Categories: GEN, Comedy, SciFi.
Pairings: The friendships between Kyle & Max, Kyle & Liz, and Max & Liz are all relevant. Shades of UST in all directions.
Characters: Kyle Valenti (primary), Max Evans, Liz Parker
Spoilers: Blind Date, after which this fic deviates from canon, although some events from future episodes are addressed. If you haven't seen Roswell, all three seasons are available on Netflix, as well as DVD.
A/N: Written as a gift for Noxelementalist in the Roswell Gift Exchange. Writing a season one fic for these characters after all of these years made for an interesting challenge, and one which I enjoyed. Thank you for the prompt!
Summary: Kyle and Max do a little scheming while trying to save face in the wake of the KROZ concert.
Credits: Research and alien spellcheck resources include Crash Into Me: The World of Roswell by Robyn Burnett and crashdown.com.
Disclaimer: I'm borrowing from Jason Katims and Regency Entertainment. I promise to put the toys away neatly when I'm finished.
Kyle staggered through his morning routine, his blinding hangover cutting short his usual morning push ups. He tried to recall the events of the night before, but as they began to swim through his memory, he opted to work twice as hard to block them out.
A stage, a screaming crowd, the local DJ calling him Lyle. All bad enough. His drunken pursuit of Liz -- or more accurately, half of Liz, with alternating Saturdays apparently -- doubled his urge to vomit.
Desperation was so not a good look on a guy. Liz had to think he was an idiot. The whole town had to think he was an idiot.
Only one thing made it slightly better -- Max Evans had looked just as stupid and desperate. More so, even. Kyle gave thanks that he wasn't the one to have kissed Liz and then run away. At least he'd finish merely as runner-up for biggest idiot in school come Monday.
Despite Kyle's most fervent wishes, the sun rose on Monday. He'd had an entire Sunday to contemplate his own stupidity, but it wasn't until he reached the high school parking lot that a possible solution occurred to him. He laughed as it crossed his mind. Ridiculous. But then he walked through the school doors and saw Max Evans trying to hide behind his open locker door.
His own urge to hide arose as he spotted Liz, only a few lockers away, and looking all too smug as she whispered to Maria.
"Evans!" Kyle whispered. He gave an urgent wave, and ducked into a nearby science room.
Max followed, far less urgently, and then just stood there giving him the hairy eyeball. "Kyle."
"Look," Kyle said. "I have a plan. Kind of a crazy plan, I admit, but -- "
"I think we've both had enough of your crazy plans, don't you?"
"Well, yes, but what we both need now is some damage control, my friend."
"Kyle -- "
"We both came off a little desperate the other night. What we need now is a distraction."
"If you're planning on pulling the fire alarm, or streaking, or pulling some other wild stunt, I'll pass. I have Michael for that."
Kyle frowned. "Well I hope you don't also have Michael for what I'm about to suggest. You see, I'm the jealous type."
"No kidding." Max tilted his head "Wait. What the heck are you suggesting?"
"We spin this whole situation in a brand new direction," Kyle said. "Take Liz out of the equation. Give the people a new topic for gossip."
"Kyle -- "
Kyle grinned and spread his arms wide. "Valenti and Evans, Roswell's new power couple."
"It's perfect," Kyle continued. "We're no longer two desperate guys who lost the chase. And best of all, who would make up a story like this? People would have to believe it."
"Right," Max said. "Except they wouldn't. It's ridiculous."
"What, is Max Evans too much of a macho stud to play for the other team? Or do you have some sort of hangup -- "
"No," Max said. "Of course not. There's nothing wrong with the concept, it's just that it's not true!"
Kyle snorted. "Now, see, I know you don't have any trouble lying, Evans. I've wasted the better part of the year trying to untangle your secrets."
"Forget it, Kyle, the whole idea is ridiculous." Max turned to storm out the door, and crashed straight into Liz Parker.
"Max, I thought we could talk." Liz turned on that doe-eyed gaze that could swallow a guy's will to resist with a single blink.
Evans, however, did the impossible. "Sorry, Liz, it's not a good time. Kyle and I were just in the middle of something."
"Oh, Kyle, I didn't see you there."
"Flattering," Kyle muttered under his breath. He steeled himself against her flustered apology, but fortunately she retreated swiftly.
"Okay," Max said when Liz was safely out of earshot. "You've got yourself a deal."
"Excellent." Kyle held his hand out. "No time like the present. Walk you to class?"
They paraded down the hallway with hands firmly linked. Max held his head high, refusing to reveal the slightest trace of awkwardness as their classmates stared with jaws hanging.
"Trying to catch flies, Tommy?" Max stared down the dumbfounded football player. "Better close your mouth."
"Certainly explains a lot." Tommy sneered at Kyle. "I should have known you were a -- "
"You'd better watch your mouth." Paulie grabbed Tommy by the shoulder. "You're one wrong word away from my dads flipping a coin to see who gets to whoop your ass."
"That's not -- it's cool, man. Just, it sure explains him and Liz, that's all."
"Yep," Kyle said cheerfully. "It sure does."
"Good for you, Kyle." Paulie actually slapped him on the back. "Good for you. And you too, Evans. You're not so bad after all."
The two jocks headed off in another direction.
Max stared at Kyle and shook his head in wonder.
"Told you it would work," Kyle said. "Paulie's dads are huge. There's not a soul in Roswell who will mock us now. Our status is restored."
Max cared very little about his social status. What did concern him was keeping a safe distance from Liz. If this crazy scheme of Kyle's could keep him from screwing up her life, he was on board. She deserved a normal life, and that was something he couldn't give her. So he had to suck it up and let her go, even if it meant watching her date archeologists from Santa Cruz.
He wondered how long Kyle would stick to the ruse. Not long, he decided, when they strutted past Vicky Delaney and she flashed Kyle a smile. Kyle would tire of this act within the week.
Liz heard the big news at lunch. She'd kept her head down all morning. She kept her mind on her classes, willfully ignoring every whisper about Max or Kyle. And there had been a lot of whispers. But she'd refused to listen.
"Oh my God, Liz!" Maria dropped her sandwich and stared at something just over Liz's left shoulder.
"Unless a flying saucer has just landed in the courtyard I don't need to know."
"Trust me, you're gonna know."
"Czechoslovakian with a twist," Maria answered. "A very unexpected twist."
Fully expecting something green and slimy that would plunge her life into chaos, Liz turned in her seat.
Max Evans sat three tables away, holding up a french fry laden with ketchup. So far, nothing to arrest Maria's attention so thoroughly. Liz almost went back to her own lunch. Then it happened -- Max leaned forward, smiling, and fed the french fry to Kyle Valenti.
Liz watched, thunderstruck, as the performance repeated.
"That has to be the craziest attempt at inciting jealousy I've ever witnessed," Maria said. "Think they're angling for a threesome?"
"After last night I thought I was prepared for anything," Liz said. "This wasn't even on my radar."
"Face it Liz," Maria said. "You've ruined them both for all other girls."
"This isn't funny," Liz said. "What if this is Kyle's new way of investigating Max?"
"That . . . almost makes sense." Maria frowned at the french fry eating demonstration. "But how did he know it would work? How would Kyle know that Max is bisexual? I smell a rat."
"They were both pretty drunk the other night," Liz said. "Max could have said anything."
"Is Max bisexual?" Maria asked.
Liz shrugged. "It sure looks that way right now."
"Maybe all Czechoslovakians are bisexual," Maria said.
"You two have got to find a better code word," Alex said as he joined them. "Czechoslovakia hasn't existed since 1992."
"But there must still be Czechoslovakians," Maria said. "They didn't just stop being Czechoslovakians because their country ended."
"The people continued on just as they had before, as either Czech, or Slovak. It was never one thing. That's a big part of why their country broke up. That, and communism fell."
Liz barely heard Alex. She was too riveted by the sight of Max and Kyle holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at each other.
Maybe she was a little jealous.
Kyle struggled not to smirk when he saw Liz's face. He hadn't set out to make her jealous, but he could hardly help it if she happened to look over and get a taste of her own medicine. Nor could he help but enjoy it.
"What?" Max followed his gaze and saw Liz. "Oh."
"I do believe she's jealous, my friend."
"I don't want to hurt her." Max performed his best kicked-puppy impression. "She doesn't deserve to get her heart broken."
"She cheated on you with a radio contest," Kyle said. "A little payback is warranted."
"It wasn't that simple," Max said. "We weren't together. We were never together."
"You say that, but I see the way you look at her," Kyle said. "And I've seen her look at you the same way. So, all jokes aside, what gives?"
"We can't be together," Max said. "It wouldn't be right."
"Sure, sure." Kyle nodded like that made sense. "She's a Capulet, it would be a bloodbath."
"Something like that," Max said, all dead seriousness and solemn eyes. "She deserves better."
Kyle spent his entire science class pondering Max's words. The whole thing with him and Liz didn't make any sense at all. What was the deep dark secret Max Evans and his friends guarded with such dedication? He'd counted his crazy stalker days as behind him, but the puzzle still bugged him.
He glanced over at Maria, who was not so subtly watching him from across the room. Her eyes snapped back to her notes, and she continued writing diligently even after the bell rang.
Max loitered over repacking his backpack after English class, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Isabel. He knew she'd heard the rumors by now, and he dreaded her response, because she'd see through the lie in a nanosecond, and then she'd never let him hear the end of it.
Once his sister gave up and left the room without him, Max shouldered his backpack and headed for the door. Instead of Isabel, he found himself face to face with Michael.
"Shelly Pomroy's telling people you spent sixth period in the eraser room with Kyle Valenti! Have you lost your mind?"
"I thought you skipped school today, Michael."
"I was a little late. So what?"
"You missed lunch."
"The food here sucks."
"Not really my point."
"So what gives with you and Kyle?"
"I'll explain later." Max gestured to the doorway of their history class. "There's still one more period, if you can spare the time to take in a class."
"Don't try to change the subject, Maxwell. If there's a threat I need to know."
"It's nothing," Max assured him. "There's no reason to worry."
Michael slumped into a desk and spent the whole period tapping a pencil against his leg.
Once they all piled into the jeep in the high school parking lot, Max bit the bullet and started to tell Michael and Isabel the truth. "I can never be with Liz," he began. "It puts her in danger, and that just isn't right. But the other night, I may have misled her -- "
"You kissed her in front of the whole town," Isabel said. "If that's what you meant by 'misled' she has every right to feel betrayed."
"You're right," Max admitted. "She does. But that doesn't change anything."
"So you told her you can't be with her," Isabel said. "But instead you're letting her believe you can be with someone else. Sure, that's fair."
"I gotta say, Maxwell, that's a little cold."
Max cringed, and opened his mouth to offer an argument he still hadn't formulated.
Kyle appeared beside the jeep. "Hey lover. Got room for one more?"
"Cut the crap, Kyle." Michael glared at him. "We know this is some kind of scam."
"What, because Max and I have had a little trouble getting along? All in the past. Unresolved sexual tension, you know how it is."
Isabel rolled her eyes. "I'm not buying it either."
"Okay, we haven't quite resolved the tension. But it's in the cards, right Evans?"
"Sure." Max knew Michael and Isabel weren't buying it. Isabel could always tell when he lied, and Michael lived in a world of permanent suspicion. He doubted Kyle would approve of letting them in on the secret, though. "Hop in."
Kyle clambored into the back of the jeep, from where he cheerfully offered first date possibilities to the icy silence surrounding him. "We could catch a movie. There's a new Vin Diesel flick that sounds good. Crashed spacecraft, killer aliens, what do you think?"
"Sounds great," Max said. He ignored Michael's penetrating stare, knowing he'd taken the movie suggestion as a thinly veiled threat, convinced Kyle was on to them somehow. It did seem almost calculated, except he'd seen the Pitch Black poster outside the theater himself the other night. Not much else was playing.
Out of habit, Max drove them to the Crashdown.
"Cold, Max," Isabel hissed as she climbed out. "Whatever this is about, Liz deserves better."
Kyle slid into a booth, opposite Max.
Michael, to his surprise, slid in next to him. Close. "Just what are you playing at, Kyle? Is this about screwing with Liz, or is this about screwing with us?"
"I'm playing at seeing if this thing between Max and I has a chance," Kyle said. "Things got real the other night, and one thing led to another . . . "
Max turned red, and kept his eyes on his menu. "Kyle."
"Nothing to be embarrassed about, Evans. It was a great night."
"I've heard enough." Isabel stalked over to join Maria and Alex at the counter.
Agnes ambled over to their table and glared at them. Not because she'd heard the gossip, but just on general principle. Agnes was not a fan of customers, as a rule. "What'll you have?"
Kyle ordered quickly, and Max did the same. When Michael continued to peruse his menu, Max kicked him under the table.
"Speak up, kid, or you're getting a Galaxy Melt." Agnes tapped her foot with impatience, but very slowly.
"Nothing for me," Michael said.
"Got it. Galaxy Melt with Saturn Rings and a Cherry Coke." Agnes didn't even bother to lower her voice as she turned away. "Damn kids, always trying to loiter. Cheapskates, every last one of them."
"Wow," Kyle said when Agnes finally reached the kitchen. "Liz must be pissed."
"Seeing as I'm stuck paying for all that food, I'm gonna go sit where it might actually get served."
"He has a point," Max said. "They all do. Liz doesn't deserve to have her nose rubbed in this . . . relationship."
"Radio contest," Kyle reminded him. "She sure as hell rubbed your nose in her date the other night."
"Yeah, and what did we do? We chased her around town like two buffoons."
"We did, and I for one don't want to make that our legacy." He spotted Liz out of the corner of his eye, and reached for Max's hand. "So we're on for that movie?"
"Sure." Max stopped paying any attention to him the moment his radar picked up Liz's presence. An actual flying saucer could crash into the diner and authenticate the theme. Max would still only have eyes for Liz.
Kyle wondered why that bothered him.
"Hey Max," Liz delivered their drinks, along with a shaky smile. "Kyle." She looked at Max and swallowed. "It's okay, you know. I just want you to be happy. Both of you."
"Me too. You, I mean. Happy. I want you to be happy, Liz."
Liz nodded, gave another shaky smile, and bolted.
"You should probably stop calling me that," Max said.
"What, your name?"
"Last name," Max said. "It's a little cold."
"Mulder calls Scully 'Scully' and it's obvious he's madly in love with her."
"Well this isn't a television show about aliens."
Max gave him an odd look. Like he'd been personally insulted.
Kyle gestured at the mural on the wall. "Mulder would love this place."
"There's no way Maxwell's suddenly in love with Kyle Valenti," Michael argued. "Even if he does play for both teams -- I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it if he does -- he's never had eyes for anyone but Liz."
"It does seem suspicious," Maria agreed. "Not to mention sudden."
"Look," Liz said. "It's not really any of our business."
"It absolutely is our business," Michael said. "What if Kyle's onto us? He all but said it on the way over here. Crashed spaceship, killer aliens. What was that about?"
"A movie," Isabel said. "He was describing a movie. It's playing downtown."
"You're taking his side?"
Isabel rolled her eyes. "Just trying to rein in your wild conclusions."
"What if they've been whammied by something?" Maria asked. "Like, they both touched some alien doohickey and now they think they're in love?"
"That's . . . actually not ridiculous," Isabel said. "It sounds ridiculous, but -- " She glanced over at the alleged happy couple, whispering intimately over colas. "So does that."
"It would explain a lot," Liz said.
"Like how Max is constantly so hot and cold?" Maria fiddled with a salt shaker. "One second Liz is the love of his life, the next he claims they can never be together. What's that about?"
"Maybe I'm the alien whammy," Liz said. "Saving my life whammied him, but in the meantime, he's had these conflicting feelings. I mean, he never expressed an interest before I got shot. It makes sense."
"No," Isabel said. "I know my brother. He was hung up on you long before that day."
"Then this is the whammy," Alex said. "How do we fix it?"
"Find the cause," Maria said. "Retrace their steps from the other night."
"And if you see something alien, don't touch it," Liz added.
"Someone needs to keep an eye on them," Isabel said. "Before Max does something he'll regret."
"Or says something we'll all regret," Michael added. "I'll do it."
"No!" Everyone said at once.
"Alex and Isabel should watch them," Maria said. "Liz and I need you on the investigative team."
"You know Isabel and Alex are following us, right?" Kyle glanced back at Mr. Whitman's car, half a block behind them.
"Just be glad it's not Michael."
"What's with that guy?"
"He's convinced that you're up to something."
"What could I possibly be up to, Evans? Besides seducing you, of course."
"Michael always thinks everyone's up to something," Max said.
"That dude seriously needs to relax. Just because he has something to hide doesn't mean everyone does."
"Michael doesn't have anything to hide."
"Okay, he hides his feelings. He doesn't like everyone knowing his business. But is that so unusual?"
"I guess not," Kyle conceded. "Not everyone's an open book."
Kyle himself was less than keen on other people knowing his business once they settled into their seats at the theater and discovered Isabel and Alex snuggled into their seats a mere three rows back. He sighed, and slung an arm around Max's shoulders.
"We have an audience."
"You know Isabel's not buying this act, right?"
"Then why's she bothering to spy on you?"
Max looked away. "Overprotective sister thing, I guess."
"We could make out a little," Kyle suggested. "Give her a reason to believe."
"We don't need her to believe."
"Don't we?" Kyle waggled his eyebrows, and tried not to smirk at the way Max's ears turned so red he noticed even in the dimly lit theater.
"Are you actually hitting on me right now?" Max asked. "I can't tell."
Kyle laughed off the suggestion. "Only if the movie really sucks, man."
Liz watched as Maria thoroughly searched her bedroom for alien artifacts. "Max and Kyle were both pretty drunk," she explained. "I was trying to do some damage control when the radio people caught us. Kyle tackled Doug, and they were wrestling on the bed. At that point, Max was pretty intent on dragging me out the window. So I don't think the whammy happened here."
"Maybe it had delayed effects," Michael said. "We can't be too careful."
"Max could have said anything to Kyle while they were drinking," Liz said. "He was acting completely reckless. And now, if they've been whammied, we're going to have to tell Kyle something."
"Why?" Michael asked.
"Because when we fix it, or when it wears off, he's going to have questions."
"One problem at a time," Maria said. "And let's start with this." She held up a framed picture. "Where the hell is my head?"
"Yeah." Liz studied the picture of Max's head superimposed on Maria's body. "We should probably hide that before someone sees it."
"What?" Michael asked. "Your parents haven't heard of Photoshop?"
"Sure." Liz stashed the creepy picture in a drawer. "But that's a little twisted and I'd like to avoid taking credit for making it."
The movie, although slow in a few spots, fortunately did not suck. Max was starting to feel the slightest bit uneasy about what Kyle might suggest next. Saving face in the school hallway was one thing, but making out in front of his sister would cross a line.
"Good flick." Kyle stood and offered Max a hand up.
Max rolled his eyes, but he did let Kyle take his hand. After he'd stood up, though. He had his limits.
Isabel and Alex made a half-hearted effort to act surprised to see them.
"Not very realistic," Alex said. "They just happen to crash on a planet with a breathable atmosphere? That's why I've never believed the conspiracy theorists who claim aliens are among us. They'd probably require a completely different mix of gases. Too much of a coincidence if they can survive so easily."
Isabel gripped Alex's arm. "Overselling it."
Kyle didn't hear Isabel's whisper. "It's just a movie. You should probably just relax."
"Was that a Mystery Science Theater reference?"
Kyle and Alex began to discuss a movie called Manos: Hands of Fate, while Isabel studied Max with her most penetrating gaze.
"You know what."
"When did this all start?"
He sighed. "Long story."
"Just as long as you know there's a story," Isabel said.
Later, Max wondered just why that felt like an insult.
It happened the next day at lunch. Kyle's whole worldview exploded in his face, quite literally, and made all questions of sexual identity seem downright trivial.
He and Max were sharing a perfectly pleasant lunch with the rest of the gang. Aside from a dash of guilt at Liz's valiant attempts to disguise her jealousy and support her friends, Kyle felt pretty content. Then he noticed Vicky Delaney's intense scruity from the next table. After the party at the soap factory, she'd be the first to mock him if this all fell apart.
"Max," he whispered. "I don't think Vicky's a true believer."
"So we need to do something."
"This," Kyle decided. He leaned toward Max, and caught the back of his neck in one hand. Then he laid one on him, full on the lips. He didn't have time to analyze lip pressure, or consider whether the situation warranted tongue, because the kiss knocked him on his ass. Figuratively, at least. And not because it was a particularly good kiss.
The school courtyard disappeared entirely as Kyle's mind was flooded with images of outer space. Not the kind of stars a guy claimed to see when a girl slipped him the tongue. He felt no rush of the hormonal variety. He saw Max Evans, six years old and gazing at six year old Liz Parker. He saw the Milky Way galaxy spread out before him. He saw Isabel wandering the desert in the dark, dripping some sort of goo from her hair. He saw a creepy underground bunker in Texas. He saw fear and guns and the actual FBI. He saw a dusty parking lot and a crazy man and more guns.
He pulled back. "Evans?"
"Eraser room," Max said. "Now."
Everyone within earshot gave a collective gasp.
Kyle didn't care. He followed Max to the eraser room, head spinning.
"What did you see?" Max demanded as soon as he closed the door behind him.
"Man, I knew you had secrets but I never imagined." He wanted to sound sympathetic but he barely had a voice.
"You can't say anything."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Max. I think I need to sit down."
Max nodded, and sank to the floor himself.
Kyle joined him. "My dad saved your life."
"So it's not drugs."
"I should have known Liz wouldn't cover up drugs, or organized crime, or any other theory that made any actual sense at the time."
"But you see why I need to keep her safe?"
"Yeah man, I do." Kyle gazed up at the tiled ceiling. It had a large stain on it. "I'm not sure you can, though. I mean, she knows the risks. Isn't it her choice?"
Max sighed. "But wouldn't it be selfish of me? To let her put herself in danger?"
"Oh Evans, if there's anything I know about Liz, it's that there is no 'letting' her do anything. She makes her own decisions."
"I guess time will tell," Max said. "But I can trust you, right?"
Kyle nodded. "I know I've given you a hard time in the past, but I had no idea. I was worried about Liz. And maybe a little jealous. But your life -- wow, I had no idea."
"Your dad suspects. Liz, Maria, and Alex know. And now you. That's it. That's the exclusive I know an alien club in its entirety."
"So welcome to the club."
Kyle snorted. "Sure, sure. Sign me up. Send me a schedule of the meetings. Just . . . I'm going to need a little time with this."
Max looked startled. "Kyle?"
"Not to make any decisions. Your secret's safe with me. I just need to digest it all. It's . . . different."
"That's one word for it." Max stood up and offered his hand. "I'm sure the gossip mill anxiously awaits our return. Shall we?"
"Let's give the people what they want." And Kyle followed Max out of the eraser room and into his new reality. Aliens. In Roswell.
Who could have guessed.
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Roswell™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Regency Entertainment. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, January 2017.