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Triad, Part Four

Reply to Gale

Posted to the Roswell Slash list September 13,2000

TITLE: Triad (4/7)
AUTHOR: Gale Dumont
EMAIL: iphignia939@yahoo.com-I'm fully prepared for flames on this one.
DISCLAIMER: The WB would never do anything this much fun with them. Thank God for fanfic, huh?
SUMMARY: Liz and Max and Michael. Oh my.
RATING: NC-17. Hoo boy, is it ever.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Inspired, at least in part, by Sandy's "An Unlikely Trio", as well as a few nasty thoughts Miranda put in my head and my occasional love of UC. Also, this isn't related to any of my other stories. Purely a one-shot. (As if I could top this. Shyeah.)
SOUNDTRACK: "Addicted" by Faithless, Janet Jackson's "Velvet Rope" album (especially "Go Deep", "I Get So Lonely", "Got 'Till It's Gone" and "Rope Burn").
HUGS GO OUT TO: Miranda, as ever, who pre-read most of this for me. Top *this*, sis.



Liz paused on the top step, checked her watch for what felt like the fortieth time in an hour. Almost noon. No one could sleep that late in the day, not even Michael. He had to be up by now.

She tried the knob. The door was unlocked.

She frowned. Weird. Middle of the day, the door unlocked, and Michael would never do something that stupid if he was out --

Her mouth went dry. Oh, God, no, no, it wasn't...

She leaned her weight against the door and shoved, not terribly surprised when it opened with no problem whatsoever.

She was, however, more than a little surprised by what she saw.

There they were -- the love of her life and his best friend -- sprawled together on the couch, entwined like lovers.

Two pairs of eyes met hers. The silence stretched out endlessly.

Tears pricking her eyes, she turned to go. There was no way she'd give them the pleasure of seeing her cry.

"Don't," Michael said, holding up a hand to stop her.

She froze mid-step.

====

"Don't," Michael said again, getting to his feet. "Liz, please, don't go. Stay."

She spun on him, anger rising in her voice with each word. "Why? You look pretty damn comfortable where you are right now."

"You don't understand," he said, knowing as soon as the words were out of his mouth that it was the wrong thing to say.

"You're right. I don't. And I'm not sure that I want to." She looked at the prone figure still on the ground. "How?" she whispered, anger shifting to pain in an instant. "I loved you."

The pain that flashed through his eyes was more than Michael could take. "This doesn't have anything to do with the two of you," he started.

She drew back her arm and moved to slap him.

He caught her hand before it reached his face. "You don't understand," he said again. "You don't, but you should."

And just as he had done to Max the day before, he kissed her.

And just as had not happened the day before, he saw inside her.

Afterwards, pillowed together, she looked up at him. He was so beautiful -- and not just physically. He would never harm her, never hurt her, never make her feel ridiculous or betrayed. She could do no less for him. "I will always love you," she murmured softly, knowing that he, asleep, couldn't hear her. She'd just have to tell him someday. And every day after.

Michael stepped back from her. She looked at him, eyes wide, every muscle in her body trembling. "Liz, I didn't mean to see that, I swear. It just -- happened."

"Stop it," she whispered, the heel of her hand pressed to her mouth. "Get out of my head. You weren't invited."

"I don't think I have to be," he said softly, looking just as shaky as she did.

"Liz," Max murmured, getting off the couch and coming towards her, his eyes still vague and unfocused. His voice was clear enough, though. "Please don't go. Stay. Stay with us."

She was trembling almost violently now, every nerve and muscle in her body on alert. "I *can't*," she said, squeezing her eyes shut. "I can't. No. No."

Max took her carefully in his arms. "Look at me, Liz. Look at me."

Liz looked up, tears spilling down her face.

"I love you. God, I love you so much --"

" -- it hurts," she finished. "I remember. But what does that have to do with this?"

"Everything. Nothing. I'm not sure." He used his thumbs to clear the tear tracks from her cheeks, every motion lamb-gentle. "I'm not going to force you to stay; if I could, I wouldn't. What I am doing is *asking* you to stay."

"So am I," Michael murmured, moving to stand behind her, his body pressed close to hers. "If we were to stand a little closer, there might be room enough for both of us...just for a little while."

"What?"

The two men exchanged a glance. "Nothing. It's a long story," Max said finally, nuzzling the pale skin of her throat. "Just...stay, Liz. Please. Please."

She stood there, sandwiched between them, shaking like a leaf. Her eyes were still squeezed shut, her hands balled into fists.

Slowly, so slowly, Liz unclenched her fists. The trembling stopped.

Max let out a long, shuddering breath. "Thank you, baby," he murmured, relief filling his heart. This was going to work. He took a step back and began unbuttoning her blouse. Michael pulled away from her long enough to strip off his shirt and toss it away, then moved back behind her and began kissing the back of her neck.

Max finished with the last button and pushed the blouse off of her shoulders, skimming his hands down her chest until he reached her breasts. He dropped to his knees and laved a nipple with his tongue, wetting it through her bra. She groaned and arched towards him, threading her fingers through his hair and tugging him closer.

"This..." Liz gasped. "I shouldn't be here. I should go." She didn't relinquish her hold on him, though, not for a second; if anything; her hands tightened in his hair.

"Why?" Michael murmured against her skin, flicking his tongue out and tasting the sweat there. Young and warm, entirely different from anyone else in the world. Delicious.

"Because...we...this isn't..." His tongue on her nipple was making it hard to think. "*Because*," she managed, pushing herself away from the two of them. "I mean, Christ, Michael, I didn't even know you had feelings for Max."

"I don't. Not romantically, anyway."

She shot him a look, which would have been more effective if she wasn't nearly topless. "Really. So you just decided to kiss him."

"Basically, yeah." He grinned at the annoyance that flashed across her face. "You missed the rambling explanation a minute ago, but this -- it's a one-shot deal, Liz. One night only. Or day. Whatever."

"What if you like it?"

Michael blinked. "I think that's sort of supposed to be the point."

"That's not what I meant," she said quietly, folding her arms across her breasts.

His face softened. "I know," he said. "And if I like it too much...that's my problem, not yours." His mouth twitched up in what could, charitably, be called a smirk. "It's not like he's going anywhere, Liz. I've known Max my entire life, and as long as I've known him, he's been in love with you. Trust me, you're in no danger of being dumped." He took a step towards her; she didn't move backwards, and he took another. "Look, if you don't want to go through with this, I understand. But I *do* want you to stay."

"Why?"

"Because the two of you are incomplete without each other," he said quietly. "It would be a little weird to have him here and not have you."

"The whole situation's weird," she muttered, and looked between the two of them for a long moment, her eyes darting back and forth nervously. "I...can't," Liz said finally. "Not with you, not...that way."

But she wasn't backing out. This was a good sign. Michael took a relieved breath. "I understand," he said. "Believe me, I understand. It would be like --"

" -- kissing your sister," the two said together.

Liz let out a long breath and uncrossed her arms, stepping towards him. "You're sure?" she murmured. He nodded.

"All right, then," she said, and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. He forced himself to relax against her.

This...was different. Not bad, not uncomfortable, but -- hell, it *was* like kissing his sister, if he'd had one. There was ambient heat, but no real passion. Not for each other, anyway. He sent up a momentary prayer of thanks that nothing in the apartment was easily flammable. From the amount of energy flowing around the room, the sprinklers would have gone off long ago.

Max moved to stand at her back, hands reaching around to cup her breasts. "He's right, you know," he murmured, knowing she couldn't respond at the moment. "I'm always going to love you." He paused, stilling his hands. "And if you wanted me to leave --"

She broke away from Michael's lips long enough to murmur, "Max?"

"Hmn?"

"Stop talking." She twisted around and reached for the hem of Max's shirt, practically yanking it off of his head and tossing it away. "There. Much better."

Michael took a long, shuddering breath. Every muscle in his body was tense, full of energy, ready to do something -- or someone; it didn't really matter just now. His heartbeat was firecracker-loud to his own ears. "We should probably move this out of the living room," he managed, his voice sounding far raspier than usual.

Max lifted his head from the curve of her throat and looked at him, the pupils almost black in the afternoon sunlight. "What's wrong with right here?" he said, and Michael was gratified to hear that the other man's voice was just as throaty as his own.

"Because," Liz spoke up, threading her fingers through his belt loops and tugging him towards the bedroom, "anyone could just walk in." She stretched and bit at his earlobe. "Do you really want that?"

"Not especially, no." Max lifted his head and shot Michael a look. "Coming?" he asked, holding out a hand to him.

One last chance. He didn't have to go through with this. He could blow it off, somehow; pretend it had never happened. And then he could sprout wings and fly away, because that was the more likely of the two options.

"Not yet," he said, unable to keep the smirk from his face. "We've hardly started. There's plenty of time for that." He took the other man's hand and yanked him close, the smirk becoming a grin at the dazed look on his face. "Plenty of time," he said again, and started working at his fly.

She came up behind him, pressing her breasts flush against his back; from the feel of her skin against his, she'd lost the bra somewhere along the trip. "Plenty of time," she agreed, and reached around to caress a nipple. He sucked in a breath.

This was shaping up to be a hell of a lot better day than he'd planned.

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