Disclaimer: I asked Santa to give them to me for Christmas. So far, no dice. It's May-I should probably give up hoping, yeah?

A/N: Please, no more threats! You are, of course, welcome to continue offering bribes. I accept foreign and domestic currency in small nonsequential denominations, as well as icons, manips, concrit, and most varieties of chocolate.

Chapter One

They'd decided not to tell anybody.

Well, Liz had decided. 'Anybody,' of course, meant Isabel, Maria, Max and Kyle. "I think we should wait a little bit longer," she suggested when they were up on her balcony on Tuesday night.

"You don't think they'll figure it out when we're all over each other at school?"

"I didn't think we would be," she admitted, a little puzzled. "You're not really into public displays of affection."

"State your source."

"Maria," was her rather sheepish reply.

"So, by your logic, I should assume that you're going to push me at another girl to save the planet?"

"That was an extenuating circumstance, Michael. Are you really trying to tell me that you'll come back in time to force me to give you up?"

He shook his head. "Nope, never happen. That's kind of my point. I'm not Max. And you're not Maria. So different rules apply."

"But that's not a person-specific decision, Michael, either you're comfortable being touched in public, or you're not."

"I didn't used to be comfortable being touched at all," was his reply. "I'm starting to get over that. And there is never gonna be a time when you touching me is not okay."

"Oh." She went quiet, but it was a good kind of quiet. She was smiling. "I'm glad. But I still think we should wait until-"

"Until when? When do you think Max is going to take it well?"

"Okay, never," she admitted, sounding defeated.

"Are you ashamed of me, Liz?" he asked very quietly.

"No. Michael, of course not. But you and Max have been getting along better since you got back from Texas than you have for months. He's your family, and I don't want to wreck that for you. I don't understand why the big rush to hurt everybody."

"Well, jeez, Parker, if you're gonna use logic…"

"Besides. I'd like to have you to myself for a couple of weeks before we have to fight with our friends about it."

He nodded. "Okay, I can get behind that. But I'm a linear thinker. I need a timeframe."

"You're a left-brain thinker prone to flying by the seat of your pants," Liz countered dryly.

"You've been a good influence on me. Now I like to have a plan."

"Sure. Okay. Before Valentine's Day. How's that?"

"Pretty open-ended, Liz."

"All right, February 10th for absolute sure, because Valentine's Day is a major girl holiday and I want to be able to be with you without worrying about someone seeing the wrong thing. Before that if we feel ready, or if they ask. I'm not ashamed of you, and that means I won't lie about it if someone asks me."

"Ditto."

"So we're okay?"

"We're okay," Michael agreed, putting one arm around her. "If I'm mad at you, I'll yell, remember?"

"I remember," she replied, looking smugly satisfied, and Michael still didn't understand it and wasn't going to question his good luck.

"So, tomorrow after shift. They're showing Cary Grant movies at the arthouse theater."

"Cary Grant? Michael, did you hit your head?"

"Arsenic and Old Lace."

She relaxed into a soft smile. "I love that movie."

"I know. You up for it?"

"Well, I'm supposed to go shopping for nursery furniture with Isabel, but how long can that take?"

"All hail the Baby Nazi. How long do you think?"

She smirked. "Okay, well, the stores close at eight. What time does the movie start?"

"It starts at-" Michael pulled a slightly crumpled flyer out of his pocket and consulted it- "ah…nine-fifteen."

"Perfect. Are you sure you don't want to come with us to the mall?"

He snorted. "Yeah, right. Do I strike you as a masochist?"

"What are you going to do?"

"Well, I was going to pine away without you, but Max, Kyle and Jesse want to play basketball."

"How callous of them," she teased. "You know that if you keep teaming up with Kyle, Max and Jesse won't want to play anymore. A lawyer and a former king don't exactly make for gracious losers."

"Well, if they were nice about it, it wouldn't be any fun."

oOo

"You assholes," Jesse gasped, hands braced on his knees, sweat dripping off the end of his nose.

"Dream Team, baby, seven and oh!" Kyle crowed, then high-fived Michael.

"How about a rematch?" Max offered, grinning.

"You want to get your ass kicked twice in one day, El Presidente?"

"Sorry, guys, I can't," Michael said as he checked his watch. "I gotta hit the showers and meet Liz at the mall. We're going to a movie."

Kyle snorted. "Blow her off, man, our winning streak is at stake here."

"After spending all afternoon with the Baby Nazi, I don't think she'll appreciate it if I ditch her for basketball. I'm gonna have to retire undefeated."

"Whipped," Jesse coughed.

"At least I'm gonna spend my evening in a dark room with a pretty girl, instead of assembling nursery furniture for a hormone-crazed Amazon," Michael cracked.

"Well, when you put it like that…got room for one more?"

"We're going to see Arsenic and Old Lace."

Kyle, who had been busy chugging Gatorade, spewed it all over the pavement. "The whole time we were dating, I refused to go near the arthouse theater! I can't believe she talked you into it when there's no chance you're gonna get any."

Oh, I don't know about that…

"Cary Grant, Michael?" Max added, looking puzzled. "Not exactly your genre."

"She sits through Die Hard and Braveheart and Army Of Darkness for me, I can sit through an old movie for her. People get killed in it-how bad can it be?"

Max and Kyle looked at each other. "Bad," they said together.

oOo

Michael had decided one of the side benefits of going to the arthouse theater was that no one they knew would be there, and they could make out in the back. An old black-and-white movie Liz had seen before and he wasn't interested in wasn't going to be much of a distraction.

But it turned out that they didn't get a lot of kissing done. The exaggerated sight gags and the bizarre plot managed to hold Michael's attention; and the popcorn was better than the reheated crap they served at the mall cineplex, too.

"That was actually kind of fun," he admitted as they were on their way out the door. "It was funny, and the girl was hot."

"Deborah Kerr."

"Yeah, her," Michael agreed, then realized what he said. "Wait. You're not mad?"

"This was filmed in 1945, Michael," she reminded him, considerably amused. "Deborah Kerr's dead. I have no one to be jealous of."

"Oh. Right."

"So maybe I could talk you into another one sometime?"

"Sure."

"I don't see you sitting through a musical…well, maybe The Producers. But I'll think of something."

"Preferably something with murder," he put in.

"Noted. How about The Big Sleep? It's playing next week."

"Okay. How was shopping with Isabel?"

"Weird. Pregnancy is really throwing her powers out of whack. She made a sleeper change colours, exploded a bunch of babyfood jars and set my latte on fire. She said she didn't even realize she was doing it."

"That's not like her," Michael agreed. "She used her powers the most when we were growing up-she's usually got better control than that."

"Well, hormones."

"Yeah, I guess. I'll have to talk to her; if there's a chance that she's gonna do something in front of Jesse, she needs to tell him before it happens."

"She should probably tell him anyway. What if the baby has powers, or only four fingers or God-knows-what? And I thought Nacedo said that alien pregnancies only take about a month."

"That's what Tess said," Michael reminded her. "She's not exactly a credible source."

Liz winced. "True."

He hugged her a little closer. "Sorry, honey," he muttered. "I didn't mean to bring her up."

"It's okay. It's just…do you know what the worst part is?"

"What?"

"Aside from the whole destined to be with Max thing-which wasn't exactly her fault-I liked her. I liked her, and I thought-well, hoped-that we'd be friends someday. Because I liked Ava, you know? And she left, and I thought maybe Tess…well, it was stupid. I felt stupid for trusting her, when the whole time, she was lying to us."

"We all trusted her. So if you were stupid, we were all stupid."

"Not the reassurance I was looking for," she remarked dryly.

"I'm not gonna lie to you, Liz. First because I don't see the point, and second because I'm not any good at it." He shrugged, a little jerkily. "If you want pretty lies, you're with the wrong guy. Even when I'm trying to be nice, I say things wrong half the time."

"No. Michael, no, I didn't mean it like that. I trust you. I know I can trust you because you'll never lie to me, even about little things. I know you won't go behind my back, or tell me everything's all right when it isn't. And I know you'll be loyal to me, that you'll back me up even if you think I'm wrong." She drew in a shaky breath. "God, when Alex died, you thought we were completely insane and you still came to Las Cruces because you believed that we believed and you wanted to make sure we were safe, and you can never know how much that meant to me."

"I did believe you," he admitted, very softly.

"What?"

"I did believe you. About Alex being killed by an alien. At first, at the funeral, I just thought that you were upset. But you were so determined, and you have a pretty good track record for being right about that kind of stuff."

"Thank you."

They walked in silence for a little while, Liz tucking herself under the curve of his arm. He matched his steps to hers. "School in a couple more days," he observed as they were nearing the Crashdown.

"I know."

"Listen, about Max. When you're ready. Or if he asks. I'm telling him."

"Michael-"

"Liz, I'm not gonna negotiate with you on this. You're worried about our friendship, well, this is the best way to salvage it. Because I know he's gonna flip out, and if he mouths off to you, I'll deck him. I won't be able to help myself. So the best way for us to do this without bloodshed and maybe stay friends, is if I tell him."

"Well, damn, Guerin, if you're going to use logic…"

"Good."

Liz let herself in to the back door, and Michael followed her in to the breakroom. He lifted her off of her feet and into his arms-even in heels she was too short for a proper kiss, which just gave him more incentive to get her horizontal. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, opening her mouth and sucking gently on his tongue.

"Oh, God, I do not want to know who taught you that," he murmured breathlessly as he strung kisses down her throat to the nape of her neck.

The trash can caught fire.

"Oh, my God, Michael!" Liz gasped, pulling away at the soft whumph! of the explosion.

He grabbed a half-empty mop bucket and dumped the cold grey water on the flames. "Liz, I swear to you, I didn't do that."

"I know," she admitted, her eyes wide and frightened. "I…I think I did."

oOo

A/N: I know Liz getting her powers didn't actually happen until February, but hey…it's not like Isabel had a kid, either!