And Then There Were Three

Michael insisted on walking me home. I told him I was fine, that it was only four blocks, but he didn't care. "If it's only four blocks," He said, pulling on his jacket, "Then it's no big deal if I go with you. Right?"

I rolled my eyes at him and laughed, but I was happy to have him with me. So we left his apartment together, holding hands, out on the street, as if it was normal. As if we did that every day. So it was three in the morning and everybody was at home asleep.

I didn't care. He was with me.

I thought we could handle anything.


I followed her up to the rooftop when we got to her place.

"Thank you," She said, her hands in my jacket pockets. It was too big for her. It hung down almost to her knees.

"For what," I whispered.

She shrugged and walked over to me, taking my hand. "For walking me home," She said, looking up at me. "For tonight."

She was thanking me. I started to laugh and shook my head, leaning in to kiss her. Her hands slid over my shoulders and around my neck.

She tasted so good.

She ended the kiss and looked up at me with warm eyes. "Michael," She said. "About the dream-"

I rolled my head back. "Liz," I said. "Come on-"

"Michael, maybe they knew something -"

"Liz, you're talking about them like they actually exist. They don't."

"But they knew things about us, Michael -"

"Did it ever occur to you that it was all in your head? That the reason they knew so much is because you were creating them?"

She looked at me doubtfully. "But - they knew about the journal," She said. "They knew about who you are, where you come from -"

"That's my point, Liz," I stressed. "How could they know that?"

"So why do you remember it?" She asked.

"I don't know," I said, throwing my hands up in the air. "But our heartbeats are synced up, we're setting off electromagnetic pulses - it doesn't seem a stretch that I should be able to dreamwalk you."

She looked up at the sky and exhaled slowly.

"Maybe you're right," She whispered.

I put my arms around her and didn't say anything.

"And Topolsky -" She whispered.

"I think that was just you being scared that she might show up," I said quietly, pulling her closer to me. "She's gone, Liz. She's not coming back."

"Michael," She said, pulling away from me, "You wouldn't go to her. Right?"

"Of course not," I said.

She nodded, but she didn't look sure.

"Okay," I said, cupping her face in my hands. "Look. I start work tomorrow, and - and she mentioned that - that bonding thing."

- if I'm right, whenever you're intimate with anyone else-

- then you'll also be able to feel each other's touch.

"If you're set on finding out, then-" I shrugged. "You know, then-"

Then go with Max.

She stared up at me for a moment and then nodded. "Okay," She whispered. She turned her head slightly and kissed the palm of my hand.

God, she was beautiful.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," I whispered.

A faint smile crossed her lips and she reached up to kiss me.


The dinner rush was nuts. We were in the weeds and everybody was in a cholesterol kind of mood.

"Ladies, food doesn't taste better cold, all right?" I snapped.

Liz and Maria both looked at me. Man, I was tense. Why was I worried? Relax, Guerin -

Alternate timeline. I almost laughed out loud.

"Push the special," I said, trying to keep my voice easy. "I'm tired of flipping burgers."

The cafe door swung open, and Max and Is walked in.

Everything'll be fine.

Liz turned to Maria. "Would you? Thanks," She said when Maria nodded.

{Michael -}

{Go ahead, Liz.} I almost shrugged. {I know I'm right.}

She crossed over to Max and Is, staring up at his eyes, and he -

He looked happier than I'd ever seen him.

It threw me for a second, that he was that enraptured with her, that he was so much in love with her.

We had more in common than I'd realized.

I shoved the guilt aside and watched her. She leaned up to him and kissed him, and -

Her skin was under mine, warming under the light in my hands and my hands were sliding down the curve of her back, smooth like silk - I felt my lips on the back of her neck and I felt the moan, barely escaping her mouth, and I felt her touch, that electric warmth on my skin -

Oh. My. God -

Max was kissing her, but I could feel her between the two of us, her touch electric on my arms, reaching behind her to touch me, her fingers sliding down my cheek, my neck, down my chest -

It was gone.

I blinked, my jaw open, and stared at the two of them. She'd just stopped kissing him -

"Is that so hard?" Maria asked.

I looked at her. She couldn't possibly -

"What?" I asked.

"Acting like a real couple," She said, nodding her head over at Max and Liz. "Kissing, arms around each other's shoulders, actually excited to see one another..."

I tried to close my mouth and failed.

What just happened?

"Overrated," I muttered.

{Michael - did you feel that?}

{Oh yeah. I felt it.}

{What - what should I do -}

{What do you want to do?}

She looked up at him.

"Look, if we leave right now, we can make the 7:35," She breathed. "I won't even change."

Isabel said something. I didn't even hear the words.

Liz walked over to the two of us and stopped in front of Maria. "Maria, would you mind?"

"Go ahead," Maria said.

Liz grinned. "Thank you," She whispered, her eyes flickering over to me for a second, then to Maria.

And then she looked back at me before she turned away.

"Live the life I so desperately want," Maria said, watching Liz and Max move to the doors.

{Liz -} If there was a way to mentally stammer, I was doing it. {- are you telling me -}

{Maybe we should know if it works both ways, Michael.} It was like a velvet touch. I could feel her heart was racing.{Don't you?}

She actually smiled at me before she walked out the door.

She was going to give me a heart attack.

Yeah, I should have been worried about Topolsky. But come on.

This isn't the sort of opportunity you turn down.

I took Maria back to my apartment.


She walked into the apartment after me and closed the door. I almost locked it, then I changed my mind. If this didn't work, I was outta here.

"So," She said softly, walking toward me.

"Yeah," I mumbled.

Her hand reached out and touched my skin. I tried to keep my breathing even. I liked Maria. In a lot of ways, I understood her. I didn't want to hurt her -

She pulled me down toward her, her lips on mine, and I almost pulled back. I can't, I don't want this -

I felt her lips, Liz's lips, on my neck, her soft, electric touch on me, murmuring my name against my skin, and Maria was kissing my mouth, pressing her body against me and -

Like I said.

I never was very good at holding back.


I got the two of us - the three of us - to the couch. I felt Liz's breath on my neck, the warmth of her mouth, and I almost said her name. In front of Maria.

That snapped me out of it for a second. Focus, Guerin -

"Maria," I mumbled, trying to keep it all straight in my head.

Who are you with, Guerin? "Maria -"


"Michael," She murmured. "Oh, Michael."

"Max," She breathed.

What the hell? I sat up, staring at her.

"Look," She said, nodding her head behind me. I turned around.

Max. Liz. And Alex, and Isabel -

Great. My apartment was Grand Central Station. I might not be in love with Maria, but I'm sure she didn't appreciate all of them watching us -

"What the hell are you guys doing here?" I snapped.

{Michael -}

She sounded scared. I looked over at her.

"Topolsky," she whispered.


"She said we were in danger," Max said. "All of us. And to just act normal until she contacts us again."

"Would that be alien normal, or 'We're the subjects of an FBI manhunt' normal?" Alex asked sarcastically.

"This sounds wrong," Michael said dangerously. His eyes flickered over to me. "Like some sort of trap-"

"No, Michael," I said, shaking my head. "She was really scared. I believed her."

{Michael, I think Whiteotter was telling us the truth -}

"Let me remind you, Liz," He said, "That you believed her the first time, too."

My mouth opened and closed. I bit down on my lip.

{I'm sorry, Liz. I'm just -}

Tense. Scared. I knew that.

It didn't mean it didn't hurt. Alex, wonderful, upright Alex, came to my defense.

Michael didn't see Topolsky's face. She really was scared.

"Look, she wasn't the same person she was before," I said. "You know, and the way that she was talking, she seemed like she was just as scared for herself as she is for us."

"Then I say we listen," Alex said.

Michael snapped.

"I say we don't! All right, it's just a new tactic. She scares us, makes us think we need help, and all we're really doing is admitting who we are. All right? I don't trust her," he said, staring at me. "And none of us should."

"It doesn't hurt to take her advice," Max said quietly. "We're normal teenage kids. No one says the word "alien" or talks about this in public. Anybody could be watching. And I think we should keep this here," He said, handing the orb to Michael.

"It's the safest place we've got right now."

She told us the truth, I thought. She was right about Michael and I bonding, about Topolsky -

"I can't believe she's back," Maria said. "I thought this was all over with."

Michael put his arm around her and pulled her close. His eyes caught mine for a second.

{It's just coincidence, Liz.}

I didn't say anything. Max reached for me, pulled me into a hug.

-dark times are coming, and you're not taking them seriously -

I tried not to shake.


Michael was pacing on my rooftop when Max dropped me off later that night.

"This is nuts," He said, not even looking up at me. "It doesn't make sense -"

I didn't say anything.

"- I mean, how could they know all that? It's - it's impossible. Alright?"

Nothing is impossible anymore, Liz.

He stopped and looked at me. "Say something," He said.

I looked down. "Michael, I -" I shook my head. "I know you're scared. I am too -"

"I am not. Scared," He insisted, waving his hands. "Liz, there's nothing to be scared of -"

"You swore you'd tell me the truth, Michael."

He stared at me, stopping in mid-sentence.

Then his hands dropped to his sides and he turned away from me to stare up at the sky.

"I just -" He stopped, shaking his head and pursing his lips. "I just wanted to have some time with you."

I walked to him and wrapped my arms around him, staring up at the sky.

"I know," I whispered. His hands smoothed my hair and I felt his lips on my forehead.

"What are we gonna do?" I asked.

He didn't answer. We stood there for a minute and I listened to the pounding of his heart.

-The two of you are linked. Permanently. I think you're connected for life -

How could that be bad?

"So what did you think," He said quietly.

"Of what?"

"Of what," He snorted. "Hello? You and Max? You, me and Max?"

"Oh," I said, trying to hide the smile. "That."

"Yes, that," He muttered.

"Well, it was -" I shrugged my shoulders. "You know. It was alright."

He rolled his eyes and pursed his lips at me, shaking his head. "I told you before," He said drily. "You're dangerous."

"Oh, and what about you," I said, laughing. "You and Maria. Could you even tell I was -"

"Oh yeah," He said. "I knew you were there."

"Really?" I said. I knew that, but I wanted to hear him say it.

I looked up at him. "What did it feel like?"

"What did it feel like," He repeated slowly, looking down at me. "Almost as good as being with you."

I tried to breathe. "Thanks," I whispered.

He looked back up at the sky. "Maybe we should keep it going with them," He said slowly.


"Liz, maybe you don't see the way he looks at you," Michael said, "But I do. And if Whiteotter's telling the truth -" He shook his head. "I don't know what he'd do if he lost you."

I didn't say anything for a second. I couldn't really argue with what he was saying -

But I just want to be with him.

He cleared his throat. "There's something else," He said, "That I didn't tell you. About Maria." I looked up at him. Don't be jealous, Liz, you told him to go with her -

"What is it?" I whispered.

He pursed his lips and looked down at the ground. "That, uh - that flash I told you about? I saw other stuff. I think I said that, although I don't think I told you what I saw."

"You did," I said, my mouth dry. "What did you..."

"Did you know her when her, uh - when her dad left?" He asked.

"Well - we were kids," I said slowly. "I mean, I knew her, but I don't think I knew everything that was going on with her."

He nodded and shifted his weight. "She had a really hard time with it, Liz. Her parents argued a lot before she left."

"And I'm not positive, but I think he might have - you know, been like, uh - Hank."

"What?" I whispered.

"Not to the same extent," He said quickly. "And I don't know if he hit her or not, but I think her Mom -"

"Oh, my God," I whispered, tears welling up in my eyes.

He nodded. "Yeah. So I, uh - I don't know. I don't want to hurt her." He looked at me. "I really don't."

"Okay," I whispered, pulling him into a hug. "Okay."

"Are you sure you're alright with it?"

"Of course," I said, nodding. "What about you?"

"Oh, yeah," He said, pulling me tighter. "Fine."


I wasn't jealous. I was - curious. I just wanted to pick his brain. Find out what he was doing for her. I wasn't jealous.

I said I wasn't.

"She wants the romance thing," I muttered. "The thing that you and Liz got."

"Is that what you want?"

I tried not to roll my eyes. Just spill it, Maxwell -

"I just want to make her happy," I said. "And you're gonna tell me how you do it."

"It's not like there's a handbook," He said, shutting the refrigerator door.

Time to embellish a bit -

"I'm serious, Max. Things are getting frosty," I lied. "She went to the French club meeting today instead of meeting me in the eraser room. The French club," I said, rolling my eyes. "What the hell is that?

"All right. Romantic. When you're with her, act like she's like the only girl in the room."

"She's usually the only other person in the room," I said.

"That's a good start. Um, try taking her out - someplace nice. And, uh, surprises. They love surprises. Like, you know, little things, like a note in her locker, or a flower in the middle of the day."

Oh yeah. I had nothing to worry about. Flowers?

"How do you know women so well?"

We both turned around. Some chick with super-curly hair.

"Don't let me stop you," She said, smiling at Max. "This is fascinating."

There was something strange about her. I didn't trust her. Alright, so I don't trust anyone. Still -

- I have to warn you about what's going to happen -

I almost reached out to Liz. You're overreacting, Guerin. Chill out -

She was just new. A transfer student.

I've lied all my life. It was easy to tell when I was lying to myself.


Liz was in my apartment when I came home that night.

"Michael," She said, pulling me into a hug. "Thank God -"

"Whoa," I said, looking her up and down. "Nice dress -"

"Topolsky found me tonight," She said quickly.

She found you?

"She tricked you," I breathed. She nodded. "What did she do to you -"

"Nothing, Michael, nothing. But she -" Her voice broke and fell to a whisper. "Michael, she told me there's a hunter. An alien hunter."

"Liz -"

"Michael, she said he's buried deep inside the FBI, that even the most important people are on a need-to-know basis only, and she said -" She shook her head, tears in her eyes.

"She said he wants Max. And us," She said quickly. "She said there's a list, and we're all on it -"

"Liz, stop it," I snapped, grabbing her by the shoulders. "We can't talk to her -"

"Michael, I believe her," She insisted. "You didn't see her, you didn't see how scared she was -"

"I saw how scared Whiteotter was," I said. "And I don't believe her either. There is no alien hunter, Liz, there's no list."

Her chin quivered. "Michael, if anything happens to you -"

"It won't," I breathed, cupping her face in my hands. "Nothing's gonna happen to me so long as we don't talk to her. Liz, you've got to stay away from her."

"I didn't know," She whispered, her hands on mine. "I thought it was Max -"

"You thought what?"

She explained about the flowers and the restaurant.

"She wants me to meet her tomorrow night, behind the theater. At eight o'clock -"

"No," I snapped.

"Michael, can't we just -"

"No! Liz, you're not going to meet her," I said, trying to keep my voice down. "We just have to keep a low profile. We don't meet with her. Just act normal."

"For how long?" She asked. "How long can we keep this up?"

"As long as we have to," I whispered.

She stared at me and shook her head a little. "This is what your life is like," She whispered. Her voice was trembling.

I pulled her closer to me. "Nothing's going to happen to you," I whispered. "Nothing."


Michael wouldn't listen to me. So I went to Max. We all met at the quarry to discuss it.

"So, she wore a wig, huh?" Alex asked.

"Alex, she was so scared," I said. I could feel Michael glaring at me. "I've never seen anyone that scared before."

"Taken a look at me lately?"

"Don't you get it?" Michael demanded. "This is exactly what she wants. She has spooked the three of you, and now she's waiting for you to deliver the three of us straight to the FBI."

"No, Michael," I said, trying to keep my voice even. "It's not three and three anymore."

He should know that better than anybody.

"- It's the six of us now. We need to start making our decisions that way."

"There's no decision to be made," Isabel said. "We trust no one. We never have, and we never will. God, if you think you can even begin to understand what it's like to be us in this -"

I couldn't help it. I looked right at Michael.

He didn't even acknowledge it.

{Michael, I know you're angry, but -}

{Leave it alone, Liz.}

Isabel was still talking. Max was trying to calm her down.

"- if there's a hunter out there, who do you think he's coming for first, Max?"

"There is no hunter out there, okay?" Michael snapped. "This is insane. Can't you people smell a set-up, or am I the only one thinking straight here?"

"Why don't we put it to a vote?" Maria asked. "Do we meet Topolsky again or not?"

Isabel, Max and Michael jumped into that. They all voted no.

Of course they did, Liz, that's how they've survived -

"If anything happens to any of you -" I whispered -

I tried not to look at Michael.

{Michael, please -}

He wouldn't answer me.

"I think that's why we need to meet her," I finished lamely. "I think we need protection."

"Great. It's a tie," Michael muttered. "Hell of a lot of good that did us."

And then Maria voted no.

My mouth dropped.

Four to two. We wouldn't tell her. Alex stormed off.

{Michael -}


I bit my lip.

When Max led me to the car, I went with him.


Chapter Index

Main Authors Offsite Recs
DC Slash Harry Potter Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other