So this is how it would go down. Maybe part of him knew this whole time that it had to end sometime. Hell, forget ending sometime – this whole crazy idea was never supposed to even get off the ground! He had even put together a plan for dealing with the rented office, and had also begun to look into attorneys that could help get Shawn out of this legal jam. At the time, it certainly wasn’t the worst jam the two of them had ever gotten themselves into.
Speaking of worse jams, it had not been lost on Gus how strongly Shawn had reacted to this whole situation in the first place. Sure, the suspicion would be there initially, but a solid alibi was actually what got Shawn off the hook besides his crazed psychic assertion. Shawn should have known that, and Shawn’s knowledge of police procedures was what Gus should have attached himself to when discussing the logic of the whole scenario. Yes, he knew that logic and sensibility were often foreign concepts to his best friend, but still, crazy reactions like this were rare even for Shawn. Especially for Shawn.
But this obviously half-baked idea had been thought up, and soon enough, Gus realized that it might actually last longer than he thought it would. Okay, so the first time he thought that had been at the one week mark. Surely it wouldn’t last longer than this, right? Surely, no self-respecting Police Department with an up and coming interim Chief eager to prove her worth would even consider taking the risk of calling them in on any other cases. This whole crazy idea would soon come to its natural end once the phone didn’t ring and the money didn’t come in. Then, because things just had to happen that way with Shawn in the way they always did, the phone rang again. And another case got solved, and another check came in, and the charade continued.
“…and it’s all…just so stupid…that this all is happening because of a stupid jacket.” Shawn’s voice cut through Gus’ musings. “I always forget the stupidest things when I’m with her…” Gus nodded in response. There was nothing really useful to add to that, aside from the scary realization that he was never sure of how to talk to a reasonable Shawn.
“So…she left me because I lied to her.” Shawn continued. He swallowed hard, as if there was more he wanted to say, but couldn’t get it out.
“And if you…you know…come clean to Vick, she’ll take you back?” Gus asked. It was the only logical explanation, considering his best friend’s desperation. To his surprise, Shawn only shrugged.
“I don’t know.” He spoke after a long pause. He even let out a nervous (or was it defeated?) laugh and ran his hand over his mouth. “I don’t know…Gus. She didn’t say. Maybe she doesn’t even know. All I know for sure is that there is no hope left for us if I don’t do it.”
“So…” Gus clarified, “If you don’t do this, you’ve lost her forever. But if you do go through with it, you might still lose her forever.”
“But you said you told her no.”
“I did.” Shawn looked up and made eye contact for the tiniest fraction of a second. “Because I don’t want to lose everything…” what was normally a firm statement came across as strangely unfinished to Gus. It was more than a little unsettling.
“There will be legal consequences for coming clean.” He replied sternly, more to satisfy his need to say something. “It’s not just our business that will be affected.” He knew he was underselling the business aspect. It would be quite devastating to lose Psych this way. The fear of it alone was almost paralyzing to him. Almost. But there was so much more to all this. The way that Shawn was staring into space told him that the feeling was mutual in its own way.
“But the business…it’s good…right?” Shawn asked. Gus noted the pleading look in his best friend’s eyes and the increasingly audible shake in his voice. “The lies, I know, but what we do…we’re helping people, right? We’re doing good, are we?”
“We’ve helped a lot of people.” Gus agreed. Not knowing what else to say, he fell into silence. That was probably the worst of all – the long periods of silence that seemed to dominate this ‘talk’ that Shawn had called him over for. Memories flooded his head of the last time their ‘talk’ had involved mostly silence. It had ended with Shawn leaving town for 10 years, and leaving Gus wondering if their friendship as he knew it was over forever. In truth, it was over as they had known it. As great as things had been since his return, things were still different, no matter how much attention he focused on his friend. He couldn’t handle the thought that yet another disappearance might be just around the corner. If ever a true psychic power would come in handy, it would be now! Gus wished with everything he had for the ability to read the thoughts behind that far off stare. The realization came slowly. Perhaps too slowly, but Gus would always remember the feeling in the pit of his stomach when it started to hit him. Running off was, in fact, not what Shawn was thinking, after all.
“You’re…you’re going to Vick, aren’t you?”
Shawn’s gaze floated back to him, giving the appearance of his best friend looking at him through some kind of haze. “Am I?” He asked. Most other times, he might have come off as cynical, but this time, it was something else completely. Perhaps he was just coming to the realization that he was actually considering it, as well. Maybe it had been in his mind from the start, hence the reason for this ‘talk’, but only now could he actually admit to it.
“Am I?” Shawn repeated, finally seeming to come back to reality. “Gus, if I do…I’ll lose everything.”
“We’ll lose everything. This job, Gus. It’s not just me. It’s us.”
“And we’ve worked so hard. Dad, he didn’t think it would last. He thought I’d be off somewhere else within a year or two.” He stopped and stared straight at Gus for a few moments. “Gus, did you think this would last?”
“Doesn’t matter. You went in on this with me anyway, buddy.” He laughed to himself. “You know, I don’t think I thought it would last either. This was a crazy idea from the start, wasn’t it?”
Gus shrugged. “Yeah, it kind of was. But if anyone could pull it off, you could.”
“I pulled it off because you stood behind me, Gus.” Shawn added. “So…if I go to Vick, I’ll lose everything. I think I’m ok with that. But you’ll come out on the losing end too. Gus, you would…”
“We’ll lose everything.”
Shawn wondered why he felt the need to keep saying that phrase. As much as he said it, it paled in comparison to how much it had been running through his head. This incredible fear of losing everything was new to him, however. It’s part of why he liked to think he didn’t have much of anything to begin with – the less one has, the less one can lose. And suddenly, such a fear of losing everything. It could only mean one thing – that he in fact had a lot more than he thought.
Troubling. Devastating, but no. Just the fear of losing everything wasn’t what was clawing at him now. Strange. He tried thinking of just what ‘everything’ meant…and he couldn’t readily name it. How could someone be so afraid of losing everything, if they can’t even identify what ‘everything’ is??
“It has to be big, Gus.” He realized he was thinking out loud, and laughed in spite of himself at the familiar look of confusion on his friend’s face. So much like how things went when they were working on solving a case together.
“Everything, Gus.” Shawn repeated. “I’m about to lose everything. But…I can’t do it. I can’t lose it all. I’ve worked so hard! I’ve never worked this hard in my life for anything, Gus, and now I’m going to just give it up? I can’t!”
“So you’re not going to tell Vick, then.”
I can’t give it up. He thought to himself. Never. Not after so much effort. Not after working so hard for it all.
“It would be so easy, Gus.” He whispered. “Keep going like nothing happened. Jules, she said she wouldn’t tell. She won’t say anything.”
“And then what, Shawn?”
Shawn smiled. Finally, a moment of clarity. Made even more clear to him by the look of understanding that his friend was giving him.
“And then, I’ll lose everything, won’t I?” The clarity came so suddenly, it even caught Shawn himself off guard. So this is why it had all been so confusing.
“This isn’t about Psych anymore, is it?” Gus asked, even though he well knew what his friend was referring to. “What about me? What about your dad? What about how this would affect us?”
Shawn sighed. Gus had a point. Regardless the real reason why he couldn’t fathom making the decision to give up hope with Juliet, he couldn’t so easily turn his back on his father and best friend, either.
Gus looked deeply into his friend’s eyes. Selfish. That’s one word that so often could be used to describe Shawn. Just as often, he wouldn’t even bother to try arguing against such a description. So much of what Shawn did was done only for the purpose of satisfying whatever personal fancy he had going on at the time. Thoughts of how his actions would affect others rarely came into the picture until after the fact. But this time…this time was different. This whole ‘talk’ that Shawn had called him over for, even though Shawn seemingly had hardly any idea what he really wanted to talk about. This inability to make a decision, this hesitation…Shawn may be unable to put it to words, but the message was loud and clear just the same. Shawn’s decision for himself had been made clear from the start. It was his decision for others that was holding him back. It was all Gus needed to hear, even if it still left him scared to death for what the decision would mean.
“It’s ok, Shawn.” He spoke up with as much courage as he could muster.
“Whatever you decide.” Gus confirmed. “You need to tell Vick, don’t you?”
Shawn’s silence was all the response Gus needed. Actually, something funny or stupid would do the trick better. It would help him to pretend that he didn’t just notice Shawn’s eyes get misty.
“Shawn, it’s ok. You have my permission.” That’s all his friend would need, and Gus knew it. Permission to do what his heart had been telling him to do this whole time. The simple fact that his permission was what Shawn had been seeking was all the validation Gus needed. It also helped to see that Shawn looked at least as frightened as Gus felt.
“Shawn.” He spoke again, a renewed, although feigned, confidence in his voice. “It’s ok. You need to tell Vick…or you’ll lose everything.”
Another minute later, and Shawn’s felt his focus returning to what he was used to feeling. “Thanks.” He finally managed, once the lump in his throat was gone. “Um…how about we stop for tacos on the way?”
Gus picked up the keys and was headed out the door before Shawn had a chance to even stand up. That was ok. Shawn relished taking an extra few seconds walking through the Psych office as it stood now, knowing things were about to change drastically. It was a leap of faith he was about to take, but however hard the landing might be, he knew his best friend would be right by his side the whole time.