Author: Bennie
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Spoilers: Spoilers: I don't think so ... ITL&ITB, probably
Character Focus: Primarily Liz/Michael (Liz POV), with Maria/Isabel, Kyle/Max on the side

Okay, so if time is the fourth dimension, and a cube has three dimensions – length, width, depth, yep, three dimensions – then shouldn´t we, in theory, write down the time that the cube exists when we note the other properties, ‘cause otherwise it doesn´t? Have time, I mean?

And arguably, time equals existence, right? Maybe it was there in the past, but that doesn't mean it's there now, althought maybe it´ll be there in the future – ooh, that´s good. The “potential” of a cube to exist, that´s like, deep or something. Ergo - ha! I said “ergo!” What´s next, shouting “Eureka” like I´ve discovered some great miracle of science, or something? Hee hee; that´s so cool … anyway … ergo, the potential of a cube to exist in the three dimensions we do acknowledge relies on the fourth dimension existing whether we recognize it or not


Maria winced as a startled Liz jerked around to look at her, yelping as the chair – which had been balanced precariously on two legs – fell from beneath her, spilling her unceremoniously on the computer lab floor.

“Liz!” Maria rushed over to help her friend climb to her feet.

Finally Liz regained her bearings and looked at her friend. “Yes?”

Maria looked confused. “Yes, what?”

Liz grinned. “I mean, can I help you with something? I thought you´d left already.” She set the chair upright and began looking for the pen she´d dropped when she fell.

“Oh,” Maria laughed. “Well, I was partway home when I realized that I´d forgotten to ask if you were working tomorrow.”

Liz shook her head. “Nope, why?”

“Would you cover for me? Isabel asked if I´d drive her to the reservoir.”

Liz smiled. It was good to see a human/alien friendship going so well. Maria had been the glue that held them all together for so long, and when she and Michael broke up Liz had worried about the entire group falling apart. Even Max and Tess had called it quits after that little “springtime in heat” thing that happened each May got out of hand, but neither had thrown themselves into new relationships. In fact, everyone seemed to be in a holding pattern of sorts.

Truthfully, she hadn´t seen it coming. (The Maria/Isabel thing, anyway; everyone could see how Max and Tess got on each other´s nerves when they weren´t in lust.) But she had watched Maria and Isabel grow closer in the wake of Alex´s death and the discovery that the podsters were actually stuck on Earth, and now she and Kyle had a bet going about how long it would take them to figure out how they felt about each other. Liz grinned gleefully. If they took longer than another week, she´d lose, but here was her chance to help things along …

Maria cleared her throat impatiently.

“Oh, right! Sure, no problem. In fact, mornings are always slow. Why don´t I make up a basket for you guys at the Crashdown, and you can swing by and pick it up on your way? Make it a real picnic.” What could be more romantic?

Maria brightened. “Thanks Lizzie! You´re the best.”

“I know,” she joked.

Maria turned to leave, then stopped. “Hey, I thought you were supposed to be tutoring someone today. Why are you sitting here alone?”

Liz shrugged. “He never came.” Looking at the clock, she made a decision. “I don´t feel like waiting anymore. Can I get a ride with you?”


“Great, I´ll just leave a note. Better yet …” and she walked over to a computer on a nearby desk and prepared to send an email.

*M, You coming or what? I thought you needed help handling your tool bar. You know, all that crap you told Mr. S. about catching up and “rising to the occasion”. So what´s the deal, do I have to tie you down or something? Anyway, I´m heading home, but I get off around 8. We´ll do it then. L*

“Jeez, girl, you writing an essay or what?” Maria was getting impatient.

“I´m done.” Liz hit ‘send´, logged off and gathered her stuff. “Let´s go.”


“Oof!” Liz threw herself down on her bed. Oh, but boys could be so, so … *infuriating*. Some cute guy had been flirting with her downstairs, and she´d actually been thinking about flirting back, but then Kyle and Max apparently decided there were some things they did agree on, and started pulling some serious possessive crap.

She didn´t know what they did to him, but when she came out of the kitchen with his second unnecessary refill, his money was on the table and he was nowhere to be seen.

Her two ‘protectors´, on the other hand, were sitting at the next booth over and carefully avoiding her furious gaze while Maria and Tess laughed.

“Et tu, Maria? I thought we were supposed to be friends,” Liz looked at her reproachfully, but Maria just smirked and replied perkily.

“Oh, but Liz, we are – best friends!” And even Liz couldn´t not smile when Maria batted her eyelashes coquettishly and simpered. But that didn´t get the guys off the hook.

She grinned now as she thought about how they´d squirmed under her ‘death ray eyes´. Then again, maybe it was the flat pop she gave them, or the veggie burgers she´d served instead of their Will Smiths, or the mind warp she´d talked Tess into.

She couldn´t help but giggle at that one. The Sheriff and Philip Evans had just bumped into each other outside the café and exchanged pleasantries, but after Liz leaned across Maria to whisper to Tess, Max and Kyle ‘saw´ Philip leering suggestively at Jim and the Sheriff blow a kiss in return.

Max had turned red and then an interesting shade of green, and Kyle had looked about wildly in a panicky fit, and then both stared slack-jawed as Tess, Liz and Maria collapsed against each other, howling.

“Gotcha,” Liz scored smugly, and went to take someone´s order.

Hours later, Liz was still chuckling. But then her eyes wandered over to the clock and she sighed.


She tried calling first, but immediately got a prompt for voice mail. Then she remembered that he only had the one phone line, so if he *was* online he wouldn´t get the message until later anyways.

Sighing again, she changed out of her uniform and headed out.

Ten minutes later she rapped lightly on his door, but there was no answer. She looked at it speculatively, and then decided that he´d shown her where the key was for a reason. Very casually, she let a book slip from her arms and when she bent down to pick it up, retrieved the key from where it was stuck to magnetic tape under the bottom of the door.

As she let herself in, something put her on her guard. A noise. Something … stealthy-sounding. Slowly, she moved forward, thinking ruefully of all the times she´d yelled at some stupid girl in a movie not to go up in the attic, or down in the basement, or away from the group, but unable to help herself.

There it was again. And this time she heard some kind of moan, too.

Her pulse thumping loudly in her ears, she walked slowly into the darkened apartment, eyes darting about, half expecting splattered blood and broken bones.

And stopped short at the sight of Michael Guerin in profile, sitting in front of the reconditioned computer he´d just bought and … touching himself.

She almost screamed in shock, but managed to choke it back. Quickly she turned around, but not before she had seen the look of dazed concentration on his face and the bulge under his hand.

Somehow she made it out of the apartment and halfway down the hall before she couldn´t hold it in anymore and just started laughing, giggling until tears rolled down her cheeks.

*Oh my god,* was all she could think, as she started to walk home. Michael must have been looking at some cyberporn or something. She hadn´t been able to see the screen, but he had seemed really into it. Hell, he´d looked … hypnotized. He hadn´t even *noticed* that there was someone in his apartment.

Suddenly she blushed to realize that she was really, really curious to know what he was looking at. She stopped on the street and looked back, thinking.

Two minutes later, a perfectly composed Liz Parker stood in front of his apartment door and knocked – hard. It hurt her knuckles, but she was determined to make him answer the door.

Finally she heard a shout on the other side. “Hold on! I´m coming,” Michael yelled, and she almost lost it again.

But she forced herself to remain calm and wait. A few moments later the door opened to reveal a rather flushed and frustrated-looking Michael Guerin in baggy pants and a long, untucked shirt.

“Hey Michael, what´s up?” she asked breezily, then pushed past him so he couldn´t see her biting her lip in amusement. Of course, she couldn´t see his reaction either, but it couldn´t be more entertaining than the one she was imagining. “I´m here to work on that graphics thing.”

“Liz,” he greeted her flatly. And then oh-so-casually, he moved past her to punch a few buttons before she could sit in front of his computer.

Looking up, he saw her curious look and explained defensively, “It´s just my email. Private, you know?”

Oh, right, she thought cynically. “Oh, right,” she said brightly.

And he sat down next to her, and she showed him how to configure the toolbars for optimum use of his new graphics application. Then they spent some time trying out different features of the program, and discussed what could be done with a scanner or a digital camera.

After some time Michael stretched and stood up. “You want something to drink?” he asked.

This was her chance. “Tea would be great,” she said, figuring it would take him a while to make. He nodded, sorry he´d asked, and headed into the kitchenette where he could be heard clattering about in the cupboards – probably trying to remember where he´d put the herbal teas Maria had left before breaking up with him.

Liz grabbed a pen, figuring she´d get the URL for Michael´s porn site and check it out later in the privacy of her own room. Except … according to his log, he was telling the truth. All he´d done that day was check his email. Thinking for a moment, she checked to see what files he had on his hard drive. Nothing but applications; apparently he was worried about conserving memory. She checked the floppy in the A drive. It contained one file, an essay for English.

What the hell? Somehow she didn´t think he´d gotten so excited looking at his screensaver. It was called “Flying Metallica”, and featured pictures of the band manipulated to fly about the screen in mini UFOs.

Nervously she looked up. He´d be back any minute. “Hey Michael?” she called out. “Do you have anything we could eat? I didn´t have dinner before coming over here. Even a sandwich would be great.”

There was silence from the kitchen for a moment, and she could picture the look on his face. Michael hated playing host, but Maria had confided in her once that despite himself, he was too nice a guy to refuse a direct request. She hoped that Maria knew what she was talking about.

“Ham and cheese good enough for you?” he called out in a tone that made it clear that he didn´t care if it wasn´t.

“Ham and cheese would be great! Thanks!” she called back, and checking once more to make sure he wasn´t looking, took a deep breath and opened his email, praying he´d preset the password.

He had.

Eagerly she scanned his inbox and checked for deleted messages, but sighed when she didn´t see anything half so suggestive as the “Naked celebrities!” one that had awaited her when she´d awoken that morning. In fact, there was only one message: hers. She scowled. So he had read her message, and never bothered to call to explain why he never showed up after school? Or just to confirm whether he wanted to work that night? Jerk.

Something crashing in the kitchenette reminded her where she was, and she started to close his email, sorely disappointed. She still hadn´t discovered what had gotten him so excited.


And there was her own name on the screen, mocking her inability to solve a simple mystery.

Suddenly she sat up.

Maybe she was overthinking this. Had she made some faulty assumption along the way, some small but crucial conclusion reached that prevented her from seeing the larger picture here?

Well, what *did* she know?

Something Michael was looking at on the computer got him excited.

The only thing he had on his computer to read was an email she sent him that day.

She froze, then jumped as if stung. Then slowly, with trembling hands, she reached one fingertip to the trackball in the centre of the laptop keyboard and … opened the message with her name on it.

*M, You coming or what? I thought you needed help handling your tool bar. You know, all that crap you told Mr. S. about catching up and “rising to the occasion”. So what´s the deal, do I have to tie you down or something? Anyway, I´m heading home, but I get off around 8. We´ll do it then. L*

She looked at it curiously. It was just an email, expressing her irritation that he blew her off, and indicating her willingness to help him anyway.

And then she saw it.

The words seemed to jump off the page, to taunt her.

*… coming … handling your tool … rising … tie you down … get off …we´ll do it …*

Oh, god. She blushed furiously. That was it. Her message must have seemed awfully … suggestive … to a teenage boy with hormones but no outlet except …

Except his hand. Oh, god.

Somehow she managed to get the screen back to where it was when he left the room, and not a moment too soon, because just then he returned, a plate of sandwiches in one hand and a can of Coke and a cup of tea balanced in the other.

“Blow on it. It´s hot,” he advised as he handed her the tea, and she had to clamp down on the hysterical laughter that threatened to erupt.

“Thanks,” she stammered a little, and made a big production of focussing on the drink in her hand so she wouldn´t have to look at him.

Her head was spinning with questions. What did this mean? Was it just the wording that affected him, or … she gulped. Could it be … the sender?

Automatically she accepted a sandwich and chewed at it while considering that possibility. It was true, she´d always had a rather uneven relationship with Michael, either too close or too distant. A lot of polite conversation that didn´t mean anything, a few moments of complete trust and comfort, and very little in between. Next to nothing, in fact. It was one of the reasons she never thought twice about coming to his apartment alone, at night, whereas the mere idea of going to a boy´s home ‘sans chaperone´ would normally be daring enough to send her pulse racing.

Plus, he had been involved with Maria, who was her sister in every way but blood. Which made him a brother figure, right? Except … he and Maria weren´t together anymore. And … and she had to admit that she´d never really thought of him like a brother. That was always Alex.

So what did this all mean?

“Parker? You spacing out on me here or what?”

She looked at him, nonplussed. He´d been talking? Oh.

“Yeah, I´ve had a long day,” she covered smoothly, and pretended to yawn. Which made her yawn for real, and a glance at the clock told her just how late it was.

“Whoa, it´s late. I better get home,” she said. “We can finish this at lunch tomorrow, okay? The computer lab should be empty.”

He shrugged and waved casually as she snatched another bite of her sandwich and then made her way out the door, books in tow.

All the way home she concentrated on everything she knew about Michael Guerin. Pondered every moment they´d ever shared, every conversation she could recall, every exchange, no matter how trivial. She was still thinking about it as she prepared for bed and when she awoke the next morning.

She couldn´t concentrate in math, because she was remembering how important it had seemed so long ago to warn him about Topolsky´s interest in his file and his absence.

She blanked out in English, because their assignment that day was to write journal entries, and all she could think of was how warm hers had felt when she took it from his large hands.

And she trembled in chemistry when someone performed a controlled experiment with magnesium, and all she could see was a red triangle that could have killed her if he hadn´t pushed it away with his powers before it exploded.

Finally it was lunch, and she headed to the computer lab in a daze, her palms damp with unspeakable anxiety, to meet with Michael as agreed.

Where he greeted her casually, even a little rudely, barely bothering to acknowledge her existence.

His total and apparent disinterest in her was palpable – and a relief. Clearly she´d completely misread the situation, and was only glad she hadn´t embarrassed herself too much. She even felt bad about seeing a good friend in such a predatory fashion, and resolved to be a better friend herself.

After a few minutes when he didn´t say or do anything “significant”, she managed to relax. When he cracked a joke, she laughed. When he rolled his eyes at something she said, she shoved him good-naturedly. When he pushed her hair off her shoulder so he could see over her shoulder as she typed something, she tossed her head helpfully.

And when he leaned in and devoured her mouth, she propelled herself off of her chair and onto his lap.

When his hands began roaming, she pulled away long enough to ask if he could lock the door from where he was sitting and then reengaged his tongue before he could answer. She barely heard the slam and click in the fevered rush to lose all those irritating garments that covered up way too much skin.

“How much time do we have?” Michael gasped at one point, then hissed as her mouth encountered a particularly sensitive point on his chest.

“Without time, a cube doesn´t exist,” she answered cryptically.

He thought about asking what the hell that meant, but then his head rolled back at her next movement, one that set every nerve thrumming and rendered conversation the least important means of communication in existence.

Instead, he concentrated on returning the favour.


“So, Isabel, what do you say? Want to make it official?” Maria smiled winningly up at the statuesque blonde. In response, Isabel drew her into a deep, searing kiss that first stunned and then excited the multitudes of students lucky enough to witness the exchange.

Max and Kyle watched them walk off, hand in hand and heads high.

“Damn,” Kyle said mildly.

“What?” Max asked. Now that neither of them were dating either Liz or Tess, the two of them actually found that they had a lot in common other than their taste in female companionship, and were fast becoming friends.

“Liz won our bet about how long it would take,” he ran a hand through his hair in rueful resignation.

“What? Maria and Isabel?”

Kyle nodded.

Max grinned. “What was the bet?”

“Well, if I won, she had to get up on a table in the Crashdown during the dinner hour and sing a song of my choosing. Oh, and she had to dance to it, too.”

Both of them laughed. “Oh, I would´ve liked to have seen that!” Max chortled. “What song were you going to pick?”

Kyle grinned. “An old one by the Divynals.” He waited, and then Max got it.

“‘I Touch Myself´!” they chorused, garnering a few odd looks from the surrounding crowd.

Max laughed heartily. “Oh, now I *really* wish I could´ve seen that!” Wiping a tear from one eye, he asked the obvious question. “So now that you´ve lost, what are you going to have to do?” He looked at the suddenly quiet and blushing boy next to him.

“I … I have to … t-to ask you something,” Kyle stammered.

“Me?” Max´s eyes widened as he tried to imagine what it could be. “Something … Czech?” he asked meaningfully, and just blinked when Kyle shook his head, no.

“Well?” he prompted, curiosity getting the better of him. “What is it?”

“I have to do it in front of Liz,” Kyle stalled.

“Well,” Max tried to sound both supportive and persuasive, because now it really was driving him crazy. What could possibly get Kyle so riled up? “Am I right in thinking it´s something embarrassing?” he attempted. Kyle nodded. “Well, why don´t you tell me what it is, and maybe we can turn this around on her, get the last laugh,” he suggested.

Kyle scratched his head, and thought about it. “Well, okay. See,” and he took a deep breath, “Ihavetoaskyouonadate.” Bright red, he winced and waited for Max´s reaction.

It wasn´t what he expected. He opened his eyes to see Evans studying him thoughtfully, looking for all the world as if a light bulb had just gone off over his head.

“Is that all?” Max countered, amazingly enough, since his mouth was suddenly very dry.

Kyle nodded again, wondering if he looked like a puppet, the way his head was bobbing up and down so much.

“Well then, no problem,” Max said, and it took Kyle a moment to catch on. When he did, he found himself smiling tentatively, if cautiously.


Max nodded, and only the reddened tips of his ears betrayed just how less-than-casual he felt about the whole situation.

“What – what about Tess?” Kyle couldn´t help but ask.

Max shrugged. “I think she´s confused about what she wants. I wouldn´t be surprised to find her draped over Michael one of these days, or for that matter,” he added thoughtfully, “Liz.” He grinned when Kyle gaped adorably, clearly unsure about whether he was joking. He mentally shrugged. He wasn´t sure if he was either. Did it matter?

It didn´t, not right here, not right now. All that mattered was that Kyle was standing in front of him and the feeling that some day soon, he might be standing a lot closer. And more importantly, Max didn´t think he´d mind when that day came.

“So, a date, huh?” Kyle brought him back to the present.

“Sure,” he shrugged ultra-casually. “Where do you want to go?”

Kyle thought for a moment. “There´s a basketball game in Las Cruces on Friday. Sound good?”

Max nodded happily. They were definitely on the same page. “Sounds good,” he started to respond, but was interrupted by a loud, heartfelt shriek from a nearby classroom.


Kyle blinked. “Didn´t that sound like –”

“Like Liz? Yeah,” Max agreed. “I wonder what –” But again he didn´t get to finish his thought, because just then an unfamiliar sound filled the air from behind the same closed door. The sound of Michael Guerin … laughing. Guffawing, even.


Max and Kyle just stood there in shock.

“Oh,” Kyle said lamely.

“Yeah,” Max replied.

“Well,” Kyle tried, but fell silent. They both did.

Finally Max shook himself out of it and turned to Kyle. “Friday, then?”

Kyle nodded, and with a final glance at the closed door, they walked off in the same direction Maria and Isabel had taken.

Some time later two figures emerged from the room, vastly relieved not to find anyone waiting outside.

Each turned to walk away, but the smaller one turned as the other whispered loudly.


“Yeah?” she whispered back.

“Wanna do something this weekend?”

Her smile was brilliant.

“Definitely. Why don´t I … email you later?”

He couldn´t help but groan. “Please …” he gulped, and shifted his book bag in front of him.

And with a smirk, Liz went off to find Maria.

She needed someone to cover for her on Friday.

The End

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