A/N: Hello once again, my readers! Here is the next story for you. I will warn you - the updates are going to be closer to once a week instead of once a day, since this is still a work in progress.

Complete Summary:

Eleven years ago, Shawn was a key player in the sting of a serial killer - and nearly became another victim in the process.

No one knew.

Now former acquaintances from a secret life are dropping by, the horrible past that Shawn thought was buried is being dug up, and the murders have resumed - and Shawn is the main target on the hit list.

With the psychic unwilling to give up any more information about his mysterious past than he has to, will his friends and family be able to protect him?

Or will a killer's thirst for revenge be fulfilled?

Rated for possibly gory, violent later chapters and some mild language. Shules

I have labled this story as an alternate universe, mainly because it does differ slightly from the series. The story contains my version of Shawn's past, which will therefore change some things. I will also probably write slightly different versions of others' past, including Vick's, Gus', and Henry's.

For all of you Shules 'shippers out there, this story will contain Shules! It won't be a central focus, but it will become more prevalent as the story goes on.

There is a strong possibility this story will become more graphic than some may prefer. To be safe, I have rated it on the higher end. If anyone thinks I should change the rating to "M", please let me know, and I will. (I tend to have a stronger stomach than most, so I don't always rate a story to what other people may think appropriate.) I will also try to add a note at the beginning of chapters I believe will be rather graphic. Read with your own discretion.

This beginning is also rather vague. I don't want to give away too much before we get started (don't worry, everything will eventually become clear as we go along) but I will say that the large chunks of writing in italics are Shawn's thoughts. Hopefully that will clear some things up. But if you have any questions, please, don't be afraid to ask - I respond to my reviews eagerly, as many of you found out in my last story.

This disclaimer applies to the entire story, and will therefore be posted this once:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property myself. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Other than that, enjoy!


The End of a Long Absence... and the Beginning of a Mystery

1996

There it is. You're almost there. One foot in front of the other. That's it. You can do this!

"… and officials still have not publicly declared a probable explanation for the July 17 explosion that killed all 230 people on board. Families of the victims remain optimistic that answers will be found. Meanwhile, airport security is still heightened as the Olympic Games in Atlanta draw closer. Opening ceremonies begin…"

Henry Spencer sighed wearily as he turned his attention from the small TV screen and plodded into the kitchen. Bad news and more bad news - that's all the media's ever really loved to report, he thought grimly, robotically pulling his marinating steak out of the fridge. He stepped outside and placed it on the already-fired-up grill. A pleasant smelling smoke wafted up in front of him as he shut the lid to the grill and stepped back into the kitchen. Yanking the fridge open and grabbing a beer from the top shelf, he moved so that he could lean against the doorway leading from the kitchen to the living room, the reporter's voice making its way to his ears.

It's just one man - only one guy! And you survived that other dude, so this… this should be a lot easier. At least he cares about you, right? Sure, he doesn't know what you just went through, but still… he probably still cares about you. It's been awhile, but… just keep moving… that's it…

"And in news slightly closer to home… in Los Angeles, the trial for James McKillian came to a close today in a rather startling development. McKillian agreed to plead guilty to ten counts of first-degree murder, thirteen counts of kidnapping and two counts of attempted murder, as well as other misdemeanors in exchange for life in prison," the reporter continued. Henry couldn't see the woman's face, but he could imagine the carefully plastered neutral expression on her features as she reported on the grisly crimes.

"McKillian was accused of brutally murdering ten teens in Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and California, including three from the LA area, torturing them before their deaths and mutilating their bodies, leaving their faces practically untouched. Two victims managed to escape this horrible fate, both nineteen-year-old men who wish to remain anonymous for safety reasons. Police are still searching for eighteen-year-old Natalie Daly, another possible victim. While it's been confirmed McKillian abducted the teen girl, he has not revealed the location of her body."

Henry's mouth turned down in a slight frown as he took a swig of his beer and moved so he could see the screen. Shawn's nineteen now, he thought vaguely, referring to the son he hadn't seen in almost a year and a half. Not since two days after graduation, he thought with some chagrin. In fact, the last time he had seen son was from the opposite side of a set of jail bars.

Henry sighed. He could only begin to imagine what those kids' parents were going through at the moment. The SBPD hadn't gotten involved with the case at all, but they had been told to keep an eye out for the missing girl, as well as report any similar disappearances to the FBI prior to McKillian's arrest seven months ago. The atmosphere had been quite tense around the station. His new partner, a young newlywed named Karen Vick, was especially tense. Henry knew the rookie empathized with the families of the victims - perhaps a little too much, he reflected as he downed another mouthful of beer. Vick was young and eager, but she tended to let her emotions run her decisions - something Henry was trying to change.

His train of thought was derailed as the scene on the TV screen switched to outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. The camera zoomed in on a thin, wiry man with a bedraggled mop of dark hair on top of a rather sallow face with sunken cheekbones. When his piercing blue eyes turned to the camera, Henry was forced to suppress a shiver. In all his years in the police force, he had never seen anyone with such a horrifyingly evil stare.

"Mr. McKillian, what do you have to say for yourself?" one reporter called over the noise of the crowd.

McKillian kept his eyes trained on the camera even as he was forced away. "To those that got away… you'll return soon enough," he declared eerily.

Henry straightened slightly. He knew this man was going to a maximum-security prison to stay for the rest of his life… but that didn't make the threat any less terrifying. Or real.

That's it… you're almost there. Smell that? Maybe he'll invite you to dinner…

Henry turned back towards his deck to check on his steak. He took another swig of alcohol as he turned the meat with the long fork in his free hand. His hands tensed slightly when he heard a soft footstep behind him. In one swift movement, he slammed the grill lid down and whirled on one foot, holding the fork out in front of his body like a weapon.

Just ring the doorbell… he'll be here…

Henry sighed in relief when he spotted the neighbor's cat trying to sneak up on him. "Hoo no," he breathed, scooping up the cat before it could make a beeline. "You ain't getting my steak, furball," he added as he dumped the cat over the dividing fence. It hissed and darted away into the bushes.

You're standing on the freakin' doorstep! What's he gonna do - run away? Like you did?

"Hold on, hold on, I'm coming!" Burton Guster declared loudly, making his way to his apartment door even as the doorbell rang once more, wiping his hands on a towel. Why do people always come over when I'm making dinner? I swear, if it's Mom again… he thought bitterly as the doorbell rang yet again.

"Just be patient, I told you I-" He suddenly froze as he wrenched the door open, revealing a rather thin and haggard individual shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other - an individual he hadn't seen for over fifteen months. Gus' eyes raked over the man's figure, taking in the too-short hair, the disheveled clothes, and the haunted look in the hazel eyes. "Sh-Shawn?"

Shawn Spencer licked his lips nervously and smiled weakly. "Hey, buddy," he whispered faintly. "Long time no see."

A/N: There you have it! As always, reviews are greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading! See y'all later!

moogsthewriter