, hugging her awkwardly by sort of pressing against her, because he wasn’t sure that he could have moved if even if he wanted to.

“It was perfect,” Liz murmured, kissing the top of his head. A thought suddenly occurred to Max and he leaned his head back to look at Liz’s face.

“Did you come?” he asked worriedly.

“Ages ago,” Liz laughed. “You seem to have missed it.”

“I’m sorry.” Max turned slightly red.

“You should be. I even screamed your name.”

Max stared at Liz in horror and she laughed so hard tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I’m just teasing you,” she gasped, holding him tight.

“It’s not funny,” Max said, a little hurt.

“Oh, god, your face!” Liz started to giggle again. Max started to pull away from her, but she pulled him back to her. “Come on, I’m sorry,” she said, making an effort to keep a straight face. “It was great, really.”

“I’ve only done this twice you know,” Max said stiffly.

“Max,” Liz sighed. “You know I didn’t mean it. I wouldn’t give up the last two days for anything. I love you.”

“I love you too, Liz,” Max slumped against her. “It’s just everything that’s happened in the last two days. I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall. I didn’t sleep at all last night because I was terrified that it would have all been a dream.”

“Everything’s going to be fine,” Liz assured him, closing her eyes. “Maria’s going to be up here any minute demanding to know what’s taking us so long, so lay there and enjoy the quiet while you can.”

The easy rise and fall of her chest relaxed Max, but he still didn’t want to sleep. He tried to fight the heaviness of his eyelids as they closed of their own volition, not wanting the moment to end. The months of separation from Liz had instilled in him a need to memorize the details of every moment possible that he could spend with her. On a rational level he realized that he would die before losing her again, but a primal part of him replied that it didn’t care.

Sure enough, Maria was pounding on Liz’s door much sooner than Max was prepared to deal with.

“I know you’re in there!” she shouted through the door. “This is your two minute warning! I have no desire to see your naked bodies, but if you aren’t downstairs in the Crashdown in five minutes, fully clothed, I will send in Kyle and Tess who will be only too happy to pry you apart!”

“We’re coming, Maria,” Liz sighed.

“You had better be!” Maria continued to shout. “I mean, it’s all well and good to be soulmates, but I had to drag Michael’s sorry ass all the way over here, and if I’m not getting any…”

Max eased himself out of Liz’s bed and went to the door. He flung it open, cutting Maria off mid-word. Her jaw nearly hit the floor.

“We’re coming,” he said with a smile, enjoying Maria’s obvious struggle to keep her eyes on his face.

“All right then,” Maria swallowed, then fled, face crimson. Max closed the door and turned to Liz, who was staring at him, wide-eyed.

“Now that was funny,” he said smugly.

* * * * * *

When Max and Liz finally trudged down into the Crashdown, they found everybody else waiting for them. Maria refused to look Liz in the eye.

“Well, no wonder they took so long,” Alex said, tugging at a strand of Liz’s wet hair. “You were wasting your time up there showering?”

“Um, something like that,” Liz murmured. She was relieved that she had noticed the gashes on Max’s shoulders so he could heal those before anyone asked him about them.
“What’s the plan?” Max asked.

Everybody had told their parents that they were spending the night at somebody else’s house. The choice of where to go was between Michael’s, who had his own apartment, or Maria’s, whose mom was out of town for the weekend. They finally ended up choosing Michael’s apartment, because it was within walking distance of Roswell’s cheapest pizza place.

Michael’s apartment was pretty full with the eight of them, but no one felt overwhelmed. Max said that after everything that had happened to keep all of them apart, it was good to finally have them all in touching distance.

They all crashed out on the floor of Michael’s living room, and after stuffing themselves with pizza and laughing themselves silly over the late night movie (Plan 9 From Outer Space, appropriately), nearly everybody was out cold.

Liz was still wide awake. She smiled at Max curled up beside her, snoring loudly, and pried the popcorn bowl out of his grasp. As she munched on the popcorn, she pondered how they had all ended up here together. Watching all of her friends tonight, she had realized how much she missed the times before. Before they all had destinies and the fate of the planet on their shoulders. Watching Alex and Kyle had really brought the old times back to her. When she had dated Kyle, they had been good friends, and their familiar banter had filled her heart. She glanced over at Maria, clinging to Michael in her sleep as if he she thought he would escape before she woke up.

“Let me have some of that,” said Isabel, who was on the other side of Liz. She sat up and took a handful of popcorn. “Aren’t you tired?” Isabel asked.

“Exhausted,” Liz admitted. “But I don’t want this day to end yet.”

“I know what you mean,” Isabel agreed, gazing down at Alex asleep against her other side. The ate in companionable silence for a few moments before she spoke again. “Liz, I owe you an apology.”

“For what?” Liz asked.

“When you hurt Max, I was so angry with you,” Isabel explained with difficulty. “I thought that you were just some human tramp, just like everyone else. I should have known that you would never hurt Max for no reason. After all the time that we’ve spent together over the last year, I should have trusted you.”

“You didn’t know, Isabel,” Liz shook her head. “You couldn’t have known.”

“I just feel awful about it,” she said guiltily.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Liz assured her. “You just wanted to protect Max. I want the same thing.”

“I can’t believe you did all that alone,” Isabel said quietly.

“I did it for all of us,” Liz murmured. “I’m so glad its all over.”

“I couldn’t have done it.” Isabel took Liz’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “I know that I used to give you a hard time, but now I’m glad Max told you about us. I’m glad you and Maria and Alex and even Kyle are here with us, that now we don’t have to handle this alone.” She gave Liz’s hand a final squeeze, then slid back down next to Alex and soon Liz heard Isabel’s breathing even out.

“Wow,” Max said next to Liz. “I can’t believe that was Izzy.”

“Your sister loves you very much,” Liz smiled, setting the popcorn bowl aside and sinking into Max’s arms. “She worries about you.”

“All of us here together,” Max said reflectively, “it feels so right. How could I believe that my destiny didn’t involve all eight of us?”

As he held Liz, another flash took a hold on him, but this one didn’t take him over with the usual violence. This vision trickled over him, filling up all the torn and empty places in his soul that he had accumulated over the last year.

He saw them, all of them, in the desert. Liz was next to him, and when he looked down at her, she looked older, just like the future Liz had looked. Only where in the future Liz’s face there had been only pain and loss, this Liz radiated with happiness. He looked up at each one in turn, and felt a sense of utter completion and satisfaction course through him…

“Did you see that?” he whispered in awe.

“What does it mean?” Liz asked, clinging to him tightly.

Max felt like jumping up and waking everybody else up, like shouting as loud as he could or singing or anything, nothing could ever express the relief and joy he felt. He settled for squeezing Liz so tight that she squealed and crying a little.

“It means everything’s going to be fine.”

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