“You have got to be kidding me.” Keith Gillette dropped the knife he’d been holding, the vision seared into his brain for all eternity. Thank you, my loving druid ancestors. Bastards. “That’s just… ew.”
The detective pushed her glasses up her nose, ignoring the disgust on his face. She’d be cute if she wasn’t colder than a polar bear’s ass. Those blonde curls and baby blue eyes weren’t meant to be stuck in an interrogation room running psychics through their paces. The gun at her hip and the badge around her neck did nothing to dispel that air of fragility, but Keith had seen what the cop could do. He’d watched her put down a man twice her size once. He’d been impressed enough to request her as his liaison.
The visions he’d gotten the one time he’d managed to touch her badge had sent him reeling into the men’s room to empty the contents of his stomach. What had been done to her had left her the walking dead emotionally. “What did you see?”
“I saw two people doing things two people shouldn’t do with a knife handle. Gah. I need to scrub my brain out with bleach.” He rubbed his forehead and tried to will the vision away. He had a bad feeling about this.
She stared at the knife, showing emotion for the first time. Of course, that emotion had to be curiosity rather than the rampant disgust he’d expect from anyone else. “Are you sure?”
He shuddered. “Trust me, Detective Handlebar—”
“Whatever. That’s a vision I could have done without.”
“Did they enjoy it?”
He stared at her, not certain he’d heard right. “Excuse me?”
“Answer the question, please. Did they enjoy it?”
It was only through sheer force of will that he didn’t get up and walk away. Who knew working with the PsyCops would be such a literal pain in the ass? He shifted at the phantom physical memory of… ew. “Yeah. They totally got off on it. Have I ever mentioned I’m not into gay porn?”
Megan Handelvar smiled grimly. “You are now.” She pointed to the knife. “The last man who held that died under mysterious circumstances. They found his body inside the museum, just outside the new Cairo exhibit.” She leaned forward and tapped the blade with her gloved finger. “He was mummified, his body completely drained of fluids, his brain and internal organs removed. The only thing missing was the linen bandages.”
“You’re telling me this why?” Oh please, dear God, let it not be what he thought it might be. Neither of them might survive it.
She nodded, confirming his worst fears. “Afraid so. Sorry, Keith, but I need your help on this one.”
He closed his eyes and tried to beat back the truth. “No.” He’d been the one that got away, the one that had turned a smiling, pretty girl into the detective standing before him. Keith knew exactly what that bastard had done.
He’d seen it. The last time Keith had tried to capture him he’d wound up scarred, blinded in one eye in retaliation. That had been the only time Megan had shown him real emotion.
Of course, anger hadn’t been what he’d been going for, but you took what you could get when the woman you secretly loved was encased in ice.
“Yes.” The touch of her hand surprised him. He stared into her pale blue eyes and remembered things he’d rather forget, like how much she’d loved that asshole and what he’d done to turn her so cold. “Jack’s back.”
"Well then hand the case over to someone else." Keith insisted as he opened his eyes, sickened by the thought of pursuing the infamous Jack again. Didn't Megan remember what had happened the last time? Was she really that insensitive? Of course she was, Keith thought bitterly. He'd been the one psycho who'd gotten away, tarnishing her perfect arrest record.
Megan shook her head, and slowly removed the warmth of her hand from his arm to distance herself once again. "No way Keith. This is my case and I'm seeing it through till the end."
"To what end Megan? The end of your life?" Keith asked, his anger rising again. Would she never learn? Jack was part of her past, and it was about time she left him there, if only to consider her future. A future which included him, the man who'd stood beside her through thick and thin. A future where she was whole and capable of any real emotion again in the long run.
However, Keith realised, that was never going to happen. Not until she'd caught the cold-blooded psycho who had upturned her world or her life was forfeit. Of which the latter was becoming a progressively more fightening prospect.
Megan waved him off, not even hearing him. Which was usual as of late. "It' not going to come to that Keith. Have a little faith."
"Have faith?" A cold sweat broke out across Keith's forehead. He'd had faith the last time he'd come face to face with Jack, and look how well that had turned out. His eye would never be the same again. "Just how am I suppose to have that after what that animal did to me?"
"Because we're partners. We trust in each other."
"Trust works both ways Megan."
"What's that suppose to mean?" Megan whipped her head up to meet his emerald gaze, startled by his words.
Keith shrugged, allowing her to come to her own conclusions from what he'd told her.
She blinked several times up at him, and then her cerulean eyes widened in surprise. Good, she'd caught on. "Oh my god Keith, I trust you with my life."
"But not with everything else." Keith said over his shoulder as soon as he'd spun around on his heel, his back to her so she wouldn't see his face. He headed for the newly painted door in the corner, not once looking back, and reached out a hand to open it. He needed out and he needed it now. Before he did something they'd both regret. Like confess that she should trust him with not only her life but her heart as well.
Derek watched the by-play with interest. Hmm so the master has returned. This should be interesting to watch, he thought as he continued his work of backing up and storing the recorded evidence of the interrogation room. As a watcher Derek could only watch and record history as it unfolded around him. The information gathered gave a better picture of the world history than any news report or library. What they didnít know is that the master had been a watcher too, until he violated the sacred oath; the oath that prevents any watcher to interfere with events or change the natural progression of history.
Since becoming part of the force Derek wondered if the ancients had considered what to do with those watchers whom violated the sacred oath. Perhaps they thought of it, he would need to do more research on it. Hopefully the ancient tomes would reveal something helpful soon. Or Derek might need to violate the oath as well.
Megan watched as Keith walked towards the door, preparing to leave her alone. Her cobalt gaze followed his gorgeous butt encased in the black suit pants he always wore, and she sighed. If only she'd allow herself to cop a feel. Surely they were buns of steel.
"Where are you going?" She asked before he ducked out of the room.
"Away from you. I need some space to think Megan."
"Why? What's there to think about? We both know in the end you're going to help me capture Jack once and for all."
For several moments, Keith didn't say anything, though he knew she was right. He couldn't leave her alone to follow this case through to the end. She needed someone watching her back, and Keith was the best. He'd never let her down.
"And that's the beauty of it, isn't it Megan?" Keith said, pulling his punches. "I'll be there to watch your back, but who will be there to watch mine?"
"No you won't. It will be just like last time. I'll have to watch my own back because Jack is an obsession to you Megan. You don't have time for anyone else."
"That's not true." Megan told him, frustration clouding her voice. Why was he being so selfish? She desperately needed his help, and he was giving her grief over the mistakes she'd made the last time they pursued Jack. "I'll be better this time, I promise."
She heard the sigh slip from his tempting lips, and knew victory was in sight. He'd help her whether he thought it was a bad idea or not. Since they were partners to the end, no matter what.
"Fine." Keith said as he braced his hand on the door knob to open it. "But this time we do things my way."
There was no compromise in his voice, and Megan nodded grimly. If that was what it took to get him to help her, then she'd gladly hand over control of the case to him.
As she continued to stare at him, she noted the alarming change in his features. Another vision had struck.
"What's wrong?" Megan said as she strolled towards him with purpose, determined to help him whether he wanted her to or not. She came to a stop in front of him, where he was barely holding himself up against the drab coloured wall. She reached out a hand to his forehead. He was cool to her touch, his dark hair matted to his forehead from perspiration. Not good. Whatever he'd seen had to of been bad.
"Some other deranged person besides Jack has been in the vicinity of this precinct."
Megan removed her hand away from Keith, and watched as his eyes closed in hopes that whatever he'd witnessed wouldn't rewind and start all over again.
"What's this world coming to?" Keith whispered when he opened his gorgeous green eyes again. "When people need to hurt one another to get ahead in life."
"Why? What did you see?" Megan asked, suddenly worried about Keith. He looked so tormented, as if he couldn't go on with the life he now led. Where things happened to him that seemed impossible, but were in fact very real. "Please tell me."
Keith rolled his gorgeous green eyes up to meet hers, and smiled grimly when he said, "Someone wants to hurt you. They were stabbing a photo of you with a knife."
Megan's face didnt change. It was as if she had been expecting that vision, known what he would see. 'Good, then he must be rattled.'
Her composure was chilling as a horrible truth dawned on Keith. 'You are one cool bitch. You've done this deliberately havent you? You've had another pyshic on the case who told you and you decided you cant bring Jack in alone, and I'm the best there is.'
'No...dont speak. I dont want to hear any more lies. Obsessed, that's what you are. You know I wont let anyone hurt you...and because of a personal vendetta against Jack, you're using me to get to him.'
'It's not like that.' She protested, and for a moment Keith almost believed her. There was an anguish on her face, a glimpse of real fear that set him wondering.
Swallowing his anger, he spoke quietly. 'Then tell me, tell me what's going through that pretty skull of yours, or I;m out that door as of now...'
Keith pulled himself up, using the wall as leverage until he loomed over Megan's five foot three stature by more than a foot. He wasn't kidding when he said he'd walk out the door, even when Megan needed all the help she could get.
"You're serious?" Megan asked as she wrapped her arms around herself in a hug. "You're just going to leave me alone to bring Jack down?"
Keith nodded and glanced down at her with concern. "Yes, because I can't keep doing this anymore Megan."
"Doing what Keith?"
"Putting myself in the line of fire for you, when I know it won't ever lead to anything else except us continuing our professional relationship and chasing after the next monster."
Megan scrunched her nose up in confusion. What was he talking about? She knew she'd let him down the last time they chased after Jack, but this time she wouldn't fail him. She'd arm him with a gun if she had to, to keep him safe. Even if the captain didn't agree. Because he was the only one who could save her. The only one who could melt the ice sheltering her heart, which had formed after Jack's betrayal.
"This is my last case Keith. Once I've caught Jack, I've decided to leave Psycops. So if you help me, I swear on my life I'll even agree to you taking me to dinner for once instead of the rejections I always give you."
Keith smiled at her comment, and Megan's eyes skittered away from his momentarily. Finally, her heart was starting to thaw a little. "I don't want you swearing on your life Megan, I just want you to follow my lead for once instead of yours. And maybe, just maybe we'll have a better chance of catching Jack once and for all."
Megan nodded, and glanced back at him with a relieved smile. "Sounds good. So what do we do first, partner?"
Keith savoured the moment, a wry smile curving the corners of his mouth. 'Well now, I'm the psychic and I didnt see that coming!' Palm pressed to his forehead in mock disbelief Keith shook his head. 'The great detective asking me what to do next! Who'd have thought?'
Megan narrowed her eyes, 'Dont push your luck, buster. A girl can change her mind you know.'
'That's more like it, that's the Megan I know and lo...' Keith bit his tongue. He didnt need to be psychic to know that to admitting his feeling would give Megan power over him. Heavens only knew how she got under his skin so, it made him uneasy, despite his feelings he didnt trust her.
Keith cleared his throat. 'First things first. I cant think on an empty stomach. I say we discuss the Jack problem over dinner. How about it?'
Megan nodded, figuring a dinner date was the least she could do for Keith after everything she'd put him through in her relentless pursuit of hunting Jack down and putting him behind bars for the rest of his life.
"Where do you want to eat?" Megan asked, giving Keith the choice for once. She didn't always have to be a control freak. "And do I have time to run down to the locker room, grab a quick shower and change?"
Keith shrugged, showing he didn't care one way or the other. Even though he did. She looked gorgeous, standing before him in her police uniform, which was long navy slacks and a short sleeved white blouse. Her blonde locks pulled into a neat ponytail that trailed halfway down her back.
"How about Italian?" Keith asked, "I was thinking..."
"Augello's." They both said simultaneously, and then laughed, surprising Keith. Because Megan had never laughed once in his presence. Which was sad in a way, since to Keith it meant she was never quite comfortable with his company.
Keith sighed inwardly, and his thoughts drifted away from Megan and towards filling his stomach with delicious food. The owners of Augellos always treated Keith like family, occasionally giving him free drinks when he'd looked like he'd had a rough day. The cute waitresses always gave him more attention than necessary, often slipping him their phone numbers. Which didn't bother him as much as it should, since they weren't the ones he craved that kind of attention from. "As for changing, you look great but if you want I'll give you half hour."
Megan blushed at the compliment, and tucked a loose tendril of hair behind her ear. "Meet back here, and seeing as you're taking lead, you can drive."
"And give you the ride in my new car like I've been promising."
Megan's cheeks turned even more rosy red, which Keith treasured. She answered, "Yes." And hopefully you'll give me a ride of something else as well. Perhaps you.
Derek lowered his head; he knew better than to meet the master's eye, especially when he was in this mood. "Augello's."
The smile that curved the master's lips sent shivers down his spine. "Perfect." The master turned his attention away and Derek could breathe again. "Eris, bring the car around. I'm in the mood for Italian."