Author's note: This was written at the same time as the first bit, and for some reason is where I left off all that time ago.

Spoilers/timeline: Besides a minor reference to A Shade of Gray, none. Takes place around season 4? Since I think those were the episodes I was watching when I wrote this.


"Nick, what are you doing?" she asked emphatically, having composed herself from the trauma of witnessing her former-lover murder a woman in cold blood. If she wanted to get out of this, not to mention stop his serial spree of kidnappings and murders, she needed to do her job.

"Talk to me, please," she tried in her most benign tone. "I want to understand."

He chuckled. Always in such a good humor. Was it all a facade? It just had to be. To commit such horrors, he either had to be filled with pain and turmoil, or empty of all human feeling. It was hard for her to confirm either. Nothing she had seen in him during all the time they spent together had indicated either condition. However, slitting Sara's throat hadn't appeared to affect him in the least.

"So smart, you are, Emily," he observed admiringly. "I can see the gears grinding away in that pretty head of yours. Trying to figure it out... Did I suffer some sort of horrible trauma, was mommy abusive, do I get off on it? Hate to disappoint, but my childhood was picture-perfect. Guess I'm just one of mother nature's little aberrations..."

"A natural born sociopath," Emily supplied, trying to figure out a way into his head, to talk him down. Of all the variants of criminal psychologies, he would possess the most impossible to manipulate. "Not as rare as you think."

"Oh, you've met others?"

"Unfortunately." She knew it wasn't wise to get sarcastic, but for some reason he was treating her differently than the rest of his victims. And all she could figure was that there was something about her that instigated his break in pattern. He didn't appear to be escalating, hadn't really done anything to her beyond kidnapping. But she knew all too well her failure to read him correctly. All she could do was be herself, for it had set her apart in some way in his mind. "Last sociopath I encountered was a little boy, from a loving family. He murdered his younger brother over a toy."

"Sounds like he has some anger issues," Nick pointed out conversationally, producing a water bottle and holding it to her lips. She accepted the drink, not knowing when-or if-she'd be offered more. Suppressing her fury, she took the opportunity of his proximity to catch his eyes. Desperately she searched their blue depths for any revealing trace of his thoughts, emotions. They had always been so expressive with her, lighting up in a way that mirrored her own emotional high from enjoying his company. It was almost certain she wouldn't find that false affection now, but maybe the sinister aspect of his nature would be unshielded. Or maybe she could find a glimpse of remorse, suffering, anything to prove that he was human.

"Mm," he murmured appreciatively, shaking his head and taking a step back. "There are few things as fetching as a bruised ego on a beautiful angel."

She couldn't stop her brow from twitching at the comment. Never before had a murderer so completely baffled her. He seemed to actually enjoy her. Perhaps, he got the same thrill out of playing with her mind as he did inflicting physical pain upon his victims.

"Try all you might, darling, you ain't gonna get anywhere unless I spell it out for you."

Her failure to grasp his motives was most definitely pleasing to his ego. There was no question about that. But there was so much more to the man that it overwhelmed, frustrated and most of all, angered her. Everything he had said, had appeared to feel, the emotions he had elicited in her... Had it really all been a flawlessly constructed manipulation?

Apparently, the accent hadn't been a lie. In fact, the Texan tilt to his drawl had intensified since he had dropped the pretense. She had been wary at first-blame her own prejudices-about dating a 'southern boy', but he had met none of the negative stereotypes. Unless 'egomaniacal sociopath' is a legitimate descriptor of Texans...

"You're a smart man, Nick. And you know who I work for," She attempted to appeal to his obvious intelligence. "They're good at what they do, and they're probably already looking for me. If you just let-"

"Let you go?" he asked back mockingly. "I don't think that'll be happening."

"I don't want to see you hurt." Maybe it wasn't the best tactic. If he resented what he considered to be soft emotions, her compassion might come across as a weakness. Then again, it might play to his sense of superiority.

His expression was unreadable, so she hazarded continuing the approach.

"My friends won't rest until they've found me. And I can't guarantee everything will turn out alright."

"You really don't get it, do you?" he said, a strange intensity in his eyes that she hadn't seen since before she woke up in the dark place. Those crystal blues whose sparkle she had so adored had remained flat even through killing his previous victim, an act that should've been an emotional high for such a twisted person.

Crouching down, leveling his face with hers, he pinned her with an appraising stare. It was all she could do not to squirm in place, for she knew her thoughts were as naked and exposed to him as his were obscured from her.

"Emily, I've never..." Another inconsistency. He was intelligent, rather eloquent, even in the fictitious personage he had shown her. His brow twitched and he appeared to be struggling to align his thoughts.

"I've never felt this way before," he said softly, failing to meet her eyes. How was it possible? Everything she had seen in that dark place, his own admission had indicated a sociopathic nature. Yet, here he was, obviously stirred by some unfamiliar emotion.

"You..."

He looked at her.

It hadn't been a lie. He had succeeded in hiding elements of himself from her because there was some truth in what he had shown her. She wasn't the complete idiot she had berated herself for being. That look he had given her, the way he had touched her...

"You love me?!" she asked in disbelief. Men-no, monsters like him, they didn't love anyone. They couldn't love anyone. Something was broken, something didn't work quite right in their brain. But whatever the reason, a statistical improbability was staring her in the face.

"I think so," he admitted, looking more confused than vulnerable, but definitely a change from the cold creature that had slit a woman's throat before her eyes.

"Then why do this?" she asked, tugging at her bindings indicatively. Was he going to eliminate the source of his consternation, that which set his world awry?

"I'm doing it for you, darling," he replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Desperately, she wanted to point out the gaping flaw in his reasoning, to ask him how he thought taking her by force and keeping her tied up and locked away would succeed, end in any other way except one or both of their deaths? But if he was capable of love, then he was capable of becoming enraged over rejection.

"I appreciate that, Nick," she opted for hopefully subtle placation instead. "And I want us to be together, I really do... but not like this."

She drew his attention to the ropes holding her rather securely to the chair, and gave him an affectionate, slightly pleading look.

He stood up, beaming at her like he did when they had flirted over dinners.

"God love you, you are clever," he commented, appreciation edging his voice.

"Let's hope it keeps..." he added before once more leaving her alone in the dark to mull over their encounter, her skin turning to gooseflesh despite the temperate air.


A/N: Is this worth continuing? I know what happens next (at least in my head, so it's not vital for me to finish writing it, I guess).

A/N 2: Oops...forgot, I also borrowed a line from one of my favourite film-makers. Can you find it?