Author: hah
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I really wish I'd come up with Roswell first.
Author's Note: Canon? What's that? But this does make much more sense if you've read Whiteotter's fabulous Polar Novel and Sean's fabulous companion piece What Are Friends For?.
Feedback: Please don't make me beg.

Michael pulled the motorcycle up in front of his apartment and shut it off. Behind him Liz still clung to him. He loved the feeling of her arms and legs wrapped around him. She gave his waist a quick squeeze and slid off the back of his bike.

She had her helmet off and was grinning at him as he settled the bike on its kickstand and swung his leg over the seat. "I'm so glad you decided to buy the motorcycle, Michael. It's like flying; I love taking rides with you."

Michael removed his helmet and took hers. He nestled them onto the seat and then took her hand, tugging her to him. "It is a rush, isn't it?" he breathed against her lips before capturing them with his own.

Liz pressed herself closer, wanting more than just a simple kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck. Michael lifted her up and settled her legs around his waist. One strong arm clasped her around the waist while the other jingled the keys in his hand.

Focusing as much attention on the kiss as he could afford, he strode carefully to the front door. Liz's back pressed up against the wood as Michael fumbled with the key in the lock. He gave up and used his powers to force the lock. The door swung open. He kicked it shut behind them and dropped the keys on the floor. As he prepared to carry Liz to the bedroom, the lights in the room flickered on. He barely had time to register that fact when something else happened.

"Surprise!" Max and Isabel. Maria and Alex. Kyle and Tess. All six of them stood in the middle of his living room, beaming at him and Liz. Beaming? Michael didn't get it. At the shout, Liz had unlocked her legs from Michael's waist, and slid them slowly down his. She knew she should move away from him, but she was afraid her knees might buckle as she turned to survey the sight before her.

Michael's living room had been transformed into a party room. Balloons and streamers covered every surface and Liz could swear she saw one of Amy DeLuca's pies sitting on the kitchen counter.

Liz looked at Michael and then back at the scene before them. She was pretty sure she and Michael had been in the midst of a pretty hot kiss when they had opened the door. Liz pressed her fingers to her lips; they were still puffy and moist. Yep, she'd just been kissed. But here were all their friends, the people who would be most hurt in to find out she and Michael were involved. And they were all smiling and looking like the cats that just ate the canaries. She really needed to sit down. "Surprise?" she echoed weakly.

Maria walked up to her and took her hand. Maria, her best friend and her lover's girlfriend. Liz followed her friend to the couch. Still unable to form anything resembling a coherent thought, Liz continued to look at Maria. "We got the right date, didn't we? One year ago since that blind date contest I entered the two of us in?"

Liz just stared at Maria. She really wasn't sure what to say. Meanwhile, Max and Isabel had dragged Michael from the doorjamb he seemed determined to support. They pushed him down onto the couch next to Liz. Everyone pulled up the assorted pieces of furniture in Michael's apartment until they all sat in a circle.

Alex picked up the explanation from Maria. "Yeah, wasn't it a year ago today since you guys set off the pulse, when you, uh, --" Alex blushed as he searched for the polite words. Kyle coughed something into his hand that sounded like duck and Tess giggled. Alex glared at them but continued.

"Anyway, we wanted to have a party to help you guys celebrate one year together."

Liz and Michael looked around the circle of their friends. Liz knew she was blushing as her eyes met Michael's. The shock she felt about their friends knowing, well, everything, was echoed in his eyes. "You guys -- you guys know?"

Maria squeezed her hand. "Of course, we know, silly. I'm your best friend; do you really think I wouldn't figure it out?"

Liz couldn't answer. Michael looked at the man who was his best friend and the closest thing he had to a brother. He nearly choked on his questions. "You know, Maxwell? About me and Liz? And you're ok with this?" Michael was afraid this was some kind of sick joke, afraid his world was going to come crashing down around him at any moment.

Max clasped his best friend's hand and struggled to reassure him. "Michael, yes, I know. And, yes, I'm ok with this. We've all known for months now and were just waiting for you two to come to grips with your relationship. But you and Liz seemed determined to keep it quiet, so we tried to respect your wishes.

"Some of us came pretty close to blowing it a few times," Max looked at Maria, but there was a smile in his eyes when he said that. "You were just taking too long, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. Thus," his hand swirled in the air, "this party."

Michael and Liz sat in stunned silence for several minutes. They hadn't been fooling anyone? Finally Liz found enough presence of mind to ask a question. "But, how?"

"Ever the scientist, eh, Liz?" Max laughed and looked around the circle at the others. "Who wants to go first?"

There was a murmur from the others. Alex cleared his throat and spoke again. "Well, I guess it all started when I realized why all the computers in your home went out, as well as other electrical appliances. I did a little poking around and made a little map. The, um, Crashdown was right in the center of the area. It made sense that whatever had occurred was centered there."

Kyle continued when Alex stopped. "One day, Alex happened to let slip that something weird had happened at the café that night. He wondered if I knew of anything." He laughed. "Not that I remembered all that much from that night. Max and I were a little drunk. And too busy coming up with plans, Liz, to get you away from that Shallow guy and figuring out which days we'd share you. I know Max was doing some weird shit that night but I didn't think either of us had been around for anything really strange."

"We started comparing notes. Maria and I were out late with the band that night after the gig. Max and Kyle were drunk. Tess wasn't in town yet. Isabel went home after she and Michael burned the symbol into the ground. We figured you were at home after the date-thing, so that only left Michael unaccounted for," Alex added.

Liz was amazed at how much her friends had pieced together. She reached out to take Michael's hand for reassurance, then stopped. Showing emotion for Michael in front of Max and Maria and the others was still a taboo in her mind. "What happened next?" Michael rasped out beside her.

Maria giggled. "Alex asked me what I remembered about the days after the night of the date. You were glowing after that blind date, Liz. Well, not literally, but something was different. I thought it was because Max had come to you. But even after you told me he said he didn't remember what he'd done while drunk, the glow didn't fade. So we ruled out Max, which made Alex's theory make more sense." Maria stopped talking to hit Liz on the knee. "I can't believe you didn't tell me."

"I -- I didn't want to hurt you," Liz managed to stammer out.

"Oh, you're right. And I probably would've been crushed and not spoken to you. For a whole month or so. Instead, you had to hide your love for Michael. I'm so sorry you felt that way." She bounced out of her seat to give Liz a hug.

Liz just sat there gaping at Maria as the blonde reseated herself.

Isabel picked up the story. "Those three," she indicated Alex, Kyle and Maria, "didn't tell Max or me about their theory for a little while. I guess they thought it might freak us out or something." She laughed at the very idea. "But then Tess came to town. And in between her pining looks at Max," Tess squealed in mock outrage, " she asked what was up with the two of you."

"And Isabel sure did freak out," Tess piped in. "But she was dealing with those, um, erotic dreams of Michael at the time. So I guess it was allowed."

"But one day," Isabel continued, "while we were sitting with Alex at the café, he slipped and mentioned something about a pulse of some sort."

"He started describing it," Tess said, "and it really freaked me out because it reminded me of something Nasedo had said once. It took me a few days to remember, but I finally came up with the story. One day, when I was little and pestering him about the people on the homeworld, he said something about our original genetic make-up being, like, a quarter pure energy. If you knew what you were doing, you could transform that energy into one of its many forms and use it." Tess looked at Alex.

"All the pieces started falling into place. The energy, your glow, Michael's whereabouts. We tossed around all sorts of ideas of the source of the pulse, but there was one theory that seemed to make more sense than others. You and Michael, er, doing whatever it was you were doing," Alex said it in a rush, "could theoretically release enough energy to create a pulse like that."

Max picked up the thread. "Isabel came rushing home for the Crashdown, babbling some crazy story about you and Michael hooking up. Once she calmed down, I called Alex over to our house and asked him to tell me the story. It made sense. Why the two of you were so skittish around each other. All the sly little glances and longing looks. Hard to believe we all missed it for so long. It was so obvious."

Max looked at Liz and Michael and smiled. "I learned a lot from being your lab partner, Liz. First and foremost, when you have a theory, you have to test it. So the six of us set up a series of controlled experiments to test it. To try to duplicate the pulse."

Michael let out a burst of laughter. Liz felt her mouth fall open again. "Experiments? Who?"

Max blushed. Liz looked around at the remainder of her friends. Each of their faces was flushed to some degree. All of them had been involved in the tests? Her mind boggled with the possible combinations.

As the others looked away from their questioning glances or murmured "no comment," Michael took Liz's hand in his. He was starting to believe that this little…surprise…was for real. He gave a tug and Liz tumbled closer. She relaxed against him while they waited for Max to continue.

"In order to maintain scientific integrity, I believe the identities of the test subjects should remain confidential," Max began pompously.

"Maxwell," Michael said.

Max laughed. "It was worth a try. But we all swore an oath to secrecy about our, um, experiments. You'll never find out more about them."

Liz looked speculatively at Maria, who sat there with her lips pressed firmly together. She knew how to make her best friend talk. "Nope, not gonna do it, Liz. You can't make me talk. Nope, nuh-uh, no way." Maria shook her head vehemently.

"We'll see," Liz said.

"Anyway," Max continued, "the results were interesting. The experiments showed that such an energy release could be possible, although we didn't duplicate the pulse. With that in mind, we all just settled in to wait for you and Michael to tell us."

"How long ago did you test these theories?"

"A few months ago."

"And no one said anything?"

"We were waiting for you," Alex said. "We had no real proof, after all."

Liz snuggled deeper into the curve of Michael's arm. She tilted her head to look up at him. "Can you believe this? All that worrying for nothing. And no more sneaking around."

"I know," Michael said, a smile slowly spreading across his face. "No more worrying about Max and Maria's feelings if I did this every time I wanted to." Michael cupped Liz's neck in his hand and pulled her face towards him. She went willingly, pressing her lips to his. Michael deepened the kiss and Liz moaned deep in her throat. Around them the others burst into applause.

"Finally," somebody said, but Liz was too immersed in the kiss to register who the voice belonged to.

While Michael and Liz kissed, the others began the party. Maria began to bring the food into the living room. Alex tossed a travel case of CDs to Isabel who took up her duties as DJ. Kyle pulled a fifth from his jacket pocket and passed it around.

When Liz and Michael finally surfaced from their kiss, everyone around them was dancing and laughing. Reveling in their new-found freedom, they joined in. And learned that some secrets didn't need to be kept.

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DC Slash Harry Potter Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other