Shawn gripped the door handle in one hand and the seat in the other as the sedan roared around another corner. "Dude, watch the old lady!" Beside him Gus screamed, squeezing his eyes shut and blocking his face with his forearms. Meanwhile, Lassiter planted the pedal to the floor and initiated warp speeds.
"Spencer, she's ten feet away from the curb! Now quit backseat driving!"
"I'm not backseat driving! I'm side seat driving and I'm not sure how much longer this sissy bar is going to hold out!" Shawn was sure Lassiter was overreacting, they'd seen the two men running from the beach with two pink bags and one purple.
Okay, sure, they matched the description of the guys wanted for several ATM thefts in the past month, Davis Green and Ricky Mullido. Shawn sniggered to himself. Mullido, as in Spanish for 'fluffy'. Gus, who hadn't been present inside his head to get the joke intensified his glare as the vehicle grabbed some hieght through an intersection.
But did that really call for a car chase? Really?
Shawn's stomach did a quick little flip when Lassiter made the next turn on two wheels. "Now you're just showing off!"
Gus turned towards Shawn with an incredulous look on his face. "You call that showing off? You must be out of your mind. He's gonna kill us."
Lassiter fixed his gaze on the windshield before him, the only outward reaction that he possibly heard the bickering from the backseat was a tightening of his grip and white knuckles clenching.
"Okay, Gus, fine, you're right," Shawn nodded. "Carlypants is clearly overcompensating for the fact that his pathetic car is no match for your finely tuned sports machine," he gestured towards Gus before the next sharp veer threw him into the door. It was then that Shawn decided that hand gestures accenting his point would have to wait.
Lassiter blocked out the sounds coming from inside the car. The two criminals darting down the side street were his only concern and he was quickly gaining on them. With one final slam of his foot on the gas pedal, a sudden turn of the wheel to the left, and his foot instantly moving to slam on the breaks, his car slid to a stop, perpendicular to the criminals path.
The car stopped with a forceful jerk - throwing all the occupants forward. Lassiter's head barely missed the steering wheel, then snapped back into the headrest behind him. He turned momentarily to the consultants in the back. Gus seemed to have coped with the sudden halt of momentum pretty well, but Shawn was clinging onto the headrest in front of him, looking as if his face had been coated in white stage make up applied by some sociopathic clown. Wasting no more time, Lassiter grabbed the car door handle and almost fell out of the car in his haste to capture the perps.
Shawn gasped as he wiped a hand beneath his nose and saw the bloody streak. "Dude! This is totally police brutality!"
Ignoring the complaint, Gus rubbed his neck and pinched his eyes. "I think I strained my trapizius."
Shawn stopped contemplating what he thought might be brain fluid. "You've got a three ring circus in your head?"
The glare and retort was interrupted as outside, Lassy made a flying tackle into one of the perps. Shawn nodded in approval before clapping. Gus slapped his arm.
"The other guy is getting away!! Come on!" Gus yelled and took off after the second man.
"When did you suddenly decide chasing after criminals was a good idea?!" Shawn shouted before running after Gus. He felt light-headed but ignored the sensation, he couldn't leave Gus. He might get hurt or, worse, take all the glory.
Thankfully, Shawn didn't have to chase after Gus, chasing after the criminal, running away from Lassiter, very far. One more glance over his shoulder at the pile-driven baddie handcuffed to the parking meter at least ensured that they wouldn't have to catch that one again. Deciding that given the amount of blood gushing (he would swear it was gushing) made Shawn reconsider that it might serve him well to watch where he was going. With his head tipped back, he could make out the path of the head detective and his best pal just underneath the palm of his hand as he tried to pinch off blood flow.
"Snoh dohwn!" he tried to call out in vain. And then...there it was! Sweet relief as the chase slowed. Huffing breathlessly, choking past drainage oozing down his throat (he tried not to think about it), the bad guy, followed by Lassiter, followed by Gus, ran into Schlemheim's Deli.
Shawn heard a crash as he stumbled through the door of the Deli. Inside was total chaos. Gus had attempted to tackle the criminal, but managed to only take down the table of an elderly couple who were now sitting in shock; their sandwiches spilled to the floor and their fruit salad with marshmallows covering the front of Gus's shirt. In the back of the store Lassiter had the criminal pinned to the the wall, both of them covered in assorted meats and cheeses.
The next few moments seemed to play out in some headcheese filled blur. Shawn was picking bits of the gelatinous disaster off his sleeve with a look of mild disgust, when suddenly, the criminal, Ricky Mullido, shot out a fist and embedded it in Lassiter's stomach, then slipped out from under his arm in a wild dash for freedom before slipping on a piece of ham.
Arms flailing, he shot backwards and landed with an "oomph" on the floor. Shawn winced along with him, just as Lassiter was recovering. But before anyone could react, Mullido tore a gun from his belt, and backing his way to a wall, he aimed it at various people around the room as he crawled his way up using his back.
Lassiter followed suit, reaching for his gun holster, as Mullido eventually rested his gun on Gus. Shawn shot forward, about to say something he hoped would in fact save Gus and not result in all their deaths, but this apparently failed as the perp grabbed him, and spun him around - his arm locked round his neck, his gun resting by Shawn's head. Shawn grimaced as the smell of the blasted headcheese wafted from the criminal's sleeve to his nose.
"Dude," Shawn gagged, glancing up at Mullido. "Do you mind backing up about five feet? Nothing personal, but if you're going to shoot me I'd prefer not to die smelling like headcheese."
The gun only pressed deeper into Shawn's temple, making him wonder briefly whether or not making the hilarious mustard joke he had at the back of his mind was a good idea. Something told him this guy wasn't a fan of humor.
He glanced over at Gus, who was finally stumbling to his feet, though before he stood up fully he slipped on a slice of pineapple and hit the floor again, cracking the back of his head on the hardwood.
Shawn winced at the hard smack but commiserating with his best friend was put on hold as the gun barrel shoved under his throat, forcing his head back. Meanwhile, Meatloaf backed them tightly into the corner.
"Back off! Get the hell out of here or I start ventilating!" Lassy, of course, wasn't one for seeing eye to eye with baddies, and only tightened his grip on his gun. Great. Shawn always did want to die for principles.
He made a high-pitched noise of protest as the gun-wielding maniac pressed the gun up under the ridge of his jaw hard enough to pinch. That was so going to leave a mark. "Dude, Lassshey!" he grit out between forcibly clenched teeth, "Geth 'ACK!"
Mullido jerked his head and then Shawn heard one of the sounds that would never make his Top Five Favorite Sounds list: the cocking of a gun. Especially one pointed straight into his SKULL!
"Dude! Can we talk about this?" Shawn was seriously regretting their impromptu trip to the beach. He was staring Lassiter in the eyes, when someone sliding slowly from a booth behind the detective caught his attention. "Dad!"
Shawn's reply to the circle of name sharing was cut off by the barrel of the gun thrusting further into his windpipe. He swallowed slowly, nervously, watching as his dad advanced before losing his footing in a pile of fruit salad. Shawn really hoped it was the fruit salad - if it was the headcheese, he'd never hear the end of it. Nevertheless, his heart hammered wildly as the gun pressed further, prompting the urge to swallow...repeatedly.
"Back off! I'm not even kidding!" He couldn't see the baddie - Fluffy, he snickered to himself, but he could picture the desperate eyes, wildly looking for an escape....any escape, just the same.
Shawn glanced past his dad to the detective, whose gun was aimed at him. Shawn rationalized that Lassie was probably aiming at the criminal, but right now he was blocking any shot the detective had. The blood from his nose was still sluggishly dripping down his throat, coating it in a thick layer of slime.
Suddenly he struggled to breathe, the congealing blood beginning to block the flow of air and the gun against his throat not helping. Unable help it he unexpectedly pitched forward, desperately coughing, trying to catch a breath.
No one seemed to notice. He wasn't sure whether to be offended that no one noticed, or complimented by the fact that the reason he was being ignored was because everyone was teaming up to save him. Snorkel. Everything seemed to have stopped around him as he continued to inhale is own blood. Ew. The room started spinning casually around him, which, Shawn realized vaguely, probably wasn't good.
Henry started to move towards Fluffy, a dangerous look in his eye. Shawn made a mental note to congratulate his father for totally capturing the 1912 overture moment of a pretty awesome movie. This situation should totally be a movie. He'd so win an Oscar for this very convincing performance of suffocating to death. Hello? Guys? Suffocating to death, here!
"Get the hell away from my son," Henry murmured as he started forward.
Lassiter edged forwards, "Henry..."
He was duly ignored, as Henry continued to start forward, in his creeping style he had taught Shawn all those years ago. Hide and Seek was never the same after that incident. All seemed serious and action-y until, Henry's sole slid on yet another piece of head cheese.
Where the heck had the stuff all come from anyway?
Arms waving very dramatically Henry managed to catch hold of Gus just as the other man was rising, the result being a totally against the laws of physics balancing performance as the two of them somehow found their feet. Shawn would have appreciated it greatly if Gunny McShooty-Pants hadn't used the distraction to shove his captive forward - right into the only armed detective on the scene. The follow up of gunfire was even less appreciated as Shawn felt himself suddenly playing the part of Body Armor. Soft and squishy body armor. Ineffective body armor that clearly wasn't designed to stop bullets. "Umph!" Pain brought his hand to his side. It felt wet.
Shawn realized with dazed interest that his knees had given up on the task of holding him upright some time in the last moment or two. Lassiter had begun cursing in his ear, staggering as he tried to continue holding Shawn upright. It was a losing battle, and Shawn could tell just from the sound of random glass breaking and the thud of bullets hitting wood that the detective's shots weren't exactly going straight.
"Shawn!" his father barked, and Shawn's head lolled to the side. A pair of strong arms wrapped around his waist and fire erupted in his left side, blazing all through his body and forcing it's way out of him in a strangled scream of agony. The spinning world went gloriously white and when it finally faded back in, his father was looking down at him, expression twisted into something that on any other person, Shawn probably wouldn't have hesitated to identify as "frantic", but that just wasn't right. His dad didn't do frantic.
There was a loud crash as something was slammed to the floor and several more gunshots in rapid succession.
Shawn's eyes rolled around, trying to counteract the movement of the room. A moan came from somewhere nearby and fear crackled in his chest for a moment. Where was Gus?! Had Gus been hurt?!
He tried to push himself into a seated position, only to hear the low moaning morph into a chest-rattling scream.
"Don't move!" Shawn heard his father's voice from far away. The gun shots weren't as loud now. Was he losing his hearing because everything seemed so muffled?
"Shawn, Shawn!" That was Gus. Gus was okay. Gus wasn't laying dead in a pile of fruit salad.
"Gus." Shawn was surprised at how weak his voice sounded. "Hurts." He whispered to his best friend. Shawn coughed, spewing blood into the faces of the two men leaning over him. "Dad? Wha... here?"
"Its Friday, Shawn, deli day," Henry said quietly as he brushed bloody hair off of Shawn's forehead.
"Just hang on, Shawn," Gus said urgently.
"I've got ya, son," Henry said as he tried to wipe blood from Shawn's face. "Gus, hold this." The pressure Shawn felt on his side made everything around him jump up to full volume. He cried out at the agony, pushing desperately at the hands that seemed intent on killing him.
"I'm sorry," Gus whispered, his voice shaky from tears he was trying to hold in check. "I'm sorry."
Visions of salamis and baguettes circled his vision as they danced cheek to cheek with jars of horseradish. Weird that he didn't find this confusing in the least. He knew on some level that it was silly to think that salami would even be seen with horseradish, thus it had to be a dream. The convincing lynchpin, however, was the angry block of headcheese sulking in the corner with crossed arms and angry eyebrows.
Dare say that he knew that look, was quite familiar with it actually. Shawn blinked. And blinked again. The headcheese merely raised its gaze, meeting his with a disapproving glance. Just great. He knew dancing lunch meat was too good to be true.
"D'ad? Wh- happn'd?"
"Shawn..." his name was breathed on an exhale as his father's head dropped down in relief. He never wanted to be greeted like that again. Ever.
"Dad... wh..." his eyes darted across the room, taking in the non-specific décor, the lifeless daffodil on the plain-blinded windowsill, and the equipment surrounding him. His head slumped back into the pillow. "Oh G..."
"Don't you remember what happened?" Henry was asking him.
Shawn regarded him curiously, an eyebrow raised. "I seem to recall a baguette dancing... and a truck load of head cheese..."
He suddenly jerked upwards, wincing and reaching for his side as a sudden pain flared. "Oh God!"
His father donned a look of worry Shawn had never seen before as he stood up to restrain his flailing son. "What? What is it?"
Shawn looked up at him, panting, wisps of his hair falling into his eyes. "The head cheese!"
Henry frowned. "...The what?"
"The head cheese!" He started flapping his arms at his legs and body, as if fighting off an invisible enemy.
"Head cheese, dad... It tried to kill me!"
And with that, he promptly passed out.
Juliet watched Shawn collapse onto the bed. The paper mask over her face itched and she had to force away the little cough that seemed to tickle her throat. A moan from the bed meant Shawn was coming to again, hopefully more coherently this time. He turned to the side and opened his eyes, seeing her for the first time.
"Jules, you look funny. What's with the paper thing? Did I miss Halloween, again?"
Juliet smiled, "I think I might be catching a cold, they wanted me to wear this so you don't get sick."
Shawn smiled, "You look pretty cute with it on."
She shrugged off the comment, Shawn was still not completely in his right mind, she told herself, she should not read into it.
Henry shook his head at the pathetic flirting - muttering something about coffee before leaving the room.
Juliet studied the sweat beaded face before her. Shawn was pale. It would take a day or so for the color to come back after the transfusions - longer before he'd be up and around on his own power. She smiled, though it wasn't visible to the man on the bed. "Is there anything you need? I can get you..." Her eyes traveled around the room, filled with balloons, cards, and of course, pineapple - everything from canned to full fruit, "a fork?"
Shawn started to chuckle, then quickly coughed - finishing up in a moan. Juliet moved to his side, automatically reaching out to rub his back.
"You okay?" He groaned again, but before he could answer the door opened and Gus entered, a smoothie in one hand and another at his lips.
Shawn's eyes lit up. "Gus! You're my heroooo...ooohhh?" The expression of delight dissolved into a frown as Gus smiled at Juliet and handed over the smoothie.
"Here you go, Juliet. Strawberry mango, just like you asked."
"Whuh, ah?" Shawn whimpered. "Buh?"
"Hey!" Shawn cried reaching for Gus' smoothie.
Gus slapped the injured man's had away. "No smoothies for a couple of days, Shawn. Doctor's orders. And," he pushed at Shawn's hand as he tried to grab the Styrofoam cup once again, "and if you try to sneak out to get one not only will you fall flat on your face, but I will ask the chief to put a guard on your door."
"Gus, don't be an angry mama bear, besides there's no way the chief would spend department money on a guard for my door." Shawn answered as he thought about the best way to get down to the hospital cafeteria.
"No, but I'll stand guard if I have to." Henry said from the doorway.
Shawn grimaced. "Man. You guys are mean. I got shot. I should totally get whatever I want."
Henry rolled his eyes. "Not against medical advice you don't."
Shawn pouted. "This is so unfair."
"Life's unfair." Gus shot back, swatting at him with a hand.
Shawn's nose wrinkled and he waggled a hand sharply back at him. Within seconds they were both flapping their hands at one another, Shawn actually attempting to get a good smack in, and Gus avoiding hitting Shawn, lest he aggravate any injuries. Fortunately, Shawn was doing that perfectly well all by himself.
He hissed as the stitches on his side protested a lean forward and Gus pulled back, a smug expression on his face. "Ha. I win. You should know better than to mess around like that when you're hurt, Shawn."
Shawn glowered, breathing through clenched teeth.
"I need to get a new best friend. One who isn't an unsympathetic meanie."
Gus leaned forward, his expression haughty. "You love me and you know it."
Shawn's eyes narrowed. Then, before anyone could blink, he lashed out with one hand, smacking Gus across the temple sharply with his fingertips, his other snatching the smoothie out of Gus' hand.
"Smugness is unbecoming on you, Gussy," he said, and took a long drag from the straw, sitting back in his bed.