posted on 23-Jan-2002 7:20:00 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 18

"She was found on the highway at about one this morning," Jim said as the walked quickly towards their cars. "There are no signs of any injury. It appears whoever it was just let her go."
Liz frowned. "That doesn't make any sense. Are we coming up against the stupidest criminal in history, or is there something else going on here?"
"Let's just pick her up and get her back here," Jim said. "We'll figure out anything else after that."
Liz got in her car and started it, the jumped when someone knocked on the window. She looked up, sighed, then reached over and unlocked the door.
"Is this going to be come a habit?" she asked sweetly. "Or are you going to try asking for your own car."
"I have my own car," Max said complacently. "While I'm at work I'll travel with you."
"Are you back to being all I'm-not-leaving-her-alone-for-a-second?"
"Relax Liz," Max said. "Noone is going to figure out we slept together just because I'm in your car."
Liz jolted in surprise. Had she really been that bad? "Max, I'm not sure if I deserve that, but I don't care if anybody knows. I'm a big girl now. I can sleep with whoever I want."
"But you don't," Max said. "This is going to get some attention."
Liz shrugged. "I don't care."
"Not just in the office," Max warned her. "He'll know Liz. Something tells me The Apprentice will know."
Liz sighed, then nodded. "I know. But if you're just careful, he won't get to you."
"Or you," Max said quietly.
Reaching over, Liz covered his hand with hers and squeezed. Max turned his over, linking their hands, and they travelled the rest of the way like that, to the little bus stop where Amy calmly waited.

"I don't understand why I can't just take her home now," Maria griped. "She's had a bad night."
"Maria, sit down," her mother ordered.
"We'll get you out of here as soon as possible," Jim said with an apologetic smile. "We only have a few more questions left."
Amy nodded. "I understand."
"Is there anything you can tell us about the man who was holding you?" Liz asked gently.
"He was young," Amy said, her face scrunching in concentration. "Early to mid twenties. Kinda skinny."
"You saw him?" Michael asked.
Amy shook her head. "No, but when he was tying my wrists I grabbed one of his. It was very thin."
"Was he calling himself anything?" Liz asked. "A name we might be able to use?"
"Bill," Amy told them, grimacing. "Just Bill. It doesn't give you much to go on."
"Good," Jim said approvingly. "You're doing great Mrs Deluca. Anything else?"
Amy scoured her mind, then shook her said slowly. "No, I'm very sorry. It was dark in the room I was in, and he never really spoke much to me."
Jim nodded. "That's perfectly all right. We'll get an agent to drive you and Maria home."
"That reminds me, what happened to the agents that were supposed to be outside the house?" Maria asked.
Jim grimaced. "Yeah, well I'm afraid that has nothing to do with me. I'm working against bureaucracy gone mad."
"Meaning?" Maria asked.
"New rules Maria," Michael explained. "Agents can only be expected to sit anywhere for a maximum of about 10 hours at a time. And all agents going out to, or coming back from, an assignment have to convene here first. With agents coming here to check in, and here to check out, it leaves about a ten minute window of opportunity for anyone wanting to get to a person bad enough."
"But that's ridiculous," Amy exclaimed. "You must lose people all the time."
"It's not common knowledge," Jim told her. "And if it's a high profile case, the person being protected is brought here whenever an agent has to check in so that they are never left unguarded. We didn't think we'd need to do that with you."
Maria looked like she was going to blow a fuse, but Amy nodded. "I can understand that. Well, if it's all the same to everyone, I'd like to get home."
Jim nodded. "Of course. We have a car waiting for you."
Michael gestured down the hallway, and the three of them moved away. They had only gone a few steps when Amy stopped.
"Oh my god, I can't believe I forgot," she said, whirling around again. "Just before they let me go I heard voices. A conversation in the room next to the one where they were holding me."
"Conversation?" Liz said, frowning. "There was more than one person there?"
"For a little while," Amy told them. "It was hard to hear them."
"Just tell us anything," Liz said. "Anything would be helpful."
"Well from what I heard, none of what happened to me was Bill's idea," Amy said. "He was working for someone else. Who that is I couldn't possibly guess."
Jim nodded. "You go on home now Mrs Deluca. And thank you so much for your help."
When the two woman had left, Michael in tow, Liz sat down and sighed. "So what now?"
"Alex, you start looking in the databases for anyone with the name Bill."
"The name Bill!" Alex exclaimed. "You have got to be kidding me."
"Look for links with kidnapping, anyone who might hire himself out. Real name Bill, nickname Bill. Anything," Jim continued. "Liz, Evans, we're going to treat this guy as unimportant. You're first priority is still The Apprentice, closely followed by this new bozo."
"I believe we call the perpetrators now Dad," Kyle said dryly.
Max chuckled and Liz smiled. "Hey there Kyle."
"How are you doing honey?" he said gently.
"I'm doing ok," she assured him. "I meant to come and see you before. What did we get from Mrs Deluca's house."
Nothing conclusive," he said with a grimace. "Some shoe prints, of course the most popular brand on the market just to make it that extra little bit difficult for us."
"You'd think they'd be a little bit more accommodating," Max said dryly.
Kyle chuckled and nodded his head. "Some fibres off a jacket of some kind. I've only had a preliminary look at this stage. I'll come back in and have a better look tomorrow."
Liz nodded and stood up. "I'll come in and see you as soon as I get here."
She leaned over and kissed Jim on the cheek. "Go home. There's nothing left to do here until tomorrow."
Jim nodded. Liz turned to Max and smiled. "You coming?"
Max nodded and stood up.
"And what about me?" Alex said. "Do I get to go home? Or do I have to spend all night looking for the elusive Bill?"
Jim laughed softly. "Go home Alex. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bill?" Kyle asked. "Who's Bill?"
"Our kidnapper," Jim told him. "I'll tell you about it while you drive me home."
Max looked around warily, and Liz wrapped her arm around his waist. Alex noticed and bent his head to hide a pleased smile.
"Everything ok?" Liz said softly.
Max looked around once more, then nodded. "Whatever it was is gone now. Come on, let's go home."
But as he walked along, he couldn't shake his uncomfortable feeling, and he pushed Liz in front of him. He was definitely picking up something, but he's have to wait until tomorrow to try and figure out what it was.

Part 19

"I honestly don't see how this week could get any weirder," Liz griped as she opened her apartment door and strode through, leaving Max to close the door behind him. "I mean, I've had a vision, met you, had another vision, told you everything about me, found out you're an empath, slept with you, and now we have a copycat, and an accomplice, pretending to be The Apprentice."
"Sleeping with me is in the weird category?" Max said mildly.
Liz looked at him for a moment, blinking. "You picked that out of everything to focus on?"
"It occupies a goodly part of my thinking hours," Max told her seriously.
Liz's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Is this one of those 'guys always think about sex' things. Cause I never really got that."
Max chuckled and shrugged. "It's our civic duty. Takes the pressure off the ladies."
"How interesting," Liz said dryly. "And I imagine you take this duty very seriously."
Max wandered over and wrapped his arms around her tightly, grinning. "Hey, if all I have to do is think about sex a lot to make the world a better place, I'll do my bit gladly."
Liz wiped an imaginary tear from her eye. "You're so patriotic."
Laughing, he lifted her up and turned towards the bedroom. Liz put her hands on his shoulders and smiled down into his eyes.
"I was kinda hungry," she told him. "I thought we could eat first."
Max shook his head. "I want to get you into the bedroom before you change your mind and send me home."
Liz slid her fingers into his hair and kissed him. "I know I've been a bit of work, but I wouldn't do something like that Max. You're here now, I want you here. For however long you decide to stay."
Max stopped where he was, standing in the hallway with her in his arms, and kissed her. Liz wrapped her arms around his shoulders, her legs around his waist, and kissed him back, trying to reassure him without words that the fighting, the trying, was over. He had her. Max lifted his mouth from hers and slid it down to nibble on her throat.
"You still hungry?" He asked softly. "I can rustle us up something."
Liz shook her head. "We'll eat later. Why are we still standing in the hallway?"
Max shrugged and walked into her bedroom. "I have no idea."

Where last time has been fast, this time was slow and long. Max took his time, like he'd promised. Eye locked with hers, he moved slowly, thrusting gently in and out, watching avidly as she closed her eyes and tipped her head back over his arm. He opened his senses, and his eyes widened as he made the connection. He felt her desire, her need, and fear. Despite where they were, what they were doing, still fear. He drew her closer, tilted her hips up to plunge deeper.
"Open your eyes," he said hoarsely. "Liz, open your eyes for me."
Her eyes fluttered open, glazed with desire. Max thrust deeper, as deep as he could go.
"I'll never hurt you," he promised.
Liz's eyes cleared, and she stared up at him. "You won't mean to."
"I won't," he said firmly. "I couldn't."
Liz moved subtly, trying to get him to forget what he was saying and just keep loving her. "It doesn't matter Max. Not right now."
"No it does," Max insisted. "If I hurt you, I'd feel it. I'd know. I can't do that."
Liz arched up desperately and Max swore, giving up for the time being and giving all his concentration back to her. She moaned when he ran his hand lightly down her body, then back up again. She moved restlessly, her hips arching again and again, moans breaking from her and washing over him. Her movements became more erratic, her breathing shorter, and Max began moving faster, deeper, harder, until her head fell back and she groaned. Max took a moment to savor her climax, to feel her body milking his, before he let himself go. Fisting his hand in her hair, he buried his head in her shoulder, and with a few desperate thrusts, went over the edge.

Max woke up suddenly, his breathing harsh, and looked around the room wildly. The bed moved beneath him and he turned to Liz. She arm shot out blindly, hitting him in the arm, but he barely noticed the small pain as he watched her thrashing about. He reached out and pulled her into his arms, stopping her erratic movements. He saw with swiftly mounting panic that she couldn't catch her breath. He shook her roughly, then remembered that she had told him not to wake her if anything like this happened. Swearing softly and steadily, he put his mouth over hers and blew air in, forcing her lungs to work properly. He did it once, twice, and a third time before she gasped and began to breath more steadily. When he was sure she was going to stop breathing, or hurt herself thrashing around, he left the bed. He paced alongside the bed, sweating, his stomach churning. He watched Liz with a desperately frail look in his eyes. He wanted her to wake up. He didn't want to feel this paralyzing fear, this sickening terror.
"Liz..." he whispered.
She moved restlessly once more, and Max ran for the bathroom. He threw the lid of the toilet seat up and was violently ill. When his stomach had nothing left to get rid of, he slid down the wall to the floor and sat where he was, waiting for the sick feeling to pass before he went back into the bedroom to try and help Liz. When he was sure he wouldn't embarrass himself, he stood up and staggered into the bedroom. He got back into bed and pulled her into his arms.
"Liz," he said softly, shaking her. "Baby wake up."
He shook her harder when she didn't respond. "Liz, wake up."
She muttered something vaguely obscene, then her eyes fluttered open. She smiled up at him for a brief moment, then the smile faded and her eyes filled with tears. Max tucked her head into his neck and held her tightly.
"I have to call Jim," she whispered. "I have to tell him."
"I'll call him in a minute," he promised her. "Just hold on for a minute."
"I don't need to hold on...."
"I do," he interrupted.
She lay still, little shudders rocking her every so often, then pulled back and got a proper look at his face.
"My god Max," she cried, her hands framing his face. "What the hell happened to you?"
He shook his head and this time it was him that burrowed in, holding her so tightly she wondered for a moment if he was going to cut off her breathing. She scoured her brain to try and find out what might have happened to him. When it finally hit her, her arms tightened around him, and she brushed his hair with soft kisses.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm so sorry."
"I can't go through anything like that again," he told her. "I won't. If I ever wake up and you're like that again, I will bring you out of it."
"Max you can't," she said softly. "You know this is the only link we have to him, the only clue we have to the type of person he is."
"He's a monster Liz!" Max said fiercely. "What else do you need to know?"
Liz closed her tired eyes and sighed. "I need to know why Max. Why me? Why, after all these years, is he still going after me. If you can tell me that right now, we'll do it your way."
Max said nothing, couldn't say anything, and Liz hugged him once more before turning away. She got out of bed and put on her robe.
"You get the coffee, I'll call Jim."

To Be Continued....

I'm not sure how many of you caught these parts on the old board, so I thought I'd post them again. I'm going to put all the rest of the parts on the Repost board for anyone who missed anything. New part tomorrow.

[ edited 10time(s), last at 5-Feb-2002 11:01:57 PM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2002 7:25:22 PM by Mikyla
Part 20

"We've got a missing persons report out based on what you've told us," Jim told them. "We should have something within the hour."
"I didn't recognize her," Liz said. "But then I never do."
"Let's just find her first, then we'll find a connection."
Liz nodded and turned away. "I'll be in my office when you find something. Alex, anything on our Bill guy yet?"
Alex shook his head. "I've narrowed it down to ten possible people. Still working on it."
Liz walked into her office and closed the door quietly behind her. She didn't think she'd ever been this tired. She didn't want to do this, but it was her ritual. Something she always did after a bad night, going through the dream again to see if there was anything she missed, anything she could give Jim that would help. She had found she could retain the images, without her knowledge, but only for a short time. She turned the lights out and made her way blindly to her desk, sitting down slowly. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes, slowing her breathing down until she was totally relaxed. Then she slowly brought to the front of her mind everything she could remember about the dream. Images battered her, and she felt her fear rising, but she ruthlessly clamped it down. She heard her office door open, but she knew who it was, so she didn't open her eyes. She felt more than heard Max sit down opposite her, waited for him to say something, but he didn't. He was just there, calming her enough for her to keep going. She wiped her mind again, and let the images come. The first time she saw it she was focusing too intently on something else and missed it. Her mind strained to catch a better glimpse of the woman he was pursuing. Something that might trigger a reaction in Liz's memory, tell her who this woman is. She made a frustrated sound and opened her eyes.
"There's something there to find," she told Max. "I just can't get a hold on it."
Max got up and went to her, putting his hands on her shoulders and rubbing lightly. He bent over and brushed a gentle kiss over her brow. "Try again."
Liz took a deep breath, blew it out, and with his fingers still kneading the tension from her shoulders, she closed her eyes and started again. When she finally saw it, it lasted only a split second, but had her sitting bolt upright in her chair.
Max wrapped his arms around her from his position behind her chair, and murmured reassuringly in her ear, bringing her through whatever she was seeing. He expected to feel fear, the kind he had had to suffer through with her last night, but it didn't come. Instead he felt a rushing excitement, a curious relief. He waited until she relaxed, then began his massage again, waiting patiently for her to surface.
Liz went over it twice, three times, then continually, making sure she was seeing what she thought she was seeing and she wasn't just creating an image to give herself some kind of hope. When she was sure it was part of the dream, she focused on it, almost dissecting it. Finally she was satisfied, a picture firmly imbedded in her mind, and she opened her eyes.
"Could you turn the light on please?" she asked Max. "And get Jim for me?"
Max left her reluctantly to do what she'd asked him. When he returned he brought Jim and Michael. Liz looked up and smiled, tears shimmering in her eyes.
"What is it?" Jim asked. "What's happened? Are you okay?"
"Max told us you were going over the dream again," Michael said. "You shouldn't do that. We can find him without you...."
"I've got him," Liz said, cutting him off. "After all this time, after everything...I've got him."
"Got him how?" Max asked. He couldn't help worrying that she might be setting herself up for a huge fall.
Liz got up and ran around the desk to clasp his face in her hands and kiss him happily.
"He screwed up," she said simply. "I've seen his face. I've seen him Max."

Liz spent the next hour with a sketch artist, drawing up a composite picture, while Jim put anything and everything else that was going on within the offices on hold. He gathered all the agents that were there into the conference room to address them.
"Ok, you all know we've been chasing The Apprentice," he told the, pushing a button and bringing up a wall monitor. "You'll have an updated file on your desks by this afternoon. In it will be the first picture we have of this guy."
Silence hummed in the room for a few seconds, then the murmurs started, growing in volume as his words sunk in. Jim let it go for a few minutes before holding his hand up for quiet.
"Now, as you all should know by now, knowing what this guy looks like may not make it any easier to catch him. And when he finds out we've got this far, chances are it's going to make him angry. You'll all, at one time or another, be assigned to watch Agent Parker and her friend Maria Deluca, and their home. Stakeouts on the house will go on whether the girls are there or not. You'll also be assigned to the homes of Agents Evans, Guerin and Whitman. And mine. From this moment on Agent Parker goes nowhere without at least one agent tailing her if she's on foot, or a car."
"What about our other cases?" a junior agent asked.
"With the agencies permission, all other cases have been put on the back burner. If anything new comes up, anything that could possibly break that case, whoever is working the case will be temporarily reassigned."
Again the room filled with murmurs, but this time some of them were discontented.
"I know some of you have been working on these cases for a while," Jim told them. "But complaining will not get you anywhere people, trust me. The police, the FBI, and more law enforcement agencies than I can tell you about have been after this guy for a long time, as well as us. So let's keep the bitching down to a minimum."
He shut off the monitor, effectively dismissing the group. He turned as Liz came into the room, clutching a piece of paper.
"I'm almost afraid to give it to you," she said with a self conscious laugh. "What if I'm wrong?"
"You're not," Jim told her, all confidence. "So give it here and we'll start getting out to everyone who wants to have a look at this guy."
Liz help on to the picture for another uncertain second, then handed it over.

To Be Continued....

Thanks for the feedback.
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:14:41 AM by Mikyla
Part 21

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of this picture being splashed in all the papers," Max confided in Michael later that week. "Not yet."
Michael nodded. "I can understand that, but this came from over our heads. Apparently way over. This unit answers to very few people, but one of the ones we do answer to called in the decision this afternoon."
"Yeah well noone he cares about is under constant guard," Max muttered. "It's already getting to Liz and it's only been a few days."
"You think Liz is bad, you should hear Maria," Michael said with a wince. "I've had her on the phone everyday about these guys. She's worried she's going to lose her job because she has to have someone with her all the time."
"You love her even when she's bitching," Max said absently.
Michael looked surprised, then uncomfortable. "I lust after her Max, I never said anything about loving her."
For the first time in a days, Max felt a smile teasing his lips. "Maria hasn't been home a lot lately, and when I called Amy's the other night, she wasn't there either."
"What were you doing calling Amy's?"
"Liz asked me too," Max told him.
Michael looked down at the paperwork on his desk with a sudden ferocious, and unjustified, interest. "Is that so?"
"So being the hot shot FBI agent that I am, I put two and two together," Max said, enjoying himself. "And came up with another two. You two."
"Cute," Michael said dryly while Max grinned at him. "Mind your own business."
Max held his hands up in surrender. "Fine, fine. No need to get testy."
"So where are we on the case?" Michael asked, changing the subject. "What have we got besides this guy's face?"
"The woman was Cheryl Kane. Liz knew her when she was a child."
"Knew her how?" Michael asked.
"Well that's the weird thing," Max said, frowning. "Liz said she lived close, and Liz knew her, but not well. She wasn't someone Liz cared about."
"That breaks pattern," Michael said. "What's this guy up to?"
"If we knew that he wouldn't still be out there," Max said dryly. "But it gives us something else to think about."
"You know, I'd really like to get a hold of the guy who decided we don't have enough to do," Michael said, almost whining.
Max chuckled, standing up. "I'm going to leave you with your misery. Liz and I have plans."
"Plans?" Michael asked. "Dinner, movie, dancing? What kind of plans are we talking about?"
"Home, bed, sex," Max said, grinning. "About the only thing we can do without an agent following us."
"Good argument," Michael said. "I'll have to use that one on Maria."
Max nodded sagely, then chuckled. He looked up curiously when someone raced past the window, then shrugged it off. When a second person went racing past, he began frowning.
"This doesn't look good," he muttered. He threw open the door and snagged the next person who went flying past. "What's going on?"
"I'm not sure," the agent told him honestly. "We were just told to get into the conference room as soon as possible. Mr Valenti has pulled us all in. Everyone that was on surveillance."
Michael got up and the two of them hurried from the room just as Liz came running up. Max caught her and gathered her close.
"Liz baby, you're trembling," he muttered, hunching over her protectively.
"We've had a break," she said breathlessly, burrowing closer. "This is it."
Max rubbed her back soothingly. "What is it?"
"A letter was delivered to the offices this afternoon," she told them. "A mother frantic to save her son."
"Save him from what?" Michael asked. "And what does this have to do with the Apprentice?"
"She says that her son is The Apprentice," Liz told them. "Claims she has irrefutable proof. She arranged a meeting for tonight."
Michael looked around. "Then why are we here?"
Liz took a deep breath to calm herself. "The letter came from Cheryl Kane. The Apprentice's last victim."
Max felt the blood rush from his head. "Jesus. If this pans out...we're closer than we've ever been before."
Liz nodded. "And it means he killed his own mother."

Liz let herself into her apartment feeling tired, but good. Very, very good. They were closing in on him, she could feel it. She'd sent Max home to pick up some more clothes for himself, safe with two FBI vehicles parked outside her house. She flipped on the light...and froze. The barrel of the gun shone brightly under the light, pointing right between her eyes. She looked beyond it to the man holding it.
"You must be Bill."

Liz lay in the back seat of the car, bound, curiously unafraid.
"So I guess I finally get to meet our rather inept copycat," she said conversationally.
"How do you know it's a copycat?" Bill said with a nervous giggle. "I could be taking you to the man himself."
"The man himself would never send a drug crazed loony to do his dirty work," she said scathingly. "You're taking me to a second rate, attention seeking idiot."
The car stopped suddenly and Liz rolled over, landing painfully on the floor. Her ribs protested strongly, and she lay where she was, trying to catch her breath. The door at her feet swung open, and Bill giggled again.
"Whoops," he said mildly.
He grabbed her feet and began pulling, forcing Liz to lift her head or risk being knocked out. When he got her out of the car she looked around frantically for something, anything she recognized. Then she was being dragged up a small set of stairs to a dirty shack. She was thrown into a chair, and the door of the shack slammed behind her. She sat up straight and flicked the hair out of her eyes. She took a long look around the dark room, and spotted him immediately, hiding in the shadows at the corner of the room.
"You bring me all this way and I don't even get to see you?" she snapped. "How disappointing."
He rose from his chair and crossed the room to her. When she finally saw him, Liz's eyes widened, and she wished with everything in her that he'd stayed where he was. That she didn't have to shoulder the burden of knowing, from this day forward always knowing, who he was.
"Hello Liz," he said silkily. "You have no idea how long I've waited for this."
She couldn't believe this was him, so dangerously insane. The copycat.
"Hello Kyle."

To Be Continued...

Thanks so much for all the feedback guys, and for sticking with it through the confusion of the board coming back.
Oh Kittens, I'm not sure I get the Bob thing, about them being excluded from the meeting. Who the heck is Bob?
posted on 25-Jan-2002 12:56:49 AM by Mikyla
Part 22

Max got up from his chair and paced again, ignoring Jim's advice to sit down. He'd been sitting for half an hour, if he did it any longer he was going to go insane.
"Okay, I've got an address for every Bill in my list," Alex said, running a hand through his hair. "If we put an agent on each of them we should have something within the hour."
"And if he's not on your list?" Max said, eerily quiet.
"He's on here," Alex said, feigning a confidence he really didn't feel. "I promise you, we'll know soon."
"In the meantime I want you to sit down," Jim said again. "Don't make me send you home Evans."
"I have to say, it's admirable that you think you could," Max said.
Michael put a restraining hand on Max's arm and stepped in front of him. "We all know you're upset Max but don't do anything stupid."
Max looked at him, around the room at everyone watching him with sympathetic eyes, and sat down heavily.
"Hurry up," he whispered to Alex. "Please tell them to hurry up."
Alex nodded and spun around, picking up the phone.

Liz looked up at him with barely concealed disgust. "I don't suppose you care what this will do to your father?"
He shrugged. "He won't know. You'll turn up dead, everyone will assume it's The Apprentice, I'll go back to doing my job."
"And you're friend?" Liz asked, jerking her head at the man on the other side of the room. "How does he fit in?"
He doesn't," Kyle said calmly, turning around and shooting the other man in the head.
Liz gasped and jerked frantically on her bonds, trying to release her hands. She glanced around the room, at the floor, the ceiling, anywhere but at the body. She watched with sick dread as blood seeped across the floor, coming closer and closer to her feet. She could feel a hysterical scream building in her throat, echoing in her head. She was getting ready to throw herself out of the chair just to get away from it when Kyle jerked her up by the hair. She cried out, gaining her feet and pulling back despite the pain. But she was no match with her hands tied, and Kyle dragged her into another room, throwing her down on a makeshift bed.
"Why?" She spat. "Why me? What have I ever done to you?"
"A boy needs his father Liz," Kyle said, circling the room and running the gun up and down his cheek.
"You have one," Liz said, still pulling on her hands. She could feel the rope cutting at the fragile skin of her wrists but she ignored the pain and kept going.
"Who cares more about you than me," Kyle yelled, finally snapping in some little corner of his mind.
Liz stopped what she was doing and just stared at him for a moment in complete disbelief. Then she cracked.
"What are you, stupid?" She yelled, missing the surprised and confused look that passed over Kyle's face. "Let me get this straight, because it's just about brilliant. You kidnapped and scared Amy half to death, kidnapped me, killed the idiot junky, all because you think your father cares more about me than he does you?"
Kyle just stood where he was, watching her.
"Oh I don't believe this," Liz finally said when he didn't answer her. "You know, in all the time I've known you, you've done some stupid things Kyle, but this one takes the cake."
Liz looked up in time to watch his hand come down, snapping her head back as he slapped her viciously. Too far, she thought groggily, I've pushed him too far.
"Shut up," he screamed. "Shut up or I'll kill you right now."
Liz tried to get up, then stopped when a image flashed across her vision. Shaking her head she sat up again.
"Your father loves you Kyle," she told him quietly. "More than anything, or anyone, else."
"You're lying," Kyle spat. "I've seen the way he is with you. Always protecting you."
"I have a psychopath after me," Liz said impatiently. "Or two."
He hit her again, but this time it barely registered as Liz had another flash, this time of the exterior of the shack. Her whole body stiffened as she realised what was happening.
"Kyle, you have to get out of here now," she whispered.
"I'm not going anywhere," he told her, leaning over her and grinning manically. "And neither are you."
"Kyle please," she pleaded. "Get out of here. Go out the window. He won't see you."
"Who won't see me?" Kyle asked. "What are you talking about?"
The door of the shack creaked open loudly, and Kyle turned around slowly, frowning.
"Kyle get out!" Liz screamed, fear freezing her. "It's him! He's here. Get out."
Something in her voice must have alerted him, and he spun back to her, his eyes cloudy with fright. "It's him?"
Liz lay down and closed her eyes, tears spilling from her eyes into her hair.
"It's too late," she whispered achingly. "We're both dead."
She felt herself being turned over roughly, but she didn't open her eyes. She was too tired to care. Then she felt a touch on her wrists, and a tugging at the ropes that bound her. Her eyes flew open and she looked over her shoulder. She watched in disbelief as Kyle, watching the doorway, tried frantically to cut the ropes. They came away, and Liz nearly screamed in pain as the blood rushed back into her hands. Kyle stood up and pointed his gun at the doorway.
"Go," he whispered, gesturing to the window. "Break it and go."
Liz stood up slowly and faced him. His eyes were clear, sane for the brief moment it would take him to save her life. Somehow, he'd pulled back from the edge enough to not want her to die that way, the way she knew The Apprentice would kill her. She felt an aching pity and shook her head.
"I'm not leaving Kyle," she whispered.
He looked at her, tears shimmering in his eyes. "My father will be really proud that I tried, I think. That I was here and tried to save you. You won't tell him about anything else will you? It can be our little secret. You don't have to tell."
Liz swiped at the tears blinding her and nodded. "I won't tell Kyle."
She saw him focus on something over her head, and before she had a chance to turn around and face it, something hit her heavily on the back of the head, and she cried out to him as she lost consciousness.

"Max, I understand that you have some kind of," Jim said calmly. "But you can't expect us to believe..."
"The person who has her is someone she knows," Max said stubbornly. "Someone she cares about. It's not the Apprentice."
"How do you know?"
"She feels sorry for him," Max told them.
"We've got him!!" Alex said, holding up a piece of paper triumphantly. "Bill Reynolds, age 35, lives right here in New York. Busted numerous times for kidnapping. His family has a shack out near the Oneida Lake. According to his mother he's been up there for about a month now. He's not working alone. She said a man came to see him just before he left."
"Any description?" Jim asked.
"Well that's the weird thing," Alex said, frowning down at the piece of paper. "The person she described sounds a lot like Kyle."
Jim snatched the piece of paper out of Alex's hand, and Max turned around, heading for Kyle's office.
"She's obviously mistaken," Jim said, reading the description himself. "This could be any number of people Alex."
He looked up as Max came striding back into the room. He said nothing, picking up his jacket and putting it on.
"This isn't Kyle," Jim said firmly. "What did he say when you told him?"
Max looked up, and Jim felt his stomach clench. "He's not there."

To Be Continued....
posted on 25-Jan-2002 5:36:34 PM by Mikyla
Part 23

Liz groaned and sat up slowly, touching the back of her head, then pulling her fingers away swiftly. She had a lump the size of a emu egg, and a splitting headache to go with it. She climbed unsteadily to her feet, and leaned against the wall for a moment to get her balance. When she was reasonably sure she could stand on her own, she looked around the room slowly. As memory returned, she noticed the absence of Kyle, and her stomach twisted, bile rising to the back of her throat. She knew he was in here somewhere. The coppery smell of fresh blood, and a lot of it, swirled sickeningly in the air. He was close, probably just through the doorway into the other room. Taking deep breaths to settle her stomach, she prepared herself to go in and find out what had been done to him. She stepped forward, then stopped suddenly when she heard a voice booming from outside.
"This is the FBI. We know you're in there. Come out now with your hands up."
Liz almost gave in to hysterical laughter as she stayed where she was. If she came stumbling out, she was liable to get shot. She walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain slightly. She could see a large number of officers protecting themselves behind three cars. She scanned the faces, then finally settled on the one she was looking for, behind the last car. Tears of relief sprang into her eyes, and her throat tightened.
"Max," she whispered.
His head came up suddenly, and he looked right at the window. Liz watched him jump up and begin running towards the house. She sat down to wait for him, sobs wracking her body.

Max ran, not aware of the voices calling out behind him, his only thought to get into the shack and get her out. He jumped at the door, hitting it with all the weight of his body, splintering the wood and causing the door to fly open. The smell assaulted him immediately and he stopped, his stomach heaving violently as he took in the sight in front of him. Whoever had done this hadn't been kind. Kyle's body had been cut from throat to navel, his torso gaping open and blood everywhere. Max heard the stamp of footsteps behind him and turned around. He tried to reach Jim before he saw it, but he was too late.
"Oh Jesus," Jim whispered, his knees buckling. "Oh Jesus Evans, who the hell did this?"
Max pushed the older man on to Michael. "Take him outside. Get the forensics team in here as soon as possible to remove the body. Don't leave him sitting like this."
He didn't wait for Michael's nod, but ran into the next room. He looked around wildly, finally spotting Liz sitting on the floor by the window, her head on her knees.
He approached her slowly, and knelt down behind her.
"Liz," he said softly. "Baby, it's Max. Are you okay?"
She didn't move, and Max clamped down on his panic. "Liz?"
With a small moan, she lifted her head and turned to him. Max waited until he saw the recognition, until he was sure he wouldn't frighten her, then he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered, burying his face in her hair. "I'm so sorry. I got here as soon as I could."
"I know you did," Liz said softly. "It's okay. Just get me out of here. Please."
He tucked her head under his chin and picked her up, whispering to her to stop her from looking up as he strode out of the shack and into the sunlight.

Max came into the office and shut the door behind, taking a moment to close the blinds as well.
"I wish you'd go home," he said gruffly.
Liz shook her head. "I want to wait, make sure Jim's ok."
"I don't think he'll come back here Liz," Max told her.
"You don't know Jim," she said, smiling to take any sting out of her words. "He always comes here when something isn't going right for him."
He looked at the empty chair across the desk from her and dismissed it. Instead he wandered over, picked her up and sat in her chair, settling her on his lap when he was comfortable.
"I heard you giving your statement to one of the other agents," he told her.
Liz buried her face in his neck and nodded. She'd told them that Kyle had somehow found out about the trouble she was in and tried to help.
"You lied," he said matter of factly.
She nodded again. Max tucked her body tighter against him and brushed a kiss across her temple. "Why?"
"You didn't see him Max," Liz said quietly. "You didn't see his face when I realised The Apprentice was there, that he was coming for me. He was so scared."
"Anyone would be," Max said. "There's nothing particularly admirable in that Liz."
"No, he was scared for me, not for himself," Liz told him. "He untied me and told me to go. In the end, he saved my life Max."
She looked up at Max, and he stared down at her. "I'm not going to forgive him Liz. And I'll only resent it if you keep trying."
"The Apprentice got as close to you as he's ever been Liz, and it was Kyle's fault. I can feel sympathy for the way he died, noone should have to suffer that, but I'm not going to forgive him, or try to understand him. That can be your job."
Liz opened her mouth to argue again, but Max stopped her by covering it with his. The kiss quickly got out of hand, and Liz pulled back, breathing heavily.
"Max, we're in my office," she told him weakly. "The door is unlocked."
"No it's not," he murmured against her neck.
Liz let her head fall back, then jerked it up again. "Max, we can't do this in my office."
"I almost lost you today," Max whispered. "I could feel everything you were going through, and it almost killed me. I need you."
Liz got a look at his face, at the tormented expression, the seemingly never ending desire he had for her, and nodded. He quickly stood up and set her on the desk. His impatience was a living thing, and Liz grabbed his shoulders, content to simply be there for him, be whatever he wanted. He lavished attention on her neck while his hand slid up her thigh, under her skirt, and into her. Liz bit her lip to hold in a moan she was sure everyone outside would hear.
"Max," she pleaded, as needy as him now. "Please.."
She registered the tearing sound as he ripped her underwear from her, then the feel of his knuckles as he released himself. She pushed her hips forward greedily and Max swore softly. He finally got his zip down and pulled Liz forward, perching her on the very edge of the desk. Fisting one hand in her hair and using the other to hold her to him, he pushed himself into her roughly. Everything was too intense, the need to great, to prolong it. They had both stared death in the eye, and needed to celebrate life in the most primal way.
Max thrust fast, clearing his mind of everything but her. He felt the tightening at the base of his spine and slid his hand in between them to touch Liz, to make sure she was with him. It took only two quick, deep thrusts before he felt her body tighten and, gathering her to him, he followed her over the edge.

To Be Continued...

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. You guys are the greatest. And a big thank you to Jessica for her continuing encouragement and critique. Sorry Kyle had to die lol
posted on 27-Jan-2002 10:21:09 AM by Mikyla
Part 24

Liz approached him slowly, wary of frightening him. An empty glass sat on the table, beside an almost empty bottle of whiskey.
He didn't raise his head, didn't acknowledge her at all, but she knew he was aware of her. She sat down in the chair next to him.
"I'm so sorry."
He pushed the bottle to her and after a moment she poured him another drink.
"I read the report you gave," he said after downing the glass she gave him.
"You should be so proud of Kyle," Liz told him. "I wish he hadn't come in after me, hadn't died that way, but he did."
"We found some things at Bill's place," Jim said, looking up at her with bloodshot eyes. "Things that don't look good for my son."
Liz almost swore, but instead strived to look casual. "What kind of things?"
"Did you lie?" Jim asked her harshly. "Did you lie about what happened in that room?"
"No," Liz said, amazed she was looking him right in the eye. "Whatever you found must have been a set up. Kyle went there to help me."
"How did he know the shack was there?" Jim persisted. "And that Bill would take you there."
"How did The Apprentice know?" Liz shot back. "Maybe Bill broadcast it. I don't know."
"You're not helping me if you know Kyle was working with him and you're not telling me," Jim told her.
"Then believe me," Liz begged.
Jim looked at her for a long, tension filled moment, then ran his hands over his face with a tired sigh. "All right. I believe you."
"Good," Liz said, hoping he kept believing her. "Now, I came to get you because you're needed back at work."
"What now?" Jim asked.
"We've got a name on The Apprentice. I think it's time we told everybody"

Max was watching Jim closely, probably more closely than anyone else. He could feel the grief and anger coming off the man in waves. Waves that could easily turn on Liz. They were gathered in the conference room again, as many agents as could fit gathered in around them. A lot of people were vested in the morbid drama of the dance they were doing around this one man.
"As you all already know, we've got a photo of The Apprentice," Jim said, bringing up the image on the monitor.
Max looked at the man, trying to see something in him that screamed 'serial killer'. It was an occupational hazard, one they were always warned not to indulge in. He remembered clearly being told not to take anything, or anyone at face value. Remembered the photos of the exceedingly normal, sometimes good looking faces of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. The aristocratic class of The Ripper. This man would slip into that category, Max knew. Ten years from now instructors would warn of the evil behind the young face, the blond hair, the innocent blue eyes.
"His name is Dennis Kane," Jim continued. "33 years old. Agents are at his last known address now. This guy is meticulous, so I don't expect them to find anything. So we'll be going through everything we have so far again today."
Liz wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt and stood up slowly. Max squeezed her hand for encouragement, and she smiled down at him.
"Agent Parker is going to take over now," Jim said.
Liz turned around to the room and felt her throat tighten. Fastening her gaze on Max's eyes, she relaxed and picked up the controls to the monitor and pulled up the first picture.
"Some of you may wonder why I'm showing you these pictures," she said. "Most of you have seen some or all of them before."
Murmurs of agreement scattered the room and Liz held her hand up.
"You haven't seen them with me," Liz said simply. "My connection to this killer is a closely guarded secret. Only a few people within this unit know, noone else. Not even the FBI. We're getting a lot closer, and I think all of you deserve to know what you're up against. So I'm going to go over the names of all the victims and hopefully by the time I'm finished you'll have some idea as to why catching this guy is so important to me in particular."
An expectant silence fell over the room, and Liz turned to the monitor. The picture still had the power to turn her stomach, but didn't send her running from the room anymore.
"I imagine most of you think of these people as Victim 1, Victim 2, and so on. I know because that's how you're trained to think of them. For this case, I'm asking you to think of them as people, as faces," She turned back to them and pointed back to the monitor. "These faces are my parents. Jeff and Nancy Parker."
The shock caused a sudden tension in the room, and she could see a few of the younger agents taking a closer look. She left the photo there for another minute, then changed it.
"Bradley Shaw. He was my first boyfriend."
Slowly, she made her way down the list., changing the picture over and over again.
"Stephanie Marshall, my best friend. Dottie and Russell O'Neil, an old couple who lived across the street from me. I used to have lunch at their house every Sunday. Pappa Murphy. He used to fix kid's toys. He lived just down the road. Dr Gregory, he delivered me. Lilly Harper, the librarian I used to get my books from. Dr Sarah Michaels and her husband Hank Michaels. She was my psychiatrist."
She could tell some of the agents were getting uncomfortable, but she wouldn't stop.
"Joey Pollock, who worked at the video store I used to go to. Lochlan Tracy, my prom date. He went for the boyfriends again when he got Harlen Malone, my boyfriend at the time. Next was Regina Watson, my roommate. Tasmen Right. It took us a while to find her connection, but she was in my first grade class."
The next photo caused voices to rise, and Liz nodded. "This guy some of you will know. John Watt. My first boss at the academy. Next is Doctor Geoffrey Hayes, the surgeon who performed my appendectomy when I was 15. Marjorie Summers, my fifth grade teacher. And yesterday, Agent Valenti."
She shut off the monitor and gave them all a moment to digest what she'd just told them before she went on.
"I know some of you were unhappy when you were assigned to protect my roommate, Maria, and I. Now you know why. The bottom line is there are very few people left in the world that I care about. But as long as I do care about people, he'll go after them. Now if any of you have questions, I'll answer them the best I can, and then hopefully we can move on from there."
The questions were quick in coming.
"What about the victim before Agent Valenti? How was she connected to you?"
"She wasn't. Her name was Cheryl Kane, and she's the only victim not directly connected to me. She did live down the street from me when I was growing up, but she wasn't someone I cared about, or kept in touch with."
"Then why did he go after her?"
Liz hit the button again, and the letter they had received came on-screen.
"He killed her because she sent this letter to us. She was his mother."
"How does he know so much about you?"
"That's something we won't know until we catch him."
"Do you remember him?"
"Assuming I met him before he started killing people, I've forgotten him. The other possibility is that I don't know him at all. I never did."
Liz grappled with that for a moment, then pointed at another agent. "Yes?"
"If he's gone outside his little circle, the people you care about, and killed someone you don't know, is he likely to do it again?"
"No," Liz said definitely. "This was an isolated incident, with a very apparent motive. He won't do it again."
"So where do we go from here?"
Jim stood up again and walked to the front of the room.
"Agent Parker and anyone closely connected to her will be go into protective custody, effective immediately."
"Like hell," Liz said, shocked. "I'm staying here."
"No you're not," Jim told her firmly. "Don't argue with me on this Liz."
Max got up as well, strolling over. Liz turned on him and pointed at Jim.
"Tell him. Tell him I'm not going into custody."
"He's not arresting you Liz. He just wants you out of harm's way," Max said mildly.
"You can't solve this case without me and you know it," she said smugly.
"Why is that?"
Liz turned back to the room, dreading what was coming.
"You seem to know so much about this guy," a junior agent asked, looking around at everyone to make sure he had people's attention. "I'm just a little curious as to why. You seem to have these murders memorised"
He was just attention seeking, Liz knew it, and she could have pulled rank and told him to mind his own business. But if she did that the questions would still remain, and she wouldn't be able to work with anyone. She would, in the eyes of this room at least, become a suspect.
"I'm psychic," she stated bluntly. "I know every murder, every move, even thought. Because I see it. I see them through his eyes."

To Be Continued...

Thanks for the feedback guys, and sorry about the wait. I don't get as much time on the computer as I used to. Thanks for your patience.

posted on 1-Feb-2002 6:19:13 PM by Mikyla
Part 25

"You know you didn't have to do that," Max told her quietly in bed that night. "We could have come up with something."
"That kid already had suspicions," Liz answered. "He probably thought I was working with The Apprentice. Or at least knew who he was."
Max turned over on his side and pulled her closer. "What he thought wasn't important. Not to me. You're the only thing that's important. And I didn't like the way any of them were looking at you as they left."
"Max, let me stand on my own two feet on this one," Liz said firmly.
"I like you standing on my feet," Max said. "They're bigger."
Liz chuckled and shook her head. "I'll do it for dancing, but for this I won't. Please just trust me."
Max looked down at her, then grimaced. "Do I have to like it?"
"No," Liz promised. "You're under no obligation to like it. Just respect it."
Max frowned for a long minute, then finally nodded. "All right, I'll leave it alone. On one condition."
Liz had been expecting it. "I'm not going into protective custody Max."
"This is non-negotiable Liz," Max said firmly. "You can railroad Jim with that temper but it won't work on me. You're going."
"And what about us?" Liz snapped at him. "If I go into protective custody you can't come with me."
Max stared at the top of her head in astonishment, his thoughts scattered.
"Is that why you won't go in?" he finally asked.
Liz shifted uncomfortably. "It's against regulations Max. You know that."
"I don't care!" he said, disbelief making his voice rise. "For god's sakes Liz, I never intended to let you go alone. I was always going with you."
"Good luck," Liz said dryly. "Jim's real big on regulations."
"I'll find away around him," Max said confidently. "Now go to sleep. I'm tired."
Liz sat up and stacked her hands on his chest, looking down at him. "You have this irritating habit of ordering me to sleep."
"Is it going to work tonight?" he said hopefully.
"I'm not tired," Liz told him.
He could feel her fatigue beating at him along with his own, but he just sighed. "Was there something else you wanted to talk about?"
"Babies," Liz said promptly.
"What about babies?"
"I want one," Liz told him firmly.
"Right now?" Max said with a grin.
She hit him on the shoulder. "I'm serious. I want a baby."
Max could see she was serious. "Wouldn't it be better trying with a dog or something first?"
"No," Liz said firmly. " when, when we catch The Apprentice and my life is finally mine again, I want this. And we're close now. So I thought I'd bring it up."
"And will anyone do, or is it me you want the baby with?" Max asked. He could picture her in every stage of pregnancy, see her holding his child, their child. He wanted it, more than his next breath.
Liz took his face in her hands and kissed him, gently. "I want it with you. I love you."
"I love you too," he told her, emotion swelling and tightening his throat.
Liz smiled down at him, and Max watched, fascinated, as her eyes began to twinkle merrily, and she grinned. "So, can we have a baby now?"
Laughing softly, he sat up and rolled her over onto her back.

Max groaned and buried his head in the pillow. They'd finally fallen asleep less than an hour earlier, and he did not like being woken up again.
"Liz, I did my level best to impregnate you," he muttered. "I'm not up for a repeat performance until I've had at least 12 hours solid sleep."
He waited to hear her laugh, but when he heard nothing, he rolled over. Cursing, he opened his eyes and looked over at her. He'd been too deeply asleep to take note of exactly what he was feeling at first.
"Liz, come on baby wake up."
She tossed fretfully, the moonlight spilling through the window making the tears on her cheeks gleam. Max wrapped his arms around her.
"Not this time," he murmured softly, and began shaking her. "Liz, I want you to wake up now. Come on honey. Come back."
He kept at it until Liz suddenly stilled, and her eyes opened quickly. She stared at him blindly, terror making her body shudder convulsively.
"He's outside," she whispered, making the hairs on the back of Max's neck stand up on end. "He's right outside."
Max opened his mouth to comfort her, when a shadow passing over the window caught his eye. He rolled out of bed and grabbed for his pants.
"Don't move," he told her in a whisper. He felt around for his jacket and found his gun holster. He took it out and felt the reassuringly familiar weight of his weapon. He watched as Liz leant over and opened a drawer on the bedside table, withdrawing her own weapon. They both heard the tinkling sound of breaking glass, a window somewhere, and Max leaned over and put his lips next to her ear.
"Do not leave this room," he told her. "I'll yell before I come through the door. If you don't hear me, and that door opens, shoot whoever it is."
Liz nodded and rubbed her cheek against his. Max looked down at her with a calm smile, then left the room.
Liz propped her back against some pillows and pointed her gun at the door, her hands steady. She strained to hear any noise from outside the room, surprised she wasn't picking anything up with him so close. She pondered that for a moment, and as she thought about it her entire body tightened. She got up, throwing her robe on haphazardly as she ran through the house.
"Max!" She screamed, throwing the back door open and running out into the yard. "Max!"
She looked around wildly, already running for the gate leading to the front yard. Her breath labored in and out as she ran onto the curb and looked up and down the street. She ran back into the house and picked up the phone.
"Jim," she sobbed when he answered.
"What's wrong?" He said quickly.
"I couldn't feel him," she said hysterically. "I should have known but I was so scared. I should have told him to stay with me."
"Liz, I need you to calm down for me," Jim said softly. "Tell me what's happened. Where's Max?"
"He was here," she said, her voice high and thin. "Outside the house. I saw him. Max made me stay inside and he went out And then I couldn't see him anymore. He's controlling it somehow. Our connection, his emotions. I've lost the only link I had with him and he's..he's.."
"Liz, where's Max?" Jim asked again.
"He's taken him," Liz sobbed out, sliding down the wall to the floor. "He's got Max."

To Be Continued...

Sorry about the wait everybody, but I finally have the whole weekend ahead of me to write. Thanks for the feedback and your patience.
posted on 3-Feb-2002 2:41:25 AM by Mikyla
Part 26

Max woke up slowly, his head aching, confused. Where the hell was he? He looked around the room carefully, and as the events of last night came back to him, his body stilled. He pulled on his arms, unsurprised to find them bound behind him. He tested the strength of the rope, decided trying to free his hands was useless, and settled down to study his surroundings.
"Another shack," he murmured, looking at the bare walls and the trees outside the window in the room. "What is it with these guys and shacks?"
"They suit our purposes," a voice said laconically from the doorway. "No traffic, no cops, noone around to hear you scream."
Max looked up into the face of Dennis Kane and raised an eyebrow.
"You think I'm going to scream?" Max said calmly. "That's highly optimistic of you."
"I imagine you don't want to give me the satisfaction," Dennis said, walking further into the room. "That's very predictable Agent Evans."
"It has nothing to do with your satisfaction," Max told him. "As you said, noone would hear me, so what's the point?"
Dennis nodded understandingly. "You're right."
"So," Max said, looking around. "You wanna let me in on why I'm here? Or am I just supposed to guess?"
"Don't play stupid Agent Evans," he said sharply. "It's beneath you."
"Humour me," Max said with a smile. "I'm going to die apparently. Consider it my last request. What the hell do you want?"
"I want her to suffer," he said.
"Why?" Max asked, honestly curious. "She doesn't know you, so whatever she did can't have been that bad."
"She let me suffer," Dennis spat, suddenly angry. "She knew what I was going through and she sat by and did nothing."
Max stared at him for a moment, then shook his head.
"You know, up until right now, I always assumed you had some intelligence to you," Max said. "I mean, you plans all those murders, left no evidence. But that must have all been blind luck because you my friend are as dumb as a post."
Max watched him blink rapidly, trying to reconcile the situation. He had a hostage who wasn't behaving as he should.
"Liz was only a kid the first time she ever connected with you," Max said contemptuously. "There was nothing she could do even if she could get anyone to believe her. Her family wasn't The Brady Bunch, and her parents didn't want a child that was a freak."
"My parents believed me," Dennis said smugly.
"Your parents believed you heard voices?" Max said dryly. "I don't doubt it."
"Don't mock me!"
"Don't make it so easy," Max said, sitting back in his chair and looking for all the world like he was quite comfortable where he was. He watched Dennis struggle for control.
"You won't get to me," he said, walking to the door and turning back. "I'm going to make a phone call now. Judging by what I saw the other night, Liz will come scrambling to the rescue when I tell her where you are. And she'll come alone too. If she doesn't I'll just kill you."
"Yep, definitely dumb as a post," Max said again. "You touch her, you so much as look at her wrong, and you won't make it out of here alive. You may kill me, but I'll make sure you come with me."
He sat back in the chair, watching the man at the door carefully. He stood there for a moment, then slammed the door shut behind him. Max closed his eyes and blew out a tired breath. He could still smell the ether from the cloth he'd had clamped over his nose. It was making him dizzy and nauseous but he fought the feelings and focused on the feelings he knew were coming from outside of his body. He could feel Liz, her panic, and for a moment he allowed himself to bitterly regret the fact that he couldn't contact her, couldn't send his feelings back to reassure her. Letting the anger rage through his system and cleanse his mind, he took another careful look around the room and began formulating a plan.

"Nothing yet," Alex said apologetically. "Agents are still going over the mother's house."
Liz nodded and stayed where she was, the same chair she'd been in for almost three hours. She wanted to get up but knew as soon as she did she'd pace and she'd think, and then she'd scream. She'd start screaming and she wouldn't be able to stop because this time it was bad. This time it was almost as much as she was going to be able to take. He had Max.
"Maybe you should wait in my office," Jim said gently. "You know I'll come and get you as soon as anything happens."
"No," Liz said bluntly. "I'm staying here." She turned back to Alex. "Hook up a phone. He's going to call."
"Liz he's never done anything like that before," Jim reminded her.
"He's never had anyone this close to me before," Liz snapped. "I know him better than any of you. If I say he's going to call, he'll call."
Alex got up and walked away. He came back a few minutes later with a phone unit and plugged it in. Sitting down in front of his computer again he began rapidly tapping away at the keys.
"What number?" he asked, looking up.
"My mobile," Liz said after some thought. "Max's phone was in the back pocket of his jeans. My number's on there. It's the only number he has access to."
"If Max has his phone..." Alex began tentatively.
"He wouldn't have just walked out of the yard Alex," Liz interrupted. "He's been drugged, or knocked out, something like that. I doubt very much if he still has his phone with him, or if he even remembers that he had it."
Alex nodded and tapped away again. "Okay the phone is programmed with your mobile number on it, and a trace. Remember keep him on for as long as you can."
Liz nodded and sat back, striving to stay calm. If she was wrong... She shook her head. She wasn't wrong. She couldn't be wrong. If she was, they were all sitting here waiting, and Max was probably already dead.

"Careful with that thing," Max said. "It cost me a fortune."
Dennis continued to press buttons on the little phone, frowning in concentration. Then his face cleared and he smiled "Ah, there it is. I knew her number would be in here somewhere." He looked up. "I want you to talk to her, tell her you're ok. She won't come unless you talk to her. Tell her you're okay, and to listen to me. I'm going to tell her where to meet us."
He punched the button and held the phone up to Max's ear. Max waited, then closed his eyes when he heard her voice.
"Where is he?" Liz said frantically.
"I'm okay," Max told her quickly.
"Max," she sobbed. "Where are you?"
"He's going to tell you where to meet him," Max said, watching the man wearily. "Listen carefully baby. He wants me to tell you to come alone."
"I'll do it," Liz said immediately. "I'll do whatever he wants."
"That's not like you," Max said, thinking quickly. "Doing as you're told."
"He's going to kill you," Liz said hesitantly.
Max could tell she knew he was trying to tell her something. He almost smiled.
"You never listen to anyone, even if they're trying to protect you."
Silence hummed for a moment, then her voice came again. "No, no I don't. It's my one bad habit."
Max opened his mouth to tell her he loved her, but the phone was snatched away from his ear. Dennis put it to his own and spoke quickly, telling her where to meet them and when, then he hung up. Max sat back and regarded him. "That went well."
He had no time to prepare, no sign it was coming. Just the sound of the shot, and the agony of the bullet ripping through him.

To Be Continued....

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.
posted on 4-Feb-2002 6:58:59 AM by Mikyla
Part 27

"You didn't keep him on the phone long enough," Alex griped.
"I didn't have to," Liz said, moving quickly now. "I know where I'm going, I know Max will be there. That's all I need to know."
"Give me a minute to get a crew together and we'll leave," Jim said.
Liz shook her head. "No, no crew. He wants me there alone."
"Not a chance in hell," Jim said flatly. "It's a trap. You're not going alone. I'll pull you off this case right now if I have to..."
"Do I look like I've lost my mind?" Liz snapped. "If you'd let me finish. I'm not going alone, but he'll be looking for a whole team. I'll take you."
It was obvious Jim wanted to argue, but he also knew he couldn't. He was feeling guilty, and he knew it. There should have been agents parked outside her house, this shouldn't have happened, but he'd thought they would be safe, at least for one night. He'd planned to put her straight into protective custody the next day. No time now, he though grimly. They had not time.
A phone on the desk beeped and Alex answered it quickly. He listened for a moment then hung up.
"That was the guys at Cheryl Kane's house," he told them. "They think they might have found him. There's deeds to an old fishing shack amongst her papers."
"That's the place," Jim said, going with his instincts. "Send the team there. If he gets a whiff of me he'll run. And I'm banking he'll go back there."
Liz took a moment to get her gun from the office, then she and Jim sprinted out the door.

"The chances of me not killing you have now been greatly diminished," Max said through gritted teeth, holding his shoulder.
"Shut up and get in the car," Dennis shouted, prodding at his back with the gun.
"Aren't you worried I'll get blood all over your nice, clean seats?" Max asked, the sarcasm all too evident in his voice.
He ducked his head quickly to avoid being knocked out, and bit back a curse when his shoulder hit the seat. Pain shot up his arm and his stomach rolled warningly, but he took deep breaths and eventually managed to sit up.
"You know, I'm with you," Max said, only a little breathless. "I say kill me now."
He had the satisfaction of seeing Dennis' eyes widen as the darted to him in the rear vision mirror.
"Of course," Max continued. "Things don't look too good in that department. I mean, you've already tried to kill me once and missed. And considering the distance.."
"You're trying to make me angry," Dennis said in an eerie singsong voice. "It won't work."
"I'm just telling it like it is," Max said, shrugging. "You were about five feet away from me and you missed."
"I did not miss!" He yelled, the car swerving dangerously.
Max decided it might be more prudent to keep quiet, and keep on the road.
"Whatever you say," he murmured. "You're running the show."
As the road whizzed past, Max watched out the window, looking for anything that might look familiar, something that would tell him where he was in case he found himself on this road with no car. He knew they must have been miles from anywhere. He could see tress stretching on either side of the road.
"If I asked you where we are, would you tell me?" Max said hopefully. "I mean, since I'm going to die and all."
"Shut up," came the growl from the front seat. "Just shut up."
Max almost laughed. He moved around until he was as comfortable as he was going to get, and pressed his hand harder on his wound. It was still oozing blood, although more slowly now, and he was beginning to feel light-headed. He looked around and spotted a dirty rag on the floor. He couldn't afford to worry about any infection he might get. Grabbing it up he ripped a strip off, folded the rest, and tied it around his shoulder. A clattering sound caught his attention and he looked out the window again. They were headed over the bridge into the city.

Liz watched the gates into the old wrecking yard. They'd been there for at least half an hour. She looked over to where she knew Jim was hiding. She couldn't see him, but just knowing he was there made her feel secure. He was the only person she could think of who wanted The Apprentice as badly as she did. She didn't like waiting, but Jim had decided they couldn't do anything until they knew Max was safe, until one of them had seen him.
The sound of crunching gravel reached her ears, and she turned towards the gates, watching the black car come towards her. It stopped only a few feet away and a door opened. Liz had to stop herself from just running forward and killing him. This was the man who had ruled her life for the past ten years.
"Hello Liz," he said quietly, his voice filled with something like awe.
"Where's Max?" She said bluntly.
Another door opened, and Liz looked past him, breathing a sigh of relief when she finally saw him. He walked closer, and her stomach dropped. There was blood all over his chest.
"You shot him," she said tonelessly.
"He missed," Max said. "He was going for my head."
"That's not funny," Liz said with a frown.
Max jerked his thumb towards Dennis. "He didn't think it was either."
"What do you want?" She asked the other man, not taking her eyes off Max.
"You," Dennis said quickly. "In exchange for him."
Max took his eyes off Liz long enough to glare in disbelief, then shook his head. "Not gonna happen."
Dennis pulled a gun from the pocket of his coat and pointed it at Max. Liz held up her hands quickly.
"Don't!" She cried. "Don't hurt him. I'll come with you."
"No!" Max said sharply.

Jim swore slowly, willing Evans to move. He couldn't get the shot in. He took long deep breaths, kept his eye to the scope, and waited.

"You come with me, or I kill him now, right in front of you," Dennis said calmly, still holding the gun to Max.
"Don't listen to him," Liz begged. "I'll go with you. I promise."
Max couldn't risk looking around to try and find out where Jim was. He knew the other man was here, knew Liz would have picked up on his message and brought him, but he had no way of knowing where he was or what he was carrying.
Dennis took a step towards Liz and Max moved with him.

"Oh for god's sakes Evans," Jim muttered beneath his breath. "If you'd just stay still he wouldn't even have a chance to take her."

Dennis clamped his hand on Liz's arm and began pulling her towards the car, still keeping the gun on Max.
"Don't you move," he said desperately. "You stay where you are."
Liz kept her eyes on Max, and he could see the apology in them, the regret. He watched them move away, his fists clenched in fury at his helplessness. They reached the car, and Dennis began pushing Liz inside. Max waited until the last possible moment, then charged.

Jim saw his opportunity and took it. As soon as he pushed Liz's head into the car, and out of the way, he took his shot. He shouted out when he saw Evans begin to run forward. Max stopped, and turned his head. It was all the time he needed. Dennis jumped into the car, got it started, and sped away.

To Be Continued...

The games almost over guys. Only a couple of parts to go. Thanks so much for all the feedback and support. You guys are the very best. And an extra special thanks to Jessica, who loves my stories no matter what, and only hassles me a little for inside information lol*wink*. Love you sis.
posted on 5-Feb-2002 6:51:46 AM by Mikyla
Part 28

"Get in the car," Jim yelled, running down from where he'd been hiding. "Over there, behind the old truck. We can try and catch up to him."
"I don't know where he's going," Max yelled back, running for the car behind him.
Jim jumped in and gunned the engine. "Call the office. They have a location on the shack you were in."
"What the hell were you doing shooting at me?" Max raged.
"I wasn't shooting at you, I was shooting at him," Jim snapped. "You just got in the way."
"If I hadn't heard you yell I'd be dead."
"You're not!" Jim said. "So call the office and find out where the hell we're going."
Max swore, picked up the car phone and dialed.
"Over the bridge," he told Jim as he waited for someone to answer. "He went over the bridge."
Jim took the exit almost on two wheels, throwing Max against the door.
"For Christ sakes will you slow down!" Max roared. "You're going to kill us."
"In case you missed it, he has your girlfriend," Jim snapped back, glaring at him.
"The road," Max said quickly. "Eyes on the road."
"There he is," Jim said, pointing. "We've got him."
Max put the phone down and looked over. "Are you sure?"
"That's his licence plate," Jim said confidently. "It's him."
Max focused all his energy on the car, and knew Jim was right. He could feel Liz.
"Floor it," he said tersely.
Jim snorted. "You've been watching to many cops and robbers movies. It's already floored Sherlock."
Max bit back his angry response and instead focused on Liz. He watched the car as they got closer, and everything in him screamed when he saw the back door open.
"Oh Jesus no," he whispered. "No! Liz don't!"
"She's going to jump out," Jim said tersely.
"Slow down," Max yelled. "We'll hit her. You gotta slow down!"
Jim slammed on the brake and the car fishtailed wildly as Max watch Liz's body fly out of the car.

"Why don't you just pull over here and kill me?" Liz said from the back seat. "You're going to do it anyway. I don't see any point in wasting time."
"I have plans for you," he said silkily.
"I don't suppose those plans include telling me why?" She asked.
"I had this discussion with your lover," he said impatiently.
"That's fascinating," she snapped. "But since I'm never going to see him again, I'd like to know for myself."
When he said nothing, Liz just shook her head. As she did she happened to glance at the door, then quickly turned her eyes away. The door was unlocked. She inched over in the seat slowly, not wanting to be noticed, and reached out until her hand rested on the handle. She slowly began turning it and bracing herself to jump out of the swiftly moving car.
"How did it feel?" He asked suddenly. "All those years ago when I was being beaten and you knew. How did it feel?"
Liz kept her hand where it was, but sat back in the seat. As much as she wanted out of the car, she needed to hear this.
"Is that what this was all about?" She replied.
"You did nothing!" He yelled.
"What was I supposed to do?" She cried back. "I was only a child!"
"You deserve to suffer," he said viciously. "And you will."
Liz waited for the rest but he said nothing. "That's it? That's the only reason."
"It's enough," he said simply.
Liz grabbed the handle again.
"Not for me," she told him.
Praying for her life, she jumped from the car.

Jim swore viciously as he struggled for control of the car. Eventually they stopped, down a small ditch. Max jumped out and ran for the other side of the road, praying the whole time. He was only barely aware of Jim jumping out behind him, his running steps thudding alongside. He looked around wildly, finally spotting her lying in a small patch of bushes. He ran over and knelt down beside her. He turned her over slowly, and his blood froze when she just lay there, her eyes closed.
"Don't you dare," he muttered. "If you die, I swear I'll never forgive you. I'll follow you wherever you go and make your life hell."
"Well really," Liz said weakly. "Is that any way to talk to the mother of your children?"
Max huffed out a huge sigh of relief, blinking rapidly at the tears that stung his eyes. "You're not the mother of my children yet," he reminded her. "When you are we'll negotiate."
She laughed a little, then groaned. "Oh god, everything hurts. All the things. All at once."
"Don't move," Jim ordered gently. "I've got help coming."
"Oh don't worry," Liz said. "I'm not going anywhere."
Max just sat where he was, holding her hand, staring down at her. He heard the screech of brakes and didn't even look up.
"That was quick," he murmured, looking over at Jim.
In time to see him go down. The gunshot shattered the quiet and Max jumped, whirling around to face the danger. Dennis Kane stood beside his car, an unholy smile on his face.
"Well isn't this convenient," he said. "Not one, not two, but three birds with one stone. I guess this makes today my luckiest day ever."
Max moved until he stood over Liz's body, but he knew it was hopeless. He was unarmed, Liz couldn't move. They were both going to die. Jim was probably dead already.
"I'm spoiled for choices," Dennis said, still behind the door of his car. "You, or her?"
"Her," Max said. "Kill her first."
Dennis seemed to consider it. "If that's what you You go first."
It was what Max was counting on. He couldn't watch Liz die. He wanted to be first. As he stepped forward Dennis stepped out from behind the door. Max took another step, and tripped. As he fell he heard another shot ring out. He looked up quickly and saw a baffled look on Dennis' face. He turned around and saw Liz, her arm pointed, a gun in her wildly shaking hand. She fired again, then her arm dropped.

To Be Continued....

Thanks for all the feedback guys
posted on 5-Feb-2002 11:00:06 PM by Mikyla

The bride bounced nervously in front of the mirror, fussing with her dress, playing with her hair.
"What if I forget my vows?" She fretted. "That would be so embarrassing. What if I just faint? What if...?"
"You'll be fine," her bridesmaid said soothingly. She popped her head out the door and received the signal. She turned around and smiled. "It's time."
One last fidget and a deep breath, and the two woman stepped out of the room and took their place in front of the big doors. They opened slowly, and with a smile, Liz stepped out. She walked slowly up the aisle, her eyes on the man waiting for her at the head of the church. He stepped down to take her hand, and they moved up together.
"You look beautiful," he told her.
"I'd better," she said back. "It took forever to get into this outfit."
They moved off to the side and turned around.
"She looks better," Liz murmured, blinking back sentimental tears as she watched Maria join Michael at the altar.
They had so much to be thankful for. After long months of physio therapy, Jim was finally able to walk again. The shot that should have killed him, was supposed to kill him, had only nicked his spine. He was sorry to miss the wedding, but promised to be out soon.
Michael had proposed to Maria soon after she'd moved in with him. She's made a lot of excuses when she'd moved out, about the lack of room since Max moved in, no longer the need for safety in numbers since The Apprentice had been killed, but Liz had known all along. Her friend was stupid in love.
Liz had undergone the inevitable investigation following the events of that afternoon. She was back on active duty, chasing down killers, trying to get into the mind of the lowest forms of humanity. She and Max had foregone the big affair for a small service at Jim's hospital bedside. Maria and Michael for witnesses, Jim as best man. It was short, cheap, and exactly what Liz wanted.
As the minister began to speak, Liz slipped her hand into Max's and smiled up at him. He rubbed his thumb gently over her own wedding band and bent down to brush his lips over hers.
"My day," Maria griped under her breath, making Liz laugh.
Max chuckled as well, and they turned around and faced the priest again.

Max waited impatiently, then jumped up when the doorbell rung. He threw it open and glared at the delivery boy.
"You're late," he pronounced, grabbing the flowers while he reached in his pocket for the tip. "I wanted them delivered this morning."
The boy glanced at his chart. "Evans?"
"Yes, I wanted them delivered first thing this morning," Max said, looking down at the flowers. "And these aren't my flowers."
The boy looked down at his chart again, then shook his head. "There must have been a mix up at the office. If you like I can take those and bring you back the flowers you ordered."
"That won't be necessary," Liz said, coming down the stairs. "Max, tip the poor boy and let him go."
Still frowning, Max took the money out of his pocket and gave it over. He shut the door and took the flowers into the kitchen.
"But these aren't the flowers I ordered," he whined. "I ordered a huge big arrangement. Very impressive. Lovely card. You know, romantic."
"That's so sweet," Liz said, reaching up to brush a kiss on his jaw. "I'm sure they'll get here soon. These are the ones I brought for you."
"You brought me flowers?" Max said, looking down at them again. "I thought that was the guys job."
"Happy Anniversary," Liz said softly. "There's a card."
"When is everyone arriving?" Max said while he fished out the card.
"Maria and Michael should be here in about fifteen minutes. Jim phoned from work and said 7.30 at the latest."
Max murmured agreeably as he pulled the card out of the envelope. Liz turned around so she could see his face as he read aloud.
"Happy Anniversary. I love you."
He looked up and smiled, then looked down again. "P.S. The rabbit died."
He stared at the small piece of paper for another minute, then looked up at Liz. She bit the inside of her lip, hard. He looked like he'd been hit by a train.
"You're pregnant?"
"Well you were trying so hard," Liz said. "I thought it would be rude not to..."
Whatever else she'd planned to say was lost in the warmth of his mouth. He kissed her soundly, came up for air, then kissed her again. When he lifted his head for the second time, Liz laughed.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
He smiled at her sweetly, told her he loved her, then fainted at her feet.

"Laura?" Max said, looking up from the baby name book. He shifted on the couch, trying to ease the nagging pain in his lower back.
Liz lay on the floor, her current resting place of choice, her hands folded on her enormous belly. She considered it then shook her head. "No. And why are you fidgeting again?"
"I've still got that pain in my back," he grumbled. "It's been there since this morning. It's really bugging me. But, names. Lainie."
Liz said nothing about the pain, and shook her head to the name.
"Ok, let's move onto boys names," Max said equably. "Jared."
"Liz, we need a name soon," he told her for the hundredth time. "You're due in two days."
"How about this," she said, turning her head so she could see him. "You pick for a boy, I'll pick for a girl."
Max put down the book and lay down on the floor, cradling her head. "Ok, you go first."
"I want Lily," she told him.
"Works for me," Max said. "I want Alex."
Liz nodded. "Ok, Lily for a girl, Alex for a boy. Michael or Maria for middle names respectively."
"Alex Michael Evans," Max murmured. "It's a good name."
"So we're decided?"
He nodded.
"Good. How's that pain in your back?"
"Still there," Max told her. "Why?"
"Because I know what it is," Liz told him. "Can you take me to the hospital? Little Alex or Lily really wants to come out now."

"You were in labour the whole day and you didn't tell me," Max raved. "What kind of a thing is that to do to your husband?"
"Shh," Liz said calmly. "You'll wake her up."
Lily Maria Evans had made finally made her long awaited appearance that night after 15 grueling hours of labour for both Mom and Dad. Max was in unspeakable agony for most of the time, and the nurses loved him.
"I should have had more time to prepare," Max insisted, although he did lower his voice. "That was tough."
"Really, I thought it was a walk in the park," Liz said dryly. "Didn't feel a thing."
"A only child," Max said firmly. "One. That's it. No way am I going through that again."
"Yes Max," Liz said sweetly. "Whatever you say."
She didn't mean it. He knew it. But for the time being they had each other, they had their child, and their whole lives ahead of them. It was enough.


Any questions feel free to ask. For the record Kittens, if she'd shot him in the car she'd have been dead too. He was driving. Thanks for the feedback everyone