posted on 26-Dec-2001 10:55:40 AM by Mikyla
Title: The Apprentice
Author: Mikyla
Rating: NC-17 for violence and sexual content
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. No infringement was intended.
Distribution: Ask first
Summary: AU Max and Liz fic. No Isabel or Tess. Sorry to the fans, but there is no room for them, unless you want them to die. That's all you get lol

Author's note: There's a killer in this one folks. This story deals with the death of a number of people. If that sort of thing offends you please do not read it. If you choose to read it after that, it's on your head, not mine.

Part 1

New York City, New York

Liz sat bolt upright in bed, her heart pounding, her eyes scanning the bedroom restlessly for something out of the ordinary. She found nothing but continued to search, closing her eyes and letting her ears listen to the sounds of her apartment. Nothing. As her breathing and heartbeat returned to normal she turned the examination on herself, wondering what had brought her out of a sound sleep so frightened, terrified. She lay back in bed and tried to capture the elusive dream she'd been having. Then she saw it. Just a small picture, but one she wasn't used to. She focused on it, bringing it closer to herself in her mind so she could see what it was. Her breathing sped up again but she ignored her body's reaction and continued bringing the picture closer, closer, straining to make out something in the blurry image.
When she finally saw what it was, her breathing stopped altogether, and tears welled in her eyes and ran silently down her cheeks. The woman had been beautiful. So beautiful. She wasn't anymore. Now she was just dead, her eyes staring up unseeingly, forever looking into the face of whoever, or whatever, had done this to her. Liz opened her eyes again and rolled over, picking up the phone, holding the image in her head. She dialed the number and waited impatiently for him to pick up. "Valenti."
His voice was grumpy, and despite the sickening image in her head, Liz felt her lips curl in a smile. "Jim it's me."
"Are you ok?" His voice was suddenly alert, infinitely reassuring.
"There's a woman," Liz told him. "I don't know where yet, but she's been murdered. We have to find her."
"We will," Jim said soothingly. "You know we will. What can you tell me?"
Liz rubbed her forehead and sighed. "Nothing besides what I've told you so far. I didn't see her clearly the first time, and by the time I realised what I was seeing I had nothing else. Just her picture."
She heard shuffling and knew Jim was getting out of bed. She did the same, wearily pulling on the robe at the end of her bed, putting it on, and carrying the phone with her into the kitchen.
"If this is another one like the others you'll see something soon. Did you recognize the woman?"
"No," Liz said, frowning. She searched her mind again and came up with nothing. "No, I don't recognize her."
He remained silent on the other end, and Liz knew from experience he was going over the options, working out a plan. Liz heard a door open in the hallway, and she smiled apologetically as Maria stumbled into the kitchen, her hair everywhere, her eyes blinking owlishly. She focused on the gurgling coffee machine and walked towards it unsteadily, absently brushing her lips over Liz's cheek as she went past.
"So, you don't think it's him then?" Jim asked.
Liz didn't even have to think about it. "Oh it's him. I wouldn't have seen the woman otherwise."
Jim murmured in agreement, and they talked about stupid things, inconsequential things, until Liz hung up, promising to be in to work soon. She put the phone on the counter and stared out the window, waiting for the sun to come up.
"You're up early," Maria said quietly, already inhaling her first cup of coffee, handing one to Liz. "Who was that you were talking to?"
"I didn't mean to wake you," Liz said quickly.
Maria waved her hand, indicating the unimportance of it. "Who were you talking to?"
Maria lowered the coffee cup, cradling it against her chest. "Another one?"
Liz nodded.
"Do you recognize her."
Liz shook her head. "Not yet, but I imagine I will."
"Is it him then?"
Liz nodded. "Oh yes. It's definitely The Apprentice."

Violent Crimes Unit

As Liz strode down the narrow hallway she went over the woman's face again and again, trying to feel some spark of recognition, trying to find out who the woman was. So far she had nothing. She pushed against the heavy doors and moved into the huge room, her eyes automatically looking for Jim. She found him standing in front of the table dominating the middle of the room, watching information scrolling on a large monitor on the wall.
"Do we know who she is yet?"
Jim shook his head, and Liz turned to the man banging away at the computer keys. He stopped typing and looked up with a tired smile.
"Morning sunshine. Are you the reason I'm up so early?"
Liz nodded.
"Morning Alex. Who's my lady?"
He turned back to his computer and resumed banging away. "I've gone through the missing persons reports for the last 6 months..."
Liz shook her head. "No, this'll be recent. He hasn't been playing with her for long."
Alex took the new information and fed it into the computer. "I've fed in all the information you gave Jim. Blonde hair, blue eyes, young. It would help if you could give me a city. Even a state."
"I don't know where she is Alex just...just get me the pictures and I'll find her."
He punched a key and a series of pretty faces appeared on the wall monitor. Liz sat down and began looking them over, determined to find her. It took her almost an hour.
"There she is," Liz told them, pointing to the screen. "Number 94. Bring her up Alex."
Her face suddenly filled the screen, and Liz felt hot tears welling again.
"Marjorie Summers," Jim said, reading the facts from a piece of paper he was holding. "Thirty-seven years old. Lives in New Jersey. Reported missing a week ago by her boyfriend when she didn't show up for dinner."
"Alex, get me a map of New Jersey," Liz said quietly. "I need to find her."
The picture moved to a different screen, leaving room for a huge map of New Jersey. Liz stared at it intently, going over the picture of the woman she still had in her mind in minute detail, trying to remember anything new and suddenly pointed.
"She's there," Liz said with certainty. "Norvine Green Forest."
"Um...not that I doubt you Liz, but there a lot of forests in New Jersey. She could be in any of them, if she's in a forest at all," Alex said hesitantly.
"She's there," Liz told him. "Jim...?"
"Alex, call Michael in. Tell him we're leaving for New Jersey and I want him here to take care of this place. You'd better call Kyle in too," he turned to Liz. "Do you want us to bring Maria in? Just until we know more about what's going on here?"
"Yes, please," Liz said gratefully.
"I'm on it," he said, picking up the phone.
Liz took one last look at the woman's face, alive, healthy, before following Jim out the door.

To Be Continued...

Feedback please guys. Thanks for reading. *tongue*

[ edited 12time(s), last at 7-Jan-2002 1:23:30 AM ]
posted on 26-Dec-2001 11:02:43 PM by Mikyla
Part 2

Norvine Green Forest - New Jersey

Liz looked around, trying to see something that might tip her off, something that might tell her that this was indeed the work of The Apprentice. She couldn't see anything.
All around her were the signs of the investigation. Police tape cordoned off the whole area. Little red markers indicated footprints, fibres, blood; anything that was evidence. In the middle, sitting up against a tree, was Marjorie Summers. Liz had taken a cursory glance at her, but had quickly turned to other things. There was nothing anyone could do for her now, except find the man who did this.
"Oh great," Jim said under his breath. "What the hell are they doing here?"
Liz turned around and spotted two men getting out of a car wearing the standard-issue black jacket worn by the FBI, and turned back to Jim.
"They're our guys," Liz said. "What's the problem?"
"They might be FBI but they're not our guys," Jim told her.
Liz grinned at him. "Don't you think you're a little old for these games?"
"I'll never be too old," he muttered, as the two men approached them.
Liz turned around again and her eyes collided with those of one of the men. Everything around her stood still as she watched him stop right in front of her.
"I'm Agent Evans, this is Agent Carter. We weren't informed that there were already people here."
Jim stuck his hand out. "Jim Valenti. Violent Crimes."
They all turned to Liz, and she stuck her hand out, hoping no one would notice how much it was shaking. "Liz Parker."
"And what do you do Ms Parker?" Agent Carter murmured, looking her up and down.
Liz straightened her spine and gave him a frosty smile. "I'm a profiler Agent Carter. The MO in this case matches ones we've been working on. I'm here to see if it's the same guy."
"And?" Agent Evans asked.
"Agent Valenti?" A voice called from the other side of the clearing. "I think you'd better see this."
Jim strode off and Carter wandered away, leaving Liz alone with Agent Evans.
"Liz Parker," he said slowly, jogging his memory. "Youngest female to be assigned to the FBI."
"That's me," Liz said lightly. "A criminal nerd."
"There were all sorts of rumours going around about you," he told her.
Liz sighed. "What? Sleeping with the boss? Cheating on my tests...?"
"Psychic," he said bluntly.
Despite her immediate reaction of fear, Liz looked up at him and laughed softly. "Psychic? Someone actually started a rumour that I was psychic?"
He said nothing, just stood and watched her intently.
"There are no such things as psychics Mr Evans."
"Max," he told her.
Liz blinked at him. "What?"
A smile crept onto his face. "My name is Max."
"Is it?" Liz said slowly. "Well isn't that nice."
"Liz!" Valenti called. "I need you here."
"Something's sure going on over there," Carter said, rejoining them.
"Nice to meet you both," Liz mumbled as she turned away and hurried over to Jim. "What is it?"
He pointed to the ground, and Liz spotted a small piece of paper. She scrunched down to take a better look, and froze.

Teachers always think they're so smart.
Think of this as a pop quiz.
Did you miss me Lizzy?

Liz stood up very slowly, her stomach churning. She heard Jim tell someone to bag the note, and a gentle arm enfolded her and led her away from the scene. She saw Agent Evans out of the corner of her eye, watching her closely, noting how pale she was.
"Come on Liz," Jim said quietly. "Let's get you out of here."
She let him lead her to the car, put her in it and do up her seat belt. He stepped away to talk to a young officer, who nodded and strode away.Then he came around the car and jumped in. Liz closed her eyes and lay her head back against the headrest.
"We'll be home soon Liz," Jim promised her.
"I need a phone," Liz murmured.
"You have one in your bag honey," Jim reminded her.
Without opening her eyes, she scrambled in her bag and came up with her phone. She punched in the number blindly and put it up to her ear.
"Alex? This is Liz. I need you to go through my file and find the names of all of my teachers. Yes, all of them. Do it now please."
Silence reigned in the car while Liz waited for the information. "She is. All right thank you Alex. We're on our way back in now."
She hung up and dropped her phone, unconcerned where it landed.
"This isn't your fault Liz," Jim told her. "You know it's not."
"It wasn't Marjorie Summers fault either," Liz said bitterly. "Now she's dead. And why? Because she happened to have the misfortune of being my fifth grade teacher."

Violent Crimes Unit

Maria sighed hugely and squirmed in her seat. "Are you sure there's nothing to do here? I mean anything? I can't just twiddle my thumbs."
"Yet you do such a good job of it," Michael said sarcastically.
Maria glared at him, then turned in her seat, ignoring him completely. Michael grinned at her back. Maria looked around her and shook her head.
"I do not understand how the hell Liz spends so much time here. It's dreary, there is no television, and these lights do nothing for your complexion."
She turned to see the two men, the little computer guy Alex, and that idiot Michael staring down at her with the same perplexed expressions, and she almost burst out laughing. Now here was a way to entertain herself. She could play the dumb blonde just to see these guy's reactions. The doors swung open and Maria took one look at Liz's face and jumped out of her chair.
"What happened?" She said, rushing over. "Honey are you ok?"
Liz tried to give her a reassuring smile. "I'm fine. How was everything here?"
Maria shook her head. "You're not fine, and everything here was terminally boring. If you hadn't come back just now I was going to hunt down a gun and kill Michael Guerin."
Liz laughed softly. She'd been watching this strange relationship unfurl between her best friend and her colleague since the first time she'd brought Maria in here. "Just Michael?"
Maria glanced up and frowned. "He was the closest."
"Right," Liz said. "Of course he was. Now go and find something to do. Mummy has to go to work."
Maria glanced up, frowned heavily, then turned around and walked off, throwing a glare at Michael as he watched her. Liz shook her head, indulged in another smile, and walked over to the table.
"Alex, what else do we have on Marjorie Summers?"
"Completely ordinary life. Born to good home, loving parents, good at school. Always wanted to be a teacher. Got her degree when she was 23, started teaching at her local school and stayed there. You were in her fifth grade class."
"Could she have known The Apprentice before he killed her?" Liz asked. "Could we find out who he is by asking relatives, friends, anyone like that?"
Alex shook his head. "It's unlikely. You know he doesn't work like that."
Liz sighed and nodded. "It's a long shot I know, but can we try?"
Alex turned away and started hammering away on his computer again. Liz turned to Jim.
"I'm going to go and see if Kyle has the body yet."
Jim watched her walk away with a worried frown, then turned to Michael.
"Get me everything we have on The Apprentice. We need to recap."
Michael nodded and walked away.

To Be Continued.....

Thanks for the feedback everyone. *big*
posted on 27-Dec-2001 6:25:19 PM by Mikyla
Part 3

Liz, Alex, Michael, Maria and Jim all sat around the huge table. Information streamed across one side of the huge monitor, while on the other side a series of photos revealed themselves. Jim stood up to address the group, but stopped when the doors opened, and Max Evans walked into the room.
"Every time I turn around," he muttered, going over to see what the guy wanted. "Agent Evans, what brings you down here?"
Max held out a piece of paper with a friendly smile. "I've been reassigned. They said upstairs that you were looking for new people."
Jim looked at the piece of paper. "Did they? First I've heard of it."
Max looked beyond his head, his eyes focusing on Liz. He had no idea if they needed new guys. He's asked to be reassigned. She was the reason he was here.
"Well, I guess you'd better take a seat," Jim said, gesturing to the table. "You're about to get a crash course on our biggest customer."
Max walked over, smiled at the whole table, then chose a chair directly opposite Liz. She sat up straighter and turned to Jim.
"What's going on?"
"Everybody, this is Agent Max Evans. He's been temporarily reassigned down here. Evans, this is Michael Guerin, Alex Whitman, Maria Deluca, and you've already met Liz Parker."
Max nodded to everyone as the introductions were made. When it came around to Liz, his eyes bored into hers. "Nice to see you again."
Liz stared at him for a moment before turning once again to Jim. "We don't have to do this now. Maybe you should show Agent Evans...."
"I told you this afternoon it's Max," he interrupted.
"Maybe you should show Max around a little bit," Liz said through her teeth. "Settle him in before we get into all this stuff."
"We need to do this now Liz," Jim said firmly.
Liz sat back in her chair with a sigh, gesturing for Jim to proceed. Jim picked up a huge manila folder full of pages and threw it in front of Max. Max flipped it open, looked at the top piece of paper and closed it again. "The Apprentice."
"Right," Jim said with a nod. "The FBI's, and our, most wanted man. What do you know about him?"
"He's killed 19 people so far that we know of," Max said. "All in the last 10 years. His methods are never the same twice, making him almost impossible to predict."
"Not almost impossible," Jim told him. "Just flat impossible."
Max nodded, conceding the point. "The faces I see on the screen over there are his victims, another reason he's remained so elusive. No more blacks than whites, no more women than men. He's indiscriminate, not choosing any one group of humanity to prey on. We know very little about this guy. That's why he's still out there."
"When I give you all the official papers to sign, one of them will be a confidentiality statement," Jim told him. "I assume you have no problem with that?"
Max shook his head.
"Then I will tell you now that that might be all the FBI know, but not all we know," Jim continued, pointing a small box at the screen and bringing up all the information they had. Max looked impressed. Liz stood up and stared at the screen.
"The Apprentice is one of the most unique minds of our time," she said. "Almost certainly a genius. As history has proven over and over again, genius mixed with mental illness is one of the most dangerous combinations there can be."
"You think he has a mental illness?" Max asked.
Liz didn't look at him, not wanting to be distracted. "I know he has."
Max thought it was a weird thing to say, but as he looked around the table he held his tongue. No one else seemed surprised by the statement. There was something going on here, but Max knew he would have to wait to find out exactly what it was.
A young man had walked up to the table and was waiting patiently to speak. Liz turned to him.
The man shook his head apologetically. "Same as all the others. Nothing to tell us it's him but the note."
"Note?" Max said quickly. "What note? The Apprentice doesn't leave notes."
The man turned around, seeming to notice him for the first time. "Who the hell are you?"
"Kyle," Jim said quickly. "This is Agent Max Evans, just arrived from the FBI. Max, this is Kyle, our forensic scientist. And my son."
Max found himself being eyed up distrustfully, and he grinned. "Nice to meet you Kyle."
Kyle took another moment to frown at him, then turned back to Liz. "The family wants her body released as soon as possible. Can I tell them to come and pick her up?"
Liz nodded, picked up her things from the table and turned to Jim. "You don't need me for anything else here. I'll be in my office."
Jim nodded and waved her off. Maria stood as well, smiling at Max, and throwing one last glare for absolutely no reason at Michael before following her friend. Max watched them both go, then turned back to the table and pinned Jim with a glance.
"So this is the part you tell me whatever it is she doesn't want me to know."

To Be Continued.....

Thanks so much for all the feedback guys. And a specil thanks to Jessica for all your encouragement. Couldn't do it without you girl....*angel*
posted on 28-Dec-2001 6:08:18 AM by Mikyla
Part 4

"No," Jim said firmly, definitely. "You help us work the cases, that's it. Nothing to do with Liz, or whatever involvement you think she has with this case, is any of your business."
"I can't help you if I don't know all the facts," Max argued.
"Then don't help us," Jim said simply. "I'll send a letter saying we don't need you, you go back to doing whatever it is you FBI guys do, everybody's happy."
"Oh I'm not leaving," Max said softly. "But I also can't protect her properly if I don't know everything."
"Protect her?" Jim said, genuinely puzzled. "Why do you think it's your job to protect her? We do that."
Max fought the instinctive anger at being left out this way. He was the new guy. And even if he wasn't, he didn't think he could explain to anyone this driving need he had to make sure that Liz was safe, to see to her safety. To see her at all. He'd only just met her, he hadn't managed to explain it to himself yet. So he stood up and smiled easily.
"You're right," he said breezily. "So...what do you want me to do first?"
"I"ll show you around," Michael told him. "Get you up to speed on the other cases we're working on."
"Meet me later in my office and we'll go over those forms you need to sign," Jim said as they turned to leave.
Max nodded and followed Michael away from the table. When they'd walk for awhile, Michael pointing out people and places Max needed to know, and filling him in on all the cases, he stopped and turned in a small hallway.
"Don't take anything Jim says about Liz personally," Michael said with a friendly smile. "He's very protective of her."
Max nodded, then gave Michael a shrewd look. "You're going to tell me what he didn't."
"I'm going to tell you some of what he didn't," Michael told him. "The rest you need to find out from Liz."
"You really think she'll tell me?" Max said with a grin.
Michael chuckled. "She won't want to tell you, but she will. You won't let up on her until she does."
Max raised an eyebrow in surprise. Michael chuckled again.
"In this job you have to be able to read people. You're like a big neon sign my friend," he said, holding his hands up and making a flashing motion. "Blink, blink. I really like Liz. Blink, blink."
Max started laughing, shaking his head. "And here I thought I was being so stealthy."
Michael grinned. "Not to me you weren't. Sure was entertaining. So what I think we'll do here is you can ask me whatever questions you want, and I'll answer them if I can."
"Sounds good," Max told him.
Michael nodded and gestured down the hallway. "See me in my office."
Five minutes later Max was completely comfortable, coffee in hand, sitting across from Michael in his office. He didn't waste any time.
"There have rumours flying around about Liz Parker since she started," Max told him. "What I want to know is if any of them are true."
"I'll help you as much as I can," Michael told him. "Fire away."
Max thought about it, then decided for a relatively easy one. "Is she the reason he chose to call himself 'The Apprentice'?"
Michael stood up and walked over to a small TV and video in the corner. "It was just a stupid comment she made on television. Completely harmless."
He rummaged around in a huge pile of video tapes and finally pulled one out, putting it in the video machine. He stepped back and Max watched Liz's face come on screen. Michael leaned over and turned it up.
"This was a statement she gave to a reporter about five years ago," Michael explained.
The reporter smiled into the camera then looked at Liz. "So Miss Parker, explain to us why this man seems so elusive, why the FBI hasn't caught him yet."
Liz gave him a cool smile. "Most serial killers have a pattern. Ted Bundy preyed on white women who looked a certain way, John Wayne Gacy chose only teenage boys. This pattern can be a tool to helping discover the killer's indentity."
"This killer's pattern is different?" The reporter asked, sounding fascinated.
"This killer has no pattern at all," Liz said bluntly. "No specific age group, sex, ethnic background, even city. The victims have nothing in common. He never kills them the same way twice. All of these things make our job incredibly difficult."
"You mentioned Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. Would you say this killer is like them in some small way?"
Liz's impatience began to show and Max found himself grinning.
"If I had to pin a label like that on him, I'd say he's an apprentice," Liz said.
The reporter looked confused. "An apprentice? What exactly do you mean by that?"
"His crimes hold elements of some of the most viscous serial killers of our time. He's learning from the best. Just like an apprentice."
Michael stopped the video and sat back down behind his desk. "So that started it. Perfectly innocent comment. The next time he popped up he'd taken the name 'The Apprentice'. Stupid name if you ask me."
Max could only nod. He considered what he'd seen, what Michael had said, and his head came up quickly. "It's her."
Michael looked at him. "What?"
"You said that after Liz said that on television, this guy started calling himself 'The Apprentice'. That means he was watching. Watching her. You and I both know serial killers are very rarely interested in their own press unless it puts them in danger. She's got a personal stake in this. What is it?"

To Be Continued.....

I hope this part explained 'The Apprentice' thing to everyone. If it didn't feel free to e-mail me and I'll try to explain it better lol. And thanks for all the feedback everyone. And I'm going to mention Jessica again cause she gets a kick out of it lol. So there ya go Jessica. Thank so much for all your help. *wink*
posted on 29-Dec-2001 3:14:24 AM by Mikyla
Part 5

Michael watched him from across the desk but said nothing.
"So that would be one of the questions you're not going to answer right?" Max said dryly.
Michael nodded. Max sighed and sat back. "Ok then, what about the psychic thing. Is that true?"
"Do you believe in psychics?" Michael asked him.
Max thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. "I don't disbelieve, but I've never seen a genuine one before."
"I don't know if you'd call Liz psychic," Michael told him. "But she has a special gift. Something I've never seen before. I've never heard her call herself psychic, so that's not how I think of her."
"Explain it to me," Max said. "What exactly do you mean by 'special gift'?"
Michael sighed, his face screwing up as he tried to organize his thoughts. "She sees things. Sometimes before they happen, sometimes not until afterwards. Sometimes it only images, or impressions, other times she knows exactly what happens from beginning to end. Like a movie playing in her head."
"She sees what happens to these people?" Max said, a little sickened. He only ever saw the end result of what humans could do to each other and that was almost more than he could take. Seeing it while it happened...he didn't know how the hell she could cope.
"Yes," Michael said, his tone serious.
Max shook his head in amazement. How the hell could someone live with that? Michael looked up and grinned, and Max turned around. The pretty little blonde that had been sitting at the table stood uncertainly in the doorway. Rachel, Max remembered. He smiled and she came in, smiling back. She didn't even look at Michael, and Max's eyebrows went up.
"Apparently I'm the new messenger boy," she said grumpily.
"Well you make a very attractive one," Max told her.
She beamed at him, then turned to Michael. Immediately her brows slammed together in a frown. "Jim sent me to tell you to bring Max to his office. Something about forms."
"All this time I knew you'd eventually be good for something," Michael replied.
Gasping, Maria picked up a pen, threw it at him, and stalked out of the room. Michael rubbed the spot on his chest where she'd hit him, a huge grin breaking out on his face. Max got out of his chair and waited for Michael to do the same.
"Something going on there?" Max asked casually.
Michael nodded. "If I have my way there will be."
"Good, then I don't have to worry about you and Liz," Max admitted.
"Not about me no," Michael told him. "Just remember what I told you about Jim. I'd back off of her Max, just until you've settled in here. You go after her too fast and you're going to have Jim all over you."
Max said nothing, not wanting to worry the man who seemed destined to be his biggest ally in here. But he wasn't going to back off. He wanted Liz, it was that simple. And he had every intention of getting her.

Liz felt him as soon as he walked into the room. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and her heartbeat stuttered for a minute before resuming at a noticeably faster rate than before. She turned around and faced him squarely, trying not to notice how good he looked.
"Do you need something?" she asked politely. "Or are you lost?"
"I need something," he told her, looking around the room. "But it can wait. This really isn't the time."
Liz knew exactly what he was talking about, and normally she would have ignored a blatantly sexual overtone like that, but something about this man seemed to bring out the worst in her. "I wouldn't say it's exactly the place either."
Max looked behind her to the huge desk, and grinned. "Don't see why not."
Liz's eyes widened, and she knew if she responded it could go on like this forever. "What is it that you want?"
"This case is tied to you," he said bluntly. "I know it is. I want to know why."
"You're seeing something that isn't there," Liz told him, her knees shaking badly. She walked calmly behind her desk and sat down. "I'm the profiler. That's all. I just have to try and find out what makes this guy tick."
"You already know what makes this guy tick," Max said softly. "You've been in his head."
Max knew if he hadn't been watching her so closely he might have missed the way her hands shook, but he didn't.
"Is this the psychic thing again?" Liz said mildly. "Because I thought we'd already covered that."
"What is he to you?" Max persisted. "If you don't tell me I'll just find someone who will."
"If you're spouting this psychic nonsense again you've already found someone who's told you something. They won't tell you anything else. And you're not going to hear it from me."
Max's frustration was building, but he pushed it aside. He's find out sooner or later. For right now he could be patient.
"So how long do you think we have before he kills again?"
Liz looked suspicious at the change of subject, but she went along with it. Well she talked to filled out forms on her desk. "It could be days, it could be weeks. Months even. We just don't know."
"Have you ever anticipated this guy? Maybe been there before him?"
Liz shook her head. "If we had we'd have caught him by now."
"So you only ever see what he's done after it's happened?"
She was distracted, Max knew it, and he took full advantage of it. Liz didn't even look up from her paperwork.
"Most of the time. Sometimes during. But never before."
Silence reigned, and Liz slowly looked up from what she was doing. Max gazed at her, his eyes steady and compassionate. Tears welled in her eyes and hung on her lashes as she pointed a shaky finger at the door.
"Get out."
"No," Max said simply.
"Get out now or I'll have you escorted out."
Max got up, going towards the door. But when he got there he didn't leave, only closed the door and locked it before coming over and sitting back down. Liz picked up the phone, intending to call security, but Max simply reached over and took it off her, pulling the cord out of the wall and throwing it across the room.
"I have a gun in my desk," Liz told him. "I will use it."
"Not on me you won't," Max said confidently.
Liz opened the drawer and pulled out the gun. Max sat there calmly as she took the safety off, lifted the gun slowly, and pointed it straight at his head.

To Be Continued....

Thanks for all the great feedback guys. I'm glad you're enjoying it *bounce*
posted on 29-Dec-2001 6:56:41 PM by Mikyla
Part 6

"Wouldn't it just be better if you told me about it?" Max said quietly, his chest hurting as she sat there, pointing a gun at him, helpless tears streaming down her face.
"There's nothing to tell you," Liz cried. "Nothing I want to talk about with you. Leave me alone."
"You're in this guys head," Max said ruthlessly. "He's in yours. You can't carry that around alone. I won't let you. Someone needs to know."
"No they don't," Liz said desperately, holding her arm out further so the gun was closer to him.
Max reached out suddenly and grabbed the gun, pulling it from her before she had any time to react. He put the safety back on and put the gun on the floor. Liz slumped back in her chair in defeat and tipped her head back, closing her eyes.
"Tell me everything," Max said softly. "Explain it to me. How do you see what this guy does?"
"I see what he sees," Liz whispered. "We have some kind of...of mental link. I see it through his eyes"
"How long have you been able to do this? Does it happen with anyone else?"
Liz shook her head. "Only with him. I don't know why. It's been that way since I was eighteen."
Max grappled with that for a moment, sympathy almost crippling his throat. He pushed it aside in favour of getting everything he could from her. "Why you? Why isn't every psychic picking him up?"
"I don't know that they aren't," Liz said, although she knew that was a lie. "They might be ignoring what they see."
"What happened when you were 18? What started it?"
Liz shook her head. "I've already told you more than you have any right to know. I can't tell you about that. I won't."
The doorknob to the office rattled, and Max sighed when whoever it was began banging on the door.
"Liz? Liz why is the door locked? Open the door."
Liz opened her eyes and turned to look at Max. "You'd better open it or she'll call someone."
The banging continued until Max flung the door open. Maria frowned heavily at him, then turned to Liz. "Why was the door locked?"
"I locked it," Max told her. "I wanted to talk to Liz."
Maria's eyebrows shot straight into her hairline and she smiled at Max. "Good for you."
Liz turned her head sharply and glared at her best friend while Max chuckled.
"Maria what do you want?" Liz asked, then she pointed at Max. "And you, get out."
"Oh come on Liz," Maria said, walking in and taking up Max's seat. "The whole thing sounds fairly romantic to me."
"She held a gun to my head," Max said helpfully. "I think it's the beginning of something really beautiful."
Maria turned huge eyes on Liz. "You held a gun to his head?"
"He's becoming a stalker," Liz said definitely. "I have to find some way to curb these tendencies. And besides it wasn't his head. More like the chest area."
Maria turned back to Max. "You're stalking her?"
Max nodded. "It would appear that way."
Maria looked like she was watching a tennis match, her eyes swinging from Max to Liz and back again. She still hadn't found anything to say when Alex appeared in the doorway.
"Liz, Jim wants to see you in his office straight away."
Liz sat forward with a frown. "Did he say what it was about?"
Alex shrugged, smiled at Maria and Max, and left. Liz got up, pinting a finger at Maria. "Don't go anywhere. I'm taking you home."
Max followed Liz out of the office and down the hallway. She stopped outside Jim's office and turned around.
"As you can see I am safely at Jim's office," she said sarcastically. "Jim didn't ask to see you, just me. You're not coming in."
Max grinned. "Don't want anyone knowing we've got something going Lizzy?"
She felt all the blood drain from her face, and she looked up at him in horror. The note she'd seen at the last scene flashed throught her mind, as did the notes they'd found on all the victims. Did you miss me Lizzy? Welcome back Lizzy. I love you Lizzy. No one else had ever called her that. No one. Except him. Max put his hand on her arm, saying her name softly, but she pulled back violently.
"Don't touch me," she whispered.
"What's the matter?" Max said urgently. "You're as white as a sheet, what's going on?"
Max heard the door open, and he turned around slowly, facing Jim.
"Get away from her," the older man said quietly.

To Be Continued.....

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. *big*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Dec-2001 8:08:21 PM ]
posted on 30-Dec-2001 9:05:22 AM by Mikyla
Part 7

Max stood his ground and waved his hand at Liz. "Find out what the hell's wrong with her. She won't tell me."
"He called me Lizzy," Liz whispered to Jim.
Jim planted himself between the two of them and put his hands on Liz's shoulders.
"Honey you know it doesn't mean anything. You're overreacting. Evans might be annoying but he's not The Apprentice."
"Evans is not annoying," Max said behind him. "And he's still standing right here."
Jim turned around, putting Liz behind him so Max couldn't get a good look at her face. "This was just a misunderstanding Evans, no harm done. I don't think anything else will be happening today, why don't you head on home. I'll see you tomorrow."
Max shrugged as if it made no difference to him and walked away. He ran into Michael at the doors and smiled ruefully.
"So how did it go?" Michael asked.
"Great. Liz wants to shoot me, and now she thinks I'm The Apprentice. As first days go it wasn't boring."
Michael eyebrows shot up and he nodded.
"Not bad," he said in admiration. "I've been working with Liz for a long time and she's never held a gun to my head."
"An oversight I'm sure," Maria said dryly, joining them at the door. "She'll get around to it. And I'll make sure she shoots you."
"Oh come on Deluca," Michael said with a grin. "You know you love me."
Maria choose to ignore him, and the frisson of heat that curled in her stomach, and turned to watch Liz come out of Jim's office. "She looks tired."
"She always looks tired," Michael said quietly.
Maria shook her head. "Not like this. I've never seen her like this. I'm not sure how much longer she can hold up under this pressure."
"Is she sleeping?" Michael asked, moving closer and unconsciously running his hand up and down Maria's arm. For once she didn't push him away.
"Not a lot," Maria admitted. "And not well. I still hear her at night."
Liz walked up slowly, her eyes on all of them. Maria looked worried, so did Michael. Max looked...she decided not to analyze too closely what was in his eyes.
"God will you cheer up," Liz murmured. "You all look manic-depressive."
Michael started chuckling, and Maria grinned. Max was the only one who didn't smile, just continued to watch her steadily. Liz shifted uncomfortably and threaded her arm through Maria's. "Let's go home."
As they walked out the doors Liz felt the prickling at the back of her neck, telling her Max was watching her go. She fought the urge to turn around and look at him again.
"Come on," Michael said, pushing the other door open and gesturing for Max to proceed him. "Let's go get a beer. If you buy me enough I just might have some more stuff to tell you about the very beautiful, very mysterious Liz Parker."
"I'm not above bribing a city official," Max said with a grin.
As they walked out Max glanced behind him with a frown. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up. Looking around swiftly he saw nothing, and shaking his head at his paranoia he let the door close behind him.

Liz lay in bed looking up at the ceiling, trying to clear her mind before she went to sleep. She didn't think it would work, but she tried the same thing every night. Unbidden, an image of Max Evans popped into her head, and she frowned.
"Oh no you don't," she said loudly. "You can just go away."
"Well fine, but you did ask for the hot chocolate."
Liz sat up in bed and pushed her hair out of her eyes. "No, no. Come in Maria. I wasn't talking to you."
Maria looked around the room slowly, then back at Liz. "Of course you weren't."
"No, it's just that I was lying here and I got this picture in my head..."
Maria set the cups she was carrying on the bedside table and flopped down onto the bed. "Ooooo, was it a dirty picture?"
Liz snickered. "Maria that's gross."
Maria grinned and the two women sat in companionable silence, drinking their hot chocolates. Maria glanced quickly at Liz, then sat back.
"That Max Evans isn't bad," she said casually.
"Compared to what?" Liz said grumpily.
"You don't think he's good looking?" Maria said innocently.
Liz shot her a suspicious glance, but Maria was studying her nails. "If you like that sort of thing."
Maria looked up, saw she was going to get absolutely nothing, and got off the bed. "Well I'll let you get to sleep. I'm assuming I can go back to work tomorrow?"
"I'd rather you didn't," Liz admitted. "But not for any good reason. Just be extra careful ok?"
Maria nodded and walked to the door. She stopped and threw a grin over her shoulder. "Max Evans is gorgeous. And you know it."
Liz picked up a pillow and threw it at the door. It thumped softly to the floor and she stared at it, then got up with a huff and picked it up. She got back into bed, finished off her hot chocolate, and lay back down again, turning her lamp off. She closed her eyes and the emotional upheaval of the day caught up with her, and moments later she was asleep.
Five hours later she woke Maria, screaming.

To Be Continued...

Thanks for all the feedback guys. You're the greatest.
posted on 31-Dec-2001 6:40:57 AM by Mikyla
Part 8

Benton, Minnesota - Ten Years Earlier

Liz woke up slowly, rolling over and looking around her room. She couldn't hear anything out of the ordinary, and her lashes drooped, her body lulling her back to sleep. But then the noise came again, and she sat up, rubbing her eyes sleepily. She looked at the glowing Mickey Mouse clock as she swung her legs out of bed. It was early. Maybe the noise she had heard was her Mom or Dad, getting up to fix a snack, or get a glass of water. She sat perfectly still, trying to hear it again. There it was. Whispering, she thought with a shy smile. Someone was whispering. She got out of bed, sure she was about to see something important. As she snuck across the room, the first violent image hit her and she stumbled to a stop. Her eyes widened and she felt a terrible stab of guilt. It was just her imagination, her mommy was always telling her that, and she shouldn't be imagining her mommy and daddy being hurt like that. She ran back to bed and pulled the covers over her head, shivering and crying. The whispering continued and she covered her ears, humming softly. But it didn't stop, and Liz knew it was in her head. It had happened to her before, and most of the time she could ignore it. But not this time, not like this. She began to cry louder as more images flashed into her head, each one more gruesome and frightening than the last, until they were running thorough her head like a movie, too horrifying to be real. And the whispering grew louder, more distinct, until all she could see was the carnage, all she could hear was the maniacal laughter, and silent screaming, of the depraved mind she had somehow tapped into.
That was how the police found her the next morning, after receiving a frantic phone call from the cleaning lady. Still curled up, the covers over her head. The blood they found on her pillow was her own, put there when she tore her vocal chords, and a good portion of her throat, screaming. Nobody who walked into the warm, open house that day would ever forget what they saw. Rookies would quit, seasoned veterans of the field would retire, and one little girl would start on the path of a killer who's every move she knew, but who's face she had never seen.

New York City, New York - Present Day

Maria ran into Liz's room, throwing the door open and heading straight for the bed. Liz was still thrashing around, crying out, tears streaming down her face even though she was asleep. Maria sat down an the bed beside her, took Liz's face in her hands, and started calling her name softly.
"Liz? Liz it's Maria. I need you to wake up for me honey. Come on. It's only a dream. Wake up now Liz."
Maria repeated the same thing over and over again, trying to reach her friend and bring her back from wherever she was. Slowly Liz's frantic movements stopped, and Maria knew she was waking up. Hey eyelashes fluttered open, and Maria put on a reassuring smile.
Liz blinked in confusion. "What are you doing in here?"
Maria scooted her over and lay down beside her. "You sounded like you were having one hell of a wet dream and I didn't want to miss it."
Liz turned over to face her friend, her face solemn. "I didn't mean to wake you."
Maria nodded. "Should I call Reilly?"
"No," Liz said quietly. "No it wasn't that kind of dream."
"What kind was it?"
"My parents," Liz told her. "The first time I ever connected with him. I haven't had the dream for a long time. I guess tonight was my lucky night."
"Did you want to talk about it?" Maria asked softly.
Liz shook her head. "No. You already know everything anyway. There's nothing new to tell. I'm going to make a cup of tea. Want one?"
Maria nodded and Liz slipped out of bed, still a little shaky. Maria watched her carefully, and after Liz left, she gave her friend a few moments to compose herself before she followed her out into the kitchen.

Violent Crimes Unit

Liz walked into her office and just sighed when she saw Max sitting at her desk again. "Aren't they giving you an desk of your own?"
"Probably," Max said with a shrug. "But until they do I'll use yours. Is this everything you've got on The Apprentice?"
Liz looked at the file on his lap and nodded. "If you want any of the good stuff you'll have to talk to Jim or Michael. Those are just my personal findings."
"How'd you sleep?" he asked quietly.
"Fine," Liz said automatically. "Have you seen my file on the car bombing last month?"
When she turned around again he was standing right behind her, and she yelped in surprise. His hands came up to frame her face and Liz moved back, trapping herself between him and the filing cabinet.
"I believe you're sexually harassing me," she said haughtily. "Anyone in law enforcement should know that's illegal."
"I haven't done anything yet," he said innocently. "I'm just making sure you're not lying."
"Lying about what?" Liz asked, trying unsuccessfully not to get caught up in his eyes.
"How you slept."
He stared at her for another minute, until Liz lifted her hands and put them on his chest, pushing lightly.
"You can let me go now," she said breathlessly, pushing again.
Max moved forward again until there was nothing between them, and slid his leg between hers. "If I'm going to sexually harass you, I may as well do it properly."
Liz did nothing, just watched helplessly as he bent his head, and his mouth touched hers.

To Be Continued....

Have a safe and very happy new year everybody. And this message is of course a blatent attempt to get me out of hot water for the cliffhanger lol
*big*. But I do want to thank you all very much for the feedback. And a special message to Jessica. Sorry we haven't talked much. Thanks for all your encouragement. And Esther's pressure lol.
posted on 1-Jan-2002 2:41:36 AM by Mikyla
Part 9

She wasn't sure what she was expecting, but when Max just brushed his mouth gently backwards and forwards across hers, she knew this wasn't it. He did nothing but that for a long minute, until Liz was moving her head, trying to capture his mouth and coax him into kissing her properly. He lifted his head and Liz opened her eyes slowly.
"That was a pretty weak effort Evans," she whispered.
Max smiled down at her. "I'm sorry. Maybe I should try to do better."
"Maybe you should," Liz agreed, already rising up on her toes. "Don't make me get my gun again."
Max laughed softly against her lips, and Liz smiled. Then without warning he took her mouth, fisting his hand in her hair and pulling her head back to take what he wanted. Liz fought him and the rising tide of feeling instinctively, not wanting to give up control. Max gave her no choice. The hand in her hair tightened, and the other dropped from her face to her back, pulling her closer. Liz finally gave up, lifting her hands to his shoulders and digging her nails in, making a small sound. Neither of them heard the footsteps approach the door, then stop.
"Ahem," Michael said discreetly.
When he got no response he swallowed a chuckle and tried again.
Still nothing. He considered his options, looked at the entwined couple, and decided rather drastic action was necessary. He reached around the corner and tripped the fire alarm. The two jumped apart, and he quickly punched in the code to stop the shrieking. Max spun around, putting Liz behind him to protect her, and glared at Michael.
"Was that really necessary?"
"I thought it was," Michael said easily, strolling in. "I did try the polite approach."
Liz peeked around Max's shoulder and smiled. Michael grinned back at her approvingly. She moved away from Max and sat behind her desk.
"Is this an official call or are you just satisfying you voyeuristic tendencies," Liz asked.
"Both," Michael said, making Max chuckle. "But mainly official. We've got a new case."
"I don't have time for a new case," Liz said definitely. "Go and harass someone else."
"Was I talking to you?" Michael asked. "Did I say 'Liz, we have a new case.' I think not. I was talking to Evans."
Liz tried desperately not to laugh. She knew from past experience that it only made Michael worse if he knew he had an audience.
"Then take him into your office and leave me alone."
Michael looked at Max, who nodded and started following him out of the office. He turned back at the door and shot Liz a determined look.
"We're not finished," he told her.
Liz nodded. "I know we're not."
Satisfied with that for the time being, he left.

Liz stood up and stretched, groaning when her back muscles protested. She'd been sitting at her desk for too long again. She walked around her office, stretching her legs, pondering her caseload and what Max might be up to. She'd seen him and Michael leave with Jim a few hours ago and they hadn't come back yet. Shrugging her shoulders, she sat down behind her desk again and got back down to work. When she found herself reading the same paragraph in her report over and over again, she looked up with a frown. What the heck was wrong with her this afternoon? Normally she had no trouble concentrating, now she couldn't seem to understand English. Thinking a cup of coffee would help, she got up and walked towards the machine. As soon as her vision blurred she knew it was coming, and stopping right where she was she braced herself. The vision surprised her with it's clarity, it's lack of violence, and it's location. As her mind assimilated she realised what it meant. Her eyes flew open and she ran out of the office, yelling as she went.
"Alex! Call Jim. Get him back here now."
Alex jumped up and watched her run past him. "What is it? What's going on?"
"He's here," Liz said, throwing a side door open. "The Apprentice, he's here. He's in the carpark. Hurry!!"

Max suddenly straightened up from where he'd been examining the body, and turned to Jim.
"We have to get back to the office now. Liz is in trouble."
Jim blinked in surprise. "Come again?"
"I don't have time to explain. We have to get back."
It was obvious Jim was having a few problems. Michael wasn't.
"Is it him? The Apprentice?"
Max nodded. "She's had another vision. And wherever he is this time, it's close."
Jim looked at him closely, and whatever he saw in Max's face convinced him.
He called one of the junior officers over. "Secure the scene. Noone in or out. We'll be back tomorrow."
The officer hurried off, and Jim, Max and Michael ran for the waiting helicopter.

"Liz you can't go down there by yourself," Alex yelled.
When she just ran out Alex sighed, and ran after her. He stopped long enough to grab two guns from a locked draw, and yell instructions.
"Someone call Jim and get him back here. Liz and I are going down to the carpark. If we're not back in 10 minutes, I want, ten guys down there after us."
He didn't wait to see if anyone would do what he asked. He knew they would. Instead he took a deep breath and plunged down the stairs.

To Be Continued....

Thanks for the feedback everyone *happy*
posted on 2-Jan-2002 3:33:38 AM by Mikyla
Part 10

Alex came barrelling down the stairs, almost running straight into Liz, who was standing just at the bottom.
"You didn't have to come down here," Liz whispered. "I could have handled it by myself."
"Sure you could have," Alex hissed. "By the way, you have no gun. How exactly were you planning on taking this guy on?"
Liz looked back at him and took the gun he was holding out. "I didn't need a gun. I knew you'd bring one with you."
The pair made their way very slowly through the parking lot, jumping at every shadow. Liz could hear Alex breathing and she turned to him again.
"Alex, you're hyperventilating. Go back upstairs and send someone else down."
Alex shook his head. "This is my chance to be the big hero."
"Do you even know how to use that thing?" She asked, gesturing to his gun.
Alex stared at it, then began waving it around wildly. "I figure I can scare him like this, while you move in for the kill." He looked up from the gun and caught the look on Liz's face. "What? I'm a technoweinie Liz, I'm not Rambo."
Turning back to the lot, Liz strained her senses, trying to find out if he was near. The vision she'd been having was gone, and she wasn't picking up anything new. She lowered her gun, blinking away frustrated tears.
"He's gone," she told Alex. "He got away."
Alex glanced around. "Are you sure?"
Liz nodded. She sunk down slowly to sit on the ground, burying her head in her knees.
"He was so close Alex," she said, her voice catching on a sob. "How did he get away?"
Alex scrunched down to comfort her and happened to glance towards one of the cars. He got up quickly. "Liz?"
Liz lifted her head and looked at Alex, then at where he was staring. A pair of legs stuck out from beside a car, and Liz jumped up.
"Go back upstairs," she told him. "Tell them we've got someone down here."
She started for the car, but Alex grabbed her arm. "Liz, it could be him. You don't know that it's not."
It's not," she said confidently. She was getting no visions, not even a creepy feeling. This wasn't him. Even so, she approached the car cautiously, her eyes darting about. When she was sure noone was going to jump out at her, she ducked down next to the body and felt for a pulse. The man was alive, but only just. She smoothed his hair away from his face and called to Alex again.
"Get Kyle down here," she said. "He needs medical attention badly."
"Who is he?" Alex said quietly.
"I'm not sure," she told him. "But he's one of ours"
After Alex had left, Liz stood up, scanning the area again. A flicker of white from the windshield of the car caught her gaze. She pulled her shirt out of her skirt, using it to cover her fingers, and preserve any prints it might have on it. She already knew what it was. She opened it up and read slowly, her stomach tightening in fear and revulsion.

I'm disappointed in you Lizzy.
Where were you when I needed you?
Have I ever told you how beautiful you look in blue?

Liz folded the note up carefully and put it in her pocket, then bent down again to hold the man's hand until help arrived.

Max ran through the doors just in time to see the stretcher being carried up from the carpark. His heart stopped, and he ran over, expecting to find Liz. He'd almost reached the stretcher when she came through the door, her every movement conveying a bone-deep weariness and disappointment. She looked up and saw him, and her eyes widened at the look on his face. He stalked over to her and pulled her into his arms.
"Max," she said, pushing at him weakly. "Come on let me go. Everyone's here."
He back up a bit, but didn't let her go. "What the hell were you doing going down there alone?"
"I wasn't alone," Liz snapped. "Alex was with me."
Max looked up and saw Alex leaning weakly against a wall. The younger man smiled and held his hand up. "Delayed reaction. I'll be fine. My legs just aren't working right now."
Max looked back at Liz, and she studied one of the buttons on his shirt. "He does much better under pressure."
Michael sauntered over from where he been checking on the man who was hurt.
"How's he doing?" Liz asked quietly.
"He's got quite a few blows to the head," Michael told her. "But he should pull through. Are you sure this was him?"
Grabbing a pair of gloves from a nearby desk, Liz put them on and pulled the note out of her pocket. Michael went to take it, but Max got there first.
"Fingerprints!" Liz snapped, but Max ignored her. He read the note, handed it to Michael, and took Liz by the arm.
"Michael, tell Jim I'm taking Liz home. She can write a report or whatever it is you guys do tomorrow. Call us if anything new comes up."
"Will do," Michael promised, ignoring the way Liz was struggling.
"I'm not going home," Liz said while Max pulled her along. "Let me go you maniac!"
"That note was personal," Max said, holding his anger ruthlessly in check. "I want answers, and I'm going to get them. Now."
Liz continued to struggle but it was no use. Max bundled her into his car, and got in the other side.
"And how am I supposed to get to work tomorrow?" she griped. "My car is still here."
"I'll drive you," he told her. "Now put your seatbelt on."
Liz considered throwing herself out of the car, decided it was too melodramatic, and probably painful, and put her seatbelt on instead.
"Don't even think that just because of one kiss you get to spend the night at my house, or in my bed," Liz said firmly. "You're going home."
Max looked at her for a moment, then started the car.
"We'll see," he murmured, as they took off down the road.

To Be Continued...

Thanks once again for the feedback everyone.
posted on 3-Jan-2002 5:32:14 AM by Mikyla
Part 11

Liz unlocked the door to the apartment and went in, throwing her bag on the table in the hall.
"Would you like a coffee?" she asked quietly. "It'll have to be instant. The machine will probably take too long."
"Instant's fine," Max murmured, looking around curiously.
The apartment was a smooth blend of both the girls. Maria colour and brightness, Liz's calm and elegance. Cool watercolors on the walls competed with bright rugs on the floor. Beautiful antiques stood next to a lamp with fake fish in it. Max chuckled at that one, then turned when Liz came back into the room. She handed him the coffee and gestured to a chair.
"Make yourself comfortable. This could take awhile."
Max was already beginning to feel uncomfortable, but he took a seat anyway. He was pretty sure this was a bad idea, but he had to find out what was going on here. Liz walked down a hallway and into another room. Max took a moment to calm himself down, to try and shut himself off, and when Liz came back in he was marginally better. She threw a huge folder onto the couch beside him and sat in a chair opposite him. Max ignored the folder in favour of asking her questions again.
"You told me the visions started when you were eighteen..."
"No, I didn't," Liz said. "I told you I've been having visions of him killing people since I was eighteen. I've been having visions for most of my life."
"Did they all involve him?"
Liz frowned. "I think so. But I have no way of being sure. I was so young the first time. I was only ten years old and I wasn't sure of what I was seeing."
"What did you see?" Max asked.
"A boy," Liz said, closing her eyes to try and remember it better. "A little boy. He's was being...beaten. Badly. By his father. He was calling out for help, screaming it really, but only in his mind. I picked up on it. I was sitting to dinner with my parents and I suddenly began crying, screaming at them to help him. It went on for awhile before I fainted apparently. I don't really remember that much about it."
"What did your parents do?"
"Took me to a psychiatrist. They were told I just had an overactive imagination."
Max shook his head at the inadequacy of it, then went ahead.
"When was the next one?"
"I was fifteen," Liz told him. "He, the little boy, tried to contact me, to talk to me I guess. Through this link we had. I made him...angry. The next time the connection was made he was killing someone."
"How did you make him angry?" Max asked, moving around to try and get comfortable. It wasn't going to happen. The pain was coming from Liz, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
"I wouldn't respond," Liz told him. "My parents had told me that hearing voices was bad, that people that heard voices got sent away. I didn't want to get sent away. So when I heard him again I ignored him, kept telling myself he wasn't there. He must have picked that up."
Max was already in a lot of discomfort, but he knew he had to keep going, had to find out everything. "How much do you know about the people he killed?"
Liz opened her eyes and gestured to the folder. Max picked it up and opened it, his stomach rebelling as soon as he saw what was in it. All the photos were numbered, and he picked up the first one. "Who are they?"
Liz closed her eyes again. "Jeff and Nancy Parker. My parents. The first people The Apprentice ever killed. The first time I saw it."
Max felt like someone had punched him solidly in the stomach. He took a moment to catch his breath and picked up the next picture. "Victim three?"
"Bradley Shaw. My first boyfriend."
He picked up the next picture and Liz spoke without prompting. "Stephanie Marshell. My best friend at the time."
The list went on. The next three victims, an old couple who lived across the road from Liz, and a nice old man who fixed Liz's toys.
"Victim eight is the doctor who delivered me," Liz said. "Nine is the librarian I used to get my books from."
Max wanted to tell her to stop, wanted the pain to stop wracking him, but Liz was too far gone now. She was punishing him for wanting to know, for not leaving her alone until she had no choice but to give him everything. The names kept coming, all of them connected to her, all of them people she knew, cared about, spent time with.
"Liz," Max murmured. "Stop."
Liz didn't even open her eyes. "You wanted to know it all Max. Well here it is. This guy has been after me since I was eighteen years old. And there is nothing I can do to stop him. He's just going to keep killing people I get close to until there's noone left. Then he'll come after me."
Max stood up, swaying unsteadily. The pain was battering at him, and he looked around wildly. Liz finally opened her eyes, and they widened when she saw him. Max took off down the hallway and found the toilet. Liz followed more slowly, realising he was being violently ill. She went back into the kitchen and got him a glass of water. By the time she got back he was propped up against the wall in the hallway. She gave him the glass of water in silence and he rinsed his mouth out before drinking the rest.
"I think you'd better lie down," she said quietly, leading him back to the lounge and the couch. He lay down with a tired sigh and covered his eyes with his forearm.
"What the hell's going on Max?" Liz asked him. "I mean I know my story is pretty gruesome but I've never had this reaction before."
"You've never told an empath before," he said quietly.
Liz sat back on her heels beside the couch and waited for him to explain.

To Be Continued...

Thanks for reading guys. More explanations of Max's little gift are coming, so don't fret lol.
posted on 5-Jan-2002 6:52:36 AM by Mikyla
Part 12

Liz heard him sigh softly.
"You're not the only one with something to hide here," he told her. "If this sort of thing ever got out, I'd be in the exact same boat as you. I'd lose the respect of the people I work with, and then eventually my job. I'm not entirely sure I haven't screwed it up for myself already."
"Somebody knows?"
"Jim knows," he said. "Michael knows. When you went down into the carpark I knew you were scared. I've never felt fear like that. I told them we all had to get back, that you were in trouble."
"You felt my fear?"
Max uncovered his eyes and slowly sat up. "Yes. That's what I do. I'm empathic, I feel people's emotions. Especially strong ones."
"But we were miles apart!" Liz exclaimed.
"It doesn't seem to matter," Max admitted. "Not with you. I've learned over the years to close myself off, so that I don't feel everyone's emotions all the time. But I can't do that with you. I don't know why."
"What am I like a freak beacon?" Liz grumbled.
"Oh that's nice," Max said. "If I'm a freak you're one too."
Liz looked up with a smile. "That's immature Max."
He chuckled. "I know, but it was funny."
Liz got up off the floor and sat back down in the chair she'd been in before. "I know what's it like to be telepathic. What was it like for you? Growing up. What did your parents think when they found out?"
"My parents were great," Max told her. "My mother was an empath as well, so as soon as they found out they started teaching me what I needed to know. How to block out emotions so I wasn't being constantly bombarded with them. How to focus on one person's emotions if I was trying to help. It was hard for awhile. I couldn't even go outside because it was just too painful. Eventually I learnt to deal with it and now it's fine. It's just something I live with."
"Have you ever felt someone's emotions as strongly you seem to feel mine?" Liz asked hesitantly.
"No," Max admitted. "I've never felt anything like this before."
Liz considered that for a moment, then decided it was dangerous territory and left it alone. "Have you felt it since the first day? That first time you saw me at the crime scene?"
"Yes. I got out of the car and it hit me. I felt like I'd been shot. You were angry, and scared. You didn't want to be there," he told her. "I wanted to get back in the car and drive away but I couldn't."
"You know nothing can happen between us," Liz said quietly. "I can't get close to anyone Max. It's too dangerous."
"You live with Maria," he pointed out.
"Maria wouldn't leave me alone," Liz said with a small smile. "I tried everything I could to keep her from moving in here. In the end I told her the truth. She still wouldn't leave."
"I'm not going to either," he told her. "I think you owe it to me to give me a chance here."
Liz stood up, unable to keep looking at his face, into his eyes. "I'm not worried about anything happening to me," he insisted. "It's you I'm worried about. I can help you."
"This isn't fair," Liz cried. "What you're asking me isn't fair. I've spent most of my life protecting the people close to me. It's all I know how to do."
"I'm not asking you not to protect me too," Max said quietly. "I'm just asking you to let me do the same thing for you. Please Liz. If anything happened to you...I'd feel it. And it would kill me."
"You only just met me," Liz said desperately. "You're curious, I can understand that. But we can find out about this strange connection without you getting hurt. Just work with me, spend time at the office with me. But when I come home, leave me alone."
"No," Max said firmly. "I can't."
"Max for Christ's sake..." Liz sputtered, stopping when she heard the front door opening.
Maria breezed into the room and stopped dead. She eyed up Max, then looked at Liz.
"Everything ok?"
"No," they both said at the same time.
"Well I'm glad we got that sorted out," Maria said with a laugh. "Max are you staying for dinner?"
"Don't mind if I do," Max said with a grin.
"Oh fine, don't anyone listen to me," Liz said wearily. "I just live here."
"I've never listened to you," Maria said, grinning. "At least I'm consistent."
Liz threw her hands up in the air and stalked down the hallway. "I'm going for a shower."
Max turned around to Maria. "Do you think she'd cheer up if I offered to wash her back?"
Maria chuckled. "I think she'd like to kill us both."
He slung his arm around her comfortably and they wandered into the kitchen. Maria stuck her head into the fridge.
"So how'd you end up here anyway!" Maris yelled, her head still in the fridge.
"Liz got into some trouble at work today," Max told her.
Maria pulled her head out of the fridge. "What kind of trouble?"
"The Apprentice," Max told her. "He was there. He attacked one of our agents in the carpark. Liz had to go in after him."
"Oh my god, he killed someone right there? How horrible."
"No, he didn't kill the guy," Max assured her. "He's alive. Beat up some, but alive."
Maria frowned. "Really?"
Max felt a hesitation, a fear coming from Maria. "What?"
Maria shook her head. "Well it's just not like him. To leave someone alive like that."
"He might not have had time to finish the job," Max told her, but he was getting a really bad feeling. He stood up slowly. "Can I use your phone?"
Maria nodded and waved towards it. Before Max could get to it, it started ringing. Max picked it up.
He listened for a moment, then swore. "Yeah I'll tell her. So I guess it was him then?"
He listened for another moment and then hung up. Maria stood uncertainly in the doorway. "What's happened?"
"I'm have to tell Liz something," he said quietly. "It's going to be hard on her. She's going to need you."
Maria nodded. "Tell me."
Max took a breath and blew it out wearily. "The guy from the carpark went missing from the hospital shortly after he arrived. When Jim found out he confiscated any medical findings. The wounds were self-inflicted."
Maria sat down heavily. "It was him."
Max nodded. "And it's going to kill Liz that she was so close. And she let him go."

To Be Continued...

Sorry this part took so long guys. I'm having parental internet issues lol. I'll still try to post everyday, but I may not get around to it *sad*. Thanks in advance for your patience. *happy*
posted on 7-Jan-2002 1:22:00 AM by Mikyla
Part 13

Max watched Liz from across the table and brooded. He knew it wasn't doing either of them any good, but sometimes a guy just needed to brood. He'd broken the news to her as gently as he could. She's said nothing then, and nothing since. But he knew she was devastated. He could feel it, and dammit she knew he could feel it. He stared at her intently, but she didn't look up from the table.
"We've asked anybody who came into contact with him at the hospital what he looked like," Jim told them. "So far everyone is saying his facial injuries were too extensive. We're also checking our records and security video."
"How did this guy get in?" Michael asked harshly. "How does a killer get into the FBI?"
"I told you, he's smart," Liz murmured. "Very, very smart. We keep underestimating him. People hide mental illness all the time. It's almost too easy."
"This isn't your fault Liz," Jim said firmly. "I've been doing this a lot longer than you have and I would never have picked him coming this close."
Liz went back to being silent.
"For right now there's nothing we can do but look at the security video," Jim continued. "Michael, Liz, Evans, I'm putting you on that. You'll start tomorrow. Tonight we've been ordered to close down. They're going to go over this place and see if there's anything they can find."
Liz stood up and moved away mindlessly. Max wanted to grab her but he knew there was nothing he was going to be able to do for her now. And he had some things of his own he had to tackle before he could get back to her. Instead he turned to Jim.
"You'll have someone watching her place tonight?"
Jim nodded. "We always have someone watching her house. Tonight she's got about three cars parked outside her door."
Max nodded and walked off. Jim watched him go, frowning. There was something weird going on there, and after Evans' performance this afternoon, he was going to find out what it was.

Max let himself into his apartment, took a careful look around, then turned the light on. Despite the fact that he too had agents outside his door, he needed to be careful. When he was satisfied everything was the way he left it, he relaxed and closed the door. Shucking off his jacket, he hit the button on his answering machine and listened to his messages. Noting down numbers, ignoring anything he wasn't interested in, he strolled into the kitchen and got a beer out of the fridge. He contemplated the contents of his fridge, realised he was courting death by food poisoning, and decided to call for something. But first he had another call to make. He got comfortable on the couch, picked up the phone, and dialed the number. He was smiling before anyone answered.
"Hey Mum, it's me."
"Max!" He felt his spirits lift as he listened to her pleased voice. "How have you been?"
"Good Mum," he assured her. "I've been good. I've moved within the agency. Thought I'd let you know."
"Well that's wonderful honey, but how about you tell me why you really called."
Max sighed. "Mum, just once in my life I'd like to get something past you."
"No you wouldn't," she said confidently. "Now tell me."
Max took a moment to gather his thoughts, then blurted out something that had been on his mind for a while. "Mum, when you met Dad did something tell you that you were supposed to be together?"
"Have you met someone?" His mother said quickly. "Oh honey that's wonderful!"
"Mum," Max said patiently. "Don't marry me off yet. I'm just asking."
His mother made a highly sceptical sound.
"Mum, just tell me if you felt something when you met Dad. If you knew you were going to be together or anything like that."
"I knew straight away."
"How?" Max asked, sitting forward.
"I learnt to block things off, like I taught you. But not with him. I got everything he was feeling loud and clear."
"Damn," Max whispered.
Of course, his mother heard it. "Who is she?"
"I'm not going to talk about it yet Mum," Max told her firmly. "When I'm ready to admit there's something more here than just attraction I'll let you know."
"Fighting it is pointless," his mother advised breezily. "It's fate."
"Mum, not the fate talk again," Max groaned. "I don't have the time or the inclination."
"Then tell me about this girl."
"Are you blackmailing me?" Max asked, grinning.
"Yes," she said shamelessly. "It's the girl or the fate talk. You choose."
Max sat back, and told his mother everything.

"Liz please," Maria said quietly. "I need sleep."
Liz waved her hand absently. "Then go to bed. You don't have to stay up for me."
"I'm not going until you do," Maria insisted.
Liz resumed her pacing, and Maria sighed. It had been like this since she got home. The pacing, the worrying. Liz was going through every moment of that morning in her mind, trying to remember something, anything that might tell her who The Apprentice really was. Maria knew she wasn't going to find it, but it didn't mean she could go to sleep either.
"Well, I guess I'll get more coffee then," Maria sighed, getting up and wandering into the kitchen. It was going to be a long night.

Max stepped out of the shower, rubbing his hair absently as he focused on Liz. He shook his head. She was worrying again. He considered calling her, was actually rounding the bed to pick up the phone, when he saw it. Everything in him went still, and he stared at it for a long minute. The rose sat on his pillow, blood red. It shouldn't have been frightening at all. But it was. He'd been here.

To Be Continued....

Sorry it took me so long guys. Board issues lol.